Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
< Back to previous Blog page
WeLoveNoCode Blog

Our step-by-step guide to building a website

How to Build It
Creating a website in 2022 is a much more accessible proposition than it was even 5 years ago. The options available to build simple through to complex sites are massive and for many, it is about how to choose the right tools for the job rather than having to employ a large army of expensive developers.

With the rise of no-code platforms, the availability of experts to help you has vastly improved and it will cost a fraction of what it might have 5 years ago as well. For the purposes of this article, we will assume you already have a killer idea or know what you need your website to do or achieve. We will focus on what happens next.

We take you through in detail the steps you should follow as you build your website, but if you are struggling for time to read all the detail, here is the top-level version.

  1. Choose your platform - find one that will deliver on your requirements and has a proven history in your field
  2. Get resources together - getting the right experts to support your development is key
  3. Select a secure hosting company and choose a good domain name. Many companies will allow you to do both under one contract
  4. Write out your requirements and try to stick to them. Focus will speed up the process
  5. Choose a theme, build the pages and make it all look good
  6. Make it live!

You are now ready to invite the world to visit your site, continue reading to go through a simple step by step process.


Choose Your Platform


You could have a custom-built platform, built from scratch by a team of expensive developers. For the purposes of this article let’s assume you are looking at a more cost-effective approach, so will be selecting a platform (or CMS) that will be used to build your site. The days of needing to understand HTML to build a website are long gone.

Why use one of these platforms? 

  1. They come pre-packed with themes and templates that allow you to get a massive headstart on building your website. Need a landing page template? Covered. eCommerce site with basket functionality? Not a problem
  2. They all come with an app marketplace to add extra functionality you might need, including connecting to other systems you already have in place. For example, if you are already a Mailchimp customer, you can connect that automatically to your website
  3. Drag and drop interface. The platform will allow you to drag the different images or content blocks to where you need them, letting you see how they will look
  4. Responsive. Most platforms will have responsive functionality built in and allow you to test what your site looks like on mobile, tablet and desktop. Then you can quickly adjust accordingly


What Am I Looking For?


The number of platforms available is immense. When it comes to selecting the right one for you, think about these elements and pick the platform that ticks the right boxes for your idea

  • Review the testimonials and use cases that the platform showcases. Look for ones that talk about your sector or type of website. You might find ones that specialise in Fintech. Others will be experts in landing pages. Some might be better for creators looking to promote their services.
  • Have a review of the plug-ins you can add to the website. Ensure it covers the features you need. Do you need it to connect with an external database you use? Is there an API for the social channels you use? Do you use a remarketing tool that needs to work with your website?
  • What support does it come with? This is a critical question for some, whilst others have more confidence in their ability to build the site without needing much support
  • Check out the different interfaces and see which works best for you. Most have free trials to let you test out how it works
  • Review the themes and templates that it comes with. Ensure it comes with ones that you feel will fit your vision for your website


Some Good Example Platforms


With all this in mind, what are some of the best platforms available if you are looking to build a website?

Squarespace - One of the biggest names on the market, you could build a simple website without the need for writing a line of code yourself. As you grow in size and your requirements become more complex then you might find you need to start playing with the code a little to make changes and at this point need a developer to support you.

It is stacked with different templates to choose from, so you’ll find one that fits your style and even then it is very simple to change colours and fonts across the board to make it personal to you and be sure you won’t come across another site like yours

Weebly - Like most on this list, you can build an entire website without needing to write a line of code, although as you look to enhance your site it is certainly possible to access the code when more complexity is required.

It has a simple to use drag and drop tool that might lack some of the features of the more powerful tools, but you’ll still be able to create an attractive website and even add some eCommerce features if needed. It also offers a free version, although most will want to upgrade so they get a custom domain name.

Wix - A nice combination of capabilities and ease of use, Wix allows you to add a lot of additional features you will need as you evolve, from contact forms to booking functionality, as well as things like chatbots.

The level of features available can make it overwhelming for some and if you are just looking for a couple of simple pages then it might be more than you need.

Webflow - A leading no-code platform that can enable you to build apps but its biggest strength is the website builder. Powered by AWS, its hosting capabilities are obviously strong and it comes packed with features - in fact, for some, it has too many and does take longer to master than most on this list. 

For this reason, it is often a platform that people use developers to help with but this will deliver you a high-end website and webflow experts are much cheaper than traditional developers!

WordPress - No list of website builders is complete without the most popular platform in the world. A lot of WordPress sites are built using custom code but it is possible to build a site without any code.

A popular option for creators and bloggers in particular, it has a large set of plug-ins and more themes than any other platform, close to 10,000 at the last count!


eCommerce Needs?


If your website is focused on an eCommerce proposition, then you might want to look at specialist website builders or a plug-in to your chosen platform.

Shopify - Now the most popular website builder for shops, it comes with most of the bells and whistles you will want as an eCommerce business, but you’ll pay extra for the privilege and it can be a little more complex to use than some of the simpler no-code platforms, plus it relies on adding apps more than others.

