A lot of people want to know how to start a website for free. This, in fact, can be and is done every day by both those new to creating websites and those who have been at it for a while. Free websites, while they have both advantages and disadvantages, are a good way to get established and gain experience online for many. Here is how to start that free website that can either be very small or big.
Apart from an idea and content, to create any website, only three basic things are needed. All the them are offered by free from website services. They are:
- A domain: Basically, a name is the home address for any site on the web.
- Web hosting: This stores the website and provides bandwidth that allows those visiting it to view its content.
- Site building tools: Even those experienced building websites find writing code painstaking. Site building tools allow people to create sites easily without having to look at code.
However, using the services of these companies brings both advantages and disadvantages.
First, some of the good points about going totally free besides the fact that people do not have to pay out a single penny.
- Most of the free website services are simple to use. Using features like drag and drop, anyone can build a website with a very easy learning curve. There is no reason to have to learn any coding either.
- It is unnecessary buy or install any software. All the basics come installed by default.
- Security and other potential problems that sometimes come with putting up websites are taken care of without the person who creates the site having to do anything.
With a free website, one never has full control. There are no guarantees that the user will not wake up one day and find their site is gone for some reason, as the site can be taken down at the whims of another company. Furthermore, these kinds of sites usually do not offer the kind of full flexibility to edit code and change sites exactly how one wants.
In addition, the amount of bandwidth will be limited, and some require ads or other content be displayed when using the free version of their services.
The single biggest drawback is arguably the domain. With free websites, the people who build the websites do not own the domain of their site. Their domain will be tagged to the name of the site providing the service. For example, the address of a free WordPress blog will look like: www.yoursitename.wordpress.com. While this does not matter for many people, if the site becomes successful, it will not be practical to move it for more bandwidth or some other reason. While it may be possible to move the content of the site, the dolman name, and any links or recognition it might have, will be lost. Therefore, using a free service may end up costing more in the long run.
How to start a website for free
There are a lot of great services that will let anyone and start a website for free. All that needs to be done is to create an account, decide on the domain name and start building the site. Before doing this, it is advisable to sit down and think about what the site will be about. For those creating a marketing site, this process needs to involve keyword research. Top keyword research tools covers both paid and free tools that can be used to help find keywords to target for a website.
Everyone should pick the service that best meets their needs. Some things to look for in the services are:
- What tools does it offer? These can include site building, ecommerce, SEO and website analysis.
- Make sure it offers a way to build an entire site if that is what is needed and not just a single page (as services like Squidoo offer).
- An interface the user is comfortable with and the ability to add whatever is needed easily (pictures, text, video, logos, etc.).
- The right templates can make putting up a site a million times easier.
A few of the top services include:
Weebly: Very easy drag and drop making it great for beginners.
Webs: Lots of great templates
Jimdo: Easy to edit HTML and a good choice for an online store.
Google Sites: As with everything Google, reliable and lots of great free tools.
Moonfruit: Versatile and with lots of great drag and drop features for placing text, logos, pictures and the like.
Wix: Very popular with those who want to create sites with Flash.
Buildwebsite4u: Great tutorials.
Netidnow: Good tools for ecommerce.
Homestead: Very popular with features that make it very customizable with logos and the like.
Yola: Very easy to use.
BlinkWeb: Targeted to internet marketers with lots of included components and pages.
Free online publishing platforms covers more possibilities, but keep in mind that some of them are not for building complete websites.
Once a service has been selected, it is just a process of signing up and adding all the content (although it might take some time to learn to use the website builder).
How to start a website that is not quite free but cheap.
For those who want the flexibility and control that comes having their own domain and hosting, there are ways to do it at a very low cost. A domain costs about $10 a year and hosting is very reasonable. Generally, the best hosting to go with uses cPanel. It offers a lot of options, is relatively easy to learn and integrates easily with the very popular and free site building software WordPress (WordPress affiliate website covers the whole process of how to use this platform to create affiliate or other sites).
In fact, many web services to include Just Host offer all of this in one package. For prices starting from about $5 a month, it is possible to get a domain name with good cPanel hosting. WordPress and then be installed for free. In addition, there is a huge selection of themes and plugins for WordPress (many are free or at very low cost) that make it possible to do just about anything.
Of course, with hosting and a domain, it is ok to use any website building software one fancies.
Regardless, this option should also be considered.