In the 90s, no one knew they were supposed to scroll down a page.
Mice didn’t have scroll wheels, some people didn’t even have a mouse, and dial-up internet was the best thing since sliced bread.
Today, people know they’re supposed to scroll, and most people have blazing-fast internet that can load complex pages in a snap.
Websites are more complicated and fancier than ever before. However, creating your website is easier and faster than surfing the net circa 1995.
We’ve created hundreds of websites using every platform you can imagine over the years. Along the way, we’ve made every mistake in the book and nailed the process down to a science, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes.
Why Creating a Website is Worth It
Whether creating a website for a new business, starting a blog as a side hustle, switching to an online business model, or anything in between, creating a website is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make.
Your website is where people find you, allowing you to reach a global audience, regardless of where you live or do business.
And while you can use social media to reach more people, you’re at the mercy of algorithms, rules that never seem to stop changing, and your audience’s attention span. What happens when Instagram changes its algorithm? Or when Facebook stops showing your posts to your most devoted fans? The outcome can be catastrophic if you don’t have another way to reach them.
When you create a website, it’s yours. You don’t have to navigate continuous changes that negatively affect your business or cross your fingers and hope your message is heard.
Your website is a valuable piece of online real estate. You ultimately control what it looks like and how it functions. It acts as a full-time salesman without worrying about losing contact with your customers and fans.
The Investment Needed to Create a Website
You can create a website for free in just a few minutes. However, this has limitations, and you may not be 100% satisfied with the outcome of tossing something up in minutes.
You can spend at least three to five days building your website. The exact amount of time depends on the complexity of what you’re creating and how fast you master the platform. But it’s an excellent baseline to consider if you’re creating your first website.
You can also start for free and upgrade to a paid plan when you’re ready to launch your website.
Wix’s paid plans start at $7.50 per month. So, that’s the minimum investment. However, you must spend more than that to sell products online or accept online payments.
Now that you know what to invest, it’s time to get to the good stuff. Here are the basic steps to follow:
- Create a Wix account
- Choose a template
- Custome your template
- Add your site pages
- Add the apps you need
- Configure your blog
- Set up your online store (optional)
- Optimise your website for mobile
- Choose your domain name
- Launch your website!
Now that you know what to expect, you can either hop on over to Wix immediately and get started or follow along below as we go through everything step-by-step.
Step 1: Create a Wix Account
First, you need an account. Starting is free, so head to the Wix homepage and click “Start Selling Now”.
Now, you’ll see a signup page where you can enter your email address and create a password. You can also sign in with Google or Facebook if you prefer.
Next, answer some questions about what kind of site you’re creating. These questions help Wix understand the type of website you want to build.
You can skip the questions if you want to, but it’s a good idea to let Wix do as much of the hard work as possible. It only takes a few seconds and helps personalise and speed up the experience.
For example, Wix asks what you’re creating the website for.
It’ll also ask if you’ve created a site before. Depending on your answers, Wix can tailor your experience to match what you’re interested in doing. From there, the wizard shows you your results.
No worries if you get results that don’t quite fit what you’re looking for. Click “back” at the bottom of the screen to change your answers.
When you’re done, you have two options: let Wix ADI make a site for you or build the location using the Wix Editor.
Option 1: Let Wix ADI Build a Site for You
With Wix ADI, artificial design intelligence works to assemble a website based on your answers to a few simple questions about your new website.
You’ll start by answering a few questions about the pages and features you need on your website. Then, in a matter of minutes, Wix builds an entire website that’s ready for you to start customising. It’s fast, effective, and takes many technical steps, so you don’t have to worry about them.
Option 2: Use the Wix Editor to Build From Scratch
You can bypass the ADI option and use the Wix Editor to build a site. It’s not difficult, but it takes longer since you have to create everything from scratch.
This is a smart option if you want to start with a clean slate.
Which Option Should You Choose?
You can easily create an excellent website with either option. However, it comes down to how much time you want to spend setting things up.
ADI is the fastest approach since it creates all the pages for you. From there, you can replace the demo content with your own, and you’re good to go.
