Hello Richard, Thanks for your comment and for your support! WooCommerce is a solid ecommerce tool (they were purchased by WordPress last year, I believe). They're flexible and you can bolt on a lot of different tools, but the downside for a "typical" business person is that to use WooCommerce (and WordPress) well, they'll need to invest more time into learning and managing the tools, or hire someone knowledgeable for help. A lot of new small businesses just don't have the mental bandwidth and time to learn the in's and out's of operating a WordPress site efficiently and effectively. The article you mentioned focuses more on hosted ecommerce builders, versus platform where you need to get your own hosting services (and there more technically and administratively challenging for users). We did highlight WooCommerce briefly in this guide where we dig into the differences between hosted and non-hosted ecommerce platforms. Jeremy


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 Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web... See Full Bio
Thanks for the time you put into this. Has been very helpful along side the hours that I have already put in myself scouring and trialling sites. Any recommendations for sites where they assist in interactive map building such as the magicseaweed.com site. I can build a location map and embed it onto my site (that I am building at the moment through Wix) but it's very limited and I cannot link it to a specific page or location on my website pages. I would also like to create a service where subscribers can access more information on the website than non subscribers. Any thoughts on the best site to use?
Kevin, With website builders like Wix or Weebly, you can use them for free and there isn't a time limit. However, with the free plans, you won't be able to connect your own domain name to the website, and you will be limited to certain functions. But you can definitely publish a website. Further, all hosting services are provided by the website builders listed above. So you don't have to get your own hosting services. Jeremy
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.

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.


The first thing you need to do before anything else is to get yourself a domain name. This is the name you want to give to your website. For example, the domain name of the website you're reading is "thesitewizard.com". To get a domain name, you have to pay an annual fee to a registrar for the right to use that name. Getting a name does not get you a website or anything like that. It's just a name. It's sort of like registering a business name in the brick-and-mortar world; having that business name does not mean that you also have the shop premises to go with it.
Thanks for the article Jermey. I was looking into making a site that serves dual functions. I wanted to create an entertainment news site that also functions as an online business. I purchased a subscription with godaddy for an online shop, but the templates are pretty bland and the customization is dreadful. Is there a site you could recommend for something like that?
hello there the website on how to create a website is all good but do i have to pay a monthly fee to create a website were i can talk to people or just broadcast myself on youtube to tell everyone what my site is made for so they can talk back to me i think i have a pretty good idea on that subject but getting started there seems to be a lot of buttons to push like findind domain name finding a host
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
GoCentral is a website product that lets you create a website that fits your personal or business needs, regardless of your skill set. You no longer have to choose between a website or an online store – now you can have both. Whether you want an online store, a pop-up site or a professional website to attract new customers, you get to choose how simple or dynamic you want your site to be. Just pick a design and go create your website with GoCentral.
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.
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.
If you are comfortable using a word processing program to write your content, be sure to copy everything and paste it into a text file when you are done. Word processors can add extra formatting to your text that make it display incorrectly if you paste it directly into site building programs or HTML editors. Remembering this easy step can save you hours of frustration during the layout of your website.
Thanks so much for this awesome article :) I had literally no experience in building a website when I started using Weebly and I was surprised at how easy it was to make! I'm interested in looking into other platforms now that I'm up and running, particularly Wordpress? But I'll probably be sticking with Weebly for a long time until I'm ready, it really was super easy to use. Thanks again :)

