As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand. You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.


Many people have asked me about using a website builder such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly. The problem is that these services come at a price – you’ll generally have to pay between $10 and $40 a month for a single site. You’ll also be limited to basic customization of the template designs they offer, which means that there’s a good chance your site will look just like everyone else’s site.
Hello Mart, I don't think WYSIWIG website builders have any built in searchable databases - at least not the ones I've used before anyway. I "think" I've seen an external widget that you can use and plug it into a website. Have you tried searching for one? If there isn't any, I'd imagine you'd have to have one custom built to work the way you want it to. One "hack" you might want to consider is to use the website builder's search bar tool. So you would insert all your data into your website as pages, and let people use the sitewide search bar to find what they're looking for. It's not an elegant solution, but worth considering or testing. Jeremy

Hi wbs, Getting started is definitely the easy part - no doubt about that! And I take your point that it can be challenging to make a design that you're 100% happy with. So, I guess we're pretty lucky that website builders like Wix and Squarespace offer such eye-catching templates that we can edit to our liking or use as jumping off point! (Our 3-step guide can help you pick the right template too..) Not having to work with a blank canvas certainly makes things much easier and gets the creative juices flowing. I think the best thing we (as amateur designers!) can take from sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc is the simplicity of their design. Your users want to find what they need quickly and easily, so the key lesson is to keep designs eye-catching but user-friendly (oh and don't forget the importance of color on a website!). Thanks for joining the conversation, - Tom
Investigate e-commerce solutions — How are you planning to sell and accept payment on your website? You’ll need to get that squared away before promoting your website. If you’re using WordPress, we recommend Woocommerce (so much so, that we’ve even got hosting just for Woocommerce users). Study up on the world of e-commerce and pick an online payment gateway.
Hey Jeremy, Awesome article. I especially like the flow and the logical approach that you took to educate people. This is the article I point clients to, to get them up to speed before starting projects. I think it's important for them to know how their products work. While they aren't making their own sites, it definitely still fits the bill. Also, I'm curious as to what you think about WooCommerce these days. I didn't seem them on the list in the other article you wrote "Best Ecommerce Software". Anyways, I've been sending my clients here for a while now and just want to give you a shout out at a job well done! If you are able to send me an email, I do have a question I'd like to ask if you have the time.

I want to create a website where can I post the restaurant and retirement home business of my hubby. I would like to edit the website at least monthly depending on our promotional activities. No payment option needed yet but a simple information for local customers and travelers as well. We want our website displays when people searched from their phone while on their travel since our place is in between 2 big cities. I trust you, and since I described my main objective which one do you highly recommend?
TIP:  if you require a lot of changes on a ready-made template, it may make more sense to use another template or better still, create a custom page (known in some website builders as ‘canvas’ mode). It should be noted that when using a website builder, you may still require the assistance of a developer or designer depending on your specific capabilities and needs. For example, logo design, technical integrations with your CRM, layout of custom elements (especially on mobile) are just a few of the many tasks that could be better handled by an expert.
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
Web hosting is like paying rent for your website's virtual storefront, including the pages, images, documents, and other resources needed to display that site. Web hosting uses a web server, which is where you put those website resources so others can access them through the Web. You can build a fully functional website on your personal computer, but if you want other people to be able to see it, you will need to use a web host.
Web hosting is like paying rent for your website's virtual storefront, including the pages, images, documents, and other resources needed to display that site. Web hosting uses a web server, which is where you put those website resources so others can access them through the Web. You can build a fully functional website on your personal computer, but if you want other people to be able to see it, you will need to use a web host.
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.
First, let's discuss why you even need a webpage in this day of social media domination of the web. On a personal level, you wouldn't want to send prospective employers to your Facebook page, so a personal website makes more sense as an online, customized resume. Another reason worth consideration, for both personal and business sites, is that building your own site gives you endless design choices. You also have total control over products and services you may sell and how they're delivered.
Full Disclaimer: If you choose to use the domain and hosting option I recommend in this tutorial and click my links to get to it, I’ll earn a commission (though there is no extra cost to you – it will actually be quite a bit cheaper since I’m able to offer a coupon code). I want to be very clear that there are definitely other good choices for your domain and hosting out there. This is simply the one I’ve been using since the beginning, and I’m very satisfied. If you do choose to use my link, thank you! 
As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand. You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.

