Getting your message out these days requires good helpings of Facebook and Twitter, with maybe a dash of Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr. But that's not enough: if you want an internet presence that truly represents you or your organization, you also need a website that sets you apart from the crowd. A real website, as opposed to a social media page, gives you complete control over design and content. This lends credibility to your business, organization, or personal brand. Facebook pages all look alike in terms of design, but on your own website, you can realize a brand image, offer products for sale, and integrate third-party web services.
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Getting your own website used to require a lot of tech wizardry, including knowledge of servers, HTML, FTP, site registrars, and web hosting services. Thankfully, we now live in the age of easy online site builders. The services included here let you make a well-designed, mobile-friendly site with minimal technical knowledge. They can even take a small or sole-proprietor business to profitability with buy links, online stores, and other money-making options.
If you prefer a more traditional URL, you'll need to purchase one from the likes of GoDaddy or Namecheap. Domain name pricing can range from extremely cheap to extremely expensive, depending on whether or not domain squatters are looking to flip a valuable piece of online real estate. You'll want to get something short but evocative and catchy, and depending on what you do, you may find that many of your first choices are taken by either other legit domains, or by squatters who've scooped up the names as an investment. For more, please read How to Register a Domain Name.
Okay, how do you register a domain? First, you need to think of some possibilities that would represent who you are and what you do. If you’re making a personal website to promote yourself, you should consider calling it namesurname.com. If your name is difficult, you may have to get creative though. Keep in mind that a .com website address is considered the most respectable in many industries. Try to get one whenever possible.
WordPress is a big name when it comes to creating websites. But you should know that WordPress.com is not what most people are talking about when they mention WordPress. What most internet-savvy people mean by the term WordPress is the free, open-source blogging platform that comes from WordPress.org. Using this requires you to find your own website hosting service. The WordPress.org software is such a popular site-building platform that many web hosting services even offer managed WordPress hosting plans. WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a service that deploys and hosts that software for you, so you don't have to go out and find your own hosting service.
These services can host your content on their servers free of charge, but in exchange for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less-than-elegant domain, such as jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. That might be fine for a personal blog, but it will look too low-rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for whatever it's selling.
About.me and Flavors.me are examples of nameplate services. You simply upload one big photograph as the background for your personal webpage, then artfully overlay information and links to create your digital nameplate. These free sites help you pull images from your social networks or from a hard drive, then provide the tools to make the text and links work unobtrusively, though it really behooves you to check out other personal pages for an idea of what works.
Hi Osi, Thanks for your comment! That's great you want to create a website to reach your readers - WordPress is certainly the most powerful platform, and is perfect if you want a totally customizable website. However, it's important to know that it also comes with more ongoing maintenance and can be a bit technical depending on how you approach it. So if you have time and technical confidence, then yes it would be a perfect choice! If you want something super quick and easy though, then you're better off with a website builder. If you want some alternatives to explore, I can also recommend Wix, which offers tons of creative freedom along with template designs specifically designed for writers like you! We have a Wix vs WordPress comparison if you want to see them compared side-by-side. Another alternative is Weebly, which has great SEO tools to help your website get found in Google. Here's our Weebly Review if you want to learn more! I hope this helps, and best of luck with your website! Lucy
Jennifer Young is a specialist in educational technology with experience in web design and development. She also has 12 years of editorial experience writing for print and the web. Jennifer is passionate about covering topics related to web tools and technologies and enjoys learning about tech as much as she loves teaching it. She embraces the challenge of making web hosting accessible for every type of user and is delighted to share her knowledge with the HostingAdvice.com audience.
Hi Mike! Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help out. WordPress is the best option if you want to carry out backend coding - it gives you total control and customization over your website. Some website builders do let you code (such as Squarespace, for example). You can add custom code to WordPress using a plugin - there's more limitations on this with website builders, although carrying on with the Squarespace example, you can still add custom code, code injection, etc. You can add client-side code into Squarespace sites, but not server-side code. So if you want more coding freedom I would recommend WordPress! I hope that's helped answer your question! Best - Lucy
Most of the products here can tell you about your site traffic, though the amount of detail varies greatly among them, and it's often tied to premium account levels. For example, Weebly can not only show you page views and unique visitors for each day of the month, but also search terms used to get to the site, referring sites, and top-visited pages. Wix and uKit, at the other end, have nothing in the way of built-in site stats, instead requiring you to create your own Google Analytics account, and even that requires a paid account. Another drawback of that approach is that you can only see traffic from the preceding day and earlier; it's not up-to-the-minute, or even the hour.