Creating a website is not as complicated as it was before. Today, you don’t have to know much about technology to develop and successfully run your own site. That’s because there are more than few popular content management systems that are designed for the users. So, the first thing you should do is to choose a content management system. Although it depends on the site you want, we would strongly suggest self-hosted WordPress.

Blogs are swell, but sometimes you need a simple place to park your persona on the internet for branding purposes. In this case, you can just get a nameplate site, or as we prefer to think of them, a personal webpage (rather than a multipage site). Instead of linking internally to your store or other pages of note as you would with a more traditional web page, a personal site usually has links that go elsewhere—to your social networks, wish lists, playlists, or whatever else is linkable.


This guide is your training plan. As your trusty web host and coach, we’re here to keep you on track as you build, grow, secure, and promote your new site. We’ve broken this website workout plan into goals and tasks to complete each quarter throughout 2018, but feel free to work at your own pace. You do the sweating, and we’ll be right beside you with water cups and cheese-tastic motivational signs.
Hey Amanda, Yes. Squarespace has partnered up with Google Apps to offer you the ability to create custom email addresses. The interface is the same as Gmail, which we like as it's user-friendly, reliable and secure. If you sign up to annual Business or higher plans, you get a custom email address for free for your first year. After the first year, you will pay about $4 per month for the email address. If you sign up to Squarespace's Personal plan, you won't get a free custom email but you can definitely pay $4 per month for this. In our view it's a pretty reasonable price so you can brand your email and business (or whatever you are building) properly. Looks so much more professional than just using a generic Gmail address. Jeremy
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! 
You want to create modern websites that stand out and offer all the functionality that users have come to expect. Good news—it's never been easier, even for absolute beginners. Using tools like SquareSpace, WordPress, and HTML and CSS, you can build impressive sites that no one would guess were the work of a newbie. This Learning Path gives you all the skills you need the build the sites you envision.
Once you have an overview of your website plan/sitemap, you can drill down to the specifics of the content you need to create for a website launch. It will be important to create evergreen content (content that will not be changing much and will appear on the static pages) and also important to have fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis.
You can sell products and services on your website if you have the Online Store plan. You’ll have an online store that will allow you to add products and services, set up different types of payment methods, and even specific types of shipping. Your store will be integrated into your website as a page. You can add featured products for your visitors to scroll through, make quick purchases using PayPal and Apple Pay and promote your store/products through coupons. You can also use the same type of email marketing that is included in the Business Plus plan to send email communications to your subscribers and customers about sales in your store, coupon offers and events. Establishing a strong online commerce can boost your current sales, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store.

More-advanced options found in some builders let you process credit card payments and add your own cart and checkout pages. The more-powerful site builders include product promotions, email marketing, and inventory and shipping tools. Some let you sell digital downloads, while others don't; see the table above to find out which do. Only a couple of these builders let you put ads on your site, though most of them allow some degree of custom HTML code insertion.

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.

Personally, I find the free Simple theme to be enough for my needs. If you need additional features and even more flexibility, though, Ultra is my top recommendation. Note: Since Simple and Ultra are made by the same people and use the same foundation, you can start out with Simple and transfer everything you’ve created to Ultra if you end up needing it.
The best place to find themes is through WordPress’s own Theme Directory. Search for the types of themes you’d be interested in. If you’re setting up a newspaper search ‘newspaper’, if you need a site for your café search ‘cafe’. There’ll be dozens, if not hundreds, of contenders. Clicking on a theme takes you to its own page where you can see user reviews and preview the theme in action.
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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.
Schools are starting to realize that a code curriculum should be real-world focused. That means students come away with both conceptual, and practical coding skills. Unfortunately, many courses/solutions offered today only offer conceptual learning. … There are no jobs in block based coding, or in using code snippets to move a character around a screen. …
Hello Jeremy and Connie, I really have to first say, Thank You for all of your time and energy that you put into providing us, with informative and helpful education! I am starting an online business in women's clothing, So I am extremely into design. Shopify seems to be a strong interest for me but, I do not know too much about codes. So does Shopify have alot of codes? and do you think this would be too much of a challenge for a beginner of codes?
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
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
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.

Choosing a website builder may seem like an easy step, but when you begin your search you will be met with a long list of potential builders. And whilst many seem to offer a similar result, the builder you select should depend on your business type and the features you want on your site (you see- there’s a reason we made you plan in stage #1!). Additionally, you will want to consider the price, ease of use, compatibility and a multitude of other factors before deciding, which you can read more about in our website builder reviews .


For example, if you’re creating a site for a restaurant, you might have a Home page, a Menu page, a Reservation page and an Access page. If you’re creating a fan site for your favorite soccer team you might have a Home page, a Players page, a Results page and a Blog page. If you take a look at your current site, you should see two pages already in the menu bar – Home and Sample Page.

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!
Newsletters remain one of the best ways to connect with your customers, so create one and make it the center of your email marketing strategy. Use it as a way to showcase your voice and your brand, to share news and upcoming event for your business, and to introduce new products (but don’t be too pushy). Send it out regularly, loaded with fresh content, and then solicit feedback.