Hey Grant, Glad you're finding our discussions helpful! GoDaddy is a pretty good website builder and we've discussed it in more details here. In general, while using website builders with hosts does give you access to a broader range of services, at times, their support teams may not be the best in terms of answering very specific website builder related questions. For instance, Weebly offers really good website building services, and you can reach them by going to Weebly.com. You can also use Weebly through hosts such as Bluehost. Both will work and enable you to build your website, but when it comes to support, if you are using Weebly through Weebly.com directly, you get Weebly's direct customer / technical support team. If you reach out for help through Bluehost, you get Bluehost's support team. We have a much deeper discussion about this specific scenario here. While some of the website builders don't provide you with email accounts, you can also easily sign up for Google Business App's email services for a few dollars a month. This way, you can take advantage of having your own custom domain email addresses, a familiar Gmail interface, and also that your email is stored on Google's servers which is probably a lot safer / reliable / accessible. - Jeremy
Superb article! Don't know if you can help here; My dad is a vegetable farmer and he sells his products to a small group of organic customers. I wonder if you could recommend a website builder so his customers can view the veggies available, rate them and even purchase online. Only thing I think it would be best if they would have to log in to get their individual pricing. Any idea? Thanks already. BTW I don't necessarily need the easiest builder, I do some tech work; just a professional looking, free solution with our own domain cause my Dad won't spend a dime on this until I make him see the benefits.
Hi Leon, I think Wix, Squarespace or Weebly are potential candidates. I also heard that some affiliate marketing sites use WordPress. But with WordPress, it is much more technical challenging than drag and drop website builders. But WP does offer more flexibility, if you know how to use it proficiently (with a bit of coding knowledge). Give the ones I suggested a try. They're free to test, before you commit to upgrading to one of their paid plans. That's the best way to get a sense of what works well for you! Jeremy
In terms of absolute design and development freedom, I recommend using MODX which is more a CMS and framework combined. It likes to market itself as a CMF. I used to use Wordpress for basic sites and MODX for anything more complex but over time clients come back asking for added functionality to their websites and I came to realise I could save more time overall just using MODX for everything. There are some other promising CMS options that have appeared too that are quite customisable such as Processwire, October CMS and Craft CMS (although the last one is paid).

Ah, now it makes sense. Totally understand how that doesn't fit now. I also like how you phrased "mental bandwidth". That definitely seems to be the case with most businesses that I work with, especially startups. The other thing you mentioned that I really like is "typical" businesses. I think that all too often when people think businesses corporate America comes to mind. Most businesses are normal people running shops and trying to stay afloat in a digital sea. So, I wrote something on a similar topic, and I don't want to spam you with a link or anything like that. I was actually looking for feedback on it. If you're interested at all, shoot me an email. GREAT job on this site. It's obvious that you all dropped a lot of time and effort into your site and articles. Bravo!
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
Although people tend to find your site through a branded search in Google, it’s still important to make your domain easy to spell / type out. If it requires a lot of effort to type correctly, due to trying to spell it, the length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve probably kissed goodbye to a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
One of the easiest ways to appear illegitimate as a company is to shirk on paying for a domain name. If you were looking for a freelance writer, would you more likely hire from Carolineforsey.weebly.com or Carolineforsey.com? A .weebly or .wordpress extension is an indicator you didn’t pay for the full service, which might seem unprofessional or lower in quality -- worst case, a consumer might wonder why you can’t afford the full service, and draw conclusions that you’re not fully established.
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.
At its core HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a way to add properties to text. It is a way of telling the browser how text should appear. This is accomplished by adding tags around text. For example, by adding the tags around text the text becomes bold. Over the years HTML has evolved to include tags for much more then just text. With HTML tags you can create tables, forms, pictures. Everything you see on a webpage is defined by a HTML tag.
But don’t let all the lingo and information scare you away. Start small and take toddler steps. Don’t worry if you can’t grasp every aspect of HTML. Read a little about it, do a tutorial, and then go for a walk in the park. Let it sink in slowly. You will not ‘get it’ in an hour. It takes time and a practice. Get dirty, play around and learn a little at a time. Start with a single web page, add a hyperlink, add an image, and make text bold. Tinker and keep learning.
Content and discussion threads in forums are not organized in an easy to digest way like in paid courses. If you are good at piecing together scattered information, this may not be a problem for you. But for the vast majority of people, this can slow down your learning process since you’ll need to dig through a mountain of information to find the one that is useful to you.
Even if you don't sign up for those web hosts, you should look for services that offer similar features. You'll want a WYSIWYG editor that lets you adjust every page and add images, video, and social links. Plunking down a few extra bucks typically nets you robust ecommerce and search engine optimization (SEO) packages for improved Bing, Google, and Yahoo placement. Most advanced web hosting services include at least one domain name, free of charge, when you sign up.
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.

