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.
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.
Think of templates 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. And again, don’t rush into it. Choose different templates, browse them, see if they fit. The whole point of templates is choice, so dive in and find one that feels right for what you want to achieve.
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.
Hi Glyn, You can indeed keep your domain name. Domain registration is a separate process to site building, so there's no risk of getting one stuck on a platform you don't want to use any more. Wix is great at walking you through the domain transfer process step by step when you sign up. There's an official video guide here if you'd like a sense of how it's done. Hope that's helpful! Ta, Fred
Hi Paul, I totally feel your pain here! It can be so hard to know where to start. You might find our website builder comparison chart a good place to start, or you can take our short quiz for a personal recommendation. The comments under our articles should also hopefully prove helpful. Other than that, we often find Reddit a good place to engage with a lot of like-minded people, so I'd suggest taking a look there. Thanks, Hannah
The toolset we are about to introduce, WiX, uses a different approach. Instead of a tool with a graphical interface that allows the developers to collect the files and other related tasks making up the installation process manually, it is much more like a programming language. Integrating perfectly with the usual process of creating applications, it uses a text file (based on the XML format) to describe all the elements of the installation process. The toolset has a compiler and a linker that will create the setup program just like our usual compiler creates our application from the source files. Therefore, WiX can be made part of any automated application build process very easily, be that based either on the classical technology of makefiles or the similar features of contemporary integrated development environments.
Things to look as you vet hosts for ecommerce include drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software for safeguarding financial transactions, and email marketing plug-ins, so that you don't have to work with an outside vendor to promote your business. There's nothing wrong per se with using an unconnected marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on getting started selling online, you should consider our story on the 6 Factors Companies Need to Consider When Choosing a Web Host.
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.
With WordPress being such a versatile website platform, it’s no surprise that it can let you build a fully functional eCommerce online store. By fully functional, we mean that you can list any number of products, make them available for sale, and then also collect orders from customers and even handle all tax- and shipping-related elements of the whole process.
WordPress.org is the CMS version we’ve referred to throughout this article, and WordPress.com is the WordPress version of a website builder. WordPress.org is more complex to set up, but offers greater scope for customization. WordPress.com is simple to set up, but limited – we’d recommend it for blogs, but not much beyond that. We’ve written a whole article on the difference between the two, so definitely go check that out.
As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand (if you're a novice, The Best Courses for Learning How to Build Websites is an excellent starting point). You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.
If you’re using Wix’s free plan, then you won’t be able to use a regular domain name like “www.mysite.com” or “www.mysite.net” (domains like this come with Wix’s paid plans). Instead, your site will follow the format www.yourname.wixsite/yoursite, which is enough to get it up and running. But if you’re going for a more professional look, then we recommend upgrading to a paid plan to secure a more polished domain!