The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Making a Crowdfunding site
This is an easy to follow, step by step tutorial on making your own crowdfunding website. Our aim is simple. If you’re an absolute beginner and you want to make a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter (so others can raise money using your site), this page will show you how.
And the best part of all; you do not need to Learn a line of Code.
Follow all the steps in this FREE guide and you will be able to create an online fundraising platform just like Kickstarter. We will show you how to turn this into a business, so you can make money from the finished results.
This Build a Site Like guide consists of 3 simple steps:
- Step 1. Choosing your Website Platform (CMS)
- Step 2. Choosing a Domain name & Hosting provider
- Step 3. Installing the Website Platform, your crowdfunding theme & basic setup instructions
Complete all of the steps set out below and you will have your very own crowdfunding business, ready to help people raise money for good causes.
In a little over 30 minutes this business could be yours!
So enough with introductions, it is definitely time to get to it…
Step 1: Choosing the Website Platform (CMS)
One of the quickest and easiest ways to start a crowdfunding website in 2018 is to use a well established, existing platform. In website terms, this is called a “Content Management System (CMS)”.
Why use a Content Management System (CMS)?
We have explained this elsewhere on Buildasitelike.com, and the reasons remain the same. No matter the type of site you want to build using a CMS has a lot of benefits, the chief ones being, speed, efficiency and security.
The fact is, in 2018 anyone can make a sophisticated website by simply using a content management systems (CMS). There is absolutely no need to learn any strange computer coding languages to succeed online.
A good CMS along with a well designed theme is all you need.
Furthermore, one of the best and most popular CMS’ (WordPress), is absolutely free.
Before we lift the lid off the wonders of WordPress, let’s take a brief look at what a CMS actually does.
What does a Content Management System (CMS) do?
A content management system is the backbone of your website. Once installed it allows you to create and manage the design, content and overall function of your site, all from an easy to use admin area.
In many ways it can be compared to logging into your Facebook page. The CMS gives you a simple interface with which to post images, text and all other website content.
You can also control how your website looks and functions by installing one of the many ‘Themes’ that are readily available.
With our crowdfunding website, we will use the CMS and a carefully chosen theme so that others can login and build their own campaigns, visitors can pledge money and you can manage all the finer details; without needing to know any of the technical nuts and bolts whatsoever.
Essentially, the CMS allows a complete beginner to launch their own website with ease.
So, why choose the WordPress CMS for your Crowdfunding site?
WordPress is the best CMS for your crowdfunding platform. Here’s why:
- It is completely FREE
- Very easy to use no matter your technical skill level
- Thousands of designs (Themes) are available that control the look of your website (and can be installed with a click of a button)
- Easy to customize and extend.
- WordPress plugins allow you to increase the functionality of your website in line with your demands.
- WordPress looks good on all types of screen, (laptop, desktop or mobile)
- WordPress is fast and secure and is always being updated
For this tutorial, we will show you all the steps to starting a crowdfunding website using WordPress
This is what we are about to cover:
- How to get started with the best Web Hosting for WordPress
- How to register a Domain Name
- How to Install WordPress onto your hosting
- How to Install a Crowdfunding Theme into WordPress
- How to get your website up and running
Step 2: Hosting & Domain Name
So we’ve chosen WordPress as our website platform.
Now we need to purchase a hosting service and buy a Domain name.
Here’s a simple explanation of why we need these:
- Domain Name – This is the web address; you need one of these so people can find you online. Every website has one. (take Facebook.com for example)
- Hosting – This is the service that stores all of your website data so that it is accessible online. Again, every website needs to have Hosting.
iPage provides reliable WordPress hosting with excellent live support, starting at just $1.99/month. Furthermore, if you sign up using the link above you will get your first year domain registration absolutely FREE.
They also give you over $500 worth of extras, making it one of the best value hosting deals on the market today.
Note: If you sign up by using our links, we will earn a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. We use those funds to run Buildasitelike.com as a completly free resource. We aim to continuing improving the site, adding more valuable guides and helping beginners get started online.
So let’s get started by purchasing our iPage Hosting plan and register our FREE Domain Name.
The first step is to click the Get Started Now Button.
This will lead you to a page where you can choose your free domain name.
For this tutorial I have typed in ThisIsMyExample.com and then pressed search to see if it is available.
Good stuff, the domain name I have tried is free.
Don’t worry if you find the name you would like to use has already been taken. This is common. However, you can always try variations and if you look at the results page you will find that iPage offers some suggestions too.
If the .com version is already taken, you can always opt for a .net version or something similar instead.
Once you have found a name that you would like to use (and importantly seen that it is available), it is time to press Next, choose my term.
