If you’re wondering how to build a website (even for free) without any kind of coding skills then you’ve come to the right place. Yes, you’re reading it correctly! You, YOURSELF can build your own website and publish it within hours!! These days there are various DiY website builders on the market that let you put together an entire website using a simple drag and drop interface within hours.
You Don’t Have To Be A Techie!!
In this day and age, more and more people have started building websites to express themselves or to have an online presence for their business/organisation. If you’ve just started out, having only social media handles may suffice, but once the business starts growing one can’t afford to not have a website.
Most entrepreneurs/wannabe bloggers that I have come across only end up procrastinating because they think this needs a lot of time, money and technical skills. Well, that’s a big misconception in most people’s minds.
Gone are those days when websites needed to be hard coded from start to finish. Nowadays, there are many easy-to-use, drag-n-drop applications available on the market to build your own website. Thanks to these DIY website builder tools common people like you and me can build your own website and publish it for free, within hours!
It’s as simple as creating a powerpoint presentation!!
If you’re looking to build a personal website, or want to create a company site before starting your own freelance business, this is the right process for you.
Follow this step-by-step guide to build your own website in just a matter of hours with barely about $50 in your pocket.
Start your website-building journey at step one below, or navigate to the step that you’re currently working on from above:
Note: I’m not going to flood this post with loads of website builder/ hosting/ domain registrar options but rather only stick to the ones I’ve personally used and am well versed with.
STEP 1: Choose your website builder
Using a website builder is the easiest, cheapest and quickest way to build a website. Some of the top ones are Wix, Squarespace , Weebly and Jimdo. Millions of websites are hosted on these platforms as we speak; so not to worry about issues such as downtime, low bandwidth, etc. Using a top-quality website builder means anyone can build a website. That’s exactly why choosing the right website builder best suited to your purpose is the first crucial step in building your own website.
But how do you know which one to pick?
When I made my first website (about a year ago), I found it quite difficult to figure out which website builder was the best fit for me. So I decided to test a few of them.
With any of these builders I’ve mentioned here, you won’t need to code or spend money hiring freelancers to help you design and build your own website.
After spending loads of hours and testing many different website builders, I’ve listed down a few options to make your life easy when you decide to build your own website.
This guide is mainly for people looking for easy ways to build a website (without any coding knowledge). You can also build your own website using WordPress and BlueHost, but I’d recommend these only if you have some basic coding knowledge or an inclination to learn tech.
Things to consider while picking the right website builder:
- Ease of use: Wix, would hands down take this one. Everything about Wix is really simple-to-use and the best part is you can preview changes right away after making edits.
- Design Flexibility: When it comes to this, Squarespace allows a few more customisation options than others.
- Theme Options: This is highly subjective but yet quite crucial. You may end up finding a theme exactly like what you had in mind for your website on ANY website builder. If you’re certain, that’s exactly what you want then I’d say just go for it.
- Mobile Editor: More than 50% of all web traffic these days comes from mobile users. So you must make sure you have a mobile editor available. All except Squarespace offer mobile editors.
- Pricing Options: Wix takes it here as well. It’s one of the cheapest and most value-for-money website builders on the market today.
- Free Custom Domain: Check if they’re offering a free domain along with the subscription plan. Most of them do these days.
- SEO Friendly: This again, is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! There’s not much use of having your website online if people can’t look for it. Think of SEO as your website’s postal address on the web. Both Wix and Squarespace offer a separate SEO dashboard where you can add meta tags, titles, description, etc that’d appear below the listing in a Google search. However, they could do better when it comes to SEO. It doesn’t compare to SEO functionalities offered by WordPress.
- Support: Check if they offer 24/7 Phone/Email/Chat support or not.
- Newsletter Creator: Newsletters are one of the most effective ways to get more readers to your blog/website. Therefore, this is definitely one feature you should consider before picking your website builder tool. Wix and Weebly have this option. However, even if your website builder does not have the option there are lots of independent providers such as Mail Chimp, etc.
- Facebook Login/Membership Creator: Check whether users can subscribe to the site using their Facebook login.
For instance, if you want to build an e-commerce store I’d blindly recommend Shopify only! For a personal/business site, Wix would be my preferred choice any day.
STEP 2: Test Your Website Builder
Once you’ve shortlisted your top 2-3 website builders it’s time to test them. Most of them have either free trial periods or free basic plans. So go ahead, signup and start experimenting. Remember, it’s extremely essential that you enjoy working with the website builder you’ve chosen.
Only then you’d get the best out of it. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Which one has the most user-friendly interface?
