Do I really need a website? This question arises whether you plan to introduce your small business or launch a massive campaign for global outreach. The answer is YES.
Having a website is vital for individuals, freelancers, companies, international corporations, and business of any size. The second question is how to build a new site from scratch.
This is where most newbies have their backs against the wall. With so many evolving website building technologies to choose from, some might find it confusing to pick the best-matching one. The choice will mainly depend on the project complexity, key goals, website type, budget, and technical background.
In this ultimate guide, we will review all of the available website building tools and technologies to highlight the pros and cons, key features, and the benefits they deliver. So, stay tuned!
Best Services To Create a Website From Scratch:
- Wix – Best Website Builder to Create a Website from Scratch
- WordPress – Free Platform (CMS) to Build Any Website
- uKit – Easiest Website Builder for Small Business Website
- Shopify – All-in-one Ecommerce Platform to Sell Online
- Squarespace – Universal Website Builder for Beginners
- Weebly – Simple Way to Create a Website from Scratch
- Webflow – One of the Best Website Builder Software
Wix – Best Website Builder to Create a Website from Scratch
Wix – is the best website builder, which lets you create a feature-laden website from scratch. The platform has been around for over 14 years, having become the top notch destination for millions of users across the globe. The system works great for the development of different types of projects, irrespective of their complexity level, functionality and special design aspects. What’s more, the system does not require any coding proficiency as it is absolutely intuitive, convenient and easy-to-use for newbies and web design pros.
Wix is one of the most recognizable drag-and-drop website builders, which stands out from the crowd due to its extensive set of features. They come up to diverse website development needs. Have a look at the major highlights of the website builder now:
- Intuitive website editor;
- Artificial Intelligence tool;
- Around 500 professional and mobile-responsive templates;
- Advanced eCommerce and blogging platforms;
- Wix Ascend – professional CRM system.
Pros and Cons
When it comes to website development, Wix makes it possible to choose from two editing options. These are Wix ADI and Standard Editor. The first solution mostly works well for non-techies, who don’t have time or just don’t wish to bother about complex web design nuances. The second alternative is a better pick for proficient designers. The website builder also offers hundreds of ready-made customizable templates, advanced design customization tools, integrated blogging and eCommerce engines, rich App Market with a great selection of integrable widgets and extensions.
Speaking about disadvantages, Wix doesn’t have crucial cons. The interface of the system is somewhat oversaturated with features, widgets and tools, which may be a bit confusing for beginners. The website builder does not let you switch between the templates and there is no code editing option here. Even though, Wix App Market ablounds in widgets, not all of them feature worthy quality. These demerits, however, don’t have serious impact upon the system’s functionality.
Wix pricing policy is affordable for everyone. The system has a pretty nice free plan. It never expires and, thus, can be used to test the entire functionality of the platform before upgrading to one of its paid plans.
Standard Wix Plans
- Combo ($13/mo) – absence of system ad banners, free hosting and domain connection;
- Unlimited ($17/mo) – 10GB storage space, unlimited bandwidth;
- Pro ($22/mo) – integrated statistics collection tools and Google Analytics, 2 hours of video storage space;
- VIP ($39/mo) – professional logo, first priority support etc.
- Business Basic ($23/mo) – online payment acception;
- Business Unlimited ($27/mo) – eCommerce platform, business development tools, applications for entrepreneurs;
- Business VIP ($49/mo) – unlimited bandwidth and video storage space, complete Wix Suite;
- Enterprise ($500/mo) – end-to-end business solution that provides the highest functionality and maximum amount of tools.
The website builder frequently offers discounts and special offers to boost customer loyalty and encourage new users to join the system. There is also the 14-day money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with one of the paid plans for some reason.
WordPress – Free Platform (CMS) to Build Any Website
WordPress – is the most popular free CMS in the world that can be used to build any type of website. The system currently boasts over 25 million live websites and many more are under construction. Initially launched as a content-based blogging platform, WordPress has grown into a multi-purpose website building instrument with tons of great features and maximum customization freedom.
WordPress provides a broad list of features that make it possible to start different types of websites, including blogs, portfolios, business websites, web stores and more. The multi-purpose nature of the CMS contributes to the functionality of the system, but it also implies the investment of effort/time required to get the most out of the system use. Have a look at the main WordPress features now:
- Open-source nature that grants full access to the project source code;
- Powerful blogging engine;
- Smooth and hassle-free CMS installation that ensures ease-of-use for beginners and web design pros;
- Hundreds of integrable plugins related to various niches;
- 100% freedom of design customization that ensures high end website look and performance.
Pros and Cons
WordPress has distinguished itself as a full-featured Content Management System, which allows for multiple integration capabilities. The system comes with a set of built-in templates, widgets, extensions, apps and plugins, but there are also hundreds of them available out there. The plugins/themes you can pick and integrate into your project tackle various industries, which allows for a truly extensive choice.
