How to Set up a Website in 2022: An Updated Beginner’s Guide

Josep GarciaInka Wibowo

By Josep & Inka

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how to set up a website

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I’ve been where you are. Keen on creating a website, but no idea how. Everything felt so overwhelming!

That was more than 10 years ago. Back then, it was still kind of difficult to put all the pieces together if you didn’t have any technical knowledge.

Luckily for you, it’s much easier to make a website today.

Before we get started with our step-by-step guide to website creation, let’s get one thing out of the way:

Will I need technical skills?

This depends on the purpose of your website. The most complicated way would be to learn how to code HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP – the basics of practically any website.

But this isn’t the only way to create a website: even if you aren’t very familiar with the technical side of things, you can easily set up an outstanding website.

But how?

By using a website builder. If you can use Word, Facebook, or PowerPoint, you’ll be able to use a website builder without any problem. These easy-to-use platforms offer a visual drag and drop editor, web hosting, and can even provide a custom domain name: truly a one-stop-shop!

Let’s get started now, shall we? Just follow these simple steps, and you will make your own website in no time!

How to set up a website in 7 steps

Domain name: that’s the web address of your website. For example: mygreatwebsite.com.

URL: includes the domain name and any subpages. For example: https://mygreatwebsite.com/about

CMS: short for Content Management System. A website building platform that you can use to create, upload and publish your website. For example: WordPress and Joomla.

Website Builder: a simplified version of a CMS, usually for smaller websites. It allows easy website editing and offers predefined designs for you to choose from. It also serves as your web hosting provider. Examples: Wix and Squarespace.

Web hosting provider: a place to which you can upload your website, so other people can view it. Examples: Bluehost and Siteground.

Responsive web design: there are many different screen sizes these days (desktop computers, smartphones etc.). Responsive website templates adapt to the screen automatically and rearrange the content, so it’s readable without any issues.

Website template: website builders come with pre-designed website themes and page templates. You pick the one that’s closest to your idea or industry and adapt it to your liking (e.g. by changing images, texts, headlines etc.) when building your website.

SEO: short for Search Engine Optimization. If done right, your website will rank at the top of search engines like Google for relevant search terms. This will attract organic website visitors, which, opposed to paid traffic (e.g. via Google Ads), is completely free.

1. Identify the type of website you want to create

Websites come in all shapes and sizes. Here are the most common ones:

Type 1: Very small websites

An example of a very small website would be an online portfolio (find some examples here) or resume. A typical use-case would be a copywriter, translator or illustrator showcasing some references, contact information and an ‘about us’ page. Usually these websites have around seven pages or less. It could even be a one-pager website, where you display all the information on a single page.

online portfolio
Online Portfolio template by Wix (‘Creative CV’)

This type of website doesn’t get updated much and is mostly static. You create it once, make sure everything works as it should, test the mobile version and then let it sit there. Traffic comes mostly from people directly typing in the URL or from local directories like Google Maps.

Time required: Setting up such a small website usually doesn’t take very long: a weekend should be enough for a decent-enough first version.

Ideal ways to create it: a website builder like Wix. For cheaper, slightly less powerful options, you can also check out Webnode and Strikingly.

Type 2: Blogs

If you like to share your thoughts frequently you can also start a blog. This gives your visitors a reason to come back to your website and usually invites them to comment. Adding blog posts is usually done via a simple editor where you can upload text and images. A typical example would be a travel or food blog.

squarespace hester theme

Squarespace blog template (‘Hester’)

A blog page can also be added to portfolio websites, but this has become less popular due to the rise of social media.

Time required: A small blog can easily be set up within a few days. The biggest time investment comes from posting regular content.