But if you’re not in a hurry and want more design control and flexibility, the Wix editor is your best bet. You can start entirely from scratch with a clean slate to let your ideas run wild.
You don’t need to be a web design pro or have any design experience under your bet to use the Wix Editor. It’s easy to navigate, even for beginners and non-technical users. So, don’t let the idea of creating something from scratch scare you.
Both are excellent options. But it’s ultimately up to you.
If you choose ADI, follow the prompts on your screen, and you’re good to go.
If you prefer doing things yourself, follow along with the rest of this guide as we create a website from scratch.
Step 2: Choose a Template
If you want to start from scratch, the next step is choosing a template. This part is enjoyable because you have hundreds of fully customisable (and free!) options.
It’s important to remember that you can customise just about everything, including colours, fonts, patterns, photos, font size, image placement, headings, and more.
A template is just a starting point to jumpstart the design process. We’ll discuss how to customise your template in the next step.
So, for now, concentrate on each template’s general layout and overall functionality.
It may help to think of it as the frame of a house. Once you pour the foundation and construct all the walls, you can add your own colours, finishes, and decor to make it yours.
You can also narrow your search if you’re overwhelmed by the number of options. You can filter based on business type, the type of products you want to sell (for e-commerce stores), and even your industry.
Alternatively, you can use the search bar to search for whatever you want.
Explore a few different design options that might work for your business. One of the most significant downsides of Wix is that you can’t choose a new template after you pick one. So, really take your time here.
And remember, you can customise everything later on.
Once you find a template you like, click “view” to see it as a live website or “edit” to add it to your website.
Once you make a decision, you’re ready for step three.
Step 3: Customise Your Template
Once you select “edit,” Wix will take you to a new page where you can change your template of choice. This is your opportunity to make the template your own using the drag-and-drop design tools on the left side of the page.
This is also where the real fun begins. The main editing menu will always be on the left side of the Editor screen. This is where you can make significant changes, like adding a new page or a blog.
However, you can also click on individual elements to make changes. For example, if you click on the image of the ice cream cone (or whatever image appears on your template of choice), Wix will prompt you to change it.
In other words, you can customise as much or as little as you want. The user-friendly Wix Editor puts you in the driver’s seat — and makes your journey easy by giving you clear directions and guidance.
Some fundamental changes you’ll want to make include changing the business address and hours. To make changes like this, find the placeholder text in the template and click on it. This will create an orange text editor box appears. Making changes is as simple as clicking inside the editor box and typing the correct address.
You’ll also want to add things like your business’s social links. To do this, just find the social menu on the template and click it. This pulls up a menu where you can add your social links and change the settings.
Take your time to play with the editing options. You can modify the font size, change words to bold or italics, or choose a different font altogether.
You can also change the images. If you’re not thrilled with a placeholder image, just click on it and swap it out for an idea that works better for your site. This can be a photo you took, a free image from a royalty-free site, or a substitute image from Wix’s library.
Some images are free, while others have various price points. Paid images have a little dollar sign logo in the corner, so you can quickly tell which photos are free and which are paid.
In addition to images, you can change the background, add pages to the main menu, and change the menu’s look. These tools are located on the left side of the template page, and they make editing and customising your template incredibly easy.
Step 4: Add Pages
Do you want your site to have a blog? What about a contact page or an “about us” page? The Wix Editor makes adding these pages a snap.
To add a new page, go to the main Editor menu on the left side of the screen and click “menus and pages.” This will bring up a new window. At the bottom of that window, click “+ add page.”
This will give you the ability to add a variety of custom pages to your website.
Step 5: Add Apps
Just as Wix has hundreds of pre-made templates, it also offers hundreds of free and paid apps. You can add these extra features to your site to make the visitor experience easier and more rewarding.
For example, if you run a restaurant, add a menu to your website and a way for site visitors to make reservations online.
Other examples include live chat widgets, email marketing tools, QuickBooks or Hubspot integrations, online bookings, order management, pop-up forms, membership areas, shipping platforms, and various design flourishes to take your site design to the next level.
