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Website Building Software

 

After planning your site's content, it is time to choose a CMS or editor to make your website. Most of HostGator's clients use either WordPress CMS ↴ or our HostGator Website Builder ↴ for their websites:

However, WordPress may not be for you. This article will cover some of the most popular and easiest ways to make a website and provide links to get you started with each. We'll cover the following methods in order of complexity:

No domain name for your website yet? Please register a new domain through our front-of-site hostgator.com/domains! If you need help choosing and registering your domain name, please visit these support articles.

You'll also want to know how to develop images and photos for your website to help make it look good and quickly upload and manage files to your server. HostGator recommends the following software solutions:

  • FTP Client like FileZilla for uploading any images (free)
  • Image editors like GIMP and Inkscape (both are free)

Next, you should build the pages you need and make sure they are put into your menu. There are tutorials online for many of these options, and developers of the software or theme you use may provide direct assistance or solutions.

After you have your pages created and your menu situated, the next step is to put your content, including pictures and text, onto your pages. Each template or theme usually has a slightly different way of arranging content onto the page.

A professional designer like the ones on the HostGator Design team can build a page from start to finish in 20 minutes, but if this is your first time, it could take several hours to complete a page. So, if it is taking a long time to build a page and you get frustrated, take a break and work on a different part of the website. Don't give up!

Note: If you prefer to hire a designer, see below for information regarding HostGator Design Services ↴!
Note: This tutorial focuses on what you need to make a website, but to get more information on hosting, domain names, and everything else you'll need, see our tutorial on Starting a Website for Beginners.

Methods for Developing Web Sites

The links below may be clicked to toggle information related to the website development method the link describes.

The HostGator Website Builder can be used for free with all shared hosting plans and is very simple. The whole process can be done in just minutes, and there's nothing to download or upload. Once you've set up your site, you can publish your changes directly to your website.

Pros: Quick & easy. No technical knowledge is required. Good to get started with.

Cons: Limited design options, not able to customize, and advanced features are sparse.

A WYSIWYG Editor is a web authoring program that can create a website for you, similar to creating a document in Microsoft Word. While the de facto standard is Adobe's Dreamweaver, you don't need to pay hundreds of dollars to get started. There are free and open-source alternatives, such as Mozilla's KompoZer.

You can make a website with KompoZer by inserting elements, such as images, tables, paragraphs, headers, et cetera, without messing with any HTML code. Should you feel inclined, however, you can easily edit the code. If you don't want to start from scratch, you can get templates online (see above: Website Templates) and open them with KompoZer to tweak the look and layout.

Pros: Free and easy to get started, no HTML needed.

Cons: It May take time to learn the software's advanced features (either Dreamweaver or KompoZer).

Using a CMS for your website is an excellent option if you intend to add content or need advanced features constantly. For the best CMS experience, consider a Managed WordPress environment. We will actively curate themes and plugins available to provide automatic caching, site security with SiteLock, and automatic backups with CodeGuard for a single low monthly cost.

The major CMSs available to install on our shared hosting are WordPress (also a blogging platform), Joomla, and Drupal. The most popular option on HostGator is WordPress, and it can be installed with just a click-through HostGator's Softaculous feature (See video on: How easy it is to install WordPress). WordPress is straightforward to use, and there are TONS of free WordPress themes and plugins out there to build almost any type of website.

Pros: Highly customizable, easy to install, and get started. Easy to add new content and update pages. Keeps things organized.

Cons: Since a CMS is pre-built, it may require editing PHP/HTML/CSS code if the out-of-the-box options don't work for your website. It should be fine, though, in most cases.

Creating a website from scratch used to be the only way to do it, but now we have tons of tools and scripts to help us. If you're a do-it-yourself person, this option might appeal to you.

W3Schools has some good tutorials and more information covering HTML, CSS, and PHP to get started on this path.

  • HTML stands for hyper text markup language, and it's the code behind most websites. Your web browser reads this code and renders it into a document that becomes a viewable web page.
  • CSS or cascading style sheets is a way to define the way the look and design of different elements on your website. It gives your site its unique style.
  • PHP or other server-side scripting languages can add advanced functionality to your site, like creating contact forms and interacting with a database to store and retrieve information.
 

Pros: Complete control over the look and feel of your web pages.

Cons: Since a CMS is pre-built, it may require editing
Cons: Learning curve for beginners to get up-to-speed.

Professional Web Design Services

If you would like someone to build your website, we have a Professional Web Design service!

A dedicated design coordinator will work with you one-on-one to design your site based on your unique requirements.

Sites can include up to 10 pages of unique content and a storefront starting with 10 items (more optionally available) with all major payment/shipping methods already integrated into your shopping cart!

HostGator Design Services delivers you a site that you own and control yourself. You will have full ownership of your site upon completion. Other companies that build e-commerce websites typically use proprietary software, making it impossible to move your website from their service or fully own the site files. We use industry-leading software solutions like WordPress that give you total control!

After every site is complete, you will receive training so that you won't have to rely on a designer to update your site. If you prefer that we make updates for you, we also have monthly maintenance plans available - we can edit images, text, and storefront items on your site!

Click this link to request a quote from the HostGator Design Services team today: