Several of the services included here offer free options, too. If you choose that path, however, your site will include branding from the provider, which will necessarily make your site less impressive to savvy surfers—and shoppers. Free offerings vary greatly in the amount of storage and bandwidth they allow, so read the small print to find out how much you get with each provider. Weebly, Wix, and WordPress.com are among the most generous with their free offerings, if that's the way you want to go.

Modern website are more complex than websites in the past. They aren't just HTML, CSS and Javascript being passed from a server. Those assets are optimized, cached and accessed through special content delivery networks (among other things) to ensure performance. The reality of disentangling all of this from the website builder and moving into a third party host is that it's messy and would require a level of technical competence that most users of website builders don't have.
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.
You can sell products and services on your website if you have the Online Store plan. You’ll have an online store that will allow you to add products and services, set up different types of payment methods, and even specific types of shipping. Your store will be integrated into your website as a page. You can add featured products for your visitors to scroll through, make quick purchases using PayPal and Apple Pay and promote your store/products through coupons. You can also use the same type of email marketing that is included in the Business Plus plan to send email communications to your subscribers and customers about sales in your store, coupon offers and events. Establishing a strong online commerce can boost your current sales, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store.
About this course: What you’ll achieve: In this project-centered course*, you’ll design, build, and publish a basic website that incorporates text, sound, images, hyperlinks, plug-ins, and social media interactivity. We’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions, exercises, tips, and tools that enable you to set up a domain name, create an attractive layout for your pages, organize your content properly, ensure that your site functions well across different operating systems and on mobile devices, keep your site safe, and finally, let people know your site is online. We’ll even show you how to track your visitors. Throughout the course, you'll engage in collaboration and discussion with other learners through course forums and peer review. Once you complete your first website project using Wordpress, you can move on to our optional, extended module that covers more advanced techniques such as using a simple text editor, coding in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and more. What you’ll need to get started: This project-centered course is designed for learners who have little or no prior experience developing a web site. You will need a computer with a stable Internet connection. We’ll use Wordpress to get you started, provide lots of downloadable examples, and guide you through the process of giving and receiving constructive peer-to-peer feedback. *About Project-Centered Courses: Project-centered courses are designed to help you complete a personally meaningful real-world project, with your instructor and a community of learners with similar goals providing guidance and suggestions along the way. By actively applying new concepts as you learn, you’ll master the course content more efficiently; you’ll also get a head start on using the skills you gain to make positive changes in your life and career. When you complete the course, you’ll have a finished project that you’ll be proud to use and share.
Hi HARVEY, I recommend looking at Wix and Weebly as both are very easy to use. You won't have any trouble getting to grips with them as they been designed to be user-friendly. You'll have no trouble creating a simple one-page website with either one. As a heads up, Weebly has a smaller selection of templates, but they are generally simpler and more basic templates, so this might save you some time. And remember, just because all the bells and whistles are available, doesn't mean you necessarily have to use them! I've linked to our Weebly + Wix reviews for you. Hope that helps, - Tom
Hi Jeremy, Thanks for your article. I have a question I am hoping you can help me with. The original site I started was a free blog through wordpress website. I then decided to go towards an actual site with a blog attached, I made the switch to Hostgator. During this switch Hostgator took our domain name and is requesting $700 to get it back even though we paid the yearly fee. They are now saying they will not release our domain name until May. Does this seem correct? Thanks Kate
This is the first time I was able to go from start to finish with making an entire site. I have done other training before but they don't ever seem to close it off at the end. This class went over everything needed to make a site. I would love to find other courses like this. I also did not feel dumb mid way through the course due to lack of explaining. Everything was well documented and covered. Very good job on this thanks. - Jay Mims
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Hello, I used BigCommerce to build the website, tenbrookeleanne.com, for my girlfriend's brick and mortar boutique. I do not know any code and before making this website, I knew nothing about ecommerce. The customer service for BigCommerce is awesome! Even though they are a WYSIWYG drag and drop site builder, they helped me customize my website by editing the code for me. They changed the background for my chosen (free) template and added an instagram social button even though it wasn't in the template. When making the website I had a ton of questions and they were always happy to help, now I very rarely have to call support. The BigCommerce University and question forums are very resourceful at well. I would highly recommend BigCommerce to anyone who is looking to make an ecommerce site. My only complaint about BigCommerce is that they do not have a native solution to integrate with the brick and mortar store POS to keep the inventory up to date (though they say they are/have been working on it). I have to use an expensive and less than satisfactory third party software for the two platforms to communicate with each other.
What about if you build a website for someone and they want to be able to update the content themselves without needing to read any code? Most people have very little technical knowledge and just want to be able to upload new pictures and change text by typing into a word processor. This is where the CMS comes in. The most used software on the internet is Wordpress. You’ve probably heard of it; it’s blogging software that has evolved to include some CMS functionality. Along with other offerings like Wix and Weebly, it’s mostly used by people without a technical background as a quick DIY website solution. Themes can easily be bought and installed which provide an instant website and certain content can be updated by an admin area.
Whether you have chosen to create your site with a CMS or a Website Builder, the first step is to open a new (free) account with your platform. Once you have opened your account, you will need to select a template (or theme if using WordPress) which is essentially the layout of your site’s design. Templates are usually categorised according to the industry or business types to which they are best suited. Make sure you take time to browse through the categories that best match your business until you find the template you like. Rushing it here might cost you much more time later on.

All of the site builders here let you put Facebook Like and Twitter Follow buttons on your pages, and some even let you display feeds from the social networks. Some give you help building a Facebook Page and tying it into your site design and updates. Many products offer some sort of SEO tools, but too often this is just a form on which you can enter meta tags. You're mostly left to wrestle with that black magic known as SEO for yourself. It's very important to submit and verify your site to the search engines, unless you don't want anyone to find it!
Think of templates as ‘clothes’ for your website. If you don’t like one set of clothes, just change to another one to give your website a completely different feel. And again, don’t rush into it. Choose different templates, browse them, see if they fit. The whole point of templates is choice, so dive in and find one that feels right for what you want to achieve.
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