Getting your message out these days requires good helpings of Facebook and Twitter, with maybe a dash of Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr. But that's not enough: if you want an internet presence that truly represents you or your organization, you also need a website that sets you apart from the crowd. A real website, as opposed to a social media page, gives you complete control over design and content. This lends credibility to your business, organization, or personal brand. Facebook pages all look alike in terms of design, but on your own website, you can realize a brand image, offer products for sale, and integrate third-party web services.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew.
Shopify’s primary focus is ecommerce, so they are specifically geared toward building this kind of site for as little as $29 a month. There is also a ‘Lite’ plan available for only $9 a month, which allows users to add a Shopify buy button to an existing site (which can be on another platform). Importantly, the industry- standard encryption SSL certificate is included with all their sites.
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The first step to creating a website, no matter which approach you decide to use, is selecting a web hosting service and a domain name. The web host is the company that provides the server and storage space for your site and gives the online world access to your brand. The domain name, on the other hand, is the URL (e.g., www.hostingadvice.com) that people use to navigate directly to your site.
GoDaddy Website Builder is an online editing and publishing tool that helps you create a website, regardless of your technical skill level. Just create an account, pick a design and use the built-in editor to add your own images and text. You can make your website as simple or complex as you’d like. Need to sell your stuff online? No problem. You can add a full online store complete with product listings, coupons, shopping cart, shipping and multiple payment options.
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As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand (if you're a novice, The Best Courses for Learning How to Build Websites is an excellent starting point). You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.
Each of these pages serves a specific purpose for your store and its functionality. The good news is that most themes these days are optimized to make those pages look right. The Neve theme is no different. If you visit any of these new pages, you’ll see that the presentation is clear and everything is easy to grasp. Here’s an example of the shopping cart page:
Whichever website builder you’ve chosen, you’ll have an extensive selection of design templates to choose from. Generally speaking, the better your plan, the more templates you’ll have access to. The top builders provide hundreds of templates across dozens of categories. Whatever the focus of your site is, there will be a template for it. For example, if you’re thinking of starting a fitness website, most builders will let you filter your template search accordingly.
When you settle on some domain name options, you will have to check which ones are available using a domain availability checker. Once you settle on the name you want, you will have to buy the rights to the domain you want. It is the very first step on how to create a website from scratch. Usually, your chosen hosting provider will allow you to buy the domain as part of the hosting set up process.
Constant Contact gets really detailed here and will have different suggestions for you depending on the specific niche your site is in. For example, when putting in “food” as the topic of the site, Constant Contact will want you to clarify whether the site has to do with food tours, food banks, food stand, food truck, etc. Constant Contact will use that info to suggest a website design that’s truly optimized for what you need.