If you need a website, you have three options: order from professionals, build it on a constructor, or create it yourself from scratch. The first method is simple, almost does not require your participation, but it costs money. In this article we will tell you about the second and third methods – how to independently and for free make and configure a website without the help of professionals.
Method 1: build a website using the builder
The easiest way to create a website is to use a website builder. Most popular: Tilda, LP Platform and WiX. They work on the principle of blocks and templates: on the site, you assemble a site from blocks, adjust the color scheme and select fonts, or choose a ready-made design and simply enter your text.
This option is suitable for typical sites when you want to create quickly and not have to worry about design: portfolio sites, landing pages and simple online stores. For more complex stores, there are special constructors like Zyro or Ecwid.
Here’s how the stages of creating a landing page look like using the WiX builder as an example.
Stage 1: registration on the website of the constructor
Go to the website and create an account. You will need a valid email and password or social media account.
Enter your email and create a password or log in with your Facebook or Google account
Stage 2: choosing a way to create a website
You can create a website manually from templates or automatically using artificial intelligence. In the second case, you will need to answer a few questions about the field of activity, choose the name of the site, upload photos and texts and choose a design, and the system itself will create your site.
Each of the design options can be evaluated in a preview and, if necessary, edited
Stage 3: choosing a template
Typically, templates are categorized by topic, popularity, and novelty. Some constructors allow you to search for a suitable template using keywords.
Templates can be edited and customized for yourself
Stage 4: editing and filling the template
In editor mode, you can change the background, fonts and animations, add and remove buttons, feedback forms and other elements. When the block design is ready, proceed to adding information.
The template can be fine-tuned to suit your needs for many parameters
Stage 5: publish the site
Before making the site available to users, check all the information in the preview and set up the mobile version of the site. If you like everything, click the “Publish” button and the site will become visible on the network.
In a premium account, you can edit the page address
Advantages of a website with a constructor
Building a website using a constructor is a quick and budget option. So, for an online store on Zyro you will pay a little more than 500 rubles a month, while Tilda and many other constructors have free versions.
To work with constructors, you do not need to be able to program or understand design: there is a built-in engine and templates for this. You only need to customize the look of the site and fill it with content.
If you need to change the arrangement of elements, add a page or change the text on the site, you can do it yourself at any time in your account on the constructor.
Disadvantages of the site on the constructor
Constructors are limited in functionality. You may not always be able to add animation, personal user account or other necessary options. Your design will not be unique: it is limited to the blocks and templates provided.
Using a constructor can have a bad effect on website promotion. Search engines love uniqueness: they read template blocks and lower such a site in the SERP. This means that you will have to invest more in promotion.
Method 2: make a website from scratch
Even if you do not plan to become a developer, but just want to make a website for yourself, you should learn at least the basics of front-end development. The front-end is everything that makes up the “facade” of your site: pictures, text, video or animation. If you understand this a little, it will be easy to rebuild or replace the appearance of the site.
Website creation from scratch consists of several stages.
Stage 1: prototype development
A prototype is the structure of a site based on its objectives. When developing a prototype, usability is thought out – the convenience of the site for the user and a preliminary design is developed.
To determine the arrangement of elements, you need to understand what is important to the client, what he needs to see on the main page, what kind of navigation will be convenient. The more detailed you work on the prototype, the easier it will be in the next steps.
The prototype can be drawn by hand or in a graphics editor, or you can use a special program: Balsamiq Mockups, Axure RP or Flinto.
You can even draw a website prototype by hand. Source: Skillbox
Analyze your audience, think over the site structure, draw a prototype and move on to creating a layout.
Stage 2: creating a design layout
Development of a design layout is a “revitalization” of a prototype. When developing a design, the color scheme of the site is determined, buttons and other graphic elements are drawn, and blocks from the prototype are placed on the page layout. All this can be done in graphic editors Adobe Photoshop or Figma. You can deal with these programs on your own or in short courses.
