Caution: In my opinion, WordPress is not something I will suggest for people with no or limited technology skills, or for those who have never owned a website before. Why? Because WordPress has a much steeper learning curve and setup costs than fully managed website builders like Wix, Squarespace or Weebly. WordPress also doesn’t offer you a dedicated support team so you’ll need to troubleshoot issues yourself (or hire someone).
For those who don't have Windows 10 but need Microsoft Edge, and those who run a Mac (and thus do not have either Edge or Internet Explorer), all is not lost. You can use a piece of software called a virtual machine, which mimics a completely separate computer running within your real computer. Information about this can be found in the article How to Check Your Website with Multiple Browsers on a Single Machine (Cross-Browser Compatibility Checking).
Why wasn’t 1and1’s in there? the were rated 31 by SMB trust & Consumer Reports. I love mine. The have loads of templates, & comes with literally everything. SSL Cert, 200 emails, SEO tool, Newsletter tool,Numerous payment and delivery methods, Site Analytics, mobile optimized all for less than $15 a month. 3 other things I love are they the have 24/7 US hosted Tech support, they don’t post any ads on my site and the don’t take a penny when i sell items!!
If you want to create a site for free without getting hobbled by a lack of features, give Jimdo a try. All of its plans offer everything you need to create a professional-looking HTML5-powered website, including templates, photo galleries, Google Maps integration, plenty of storage and unlimited bandwidth, and it's easy to put everything together. Step up to one of its paid services from $5/month and you'll get your own domain, an online store, SEO, widgets and stats.
Ready to race right off the starting block into building your website? We love the enthusiasm. But before even reaching the starting line, you need to get in some warm-ups and conditioning to establish a solid foundation. Every good website begins with a thoughtful plan. Open a fresh new digital doc (or grab a pen and paper if you’d prefer to go old school) and complete the following exercises.
Web hosting is like paying rent for your website's virtual storefront, including the pages, images, documents, and other resources needed to display that site. Web hosting uses a web server, which is where you put those website resources so others can access them through the Web. You can build a fully functional website on your personal computer, but if you want other people to be able to see it, you will need to use a web host.
Eric narrowly averted a career in food service when he began in tech publishing at Ziff-Davis over 25 years ago. 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) an... See Full Bio

After you have chosen the winning design, you will need to find someone to code the design for your website. 99designs has coding partners that will be able to do this for you and who have experience working with templates from 99designs. Typically the cost to code 1 responsive page (a page that also works on mobile) is $300, and each inner page (all pages other than the homepage) costs around $150.


Hello Danny, I definitely agree with your thoughts on Weebly, it really is a very easy-to-use platform if you're new to website building. Weebly have made a great effort to ensure the platform (and especially their editor) are as user friendly as possible, which really does make it easier to build a great-looking site without any technical skills! If you feel like your technical skills are up to the challenge then WordPress is definitely worth trying out. Give it a test and see how you get on. Thanks for reading, - Tom

Use 99Designs.com: 99Designs.com runs contests where multiple designers compete for your logo and other design business. This is a great option because you get to see many different professional and creative designs (It’s how we found our logo at Fit Small Business!), yet only pay for the one you wind up choosing. The price on 99designs ranges from $299 to $799 depending on how many designers you want competing and the quality of those designers.


If you need a lot of design help and guidance. Wix offers pre-populated template designs so you can easily swap in your own business images and content without having to design your own layouts. If you want Wix to build a website for you, you can use Wix ADI. It is an artificial intelligence design software that asks you what you like and takes your ideas and build a custom website design for you.
Weebly is not the best website builder. Yes, it’s convenient and has intuitive interface but their web templates aren’t good. Compare them with free templates from Wix or with paid ones from Squarespace – they are really worthy and beautiful web templates. Weebly doesn’t have such. I think that many believe that Weebly is the best website builder because everybody talk about it and not just because it’s the best. It’s like about IKEA furniture – many like it but I wouldn’t say that it’s the best. You could better try to work with another platform.
I am in the process of rejuvenating my current website. I have someone out of house running it remotely, but want to switch to run it in house myself. I’ve decided to run it via Wix.com, simply because I found it easier to use. However, in some of their more premium (and expensive) packages, they offer x amount of email campaigns with the more expensive packages.. I already have four email accounts set up via the pre-existing website and don’t want these to become void.. I own the pre existing domain already (and want to keep it, which is possible via Wix). Will my pre existing email accounts remain viable even if I switch to a new website company? Can you give me some clarity on the repercussions of switching to Wix.com (I am planning to pay the minimum which allows me get rid of any Wix adverts) will have on my pre existing site in reference to the email accounts already set up.

