It's a lot easier than you might think to make your own website. You don't need to do any coding at all: these days building a web page is easier than trying to make a leaflet in Microsoft Word.
Putting your website online is fast and surprisingly inexpensive. If you run your own business, a website is a virtually a necessity and it will almost certainly boost the number of customers who find you.
These online website building tools let you use templates which you can customise to your liking. Being mobile friendly they will also make your website look great on phones as well as laptops and desktop computers.
There are a number of places where you can sign up for a completely free website. However, we don't recommend this as it won't look nearly as professional. For example, you'll end up with a web address such as www.techadvisor.wordpress.com rather than www.techadvisor.co.uk and it's possible that the provider will put their own adverts on your web pages.
So, if you want a good-looking website with a proper URL, you'll need to spend a little money per month.
This will also give you other benefits including an email address such as [email protected], higher bandwidth limits (so more people can visit your site) and no unwanted adverts on your pages.
If you plan to sell products on your site, it pays to choose both the right provider and the right package. Some ecommerce packages are suitable for only a few items which you have to upload individually, while others are built for importing huge product catalogues.
Now that you've got a better idea of what to look for, take a look at these great website builders that will help you build your site from scratch in just a few minutes.
Wix is a great tool for beginners who've never made a website before but want to get one up and running quickly.
It uses an intuitive drag-and-drop editor to help you build exactly the website you want, and has 500 templates to help you get started. There are over 100 fonts to choose from, image galleries and SEO optimisation.
The website you create will be phone and tablet friendly, and if you're willing to cough up some cash each month you can get your own custom domain name and email address.
To connect your own domain name will cost £3 per month but you are most likely going to want Wix's most popular Unlimited plan which costs £8.50 / $14 per month, with unlimited bandwidth, 10GB storage, connects your own domain name (for 1 year), £75 / $100 of Ad Vouchers and more.
If you are setting up an online shop you will want the Business Unlimited plan at £16 / $20 per month which offers 35GB of disk space and the facility to accept online payments.
If you want to engage with your customers through your site, then you might find the Ascend bolt-on useful. This is a suite of 20 products aimed at helping small business owners. A few key features include live chat, a price quote form so potential customers can send requests, plus a video maker so you can create promos for your business.
There are three tiers: Basic, Professional and Unlimited which range from £7 to £35 per month and vary in the features they offer.
Duda's website builder offers gorgeous, modern and responsive templates that use a drag-and-drop editor to make things nice and easy. You'll be able to integrate the likes of OpenTable, Yelp and Paypal, and you'll get analytics to track your visitors too.
Duda offers neat touches such as shrinking headers when visitors scroll down a page, and the editor lets you dig deeper into web design than many rivals. That's ideal if you want to tweak elements and even get involved with the HTML and CSS code. But you don't have to if you don't want to.
Handily, there's also the option to import existing content including images, contact details and more from any other website or Facebook business page. More importantly, it's possible to update your webpages on the go from your phone, including uploading photos you've just taken, changing links and editing text.
The Basic package costs $14 / £11 per month and that gets you most of the features and allows you to sell up to 500 different products.
Another easy-to use option is Ucraft, which offers a free version with up to 15 pages, free hosting and the ability to add your own domain.
With 80 different templates this is an attractive option for anyone wanting a basic website. The Pro package at $10 / £8 per month offers unlimited pages, a free domain name, a whole host of extra features and integrations and up to 15 shop products.
For more products you will need to go for the Pro Shop option at $21 / £17 per month which will also allow you to sell digital products, track inventory and more.
We think the templates are gorgeous. There are plenty to choose from to suit any type of business or online shop.
As well as a free version, Zyro offers one of the cheapest website builder + hosting packages with a price of just $1.99 (£1.60) per month if you sign up for a year, or rolling monthly price of $2.99 (£2.40) for the Basic package.
This provides everything you need for a basic, no-frills website at a very affordable price. The package offers 10GB of storage space and an equal amount of bandwidth allocation, domain name integration and SSL. If you need more, the other option is the Unleashed package which has unlimited disk space as well as unlimited bandwidth.
It's easy to use and there's an AI writer which generates copy for various types of business. You can take your pick from the paragraphs and edit them so they're specific to your company.
If you were hoping to sell products on your site, there's good news. As of the beginning of May 2020 Zyro is launching two ecommerce options which, we're told, will match Shopify for sophistication (apart from dropshipping) and will both offer 100% commission-free transactions.
