How to Create a Business Website (for Total Beginners)

woman wearing an apron typing on a laptop surrounded by packing boxes

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You can run, but you can’t hide… from the fact your business needs a website. Even if you’re not a tech person, the truth is anyone can whip up a website because website builders make it so easy.

We’re talking click-click-drag easy. If Python seems more like a Harry Potter reference than a familiar programming language, you need our easy steps to no-code website creation.

Step-By-Step: How to Build a Business Website

We’ll cover these steps to help you make a fresh new business website:

  1. Choose how to build your website
  2. Pick your hosting provider
  3. Get a web address (domain name)
  4. Secure your web address
  5. Pick and edit your website design
  6. Optimize your site for search engines
  7. Connect payment providers (for online sales)
  8. Add extra features
  9. Set up an email inbox

You can definitely do all of this in a week. If you really put your mind to it, you can do it in a day. If you want to take longer, that’s perfectly fine as well. Let’s get started on your website. 👩‍💻

1. Choose How to Build Your Website

There are a number of ways to build a website, and it can be difficult to decide which method is right for you. The simple way to approach this question is to consider the purpose of your website. After this, you can weigh up factors like how much time, expertise, and budget you have available.

decision making tree for choosing a website

To get started, let’s think about this question: do you want to sell things online? If yes, then you need an ecommerce website, also known as an online store. We’ve put together a separate guide to the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses which can help you find the right platform to build a website that’s geared for selling. If no, keep reading.

Next, we can think about the building options that are available based on your broader context.

  • Lots of time and tech skills –> custom CMS such as Joomla or Drupal
  • Some time, low tech skills, budget $0-$1,500 –> website builder such as Wix or Weebly
  • Low on time, no tech skills, budget $5,500+ –> web design agency or contractor

Whether you’re briefing the work in-house, taking on the project yourself, or hiring a third party, it’s helpful to have an idea about what you want the website to do. You’ll have a better idea of costs because features and complexity dictate the nature of the website. However, lots of websites let you to change your mind later, allowing you to and add bits on as needed. Just be sure to check the possibility of making changes later down the line before you commit to a path.

Choosing a drag-and-drop website builder can keep website maintenance costs low because certain features are all included in the subscription price. If you commission a customized website, you’ll have to pay for security updates, hosting renewal, and design updates as separate charges.

Which Website Builder is Best for Me?

We’ve mentioned website builders that are suitable for anyone who’s willing to roll their sleeves up and get creative. Now, there are various tools that are better suited to different website types. Some have more storage space (for image-heavy websites), while others have better templates for certain industries.

You can use our website builder decision matrix, which is a simple summary table of our recommendations per website type. Cool name, useful tool.

To use it, look for your occupation type in the central column or check out your preferred website type in the left-hand column. You’ll find our top recommended website builders in the right-hand column.


Website TypeWho Needs It?Recommended ToolCritical Features
Corporate or general info websiteAny entrepreneur, business owner, or marketing manager
  1. Wix
  2. GoDaddy
  3. IONOS
  4. WordPress
  5. Hostinger
  • Wide range of features
  • Security and hosting
  • Custom domain
  • Affordable
  • Email inbox
Appointment booking websiteLocal businesses, such as spas and beauty services, healthcare and therapy clinics, educators, consultants, coaches, advisors, tour guides
  1. Wix (Core)
  2. Squarespace (any)
  3. Square (Plus)
  • Visitors can schedule appointments with you through the website
Portfolio websitePhotographers, artists, creative professionals, models, performers, designers, media makers
  1. Squarespace (Business)
  2. Weebly (Professional)
  3. Hostinger (Website Builder and Web Hosting)
  • Unlimited storage space and bandwidth
  • Image-friendly templates
  • Accept payments and sell products
Campaign websiteMarketing managers running short-term drives for new sign-ups
  1. GoDaddy
  2. Hostinger
  • Quick to set up
  • Bold layouts
Community forum websiteBusinesses with an interest in community building (eg. parents, music fans, therapy clients), or peer-to-peer selling
  1. Wix (Light)
  2. WordPress plus bbPress plugin
  • Discussion forum creation feature
  • Connect with social media channels
Blog websiteBusiness leaders, education centers, or creative professionals who need to keep their followers updated.
  1. WordPress
  2. Wix – limited importing
  3. Weebly
  • Content scheduling
  • Low cost
  • Option to scale up
  • Content import

Did one or two of these catch your eye? Feel free to click any of the links to go straight to the website builder where you can start playing around.

