Build a Website for Beginners Using Wix vs Weebly vs SquareSpace ... and 2 more
Edited by Aliyyah Camp, Shelley, Melissa Rae, Eng and 3 others
Building a website is no easy task. With all the pages, links, and content to worry about, it is easy to become overwhelmed or feel that you need to outsource the work. Fortunately, this tutorial walks you through the process of building a website - from the very first step of creating an account to the very last step of publishing the content. The methods explained in this article feature some of the commonly used website platforms. We also discuss dedicated domain names and self hosting for the more technical users.
Method 1: Using Wix
Wix is a drag and drop website builder that features over 500 website templates. The templates are known to be very colorful and interactive. If you like a website with a lot of icons and pictures, Wix may be a good option for you. If you are new to website building and have little to no coding skills, using Wix will be advantageous for you. Wix utilizes a 'What You See Is What You Get' or WYSIWYG interface, meaning that the editing options you use show exactly what will appear on the final website. For these reasons, Wix is best for artists, restaurant owners, and anyone looking to build a flashy website for their business or portfolio.
- 3The first step in creating a website with Wix is choosing a template. You can browse all templates available by simply scrolling through the templates in the website category you chose (in this case, portfolio). You can search for a specific template, such as "artist" or "restaurant". You can also choose a subcategory from the options on the left.
- 4Once you choose your template, you will be redirected to the Wix editor where you can customize the website. This is where you will spend the majority of your time. Here you can change the website's title and background color. You can add images, pages, and apps to make your website more user-friendly and interactive.
- 6Before proceeding with further edits, it is a good idea to save your work. Click "Save" in the upper right hand corner of your screen. You will be prompted to choose a domain name for your website. The first part of the domain name is automatically your username (which can be changed), followed by "wix". You decide what the last portion of the domain name will be. We chose "portfolio". After typing it in, click the "Save & Continue" button. There is an option to use a customized domain name. Dedicated domain names look more professional and are easier to remember. We will discuss dedicated domain names towards the end of this tutorial.
- 7Let us add photos to personalize the website. Click on any picture in the gallery and an option to "Change Images" will appear. Your options for adding images include: upload from your computer, add from your social media accounts, use free images from Wix, or buy images from Bigstock. For this tutorial, we will upload our own images. Simply drag and drop the images from your computer onto the main portion of the screen or select the "Add Images" button in the upper right hand corner and select the images you wish to display on your new portfolio.
- 9Rearrange and customize the images by clicking anywhere in the gallery and the selecting the second "Layouts" icon. You can: change or add more images, customize the settings of the images to appear in a pop up screen or show text underneath, reformat the layout of the gallery (we chose to have five columns for the images), and select animated gallery designs.
- 13Access the other pages in your menu to edit them according to your liking. Select the plus sign on the left hand menu to bring up all the different things you can put on a page.
- 14Add Wix apps to make your website more interactive. Select the page on which you want to add the app and then click the booth icon on the left hand menu. This will open up with Wix App Market at which you can select from over 100 apps (both free and paid) to add to your website.
- 15After you have finished adding images, pages, content, and apps, it is time to publish your website for the world to see. Select the "Publish" button in the upper right hand corner of your editor screen.
Method 2: Using Weebly
Weebly is another website builder that requires very little technical knowledge. With its drag and drop editor, you can customize your website's look and functionality with just the click of a button. Weebly grants access to the HTML/CSS code if you are tech savvy and want to tailor the templates. One of the great features Weebly offers is eCommerce functionality. You can build a small online store in less than hour. Weebly's flexibility and vast offering of functionalities makes it a good fit for small business owners or anyone looking to build a high-performance website.
- 5Once you have chosen your theme, you will be redirected to the editor screen where you will be prompted to set up your website domain. You can use a Weebly subdomain for free, purchase a dedicated domain name through Weebly, or connect a previously owned domain name. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use a Weebly subdomain. We discuss dedicated domain names later in this tutorial.
- Title - add header text anywhere on a page.
- Text - add regular text anywhere on a page.
- Image - add an image from your computer, a stock photo provided by Weebly, or an image from a URL.
- Gallery - add a series of images from any of the sources above.
- Slideshow - add a series of images from any of the sources above to appear in a widget that will rotate through the images.
- Map - add a Google Maps widget to display a specified location.
- Contact Form - add a widget for visitors to submit messages to you that will be delivered via email.