As with the other packages, pricing depends on how long you sign up for - like a VPN service. The Ecommerce plan is $14.99 (£12) per month, but this drops to $8.99 (£7.20) if you commit for three years.
Premium features such as abandoned cart recovery, multiple languages and shops on Amazon, Facebook and Instagram are available in Ecommerce+ which costs $28.99 (£23.30) per month or $10.99 (£8.80) if you take the three-year plan.
The update will also allow you to add contact forms to your site and bring 30 new templates. The current selection is rather limited but there should be over 150 to choose between by the end of June.
The last new feature to be added is mobile editing, so while Zyro offers amazing value for money for someone wanting to build a basic no-frills website, soon it will offer the extra functions that you'll need to sell products as well.
Weebly is a well-known website builder which also uses drag and drop tools that are really useful for beginners.
There are plans suitable for websites only and plans specifically for online shops. There's a free option available if you're content without a shop or your own domain, and the Weebly branding on your site, but you'll need to pay from £9 / $12 per month (billed annually) for those features and to remove the Weebly branding if you need them.
All Weebly packages include SSL and all packages from £9 and up include a free domain name.
There are plenty of templates to choose from, each with full customisation to allow you to tailor it to your business, event or organisation.
You'll also be able to track visitors using the statistics tools, and even host your own video content.
We rather like the range of templates available on Weebly, which look modern and stylish, so it's well-worth a browse.
Squarespace offers stunning templates that would suit high fashion stores, restaurants or professional, image-led blogs.
It uses a drag-and-drop system to help you get your website looking just how you want it without requiring any coding at all.
You can browse the templates, which will give you a good idea whether Squarespace will be right for you. If you decide it is, prices start at $12 / £10 per month for the Personal plan.
For an ecommerce site you will want the Business Plan which is £15 / $18 per month. All plans include a free domain name,SSL and unlimited bandwidth and storage.
There's a free version of Jimdo available, with pre-made templates, contact forms, file downloads, built-in social media tools and more, but you'll have .jimdo.com at the end of your website address (e.g. techadvisor.jimdo.com) and you only get 5 pages.
The cheapest realistic option is the £9 per month 'Start' plan which includes a proper domain name and no ads. You get 10GB of bandwidth, 1 forwarding email address, but also a meagre allowance of 10 website pages.
If you need more pages, you'll have to opt for the £19 per month Grow package. The increases the limit to 50 pages, 15 GB storage and gives you 20GB of bandwidth. In comparison Wix offers unlimited bandwidth (though 5GB less storage at 10GB) for just £8.50 per month.
There's a nice mix of modern-looking templates, all simple and clean, and you can change the template at any time if you change your mind. Being based in Germany, Jimdo is a reasonable option if you don't want your website to be in English only, and it's possible to build a multilingual site.
Jimdo's editor is pretty good with a simple to use version that pre-populates almost everything for you. Overall though, we'd expect a bit more for our money.
GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy is another name you might be familiar with, mainly due to its TV advertising for domain names. The website builder is only part of what GoDaddy offers, so click our link above to go directly to the tool rather than the main site.
Despite the 'Start for Free' button there's no free package but you do get a free month-long trial of any of the packages. GoDaddy’s offerings are particularly geared to helping business promotion with social and email marketing included in all packages. This unique feature may be of value to some but makes Godaddy an expensive option if you do not need those features.
The basic account is £6.99 per month which includes SSL and the option for PayPal integration using a PayPal button. However for an online shop you will need the fully featured Ecommerce package at £19.99.None of these plans include a domain name, but you can of course buy that separately from GoDaddy for just a few pounds or dollars per year.
We're not the biggest fan of the range of templates offered by GoDaddy but they are quite well tailored to business sectors so it's worth a look. The problem is that there's a limited amount you can do to change the look of the template.
1&1 Ionos also has a website builder that requires no previous experience of web design. The Business package is only £1 / $1 per month (for six months, then it's £15 / $20 per month) and comes with a domain and email address plus hundreds of mobile-optimised design templates.
The Ionos e-commerce package with provision for up to 5,000 products is priced at £25 / $30 per month.
The templates are similar to other services in this round-up, including Wix and Duda, but Ionos also includes "text suggestions" which help you fill your website with relevant content when you pick your business sector. You'll want to change the text to suit your business, but it certainly gives you a good head-start if your strength isn't writing.
Ionos also offers a free personal consultant that you can phone, email or instant message to talk about your products and contract as well as tips for making your site more successful.