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.
In this guide, we are going to help you with these decisions by showing your choices and explaining how specific options will fit your unique needs. We’ll cover everything from understanding what type of website you need and choosing a domain name, to the finishing touches that will help you launch your website successfully, no matter what your goals are.
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.
Of course the design of your website should be visually appealing, you don’t want people to leave your site screaming in horror, but it’s not everything. On top of having a website that’s easy on the eyes, it needs to convey the message you’re trying to present, such as your business objective, plan of action for visitors and the quality content that you’ve been busy creating.
Given the role that the internet plays in our lives, the ability to build a web site seems like it should be as important as learning to read or write. Whether you’re aspiring to become a published author, record a CD, or build a business, the ability to build a web site is going to be an essential asset. There’s no way to really be relevant without it. But it’s not something that’s taught in school.
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!
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.
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.
Many people mistakenly believe that the only method for getting a professional quality website is to hire a web developer. But, by selecting the right website builder, you can achieve similar results for a much lower cost. Additionally, you maintain full control over the look of your website as you don’t have to rely on paying your original developer or finding a new one, every time you want to make a change.
These programs limit the control you have over your website, but are great if you want to have a beautifully designed website in a very short amount of time. Because your site is based on a pre-designed template, difficult decisions about placement of text and graphics are already made for you. If you’re interested in an easy-to-use site builder, check out GoDaddy’s Website Builder.
WordPress (either version) is a blog-focused content management system that accepts plug-ins and themes that extend its capabilities to most of what the other products here offer, including commerce. In fact, WordPress.com uses plug-ins such as JetPack to provide many of its features. As a whole, WordPress (either .com or .org) is not as easy to use as the other options in this roundup, but if blogging and site transferability are of key importance and you don't mind digging into its weeds a bit, you should consider the platform. Furthermore, the ability to use WordPress is a valuable skill, as some estimates say that WordPress powers 30 percent of the internet.

Hi Latisha, Shopify is great for those who are not super technical as they are much easier to use compared to other e-commerce platforms. This is not to say that you can make unlimited number of customizations to the themes without ever touching codes, as some levels of modifications does require touching some codes. But if you just choose a theme, and work within the capability of the theme with Shopify's tools, then you can get a really good store up and running fairly quickly. But if there is a certain look / feel / feature that you want to achieve that is outside the design of the theme, then you may have to code it yourself, or hire a Shopify expert to do so. Hope this gives you a bit more guidance! - Jeremy

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.


our Company has a website that is built using Umbraco. All computer guys say this is a really great platform however as a user (with no code capabilities) we find it stiff and limiting. Our developers have set up a few fonts, a few templates but I am missing the variations that WYSIWYG software provide. We are tempeted to scrap our Umbraco site and start. We do not need a complicated website with tons of pages but like lots of Pictures, vivid photos, a few sound files, news feed and so on.
Hello, i am looking to start a website and have used wix and wordpress on seperate sites. I want to allow visitors to the site to be able to post a tutorial or something of that nature to my site what would be my best option? i do not want a straight forum look unless i have no choice. Any help would be appreciated and your reviews have already helped me a ton!
Hello Vivy, I was in the same situation some time ago, so I tested the free hosting providers, the ones you mentioned above and even a few more. Took some time, yet saved me money. If you want to start from free plan, my favorite was Hostinger. I believe it will match your requests: the cPanel is "(very!) user friendly" - you'll be able to install WordPress with only a click of a button and it also provides many great plugins, don't be afrait to experiment! Since you're a beginner, having customer support is a great bonus and theirs will definitely help if you have any issues (sure helped me), don't be shy to contact them. Good luck with your blog! Hope I could help.

If the .COM version of your business name is available, consider using this for your website. Otherwise, try different phrases before settling for an alternate suffix, like .NET or .INFO. Consumers overwhelmingly use .COM when entering a web address. So even if you promote your .NET website, you could lose customers who typed in the .COM version instead.