You will now find yourself on a page that asks you to select a 1, 2 or 3 year term for your hosting plan.
The length of term is entirely up to you. However, the longer you choose the better the overall discount you get.
In our example we have chosen a two year plan. The right hand box will show you the cost for the term
Make your choice and then press Next, customize my plan.
This will take you to a list of options you can choose to select or deselect before you buy.
The optional addons are as follows:
- Domain Privacy – This really is worth buying. It will help prevent any spam phone calls and texts from design agencies that have discovered you have just bought a domain name.
- Website Security & Daily Backup – We recommend selecting yes on these. This is the easiest way to ensure your website remains secure and that daily backups are made. (It is possible to take care of both of these tasks using WordPress Plugins however).
- All in One WordPress Bundle – This is unneccessary.
- SSL Certificate – You should purchase this. From July 2018 Google will penalise websites that do not have valid security certificates.
After you have chosen the extras that you need, click Continue to Payment to make the final purchase with credit card or paypal account.
(Note, before you reach the payment page you may have to skip through two pages of optional extras. You will not need these, so scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘no thanks’, until you reach your purchase confirmation page).
Well done, Step 2 is almost finished!
After payment you will be greeted with a success message. A new screen will appear asking you to create a username, your login password and security question for your iPage account.
After completing this you should login to the account so that we can install WordPress and launch your crowdfunding website.
Step 3: Installing WordPress & a Crowdfunding Theme
i. Installing WordPress Using iPage SimpleScripts
Once you are logged into the iPage Control Panel you will see something similar to the below screenshot.
Under the Website section, locate My Installs (SimpleScripts) and click.
From the scrip list, click WordPress.
This will take you to another screen where you simply need to leave all the settings as is.
Click Install and iPage will do the rest for you.
They’ll be another screen asking you to agree to the terms and conditions. When prompted you should also enter the login details (Username and Password) you would like to use for WordPress. And then…
Your WordPress Installation will be complete.
The front page of your website will be your domain name, (mydomain.com as an example).
WordPress will have automatically installed the default theme for your site. Without content it will all look very bland.
Don’t worry, this next section is where it all gets very exciting.
We’re about to purchase and install your crowdfunding theme so you can launch your new website!
ii. Installing a Crowd Funding Theme
So far so good. WordPress is fully installed on your website, and now it is time to purchase and upload your crowdfunding theme so you can lauch your own Kickstarter business.
Sounds simple? That’s because it is.
The first step involves login into the WordPress admin panel.
The location of your dashboard is easily found by adding /wp-admin after your domain name.
For example, if your website domain was mywebsite.com the WordPress admin URL would be: mywebsite.com/wp-admin
When you visit this URL for the first time you will be greeted with the WordPress login page. Here you will need to enter your username and password, (this is the login for WordPress that you will have selected during the install process), and then you will be taken straight to your admin dashboard.
The WordPress admin area gives you access to all the menu options you need to manage your website.
What we need to do now is get that new theme up and running.
Before we look in to where you can purchase your crowdfunding theme, we will begin by taking a look at the WordPress theme page.
You will find this in left sidebar menu. Hover over Appearance, and then click Themes.
The above image is the theme selection page for Buildasitelike.com. We currently have a Child theme selected. The Twenty Seventeen, Sixteen etc are the default WordPress themes and will be what you see when you first visit your own theme page.
However, since you’re here to make a Crowdfunding website, we need to find a WordPress theme that will give you all the functionality you need to launch your new site.
For that we are going to need a premium theme.
The best place to buy high-quality WordPress Themes
[Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.]
To find high-quality WordPress themes you will need to turn to visit one of the many premium theme market places that exist online.
However, because themes are big business, there are countless options with varying quality. We have done our homework in this regard. The team here at BuildaSiteLike.com has over 35 years combined experience working with WordPress, (there’s only 4 of us).
Between us we have tried and tested most, if not all the larger premium theme players. From that expertise we recommend the following market places when you are looking for a theme for your website.
- Elegant Themes
- Template Monster
- Engine Themes
- Thrive Themes
- Theme Fuse
- Theme Furnace
What’s the best Crowdfunding WordPress Theme?
There are many Crowdfunding themes available, however only a few offer the wide range of features required to run a complete crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter. Of those few we have found what we believe to be the best of the bunch.
Backer, by KrownThemes is our top choice for a number of reasons. It features a clean, sophisticated design allowing for your user’s campaigns to really stand out.
The login process is simple and combined with the excellent Ignition Deck plugin (which is required for full platform functionality) your website can take payment from pledgers, allocate funds when targets have been reached and basically allow you to manage the entire platform with an easy to use interface.
