AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a technique of using a browser sided language and a server sided language to make the page get new information from the server without refreshing the page, often greatly reducing user wait time and vastly improving the user's experience but increasing bandwidth usage. For a website that will see a lot of traffic, or an eCommerce site, this is an excellent solution.
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.
There are even some advantages to not hiring a designer and using a website builder – beyond the money you’ll save. If you build your own website, you’ll have a complete understanding of how it works, and, you’ll be able to fix any issues that may arise after you’ve published. That’s yet more money saved down the line, versus hiring a contractor to fix issues.

You've added content and customized your design. The next step is to connect your domain so you can start sharing your website with the world. Jimdo Pro and Jimdo Business customers get a free domain included in their subscription. You might also have a domain you've already purchased that you'd like to use. Either way, you can get started with the following steps.
Make a plan. Building your website is going to take a commitment of time and possibly money, so set a limit on both, and then dig in. The plan doesn't have to be a big, complicated spreadsheet, or a fancy graphic presentation, but at the very least, you will want to consider what it will do for you and the visitors, what you'll put on the website, what goes where on the webpages.
Hi Chris, We actually used WordPress to build this website. Our website is focused on blogging and so we used the best, most flexible platform for this purchase. Having said that, we've heavily customized this websites since we're now proficient with coding. If it was 6 years ago, we wouldn't be able to do what we are doing now. We started making websites in 6 - 7 years ago and didn't know anything about coding. It took us a few years to become more proficient with coding, with a lot of practice. So during the first few years, we relied on code-free, drag and drop website builders for all of our projects. They were great since we didn't need to be technical at all, and we were able to build businesses. So if you want to build something similar to our website, I'd suggest you learn how to code and practice a lot. Eventually you'll get there! Hope this explains things a bit! Jeremy
If you're on a Mac however, there's another option: RapidWeaver. This WYSIWYG webpage editor has full code access and FTP support for uploading pages. There are plenty of built-in templates to get started, all for the one-time price of $99.99. On Windows there are numerous choices. Xara Web Designer 365, for example, starts at $49.99 and promises you don't need to know HTML or Javascript to create sites based on the company's templates.
Hi Jeremy, It's a fantastic article. I admire you the way you articulated this. I am planning to build a website. It would be more like, subscribers can post a question and the reply to this question feed will comprise an attachment that needs to send to a specific mail id. Could you please suggest me which website builder suits most for this use case? Thanks, Sri
I hear your pain. I know creating a website can be daunting, especially to someone who has never ventured into the online world, but let me assure you that its really quite simple. If you don’t want to head down the road of building your own self hosted WordPress site, then I would suggest signing up to WordPress.com. This is the free version of WordPress where you can get your site up and running in no time and with no costs whatsoever. Sounds like you just need a no frills, no bells, no whistles type of website. If that’s the case then WordPress.com could be the option for you.
GoCentral Website Builder can act as your hub, the place where your friends and contacts can see your posts, photos, videos and more. With the option to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ on your website, your visitors can be everywhere you are on the web. Being able to cover multiple platforms gives you the opportunity to reach more people, while creating appropriate content for each of your socials (like posting all of your photos on Instagram, and tweeting about your most recent business venture on Twitter). By centrally locating all the links in one place – your new website – you are giving your website visitors a seamless experience. Linking to your social media in your website gives you an advantage in communicating with your visitors; the more they can connect with you and do so in the forum that’s most comfortable to them, the more they’ll engage with your site, and thus you or your business.

