How to Build a Website 2016 | 4 Surprisingly Simple Tools You Can Use

Last updated on November 28, 2016

How to Build a WebsiteIf you’re wondering about how to build a website (even for free), then this article will be helpful for you.

Have no idea where to start?  That’s perfectly normal, to be honest.  You’re not alone as for most people, building a website online is still a bit of a mystery.

For most people (including us a few years ago), creating a website is something that only IT geeks are capable of doing.

These coders lock themselves in basements, have no friends, and wear thick glasses. Right? Right??

Well, that was the old school stereotype that most people had for coders (including us a few years ago when we struggled to get started – we confess!)

I’m not sure if it’s because of the media, movies, whatever. But that’s definitely not how a lot of websites are actually built nowadays, and that’s definitely not how coders behave!

You don’t need to be an IT geek to learn how to build a website from scratch today.

You don’t even need to know code (a bit will help, but not a necessity and it won’t hold you back), you don’t need to manage hosts / servers, and you don’t need to have a lot of money.

Here is a quick snapshot of some of the website builders nowadays that can help you build your website – without having to learn how to code or breaking your bank account.

How To Build A Website Drag& Drop Website Builders
Recommendations
  1. Wix.com
  2. Weebly
  3. Squarespace
  4. Jimdo

If you’re not familiar with them, keep reading and we’ll show you how to you can create a website in less than a day, and it won’t cost you very much.

 

HOW A LOT OF WEBSITES ARE BUILT NOWADAYS

Technology has really advanced over the past few years. The internet has grown faster than ever before. Facebook has taken over, Google is king, and normal folks like yourself can build your own website for free.

More and more people are creating websites online as a way to express themselves and get in touch with others. Businesses cannot afford not to have websites as a way of reaching more potential customers.

If you want to build a business, or if you already have a business but haven’t built your website yet, you’re falling further and further behind.

But is building websites easy?  What is a good website builder?  How much does it cost to build a website?

In the past? Very challenging. Today? Not challenging or super expensive at all.

Think about it. Facebook made it easy for you to connect with hundreds, if not thousands of people. Smartphones make it easy for you to surf the web on a tiny device. It’s not that hard to believe that building websites can also be easy, right?

There are a lot of website creators that have emerged over the past few years that enable you to build websites without knowing how to code.

They programmed the website building software so now you literally just have to use your mouse and drag a slideshow, a block of text, images, videos, into the website. You can then insert your own text, upload your own pictures, insert your own videos (such as YouTube), and click publish. That’s it.

How to build a website - Drag and Drop

Weebly.com (Click to see)

I know it sounds ridiculously easy. After all, we’ve been taught that if something is too good to be true, it’s probably not, right?

Well, that’s a good rule of thumb, but not always the case. In terms learning how to build a website from scratch, this is definitely not the case.

For sure you will have to invest time into creating your own content and setting things up, but being a super freak in technology or codes is no longer a barrier to entry if you want to create a website all by yourself.

 

ARE ALL WEBSITE BUILDERS GOOD & EASY TO USE?

All website builders are built differently – each has its own pros and cons. Some are easier, some are more challenging.

I think the general guideline is that the more sophisticated and powerful the builder is, the higher the learning curve. That makes sense, right?

So for instance, WordPress is a very powerful website builder. It is flexible, advanced, and can almost be programmed to do almost anything you want as a website.

However, the learning curve to become proficient with using WordPress is rather steep. You will most likely have to invest quite a bit of time to learn how to use it well, and perhaps you will have to pay some freelancer or WordPress expert to help you set up your website.

Then there are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), drag and drop website builders. These are the ones that do not need you to know any code to get a website up and running in a little amount of time.

(The following promo video is from Squarespace – Click here to see Squarespace)

These builders are ideal for people who don’t have the time to learn code (life is busy, right?) or don’t have the budget to hire someone to help build a website.

It’s great for people who enjoy DIY (Do-It-Yourself).

 

WHAT ABOUT WEBSITE DESIGN AND TEMPLATES?  MY SITE HAS TO LOOK GOOD!

Website builders nowadays give you a really good selection of design templates to choose from.

