Are you looking for the all in one simple solution to building your website? If so, then a website builder might be just what you are looking for. Unlike CMS platforms that have to be installed and configured on your web hosting account, website builders allow you to to create static websites, blogs, and e-commerce stores with ease in one place. Many give you drag and drop functionality, hundreds of designs to choose from, and host your website for you. Plus, you’ll have access to support to help you with developing and maintaining your website.
In this guide, we’re going to look at how you can build your website using three of the most popular website builders:
Creating a website with Wix
In this day and age, saying your business doesn’t need a website is like saying you don’t need oxygen to survive.
Wix offers free accounts, and you can sign up to test their tools without paying a penny. Of course, you are not going to get your website on a custom domain for free. Your website name will look like this, yourwebsite.wix.com, but they give you the perfect opportunity to play around with what they have and decide if you like it or not.
Once you create your website and you’re happy with what you have, you can upgrade to one of the plans and set the custom domain for your site. Wix offers five different plans:
|Contain domain||Most basic||$4.08/month|
|Combo||For personal use||$9.25/month|
The platform is all about giving users the freedom they need to design their sites however they want. They’ve introduced praise-worthy features over the years; the following ones command your attention:
Templates. Wix offers over 280 beautiful templates in different industries and categories to choose from. You’ll find everything from baking to finance to law. These pre-made templates give users the overall structure and guidance they desire. Take your time in deciding as you can’t switch from one template to another. This shortcoming aside, templates feature a wide array of tools and useful applications.
Customizable add-ons. The Wix app market has dozens of add-ons to set up your website in the perfect manner. As a result, you can engage customers with live chat, social interaction, coupons, surveys, or even sell them items using eCommerce features such as shopping cart and payment gateway. Wix offers instructions on how to integrate these apps into your site and one click installation.
Drag & Drop Editor. If you’re new to website building, being able to position elements exactly where you want them to be, without having to know coding basics, is amazing. This is made possible by the Drag & Drop Editor. It also works as a prop for advanced users who are trying to refresh the design of their site.
Customer support. Wix offers a user-friendly interface, and most of the elements and features are accompanied by additional details and practical advice. In case users run into issues, they can take help from the forum or Support Center. There are FAQs, video tutorials, and the option to contact the most relevant department. The customer service team answers queries within 24 hours.
Using Wix and setting up your website
Read Wix web builder review.
View Wix overview video.
After you sign up, you can choose a template for your site. Click on the ‘Edit’ button to launch the Drag and Drop Editor. You can edit anything in the template, including images and text.
A great feature of Wix is that you can save the work in progress while modifying the template. This saves you from the hassle of starting from scratch in case you get disconnected from the internet, or you have to work in intervals. And at any point in the customization process, you can see the site in your web browser, so you can preview exactly how it will appear once live.
To make additional website customizations use the menu on the left side, which includes:
- Pages — here you can add pages by clicking ‘Add page’. You can open ‘Page Settings’ to change the name of the page and its URL. Enter SEO details to help search engines find your pages.
- Design — customize your background, colors, and fonts
- Add — here you can change the background of different elements, and select a particular color palette. With ‘Add’ option you can add a text, image, gallery, media, buttons & menus, and more
- App manage — here you can integrate several features into your sites such as a contact form, Google Maps, PayPal, and Flickr Gallery.
- Setting — here you can connect a domain name, update SEO settings to make your site visible in search engines, add social profiles, and setup Google Analytics account to keep track of the stats
In the default plan, your site will be online on a domain address that starts with wix.com, but you can upgrade your account to get your free domain and remove all Wix advertisements. Once you’ve done that, you can utilize Wix-powered email for your domain. To set up your email, go to My Account – > Mailboxes. The email system relies on the Google Apps framework, so you’ll need a Wix plan that includes a custom domain.
Note: Wix has everything tested by its private development team to ensure seamless functions. It is one of the easiest website builders to use. All you have to do is place different elements on your site exactly how you want them to appear to your site visitors. As a result, you enjoy the benefit of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) when you create a website with Wix.
Creating a website with Weebly
Weebly was founded in 2006. For the past nine years, it has continued to grow, month after month, to become one of the top website building platforms in the world. While some people have web design experience, others don’t know the first thing about getting started. And this is where Weebly comes into play.
Weebly is built on the premise that anybody can create a website. It doesn’t matter if you are creating a personal blog, an online store, or a website for your small business, this platform allows you to do so with ease.
You are probably wondering how much it costs. If you only need to test the tool, you can opt for the free version. This gives you unlimited features, free of cost. You will also get access to a fully integrated eCommerce platform in addition to all the features. Here are four plan options that they offer:
|Free||$0 / month|
|Starter||$4 / month|
|Pro||$8 / month|
|Business||$25 / month|
Using Weebly and setting up your website
Read Weebly web builder review.
Getting started and signing up. You can do this for free via the Weebly website. All it takes is your full name, email address, and password. Once you enter your information, you are taken to the next page with the Add site button. It is here that you are asked one fundamental question. “What’s the Focus of Your Site?”
You have three options: Site, Blog, or Store
Before making a decision, think carefully about the information your website will provide as well as your target market. A small business that doesn’t sell anything online may opt for the “site” option. If you are starting a blog, the “blog” prompt is your choice. And if you plan on selling a product online, choose “store.’
Choosing your theme. This step shows why it is so important to make the right decision when selecting a focus. At this point, you are provided with themes based on your site’s purpose.