As to the disadvantages, the first and the foremost aspect concerns the complexity of the CMS for beginners. The need for plugin/template integration implies the awareness of coding skills. It also takes time and effort to explore and master the platform and its entire feature set. These are not simple tasks for newbies.
WordPress is absolutely free for download and installation. Having installed the system, you will be able to test its feature set and start simple projects with it to practice and improve your web design skills. As you decide to launch a full-feature project and go live, you won’t go without plugin integration and further website customization. Finally, to publish your project on the web, you will have to pick reliable hosting and connect a domain name. There are many hosting companies to choose from. The best solution, however, is Bluehost – a trusted hosting provider, which is officially recommended by WordPress. When working with Bluehost, you will be offered to pick one of the plans it provides. These include:
- Basic ($2.95/mo) – one website hosting, unlimited traffic and bandwidth, free WordPress updates, free SSL connection, 50GB storage space;
- Plus ($5.95/mo) – unlimited number of hosted websites, unlimited email accounts and domains, unmetered storage space and bandwidth, $200 for advanced marketing options;
- Choice ($5.45/mo) – website backup, anti-spam protection, domain privacy etc.
Whatever subscription you will go for, Bluehost will offer a great bonus – an opportunity to connect and use a free domain name for free during one year. As soon as the term ends, the domain cost will constitute $12-$14 per year.
uKit – Easiest Website Builder for Small Business Website
uKit – is the easiest website builder for small business websites. This is also one of the most affordable systems one can find in the modern web design market. uKit is full-featured, flexible, convenient, intuitive and simple for all user categories, irrespective of their web design proficiency and expertise. There is no need to possess coding knowledge to start and manage projects with the system – so feature-laden and understandable it is for everyone.
uKit has initially positioned itself as a small business website builder, but it is also possible to launch other types of projects with the system. These include blogs, small-to-mid-sized web stores, portfolios, landing pages etc. The website builder comes with a handy drag-and-drop editor that contributes to the ease of use and convenience of the service, while a handy preview option lets you see the result before going online. The major features of the system are listed below:
- Hundreds of responsive industry-specific templates, which are absolutely customizable;
- Stunning ease of use and affordability;
- Extensive widget integration options;
- Free SSL Certificate connection;
- CRM integration;
- Temporary website management access rights.
Pros and Cons
The website builder stands out from the crowd due to its impressive simplicity that does not compromise with functionality. uKit comes with a handy and intuitive WYSIWYG editor that lets you control the web design process. There is also access to lots of responsive and fully-customizable templates, widget integration options and blogging engine. eCommerce feature is realized in two ways – either via Ecwid plugin integration or eCommerce widget customization. Opportunity to grant temporary website access rights to other team members allows for more effective shared website management and customization.
uKit doesn’t have notable disadvantages – it is simple, intuitive and convenient for everyone. However, it somewhat lacks code editing options that could let users get the most out of website customization. What’s more, the 14-day free trial the system comes with is not enough to realize and test the entire functionality of the platform.
uKit is one of the most affordable and cost-effective website builders. The system doesn’t have a free plan, but it is still possible to test its feature set during the free trial period that extends for 14 days. As soon as you decide to start a feature-laden website with the platform, get ready to upgrade to one of its premium plans:
- Minimal ($4/mo) – over 200 professional templates, backup, unlimited disk storage space and page number, custom domain name connection, 24/7 support, SMS notifications;
- Basic ($8/mo) – no copyright sign, powerful statistics tracking tools, Google Analytics, live chat support, premium designs;
- eCommerce ($9.60/mo) – integrated eCommerce tools, payment/shipping options, acceptance of online payments, shopping cart settings, currency choice;
- Pro ($12/mo) – eCommerce functionality, custom code integration, custom color scheme application etc.
If you decide to keep working with the system, it makes sense to pay for 3, 6, 12 or 24 months with one payment to save the budget. The longer the subscription term is – the bigger the discount will be.
Shopify – All-In-One eCommerce Platform to Sell Online
Shopify – is an all-in-one eCommerce platform to sell online with ease and efficacy. The software was initially designed to build online shops from scratch. Thus, it comes with a powerful integrated features set tailored specifically to the needs of web store owners. The software is currently one of the most popular eCommerce solutions in the world, which powers hundreds of feature-laden web stores.
Shopify is the top destination to go for, when it comes to starting and managing feature-laden web stores. It has evolved over the years bringing advanced eCommerce functionality such as automated EU VAT calculation, integrated payment methods and shopping cart in addition to some of its other essential options, such as:
- Augmented Reality feature;
- Multilingual support;
- Point of Sale (POS) software for effective online and offline product sales;
- Extensive marketing, product management and web store customization features;
- Integrated Shopify App Market;
- High end integration and synchronization options.
