There are more and more options available for creating your own website. As an owner of a web design business, I have mixed feelings about this. But, I tend to think the world is big enough for all kinds of opportunities. I think it is exciting how technology has advanced to the degree that it is becoming easier and easier to create your own site. It used to be you needed to know html and CSS. And, on top of that, understand php, mysql, and many other funny sounding acronyms. Although I think there is still a huge advantage of knowing those things, it is possible to do a site without knowing all that techy stuff.
For those of you who are ‘do-it-yourselfers’, are up for a bit of a challenge, and are ok with the process of trial and error … here are some options for doing your own website. There are many more options available, but most of them are rather limiting. That could be just my perspective, but I like being able to control where things are placed, what images I want to use, how I want my text formatted, etc. These options allow for that flexibility to a degree, at least more so than most of the other options available.
I am a huge fan of WordPress. It’s relative easy to set up a site quickly – especially if you use one of their templates or find a freebie template on the Internet – it’s widely used so there’s lots of resources (tutorials, plug-ins, support) available, and it still allows me to get behind the scene and do more advanced options, if I want.
If you want to experiment with WordPress, go to http://www.wordpress.com. You can set up a free site on their domain, if you want. Or, you can point to your own domain name from their site. Or, the best option, is to have your web developer install it on your own domain, so no one else is using the same software to maintain their site. I recommend, though, starting at WordPress.com. When you are comfortable with it, then contact a web developer to move your site to your own domain name. Know that you may or may not be able to use the same template. Your web developer may be able create your own customized WordPress template for your site. Now you have the best of both worlds: your customized website and a WordPress site that lets you update your site, including adding/deleting pages.
Of all the do-it-yourself options out there, this is the one I recommend. It seems to give you the most flexibility. You can design your site right on their site. Or, they have softwre you can download to design your site, then upload it when you are ready.
There are three levels.
- 5 web pages
- 25 MB storage space, 5 GB/month data transfer
- 1 site
- subdomain (ie. yoursite.homestead.com)
- First 30 days free
- $4.99/month thereafter
- up to 100 pages
- 5 gb storage space, 100 gb/month data transfer
- up to 3 sites
- 1 personalized domain name
- First 30 days free
- unlimited number of pages
- 10 gb storage space, 500 gb/month data transfer
- unlimited number of sites
- 3 personalized domain names
- listed in local search engines
- email campaigns
This is a great way to get a site up quick and ‘easy’. They provide the template, you provide the content, and away you go!
But, there are some drawbacks. The major drawback are the advertisements. That’s how they can offer it for free. Generally, if it’s easy to build, the harder it is to customize the site.
You also have limited space and are restricted to the templates they provide.
If all you need is basic information available to your customers and you’re not concerned how the site looks, this option might work well for you.