You can sell products and services on your website if you have the Online Store plan. You’ll have an online store that will allow you to add products and services, set up different types of payment methods, and even specific types of shipping. Your store will be integrated into your website as a page. You can add featured products for your visitors to scroll through, make quick purchases using PayPal and Apple Pay and promote your store/products through coupons. You can also use the same type of email marketing that is included in the Business Plus plan to send email communications to your subscribers and customers about sales in your store, coupon offers and events. Establishing a strong online commerce can boost your current sales, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store.

I would like to launch an online platform where people can leave reviews. Think of Yelp. In the future I’d like my users to be able to upload data as well. You can imagine this will be a complex platform long-term. Do you recommend to start with an online website builder like WordPress, Wix, etc or to have actual developers start from scratch? Looking forward to your response! Thanks!
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!
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
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
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
Thank you so much – your evaluations will save my artist group members so much time and frustration. Wix and Weebly were my short list too. I recommended Weebly to them last year, as most members are not tech-literate and Weebly seemed the least frustrating for a first timer. Also, fewer and simpler templates were a plus in this case, rather than a problem. I will have another look at Wix now to see if the issues I had in my test site have been fixed. I agree with your comment on the Weebly statistics (e.g. it counted my edit tweeks as hits) and the constant upsell ads. As noted here by others, Weebly’s support by phone or online chat are excellent. I will have another look at Wix now and see if that might work better for us now that more members have some online experience. Thank you again for your excellent and well-written research.
Hiring a developer can be more costly than the above options, however setting up a website yourself can take vast amounts of time, particularly for first time webmasters. A professional designer is trained in website building and will make more effective use of the time required to build the site. Your time may be better spent on improving other aspects of your business.
Thank you, I found this article pretty informative, nicely laid out and an enjoyable/easy read. I do have a question about the programs. I am looking for a program that I can run on my laptop to log into my company’s website and make little data changes on the small end. On the big end just copy a page template and input new information. It looks like some of these software programs are for installing on the web server and not for use on the personal computer. The last program I used for web design was FrontPage about 15 years ago. Any suggestions on the best program for these needs? Joomla was recommended, but you didn’t reference it at all.
If you're trying to get your website found by customers, one way to help do that is to make sure that your pages are first well-written so the customers want to come to them, but then secondly to make sure you're not doing anything that will make it difficult for search engine spiders to find and index your site. This is called search engine optimization or SEO.
If you want to create a site for free without getting hobbled by a lack of features, give Jimdo a try. All of its plans offer everything you need to create a professional-looking HTML5-powered website, including templates, photo galleries, Google Maps integration, plenty of storage and unlimited bandwidth, and it's easy to put everything together. Step up to one of its paid services from $5/month and you'll get your own domain, an online store, SEO, widgets and stats.
Wix is our favorite website builder and scores highly across the board in our testing. It’s super fast to get started with Wix, and brilliantly simple to create a website using one of its top class templates. Its streamlined artificial design intelligence system (ADI) can also create the shell of a website that’s specifically tailored to your needs.
Your online presence plays a vital role in your business reputation. When prospective customers arrive at your website, you have around 3-5 seconds to make a good first impression and inform them of the value of your business. A well designed, engaging website is a huge factor as your clients evaluate whether or not you are credible and if they should patronize your services with their hard-earned money.
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
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

