When it's time to go beyond the blogs, beyond the online resumes, beyond the page of links, which service do you turn to for a full-blown site that gives you the flexibility to build nearly anything you desire? There's no lack of them, but three of our favorites are DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, well-rounded services that feature numerous hosting types and tiers.

If you're ready to get going, this guide will introduce you to the services and software that can get you started building your own website, even if you have no experience. Keep in mind, none of these tools will give you an idea for a winning website—that's on you. They also won't make you a web designer, a job that's distinct from building a site. Still, these services and software will ease some of the headaches that come from a lack of extensive expertise in CSS, FTP, HTML, and PHP.


You can make a website for free, but there are catches. Free accounts on website builders hold a lot of important features back. You can’t use custom domains, and your free site will have ads for that website builder. If you’re looking to learn more about website building then the free options are worth a look. However, if you want a professional, feature-rich website you’re going to have to pay at least a few dollars a month.

If your template comes with images, these can be changed too. This is what makes Wix the best – you can really make the website your own, one click at a time. Don’t like an image? Click it and switch it out for something you do like. It could be a saved photo from your business, or one of Wix’s free images – there are tons of design possibilities to be explored here.


By this point, you’ve customized your site’s template and added some solid images and pages. But if your site still feels a little plain, there’s no need to worry – adding some exciting bells and whistles is a lot easier than it seems. Wix’s App Market has over 250 amazing applications to boost your site, and they cover everything from restaurant orders to interactive quizzes. The apps don’t just look great, either – they also provide your website with the modern interface necessary to stay competitive.
Blogs are swell, but sometimes you need a simple place to park your persona on the internet for branding purposes. In this case, you can just get a nameplate site, or as we prefer to think of them, a personal webpage (rather than a multipage site). Instead of linking internally to your store or other pages of note as you would with a more traditional web page, a personal site usually has links that go elsewhere—to your social networks, wish lists, playlists, or whatever else is linkable.
As a consequence, WiX is not equally suited to all developers. The relatively steep learning curve (although our primary goal is to help overcome this difficulty with our tutorial) and the unavoidable exposure to the internal details and, sometimes, intricacies of the underlying Windows Installer technology suggest that less experienced developers or those who don't really need the unlimited and unparalleled performance WiX can offer might be better served by a simpler, GUI-based setup authoring tool, of which there are both commercial and freeware solutions available.

Traditional setup tools used a programmatic, script-based approach to describe the various steps involved in the deployment of the application to be installed on the target machine: files to be copied, registry settings to be created, device drivers and services to be started. The technology behind Windows Installer, while it maintains a comparable look and feel for the end user, underwent important philosophical changes. The fundamental change was to move from the imperative description to a declarative one: rather than to describe the individual steps of installation, the declarative form specifies the state the target machine should be left in after various phases of installation and uninstallation. While the imperative description seems to be quite sufficient until some error occurs, the declarative one makes it possible to cope with unexpected conditions, differing target machine environments, aborted installations, shared resources. It is of paramount importance for setup developers to make sure that whatever happens during the process, the target machine should be left in a known, stable state, without introducing any detrimental side effects.

For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. 
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. 
There are thousands of templates to choose from in WordPress’ own Theme Directory. Search for the types of themes you’d be interested in. If you’re setting up a newspaper search ‘newspaper’, if you need a site for your café search ‘cafe’. There’ll be dozens, if not hundreds, of contenders. Clicking on a theme takes you to its own page where you can see user reviews and preview the theme in action.
Use natural language in your copy. Along with technical factors and keyword optimization, the structure and quality of your copy is still a major ranking factor. Readability impacts a page’s ability to show up in search, especially voice search. So use natural, well-written language to provide a better experience for readers and to improve semantic SEO.
Yahoo's Tumblr is another incredibly popular blog platform that lends itself to shorter, more visual posts. You can, however, find themes that give your Tumblr site a more traditional website's look and feel. Google's Blogger features tight integration with Google Adsense, so making extra pocket change is a snap. Newer blogging services, such as Anchor, Feather, and Medium, stress writing and publishing more than intricate design, but they're incredibly simple to update.

Everybody loves featured snippets—those handy text boxes that pop up when we search and provide quick answers to our questions without needing to click a link. They’re becoming a particularly important part of the UX as convenience becomes the norm and mobile and voice searches rise in prominence. Below is an example featured snippet...on featured snippets!
You can get started for roughly $10 per month for shared or WordPress hosting if your website doesn't require much server horsepower. As your business expands, however, your website may need greater horsepower. That's when you should look into cloud, VPS and dedicated hosting. These levels of services are for when you really need a web host that offers lots of storage, a significant amount of month data transfers, and numerous email accounts.
Absolutely. You have the option to customize your website based on your business needs. You can add site content wherever you’d like in a variety of sections; from multiple site pages, to scrollable sections that you can add to each of those pages, to a gallery of images, menus and price lists, and YouTube or Vimeo videos. Each section in your website is customizable as well, from the name of the page, to your website’s navigation bar. You’ll also have the ability to change text colors, styles and font. It’s important to make a responsive website that is mobile and desktop friendly. With Website Builder you’ll be able to choose tablet and desktop layouts to give your visitors the experience you want them to have.
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