Whether you are using WordPress or a Website Builder, there are a range of external tools and resources you will need in order to give your website a professional touch. Note that if you are building your site with WordPress, it is likely you will have hired a developer or designer for the creation process. In this case, they should be able to assist you with the following (expect a higher price than using the online resources mentioned below).
When it's time to go beyond the blogs, beyond the online resumes, beyond the page of links, which service do you turn to for a full-blown site that gives you the flexibility to build nearly anything you desire? There's no lack of them, but three of our favorites are DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, well-rounded services that feature numerous hosting types and tiers.
GoCentral Website Builder can act as your hub, the place where your friends and contacts can see your posts, photos, videos and more. With the option to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ on your website, your visitors can be everywhere you are on the web. Being able to cover multiple platforms gives you the opportunity to reach more people, while creating appropriate content for each of your socials (like posting all of your photos on Instagram, and tweeting about your most recent business venture on Twitter). By centrally locating all the links in one place – your new website – you are giving your website visitors a seamless experience. Linking to your social media in your website gives you an advantage in communicating with your visitors; the more they can connect with you and do so in the forum that’s most comfortable to them, the more they’ll engage with your site, and thus you or your business.
Disclaimer: We spend hours researching and writing our articles and strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content. However, our research is meant to aid your own, and we are not acting as licensed professionals. We recommend that you consult with your own lawyer, accountant, or other licensed professional for relevant business decisions. Click here to see our full disclaimer.
Good article - but to make my choice easier, i must say this web site is awesome. What website builder did you build this site on Jeremy? Because all other website templates from the builders that i see operate nowhere near as good as this site. This site looks great in all devices, it runs quick - looks really professional and has so many features that i see. It just works well. The others look good on the surface but when you realy start to see how they look (changing browser window) and how they run and load this web site is light years ahead. So which website builder did you use for this site? This would be my choice for sure.
let’s use the example of a customer trying to purchase a plane ticket using a website. Everything that the customer sees on the webpage is the front-end, as we have explained programming languages name before, but once that customer enters all of his or her information, such as their name, billing address, destination, etc, the web application stores the information in a database that was created previously on the server in which the website is calling for information.
One of the easiest ways to appear illegitimate as a company is to shirk on paying for a domain name. If you were looking for a freelance writer, would you more likely hire from Carolineforsey.weebly.com or Carolineforsey.com? A .weebly or .wordpress extension is an indicator you didn’t pay for the full service, which might seem unprofessional or lower in quality -- worst case, a consumer might wonder why you can’t afford the full service, and draw conclusions that you’re not fully established.
Great Article and the only one that gives a step by step guide. This might be a silly question but I keep reading about buying a hosting space on the internet and you haven't mentioned that at all. Is that same as buying a domain? Does it mean that if i get one of the website builder plans with the domain included, then I dont need to go anywhere else?
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