So you’re ready to create your own website. Bravo!
Most people have zero knowledge about building their own site. They would rather fork over cash to someone else to do it for them.
But many of us are bootstrapping and have small budgets.
The good news is that you can build something for next to nothing. If you can teach yourself how to build your own site (and trust me, it’s easy) then you can start doing it for your clients, too.
Think about it. If you can offer website creation as a service, how much could you charge? The possibilities are exciting, right?
So, let’s go over the different options you have to build your very first website.
I’ll start with the free website builders. They all offer more or less the same thing, a free website using pre-made templates that don’t require you to have any previous knowledge in code. These free options don’t allow you to have your own domain name, meaning your website URL will look something like this:
www.yourname.wix.com or www.yourname.wordpress.com
That said, each of the below options offer you the ability to upgrade to a more premium package so that you can use your own domain name so it will look more like this:
Having your own domain name looks more professional not to mention the SEO benefits you’ll reap. Another reason to have your own domain name is that you’re in full control of your website. If Wix or Weebly went down tomorrow your site wouldn’t be affected.
Below is a list of the free website builders that are most popular today. I’d recommend you check out all of the below before you decide on one because the last thing you want to do is spend time building out a site only to have to re-do it because the site builder you used doesn’t have the functionality you need.
Free Website Builders
Below are paid website builders. You won’t be able to use these services without forking over some amount of cash.
Paid Website Builders
While you’re busy creating your website send prospects to your LinkedIn profile or an About.me page. They are great ways to showcase your talents when you don’t have a website ready.
Some of you might ask what I use for my website. I personally love WordPress. WordPress.com is the free option and WordPress.org is the paid version. It has a steep learning curve but it’s the golden standard today and I am totally biased. WordPress, like the website builders above comes with free or premium themes to choose from. Check out Astra to find a theme that suits you. Then hop over to Lynda to get amazing training on how to build your own WordPress site (and more).
Use Elementor with your favorite or customized theme. Change themes and still keep all your designs. Landing pages, homepages, posts, portfolios, products. Elementor can be used to design any page or custom post type on WordPress.
What website builder will you use and why? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts about the website builders mentioned in this post.
40 thoughts on “How To Build Your Own Website”
Thank you for your advice, greatly appreciated. I will look at the websites you have recommended. Thanks you for your help.
Great post. I am using Weebly for my site, I am actually getting ready to revise it.I like Weebly, because it is mobile-responsive, and they have added some new features.
I use WordPress, but not very well!
Thanks for this Reese, When I first started working online, I also created a website for myself using the free version of WordPress which is really good. Later on, I bought a domain to make it more professional. WordPress is the no. 1 in my list when we talk about getting a website and I use it solely for my clients as well because it’s very easy to use. There are also a lot of amazing free themes to choose from 🙂
Exactly, Julie! Which theme do you use?
I use Wix I think they are fantastic, so many templates and options and its perfect for customers, they even do a 1 page site to let customers know you are building your perfect site.Thanks for the blog and info about WordPress I think i’ll check them out.
Wix is great and you’re welcome for the blog post! Glad it was helpful!
Thanks Reese – helpful as always and your email came through at just the perfect time. I have bought a domain with WordPress and have been struggling to get my website set up for the last few weeks. I didn’t think to check on Lynda so will do that. This week I MUST finish my website! I keep doing a little but baby steps are not enough and I need my website finished.
My pleasure, Kay! Keep at it! I know first hand how daunting building a website can be.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE WIX. Built my website with it http://www.sarahnoked.com andI haven’t looked back! Hosting is also reasonable and they have many plugins (def not as much as WordPress).
Sarah I always show off your site to my coaching clients to give them an idea of the possibilities with Wix. 🙂
I use Wix for my website and so far it’s been able to do everything that I needed! Very user-friendly! The mobile version of my site looks great as well.
I started off with godaddy dream design that was costing me a little over $600 each year to maintain plus the time lag for them to make updates. I switched to a word press blog last year and like it so much better. I currently have it for my blog postings, added my unique domain name, and added some pages to it. Will click over to Lynda to see how I can make it better. Great post as always!
Geniece, so great seeing you in the comments girlfriend! Thanks for reading! XO
Hi Reese,Thanks for putting out such a helpful post. I used wix.com to build my site. I’m on the free program until I can focus some more resources towards purchasing my own domain. Even with the free service, it’s mobile ready and looks great! I love all the design and template options they offer. I actually designed a site for one of my first clients on wix.com after I built mine, so your suggestion about getting paid for what you know is right on! Wix is definitely working for me for now, but I’m getting ready to dive in to WordPress and may change in the future. I’m finding out that a lot of prospective clients are looking for someone with WordPress skills. So, I’m going to work on adding it to my resume.
