Superb article! Don't know if you can help here; My dad is a vegetable farmer and he sells his products to a small group of organic customers. I wonder if you could recommend a website builder so his customers can view the veggies available, rate them and even purchase online. Only thing I think it would be best if they would have to log in to get their individual pricing. Any idea? Thanks already. BTW I don't necessarily need the easiest builder, I do some tech work; just a professional looking, free solution with our own domain cause my Dad won't spend a dime on this until I make him see the benefits.

Now that you have a template you'd like to start with, it's time to make it your own. The text, photos, slideshows, headings, and more that you add to your website are called your website's content. With Jimdo, you add different blocks of content using Elements. For example, there is a Text Element, a Photo Element, a Maps Element, a Video Element, etc.


Hi Jeremy! Thank you so much for posting this! I found this to be very helpful!! So I do have a few questions though... First off, I am wanting to build a website that advertises a service I offer, displays images in two separate galleries, can be involved with a separate calander that can be accessed from my phone and be up to date on available times to schedule an appointment, and, most importantly, can have a payment option to prepay for my service to secure a time slot with a possible escrow type function to be able to add payments onto the set appointments. Does this make any sense? If it does, does this sound possible? Which website builder would you recommend to have access to these functions? I am just starting out so cost is also a factor, although I am willing to pay a reasonable amount of money to get this set up and to maintain it. Thank you in advance!!
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.
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.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have been building websites since the beginning of the internet ( shows my age a bit! ) I’ve also been blogging as my main source of income for the past eight years. I have created and sold a wide variety of websites and blogs in different niches which means I am probably in a great place to help you create your first website.

Get inspired. Look at websites with great designs and think about why they're great designs. It usually comes down to the information, resources, links, and pages being laid out in a way that is easy to see and use. To get ideas about how to design your own site, look at sites which do similar things to get ideas about where you should put different types of content.
Hello Richard, Thanks for your comment and for your support! WooCommerce is a solid ecommerce tool (they were purchased by WordPress last year, I believe). They're flexible and you can bolt on a lot of different tools, but the downside for a "typical" business person is that to use WooCommerce (and WordPress) well, they'll need to invest more time into learning and managing the tools, or hire someone knowledgeable for help. A lot of new small businesses just don't have the mental bandwidth and time to learn the in's and out's of operating a WordPress site efficiently and effectively. The article you mentioned focuses more on hosted ecommerce builders, versus platform where you need to get your own hosting services (and there more technically and administratively challenging for users). We did highlight WooCommerce briefly in this guide where we dig into the differences between hosted and non-hosted ecommerce platforms. Jeremy
These services can host your content on their servers free of charge, but in exchange for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less-than-elegant domain, such as jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. That might be fine for a personal blog, but it will look too low-rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for whatever it's selling.

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 Gertrudes, I think if you want to build a simpler website, then Squarespace, Weebly and Wix are good candidates for you to test and see which one suits you better. Weebly has the lowest learning curve, then Wix and Squarespace. But from a design perspective, I think Squarespace will give you the most professional and beautiful looking website. All of them are mobile device friendly and so your visitors will be able to find more information about your website through their mobile devices. I think the best way forward is to sign up for them for free, then invest some time to play around with their tools and see for yourself which one you prefer. It's a very personal choice when it comes to which builder interface you prefer, so investing a bit of time in testing them out is well worth it. - Jeremy

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.

Use 99Designs.com: 99Designs.com runs contests where multiple designers compete for your logo and other design business. This is a great option because you get to see many different professional and creative designs (It’s how we found our logo at Fit Small Business!), yet only pay for the one you wind up choosing. The price on 99designs ranges from $299 to $799 depending on how many designers you want competing and the quality of those designers.
Cons: there is a learning curve, and though you don't have to dig into HTML, it's not totally geek-free. If you are in a hurry, this might not be the best solution. Perhaps the biggest con, though, is that if you are not a graphic designer, you could end up with a page that hurts the eyes. To mollify this somewhat, there are a number of free templates in the applications, and on the internet, but be aware of your limitations—if you have any!
Great article! Having trawled the internet and read quite a few websites on how to build a website, I can honestly say this is the most comprehensive and easy to understand - to a complete novice! Your step-by-step guide is thorough and very informative and has given me the confidence to go ahead and try to set up my own business website ... A big THANK YOU!

