Free and open source, Silex can be used entirely within the browser and works with you, whatever your skill level. There's a friendly WYSWIG editor drang and drop interface that you can use to put everything together, with all your changes visible immediately, and if you're comfortable with CSS and JavaScript, then you'll find integrated editors that enable you to get down and dirty with code in order to add styles and interactivity to your elements.
3. Now, you’re ready to add content to your site. For instance, I added the title, “Caroline’s Consulting Business”, by using the “Text box” tool in the Insert panel. The Insert panel also includes options to embed images or links, or connect to your Google Drive or Google Docs. For example, I circled “Google Docs” in the image below -- I clicked that button to embed my “How to Take a Screenshot on Windows” Google Doc into my landing page.
Hi Jeremy, This is the most informative article on web design that I have come across. And I have read quite a number! I had a question though. I don't know anything about html/css or any code for web design, and I need to include a searchable database in a website I'm to create. Any ideas/tips on doing this on a WYSIWYG website builder? Thank you very much
Hi A S, Picking and purchasing a domain name and start building your website go hand in hand. What usually happens is that you test out a few different website builders to see which one you enjoy working with and has the tools that you are looking for. During that time, you can also start your search for your domain name. This is usually your business' name or brand name. We have a domain name guide here. Once you settle with a website builder and decide to upgrade to a paid plan, you can then connect your domain name to the website. Each website builder will have tutorials on how to do that. Hope this helps! Jeremy

This brings us to the topic of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Now, I’m going to be honest – SEO can be a complex business. After all, we’re talking about trying to make our websites look good to a mindbogglingly complicated algorithm, which has details that Google keeps closely guarded. Oh, and of course, millions upon millions of other sites are trying to do the same thing.

Sure, there are more advanced hosting topics to consider, such as Domain Name Servers and multi-cloud connectivity, but this guide is meant to introduce you to the basics. Whether you decide to do build a website yourself or hire coding experts to do the dirty work is up to you. But for now, rest easy knowing you have the information to get started in taking your business online.


Even if your site’s primary purpose is not to function as a blog, you may find yourself requiring one at some point (Be sure to read the how to start a blog guide for a complete overview), either to keep your visitors updated or to use as a marketing tool. SEO, for example, is something that requires the creation of content to get your website noticed by search engines. Most website builders have built-in content management systems that allow you to write and edit blog posts in your browser. These systems make it easy to create rich content on the fly.
1) A website isn’t static; it’s dynamic. It’s ever-changing. The moment you accomplish something, you can add it to your website. When you complete a project, you can put it in your portfolio for all to see. You don’t need to print new copies of it and send it out to your contacts over and over; you just update it. People can continually come back and see what you’re up to.
Hello Jeremy and Connie, I really have to first say, Thank You for all of your time and energy that you put into providing us, with informative and helpful education! I am starting an online business in women's clothing, So I am extremely into design. Shopify seems to be a strong interest for me but, I do not know too much about codes. So does Shopify have alot of codes? and do you think this would be too much of a challenge for a beginner of codes?
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
Now, this is not to say that you shouldn't choose a website builder for an ecommerce website— in the last few years website builders such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace have aggressively built out strong ecommerce features. Instead, I'd suggest choosing a website builder for your ecommerce website if you're website needs to do things other than ecommerce. For example, if you also want to have a blog or other content heavy pages.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's S... See Full Bio
A web browser can display three types of images on your website: GIF, JPG, and PNG. GIF images are great for logos or images with limited color in them. They make your image file size smaller, which means they load much faster for visitors. JPGs are great for photos, while PNGs are ideal for full-color website images like button and menu backgrounds.
Hi Laura, If you are using Mailchimp (we use Aweber ourselves), you don't need the website builder to be integrated with Mailchimp at all,unless you run an ecommerce store (I'll address this below). Newsletter services allow you to create a sign up box, then provides you with some codes where you can copy and paste these codes into your website. All website builders have a tool that allows you to embed codes into wherever you want on your webpages. Once you publish your website, then the sign up box will show up. If you are operating an online store, you can integrate Mailchimp with websites built with Squarespace, Shopify or Bigcommerce. This way, after your customer buys from you, they are automatically invited to join your newsletter so you can continue to share news with them, or even promote other products to them. Hope this helps! - Jeremy
What that content is depends on what you do, but there’s a few things usually worth doing regardless. You’ll need ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages, as they’re the types Google look to to populate company knowledge graphs. Beyond that, there are things like homepage copy, blog posts (if you choose to incorporate one into your business website), product images, and production descriptions to think about.

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
Free and open source, Silex can be used entirely within the browser and works with you, whatever your skill level. There's a friendly WYSWIG editor drang and drop interface that you can use to put everything together, with all your changes visible immediately, and if you're comfortable with CSS and JavaScript, then you'll find integrated editors that enable you to get down and dirty with code in order to add styles and interactivity to your elements.
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
Speaking of time savings, website builders save users a ton of time! In today’s fast-paced world, nobody wants to wait days or months for their website to be ready. Website creating services enable job seekers to make resume sites and stores to create eCommerce sites in a matter of hours. If you have something that needs to be online, they can help you easily put it there.

