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 Kahil, I think it will be challenging to find a free website builder that will allow you to connect your own domain name to the website. All of the good website builders I know of, such as Wix or Weebly, even though they allow you to build websites for free, they do require you to upgrade to at least their lowest plan before you can connect your own domain to the website. I suppose this is just a trade off - they can brand their names on your free website, in return for allowing you to build a website for free. If you want the ability for each customer to log in to view his/her own specific / individual pricing, it's not a feature that most website builders have. Builders such as Wix and Weebly has membership functions, but they just protect pages behind a membership gateway, where all members can access the same pages. So you can't set pages up that each member has his/her own unique pages, if you know what I mean. If you want that function, I think you'll have to use a more powerful membership software. Perhaps WordPress has a plugin for that, but I'm not familiar with one. Jeremy

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.
I hear your pain. I know creating a website can be daunting, especially to someone who has never ventured into the online world, but let me assure you that it is really quite simple. If you don’t want to head down the road of building your own self hosted WordPress site, then I would suggest signing up to WordPress.com. This is the free version of WordPress where you can get your site up and running in no time and with no costs whatsoever. Sounds like you just need a no frills, no bells, no whistles type of website. If that’s the case then WordPress.com could be the option for you.

Finally, for the sake of completeness, I should mention Compass.You don’t need to think about it at the very beginning, because it’s not essential for your ability to make websites, but when you reach a point where you’re writing a lot of intermediate/advanced CSS, and begin to find it a bit tedious, you should definitely keep it in mind. Compass makes the process of writing CSS way faster and more enjoyable, so if you can invest a couple of hours into learning that, that will be one of the best productivity boosters you can imagine.
That said, even if your website is responsive, it’s usually a good idea to make some additional adjustments for your mobile site. In general, you want to remove any excessive details. Your mobile website should focus entirely on your call-to-action – whether that’s getting users to call your business, fill-out a contact form, join a mailing list, or make an online order.

Jeremy, I believe this article is really helpful to cross the initial mental hurdle of making a website. I do also want to build a website. But before getting started few questions are coming into my mind. Brief about my planned website: A website strictly user login based. User can upload audio, video, image and text files or may be youtube/soundcloud links. Those uploaded files should be played or displayed on the website UI only. Users can view/like/share other users' uploaded files or can download on basis of permission given during upload. Now my questions: 1. Is this really possible to build this kind of website though the online website builders? if yes, then: 2. Which builder will be best suited for my requirements? 3. Who will give me this amount of cloud storage? How much will it cost? 4. How do I write decision making codes inside? 5. How do I maintain database and run query on database? 6. How can I get money from my website (without advertisements)? Who will pay me money and how? See, I am an IT professional (though not working in web development domain). I have no issue in writing codes, but I was wondering if I could do it with shorter timespan and lesser amount of maintenance effort. That's why I was going through your blog. Lastly, if you really believe that it is quite impossible to build this kind of website online, please suggest me what should be the best way to build it from scratch. What framework should I use (I know Java and Python both)? But in that case also, one question still remains: how can I earn from this kind of website? Thanking you in advance.
Finally, when you will go further and gain more skill — you will need a VPS(virtual private server). It is, to put it simply, a remote computer you have the complete control over, and will use to serve the sites you have built with frameworks. I highly recommend using DigitalOcean, it has great prices, beautiful and intuitive interface, and I’ve been happily using it to host all of my websites for the past 4 years.

Server-side Scripting Language - this allows you to provide much more advanced functionality than you could acheive with just HTML/CSS/JavaScript. Server-side scripting languages are commonly used in conjunction with a database so users can interact with a website much more extensively. Any website that offers things such as blogs or forums would need to use a server-side language to allow users to post comments etc into a database. These comments can then be read later on by other users who want to read them. Common server-side scripting languages include ColdFusion and PHP.
Server-side Scripting Language - this allows you to provide much more advanced functionality than you could acheive with just HTML/CSS/JavaScript. Server-side scripting languages are commonly used in conjunction with a database so users can interact with a website much more extensively. Any website that offers things such as blogs or forums would need to use a server-side language to allow users to post comments etc into a database. These comments can then be read later on by other users who want to read them. Common server-side scripting languages include ColdFusion and PHP.
Once you have an overview of your website plan/sitemap, you can drill down to the specifics of the content you need to create for a website launch. It will be important to create evergreen content (content that will not be changing much and will appear on the static pages) and also important to have fresh content appearing on your website on a regular basis.
Use 99Designs.com: 99Designs.com runs contests where multiple designers compete for your logo and other design business. This is a great option because you get to see many different professional and creative designs (It’s how we found our logo at Fit Small Business!), yet only pay for the one you wind up choosing. The price on 99designs ranges from $299 to $799 depending on how many designers you want competing and the quality of those designers.

