Systems like Wix go one step further, and really take you by the hand through every stage of setting up your website. You don’t even need to understand the basics of HTML to get an attractive site up and running.
It’s fair to point out that Wix, and other similar site building tools, don’t give you quite the level of flexibility you can obtain with more advanced content management systems. However, for many purposes Wix delivers more than you will need – and with free options available, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
In this article, we’re going to take you right through the process of setting up your own Wix-based website.
Before we get started, let’s consider a few of the reasons why Wix could be the right choice for your website:
- Over 280 professional templates are included. Wix has an array of great looking designs for you to choose from. You will find themes available for all kinds of industries, so even if you are not a creative type, you will still be able to design an attractive site.
- Easy to use drag n drop interface. It is easy to learn how to use Wix, as the entire system uses “drag and drop” principles. You don’t need to learn how to code, and you can choose any elements you want and position them with very few restrictions.
- Quality support. It’s really easy to access high-quality support from Wix. Each element of the website has its own dedicated support button too, so that you won’t have to continually search in the database for the topic you need.
- Web hosting isn’t required. Wix already comes with very reliable hosting, so you don’t have to purchase a separate hosting service.
- A basic site is FREE. You needn’t spend ANY money to try out Wix. However, we would strongly recommend you link your Wix site to your own domain so that it looks more professional. (See later in this article for further info).
How we will help you
Here at BestHosting, our team have built dozens of websites for various purposes. While we tend to use the likes of WordPress and Joomla for more advanced projects, we recognize the fact that Wix is a more than adequate platform for all kinds of personal and business sites. We also know our way around it rather well!
While there are some limitations to what we can show you in a tutorial article, it’s very easy to get started with Wix, and we’re going to take you right from the start. You don’t even need to worry about domain names and hosting, as everything is taken care of from the main Wix interface.
What You’ll Need
The list of things you need to start a Wix website is refreshingly small – probably smaller than the lists you will find on any of our other Website building tutorials.
- A credit card, should you wish to use any of Wix’s chargeable services (recommended)
- A Web browser of your choice (we prefer Google Chrome or Firefox)
- Some content with which to populate your site – both text and images
- A little patience while you learn the basics
Getting started with Wix
- Visit the Wix website by clicking the above button. The Wix website will open in a new window or tab so you can continue to refer back to this tutorial.
- Click the big “Start Now” button that appears on the main page
- Fill in the basic sign-up details. If you wish, you can choose to link Wix to your Google or Facebook account.
- You are then taken immediately to a category selection screen, where you can choose the type of site you wish to create. This is essentially to narrow down the choice of templates that Wix offers you, but you can click the “all templates” link to the left side of your screen if you wish to see more.
- For the purposes of this tutorial, we are going to create a site for a fictional automobile maintenance company. However, you can of course branch off and choose the category more relevant to your business. The key concepts remain the same when it comes to customizing your website.
- For our purposes, we will choose the “Business” category and within that “Automotive and Cars,” before selecting the “Go” button to get started.
- Next, we are taken to a page where we can select our chosen template. At the time of writing, the “Automotive and Cars” section alone covered six pages.
- For the purposes of the tutorial, we will select the mobile optimized “Vintage Car Garage” template, and click the “Edit” button to get started with customization.
Customizing your Wix website
When you first click the “Edit” button, you will see a short tutorial video, introducing the basic concepts of Wix. It’s well worth taking the time to watch this.
We are then left to play with the Wix editor, into which our chosen theme has already been opened.
First we will do a little work on the design elements of the site. As you follow this tutorial, there’s no need to choose the exact colors, fonts and images that we do – we are essentially here to teach you the basic concepts.
- First, click the “Background” icon in the top left of the editing screen. This is where you change backgrounds, color schemes and fonts.
- Just by making a few tweaks to the background, colors and fonts, we can significantly change the fundamental appearance of our site. Just look at the before and after images below for an example:
- You will see from the images that although the fundamental layout is the same, the colour scheme is very different, and the chosen fonts have a rather more whimsical feel.
- Next, we will play around a little with the dummy content. Essentially, when you are using Wix, you can click on anything to change its content. First, we will change the image slideshow on the header and get rid of the bucket picture.
- Right-clicking on the image brings up the menu shown below. From there we select “Change Page Background” as seen below:
- In the next window, we can change the background image as well as remove/add images from our media library. New images can be images of our own, or chosen from Wix’s extensive royalty-free library.