If you study my current site, you’ll see that most of my main sections link out to other places on the web – my YouTube channel, my podcasts, the speaking page here on College Info Geek, etc. This is a strategic decision – as a professional YouTuber/writer, those are the best places for me to be directing people, since I benefit from people subscribing to my content rather than evaluating it.

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.


Now that it’s finally built, it’s equally as important to maintain your site. During the planning stage of this process, you already determined whether or not you would keep the maintenance in-house or outsource to a third party (like your web designer). If you decided you needed full control, the designer would’ve designed a site driven by a CMS to give you the ability to edit content areas of your site as well as add new pages.
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.
These programs limit the control you have over your website, but are great if you want to have a beautifully designed website in a very short amount of time. Because your site is based on a pre-designed template, difficult decisions about placement of text and graphics are already made for you. If you’re interested in an easy-to-use site builder, check out GoDaddy’s Website Builder.
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.

Hi TomN, Thanks for reading and joining the discussion. What you are looking to build is beyond the scope of our discussions here. It is possible but you'll either need to be very proficient with coding or have a healthy budget to hire a capable developer to assist you with your efforts. The reason is that the project you have seems like a very customized project. -Jeremy


Schools are starting to realize that a code curriculum should be real-world focused. That means students come away with both conceptual, and practical coding skills. Unfortunately, many courses/solutions offered today only offer conceptual learning. … There are no jobs in block based coding, or in using code snippets to move a character around a screen. …
Hi Kahil, I think it will be challenging to find a free website builder that will allow you to connect your own domain name to the website. All of the good website builders I know of, such as Wix or Weebly, even though they allow you to build websites for free, they do require you to upgrade to at least their lowest plan before you can connect your own domain to the website. I suppose this is just a trade off - they can brand their names on your free website, in return for allowing you to build a website for free. If you want the ability for each customer to log in to view his/her own specific / individual pricing, it's not a feature that most website builders have. Builders such as Wix and Weebly has membership functions, but they just protect pages behind a membership gateway, where all members can access the same pages. So you can't set pages up that each member has his/her own unique pages, if you know what I mean. If you want that function, I think you'll have to use a more powerful membership software. Perhaps WordPress has a plugin for that, but I'm not familiar with one. Jeremy
Seeing page layouts with real content and photos, along with your logo and colors will really bring your vision of the site to life. Use this time to make necessary changes! If you’re working with experienced designers, they will provide mock-ups or prototypes in several developmental stages for feedback. Making changes is costly and more difficult to implement later, so use this time judiciously.

If you’re just selling one or two products, Weebly has the capability to handle this. However, if the primary purpose of your website is to sell products, you may want to choose a website builder that specializes in creating an online store. Volusion is an all-in-one ecommerce software that helps you to create and manage your online store, sell your products, and market your business. It’s pricing is comparable to Weebly’s ecommerce plan at $15 per month and you can try it out for free for 14 days, no credit card required.
You've got the site, now you need some visitors. How are they going to find you? Search engines, naturally — and where your site ranks can have a huge impact on your business. GoCentral Website Builder helps improve your rank on Google, Yahoo and Bing by automatically reviewing your site and adding relevant, high-value keywords and phrases. And a higher rank means more visitors.
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
1) A website isn’t static; it’s dynamic. It’s ever-changing. The moment you accomplish something, you can add it to your website. When you complete a project, you can put it in your portfolio for all to see. You don’t need to print new copies of it and send it out to your contacts over and over; you just update it. People can continually come back and see what you’re up to.
More-advanced options found in some builders let you process credit card payments and add your own cart and checkout pages. The more-powerful site builders include product promotions, email marketing, and inventory and shipping tools. Some let you sell digital downloads, while others don't; see the table above to find out which do. Only a couple of these builders let you put ads on your site, though most of them allow some degree of custom HTML code insertion.
If the .COM version of your business name is available, consider using this for your website. Otherwise, try different phrases before settling for an alternate suffix, like .NET or .INFO. Consumers overwhelmingly use .COM when entering a web address. So even if you promote your .NET website, you could lose customers who typed in the .COM version instead.
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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.
What about if you build a website for someone and they want to be able to update the content themselves without needing to read any code? Most people have very little technical knowledge and just want to be able to upload new pictures and change text by typing into a word processor. This is where the CMS comes in. The most used software on the internet is Wordpress. You’ve probably heard of it; it’s blogging software that has evolved to include some CMS functionality. Along with other offerings like Wix and Weebly, it’s mostly used by people without a technical background as a quick DIY website solution. Themes can easily be bought and installed which provide an instant website and certain content can be updated by an admin area.
In December 2009 I was exactly like you. I had no idea. I used the computer to write emails and read the news - I had no idea how to create a website. I remember the feeling of information overload. All the new words, all the advice, all the tips, all the software, all the forums, blogs, websites, books. Like sitting down in the cockpit of a 747 jumbo jet and asked to fly.
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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.
Hi Mike, Interactive map building is something I have very little experience with - I haven't ventured much beyond embedding google maps in iframes such as yourself. I would suggest browsing the app market and 3rd party plugins available on builders like Wix and Weebly, who both offer a huge amount of additional features. It would surprise me if there wasn't a plugin that could help get you on your way. Similarly, you can also find membership area functionality through these app markets. I believe Wix also offers the ability to add member areas and logins though its editor too. Hope that points you in the right direction, - Tom
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