Ideal ways to create it: Squarespace or WordPress

Type 3: Larger business-focused websites

In this type of business the website is usually an integral part of it, meaning that without the website, the business wouldn’t exit.

shopify prestige theme

Shopify’s ‘Prestige’ Online Store Theme

The website might be the main marketing channel, for example:

  • A food delivery service
  • A membership program (e.g. online fitness course)
  • A booking website for a vacation rental home
  • Online consulting or coaching services

The website can even be the business:

  • An Online Store
  • A website comparing different products (like Tooltester.com)
  • An online education website
  • An online newspaper or magazine

Time required: It depends a lot on the design and functionality of your website. For example, using a website builder like Wix, you can create a site for your yoga business (incl. online appointments & payments) easily within a week, just using standard components.

However, if you want to build a bigger website with bespoke features and page templates, you will have to use a CMS like WordPress. Depending on your technical knowledge, we are now looking at a timeframe of at least a month. This will further increase if you need to hire a designer and programmer for certain tasks.

Ideal ways to create it: for regular (content)-websites, WordPress is usually a great solution. For online stores, Shopify or WooCommerce. But even Wix is worth checking out as they have many specialized apps for vacation rentals, restaurants, online bookings etc.


Smart Finder: Find your ideal website builder in 60 seconds

What's the Best Website Builder for You? (Last updated: Sept 2022)


2. Decide on a platform and budget to build your website

After having identified the type of website you now have a clearer idea of the size of the project.

Let’s go over the most popular ways to start a professional website. There are many solutions. Some are more flexible than others, and some are more complex.

Option 1: Setting up a website with a website builder

Let’s start with the easiest option: a website builder. This is an “all-inclusive” package, so to speak: a single company will usually provide the template (design), drag and drop editor, web hosting, domain name, email address and support. The web builder takes care of the difficult tasks.

This isn’t only useful for beginners. It simply depends on the project. Why complicate your life if there are easy ways to do things? Almost all site builders let you create a free basic website on a subdomain (e.g. yourname.sitebuildername.com), which is ad-supported. Using such a plan you can try it in detail before deciding if the cost is worth it.

However, if you want to take your business online, you should consider a paid plan. Prices start at around $8/month, but it includes all the essentials. Add around $1-6/month on top if you need a professional email address for your business website.

To better understand exactly how it works, please watch our step-by-step tutorial to website creation!

How to Create a Website? Learn It in Less Than 5 Minutes!
Ever wondered how difficult it is to create a website? We have some good news, it's very easy! Check out our full tutorial here: https://www.tooltester.com/en/how-to-set-up-my-own-website?utm_source=youtube Click here for to check out Wix's templates (and a free trial): https://www.tooltester.com/out/wix-create-website-youtube Here's the page where you can find the Wix discount voucher: https://www.tooltester.com/en/reviews/wix-review/prices/&utm_source=youtube-how-to Watch this step by step tutorial to learn how to make your first website in less than 5 minutes - not kidding! You can always stop and rewind if you like to re-watch certain parts of the video. 0:00 Intro 0:12 The different ways to create a website 1:05 Step by step guide to website creation 1:28 Sign up 1:35 Editing the website 1:44 Get your free Wix subdomain 2:13 Editing the photo gallery 2:25 Adding a call to action button 2:36 Editing the About page 2:51 Checking the contact form 3:05 Clean up 3:25 Editing the footer 3:38 Publishing the site 4:04 Get your Wix discount code Let me know if you have any questions or feedback about the video by leaving a comment! How to Create a Website? Learn It in Less Than 5 Minutes!https://i.ytimg.com/vi/FXNSB-XmtLY/default.jpg

Pros:

  • It’s very easy to use.
  • You don’t need additional software or even a web host.
  • You can start without technical knowledge.
  • Updates and security aspects are handled by the website builder company.
  • Predefined themes that you can adapt as you like.
  • Mobile-optimized version included by default.

Cons:

  • You can’t always add extra features (depending on the website builder).
  • It isn’t as flexible since you’re dependent on the provider.
  • They aren’t designed for very complicated projects that require a database (e.g. a job board or real-estate directories)

 

The most popular website builders are Wix (see tutorial), Squarespace (see tutorial), and Shopify (for ecommerce stores). You’ll find other website builders in our complete comparison.

