Let’s be honest. Setting up a website these days is pretty simple – lots of options. And lots of free info online too. It’s pretty sweet actually. But with all these choice, things can get kind of confusing. So let’s cut through the noise and find the perfect website builder for creatives.
Choosing and designing your website is super fun. So don’t get too bogged down with details and fear of making a “wrong” choice. All the options in this post are great choice.
- Step 1: Choose A Platform
- Different Options & Features
- Step 2: Choose A Template & Design
- Avoid The One Mistake Most Beginners Make
- Step 3: Customize & Create Great Content
- Website Optimization & Long-Term Growth Tips
- Step 4: Buy A Domain
Step 1: Choose A Platform
I suppose it goes without saying, but the first step to building a free website is choosing a platform to host it on!
So in this section, I want to briefly introduce you to some popular free choices and what differentiates them from each other.
You’ll notice that I’ve also included some information about their relative difficulty and applications.
So depending on your business and/or objectives, make sure you’re choosing a website builder that’s most suitable for you.
For example, if you’re running a blog-style website which you want to rank in Google and other search engines, then WordPress would probably be one of your best choices.
Let’s check out the top choices!
- One of the Most Popular & Trusted Website Builders
- Flexible Website Uses (eCommerce via WooCommerce, Blogs, Personal Sites, etc.)
- One of the Top Choices For SEO (search engine optimization), Google Ranking & Blog-Style Sites
- Template to Get Started, But It’s Still Semi-Difficult to Learn; Slight Learning Curve
- Takes More Time to Learn How to Use Plugins to Build Customized Sites
- You’ll need to self-host using a separate platform such as Bluehost to buy your own domain
- This process is actually quite simple though so don’t worry!
- TIP: I Use the Elementor Plugin to Customize My Site; It’s A Simple Drag-and-Drop Site Editor
- User-friendly and popular with artists and creatives
- Great for personal portfolios and getting up and running quickly
- Very Popular With Many Templates & Apps to Quickly & Easily Customize Designs
- Fantastic For Beginners; Great For Portfolio-Style Sites & Personal Websites
- Extremely Simple to Use & Very User-Friendly
- Creates Both Landing Page & Websites
- Also Create Professional Quality Videos, Animations, Logos, Presentations, Music Visualizations & More…
- Very User-Friendly & Requires No Design/Technical Experience or Skills
- Industry Leading Sales Funnel Builder; Easily Create Full Sales Funnels, Membership Sites & Many More Options…
- Fantastic Choice For Businesses & Marketers
- Very Easy to Use & Customize; No Technical Skills Required; Simple Drag-and-Drop Editor
- Intuitive & Straightforward Site Builder With An Extremely Simple Step-by-Step Process to Get Started
- Choose From A Large Variety Of Website Types (eCommerce, Blog, Photography, Restaurants, Music, Art, etc.)
- Another Trusted Name & Popular Site Builder For eCommerce & Online Store Owners
- Pretty Simple to Use & Requires Little Training Or Technical Skills
- A Little More Complex, But Great For Businesses, eCommerce, Marketing Site & Building Professional Designs
- Simple Site Editor & Lots of Training Through the Webflow University
- A Variety of Templates & Landing Page/One Page Site Designs to Customize
- Templates to Suite Most Website Objectives
- Simple & Straightforward; No Technical or Design Skills Required
- A Simple, Straightforward Website Building Solution
- Simple Set-Up & Good For Many Sites Styles (Online Shops, Small Businesses, Personal or Freelance Sites, Music or Brand Designs, etc.)
- Very Easy & User-Friendly
- Can Also Create Customized Logos
Step 2: Choose A Template & Design
So this section (and the next couple) may sound pretty intuitive and obvious next steps for your website building guide.
But it’s actually pretty easy to make this one big mistake that will make you waste unnecessary time and resources on something that’s actually not too important.
It’s not getting too hung up on trying to find and choose the absolute best design for your business or objectives.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
In fact, I would confidently estimate that I spent nearly 1,000 hours designing, tweaking and adjusting my first website.