People are often in a hurry. On average, you have about 3-7 seconds to capture people's eyeballs, so be smart about what people see first when they get to your page. To minimize your load time, don't overload with huge graphics. Compress them where possible. Use flashy technology JavaScript, Flash, Streaming Audio/Video, etc., sparingly and only if it is important to your presentation.
Hi Kahil, I think it will be challenging to find a free website builder that will allow you to connect your own domain name to the website. All of the good website builders I know of, such as Wix or Weebly, even though they allow you to build websites for free, they do require you to upgrade to at least their lowest plan before you can connect your own domain to the website. I suppose this is just a trade off - they can brand their names on your free website, in return for allowing you to build a website for free. If you want the ability for each customer to log in to view his/her own specific / individual pricing, it's not a feature that most website builders have. Builders such as Wix and Weebly has membership functions, but they just protect pages behind a membership gateway, where all members can access the same pages. So you can't set pages up that each member has his/her own unique pages, if you know what I mean. If you want that function, I think you'll have to use a more powerful membership software. Perhaps WordPress has a plugin for that, but I'm not familiar with one. Jeremy
Find popular websites, even if they do not have much to do with yours, and use them as models. What are they doing right? What is interesting about their layout, their content, the way you maneuver through the website? Incorporate relevant aspects of what you learn from viewing these sites into your own website, tailoring it to fit your requirements.
Hi Jeremy, It's a fantastic article. I admire you the way you articulated this. I am planning to build a website. It would be more like, subscribers can post a question and the reply to this question feed will comprise an attachment that needs to send to a specific mail id. Could you please suggest me which website builder suits most for this use case? Thanks, Sri
I own a small business and am looking to redesign our website. Thanks for all your comparisons of the website builders! I currently use Mailchimp to send out weekly emails to my customers. Do you know if any of these website builder sites allow you to create an email list? Then use a template to create an email (like Mailchimp) and send it out to all your subscribers. Ideally there would be a tab on your website people can click on to enter their email address…..They would then get your emails. Thanks for any feedback :)

If you intend to sell a product on your website, you will need to be able to accept secure credit card payments. You can apply for a merchant account, which charges a per-transaction fee, or use a free payment service like PayPal. Always read the fine print carefully. Be aware that many credit facilities require you to give guarantees for lost or damaged shipped items (look into insurance as well).
Hello, I used BigCommerce to build the website, tenbrookeleanne.com, for my girlfriend's brick and mortar boutique. I do not know any code and before making this website, I knew nothing about ecommerce. The customer service for BigCommerce is awesome! Even though they are a WYSIWYG drag and drop site builder, they helped me customize my website by editing the code for me. They changed the background for my chosen (free) template and added an instagram social button even though it wasn't in the template. When making the website I had a ton of questions and they were always happy to help, now I very rarely have to call support. The BigCommerce University and question forums are very resourceful at well. I would highly recommend BigCommerce to anyone who is looking to make an ecommerce site. My only complaint about BigCommerce is that they do not have a native solution to integrate with the brick and mortar store POS to keep the inventory up to date (though they say they are/have been working on it). I have to use an expensive and less than satisfactory third party software for the two platforms to communicate with each other.
Creating a website is not as complicated as it was before. Today, you don’t have to know much about technology to develop and successfully run your own site. That’s because there are more than few popular content management systems that are designed for the users. So, the first thing you should do is to choose a content management system. Although it depends on the site you want, we would strongly suggest self-hosted WordPress.
Hello Vivy, I was in the same situation some time ago, so I tested the free hosting providers, the ones you mentioned above and even a few more. Took some time, yet saved me money. If you want to start from free plan, my favorite was Hostinger. I believe it will match your requests: the cPanel is "(very!) user friendly" - you'll be able to install WordPress with only a click of a button and it also provides many great plugins, don't be afrait to experiment! Since you're a beginner, having customer support is a great bonus and theirs will definitely help if you have any issues (sure helped me), don't be shy to contact them. Good luck with your blog! Hope I could help.
You've added content and customized your design. The next step is to connect your domain so you can start sharing your website with the world. Jimdo Pro and Jimdo Business customers get a free domain included in their subscription. You might also have a domain you've already purchased that you'd like to use. Either way, you can get started with the following steps.

You get what you pay for – Hosting is one of the biggest fees in starting a brand new business website. If you have an extremely limited budget and want to go for the cheapest hosting, that’s fine, just don’t expect anything amazing for $5/month. In general, the more you’re paying, the faster the hosting will be. Speed will help connect you in the social media world where you will likely be playing with ads and posts.
Kevin, With website builders like Wix or Weebly, you can use them for free and there isn't a time limit. However, with the free plans, you won't be able to connect your own domain name to the website, and you will be limited to certain functions. But you can definitely publish a website. Further, all hosting services are provided by the website builders listed above. So you don't have to get your own hosting services. Jeremy
Although people tend to find your site through a branded search in Google, it’s still important to make your domain easy to spell / type out. If it requires a lot of effort to type correctly, due to trying to spell it, the length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve probably kissed goodbye to a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
The back end, also known as the WordPress dashboard, allows you to fully manage your site’s content, community, functionality, and design. It’s accessible only by users who have an account on your site. To access your WordPress dashboard, you need to type yourwebsite.com/wp-admin in the address bar of your browser and login using your WordPress username and password.
I agree with Jeremy. The purchase of the website should really go hand-in-hand with the business startup or company formation. Many startups think it doesn't really matter to get that best domain name, whether it is an exact match keyword, or a brandable name keyword, until after they've started up the business. This is so backwards thinking. Your domain name should be an integral part of your business and development plan, if any significant part of your business is going to come from your online presence. Taken to the extreme, if you are an online marketer, you don't want you domain name to be AppleTurnover.com, because your business premises are in Apple Street. and your company domain is Apple Online Marketing Agents, and AppleTurnover.com (which is anyway surely taken) was the closest name available. It needs careful planning. Of course depending on the size of your business. rgds stu