You can try the Wix website builder for free and for as long as you want.

Try Wix free

  1. Go to the Wix website and select a template you like

wix templates

2. Click on Edit

wix edit template

3. Sign up with your email address and choose a password (or even easier: sign up via Google or Facebook)

wix sign up

4. You are now in the website editor. Start replacing text and images with your own ones.

wix website editor

Tip: find a much more detailed Wix Tutorial here.

Option 2: Creating a website with a content management system

Content management systems (CMS) are a bit more complicated. Even though they essentially work in a similar way as a website builder, they are far more difficult to use.

That is because they are prepared to accommodate huge website projects (e.g. Typo3, Joomla! or Drupal). A typical user would be a larger enterprise, creating hundreds of pages while having a dedicated tech team working on the website.

Fortunately there’s also one more CMS, which is much more accessible: WordPress. Thanks to hosting companies that offer a one-click installation, it’s not quite as difficult to set up. This is also one of the reasons why it’s the most popular CMS worldwide. 

WordPress – the beginner-friendly-ish CMS

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of WordPress:

Pros:

  • You can freely choose the web hosting company.
  • Great for multi-language websites.
  • Technical flexibility: you can access the whole source code (if you know what you’re doing).
  • You can get more features with plugins.
  • You can optimize your page loading speed

Cons:

  • No direct personal technical support (limited support from your web host or theme provider)
  • Creative freedom depends on the template.
  • It can have additional costs for the plugins.
  • You may need a programmer even to make small aesthetic changes.

 

WordPress Hosting

In this introductory video, we take a look at what you need to consider if you’re setting up WordPress.

Learn How to Install WordPress with SiteGround’s Hosting
Let’s quickly check how to install WordPress using SiteGround’s hosting. SiteGround is one of the top hosting providers for WordPress sites. You can try SiteGround without risk for 30 days: https://www.tooltester.com/out/siteground-wordpress Even if you don’t have technical knowledge you can install your WordPress site in under 5 minutes. SiteGround has also developed a WordPress Starter plugin, to help beginners get started with WordPress by suggesting templates and plugins to be added during the installation. More about SiteGround in our written review: https://www.tooltester.com/en/hosting/siteground-reviews/ You can read more about WordPress in our online guide: http://www.tooltester.com/en/website-with-wordpress/ If you have any questions, please leave us a message. Learn How to Install WordPress with SiteGround’s Hostinghttps://i.ytimg.com/vi/XMLMT_mKZhQ/default.jpg

You can sign up for Siteground here.

From our experience, the most recommendable hosting companies are Dreamhost (extremely affordable), Siteground (a bit more expensive but super powerful) and Bluehost (popular choice with 24/7 support). Learn more about the other cheap WordPress hosting companies we recommend.

WordPress Themes

To get a customized layout for your use case, you’ll need to install a WordPress theme that matches your vision. Usually, you’ll find a few basic themes when you first log into your new WordPress site.

Fortunately you can find an enormous variety of specific themes for all sorts of industries that can be adjusted and customized. Cheaper themes are available on Themeforest, for example. To increase the chances your theme will be supported for years into the future, it’s important to check its ratings and that the number of sales isn’t too low.

Then there are also premium theme providers such as Astra. They provide a basic free version (mainly to test) as well as premium plans that include customer support and integrations with page builders such as Elementor.

Keep in mind: customizing a WordPress theme can be quite a bit of work. If there is something you don’t like, you’ll often have to modify the CSS or HTML (you or a programmer).

The hosting, domain name, email address, installation and level of support you choose will depend on how much you want to spend and your technical knowledge. It can be quite cheap if you do it yourself. Take a look at our pricing guide for typical website projects here.

Of course, that may not always be the ideal solution, especially when you’re busy running a business. In this case, you can also try to hire a web designer who can help you set up a WordPress website, for example.

