Website Building Software
After planning the content of your site it is time to choose a CMS or editor make your website. Most of HostGator's clients use either WordPress CMS or our HostGator Website Builder for their websites:
- WordPress: The most popular CMS that can be used for ecommerce, business, and personal sites.
- HostGator's Website Builder: A simple visual drag-and-drop builder where you see what the website will look like as you build it.
However, WordPress may not be for you. In this article, we'll 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:
- WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) Editors
- CMS (Content Management System)
- From Scratch (HTML/CSS/PHP)
- Professional Web Designer
You'll also want to know how to develop images and photos for your website to help make it look good, and how to easily 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 start putting your content including pictures and text onto your pages. Each template or theme usually has a slightly different way of putting 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!
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 very simple to use. 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 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 through by inserting elements, such as images, tables, paragraphs, headers, et cetera without having to mess with any HTML code. Should you feel inclined, however, you can easily edit the code as well. 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: May take time to learn the advanced features of the software (either Dreamweaver or KompoZer).
Using a CMS for your website is a great option if you intend to constantly add content, or need advanced features. For the best CMS experience, consider a Managed WordPress environment, in which we will actively curate themes and plugins available, provide automatic caching, site security with SiteLock, and automatic backups with CodeGuard for a single low monthly cost.
The major CMS's available to install on our shared hosting are WordPress (also a blogging platform), Joomla, and Drupal. The most popular option on HostGator is definitely WordPress, and it can be installed with just a click through HostGator's QuickInstall feature (See video on: How easy it is to install WordPress). WordPress is very simple 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. Should be fine though in most cases.
Creating a website from scratch used to be the only way to do it. Now we have tons of tools and scripts to help us. But if you're a do-it-yourself kind of person, this option might appeal to you. To get started on this path, W3Schools has some good tutorials and more information covering: HTML, CSS, and PHP.
- 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 which 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 it's own 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 for someone to build your website for you, we have a service for that!
A dedicated design coordinator will work with you one-on-one to design your site, based on your own 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 to ever have full ownership of 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 would prefer that we make updates for you, we also have monthly maintenance plans available - we can update images,text and storefront items on your site!
Click this link to request a quote from the HostGator Design Services team today: