This brings us to the topic of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Now, I’m going to be honest – SEO can be a complex business. After all, we’re talking about trying to make our websites look good to a mindbogglingly complicated algorithm, which has details that Google keeps closely guarded. Oh, and of course, millions upon millions of other sites are trying to do the same thing.
Some people assume that creating a store online is well out of reach of web design amateurs. However, eCommerce website builders can make that process just as simple as a purely informational website. Often, the design concepts are similar, in regards to entering headings, text, and images. The only real difference is the ability to operate a shopping cart through the site, and website builders that cater to eCommerce businesses make that a breeze.
Full Disclaimer: If you choose to use the domain and hosting option I recommend in this tutorial and click my links to get to it, I’ll earn a commission (though there is no extra cost to you – it will actually be quite a bit cheaper since I’m able to offer a coupon code). I want to be very clear that there are definitely other good choices for your domain and hosting out there. This is simply the one I’ve been using since the beginning, and I’m very satisfied. If you do choose to use my link, thank you! 
When you consider pricing for web design, you should separate DIY software solutions from professional services that create custom sites for specific clients. As you might expect, the former is significantly less expensive, and the latter varies more based on design specs and client needs. Most no-code web design platforms offer free trial versions as well as tiered subscriptions that increase in price and functionality at each level. Most entry-level subscriptions cost $5 to $10 per month, per website, while intermediate subscriptions tend to be in the $10-$20 monthly range. Higher-end drag-and-drop design packages, which often include more customization options and better analytics, usually start around $25 a month and can increase into the hundreds for specialty platforms geared toward larger businesses. Pricing for a website design service is more difficult to flesh out, since the variation is so vast, but even a basic website will cost you at least a couple thousand dollars, and that price will climb with each feature or design element you add. If your business is moving out of the SMB and into the enterprise realm, or if the specifics of your website design are essential to your daily business, it will be money well spent. Just make sure you request price quotes from a few different website design services before you make a final decision.  
In situations where you can’t find an included tutorial to meet your needs, you can often find instruction from a variety of web resources. Whether you prefer written instructions or want to see each step in a video, you can find free information online to help you move forward with your design. So, before you think completing part of the setup of the site is too difficult, hope into your favorite search engine and see what if the larger community doesn’t have an answer.
Several of the services included here offer free options, too. If you choose that path, however, your site will include branding from the provider, which will necessarily make your site less impressive to savvy surfers—and shoppers. Free offerings vary greatly in the amount of storage and bandwidth they allow, so read the small print to find out how much you get with each provider. Weebly, Wix, and WordPress.com are among the most generous with their free offerings, if that's the way you want to go.
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.
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?
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

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.
Hi Joe, I'm not entirely sure to be perfectly honest. I'd imagine you would have to have the ability to host the domain name, help your customers connect the domain names to their websites, etc. The website builders mentioned above are probably not equipped for the unique requirements that a domain name registrar need in order to run its business properly. I'd imagine a lot of the functions will be pretty customized. Jeremy
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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


Building a site is going to take a lot of time (as it did for us), but once it's created, it's time to publish it. As part of our evaluation, we graded each of these services based on how easy it is to get your site established on the major search engines. As we created both blogs and business landing pages, we scored the level of search engine optimization (SEO) tools each service provided. We evaluated how easy it was to add metatags, keywords and titles for each article and page and whether the web builder company submitted your site to search engines or if you had to submit it yourself.
Templates provide a framework for your website — a coherent, attractive canvas for you to paint the content of your site onto. They’re how you can have a site that looks good without having to hire a designer. Templates dictate color scheme, what your homepage header and menu bar look like, and the content width on your site, so it’s essential to pick the right one.
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