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.
Good article - but to make my choice easier, i must say this web site is awesome. What website builder did you build this site on Jeremy? Because all other website templates from the builders that i see operate nowhere near as good as this site. This site looks great in all devices, it runs quick - looks really professional and has so many features that i see. It just works well. The others look good on the surface but when you realy start to see how they look (changing browser window) and how they run and load this web site is light years ahead. So which website builder did you use for this site? This would be my choice for sure.
Fortunately, reputable website builders frequently have special offers and discounts for premium users. Wix provides a bonus domain name for users, who subscribe to an annual plan and make a one-time payment. This lets you save up to $10-30 depending upon the domain name zone selected. You don’t have to make anything special to connect a domain to your website. It will be automatically connected as soon as you get it. That’s very simple, time-saving and convenient, indeed!
A self-hosted WordPress solution is the most versatile and future-proof way of using WordPress. It gives you total freedom to do anything you want with your website. The only caveat is that it also allows you to install junky and poorly coded plugins or themes that might break your website, and it means you have to take the security of your website into your own hands.
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! 
Several of the services included here offer free options, too. If you choose that path, however, your site will include branding from the provider, which will necessarily make your site less impressive to savvy surfers—and shoppers. Free offerings vary greatly in the amount of storage and bandwidth they allow, so read the small print to find out how much you get with each provider. Weebly, Wix, and WordPress.com are among the most generous with their free offerings, if that's the way you want to go.
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.

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!

Thank you so much – your evaluations will save my artist group members so much time and frustration. Wix and Weebly were my short list too. I recommended Weebly to them last year, as most members are not tech-literate and Weebly seemed the least frustrating for a first timer. Also, fewer and simpler templates were a plus in this case, rather than a problem. I will have another look at Wix now to see if the issues I had in my test site have been fixed. I agree with your comment on the Weebly statistics (e.g. it counted my edit tweeks as hits) and the constant upsell ads. As noted here by others, Weebly’s support by phone or online chat are excellent. I will have another look at Wix now and see if that might work better for us now that more members have some online experience. Thank you again for your excellent and well-written research.
If you build a website that’s optimized for search engines, then yes it will. It’s a common myth that you can’t rank as well with website builders – you definitely can! How to create a website that ranks in Google will require good content, and a bit of background research into SEO. Building websites that people can find is key to a good website marketing strategy, and not that hard to do.
Investigate e-commerce solutions — How are you planning to sell and accept payment on your website? You’ll need to get that squared away before promoting your website. If you’re using WordPress, we recommend Woocommerce (so much so, that we’ve even got hosting just for Woocommerce users). Study up on the world of e-commerce and pick an online payment gateway.
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.
Overall this was my favorite website builder, and the main reasons were how easy it was to use along with having the most modern template selection.  If you want to change something on your site just click on it and options come up to edit text, drag- and-drop, change background images, etc.  There are also helpful tutorials that pop-up right inside the builder, so if you are struggling to figure something out there is help right there, which means you won’t have to contact customer service for every little thing.
For years Adobe Dreamweaver has been synonymous with web page creation. It's gone from being a creator of HTML pages in a WYSIWYG interface to being able to handle programming pages in Cold Fusion, JavaScript, PHP, and other formats. Its liquid layout lets you see how pages look at different browser and screen sizes—even on smartphones and tablets. It's about as code-heavy as you want it to be.
If you're on a Mac however, there's another option: RapidWeaver. This WYSIWYG webpage editor has full code access and FTP support for uploading pages. There are plenty of built-in templates to get started, all for the one-time price of $99.99. On Windows there are numerous choices. Xara Web Designer 365, for example, starts at $49.99 and promises you don't need to know HTML or Javascript to create sites based on the company's templates.
Hey man, you’re the best. Even if I haven’t started yet, it really sounds easy. I want to create a site where people will upload their school notes from high school to university level and sell them. Then I will get a commission form that. I believe I will profit from that idea in my country. If you’ve any useful info on that please you can tell me. Thanks
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
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.
If you're on a Mac however, there's another option: RapidWeaver. This WYSIWYG webpage editor has full code access and FTP support for uploading pages. There are plenty of built-in templates to get started, all for the one-time price of $99.99. On Windows there are numerous choices. Xara Web Designer 365, for example, starts at $49.99 and promises you don't need to know HTML or Javascript to create sites based on the company's templates.
However, the hallmark of Voog is its multilingual component, a facet that lets you build parallel iterations of your site for different regions around the globe (i.e. the United States, Brazil, Canada). Few services offer such a feature, which makes the platform a standout for six Euros a month (about seven US dollars) if you’re setting up an international, web-based store. You’ll also receive 2GB of storage and access to the open API for the price, while more expensive offerings bestow you with additional storage and pages.
If you are comfortable using a word processing program to write your content, be sure to copy everything and paste it into a text file when you are done. Word processors can add extra formatting to your text that make it display incorrectly if you paste it directly into site building programs or HTML editors. Remembering this easy step can save you hours of frustration during the layout of your website.
Hey Theo, Generally speaking, Weebly is a solid website building platform. You don't need how to code, their probably one of the most user-friendly web builders, and their support is good. Best way to decide is to sign up for a free account and start testing their tools. You're not obligated to subscribe to a premium paid plan at all. You can upgrade whenever you want to, and only if you find them being to provide the tools and services that you need. Jeremy
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web... See Full Bio
The strict responsive approach of Simvoly, uKit, and Weeby means you get no control over the mobile-only view. Wix, by contrast, offers a mobile-site preview and lets you make customizations that only apply to mobile viewing. For example, you may want a splash page to welcome mobile viewers, or you may want to leave out an element that doesn't work well on the smaller screens.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have the skills or time to build your site, or you don’t want (or need) to pay for a completely customized design from a pro website developer, then a good website builder is a perfect way to get a professional looking website up and running with minimal time.  For those just wanting a blog, I recommend using WordPress, which I show you how to do in my guide on how to create a blog using WordPress, but for a full website the top-ranked options on this page are all good choices.
The right choice of the website builder matters a lot, when it comes to effective project development. Whatever service you will eventually select, you should be aware of its major parameters, pros and cons, specific features. The choice of the service should also depend upon your web design needs and objectives. Here are the major aspects to consider, when looking for a decent web building tool:
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! 
Hey Vivy, I haven't used any of those hosting services before so I can't quite comment. I've used Bluehost and WP Engine. WP Engine is more expensive, but they're good. They're a hosting service that is dedicated to WordPress users, so their support people are quite knowledgeable about WP in general. I've had excellent experiences with them. Jeremy
If you've got a business that takes appointments, then GoCentral’s built-in Online Appointments feature is tailor-made for you. It lets your customers set and make appointments for your services, keeping you free to do the work. And it comes with all sorts of goodies including text and email notifications, online payments and client management tools. You get all this and more with our Business Plus and Online Store plans.

