Building an online presence implies having a website that allows you to market your products or services, and share your ideas with the world at large. But how do you make a website? Can you do it yourself or should you hire a professional?
Hiring a professional would seem like the easiest way to launch a website, but today’s site building tools have evolved to the point where anyone willing can start a website with no coding knowledge and no professional help.
There are two ways you can approach the issue of making a website – opting for a self-hosted solution like WordPress and a web host of your choice, or opting for hosted solutions like Weebly or Wix.
In this article we discuss both methods, so you can have a better idea of which method is the best for you.
How to Make a Self-Hosted Website?
As opposed to a hosted website, where hosting is a given, a self-hosted website is one that it’s built with a content management system like WordPress, and it’s hosted on a web hosting chosen by you.
Almost all aspects of updating, securing, and installing software befalls on you, but unlike a hosted site, having a self-hosted website comes with several advantages like flexibility, control and monetization possibility.
Making a website with WordPress & BlueHost
Even if you’re a beginner, you’ve probably heard of WordPress, and it’s by no accident that you did, since it’s the most popular content management system online, powering a significant chunk of successful online magazines, government websites, and corporate ones.
The arguments for choosing WordPress as the backbone of your website are numerous:
- The basics of WordPress (making pages, creating and publishing content, installing plugins, etc.) are easy to master by anyone;
- WordPress is flexible in terms of what you can create with it – blog, forum, newspaper, online store, etc.;
- It’s a highly customizable CMS thanks to the plethora of themes and plugins available for it;
- It’s free & open source, which means anyone can download it and use it freely, and it’s constantly being developed and bettered;
- It’s a secure platform;
- It’s built with SEO in mind;
- It has a huge support community of developers and programmers, making it easy to fix any problem that you may encounter;
- WordPress optimized web hosting is easy to come by;
- You can monetize a WordPress-powered website any way you see fit.
Many hosting companies offer hosting plans specifically designed for WordPress, and these usually come with WordPress pre-installed, free WordPress updates, 1-click installs, 24/7 WordPress support, and other features depending on the web host.
As far as best WordPress hosting goes, this title belongs to BlueHost, which has been endorsed and recommended by WordPress.org since 2005. BlueHost’s WordPress hosting plans start at just $3.95/month.
These plans come with 1 free domain name, free SSL certificate, 1 to unlimited website hosting, 50 GB to unmetered website space, unmetered bandwidth, cPanel control panel, and various marketing offers, anti-spam tools, domain privacy and site backup. Those who opt for the Pro package can also get a dedicated IP as well.
From this step onwards, you’ll only have to invest some time in picking the theme you want to use for your website (free or premium, mobile-friendly options are all available), customizing the design and functionality of your website, and generating content.
In a nutshell, this is how you go about building a self-hosted website that you can control to its tiniest details, and monetize it using Google AdSense, selling ad space or by enrolling in affiliate programs.
Next, let’s see what hosted website building platforms have to offer in terms of how you can make a website.
How to Make a Website Using a Site Building Platform?
Hosted solutions like Wix or Weebly were created to simplify the process of launching a website for those who don’t want to get caught up with coding and design issues.
These platforms come with domain, hosting, managements, support, and site functionality integrations included. Weebly and Wix are two of the most affordable and popular site builder tools on the market.
With these site building tools, all you have to do is create an account, choose your template, and start adding content.
Launched by a small group of college students in 2006, today, Weebly is the website builder tool of choice of over 40 million customers worldwide. Whether you want to launch an eCommerce store or a personal website Weebly has your back with an intuitive interface and beautifully designed templates. Their iPad site-editing app allows you to edit your site even on the go.
Weebly allows you to choose your plan, depending on your needs. Thus, you can choose the Free ad-supported plan, which comes with 500 MB storage and a free drag & drop site builder tool, or you can go for the premium options that start at $8/month.
All plans include a free domain name $20 in value, Google AdWords credits, unlimited storage, advanced site stats, various eCommerce, marketing tools, and free support. Those looking to launch an eCommerce site should be aware of a 3% transaction fee charged by Weebly on top of the processing fees charged by PayPal, Stripe, etc.
Weebly is a reputable website builder that allows you to launch a website with minimal effort whether you’re an individual on a shoestring budget or a small company wanting to establish an online presence without outside support.
Wix is a large-scale cloud-based website builder platform counting over 90 million users. It was launched back in 2006, and works on the same principle of allowing users to build a website without any IT skills.
Like Weebly, Wix too comes with a Free version, which allows unlimited pages, offers 500 MB storage, secure hosting, mobile site, and drag and drop editor. This is not much, but it’s enough to test the platform and see it in action, and decide whether you want to upgrade to Wix’s premium options.
Premium packages start at $4.50/month for a basic plan and go as high as $24.50/month for a VIP package. In terms of resources, Premium plans offer 1 GB to unlimited bandwidth, 500 MB storage to 20 GB, possibility to connect your domains or get a domain for free, site builder and site booster apps, mobile site editor tool, eCommerce features, and marketing credits.
One disadvantage of Wix – which is a common disadvantage of all hosted site building platforms is site ownership. This means that if you ever decide to move your site, you don’t have the option to export it.
Building a website with WordPress is not for everyone, just like building a website with site builder tools may not please everyone.
When deciding which option you should choose, you should consider you long-term plans with your website – making a website with a site building tool is faster, easier, and more convenient, but you may have to compromise on control. Building a site with WordPress may require some effort, but when it comes to control, you can have complete control over all aspects of your website.