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In the 90s, no one knew how to scroll down a page.
Mice didn’t have scroll wheels, some people didn’t even have a mouse, and dial-up internet was the best thing since sliced bread.
Today, people know they’re supposed to scroll, and most households have high-speed internet that magically floats through the air.
As a result, websites are more complicated and fancier than they’ve ever been. However, creating your own website is easier and faster than surfing the net circa 1995.
And the best part is… you don’t need to sacrifice weeks of your life DIYing a website from scratch. Nor do you need to sell one of your arms (and maybe a leg) to hire a professional designer/developer.
In fact, you can get started without forking over a single penny.
We’ve created hundreds of websites over the years, and we’ve nailed the process down to a science. Ready to learn how to create a website for free? Let’s get started.
Wix Is the Best Way to Create a Website for Free — Here’s Why
You have a ton of choices when it comes to building a website for your business. But some of them are better (i.e., cheaper, easier, more professional) than others.
However, Wix is our #1 website builder recommendation.
Not only does it offer a user-friendly drag and drop interface, but you also get access to hundreds of free design templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
You can also take advantage of other tools, including things like:
- Photo galleries
- E-commerce tools
- Apps to add functionality
- Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence)
- And powerful analytics
Wix websites are also optimized for small screens. Which… is critical because half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
Whether you’re starting a side gig or a new business, your time is valuable. And Wix empowers you to get your website up and running in just a few clicks with no coding or design expertise required.
Step 1: Create a Wix Account
The first step is to create a Wix account. So, head to the homepage and click “Get Started”.
This takes you to a signup page where you can enter your email address and create a password. You can also sign in with Google or Facebook if you prefer.
Next, you have the option to answer some questions about what kind of site you’re creating. These questions help Wix understand the type of website you’re after.
You can skip the questions if you want to, but it’s a good idea to let Wix do as much of the hard work as possible.
For example, Wix asks what you’re creating the website for:
They also ask if you’ve created a site before, or if this is your first time building a website. Depending on your answers, Wix tailors the next questions to your needs:
- Are you creating a site for a restaurant?
- Or maybe you want your blog to be the focus of your site?
- Is the primary purpose of your site to sell clothing?
- Or photography services?
- Or dog training classes?
Wix presents various results depending on how you answer.
If you get results that don’t quite fit what you’re looking for, no worries. Just click “back” at the bottom of the screen to change your answers.
When you’re done, you have two options: let Wix ADI make a site for you, or build the site on your own by using the Wix Editor.
Let’s explore these further.
Option 1: Let Wix ADI Build a Site for You
With Wix ADI, you rely on “artificial design intelligence” to put together a site based on a design questionnaire.
Option 2: Use the Wix Editor to Build From Scratch
You can also bypass the ADI system and use the Wix Editor to build a site on your own using its intuitive drag and drop site builder.
This route lets you customize your website from the beginning but it takes longer and you have to do everything on your own. However, with the ADI builder, the software does most of the heavy lifting for you.
So, Which Option Should You Choose?
You can create a stunning website in minutes with either option. Really, it comes down to your experience level and time constraints.
Are you truly new to web design? Then ADI is probably the most hassle-free way to go. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll sacrifice a bit of flexibility since the ADI system does everything for you.
If you’re a bit more tech-savvy and you already know the direction you want to go, the Wix Editor offers more creative flexibility.
However, it’s important to remember you don’t need to be a web design wizard to use the Wix Editor. It’s still easy to navigate, even for beginners.
If you choose ADI, follow the prompts on your screen and you’re good to go.
But if you prefer doing things yourself, you can follow along with the rest of this guide to walk through every step along the way.
Step 2: Choose a Template
Since we’re using the Wix Editor, the next step is to click “choose a template.” This is the fun part because you can search through Wix’s library of free ready-to-go templates to find the perfect match.
“Template” is a bit of a misnomer, though. Wix gives you powerful tools to customize just about anything you find within their templates.
Love the template layout but dislike the background color? No problem. You can change it to anything you wish, including patterns, photos, or even video.
Have you heart set on a particular template but you want to add a blog? You can do this and a lot more when you get to the customization step.
For now, concentrate on the general layout and overall look. Think of this step like the frame of a house. Once you have a basic design you like, you can add your own wall colors, floor finishes, and decor.
Far from cookie-cutter or uninspired, your website can end up looking as unique as you want it to.
Furthermore, you can narrow your template search based on the type of business you’re launching. Or you can use the search bar to find templates specific to your needs.
Take time to explore a few different design options that might work for your business. And remember, you can customize everything later on.
Once you find a template you like, click “view” to see it in action as a live website, or “edit” to add it to your website.
Once you make a decision, you’re ready for step three.
Step 3: Edit Your Template
Once you select “edit” Wix will take you to a new page where you can make changes to your template of choice. This is your opportunity to make the template your own using the drag and drop design tools on the left side of the page.
This is also where the real fun begins. The main editing menu will always be on the left side of the Editor screen. This is where you can make big changes like adding a new page or a blog.
However, you can also click on individual elements to make changes. For example, if you click on the image of the ice cream cone (or whatever image appears on your template of choice), Wix will prompt you to change it.
In other words, you can customize as much or as little as you want. The user-friendly Wix Editor puts you in the driver’s seat — and makes your journey easy by giving you clear directions and guidance.
