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.
Instead, using a CMS (content management system) is a good way to quickly create a professional-looking website without needing advanced coding knowledge. One popular example is WordPress, a free CMS. There are thousands of free and premium themes available for WordPress, or you could hire a designer and developer to customize or create a unique theme from scratch for you.
When you first start using Wix, you can either jump right into the design process or watch video tutorials, of which Wix has many. The setup wizard walks you through each step of the web design process, and the first step is to select a category, or area of business. There are templates for a huge variety of businesses, including fashion and beauty, health and wellness, and food service. It's not just the quantity of templates available that makes Wix a fantastic website-building solution, but also the quality of the designs. No matter what type of business you own, you will find a suitable template through Wix.
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
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.
But don’t let all the lingo and information scare you away. Start small and take toddler steps. Don’t worry if you can’t grasp every aspect of HTML. Read a little about it, do a tutorial, and then go for a walk in the park. Let it sink in slowly. You will not ‘get it’ in an hour. It takes time and a practice. Get dirty, play around and learn a little at a time. Start with a single web page, add a hyperlink, add an image, and make text bold. Tinker and keep learning.
But you’re right in that some of these drag and drop website builders don’t have export functions. The main reason is that once the websites leave their proprietary platform where they enable you to build websites without coding (drag & drop), then the drag and drop features won’t work anymore. It’s their proprietary software that enable users to use their own tools.
Let's face it, one of the things we like best about the web is looking at pictures. The site builders here all offer some degree of photo and gallery display. Some, like Squarespace and Wix, also offer loads of stock photography for you to use. Some let you touch up images with editing tools such as cropping, brightness, and in some cases even Instagram-like filters. Others, such as Simvoly and uKit offer no photo editing at all, aside from resizing and positioning.

Once you have an overview of your website plan/sitemap, you can drill down to the specifics of the content you need to create for a website launch. It will be important to create evergreen content (content that will not be changing much and will appear on the static pages) and also important to have fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis.
In December 2009 I was exactly like you. I had no idea. I used the computer to write emails and read the news - I had no idea how to create a website. I remember the feeling of information overload. All the new words, all the advice, all the tips, all the software, all the forums, blogs, websites, books. Like sitting down in the cockpit of a 747 jumbo jet and asked to fly.
The most important thing to keep in mind in choosing graphic designers is to work with professionals who understand the unique requirements of the web. The technical limitations and opportunities of web pages are foreign to graphic designers trained in other media. File size requirements, color limitations, and screen resolutions are much different from those in print. Even if you have an in-house graphics department, you may want to hire a Web-savvy graphic designer to educate your staff about the demands of online design.
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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Once you have an overview of your website plan/sitemap, you can drill down to the specifics of the content you need to create for a website launch. It will be important to create evergreen content (content that will not be changing much and will appear on the static pages) and also important to have fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis.
By the way, I was going to click like on your facebook link, but it’s flickering and was too much trouble, so I didn’t get too. You might want to fix that. I’m sure there are others who appreciate your articles and want to support you with Social Love. It looks like when the link image expands, it runs out of space, then drops to the next line, then bounces back up in an endless loop. I would either open up and keep it open to remove the animated feature, or move it to a different part of your page where it’s not competing for horizontal space with other elements.

CSS has only one drawback - a steep learning curve. It is not instantly intuitive. You need to study it and understand it and only then it will ‘click’. You cannot get on a bike and ride, you need to learn to ride a bike. You do not just start drinking beer when you turn 21 - you need to learn to appreciate the taste. CSS takes time to learn and appreciate.


I went to Berkeley during the first dot com bubble. Most of my friends who were graduates of the computer science department got their degrees without ever learning how to build a web site. Of course the tools weren’t nearly as sophisticated as they are today. But it’s amusing that people who graduated from one of the best computer science departments in the world couldn’t build a basic web site.
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.
Trying to create a website for their own business, Simbla's founders recognized, over the years, a lack of excellent, simple tools available on the market. Therefore, in 2013 Simbla was founded, for the purpose of providing a smart and easy website building solution for all kinds of business. Simbla's founders have more than 15 years of experience with web-based platforms and website building. We are helping SMB's to create a web presence and to evolve easily into a highly competitive market.
Once you have an overview of your website plan/sitemap, you can drill down to the specifics of the content you need to create for a website launch. It will be important to create evergreen content (content that will not be changing much and will appear on the static pages) and also important to have fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis.
Hey Jeremy, Awesome article. I especially like the flow and the logical approach that you took to educate people. This is the article I point clients to, to get them up to speed before starting projects. I think it's important for them to know how their products work. While they aren't making their own sites, it definitely still fits the bill. Also, I'm curious as to what you think about WooCommerce these days. I didn't seem them on the list in the other article you wrote "Best Ecommerce Software". Anyways, I've been sending my clients here for a while now and just want to give you a shout out at a job well done! If you are able to send me an email, I do have a question I'd like to ask if you have the time.
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
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.
Establishing a business plan and marketing strategy may be a lot of hard and daunting work in the beginning, both will guide you in setting up your website. Because this is an increasingly popular, and growing, field, there are more than enough online marketing strategies to help you. You can review these strategies to help determine what does and doesn’t work. Just keep in mind that there may be some areas, such as SEO and PPC, that may require outside help.
WordPress (either version) is a blog-focused content management system that accepts plug-ins and themes that extend its capabilities to most of what the other products here offer, including commerce. In fact, WordPress.com uses plug-ins such as JetPack to provide many of its features. As a whole, WordPress (either .com or .org) is not as easy to use as the other options in this roundup, but if blogging and site transferability are of key importance and you don't mind digging into its weeds a bit, you should consider the platform. Furthermore, the ability to use WordPress is a valuable skill, as some estimates say that WordPress powers 30 percent of the internet.
Establishing a business plan and marketing strategy may be a lot of hard and daunting work in the beginning, both will guide you in setting up your website. Because this is an increasingly popular, and growing, field, there are more than enough online marketing strategies to help you. You can review these strategies to help determine what does and doesn’t work. Just keep in mind that there may be some areas, such as SEO and PPC, that may require outside help.
Responsive design is a popular web design strategy used by some of these site builders. This approach reformats the same webpage content to fit different screens. But in terms of SEO (search engine optimization), the search engines only care about whether a site displays suitably on mobile screen sizes. Both Bing and Google have pages where you can enter your URL to see if your site plays on mobile acceptably.
You can take photos on your own or find stock photography websites that sell professional photos at a reasonable price. Some websites charge a fee for their images, and other provide them for free. If you decide to use images found online, make sure they are from royalty-free sources. Many images have copyrights and you need permission to use them on your website.
I have a website that I built several years ago using Microsoft FrontPage. My hosting service has recently done some upgrading and will no longer allow me to access my site using FrontPage due to security issues with the obsolete software. Will any of these programs allow me to import my existing site and update/republish it without having to re-build it from scratch? If not, would you have any suggestions for alternatives?
When you first start using Wix, you can either jump right into the design process or watch video tutorials, of which Wix has many. The setup wizard walks you through each step of the web design process, and the first step is to select a category, or area of business. There are templates for a huge variety of businesses, including fashion and beauty, health and wellness, and food service. It's not just the quantity of templates available that makes Wix a fantastic website-building solution, but also the quality of the designs. No matter what type of business you own, you will find a suitable template through Wix.

