Just How easy is it to Build a Website online? 

When I started my first business, I had never built a website. Yes, I was good with computers, but never sat down to try to build a site before. I did TONS of research which helped me pick the perfect website builder software to build my website business online. It was easy! I’ll show you how!

It’s easy! Here is a step by step guide to launching a basic website in a weekend!

Coding NOT Required

Back in the day, only website coders could build a website online, business. Now, even if you have zero website building experience, you can do it too!

There are options out there and which one you should choose really depends upon how complex your site is today and how much you think it will need to change for tomorrow.  Let’s take a look:

  • Just need a very “simple” site with just a few pages with the ONLY goal of informing people about your business and providing contact information (click to call phone numbers, contact us forms, etc)? You can use any web page builder for this. Companies like Wix for example, will more than do the trick. just pay to get the upgraded version so your site doesn’t say “Wix” at the bottom (less professional). Your web hosting company might even have its own web page builder you can use as well. If you go this route, just be sure you don’t think you will need a lot more from your site one day as typically these we page builders are more limited. Plus, make sure you have contemplated the future growth of your business as typically, these types of sites are not transferrable.
  • If you think you may need more custom features or even to transact e-commerce on your website in the future, then it is best to pick a Word Press web page builder with more depth and breadth than those mentioned above. My favorite is Elementor. There is a free version as well as a “Pro” version. The Pro version is MORE than worth the cost as it gives you a ton more widgets (these are the things that make website building EASY!). Need an image somewhere? Drop an image widget in that spot. Need a video? Drop a video widget in that spot. widgets are your best friends when building a website, so my advice is to go for the PRO version and get all possible widgets to make your lief easier and expedite your website build.

Build a Website online: Step by Step 

  1. Choose your domain name (you can go to Network Solutions to see if it is available and buy it, or even buy it directly from your web host).
  2. Sign up for website hosting. I like BlueHost (HostGator, SiteGround and A2 are great too)! To start, a low or middle tier “shared” WordPress hosting plan should suffice (unless you are dealing with large amounts of personal customer data and need significant security, requiring a dedicated server.. or you are doing major e-commerce on your site, in which you may need to go with a specific e-commerce plan). See my post on Choosing a Hosting Plan if you are unsure.

Bluehost.com Web Hosting $3.95 

  1. With your web hosting account is established, now you can install WordPress. Many web hosting companies, like BlueHost and SiteGround, offer WordPress as pat of their set-up process which makes it super easy, but if yours doesn’t, you can search for it and install from your web host’s account management panel. 
  2. With WordPress installed, next up, choose and activate your WordPress theme. There are a LOT of themes to choose from. Pay particular attention to where the logo is and how the navigation menu appears on each theme as this will differ.  Don’t worry about colors or font at this point or even the images in the theme, you can change all of those later. You can also change your theme later, but you want to make sure that you decide on a theme you love before you build your site.
  3. Now, take a good look at your WordPress dashboard. This is the “back-end” of your website and where you add pages and posts and manage everything related to your site. Familiarize yourself with it as you will see this view a lot.
  4. Next up, it’s time to start customizing the theme that you chose for YOUR business. You are beginning to build your website online!  This is where you can change the colors and fonts in your theme. You can customize your theme by clicking on “appearance” and then “customize”. Change your colors, font, add your social media buttons, button style and more. Your website will use these as your “default” selections as you design.
  5. Next up, it’s time to add content to your site. To do this, I suggest installing the “Elementor” plugin. It is the best solution I have found that will give you the ease to build your site today and the flexibility for it to grow with your business. It is easier than the WordPress Guttenburg editor.
    • Choosing a web page builder matters as you only want to use one on your site. So look on the left side of your dashboard for “plugins”, search “Elementor” and download it (either the free or the Pro version).  While I love free things, the PRO version is actually well worth it as it give you more widgets which makes building your website online that much easier. 
  6. Start with an “about us” page. If your theme didn’t include one, go ahead and add a new page (or post- you can do either). Click on “edit with Elementor” and begin to write the copy that describes your business. Don’t forget to click to “publish” the page when you are done. Congratulations! You just pushed your first page in your journey to build a website online! Don’t worry, if you publish a page and want to make edits, just go ahead and make the changes and click”publish” again. Your new page is now live on the internet!
    • Add images with the image widget
    • Change colors and font size from the default if you wish
  7. Continue to add a page for each subject area. Don’t forget to click “publish” when you are done. You won’t be able to see the new pages online until they are published.  Some example pages:
    1. Home page- This page should welcome your visitors and give an overview of your products/services and why they should come see you
    2. About us page- This should tell your customers why they should shop with you (your experience, etc) 
    3. Contact us page- This tells your customers HOW they get a hold of you. It’s a great idea to include a form with an Elementor form widget
    4. Product page(s)- have a page for each product category
    5. Privacy Page- Everyone has one of these. It should be your legal page (look at other sites for ideas if you don’t have one)
    6. There are other pages you can add like a “resource” page for videos, “Reviews” page for testimonials and more. It is really up to you how many pages you want, You can start with a few and more as your business grows. 
  8. Elementor has a ton of great “how-to” videos. Check them out on the Elementor site. Once you figure out the colors to the tabs and the widgets available, site building will be a breeze. The 1st page, like any new thing, will take you longer… and after that you will have it down to a science, you will be building pages like a pro.  I’ll do a specific post on working with Elementor soon to break down some of the tricks that I have learned! 