If you are comfortable using a word processing program to write your content, be sure to copy everything and paste it into a text file when you are done. Word processors can add extra formatting to your text that make it display incorrectly if you paste it directly into site building programs or HTML editors. Remembering this easy step can save you hours of frustration during the layout of your website.
!function(n,t){function r(e,n){return Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(e,n)}function i(e){return void 0===e}if(n){var o={},s=n.TraceKit,a=[].slice,l="?";o.noConflict=function(){return n.TraceKit=s,o},o.wrap=function(e){function n(){try{return e.apply(this,arguments)}catch(e){throw o.report(e),e}}return n},o.report=function(){function e(e){l(),h.push(e)}function t(e){for(var n=h.length-1;n>=0;--n)h[n]===e&&h.splice(n,1)}function i(e,n){var t=null;if(!n||o.collectWindowErrors){for(var i in h)if(r(h,i))try{h[i].apply(null,[e].concat(a.call(arguments,2)))}catch(e){t=e}if(t)throw t}}function s(e,n,t,r,s){var a=null;if(w)o.computeStackTrace.augmentStackTraceWithInitialElement(w,n,t,e),u();else if(s)a=o.computeStackTrace(s),i(a,!0);else{var l={url:n,line:t,column:r};l.func=o.computeStackTrace.guessFunctionName(l.url,l.line),l.context=o.computeStackTrace.gatherContext(l.url,l.line),a={mode:"onerror",message:e,stack:[l]},i(a,!0)}return!!f&&f.apply(this,arguments)}function l(){!0!==d&&(f=n.onerror,n.onerror=s,d=!0)}function u(){var e=w,n=p;p=null,w=null,m=null,i.apply(null,[e,!1].concat(n))}function c(e){if(w){if(m===e)return;u()}var t=o.computeStackTrace(e);throw w=t,m=e,p=a.call(arguments,1),n.setTimeout(function(){m===e&&u()},t.incomplete?2e3:0),e}var f,d,h=[],p=null,m=null,w=null;return c.subscribe=e,c.unsubscribe=t,c}(),o.computeStackTrace=function(){function e(e){if(!o.remoteFetching)return"";try{var t=function(){try{return new n.XMLHttpRequest}catch(e){return new n.ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP")}},r=t();return r.open("GET",e,!1),r.send(""),r.responseText}catch(e){return""}}function t(t){if("string"!=typeof t)return[];if(!r(j,t)){var i="",o="";try{o=n.document.domain}catch(e){}var s=/(.*)\:\/\/([^:\/]+)([:\d]*)\/{0,1}([\s\S]*)/.exec(t);s&&s[2]===o&&(i=e(t)),j[t]=i?i.split("\n"):[]}return j[t]}function s(e,n){var r,o=/function ([^(]*)\(([^)]*)\)/,s=/['"]?([0-9A-Za-z$_]+)['"]?\s*[:=]\s*(function|eval|new Function)/,a="",u=10,c=t(e);if(!c.length)return l;for(var f=0;f0?s:null}function u(e){return e.replace(/[\-\[\]{}()*+?.,\\\^$|#]/g,"\\$&")}function c(e){return u(e).replace("<","(?:<|<)").replace(">","(?:>|>)").replace("&","(?:&|&)").replace('"','(?:"|")').replace(/\s+/g,"\\s+")}function f(e,n){for(var r,i,o=0,s=n.length;or&&(i=s.exec(o[r]))?i.index:null}function h(e){if(!i(n&&n.document)){for(var t,r,o,s,a=[n.location.href],l=n.document.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=""+e,h=/^function(?:\s+([\w$]+))?\s*\(([\w\s,]*)\)\s*\{\s*(\S[\s\S]*\S)\s*\}\s*$/,p=/^function on([\w$]+)\s*\(event\)\s*\{\s*(\S[\s\S]*\S)\s*\}\s*$/,m=0;m]+)>|([^\)]+))\((.*)\))? in (.*):\s*$/i,o=n.split("\n"),l=[],u=0;u=0&&(g.line=v+x.substring(0,j).split("\n").length)}}}else if(o=d.exec(i[y])){var _=n.location.href.replace(/#.*$/,""),T=new RegExp(c(i[y+1])),E=f(T,[_]);g={url:_,func:"",args:[],line:E?E.line:o[1],column:null}}if(g){g.func||(g.func=s(g.url,g.line));var k=a(g.url,g.line),A=k?k[Math.floor(k.length/2)]:null;k&&A.replace(/^\s*/,"")===i[y+1].replace(/^\s*/,"")?g.context=k:g.context=[i[y+1]],h.push(g)}}return h.length?{mode:"multiline",name:e.name,message:i[0],stack:h}:null}function y(e,n,t,r){var i={url:n,line:t};if(i.url&&i.line){e.incomplete=!1,i.func||(i.func=s(i.url,i.line)),i.context||(i.context=a(i.url,i.line));var o=/ '([^']+)' /.exec(r);if(o&&(i.column=d(o[1],i.url,i.line)),e.stack.length>0&&e.stack[0].url===i.url){if(e.stack[0].line===i.line)return!1;if(!e.stack[0].line&&e.stack[0].func===i.func)return e.stack[0].line=i.line,e.stack[0].context=i.context,!1}return e.stack.unshift(i),e.partial=!0,!0}return e.incomplete=!0,!1}function g(e,n){for(var t,r,i,a=/function\s+([_$a-zA-Z\xA0-\uFFFF][_$a-zA-Z0-9\xA0-\uFFFF]*)?