Let’s face it, the majority of us don’t know how to design well, let alone coding up our own web design!

So what do website builders do?  They create design templates so you can use them for your website, allowing your site to look good.

Think about them as “clothes” for your website.  If you don’t like one set of clothes, just change to another one to give your website a completely different feel.

how to build a website - templates

Click to see some beautiful free website templates for you to use

Almost all website builders give you these templates for free, and hands down, using these design templates will give your website the biggest visual impact in the least amount of time.

You don’t need to touch any codes whatsoever!

In fact, if you are just starting a new business, we HIGHLY recommend that you don’t bother with hiring a website designer – for good reasons (see our arguments here).

Drag & drop website builders (see our recommendations below) give you really good looking design templates to give you a head start already. There are more important things to focus on while your business is still young than hiring a professional (and potentially expensive) designer.

 

POPULAR DRAG & DROP WEBSITE BUILDERS

If you don’t want to learn how to code, or if you don’t have a large budget to hire freelancers to help you build a website from scratch, there are a few good website builders that you may want to test out to see if they can help you out.  You just might enjoy using them, too!

Here are a few website builders that we recommend to help you build a website:

All of them have their own pros and cons, and some of them are better at certain things.

When we started building websites ourselves, we researched for days as it was hard to figure out which one best fit our needs.

There was so much information out there that it overloaded us, and pretty much paralyzed us in terms of choosing which website builder to use.

So we decided to test a lot of them. After investing hundreds of hours in using many different website builders ourselves (gosh those days were painful!), we’ve compiled a few different guides / resources so to help make your research (and life) a bit easier:

At the end of the day, there really isn’t a “one website builder fits all” type of solution.

We recommend that you narrow down your search to 2 or 3 website builders, and just invest a day to trying them out. It’s almost like shopping for a car (except MUCH cheaper). It makes a lot of sense to test drive a few of them just to see if they work out for you.

All of the website builders that we recommend are free to sign up, or at least they have a free trial period where you can give it a test drive.

 

WHAT ABOUT E-COMMERCE WEBSITE BUILDERS?

If you are thinking about building an online store, there are e-commerce website builders for you as well!

The best of the bunch that we recommend is Shopify if you need a very comprehensive e-commerce solution.

Their themes are great, and they have a very powerful App Store to add more powerful tools to your store.

Shopify is great if you have many products that you want to see online, or if you already have a physical store and you just want to start selling products online.

They have a Point of Sale system where you can take advantage of using iPads to run your physical store while having all the inventory, sales records, fully integrated with your online store. If you use Shopify, there is no need to separate both your online and offline store anymore.

If you don’t need too many advanced tools and only have a handful of products to sell, Weebly, Squarespace, and Jimdo are also excellent candidates to consider. These are great e-commerce solutions if you are selling unique, boutique products, photographs, art, or just anything that are not mass produced.

 

WHAT ABOUT DOMAIN NAMES, HOSTING, SECURITY EMAILS?

One of the best things about these growing website builders is that they take care of a lot of your concerns so you can focus on just learning how to build a website, creating content and growing your website.

They provide all the hosting services for you so you don’t have to pay for it separately.

They also take care of all the security upgrades for the hosts so you don’t have to bother with all this techie stuff. They ensure that your website is always up and running, and doesn’t get hacked.

How to Build a website - hosting

Hosting by Shopify for your Ecommerce Store (click to see more information)

As for domain names, you can either purchase your own custom domain name through the website builder, or you can purchase it on your own through registrars such as GoDaddy or NameCheap.

Some website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, Jimdo and Webs will give you a free custom domain name if you sign up to their premium plans.

Keeping your own domain name requires you to pay an annual fee and the yearly investment is roughly around $12 for most people. So signing up to their premium plans will save you the domain name fee, which will effectively lower your yearly investment in the website builder if you sign up to their premium plans.

Just bear in mind that when you purchase a domain name from a website builder or through separate registrars, you own the domain name and can take it to wherever you want.

This is a very common question we get (and certainly one of our own question when we first started as well!) so hope this clarifies things a bit for you.