So if you’re ready, let’s go ahead and purchase the Backer theme so that we can transform your website into a real business.
The link above will take you straight to the Backer Crowdfunding Theme sales page.
(By all means have another look at the theme demo to see what your site will look like – in just 5 minutes time!)
The payment steps are self explanatory. After clicking the Buy Now button:
- Fill in your First name, last name & email address then click Next.
- Choose your ThemeForest username and password.
- Verify the captcha
- Click the Create account & Continue.
- After filling in your billing details, click the Save and continue button.
Available Payment Methods
ThemeForest and the Envato Marketplace is a well respected merchant for WordPress themes. They offer secure payment via 3 different methods, Debit/Credit card, PayPal and Envato Credit.
Use of the first two will incur a 2$ surcharge, however the convenience is more than worth it.
Envato Credit does not incur the surcharge however you will need to add credit to your Envato account.
Once you have made payment via your preferred method, hover over your username in the top right corner of the screen and click on downloads.
Here you will find the Backer theme files, ready and waiting; (much like the screenshot below).
Click the green download button.
This will reveal two options:
- All files and Documentation – This is a package download (in the form of a .zip file) that contains the theme, licence information and other related documentation)
- Installable WordPress files only – as the title suggests, this is just one .zip file containing your theme.
Option number two is the one we need; installable WordPress files only.
Click the link to download the theme file to your desktop.
Once that’s done, head to your main WordPress dashboard again (mywebsite.com/wp-admin), and return to the theme page, (hover over Appearance and then click on Themes).
Installing the Backer theme in WordPress
This is where things get very exciting. With just a few clicks your crowdfunding website will start to come alive.
What we are going to do now can be broken down into a few simple steps:
- Uploading the Backer theme to your WordPress website
- Installing all the relevant plugins to make the website work properly
- Uploading a import file so that your site looks just like the demo
- Final touches so you can launch your crowdfunding platform
Installing the Backer theme
To install the theme you need to go to your theme selection page.
- Navigate to Appearance > Add New Themes > Upload.
- Select the Backer zipped theme folder that you recently downloaded to your desktop.
- Hit “Install Now” and the theme will be uploaded and installed.
Once the theme is uploaded you will be given the option to Activate theme. Click to activate.
The next step is to install the required plugins.
Installing the theme plugins
The theme authors have very kindly provided one-click install for all the plugins you need.
After theme activation you should receive a prompt at the top of your WordPress admin area, asking you to Begin Installing Plugins.
Clicking this prompt will take you to the plugins download page.
There you will find a list of all the plugins you need. Click install next to each item.
The plugins are as follows:
- IgnitionDeck – This plugin is the heart of your crowdfunding website. More on this below.
- Revolution Slider – this is one of the most popular WordPress sliders around. Installing the theme demo file will get this up and running for you.
- Krown Shortcodes – This is theme shortcodes generator. Shortcodes allow you to quickly and easily insert buttons, columns and other design features into your site. When using the theme demo file you will need this plugin installed so that everything looks the way it should.
- oAuth Twitter Feed for Developers – If you decide to create a Twitter page for your platform, this plugin will integrate the feed into your website.
The Ignition Deck Plugin
The theme authors have kindly provided the free version of the Ingnition Deck plugin. This is great if you just want to create a crowdfunding site for one campaign. However, for a full Kickstarter style platform, you will need the premium version.
There are two options if you wish to have a full crowdfunding platform that allows users to create campaigns:
- $249 Enterprise (6 Months) – all features including unlimited user accounts and full payment support.
- $349 Enterprise Annually – Same as the monthly options except access to a premium theme.
Using the Backer Demo Import File
Using the demo import file is the best way to get started with your new website. This will turn your website into something that looks like the demo, meaning the design, structure and functionality of the site will be done for you.
Once installed you can delete the old campaigns (or leave in place as a way of encouraging new users) and add new content within the foundation that has been created for you.
To install the theme demo files you need to locate the xml import file within your theme folder on your desktop (backer-import.xml). (Make sure the IgnitionDeck plugin installed and activated before doing the import!)
To use it, go to Tools > Import > WordPress and upload the xml file.
When prompted, Import everything, hit the button and wait.
Congratulations you’ve just built your very own Crowdfunding website
Once complete your site will look like this: (Click image for live version)
How was your experience building this Kickstarter style website? Was the guide easy to follow? Do you have any questions? Post your comments as we would love to hear your feedback.
And if you like what you found here please Share it with friends; we want to get the word out so that everyone can understand how to get started online and build a successful website just like… 🙂