Templates provide a framework for your website — a coherent, attractive canvas for you to paint the content of your site onto. They’re how you can have a site that looks good without having to hire a designer. Templates dictate color scheme, what your homepage header and menu bar look like, and the content width on your site, so it’s essential to pick the right one.
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.
If you study my current site, you’ll see that most of my main sections link out to other places on the web – my YouTube channel, my podcasts, the speaking page here on College Info Geek, etc. This is a strategic decision – as a professional YouTuber/writer, those are the best places for me to be directing people, since I benefit from people subscribing to my content rather than evaluating it.
Hi Mike, Interactive map building is something I have very little experience with - I haven't ventured much beyond embedding google maps in iframes such as yourself. I would suggest browsing the app market and 3rd party plugins available on builders like Wix and Weebly, who both offer a huge amount of additional features. It would surprise me if there wasn't a plugin that could help get you on your way. Similarly, you can also find membership area functionality through these app markets. I believe Wix also offers the ability to add member areas and logins though its editor too. Hope that points you in the right direction, - Tom
Hello Amanda, I'd suggest you take a look at Squarespace. With Squarespace, you can create blogs, sell services, upload images / videos, sell digital products (ebooks). They also allow you to export most of your content into WordPress (a very powerful and popular website builder) later if you want that option. The benefit of using Squarespace now is that you can build a website without knowing how to edit codes. You can literally have your site up in quite a short period of time. With WordPress, it's much more advanced and technical so it's not as user-friendly compared to Squarespace. You can see our comparison between them here. So Squarespace is much easier to get setup and will give you what you need. Once you're established and want a much more advanced platform down the road, WordPress is worth considering. Jeremy
Hi wbs, Getting started is definitely the easy part - no doubt about that! And I take your point that it can be challenging to make a design that you're 100% happy with. So, I guess we're pretty lucky that website builders like Wix and Squarespace offer such eye-catching templates that we can edit to our liking or use as jumping off point! (Our 3-step guide can help you pick the right template too..) Not having to work with a blank canvas certainly makes things much easier and gets the creative juices flowing. I think the best thing we (as amateur designers!) can take from sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc is the simplicity of their design. Your users want to find what they need quickly and easily, so the key lesson is to keep designs eye-catching but user-friendly (oh and don't forget the importance of color on a website!). Thanks for joining the conversation, - Tom

This is the actual “website builder” that we’re looking at here.  No matter how good the template you choose is you will definitely need to do a least some customization in order to get your site looking the way you like.  So an easy-to-use and intuitive website builder is a must.  You want something that offers the ability to make the changes you want, and that doesn’t require you to spend hours learning how to do it.
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?
For example, if you’re creating a site for a restaurant, you might have a Home page, a Menu page, a Reservation page and an Access page. If you’re creating a fan site for your favorite soccer team you might have a Home page, a Players page, a Results page and a Blog page. If you take a look at your current site, you should see two pages already in the menu bar – Home and Sample Page.
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However, in 2018, a website building platform, also called a “content management system” (CMS), can be used to easily build and customize a website without having to use code. A website building platform is software that does all the complex work of coding for you, so you don’t need to learn how to create a website from scratch with code. It lets you build and edit a website through your internet browser, change your design and layout with the click of a button, and create pages and posts using a simple editor that is similar to most common text editors.
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
Even if you don't sign up for those web hosts, you should look for services that offer similar features. You'll want a WYSIWYG editor that lets you adjust every page and add images, video, and social links. Plunking down a few extra bucks typically nets you robust ecommerce and search engine optimization (SEO) packages for improved Bing, Google, and Yahoo placement. Most advanced web hosting services include at least one domain name, free of charge, when you sign up.
I am planning to create my own contest. This is an online based singing competition based on the popular Eurovision Song Contest. A summary of the contest is this: Fans of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) would apply for a spot, they would each represent a country of their choice in Europe, and would choose a contestant from that country that would represent them with a song. I want this contest to be based on all platforms. (Social Media, YouTube, and it’s own website). I am planning a lot of graphics to be added that I will need to create, and there will be polls, and videos from YouTube attached to this page. I want there to be multiple sections of the website, and for it to be accessible both on computer and on mobile. I also want to create a voting section of the website, where fans that aren’t in the contest would be able to vote in the contest as well. I am a beginner to all of this website and graphics stuff, so my intentions may seem very ambitious, but I need a website that could eventually hold all of these things. What would you recommend? I am also on somewhat of a limited budget, so I would like to keep costs as low as I can, but still create a sleek and quality website. Could you please help and give me some input?
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.
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