Beginners Guide to Domain Names – learn how domain name works and what some issues you should be aware of that’s not commonly discussed.

 

A lot of you also wonder about how to get your own custom email address. Not all the website builders provide email services built into their platform.

If you see our comparison chart, you’ll see that Jimdo, IM Creator, and Webs provide email services if you subscribe to their premium plans.

If you decide to use the other website builders what don’t offer email services – fear not.  Google Apps (using the friendly Gmail user interface) can also help you create your own email address for a few dollars a month. If you sign up to our free Top 8 Tools newsletter, we have more details on where you can find these resources.

 

CONCLUSION – HOW TO BUILD A WEBSITE

Hopefully through this post, we’ve shown you that you don’t necessarily need to know how to code or become a tech guru in order to learn how to create a website. Those “old school” barriers are now gone.  We certainly weren’t tech savvy when we first started out, so you don’t have to be either.

There are plenty of drag and drop website builders available in the market that literally allow you to drag content into a website, and publish it without touching any codes.

The learning curve of using these website builders is not too steep, but you do have to invest a day or so to test them out. Not a bad investment if you are serious about building and growing your own presence online for years to come!

Once you become comfortable with these builders, it doesn’t hurt to pick up some very basic coding knowledge so you can modify your website if you want. It’s not a must, but just something to consider if you want to have a bit more flexibility in terms of styling of your website.

Again, here are a few helpful links to get you started in comparing which website builder can help you get your website online!

Click to see Website Builder Comparison Chart

Click to see E-Commerce Store Builders

Found This Guide Helpful?

Did this guide benefit you? Leave a comment below. 

Do you know anyone who can benefit from this guide? Send them this page or click on the share buttons on the left.

You’ll be helping us out by spreading the word about our website, and you’ll be helping them out!

 

Jeremy Wong

About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

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Jeremy Wong

About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

Leave a Reply

82 Responses to How to Build a Website 2016 | 4 Surprisingly Simple Tools You Can Use

  1. #

    Nice Article bro.
    I was just wondering if you have any idea on how to make my own Email address on my own website without using Gmail. My webhost provided me 5 email services and I don’t have any idea how to make it work.
    I’m just using an FTP named FileZilla to access and edit my website. I’m also just a student and willing to learn more about these things.
    Thank you!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Miguelle,

      Depending on which hosting service you are using, they should have full tutorials to show you how to get it setup. I think you probably need to verify that you own the domain name first, then the rest should be pretty procedural? Check their tutorials or contact their support team for exact steps.

      Jeremy

      • #

        I see. Thank you very much for the article and the reply. It was really a great help to help me proceed with my next step. I hope you can help many people like me who are willing to learn. Thanks again.

  2. #

    Great Article jeremy! VERY informative!!

    I’m working on making a job-board type of site.

    Where users can post jobs and and possible create profiles to frequently post job vacancies.

    The applicants should be able to filter through and search for jobs, so some sort of filteration system would be useful.

    If possible, I’d like for the job posters and the people searching for jobs to be able to create a profile on the website.

    What web-builder would you suggest?

    So far word press with cetains plug-ins seems to be the best bet but I’d appreciate your advice on this.

    Thank You

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      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

  3. #

    articles were excellent and very helpful. thank you

  4. #

    Excellent article…very helpful

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Glad you enjoyed our discussions here!

      Jeremy

  5. #

    Hey, Jeremy, thanks for an informative article.

    I’m planing to start my own blog but choosing the right hosting provider gets me a bit confused… I’m still a beginner at this, so would prefer something that would offer a free plan, at least for testing purposes. A (very!) user friendly interface is obviously a must…
    Could you please share some hosting companies that match my requests or at least point me in the right direction where to find them?

    Many thanks.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hello Vivy,

      If you are a beginner and don’t want to climb a steep curve to learn the technicalities of managing a hosting company, then consider taking a look at drag & drop website builders.

      These website builders manage all the hosting and technical aspects of operating a website for you. And, their platform allow you to drag and drop your content when building your pages so you don’t have to know how to code.