build a website online in a weekend

On Saturday, focus on steps 1-5 so that you are ready to actually build your site the next day. Then with Elementor,  publish a home page, about us page and a contact us page. These are the core pages of a website. If a customer were to visit your site, they would know WHAT you offer, WHY you offer it and HOW to get a hold of you to get it. This is the basic foundation of a site!  Going forward, you can choose to add additional pages (as you wish) to further explain your products to create a more robust site. 

Have faith that YOU can do this! Give it a shot and let me know how you do!

Divi Website Builder

Divi can be confusing. Is it a WordPress Theme? Is it a WordPress page builder? The answer is it is both! It is purchased as an all-in-one megatheme product most of the time. While you can separately use the Divi page builder with a non-Divi theme, we recommend that if you are going to use Divi builder… use the integrated theme too. Read on to find out why.

Divi is a great all-in-one option for someone who has some web building experience and wants to expedite the build of their site(s).

Tell Me About Divi

Divi, by Elegant Themes, is very popular and for good reason as there is lots to love about it. It is used on WordPress websites to both build the actual pages using the Divi Builder and leverage the integrated theme elements that are part of the Divi theme. It has a very nice visual editor so that you are able to drag and drop elements and “see” as you build each page. 

Divi is “fairly” beginner friendly, but has the ability for custom code adaptions for those who are more advanced. Divi claims that they are targeting Freelancers, Agencies, as well as website owners. Seems to be anyone who would want a website! 

And because the theme and page builder are designed specifically for one another, the page builder is fast. There is no waiting for the page builder to conjure up the visual for the change you just made, it’s speedy! 

what about costs?

Let’s talk money. Unlike some other page builders on the market, Divi page builder is not free. The cost of the all-in-one page builder and theme solution is $89/month for as long as you use it, or you can buy it for a one-time fee of $249. The $249 fee is for your lifetime use, so if you think Divi is for you and your website is going to be here for the long haul, go with the $249 and save yourself significant money.

While there is no “free” version of Divi, they do have a 30 day money back guarantee, so if you give it a shot and just can’t warm up to it, fear not, they have a no-risk trial period.

Plus, you can use the Divi builder on multiple sites, so the pricing is really not bad at all for a comprehensive page builder forever, on any site you ever build.

Give me the high points

There is a lot that I really like about Divi. Let’s break it down:

  • Since the Divi theme and page builder are an all-in-one package, they work together beautifully! This is not a “glitchy” experience. The tools works as it was designed to because it was designed specifically to work together. This isn’t always the case when you combine a separate theme with a separate page builder (although the most popular themes are always tested with the page builders).
  • Divi expedited your page building by providing page layouts to choose from. There really is no need to start a page from the ground up. Choose a layout that fits your needs and get started.

