Stop whatever you're doing and ask yourself this simple question: "Do I need a website?" If your response was anything other than "yes," you need to think again. It doesn't matter if you're the head of a multinational corporation who employs thousands of people or a local mom-and-pop shop from around the way, you need a website to help potential customers find you online. If you have a business, failure to establish an online home is a failure to grow.
If you are building a business related website, and have a smaller budget, using builders such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, SITE123 or Jimdo can definitely help you maintain financial discipline, and also allow you to create and update your own website in a very short period of time – no need to call / email your website developer and wait for small updates as you can now make them yourself. Additionally, with the time you save, you can focus on other more important aspects of running your business.
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.
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.
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.
Do it Yourself: There are a number of logo design software out there that will allow you to create your own logo. We recommend Tailor Brands if you want an easy way to create an appealing logo. Once you create your logo, you can subscribe and gain access to branding tools, including seasonal logos, branded social media posts, branding landing pages, and more. You can try it out for free, and if you find a design you like, you can download it for as little as $2.99. Click here to start designing your logo.
Even if you don't sign up for those web hosts, you should look for services that offer similar features. You'll want a WYSIWYG editor that lets you adjust every page and add images, video, and social links. Plunking down a few extra bucks typically nets you robust ecommerce and search engine optimization (SEO) packages for improved Bing, Google, and Yahoo placement. Most advanced web hosting services include at least one domain name, free of charge, when you sign up.
Hi Christina, From my point of view there are excellent aspects to both options you are looking at. If you are looking to provide online courses that you are selling. I think you will find that Wordpress has more plugins available and is a little easier to use than squarespace. For an online prescence and e-commerce solution style of website, squarespace would be my recommendation. I find it easier to use but thats just me. A lot of the more static sites that I build are in Adobe Muse and...
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
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.
(Note: The free SSL certificate can sometimes take up to 24 hours to activate on your account after you purchase hosting. If Really Simple SSL doesn’t work at first, please try waiting 24 hours and then activating it again. In this case, you can still safely create new pages and add text in the mean time – I’d just advise you to wait on uploading any images until Really Simple SSL is active.)
Hey David, I think that IM Creator is a pretty good website builder, especially if you want to build a very basic website really quickly. Their tools are not he most comprehensive, but in a way that reduces confusion and allows you to focus on the basics which work really well in way. If you haven't seen our review on IM Creator yet, check it out. You can also take a look at our website builder comparison chart here to get a high level overview of who are some of the leading platforms available today. If you want great looking templates, definitely take a look at Squarespace. As for great quality stock images, see our resources guide here. Hope this helps! - Jeremy
On most builders you can create your website in less than an hour. We don’t recommend being quite so quickfire about it, though. The best way to make a website is to give yourself a solid day to play around with the software and fine tune your site. It can take much longer than this to make a website site though – it depends on how many pages you have and how much customization you need to do.