Additional website features via plugins

An enormous advantage, especially for WordPress, is that you have thousands of plugins that let you add special features to your website that are not initially included. A typical example would be WooCommerce, a plugin that adds a complete online store.

By default, WordPress is designed to be in a single language, but there are plugins, like WPML, that let you translate the page. Another of my favorites is the Yoast SEO plugin, which lets you change the search engine settings (e.g.  to rank higher on Google).

You’ll find more information on WordPress in our WordPress beginners guide.

Option 3: How to program a website yourself (or hire someone to do it).

This is the supreme discipline: opening the editor and starting to code. Those who need total liberty will have to make the page themselves. You do need patience for this, and for beginners, it is usually overwhelming (and frustrating).

A good place to start are websites like Codecademy, Mozilla, or W2Schools, which have step-by-step tutorials for beginners. But expect a long journey before your website is ready. Of course, to speed up the process, you can hire a web designer. Just keep in mind that your coder shouldn’t be doing designs and vice versa. The skills required for each of these tasks are very different.

Giving a general price is not easy here, since it depends on the project. You’ll obviously need to pay for hosting, but there are plenty of cheap web hosting providers to choose from. Above all, it will be much more expensive if you need to hire a programmer: paying the $8-15 a month for a website builder will always be cheaper than what any designer or agency will charge for an hour of work.

Some popular development tools are NetBeans, Aptana Studio or Brackets. All allow at least HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and are free. Another option is Webflow, which is a visual source code editor.

brackets source code editor

Brackets screenshot

Pros:

  • The possibilities are unlimited if you know how to program.
  • Cost-friendly hosting.
  • Maximum flexibility.

Cons:

  • No (or costly) support.
  • The learning curve is steep.
  • The costs are hard to calculate.
  • Requires a lot of study and implementation time.

3. Register a domain name

If you don’t want to use a free domain name (which looks quite ugly as it will have the name of another company in it), you need to purchase your own domain. This will then look like www.mycompany.com. Usually, it’s best to get the .com extension unless you are strictly operating in one country like Canada (.ca) or the UK (.co.uk). Of course, there are also many successful businesses that use one of the newer domain names like .me or .agency, for example.

tooltester domain
Our own domain name

There is no shortage of registrars that sell custom domain names. We mostly buy them at Namecheap as they are, well, pretty cheap but the differences are not that significant (unless you’re buying loads), as they range from $9-18 per year.

But depending on where you build your website, you can get it also included in your website builder package. Wix, Weebly, and Jimdo, for example, all have a free domain name included in the first year. The following years they charge slightly more than Namecheap, for example, but the added convenience of only having to deal with one company is normally worth it.

If you are using WordPress.org or build the website yourself, you will also need to organize your own web storage. This can be bought at the same place where you get your custom domain name from or at yet another specialized company like Siteground or WP Engine. But if you are only starting out, this won’t matter too much for now.

Let’s now look at an area that is closely connected to the domain name:

How to get a professional email address?

If you’re running a business, you likely don’t want to use a Gmail or Hotmail address. Having a custom email address on your own domain name looks much more professional! And it’s pretty easy to get. Let me give you a few different options:

  • Get it from your website builder or web hosting company: a few of them include email addresses at no extra cost (e.g. Webnode and Siteground)
  • Get it from your domain registrar: Namecheap, for example, offers it for less than $12 per email address per year.
  • If you love Gmail, you can try Google Workspace. It’s the most feature rich solution, but will set you back $6 per email address. This is also the solution most website builders offer (Wix, Squarespace, Jimdo etc.)
  • Tip: For a completely free solution: Zoho Workplace, which includes up to 5 email addresses. It’s a little bit more complicated to set up but your domain registrar should be able to help you with that.