Remember, the variety of features you need will affect the cost of a website, so remember to choose a plan with everything you’ll need – and no more.

▶ Read more: Discover more about IONOS with our full pricing review

2. Pick Your Hosting Provider

Hosting is included in drag-and-drop website builders

If you’re using a website builder such as GoDaddy, Wix, Shopify, or Squarespace (or many others), hosting is already included in your subscription. This means you won’t have to worry about it at all.

But if you’re using a platform such as Drupal, WordPress, Magento, or others, then you’ll need to purchase hosting separately. A third-party developer will generally cover hosting as part of your total package.

If you need a refresher on what hosting means, skip down to the FAQs at the end of the page. At some stage, you’re going to have to sign up for a hosting service. This is another cost to factor in, but there’s no need to spend more than around $100 a year to host a basic business website.

The type of hosting you need will depend on how much traffic (the number of visitors) you expect your website to get. You can get away with spending $4 or $5 a month if your website has few pages and around 1,000 or so people visiting it monthly.

Signing up for hosting is extremely easy. Simply go to the website of a hosting provider (big names include GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator), then browse the hosting types on offer. Here are a few factors you should consider:

  • The size of your website (in GB)
  • Whether you expect spikes of traffic at certain times
  • If you want extra security or privacy
  • Whether you can install it yourself or will need assistance
three price plans of Hostinger hosting packages
All Hostinger hosting plans include a website builder tool at no extra cost.

Then all you have to do is add your preferred hosting package to the online cart and checkout.

Unless you’re a seasoned webmaster, it’s unlikely you’ll have to go as far as comparing and purchasing web hosting yourself. It’s a specialist area, but worth knowing about if you find the hosting charges on your invoice and want to know what it’s all about.

High performance websites, such as large online stores, will need premium quality hosting services. The reason is you’ll need more server resources to cope with lots of website visitors and fast loading times. These can cost in excess of $200/month, so don’t assume that a hefty price tag means you’re being overcharged.

3. Get a Web Address (Domain Name)

The web address is a rented location for your webpages. It’s a virtual location that all internet users can access, much like a folder where you store your documents (such as on your computer).

This bit isn’t hard, but there are a few new words coming your way. So buckle up.

Domain name: the middle bit of your website name, eg: “”
Top level domain (TLD): the end bit of your website name, eg: “.com”
Registrar: the company you buy your domain name from

Your job is to choose a registrar and then think up a cool website name. You should choose a major registrar (such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, or BlueHost) so you’ve got a better chance of good customer service. Then, go to their website and type in your chosen website name and click “Search.”

From there, you add your domain name to your cart and buy it via the online checkout.

screenshot from GoDaddy showing is for sale at $4,960 + $19.99 per year.
Your chosen domain may already belong to someone else – you can try to buy it from them.

Most domains cost around $11-$25 per year (you’ll have to pay for it every year.) It’s best to buy several years in one block for the best price. This is also the most convenient way of buying a domain name because you won’t need a reminder to do it each year. Remember, if you forget to renew your domain then anyone else can buy it.

A high value domain name will cost a lot more, to the point where it’s possibly easier to change your company name than to outbid the current domain holder. For instance, “” costs $23,898.47, according to a GoDaddy estimate. The reason it’s so expensive is because the trade name is commercially valuable (for some reason).

Top Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

We’ve put together some top tips based on the latest industry expertise, including Google’s guidance on domain names. Some of this advice relates to search engine optimization (SEO). We’ll cover this topic further down.

