The most important thing to keep in mind in choosing graphic designers is to work with professionals who understand the unique requirements of the web. The technical limitations and opportunities of web pages are foreign to graphic designers trained in other media. File size requirements, color limitations, and screen resolutions are much different from those in print. Even if you have an in-house graphics department, you may want to hire a Web-savvy graphic designer to educate your staff about the demands of online design.
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.
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.
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.
Hi Ben, Thanks so much for the great feedback, so glad you enjoyed reading the article! Please do share it on if you think your friends will find it useful too. It's true Wix isn't for everybody, but it did do extremely well in our research (which is why it's our best all-round website builder)! WordPress is another great option and I'm glad you're happy with them - Bluehost is certainly a great choice of provider for your WordPress site! If you were looking at changing or setting up another site why not check out our comparison chart or our article on the best Wix alternatives? I've included the links in case you find them interesting. Thanks for reading, Lucy
Consider how much it will cost you. Even if the service is for free, the business has to make money to provide it to you; it might use adverts, or it might try to entice you to upgrade to get more features, which might come at a significant monthly cost. Whichever one you choose, make sure you know how much it might cost in the future if you decide to upgrade to get more features.
Know the audience or market you want to reach. Which kinds of people will your website serve? Conduct market research to figure out more about your audience. Things to know or find out include: What do they do? How old are they? What are their other interests? All of this information can help make your website much more useful. However, be careful of assuming that your site is only targeting one group––always watch for trends that show other types of people becoming interested, so that you can cater for their interests too and make the most of new opportunities.
For most users, free themes are the best place to start. When you install a new theme, it doesn’t change the content on your site, only the layout. This means you can download and install a number of different themes to see which theme suits you best. If you feel like you need something more advanced than a free theme, you can always install a paid theme at a later date.
Top tip: Don’t just test your website yourself. You will be blind to some of its faults. Plus, you know how your site is supposed to work, so while you might find navigating it easy that’s not to say a stranger will. Get a fresh perspective. Ask family members and friends to test your site and give feedback. If they’re anything like our family and friends they won’t be afraid of offering criticism.