It's never been easier to set up your own website – and you never had more options. Here's what you should know to get this website up and running:
Decide what you need a website for
Before you begin, you'll need to consider the type of site you're looking for. There are many great ways to start 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 when you're planning an online store or publishing news.
There are three rough types of sites that you are likely to consider.
- A Simple Personal Website : If you are just looking for a simple online presence with links to your contact information and social media accounts, you really do not need website functionality. Many tools are much more powerful than you need ̵
- A Complete, Traditional Website or Blog : The next level is what you mean most as a traditional site: multiple pages for different things, or a regularly updated blog. Small businesses or people trying to build their online reputation are running this type of web site.
- An Online Store : If you want to sell things through a website, you'll need a whole host of additional features that will keep users from running a simpler website. These include a shopping cart, the ability to manage inventory, Process payments and track orders and process notifications. There are services that manage everything, but they are more expensive and require more setup.
When you determine your requirements and decide on what you want to build, you can look at how you will actually operate your website.
Decide How to Execute Them
The days when your site is being rewritten from scratch are almost complete – unless you need an incredible custom solution beyond what this article is about goes. There are easy-to-use services for every type of website you need.
Carrd: Simple One Page Websites
Carrd is unbelievable for simple, one-page sites. It's free to get started, and the good-looking, engaging themes cover just about every application. I use Carrd whenever I need to quickly set up a simple site.
For $ 9 a year, you can use a custom domain, add contact or signup forms, make payments with PayPal or Stripe, and remove the "made with Carrd". Branding. If you want something professional, fast, it's the way to go.
Wix: Great Websites, No Coding
Wix is one of the most popular website builders, and for good reason: it's an easy way to build a fully featured, multi-page website without coding , With Wix you can create much larger websites than with Carrd.
The downside is that although you can start, you have to pay Wix $ 8.50 a 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 builder and an online store, start at $ 12.50 / month.
This is a great option for a business website, but a bit expensive for a simple personal website. The ads on the free Wix sites are also very annoying.
Squarespace: Expensive, Attractive Sites
Squarespace is essentially a premium version of Wix, though 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. That's quite expensive, but the advantage of Squarespace is that it's almost impossible to create an ugly website. The topics are all well curated and your options are a bit more limited. Wix is a bit free for everything. The online store features of Squarespace are as robust as the blog engine.
If money is not an object, Squarespace is an excellent option. Since it is only paid, there is excellent customer support. However, with more than $ 150 a year for a simple website, this is expensive.
Self-hosted WordPress: Complete Control, But More Complicated
Large amounts of the Internet are running on self-hosted WordPress software instances. We use it for How-To-Geek, Review Geek, and LifeSavvy. A self-hosted WordPress site is a framework from which you can create virtually anything, from a simple website with a blog, to millions of page views per month, to a bespoke online store. The downside is that while WordPress does not necessarily require coding skills, it does have expertise or a willingness to work through extensive tutorials to get the most out of it.
Unlike the other options in this list, WordPress is more of a platform than a service. It's free, but you'll need to pay for a domain name, hosting and any premium themes or plugins you want to use. There is an entire industry focused on supporting and developing WordPress products. You can start at $ 10 a year or spend $ 10,000 a month on server costs.
If you want to keep the flexibility of building your website and costs down, this is the option you can use, but it also does most of the work to get it right. If you want to use the WordPress route, please read our three-part series on setting up a WordPress site:
Shopify: Simple online stores, at one price
Shopify has A Purpose: operate an online store. From $ 29 / month (and 2% transaction fee) it offers all the features you need. You can list an unlimited number of products in a good-looking store created with the great themes of Shopify. If you just set up a website to sell things (and you're sure to sell a few things a month), Shopify is the simplest solution. Like Squarespace, this is a premium commercial solution with 24/7 support and great documentation to guide you through everything.
The big disadvantage of Shopify is the cost: if you do not really sell products, that's very expensive. It's probably best for people who already have an offline store or have sold a few things through social media and want to move to a more professional platform.
The options above are just some of the better options. You may have heard that one or two of them have been promoted in popular podcasts. They are far from the only options available. There are dozens of different website building services at any price point, and you could dream of it with every feature. If you have a budget, you can always proceed with a professional operation.
Buy a Domain and Get Started
Now you have decided what your website will serve and what platform you will create it for, it's time to start. First, you need to register your domain name. If you are using a service that contains a domain, such as Squarespace, you should obtain this service through this service. It will automatically be set up to point to your new website.
If you want to buy a domain name independently, read our guide to purchasing a domain name. We recommend that you buy your domain from Google Domains or Hover.
If you own a domain, sign in to the service you want and start creating your new sites. With the exception of WordPress, all the above options have simple login processes.