Never violate your visitors' trust. Respect their privacy. Spam, annoying pop-ups, and irrelevant ads will hurt your credibility. A clear privacy statement is one way to build your credibility. Provide a prominent link to your privacy statement from every page on the site as well as from any location that you are asking your visitors for personal information. Provide legitimate contact information online. If you need to use ads on your website, explain to your visitors why, and show them that you're doing your best to accommodate their visit. And mean it!


One type of content is customer service information. What questions do people ask most often? If you don't have a list of frequently asked questions and answers, sit down alone or with your staff to write one. The more your customers can get answers from your site, the less time someone has to spend answering those same questions on the phone or in writing. Posting this information on your website helps customers to build trust in your business as they get to know about you through your content.
Thanks for the time you put into this. Has been very helpful along side the hours that I have already put in myself scouring and trialling sites. Any recommendations for sites where they assist in interactive map building such as the magicseaweed.com site. I can build a location map and embed it onto my site (that I am building at the moment through Wix) but it's very limited and I cannot link it to a specific page or location on my website pages. I would also like to create a service where subscribers can access more information on the website than non subscribers. Any thoughts on the best site to use?

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.
While the the best of them offer surprising amounts of flexibility, they also impose stringent enough restrictions to page design that you shouldn't be able to create a really bad looking site using one of these services. Typically you can get a Mysite.servicename.com style-url with no commerce abilities for free from one of these services; you have to pay extra for a better URL and the ability to sell. One issue to consider is that if you eventually outgrow one of these services, it can be hard to export your site to a full scale advanced web hosting like Dreamhost or Hostgator. If you know that's where you are eventually going, it may be better to skip the sitebuilder step.
Hey Amanda, Yes. Squarespace has partnered up with Google Apps to offer you the ability to create custom email addresses. The interface is the same as Gmail, which we like as it's user-friendly, reliable and secure. If you sign up to annual Business or higher plans, you get a custom email address for free for your first year. After the first year, you will pay about $4 per month for the email address. If you sign up to Squarespace's Personal plan, you won't get a free custom email but you can definitely pay $4 per month for this. In our view it's a pretty reasonable price so you can brand your email and business (or whatever you are building) properly. Looks so much more professional than just using a generic Gmail address. Jeremy
Creating a website is not as complicated as it was before. Today, you don’t have to know much about technology to develop and successfully run your own site. That’s because there are more than few popular content management systems that are designed for the users. So, the first thing you should do is to choose a content management system. Although it depends on the site you want, we would strongly suggest self-hosted WordPress.
If you’re just selling one or two products, Weebly has the capability to handle this. However, if the primary purpose of your website is to sell products, you may want to choose a website builder that specializes in creating an online store. Volusion is an all-in-one ecommerce software that helps you to create and manage your online store, sell your products, and market your business. It’s pricing is comparable to Weebly’s ecommerce plan at $15 per month and you can try it out for free for 14 days, no credit card required.

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.

If you prefer a more traditional URL, you'll need to purchase one from the likes of GoDaddy or Namecheap. Domain name pricing can range from extremely cheap to extremely expensive, depending on whether or not domain squatters are looking to flip a valuable piece of online real estate. You'll want to get something short but evocative and catchy, and depending on what you do, you may find that many of your first choices are taken by either other legit domains, or by squatters who've scooped up the names as an investment. For more, please read How to Register a Domain Name.
Spend as much time as you can surfing the Web at this stage. Take a close look at the websites you visit and collect several examples of designs you like or don’t like, along with a note about why. Some sites credit the design company and link to its website so you see what other work they’ve done. Saving examples will also help you to effectively communicate your taste and expectations if you decide to hire a designer or developer.
This is a massive plus of website builders compared to web developers. A web developer can cost between $300 and $1,000 for template customization alone, and a fully customized website built from scratch will often amount to thousands. Making your own website using a builder, meanwhile, allows you to get a fully functioning website up and running for less than the price of a coffee.
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