Gone are the days when you had to hire someone to set up your website. Nowadays, building your website when you have little to no experience at all is a lot easier than you’d think. Everybody is online now. Even though social media is going to put you out there, sometime, you also need a website for so many other reasons.
As the rise of the internet has taken over the past 20+ years, businesses in all industries have been forced to jump on the technology train and provide customers and clients with professional looking websites. It offers businesses a way to connect with clients and engage with them, procure new customers, offer useful and helpful information, and to be competitive in their own industry.
This need to build sleek, flashing, and high-tech websites has also led to many new career paths such as website developers and web designers whose goal it is to put ideas into action and create the perfect looking website. So here’s the question though – can you build a professional and sleek looking website without experience and years of training? Well the good news is that you can, and here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve just that.
If you know nothing about building a website (Jon Snow, is that you?), no worries! There are plenty of tips and tricks out there, and you only need to scroll down for getting a clear idea about the whole building-your-own-website thing. Answering some questions for yourself is also going to help, so make sure you don’t skip any of our recommendations down below.
Page Table of Contents
- Have a Clear Picture and Goal to Start With
- It’s All in the Tools You Use
- Are technical skills mandatory?
- What are the best website builders out there?
Have a Clear Picture and Goal to Start With
Any good plan needs to have an end goal, and the same can be said of building a website. Rather than just starting the process and letting it lead to wherever it may go, it’s imperative you have a goal and a vision for the website. What do you want it to accomplish? Who is it meant to target? What will it be used for?
The answers to these questions will help you to create a website that hits the mark, and is therefore successful regardless of your lack of experience.
It’s All in the Tools You Use
You may be familiar with that famous saying of “it’s all in the tools you use” and that saying applies perfectly to website building. Thanks to technology, it’s more often about the tools or the software that you use, rather than the user themselves.
Take for example WebEden, which gives people the tools they need to build a website for free. And not just any old website, one that is professional looking enough for business or personal use. With this tool, all that is needed is a few simple and straightforward steps in order to launch your own site. There is no experience needed, no training in web design necessary, and you won’t need to know any high-tech lingo.
Investigate Other Sites for Inspiration
If you’re having a hard time with inspiration, which is normal even for the professionals, it can’t hurt to do a little research. Take a step back from your own website and search various sites online. Look for the good and the bad and make note of things you want to include.
Customer Experience is Always a Top Priority
When trying to figure out the most important aspects of the site, remember customer experience should always be at the top of the list. A site that is easy to navigate, pleasing to look at, well-laid out, isn’t overly busy or confusing, and where the content loads quickly and smoothly will feel professional, and provide that amazing customer experience.
Ensure You Break Up the Text
Another trick that the professionals use is to ensure that visitors aren’t faced with a giant wall of text. What this means is that you make good use of graphics, photos, videos, etc. that will keep the pages interesting and engaging looking.
Professional Results are Possible
So, just because a professional website developer or designer isn’t in your budget, doesn’t mean you can’t still create a site that hits the mark. Those without experience just want to be sure they use the right tools, do their research, and go about things in a logical well-thought out manner.
Are technical skills mandatory?
Don’t lose hope though, as there are plenty of other options for you to try to build your website. You only need to do due diligence about it and…scroll down.
How can one build a sleek looking website with no experience at all?
The shortest answer to this one is by using a website builder. As long as you know how to use Facebook, Word or PowerPoint, you’re also going to be able to use a website builder.
A website builder (a good one, anyway) is a user-friendly platform that provides hosting, visual editor and it can also help you obtain a domain name. It’s that easy.
What are the tips and tricks to remember when building a sleek looking website?
It’s not difficult to create a website alone, but there are steps you need to take in a specific order. Being meticulous is the key to success when creating your website and you shouldn’t make any compromises on that part.
- Step 1- Choosing the website builder. The right website builder, that is
Here’s some news to you: you’re not the only one out there who’s using a website builder for creating a website. As a matter of fact, more than 3 million subscribers are paying for this kind of service.
Thanks to website builders, making a website is accessible for everyone, no matter if they lack the technical skills or not.
A good website builder eliminates all the technical words, allowing you to concentrate on the content and the design. Some do with the help of drag and drop interfaces, whereas others are using the templates.
There are many website builders out there so it’s natural that you find yourself overwhelmed with the possibilities. Various builders are going to satisfy specific needs and choosing the right website builder is essential for your success.
