There’s a common misconception that in order to make a website you need to be a fully-fledged web developer or web designer and best friends with a hosting company.
Otherwise, it just wouldn’t work out, right?
Well, we’re glad to prove you wrong: having your own site is actually easier than you probably think.
Whether you need to make an eCommerce store, a business website, or just an online portfolio, we’ll talk you through the 3 best ways to create a website that won’t break the bank (or your nerves).
1. Code from scratch
This one is probably the most obvious one: you can create a website by taking the time to code it yourself.
To be successful in this, you should be fluent in some of the most common coding languages, have the right software and overall know-how of how the world of websites works.
If you do, then the world is your oyster. When coding from scratch, you can create exactly the kind of website you want.
Pros and cons
The benefits of coding your website yourself or with the help of a web developer include:
- You get exactly what you want and need. Since you’re creating a truly custom site, you’re not restricted to using only available plugins and tools – instead, you can knock yourself out and create exactly what you need.
- You can implement very customized features to your site. We will go ahead and assume you’re a web designer who has a clear vision for the future. When you make a website yourself you’re able to leave space for the very tools and integrations that your website niche will need now and in a year’s time.
But with a great website comes great responsibility. Some of the cons that come with coding your website include:
- It’s time-consuming (unless you get someone else to do it for you). Especially if you decide to code your website yourself, and want to build something relatively complicated, expect to be working on your code for a while. Compared to setting up a WordPress website or using a website builder, writing every line of code yourself takes a lot longer
- It’s expensive. Let’s say you don’t have the time to code your website and get someone else to do it. With a coded website, you’re not just paying for your web host and domain, you also pay a professional to do their job well.
- You need to know what you’re doing. It’s not enough that you’ve taken an introductory course in HTML to code your website. You need to know what’s currently going on in website design and have the know-how to use the right tools and environments to get the job done.
How to code a website
This might sound obvious, but in order to get started coding your website, you need to know how to code and which software to use.
Most websites are made using a combination of HTML (shorthand for hypertext markup language) and CSS (or cascading style sheets). While HTML defines the structure and contents of web pages, CSS is used to define the styling and overall presentation of all the page elements.
The process of coding your website could look a little like this:
- Start by learning the basics of HTML
- Make sure you understand the structure of an HTML document
- Make sure you know what CSS selectors are and how they work
- Create a CSS stylesheet
- Use open-source software like Bootstrap
- Settle for your web design
- Customize your website by adding your content and images
- Fine-tune fonts and colors
On top of the coding process itself, you need to also set up a hosting plan. Most hosting companies offer good deals for various different types of web hosting, meaning that it’s worth having a look around rather than settling on the first offer you find.
Your website will also need your own domain name for your website. It’s common to come across free domain name and hosting deals when shifting through the various web hosting companies’ offers.
Once you’ve got your code, hosting, and domain name, you’re ready to publish your website for the whole world to see.
Who is this option best for?
In general, we wouldn’t recommend building your website from scratch. The process is most often too complex for beginners and can end up costing a lot if you use an external party.
As a rule of thumb, this option only suits small businesses with highly specific website needs, budget-conscious users, and technically advanced users who know what they are doing. For most types of websites, you’re better off using a CMS or a website builder.
2. Use CMS (Content Management System)
You’ve probably used a WordPress website or two in your time online.
In fact, plenty of websites use a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal to keep their sites organized.
CMS software makes it possible to manage, create and edit the content on a website without needing to do the changes in the website’s source code.
Basically, that means that any time you want to make changes to your website, you simply log into the CMS and get your hands dirty.
With a CMS, you will still need to take care of web hosting yourself, unlike when using a website builder.
Pros and cons
Using a CMS has many benefits over, say, coding your website from scratch:
- They are user-friendly and accessible to most. Using a CMS makes it easier for all kinds of users to manage and edit the content on their websites. Since most CMS software has a searchable database, text editors, and media libraries, even novices can navigate through them.
- They have plenty of integrations to choose from. Most CMS platforms are flexible, meaning that you can integrate all of your favorite apps and plugins into your website. This way, you can make sure that your own site has the exact functionalities that you need.
- Updating content is fast and easy. Usually, you can use a drag-and-drop website builder to organize the page elements in a way that pleases your eye. The text editors are often WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”), meaning that whatever you see in the editor is how your content will appear on your site, too.
- You can have various user permissions for your team. Opting for a CMS is ideal if you need multiple people to manage your website. Since you can create different roles and give different users different permissions, you won’t have to worry about someone accidentally changing something they shouldn’t have access to.
