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.
Do you want to include a blog? This will be helpful for search engine optimization (SEO) — more on that in a minute — encourage engagement and community, and establish you as an expert. If the blog is the cornerstone of your site, take some time to outline (or, for overachievers, write) your first few posts and plan some topics you might write about over the next year.
Top article Jeremy ! I own a cosmetics company, pre start up and I am looking at a web presence. I want to keep costs down but quality very high due to the nature of my business, lipbalm. Can I run my own video ad on a homepage of any of the drag and drop site s? I will be creating one for initial social media marketing campaigns) I want it to start playing as soon as someone lands on the homepage. And are they mobile / cell friendly ? Thanks Paul
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.
For most users, free themes are the best place to start. When you install a new theme, it doesn’t change the content on your site, only the layout. This means you can download and install a number of different themes to see which theme suits you best. If you feel like you need something more advanced than a free theme, you can always install a paid theme at a later date.
Creating a website is like making a coffee now. With the help of awesome online website building sites like wix, it is very convenient to just drag and drop elements...and create a basic site within hours. For a bloggers, wordpress is the best option, but they have to learn a bit about wordpress first. After creating website, especially a blogging one, there are some necessaries like a good hosting like godaddy.com, social share plugin (I recommend social share plugins by social9.com), cdn service for protection against attracts (cloudflare.com).
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
Absolutely. You have the option to customize your website based on your business needs. You can add site content wherever you’d like in a variety of sections; from multiple site pages, to scrollable sections that you can add to each of those pages, to a gallery of images, menus and price lists, and YouTube or Vimeo videos. Each section in your website is customizable as well, from the name of the page, to your website’s navigation bar. You’ll also have the ability to change text colors, styles and font. It’s important to have a mobile and desktop-friendly website. With Website Builder you’ll be able to choose tablet and desktop layouts to give your visitors the experience you want them to have.
Of course, another great way to learn web development is to simply look at code. If you’re using Google Chrome, you can hit CTRL+U (or if you’re on a Mac, just go to View -> Developer -> Source) to see the HTML for the page you’re on. You can also use the Web Developer extension to dig in even deeper. This method won’t work for viewing server-side code like PHP, but it’s great for digging into HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

What separates mankind from all other beasts is our ability and desire to create new things. We can take bits and pieces of information and reshape it to create something new. Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Mozart and you were all created equal - all born from the same star dust. The greatness comes from taking the information given and rearranging it in a unique way - to create a vision nobody had seen before.

Hi Jeremy, This is the most informative article on web design that I have come across. And I have read quite a number! I had a question though. I don't know anything about html/css or any code for web design, and I need to include a searchable database in a website I'm to create. Any ideas/tips on doing this on a WYSIWYG website builder? Thank you very much
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.

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
Hey Theo, Generally speaking, Weebly is a solid website building platform. You don't need how to code, their probably one of the most user-friendly web builders, and their support is good. Best way to decide is to sign up for a free account and start testing their tools. You're not obligated to subscribe to a premium paid plan at all. You can upgrade whenever you want to, and only if you find them being to provide the tools and services that you need. Jeremy
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.
A good SEO strategy will organically move you to the top of the search results. With Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, you’ll take matters more into your own hands by paying to land atop the searches. The best part? You only have to pay for premium placement if someone clicks on your link. You choose the keywords you want to bring up your ad, and you can set and limit your own budget.

Tons of selection and information about different solutions. If you have a very specific question or problem, free resources are great. This is because there are a lot of people writing about very specific problems that are just too specific to cover in a paid course. So when we have a unique problem that a typical guide can’t answer, we usually search for tips and answers in forums and free resources.

I am using wix for building my e-commerce site in India, but after spending so much time building it i realized that it doesn't support Indian Rupee. So i am just stuck at this and don't know what else to do. My question is that, is there any other payment option that can be added to my site so that my customers can choose different payment options ( even if that means a third party payment gateway).??


Hi Jeremy, This is the most informative article on web design that I have come across. And I have read quite a number! I had a question though. I don't know anything about html/css or any code for web design, and I need to include a searchable database in a website I'm to create. Any ideas/tips on doing this on a WYSIWYG website builder? Thank you very much
In summary, learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript/jQuery and Python/web2py. This will help you create your full-featured website as easily as possible and as quickly as possible without much fuss. And it’ll be lots of fun, too, because web2py is a wonderful framework that comes with everything you need right out of the box! Batteries are included. One-stop shopping for web development!
This layer is like the sewage system or the electric line or the phone line that is coming into the house. They do not have any visual aspect but they connect with data. Like for instance in case of Twitter, the username, tweets, etc are all stored in a database, and the front-end layer gets that data from the backend layer. The above languages can be used to build the backend layer.
Above all, make sure your domain’s spelling is very easy to get correct for someone just sounding it out. This way, you’ll be able to mention your domain easily in casual conversation, and the person you’re talking to will be able to find it without worrying about the spelling. This tip really applies to everything – for instance, it’s a lot easier to tell people my Twitter handle, @TomFrankly, than it is to tell them the username I used to use for everything in middle school, electrick_eye. The goal is to make it easy for people to find you.
When your website is ready for public viewing, you'll have to upload your webpages to your web server. You can buy space on a server from various providers (see How much does it cost to do something on the web?). Once you settle on which provider to use, the provider will email you the access information, usually in the form of an SFTP URL, username, password, and other information needed to connect to their server. Bear in mind that (S)FTP is now somewhat old-fashioned, and other uploading systems are starting to become popular, such as RSync and Git/GitHub.

