How Your Webmaster Skills Can Make Christmas Cheaper

Have you started thinking about Christmas presents yet? If you’re feeling the pressure and want to get something thoughtful without spending the earth, we might just have the answer….

Our gift idea is unique, inexpensive and doesn’t require a trip to the mall: A website, with a domain, for an entire year.

Granted, a website might not be the right gift for everyone, but I bet there’s someone who would love this present. Do you have an uncle who needs a site for his small business? Or would your mom love an online place to share her recipes?

If you get it right, a website can be a cherished gift that will bring benefits for years to come – how many other cheap presents fit that description?!

One Year’s Domain Registration, With Privacy Protection- $9

The first thing that you’ll need is a domain name for the site. There are literally thousands of companies that you can choose from, including some that sell domains for well under $10, complete with private registration.

Your chosen domain name will depend on the purpose of the site, for example, a personal site or one for a small business. The key here is to find a domain that is both meaningful and unique. A good place to start is the name of the person or the company; you can seek out variations from there as needed.

One Year’s Hosting – $30

Even if you missed Hostgator’s half off sale on Black Friday, there are still plenty of hosting deals to be found. Since you don’t need to secure high-end hosting for what is going to just be a basic site with minimal traffic (at least at first), a starter hosting account is ideal and can be obtained for about $3 per month.

Best of all, if you pay for a full year’s hosting, you can often get additional discounts and easily prepay for a year’s hosting for $30-$40. This takes the burden off the receiver to pay for upkeep for the first year and, by that point, they should know this website lark is something they want to continue with.

Bear in mind, if you already have a large hosting account, such as a VPS, you may be able to offer them free hosting on your server (I suggest you think carefully about this before offering it though).

WordPress Installation with Theme – Free

WordPress is a natural choice for just about any site you plan to give. Not only is it easy to install and easy to use, it’s also free.

WordPress makes it possible for someone with limited experience hosting or running a site to maintain and update it as necessary. It’s flexible enough to be used to build any kind of site that your loved one may want, from a static brochure that only provides basic information about the business, to a blog with new content being posted all the time.

WordPress also has a slew of themes to choose from and install for free. This makes it easy to find the right ‘look’ for the site in question that is both attractive and relatively easy to change.

In short, WordPress is the perfect beginner site building tool and is powerful enough to still be useful long after the person has gotten the hang of the basics of Web development. Its price tag doesn’t hurt either

Tech Support (Provided by You) – Free

As the person who set up this website, you’ll probably be expected to provide at least some basic support to the lucky recipient. If the person is very inexperienced with setting up a site, you may have to show them the ropes on Christmas morning.

For example, although the hosting company can provide a lot of assistance with technical issues, they aren’t usually well-geared to helping with things like how to publish a new post or to add an image into a page.

Therefore, if you’d rather not provide that kind of support it might be worth reconsidering a website as a present.

Although it’s a fast and cheap gift, there’s a definite time commitment down the road and, at the very least, you want to make sure that the person you give it to is both a quick studier and someone who will become self-sufficient quickly.

WordPress Book (Optional) – $15-$30

In addition to the support you provide, you may want to wrap up a book on WordPress and general site management. This way, your recipient can learn at their own pace how to maintain their site by themselves.

A book like this is also a great way to give a physical gift along with an intangible one. You could also print up a card with the site’s information as another tangible present (or write it on the inside cover, along with an encouragement to change the password!) – then they can have the information in one easy place.

Bottom Line

Is a website the perfect gift for everyone? No. I wouldn’t give a site to any computerphobes, or to anyone who isn’t interested in learning the ropes.

But for someone who is reasonably good with a computer (ie. they’ve mastered basic computer functions such as email and word processing, but haven’t considered the idea of running a site even though they have a legitimate use for one), it can be a great, long-cherished gift.

Personally, I’ve done it a few times for people I knew who were looking to start up businesses – the fates of the sites depended largely on those business ideas. Most never took off but at least one site I gave is still going strong today.

So if you know someone who fits the bill, maybe a website is that elusive ‘perfect gift’.

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