But nothing is perfect, not even CMS. The cons of using a CMS include:
- Hidden costs. Because of the flexible nature of most CMS platforms, you probably find plenty of add-ons and plugins you want to add to your site. The unfortunate thing is, however, that some of the more premium integrations usually cost money to use. This means that you can end up with costs that you didn’t originally account for.
- Steep learning curve. Sure, compared to managing your website through its source code, most people get the hang of a CMS relatively fast. But that doesn’t mean that they are always beginner-friendly. In fact, most CMS platforms require you to take the time to learn how to use them.
How to build a website using CMS
To create a WordPress website with a CMS, you will need to take care of a couple of things first.
You need to pick the right hosting plan for your needs, register your domain name, and make a website with a CMS like WordPress.
Also, unlike website builders, which come with everything you need, using a CMS requires you to also pay attention to things like plugins and website themes.
Creating your new website with a CMS requires you to think about what things you need to be able to do with your website right now, and in the future.
Since most hosting packages come with certain allocations for server space and bandwidth, these could potentially limit your website’s growth. For example, if you’re planning to have a lot of multimedia and content on your website, you would need to opt for a hosting package that offers enough storage space, and won’t have restrictions on how fast your website can load.
Ideally, your hosting partner should have an uptime guarantee, meaning that your website won’t be offline for a certain number of hours every day.
Once you’ve sorted your hosting, it’s time to think about your domain name or the main web address your new website can be reached (google.com or zyro.com, for example).
A strong domain is short and easy to remember. Regardless of whether you want to build a website or an eCommerce site, your domain should be directly related to your brand.
You can use a domain name generator to check for available domains. We recommend choosing a domain name with a common top-level domain (TLD for short), like .com, .org, .net, or a country-specific TLD (.au, .uk.co, .de).
Install WordPress or create an account with your chosen CMS
Next, it’s time to install WordPress and start building your website.
You can write your own code or choose a theme made by web developers – just be aware that the better premium website themes usually cost money to use in the first place.
While you can have a free website on WordPress, just be aware that you still need to pay for your domain and hosting, and any premium plugins you may want to use.
Also, most free site themes have WordPress branding or watermarks, meaning that if you’re serious about your business, you won’t look very professional.
Pick your add-ons and plugins
Now that you have everything ready, down to your contact page, it’s time to add integrations and other add-ons to your website.
A word of warning, however – there are endless possibilities when it comes to WordPress plugins.
You might need to hire web developers or a web designer to maintain and customize your website for optimum results.
Who is this option best for?
Since the world’s most popular CMS, WordPress, was originally created for bloggers, we would recommend using a CMS if you’re serious about your blog.
There’s also the fact that many top-quality WordPress themes, plugins, and addons don’t simply require you to install WordPress, but cost sometimes a lot of money. This is why we wouldn’t recommend using a CMS if you’re on a budget or don’t want to invest a lot of cash into your new website.
3. Use a website builder
A website builder is a piece of software that lets users create websites with a visual drag-and-drop interface.
Most modern website builders work directly in your web browser, making them a convenient choice for people with little time or experience in web development and web design.
All you need to do is pick your website builder package, select a template you like, and drag and drop the page elements around until you’re happy with the results.
While many content management systems also offer website building tools, a fully-fledged website builder offers website plans that come with everything you need to launch your website or online shop.
That means that you can build your website and publish it straight away since the best website builder plans come with a free SSL certificate, a free custom domain name, and web hosting.
Most website builders also offer top-notch customer support, meaning that even if you get stuck or run into a wall, there are friendly human beings ready to help.
Pros and cons
Sure, we might be biased, but we can think of so many reasons why website builders suit every website:
- No technical knowledge is needed. You can get started straight away – no need to waste time learning the ins and outs of code or how to work around your chosen CMS platform.
- You get everything you need. With a website builder, you won’t have to worry about knowing which hosting package works best for your site now and in the future, since everything is included.
- You can create any kind of website you want. The top website builders are all about making you succeed online, meaning that they won’t limit you. Want to build a portfolio? Go ahead. What about an online shop? Sure thing, not a problem.
- It’s affordable. This is probably the thing we love about a good website builder – they won’t cost you the world, but provide you with all the tools you need to establish yourself online.
But compared to coding your own site or logging into your WordPress dashboard, there are a few places where website builders fall short, too:
- You can’t change to a different provider. Once you’ve built your website with a website builder, most often you can’t just download your site and pack your bags if you feel like a change. When choosing your website builder, prepare to stay with them for a while.