  • There are some great styling features.
    • Like other page builders, you can add cool shape dividers that automatically add design elements to a page. Plus Divi keeps track of the colors that you use in your site and keeps them front and center for you to use again.
    • There are a number of filters to choose from. These filters are similar to things that you might see on your phone (e.g. sepia color).  it’s just another way that makes your website best match the brand tone that you want to portray.
    • There is also text modifications as well. Of course you can choose your font, but with a few simple clicks of a button you can add more interesting shadowing and text styles. These are particularly fun when it comes to your site headings.
    • Divi makes adding animation super easy. While you don’t want to overload your site with moving objects, sometimes using animation is a way to capture the attention of the person looking at your site in a cool way (e.g. having a chart build in front of your eyes or an image suddenly appear on the screen).
  •  Another feature that I love about Divi is the ability to copy a page that you already designed and absolutely love to another page so you don’t need to start from scratch. Other page builders make this harder than necessary. This comes in super handy if you want to use the same layout/design for each of the services that you offer. Just simply start the new page by copying the one you already did and change the text.

  • Lastly, if you have the need for other language support, Divi has got it in spades. Last count, they had 32 languages to choose from.

What would i change about it?

Not everything is perfect right? There area few things that I would change if I held a magic wand:

  • At first, it’s can be confusing. Like all page builders, you will see icons for section, rows, columns and content blocks. However, on Divi it’s almost like there are too many icons and dots and you have to figure out which will change which element. It takes a bit to get used to.  As an example, check out these pictures. The top image is if you are building a page from scratch and adding rows, sections and more. The image underneath is what you see on the bottom of the screen (it expands to this after clicking the circle with 3 little dots) and gives you access to responsive views, importing layouts and page settings. That’s a lot of dots and icons to get used to!

  • When you want to start a page, you choose a pre-designed layout (determines how many columns you might want in the page as an example). The layout is presented as a blocked out graphic and you don’t get to see what it will look like on your page until you choose it.  Some other page builders have a better visualization at the layout stage. 
  • Divi has pre-built forms which is really great. The tool is very simple to select them. Unfortunately, as it isn’t a full-fledged form plugin, it really just works for simple contact us forms. This isn’t a huge deal as there are many free form plugins, like gravity forms as an example.
  • Divi has a decent selection of elements. Their elements are the equivalent of widgets in other tools. They can be dragged into your page and immediately the element appears. For example, you can drag a “form element” onto your page. Then you choose which form you want in that spot and magically, the form appears.  Divi has about 50 of these, while some other builders like Elementor have 90.
  • Lastly, there are certain shortcodes that Divi uses that just make sense to the Divi page builder. So if in the future you decide to move your site, then you may have some re-work on the short codes so that your new page builder deploys accurately. This is a negative, however, to be be honest, this is true of some other page builders out there too.

more than just a page builder and a theme

For the $89/month (or $249 lifetime) fee, you get the the Divi theme and page builder all-in-one tool, PLUS you get three additional products:

  • Extra:  Extra is Divi’s magazine style theme builder.  Building an online magazine format takes unusual layout and elements and Extra has what you need.
  • Bloom: Bloom is an email opt-in and lead generation plugin. This may sound foreign to you, but you have seen this before. When you are on a website and you see a box that says “subscribe to our newsletter” or “join our email list”.. well, that is many times accomplished with a subscriber plugin like Bloom. 
  • Monarch: Monarch is the Divi social media plugin. This plug in makes it easy to add your social media icons (FaceBook, LinkedIN, etc) to your site and link out to your social media accounts.

do We recommend Divi?

Divi is a great web page builder and theme combo. There are a lot of really great things about it. It is really a nice thing knowing that the theme is going to work 100% perfectly with the page builder.  If you have some web building experience or are someone who picks technical things up quickly, then yes, Divi is a viable option, although there are others on the market too (read my other page builder reviews). If you have never built a site before, then test it for 30 days and determine if it is the right match for you. Many people love this tool once they get used to it.

Elementor Website Builder

Elementor web page builder is a responsive plugin that makes building WordPress websites a breeze; no code is needed AT ALL. It comes in free and Pro versions and millions of people use it across the world. We started out with the free version and loved it. We think it is the most robust free web page builder option on the market today. Elementor Pro takes it up a notch and makes it even easier to build your site with more than 50 additional magical widgets (we think they are magical anyway!), WooCommerce functionality and a broader selection of motion effects. 