Wix ADI. The website builder offers an advanced Artificial Design Intelligence tool that notably simplifies the process of website creation by automatically creating a project for you based on the information you submit. If you feel, however, that you are ready to launch a unique website on your own, you can make use of Standard Wix Editor to do that. Mobile editor is available here as well.
Hi Chris, We actually used WordPress to build this website. Our website is focused on blogging and so we used the best, most flexible platform for this purchase. Having said that, we've heavily customized this websites since we're now proficient with coding. If it was 6 years ago, we wouldn't be able to do what we are doing now. We started making websites in 6 - 7 years ago and didn't know anything about coding. It took us a few years to become more proficient with coding, with a lot of practice. So during the first few years, we relied on code-free, drag and drop website builders for all of our projects. They were great since we didn't need to be technical at all, and we were able to build businesses. So if you want to build something similar to our website, I'd suggest you learn how to code and practice a lot. Eventually you'll get there! Hope this explains things a bit! Jeremy
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

Hi there Shannin, What you're looking to create is a bit too advanced for the website builders we suggested above. You'll probably need a more specialized website builder (perhaps search for a "marketplace website builder"?) or have one custom built for you. If you decide on the latter, take a look at our guide on how to hire a website developer. Jeremy


After all the work you put into it, I feel not a little stupid, in need to ask you anything else. The truth is I am a slightly long in the tooth septuagenarian with about as much nous as someone dropping in on a day trip from the fourteenth century. I want to promote (tell as many people as possible) about my new book, and hopefully, sell one or two.

First things first, you’ll want to check and see if your business name is available. To find out, enter it into the domain search tool below, powered by Bluehost. If you are taken straight to the registration page, it means your name is available, if you see a message that the domain is not available for registration, then you will have to adjust your business name.


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
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!
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.
I used to use Microsoft’s FrontPage to do my web design stuff to make it easier for my family and I to keep in touch when I was stationed overseas. I liked FrontPage because it did it all for me. I’d design the page like I was using Word or Publisher, stick in my pictures, and FrontPage would make sure everything matched. Layout, colors, fonts, graphics, etc. Then I’d just hit a button and FrontPage would ship everything to my web server.

Most of the products here can tell you about site traffic, though the amount of detail varies greatly among them, and it's often tied to premium account levels. For example, Weebly can not only show you page views and unique visitors for each day of the month, but also search terms used to get to the site, referring sites, and top-visited pages. Wix and uKit, at the other end, have nothing in the way of built-in site stats, instead requiring you to create your own Google Analytics account, and even that requires a paid account. Another drawback of that approach is that you can only see traffic from the preceding day and earlier; it's not up-to-the-minute, or even the hour.
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.
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.
In addition, we valued those website creators that gave us full rein to customize our site. A small sample of proprietary themes and templates is nice, but we took note of the services that allowed us to import our own theme and edit the HTML for more in-depth customization. We awarded additional points to software that allowed us to edit or create custom HTML and CSS code as well as the programs that allowed us to import our own templates or gave us complete creative control over existing templates.
"I am really impressed with the work put into creating Mobirise. I love the ease with which Websites can be built in a few minutes using this awesome product. I like the intuitive drag and drop process and the mobile-first approach. I love this product, but it seems incapable of creating corporate Websites, because of the simple designs. Generally, I want to commend you for your work. The product is awesome. With more block options, increased flexibility, Mobirise would favorably compete with the top free website builders - wix, weebly, squarespace. I'll be standing by. Your product has great potential. Keep working." 
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
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Some web design tools and services are intended for personal use and lack the built-in functionality that serious business users need. To identify the best and brightest, our team reviewed some of the biggest names in the web design software and services business, taking careful note of usability, flexibility, integration, customer service and other factors that are important to entrepreneurs.
Another advantage of CSS (of separating the content from the layout and look) is that it is easier to make changes in the future. Without CSS, coming back from a 3 month vacation can be a nightmare. Navigating through content mixed together with layout HTML can be more vexing then deciphering hieroglyphics, more tangled then last years Christmas tree lights. But with CSS, content is separated from layout, it is much easier to make changes to your website even if your cruise vacation is unexpectedly extended a couple years due to Somali pirates.
Of course, another great way to learn web development is to simply look at code. If you’re using Google Chrome, you can hit CTRL+U (or if you’re on a Mac, just go to View -> Developer -> Source) to see the HTML for the page you’re on. You can also use the Web Developer extension to dig in even deeper. This method won’t work for viewing server-side code like PHP, but it’s great for digging into HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

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.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with BigCommerce with us! That's awesome and I'm glad you're having a great time and getting great support from their team! I also heard that they are working on their own native Point of Sale system. I'm not entirely sure when it will be released, but hopefully soon. Shopify has their own POS system, which integrates smoothly with an online store built with their software. For those who are curious about BigCommerce, take a look at this discussion here. Thanks again for sharing and adding to this discussion! Jeremy

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A domain name is the virtual address of your website. Ours is websitebuilderexpert.com. That’s where you find us. The New York Times’ is nytimes.com. That’s where you find them. And so on. Your site needs one too, and when setting up a WordPress site it’s something you may have to take care of yourself. Bluehost lets you choose a domain for free as part of the signup process.
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