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.
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You want to create modern websites that stand out and offer all the functionality that users have come to expect. Good news—it's never been easier, even for absolute beginners. Using tools like SquareSpace, WordPress, and HTML and CSS, you can build impressive sites that no one would guess were the work of a newbie. This Learning Path gives you all the skills you need the build the sites you envision.
The major player in the blog game is WordPress, a content management system (CMS) that powers millions of websites, including The New York Times, Quartz, and Variety. WordPress-powered sites are incredibly easy to set up, customize, and update—ideally on a daily basis. You aren't required to learn fancy-schmancy FTP tricks (though you can certainly use them if you like), and there are ridiculous numbers of free and paid WordPress themes and WordPress plug-ins to give your website a pretty face and vastly expanded functionality. Though WordPress dominates the blogging space, it isn't the only blogging CMS of note, however.
Hi Gertrudes, I think if you want to build a simpler website, then Squarespace, Weebly and Wix are good candidates for you to test and see which one suits you better. Weebly has the lowest learning curve, then Wix and Squarespace. But from a design perspective, I think Squarespace will give you the most professional and beautiful looking website. All of them are mobile device friendly and so your visitors will be able to find more information about your website through their mobile devices. I think the best way forward is to sign up for them for free, then invest some time to play around with their tools and see for yourself which one you prefer. It's a very personal choice when it comes to which builder interface you prefer, so investing a bit of time in testing them out is well worth it. - 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.
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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.
Like your home, a website needs regular upkeep. Don't make the mistake of assuming that once it's online, it's done. If you want visitors to return to your site, someone has to add new content and update existing material; there's e-mail to answer, links to check, and perhaps usage statistics to track. For a small site, this can take as little as two or three hours a month. With some time spent learning the basic technology, you could manage this yourself.
The cost of making a website depends on a lot of different factors. If you decide to build your site with WordPress, you can get a new site for less than $50. For example, hosting a WP site with Bluehost will cost you only $2.95 per month, and that includes the registration of a custom domain! You will definitely need to invest a few bucks extra on a premium theme (which will probably be something in a range of $40-120), maybe a few premium plugins (on average, a plugin will cost you about $70), but that’s pretty much it.
Great comparison! But did you compare these website builders from the search engine friendless point of view? Which builder creates the better SE-optimized pages? I tried to make some pages on Wix but it generates a really mess JS code, w/o normal HTML and very strange page urls like domain.com/#!toasp/c1f7gfk. What do you thinks about it? Also is the mobile-first approach so important for good SE ranking as mentioned all over the web?
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.  
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.
Spend as much time as you can surfing the Web at this stage. Take a close look at the websites you visit and collect several examples of designs you like or don’t like, along with a note about why. Some sites credit the design company and link to its website so you see what other work they’ve done. Saving examples will also help you to effectively communicate your taste and expectations if you decide to hire a designer or developer.
If you don't have a design already in place and think templates are too limited, consider Adobe Muse CC. This unique little program concentrates on letting you design. Templates are handy, embeddable web fonts are great, and the sitemap view may be the best way to get an overall feel for what your site will have. Export it to HTML and you're ready for upload. It's part of the Creative Cloud bundle and also available individually for $14.99 a month with a yearly plan.
Like many website design tools, Wix was created to make it easier to build beautiful websites without coding anything by hand. We named Wix the best template-based website builder because, in addition to being easy to use and highly functional, it has more website templates (over 500) than any other website design software we reviewed, and all of them are responsive to screen size.
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I’m pretty new to the whole web development/design aspect of things. I’ve tinkered before with free things but more specifically with forum design. I’m very interested in building a website but aside from having a main traditional website feel I’m looking to incorporate a forum to it. Would it be possible to do this with this WordPress/BlueHost tutorial here? Or would there be something you recommend for that sort of thing?
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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.


Around two months ago I graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam as a User Experience Designer. Pretty awesome but soon I discovered there was not a lot of work in this area of expertise. So to enhance my chances for a suitable job I decided to improve my front-end skills. Every company wants people with programming skills nowadays. Since I advertised that in my motivational letters and mentioning it in my CV I have multiple invitation from companies to get to know each other." -- Ruud Visser, Graduate from University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam
Now, this is not to say that you shouldn't choose a website builder for an ecommerce website— in the last few years website builders such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace have aggressively built out strong ecommerce features. Instead, I'd suggest choosing a website builder for your ecommerce website if you're website needs to do things other than ecommerce. For example, if you also want to have a blog or other content heavy pages.
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.
The basic plan is free, but is extremely limited. Their personal plan starts with $4 per month billed annually and includes a custom domain. Premium plan costs $8.25 per month billed annually and it gives you the ability to monetize your site and advanced design customization. Business plan costs $24.92 per month billed annually, and it gives you the ability to have Ecommerce and custom plugins.

With the website builder software discussed here, it’s no longer expensive for you to build your own website, and you can limit your financial risks as they only charge you a monthly payment (if you decide to upgrade) and you can walk away at any time without getting dragged into a dispute with a website developer. In fact, most of these web builder software have free plans.

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.
The content of your site will most likely be some combination of information that you currently have and information you will need to create. This may be the time to hire a web content writer, or for businesses, a Web-savvy public relations pro or brand strategist to help you define some of the concepts inherent in your company and its products and services.
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Although people tend to find your site through a branded search in Google, it’s still important to make your domain easy to spell/type out. If it requires a lot of effort to type correctly, due to trying to spell it, the length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve probably kissed goodbye to a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
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
Excellent article! After surfing the Internet and reading many websites on how to create a website, I can honestly say that it is the most complete and easy to understand, for a complete beginner! Your step by step guide is comprehensive and very informative and has given me the confidence to move forward and try to set up my own commercial website ... A big thank you!
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