Pros and Cons
Shopify initially stands out from the crowd due to its powerful eCommerce features, which allow starting and managing all types of online stores. The software grants access to myriads of product management, marketing, web store customization and promotion features, multilingual support. It comes with the integrated shopping cart, versatile product gallery creation and modification features. The system lets you synchronize your web store account with external services, marketplaces and accounting software. It also ensures your project safety by means of SSL Certificate connection, high end anti-fraud tools and other safety options.
Among the negative features of the software, it makes sense to mention abundance of complicated eCommerce features, many of which are not that necessary, when it comes to standard web store creation. Instead, they work well for the development of large hypermarkets. The cost of Shopify subscriptions should also be mentioned here as the software is quite an expensive solution.
Shopify is not a cheap website builder, but its pricing policy comes up to the system’s functionality. The system doesn’t offer any free plans yet it’s possible to test its functionality by using a free 14-day trial. As soon as you decide to launch a feature-laden online store and go live, get ready to upgrade to one of the following plans:
- Basic Shopify ($29/mo) – blog connection, 2 staff accounts, fraud analysis, free SSL Certificate, manual order creation, Shopify POS app, abandoned cart recovery, sales channels;
- Shopify ($79/mo) – gift cards, 5 staff accounts, professional reports, 1-5 store locations;
- Advanced Shopify ($299/mo) – advanced report builder, up to 8 store locations, real-time carrier shipping, 15 staff accounts etc.
The software doesn’t set fees for credit card transactions made while using the service. However, get ready to pay more when making credit card payments.
Squarespace – Universal Website Builder for Beginners
Squarespace – is a universal website builder for beginners and web design professionals. The system is quite easy to use for everyone and it comes with distinctive integrated functionality that makes it stand out from the crowd. The website builder allows creating visually-appealing websites at affordable cost. Coding skills are not a must here, but the service still implies HTML/CSS project editing options to provide better result.
Squarespace positions itself as the all-in-one system used to start all types of websites. However, its integrated functionality works best for the development of quality blogs, web stores, portfolios and business websites. Its WYSIWYG editor contributes to the ease of website development, while the advanced page style editor lets you create impressive web page design. The list of the most remarkable Squarespace features is as follows:
- Multiple integrable add-ons and widgets;
- Powerful eCommerce and blogging engines;
- Extensive social integration options;
- Google Maps embedding and integrated Google Analytics;
- SSL Certification and email marketing.
Pros and Cons
Squarespace is known for its extensive image editing options, abundance of design customization tools and Logo Maker. Availability of responsive customizable templates contributes to the efficacy of the process. The website builder also ensures reliable and powerful customer support options as well as high end marketing tools that contribute to better website promotion. The platform highlights also include the Unfold storytelling tool, Acuity Scheduling integration, powerful eCommerce and blogging support.
As to the demerits of the website builder, it makes sense to mention the cost of eCommerce plans that are a bit expensive for standard users. The Style Editor of the system requires time to be explored and tested as it’s not quite easy to use for beginners. Finally, Squarespace does not offer website preview mode. This is not quite convenient as a user will have to get back to the editing process after the project is published, if there are any bugs that require improvement.
Squarespace is moderately-priced. There is no absolutely free plan here, but the platform lets you test its features during the 14-day trial, which is free. To launch a feature-laden project with the platform, make sure to upgrade to one of the premium plans the system offers:
- Personal ($12/mo) – 20 website pages. 3% transaction fee, free custom domain connection etc.;
- Business ($18/mo) – unlimited number of web pages, 2% sales transaction fee, AdWords credit etc.;
- Basic ($26/mo) – integrated accounting feature, unlimited product number, bandwidth and disk storage space etc.;
- Advanced ($40/mo) – real time carrier shipping, label printing, abandoned checkout autorecovery etc.
Whatever premium plan you will go for, it includes free hosting and domain name. In case you already own a domain, the system lets you appoint it to your new Squarespace-based website.
Weebly – Simple Way to Create a Website from Scratch
Weebly – is one of simple ways to create a website from scratch. The website builder makes it possible to start great-looking projects without a single line of code. Its integrated drag-and-drop editor combined with advanced functionality allows for creative freedom that eventually ensures quality result.
Weebly has been initially created for blogging purposes, but it later acquired a strong eCommerce focus. It’s also possible to start other types of projects with the service without any coding proficiency and web design background at all. Among the main highlights of the website builder, the following ones should be the first to mention:
- Powerful eCommerce and blogging specialization;
- Code embedding allowed;
- Advanced marketing and promotion tools (Weebly Promote);
- Integrated video hosting and impressive image editing options;
- IFTTT integration;
- App Center and Form Builder.
Pros and Cons
Weebly is quite easy to use both for non-techies and web design experts. The system lets you create a personalized website URL for free and it grants access to the extensive library of responsive customizable templates. Special attention should be devoted to its eCommerce functionality, which enables users start and manage full-featured online stores. Other Weebly highlights include Weebly for Education and Weebly Campus Edition features that encompass multiple features and tools for the development of education-focused websites.