4. Plan the structure of your website

Just like it isn’t always a good idea to start cooking without following a recipe, at least if you have no experience, the same goes for creating a website. Here, improvising is not a good idea. Planning will help you decide what sections you need, the content that works best for you and how your website should be designed.

mind map website

Mind map for an online shoe store

A good way to start is by creating a mind map with the ideas of what your website will need. The main items of this mind map can be used for your website navigation.

Tips for planning your website:

  1. Use a paper and a pen and write down everything you want on the website. Brainstorming and creating a mind map are the perfect ways to organize your thoughts.
  2. Take a look at other interesting websites both in terms of design and content.  Note what you like and what you don’t.
  3. Once you have a draft of what you want on your website, ask people you trust what they think. You’ll certainly find some interesting perspectives you can incorporate.
  4. Create a list (e.g. in Excel) with all the pages that your website will have. Note down the title, what kind of content you’ll have, keywords, the purpose, the kind of page and their importance.
  5. Bonus: If you want to position yourself well in search engines, this is when you should find out what keyword each page will have, and add them to the list in point 4. Read this SEO guide for more information.
Remember that the navigation menu is an essential element of your website so that your visitors can move from one page to another. Make sure everything is organized logically and try to use common terms such as About, Contact and Services.

Being too abstract can lead to confusion – for example, I once saw a website that used Who, How and What for the three aforementioned items. Not the most intuitive way to describe it.

Examples of pages that could be important for your business:

  • An “about” page on the company and its history
  • A page to present services or products
  • A contact page (with a contact form)
  • A blog with informative and useful articles for your customers
  • A calendar of events
  • A FAQ or a glossary

5. Choose a theme, customize your design and add your artwork

The way forward is now determined by your choice in step 2 (Decide on a platform).

If you’ve chosen a website builder like Wix, you’ll have a range of templates to choose from. These themes are generally arranged by category (shops, sport, portfolio, blog, etc.).

Once you’ve chosen your favorite template, creating your site is a pretty straightforward affair:

  • pick your preferred color scheme and set up the general design
  • Set up all pages you require (see step 4 – Planning of a website)
  • Customize the copy and images (more on that in step 6).

wix templates

Some of Wix’s templates 

Wix is not the only site builder that is equipped with website templates. This is also the case with Squarespace, Zyro as well as Shopify, the best solution for creating larger Ecommerce sites.

If you went for a CMS like WordPress, you will need to choose a theme. There are free and premium ones. We have a dedicated WordPress tutorial that shows you where to get a WordPress theme and how to set it up.

Finally, If you chose to program the website yourself, you will need to create your design yourself or hire a designer and then create the CSS. But this method is generally reserved for companies or individuals who need a bespoke solution and have the right type of budget (or a lot of free time on their hands).

What about the website design?

However you choose to create your website, you will need to make some design decisions.

Creating visual web designs is no easy task. In fact, I’d say that online, there are more examples of terrible designs than good ones. Don’t let your website be one.

Just like bell bottom jeans were stylish in the 70s, they were ridiculous in the 80s and 90s. The same happens with web design. You have to remember that what was considered good practice 5 years ago, can now seem kind of old or out of date. Check out this article to know what practices to avoid.

Here are some tips to make a design your visitors will love:

  1. Try to use a light (or white) color for the background.
  2. Choose attractive colors that complement each other. Use Adobe Color if you need help.
  3. Keep the design clean, simple, and leave white space between the elements. How to make readable text.
  4. Don’t use too many fonts: one for the titles and another for the text is usually enough. This guide will help you choose.
  5. Keep consistent style and format. The users should not notice any differences between your pages. Don’t create a Frankenstein.
  6. Your website should also be perfectly adapted to mobile devices.
  7. Any images you add must look professional. Don’t upload a selfie you took in front of a bathroom mirror. Keep in mind that today’s smartphones take very nice photos. If you plan right, you can get great headshots.
  8. Less is more. When in doubt, go minimal.

You can find more design tips in our guide on how to improve a website.