Pick something short and memorable

If you’re The Cheesecake Factory, your domain name should be “” (which it is). Don’t try and get clever here with something like “” or another fun-but-tricky website name.

Remember, you want your website name to appear when customers type your business name into a search engine. And web users won’t make time to copy down long website names that are difficult to spell.

However, there may be a case for choosing a simpler domain name than the full name of your business. If you run a real estate agency called Crooker, McIrving, Westley, and Co. you could go for “” (if you can afford to buy it – likely others will want to compete to buy that domain), or simply “”

Avoid numeric symbols (eg. 0-10)

These are generally harder to remember, with customers wondering if they should try the number as a numeric symbol or as a word. Also numbers relating to your business may change over time – for instance English website faces an awkward mismatch now that inflation means its products cost more than £5.

Make it relevant to your business

Because you want your website to come up in web searches of your business name, you should target keywords. You’ll get a better idea of what these should be once you’ve carried out your competitor keyword analysis.

This works best if your business has a unique name. For instance, “” could get lost on search engine results pages (SERPs), but “” will have less competition.

Consider if your business name is too generic to stand out online, particularly if you’re relying on search engines to generate a lot of your revenue.

Buy a couple of TLDs with the same domain name

Because you don’t want your customers going to the wrong website with a similar business name, invest in buying different domain names that sound similar. For instance, “” and “” and “”.

This may seem expensive, as you have to pay for each domain separately. However, you could lose more revenue than you’d care to think about if a scammer bought a similar website name and ripped off your customers.

Avoid punctuation

Adding a hyphen, underscore, comma, etc, is going to make it harder for customers to remember your domain name. We used to recommend avoiding hyphens, in particular, but John Mueller, from Google’s search team, has recently come out and these are “fine,” but noted that you should avoid using spaces, commas, and colons in your URL.

Screenshot from Mastodon social media channel user John Mueller, which reads "An #seo question from the X-Twitter world: In the domain name, is the use of dash ( - ) recommended or not? - it's fine - Pick a domain name for your brand for the long run, don't just collect keywords (the common reason for dashes). Build out a domain. - For SEO, dashes are very minimally better in URLs than underscores. Don't change your URLs from them tho. Don't use spaces, commas, colons, etc in URLs. - Your domain name is never going to make or break your SEO.
A Google analyst confirms "your domain name is never going to make or break your SEO".

In summary, you should consider your domain name from the perspectives of marketing, memorability, and SEO strategy. Consider the decision carefully, as you’ll want to avoid having to change the domain later down the line.

Why To Avoid Changing Your Domain

Although it’s possible to migrate a website from one domain name to a new one, it’s risky for a number of reasons. For starters, there’s the potential for technical errors because it’s a complicated process. You’re also likely to lose some website traffic in the first few months after migration because search engines will take a while to register the move.

4. Secure Your Web Address

If you were wondering when to start thinking about cybersecurity, the answer is now. As you buy your domain, you may see a package offer to buy an SSL security certificate with it.

You should definitely buy an SSL certificate. It prevents basic cybersecurity attacks on your website, which could pull it offline or, worse, steal data from your customers (or you).

close-up of SSL security certificate visible in address bar of
This is how an SSL certificate appears to web users.

There are different types of SSL certificates, which you can learn about in the FAQs at the end of this article. You can either buy your SSL certificate from your domain registrar or from a separate company. You can actually get a free one from Let’s Encrypt. You’ll need a little know-how to install it, or you can hire a web design expert to do it for you.

If you’re using a website builder like Wix, your SSL certificate will be included in your monthly subscription cost.

Secure sockets, secure pockets

The secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate shows users that your website is trustworthy. You should invest in a higher grade SSL certificate if you are processing payments through your website. It’s your duty to show web visitors that their credit card details are safe on your website.

5. Pick and Edit Your Website Design

How you design your website depends on the build method you’ve chosen. If you’ve chosen to work with a freelance web designer, you can expect a greater level of customization. On the other hand, a low-cost or free website builder tool will offer basic editing capability.

