Hi Billy, Great to hear you found the article so helpful! There's no reason at all why you can't use a website builder to create a website for yourself, even a blog style site. I'd recommend having a look at our website builder comparison chart as this is a good jumping off point and will give you some ideas of where to start. Off the top of my head, I know that Wix launched a new version of their blogging tool, which is really easy to use and can be integrated as part of a wider site (thankfully Wix is also super easy to use so it's great for newcomers to web design like yourself!) Hope that helps, - Tom
Hey, Jeremy, thanks for an informative article. I'm planing to start my own blog but choosing the right hosting provider gets me a bit confused... I'm still a beginner at this, so would prefer something that would offer a free plan, at least for testing purposes. A (very!) user friendly interface is obviously a must... Could you please share some hosting companies that match my requests or at least point me in the right direction where to find them? Many thanks.
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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.
10 rules for building a website How to build a 3-page website How to build a WordPress website for the first time The smart guide to using stock images 7 places to find royalty free images How to design your own logo Write your own damn website content What to look for in a web hosting company What is SSL? Does your website need an SSL certificate?
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.
Social Networks. Another factor of successful website promotion is effective social media marketing. Take your time to create groups in social networks, encourage users to join them, introduce special offers to boost user loyalty and apply other marketing strategies (or develop the one of your own) to make your newly-created website popular with the target audience. May your web building effort be a success!

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


Hey Amanda, Yes. Squarespace has partnered up with Google Apps to offer you the ability to create custom email addresses. The interface is the same as Gmail, which we like as it's user-friendly, reliable and secure. If you sign up to annual Business or higher plans, you get a custom email address for free for your first year. After the first year, you will pay about $4 per month for the email address. If you sign up to Squarespace's Personal plan, you won't get a free custom email but you can definitely pay $4 per month for this. In our view it's a pretty reasonable price so you can brand your email and business (or whatever you are building) properly. Looks so much more professional than just using a generic Gmail address. Jeremy

I’m pretty new to the whole web development/design aspect of things. I’ve tinkered before with free things but more specifically with forum design. I’m very interested in building a website but aside from having a main traditional website feel I’m looking to incorporate a forum to it. Would it be possible to do this with this WordPress/BlueHost tutorial here? Or would there be something you recommend for that sort of thing?
There’s a huge library of goodies for you to use at Envato Elements, which range from ready to use stock images for your blog posts (250,000+ fully licensed stock photos), web templates, fonts, backgrounds and much much more.  Elements like these can save you so much time and are all ready for you to use for a single monthly subscription by signing up to Envato Elements.

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.
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!

Hi Jeremy, Thanks for your article. I have a question I am hoping you can help me with. The original site I started was a free blog through wordpress website. I then decided to go towards an actual site with a blog attached, I made the switch to Hostgator. During this switch Hostgator took our domain name and is requesting $700 to get it back even though we paid the yearly fee. They are now saying they will not release our domain name until May. Does this seem correct? Thanks Kate
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.
Of course, another great way to learn web development is to simply look at code. If you’re using Google Chrome, you can hit CTRL+U (or if you’re on a Mac, just go to View -> Developer -> Source) to see the HTML for the page you’re on. You can also use the Web Developer extension to dig in even deeper. This method won’t work for viewing server-side code like PHP, but it’s great for digging into HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

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.
Squarespace gets a lot of attention, and for good reason. It’s sleek, full of features, pretty, and inexpensive. Squarespace will run you $12 a month for the basic package, with rates topping out at $40 a month for its Commerce package. The $12 a month nets you unlimited storage and bandwidth, but a restriction to 20 pages. You also have full e-commerce integration, and an included SSL security certificate.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with BigCommerce with us! That's awesome and I'm glad you're having a great time and getting great support from their team! I also heard that they are working on their own native Point of Sale system. I'm not entirely sure when it will be released, but hopefully soon. Shopify has their own POS system, which integrates smoothly with an online store built with their software. For those who are curious about BigCommerce, take a look at this discussion here. Thanks again for sharing and adding to this discussion! Jeremy
Use Fiverr.com: Fiverr.com is a site that matches you with all kinds of service providers who are willing to do projects, including logos, for just $5. If you use the $5 option you will have to wait a couple of weeks to get your logo. For around $20, you can generally get it that same week. If you find a designer with a portfolio you like, this is easily the best option for the money.
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.
You can take photos on your own or find stock photography websites that sell professional photos at a reasonable price. Some websites charge a fee for their images, and other provide them for free. If you decide to use images found online, make sure they are from royalty-free sources. Many images have copyrights and you need permission to use them on your website.
Hello Kate, Based on your comment, that doesn't sound right at all! Did you give you a very detailed and sensible reason of why they are requesting the $700? Normally, domain names cost about $12 - $15 to renew on an annual basis. You can see more discussions about domain names that we've put together here. You should definitely demand a reasonable and detailed explanation. Good luck with that. Jeremy
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.
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!

Users can get started with a free trial package, complete with template themes and hosting, then choose add-ons from the constantly updating collections of apps. Capable of creating complex sites without coding, BuilderEngine goes beyond basic text and images. If you ever get stuck you can also find one-to-one support by using their forums and Ticket Support Systems.

Trouble is, and I’ve tried to navigate quite a few, but within minutes, as a complete Luddite – I get completely bogged down. I even managed to make a mess of the WordPress option. All I need is the most basic site with detail and a pic of my book. I don’t need a pay page and am happy just to direct people to Amazon etc. should they wish to purchase. Even writing this I feel sure you have covered everything I am asking here. But could you offer some suggestions on the best way forward. I should add here (and I know there would be options for me should money not be a problem) that unfortunately throwing a lot of money at this is (unfortunately) not an option.
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
My name is Steve Benjamins and I’ve designed and coded websites for the last 20 years (since I was 10 years old). My websites have been featured in Wired, The Next Web, Smashing Magazine, The Huffington Post and Forbes. I am the sole developer, designer and reviewer at Site Builder Report— you can read more about my story in my interview with IndieHackers.
Hi Billy, Great to hear you found the article so helpful! There's no reason at all why you can't use a website builder to create a website for yourself, even a blog style site. I'd recommend having a look at our website builder comparison chart as this is a good jumping off point and will give you some ideas of where to start. Off the top of my head, I know that Wix launched a new version of their blogging tool, which is really easy to use and can be integrated as part of a wider site (thankfully Wix is also super easy to use so it's great for newcomers to web design like yourself!) Hope that helps, - Tom
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