If you're ready to get going, this guide will introduce you to the services and software that can get you started building your own website, even if you have no experience. Keep in mind, none of these tools will give you an idea for a winning website—that's on you. They also won't make you a web designer, a job that's distinct from building a site. Still, these services and software will ease some of the headaches that come from a lack of extensive expertise in CSS, FTP, HTML, and PHP.
Larger businesses spend many thousands of dollars to get their custom-designed and programmed sites, but there's no need for smaller organizations and individuals to go to that kind of expense. For about $10 per month (or around $25 if you're selling products) and a few hours of your time, the services included here can help you create a unique, attractive website.
WordPress is a big name when it comes to creating websites. But you should know that WordPress.com is not what most people are talking about when they mention WordPress. What most internet-savvy people mean by the term WordPress is the free, open-source blogging platform that comes from WordPress.org. Using this requires you to find your own website hosting service. The WordPress.org software is such a popular site-building platform that many web hosting services even offer managed WordPress hosting plans. WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a service that deploys and hosts that software for you, so you don't have to go out and find your own hosting service.
Getting your own website used to require a lot of tech wizardry, including knowledge of servers, HTML, FTP, site registrars, and web hosting services. Thankfully, we now live in the age of easy online site builders. The services included here let you make a well-designed, mobile-friendly site with minimal technical knowledge. They can even take a small or sole-proprietor business to profitability with buy links, online stores, and other money-making options.
Some site builders, such as Squarespace, Strikingly, Virb, and uKit, restrict you to placing page objects in spots that won't make your site look garish, which can be an advantage if design isn't your forte. Other builders offer more freedom; if that's what you're looking for, check out Gator or Wix. Gator in particular strikes a good balance between design freedom and reponsive restrictions.
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.
Okay, how do you register a domain? First, you need to think of some possibilities that would represent who you are and what you do. If you’re making a personal website to promote yourself, you should consider calling it namesurname.com. If your name is difficult, you may have to get creative though. Keep in mind that a .com website address is considered the most respectable in many industries. Try to get one whenever possible.
There are lots of ways to add content and customize your site. Click the Add button on the left-hand menu for a swath of options — text, buttons, slideshows, menus, et cetera. Under the Apps button, there are many features you can add to your site for additional functionality such as comments, live chat, and an online storefront. You can also upload your own multimedia content, such as fonts, images, videos, and music, and start a blog.
While the the best of them offer surprising amounts of flexibility, they also impose stringent enough restrictions to page design that you shouldn't be able to create a really bad looking site using one of these services. Typically you can get a Mysite.servicename.com style-url with no commerce abilities for free from one of these services; you have to pay extra for a better URL and the ability to sell. One issue to consider is that if you eventually outgrow one of these services, it can be hard to export your site to a full scale advanced web hosting like Dreamhost or Hostgator. If you know that's where you are eventually going, it may be better to skip the sitebuilder step.
All of the web services listed here have you start by choosing from a selection of templates for your site. The better ones, such as Duda, Gator, Squarespace, and Wix, use templates that automatically reformat your site for viewing on mobile devices. They also offer specifically targeted templates based on your site's purpose, such as for promoting a bakery's sales, getting gigs for a musician, or keeping wedding guests informed.
Start from scratch or choose from over 500 designer-made templates to make your own website. With the world’s most innovative drag and drop website builder, you can customize or change anything. Make your site come to life with video backgrounds, scroll effects and animation. With the Wix Editor, you can create your own professional website that looks stunning.
You can absolutely do that. If you want to upgrade to a paid plan to get some of the features you want, then you can switch at any time through the My Products option in your account or with the help of a GoDaddy Guide. Once you upgrade your site will have all the same customizations and work that you've already put in place, just with the added features. See Website Builder plans and pricing for more info.
Wix vs Squarespace (Best Website Builder 2020)
You can create a free and professional website all on your own. With Wix, you can start with a stunning template and customize it, or get a personalized website made just for you. When you choose Wix, you don’t just get a drag and drop website builder. You get the whole package. Free reliable web hosting, top security, the best SEO and a dedicated support team to help you along the way.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew.
Constant Contact gets really detailed here and will have different suggestions for you depending on the specific niche your site is in. For example, when putting in “food” as the topic of the site, Constant Contact will want you to clarify whether the site has to do with food tours, food banks, food stand, food truck, etc. Constant Contact will use that info to suggest a website design that’s truly optimized for what you need.
Jennifer Young is a specialist in educational technology with experience in web design and development. She also has 12 years of editorial experience writing for print and the web. Jennifer is passionate about covering topics related to web tools and technologies and enjoys learning about tech as much as she loves teaching it. She embraces the challenge of making web hosting accessible for every type of user and is delighted to share her knowledge with the HostingAdvice.com audience.
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