We’re going to focus on using website builder tools because they’re readily available and cost-effective for most smaller-sized businesses.

Most people like to choose a pre-made template, and replace the placeholder images and text with their own. We like this way of creating a website because it gives you a running start. With hundreds of website templates available, you’re highly likely to find one you like enough to begin customizing.

three website templates in from IONOS
Three template examples from IONOS – you can edit every picture and text box.

Unsure of how to choose the right website design? We have a few suggestions:

  • Think about the mood you want to create. If you’re running a kindergarten, it makes sense to choose bright colors and a fun design. If you’re offering financial services, you need to create a more serious tone. Consider the impression your website gives, and whether it matches your aims.
  • Showcase your business clearly. Make your message understood from the second a visitor lands on the homepage or any page of your website. If you sell shoes, add pictures of them. If you’re a legal firm, ensure your specialty and location is written in large, clear letters.
  • Guide your users. Who is using your website – and why? If you mainly have a website to capture email addresses, then include an email form high up on the main page or use a pop-up. If you need visitors to call you, make sure the “Contact us” button is large, central, and clear. Ensure it’s easy to navigate around your website by including links to other pages.
Let the robots decide

Can’t pick a template? Many website builders have a quiz option now where you can simply answer a couple of multiple choice questions. Then it generates a website design for you, based on your answers. It’s known as ADI (artificial design intelligence), and it’s less effort than choosing a template yourself.

Most website builders have an editor workspace that lets you make creative changes. Here, you can edit different elements of your webpages by clicking on the section you want to change. A set of icons should appear that will allow you to change colors, fonts, styles, and the layout.

Indeed, every website builder works slightly differently, so our advice is to pay attention to the on-screen help guides. For instance, GoDaddy and Wix won’t let you click and drag design elements the way Squarespace will. You’ll get used to the quirks of your chosen program as you become familiar with it.

That said, it’s worth knowing what you’re getting yourself into, so check out our GoDaddy website builder review for a clearer picture of how it works. Alternatively, we’ve written a Wix review if that’s of greater interest.

screenshot of Wix editor showing 'move section up' box
The Wix editor requires you to move entire sections as one unit.

With its new “Fluid Engine” editor, Squarespace allows you to drag and drop text boxes or images precisely where you’d like them to be. A grid appears in the background to help you align design elements alongside one other.

So, if you’re looking for more design control, we’ve written a review of Squarespace for your information.

Squarespace website editor with blue box around "Advice" and grid in the background of two text boxes
Squarespace offers guidelines for your web design (unlike GoDaddy or Wix).

The Weebly editor is somewhere in between, allowing you to move design elements up, down, left, or right, but only relative to other design elements. While you can move a text box beneath a button, you can’t position it precisely on the page.

To do this, hover the mouse over any section, and wait until eight dots appear in a rectangle at the top of the box. Then click and drag once the mouse turns into a four-directional arrow. You’ll see the object you’re moving snaps into place, rather than land where you position it.

Weebly design editor with text box on the left hand side highlighted by a blue box, and an image to its right
Need a Free Website Builder?

You don’t have to spend money to test out the latest website making tools. Check out our guide to the best free website builders to save money.

6. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

Search engine optimization is a technical field which you could spend years learning about. However, there are some basic guidelines we can share with you that can give your site an advantage.

First of all, you’ll need to get familiar with the different parts of your webpages that search engine bots “scan” for. We’ll take Google as the example because it’s the most widely-used search engine.

