Let’s say you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store. Assuming you have the capital or investors, you’ll need to lease or buy a space, fill it with inventory, and customize a marketing plan to build your brand.
Building an online presence is no different — and getting started is actually even easier. These days, you can have a fully-functioning website built and launched in less than 10 minutes. It costs you just a few dollars per month, and customization can be done in a few clicks of your mouse.
We’ll walk you through the process, minute by minute, of how to build your website from scratch.
1. Get Hosting With a Free Website Builder — (Minutes 1-3)
Like renting office space or buying a warehouse for your offline business, the very first step to building a site is paying for its “home” on the Internet. Let us act as your real estate agent and show you some charming options for hosting companies with easy, online website builders. We tested the top website builders, and here are three our favorites:
- No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop website builder
- 100s of templates with industry-specific designs
- Add features via the App Market
- Build an eCommerce store easily
- Build small sites on a budget
- Get started on Wix now.
- Choice of Weebly or WebsiteBuilder by iPage
- Mobile-optimized options and easy-to-use setup wizards
- 100s of professionally designed, customizable themes
- FREE online store, shopping cart, and blogging platform
- Get +75% off your first month
- Get started on iPage now.
- Integration with Fotolia and Flickr image databases
- Pre-built and customizable content with GridBlocks
- Responsive themes with tablet and mobile editing views
- Generates clean, efficient, and compliant HTML
- SEO, gallery, and forms plugins
- Get started on BoldGrid now.
Most hosting companies will include a free domain name. Your best bet is to look for a site builder with a wide range of options, such as mobile optimization. If you’re still worried about making your website, pick a host that provides easy-to-use setup wizards, 24/7 support, or additional materials to help you succeed.
2. Choose a Template & Customize — (Minutes 4-7)
Once you select a location for your small business website or blog, now it’s time to paint the walls and hang some curtains. With thousands of pre-made themes or templates to choose from, you can customize the look of your site as much or as little as you’d like.
Some website builders use a drag-and-drop interface, where you can move an icon or placeholder onto the screen to signify where you want an image or text to appear.
A souped-up version of the drag-and-drop platform is called WYSIWYG, which stands for What You See Is What You Get. A WYSIWYG site builder will show exactly what your site will look like before you publish. Neither editor requires any coding.
A few site builders, including iPage, enable small business owners to create an online store, integrate with payment methods such as PayPal, and access online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon.
3. Launch Your New Site — (Minute 8)
Once your storefront is all stocked and decorated, now it’s time to open the doors! Just like you might advertise your business, you need to make sure people know your website is open and ready for visitors.
Most of our top site builders will give you at least $100 toward search engine marketing, and some even provide online marketing guides. Look for analytics and SEO tools, as well as social media integration, to make sure you get the most out of your marketing bucks.
With Tools In Hand — Begin Building!
Now that we’ve given you the blueprints to successfully starting your personal or business website, start playing around. The most successful site builder is the one that best fits your specific needs, so invest a few hours toward peering in the windows and gauging what will help you the most.
When you’ve mastered drag-and-drop and WYSIWYG site builders, consider scaling up to WordPress. All the hosts we covered here offer 1-click installations of a variety of platforms that might offer even more features and capabilities. Strap on your tool belt and get to work!