Weebly is one of the pioneers in creating HTML5 based websites and templates. It's an entirely online website builder with lots of goodies for designers. Its designs are immaculate and its features are mind-blowing. Every template and website design created using Weebly is compatible with mobile devices and works smoothly on all major platforms. You can create websites with Weebly using either your own domain name or a Weebly subdomain.
The Webmaster - JavaScript Web Design Course is designed to introduce students with a working knowledge of Web Design to the fundamentals of JavaScript (an object-based, event-driven Web programming language), which tightly integrates with HTML. Students will learn the fundamentals of JavaScript through a series of interesting assignments and as the course progresses, the student's skills are honed via the development of a number of dynamic, interactive games such as the Minefield and Connect4 games, which are both challenging to build and addictive to play. The final assignment consists of the development of a technically demanding ‘Owzat cricket game, where the extensive JavaScript and jQuery skills learned during the course, are brought together to create a stunning application, which you will be rightly proud of.
Using a website builder program is tempting, all TV ads point to *easy*, but in reality, if you want a professional looking website it will involve work, whether you use a proprietary site builder, an HTML downloaded template, Wordpress, or a professional web developer. If you're looking for a professional looking design that allows for comprehensive SEO and the ability to integrate any type of application into your websites, then using downloadable templates is the best solution. Web builders are very popular, but creating the exact website look and feel you want for your business can be a more involved and cumbersome affair than learning instead about HTML and CSS code and how real websites work. Builders are really a shortcut to creating a website. Do you want to be as big as Apple, Adobe, Microsoft or even Mrs. Fields? Do they use proprietary site builders?
This is a course for beginners that uses a series of interactive story-based tutorials to teach the viewer a little about web design. It teaches the viewer about web design in general, which includes lessons on JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Take note of how simple concepts are used to make websites that look aesthetically pleasing. It is not going to suit people that want an eCommerce website, but may suit those that want their new website to stand out a little without having to pay a top professional to do it for them. It is only a lightweight course that doesnít go too deep into the subject of programming and design. It gives just enough to teach you how to make a good looking website.
Hi Mike, Interactive map building is something I have very little experience with - I haven't ventured much beyond embedding google maps in iframes such as yourself. I would suggest browsing the app market and 3rd party plugins available on builders like Wix and Weebly, who both offer a huge amount of additional features. It would surprise me if there wasn't a plugin that could help get you on your way. Similarly, you can also find membership area functionality through these app markets. I believe Wix also offers the ability to add member areas and logins though its editor too. Hope that points you in the right direction, - Tom
If you're a more adventurous webmaster you can create your webpages from scratch. Webpages are simply plain text files you can edit using software included with your computer like Notepad on Windows and TextEdit on Mac. There are many thousands of HTML web building sites available with copy and paste code samples and tutorials for creating webpages. Many include downloads of basic web templates you can use as a starting point. This is a good learning experience, however it can take considerable time to learn how HTML, CSS, Javascript and jQuery (a library of Javascript functions) work together for website building.

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.

Then there are a few providers who offer only dated or unattractive layouts on their free plans, and keep the good designs for their paid plans. Also, free web page builders will restrict the number of pages you can build and keep their most advanced features for paying customers. Webstarts, for example, even blocks your visitors from seeing a mobile-optimized view when accessing the site via a smartphone.
Google recently revamped their website builder Google Sites. Now it’s a cleaner, more modern looking affair. After playing around with it for a few minutes, you will notice two things: 1) that it’s super easy to use; 2) that there are hardly any features: you can choose from six templates that all look pretty bare when you start building as there is no sample content at all. It seems to be possible to connect a domain name via Google MyBusiness, but then you have to be a business with a physical address.
We believe anything is possible with the right website builder. Whether you're about to create a website for the first time or you're a long time pro, we've got you covered. You have two ways to start: Get a free website designed for you with Wix Artificial Design Intelligence or get total design freedom with the Wix Editor. You can always add advanced functionality to your website with Wix Code. It’s time to get your professional website.
USA mobile devices accounted for 55% of internet usage (January 2014). This trend is clear- a mobile site is a must for every forward looking business. Simbla gives you the opportunity to reach new customers- Enhance your business performances with your mobile site. Track and maintain existing customer relationship with mobile interactivity. Build your website with our responsive web design software. 

A trustworthy website builder should be easy-to-use for everyone, be it a beginner with zero web design expertise and skills or a proficient web developer with years of niche experience. It should also provide a decent selection of ready-made (preferably, responsive or mobile-ready) templates and a set of tools needed to customize them. A website builder should ensure intuitive web building process. It should also be SEO-friendly and affordable for everyone to let users get the most out of its application.