Creating a logo for your website

A logo is crucial to getting that professional look for your website. Similarly to creating your website you can also DIY your logo with a logo maker. Or you outsource the logo creation to a professional designer.

Finding good artwork and images

A website that has only written words on it, looks boring and overwhelming. For that reason you’ll notice that website templates usually have placeholder images on them.
Now, most of the time it’s not a great idea to just keep them as they aren’t really customized to YOUR website.

The best artwork for your website is always your own artwork and photos. You can either create it yourself or get help from a photographer or illustrator.

But there are good alternatives too. Most website builders are connected to stock photo providers such as Unsplash or Creative Commons, which are free or Getty Images / Shutterstock, which are paid premium platforms. This is an easy way to add professional looking photos and illustrations to your website.

unsplash

And even if your website builder or CMS is not directly connected to these stock photo providers, you can just directly browse said websites and get the images from there.

What’s more, you can find more professional-looking photos (starting $1) on a lot of other websites, like Depositphotos and Shutterstock. Here are some more free stock photo options.

Make sure you understand the available image formats: .gif, .jpg and .png are the main formats. Plus, you have to optimize the size and quality of the image to the web standard browser. Everything you need to know about this topic can be found in this beginners guide to web graphics.

Before uploading images to your site, use services like TinyPNG or ShortPixel to compress your photos for free.

Although the human eye will hardly recognize any change in the image, it will speed up your website and improve the user experience for your visitors. Of course, search engines love fast loading websites too!

Likewise, it will come in handy to have an editing program to be able to edit and change the size of the images. The most professional ways to manipulate photos are Figma and Photoshop, but not everyone will be able (or will want to) afford them.

Alternatives are Affinity Photo and Acorn, which costs only a fraction of the price of the original and don’t require a subscription.

There are increasingly more tools you can use to create graphic resources simply and without having to learn to use Photoshop or Illustrator. For instance, you can use Stencil, Canva or Snappa.

stencil

6. Add content and start publishing

After defining the style in the previous step, we are finally ready to add content to our brand-new website.

Speak the language of your customers

Your potential visitors and customers need to be front and center in your content strategy.

For that reason, you need to speak a language your visitors understand. Remember, they don’t have much time and won’t be happy if you throw cryptic jargon at them. So try to use a clear and simple language without much fluff.

Structuring and optimizing your content

On a website, we are generally less formal than in a book or a letter. We must help the busy visitor find the information they need.

Things you should do:

  • Make it scan and skip-able: structure your pages using titles and subtitles because your visitors love to scan the content to skip to the most relevant sections. It feels just as good as skipping YouTube ads and Netflix intros.
  • Short sentences with a generous amount of line breaks. This makes it easy to read.
  • Bulleted lists: just like this one. Another way to consume content with little effort
  • Effective fonts: as mentioned in part 5, our design section, use a reduced number of fonts (max. 2-3 different ones) that are easy to read on screen.
  • Own your content: make it clear who is behind the website and generously use photos even if it makes you slightly uncomfortable. Also show relevant qualifications.

Things you should avoid:

  • Using complicated language just to sound smart. This will drive visitors away from your website faster than a bullet train.
  • Not using call to actions: too many websites lose business because their visitors are unsure of how to get in touch or initiate a transaction. You should make it as easy as possible! Use CTA-buttons, contact forms, online booking tools, live chat. Whatever works for you and your customers.

Find more tips in this article about how to write for the web.

Outsourcing content creation

As with all the previous website elements (design, logo etc.), you can also hire someone to create the copy for your website if you are not a natural-born writer.

External copywriters usually require a briefing from you. They will typically provide a briefing document for you to fill in or have a call with you.

Ways to find a good copywriter:

The good thing about copywriters is that they don’t necessarily need to be close to where you are. This job can easily be done remotely. Just make sure you hire a native speaker of whatever language you are going to produce.

7. Promote your website

If you’ve already created your website and published it, you can start promoting and optimizing it to increase visits and improve the user experience.

