3 Ways You Can Make Your Own Website
You made it!
You’re officially the proud owner of a shiny new domain name and web hosting package.
Now you’ve reached the part of building a website that most of us get most excited about: setting up your header and homepage, designing your online portfolio, formatting your blog, setting up your online shop.
It’s time to furnish your online home – your newly purchased domain – with things you want your visitors to see, explore, and maybe buy.
Sounds great, right?
But how do you actually put together a website? There are 3 ways you can do this.
1. Build Your Website from Scratch
With this option, you start with your domain and a bunch of ideas and code them into reality.
This is the website equivalent of hiring an interior designer, a decorator and a bunch of subcontractors to fill in the empty shell of your new home – or doing it all yourself.
How do you know if you should build your site this way? Answer these two questions:
- Do you have great technical and coding skills?
- Do you have a big budget for hiring a web designer?
If you answered yes, go for it! Check out HostGator’s professional design services.
If you answered no, keep reading for better options.
2. Use WordPress
With this option, you install the world’s most popular content management tool to put together your website with ready-made tools, themes, and a dashboard that make it easy to update or change your site.
Using WordPress is like making a big IKEA run to get everything you need to set up your new place. You only have to make one stop. Because the furniture you get is modular and easy to build, you can change or add pieces when you need to, using only the online equivalent of an allen wrench.
Should you build your site this way? Yes, if you’re comfortable using these tools to build and maintain your site:
- Themes: In technical terms, WordPress themes are “files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog.” Whoa! That’s a whole lotta jargon. In allen-wrench terms, themes are file packages you can buy or get for free that give your site a particular look, just like you might decide to furnish your whole living room in Ektorp seating. You can find thousands of free and paid themes on WordPress.com, MOJO Marketplace, and HostGator.
- Templates: Templates are “the building blocks of WordPress themes.” Your theme will have templates for your site’s header, sidebars, blog posts, links and more. You can use the templates as is or customize them to look exactly the way you want them to. (Think IKEA hacks.)
- Plugins: Plugins are the extras you can easily add on, but only if you need them. In IKEA terms, they’re the glass doors for your Billy bookcases. There are plugins for everything from contact forms to search engine optimization to site security.
- Page tools: You can use these to create new pages for your site, like a homepage, portfolio, about you, contact, and an online store.
- Post tools: Use these to write, edit, and add images to blog posts and publish them on your site’s blog page.
- Updates: Because theme and plugin developers are always making improvements, fixing bugs and boosting security, sometimes you’ll need to update your theme, plugins, and version of WordPress. This is a click-and-go task that takes just seconds, but it’s important to keep your site running smoothly and securely.
Ready to get started with WordPress? You can do it now.
Don’t have time for this level of DIY? Read on.
3. Use a Web Builder
Site builders, like the one HostGator includes for free with all of its hosting plans, have been winning fans over the past few years because they’re fast and easy to use, don’t require manual updates, and integrate seamlessly with your hosting service and domain name.
If you’re the type of shopper who buys flat-pack furniture to save money and has it delivered and assembled for you to save time, you’ll like the site builder approach.
Should you build your site this way? Yes, if you want:
- Templates that give your site a design without the expense of hiring a web designer
- A no-code-required drag-and-drop way to customize your site template
- Set-it-and-forget-it site functions that update without you having to lift a finger
- Built-in tools for sharing your site content on social media
- Easy SEO tools for getting your site found in online searches
- Quick PayPal integration to get your shop up and selling
- Round-the-clock professional support for your site-building questions.
Depending on the hosting plan you choose, your site builder tools may also include inventory management for your shop, the ability to include high-definition videos on your pages, and tools to create coupon codes for your customers.
Ready to get started? Use HostGator’s Website Builder now.
Whichever path you choose, HostGator is here to help you along the way. Enjoy 24/7 award-winning US-based expert support and web hosting that grows with you as your traffic grows.
Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.