Weebly demerits are not that numerous. One of the major nuances is absence of website backup feature that does not let users automatically save website versions during the process of its development. Likewise, the system does not imply undo/redo edits required to cancel some of the unneeded web design steps. As an eCommerce-focused system, Weebly charges the 3% transaction fee for all the sales made within the system.
Weebly has transparent pricing policy available for the development of two types of websites – Standard and eCommerce. There is a free plan, which implies the availability of 500MB of disk storage space, subdomain connection and SSL Certificate for the enhanced project security. To get access to the advanced set of features, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions:
- Connect ($4/mo) – domain connection, ad banners display, SSL Certificate etc.;
- Starter ($8/mo) – integrated drag-and-drop editor, unlimited disk space, absence of system ads, ability to connect your own domain, SSL security and advanced website statistics, 10 products, 3% commission fee for all the transactions made;
- Pro ($12/mo) – search option, password protection, 25 products, video background, HD videos and audios and an opportunity to engage up to 100 members;
- Business ($25/mo) – unlimited number of members, registration feature, unlimited number of products, opportunity to accept payments on individual domains, absence of transaction fees, possibility to sell digital products;
- Performance Plan ($38/mo) – meant for eCommerce projects, abandoned shopping cart notifications, gift certificates, real-time shipping prices etc.
Weebly plans make it possible to connect a domain name for $19, provide access to Google Ads service with a $100 bonus and make it possible to use live chat, forum community and email support.
Webflow – One of the Best Website Builder Software
Webflow – is one of the best website builder software, which is also known for its professional web design approach and high complexity level as compared to the majority of standard website builders. To some extent, the platform can be compared to CMS in terms of flexibility and complexity of design customization.
Webflow functionality is far beyond the average. It requires coding awareness, web design background and readiness to invest time, effort and knowledge to make a project a success. Thus, the website builder better comes up to the needs of proficient website developers, who intend to express their creativity by starting high end projects. The list of its distinctive features includes:
- Styles and classes management options;
- Advanced HTML/CSS editing;
- Opportunity to create dynamic content;
- Powerful eCommerce engine;
- Lightbox Gallery, After Effects and Lottie integration;
- Over 200 of professional free and paid templates.
Pros and Cons
Webflow makes it possible to pick and customize stunning templates, which are responsive and versatile to let users express their creativity. The system allows integrating multiple forms, databases and elements to provide interesting realization of the web design approach. It boasts stunning CMS collections with multiple content options. While working on your website development, it is possible to use two area modes, namely designer and editor. This lets you control all the stages of website development in progress. Finally, Webflow comes with a powerful and competitive eCommerce engine that allows creating online stores of diverse sizes and performance.
Considering the system’s complexity and abundance of obscure features, it’s obvious that Webflow is not the best pick for newbies. There is much to be mastered here, while the very process of website development implies programming proficiency. What’s more, Webflow is quite a costly website builder, especially for those, who don’t plan to start several projects with it.
Webflow has one of the most extensive and versatile pricing solutions in the web design market. The system has a free plan that extends for the unlimited period of time yet comes with a set of limitations that do not let you get the most out of the website design process. As to the premium plans, the diversity of options is really impressive here. Have a look at Webflow pricing table now.
Site Plans include Website and eCommerce plans. Website Plans are as follows:
- Basic ($12/mo) – CDN included, domain connection, 500 online form submissions, free SSL certificate;
- CMS ($16/mo) – 1000 online form submissions, limited CMS API, 3 content editors, 2000 CMS items, site search;
- Business ($36/mo) – unlimited number of online form submissions, advanced global CDN, full CMS API, 10 content editors etc.
eCommerce plans, in their turn, include:
- Standard ($29) – all features of the CMS plan plus custom checkout and shopping cart, integrated CMS for blogs, email customization, 2% transaction fee;
- Plus ($74) – all features of the Business plan plus zero transaction fee, unbranded emails, 10 staff accounts.
- Advanced ($212) – all features of the Business plan plus 15 staff accounts, unlimited yearly sales volumes and more.
Account plans are also divided into two subscription types. These are Individual and Team plans. Individual plans encompass:
- Free ($0) – 2 projects, client billing, free staging;
- Lite ($16) – 10 projects, code export, enhanced staging, unlimited project transfers;
- Pro ($35) – White Labeling, unlimited projects, site password protection.
As to the Team Plans, these are as follows:
- Team ($35 per person) – all features of the Pro plan plus client billing, enhanced staging ,code export, team dashboard etc.;
- Enterprise (the cost is discussed with Webflow experts individually) – all features of the Team plan plus White Labeling, unlimited projects, site password protection, team dashboard etc.
