What is the best online website builder?
Online website builders are everywhere. If you’ve done any sort of search you’re probably overwhelmed with options. Many hosting providers offer their own ecommerce site builder platform with templates while others offer one-click installation of WordPress. All of these applications will get you a website…but what you need to focus on is how well that site contributes to your business objectives. Support is crucial, not just for the process of building your retail store or content site, but for creating online visibility and driving targeted visitors…and then converting them into customers.
My top 10 website makers are…
- WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting (previously StudioPress Sites)
- Crazy Domains (Australia)
- Zyro (part of Hostinger)
My top recommendation is WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting. Previously StudioPress Sites (before WP Engine acquired StudioPress), WP Engine is a website builder based on WordPress where the focus is on creating and selling, without fooling with technology. Suitable for any type of online shopping, ecommerce store or small business it is a good choice for beginners and the best website builder for most applications. Read my full evaluation & comparisons here.
Weebly offers many robust features such as professional themes, advanced design, ecommerce and mobile apps.
Crazy Domains offer an easy to build, “drag and drop” website builder with their hosting packages. Great for getting your business online with minimal fuss and low cost. If you’re searching for the easiest website builder this will probably fit the bill.
Strikingly is worth a look if you need a cheap & simple but elegant single-page design. It offers an easy “click anything to edit” interface, attractive mobile-friendly designs, SEO tools, low cost and great support.
What is the best landing page builder?
A “landing page” is a single webpage with the specific objective of creating a lead. A typical landing page will consist of a form to capture the visitor’s contact details in exchange for something of value to that visitor e.g. an e-book or course. Unlike websites which are content-rich a landing page is simple and avoids distractions. Traffic is typically sent to it via advertising and social media.
Of course any website builder is capable of making a landing page but for best results you want to choose software that integrates smoothly with your online marketing, particularly social media and email. There are several good landing page builder options on the market but the top one in my opinion is Leadpages. You simply select a template and then customize your page using drag and drop page builders. Help is available via a robust online support system.
Leadpages integrates seamlessly with AWeber email marketing but if you’re not an AWeber user most of the popular platforms are covered including Leadpage’s own software called Drip.
If you’re an existing WordPress user and are simply looking for a plugin to create landing pages within your WordPress site, ProfitBuilder is well worth a look. Read my evaluation here.
What’s the best web design software for small business?
If you’re comfortable with using web applications, setting up hosting accounts, registering domains etc. I would recommend using WordPress with a quality web hosting service.
Can I build a website myself with no coding?
Yes. Most online applications allow you to create a site without ever needing to bother with code. You can build a website from scratch using templates or a drag and drop interface. A little HTML knowledge certainly doesn’t go astray, but it’s not essential.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) used for blogging and website creation. It is free, open-source software.
Is WordPress easy to use?
Compared to other Content Management Systems, WordPress is definitely one of the best. It wouldn’t be so popular if that wasn’t the case. I’ve used a variety of systems on client sites including Joomla and Drupal, but for ease of use WP wins hands down. It’s also the most search engine friendly.
Because WordPress is so popular you never have to go too far to find support and advice. For a good introduction to the basics of setting up a WordPress site I recommend WordPress for Beginners.
WP Engine offers the power and flexibility of WordPress but with all the technical issues and support taken care of. Check out the available plans (discounted) here.
Does a WordPress site require programming?
No. The ability to write code or other technical skills are generally not required to create a WordPress website. The whole platform is designed to make things as easy as possible.
What is a WordPress theme?
A “WordPress theme” basically changes the way the site looks without changing the underlying software, kind of like a design template. Installation is quick and easy. There are literally thousands of free themes available. Of course with anything free there are limitations so if you’d like a more professional look and feel with added flexibility you might like to explore some premium WordPress themes. A big advantage here is you will get a much higher level of support.
What is a WordPress plugin?
A “WordPress plugin” allows you to add specific functionality to your site. The possibilities are endless. As with themes, there are thousands of free plugins available. Many of these have premium (not-free) versions available. The plugins you choose will depend on your specific needs, but at a minimum I would recommend…
Where do you download WordPress?