You can make a simple minimalistic layout yourself: take graphic elements on stocks and align the content on the grid
Stage 3: layout layout
During layout, the page layout is translated into an interactive form through the code and becomes a web page. For layout, you need to understand the HTML markup language and the CSS style language: the first is needed to arrange the elements on the page, the second – to visually design them.
The developer receives the layout in a graphic format and, through HTML markup, translates it into a format that browsers understand
Stage 4: connecting the domain and hosting
You can connect a domain and hosting at reg.ru, Sprinthost or another hosting provider of your choice. If you are doing a landing page, this is where your work ends – the site is ready. If the site is more complicated, go ahead.
Linking a domain and hosting is a matter of a couple of clicks, the main thing is to choose a provider with a favorable tariff
Stage 5: back-end development
The backend is the “stuffing” of your site that your visitors can’t see. It can be written from scratch completely for your needs and requests. This is what backend developers do – you can’t do without knowledge of programming languages. If you are not a developer, you can use a ready-made management system – CMS-system.
Different CMSs are tailored for different purposes: Bitrix is suitable for small and medium-sized online stores, Opencart is for large ones, and WordPress and Joomla are good for blogs and online publications.
The CMS needs to be configured once, and then any employee can work with it, even without special knowledge. Advanced developers are able to combine elements from several systems and collect individual CMS from them: Opencart for a client’s personal account can be connected to Joomla for a store blog.
If you can easily cope with setting up a CMS, you can start doing it professionally: study one of the systems and adjust it for different businesses.
This is how the settings for a free CMS WordPress system look like.
Stage 6: filling the site with content and testing it
Content is text, videos, photos, and whatever you want to show to your site visitors. It’s good if you already have an SEO strategy and you fill the site according to it, but you can leave the strategy for later: by creating a site yourself, you can change something at any time.
Once the content is loaded, click through all the banners, buttons and links and make sure everything works as you intended. If everything is in order, the site is ready and you can call visitors.
This is how adding a new page looks like in WordPress
Benefits of self-service website creation
If you collect everything from scratch, you will get a site with a unique design and a customized management system. You will be able to control the entire operation of the site: fix it if something breaks, change prices in the product catalog, add pictures and quickly notify customers about new promotions.
Disadvantages of self-service website creation
Website development from scratch is a long process. You will come across new terms and programs that you have not heard about before, and you will have to figure everything out on your own. The process will go faster if you have an experienced programmer ready to answer questions and explain the basics and nuances. If there is no such person, you will have to study – on your own or in courses.
Which way to choose
To make it easier for you to compare and choose the appropriate option, we will collect the advantages and disadvantages of developing a site using a constructor and from scratch into a table:
Website from scratch
You can create a website for free
It is possible to make a simple website in a couple of hours
There are ready-made templates – no need to come up with a design
No special skills needed
You can manage the site yourself
There is a built-in analytics counter
Full understanding of how the site works
You can add and remove functions that are convenient for you
You can customize your analytics collection system
You can use any tools for SEO promotion without fear of search engine filters
There are limitations for SEO and optimization
You need development, layout and design skills
Choose builders for simple sites: one-page pages, landing pages, business card sites, portfolios and small stores. A typical corporate website can also be made on the constructor in a couple of hours: the constructors have ready-made layouts with all the necessary blocks, you just have to add content and change colors if you wish.
It is worth developing a website from scratch when it is important to create a unique brand style and fully control the processes: for corporate or information portals and large online stores. This can be done on the basis of a CMS or with a full-fledged backend development.
Where to learn website development
If you are just looking into the profession, start with free webinars and training videos on YouTube. They will help you immerse yourself in the profession and understand in which direction to move on.
If you have already decided and are ready to get a new profession or want to develop your own website and business yourself, go to courses at an online school. Online courses are practice-oriented, so by the end of the course you will have a solid theoretical base, portfolio and practical experience. Many schools provide internship opportunities, and after training they help with employment.