But the funny thing is nobody ever visited visited the site!
So, when you’re deciding on your template and design, don’t make this mistake and dwell too deeply on finding the perfect design.
Just choose a template you like and that best matches your objectives and brand image.
You can even look to your closest competitors to get inspiration for the style you’d like to emulate.
So to keep this part of the process simple, follow these tips:
- Understand Your Website Goals, Niche & Future Audience Exactly
- It’s much easier to choose a template and design if you have a clear objective, target audience and brand image (or idea of what you’d like your brand to look like) in mind
- Think about everything from color choices to font designs, which can represent a particular brand or image
- Don’t Spend All Your Time On the Perfect Design
- This will likely change and evolve over time
- You should spend more time on creating content and filling in the important information (See below)
- Sometimes Less Is More
- Remember that minimal designs with clear call to actions and confident brand awareness can often perform and convert better than chaos and/or busy designs
- Match Your Design, Fonts, Colors & General Aestethic Throughout All Your Pages & Socials
- Staying consistent in your brand image and website design will build familiarity with your audience and help with your brand development over time
Step 3: Customize & Create Great Content
This goes off of the above section a bit, but filling in your website with content and useful, valuable information for your target audience is way more important than choosing the best design.
The biggest mistake I made with my first website a few years back was spending way too much time trying to make my site look perfect.
However, once it was “ready“, nobody came and I realized I had literally zero pieces of useful content to show my value and for visitors to engage with. Don’t do this.
It’s so crucial to start filling your website with your content and value as quick as possible.
Design adjustments are something that you can do little by little and will change, evolve and develop as you move forward with your business and website objectives.
I’m still tweaking things on my pages all the time. Is my design perfect? Of course not.
But the information is valuable and I’m getting visitors and conversions, which is way more important.
Remember, you’re not building an art gallery and people will likely not be visiting your site for its aesthetic appeal but rather for its interesting, informative and useful content.
So being an effective content creator means not worrying about mastering your designs, themes and site look all at once!
Recommended Read: Learn SEO For Your Business With This Free Course From HubSpot!
$$ Tip Jar
Website Content Tip: Focus on giving value.
Create articles, posts and content that will be either helpful, interesting, entertaining and/or educational for your future visitors.
Understand who your target audience is and what their problems are.
Then decide how you can help to solve those issues through your website and its content.
Step 4: Buy A Domain
Claiming your domain is sort of like buying a piece of digital real estate.
So everything so far can be done completely for free. The only thing left to cover is the importance and value of actually purchasing and owning your own domain name.
This will be your digital real estate and will go a long way in developing your brand, trust and authority in whatever niche you’re in.
Also, purchasing a domain and hosting these days is extremely cheap, often for less than a few dollars a month!
So although it’s of course not required to build out a website free, if this is something you’d like to take more seriously and something that you want to monetize eventually, then you’ll really need to buy your own domain.
This is a pretty simple process and can be easily done through the dashboard or within your account from most of the website builders above.
If you’d like to get started with your own domain and self hosting right away, then I recommend looking into self hosting with Bluehost, which is one of the cheapest options for self hosting your website domain at only $2.95/month and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
In this post, I’ve covered the basics of how to build a website free and included some useful tips and resources for getting started.
There are many website builders to choose from these days, so deciding on one that’s most aligned with your objectives, technical skills and preferences is a great starting place.
Designing a beautiful website is of course a priority for most everyone.
However, most templates will provide you with a professional design which you can easily customize and tweak as you move forward with your website and/or business online.
Therefore, it’s more important to focus less on design and appeal in the beginning and more on creating content and value for your future visitors to enjoy and engage with.
People will visit your site, buy your products/services and keep coming back not for your beautiful designs but rather for your interesting, helpful and/or engaging content.
Finally, remember to have fun, enjoy the process and be willing to adapt and make changes as you move forward!
Thanks for reading!
Let me know in the comments what your #1 issue is with starting a website? What are you top priorities for having a website?