WooCommerce - An eCommerce platform that turns your basic WordPress site into an eCommerce store. Like WordPress it will have a number of themes you can choose from, the premium ones are normally safer to choose because they have good support. The functionality it provides is very good but you might need a good WordPress developer to make the most of it.

Business Squarespace - Less a platform and really a subscription for your existing Squarespace website to make it an eCommerce store. It comes with a lot of good features out of the box but cannot compete with the app library on Shopify and the flexibility of WooCommerce.




Plan Your Resource


If you are simply building a website to host some information about your company with a couple of pages and little functionality, then you can probably use one of those website builders and build it yourself. If you are looking at a more complex site, then you have a few other options available to you.

Independent Contractor


Finding and utilising a contractor can be a very cost-effective route. Look for contractors who are experts in your platform of choice, they will know the tricks and tips within the platform that will help make sure the website fits your needs.

The main danger with using single contractors like this is availability and the vagaries of things like illness, holidays and getting distracted on other projects.

Small Development Agency


They might cost a little more, but should be more reliable than an individual contractor who has no backup and might end up delivering late, which could cost you in other ways, like lost revenues.

If you do look at a small agency, you should see if they have experience in your niche and avoid general agencies that offer lots of different marketing services as this would indicate they are not specialists in web development.

Developer Marketplace


With platforms like WeLoveNoCode you can select a group of experts and build a team perfect for your project.

Rather than relying on the agency to have all the skills that you need or a freelancer to be able to manage the volume of work required, you can select from the large selection of no-code experts and build your own web development team to fit your requirements but without having to hire them permanently.



If you are looking for support to get your website off the ground, then we have access to experts in every website builder, call us for a free consultation and we’ll help make your vision come to life in a matter of weeks for the fraction of the cost of traditional web agencies.



Hosting


Your site will need to be hosted and a reliable and secure platform is very important for a good user experience. The good news is that some website builders come with the option to host your website. At a basic level that will probably be a free option but as your requirements increase (for example the expected volume of traffic) then you will need to pay more.

There are plenty of dedicated hosting platforms that offer good packages that won’t cost too much. At the really cheap end, you could go with a shared server option that starts from as little as $2 a month but you are risking performance as you are sharing resources with other sites. 

Dedicated packages start around $100 but come with the security that your site won’t slow down because of traffic increases elsewhere.

Check that they are employing the right level of security, that backups are made and a simple process for putting in place an SSL is in place. Ensure they have a good support system so you can get hold of them quickly if you incur problems. 

Domain Name


Regardless of where you plan to register the name (Many hosting companies will do that as part of their service), selecting a good one is more important than most realise. There are a few simple tips to follow

  • Keep it simple. It should be easy to spell and not use made-up words
  • Keep it short. Fewer words mean it is easier to remember
  • Avoid hyphens and numbers, they make it harder to get right
  • Make it memorable. This is a harder one but try and think of something catchy
  • Memorable doesn’t mean so abstract people cannot associate it with what you do. It worked for Google and Yahoo, but they probably had larger branding budgets than most start-ups!
  • Do your research, check availability, the extensions you can get and the prices


Specify Your Requirements


Before you build your site it is important to have a plan of the pages you will need and the main functionality you want for each one. You won’t need all the detail (images, content etc…) just what you want to appear on the pages.

You could use a simple online tool to create a wireframe of the page or keep it much simpler and write out the requirements in a Google doc. How you document your requirements will partly depend on how you intend to build the website. If you are using a freelancer or agency, they might have a system they ask you to use.

By writing out the requirements before you jump into the platform and start building, you are able to think properly about what you actually need and not get distracted by the multiple amounts of options that will be available, many of which you won’t need. A requirements document or wireframe gives you focus at the start.


Make It Look Good


You’ve picked your website builder, you know what pages you need and what’s on them, now it's time to make it look awesome. This is where themes come to the fore. They are built on top of the basic CMS that your builder has and customised to look and work uniquely. Most platforms have a lot to choose from and generally, they are categorised to make searching easier.

As a rule, the ones with more capabilities built-in and the better-looking ones will cost more. If you don’t have a massive support team yourself then it's a good idea to find a well-specified theme that fits your ideas as closely as possible, minimising the additional work you will need to do.

Again, if you’ve chosen to use contractors to support you on the website development, then they will be able to advise on how much extra work will be needed based on the themes you prefer.

Once your theme is installed, you can update it with your color palette and fonts of choice, then all future templates and development will conform to what you need without constant changes being needed.

You are now ready to construct your pages using the visual editors that come with the platforms, select images and add in content and functionality like sign up forms or even a basket process. 

One tip is don’t just rely on the images that come within your website builder. Most will have a good selection but there are great free websites full of images, try out sites like Unsplash or Pixabay to find some slightly different images to make it stand out.


Hopefully, you are now ready to launch your new website and begin the difficult task of marketing it and driving traffic. As people start to arrive, always remember that a website should be constantly evolving, so ensure you have a plan for continual improvement and that you are checking results regularly.


If you are looking for support to get your website off the ground, then we have access to experts in every website builder, call us for a free consultation and we’ll help make your vision come to life in a matter of weeks for the fraction of the cost of traditional web agencies.