If you want to build a website for your business on a budget (or for free) then this is for you.
For freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses the days of needing thousands of pounds and a web developer to build a website are history. And it’s ‘Website Builders’ that have made this possible.
‘Website Builders’ put simply are cloud based programmes that allow you to design your own website using drag and drop functionality. The website builder then takes care of the technical side of things putting your website online for you at the touch of a button.
In the early days website builders were known for being a bit clunky and slow. They were limited in what they offered meaning if a website needed extra functionality they would have to revert back to a web developer for coding. Or even start building a new website all over again.
Website Builders have moved on at an unbelievably fast rate. Meaning you can now design yourself a professional looking responsive website for free or as little as £3 a month.
Best of all some website builders even allow you to sign up for free. That means you get to use their product, design a website and only pay once you are ready to publish your website.
What Do You Need To Build a Website
To build a website and get it onto the internet you need:
- A Domain;
- A Website;
- A logo and favicon;
- An email address.
If the thought of each of these fills you with confusion then a website builder is definitely the solution for you.
What Does a Website Builder Provide
In short, everything you need. A website builder is an end to end solution which takes care of the technical stuff, leaving you to get creative (including buying your domain). Or if you are anything like me and lack creativity, gives you the option to choose from hundreds of templates that you can use and simply add your content to.
If you’re looking to build a website on a budget (or for free) here are the four steps you need to follow.
Step 1: Choose the Right Platform
Step 2: Build Your Website
Step 3: Register Your Domain
Step 4: Publish Your Website and Start Building Traffic
Choose the Right Website Builder
The website builder you choose will determine how easy it is for you to get your website online and manage it yourself going forward. Depending on how tech savvy you are you should be careful which one you choose.
Wix.com is user friendly web platform that is ideal for anyone looking for an easy way to build a website on a budget. It has the easiest to use drag and drop builder which is perfect if you have a design in mind. But if you are looking for a quick solution, it also has hundreds of responsive templates that are ready to use with high resolution images. Wix allows you to sign up and try their service for free. Wix offers zero commitment so you can basically build your entire website for free and pay to have it at the end.
Wix.com offers a full service meaning within a small monthly fee of around £9 you get:
- Your domain;
- A choice from some really smart looking templates;
- Access to free add ons like blogging and google analytics to enhance your site;
- 2 free premium add ons like a form builder to help make you contactable;
- Help and guidance to SEO optimise your website and developing an SEO plan.
But what’s really great is that if you are in the early stages of your business you can choose their entirely free option. Then as your business grows you can choose to upgrade and add functionality.
Go to Wix.com and click “Start Now”
Choose the option to Sign Up and you’ll be guided to a registration page. Once signed up Wix takes you through a short introduction.
Build Your Website
Yep, it’s that easy. You are ready to start to build your website and there are two ways you can do it.
- Wix ADI
- Do It Yourself with a template
1. Wix ADI
Wix.com ADI automatically creates a website for you based on a series of questions you answer. The questions are designed to get a feel for what your business does and what you like. Wix then uses Artificial Intelligence to pick and create a website for you.
Pros of Wix ADI
- Super quick – you could have your website ready in minutes;
- Perfect if you are not creative;
- You aren’t committed to the result. So if you don’t like it you can trash the site and start over.
Cons of Wix ADI
- Results can be not what you envisaged;
- You will still have to add your content so it only really saves the time of you sifting through templates;
- If you want to add personality to your website then selecting your own template will help you to achieve this.
2. Using a Wix Template
Wix.com offer hundreds of templates for you to choose from. Each one is set up for you to edit using high res photos and videos ensuring a professional result.
Pros of Using a Wix Template
- All set up ready for you to edit;
- Depending on how creative you are you can choose to make changes as you wish using the drag and drop builder;
Cons of Using a Wix Template
- It’s easy to get carried away with designing and spend hours over your site.
For the purposes of this tutorial we will use a Wix Template.
Choose Your Template
Using a template and sticking close not only saves you hours of designing it also:
- Maintains the professional look
- Remains responsive on mobile
Look through the templates and choose the one that is right for your business. Pick one which makes a visual impact as well as offers all the functionality you need like a sign up box or online booking ability.
Customise Your Template
Once you have picked your template start Editing. There is an introductory video by Wix that helps get your started but it is fairly intuitive, even if you have never built a website before.
Wix.com has a drag and drop builder. On the left is a menu where you can add text boxes, menus social icons and many more things to you website. Just select the tool you want and drag it over to your site, dropping it exactly where you want it to appear.
Get Your Domain
A domain or Domain Name System (DNS) is the name someone types in to find your website. This is different to your website which is a set of files that need to be hosted on your domain.
Once you have made all your changes click “Publish” at the top right hand corner. You’ll have two options for your domain.
Get a Free Wix Domain
If you want a free website then choose this option. This is great if you are just starting out and just need to get a website. You can sign up for free now and upgrade it later once you are in the right financial position.
Watch out though the free option has adverts and the domain contains “wixsite.com”. So if you are trying to create the image of a professional business then this option may not be ideal.
Connect Your Own Customised Domain
You now have the chance to either buy a domain through Wix or connect a domain if you already own it.
When you choose your domain name make sure:
- You pick something that is easy to remember.
- Pick something that reflects you and your brand
- It is professional and trustworthy. Domain extensions like .com .co.uk or .co are the most popular. While new extensions like .rocks or .website are now available they can be perceived as slightly less serious or get stuck in email spam filters.
You’ll need to select a price plan. The most popular is the one for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs because this offers a form building app (essential so potential customers can get in touch with you). You’ll also get a free domain for a year and $75 in Google Ad vouchers which could be really helpful with your SEO plan.
Once you have purchased your price plan you’ll be able to choose your domain. I advise you double check the price of your domain in year 2 to avoid any nasty surprises when it comes to renewal time.
Publish Your Website
Once you have confirmed your purchase and domain choice Wix.com will then connect your new domain to your website and THAT’S IT! Your new website is live! Congratulations!