Build a website with these free online tools

Ever wanted to create your own website, but don’t know where to start? These days, you can have a website up and running in a matter of minutes using simple, freely available online tools.

(Image courtesy of Rock1997/Wikimedia Commons)
(Image courtesy of Rock1997/Wikimedia Commons)

First, why do you want a website?

Maybe you have a business you want to promote online, or maybe you just want a place to publish your thoughts and opinions. Whatever the case may be, consider why you want to make a website. Knowing the purpose of your site will determine which service you choose.

For example, if you’re a photography enthusiast who wants a place to post your photos, you may want to consider starting a blog. On the other hand, if you want to run a small business and have customers fill out forms, purchase products, etc., you may be better served by a more professional site.

The options

Blogs are simple websites used by individuals to post both text and multimedia, normally on a regular, recurring basis. Although they come in many shapes and sizes, some of the best general-purpose blogging platforms include the following:

WordPress.comWordPress is an excellent free option for creating a blog. WordPress offers a large number of custom themes that completely change the look of your site. You can tailor these to the kind of site you want to create.

BloggerBlogger is Google’s blogging platform. It provides simple, easy-to-use tools that will have you posting content in no time. Blogger is a bit less flexible than WordPress, but it’s also free, so you don’t have to commit a lot to try it out.

For a more fully-featured website, you may find the simplicity of the aforementioned blogging platforms a bit limiting. The following options come at a price, but provide you with more granular control over your site:

Squarespace – Squarespace offers websites for a number of different purposes, complete with your own domain name, email addresses, and a number of other features that might appeal to a budding entrepreneur.

Web Hosting – You can rent server space from companies like GoDaddy, HostGator, and others, then build your website from scratch. The easiest way to get up and running is to install WordPress (different from WordPress.com, which was mentioned above) or another content management system. This option comes with a domain name, administrative control over many aspects of your site, and much more.

-Jesse

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