- Embed Code - add custom HTML code to display an application that is not normally available on Weebly.
- 6Change the name of the store by click the phrase "MY SITE" and retyping in your desired website name. Beneath that, drag and drop "Title" text from the Basic menu in order to add a subtitle under your website name.
- 7Now it is time to add products to our eCommerce store. Simply click the "+Add Product" button in the middle of the page. A popup will appear prompting you to upgrade your account in order to use eCommerce features. Choose the plan that best suits your needs and then enter in your payment details. You can bypass this step by signing up for a paid account at the beginning.
- 9To add more products, repeat the same process above.
- 12There is no need to enter checkout information. Weebly automatically integrates credit card processing for your online store.
- 13Add a contact form to your online store so that users can reach you should they have any questions or comments. Select "Contact" from the page menu under the site title. Then, drag and drop the Contact Form widget from the main left hand menu anywhere into the editing screen.
- 14Review your website content before publishing. Check that there are no spelling errors and that the images and descriptions for your products are correct.
Method 3: Using SquareSpace
Squarespace is a website builder known for its branding. Squarespace gives you tons of styling features from which to choose, making it easy to build a one of a kind website. Some styling features include custom icons that can be used to create a logo and high quality stock photos that can be used ad page banners. Because of these features, Squarespace is a good website builder for corporate websites. In this tutorial, we will walk you through how to create a corporate website using Squarespace.
- Will you be using your website for personal use or for business?
- Please fill in a title for your website.
- Please fill in your business address.
Method 4: Using WordPress
WordPress is a content management system that provides a platform for all kinds of websites. In fact, it is the most commonly used website builder. WordPress is a great option if you want to create a blog website. Because WordPress requires more technical knowledge than the previous three website builders, we have a completely separate tutorial for how to Build a Website using WordPress.
Method 5: Hosting in Brief
Dedicated Domain Names
A dedicated domain name is a web address that you own. It does not belong to the platform on which you built your website. It is a good idea to invest in a dedicated domain name for several reasons:
- It gives you credibility. A domain name without the subdomain of a platform looks more professional to viewers. For example, www.VisiHow.com looks more professional than www.VisiHow.Weebly.com would.
- You maintain your brand. When you have a dedicated domain name, you can keep it for as long as you like. If you decide to move your website from Wix to SquareSpace, you can transfer your domain name along with it. This is not the case if you are using the free domain names provided by the website platforms.
- You will probably get dedicated email addresses as well. Most providers that sell domain names offer email service as well. If you have an email address such as YourName@YourWebsite.com, you will communicate that you mean business to anyone that visits your website.
Here are a few providers that sell domain names:
- Google Domains
The platform on which you built your website should have instructions on how to use your own dedicated domain name instead of its free one.
When you self host your website, it is completely under control. Most people achieve this buy purchasing shared hosting through a web hosting service. Shared hosting is when your website resides on a server that places yours and many other websites on the web. When you choose to self host your website, you choose to own all the content you post on the web and take responsibility for its maintenance. It is a good idea to invest in self hosting for several reasons:
- You expand the functionality of your website. When you self host your website, you have access to all the backend coding. This allows you to increase the functions your website can complete. For example, you can create custom widget codes.
- You increase your ability to monetize your website. Free services often limit the amount of items you can sell on an eCommerce website or which advertisements you can post. With self hosting, you do not have to worry about those limitations
- You have control over the look of your website. In addition to expanding the functionality, having complete access to the backend coding means you can customize every aspect of your website.
Here are a few providers that offer self hosting:
If you choose to self host your website, WordPress is the most commonly used option. We provide a complete tutorial on how to Build a Website Using WordPress
- Always reread all the content on your website editor before publishing. Spell check may check spelling errors but does not always catch minor grammatical errors.
- It is a good idea to create a dedicated folder on your computer or cloud where you keep all of your website photos. This makes it easy to add them to your website from one place.
- Whether you include "www." in the website domain name should not matter in terms of reaching the website. Contact your website builder support or self hosting provider support for assistance if you cannot access your website without adding "www." before the domain name.
Questions and Answers
How can I change my website from Wix to WebsiteBuilder for free?
I have made a website on Wix but then later discovered that WebsiteBuilder is better. Can I transfer the work I've done on Wix for free?. I have tried: I haven't tried anything but I have read from Wix and WebsiteBuilder that if you pay money, you can use the domain name from somewhere else.. I think it was caused by: ?
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