Hello Amanda, I'd suggest you take a look at Squarespace. With Squarespace, you can create blogs, sell services, upload images / videos, sell digital products (ebooks). They also allow you to export most of your content into WordPress (a very powerful and popular website builder) later if you want that option. The benefit of using Squarespace now is that you can build a website without knowing how to edit codes. You can literally have your site up in quite a short period of time. With WordPress, it's much more advanced and technical so it's not as user-friendly compared to Squarespace. You can see our comparison between them here. So Squarespace is much easier to get setup and will give you what you need. Once you're established and want a much more advanced platform down the road, WordPress is worth considering. Jeremy
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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.
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*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.
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.
It is beyond the scope of this website to go into the details of HTML. Fortunately the internet is full of tutorials, articles and how-to's. The website that helped me the most was W3 Schools because it has good tutorials from beginners to expert levels. Do a few tutorials and in no time you will be writing your own HTML web pages with images, tables and italic emphasis.
WordPress is not an all-in-one package. It’s a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows you to create and organize digital content. Other elements like hosting and domain registration are best done separately. It’s up to you to bring these together in service of a WordPress site. This isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think, but it’s not the easiest way to make a website. We wouldn’t recommend it to people uncomfortable with technology.
A Blog. WordPress is set up for blogging by default, but you’re going to set your homepage as a static About Me page. Therefore, you’ll need to set up your blog manually, which is still really easy. You can also choose to leave the blog out if you want, but I think having one is a great way to show off your knowledge and thoughts. Here’s how I’ve implemented a blog on my personal site.

There are a number of free and commercial web editors available. If you use Windows, one of the best around is Microsoft Expression Web. This was a formerly commercial program that Microsoft now distributes for free, presumably because they no longer want to be in the web editor business. It is fully-featured and very polished (as befits software that was once sold in shops) with facilities that both new and experienced webmasters find useful. You can find a guide on how to use this program from my Expression Web Tutorial. The latter takes you through the process of designing a fully functional multi-page website that is mobile-friendly (that is, your site will work well on both desktop/laptop computers and the smaller screens of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets). Instructions on how to get the editor can also be found in that tutorial.


When things start to become more complex and you start needing to store user information, collect form input, automatically send emails etc. you’re going to need to learn a server-side language. PHP is the most common and has been around a long time. Others include Python, Perl, Java and Ruby to name a few. You can now also choose to use JavaScript as a server side language with Node.js. You will also need to learn how to write SQL commands to interact directly with a database. (Some types of databases don’t use SQL but the most common ones do.)
Learn fast - its not made from old outdated teaching methods where you learn everything up front and then start building. No that's boring, frustrating, overwhelming and just plain unecessary. In this course you're going to start building your first site from the beginning. The result, you'll stay engaged and enjoy the interactive nature of this new type of learning.
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
Hello Vivy, If you are a beginner and don't want to climb a steep curve to learn the technicalities of managing a hosting company, then consider taking a look at drag & drop website builders. These website builders manage all the hosting and technical aspects of operating a website for you. And, their platform allow you to drag and drop your content when making your pages so you don't have to know how to code. I'd suggest testing out Wix and Weebly to start. Both are code free and have free plans for you to test. They don't have a time limit on their free plans so don't worry about upgrading until you are satisfied with them. But if you really want to use a hosting company (for instance, you want to use WordPress.org), then someone like Bluehost is pretty good, in general. Thanks, Jeremy
The major player in the blog game is WordPress, a content management system (CMS) that powers millions of websites, including The New York Times, Quartz, and Variety. WordPress-powered sites are incredibly easy to set up, customize, and update—ideally on a daily basis. You aren't required to learn fancy-schmancy FTP tricks (though you can certainly use them if you like), and there are ridiculous numbers of free and paid WordPress themes and WordPress plug-ins to give your website a pretty face and vastly expanded functionality. Though WordPress dominates the blogging space, it isn't the only blogging CMS of note, however.

Next, you’ll see a section for Hosting Add-ons. Honestly, I don’t think you need any of these, with the exception of an SSL certificate – which is automatically included for free. This will enable your site to have that little “Secure” lock icon, which you can probably see up in the address bar for this site. Having that there makes your site more trustworthy to visitors.
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.
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.
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
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
I personally don’t think site builders will ever replace web designers/developers completely. Most site builders are targeted at small businesses and could never meet the demands required for larger businesses with all their complex requirements. I think Shopify plus is the only product trying to take on the larger CMS platforms right now (e.g. Magenta, Demandware) in the eCommerce space
But testing gets complicated because some browsers only run on certain operating systems. Apple Safari runs on iOS and Mac OS, while Internet Explorer runs only on Windows. It's best to take advantage of services like Browsershots or Browserstack. Browsershots furnishes screenshots of your website as it will look in various browsers. Browserstack actually gives you full remote access to virtual machines so you can test your site in the most common environments. Alternatively, you can set up your own virtual machine, but that takes some expertise. (If you're going that route, Microsoft has some tools for developers including a ready-to-use virtual machine at modern.ie.) how to build a website
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