Getting your message out these days requires good helpings of Facebook and Twitter, with maybe a dash of Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr. But that's not enough: if you want an internet presence that truly represents you or your organization, you also need a website that sets you apart from the crowd. A real website, as opposed to a social media page, gives you complete control over design and content. This lends credibility to your business, organization, or personal brand. Facebook pages all look alike in terms of design, but on your own website, you can realize a brand image, offer products for sale, and integrate third-party web services.
A CMS is way more than just a means to an end, you can install a theme which is a modified template to suit the specific niche and purpose of your site. With the template added, you can customize the appearance of your site. You can add plugins to add functionality to your site, for example, a social sharing plugin to help spread the word about your site via social networks.

Unlike WordPress, Drupal is not too well suited for the technically inept or a first time website developer. Drupal is an open source CMS and is largely utilized by big corporations with vast websites and high traffic loads. It has its own customization possibilities with themes and plugins created to add value to Drupal sites. Drupal websites are a bit faster and little less taxing on the host’s server resources.

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.

If you prefer a more traditional URL, you'll need to purchase one from the likes of GoDaddy or Namecheap. Domain name pricing can range from extremely cheap to extremely expensive, depending on whether or not domain squatters are looking to flip a valuable piece of online real estate. You'll want to get something short but evocative and catchy, and depending on what you do, you may find that many of your first choices are taken by either other legit domains, or by squatters who've scooped up the names as an investment. For more, please read How to Register a Domain Name.

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.


Hi Michel, Yes, website design matters, but it's not all that matters. Your website design is your first impression to someone new to your business. We are visual beings, and it is good practice to leverage on that. But of course, website design is just one of the numerous things you should consider. I visited your site and I have a suggestion, what if you add a screenshot for each template category? Like a portfolio type of layout. Your home page is mostly text, and your layout makes...
Hi there and thank you wor this fantastic WP resource. So much useful information. I have a question, though, I am not finding an answer anywhere but I’m sure you’d be able to point me in the right direction. I have a webpage that I had built with weebly time ago but I finally have time and wish to turn it into a more professional site and blog. I want to move to WP.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have the skills or time to build your site, or you don’t want (or need) to pay for a completely customized design from a pro website developer, then a good website builder is a perfect way to get a professional looking website up and running with minimal time.  For those just wanting a blog, I recommend using WordPress, which I show you how to do in my guide on how to create a blog using WordPress, but for a full website the top-ranked options on this page are all good choices.
If you are building a business related website, and have a smaller budget, using builders such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, SITE123 or Jimdo can definitely help you maintain financial discipline, and also allow you to create and update your own website in a very short period of time – no need to call / email your website developer and wait for small updates as you can now make them yourself. Additionally, with the time you save, you can focus on other more important aspects of running your business.
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