How to Make a Website of Your Own

How To Build A Great Web Site -- Without Hiring A Web Designer

Article Editor By Carmen Mardiros

Most people who ask me for website making help fall into one of these next categories:

  1. People looking to create a family or hobby website.
  2. People looking to build their first profitable business website.
  3. People looking to create a successful commercial website.
  4. Website designers looking to improve their skills and offerings.

This article is mainly intended for people who want a successful website, but I believe anyone looking to create a website, regardless of purpose, age or skills will come away with invaluable, practical tips.

You're here because you want to make a website, right? I'm a web designer and, if you were to hire me, I would charge anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 to build a small web site. But this article is about how to make a website for far less. But why would I tell you how you can make websites for less?

If you're like the vast majority of people thinking of building a website, then you don't have a big budget. That alone disqualifies you as a prospect of mine -- it means you can relax, I have no interest in making a pitch. A small budget, though, can still get you a good web site, provided you throw other ingredients in the mix as well. Let's look at available options together.

There is one universal truth in website making: To make a website you need either time or money -- or both. Time and money often substitute each other (you can pay $$$ and have a webiste up and running in 2 weeks or you can save your cash, spend your own time building a website and have it up and running in 2-6 months). How do you find the right balance between time and money? Here's how.

You can get a website by:
Hiring someone to create a website for you Building a website on your own
  • Professional web site design services are outrageously expensive these days.
  • There are cheap designers out there, but the quality of their work is questionable at best.
  • You can avoid paying a fortune to make a website if you are willing to give it a try yourself (see right).
(a) Take the long, time-consuming way of building it "brick-by-brick":
  • This is the #1 reason people shy away from making websites on their own.
  • It involves lots of time -- time needed to acquire the skills and time needed for the actual building. This is time you don't have or, in other words, time that would be better spent elsewhere.
(b) Take shortcuts, use whole "blocks" readily available and learn to put them together:
  • Takes a fraction of the time and is less demanding for people with no technical skills.
  • Ideal for situations where the website is a means to an end. You spend more time using the website and making it work rather than building it.
  • Provides the best balance between time and money.

I use option (a) but I'm a webmaster, I make a living from building websites. You, on the other hand, are not. You make a living from other activities and a website can, at most, help you do it better.

The Quick And Easy Route

Use A Builder To Create A Web Site

Taking shortcuts means using website builder software for help. These fall into two major categories:

  1. Website builders that only help with the technical side (creating and publishing pages, hosting, domain names, etc). These can be both online and offline, free and paid site builders.
  2. Website builders that also help with the non-technical, human side, the fun side (figuring out what to make the site about, attracting visitors, interacting with people, making money out of it, becoming popular thanks to it -- in essence, making it work).

Now, as a professional designer myself, I wouldn't touch a site builder with a barge -- mainly out of principle. But I do have good reasons not to use them. I can't complain about the free website builders (precisely because they're free) but some of the commercial site makers I've seen make me cringe.

They are complicated to use, redundant, most don't give a website a fighting chance and are ultimately useless. Learning to make a website with these paid site builders is frankly, frustrating and not worth the trouble (or the money). Most of the time, free blogs or free website builders do the job just as well, or even better!

If you need to create a simple website for your family and friends, then free options will work just fine. However, if you plan to sell your products online or attract people to a web site about something you feel passionate about and make it wildly popular, then it's important to look at a website builder that can really help you achieve that (instead of a website that only takes up space).

A few months ago, I came across this website builder and, for once, I was pleasantly surprised. Being a webmaster myself, I am reluctant to saying this, but software like this one could, potentially, turn the webdesigners of today into a dying breed. But I was skeptical at first. Very skeptical. I loathe companies who are quick to make a buck but give you little in return. So I started investigating.

First, I read up on Ken Evoy, the founder of Site Build It. I then researched the tools and information he gives you. I was surprised to see that he follows the same principles I use for all my websites, principles I had often come across scattered around the web, but never put together in such a coherent, easy-to-understand package.

This one paragraph on their website summarizes the basic reality of how people use the web:

'Online, people search for information, look for solutions -- they are not looking for you. Give them what they want by converting your knowledge into high-quality, in-demand CONTENT. To do this, you create a theme-based topical content that ranks high at the Search Engines, attracting free, targeted TRAFFIC... interested, open-to-you visitors.

(I have a paragraph along the same lines printed and posted on my monitor)

Make no mistake about it, SBI isn't a get-rich-quick scheme and investing time, effort and passion are essential. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's something you must consider before settling for any website builder, no matter how good they may seem to be. Here is what makes Site Build It attractive:

Bottom line, there's just one problem with Site Build It: it's so much more than a simple website builder (which is probably all you were looking for). It's an entire 'how to make, learn, profit AND have fun' experience, but one that requires time and effort (much more so than money).

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