      I’d suggest testing out Wix and Weebly to start. Both are code free and have free plans for you to test. They don’t have a time limit on their free plans so don’t worry about upgrading until you are satisfied with them.

      But if you really want to use a hosting company (for instance, you want to use WordPress.org), then someone like Bluehost is pretty good, in general.

      Thanks,

      Jeremy

      • #

        Thanks for your informative reply. Yes, I would like to try a hosting company, since WordPress is kinda what I’m aiming for. Yet, did some research and wish to start from a free hosting site. Found some options online, such as 000webhost, googiehost, freehostia, hostinger, etc.
        Any tips for choosing the best one?

        Thanks in advance!

        • Jeremy Wong
          #

          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

        • #

          Hello Vivy,
          I was in the same situation some time ago, so I tested the free hosting providers, the ones you mentioned above and even a few more. Took some time, yet saved me money.
          If you want to start from free plan, my favorite was Hostinger. I believe it will match your requests: the cPanel is “(very!) user friendly” – you’ll be able to install WordPress with only a click of a button and it also provides many great plugins, don’t be afrait to experiment!
          Since you’re a beginner, having customer support is a great bonus and theirs will definitely help if you have any issues (sure helped me), don’t be shy to contact them.
          Good luck with your blog! Hope I could help.

  6. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    just one more question… does squarespace offer an email platform option?

    Many thanks in advance.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      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

  7. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I’ve done so much “research” into building my own website and have to be honest, feel rather overwhelmed! I’m wanting to create a website that will allow regular blogs, resources and ultimately to sell consulting services. I’d like to be able to upload clients videos/pics and also sell ebooks. I’m mindful of good seo but also safe storage of customers personal details.
    Longer term, if I wanted to move my website, and all its info, can I transfer this information to another host?

    Many thanks for any help.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hello Amanda,

      I’d suggest you take a look at Squarespace.

      With Squarespace, you can create blogs, sell services, upload images / videos, sell digital products (ebooks).

      They also allow you to export most of your content into WordPress (a very powerful and popular website builder) later if you want that option.

      The benefit of using Squarespace now is that you can build a website without knowing how to edit codes. You can literally have your site up in quite a short period of time. With WordPress, it’s much more advanced and technical so it’s not as user-friendly compared to Squarespace. You can see our comparison between them here.

      So Squarespace is much easier to get setup and will give you what you need. Once you’re established and want a much more advanced platform down the road, WordPress is worth considering.

      Jeremy

      • #

        Hi Jeremy,
        That’s awesome!

        Really appreciate your honest feedback!

  8. #

    Creating a website is like making a coffee now. With the help of awesome online website building sites like wix, it is very convenient to just drag and drop elements…and create a basic site within hours.
    For a bloggers, wordpress is the best option, but they have to learn a bit about wordpress first.

    After creating website, especially a blogging one, there are some necessaries like a good hosting like godaddy.com, social share plugin (I recommend social share plugins by social9.com), cdn service for protection against attracts (cloudflare.com).

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Jenny. It’s helpful to our readers!

      Jeremy

  9. #

    I’ve used Wix & Weebly for my work and both the platforms are perfectly awesome to create a good website. To manage my work I’ve used calendar templates to schedule my activities in a much better way. It is recommeded to use a Weebly and visit getcalendartemplates.com to download free calendars, they provides free calendars in PDF, Excel, and Word format.

    • #

      Weebly is not the best website builder. Yes, it’s convenient and has intuitive interface but their web templates aren’t good. Compare them with free templates from Wix or with paid ones from Squarespace – they are really worthy and beautiful web templates. Weebly doesn’t have such. I think that many believe that Weebly is the best website builder because everybody talk about it and not just because it’s the best. It’s like about IKEA furniture – many like it but I wouldn’t say that it’s the best. You could better try to work with another platform.

      • Jeremy Wong
        #

        I have to agree with Jonian here.

        Weebly is a wonderful website builder as it is so easy and intuitive to use. However, their template designs are not as good as those offered by Wix or Squarespace.

