Creating your own website has never been easier – and you have never had more options. Here's what you need to know to get that site up and running.
Decide what you need a site for
Before you begin, you need to consider what kind of site you want. There are plenty of good options for getting started with a website, but they all have different benefits. What you need for an online business card or resume is very different from what you need if you are planning an online store or news publication.
There are three rough types of websites that you are probably considering building.
- A Simple Personal Website : If you just want a simple online presence that has links to your contact information and social media, you really don't need much of the site's features. Many tools will be much more powerful than you need ̵1; and probably more expensive. A single web page with your movie, a photo and links will probably be enough.
- A full, traditional website or blog : The next level up is what you probably think of as a traditional website: Several pages for different things or a regularly updated blog. Small businesses or people trying to build their reputation online buy these types of websites.
- An online store : If you want to sell things through a website, you need a lot of extra features that people run a simpler website do not. This includes a shopping cart, the ability to manage inventory, a way to process payments, and something to track orders and manage messages. There are services that handle everything, but they are more expensive and require more effort to set up.
Once you have assessed your needs and decided what to build, you can go ahead and look at how you will actually run your website.
Decide how to run it
The hand day that encodes your site from the start is pretty much finished, if you don't need an incredibly customized solution, which is far beyond what this article is about. There are easy-to-use services for the type of website you need.
Carrd: Simple One Page Websites
For simple websites, Carrd is incredible. It's free to get started, and the stylish and responsive themes cover virtually all user cases.
For $ 9 / year, you can use a custom domain, add contact or registration form, withdraw payments with PayPal or Stripe and remove "Made with Carrd" branding.
Wix: Big sites, no coding
Wix is one of the most popular site builders and for good reason: it is a good thing, it is very good. an easy way to build a fully-featured, multi-page website without coding. You can create much larger websites with Wix than Carrd.
The downside is that it's free to get started, you have to pay Wix $ 8.50 per month to use your own domain and remove Wix ads. However, this includes the cost of your domain name. Other features, such as the form tool and an online store, start at $ 12.50 / month.
It's a great option for a business website, but it's a bit expensive for a simple personal website. The ads on Wix's free sites are also very annoying.
Squarespace: Expensive, attractive sites
Squarespace is basically a premium version of Wix, but there is no free plan. It starts at $ 14 / month for a personal website (including a domain name) and goes up to $ 40 / month for an online store. Although this is quite expensive, the advantage of Squarespace is that it is almost impossible to make an ugly site. Themes are all well cured, and your options are a bit more limited. Wix is a bit of a free-for-all. Squarespace's web shop features are also robust, as is the blog engine.
If money is not an object, Squarespace is an excellent option. Because it is only paid, it is excellent customer support. But at more than $ 150 / year for a basic website, it is costly.
Self-adhesive WordPress: Total control but more complicated
Common amounts of internet are run on wordpress WordPress instances. That's what we use for How-To Geek, Review Geek and LifeSavvy. A self-adhesive WordPress site is a framework from which you can build virtually anything from a single site with a blog to a publication with millions of page views per month to a custom webshop. The disadvantage of this is that, while you don't necessarily need to know how to code, WordPress requires technical knowledge or a desire to work through deep learning – to get the most out.
Unlike the other options on this list, WordPress is more of a platform than a service. It's free, but you have to pay for a domain name, host, and any premium themes or plugins you want to use. There is a whole industry that is dedicated to supporting and developing things for WordPress. You can get started for as little as $ 10 / year or spend $ 10,000 / month on server costs.
If you want the most flexible opportunity to build your website and keep costs low, it is the choice to use, but it is also what it will take as much as possible to get started. If you want to go to the WordPress route, check out our three-part series on creating a WordPress website:
Shopify: Simple Online Stores, at a price
Shopify has One purpose: to run an online store. From $ 29 / month (and a 2% transaction fee), it offers all the features you need. You can list unlimited products in a stylish store created with Shopyy's great themes. If you only create a website to sell things (and you are convinced that you will sell a few things a month), Shopify is the easiest solution. Like Squarespace, it is a premium commercial solution with 24/7 support and excellent documentation to go through everything.
The major disadvantage of Shopify is the cost: if you do not sell products, it is very expensive. It is probably best for people who already have an offline store or have sold some things through social media and want to move to a more professional platform.
The alternatives above are just some of the better alternatives. You may have heard that one or two of them are advertised on popular podcasts. They are far from the only options available. There are dozens of different web pages out there at all price points, and with all the features you can dream of. If you have a budget you can always go with a professional operation.
Buy a domain and get started
Now that you've decided what your site is for and which platform you should build it On, it's time to get started. The first thing you need to do is register your domain name. If you use a service that includes a domain that Squarespace does, you should get it through that service. It will automatically be set to point to your new website.
If you want to buy a domain name independently, check out our guide to what you need to know about buying a domain name. We recommend that you purchase your domain from Google Domains or Hover.
Once you have a domain, sign up with the service you want to use and start building your new sites. All options above, except WordPress, have easy to follow registration processes.