Great article! Having trawled the internet and read quite a few websites on how to build a website, I can honestly say this is the most comprehensive and easy to understand - to a complete novice! Your step-by-step guide is thorough and very informative and has given me the confidence to go ahead and try to set up my own business website ... A big THANK YOU!
Eric narrowly averted a career in food service when he began in tech publishing at Ziff-Davis over 25 years ago. He was on the founding staff of Windows Sources, FamilyPC, and Access Internet Magazine (all defunct, and it's not his fault). He's the author of two novels, BETA TEST ("an unusually lighthearted apocalyptic tale"--Publishers' Weekly) an... See Full Bio
If those template customizations don’t look like enough for you (though if you’re building your first website, they will be), you might want to think about building your website on an open source platform like WordPress.org. You will get more flexibility, but if you’re not a coder, learning WordPress takes a lot of time — especially compared to drag-and-drop builders.

With WebStarts the drag and drop editor provides a true 'what you see is what you get' experience. You're empowered to create a unique website that conveys the value of your products and services. In addition, WebStarts is jam packed with powerful features that would cost extra with our competitors. All of this is backed up with live support, based right here in the USA. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is happy to help bring your website to completion.
Hi Latisha, Shopify is great for those who are not super technical as they are much easier to use compared to other e-commerce platforms. This is not to say that you can make unlimited number of customizations to the themes without ever touching codes, as some levels of modifications does require touching some codes. But if you just choose a theme, and work within the capability of the theme with Shopify's tools, then you can get a really good store up and running fairly quickly. But if there is a certain look / feel / feature that you want to achieve that is outside the design of the theme, then you may have to code it yourself, or hire a Shopify expert to do so. Hope this gives you a bit more guidance! - Jeremy

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.

I bought a condo in Puerto Vallarta this last year that I am wanting to make available to friends and family. I want to create a simple, yet attractive, website with photos, descriptions, local information and an availability calendar that I can keep updated. I don’t want to use one of the major vacation rental websites as I don’t want to open the property to the world. I have no experience at all in website design, however I’m a reasonably intelligent person. How reasonable is it that I would be able to create the website I am imagining using your tutorial, and would you still think WordPress is the best option for what I am envisioning?


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?
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
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
The major player in the blog game is WordPress, a content management system (CMS) that powers millions of websites, including The New York Times, Quartz, and Variety. WordPress-powered sites are incredibly easy to set up, customize, and update—ideally on a daily basis. You aren't required to learn fancy-schmancy FTP tricks (though you can certainly use them if you like), and there are ridiculous numbers of free and paid WordPress themes and WordPress plug-ins to give your website a pretty face and vastly expanded functionality. Though WordPress dominates the blogging space, it isn't the only blogging CMS of note, however.
I want to create a website where can I post the restaurant and retirement home business of my hubby. I would like to edit the website at least monthly depending on our promotional activities. No payment option needed yet but a simple information for local customers and travelers as well. We want our website displays when people searched from their phone while on their travel since our place is in between 2 big cities. I trust you, and since I described my main objective which one do you highly recommend?
Hello Vivy, If you are a beginner and don't want to climb a steep curve to learn the technicalities of managing a hosting company, then consider taking a look at drag & drop website builders. These website builders manage all the hosting and technical aspects of operating a website for you. And, their platform allow you to drag and drop your content when making your pages so you don't have to know how to code. I'd suggest testing out Wix and Weebly to start. Both are code free and have free plans for you to test. They don't have a time limit on their free plans so don't worry about upgrading until you are satisfied with them. But if you really want to use a hosting company (for instance, you want to use WordPress.org), then someone like Bluehost is pretty good, in general. Thanks, Jeremy
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
When you add a new page to your website (more on that in Create website pages, below), you can add a bunch of new elements at once by choosing a Suggested Layout. This is one of the easiest ways to create a website. Pick the type of page you are working on, then choose the option you like best. After you confirm that layout, you can click on each element and replace it with your own content.

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


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.
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
Hello Vivy, If you are a beginner and don't want to climb a steep curve to learn the technicalities of managing a hosting company, then consider taking a look at drag & drop website builders. These website builders manage all the hosting and technical aspects of operating a website for you. And, their platform allow you to drag and drop your content when making your pages so you don't have to know how to code. I'd suggest testing out Wix and Weebly to start. Both are code free and have free plans for you to test. They don't have a time limit on their free plans so don't worry about upgrading until you are satisfied with them. But if you really want to use a hosting company (for instance, you want to use WordPress.org), then someone like Bluehost is pretty good, in general. Thanks, Jeremy
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?
great info. I hired a programmer to do my website a few years ago and it bombed! I lost my domain name, and not having a website is terrible. I looked into wordpress, wix, weebly, etc. and find it difficult. Your article shed some light on this issue. How can I get a website that has Flash-images that change (daily), the site can be changed to another language (Spanish) and not cost an-arm-or-a leg?
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?

As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand. You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.
I own a small business and am looking to redesign our website. Thanks for all your comparisons of the website builders! I currently use Mailchimp to send out weekly emails to my customers. Do you know if any of these website builder sites allow you to create an email list? Then use a template to create an email (like Mailchimp) and send it out to all your subscribers. Ideally there would be a tab on your website people can click on to enter their email address…..They would then get your emails. Thanks for any feedback :)
Business Websites should make their important information visible to visitors right away — whether you're a restaurant posting your menu and location, a consultant posting your contact information, or a store posting your hours and latest products. In this case, you might choose a template with a sidebar on the left or right, and stick with a short, simple navigation menu. Try: Amsterdam, Havana, Lima, Madrid

I’m starting my very first ecommerse business and was definitely going down the web designer road, now I’m not so sure about spending £2,500 on a website!! Which platform would you recommend for ecommerse, I’ve looked at Shopify, big commerce and word press but now I’m not sure, they all sell their brand and services very well with loads of “extras” to add on.
WordPress – is the most popular free Content Management System. It initially started as a blogging platform, but quickly developed into a universal web building solution. The system somewhat differs from standard website builders in terms of its complexity. This is not the best solution for newbies, who have zero web design skills, yet it works great for web designers, who have at least a bit of web building experience.
Hello Danny, I definitely agree with your thoughts on Weebly, it really is a very easy-to-use platform if you're new to website building. Weebly have made a great effort to ensure the platform (and especially their editor) are as user friendly as possible, which really does make it easier to build a great-looking site without any technical skills! If you feel like your technical skills are up to the challenge then WordPress is definitely worth trying out. Give it a test and see how you get on. Thanks for reading, - Tom
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.
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