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. 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.
Hello Jeremy and Connie, I really have to first say, Thank You for all of your time and energy that you put into providing us, with informative and helpful education! I am starting an online business in women's clothing, So I am extremely into design. Shopify seems to be a strong interest for me but, I do not know too much about codes. So does Shopify have alot of codes? and do you think this would be too much of a challenge for a beginner of codes?

You now have a website that anyone in the world can access, but you probably want to spend a bit more time to make your website easier for them to find. Jimdo has great tools for making it easier for your website to be found on Google and other search engines. The practice of improving where your site appears in search results is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO..
Do keyword research. This is necessary to determine whether people are searching for topics that are relevant to your site and can be useful for learning more about your potential clients. Making a conscious effort to incorporate in-demand keywords into the site can also help you get a better search engine ranking. There are tools available from Google (ex. google.com/trends/ and google.com/insights/search/#), Overture, and third-party software developers that can make the keyword research process easier.
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
Just as you can get a logo designed by 99Designs.com, you can also have your full website designed through this site. The concept is the same: you submit a brief on what you are looking for and get back anywhere from 20 to 60 designs. You only pay for the design you choose, and the price ranges from $599 to $1,599, depending on which package you go with. We used 99designs here at FitSmallBusiness.com for our own website – so if you want to see an example of a 99designs website, you’re looking at one!
Now that you have a template you'd like to start with, it's time to make it your own. The text, photos, slideshows, headings, and more that you add to your website are called your website's content. With Jimdo, you add different blocks of content using Elements. For example, there is a Text Element, a Photo Element, a Maps Element, a Video Element, etc.
Hi wbs, Getting started is definitely the easy part - no doubt about that! And I take your point that it can be challenging to make a design that you're 100% happy with. So, I guess we're pretty lucky that website builders like Wix and Squarespace offer such eye-catching templates that we can edit to our liking or use as jumping off point! (Our 3-step guide can help you pick the right template too..) Not having to work with a blank canvas certainly makes things much easier and gets the creative juices flowing. I think the best thing we (as amateur designers!) can take from sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc is the simplicity of their design. Your users want to find what they need quickly and easily, so the key lesson is to keep designs eye-catching but user-friendly (oh and don't forget the importance of color on a website!). Thanks for joining the conversation, - Tom
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
Ever looked up a store or business online? Of course you have (and so have your customers). Google My Business gets you in front of those customers by giving you a dedicated business listing on Google Search and Google Maps. Wanna extend your reach? Create and manage your company Yelp page right in GoCentral. It's quick to get your initial listing up, then you can monitor customer reviews whenever you like.

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.


Ah, now it makes sense. Totally understand how that doesn't fit now. I also like how you phrased "mental bandwidth". That definitely seems to be the case with most businesses that I work with, especially startups. The other thing you mentioned that I really like is "typical" businesses. I think that all too often when people think businesses corporate America comes to mind. Most businesses are normal people running shops and trying to stay afloat in a digital sea. So, I wrote something on a similar topic, and I don't want to spam you with a link or anything like that. I was actually looking for feedback on it. If you're interested at all, shoot me an email. GREAT job on this site. It's obvious that you all dropped a lot of time and effort into your site and articles. Bravo!
When it's time to go beyond the blogs, beyond the online resumes, beyond the page of links, which service do you turn to for a full-blown site that gives you the flexibility to build nearly anything you desire? There's no lack of them, but three of our favorites are DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, well-rounded services that feature numerous hosting types and tiers.

To create your first page, head over to your page editor by clicking on Pages » Add New. You will need to add a title for your page before you start writing content in the page editor. To upload images to your website, all you have to do is drag and drop your images to the text editor from your computer. Alternatively, you can use the Add Media button to upload your images and videos.

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.


Top article Jeremy ! I own a cosmetics company, pre start up and I am looking at a web presence. I want to keep costs down but quality very high due to the nature of my business, lipbalm. Can I run my own video ad on a homepage of any of the drag and drop site s? I will be creating one for initial social media marketing campaigns) I want it to start playing as soon as someone lands on the homepage. And are they mobile / cell friendly ? Thanks Paul
Draw a flow chart. For most people, the website starts on the home page. This is the page that everybody sees when they first go to www.yourSite.com. But where do they go from there? If you spend some time thinking about how people might interact with your site, you'll have a much easier time down the line when you are making navigation buttons and links.
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.
As we said in the last step, templates provide a framework. Given how many people use builders to make a website nowadays, odds are there are a few sites out there with the same framework as yours. At the very least you will need to populate a chosen template with content specific to you. And to really stand out, you’ll need to do some customization.
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