business

How to Build a Website

With these inexpensive tools, it’s easy to create your own site.

Whether you’re running a small business, promoting your professional work or showcasing a hobby, your online presence can be crucial to reaching an audience. But building that presence can be daunting. Social media accounts, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, are a good place to start, but a dedicated website that gives you more control over design, content and features can be a powerful tool.

Hiring a professional to design and build a site for you generally costs from a few hundred dollars for a simple personal page to several thousand dollars for a customized small-business site. But building a website no longer requires specialized skills such as coding or graphic design, says Joe Pollaro, a vice president at website builder Wix.com.

Do-it-yourself services, such as Duda, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix and WordPress, make it easy to build a website. The services generally allow you to focus on the content—pages, text and images—while they oversee the technical aspects, such as your domain and web hosting, which connects your site to the internet.

The service that will be best for you depends on what you want to do with your site. Most, including Squarespace, Wix and WordPress, have broad appeal, while Shopify specializes in e-commerce, packing in features to help you manage sales. Most companies offer a free version, but you’ll generally need to pay $10 to $40 a month for a service plan (websites with a shop tend to pay on the higher end) that gives you access to additional storage and features and allows you to remove ads that the site builder places on your pages to promote itself.

Create a domain name. To get started, you’ll need to stake a claim to a domain, the URL for your website. Registering a domain name is simple and often costs $10 to $20 a year. Most website-building services will register a domain name for you (and may include a free year of domain registration).

Some services add their name to your web address (yoursite.sitebuildingservice.com). In that case, for a more polished look, cut the middleman from your URL by using a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com. You’ll still pay roughly $10 to $20 to register your domain for a year. But you may need to jump through some hoops, such as extending the registration by a year or paying a fee to use the domain name with your website builder.

And if you can’t come up with a catchy name for your website that hasn’t already been taken, many sites have a search feature to scope out an available name.

Decide on a design. Before you start adding content to your site, choose a template offered by the website-building service to use as a framework. As you consider your options, get ideas by visiting sites similar to the one you’re creating. Or use filters on the website-building service’s site to find a template that fits your needs. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can customize its look by adding images, changing the color scheme or moving blocks of text.

You’ll usually have the option of editing the template heavily. But for the cleanest look that makes it easy for visitors to navigate your site, you’ll generally want to avoid making big changes. After you’ve set up the basics for your site, you can expand what you’ve built, adding pages and features, such as animations and videos, an online store, or a gallery of your work.

Most Popular

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of
careers

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of

It’s tough to change, but your job could depend on it. Be flexible in your career goals – and talk with your kids about their own aspirations, because…
September 13, 2021
5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio
dividend stocks

5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio

The 65-member Dividend Aristocrats are among the market's best sources of reliable, predictable income. But these five stand out as truly elite.
September 14, 2021
7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom
commodities

7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom

These seven commodity stocks are poised to take advantage of a unique confluence of events. Just mind the volatility.
September 8, 2021

Recommended

6 Troublemaking Clients Chiropractors and Lawyers Should Refuse to Take
small business

6 Troublemaking Clients Chiropractors and Lawyers Should Refuse to Take

Chiropractors and lawyers should just say no to these six types of clients, who are either too difficult or too devious to work with. Just walk away!
September 7, 2021
Pitfalls to Avoid When Financing Your Business
small business

Pitfalls to Avoid When Financing Your Business

When small-business owners look for financing, they make a lot of mistakes. Here are six common issues to steer clear of.
August 31, 2021
Do You Own a Business with a Parking Lot? Read This Now!
small business

Do You Own a Business with a Parking Lot? Read This Now!

You may be vulnerable to an ADA lawsuit without even knowing it. Here’s why and what to do about it.
August 21, 2021
I Sold My Business … Now What?
small business

I Sold My Business … Now What?

The rich cash infusion that comes from selling a business can create a liquidity conundrum that's a challenge to manage.
August 3, 2021