So, you have the idea for a new .com website. You have worked out its structure, defined the type as well as features needed. In other words, you have a ready-made mockup drawn on the sheet of paper. However, a brilliant idea is only 50% of success. The next stage is to bring it to life. This is where you will need to opt for a suitable website building method.
The choice totally depends on the technical background and approach you want to establish. Do you need a simple and fast solution with all features included? Or do you crave for a website building platform that reserves maximum customization freedom to handle most of the process manually? The choice is hardly a walk in the park, as there are plenty of issues to look for before getting started.
Website Building Technologies to Choose From
While you are not a technical geek with zero chances to build a self-coded website, we are going to review two major options available for beginners. They included online website builders and CMS platforms. Both are very popular with users and serve fundamental site-building needs although in a different way.
Online Website Builders
Online website builders are designed to put users with absolutely no technical skills at ease. They are very easy to use. The building process usually takes not more than 2 hours. The software is available as a subscription service. It means that you only need to pay on a monthly or yearly basis and use a pack of tools provided.
It does not matter if you want to build a new .com site or use any other domain extension. The development process will still be the same as well as implemented technologies and building methods.
The key features that define online website builders include:
- Simplicity – most platforms come with drag-and-drop editors. You may easily change the website structure or add new elements or blocks with a click. Inline editing is another great feature letting you automatically save and preview all changes made.
- Easy Customization – to create a ready-to-use site, you only need to pick a template and add content. As a rule, layouts have relevant pre installed widgets and features that refer to a particular website type. You do not need to install them separately.
- All-in-One Solution. As a subscription-based model, website builders do not require additional manipulations with domains and hosting. You get all the necessary assets and facilities within a chosen plan.
As a result, website builders appear to be an ultimate tool with no coding, no learning curve and minimum manual handling required.
You have comes across CMS-based websites millions of times while surfing the net. They are very popular with beginners and pros letting them create literally any website type form simple blogs and small business projects to digital stores.
The key downside here is that the more complex the site you want to create, the more process you will need to handle yourself. CMS is mainly an editing engine that requires additional customization in terms of features, plugins, design, etc. The good news is that it delivers access to the source code for users with a technical background to edit and modify a standard template. The bad news is that newbies will need some time to figure out how everything works.
Unlike online website builders, CMS platforms are not an all-in-one solution. It means that you will need to register a domain as well as find a platform to host a website. To make things easier for users, some proven hosting providers offer simple ways to integrate, setup, and customize CMS-based projects.
The key features, that define CMS platforms are as follows:
- Advanced Editing Options. With access to the template’s source code, you may edit or, modify literally every element of your future website but only in case you have programming skills. For example, 90% of WordPress templates are built on PHP. To customize them you need to have PHP coding experience.
- Budget Control. The CMS is free itself. You do not need to pay for it. However, domain registration, hosting, plugin extensions, and premium platforms are paid. The good news here is that you may choose assets that meet your budget. Moreover, some hosting providers offer CMS compatibility with baseline features you need already included in the plan.
- Endless Plugin Selection. Online website builders might be limited with add-ons and features. CMS platforms offer endless integration capabilities with thousands of available plugins. However, you will need to find, install, tune, and update them manually.
CMS platforms are certainly a good pick, especially when used with a compatible hosting provider. For instance, you decide to build a website using WordPress. An array of hosting sites offer WP-optimized plans that make the building process much easier even for newbies.
Nevertheless, the process is not fully automated unlike in online website builders. Now, it is high time we described the process using both of the building methods explained.
Creating a New .com Website with a Website Builders
Most website builders require not more than a couple of hours to create and deploy a ready-to-go website. You will probably spend more time comparing and contrasting available platforms. However, the building process is almost the same while the technologies implemented are similar.
Step 1 – Sign In
No special manipulations are needed. The signing in process is the same as you enter your email account. The system will ask you to use either Gmail or social profile to log or type in username and password. In rare cases, you may be asked to confirm your password, which is also a matter of several seconds.