Some basic changes you’ll want to make include changing the business address and hours. To make changes like this, find the placeholder text in the template and click on it. This will make an orange text editor box appear. Making changes is as simple as clicking inside the editor box and typing the correct address.
You’ll also want to add things like your business’s social links. To do this, just find the social menu on the template and click it. This pulls up a menu where you can add your own social links and change the settings if you desire.
Take your time to play with the editing options. You can modify the font size, change words to bold or italics, or choose a different font altogether.
You can also change the images. If you’re not quite thrilled with a placeholder image, just click on it and swap it out for an image that works better for your site. This can be a photo you took, a free image from a royalty-free site, or a substitute image from Wix’s library.
Some images are free, while others have various price points. Paid images have a little dollar-sign logo in the corner, so you can easily tell which images are free and which ones are paid.
In addition to images, you can also change the background, add pages to the main menu, and change the look of the menu. These tools are located on the left side of the template page, and they make editing and customizing your template incredibly easy.
Step 4: Add Pages
Do you want your site to have a blog? What about a contact page or an “about us” page? The Wix Editor makes adding these pages a snap.
To add a new page, go to the main Editor menu on the left side of the screen and click “menus and pages.” This will bring up a new window. At the bottom of that window, click “+ add page.”
This will give you the ability to add a variety of custom pages to your website.
Step 5: Add Apps
Just as Wix has hundreds of pre-made templates to choose from, it also offers hundreds of free and paid apps. These are extra features you can add to your site to make the visitor experience easier and more rewarding.
For example, if you run a restaurant, you probably want to add a menu to your website, along with a way for site visitors to make reservations online.
With Wix apps, you can quickly and easily add both of these features. As with the other customization steps, just go to the editing menu on the left and click “add apps.”
This will pull up an apps menu you can search for special features that fit your business’s needs.
Each app includes features along with reviews from other Wix users. This gives you an opportunity to see what other people think of the app before you add it to your site.
Step 6: Add a Blog
Blogging is an important part of any business’s website. While your business may very well thrive without one, a blog is an easy and free way to advertise, share your expertise, and connect with your customers.
Unconvinced? Consider these business blogging stats:
- Websites that include a blog have 434% more indexed pages compared to sites that don’t have a blog.
- Businesses that blog get 97% more links to their sites compared to non-blogging peers.
- 77% of internet users say they read blogs.
- Businesses that blog get 2x the email traffic compared to those that don’t.
Fortunately, Wix makes it easy to add a blog to your new website. Just go to the main Editor menu on the left and click “start blogging.”
Wix offers some powerful options to make your blog an effective marketing tool. For example, you can link to your Instagram account to display the latest images from your feed. You can also add a blog forum where customers can chat about your products and services.
Blogging for your business is optional, but you risk missing out on new customers and business opportunities if you skip this step. If you’re not quite ready to add a blog to your site, don’t worry. Wix makes it easy to make changes down the road once your site is up and running.
Step 7: Set Up Your Online Store
Depending on what type of business you’re running, you might want to add ecommerce functionality to your website. This is where building your website with Wix pays off.
Wix lets you create an online store in seconds. To add a store to your site, go to the main menu on the left side of the Editor and click the “+” sign. This will give you a new menu with a long list of options. Scroll down until you see “store” and click it.
Next, click “add to site.” Wix will automatically generate a store and all its features, including product galleries, payment methods, and inventory management. Wix will also optimize your store for mobile users.
You can manage your store from the store dashboard, which gives you numerous customization options.
For example, from the “products” tab in the dashboard, you can add new products and relevant information, such as a price, SKU, product description, and how many you have on hand in your inventory.
Step 8: Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users
Mobile is the way of the future, which means your website needs to be easy for mobile users to navigate. Keep in mind that 81 percent of Americans own a smartphone, compared to just 35 percent in 2011.
Wix has you covered here, too. You can check out how your site looks on a mobile device by going to the top of the Wix Editor and clicking on the mobile phone icon.
This will switch you to mobile view, so you can see how your website looks on a smartphone. The good news is that Wix templates are usually already optimized for mobile search.
However, it’s still a good idea to scroll through your entire site to make sure all the pages look good on mobile. If you spot any design issues or odd text placement, you can change it in the Editor. Best of all? Changing elements in mobile view won’t affect how your site appears on a desktop browser.
Step 9: Select a Domain Name
You’re almost ready to publish, but first you need to select a domain name. Because you’re setting up a free Wix site, your options are somewhat limited here.
For example, your free Wix site can’t be a regular domain name like www.businessname.com. Instead, you’re required to include the Wix name in there. This means your domain will use the follow format:
Fortunately, you can always upgrade your free Wix site to a paid version later on. When you’re ready to upgrade and switch to a custom domain, Wix offers some of the most competitive pricing anywhere.
Step 10: Publish Your Website
It’s time to go live with your new business website. This is where you should do one last preview to make sure your site is editing to your specifications and all the pages include the information potential customers need to make a purchase.
When you’re ready to launch your site into the world, simply click “publish.” If you need to make changes, you can always revisit your site in the Wix Editor.
To make any changes, just go to your dashboard, select “manage site” and then “edit site.” Once you’ve made the changes you need, click “publish” to make them live.
There you have it. Wix makes it easy and fun to create a website for your business. More importantly, it’s entirely free. With Wix, you can set up just about any kind of business site, including an online store that lets you start selling — and earning — in minutes.