These programs use a dashboard to control the look of your website through themes, as well as to update content and add pages. These are popular because, without knowing much HTML code, you can create professional-looking sites with a lot of functionality. For example, you can add your Twitter feed or a calendar to your website with a few clicks of your mouse.


Although there are many considerations in web design, as a beginner, your first step is to actually get something out onto the web. The fine-tuning can come after you've figured out how to publish a basic web page. One way is to use a WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") web editor to do it. Such editors allow you to design your site visually, without having to deal with the technical details. They work just like a normal wordprocessor.
As the name suggests, Strikingly is an HTML5 website builder you can use to create beautiful websites and designs. Its templates are not only eye-catching but are also completely responsive and compatible with major mobile platforms. They are also visibly optimised for search engines with extremely quick load times. Strikingly also offers in-depth analytics for every site you build with it.
Hello Richard, Thanks for your comment and for your support! WooCommerce is a solid ecommerce tool (they were purchased by WordPress last year, I believe). They're flexible and you can bolt on a lot of different tools, but the downside for a "typical" business person is that to use WooCommerce (and WordPress) well, they'll need to invest more time into learning and managing the tools, or hire someone knowledgeable for help. A lot of new small businesses just don't have the mental bandwidth and time to learn the in's and out's of operating a WordPress site efficiently and effectively. The article you mentioned focuses more on hosted ecommerce builders, versus platform where you need to get your own hosting services (and there more technically and administratively challenging for users). We did highlight WooCommerce briefly in this guide where we dig into the differences between hosted and non-hosted ecommerce platforms. Jeremy
GoDaddy is a relative newcomer to the website builder market, although they have been selling domain names and web hosting for a while now.  The template options are pretty poor and the website builder is difficult to figure out, and even when you do it’s not easy to customize your site.  Overall this feels like GoDaddy just wanted to get a website builder product to market and didn’t really put in the time necessary to make it good.
As the name suggests, Strikingly is an HTML5 website builder you can use to create beautiful websites and designs. Its templates are not only eye-catching but are also completely responsive and compatible with major mobile platforms. They are also visibly optimised for search engines with extremely quick load times. Strikingly also offers in-depth analytics for every site you build with it.
When it's time to go beyond the blogs, beyond the online resumes, beyond the page of links, which service do you turn to for a full-blown site that gives you the flexibility to build nearly anything you desire? There's no lack of them, but three of our favorites are DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, well-rounded services that feature numerous hosting types and tiers.
Stop whatever you're doing and ask yourself this simple question: "Do I need a website?" If your response was anything other than "yes," you need to think again. It doesn't matter if you're the head of a multinational corporation who employs thousands of people or a local mom-and-pop shop from around the way, you need a website to help potential customers find you online. If you have a business, failure to establish an online home is a failure to grow.
Thanks so much for this awesome article :) I had literally no experience in building a website when I started using Weebly and I was surprised at how easy it was to make! I'm interested in looking into other platforms now that I'm up and running, particularly Wordpress? But I'll probably be sticking with Weebly for a long time until I'm ready, it really was super easy to use. Thanks again :)
Hello, I used BigCommerce to build the website, tenbrookeleanne.com, for my girlfriend's brick and mortar boutique. I do not know any code and before making this website, I knew nothing about ecommerce. The customer service for BigCommerce is awesome! Even though they are a WYSIWYG drag and drop site builder, they helped me customize my website by editing the code for me. They changed the background for my chosen (free) template and added an instagram social button even though it wasn't in the template. When making the website I had a ton of questions and they were always happy to help, now I very rarely have to call support. The BigCommerce University and question forums are very resourceful at well. I would highly recommend BigCommerce to anyone who is looking to make an ecommerce site. My only complaint about BigCommerce is that they do not have a native solution to integrate with the brick and mortar store POS to keep the inventory up to date (though they say they are/have been working on it). I have to use an expensive and less than satisfactory third party software for the two platforms to communicate with each other.