There are hundreds of Wix apps to choose from, all of which help extend the functionality of your website.
And the even better news is that they’re straightforward to install.
As with the other customisation steps, go to the editing menu on the left and click “add apps.”
This will pull up an app’s menu so you can search for special features that fit your business’s needs.
Each app includes features along with reviews from other Wix users. This allows you to see what other people think of the app before you add it to your site.
Step 6: Add a Blog
Blogging is an essential part of any business’s website. While your business may thrive without one, a blog is an easy and free way to advertise, share your expertise, and connect with your customers.
Need to be convinced? Consider these business blogging stats:
- Websites that include a blog have 434% more indexed pages compared to sites that don’t have a blog.
- Businesses that blog get 97% more site links than non-blogging peers.
- 77% of internet users say they read blogs.
- Companies that blog contact 2x the email traffic compared to those that don’t.
Fortunately, Wix makes adding a blog to your new website easy. Go to the main Editor menu on the left and click “start blogging.”
Wix offers some powerful options to make your blog an effective marketing tool. For example, you can link to your Instagram account to display the latest images from your feed.
You can also add a blog forum where customers can chat about your products and services.
Blogging for your business is optional, but you risk missing out on new customers and business opportunities if you skip this step.
You’re also missing out on powerful search engine ranking opportunities. All Wix plans come with basic SEO optimisation features, including the ability to:
- Edit your post URL
- Set a unique SEO title for search engines
- Add a post-meta description
- Include image alt tags
You can do all this right from the Wix post editor, making it easy and straightforward.
On top of that, Wix offers site-wide SEO optimisation capabilities, like AMP for mobile devices and schema markup, to give search engines more information about your website.
If you’re not quite ready to add a blog to your site, don’t worry. Wix makes it easy to make changes once your site is up and running.
Step 7: Set Up Your Online Store
You can add eCommerce functionality to your website depending on your business type. This is where building your website with Wix pays off.
Wix lets you create an online store in seconds. To add a store to your site, go to the main menu on the left side of the Editor and click the “+” sign. This will give you a new menu with a long list of options. Scroll down until you see “store”, and click it.
Next, click “add to the site.” Wix will automatically generate a store and all its features, including product galleries, payment methods, and inventory management. Wix will also optimise your store for mobile users.
You can manage your store from the dashboard, giving you numerous customisation options.
For example, from the “products” tab in the dashboard, you can add new products and relevant information, such as a price, SKU, product description, and how many you have in your inventory.
Step 8: Optimise Your Website for Mobile Users
Mobile is the way of the future, which means your website needs to be easy for mobile users to navigate. Remember that 81 per cent of Americans own a smartphone, compared to just 35 per cent in 2011.
Wix has you covered here, too. You can check your site’s appearance on a mobile device by going to the top of the Wix Editor and clicking the mobile phone icon.
This will switch you to mobile view, so you can see your website’s appearance on a smartphone. The good news is that Wix templates are usually optimised for mobile searches.
However, it’s still a good idea to scroll through your entire site to ensure all the pages look good on mobile. If you spot any design issues or odd text placement, you can change it in the Editor. Best of all? Changing elements in mobile view won’t affect how your site appears on a desktop browser.
Step 9: Select a Domain Name
You’re almost ready to publish, but first, you must select a domain name. Because you’re setting up a free Wix site, your options are somewhat limited here.
For example, your free Wix site can’t be a regular domain name like www.businessname.com. Instead, you’re required to include the Wix name in there. This means your domain will use the following format:
Fortunately, you can upgrade your free Wix site to a paid version later. When you’re ready to upgrade and switch to a custom domain, Wix offers some of the most competitive pricing anywhere.
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Step 10: Publish Your Website
It’s time to go live with your new business website. This is where you should do one last preview to ensure your site is edited to your specifications and that all the pages include the potential information customers need to purchase.
When you’re ready to launch your site, simply click “publish.” You can always revisit your site in the Wix Editor if you need to make changes.
To make any changes, go to your dashboard, select “manage site”, and then “edit site.” Once you’ve made the necessary changes, click “publish” to make them live.