Superb article! Don't know if you can help here; My dad is a vegetable farmer and he sells his products to a small group of organic customers. I wonder if you could recommend a website builder so his customers can view the veggies available, rate them and even purchase online. Only thing I think it would be best if they would have to log in to get their individual pricing. Any idea? Thanks already. BTW I don't necessarily need the easiest builder, I do some tech work; just a professional looking, free solution with our own domain cause my Dad won't spend a dime on this until I make him see the benefits.
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.
In summary, learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript/jQuery and Python/web2py. This will help you create your full-featured website as easily as possible and as quickly as possible without much fuss. And it’ll be lots of fun, too, because web2py is a wonderful framework that comes with everything you need right out of the box! Batteries are included. One-stop shopping for web development!

This is the first time I was able to go from start to finish with making an entire site. I have done other training before but they don't ever seem to close it off at the end. This class went over everything needed to make a site. I would love to find other courses like this. I also did not feel dumb mid way through the course due to lack of explaining. Everything was well documented and covered. Very good job on this thanks. - Jay Mims
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.
Squarespace — There are a suite of beautiful apps: Commerce lets you manage your store. Blog lets you compose blog posts and manage your blog. Metrics gives you website analytics. Portfolio lets you manage photos and galleries— but it's iOS only. Having a suite of apps is great— rather than stuff everything into one app, they're able to make a beautiful interface for each use case.
I would assume she wants this because, 99% of “free” website builders nowadays, will allow you to create an awesome website on their domain, with a limited amount of space, and a crappy subdomain name. I am also looking for what she wants. As I assume with her, I want to be able to create my website easily, offline, and upload it to a host/domain that I already own, rather than using something like wix, with which, you have to pay 5 bucks a month, to link your domain name to the site.
I am planning to create my own contest. This is an online based singing competition based on the popular Eurovision Song Contest. A summary of the contest is this: Fans of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) would apply for a spot, they would each represent a country of their choice in Europe, and would choose a contestant from that country that would represent them with a song. I want this contest to be based on all platforms. (Social Media, YouTube, and it’s own website). I am planning a lot of graphics to be added that I will need to create, and there will be polls, and videos from YouTube attached to this page. I want there to be multiple sections of the website, and for it to be accessible both on computer and on mobile. I also want to create a voting section of the website, where fans that aren’t in the contest would be able to vote in the contest as well. I am a beginner to all of this website and graphics stuff, so my intentions may seem very ambitious, but I need a website that could eventually hold all of these things. What would you recommend? I am also on somewhat of a limited budget, so I would like to keep costs as low as I can, but still create a sleek and quality website. Could you please help and give me some input?

The main advantage with CSS is that you can separate the layout and look of the website from the content of the website. This enables you to make changes to the look of the entire website by changing a single value. For example, when you want to change the font size of all the paragraph text on your website from size 10 to 11 all you need to do is change the size value for

in the style sheet. Changing this one value will change the font size for all the paragraphs on your website. Obviously this is a lot easier then going to every single web page in the site and changing the font size.
Hey Vivy, I haven't used any of those hosting services before so I can't quite comment. I've used Bluehost and WP Engine. WP Engine is more expensive, but they're good. They're a hosting service that is dedicated to WordPress users, so their support people are quite knowledgeable about WP in general. I've had excellent experiences with them. Jeremy

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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
In December 2009 I was exactly like you. I had no idea. I used the computer to write emails and read the news - I had no idea how to create a website. I remember the feeling of information overload. All the new words, all the advice, all the tips, all the software, all the forums, blogs, websites, books. Like sitting down in the cockpit of a 747 jumbo jet and asked to fly.
There are dozens of web creation applications to choose from, and you'll invariably find that the interface and design of one application appeals more strongly to you than others. For our evaluation of this category, we evaluated applications strictly on whether they provided the capabilities needed to quickly create a website with as few hurdles as possible, especially for someone with little to no coding experience.
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.
But I’d be a bit hesitate to invest a lot of money into building this marketplace website without first knowing that the concept works and that you can drive a lot of traffic to your website. A classic mistake is to spend thousands of dollars into building a website and end up discovering that the business idea doesn’t work well, or that you couldn’t get enough interested parties to make it work.
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.
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
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