- Not as flexible as using a CMS or coding. When you use a website builder, you won’t have the same level of flexibility as you will with a CMS or when you code your site from scratch. That’s not to say there aren’t integrations and add-ons to help you customize your website, though.
How to build a website using a website builder
Here’s the good news – using a website builder is easier than you probably realize.
Unlike the other options mentioned before, you can skip the lines and get your website live in a matter of moments.
For example, with Zyro, you won’t need to go through the hassle of setting up anything – you simply need to sign up and you’re good to go. Instead of going through a long list of attributes you expect from your hosting partner, you can get ahead and start designing your website once you’ve logged in.
1. Sign up for an account
To get started with a website builder, you usually need to sign up with your chosen builder.
Some platforms require you to choose a paid or a free plan before you can start channeling your inner web designer.
2. Pick a website template
Once you have created your builder account, it’s time to choose the right template for your site.
Depending on your needs, you might be looking for a resume template, or maybe a business template with an impressive contact page.
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3. Start customizing
This is probably the best part of being your own web designer – customizing your website with a visual drag-and-drop editor is anything but difficult.
All you need to do is drag the different page elements around to the positions on each page that suit your vision for your site.
And, since you’re most likely using a template, you’ll only really need to change the contents and your website will be ready for your audience. Just don’t forget to add contact forms in places where you want to encourage users to get in touch with you.
4. Publish your website
Here’s a spoiler: most website builders don’t have a complicated process for you to publish your website.
In fact, in most cases, you literally have to click on a ‘publish’ button and your website will available for the rest of the world to admire.
Most builders let you publish your website with a subdomain if you don’t want to get a domain just yet. Already got your own domain? Easy – simply connect it to your website at this stage and your web address will be available in a few hours.
5. Connect to your favorite apps
Whether you want to track how many people find your website through your Facebook page, or simply want to integrate WhatsApp into your landing page, top builders support various integrations with other popular tools and apps.
With Zyro, you can manage all integrations from a dedicated section under your website settings.
Who is this option best for?
The beauty of website builders is that anyone can benefit from them.
Sure, most CMS platforms are versatile and support different kinds of websites, but we wouldn’t recommend them for beginners.
But most website builders, on the other hand, come with everything you might need for your website, from hosting and a domain name to search engine optimization tools, contact forms, Google Analytics, around-the-clock support, and much more.
Frequently asked questions about website creation
Unsure about whether you should use a CMS or a website builder to build your own website or online store?
We’ve compiled a list of the most popular questions that tend to creep up in conversation when deciding on how to go about building your website.
What is the easiest way to make a website?
That depends on your skillset and how much time (and money) you can invest in your own website.
If you’re a web developer and are able to code your site from scratch, then it’s by far the easiest way to get your next online project live.
If you’ve managed a WordPress site for years, and know which web hosting provider and plan works best for you, then you’re set using a CMS.
But if, on the other hand, you’re pretty new to the world of websites and want to cut to the chase, website builders are the easiest option for you.
Since most website builders use a visual drag-and-drop editor, you can intuitively organize the different page elements to match your vision and taste.
Plus, you get what you see in the editor – you won’t have to worry about things shifting around the moment you press the ‘publish button.
What is the best website builder?
We truly think that Zyro is the best website builder on the market.
Sure, we might be biased, but all of Zyro’s eCommerce and website plans come with everything you need to get your site or online store published – you can even get a free domain name when you sign up for any annual plans.
The whole drag-and-drop editor is simple and intuitive to use, and the designer-made HTML5 templates ensure that your website will be stylish on any and all devices.
This means that you can customize and publish your website fast, and get going with your day. Zyro is also one of the most affordable builders on the market, meaning that you’re guaranteed to get the best deals – especially useful if you’re operating on a tighter budget, or don’t want to spend a lot of money on your website upfront.
Can I make a website for free?
While it’s technically possible to have a free website, we would not recommend building a website with a free provider.
When you create a business website, you usually want it to:
- Be accessible from all over the world around the clock
- Have your own domain name
- Load fast
- Support different integrations and plugins
- Have no unsolicited ads on it
The moment you use a service that markets itself as a ‘free’ website builder, you’ll compromise most of the things you want your website to have.
For example, it could be that with a free service provider, your website is only accessible for a couple of hours a day. Chances are that your site also loads very slowly, has lots of ads that you can’t remove or control, and has a subdomain (yoursite.zyro.com rather than yoursite.com).
Usually, free services also have very limited functionality, meaning they won’t support many (if any) integrations or services you might need to have on your website. You could be limited to how much content you can store on your website, and at its worst, your website could be vulnerable to phishing attacks.