        Jeremy

  10. #

    Hi Jeremy! Thank you for giving me a very straightforward and transparent approach to building your own website. My daughter is a visual artist, and she will be applying to art schools in the next year. A website is necessary for her to show her work (all still paintings) to prospective art school admissions councilors and staff. What would be a good builder to use to “bring to life” her paintings and present them in a simple, tasteful and uncluttered way? And at this time, she is not going to use this site to sell her work, just present it to schools.

  11. #

    Top article Jeremy !

    I own a cosmetics company, pre start up and I am looking at a web presence. I want to keep costs down but quality very high due to the nature of my business, lipbalm. Can I run my own video ad on a homepage of any of the drag and drop site s? I will be creating one for initial social media marketing campaigns)

    I want it to start playing as soon as someone lands on the homepage. And are they mobile / cell friendly ?

    Thanks
    Paul

  12. #

    Hi Jeremy!

    Thank you so much for posting this! I found this to be very helpful!!

    So I do have a few questions though…

    First off, I am wanting to build a website that advertises a service I offer, displays images in two separate galleries, can be involved with a separate calander that can be accessed from my phone and be up to date on available times to schedule an appointment, and, most importantly, can have a payment option to prepay for my service to secure a time slot with a possible escrow type function to be able to add payments onto the set appointments.

    Does this make any sense? If it does, does this sound possible? Which website builder would you recommend to have access to these functions? I am just starting out so cost is also a factor, although I am willing to pay a reasonable amount of money to get this set up and to maintain it.

    Thank you in advance!!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Kayla,

      Have a look at Wix. They have a booking system that allows your customers to book and prepay for appointments.

      Jeremy

  13. #

    Thanks for the article Jermey. I was looking into building a site that serves dual functions. I wanted to create an entertainment news site that also functions as an online business. I purchased a subscription with godaddy for an online shop, but the templates are pretty bland and the customization is dreadful. Is there a site you could recommend for something like that?

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Joe,

      If you want an ecommerce store, I’d definitely suggest you check out Shopify. I’m not entirely sure you want to layout your news articles, but if it’s in a form of blog posts, then Shopify will work.

      Jeremy

  14. #

    hello there the website on how to create a website is all good but do i have to pay a monthly fee to create a website were i can talk to people or just broadcast myself on youtube to tell everyone what my site is made for so they can talk back to me i think i have a pretty good idea on that subject but getting started there seems to be a lot of buttons to push like findind domain name finding a host

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Kevin,

      With website builders like Wix or Weebly, you can use them for free and there isn’t a time limit. However, with the free plans, you won’t be able to connect your own domain name to the website, and you will be limited to certain functions. But you can definitely publish a website.

      Further, all hosting services are provided by the website builders listed above. So you don’t have to get your own hosting services.

      Jeremy

  15. #

    How possible is it to create a 100% totally free website for calls. I mean a website for making calls. Can someone throw a little light on this please?

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Vincent,

      Could you elaborate a bit more by what you mean by “calls”? You mean you want to be able to use a website to make phone calls? Or maybe something like Skype where you can log into the app and make phone calls?

      Jeremy

  16. #

    Great Article

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thanks, Mutua!

  17. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    This is the most informative article on web design that I have come across. And I have read quite a number!
    I had a question though. I don’t know anything about html/css or any code for web design, and I need to include a searchable database in a website I’m to create. Any ideas/tips on doing this on a WYSIWYG website builder?

    Thank you very much

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hello Mart,

      I don’t think WYSIWIG website builders have any built in searchable databases – at least not the ones I’ve used before anyway.

      I “think” I’ve seen an external widget that you can use and plug it into a website. Have you tried searching for one?

      If there isn’t any, I’d imagine you’d have to have one custom built to work the way you want it to.

      One “hack” you might want to consider is to use the website builder’s search bar tool. So you would insert all your data into your website as pages, and let people use the sitewide search bar to find what they’re looking for. It’s not an elegant solution, but worth considering or testing.

      Jeremy

  18. #

    Great article, Keep sharing with us.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Thank you for reading, Sara!

      Jeremy

  19. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    What do you recommend for someone who sells Domain Names?
    I am looking for a site builder that can sell Intellectual Property like domain names.
    Thanks

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Joe,

      I’m not entirely sure to be perfectly honest. I’d imagine you would have to have the ability to host the domain name, help your customers connect the domain names to their websites, etc.

