How To Build a Web Site for Free

We women love a good bargain. And it doesn’t get much better than free.

I learn by doing. To learn about Web sites, I created them. To learn about blogs, I started them. I didn’t exactly have Web experimentation in my budget, however, so I found ways to try things out for free.

If you’re just starting a Web site and want to experiment, there are a few things you can do without spending money.

Try Microsoft Office Live Basics. Geared toward small businesses, Microsoft Office Live offers several service levels at varying prices. The basic version is free. You get an actual .com URL, email addresses that are yourname@yourdomain.com, and a basic Web design tool. Choose from a limited set of designs, layouts, and color schemes to customize a basic informational site.

Use WordPress.com. Life After Web is built in WordPress.com. You get a free blog and the ability to create additional pages for a more well-rounded site. There is a set of templates to choose from, some of which offered limited customization. Most templates also allow you to add widgets to the side columns. Your URL will be yourname.wordpress.com.

Use WordPress.org if you need more control over your templates. This is an open-source version of WordPress which will allow you to download any of the hundreds of templates created by others around the Web. Or, if you have the skills, build your own template. WordPress.org will require you to already have a URL and hosting, so you may incur a charge for those, but the use of WordPress’ open source tool is free.

A few other ideas are:

  • Start a blog for free through Blogger.
  • If you have a URL and hosting provider, take advantage of open source content management systems like Drupal or Joomla.
  • College students and faculty can often get free web space on their university’s domain.

With a little research, you’ll find lots of possibilities. Get creative and you can build some or all of your site for free.

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3 Comments

  1. Joseph said,

    Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    What I discover today on the web.
    http://www.MultipleMarketPlace.com is the Internet largest digital marketplace, where thousands of the web most popular products are sold every day. Whether you are looking to buy, Ebooks, Softwares, Scripts, Movies, Musics, Videos, Databases, Multiple MarketPlace is for you
    http://www.MultipleMarketPlace.com

  2. Luis Pereira said,

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 5:29 am

    I am planning to build my own blog. What are the requirements to do it?

    I am looking forward to hearing you soon

    Regards

    Luis Pereira

  3. Sherri said,

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Luis,

    Congratulations. There are not a whole lot of requirements. You need access to the internet, a blogging platform, and a URL. There are a few free blogging platforms out there, if you’re interested. I’ve used both Blogger and WordPress.

    Blogger (www.blogger.com) is extremely user friendly and easy to set up. It will give you a basic blog, but no extra web pages. There are about a dozen templates to choose from. You can use a Blogger URL for free. It will be something like http://yourblogname.blogspot.com or you can use Blogger to point to a URL that you own. You can add Google Analytics (a free web traffic tracking tool available at http://www.google.com/analytics/) to your site to track traffic.

    WordPress has two versions so be careful when choosing. Both are free and give you a blogging platform. One is more user-friendly (better for beginners) and provides a decent selection of templates. You can find that version at WordPress.com. You can use a WordPress URL (something like http://yourblogname.wordpress.com) or point it to a URL you own. You can also add other web pages to your blog site with WordPress, unlike Blogger. WordPress.com has built in traffic tracking which gives basic stats. You can’t use Google Analytics with WordPress.com.

    There is also an open source version of WordPress (available at WordPress.org) which is good if you have a web hosting service little web development experience. You will need to have a web hosting service to use this because you download the software to your computer than upload your blog to your own URL. It lets you customize your site more, but has only one or two bland templates to begin with. This version does not have built in traffic tracking. You will need to add it yourself. If you don’t have a lot of web experience, you may want to avoid this version.

    You can purchase URLs through sites like dreamhost.com, bluehost.com, or godaddy.com. They typically run about $10 per year. Hosting services will cost quite a bit more.

    If you are a beginner without web development experience, I would suggest starting with Blogger or WordPress.com. Blogger will be easiest. WordPress.com is easy and will give you more flexibility down the road. If you think you will stick with blogging for a while, you may want to buy a URL and use it from the beginning. Moving from a .blogspot.com or a .wordpress.com URL to your own URL may cause you to lose readers. If you’re okay with their URLs, however, go free all the way.

    Hope this helps!

    Sherri


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