  • Update your website: Websites are not books. Once published, they can still be updated. Make sure that you create new and relevant content when you have the chance and that you’re constantly updating the website. For example, imagine a restaurant’s website: if the menu changes, it should be reflected on the website as quickly as possible.
  • Online positioning: To attract as many visitors as possible, you’ll have to further optimize your website’s SEO. This is not very complicated, but it requires time and work. Check out this guide for more information on which website builders are good for SEO.
  • Web analysis: Your efforts in online positioning (above point) will be useless if you don’t measure your website traffic. That’s how you’ll know whether it’s working or not. The most popular website analysis tool is Google Analytics. And it’s free!
  • Once you publish your website, you should register with Google Search Console to notify Google that your page exists and get information. Or at least send your website’s URL (address) to Google so that it can index it.
  • Email Marketing: Another common strategy, especially for businesses, is to send regular emails to its visitors, so as not to lose contact. This is especially useful for online stores, small businesses, and bloggers. Email marketing is a science in itself. You can read this how-to guide to find more information on how to get started sending newsletters.
  • Social media: Finally, most websites also have social media profiles (e.g.  Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc.) for being able to interact with their target group beyond of the realms of their website. This works especially well for visual professionals, like illustrators, jewelers, or photographers.

Final words

Making your own website can be daunting. But with the right platform and some effort, it’s definitely doable! I hope that this guide has encouraged you to get started.

Apart from this general guide, we also have a couple of industry-specific guides as well:

 

If you have any questions on how to start, leave a comment below, and we’ll try to help.

How to Set Up a Website: Frequently Asked Questions

The price for creating a website can vary depending on what option you choose, and how big your project will be. A simple website like an online portfolio that’s built with a website builder will cost you less than a bigger website with a lot of different content and extended features.

If you have a personal project, and aren’t in need of advanced website features or a personalized domain, you can even get free website. Many website builders offer free plans.

For professional projects, you’ll likely need premium features – for example, members areas or online appointment booking – and will therefore have to go for one of the higher pricing plans. A website created with a premium plan can cost you between approx. $5 to $45 per month.

If you have a complex project with very individual needs, a CMS or a self-coded solution is your best bet. In case you are tech-savvy and can handle the installation and maintenance yourself, your running costs will be relatively low. All you’ll be paying for is a domain and hosting provider – the prices for hosting plans start at around $3 per month.

If you hire a web developer who takes care of setting up the website and maintaining it, the costs can be a lot higher and usually ballpark in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars range. However, the good news is that it’s usually only the initial investment that’s that high. Once the website has been developed you will just have to pay for the hosting (and the occasional maintenance of the website by a web developer). So the costs for your website will decline over time.

You can find more detailed information about what a website will cost you here.

There are several ways to make a website. You can use a website builder, a CMS like WordPress, code a website yourself or have it programmed by a web developer.

Which option is best for you depends on several factors, like your level of technical knowledge, the size of your project, your budget, and how much time you have.

Website builders are a suitable tool if you want to create a business website, a portfolio website, a blog, a landing page, or a smaller to mid-sized online store.

For bigger websites and online stores with special requirements, a CMS like WordPress or self-coded solution is usually the better choice.

If you use a website builder for your project, you can usually purchase a domain directly through your provider. Alternatively, you can buy a domain elsewhere and later connect or transfer it to your website. Many website builders allow this option. An affordable domain registrar is Namecheap, for example.

Many times getting your domain with an external service will save you a bit of money; however, buying it directly from your provider is the easier-to-manage alternative.

A little bit 🙂 The good news is that if you have managed to navigate to our website, you will have no trouble using easy-to-use website builders like Wix, Zyro or Weebly.

If you have a bigger project and want to use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you’ll need some technical skills, as its use requires a bit of programming knowledge (and you’ll need to get a hosting provider and maintain your website yourself). Of course, you could also get the help of a web developer for all that. You can find a developer on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.