Webflow additionally offers advanced client billing opportunity for freelancers, who plan to use the website builder for free with regard to their web design requirements.
Website Building Methods Explained
Before we dive deep into the building methods, we need to figure out what actually a website is. According to the latest stats, over 1.77 billion sites are available on the global web in 2020. Users may come across endless variety of online projects divided into categories depending on their type, technology, functionality, and other criteria.
However, they all have one thing in common. Each website comes as a set of globally accessible web pages that are united under the single domain name. The main purpose is to let individuals or groups of users establish their web presence by means of creating and publishing content, web pages or sections that are hosted on a single server.
A web page may be available in two different view types:
- The first one is the way users see the page when they visit your website (a rendered view).
- The second one takes the user behind the curtains and displays the source code. It might be previewed with the help of text editor, for example, Notepad.
In other words, a website is the combination of the markup code and the content including media files, texts, design, elements, widgets, etc. All sites might be divided into two major categories: static and dynamic.
What is a Static Website?
The term “static” means that this website type is available in the form of a static HTML document that represents necessary content. Each document is hosted on the web server with its own unique URL. The page looks the same to the visitor as on the server.
The key feature is that a website owner needs to handle the development process manually every time he or she wants to make changes or modify the pages. Such approach requires deep coding and programming knowledge.
|Pros of Static Websites:||Cons of Static Websites:|
| ✔ Good for timeless content representation.|
✔ Cheaper to host, operate, and maintain.
✔ Faster website speed.
✔ No CMS is required.
| ✘ Each content update or on-page modification should be done manually.|
✘ Requires enhanced programming and coding skills.
✘ Less flexible in terms of website customization.
What is a Dynamic Website?
This website type differs from status, as the web server automatically generates the project every time a new visitor is trying to access it. In other words, a user does not need to handle on-page changes or modifications manually. He or she gets access to pre-designed website layouts or templates that already include relevant features, elements or even content.
Dynamic websites are more popular with non-technicians and newbies, as they do not require much of learning curve and deliver enough flexibility combined with ease of use.
|Pros of Static Websites:||Cons of Static Websites:|
| ✔ No technical skills are necessary.|
✔ Faster content update and site modification.
✔ Ready-made layouts and templates.
✔ Requires less time to build a site from scratch.
| ✘ Requires content management system.|
✘ Some technical background might still be necessary.
✘ Dynamic sites require servers that are more powerful in terms of resources.
To get started with the new website from scratch you need to make up your mind regarding the project type. The choice will depend on the technologies you are going to use for the building process. You should consider several crucial facts before picking the instrument. Those factors include the website type and size, project structure and complexity, the approximate amount of pages and content volume, etc.
We have stressed out 4 major instruments and technologies to build a website from scratch. They are as follows:
- Self-coded HTML-based sites.
- All-in-One Website Builders.
- CMS-based projects.
- Frameworks for creating sites.
Let’s see, which one will turn out to be the ultimate solution to meet your particular project goals.
#1. Self-Coded HTML Websites
This method is a better option for user craving for maximum customization and web design freedom. Self-coded websites mainly refer to the static type. The key advantage is that you are actually the one to write the HTML page source code or even design the CMS of your own to manage the content.
The bad news is that the process is extremely challenging in terms of technical skills. You need to be an expert in coding and programming. Otherwise, the project will never work out. Those who does not have such skills, opt for outsourcing web development teams or freelancers, which is hardly the best alternative considering website building costs, timeframes, and other aspects. A few companies may really afford to outsource.
If you decide to complete the building process yourself, you will need to create each and every new page or section from scratch manually. Even if you need to build the same structure for the new page, prepare to copy and paste the source code from the initial one. In other words, the slightest modification or update calls for good technical skills and plenty of time.
The entire process seems to be pretty simple from the start:
- Get an HTML or text editor.
- Open a new page.
- Copy and paste the code from the editor.
- Save the changes.
Programming is the key challenge here. You will need to write a new piece of code for every new button, element, widget or feature you want to see on the website. If the project has numerous pages with contact forms, calendars, user acquisition tools or other functions, it may take you years to build a website from scratch.
Even if you do everything right, no one will ever guarantee smooth website operation as well as proper content management especially if you design the CMS platform of your own. Moreover, you will need to take care of the hosting for your website. As a rule, self-coded websites are not very demanding in terms of server resources. On the other hand, you will still need to register a domain name separately.
HTML Website Building Costs: the cost will depend on whether you plan to code everything yourself or opt for outsourcing or custom web development teams. If you prefer someone to do the job for you, the price will also vary depending on project complexity, structure, features you need to implement. Moreover, you will need to pay for every new update. The final price may range from $5,000-$10,000 for a simple website up to $25,000-$3,000 for a digital store.
Self-Coded Website Pros:
Self-Coded Website Cons:
| ✔ Customization and Web design flexibility.|
✔ Good for huge companies that require exclusive representation.
| ✘ Time-consuming web build g process.|
✘ Enhanced programming and coding skills are necessary.