I love your down to earth, practical advice. Keep it coming!
You’re welcome, Lacey!! I really appreciate you.
Reese, your advice on how to build a website is so helpful. It can be very a very intimidating project! Fortunately, I have a Gen Y daughter who built my website, but it was not without a certain amount of experimentation on both our parts. While she is my webmaster, I have had to learn some ins and outs of maintenance and updating, posting my weekly blog, etc. It’s important to know that all website structures have a certain amount inherent flakiness — it won’t be as easy and breezy as MS Word or even PowerPoint. And, there is an ongoing learning curve! However, I found that on my end I did not like WordPress, so we ditched that after awhile and moved to squarespace, which is not perfect but is more sophisticated, flexible and user friendly. As my website has evolved I found that I wanted to upgrade to more features. But, I will say that if you have a friend or family member who is tech savvy and is willing to commit to an ongoing project, ask them to help you set up and teach you step-by-step. There will come a time when you will be able to fly alone, or at least be an able co-pilot!
Jeanne, you’re lucky to have a Gen Y daughter to help you with the more tech-related stuff. I love your advice about having a friend of family member who is tech savvy teach you step-by-step. Great idea!
I use WIX and love it for the most part. I have tried Weebly and it just doesnt have the same WOW effects and I use WordPress as well and love how many options you get when building with that platform. To take a look at my WIX site at http://www.webbuildersusa.com, it’s so easy to use. Keep up the good work.
Web site building is not my idea of fun, though I have two different ones in the works. I’m a retired veteran and a full-time college student who wants to start a Virtual Assistant business. I’ve had to build websites for several of my classes, which is why I have two started at the moment.
My first one is on Wix and the newest one is on Homestead. Wix is free and Homestead basic is $4.99 a month, though I purchased my domain name from them so that I would have it when I’m ready.
I wasn’t aware that WordPress also had websites; I though it was only for blogging. As you can tell I’m not technically inclined.
Thank you for all your advice & have a great day.
Thank YOU, Angela!
I also use Homestead just like you. I have been using it for years and I am reluctant to switch over to another site builder because I already know Homestead so well. I recently looked into all of the free websites but when I signed-up for the free trial and played around with them they aren’t as easy as they make it sound. The main problem I have with the free websites is that if you have a problem there is nobody to call so you can fix something right away. You have to email and wait for them to respond. I don’t have the time for that. So for now I’ll stay with the one I know how to use.
Your email came at a good time because this is a subject that has been at the back of my mind for awhile now. HOW DO I DO THIS???? I have not started a VA business yet, but am certainly giving it consideration and love all of the ideas and possibilities that you send my way. You make me believe that I can do this and working from home AND making money would be a dream come true. Thanks again!
Happy to hear, Judy! You CAN do this!
Thanks for the info Reese. I was just like you when I decided I wanted to go into business for myself. I was shocked at what people wanted to charge so I learned to do it myself. Once I learned how I knew I could help other people for a price they could afford – only $500 for a 5 page website. I now own several businesses and build websites for other people on the side and I love it.
Sheena, that’s amazing and so wonderful to hear that you’re really helping small business by offering an excellent service that’s affordable. Win-win!
Thanks Reese for the timely article. I am designing my own space on WordPress.org using thesis as a framework. It is a learning curve. I also have a Gen-Y daughter. She looked at wordpress and decided to design her webpage on Squarespace. She has had a wix space.
I chose wordpress, because I wanted to know this service as a possible service I will be offering my clients. It is a learning curve which I am still in.
Keep at it, Cindy! You’re doing great!
Cindy, that’s great you are learning WordPress. I’m experiencing the learning curve with WordPress as well. Best of luck to you.
[…] recently wrote about the options independent virtual assistants have for creating their own websites. She mentioned that we don’t all have the option of paying a designer/developer to create a […]
Really interesting article. You should check out Pikock also:
Thanks, Tsifei! Will do!
I have began to build a website for my virtual assistant business and these are great ideas.
I am actually a designer, but I’m learning WordPress now because of the power and capabilities it can offer. I can personally fully code a custom web site in 150 hours…or I can offer a fully functioning WordPress site for less money and hours and still make clients (and ME) happy. I will offer both, but finally learning WordPress after all these years will inevitably open doors I didn’t realize were closed. I’m pretty excited about it. 🙂
A lot of traditional coders aren’t into WordPress and I’m not sure why. I’m glad you’re learning WordPress now. It’s a fantastic CMS.
Thank you Reese for this post. I have been a VA for a while now..but finally decided to set up a website (and try to expand), but on a limited budget. Your tips have made it possible for me to start this process.
Thank you, Tricia! I appreciate you letting me know. Good luck with your site.
I am just starting a virtual assistant service. Stuck on which one to choose to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated.