Things to look as you vet hosts for ecommerce include drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software for safeguarding financial transactions, and email marketing plug-ins, so that you don't have to work with an outside vendor to promote your business. There's nothing wrong per se with using an unconnected marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on getting started selling online, you should consider our story on the 6 Factors Companies Need to Consider When Choosing a Web Host.
Templates provide a framework for your website — a coherent, attractive canvas for you to paint the content of your site onto. They’re how you can have a site that looks good without having to hire a designer. Templates dictate color scheme, what your homepage header and menu bar look like, and the content width on your site, so it’s essential to pick the right one.
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.
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Think about the number of pages your website will have. This is a good time to map out your site on a piece of paper so you know which pages you need and how people will get there. If you only need a few pages, a horizontal navigation bar across the top will look great. If you have more than that, you might consider a vertical navigation with dropdowns where you can put subcategories.
Start with a blank slate or choose from over 500 designer-made templates. With the world’s most innovative drag and drop website builder, you can customize anything you want. Create beautiful websites with video backgrounds, parallax, animation, and more—all without worrying about code. With the Wix Editor, you can design the most stunning websites, all on your own.
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
Hey Xylvia, The website builders that we suggested above aren't built specifically to stream videos for a price (sort of like Netflix). However, that's not to say it's not possible with a few simple workarounds. What you can do is set up a membership access only area (Wix and Weebly has this feature). You'll have to manually insert a payment button of some sort (such as using PayPal). Once your customer pays you, you can then email them links to pages that are "locked" behind the membership gateway, so they can access the videos. It's a bit manual and not as smooth as multi-billion dollar companies like Netflix, but it will work in concept. Alternatively, take a look at Sentry Login, which is a membership widget that works with Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. With Sentry, I think you can unlock a membership area once your customer pays. So it connects the payment system with the membership access system for you, which streamlines the process so you don't have to manually grant access to pages. Another thing you should consider is how big are the videos you want to upload. While you can upload pretty large movie / video files into the website builders, there are certain reasonable limits. For instance, if you're going to have 1,000 people viewing your HD movie that's 3 GB large all at the same time, that might be problematic. A workaround might be to get your own hosting solution for such large videos, then embed the videos into your membership only pages. It goes without saying that make sure you have distribution rights for the movies! But I'm not a lawyer, so best to consult proper advice in that regards! Jeremy
hello, I can't find an answer for this anywhere ...maybe I'm just asking a wrong question...but I just created a website.....and trying to figure out how to have DESKTOP SHORTCUT ICON of my OWN website that I just created....so when someone visits my site and decide to keep it on their desktop....I want them to have my own designed icon to their desktop of my own website. maybe you can help? thank you!
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?
Do it Yourself: There are a number of logo design software out there that will allow you to create your own logo. We recommend Tailor Brands if you want an easy way to create an appealing logo. Once you create your logo, you can subscribe and gain access to branding tools, including seasonal logos, branded social media posts, branding landing pages, and more. You can try it out for free, and if you find a design you like, you can download it for as little as $2.99. Click here to start designing your logo.
Start with a blank slate or choose from over 500 designer-made templates. With the world’s most innovative drag and drop website builder, you can customize anything you want. Create beautiful websites with video backgrounds, parallax, animation, and more—all without worrying about code. With the Wix Editor, you can design the most stunning websites, all on your own.

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.

These services can host your content on their servers free of charge, but in exchange for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less-than-elegant domain, such as jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. That might be fine for a personal blog, but it will look too low-rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for whatever it's selling.


The right choice of the website builder matters a lot, when it comes to effective project development. Whatever service you will eventually select, you should be aware of its major parameters, pros and cons, specific features. The choice of the service should also depend upon your web design needs and objectives. Here are the major aspects to consider, when looking for a decent web building tool:
If you don't have a design already in place and think templates are too limited, consider Adobe Muse CC. This unique little program concentrates on letting you design. Templates are handy, embeddable web fonts are great, and the sitemap view may be the best way to get an overall feel for what your site will have. Export it to HTML and you're ready for upload. It's part of the Creative Cloud bundle and also available individually for $14.99 a month with a yearly plan.
If you are right about to create a website, then the best way to do that quickly and at no cost is to use a website builder. These services cover a broad spectrum of web design needs and allow launching a decent project on your own. There is no need to deal with web design studios or hire web developers. Instead, you get an opportunity to save big, availing the top notch result, which will certainly exceed your expectations.
If you build a website that’s optimized for search engines, then yes it will. It’s a common myth that you can’t rank as well with website builders – you definitely can! How to create a website that ranks in Google will require good content, and a bit of background research into SEO. Building websites that people can find is key to a good website marketing strategy, and not that hard to do.
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
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.
Wow, lot of great information hear to help further the process of building a website. Websites can be challenge and time consuming, especially if you are teaching yourself as you go. If there are people out there looking for more guidance or looking for one to work with them in creating the graphic designs/ layouts to make a website professional and efficient in a timely matter. Please reply back! Thanks
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. Superb article, which I would also use to describe the other articles and reviews you have created for building a web site. I've understand that Shopify is your primary recommendation for an ECommerce site. I'd like to see the capability of various vendors availing of our site's services to post and sell their products. Can Shopify handle this as well? Thanks for helping a lot of people! Wishing you more success. JP

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


Keep in mind that when you change the style of an element, it will apply to all elements of that type. In other words, if you make one Horizontal Line Element orange, all of your Horizontal Line Elements will be orange. If you choose the font “Montserrat” for your paragraph text, all of your Text Elements will use that font. This helps keep everything consistent.
I am about to start building my own website for my new business and yesterday, I started doing some research. I’m absolutely thrilled to have found your website straight away because already, I have learned so much and had many of the questions that were going round in my head answered in an afternoon! I had been given different advice on whether to use WordPress or Weebly and now I know I can save myself an awful lot of time, money and effort by going for the simple option of Weebly.
These services can host your content on their servers free of charge, but in exchange for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less-than-elegant domain, such as jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. That might be fine for a personal blog, but it will look too low-rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for whatever it's selling.
This is a massive plus of website builders compared to web developers. A web developer can cost between $300 and $1,000 for template customization alone, and a fully customized website built from scratch will often amount to thousands. Making your own website using a builder, meanwhile, allows you to get a fully functioning website up and running for less than the price of a coffee.
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

I personally don’t think site builders will ever replace web designers/developers completely. Most site builders are targeted at small businesses and could never meet the demands required for larger businesses with all their complex requirements. I think Shopify plus is the only product trying to take on the larger CMS platforms right now (e.g. Magenta, Demandware) in the eCommerce space
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