- For the sake of our example, we have removed the removed the existing image altogether, and replaced it with the “Bananas” background.
- Now, we will change some more of our content. As before, just click on what you want to change – it’s just as easy as using a word processor. In the image below, we have changed the body text, changed the “Jade and Andy” headline to read “Bananas and Cars” and amended the subheading to include a brief description. It’s really quite impressive how much these simple design and content changes have evolved the site.
Something you’re sure to want to do on your own website is change the order of the pages – perhaps adding some more and deleting some of the demo content.
To do this click on the “Pages” menu on the top right. You will see the menu shown below:
Reordering pages is a simple matter of dragging and dropping. There is an “Add Page” button near the bottom, and the ability to create sub pages as needed.
In the screenshot below, we have deleted the “Book Online” page, added a “Price List” page, and done some reordering. What exactly you do is, of course, up to you.
Once you have your page structure how you like it, you can click into individual pages in Wix’s editor, and amend content as needed, and as described earlier in the tutorial.
Adding new elements
Wix offers a huge amount of functionality, beyond the ability to simply amend content and change design elements.
You can also drag new elements to your site by using the “Add” menu shown below:
Showing you every possible feature is obviously beyond the scope of this tutorial, but thankfully most of the items you can add are self-explanatory.
For our demo site, we are going to add a social sharing button (on the “Social” submenu), and a Skype “Call” button (on the “Button” submenu).
In both cases, the procedure for adding the functionality is the same. Click on the option, and then drag it to where you want it to appear on your site design. It will automatically line up with other elements of your page.
Once you have placed your functions, you can click on them and access a settings menu. The screenshot below shows the settings menu for the social media sharing icons. As you can see, you can exercise fine control as to how your button appears on the site.
In the screenshot below, you can see our newly added features:
Previewing your site
At any point in the design process, you can view your site in your Web browser, so you can double check exactly how it will look once published.
To do so, just click the “Preview” button at the top right of the Wix editor, as shown below (note the Wix advertisement banners due to our free version!):
Click the “Back to Editor” button to make further changes.
Publishing your site
You should now feel sufficiently familiar with Wix to go in and change all the relevant details so that they reflect your own company or personal website project.
Once you have finished developing your site, publishing it via Wix is nice and easy. Simply click the “Publish” button:
All you need to do is give your site a name (we’ve gone for “Banana and Cars”) and click “Save Now.” Once you confirm that you are ready to publish the site, it becomes instantly available via the URL shown in the window.
If you want people to take your site seriously, the Wix URL provided is not ideal. The site will also include Wix adverts, which help support the free platform. It looks much more professional to have a domain name of your own, so that’s what we will sort out next.
When you’ve published your site, you will see the window below, which gives you the chance to register a proper domain name of your own.
Hit the “Upgrade Now” button to see a breakdown of your options. We would recommend the “Combo” or “Unlimited” plans, and the basic “Connect domain” plan allows you to select a free domain name, but still displays Wix ads on your site.
Choose a plan, according to your requirements, then simply follow the on screen instructions to enter your payment details and connect your newly built site to your domain.
All being well, you now have your own Wix site, and (if you’ve chosen to select one), your own domain name. Congratulations!
You can now begin to publicize your new Web address and work to attract people to your new website. As long as you’ve chosen a mobile-friendly design, you should notice your site adapts beautifully for display on a smartphone or tablet.
There are a few more things we suggest you do to conclude the work on your site:
- Continually evolve the site
Successful websites keep a constant stream of new content coming in order to engage with their readers. Try to add regular blog posts, news items or new photos to keep your site looking fresh.
- Tweak the design
One of the great things about Wix is that it’s easy to go in and tweak the design, or even to give your site a substantial revamp in the future by selecting a new template or changing the color scheme. Make use of this functionality to keep things interesting for your site users.
- Set up email
Once you’ve got your site working, you can make use of Wix-powered email for your domain, which uses the Google Apps framework. Go to MY ACCOUNT > MAILBOXES to set up your email. You will need a plan that includes your own domain to do so.
- Think about SEO
Make sure you configure the SEO options for your site. You will find them within the Wix editor, as shown in the screenshot below. The options are fairly simple – essentially, it’s all about providing Google (and other search engines) with suitable keywords to help find your site.
A Final Word
By now, we hope you’ve seen the power of Wix, and how easy it makes it to build a really professional looking site with limited Web experience.
We wish you every success with your new site. If you’ve not built it yet, why not head over to Wix now and get started!