Step 2 – Choose a Template
As a rule, all templates are divided into specific categories to make the choice easier for users. For instance, if you want to create a digital store, you will hardly look up the layout in the Portfolio section. All templates are mobile responsive with a preview mode to check how it looks like.
Advanced website builders that use AI-based technologies and machine learning tools, offer several relevant templates based upon some general questions to describe a future project. The system will ask you to indicate features you want to see, niche, website name, and other info to come up with ready-made site examples. A great way to save time for newbies, as they do not even need to edit.
If you still want to create a new site from the blank or use the template you like from the list provided, you will need to complete the next stage.
Step 3 – Edit and Customize the Template
You probably have worked out a structure for your future website. Now, you only need to add elements and blocks that suit it. Website builders make it easy to add, resize, remove or change elements as well as add new ones with a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop editor.
Upload images, add relevant texts, fill in the contact info, and move to the next stage.
Step 4 – Pick a Plan
While the previous stage does not require any investments, you need to purchase a plan to go live with your website. Moreover, the plan will define a set of features and extra options you will get. For example, entry or free plans are good only for testing, as they rarely provide advanced functionality or a free domain. If you opt for such plans, you will need to register domains separately or use default subdomains.
Premium plans come with a wider selection of options including eCommerce, premium support, free domain with enough bandwidth and storage space for growing projects. As a rule, such packages are pretty affordable and start at about $10-$15 per month.
Step 5 – Connect a Domain
Once again, the plan includes a free domain, you will only need to type it in using relevant website settings. If you decide to register it separately, you will need to go to another registrar, pay for the domain, come back to the dashboard, set IP, and renew it separately. Using plans with a free domain included looks much more convenient, simple, fast, and cost-effective.
Step 6 – Preview and Go Live
Once you have completed all previous steps, you may use the preview mode to check how the project will run on desktop and mobile versions. If the result is satisfying, press the “publish” button and go live.
Another advantage here is that you may change the template any time as well as enter the website builder on the go with a mobile app and modify it whenever needed.
Creating a New .com Website with CMS + Hosting
To go online with a ready-made site, you need a place to host it. While website builders already include hosting facilities, the situation with CMS is slightly different. The only way to deployment is to use the platform together with hosting.
The choice depends on the CMS type you choose as well as website type, content volume, page count, and general complexity. Some hosting plans come with an included free domain and its further paid renewal, others offer seamless integration with a chosen CMS. The general steps to create a site are as follows:
Step 1 – Domain and Hosting
You may either register the domain separately or get it within your hosting plan. Some platforms offer 1-year free TLD (top-level domain) in case of purchasing a premium package with extended bandwidth and storage. It is a better option rather than switching between different websites when the renewal is necessary.
Step 2 – Choose CMS
To get started, you need to pick a platform and register. The idea is to create a single account that will provide access inside the CMS where all the tools are located along with content editor. The registration process is pretty simple. Create your login and password to enter the dashboard whenever needed.
Step 3 – Pick and Install The Template
Now you need to select a theme for your future site and have its files installed on your hosting. To make the process easier, it is better to use CMS-optimized hosting plans with one-click CMS integration and easy setup.
Step 4 – Edit Your Website
Enter the CMS dashboard to add new content, create pages, categories, etc. Here you may also install necessary plugins. All the processes should be done manually. The theme itself is only a blueprint. You will need to manage all the website sections on your own as well as locate, install, tune, and update plugins unless process automation is included in the hosting plan.
The good news is that most service providers offer CMS-optimized solutions. For example, Bluehost offers its WP-oriented plans. It means, that you benefit from full WordPress functionality in addition to extra features in the face of auto-updates, security means, technical support, etc.
The last issue might be vital especially for newbies, as most CMS do not have instant support with the exception of Help Centers, tutorials or guides that might be found on the Internet. Having professional support behind your back may play a huge role.
The Bottom Line
Both options are good for creating new websites from scratch. The only way they differ is the implemented approach. Using website builders seems to be easier and less time-consuming while CMS still requires a learning curve as well as extra expenses that may exceed the initial hosting plan price.
If you are seeking a fast but yet efficient way to come up with a scalable and professional website with absolutely no technical skills, website builders would be a good option.