✘ Manual customization and updates.
✘ Results in huge costs in case of outsourcing.
✘ Separate hosting and domain management.
✘ No customer support. You are on your own.
#2. Website Builders
Website builders were designed to make the building process as easy as possible. They appeared to be the only way for newbies to establish their web representation with no technical skills. Moreover, new software has proved to be a faster and sometimes cheaper way to get started with the new online project. We have highlighted some key features that have made website builders so popular with users globally.
Ease of Use
The first and foremost advantage of website builders is the ease of use. As we have already mentioned, they do not require technical skills in the majority of cases. Most platforms offer an intuitive editor with a so-called drag-and-drop functionality. It makes the editing and customization process super easy. It usually consists of several simple steps:
- Get a ready-made layout or template.
- Redesign the existing structure by moving objects, on-page blocks or elements.
- Create a new structure from the blank by adding new elements from the list provided.
- Customize the page using advanced settings to resize, rearrange or re-style the existing layout.
All the above-mentioned steps can be made with a couple of clicks thanks to the WYSIWYG technology. It is the same as playing with pre-designed LEGO blocks. The process of content management and publishing is also very fast.
Moreover, modern website builders follow the latest technology trends and implement AI and AR-based instruments to let users build sites in minutes. Some biggest industry names use artificial intelligence that actually builds a site for the user using info provided (website type, niche, required features, etc.). In other words, you get a ready-to-use website with relevant content, widgets, and integrated apps.
Apart from self-coded sites, website builders are not just site constructors. They come as a full-cycle kit not only to build but also host your new sites. Moreover, users get a free domain in most of the cases. In other words, you may handle all your web assets from a single platform with no need to take care of them separately. You pay for the plan and get everything you need in the pack.
The same thing is with features. As a rule, users get full access to all features depending on the hand they buy. The feature set consists of free templates for different website types, integrated security means, free apps, custom support, etc.
Flexibility and Control
Website builders let users handle the process from anywhere. All you need is the device connected to the internet. Sign in within seconds and get full access to all the building tools. Some platforms come with mobile versions and apps to make it easy for users to edit websites on the go.
Although such software does not deliver as much design and customization freedom as self-coded sites, you may still benefit from responsive layouts that work well on different devices, opt for advanced settings to customize the pages, etc. Some well-known website builders have advanced editors and developer’s access for experienced users who still want to create some of the features on their own.
Some users might not like the fact that if they ever opt for a website builder they are likely to stick to it. A few platforms really have the website import/export feature. On the other hand, would you really need to switch the platform considering the above-mentioned features? If yes, there are some website migration alternatives available.
Website building costs: most platforms offer plans for any budget. The average price for a fully-features site with a domain, hosting, and set of extra tools is somewhere around $15-$20 per month (sometimes even cheaper).
Website Builder Pros:
Website Builder Pros:
| ✔ Easy to use.|
✔ All features in one.
✔ Great for newbies.
✔ The world for different website types.
✔ Responsive layouts and editing on the go.
✔ Worldwide accessibility.
✔ Advanced technologies.
✔ Ready-to-go sites in minutes.
| ✘ Less customization and web design freedom.|
✘ Some plans are too pricy.
✘ Limited migration capabilities.
#3. CMS-based Websites
Our next website building method combines several technologies. CMS or content management system is the key feature of the method. It must be installed on the webserver letting users manage or modify content without “touching” the website template itself.
The ease of use depends on the approach you implement when building websites from scratch:
- Simple Editing – with this approach, you may use the CMS platform to add or edit content, upload media files, images, etc. The system ensures some baseline customization features like enabling third-party apps, integrations, and plugins. Such an approach does not require special coding skills. All you need is to download the CMS platform, install the template, and edit content to go live with the website.
- Advanced Editing – as we have mentioned before, CMS-based technology combines various website building methods. Here you actually have full access to the template’s source code with the ability to edit it or modify in accordance with your needs. Users are free to implement their own web design, create new functions or features.
The first approach is good for newbies with no technical skills. We may come across thousands of successful projects built with some of the most popular CMS platforms in the world such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and more.
On the other hand, the second one will work out only in case of deep knowledge of HTML, PHP or CSS. Moreover, such projects call for constant supervision, as you will have to take care of plugin updates and template updates, backups, etc. At some point, you may still need a decent level of programming skills.
Let’s have a look at some key features that refer to CMS-based website building technologies.
When opting for this particular technology, get ready to handle all the operations manually. For example, a user is the only one responsible for registering a domain as well as finding a suitable hosting for the website. Unlike website builders, CMS does not come as an all-in-one solution.
On the other hand, some reputable hosting providers like Bluehost offer CMS-optimized packages for various platforms with seamless integration, automated updates, and a full set of extra features to put an ease on the building process.