\s*\(/i,u=[],c={},f=!1,p=g.caller;p&&!f;p=p.caller)if(p!==v&&p!==o.report){if(r={url:null,func:l,args:[],line:null,column:null},p.name?r.func=p.name:(t=a.exec(p.toString()))&&(r.func=t[1]),"undefined"==typeof r.func)try{r.func=t.input.substring(0,t.input.indexOf("{"))}catch(e){}if(i=h(p)){r.url=i.url,r.line=i.line,r.func===l&&(r.func=s(r.url,r.line));var m=/ '([^']+)' /.exec(e.message||e.description);m&&(r.column=d(m[1],i.url,i.line))}c[""+p]?f=!0:c[""+p]=!0,u.push(r)}n&&u.splice(0,n);var w={mode:"callers",name:e.name,message:e.message,stack:u};return y(w,e.sourceURL||e.fileName,e.line||e.lineNumber,e.message||e.description),w}function v(e,n){var t=null;n=null==n?0:+n;try{if(t=m(e))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}try{if(t=p(e))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}try{if(t=w(e))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}try{if(t=g(e,n+1))return t}catch(e){if(x)throw e}return{mode:"failed"}}function b(e){e=1+(null==e?0:+e);try{throw new Error}catch(n){return v(n,e+1)}}var x=!1,j={};return v.augmentStackTraceWithInitialElement=y,v.guessFunctionName=s,v.gatherContext=a,v.ofCaller=b,v.getSource=t,v}(),o.extendToAsynchronousCallbacks=function(){var e=function(e){var t=n[e];n[e]=function(){var e=a.call(arguments),n=e[0];return"function"==typeof n&&(e[0]=o.wrap(n)),t.apply?t.apply(this,e):t(e[0],e[1])}};e("setTimeout"),e("setInterval")},o.remoteFetching||(o.remoteFetching=!0),o.collectWindowErrors||(o.collectWindowErrors=!0),(!o.linesOfContext||o.linesOfContext<1)&&(o.linesOfContext=11),void 0!==e&&e.exports&&n.module!==e?e.exports=o:"function"==typeof define&&define.amd?define("TraceKit",[],o):n.TraceKit=o}}("undefined"!=typeof window?window:global)},"./webpack-loaders/expose-loader/index.js?require!./shared/require-global.js":function(e,n,t){(function(n){e.exports=n.require=t("./shared/require-global.js")}).call(n,t("../../../lib/node_modules/webpack/buildin/global.js"))}});
Hey Xylvia, The website builders that we suggested above aren't built specifically to stream videos for a price (sort of like Netflix). However, that's not to say it's not possible with a few simple workarounds. What you can do is set up a membership access only area (Wix and Weebly has this feature). You'll have to manually insert a payment button of some sort (such as using PayPal). Once your customer pays you, you can then email them links to pages that are "locked" behind the membership gateway, so they can access the videos. It's a bit manual and not as smooth as multi-billion dollar companies like Netflix, but it will work in concept. Alternatively, take a look at Sentry Login, which is a membership widget that works with Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. With Sentry, I think you can unlock a membership area once your customer pays. So it connects the payment system with the membership access system for you, which streamlines the process so you don't have to manually grant access to pages. Another thing you should consider is how big are the videos you want to upload. While you can upload pretty large movie / video files into the website builders, there are certain reasonable limits. For instance, if you're going to have 1,000 people viewing your HD movie that's 3 GB large all at the same time, that might be problematic. A workaround might be to get your own hosting solution for such large videos, then embed the videos into your membership only pages. It goes without saying that make sure you have distribution rights for the movies! But I'm not a lawyer, so best to consult proper advice in that regards! Jeremy
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.
I wonder why hasn’t W3 schools been updated design wise, etc. Such a popular tool with so little support. I still visit it often, but started getting a bit annoyed. I agree that they’re not a very effective tool for stricly learning, but its a great library in a pinch. For a more immersive learning I’ve been studying from Interactive courses on BitDegree.