Wix covers the broad spectrum of web design needs, irrespective of the expertise level you have. Even though, the website builder has a free plan that never expires, it still makes sense to upgrade to the paid subscription to get the most out of the system features. The minimum paid plan will cost you $4.50/mo, while the rest of the plans are also quite affordable for everyone.
Find out how to use Adobe Edge Animate, a new, intuitive design tool from Adobe. Discover how to create animated Web content using JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 in this Adobe Edge Animate training class, You'll also find out how to produce compositions that work smoothly on both desktop and mobile devices, including iOS and Android. Your Adobe-Certified Instructors at AGI will provide a detailed training manual as part of this Edge course.
Thanks for a great review! My only “con” would be that you didn’t included customer service. But I understand the work it would have involved. I LOVE WIX. I have been with them since they started. But their customer service stinks. I don’t like having to search through a database of questions other users have submitted to find an answer to my problem. They make it hard to find a phone number. Otherwise, besides a few technical beefs I have, it is a great option.
Creating a website is like making a coffee now. With the help of awesome online website building sites like wix, it is very convenient to just drag and drop elements...and create a basic site within hours. For a bloggers, wordpress is the best option, but they have to learn a bit about wordpress first. After creating website, especially a blogging one, there are some necessaries like a good hosting like godaddy.com, social share plugin (I recommend social share plugins by social9.com), cdn service for protection against attracts (cloudflare.com).
Responsive Web Design (RWD), which supports the development of websites that can be consistently viewed on a variety of devices from PCs to smartphones, is the modern standard for experienced web designers, and our Webmaster Responsive Web Design & JavaScript Bundle of courses will teach you how to design and build fully-responsive, visually-stunning web pages. This bundle is part of our best-selling Webmaster trilogy of website design courses and consists of the Responsive Web Design course, featuring the latest HTML5 and CSS3 technology, and the JavaScript Programming course, and is available at the discounted price of £350.00 – a saving of £100.00 over purchasing the courses separately.
Free and open source, Silex can be used entirely within the browser and works with you, whatever your skill level. There's a friendly WYSWIG editor drang and drop interface that you can use to put everything together, with all your changes visible immediately, and if you're comfortable with CSS and JavaScript, then you'll find integrated editors that enable you to get down and dirty with code in order to add styles and interactivity to your elements.
Hey Ben, thank you for all the information. I think web site builders in general are a great tool for novice computer users such as myself. I started my own website and it took me only a few hours to do so! I know I might sound childish, but this is unheard of for me. I used the Wix website builder software which was free of charge, and I am contemplating upgrading to the 2nd plan in order to remove the banner ads.
You may need a Google Account in order to use some of our Services. You may create your own Google Account, or your Google Account may be assigned to you by an administrator, such as your employer or educational institution. If you are using a Google Account assigned to you by an administrator, different or additional terms may apply and your administrator may be able to access or disable your account.
I’ve always been curious about building my own website for personal use. I see commercials and banners saying how “THEY” are ‘free’ or ‘are easy to use’ or ‘best web builder around’, etc, etc. Not knowing who to believe, I, like many others, used the best resource that money can buy… i Googled! Your site was one of the links that I decided to explore and was impressed off the back. I liked your unbiased thoughts and personal 10+ experience in the field so you know what you’re talking about. So thank you for making our research, any potential pitfalls, future headache, possible regrets that we could’ve suffered by making the the selfless sacrifice by exploring these website building companies for the masses.

"I thinks the world of Web development is becoming easier and easier but it's also making it harder for guys like me to find work because so many people want to use out-of-the-box responsive layout sites that are easy to implement and launch. I personally would much rather make a site from scratch than use a template. The app is quite cool though as it provides a drag and drop interface that can create decent looking and original websites that has a mobile website design as well."
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.

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 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?

Thank you so much – your evaluations will save my artist group members so much time and frustration. Wix and Weebly were my short list too. I recommended Weebly to them last year, as most members are not tech-literate and Weebly seemed the least frustrating for a first timer. Also, fewer and simpler templates were a plus in this case, rather than a problem. I will have another look at Wix now to see if the issues I had in my test site have been fixed. I agree with your comment on the Weebly statistics (e.g. it counted my edit tweeks as hits) and the constant upsell ads. As noted here by others, Weebly’s support by phone or online chat are excellent. I will have another look at Wix now and see if that might work better for us now that more members have some online experience. Thank you again for your excellent and well-written research.
Hi Billy, Great to hear you found the article so helpful! There's no reason at all why you can't use a website builder to create a website for yourself, even a blog style site. I'd recommend having a look at our website builder comparison chart as this is a good jumping off point and will give you some ideas of where to start. Off the top of my head, I know that Wix launched a new version of their blogging tool, which is really easy to use and can be integrated as part of a wider site (thankfully Wix is also super easy to use so it's great for newcomers to web design like yourself!) Hope that helps, - Tom
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