WordPress can be downloaded here.
What is FTP?
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and as the name suggests is a way of transferring files over the Internet. An “FTP client” will allow you to connect directly with the server hosting your site and then upload or download files. If you are installing WordPress directly then you will need an FTP client to upload all the relevant files. I recommend FileZilla, which is free. If the prospect of using FTP is a little scary many hosting plans include simple installation of WP without the need for FTP.
What is StudioPress Sites?
Based on WordPress, StudioPress Sites is a website building platform using the Genesis Framework which powers over half a million websites. It offers the benefits of WP but with all the setup, technical and support issues taken care of. Read my full review here.
Update: Since WP Engine acquired StudioPress, StudioPress Sites is now WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting.
Where can I find cheap web site hosting?
I use A2 Hosting for all of my sites. They offer a reliable, secure service with great customer service and would be my recommendation for getting started. Several plans are available which are good value and include WordPress hosting. Domain name registration is available and they also offer a simple to use website builder.
If you’re considering migrating your existing website to a new host you might find this post helpful. It details my personal experience moving this site from my previous host to A2.
For hosting and domain name registration in Australia I recommend Crazy Domains. They have some inexpensive plans from only a few dollars a month and from my experience provide good service. You can also install WordPress with one click.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of optimizing your onsite content, technical infrastructure and link profile to achieve the best possible organic (non-paid) website rankings in Google, Bing and other search engines. Effective “White Hat” SEO uses industry best practices while complying with Google webmaster guidelines. “Black Hat” SEO ignores those factors and while capable of boosting your rankings can also put your site at risk of being penalized or completely removed from search results.
Can you show me how to get a website built for my business?
If you’re not the DIY type you will need to find a web designer who will take care of the overall design, look and feel, graphics, images etc. Depending on your specific needs that designer may need the assistance of a web developer to help with functionality, coding requirements, software development and other technical issues. You will then need to register a domain name and select a hosting package.
Picking the best designers and developers is really just a matter of research…look at the portfolios, read reviews and ask to speak to previous clients. Whilst not essential to create a website, if you want your site to deliver good business results (and isn’t that the whole point?) you will need to hire an SEO consultant or company.
A great place to find freelance web designers, developers, graphic designers and copywriters is Fiverr.
How do I build my own website for free?
Ah yes…the allure of “free”. Ask yourself this…do you want to create a “thing”…or do you want to grow your business? Everybody likes free…but what you need to focus on is ROI (Return on Investment). There are plenty of places where you can create an online presence at no cost (other than your time). You can…and should…use services such as Google My Business and Facebook Pages. But what you are essentially doing is creating a web property owned by someone else. You still need your own small business website.
I’m amazed how often I see a Gmail address on a plumber’s van on the highway. The sign-writing would have cost more than what a domain name would. So forget about free. You’re in business. Expect some outlay. But do it right and you can expect that outlay to be returned many times over. The thing is…you don’t have to spend a lot of money on professional services. You can get the same results, if not better, by using WordPress with a good hosting plan.
Before getting started though take some time to learn the basics of WordPress.
How do I register a domain name?
In Australia Crazy Domains are my recommended registrar. Hosting plans (including one-click WordPress installation) and an online website builder are also available. All the domain variations are available including .com, .com.au, .co.uk etc. In the US I recommend A2 who again offer both hosting and domain registration.
What is AWeber used for?
AWeber is an email marketing platform. It allows you to collect and manage subscribers and broadcast or schedule messages to your list. Read my full evaluation here.
Do you offer professional website design & SEO services?
No. Despite having many years experience in both these areas my objective with Web Business Solutions is to offer the best DIY products and resources. However I do appreciate that DIY isn’t for everyone…particularly busy small business owners.
You can find pretty much any freelance service provider at Fiverr, including app developers, logo designers, SEO copywriters and much more.
If you need recommendations for site building, copywriting, SEO and digital marketing services in general contact me and I’ll connect you with the right people.