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?
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
Starting with Wix's ADI (artificial design intelligence) tool, several of the site builders now offer a tool that lets you enter social accounts and other personal or business info, and presto bingo, they get you a no-work website. Jimdo and Simvoly now offer similar if somewhat less ambitious tools. Wix's ADI even impressed a professional designer acquaintance of ours with results we saw in testing, mostly using images and information it scraped from her LinkedIn account.
Starting with Wix's ADI (artificial design intelligence) tool, several of the site builders now offer a tool that lets you enter social accounts and other personal or business info, and presto bingo, they get you a no-work website. Jimdo and Simvoly now offer similar if somewhat less ambitious tools. Wix's ADI even impressed a professional designer acquaintance of ours with results we saw in testing, mostly using images and information it scraped from her LinkedIn account.
I went to Berkeley during the first dot com bubble. Most of my friends who were graduates of the computer science department got their degrees without ever learning how to build a web site. Of course the tools weren’t nearly as sophisticated as they are today. But it’s amusing that people who graduated from one of the best computer science departments in the world couldn’t build a basic web site.
Hi Edith, thank you for commenting and updating us with your story. Website creation might sound difficult to some people, but come to think of it, it is really easy as pie. I know kids and elderly alike that have learned to use a website building software so quickly that it is just amazing. Producing multiple sites is than easy, even taking it a step further and starting services to build stores and web sites for others! Thank you for sharing Edith, Good Luck with all!
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Many of the top website builders support free trial options for potential customers. Some even allow a site to remain free, though with limited function and heavy branding. So, if you aren’t sure which platform is right for you, then consider starting trials with more than one. This allows you to experience the website builders simultaneously and can make a direct comparison easier. Then, as you find that certain website builders don’t meet your needs, simply remove them from contention.
Starting with Wix's ADI (artificial design intelligence) tool, several of the site builders now offer a tool that lets you enter social accounts and other personal or business info, and presto bingo, they get you a no-work website. Jimdo and Simvoly now offer similar if somewhat less ambitious tools. Wix's ADI even impressed a professional designer acquaintance of ours with results we saw in testing, mostly using images and information it scraped from her LinkedIn account.
If the .COM version of your business name is available, consider using this for your website. Otherwise, try different phrases before settling for an alternate suffix, like .NET or .INFO. Consumers overwhelmingly use .COM when entering a web address. So even if you promote your .NET website, you could lose customers who typed in the .COM version instead.
Once you have an overview of your website plan/sitemap, you can drill down to the specifics of the content you need to create for a website launch. It will be important to create evergreen content (content that will not be changing much and will appear on the static pages) and also important to have fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis.
Another advantage of CSS (of separating the content from the layout and look) is that it is easier to make changes in the future. Without CSS, coming back from a 3 month vacation can be a nightmare. Navigating through content mixed together with layout HTML can be more vexing then deciphering hieroglyphics, more tangled then last years Christmas tree lights. But with CSS, content is separated from layout, it is much easier to make changes to your website even if your cruise vacation is unexpectedly extended a couple years due to Somali pirates.
Spend as much time as you can surfing the Web at this stage. Take a close look at the websites you visit and collect several examples of designs you like or don’t like, along with a note about why. Some sites credit the design company and link to its website so you see what other work they’ve done. Saving examples will also help you to effectively communicate your taste and expectations if you decide to hire a designer or developer.
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(Note: The free SSL certificate can sometimes take up to 24 hours to activate on your account after you purchase hosting. If Really Simple SSL doesn’t work at first, please try waiting 24 hours and then activating it again. In this case, you can still safely create new pages and add text in the mean time – I’d just advise you to wait on uploading any images until Really Simple SSL is active.)
Hi there Shannin, What you're looking to create is a bit too advanced for the website builders we suggested above. You'll probably need a more specialized website builder (perhaps search for a "marketplace website builder"?) or have one custom built for you. If you decide on the latter, take a look at our guide on how to hire a website developer. Jeremy
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