Here are the tips to remember when selecting your website builder:
- Good value for the price- you should pay the right kind of money for the features you get. the more you spend, the more you should expect in terms of features that you can use for creating your website
- Ease of use- you want your website builder to be easy to use. You can test it and make an idea about how difficult/easy it is to use it.
- The features- it’s essential that you know what the website builder can/can not do. You also need to be aware of how well the website builder can do specific tasks: the more it can do, the more comfortable and better for you.
- The flexibility of the design- you want templates to be user-friendly, nice looking and modern too. check them before you sign the deal
- Help&support- no matter how user-friendly a website builder may be, you may still run into some difficulties. Knowing that there’s someone there to help you online 24/7 is going to bring you some peace of mind.
- The other user’s reviews- check to see what the previous customers have to say about a website builder. They’re the people that know best what’s good&bad about a website builder.
Don’t forget to give the website builder a test- most of them do provide free trials. It’s not difficult to sign up and take it out for a spin.
- Step 2: Go with the right plan for your needs
Selecting the website builder is the first step to do, but it’s not enough. You also need to sign up for the right plant. Well, respected builders do provide several plans to choose from. Every site has specific needs, which is why the plans are meant to adjust correctly to those needs.
You’re the one he knows best what your website truly needs. If you’re only looking to display some of your artwork online, a 5$ a month plan is going to do it. Do you expect your website to get thousands of visitors? You should look into a lot more expensive plan than 5$ a month. Something around 25$ a month is a good choice.
Side note: Can you do it entirely for free?
Even if you can build your website for free, there are some strings attached. If you go free, you’re not going to be able to use the custom domains, and the chances are that your site is going to have a lot of ads for the specific website builder. When you want a professional website builder, it’s worth to pay a couple of bucks per month for the extra features and ads-free content.
- Step 3: Select the domain name
The domain name is that part of the URL (that pretty long address you notice in the search bar) that recognizes a web page (your website that is). You may register the domain separately at some specific sites, but a good website builder is going to provide the domain name as well.
The domain name is essential, so keep in mind some tips when selecting it:
- Make it unique and keep it short- when you want people not to forget your site, it’s best that you go with a short name that sticks with you. A long name is going to be difficult to remember most of the time.
- It has to be significant- we cannot stress enough about this quality of the domain name. You want the domain name matches the content of your website.
- Try to stay away from the numbers- using numbers on the domain name doesn’t look professional. Besides, it’s just another element that your clients may mess up when going online looking for your website.
- Make sure that your domain name is unique- there are millions of websites and millions of names. It’s best that you check for the title before trying to register your domain name.
Registering the domain name isn’t difficult, and it’s one of the phases of the signup process that the website builder provides for you. You may have to pay an annual renewal fee when you go with a lean plan. If you go with a premium plan, you may not have to spend that kind of price.
Don’t stress if you want to move from your website builder later in the future. You’re going to be able to take the domain name with you wherever you go.
- Step 4: Choose the template
Remember that part about how easy it is nowadays to build your website? One of the reasons for that is that a good website builder is also going to sustain your efforts when working on your templates.
Templates are going to give that particular framework for your website. It’s like an appealing and consistent canvas that you’re going to use for building the content of your site later on. Templates give the primary color scheme, the header and the menu bar for the website. They’re also fundamental for the content width of the site. Using the right templates is just as important as any of the previous steps.
No matter the website builder of your choice, you should be able to choose from several design templates. Keep in mind that the better the plan and the more respected the website builder, the more and more excellent models to choose from. A favorite website builder should provide hundreds of templates within so many categories.
There are templates for dozens of categories so you shouldn’t worry about not being able to find one for your website. Restaurant, portfolios, photography, blogs, and online stores are only a few to name.
Tip: you should see the templates like the “clothes” for your website. When you don’t like what “you’re wearing,” you can go back in the dresser and “put something else on.” Take your time and try a couple of templates to see which one rings the bell for you. Having the chance to choose from multiple templates is one great thing about building your very own website.
- Step 5: Give the template your personal touch
Even if there are so many templates out there to choose from, their number is still limited. It makes perfect sense that some other website may have the same template as you. The specific content of your site is going to give your website that unique feel, but the frame may resemble other websites that used the same template.