I own a small business and am looking to redesign our website. Thanks for all your comparisons of the website builders! I currently use Mailchimp to send out weekly emails to my customers. Do you know if any of these website builder sites allow you to create an email list? Then use a template to create an email (like Mailchimp) and send it out to all your subscribers. Ideally there would be a tab on your website people can click on to enter their email address…..They would then get your emails. Thanks for any feedback :)
Let's face it, one of the things we like best about the web is looking at pictures. The site builders here all offer some degree of photo and gallery display. Some, like Squarespace and Wix, also offer loads of stock photography for you to use. Some let you touch up images with editing tools such as cropping, brightness, and in some cases even Instagram-like filters. Others, such as Simvoly and uKit offer no photo editing at all, aside from resizing and positioning.
If you created your website with a Builder, you will also need to assess and upgrade your account to a premium version in order to connect your custom domain name and remove the Builder’s own advertising from your website. Whilst your site can go live with a free account, both the URLs and the pages of your site will contain branding and advertising of the website builder it was built on, offering a less professional look. For a typical fee of $8-$15 per month, you can enjoy custom URLs, no website builder advertising, hosting and additional features that will enhance the look and feel of your site.

List of Required Features: Think about what your site needs to do in order to achieve its purpose. For example, if the site needs to display your portfolio, then it must have a good quality photo gallery; if you want to collect leads, you need to have a form and a “thank you” page; selling products? You will need a shopping cart and secured checkout page and so on… You will most likely list a number of required features for your site.
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
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.
I’m pretty new to the whole web development/design aspect of things. I’ve tinkered before with free things but more specifically with forum design. I’m very interested in building a website but aside from having a main traditional website feel I’m looking to incorporate a forum to it. Would it be possible to do this with this WordPress/BlueHost tutorial here? Or would there be something you recommend for that sort of thing?
Back-end Development : It refers to the server side of development where you are primarily focused with how the site works. Back-end development usually consists of three parts : a server, an application, and a database. Languages such as Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python, .Net etc are mostly used in back-end development. These languages are used to create dynamic sites in which there is a communication between database and content on the website. Unlike static websites, content on a dynamic website will be changing and updating constantly. MySQL and MongoDB are commonly used database.
WordPress (either version) is a blog-focused content management system that accepts plug-ins and themes that extend its capabilities to most of what the other products here offer, including commerce. In fact, WordPress.com uses plug-ins such as JetPack to provide many of its features. As a whole, WordPress (either .com or .org) is not as easy to use as the other options in this roundup, but if blogging and site transferability are of key importance and you don't mind digging into its weeds a bit, you should consider the platform. Furthermore, the ability to use WordPress is a valuable skill, as some estimates say that WordPress powers 30 percent of the internet.
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.
After all the work you put into it, I feel not a little stupid, in needing to ask you anything else. The truth is I am a slightly long in the tooth septuagenarian with about as much nous as someone dropping in on a day trip from the fourteenth century. I want to promote (tell as many people as possible) about my new book, and hopefully sell one or two.

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


Because today, after 4years and half of development, well, I can code in C/C++ (advanced programs), .NET (WPF, UWP, Xamarin), Java (Softwares, Android), Go (API, WS) but I never did any website or webapp, so I would like to get into it. I feel like today it’s an important part so why not. But yeah, I feel like WordPress is high-level and I’m more a low-level dev, so what would be the best way to start or just the best approach overall?
For those who don't have Windows 10 but need Microsoft Edge, and those who run a Mac (and thus do not have either Edge or Internet Explorer), all is not lost. You can use a piece of software called a virtual machine, which mimics a completely separate computer running within your real computer. Information about this can be found in the article How to Check Your Website with Multiple Browsers on a Single Machine (Cross-Browser Compatibility Checking).
Mobile friendly and responsive design means that you don’t need to know how to code — this could even be your first time working with a domain — and setting up your new site requires only a few steps. GoCentral Website Builder is designed to generate style choices that you can quickly review and chose without diving into your site’s settings. This will give your visitor an enjoyable experience that feels natural from either a desktop or mobile device.
List of Required Features: Think about what your site needs to do in order to achieve its purpose. For example, if the site needs to display your portfolio, then it must have a good quality photo gallery; if you want to collect leads, you need to have a form and a “thank you” page; selling products? You will need a shopping cart and secured checkout page and so on… You will most likely list a number of required features for your site.
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?
×