Faced with the prospect of creating a website, most people wouldn’t know where to start, so would immediately look to find someone else to do it for them. But the truth is, if you pick the right solution, anyone can create a site, and do the job quickly, too.
To prove that assertion, we’ll now take you through the whole process, assuming that you have no prior knowledge or coding skills.
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1. Find a website builder
We’ve used the GoDaddy website builder for this exercise, but the majority of web construction tools are very similar, and most assume no technical knowledge about HTML or CSS technology.
To begin the process with GoDaddy, click on the ‘Start For Free’ button and then register with an email, username and password.
2. Type and name
The site builder then asks you to choose a category and a name for your site. At this point, you don’t even need to have a domain.
We decided to create a retail website for our fictional Boston Hat Repairs company, and selected the category ‘Used, Vintage, and Consignment Clothing’.
The app picks a default theme called Trade, but there are some alternatives to choose from on the right-hand side. We picked Clarity as it seemed suitably retro.
4. Shades and hues
Pages created by this system have an accent color, the default being a rather excessive GoDaddy green. Using the color picker on the right, we selected a rich dark red and immediately saw the difference on the prototype site.
If you don’t want to use the color picker, you can enter the RGB Hex code instead, if you have a very specific color in mind.
Another right-hand side option is the headline font, and while the default one was fine, we decided that we liked another called Monserrat more. Again, the change to the website is made immediately.
6. Preview time
Upon reaching this stage, the selection part of the process is effectively complete, and a ‘Preview’ button appears for you to see the site on a computer and a phone.
Browsers can render pages slightly differently, and screen resolution can also have an impact on how things look, but most visitors should see a version of this.
7. Domain to go?
With the site ready to edit, GoDaddy then offers you the name as a domain with a selection of suitable ones that are available. You don’t need to use these specific examples, and a button below directs you to search for an alternative.
Currently, the site has just three pages, and none of the wording is ours, so it’s time to click on ‘Edit’ and then adjust the contents.
To change something, all you have to do is click on it on the page, and then on the right, options will appear that allow you to modify the words or style.
Here we started with the headline text that appears under the title. It did read “True style is timeless”, but we edited that in a panel on the right to say “Brimming with ideas”.
Each page is subdivided into a collection of segments, and to add a new section in you simply use the button between them that is marked ‘+ Add Section’. Once this button is clicked you can select one of the section types from a menu.
From the section types, we added a calendar that’s linked to Google, but you can create one that’s unique to the site and add whatever events you like.
This web tool has tons of choices for sections, with blog, e-commerce and photo galleries available.
With only three pages, we need to add some more. At the top level of the menu, click on ‘Pages’ and it will show you what pages are defined.
Above the list is an ‘Add’ button, and that allows you to add a page, and also a link to an external website and a dropdown menu.
The new page will be automatically included in the navigation system of the site, and you can then add whatever sections you’d like to that page once created.
At the top menu, accessed via the house icon on the right, there are three sub-options: ‘Theme’, ‘Pages’ and ‘Site Settings’.
Inside ‘Site Settings’ are all the switches and levers to make various things work, and it also provides a means to analyze the site traffic and link social media accounts.
These are probably the last things you might want to tinker with before making the site live.
While other methods of website construction offer more detailed site controls, the raw speed of using a tool like the GoDaddy Website Builder is undeniable.
We need to mention that the tool is free to use, and GoDaddy will keep your website for a month at no cost, should you want to experiment, or prototype a new site.
If you decide to use the created site, then depending on how many visitors you expect – and the security options you need – prices start at $5.99 (£4.99 plus VAT) per month and scale up through various tiers to $29.99 (£19.99 plus VAT) monthly for an e-commerce solution.
Using a site building tool like this still leaves plenty of work to do regarding content and branded graphics to find, but for establishing a framework for any site, it’s a relatively painless process.