Learning how to build your own website can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. There are websites available to host your site and provide simple interfaces to help you design your site. These are great for simple everyday blogs and family websites but if you are looking to create a website for your business, there is going to be a bit more to it.
Building a Business Site
First, let us look at why the free services are not always the best option for businesses. Because there are so many questionable materials on the Internet, it is important that you build a sense of trust with Internet readers. Free website builders host the site you create under a sub domain. This means the website name will look something like this: yourbusiness.freewebsitebuilder.com. Sites with straightforward names like www.yourbusiness.com do much better in establishing credibility. Readers know you are serious, not some unreliable, fly-by-night operation.
Joomla is a popular website building tool that lets you use flash animation and other slick Internet tools to create a truly eye-popping site. The downside is that Joomla is not the easiest program to learn. Once you understand the code, there are few limits placed on your creativity.
Kompozer is an incredibly easy to use website building software. It is a WYSIWYG editor, meaning “what you see is what you get”. What could be simpler? This program takes the programming out of web design and it is free, courtesy of Mozilla. These same folks brought you the popular FireFox web browser. If you have the funds, you can purchase Adobe’s Dreamweaver CS4 or or Microsoft Expression. While a little pricey, you are likely to get what you paid for in flexibility and style for your site.
If your site is going to have a blog presence, WordPress is generally the platform of choice. Blogs do well because they are frequently updated, which earns them points with search engines. This gets you more traffic and hopefully, more customers. The hardest parts are choosing a template to work with and learning how to optimize your site for search engines.
Choosing a webhosting provider is also very important when setting up a business website. Be careful to investigate the different providers carefully by services before you even think about pricing. Choose dedicated hosting, which means you do not share hosting with other sites. Otherwise, some site heavy with video can slow down your speed.
Weebly is an up and coming site that is incredibly easy to use by all accounts. The site offers cheap paid hosting for a very reasonable fee along with website building software. The drawback is a small Weebly ad at the bottom of your site. It may be an excellent option for a smaller business that wants a web presence quickly and cheaply. Weebly places no restrictions of the amount of memory or webpages they will host for you and is rich in features. The site allows you to transfer an existing domain and get it hosted free. The catch probably comes up when it comes time to renew your domain, although there is no clear indication of this on the site.
Finally, businesses can pay a marketing agency to set up a professional website. These services can be well worth the cost, offering artistic direction, marketing advice and hosting services. While this is certainly the easiest way to go, it is not cheap. Choose your marketing agency wisely.
Building a Personal Site
Now we move onto the website builders that offer free hosting for basic websites. The options are many and varied. The sites will contain your sub domain name, with the site’s extension but you will not pay for the domain name.
Blogger is one of the most popular free website builders. You can easily set up a blog and ad “widgets” which are small side programs that provide extras. Widgets will sit in the “side bar”, or column along the side of the page. Blogger is owned by Google, so it is easy to set up and keep track of with your existing Google account. If you do not have a Google user ID, you will have to establish one in order to use Blogger.
WordPress also lets you set up for free and offers more flexibility than Blogger. TypePad and Moveable Type are other popular platforms that work in much the same way. Microsoft, Yahoo and Google all offer website builders as well, but some will cost you. Of course, Weebly is another option, and users are saying good things about the Weebly site builder.
Many other webhosting companies also offer site building programs, but none are so popular as the programs mentioned here. If going with a free editor with a webhost, be sure you check out the features of the hosting and the site builder. You want the easiest to use program you can get to save you time and effort.
If you wish you can always pay for hosting independently of your website building software. After choosing a host, you can use Kompozer to design the site. This is a good option for those of us who are a little more picky about having a unique design.