- What template options and design features do you like the most?
- Does the builder’s functionality help you build the site you picture in your head?
STEP 3: Choose The Right Plan
Website builders offer different subscription plans with different offerings. All the website builders listed above are reasonably priced and are far cheaper than a custom-built site, which can run into the $1000s. Their cheapest monthly paid plans are often less expensive than a Starbucks Coffee.
You’re not obligated to sign up to a paid plan and you can cancel any time you want. Most website builders also offer money-back guarantees. For example, Wix lets you cancel your Premium Plan at any time within the first 14 days without any penalties. So you can basically try premium and drop it if you don’t like it.
Paid plans let you use all the functionalities of the website builder platform, connect your own free custom domain, get rid of the website builder’s logo and enjoy 24/7 support. Given below is a sample screenshot of various plans that Wix has to offer:
From the above plans for anyone who wants to just create a basic company/personal website, the combo plan should be good enough. The better the plan you choose the more bandwidth (the ability to handle more visitors) and more storage (the number of pictures, video and media you can have on your site) you get.
STEP 4: Choose Your Domain
After purchasing the right plan the next thing you’ve got to do is select a domain name (if you don’t already have one). A domain name is nothing but your webpage address (in this case your website address).
You can buy it through the website builder or directly through registrars such as GoDaddy or BigRock.
As mentioned before, website builders such as Wix, Squarespace and Jimdo will give you a free custom domain name if you sign up for a premium plan. This saves you the extra $10 that you’d be spending on the domain. You can even transfer the domain to another platform later if you want.
Having your own domain name is a great way to add an identity to your site.
So is creating your own custom email address. Not all the website builders provide email services built into their platform. You either have to buy a separate plan for it from the website builder itself or even host your email server elsewhere if you have cheaper options.
STEP 5: Pick & Customise Your Template
Now that you’re set to begin building your website with everything from subscription plan, domain name, etc in place it’s time to now choose a template for your website.
Everyone wants their website to stand out from the rest, to have character and personality. But let’s face it, most of us don’t know design, let alone code up our own web design! That’s where website builders come in. There are hundreds of pre-created design templates that we can use, without having to spend money and time hiring a designer. No matter which website builder you’ve chosen, there’ll be a wide variety of template options to choose from based on your profession/industry/intended use.
Why is this important?
Templates mainly dictate how homepage header, footer, menu bar look like, and the content width on your site, so they’re pretty important!
Templates are like clothes. If you don’t like one set you can instantly change to another without affecting your content one bit.
Choosing the perfect template will give you a great head start on the design front; so spend as much time as needed until you’re 100% satisfied you’ve found what you’re looking for.
In case, you’re completely puzzled maybe you want to check out some references from the same niche as your website and get inspired.
With all the customisation options available, you can possibly change the look and feel of almost any element on the site. Everything from colours, fonts, backgrounds, layouts, etc. can be customised.
Over and above that, many of these website builder tools also offer a lot of widgets you can add to your website. These include live chat windows, comment/feedback sections, contact forms, youtube widgets, etc. Play around with them to see which could be of value to your site.
STEP 6: Preview, Test & Publish Your Website
Once done with all the previous steps I know your excitement levels are through the roof and you want to publish your website ASAP. But hold right there! Before you do that, you need to make sure your site looks and functions just like you envisioned it to.
Let me show you how you could do that:
- First, preview and test your website. Watch out for the following while doing so:
- Spelling and grammar.
- Check all navigation buttons and their backlinks if they take you to the correct destination page.
- Check all social share buttons whether they are correctly linked to your respective social media handles.
- Is your site in exact sync with what you wanted and does it fulfil the purpose you created it for?
- Check if your formatting is consistent throughout the site.
- So make sure you run all these last minute checks before publishing your site and announcing it to the world. After all this time, effort and money spent you don’t want the first impression to be so-so.
Testing Tip: Run it by a few of your friends and ask for feedback. You know your site inside out so you’d be well aware of all it’s functionalities and features. However, first-time visitors may find it difficult to navigate through certain parts of the site and this could be great constructive feedback for you.
Finally, click on PUBLISH!!!
Congratulations!!!! You’ve made it and your site is ready to go live!! Now sit back and enjoy the buzz it creates!
This article was penned down with the objective of convincing all you readers that anyone can learn how to build your own website for pennies without being a technical genius! I hope I’ve achieved this objective. I learned it on my own experimenting endlessly by trial and error but hope this article saves a lot of your time doing that. Now you’re all set to start building your own website!!
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