A domain name is the bit of the URL (the site address in your browser’s search bar) that identifies a web page — in this case your website. For example, ours is websitebuilderexpert.com. You can register them separately at sites like GoDaddy and Domain.com, but website builders offer to do it for you when you sign up with them. Most provide it for free (at least initially), while a handful charge a few extra bucks.
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.
Top tip! Don’t just test your website yourself. You will be blind to some of its faults. Plus, you know how your site is supposed to work, so while you might find navigating it easy that’s not to say a stranger will. Get a fresh perspective. Ask family members and friends to test your site and give feedback. If they’re anything like our family and friends they won’t be afraid of offering criticism.
If you don't have a design already in place and think templates are too limited, consider Adobe Muse CC. This unique little program concentrates on letting you design. Templates are handy, embeddable web fonts are great, and the sitemap view may be the best way to get an overall feel for what your site will have. Export it to HTML and you're ready for upload. It's part of the Creative Cloud bundle and also available individually for $14.99 a month with a yearly plan.
By creating a website, you are creating an online presence. This allows you to connect with people that you might not otherwise be able to reach. Whether you’re making a basic website with contact information for your small business or medical practice, creating a landing page for your freelance work, a multi-page experience for your wedding photography business or you just want a place to blog about your thoughts on food, having a website will give you a dynamic advantage.
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.
Website builders let you build online stores with ease. For larger ecommerce ambitions, we recommend an ecommerce-specific platform like Shopify or BigCommerce which have the best tools to help your business grow. If you’re just looking to sell a few products, you can choose a ‘generic’ website like Wix which has ecommerce functionality. Take a look at our online store builder comparison chart to find your perfect match.
Of all the different ways to help build your website, Wix, Weebly, and WordPress are the most popular. While Wix and Weebly are DIY website builders, WordPress is the most popular and open-source CMS (Content Management System) which eventually evolved into a full-fledged Website platform letting you build absolutely any kind of a website, portal or e-commerce site you’d like.
Whichever website builder you’ve chosen, you’ll have an extensive selection of design templates to choose from. Generally speaking, the better your plan, the more templates you’ll have access to. The top builders provide hundreds of templates across dozens of categories. Whatever the focus of your site is, there will be a template for it. For example, if you’re thinking of starting a fitness website, most builders will let you filter your template search accordingly.
GoDaddy InSight is a technology system that provides tailored recommendations gleaned from insights across more than a million GoDaddy customers in different locations and industries. InSight is designed to help you improve your online presence by providing you with performance metrics and advice on how to improve them. GoDaddy InSight powers a central dashboard where you’ll find your:
At this point, you’ll have created a content-filled, visually appealing and functional site. Publishing in WordPress happens on a page or post level, so you’ll need to click “Publish” for each area of your site. You can wait until your website is completely ready to launch to publish your content or publish as you create individual pages and posts.
WordPress.org is the CMS version we’ve referred to throughout this article, and WordPress.com is the WordPress version of a website builder. WordPress.org is more complex to set up, but offers greater scope for customization. WordPress.com is simple to set up, but limited – we’d recommend it for blogs, but not much beyond that. We’ve written a whole article on the difference between the two, so definitely go check that out.
At this point, things get a bit complicated, but with attention and patience, you can achieve your goals. Most website builders feature hundreds of templates across tens of categories. The rule of thumb here is to pick one that is relevant for your business and scalable to allow your business to develop. One of the most significant advantages of website builders is that they offer easy drag-and-drop customizations for any template you pick. It means you have the freedom to build a personal portfolio, an online fashion store, an online magazine/blogging site, a travel website, and more.
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WordPress is easy to setup, install, run, and manage. There are numerous themes, plugins, and other products built for WordPress, and You have no shortage for help (which you’ll often need) from tons of “learn all about it yourself” self-help content on the WordPress official site, communities, blogs, and more. It would take weeks to build websites like these from scratch without all these convenient extras mentioned above.
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.
As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand (if you're a novice, The Best Courses for Learning How to Build Websites is an excellent starting point). You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.
Test the customer service team: You will need post-purchase support at one point or another, so you want a hosting provider with a knowledgeable customer service team that’s available 24/7 via different channels, including phone, email, and chat. Contact customer service at different times of the day, and evaluate the quality of their responses to very specific questions, such as “How do I set up my business email?”
There are thousands of templates to choose from in WordPress’ 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.
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.
Yahoo's Tumblr is another incredibly popular blog platform that lends itself to shorter, more visual posts. You can, however, find themes that give your Tumblr site a more traditional website's look and feel. Google's Blogger features tight integration with Google Adsense, so making extra pocket change is a snap. Newer blogging services, such as Anchor, Feather, and Medium, stress writing and publishing more than intricate design, but they're incredibly simple to update.
Sure, there are more advanced hosting topics to consider, such as Domain Name Servers and multi-cloud connectivity, but this guide is meant to introduce you to the basics. Whether you decide to do build a website yourself or hire coding experts to do the dirty work is up to you. But for now, rest easy knowing you have the information to get started in taking your business online.
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.
Hi Osi, Thanks for your comment! That's great you want to create a website to reach your readers - WordPress is certainly the most powerful platform, and is perfect if you want a totally customizable website. However, it's important to know that it also comes with more ongoing maintenance and can be a bit technical depending on how you approach it. So if you have time and technical confidence, then yes it would be a perfect choice! If you want something super quick and easy though, then you're better off with a website builder. If you want some alternatives to explore, I can also recommend Wix, which offers tons of creative freedom along with template designs specifically designed for writers like you! We have a Wix vs WordPress comparison if you want to see them compared side-by-side. Another alternative is Weebly, which has great SEO tools to help your website get found in Google. Here's our Weebly Review if you want to learn more! I hope this helps, and best of luck with your website! Lucy