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
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
Hi Jamie. I am not a web developer (yet) but I am aspiring to become one some day. I am using Django Framwork for the backend. But for the frontend , I am confused. Should I study HTML , CSS and javascript and then build a website (frontend) from scratch? Or should I not waste time , and just get a theme from wordpress? How much control over the look and feel of the website do we have, when we use these themes pre-tailored for us?
Yahoo's Tumblr is another incredibly popular blog platform that lends itself to shorter, more visual posts. You can, however, find themes that give your Tumblr site a more traditional website's look and feel. Google's Blogger features tight integration with Google Adsense, so making extra pocket change is a snap. Newer blogging services, such as Anchor, Feather, and Medium, stress writing and publishing more than intricate design, but they're incredibly simple to update.
I would also point you towards YouTube where you will find thousands of helpful how-to videos that will guide you through the website building process if you don’t feel too confident about working on your own – just search something like ‘Wix/Weebly/Squarespace + how to guide / getting started / web design guide’ and you’ll find some helpful videos.
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.
Hi TomN, Thanks for reading and joining the discussion. What you are looking to build is beyond the scope of our discussions here. It is possible but you'll either need to be very proficient with coding or have a healthy budget to hire a capable developer to assist you with your efforts. The reason is that the project you have seems like a very customized project. -Jeremy
I, for example, am one grandmother among countless grandmothers, who runs a business, is an author, and even has built my own sites on WordPress and much more. I am sure, given the thoughtfulness of your site—evidenced by the quality and thoroughness of the information you are providing—that you will be able to find an alternative to this condescending reference. Thanks!
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
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?
It's simple. With Wix, you get the freedom to create a free website that looks exactly the way you want. It doesn't matter how experienced you are. Prefer to have a website built for you? Try Wix ADI. Need advanced code capabilities? You've got that too. With Wix, you get the whole package, including a website builder, reliable web hosting, top security, and the best SEO for your website. And that's not all, our dedicated Support Team is always here for you.
Top article Jeremy ! I own a cosmetics company, pre start up and I am looking at a web presence. I want to keep costs down but quality very high due to the nature of my business, lipbalm. Can I run my own video ad on a homepage of any of the drag and drop site s? I will be creating one for initial social media marketing campaigns) I want it to start playing as soon as someone lands on the homepage. And are they mobile / cell friendly ? Thanks Paul

While the the best of them offer surprising amounts of flexibility, they also impose stringent enough restrictions to page design that you shouldn't be able to create a really bad looking site using one of these services. Typically you can get a Mysite.servicename.com style-url with no commerce abilities for free from one of these services; you have to pay extra for a better URL and the ability to sell. One issue to consider is that if you eventually outgrow one of these services, it can be hard to export your site to a full scale advanced web hosting like Dreamhost or Hostgator. If you know that's where you are eventually going, it may be better to skip the sitebuilder step.
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
I really wouldn’t recommend hiring someone to help you on a website builder unless you are trying to build something incredibly complex, in which case it would be worth hiring a developer to do it from scratch anyway. These platforms may seem a little complicated to non-technical users at first, but you’ll find that you’ll get to grips with it eventually – and quicker than you might think! It’s definitely better to save your money and spend a little more time mastering the platform yourself!
Man– kick ass website and content. I’m re-entering the work world after raising a family and have decided to run my own business. Back in the day we created our own “everything” when it came to web design… content, templates, image editing, logos. This was a very costly and timely process after purchasing all the required software, hiring technical specialists, etc. These days, who has time for all that all that.

Top tip: Don’t just test your website yourself. You will be blind to some of its faults. Plus, you know how your site is supposed to work, so while you might find navigating it easy that’s not to say a stranger will. Get a fresh perspective. Ask family members and friends to test your site and give feedback. If they’re anything like our family and friends they won’t be afraid of offering criticism.
We are in the midst of starting a second business now, however, and want to do it all ourselves and this is why I am here. I do have a question for you though, we are doing an e-commerce website and are looking for the best platform to put it on, would you recommend Shopify or another? And if Shopify, would we need something like Wix? Also, have you seen or heard of the website Anvato Market, it is new and it offers a large selection of pre-made templates for sites.
Here at SWB, we believe that online website builders are probably the best option for those who have no programming training, but want to get full control over the process of website creation. Site builders are easy-to-use, fast and affordable. These web services let you focus on what really matters – your product/business, doing all the heavy lifting for you.
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.

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?
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
The template sets the basic design and layout of your website so that you don't have to create every page from scratch. For example, your template decides the location of the logo and header, the sidebar, the width of the content area, and more. No matter what template you choose, you can always add and rearrange content - or change fonts and colors - but some parts of the template will remain fixed.

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.


Thanks so much for this awesome article :) I had literally no experience in building a website when I started using Weebly and I was surprised at how easy it was to make! I'm interested in looking into other platforms now that I'm up and running, particularly Wordpress? But I'll probably be sticking with Weebly for a long time until I'm ready, it really was super easy to use. Thanks again :)
If you're ready to get going, this guide will introduce you to the services and software that can get you started building your own website, even if you have no experience. Keep in mind, none of these tools will give you an idea for a winning website—that's on you. They also won't make you a web designer, a job that's distinct from building a site. Still, these services and software will ease some of the headaches that come from a lack of extensive expertise in CSS, FTP, HTML, and PHP.
I really wouldn’t recommend hiring someone to help you on a website builder unless you are trying to build something incredibly complex, in which case it would be worth hiring a developer to do it from scratch anyway. These platforms may seem a little complicated to non-technical users at first, but you’ll find that you’ll get to grips with it eventually – and quicker than you might think! It’s definitely better to save your money and spend a little more time mastering the platform yourself!
Hello Mart, I don't think WYSIWIG website builders have any built in searchable databases - at least not the ones I've used before anyway. I "think" I've seen an external widget that you can use and plug it into a website. Have you tried searching for one? If there isn't any, I'd imagine you'd have to have one custom built to work the way you want it to. One "hack" you might want to consider is to use the website builder's search bar tool. So you would insert all your data into your website as pages, and let people use the sitewide search bar to find what they're looking for. It's not an elegant solution, but worth considering or testing. Jeremy
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.
WordPress vs. Joomla/Drupal: Drupal is a very powerful platform that is popular with web developers and experienced coders, but it comes with a very steep learning curve that makes it a bad choice for beginners. Joomla is similar to WordPress and works great for online stores, but you’ll need at least a little bit of technical coding to make it work the way you want.
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