      The website builders mentioned above are probably not equipped for the unique requirements that a domain name registrar need in order to run its business properly. I’d imagine a lot of the functions will be pretty customized.

      Jeremy

  20. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I’m looking to build a site that my paying subscribers can log in and post pics and embed links to other site. Do any drAG and drop sites offer such a template or or am I looking at a whole different animal. If you have or know of a possible option it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hello Pete,

      It sounds to me that you are looking to build a community type website? Unfortunately the drag and drop web builders above won’t be able to do this. Take a look at Ning. I heard that it’s pretty good and easy to use, though I don’t have any experiences with them.

      Jeremy

  21. #

    Hello,

    I used BigCommerce to build the website, tenbrookeleanne.com, for my girlfriend’s brick and mortar boutique. I do not know any code and before building this website, I knew nothing about ecommerce.

    The customer service for BigCommerce is awesome! Even though they are a WYSIWYG drag and drop site builder, they helped me customize my website by editing the code for me. They changed the background for my chosen (free) template and added an instagram social button even though it wasn’t in the template.

    When building the website I had a ton of questions and they were always happy to help, now I very rarely have to call support. The BigCommerce University and question forums are very resourceful at well.

    I would highly recommend BigCommerce to anyone who is looking to build an ecommerce site.

    My only complaint about BigCommerce is that they do not have a native solution to integrate with the brick and mortar store POS to keep the inventory up to date (though they say they are/have been working on it). I have to use an expensive and less than satisfactory third party software for the two platforms to communicate with each other.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      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

  22. #

    I am very happy to find out this post regarding making build a website. You have given deep information about ‘domain name, hosting, security. I really appreciate your efforts.

  23. #

    Hey, I find this article really helpful. Thanks! I am planning to build a video streaming website on which I can upload my movies for people to watch at little cost. Which builder or solution you would recommend? Thx!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Xylvia,

      The website builders that we suggested above aren’t built specifically to stream videos for a price (sort of like Netflix).

      However, that’s not to say it’s not possible with a few simple workarounds. What you can do is set up a membership access only area (Wix and Weebly has this feature). You’ll have to manually insert a payment button of some sort (such as using PayPal). Once your customer pays you, you can then email them links to pages that are “locked” behind the membership gateway, so they can access the videos.

      It’s a bit manual and not as smooth as multi-billion dollar companies like Netflix, but it will work in concept.

      Alternatively, take a look at Sentry Login, which is a membership widget that works with Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. With Sentry, I think you can unlock a membership area once your customer pays. So it connects the payment system with the membership access system for you, which streamlines the process so you don’t have to manually grant access to pages.

      Another thing you should consider is how big are the videos you want to upload. While you can upload pretty large movie / video files into the website builders, there are certain reasonable limits. For instance, if you’re going to have 1,000 people viewing your HD movie that’s 3 GB large all at the same time, that might be problematic.

      A workaround might be to get your own hosting solution for such large videos, then embed the videos into your membership only pages.

      It goes without saying that make sure you have distribution rights for the movies! But I’m not a lawyer, so best to consult proper advice in that regards!

      Jeremy

  24. #

    Jeremy,

    I believe this article is really helpful to cross the initial mental hurdle of building 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.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hello Abhishek,

      Based on what you’re looking for, it sounds to me that you’re looking to build a community type website (something like Facebook). The website builders we discuss here aren’t equipped to do that. Take a look at Ning. I personally haven’t used them before, but I read somewhere in the past that they’re decent.

      Jeremy

  25. #

    Hi! I was wondering, if you built a website using one of the above i. Wix, weebly, word press etc nd it gained lots of traffic, enough to sell, who actually owns the site to be able to sell it?

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey KJ,

      You can definitely sell websites that you built. I’ve seen people sell websites built on WordPress, Weebly, Wix, etc. A key component of the sale, in addition to the actual webpages, is the domain name. People buy and sell domain names all the time!

      Jeremy

  26. #

    I am really enjoying this post. Thanks a lot!

