As website builders become more sophisticated, they are also becoming more user-friendly. Often, one of the biggest fears a person has about investing in a website builder is not knowing how to create a website. Luckily, many of the top offerings in the category are simple to use. Some companies even offer included tutorials and step-by-step instructions to complete certain tasks.
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?

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.
openElement is a free website building application with a WYSIWYG interface ("What You See Is What You Get"). The software automatically generates the necessary code for a website to display and function correctly, without the creative constraints imposed by other tools. The benefit to users is a simpler approach for beginners and a faster approach to repetitive tasks for professionals. The concepts of "elements" and "packs" allow users to insert, modify, and customize commonly used web objects by simply dragging & dropping them onto pages - without writing any code. That said, users are not confined by the built-in elements: you can create, reuse, and share your own custom elements. openElement is a hybrid between a CMS and a standalone app. It really stands apart from other applications of its type. It works through an internal intermediary format that facilitates content updates, and maintains the structure and consistency of the resulting code. openElement provides you with all the tools you'll need for your projects' success.
Just as you can get a logo designed by 99Designs.com, you can also have your full website designed through this site. The concept is the same: you submit a brief on what you are looking for and get back anywhere from 20 to 60 designs. You only pay for the design you choose, and the price ranges from $599 to $1,599, depending on which package you go with. We used 99designs here at FitSmallBusiness.com for our own website – so if you want to see an example of a 99designs website, you’re looking at one!
Great article! Having trawled the internet and read quite a few websites on how to build a website, I can honestly say this is the most comprehensive and easy to understand - to a complete novice! Your step-by-step guide is thorough and very informative and has given me the confidence to go ahead and try to set up my own business website ... A big THANK YOU!
As a new up and coming web designer what is your opinion on the best software to use where I will be able design websites effectively and then pass it onto a client. My preference was to use Adobe Muse to allow for a freedom of design. However lots of people suggest WordPress and Dreamweaver both of which are not favourites of mine as WordPress is not as creatively flexible and Dreamweaver and coding is a struggle for myself. What is your opinion on Muse and is it a software that is suitable for this kind of work as a web designer where I will be giving the client the reigns of the website once I have completed it?
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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

Because today, after 4years and half of development, well, I can code in C/C++ (advanced programs), .NET (WPF, UWP, Xamarin), Java (Softwares, Android), Go (API, WS) but I never did any website or webapp, so I would like to get into it. I feel like today it’s an important part so why not. But yeah, I feel like WordPress is high-level and I’m more a low-level dev, so what would be the best way to start or just the best approach overall?
Weebly is a great software. The high rating says that other people are also satisfied with it which is always nice. I have a free account there and I like creating websites with it. I’m still considering upgrading to a premium package. However, I’m still not sure how I’ll create my site – I might use a blank template. About WordPress and other CMS options, I think that browsing through the hundreds, upon thousands of available themes could is very time consuming, and results in failure of finding the right theme for a certain subject, which leads to confusion. Getting started with a service just makes you take action, it surely helped me.
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.
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Modern website are more complex than websites in the past. They aren't just HTML, CSS and Javascript being passed from a server. Those assets are optimized, cached and accessed through special content delivery networks (among other things) to ensure performance. The reality of disentangling all of this from the website builder and moving into a third party host is that it's messy and would require a level of technical competence that most users of website builders don't have.


Although people tend to find your site through a branded search in Google, it’s still important to make your domain easy to spell/type out. If it requires a lot of effort to type correctly, due to trying to spell it, the length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve probably kissed goodbye to a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
Maintenance on a large site can easily be a full-time job, so build the costs of continuing maintenance into your budget. If you're working with a web developer who is helping with aspects of your project, the company may offer a maintenance agreement as part of the contract. Ask about this at the beginning of the project. Working with the same people throughout ensures consistency; a new person or company won't have the same working knowledge of your site.

Duda's selection of features is thoughtful and solidly business focused. If you already have a business website (or Facebook page), you can take advantage of the free preview option and see what your site will look like with Duda's mobile design. If you don't have a business website, you can build a mobile site from scratch using a simple drag-and-drop interface that doesn't require any coding.
Hi Jeremy! Thank you so much for posting this! I found this to be very helpful!! So I do have a few questions though... First off, I am wanting to build a website that advertises a service I offer, displays images in two separate galleries, can be involved with a separate calander that can be accessed from my phone and be up to date on available times to schedule an appointment, and, most importantly, can have a payment option to prepay for my service to secure a time slot with a possible escrow type function to be able to add payments onto the set appointments. Does this make any sense? If it does, does this sound possible? Which website builder would you recommend to have access to these functions? I am just starting out so cost is also a factor, although I am willing to pay a reasonable amount of money to get this set up and to maintain it. Thank you in advance!!
Hey Grant, Glad you're finding our discussions helpful! GoDaddy is a pretty good website builder and we've discussed it in more details here. In general, while using website builders with hosts does give you access to a broader range of services, at times, their support teams may not be the best in terms of answering very specific website builder related questions. For instance, Weebly offers really good website building services, and you can reach them by going to Weebly.com. You can also use Weebly through hosts such as Bluehost. Both will work and enable you to build your website, but when it comes to support, if you are using Weebly through Weebly.com directly, you get Weebly's direct customer / technical support team. If you reach out for help through Bluehost, you get Bluehost's support team. We have a much deeper discussion about this specific scenario here. While some of the website builders don't provide you with email accounts, you can also easily sign up for Google Business App's email services for a few dollars a month. This way, you can take advantage of having your own custom domain email addresses, a familiar Gmail interface, and also that your email is stored on Google's servers which is probably a lot safer / reliable / accessible. - Jeremy
If you’ve never built a website before and you have no coding or design experience, this is the place to start. In this project, we learn how to build a modern portfolio website for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. We start with basic HTML and CSS syntax. Next, we learn how to build custom web pages with an image gallery and contact page. Finally, we walk through how to share a website live on the web.
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?
Hey, Jeremy, thanks for an informative article. I'm planing to start my own blog but choosing the right hosting provider gets me a bit confused... I'm still a beginner at this, so would prefer something that would offer a free plan, at least for testing purposes. A (very!) user friendly interface is obviously a must... Could you please share some hosting companies that match my requests or at least point me in the right direction where to find them? Many thanks.