Google’s technology ranks websites based on how well they align to certain principles. The most important of these include:

  • A website should publish content about which its writers have sufficient knowledge. A domain builds its authority in a topic over time. For instance, an electronics website should not expect much search engine visibility if it starts publishing blogs about skincare.
  • Every web page should be clearly structured. Formatting your page is critical, so you should break down every page with different text styles such as H2 (subheadings), H3 (sub-subheadings), and paragraph text.
  • Web pages should load quickly. Your domain will be rated more favorably by Google if your website’s pages have a short loading time. So it’s best to avoid large videos on autoplay, or adding too many multimedia content items to one page. Compress large images to improve loading speeds.
  • Web pages should link logically to one another. If you publish a guide to shaving, you should include links to other blog posts on your site about related topics, such as types of razors and hair removal techniques.
  • A website should not publish new content that is repetitive, unhelpful, or lacks detail. Every new article, video, or audio post should convey useful information to your audience. This means no lifting content from other websites (which is illegal under copyright law). You should also avoid publishing a new page for the sake of two short paragraphs.

The above are just five simple ways to improve your “on-page SEO,” meaning tweaks you make to your website in an attempt to gain more traffic from search engines. You can learn more in our guide to on-page vs off-page SEO.

Before you head to the next section, make sure you’re aware of the meaning of the “SEO title” of a page.

Screenshot of a search engine preview of an article which contains the following. SEO Title: Best Website Design Companies Roundup | Expert Market, Slug: best-web-design-companies, Meta description: Our Web Design roundup reviews the talents and pricing of the best web developers and designers in the country.
This is the Yoast plugin preview of SEO page data in WordPress.

Website content management systems (CMS) will have various ways of editing the SEO data for each page. You should pay attention to the “SEO title” of each web page, because this is the blue text that Google will pull into the SERP. You want to make it really clear what your webpage is about, and encourage users who search for similar phrases to click it.

The meta description is often re-written by Google, so it’s not a big concern to write this perfectly.

SEO What?

As mentioned, SEO is a pretty complex field. If you’re not looking to spend hours a week researching this, we’re happy to save you time and connect you with SEO Services professionals.

7. Connect Payment Providers (For Online Sales)

It’s not difficult to start taking payments through your website. You’ll usually need to sign up to a premium subscription package on your chosen website builder to access this feature. The exceptions are Square or Weebly (now owned by Square), which both allow you to start selling products on their free plans. Instead, you’ll only pay payment processing fees.

Connecting payment providers is a very similar process for all website builders. You click on “Commerce” or “Sell Online” or “Store Payments,” on your account dashboard. Then select “Connect a payment processor.” Here’s how it looks with Squarespace:

screenshot of Squarespace dashboard with Stripe, PayPal and Square payment processors
Squarespace allows US customers to connect three different payment processors.

Now, simply click the payment processor you want to start with. You can come back and add more later. In the case of a Squarespace account, clicking on Stripe brings up a separate, smaller window. On this new screen, you follow the instructions to authenticate yourself as the Stripe account manager.

Stripe payments authentication window with multiple choice options
You'll need your basic business information to hand when connecting payment processors.

Authentication can take the form of validating your email address and confirming your phone number with a specific pin. You’ll need to type in your business details, including the registered business address and its legal name. Make sure you’ve got your IRS paperwork with your Employer Identification Number (EIN) because you’ll need to include this as well.

Remember, the payments company is responsible for carrying out basic checks to ensure it’s not aiding financial criminals.

Squarespace guidance warns that you, as the merchant, are responsible for monitoring whether fraudulent payments come through your business. Stripe does have some detailed fraud prevention advice that can help you out.

If you encounter problems with Stripe down the line (such as banned products or declined charges), you’ll have to contact Stripe rather than Squarespace to sort these out.

Speedy PayPal connection

To connect your online store with your PayPal account, all you need to do is log in through your website dashboard. Make sure that the currency in your PayPal account matches the currency you use to sell your products or services. You’ll also need a Business PayPal account rather than a personal one.

The process for connecting any other payment provider is very similar – simply look for the payment processor of your choice in the website builder’s options, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Note that each ecommerce platform (a fancy name for an “online store” website builder) only allows you to connect certain payment processors. For instance, Squarespace only has three options (Stripe, PayPal, and Square Point of Sale), while Wix has over 20 (including Klarna and various Crypto services.)