If you want to rank high on Google and be found by potential customers, investing some time into your website’s search engine optimization is crucial.

Important parameters include an SEO title and meta description for your pages and articles, and optimized URLs. They should include keywords that make sense and that your customers are likely to be searching on. You can use tools like ahrefs or SE Ranking to find the most relevant search terms that generate the most traffic.

Other factors, like page speed and the quality of your content, also play an important role.

You can learn more about SEO in this article.

There are several popular ways that you can earn money through your website, and you can even combine them:

Check out our in-depth article for more ideas on how to turn your website or blog into a revenue stream.

Website builders belong to the family of content management systems (CMS), meaning a website builder is a form of a CMS. However, the main difference is that with a website builder, you get everything in one place – the editor, hosting, domain (if you like), security, and feature updates are provided to you by the website builder provider. Wix and Squarespace are two of the most popular website builders, although there are many excellent website builders that serve a wide range of needs.

If you use a CMS like WordPress, you’ll need to organize a hosting provider and domain yourself, and install plugins and updates manually. You also won’t get the same flexible visual editor you get with a website builder, which may make editing your site slightly more complicated.

A portfolio website is a type of website that you can use to present yourself and/or your work, be it as an individual (for example, if you’re an artist or photographer), a company, or an organization. Its main draw is usually its visual appeal. You can imagine it as a sort of digital business card. Of course, you can also add further functionality, like an online store to sell your artwork, if needed.

You can learn how to put together a portfolio in our guide, and find some portfolio examples for inspiration here.

A landing page is a single webpage designed for a specific marketing purpose. Users click on a link or call-to-action button that you might have implemented in an email newsletter, Instagram/Facebook post, Google ad, or somewhere else on your website, and finally “‘land” on this page.

Generally, with a landing page, you are trying to get website visitors to perform a specific action – to sign up for an ebook, register for a webinar, or trial your product, for example. The goal is to collect the contact details of so-called “leads” to eventually convert them into future customers.

A typical landing page usually contains a call-to-action (e.g. “Sign up for free”) and a method to engage your customers and website visitors. This method can be the implementation of a signup or contact form. It can also be a page with buttons linking to all the services you provide (see the example below), or one with more information about an event that will finally lead the user to an event registration/ticket purchase page.

wix landing page template

Wix for example offers special templates for creating landing pages. We also have a list of more conversion-focused landing pages here.

Whatever type of site it is you are creating, you should always have a contact page for your visitors.

Using one of the popular website builders like Wix, Squarespace or GoDaddy, your contact form is just a few clicks away. For a CMS like WordPress you’ll need a plugin, but there are plenty of free ones (e.g. Contact Form 7, Everest Forms).

Make sure your contact page is easy to reach. You can add it either to the top menu or your footer menu (or both!).

Of course, you can also add your email address on this page as some people prefer sending messages via their email provider. Do keep in mind, however, that putting your email address on the site for everyone to see, can lead to more spam emails.

Finally, make sure you test your contact form before publishing it on your website!

Josep Garcia

Content Manager

Hi there, I am Josep Garcia. Since 2014 I've been testing and writing about website builders and hosting services, and I share all my learnings at Tooltester.com. Today I am not an active staff member anymore, but I do hope you enjoyed this article. And if you have any questions, please leave me a comment below.

Inka Wibowo

Content Manager

Hi, I'm Inka! I started using website builders and content management systems over 10 years ago, when I managed websites for clients in my first marketing role. Since then, I've worked on hundreds of web and digital projects. Now, at Tooltester, I'm happy to be able to use my experience to help users like you find the right website builder for your needs.

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We keep our content up to date

20 Oct 2022: Additional content added
12 Oct 2022: Structure updated
23 Sep 2022: Added FAQ
26 May 2022: Added more information to WordPress section
03 May 2022: A few additions
21 Feb 2022: Added information about different types of websites
13 Oct 2021: Checked for accuracy, email address update

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