Eric has been writing about tech for 28 years. He was on the founding staff of Windows Sources, FamilyPC, and Access Internet Magazine (all defunct, and it's not his fault). He's the author of two novels, BETA TEST ("an unusually lighthearted apocalyptic tale"--Publishers' Weekly) and KALI: THE GHOSTING OF SEPULCHER BAY. He works from his home in Ithaca, New York.
Web hosting is one of the most important decisions that you can make for your new site. If you pick a web hosting plan that is small or does not last, then your site can crash, or even disappear. Therefore, make sure that you choose a web hosting service that is reliable. You can learn about the reliability of a web host by reading reviews or asking around in forums.
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.
GoDaddy Website Builder can act as your hub, the place where your friends and contacts can see your posts, photos, videos and more. With the option to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube on your website, your visitors can be everywhere you are on the web. Being able to cover multiple platforms gives you the opportunity to reach more people, while creating appropriate content for each of your socials (like posting all of your photos on Instagram, and tweeting about your most recent business venture on Twitter). By centrally locating all the links in one place – your new website – you are giving your website visitors a seamless experience. Linking to your social media in your website gives you an advantage in communicating with your visitors; the more they can connect with you and do so in the forum that’s most comfortable to them, the more they’ll engage with your site, and thus you or your business.
You can make a website for free, but there are catches. Free accounts on website builders hold a lot of important features back. You can’t use custom domains, and your free site will have ads for that website builder. If you’re looking to learn more about website building then the free options are worth a look. However, if you want a professional, feature-rich website you’re going to have to pay at least a few dollars a month.
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.
Most of the products here can tell you about your site traffic, though the amount of detail varies greatly among them, and it's often tied to premium account levels. For example, Weebly can not only show you page views and unique visitors for each day of the month, but also search terms used to get to the site, referring sites, and top-visited pages. Wix and uKit, at the other end, have nothing in the way of built-in site stats, instead requiring you to create your own Google Analytics account, and even that requires a paid account. Another drawback of that approach is that you can only see traffic from the preceding day and earlier; it's not up-to-the-minute, or even the hour.