No matter who you are—photographer, restaurant owner, musician, hotelier and more, you can manage your website and business all in one place. With Wix, the possibilities are really endless! We offer 200 Apps and services to make it easier for you to grow your business or brand online. Easily send beautiful emails, start your own blog, get booked online, open your own online store and more.
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
Thank you for writing this “How To” guide for first-time website builders! Up until now I honestly thought the only way to make a personalized website for a business or with a unique domain name was by hiring a website designer. It was such a huge help to read about the pros and cons of each site builder and to see what costs would actually be associated with each. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Yola has been around a long time and hasn’t aged well at all.  There are a variety of template options, but they are all really old looking and not well-designed.  The only positive is that it is relatively cheap, and add-ons like email are pretty cheap too.  In my opinion you won’t be happy with how your site looks or functions though, and I think that paying a few extra bucks to get a high quality site from one of the other website builders is definitely worth it.
Hi Jeremy, I've done so much "research" into making my own website and have to be honest, feel rather overwhelmed! I'm wanting to create a website that will allow regular blogs, resources and ultimately to sell consulting services. I'd like to be able to upload clients videos/pics and also sell ebooks. I'm mindful of good seo but also safe storage of customers personal details. Longer term, if I wanted to move my website, and all its info, can I transfer this information to another host? Many thanks for any help.
To get rid of the ads, connect a custom domain and unlock more features, users have to upgrade their accounts. In other words, technically, you can design and publish your website without spending a cent, but in reality, this website will either display a noticeable ad or will be published on a subdomain. Neither of these variants works well for a decent website.
I would like to launch an online platform where people can leave reviews. Think of Yelp. In the future I’d like my users to be able to upload data as well. You can imagine this will be a complex platform long-term. Do you recommend to start with an online website builder like WordPress, Wix, etc or to have actual developers start from scratch? Looking forward to your response! Thanks!
Hello Robert, thank you for the comprehensive review. I would really appreciate your recommendation for my specific case (I have studied your review carefully and still I’m not sure). I am an artist and want to build a website showcasing my paintings (photographed high resolution), and an online store selling paintings. It is essential that I can add items to the store on weekly basis. It is also essential the site loads quickly to get high google ranking. Cost is an issue, and I don’t mind a learning curve. I want a clear and clean website, no confusion / getting lost elements. Would you recommend Bold Grid?
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.
Most of the products here can tell you about 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.
I’ve always been curious about building my own website for personal use. I see commercials and banners saying how “THEY” are ‘free’ or ‘are easy to use’ or ‘best web builder around’, etc, etc. Not knowing who to believe, I, like many others, used the best resource that money can buy… i Googled! Your site was one of the links that I decided to explore and was impressed off the back. I liked your unbiased thoughts and personal 10+ experience in the field so you know what you’re talking about. So thank you for making our research, any potential pitfalls, future headache, possible regrets that we could’ve suffered by making the the selfless sacrifice by exploring these website building companies for the masses.
Beta testing. Launching your website is an exciting process and people eager to get it live as soon as possible. With all the excitement, often people ignore the testing step. It’s critical you test your website before it goes live. The testing process can seem overwhelming, and you are not sure where to start. We are here to tell you that it’s not that complicated, you just have to check the following points carefully:

Designing and creating your website (especially your first one) is not a simple task. If you're a designer like me, then you're already way ahead of the game. But what if you're one of the 99% of business owners who are not technical or creative? I want to share my website design expertise with you to help you build a professional looking website to grow your business.