    I am a second year computer science student. I want to build a simple website. How do I get it done. What free builder would you recommend for me? I’d also like to do a trier for the small organization I work with. Please educate me. Am ready to learn. Thanks

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Glenn,

      The 3 top drag & drop website builders that I’d recommend that you check out include Wix, Squarespace and Weebly.

      You can take a look at the side-by-side comparison chart so you get a birdseye view of the key differences.

      Also check out this guide on how to pick a good website builder. It’s a good place to get started!

      Good luck!

      Jeremy

  27. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for your article.

    I have a question I am hoping you can help me with. The original site I started was a free blog through wordpress website.
    I then decided to go towards an actual site with a blog attached, I made the switch to Hostgator. During this switch Hostgator took our domain name and is requesting $700 to get it back even though we paid the yearly fee. They are now saying they will not release our domain name until May.
    Does this seem correct?
    Thanks
    Kate

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hello Kate,

      Based on your comment, that doesn’t sound right at all! Did you give you a very detailed and sensible reason of why they are requesting the $700?

      Normally, domain names cost about $12 – $15 to renew on an annual basis. You can see more discussions about domain names that we’ve put together here.

      You should definitely demand a reasonable and detailed explanation.

      Good luck with that.

      Jeremy

  28. #

    I would like to know whether you can use this drop and drag websites to make money by putting ads on your website. (I know it is difficult to make a lot of money through ads on websites).
    Thanks in advance!
    Xander

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Yes you can, Xander.

      I think you just have to place images / banners, and link them to the end product providers who you are advertising for. Or you can insert Google Adsense as well, to earn marketing commissions.

      Jeremy

  29. #

    Superb article! Don’t know if you can help here; My dad is a vegetable farmer and he sells his products to a small group of organic customers. I wonder if you could recommend a website builder so his customers can view the veggies available, rate them and even purchase online. Only thing I think it would be best if they would have to log in to get their individual pricing. Any idea? Thanks already. BTW I don’t necessarily need the easiest builder, I do some tech work; just a professional looking, free solution with our own domain cause my Dad won’t spend a dime on this until I make him see the benefits.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      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

  30. #

    A nice article! And yes, it is written in a simplest way yet being very informative. I have already tried some site builders but they were not easy to use. I want to create a simple website, just a pair of pages about my family. I want my friends could view videos and photos of the family celebrations. It’ll be good to create the site free of charge. I choose between Weebly and mobirise. They are both free site builders as I know. Can you recommend what builder is easier?

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Emma,

      I personally think Weebly is a very easy website builder to use already. But you can also check out Wix as well as they are a pure drag and drop website builder, and you don’t need to know how to code to build a good looking website.

      Jeremy

  31. #

    Hi Jeremy, lots of good info on here. I am looking at building a website with the intention of pay per click or affiliate marketing. can you suggest which website builder would be the best to use for this endeavour of mine.

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Leon,

      I think Wix, Squarespace or Weebly are potential candidates.

      I also heard that some affiliate marketing sites use WordPress. But with WordPress, it is much more technical challenging than drag and drop website builders. But WP does offer more flexibility, if you know how to use it proficiently (with a bit of coding knowledge).

      Give the ones I suggested a try. They’re free to test, before you commit to upgrading to one of their paid plans. That’s the best way to get a sense of what works well for you!

      Jeremy

  32. #

    Hi Jeremy, found your website VERY informative! Thank you. Since many web hosts (e.g., godaddy) have their own site builders, do you have any recommendation? I would seem easier to register and build site with them, plus you get email accounts for employees to use. Any thought? Thanks in advance!

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hey Grant,

      Glad you’re finding our discussions helpful! GoDaddy is a pretty good website builder and we’ve discussed it in more details here.

      In general, while using website builders with hosts does give you access to a broader range of services, at times, their support teams may not be the best in terms of answering very specific website builder related questions.

      For instance, Weebly offers really good website building services, and you can reach them by going to Weebly.com. You can also use Weebly through hosts such as Bluehost.

