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.
Hi Jeremy! Thank you so much for posting this! I found this to be very helpful!! So I do have a few questions though... First off, I am wanting to build a website that advertises a service I offer, displays images in two separate galleries, can be involved with a separate calander that can be accessed from my phone and be up to date on available times to schedule an appointment, and, most importantly, can have a payment option to prepay for my service to secure a time slot with a possible escrow type function to be able to add payments onto the set appointments. Does this make any sense? If it does, does this sound possible? Which website builder would you recommend to have access to these functions? I am just starting out so cost is also a factor, although I am willing to pay a reasonable amount of money to get this set up and to maintain it. Thank you in advance!!
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 Jeremy I have a desire to make an easy solution for my users who can make their own website / theme for wordpress. A plugin that allows my users, through frontend on my site, to choose between menu, (text / grib layout - blog styles, magazin) photo slide, footer, etc. - so they can make there style theme Do you know if there is a plugin that can this? (So I upload the different layouts examples that they can choose from)?
Designed with online stores, business sites, blogs and one-pagers in mind, Duda's responsive website builder has a stack of ready-made templates for you to choose from, and a drag-and-drop editor to make it easy to put your site together. It features plenty of widgets to help turn visitors into paying customers, plus integration with web-based solutions such as OpenTable, Disqus and PayPal, and even features website personalisation tools that can trigger a variety of individualised actions that'll make your customers feel extra-special.

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Hello Vivy, I was in the same situation some time ago, so I tested the free hosting providers, the ones you mentioned above and even a few more. Took some time, yet saved me money. If you want to start from free plan, my favorite was Hostinger. I believe it will match your requests: the cPanel is "(very!) user friendly" - you'll be able to install WordPress with only a click of a button and it also provides many great plugins, don't be afrait to experiment! Since you're a beginner, having customer support is a great bonus and theirs will definitely help if you have any issues (sure helped me), don't be shy to contact them. Good luck with your blog! Hope I could help.

An integral part of web design is search engine readiness. Search engine promotion does not start after the web site is made. It starts at the web design stage. The article 6 Tips on How to Create a Search Engine Friendly Website is a must-read. Moreover, How to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking on Google is also important for the simple reason that Google is the most popular search engine around, at least at the time this page was written.

Doodlekit is one of the most unusable and unintuitive website builders on the market. Editing the limited number of templates is confusing and convoluted and taking advantage of the advertised features is more trouble than it’s worth. Despite my extensive history with site builders and web design, I found myself confused and frustrated when trying to make even the simplest changes on my Doodlekit website.
You will need to test your web pages as you design them in the major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge. All these browsers can be obtained free of charge, so it should be no hardship to get them. Unfortunately, directly testing your site is the only way you can be really sure that it works the way you want it to on your visitors' machines. In addition, if you have a smartphone, try out your site there too.

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
Overall SquareSpace is a high quality website builder that comes with a variety of modern templates to choose from.  The builder interface takes a few minutes to get accustomed to, but once you do it is intuitive and easy to use.  The only real downside is the price.  You won’t be disappointed with your website design, but you can make an equally great site with Wix while paying less.  I basically look at SquareSpace as a more expensive version of Wix.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for tracking how people view your site. The Google Analytics Dashboard connects your WordPress site to Google for proper tracking. It also displays your traffic in your admin panel of WordPress in real-time. It's very useful if you want to plan content strategies or just see how people are accessing your content.

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
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.
No matter which website builder you choose you will likely have some questions at some point, whether it is how to change something on your site, updating your billing info, or something else it is inevitable that you will need to contact customer service at some point.  When you need support it is important that it comes in a timely fashion with a helpful answer, so this is an important one.
You can sell products and services on your website if you have the Online Store plan. You’ll have an online store that will allow you to add products and services, set up different types of payment methods, and even specific types of shipping. Your store will be integrated into your website as a page. You can add featured products for your visitors to scroll through, make quick purchases using PayPal and Apple Pay and promote your store/products through coupons. You can also use the same type of email marketing that is included in the Business Plus plan to send email communications to your subscribers and customers about sales in your store, coupon offers and events. Establishing a strong online commerce can boost your current sales, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store.
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.
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.
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
Some web designers / developers like to install WordPress manually to get a custom install of the components they want and don’t want. Others will need to manually install because their web host does not have the “1-click-installation” capability. If this applies to you then you’ll need to have a quick read through of my Manual WordPress Set-Up Guide.
Thanks for a great review! My only “con” would be that you didn’t included customer service. But I understand the work it would have involved. I LOVE WIX. I have been with them since they started. But their customer service stinks. I don’t like having to search through a database of questions other users have submitted to find an answer to my problem. They make it hard to find a phone number. Otherwise, besides a few technical beefs I have, it is a great option.
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.
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.

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!

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
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.
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
A Blog. WordPress is set up for blogging by default, but you’re going to set your homepage as a static About Me page. Therefore, you’ll need to set up your blog manually, which is still really easy. You can also choose to leave the blog out if you want, but I think having one is a great way to show off your knowledge and thoughts. Here’s how I’ve implemented a blog on my personal site.
Before you can start building your home on the web, you need an address for it. Most of the site builders here can register a unique domain for you, and all can give you a web address using the provider's domain, for example, yourname.sitebuilder.com. The services also let you use a domain you've acquired from a third-party registrar such as pairNIC, but you usually must pay the site builder for that privilege.
Hi ify, The best advice I could offer is to give the free trials a go on Wix, Weebly and Squarespace and see how you get on with each builder. This will give you a chance to explore their functionalities and see how feasible your ideas are. Squarespace is highly regarded as a portfolio website builder and that sounds like it may be something in line with your ambitions (e.g. showcasing make up examples). Hope that helps, - Tom
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