For example, if you choose “site,” there are hundreds to choose from, so you shouldn’t be in a rush to make a decision. Instead, check out each one, including the layout and features, to decide which is best for your website.
Tips. Weebly makes it simple to change your theme at a later date, so don’t slave over this for too long. There are more decisions to be made. It is also the aspect where Weebly shines over competitor website builders such as Wix.
Choosing your website domain. Once you select a theme and before you start adding content, choosing colors, and moving things around, you will have to set you site name.
Your options include the following:
- Use a subdomain of Weebly.com (free).
- Register a new domain.
- Connect a domain you already own.
We recommend going with the free version to start with and add your custom domain name down the road if you are happy with what this tool has to offer.
Customizing and designing your website
Now it’s time to dig around the dashboard and customize your site as you see fit. Just the same as any content management system (CMS), Weebly has a dashboard from which you can do anything and everything. Your dashboard will have these admin options:
The left sidebar is your jumping off point. It is here where you will find the ability to drag and drop components from these categories: Basic, Structure, Media, Commerce, and More.
The top navigation bar provides you with even more options. In addition to the building, which displays the left sidebar, you can click on: Design, Pages, Store, and Settings.
Note: With four distinct packages, a boatload of high-end features, and a simple to use the platform, it is evident why Weebly is trusted by tens of millions of site owners. Their Help Center offers a broad range of support in the form of email, chat, videos, webcasts, and guides.
Creating a website with Squarespace
Squarespace is one of the most popular all-purpose website builders in the marketplace – and it has only improved since the introduction of Squarespace 7. It is a hosted solution, which means it is easy to setup and customize a fully functional website without getting too involved in how the hosting works.
Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan, but there’s a 14-day risk-free trial. Users can sign up for to test their website before making a decision. Beyond that, there are three packages:
|Standard||$10 / month or $96 / year|
|Unlimited||$20 / month or $192 / year|
|Business||$30 / month or $288 / year|
For existing domain names, you have to configure your domain with Squarespace. This involves editing your DNS records and pointing them to Squarespace servers (Squarespace offers a video highlighting major registrars). The customer support department assists users who run into problems while integrating existing domains with the Squarespace platform.
Squarespace has no shortage of power regarding the following:
Templates. Squarespace provides minimalistic and highly professional templates that command user attention. There’s ample variety. Some are detailed; some are sparse, some are eCommerce oriented, some are designed to work as an online portfolio – so you can choose the type depending on the nature of your business. Apart from being sleek and minimal, each template is mobile-friendly and responsive.
Style editor. The style editor makes it easy for users to customize their website without modifying the CSS code. There are options to adjust background images, colors, the width of sidebar, spacing, and padding, the opacity of pages, and typography. Also, there is a CSS editor for users who are familiar with coding.
Marketing & SEO. Squarespace has effective SEO and marketing features. Users can edit meta descriptions, URLs, page titles; and XML sitemaps + HTML code is already included. There’s also social integration for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
Commerce. Squarespace enables you to create an online store to sell products and services. The Commerce feature supports different product variants including weight, color, and size. Advanced eCommerce features such as express checkout, integrated account functions, label printing and carrier shipping are included in the paid package. Users can receive payments via Stripe.
Customer support. Squarespace offers free 24/7 live chat and telephone support. The company also boasts instructional documentation, video tutorials, and even an active forum; that’s the place where you can get your questions answered. The customer care team consists of experienced users, and nothing is ever outsourced.
Using Squarespace and setting up your website
Read Squarespace web builder review.
View Squarespace overview video.
Visit Squarespace, select ‘Get Started,’ and pick one of the templates. You can choose a different template later if your initial selection doesn’t suit your business needs. After selecting the template, click ‘Start With This Design,’ and enter your credentials.
Next, you will see a Welcome message, and you will have to select the site purpose with the following options: Business, Personal, eCommerce, and Non-profit. Then you will have to fill in Site title and depending on the site purpose you choose maybe include your business information.
Customizing and designing your website
Once you complete the signup process, you will be redirected to the site admin area. Inside the admin panel, you will see left side menu bar and in the middle the website layout you are working on. You can point at your site and see some of the basic admin functions available to you right on the website itself. However, the most customization work will be done on the left side menu bar, which includes the following items:
- Pages tab lets you create new pages for a blog, site, and online store in the main navigation menu. Content is added to the page blocks, and different blocks can be created for various types of content.
- Design tab lets you customize the appearance of your site, create a unique look to match your existing brand. It includes logo and title changes, switching the template, and making style changes.
- Commerce tab lets you add products, pricing, and an on-sale tag. There’s also an option to put additional information about the product (physical or digital). Also, select a carrier and connect a payment account.
- Metrics tab lets you check a comprehensive overview of visitor interaction on your website and helps you track recent traffic statistics. Activity in Metrics refreshes with new data about every 90 minutes.
- Comments tab lets you interact with your visitors and build a community. In Comment Settings, you can control how comments are posted, approved, replied to, and more.
- Settings tab lets you manage multiple tasks such as: change basic information of your site, that includes site style and description, connect a custom domain name, email account, social media profiles. Also, you can modify blogging and SEO settings.
- Help tab speaks for itself. Here you can find answers to any questions you have in the form of in-depth articles, videos, and workshops to help you get started or finish.
Note: Squarespace offers multiple plans, and you will have access to professional templates, drag and drop editor, or 24/7 customer support that they offer. So the value of setting up a Squarespace website is compelling once you weigh in the benefits you get from the platform.
We hope you have enjoyed our introduction to the modern website builders that are available for you to create your static website, blog, or eCommerce website.