Hi Paul, I totally feel your pain here! It can be so hard to know where to start. You might find our website builder comparison chart a good place to start, or you can take our short quiz for a personal recommendation. The comments under our articles should also hopefully prove helpful. Other than that, we often find Reddit a good place to engage with a lot of like-minded people, so I'd suggest taking a look there. Thanks, Hannah
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 Gator, 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 Gator, Simvoly, Ucraft, and uKit offer no photo editing at all, aside from resizing and positioning.
WordPress started off as a blogging platform but has evolved to be a great platform for business websites too. As such, you have a way to specify what shows up as the home page for your WordPress site. If you have a blog, you’d want your visitors to see a list of your blog posts. If you have a business website, you’d want your visitors to see a home page (static page).
When building your site, you’ll want to organize your files into folders according to the structure you want your site to appear in. For example, you might create a folder for your About page that has your main about.html file as well as any related CSS that adds style to your site and other HTML files that support that content. When adding links throughout your site to your site’s pages, you will reference their folder location in the directory where you store your files.
One downside of most of these services is that, should you someday want to move to another web host, you'll likely be out of luck because of the custom code they use to display your site. Only a few of the services here let you take your site to another web hosting service: The most complete example of this is Weebly, which lets you download the standard site server folders. Squarespace offers some transferability by letting you output your site in standard WordPress format. As you might expect, the same transferability holds for WordPress.com.
If you prefer a more traditional URL, you'll need to purchase one from the likes of GoDaddy or Namecheap. Domain name pricing can range from extremely cheap to extremely expensive, depending on whether or not domain squatters are looking to flip a valuable piece of online real estate. You'll want to get something short but evocative and catchy, and depending on what you do, you may find that many of your first choices are taken by either other legit domains, or by squatters who've scooped up the names as an investment. For more, please read How to Register a Domain Name.
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.
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 make a responsive website that is mobile and desktop friendly. With Website Builder you’ll be able to choose tablet and desktop layouts to give your visitors the experience you want them to have.
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Identify the features you want on your site: If you’re a photographer, you’ll need a photo gallery to showcase your portfolio. If you’re a retailer, you’ll want a website with a storefront. If you want to build authority in your niche, you need a website with a blog section. Write down what you want your website to do, then research the most suitable website-building platform.
You may expect a 404 page to pop up from time to time on new websites, but with patience and determination, you can build a fully functional, beautiful, and highly converting site from scratch. The main takeaway here is always to test your website before launch and remember that refreshing and revamping your website is a task you will have to perform regularly from now on if you want your business to grow. How To Make a WordPress Website - For Beginners