Official FAQ
Official FAQ Inquisitor at SavvySME

Web Development

What are the best website platforms for dummies to develop a simple site?

Which popular platforms would you recommend creating a website on? Share the pros and cons of each platform. 

Top voted answer
Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley Owner at

Top 10% Web Development

OK so where to begin?! 
I'm going to assume that you're serious about development and tell you what I use and why.
Firstly, I use Wordpress (WP) which accounts for some +30% of all websites as the basic platform.  It's superbly supported and updated and it's free. There are thousands and thousands of free software plugins to go with it. You could build a good solid professional site on WP and not pay a cent for the software.

BUT you must think of WP as a skeleton - it needs flesh and that flesh is provided by themes, which used to be known as 'skins'. Themes provide a host of appearence options and technical facilities on top of WP. Many are free, but even thr specialized ones for real-estate sites etc are a very reasonable price - around $675 max and usually less.

Do you need code for this? No - but I'll tell you what - knowing a little CSS to get around some finicky parts of any theme can save you a lot of time and heartache. So learn some css - take your time and do it gradually as you build your sites.

Next, you need other WP plugins for payments processors, and a host of othr functions - mostly free.

Finally and very importantly, you need a good editor that dorsn't produce bloated code. the Wp editor is basic - even the new one. A good visual editor will work together with your theme to make beautiful pages that load fast without writing code. Again though, a little CS capability can save your life!

I recommend Thrive Architect and Elmentor as editors. you will have a learning curve but nothing like wiring code!
Sites buut ith these technologies can be easily maintained by their owners.

Finally and formest! If you're going to do this, you need to learn about the back-end at the host - CPanel usually. this is where you install WP, set up emails check problems. This si where you actally begin.

You asked about alternatives. I am aware of Wix but the sites i've seen so far have not impressed me. there are probably others. usuallly they claim to be free, but as soon as you need to do serious things, charged-addons become needed.

Good luck and hope tgat helps you a bit.

Terry Chadban

Terry Chadban , Founder/Manager at Port Macquarie Online Marketing

Just following up Keith's excellent answer, some alternatives to Wordpress are Wix, Weebly, Shopify, Squarespace, which as Keith mention are mostly free to start with but quickly start costing you big money as soon as you need something more than the standard website which looks just like thousands of others. Others more similar to Wordpress are Joomla and Drupal, but they are too technical for beginners to use, so stick with Wordpress, use a free theme like Astra or Hello, and the free version of Elementor page builder to get you started. Now here is the 'secret sauce' -- if you go with Astra theme and Elementor, there is a free plugin called 'Astra Starter Sites' which currently has around 100 website template pages for all sorts of businesses, from home pages to Contact Us pages to About Us pages, so it really is [1] install Wordpress from your Cpanel, [2] Log in to your Wordpress dashboard, [3] install Elementor and Astra Starter Sites plugins, [4] install Astra theme, [5] go to Astra Starter Sites link in your dashboard and select the pages you need. DONE! And all free, except for your website hosting, which you need to pay anyway, and no coding, just clicking on buttons which are all pretty self-explanatory. Go for it, you won't be sorry.
User
Becky Downey

Becky Downey Owner at

I have used a few but probably the market leader, WordPress. There are so many videos and so much help available. Plus you can purchase themes like Divi which make editing very easy. WYSIWYG style - click in page, and a whole library of ready-made layouts.
 

User
Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley Owner at

Top 10% Web Development

Sorry - that 675 is a typo - it should read 50-70! Apologies.

User
Jennifer Lancaster

Jennifer Lancaster Director at

I have set up three websites on Wordpress, which I think is the most flexible and easier to do activities to rank better in search. However, if your timeline for learning is shorter, I managed to learn SquareSpace and set up a new website on it for an accountant in the space of a month (1 short day a week). Because it came self-hosted (also great value) there was no hassles with setting up a hosting solution.  The con of SquareSpace as I saw it, was sometimes it seemed nigh on impossible to get the gaps and photo galleries how you like it. If you don't drop the photo in the exact right place, it also goes to hell in a handbasket. Video tutorials and speedy support got me out of the pickle. 

User
User
Loading