A common word you’ll hear in relation to website builders is “theme.” This is an all-encompassing word that describes the look and feel of your website, from the fonts and background colors to the navigation menu and overall layout. Most website builders offer at least a handful of free themes, or templates, to help you get started with designing your website. As you move up the pricing plan chart to more expensive plans, you’ll get access to hundreds of themes and premium themes.
The templates are ad-free zip file downloads that include all source code and files used for the build. Once downloaded, users edit the html pages and images on their local computer hard drive using any html, wysiwyg or plain text editing software, then "publish", or upload the files to their web hosting account using FTP software (many free HTML editors and FTP programs are available). This type of website allows for more flexibility and control than traditional website builder programs offer, particularly if you're doing comprehensive SEO or are planning a large website project.
It’s not all good news with a free site, however. When it comes to publishing it, you’ll likely have to put up with adverts from your website builder of choice along the side, which won’t make your site look as professional. You’ll also be missing out on some really useful features which could make your website better for your users, help make you more money, or give you more exposure.
The best way to begin your search is to sort the themes by category. If you are opening an eCommerce store (using Bigcommerce for example), there is no reason to browse through blog-optimized themes. Most online website creation services use categories like portfolios, online shops, and blogs to differentiate their templates. Some go even further by creating more specific categories like sites designed to showcase bakeries or sell sunglasses.
I hear your pain. I know creating a website can be daunting, especially to someone who has never ventured into the online world, but let me assure you that it is really quite simple. If you don’t want to head down the road of building your own self hosted WordPress site, then I would suggest signing up to WordPress.com. This is the free version of WordPress where you can get your site up and running in no time and with no costs whatsoever. Sounds like you just need a no frills, no bells, no whistles type of website. If that’s the case then WordPress.com could be the option for you.
More-advanced options found in some builders let you process credit card payments and add your own cart and checkout pages. The more-powerful site builders include product promotions, email marketing, and inventory and shipping tools. Some let you sell digital downloads, while others don't; see the table above to find out which do. Only a couple of these builders let you put ads on your site, though most of them allow some degree of custom HTML code insertion.
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.
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.
There’s a huge library of goodies for you to use at Envato Elements, which range from ready to use stock images for your blog posts (250,000+ fully licensed stock photos), web templates, fonts, backgrounds and much much more. Elements like these can save you so much time and are all ready for you to use for a single monthly subscription by signing up to Envato Elements.
With AGI's on-demand training you can learn Web Design skills at your own pace and at the location of your choice. You can learn Web Design skills including HTML from home, your office, or anywhere you have a broadband internet connection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The video tutorials were recorded by the author of the Web Design with HTML Digital Classroom books and will get you up-and-running with HTML and CSS quickly. This HTML video training series is available at DigitalClassroom.com and provide access to video training for HTML along with related tools and technologies such as CSS, HTML5, and Dreamweaver. Get started learning Web Design skills right away at DigitalClassroom.com
Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
How is 7.5 okay? I think that it’s a great score, especially when you take into consideration that it’s an averaged score of several hundred people’s opinion… Shopify and BigCommerce (I don’t agree that they should have the same score) are very good builders. Yes, they are only for stores, and there are different free website creators that might take their place due to them being free, but they do their job very well. It’s better to be a master at a trade, unlike the other builders – jack of all trades, master of none.
The platform has a relatively steep learning curve, which isn’t surprising given its long-term capabilities and sheer level of customization, the latter of which will likely require you to invest some time learning its various functions. Nonetheless, WordPress excels when it comes to ready-made themes, mobile-optimized templates, and widgets that allow you to include everything from comments to images. WordPress will also give you traffic information, which can help you cater your website to your audience, as well as 3GB of storage space and unlimited bandwidth.
Wix – is the best free website builder based on software as a service principles. The system equally comes up to the needs of newbies and web design pros and allows creating different types of websites for personal and business use. Websites created with Wix look visually appealing and optimized for mobile devices. They are functional and can be customized with regard to your needs due to the rich feature set and options the system provides. The most crucial of them include:
Hello Christopher, Users can save your website to their desktop by going into their internet browser (e.g. Chrome), navigating to settings and then manually creating a desktop icon that they can use. This process typically uses the website 'Favicon' as the default image for the desktop icon. Your favicon is the small image that appears in the tab next to your web page title at the top of a browser. For example, Wix's is a small version of the Wix logo, Gmail has a red and white envelope, while our site has a tiny WBE logo in a navy circle. You may need to do some research into how you can change your website's favicon, but if you do then this is how you can have a degree of control over how the desktop icon looks. I hgope that makes sense? - Tom
My name is Steve Benjamins and I’ve designed and coded websites for the last 20 years (since I was 10 years old). My websites have been featured in Wired, The Next Web, Smashing Magazine, The Huffington Post and Forbes. I am the sole developer, designer and reviewer at Site Builder Report— you can read more about my story in my interview with IndieHackers.
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.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's S... See Full Bio
I've used Wix & Weebly for my work and both the platforms are perfectly awesome to create a good website. To manage my work I've used calendar templates to schedule my activities in a much better way. It is recommeded to use a Weebly and visit getcalendartemplates.com to download free calendars, they provides free calendars in PDF, Excel, and Word format.
The Webmaster - HTML and CSS Course is a beginner’s course, designed for students who are interested in starting a career as a Web Designer or who simply want to build their own personal or a company / organisational website. The course is designed as a thorough introduction to the HTML and CSS web development tools, and shows our students how to build a high-impact landing page with a stunning photo gallery, optimised for the popular search engine search algorithms and responsive to the browser screen size. During the course, our students will also build a contact page and their own store front, using some compelling animation, transition, and transformation techniques to attract their visitors. On successful completion of the course, students will receive the Distance Learning Centre Webmaster Diploma with feedback and analysis of your completed work, as well as an Open Awards Quality Endorsed Unit Course Certificate.
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?
With any of the web building options listed above on this page, visitors to your website from mobile devices should be an important consideration. You'll want to have a website that either is a responsive web design (RWD), or you'll want to add a separate section and/or dedicated mobile version website on your site that allows for smartphone viewability. Mobile users comprise over half of all web users, so you will want to be compliant for desktop computers, tablets & surface as well as smartphones in your design. If you do decide to go with one of the web builder programs, be sure to ask about mobile or any other question up front before you commit.
The software uses a layer based editing functionality which gives the user the ability to create images, apply filters to different layers and aspects of the image, add masks and filters, shadows and so much more. You can adjust absolutely any aspect of an image, illustration or graphic. For example, you could adjust saturation of colors, colors, blurs, contrast, tone, sharpness….the list is endless.
Hi Ben, Thanks so much for the great feedback, so glad you enjoyed reading the article! Please do share it on if you think your friends will find it useful too. It's true Wix isn't for everybody, but it did do extremely well in our research (which is why it's our best all-round website builder)! WordPress is another great option and I'm glad you're happy with them - Bluehost is certainly a great choice of provider for your WordPress site! If you were looking at changing or setting up another site why not check out our comparison chart or our article on the best Wix alternatives? I've included the links in case you find them interesting. Thanks for reading, Lucy