      Both will work and enable you to build your website, but when it comes to support, if you are using Weebly through Weebly.com directly, you get Weebly’s direct customer / technical support team.

      If you reach out for help through Bluehost, you get Bluehost’s support team. We have a much deeper discussion about this specific scenario here.

      While some of the website builders don’t provide you with email accounts, you can also easily sign up for Google Business App’s email services for a few dollars a month. This way, you can take advantage of having your own custom domain email addresses, a familiar Gmail interface, and also that your email is stored on Google’s servers which is probably a lot safer / reliable / accessible.

      – Jeremy

  33. #

    I own a small business and am looking to redesign our website. Thanks for all your comparisons of the website builders! I currently use Mailchimp to send out weekly emails to my customers. Do you know if any of these website builder sites allow you to create an email list? Then use a template to create an email (like Mailchimp) and send it out to all your subscribers. Ideally there would be a tab on your website people can click on to enter their email address…..They would then get your emails. Thanks for any feedback 🙂

    • Jeremy Wong
      #

      Hi Laura,

      If you are using Mailchimp (we use Aweber ourselves), you don’t need the website builder to be integrated with Mailchimp at all,unless you run an ecommerce store (I’ll address this below). Newsletter services allow you to create a sign up box, then provides you with some codes where you can copy and paste these codes into your website.

      All website builders have a tool that allows you to embed codes into wherever you want on your webpages. Once you publish your website, then the sign up box will show up.

      If you are operating an online store, you can integrate Mailchimp with websites built with Squarespace, Shopify or Bigcommerce. This way, after your customer buys from you, they are automatically invited to join your newsletter so you can continue to share news with them, or even promote other products to them.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  34. #

    I am using wix for building my e-commerce site in India, but after spending so much time building it i realized that it doesn’t support Indian Rupee. So i am just stuck at this and don’t know what else to do. My question is that, is there any other payment option that can be added to my site so that my customers can choose different payment options ( even if that means a third party payment gateway).??

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Vivek,

      Wix actually doesn’t control what currencies you can use as it is up to the transaction services provider such as PayPal. So if you use PayPal, Shopify App or Ecwid App that you can find in Wix’s app market (see our review), I’m pretty sure you will be able to find some transaction options in Rupees.

      – Jeremy

  35. #

    Hello Jeremy and Connie,

    I really have to first say, Thank You for all of your time and energy that you put into providing us, with informative and helpful education!

    I am starting an online business in women’s clothing, So I am extremely into design. Shopify seems to be a strong interest for me but, I do not know too much about codes. So does Shopify have alot of codes? and do you think this would be too much of a challenge for a beginner of codes?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      Hi Latisha,

      Shopify is great for those who are not super technical as they are much easier to use compared to other e-commerce platforms. This is not to say that you can make unlimited number of customizations to the themes without ever touching codes, as some levels of modifications does require touching some codes.

      But if you just choose a theme, and work within the capability of the theme with Shopify’s tools, then you can get a really good store up and running fairly quickly. But if there is a certain look / feel / feature that you want to achieve that is outside the design of the theme, then you may have to code it yourself, or hire a Shopify expert to do so.

      Hope this gives you a bit more guidance!

      – Jeremy

      • #

        Wow, What a great response! You have answered my question for me and what you said really helps me make a great decision. Thanks a bunch for the awesome guidance and I look forward to following your work.

  36. #

    I’m having trouble finding the right fast website builder with ready-made goodlooking templates and high-quality free stock images; time is really an issue for me these days; what do you guys think about IMcreator.com?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      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

  37. #

    Hi,

    I’m trying to build a website for my engineering consultancy business. I’m really new to all this website building thing. Looked at a few reviews on your site as well.
    Could you guide me a bit more?

  38. #

    I want to create a website where can I post the restaurant and retirement home business of my hubby. I would like to edit the website at least monthly depending on our promotional activities. No payment option needed yet but a simple information for local customers and travelers as well. We want our website displays when people searched from their phone while on their travel since our place is in between 2 big cities.

    I trust you, and since I described my main objective which one do you highly recommend?

    • Jeremy & Connie
      #

      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

      • #

        this is cool. i love the way you deliver