In this project-centered course*, you’ll design, build, and publish a basic website that incorporates text, sound, images, hyperlinks, plug-ins, and social media interactivity. We’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions, exercises, tips, and tools that enable you to set up a domain name, create an attractive layout for your pages, organize your content properly, ensure that your site functions well across different operating systems and on mobile devices, keep your site safe, and finally, let people know your site is online. We’ll even show you how to track your visitors. Throughout the course, you'll engage in collaboration and discussion with other learners through course forums and peer review.
Support among the services varies widely, from free WordPress.com account's only offering community support, to Jimdo's email-only service, to Wix's telephone-callback service—even for free accounts! Many of the site builders offer rich online support knowledge bases and FAQs, so there's a good chance you won't even need to contact the company. I test each service's support as part of the review process by asking how to connect a domain bought elsewhere to my site and how to sell digital downloads.

Whether you are using WordPress or a Website Builder, there are a range of external tools and resources you will need in order to give your website a professional touch. Note that if you are building your site with WordPress, it is likely you will have hired a developer or designer for the creation process. In this case, they should be able to assist you with the following (expect a higher price than using the online resources mentioned below).


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.
There’s a huge library of goodies for you to use at Envato Elements, which range from ready to use stock images for your blog posts (250,000+ fully licensed stock photos), web templates, fonts, backgrounds and much much more.  Elements like these can save you so much time and are all ready for you to use for a single monthly subscription by signing up to Envato Elements.
What’s awesome about Lightshot is that it integrates with your operating system’s default screenshot taking feature (Cmd + Shift + 9 on Mac or Print Scr on Win). When triggered, it lets you select a specific area of the screen, and then save it or share directly with other people. You can also edit the screenshot before saving (annotate it, add text, arrows, etc.).
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.

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.


While the the best of them offer surprising amounts of flexibility, they also impose stringent enough restrictions to page design that you shouldn't be able to create a really bad looking site using one of these services. Typically you can get a Mysite.servicename.com style-url with no commerce abilities for free from one of these services; you have to pay extra for a better URL and the ability to sell. One issue to consider is that if you eventually outgrow one of these services, it can be hard to export your site to a full scale advanced web hosting like Dreamhost or Hostgator. If you know that's where you are eventually going, it may be better to skip the sitebuilder step.
Getting your brand messaging right (such as explaining what your business does and the essence of your brand) can be a lot harder than it seems. You may wish to hire a copywriter to ensure the main copy of your site really hits the mark with users, especially on the Home Page and the About Us page. As mentioned in Stage #1, you will also need to decide whether the remaining content (such as blog articles or a description of your products/services) will be written by you or by a professional writer.
The best professional website creators come packaged with a mobile builder that creates a mobile version of your pre-existing website automatically. With many search engines penalizing websites that are not responsive to mobile devices or that lack a mobile equivalent, mobile web builders have never been more important. If you currently manage a desktop-only site, we recommend you take advantage of a mobile website builder to convert your site to mobile, or at least creating a mobile version of your site, to reach a wider online audience.
By all means run some tests on a real device, especially on real mobile devices. Mobile device simulation is a new, evolving technology and less reliable than desktop simulation. Mobile devices cost money, of course, so we suggest taking a look at the Open Device Lab initiative. You can also share devices if you want to test on many platforms without spending too much.
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
Hi TomN, Thanks for reading and joining the discussion. What you are looking to build is beyond the scope of our discussions here. It is possible but you'll either need to be very proficient with coding or have a healthy budget to hire a capable developer to assist you with your efforts. The reason is that the project you have seems like a very customized project. -Jeremy
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.  
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.

Blogs are swell, but sometimes you need a simple place to park your persona on the internet for branding purposes. In this case, you can just get a nameplate site, or as we prefer to think of them, a personal webpage (rather than a multipage site). Instead of linking internally to your store or other pages of note as you would with a more traditional web page, a personal site usually has links that go elsewhere—to your social networks, wish lists, playlists, or whatever else is linkable.


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?
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!
All of the site builders here let you put Facebook Like and Twitter Follow buttons on your pages, and some even let you display feeds from the social networks. Some give you help building a Facebook Page and tying it into your site design and updates. Many products offer some sort of SEO tools, but too often this is just a form on which you can enter meta tags. You're mostly left to wrestle with that black magic known as SEO for yourself. It's very important to submit and verify your site to the search engines, unless you don't want anyone to find it!

Great Article jeremy! VERY informative!! I'm working on making a job-board type of site. Where users can post jobs and and possible create profiles to frequently post job vacancies. The applicants should be able to filter through and search for jobs, so some sort of filteration system would be useful. If possible, I'd like for the job posters and the people searching for jobs to be able to create a profile on the website. What web-builder would you suggest? So far word press with cetains plug-ins seems to be the best bet but I'd appreciate your advice on this. Thank You
Sure, there are more advanced hosting topics to consider, such as Domain Name Servers and multi-cloud connectivity, but this guide is meant to introduce you to the basics. Whether you decide to do build a website yourself or hire coding experts to do the dirty work is up to you. But for now, rest easy knowing you have the information to get started in taking your business online.
If you’re just selling one or two products, Weebly has the capability to handle this. However, if the primary purpose of your website is to sell products, you may want to choose a website builder that specializes in creating an online store. Volusion is an all-in-one ecommerce software that helps you to create and manage your online store, sell your products, and market your business. It’s pricing is comparable to Weebly’s ecommerce plan at $15 per month and you can try it out for free for 14 days, no credit card required.
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.
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
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