Elementor is our favorite page builder. It is simple enough to get started and flexible enough to handle your business needs as they get more robust.

BoldGrid Page Builder

BoldGrid is an easy to use WordPress site builder. It uses pre-built blocks to assist each webpage build-out. It is easy enough for 1st timers to use and will expedite any website build.We have used BoldGrid to build several websites, in addition to Elementor and Divi website builders. In a future review, we will compare all three, but for now, let’s just focus on BoldGrid.  We will highlight our thoughts on BoldGrid Premium as that is where most of the functionality is.

BoldGrid is easy to use and its functionality makes it an ideal choice for 1st time website builders.

Tell me about costs

The premium version comes free when you get web hosting at certain companies (e.g. InMotion Hosting), but BoldGrid works with all web hosts. If you buy it separately with the post and page builder it costs only $2.50/month!

Ease of Use

If you have never built a WordPress site before and are concerned that you may not be able to do it, BoldGrid may be the perfect web page builder for you! BoldGrid’s building blocks are among the easiest to select and insert into a page. It has controls to edit copy, columns, rows, and sections which gets a little complicated until you figure out which color arrow is going to impact which element. It isn’t hard, but it challenges a tired brain at times. It has enough variety in pages and blocks to build a solid, professional-looking site.  You can customize them any way you would like. However, if you want more advanced site build options for a more complex site, then Elementor or Divi may be a better match.

Blocks and Pages get Dropped Into Place

To choose a block, you simply click the “+”, and then a bank of available pre-built blocks appears. You simply drag and drop into your page where you would like the block placed. Then you can edit the dummy text, numbers, images, and colors as you wish and voila, the next section of your webpage is complete. Here are some examples of pre-built “pricing” blocks below. This type of block would be used if you have a product or service that had tiered pricing.

Of course, BoldGrid has text blocks, image blocks, and more and they are all drag and drop into the page.  BoldGrid also passes the “easy test” when it comes to inserting images that you upload. They give you options for slides, galleries, and single images of course. A website novice can use the tools as long as they understand uploading images. 

What about widgets

The BoldGrid web page builderhas a number of widgets that make life easier as well. Inserting calendars, blog posts (with images!), RSS feeds, recent comments, and more are all easily done at the click of the mouse. For those wondering what a widget is in this context.. well you can click an icon called “title” and BodlGrid will drop the title on your page in the colors that you specified for your site. Or click an icon called “map” and then with zero coding required, a map shows up on your contact us page. They are magical and will reduce the time it takes you to build your site significantly.

Themes and Plugins

If you need an outside plugin, then like other web page builders, sometimes the plugin may not work 100% as intended. The good news is that usually there will be a plugin that will work just fine with BoldGrid, but you may need to try a couple to find the magic one. Also, the themes tested with BoldGrid are not as plentiful as you may find with other WordPress site builders, however, there are plenty of themes to choose from and since you can customize it all, it should not hold you back.

Extra Features

The premium version of BoldGrid comes with some great backup features in a tool called Total Upkeep. You can schedule your backups to occur at certain times or back up on demand. Plus, when you run a backup, it allows you to check your site to make sure nothing glitched in the process (that happens on very rare occasions with backup tools). If you see something that went awry, you get to “rollback” the site to pre-backup state. This is great, however, make sure you turn off the automatic rollbacks!  You can easily get burned if it is left on and it automatically rolls back to an earlier version and you don’t notice. Make sure you turn off the “automatic rollback” feature! If you don’t any recent changes will be lost.

Why a WordPress Site Builder?

We’re big fans of WordPress sites vs non-WordPress sites. There are simply more plugins available.  Plus, WordPress sites can be transferred from web host to web host (if needed) where others may not be able to (e.g. Wix).  

The Bottom Line

BoldGrid is a great WYSIWYG web page builder for those just starting out building websites or those who need a simple WordPress website. There is no coding required and it truly is plug and play. It is a great way to get a WordPress website up and running quickly. Plus, it has enough variety to give you a very cool, professional site.  Give WordPress + BoldGrid a shot to get up and running quickly.