Professional Images and Videos: One of the simplest ways to enhance your content is by including rich, relevant images or videos on your website. Depending on your business type, you may already have a large portfolio of beautiful images you wish to display on your site. Alternatively, you can find high quality stock images and videos online. With a wide range of websites that allow you to access and download millions of images for a small fee (typically $1-$10) , the options are endless!
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.

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.
Hi Joe, I'm not entirely sure to be perfectly honest. I'd imagine you would have to have the ability to host the domain name, help your customers connect the domain names to their websites, etc. The website builders mentioned above are probably not equipped for the unique requirements that a domain name registrar need in order to run its business properly. I'd imagine a lot of the functions will be pretty customized. Jeremy
Things to look as you vet hosts for ecommerce include drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software for safeguarding financial transactions, and email marketing plug-ins, so that you don't have to work with an outside vendor to promote your business. There's nothing wrong per se with using an unconnected marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on getting started selling online, you should consider our story on the 6 Factors Companies Need to Consider When Choosing a Web Host.
If you're on a Mac however, there's another option: RapidWeaver. This WYSIWYG webpage editor has full code access and FTP support for uploading pages. There are plenty of built-in templates to get started, all for the one-time price of $99.99. On Windows there are numerous choices. Xara Web Designer 365, for example, starts at $49.99 and promises you don't need to know HTML or Javascript to create sites based on the company's templates.
It’s important your template is responsive, so your site will look the same on all devices. When considering templates, you also need to decide whether you want a static header or slideshow header, and how many pages you’ll need to fit in your menu bar. Stay away from hard-to-read fonts or flashy backgrounds that could distract a consumer from understanding your core message.

There is a lot of information to digest, and because of this, I suggest you read these tutorials over a number of days. To help you, I've separated them into different steps in the following table. Although some of the tutorials are quite short, you may need to spend several days on others. That's fine, in fact, I recommend you take your time so that you really understand each technology.
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.
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.
In general, as far as I know, all commercial web hosts let you install SSL certificates for your site. The price varies, though, from company to company. Some give you a certificate for free. Others will install a free certificate for a one time charge. Some require you to buy a commercial certificate (which has a recurring charge). And there are those that not only require you to buy a certificate, but also impose a monthly fee for using it on your website (on top of the recurring charge for that certificate). A discussion on how to get SSL certificates (including the free ones) can be found in that article mentioned earlier.
I am currently looking at setting up a blog for the area I specialise in. I am aware of wordpress.org but have been a bit daunted by the number of webhosts out there offering this and that. One particular issue is that I use macs and I was wondering whether bluehost is compatible with the mac, and whether there are any other extra steps I have to take when using a mac over windows. Would it be as simple as registering with a webhost then clicking one-step installation on a mac?
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.
You can get started for roughly $10 per month for shared or WordPress hosting if your website doesn't require much server horsepower. As your business expands, however, your website may need greater horsepower. That's when you should look into cloud, VPS and dedicated hosting. These levels of services are for when you really need a web host that offers lots of storage, a significant amount of month data transfers, and numerous email accounts.

As we said in the last step, templates provide a framework. Given how many people use builders to make a website nowadays, odds are there are a few sites out there with the same framework as yours. At the very least you will need to populate a chosen template with content specific to you. And to really stand out, you’ll need to do some customization.

×