A nice article! And yes, it is written in a simplest way yet being very informative. I have already tried some site builders but they were not easy to use. I want to create a simple website, just a pair of pages about my family. I want my friends could view videos and photos of the family celebrations. It'll be good to create the site free of charge. I choose between Weebly and mobirise. They are both free site builders as I know. Can you recommend what builder is easier?
Nowadays, however, it looks like the whole of the Internet is slowly moving to a state where everything has SSL. If so, it may be a good idea for new websites to use it from the very outset. This will allow you to avoid the hassle and risk involved in moving an existing website from HTTP to HTTPS, which you may find yourself doing in the future if you don't get it done at the beginning. For more information, please read the first few sections of that article, namely those explaining what SSL is (in greater detail), and the advantages and disadvantages of it.
Just as you can get a logo designed by 99Designs.com, you can also have your full website designed through this site. The concept is the same: you submit a brief on what you are looking for and get back anywhere from 20 to 60 designs. You only pay for the design you choose, and the price ranges from $599 to $1,599, depending on which package you go with. We used 99designs here at FitSmallBusiness.com for our own website – so if you want to see an example of a 99designs website, you’re looking at one!
In my feature comparison table I show which website builders you let design a website from scratch— and there are a handful. Of those I would recommend Wix. Wix is an excellent, highly customizable website builder. It can be a bit overwhelming with the amount of options it provides— but that's exactly what you want if you're designing a theme from scratch.
Another great video-based learning library is Treehouse. Their library isn’t as extensive as Lynda’s, but they still have a lot to offer – especially in the area of web development. I actually prefer Treehouse over Lynda, as they include code challenges and quizzes with their video-based projects. In fact, I learned to build an iPhone app in just two days by using Treehouse. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any schools offering free subscriptions to their students – but that doesn’t stop your from asking!
For those who prefer to use a commercial program, thesitewizard.com has numerous online tutorials for a web editor called Dreamweaver, a program with features on par with that of Expression Web. The Dreamweaver Tutorial takes you through all the steps needed to design a complete website, in addition to providing you with the theoretical and practical foundations that will help you create and maintain that site.
Hi Jeremy! Thank you for giving me a very straightforward and transparent approach to making your own website. My daughter is a visual artist, and she will be applying to art schools in the next year. A website is necessary for her to show her work (all still paintings) to prospective art school admissions councilors and staff. What would be a good builder to use to "bring to life" her paintings and present them in a simple, tasteful and uncluttered way? And at this time, she is not going to use this site to sell her work, just present it to schools.
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
With all that being said, I want to share some things you can do to improve your website’s SEO. To keep things simple, we’ll take an 80/20 approach here – as in 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. Yes, there are lots of tiny little tweaks you can make to marginally improve SEO – and if you’re curious about them, you might want to check out this set of tutorials.
A self-hosted WordPress solution is the most versatile and future-proof way of using WordPress. It gives you total freedom to do anything you want with your website. The only caveat is that it also allows you to install junky and poorly coded plugins or themes that might break your website, and it means you have to take the security of your website into your own hands.
The first thing to do when building your website is to develop a plan. Before you move forward, think about what you want your website to do, and decide what success looks like for your website. When you look back at your results a few months after your website is complete, how will you know it was worth it? Make sure you are planning your site to match your goals.
I am using wix for building my e-commerce site in India, but after spending so much time building it i realized that it doesn't support Indian Rupee. So i am just stuck at this and don't know what else to do. My question is that, is there any other payment option that can be added to my site so that my customers can choose different payment options ( even if that means a third party payment gateway).??
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!
On most builders you can create your website in less than an hour. We don’t recommend being quite so quickfire about it, though. The best way to make a website is to give yourself a solid day to play around with the software and fine tune your site. It can take much longer than this to make a website site though – it depends on how many pages you have and how much customization you need to do.
×