Website Builder: Website builders (such as Wix and Weebly) are the perfect solution for beginners with minimal technical knowledge looking to create their own designed website. Having advanced light years over the past 3-4 years, website builders offer outstanding functionality and out-of-the-box design and features that would meet most business needs. In many instances, Builders offer a ‘drag-and-drop’ functionality whereby you see the results as you create the site. A wide range of templates are offered and whilst color and positioning can be changed, website builder templates are generally less customizable than those used by CMS platforms.
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.
In the end, you are likely to find one or two that can provide the services you need. At that point, you can compare pricing models and see which one works for you over the long-term. And, if it ever stops being the right solution for you, don’t be afraid to look into transitioning to a different format because, even though you signed up for a specific website builder today, that doesn’t mean you have to use it forever.
Hi Jeremy, Thanks for your article. I have a question I am hoping you can help me with. The original site I started was a free blog through wordpress website. I then decided to go towards an actual site with a blog attached, I made the switch to Hostgator. During this switch Hostgator took our domain name and is requesting $700 to get it back even though we paid the yearly fee. They are now saying they will not release our domain name until May. Does this seem correct? Thanks Kate

A Blog. WordPress is set up for blogging by default, but you’re going to set your homepage as a static About Me page. Therefore, you’ll need to set up your blog manually, which is still really easy. You can also choose to leave the blog out if you want, but I think having one is a great way to show off your knowledge and thoughts. Here’s how I’ve implemented a blog on my personal site.
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.
Around two months ago I graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam as a User Experience Designer. Pretty awesome but soon I discovered there was not a lot of work in this area of expertise. So to enhance my chances for a suitable job I decided to improve my front-end skills. Every company wants people with programming skills nowadays. Since I advertised that in my motivational letters and mentioning it in my CV I have multiple invitation from companies to get to know each other." -- Ruud Visser, Graduate from University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam
You get what you pay for – Hosting is one of the biggest fees in starting a brand new business website. If you have an extremely limited budget and want to go for the cheapest hosting, that’s fine, just don’t expect anything amazing for $5/month. In general, the more you’re paying, the faster the hosting will be. Speed will help connect you in the social media world where you will likely be playing with ads and posts.
Your site must be well organized, both for the benefit of your visitors and to make it easier to maintain. It may help to map out your site in storyboard or schematic form, perhaps as a flow chart. Consider using index cards to represent the prospective web pages so you can rearrange them very quickly. It really helps to have some way to visualize the structure, whether you're working alone, with colleagues or professionals.
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...

While enterprise-level clients still consistently choose dedicated web design teams to create corporate websites, SMBs are happily helping themselves to DIY services that allow for quick creation with minimal tech skills. The proliferation of inexpensive web design tools that have hosting built into the subscription has changed not only how SMBs build websites but how the public views SMBs without websites. Websites are now considered mandatory in many SMB industries, and website design tools make the process of creating and maintaining a site painless.
Once you see what skills are required for building a website, you can decide whether you want to invest the time in learning them. I highly recommend that you do learn these skills, as it will provide you with so many more options when building and maintaining your websites. Also, if you want a career developing websites, these skills are essential.
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!
These programs use a dashboard to control the look of your website through themes, as well as to update content and add pages. These are popular because, without knowing much HTML code, you can create professional-looking sites with a lot of functionality. For example, you can add your Twitter feed or a calendar to your website with a few clicks of your mouse.
In the end, you are likely to find one or two that can provide the services you need. At that point, you can compare pricing models and see which one works for you over the long-term. And, if it ever stops being the right solution for you, don’t be afraid to look into transitioning to a different format because, even though you signed up for a specific website builder today, that doesn’t mean you have to use it forever.
*About Project-Centered Courses: Project-centered courses are designed to help you complete a personally meaningful real-world project, with your instructor and a community of learners with similar goals providing guidance and suggestions along the way. By actively applying new concepts as you learn, you’ll master the course content more efficiently; you’ll also get a head start on using the skills you gain to make positive changes in your life and career. When you complete the course, you’ll have a finished project that you’ll be proud to use and share.

Great Article and the only one that gives a step by step guide. This might be a silly question but I keep reading about buying a hosting space on the internet and you haven't mentioned that at all. Is that same as buying a domain? Does it mean that if i get one of the website builder plans with the domain included, then I dont need to go anywhere else?
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