You also need to give your template a personal touch for helping it stand out from the crowd. When you’re building your website, you need to use all the tools that the website builder offers you. However, you can also combine the tips and instructions, so that your website is one-of-a-kind.
Here are some tips to remember when customizing your website:
- Add new elements (menus or contact forms)
- Add new pages to the navigation
- Select a different color scheme
- Edit the images on the gallery
- Don’t forget to embed social media channels
A well-respected website builder is going to guide you through every step of the way. It’s fundamental for their business to help you build the website helpful and easy, to get exactly what you want. Don’t rush into things and have a little fun while customizing the templates.
- Step 6: Preview and give the website a test
Now that your template is all done and customized, it’s time that you publish it and go live with it. It’s no time to speed up things, though.
It’s wiser that you go over the website once again before actually publishing it. It’s mandatory that everything runs nice and smooth.
Make sure you check the tips down below. They’re going to help you check the whole work once again:
- The buttons on the menu working need to work
- The spelling and the grammar have to be correct
- Your site has to match its fundamental purpose
- You need the search engines to find the site easy to make sure you got it all covered
- The site has to load fact
- It’s best that your site functions on desktop and mobile phone screens alike
- The formatting needs to be consistent
You want to be meticulous about this step. The last thing you want is to go live and publish a site that isn’t entirely done.
Side note: What’s the best way to take a look at your website?
Luckily for all of us, the most respected website builders out there have thought about this one too. Typically, you’re going to need to hit a preview button in the editor mode, taking a peek on how your website is going to look like. Many website builders provide a toggle that helps you see how is your site going to appear on various screen sizes.
It’s crucial that the preview mode is also user-friendly, as you may have to make all sorts of changes and go back and forth between the preview mode and the editor. An easy to use preview mode lets you make that specific change and preview to take a look at the website as you go.
One great tip about the preview is to let somebody else do it. You may not see all the mistakes or all the changes you need to make. You’re also really familiar to your website, which means that it’s always going to be easy for you to navigate it. It’s best that you get a fresh view on things. Ask a friend or someone you trust and know to test the website. Pay attention to their feedback- it’s great info to use. Having someone honest is ideal- you’re going to hear exactly what you need for your website to be better.
- Step 7: It’s time for publishing
With all the preview completed and all the changes made, it’s time that you go live. Don’t press “Publish” just yet and check our list once again. It’s always better to double check:
- Select the website builder
- Choose the adequate plan
- Select your domain
- Choose the template
- Give the template a personal touch
- Preview the website
- Publish it
What are the best website builders out there?
The variety of website builders is good, but it can also become intimidating for one that knows nothing about website building. How do you know which one to choose? How can you tell if the website builder that you’re checking is going to provide you all the tools you need for your site? Are you going to pay too much for the website builder?
One way to figure all out is to take a look at some of the most popular website builders right now. The more you know about each of them, the easier is going to be for you to decide which of them fits your needs and your budget the best way.
WordPress.org (aka self-hosted WordPress) is, by far, the most popular choice for website building. It seems that WordPress powers almost 30% of all websites out there.
Keep in mind that there are two versions of WordPress. There’s the self-hosted WordPress.org and the WordPress.com. The self-hosted WordPress (.org) is the most popular one as it’s secure to use, scalable and comes with many features.
WordPress is an open source website builder, and it’s also free. You’re going to get fantastic control over your website when using WordPress.org.
One thing that sets it apart is the fact that you’re going to need a WordPress hosting account and host your website. Don’t get scared about this step as it’s even more comfortable than you’d think.
Take a look at the best things of using WordPress.org:
- It offers fantastic control on all parts of the website. You may use it for building any site
- You can choose from myriads of pre-made WordPress themes for designing your website.
- It includes drag and drops page builders (Divi, Beaver Builder) so that you create the layouts a lot easier
- It’s translated entirely into dozens of languages.
- Your websites can be multilingual when using it
- It provides access to more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins that help you add more functions and features to your site
Even though the downsides aren’t significant, you should also take a look at them:
- You need to address the managing issue all alone. There’s a learning curve to that, but you may feel a bit frustrated in the beginning
- You have to develop backups and always check for the plugin updates and WordPress updates.
Keep in mind that WordPress software is for free, but you’re going to need to pay for the domain name and the web hosting.