Get Seen by Google

A marketing technique called “search engine optimization” improves the chances of shoppers finding your website through web search. We’ve written a guide to the best ecommerce platforms for SEO which can help you choose between different online sales providers.

8. Add Extra Features

Depending on your method of website creation, you’ll approach adding additional features in various ways. Most commonly, you can connect external software programs using APIs, plugins, or “apps.” Many website builders have app stores, including the Wix App Market, the Shopify App Store, and the Weebly App Store.

In the latter case, all you’ll have to do is search through the app store of your chosen website builder for the feature you need. For example, if you go to the Weebly App Store and search for “marketing,” you’ll find a list of third-party tools that will improve customer engagement on your website:

ten apps from the Weebly app store with star ratings and prices

Some things to bear in mind when choosing the apps to add to your website:

  • There’s often an extra subscription cost to pay
  • Adding too many can slow down your website
  • You may be able to find one app that combines the functions of several apps
  • Read customer reviews to find out if the app is currently working well

9. Set up an Email Inbox

One of the best things about launching your own website is the opportunity to include a professional email address with it. There are a few different ways to go about this:

Launching email from your hosting control panel

In the event that you choose to manage your own hosting, you can set up email inboxes from the control panel (often known as cPanel). Navigate to the “Email” section of your hosting control panel, and click “Email Accounts.” Next, pick your settings and click “Create account.”

Creating email accounts via WordPress

Email is available as an upgrade option through WordPress. You’ll need your own domain name, so you’ll have to buy that (which you can do through WordPress.) WordPress partners with a product called Titan, which provides features such as read receipts, schedule email send, and template creation.

Find “Upgrades” on the left-hand toolbar, then select “Emails.” This is where you’ll find email subscription plans. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to purchase your favored option. You can then manage settings from within your dashboard.

Starting email through your website builder

Website builder products – particularly those from hosting providers – often offer email as a perk when signing up. You may even get the first year free, such as with GoDaddy. If not, there’s usually an option to sign up for a personalized email account.

For instance, IONOS includes an email address inbox with every website builder plan:

screenshot of three IONOS website builder plans side by side with highlights showing email inbox is included with each one

This is relatively unusual because most providers require you to pay separately for email services. One exception is Hostinger, which gives you a free email inbox (1GB mailbox) with its $6.99 per month Website Builder and Web Hosting plan.

Check out our complete review of Hostinger website builder if you’re curious about its other features and value for money.

Other website builder subscriptions include a sign-up deal with Google’s Gmail.

Gmail deals

If you subscribe to Squarespace Business or Commerce, and your domain has never had a Google Workspace account before, you’ll get a year’s free Gmail as a bonus. Wix pricing doesn’t include a Google Workspace plan, so you’ll have to buy your own but you’ll get 30GB of drive storage thanks to Wix’s partnership.

Signing up with email from Google

In any case, you can go straight to Google and sign up for one of its Workspace plans. Google’s pricing is fairly steep, particularly if you have many users that require a lot of storage space. For that reason, we recommend sharing account inboxes where possible.

Google's four price plans for its workspace, at $6, $12 or $18 or unlisted
Google offers four pricing options per user, per month, for access to its Gmail and other products.

At a minimum, you’re looking at $72 per year for a custom email name, such as “” However, the professional impression this email gives may bring it much more new business than you’d otherwise get without it.

All personalized Gmail inboxes are connected to a particular domain name. This is the second part of the email address. So you can either use your domain purchased from a separate registrar, or you can purchase one through Google.

Google Workspace logo with question asking, 'Does your business have a domain?' and options yes or no
You'll need a domain name to set up a Gmail inbox, but you can buy one through Google.

It’s worth being aware that Squarespace will take over Google domain registrations. So, if you had a Google domain your contract will remain the same, but you’ll become a Squarespace customer instead.