The good news is that you may implement literally any design idea, while CMS provides full access to the mockup code editor. It is possible to make some slight modifications even without deep programming knowledge. For huger tasks, some learning curve is necessary.
With CMS technologies, users get endless customization features in terms of website functionality. Thousands of plugins are available for download and activation. You may find add-ons for any project type form payment method integration and analytics to SEO boosters, marketing tools, and more. However, you need to be ready to handle the setup and installation on your own as well as proceed with regular plugin updates manually.
Website building cost: the CMS itself is free. You only need to pay for a domain and hosting (about $5 per month). Sometimes you may need to pay for premium plugins, templates, and third-party service premium accounts.
CMS-Based Site Pros:
CMS-Based Site Cons:
| ✔ Maximum flexibility.|
✔ Endless customization features.
✔ Relatively easy to use.
✔ Access to the code editor.
| ✘ Manual control.|
✘ Technical skills required.
✘ Plugin activation and setup.
#4. Web Design Frameworks
A framework is actually a ready-made template. This is why some users are often misled thinking that using frameworks is super easy. Well, it is not. They are designed to let experienced designers and web developers stay focused on creating unique website functionality rather than programming common features that can be met elsewhere.
In other words, you actually get a website blueprint without the content management system where you need to do intensive coding in order to bring your idea to life. In most cases, frameworks do not even have typical dashboards or control panels.
So, what makes them so popular with users?
Open Source Platforms
Most frameworks are available as open-source mockups. It means that you may easily access, edit, change or modify the template code. Moreover, users may find different frameworks available in various programming languages to pick the best-matching variant.
Despite the fact, frameworks require some coding; they are more efficient if compared to self-coded sites. Some templates come with already built-in functions. For example, you may get a template with an integrated system for users’ comments in your blog or connected image galleries for your portfolio. At the same time, frameworks make it easier to communicate with databases as well as integrate third-party services.
Before the framework is deployed, developers proceed with AB testing to ensure its smooth operation. It ensures stable website running although. The bad news here is that framework-based sites are generally slower. They will hardly be a good idea for a growing business that requires complex website structure with tons of media files and content to be uploaded further.
Website building cost: frameworks may come in various packages and plans with the monthly price somewhere between $50 and $1,5000 per month for enormous online projects.
Website Framework Pros:
Website Framework Cons:
| ✔ Ready-made templates.|
✔ Built-in features.
| ✘ The learning curve is still necessary.|
✘ Not good for growing projects.
✘ High costs.
✘ Low-performance level.
Website Building Methods Explained
Have a look at the table below, to sum up, all the info about website building methods and technologies we have discussed.
|Website building method||Self-coded||Website Builder||CMS||Framework|
|Ease of Use||Requires deep technical, coding, and programming skills. Calls for a separate content management system.||Good for newbies and non-technicians. Intuitive editor and dashboard.||Good for newbies although some technical skills are still necessary. Requires setting, domain/hosting management.||Designed for pros. Web designing and programming skills are necessary.|
|Features||Total web designing freedom. No integrated CMS. The ability to code everything from scratch.||All-in-one solution. All features within a single plan.||Access to the source code, numerous plugins, manual control over the features.||Pre-designed templates, some built-in features, low performance, and stable operation.|
|Good for||Any project. The more complicated your site is, the more time and money you need.||All types of websites with numerous templates for any niche and project type.||Great for content-based sites, eCommerce projects will require extra customization.||Good for small business sites and portfolios, Not good for growing projects.|
|Price||From $0 to $100,000 in case of hiring third-party developers.||From $0 to $40 for a full-cycle website including eCommerce features.||From $5 to $300 in case of paid templates and premium features.||From $10 to $2,000 depending on the plan.|
Creating a Website from Scratch – What To Start With?
If you want to prevent your website from flawing before you create a single page, detailed planning is necessary. The project is doomed to failure without brief, clear goals, primary project objectives as well as needs it is going to server.
You need to have a clear understanding of how your website might help potential users. Is it a digital store, blog, portfolio or small business site? What kind of info should it represent and in what way? What is your buyer persona? What structure should a project have and what features will it need to serve the goals? If you have the answer to those questions, you are at the right path.
Defining the Website Type
This one is the most crucial step, as the project type will define your site functionality and features you will need. Are you going to launch a blog to share your ideas with people or monetize the website? Do you want to sell products online and get involved in the eCommerce niche? Would you like to represent your services and competence with a professional portfolio?
Each website type requires different approaches. The building process will be different with only a few common things. The idea is to clearly realize the key features that define a particular website type.
Portfolio Website Features
This type refers to a small business website used by freelancers, independent service providers as well as small and medium companies. The main idea is to represent the service and the business itself in the most attractive manner. Let’s say, you are a professional photographer wanting to build a website from scratch for better recognition. Here are some baseline features a portfolio should contain:
- About You Section – you need to introduce yourself to the public showcasing your working experience and competence.
