Really Good Website Designs For Free – A Step-By-Step Guide
A while ago, we were fortunate enough to interview the talented Heather Stewart, owner of Dazzling Designs. Since then, we’ve been keeping an eye out for new work she’s created and were glad to discover a whole section of her portfolio devoted to really good website designs for free.
Heather has created a number of striking, unique websites for brands like Mott MacLeman and Squarespace. She also offers premium design services for those who can afford them.
Today, we’re delighted to bring you a comprehensive guide to creating your own stunning website for free using the powerful tools available from Wix and Squarespace. Get started on your journey to build the best possible website for free today by reading on.
Create a Budget
Heather advises aspiring website creators to develop a budget and stick to it. You don’t want to spend a fortune on unexpected expenses, like graphic designers or developers whose fees vary widely depending on the complexity of the project.
As a ballpark figure, you can expect to pay around £10,000 for a basic site set up using the Big Noodle website builder. It’s a good idea to research and compare costs with other professional website builders and hosting providers to get the best price.
Use Free Tools To Build Your Website
As we’ve established, Heather has a passion for creating wonderful websites and was kind enough to share her expertise and unlock her entire portfolio for us. One of the first things you’ll notice about the sites is their striking design. They’re clean, uncluttered, and look like they could be designed by any professional.
The best part is the use of free tools. With Big Noodle, you don’t need to worry about cost. It comes with a free basic account and you can upgrade to a premium one for just £3.95 per month. You can try it out for free for 14 days and then decide if you want to keep or cancel your subscription.
The best thing about Big Noodle is its simplicity and intuitiveness. You don’t need to be a coding genius to build a website with it. Once you’ve set up your domain, created a basic blog post, and started adding content, you can start promoting your site and eventually monetising it.
What Platform (Website Builder) Do I Need?
When it comes to platform, you don’t necessarily need a web-based solution. You can create a fully functional website using a desktop-based program like Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. It’s a great option for those who want to publish a large number of articles or have a complex content structure that could benefit from the extra level of control provided by a web-based platform.
However, if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to publish a single blog post, spreadsheet or presentation, then the simplicity of the desktop-based platforms is not for you. In this case, a web-based solution is your best bet.
What CMS (Content Management System) Should I Use?
CMS stands for Content Management System. It’s essentially a platform that allows you to add, edit, and remove content easily and quickly without the need for technical skills. The two most widely used and loved CMSs are WordPress and Joomla!.
WordPress is the most popular CMS available with over 125 million active monthly users worldwide. It’s a versatile, robust solution with a large number of add-ons and plugins that can enhance almost any website.
From blogs to e-commerce stores, galleries, and event calendars, there’s a WordPress template that will help you build your ideal website. However, if you don’t want to use WordPress, you can also build a functional website quickly and easily with Joomla!.
Joomla! is a free and open-source CMS that can be downloaded and installed on your computer. Once installed, you can start typing posts into the “content” section of your site. It has a visual editor that makes creating content easy and fun. Like WordPress, Joomla! has a large number of extensions and plugins that can be used to further customise your site. It also provides a large number of pre-made templates that you can use to get started.
In terms of functionality and user experience, neither WordPress nor Joomla! are far behind the most popular, commercialised CMSs like Magento and DNN. However, their popularity makes them the perfect choice for a freelance designer or start-up seeking a quick and easy solution.
Where Do I Publish My Content?
The next thing you’ll want to do is decide where you’ll publish your content to start with. You have a number of options including, blog platforms like WordPress, Joomla!, and Medium; online magazines like Quartz and The New York Times Magazine; and social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.
Deciding which platform is the best for you depends on your target audience and intended use of the website. If your audience is mainly based in the UK, then you can use UK-based platforms like WordPress or Joomla!.
If, however, your audience is global and you want to publish content across multiple continents, then you should look into a platform like Medium that provides you with the tools to do so. It’s a great solution for those who want to keep their audience across multiple platforms (e.g. blogs, social media, and online magazines).
How Do I Monetise My Website?
Once you’ve got your website designed and built, you’ll want to start thinking about how you can monetise it. There are a number of options including, advertising, affiliate marketing, and subscription fees.
Advertising is, in many ways, the simplest option. You’ll simply need to decide where you’ll place ads and how much you’re willing to spend on ads per day. It’s a common misconception that you have to choose between advertising and monetising your site. You can use both strategies and, in some instances, make more money than you would if you opted out of the adverts.
You could charge for access to your content with a membership site. Depending on your target audience and intended use of the site, you can use a tool like Stripe to set up a membership platform where people can pay to access your content.
A traditional revenue model used by many of the big media companies is affiliate marketing. This is when you recommend a product or service that you’ve been paid to promote and when someone clicks (or makes a purchase) from that recommendation, you earn a commission.
You can use an affiliate network like Commission Junction to connect you with merchants paying you to promote their products. When someone clicks on a link or makes a purchase after being presented with a recommendation, you’ll earn a small commission. The amount you earn depends on the affiliate partnership you negotiate with the merchant.
Another way to monetise your site is to run subscription-based services. People will pay you to provide access to extra content or information. For example, you can create a “premium” newsletter where people can subscribe and get a weekly update on the latest news, events, and analysis from around the globe.
Creating a functional website from scratch using only free tools is an amazing achievement. More and more people are learning how to do this because it’s so much easier than they thought. With the right mindset, an innovative idea, and a bit of skill, anyone can build a strong foundation for their business.