These services can host your content on their servers free of charge, but in exchange for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less-than-elegant domain, such as jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. That might be fine for a personal blog, but it will look too low-rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for whatever it's selling.
Use Fiverr.com: Fiverr.com is a site that matches you with all kinds of service providers who are willing to do projects, including logos, for just $5. If you use the $5 option you will have to wait a couple of weeks to get your logo. For around $20, you can generally get it that same week. If you find a designer with a portfolio you like, this is easily the best option for the money.
If you prefer a more traditional URL, you'll need to purchase one from the likes of GoDaddy or Namecheap. Domain name pricing can range from extremely cheap to extremely expensive, depending on whether or not domain squatters are looking to flip a valuable piece of online real estate. You'll want to get something short but evocative and catchy, and depending on what you do, you may find that many of your first choices are taken by either other legit domains, or by squatters who've scooped up the names as an investment. For more, please read How to Register a Domain Name.
Website Builder: Website builders (such as Wix and Weebly) are the perfect solution for beginners with minimal technical knowledge looking to create their own designed website. Having advanced light years over the past 3-4 years, website builders offer outstanding functionality and out-of-the-box design and features that would meet most business needs. In many instances, Builders offer a ‘drag-and-drop’ functionality whereby you see the results as you create the site. A wide range of templates are offered and whilst color and positioning can be changed, website builder templates are generally less customizable than those used by CMS platforms.

Server-side Scripting Language - this allows you to provide much more advanced functionality than you could acheive with just HTML/CSS/JavaScript. Server-side scripting languages are commonly used in conjunction with a database so users can interact with a website much more extensively. Any website that offers things such as blogs or forums would need to use a server-side language to allow users to post comments etc into a database. These comments can then be read later on by other users who want to read them. Common server-side scripting languages include ColdFusion and PHP.


Nowadays, however, it looks like the whole of the Internet is slowly moving to a state where everything has SSL. If so, it may be a good idea for new websites to use it from the very outset. This will allow you to avoid the hassle and risk involved in moving an existing website from HTTP to HTTPS, which you may find yourself doing in the future if you don't get it done at the beginning. For more information, please read the first few sections of that article, namely those explaining what SSL is (in greater detail), and the advantages and disadvantages of it.
In most cases the owner of a small business has so much on their plate that mastering the technical skills required for web development is far from a priority, and the great investment of time and money needed to learn how to build a website from scratch wouldn’t help this case. This is where Web Building Platforms come into the picture. There are two main types of platforms enabling website creation with minimal to no coding required.
JavaScript : JavaScript lets you add a ton more functionality to your websites. You can even create a lot of basic web applications using HTML, CSS, and JS. On the most basic level, JS lets you add a lot of interactive elements to your websites. You will be able to make your website more user interactive. Further, you need to know about JavaScript frameworks. JS frameworks give a ready-made structure to your JavaScript code. JS frameworks include AngularJS, BackboneJS, EmberJS and ReactJS.
If you study my current site, you’ll see that most of my main sections link out to other places on the web – my YouTube channel, my podcasts, the speaking page here on College Info Geek, etc. This is a strategic decision – as a professional YouTuber/writer, those are the best places for me to be directing people, since I benefit from people subscribing to my content rather than evaluating it.

Hey Vivy, I haven't used any of those hosting services before so I can't quite comment. I've used Bluehost and WP Engine. WP Engine is more expensive, but they're good. They're a hosting service that is dedicated to WordPress users, so their support people are quite knowledgeable about WP in general. I've had excellent experiences with them. Jeremy

Hey, Jeremy, thanks for an informative article. I'm planing to start my own blog but choosing the right hosting provider gets me a bit confused... I'm still a beginner at this, so would prefer something that would offer a free plan, at least for testing purposes. A (very!) user friendly interface is obviously a must... Could you please share some hosting companies that match my requests or at least point me in the right direction where to find them? Many thanks.
Hi Mike, Interactive map building is something I have very little experience with - I haven't ventured much beyond embedding google maps in iframes such as yourself. I would suggest browsing the app market and 3rd party plugins available on builders like Wix and Weebly, who both offer a huge amount of additional features. It would surprise me if there wasn't a plugin that could help get you on your way. Similarly, you can also find membership area functionality through these app markets. I believe Wix also offers the ability to add member areas and logins though its editor too. Hope that points you in the right direction, - Tom
GoCentral Website Builder lets you quickly build a customized site and get it out there for the world to see. It’s all done through components that we call sections. What're those? They're features that you can slide into your website to provide added functionality instead of being limited by a template. Just pick an industry or interest, and we drop you into a customizable design.
Once you get a handle on HTML and CSS, you can make what is called a static website. It’s simply one .HTML file represents one page on your site. Static sites are relatively the fastest to load and typically allows designers the most freedom without compromises that have to be made due to limitations of many CMS/Frameworks. (Wordpress in particular is infamous for this, although it has improved).

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Some web designers / developers like to install WordPress manually to get a custom install of the components they want and don’t want. Others will need to manually install because their web host does not have the “1-click-installation” capability. If this applies to you then you’ll need to have a quick read through of my Manual WordPress Set-Up Guide.
This tutorial is designed to help beginners get started on their own so WordPress and a pre made theme are a great way to dive in and build a website from scratch. You can of course design your own WordPress theme or pick up a premium theme such as Bridge, Divi or X-Theme from Themeforest which you can customise a fair bit. I have a post on fronted frameworks too if that helps you.
When things start to become more complex and you start needing to store user information, collect form input, automatically send emails etc. you’re going to need to learn a server-side language. PHP is the most common and has been around a long time. Others include Python, Perl, Java and Ruby to name a few. You can now also choose to use JavaScript as a server side language with Node.js. You will also need to learn how to write SQL commands to interact directly with a database. (Some types of databases don’t use SQL but the most common ones do.)
Hey David, I think that IM Creator is a pretty good website builder, especially if you want to build a very basic website really quickly. Their tools are not he most comprehensive, but in a way that reduces confusion and allows you to focus on the basics which work really well in way. If you haven't seen our review on IM Creator yet, check it out. You can also take a look at our website builder comparison chart here to get a high level overview of who are some of the leading platforms available today. If you want great looking templates, definitely take a look at Squarespace. As for great quality stock images, see our resources guide here. Hope this helps! - Jeremy
Whether you’re providing a product, service, portfolio for your work or launching an ecommerce storefront, your website not only should reflect you and/or your brand, it also needs to be the central location for your business. There’s simply no other way around it. All of your marketing efforts lead back to your website. Which is why it’s of the utmost importance to set up your website correctly.

Stop whatever you're doing and ask yourself this simple question: "Do I need a website?" If your response was anything other than "yes," you need to think again. It doesn't matter if you're the head of a multinational corporation who employs thousands of people or a local mom-and-pop shop from around the way, you need a website to help potential customers find you online. If you have a business, failure to establish an online home is a failure to grow.


Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's S... See Full Bio

A domain name is the bit of the URL (the long address in your browser’s search bar) that identifies a web page — in this case your website. You can register them separately at sites like GoDaddy and Namecheap, but website builders offer to do it for you when you sign up with them. Most provide it for free (at least initially), while a handful charge a few extra bucks.

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