- Portfolio – this one is to highlight some of your best works and photos. Image collections may be divided into categories. You may try some gallery and slider widgets to make the page a bit more interactive.
- Contact section – your customers should have a simple and fast way to get in touch. A huge percentage of potential clients leave the website because of complicated contacting forms or navigation. It means you should not overload your website with useless content and stress the most beneficial aspects of the services provided.
Website builders and CMS platforms might come as a great relief, as they deliver a selection of portfolio templates with already integrated contact forms, About Us sections, dynamic galleries, and other great features you might need. Opting for frameworks might also be a good idea. Self-coded sites will require programming each and every feature from scratch, which is impossible without special technical skills.
Blog and Content-Based Website Features
Are you eager to share your knowledge with potential readers, write handy guides, share blog posts, news, and articles? Then you need to create a content-based website or a blog. This type is mainly used by writers and bloggers eager to share some useful pieces of info. They can also some money thanks to online monetization.
Blogs may cover tons of topics from angling and car repairing tips to some more professional issues like building an online store from scratch or developing a mobile app. It all depends on your own imagination. Some people consider this type as the easiest one to create. However, it should also have some of the crucial features. Otherwise, it will be doomed to failure. A successful blog requires the following:
- Attractive Design – although we are talking of content-based sites where the content matters, it should still have an attractive design. Users may opt for numerous themes and ready-made layouts with animations, parallax effects, and other perks to make the site a bit more interactive.
- Editing Platform – you will have to work with content a lot. In other words, you will need a platform with a powerful content management tool to deal with texts, scripts, media files, typography to make your text more attractive to readers, etc.
- Simple Navigation – you need to ensure fast and simple access to all sections of your website. The more articles users read the better for your blog. It does not only mean a clear menu or search system but also relevant internal links.
- Social Sharing – it is one of the most important features for the blog. Users should have a chance to share your articles via the biggest social platforms.
- Subscription and Comment Forms – subscription forms might be the best way to grow your audience and keep them aware of new posts published. Comment forms will keep your audience engaged.
Those are only a few features that a professional blog should have. As you might see, it is even more complicated in terms of the building process if compared to portfolios. The good news is that some of the website builders have blogging features with various layouts, typography, and SEO settings.
However, opting for CMS is probably the best solution. It has a powerful content management system in addition to tons of customization features and blogging templates.
Digital Store Features
eCommerce projects are the toughest in terms of technical implementation. They usually have different apps and add-ons, third-party services, and technologies that require smooth and stable running. Otherwise, your buyers would probably leave.
A successful online shop is not only about selling goods. It is also about marketing and promotion campaigns, loyalty programs, users’ acquisition, and more. Here are some of the baseline features a digital store should have:
- Simple Navigation and Search Options – ensure fast access to different product categories for your customers. Make it easy for them to find the good they need. Implement filters and special options to sort out products by prices, sizes, types, etc.
- Easy Checkout Process – many buyers leave due to a complicated checkout process. You need to make it fast and simple. This is where you may need a shopping cart and payment method integration to ensure purchasing flexibility for the customers.
- Shipping Options – it is pretty hard to stand out from competitors in the eCommerce niche. You need to offer some unique features. Free shipping options might do the trick.
- Product Management – the platform you choose to build a website from scratch should have an advanced product management system to indicate price, update descriptions, add beautiful product photos and videos, work with baseline SEO settings, etc.
- Customers Review Section – a great way to may your online store more trustworthy. Let your customers share purchasing experience as well as comments about your product quality.
- Marketing and Promotion – attract customers with special offers, promotions, coupons, promo codes, discounts, and other programs to boost clients’ loyalty.
The best way to build a full-cycle online store is to opt for website builders designed specially for eCommerce needs. They come with a full package of product management, marketing, and promotion kits, while their templates already include all features a web store needs.
Defining the website type and the needed features is crucial before getting started. However, there are some other fundamental issues to look into. They include various issues to consider, as they may also determine the future project success. Here are some most frequently asked questions when budding a website from scratch.
The Bottom Line
Users have a wide option of methods and technologies that let them build a website from scratch. All you need is to choose the most suitable technology depending on your needs, technical backgrounds, and expectations. It is very important to set clear goals and define the website type before you dive deep in the process of creation. Moreover, you should clearly understand your own abilities not to have your back against the wall.
Beginners should opt for website builders with a full pack of features in one platform. Such web building technologies have everything you need to deal with the site of any type and zero learning curve. A bit more advanced users would appreciate the customization freedom delivered by CMS paired with trusted hosting. Experienced programmers and coders would appreciate the ability to design each and every feature on their own.
Whatever you choose, start with a briefing, compare and contrary various methodologies and opt for the most trusted and reputable one to ensure project stability and success.