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


The cost of making a website depends on a lot of different factors. If you decide to build your site with WordPress, you can get a new site for less than $50. For example, hosting a WP site with Bluehost will cost you only $2.95 per month, and that includes the registration of a custom domain! You will definitely need to invest a few bucks extra on a premium theme (which will probably be something in a range of $40-120), maybe a few premium plugins (on average, a plugin will cost you about $70), but that’s pretty much it.

Even if you don't sign up for those web hosts, you should look for services that offer similar features. You'll want a WYSIWYG editor that lets you adjust every page and add images, video, and social links. Plunking down a few extra bucks typically nets you robust ecommerce and search engine optimization (SEO) packages for improved Bing, Google, and Yahoo placement. Most advanced web hosting services include at least one domain name, free of charge, when you sign up.
Kevin, With website builders like Wix or Weebly, you can use them for free and there isn't a time limit. However, with the free plans, you won't be able to connect your own domain name to the website, and you will be limited to certain functions. But you can definitely publish a website. Further, all hosting services are provided by the website builders listed above. So you don't have to get your own hosting services. Jeremy
The free Wix version lets you build a good-looking website on a Wix-branded subdomain. With a free plan, you can use almost all functional features of Wix website builder. The plan is never-ending, which makes it possible for everyone not only to test the features of the service, but to create multiple types of websites with it to practice and improve your skills. Mind, however, that a free plan comes with the system ad banner, subdomain and some other limitations.
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
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
With so many options available today, it can be difficult to choose the best instruments for the job. Choosing the best platform upon which you build your site will be one of the most important decisions you make. This choice is critical because you’ll be tied to that platform for some time and it’s never easy (or possible) to move your website from one platform to another.
Most website builders limit you to choosing from one of the same boring templates already being used by hundreds, if not thousands of other websites. Then their idea of customization is allowing you to swap out text and align it left, center, and right. Those type of limitations don't give you the flexibility and control required to succeed online.

The prevailing amount of contemporary website builders offer two alternatives. The first one implies the use of the trial period, which lasts for a specified period of time and triggers the necessity to sign up for one of the paid plans after the end of the trial. The second alternative implies the use of a ‘freemium’ (free+premium) business model, which means that you can sign up and use a basic feature set for free.
Get advanced capabilities with all the design features of the Wix Editor. Build custom web applications and robust websites. It’s serverless, hassle-free coding. You can set up your own database collections, build content rich websites, add custom forms and change site behavior with our APIs. Plus, anything you create is SEO compatible. With our website builder, you can create anything you want.
You can make a website for free, but there are catches. Free accounts on website builders hold a lot of important features back. You can’t use custom domains, and your free site will have ads for that website builder. If you’re looking to learn more about website building then the free options are worth a look. However, if you want a professional, feature-rich website you’re going to have to pay at least a few dollars a month.
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
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.
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 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!
Our business website has been done in WordPress but have been told that it’s not hard to maintain since our ‘guy’ has already set everything up. I was originally going to try and do our website on my own using Weebly or Wix, but was scared off due to being told that unless I know how to set it up so that traffic is directed to our website, it wouldn’t be very effective. (?) Sorry, as you can tell I am NOT a technical person (and it’s 3 am) so I may not be explaining myself very well.
The free Wix version lets you build a good-looking website on a Wix-branded subdomain. With a free plan, you can use almost all functional features of Wix website builder. The plan is never-ending, which makes it possible for everyone not only to test the features of the service, but to create multiple types of websites with it to practice and improve your skills. Mind, however, that a free plan comes with the system ad banner, subdomain and some other limitations.
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

Beta testing. Launching your website is an exciting process and people eager to get it live as soon as possible. With all the excitement, often people ignore the testing step. It’s critical you test your website before it goes live. The testing process can seem overwhelming, and you are not sure where to start. We are here to tell you that it’s not that complicated, you just have to check the following points carefully:
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.
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

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 :)
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?
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?

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?
Very nice of you to give us this understandable and detailed description of how to make a website. To be honest I haven´t started yet but I do have one question before that: is there a time frame of how long the website (letś say build through wordpress) will exist? i have built some blogs previously which experied at one point, the domain simply did not exist anymore. I am looking to build a website which will develop throughout time, ideally lifetime. thanks!

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.
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