Free and open source, Silex can be used entirely within the browser and works with you, whatever your skill level. There's a friendly WYSWIG editor drang and drop interface that you can use to put everything together, with all your changes visible immediately, and if you're comfortable with CSS and JavaScript, then you'll find integrated editors that enable you to get down and dirty with code in order to add styles and interactivity to your elements.
Hi Gertrudes, I think if you want to build a simpler website, then Squarespace, Weebly and Wix are good candidates for you to test and see which one suits you better. Weebly has the lowest learning curve, then Wix and Squarespace. But from a design perspective, I think Squarespace will give you the most professional and beautiful looking website. All of them are mobile device friendly and so your visitors will be able to find more information about your website through their mobile devices. I think the best way forward is to sign up for them for free, then invest some time to play around with their tools and see for yourself which one you prefer. It's a very personal choice when it comes to which builder interface you prefer, so investing a bit of time in testing them out is well worth it. - Jeremy
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I just wanted to thank you for your execellant review of the web builders. I am a professional Art Director who at my clients requests, needs to start building sites for them. I started a site for a film Director last year who wanted to feature his personal photography. So at the time, I used Square Space which seemed to be very versitle, however, I was never able to finish the site due to other job commitments. I have now been hired to design/build a site for a wonderful luthier. So I think I am going to go with WIX per your review. (Unless you think SP would be better.) please let me know and thanks again!!!!


Themes set the tone of your site. They can be a direct reflection of the owner: If you are a person of simple tastes you might choose a minimalist template, while larger personalities might prefer something with strong colors. You should always keep in mind, however, that a website should meet the level of professionalism of the content it hosts. You might want to think twice about using Comic Sans on a medical professional site, for example.


Newsletters remain one of the best ways to connect with your customers, so create one and make it the center of your email marketing strategy. Use it as a way to showcase your voice and your brand, to share news and upcoming event for your business, and to introduce new products (but don’t be too pushy). Send it out regularly, loaded with fresh content, and then solicit feedback.
In all GoCentral Website Builder plans any data transmitted from your site will be encrypted using a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. Your SSL will establish an encrypted link between your web server and the browser of the person visiting your site. This means that all data will be kept private; which is important if you want visitors to your site to be safe. If you want to sell products or services in your store, you will want to have a SSL since it protects credit card and bank numbers from being intercepted by hackers.
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 Jeremy and Connie, I really have to first say, Thank You for all of your time and energy that you put into providing us, with informative and helpful education! I am starting an online business in women's clothing, So I am extremely into design. Shopify seems to be a strong interest for me but, I do not know too much about codes. So does Shopify have alot of codes? and do you think this would be too much of a challenge for a beginner of codes?
Thanks for the time you put into this. Has been very helpful along side the hours that I have already put in myself scouring and trialling sites. Any recommendations for sites where they assist in interactive map building such as the magicseaweed.com site. I can build a location map and embed it onto my site (that I am building at the moment through Wix) but it's very limited and I cannot link it to a specific page or location on my website pages. I would also like to create a service where subscribers can access more information on the website than non subscribers. Any thoughts on the best site to use?

I am currently looking at setting up a blog for the area I specialise in. I am aware of wordpress.org but have been a bit daunted by the number of webhosts out there offering this and that. One particular issue is that I use macs and I was wondering whether bluehost is compatible with the mac, and whether there are any other extra steps I have to take when using a mac over windows. Would it be as simple as registering with a webhost then clicking one-step installation on a mac?
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.
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.
If you want to improve the chances that your website will work in future versions of all web browsers, consider validating the code for your web pages. In layman's language, this means that you should check that the underlying code of your web page, called "HTML" and "CSS", has no syntax errors. You don't actually need technical knowledge of HTML and CSS to validate the page, since you can use one of the numerous free web page validators around to do the hard work. On the other hand, if the validator tells you that your page has errors, it may sometimes be hard to figure out what's wrong (and whether the error is actually a serious one) if you don't have the requisite knowledge. Having said that, some validators actually give concrete suggestions on how to fix your code, and one of them, called "HTML Tidy", is even supposed to be able to fix errors for you.
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?

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
All of the web services listed here have you start by choosing from a selection of templates for your site. The better ones, such as Duda, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix, use templates that automatically reformat your site for viewing on mobile devices. They also offer specifically targeted templates based on your site's purpose, such as for promoting a bakery's sales, getting gigs for a musician, or keeping wedding guests informed.
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.
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.
Most website builders have free plans, or at least free trials, that mean you can create a business website for nothing! However, free plans do come with restrictions that can be limiting for your business, for example, displaying adverts for your website builder on your site. This doesn’t give off a very professional image, but you can get rid of them by upgrading to a paid plan for a modest monthly fee.
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.
In general, as far as I know, all commercial web hosts let you install SSL certificates for your site. The price varies, though, from company to company. Some give you a certificate for free. Others will install a free certificate for a one time charge. Some require you to buy a commercial certificate (which has a recurring charge). And there are those that not only require you to buy a certificate, but also impose a monthly fee for using it on your website (on top of the recurring charge for that certificate). A discussion on how to get SSL certificates (including the free ones) can be found in that article mentioned earlier.
Although people tend to find your site through a branded search in Google, it’s still important to make your domain easy to spell / type out. If it requires a lot of effort to type correctly, due to trying to spell it, the length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve probably kissed goodbye to a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
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.
Squarespace — There are a suite of beautiful apps: Commerce lets you manage your store. Blog lets you compose blog posts and manage your blog. Metrics gives you website analytics. Portfolio lets you manage photos and galleries— but it's iOS only. Having a suite of apps is great— rather than stuff everything into one app, they're able to make a beautiful interface for each use case.
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
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