That’s why we always recommend using a website builder or a CMS to build your website or code one from scratch.
The perk about website builders is that you can skip paying for web hosting, a domain name, an SSL certificate, maintenance, templates, and plugins. Especially with website builders like Zyro, you can get everything essential you need to run a modern, functional website for an affordable price.
How much does it cost to have a website?
In general, websites tend to cost around $20-$50 per month. This is especially true for websites powered by a website builder or a CMS like WordPress.
Naturally, a personal website costs a lot less than a complicated online store. The biggest factors that determine whether your website costs a lot to maintain are related to web hosting and site maintenance.
If you’ve paid a third party to build your website for you, chances are that you’ll be also paying for them to maintain and update it with new content every now and then. Using a web development company can cost you from hundreds of dollars to thousands every month, depending on how big your site is.
On the other hand, a WordPress website can be a cheap alternative to the more tech-savvy users – but heed a word of warning. Many WordPress add-ons and integrations (sometimes even certain WordPress themes) sit behind a paywall, meaning that if you’re not careful, you could be looking at spending a couple of hundred dollars on a theme and a handful of plugins.
Website builders are among the most affordable solutions when it comes to website creation. Since you get everything you need for a fixed monthly price, you can safely budget your website costs into your plans.
Do you need technical knowledge to create a website?
Short answer: no, you don’t. The best website builders on the market are user-friendly and flexible, removing the whole development phase from your website building process.
Since you get everything you need to manage an entire website with a single website plan, you don’t have to worry about costs building up. Plus, since you’ll be able to use ready-made website templates, you really just need to customize your template and you’re ready to go.
If you want to develop your website further or implement advanced plugins to your site, then you might need to get familiar with the basics of web development and design.
But if you’re just looking for a way to create a personal website or a stylish website for your business, you can use a website builder and create a site that’s just as good as a custom-made one.
How long does it take to create a website?
That depends mainly on the type of platform you’re using, your existing skill set as a web designer, the size of your website or online store, and how complicated your website is.
Most basic websites take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days to build. The right platform can help you build your website fast, freeing your time up for other things.
For example, coding your website can take a couple of days or half a year, depending on how much time you have available every day to work on your site.
A website builder, on the other hand, relies on ready-made website templates that users customize to fit their needs. This means that the overall time that it takes to make a website is significantly shorter than if you were to make your website from scratch.
How can I get traffic to my website?
There are plenty of ways to make your website known to the masses.
For example, you could focus on your search engine optimization strategy or SEO for short. This basically means that you create web content that answers a particular question (referred to as the search query) people would be typing into Google.
The better your page or content answers the query, the more likely Google will be to display your website as the top search result for the user.
When people find your website this way, they find you organically, meaning that you didn’t pay for advertising space to get the user’s attention to visit your website.
Social media is also a powerful tool when it comes to getting traffic to your site. You can either create free business or organization accounts or pages for your brand or use your personal accounts to promote – that really depends on the type of website you want to create.
The key to succeeding in driving traffic to your site through social media is consistency. You shouldn’t be posting sporadically. Instead, aim to create a publishing schedule and stick to it: this way, you’ll be able to steadily increase your social media presence and consequently your website traffic, too.
How can I get a domain for my website?
Many website builders and hosting providers offer domain registration services, meaning that you can check the availability of your preferred domain and get an estimate on the annual price.
All domains are managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN for short.
When you’re looking for a domain registrar, make sure that they are accredited by the ICANN. This way, you’ll be sure to get a secure and fair service without ending up paying way more for your domain than you’d actually need to.
Your ideal domain registrar should also offer domain privacy protection. Whenever you register a domain, your personal details get saved to the public WHOIS database. This means that without a privacy protection plan, anyone could look up your personal information. Top registrars offer paid services that help you keep your personal data private.
ICANN-accredited registrars also commit to fair and reasonably priced renewal prices, meaning that just because you get your first domain registration period for free or for a good discount, you won’t end up paying big bucks for the next years.
Zyro is an ICANN accredited domain registrar, and all customers who get an annual website plan get a free domain for a year.
Start your next online project today
Whether you’re building your own website, launching an online store, or looking for a new web development project, there are plenty of ways to build your website.
Web developers aside, content management systems and website builders make it easy for anyone to create an online presence.
We might be biased, but if you’re looking for an easy and fast way to get yourself online, Zyro’s got you covered. Build your website for free, test out all the advanced features, and only pay when you’re ready to publish – that’s what we call convenience.
Are you ready to build your own website with Zyro?