Southern Mom Loves: How to Build a Custom Website in under an Hour! {With Step-By-Step Photos}

How to Build a Custom Website in under an Hour! {With Step-By-Step Photos}

Friday, March 10, 2017

A promotional item was provided to me for today’s discussion. The host for this event is Still Blonde after all these Years.

Have you ever wanted to make a personal website for the grandparents to see pics of the kids but didn't know how? Do you have something to sell but have no idea how to start? Or maybe you think it's going to be too expensive to hire someone to make your site. What about the hosting fees on top of that?!

I was just introduced to an amazing solution, and I'll walk you through how to build your own custom website in under an hour and show you step-by-step photos. Easy-peasy! And if you'd like to try it yourself, you can for FREE!

Back in my Graphic Design days, I used to build websites, and believe me, it was a PITA. Without having years of schooling to learn the programs involved, there's no way that I could have even remotely understood all that was involved in it. Luckily for everyone who can't afford to (or doesn't have time to) go back to school, things have changed!

Even creating this blog was incredibly time-consuming since the format and coding is different from a website. It required that I figure out a lot of things on the fly, but luckily, I'm familiar with html so it wasn't all complete gibberish. With this tool, you won't even need to know that.

Do you have photos on your computer? Can you type words? Click buttons? Then you can create a professional-looking website in less time than it takes to make dinner. Seriously.

Even if you want to sell something. You can easily set up a shopping cart and take payments over the web. THAT is a big deal!

You may not know this about me, but I'm kind of crafty. ;) At 30 I taught myself how to sew, then how to draft patterns, then I started dreaming up designs. I started making handmade bags, clutches, and jewelry. I had no idea how to set up a shopping cart or take payments, so I sold my items on sites like Etsy.

The problem with that was that not only did Etsy take a cut of every sale, but so did Paypal. In addition, the competition from bigger shops for the front page on Etsy was so fierce that the small sellers got lost in the crush. It was not a great way to sell online.

A few years later (once I had given up), my SIL started her own shop. She makes soy candles and all-natural bath & body products. She asked for my help because she was having the same experience I had. I did some quick research on e-commerce website building and the results were disheartening. There was no way she could afford it.

Fast-forward to today. Anyone can afford it and anyone can make one. Really, and I'll show you step-by-step how easy it is. What is it? The GoCentral Website Builder from GoDaddy, and from now through 4/10/17 you can use it completely free for 30 days* (and there's no credit card required to start!)

Not only can you build a professional-looking website, but they host it for you too. There are different tiers of plans for Personal, Business, Business Plus, and eCommerce websites and the prices are uber-affordable.

We have family all over the country: Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, California, and Maryland. It's a pain to remember to periodically print out stacks of photos for our families and mail them off. (Who has time for that these days?!) I've been wanting to start a personal website for family members to be able to see how our family life is unfolding and how the kids are growing like weeds, and there's no time like the present! 

Let's Walk Through This!

The GoCentral Website Builder has plans for Personal websites too, so that was the perfect place for me to start. If you want to make a website to advertise your business or make an eCommerce website, just choose those options when you start and the Website Builder will plug the right options in. 

You'll have to sign up for an account with GoDaddy, but it's totally free. I got my blog's domain name through GoDaddy (they also sell hosting plans), so I just had to log into my own account.

Choose your site topic and they will show you gorgeous templates with relevant photos already plugged in, then type in the name of your website.

There are lots of options to choose from! Choose your favorite.

I loved this one. It felt very cool and laid-back. Perfect for a site about our family adventures. It will show you just how it looks on both a desktop computer and a mobile device. Very cool! Click on "Start with this design" to begin.

Now we're in the editor, where you can personalize your website. Start by putting text in the header paragraph. You can also put in your contact info if that's something you want to do.

If you click over to "Theme" (at the top), you can change the elements of your theme, like the colors and fonts. They have ready-made combos of colors and fonts you can scroll through or right below that, you can choose your own.

I think I'll go with black. Classy. ;)

Then scroll through your fonts. I love this retro "Lobster" font, so I'll keep it.

Now that your theme looks the way you want it to, click back over to "Edit" and scroll down the page. You'll see that there's an "About Me" section already there. You can remove it or keep it. I'm going to keep it so let's personalize it. Click on the "Content" tab to put in your own titles and descriptions.

Once you're finished, click on "Image" below each section to change the photo for that section.

You can choose one of their stock images, and they have some pretty choices.

Or you can click "Add" to upload your own photos.

Then click over to the "Layout" tab to choose how it will display. Do you want round photos? Rectangles? I like this layout, so I'll keep it.

Now scroll down a bit farther and you'll se that you already have a Footer section. You can change this text to your liking and even add your social media accounts. Let's add a section above the Footer by clicking on the green "+" icon beside the page.

From there you'll get a list in your sidebar of all of the types of sections you can add. From contact information to a restaurant menu, there are a ton of diverse choices. I'm going to add a photo gallery.

So pretty! You can upload your own photos and change the layout display just like we did in the "About" section.

Adding different pages to your website is just as easy. Under the "Home" dropdown menu at the top, choose "+ Add page."

Choose the title of your page (this will show up in your navigation bar), then click "Create Page."

Ta-da! Now you have another page to customize!

Click "Add Section" and choose from the long list of sections that we saw before when we added a section to our Home page. I'm going to add a calendar.

It will help us to tell the family where we plan to travel and to help coordinate family visits!

For the calendar, you can display any public calendar (an iCalendar, like from Google, Office 365/Outlook, or Yahoo.) Just put in the Calendar URL and it will update automatically on your website in their pretty format. Easy!

If you're not sure how to do this, click on "Show me how" and you'll get a walkthrough. :)

If you want to see what it will look like on desktop or mobile at any time, click the green "Preview" button at the top.

If you want to go back to make changes, click "Edit", and when you're ready for it to go live, click "Publish" and it will be ready for viewing online! Don't worry, you can go back in to change anything you want at any time.

Mission accomplished. I now have a personal website for our family and it took me less than an hour. Love it!

When you're ready to start your own website, get a 1-month free trial* of GoDaddy’s GoCentral Website Builder before April 10th and spend an hour making something great!


What would you use your website for? Will you be taking advantage of the free trial to try out the GoCentral Website Builder? I love to read your comments!

*The Free Trial is an opportunity for you to use a GoDaddy product free of charge for one (1) month, beginning on the date that you accept the Free Trial offer. The Free Trial will expire one (1) month from the date you accept the Free Trial offer, regardless of whether or not you use the product during the Free Trial period. Free trial not available in all markets.

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