Making the Most of Your New Website

Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a snazzy new business website 🎉 Your hard work will pay off in the following ways:

  • Growing your online presence, appearing to customers or investors who search for your business name online
  • Adding credibility to your brand
  • Giving you a place to showcase your work
  • Selling items or services (if you choose to)
  • Opportunity to capture customer email addresses
  • Providing a place to publish news, articles, pictures, and videos

However, there are still a few more things to do: now is the time to research SEO services to improve the chances of people finding your website through search engines. You can also look into social media marketing to boost the popularity of your brand, and publicize your website’s awesome content.

But first, don’t forget to celebrate your hard work.

Want to jump right into our top recommended website builder?


What's a domain name?
A domain name (sometimes known simply as a “domain”) is the part of a web address after the “www”. For instance, “” is a domain name. It must be purchased from a registrar, and is only owned for as long as you have paid for it. If you forget to renew your domain registration, it becomes instantly available for anyone else to buy.
What is website hosting?
Hosting is the service that sets your website live on the World Wide Web. Until you’ve got your website connected to a server, you can’t access it via the internet. A server is a metal box containing microchips – and the physical location where websites are stored. So, every time someone types in your web address into their browser, a request goes to the server to bring up your website.

Because hosting requires electricity, maintenance, and safety checks, providers charge fees on a monthly or annual basis.

What are the different types of SSL certificate?
There are five main types of secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates to safeguard your web address. These are: DV SSL, OV SSL, EV SSL, multidomain, and wildcard SSL. The first three types relate to how many layers of verification the website owner went through to get the certificate. The latter two describe how many domains are protected by the certificate.

Here’s a table that summarizes the different SSL certificates, and examples of which website types need them:

SSL certificate type ExplanationSuitable For
Standard (DV) SSL“Domain validation” with standard encryption

Covers just one domain: eg

To get this, you just have to verify you own the domain.


Microbusiness websites: small charity, community, non-profit, campaign website, beauty salon, auto services, at-home services, repair workshops, studios. 

Storing no sensitive data and taking no payments. 

OV SSL“Organization validation” with good encryption. 

You’ll have to submit your business details to confirm you own the website.

SMBs, local businesses, tour operators, legal firms, consultants, accountants, care services, agencies, libraries.

Holding some data, such as email and log-in but not payment details.

EV SSL“Extended validation” with very strong encryption. 

Your business details must be verified to rule out fraud.

Large websites with sensitive customer data and payment details. This includes online shops, financial services, specialist consultancy, medical services including counselling, and addiction or mental health treatment.
Multi-domainCovers several websites (could be three, or several hundred depending on your subscription): eg

Entrepreneurs running multiple websites, e.g. web developers, agencies, hoteliers, merchants.
Wildcard SSLCovers subdomains: e.g.

Business websites with subdomains, such as a separate website for an online shop or corporate customers or log in zone/intranet. This includes the education sector, public sector, financial services, and corporate sector.
How can I create my own website for free?
The simplest way to make a free website is with a tool like Square Online,, Wix, Jimdo, or SITE123. We recommend beginners who need a small website (under 50 pages) to use GoDaddy because it’s the easiest mainstream product to use.

All you do is go to the website of your chosen provider, and click “start free trial” to register an account and begin creating your website. Usually, you answer a few multiple choice questions and start editing a website that’s generated based on your preferences. Alternatively, you can choose to edit a premade template.

After this, you’ll need to buy a domain name (or continue using the branded domain name you’re randomly assigned.) Hosting is usually included, unless you’re choosing to code the site from scratch with a program like Drupal or Magento.

Can I make a good website for free?
Usually, yes, anyone can make a decent-looking website without paying for a designer or professional software. If you’re a total beginner and a bit of a technophobe, you may struggle to pull off a slick design by yourself. However, online guides make the process a lot less difficult than you might think.

What you should be aware of is that free website builders contain the provider name in the domain name (web address). This means that should you want to promote your business, it may not look very professional if your website is called “”. So you should consider the cost of buying a custom domain name, which usually costs $9-25 per year. However, this could run into the thousands if you choose a competitive name.

Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.