Strikingly offers a good variety of template options that are well-designed and modern.  The website builder doesn’t make it as easy as some of the others to customize things, but it’s fairly good. The real downside is the price.  At $16/mo it is the most expensive option (they have an $8/mo package but it is really limited), and with some other website builders offering a better product for a cheaper price, Strikingly is not the best choice.
Do it Yourself: There are a number of logo design software out there that will allow you to create your own logo. We recommend Tailor Brands if you want an easy way to create an appealing logo. Once you create your logo, you can subscribe and gain access to branding tools, including seasonal logos, branded social media posts, branding landing pages, and more. You can try it out for free, and if you find a design you like, you can download it for as little as $2.99. Click here to start designing your logo.

A blog should be about something you love, but it should also be an interest shared by other users as well. You can find out what categories people are interested in by using a keyword research tool and from there you can create customized content that your readers will find fresh and relevant. There is a world of information out there just waiting to be discussed. Why shouldn’t you be the one leading the discussion?

One factor that may influence your choice is the decision on whether to use SSL for your website. A site that uses SSL will have a web address starting with "https://" instead of "http://". In ancient times, webmasters typically only bothered to use it if they were selling goods and services and needed to collect credit card numbers, or if they had some sort of facility that required their visitors to log in with a password.
Great Article jeremy! VERY informative!! I'm working on making a job-board type of site. Where users can post jobs and and possible create profiles to frequently post job vacancies. The applicants should be able to filter through and search for jobs, so some sort of filteration system would be useful. If possible, I'd like for the job posters and the people searching for jobs to be able to create a profile on the website. What web-builder would you suggest? So far word press with cetains plug-ins seems to be the best bet but I'd appreciate your advice on this. Thank You
The platform has a relatively steep learning curve, which isn’t surprising given its long-term capabilities and sheer level of customization, the latter of which will likely require you to invest some time learning its various functions. Nonetheless, WordPress excels when it comes to ready-made themes, mobile-optimized templates, and widgets that allow you to include everything from comments to images. WordPress will also give you traffic information, which can help you cater your website to your audience, as well as 3GB of storage space and unlimited bandwidth.
Hello Mart, I don't think WYSIWIG website builders have any built in searchable databases - at least not the ones I've used before anyway. I "think" I've seen an external widget that you can use and plug it into a website. Have you tried searching for one? If there isn't any, I'd imagine you'd have to have one custom built to work the way you want it to. One "hack" you might want to consider is to use the website builder's search bar tool. So you would insert all your data into your website as pages, and let people use the sitewide search bar to find what they're looking for. It's not an elegant solution, but worth considering or testing. Jeremy

The cost of making a website depends on a lot of different factors. If you decide to build your site with WordPress, you can get a new site for less than $50. For example, hosting a WP site with Bluehost will cost you only $2.95 per month, and that includes the registration of a custom domain! You will definitely need to invest a few bucks extra on a premium theme (which will probably be something in a range of $40-120), maybe a few premium plugins (on average, a plugin will cost you about $70), but that’s pretty much it.
Hello I am trying to start a website where I blog and do reviews of products that are of course not my own, just for giving information. I also plan to try and find advertising sponsorship so I can earn some income through my site at the same time, as well as I want to sell a few things I have created myself on the same site. I have zero knowledge of how to build my own site, no skill when it comes to coding or even what it is, and am new to all of this but still want to do so. What should I do and who do I use as the website builder? I want one that does a lot for you easily, but to blog and add my own photos for reviews. To have the ability to accept advertising on my site for revenue, and ability to sell my own items and accept PayPal or another common trusted credit card or online pay service for payment. Please can you give me a detailed answer or advice exactly what company to use? I am not so much concerned with monthly cost as I am with upfront year being paid at once, that’s a lot of money at once for me. Please help?

As we said in the last step, templates provide a framework. Given how many people use builders to make a website nowadays, odds are there are a few sites out there with the same framework as yours. At the very least you will need to populate a chosen template with content specific to you. And to really stand out, you’ll need to do some customization.
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