Weebly is another easy to use website builder that comes with hundreds of designs. It contains an appealing page builder that lets you edit the website, without even needing to develop coding skills.
Let’s see the best parts of Weebly:
- It includes multiple website designs that you may use as a source of inspiration. The designs are easy to edit with the Weebly’s live page editor
- It’s an entirely hosted builder. Therefore you don’t need to worry about installing/managing the software. It handles the hosting of your website and maintains the software too
- It has built-in support for e-commerce, which is going to help you develop an online store and begin selling.
- It also provides built-in features for photo galleries, contact forms, sliders and so on. You may add more features without having to go through sophisticated processes.
The minor issues are worth to be mentioned too:
- For every purchase you make through your e-commerce store, you’re going to have to pay 3% transaction fees. If you want to skip the payments, you have to upgrade the business plan.
- Weebly is wholly hosted, so you have to be happy with their features. You cannot go with another developer/designer for adding other elements to your website.
Weebly provides, and you should expect to pay from $8 per month for a paid plan. It can go up to $25 per month for the business plan.
Another example of favorite website builders is Wix. This one gives you the opportunity to use all sorts of features for creating your very own website.
Here are our favs about it:
- You don’t need to pay for hosting as Wix is an entirely hosted platform.
- There are hundreds of templates to select from. you may edit every template using the drag and drop site builder
- It includes many free/paid apps that you may upload on your website. Thanks to the apps, you’re going to be able to increase the number of features and improve the functionality of your site.
- You get a free plan which has limited storage and bandwidth. You may use it for merely testing the website builder.
- It provides free SSL with all the plans
The things we like less aren’t deal breakers for most:
- If you go with the open and Connect Domain plans, your site is going to display Wix branded ads.
- Leaving Wix is a bit tricky
- You need to buy a domain name separately.
You can select the limited free plan with the Wix branded subdomain or link a domain for less than $10 per month. If you need an e-commerce plan, you’re going to pay $26.25 per month.
Gator by HostGator
Gator is somewhat new on the website builder market. It’s a HostGator product, which is one of the most well-known names among the web hosting providers out there. The Gator builder is both a website builder and a hosting choice.
Let’s take a look at its advantages:
- It’s entirely hosted which means you no longer have to stress about the backups, updates or the software
- You may use the click interface for editing the items on a page. Dragging and dropping standard items (videos, images, text, maps, columns, contact forms and photo gallery) is also easy to do.
- It’s user-friendly and provides you more than 200 professional website design templates. Every design includes options for easy customization.
- It offers access to built-in stock photo library so that you may look for pretty photos to add on your website.
- The paid plans come with a free custom domain name, whereas the eCommerce plans give you the option of developing an online store for selling your products.
- Your website isn’t going to display or sell any ads since Gator is a paid builder.
Bells and whistles aside, here’s what we don’t really like about Gator:
- It doesn’t provide a free plan nor a free trial
- Hiring a developer isn’t going to be possible when using Gator.
The basic plan is $3.84 per month, and you can pay as high as $9.22 for eCommerce plan.
If you’re thinking about building an online store, BigCommerce is one of the most reliable website builders to use. You should also go with it if you want to develop an eCommerce website that scales.
Here’s what we appreciate the most about this website builder:
- As it’s entirely hosted by eCommerce, you’re not going to have to deal with security, updates or website speed. It takes care of the technical issues and the server, so you get all the energy you need for improving your business
- BigCommerce has an active collaboration with WordPress, and this gives you the chance to use the flexibility of WordPress and the features or eCommerce power of BigCommerce. No matter the traffic on your website, speed and safety aren’t typical issues
- It includes the universal payment gateways (Apple Pay, PayPal, Square, Visa Checkout, Amazon Pay, Chase Pay and so on). There are no charging fees for the transactions made on your website
- You can use the pre-made website templates and add the features you need for your site.
- It has a dashboard that allows you to check the metrics for improving your business in the future
- It also includes built-in functions for optimizing the conversion rate ( product reviews, coupons, improved product search)
Here’s what we don’t fancy about BigCommerce:
- It’s not going to be easy to leave them as it’s a proprietary platform
- It’s a bit more expensive than other options, so it may be too much when you’re just starting.
You can go with the 15-day free trial to tap the water a bit. You pay $29.95 for a basic plan, and it can go up to $249.95 per month for a pro plan.