Creating a website with no programming skills
A website seems like it should be the simplest thing in the world to create. At the most basic level, it is just a collection of text and images that pass some form of information on. What could be simpler?
When you consider domain names, hosting, programming and markup languages, bandwidth, email, marketing, and design, you’ll probably be able to identify a lot of things that are much simpler!
However, there is an easy way to create a website – using a platform someone else has built. This can be as straightforward as using a drag and drop interface hosted by a large company, or more complicated – for example, running a content management system on your own hosting. Whichever way you choose to do it, you’ll be able to get your website online without touching a line of code.
Content Management Systems (self-hosted)
If you are fairly experienced in the technical side of things, and just fall short at programming, a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or something similar might be suitable. You’ll still be required to sort out things like domain names and hosting, but most hosting packages nowadays include a one-button installation of WordPress or Joomla as standard. You type in your site name, your email address, and click the button – moments later, the software is up and running.
By logging in through a hidden address, you can change the layout of the site with themes, add pages and posts, and install plugins to enhance the functionality of the site.
You can have a simple site up and running within 30 minutes and won’t have had to touch a single line of code.
There are two versions of WordPress. The self hosted variant (wordpress.org) has to be installed and maintained by the website creator, as above. The alternative is to sign up at wordpress.com, which enables you to get a free basic WordPress blog.
This is more limited than self-hosted options, and if you want to use your own domain name, it costs extra. If you want more control and the ability to use your own plugins and use any theme you want (rather than a small curated list), you need to use the self-hosted version.
There is less to worry about with hosting and speed, as wordpress.com is quite nicely optimized, but as noted the options for expansion are limited.
It’s great to try out a few ideas, but if you are serious about developing your site further, you might need something with a little more flexibility.
Wix and Weebly
Wix and Weebly are two very similar services that allow you to build your website through a browser using a drag-and-drop interface. There is no coding needed, and your site is entirely hosted by Wix or Weebly. The basic service is free, making it great to experiment with. The downside is that you need to pay extra to use your own domain name, and extra to remove the advertising branding from your pages.
The systems are very easy to use, and their are components you can add that will do just about anything you can imagine. Sites like this are often looked down on by professional coders, but if it gets the job done for you, there’s no need to worry. As far as the end user is concerned, any website is pretty much like any other, and as long as it gets the information delivered as required, there isn’t a problem with it.
Both Wix and Weebly include many basic themes for you to get started with, and customization is very easy. Desktop and mobile versions of your site are handled well, and speed is never an issue as the platforms are optimized for performance.
Squarespace is like the “big brother” of Wix and Weebly. It performs exactly the same tasks in a very similar manner to the other two platforms, but is marketed as much more professional.
Unlike Wix and Weebly, there is not a free option (other than a short trial) so if you want to make use of Squarespace you will need to pay from the get-go.
The themes included with Squarespace are mobile-compatible, and often cleaner with more whitespace than Wix/Weebly themes, but as with everything it is your own customizations that determine whether a site looks professional or not.
Squarespace is used by big companies and home users alike, and so has the power you need to create a truly remarkable website. When choosing which platform you want to use, however, bear in mind that you may not need all that power and that something like Wix may be more suited to your project.
Some hosting providers include “site building” software within their hosting packages. The quality can vary dramatically, from simple one page “sites” that are filled in with your basic information and a couple of paragraphs with links, to full-blown drag and drop systems similar to Weebly and Squarespace. The speed and responsiveness is entirely dependent on the quality of your hosting provider, so while these site builders should not be avoided, it is worth your while to give them a thorough testing before deciding they are the platform you intend to use.
Getting someone else to do the work
There are many websites that allow people to connect in order to perform tasks for each other – a well-known site like this is Fiverr. If you need a logo – someone can design it. If you need a website – someone can build it. There are thousands of different people offering as many services as you can imagine, so you can have your website built for you without any programming skills, as long as you are willing to pay someone to do it for you.
With all the tools available today, getting your website online has never been easier. So what are you waiting for? Get to it!