These days, having an online presence is incredibly important. Your website is especially important, as most of the time it will be how potential customers get their first impression of you. We’ve written previously about things to ask your website developer. But what if you’re not ready for such a big commitment yet? If you just want to dip your toe in the water, here are three companies that will help you get a simple website up and running, with minimal technical knowledge required.
This is one of the simplest ways to get started. All you need to do is sign up for an account, pick a template, and away you go. Tumblr is best for blogging and putting up photos, so if your business runs along those lines (think handicrafts, bakery, restaurant, anything that is eminently photographable) then Tumblr might work for you.
Technically, Tumblr can also fall under the category of social media, but it’s less about the interaction and more about the posting of information that can then be shared. It also has some excellent themes for businesses–check out this page for a sampling of the kind of themes you can get. If you have your own domain name, Tumblr also has that option.
Tumblr is completely free, including adding your own domain name.
No doubt you’ve already heard of WordPress–it’s one of the most commonly used sites. As a matter of fact, that’s what we use here at Leaders in Heels!
WordPress comes in two flavours–you can either use their hosting (which comes with a free domain name, yourname.wordpress.com) or your can run it off your own web host and install it yourself. The latter requires you to own a domain name. On WordPress hosting, you get 3GB of storage space and unlimited bandwidth while installing it yourself will depend on the limits of your web hosting plan.
WordPress is easy to use, hugely customisable with a large range of themes and plug-ins for just about any requirement such as eCommerce or portfolios, and even easier to keep updated once set up. It’s also free in both flavours, though note that if you want to use a custom domain with WordPress hosting, there is a small annual charge of USD$13 .
There are many sites that allow you to design a website in a simple drag-and-drop function, such as Wix or Weebly. I’ve found, however, that Squarespace is one of the best out there. It’s not as well-known as the others yet, but it has the most elegant and carefully-selected website designs–one look, and it’s clearly heads and shoulders above the others. It also has the most bandwidth and storage. All its themes are responsive, meaning they will automatically change to fit smaller screens such as tablets and smartphones, a very important consideration in our mobile-driven society.
You also have extensive help videos if it seems a little overwhelming, and they also have a 24/7 support team, which is always appreciated when working late into the night–or if you live on the other side of the world from New York!
Squarespace only has paid plans, starting from USD$8 a month. You get a free custom domain for the first year, as well (but are charged at USD$20 a year afterwards, so it may be worth looking around at other domain name providers). If you want a website with a design that’s not just simple to create and edit, but also highly customisable, I’d strongly recommend giving them a go.
What online services would you recommend for someone starting a website? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Featured image: Construyendo una torre 2