A look at website builder services, free websites to help website design, and other ways to create a website.
Website design is a very big topic, and there are many conflicting opinions. At the same time, there are many hosts offering website builder services - software that allows the user to choose from several proven website layouts and designs, and then fill them with their own text. This article should help the reader evaluate the kind of website design that is right for them, and the various steps they need to take in order to create a website.
It is worth taking a brief look at the various kinds of web site that can be created, and the options available to the website owner.
There are four basic website design styles:
- A Blog - an example is WordPress, or Blogger
- Dynamic Content - a CMS, for example Joomla
- Web 2.0 Platforms - example is HubPages
For those just starting out, options 2 and 3 are probably going to be a little advanced, as they require knowledge of HTML and web servers. This article concentrates on the other two approaches.
Essentially, it is a service that allows the user to build, and customize, their website from selected templates.
A web site is essentially created by linking pages together. A website builder allows the user to do this easily, but there are a few things to watch out for, even then.
For example, maintenance can be an issue. The user has to remember to update the menus and links between pages, even if it is done through a tool, it can still be a bit of a chore. Something that is hard to update may not be updated often!
To cut down on this kind of maintenance, the reader may like to look at some of the other ways to build their online presence.
Besides using an online website builder, there are some other ways to make a website, using tools that are easily found on the world wide web. For software solutions, a good place to start browsing is a repository like download.cnet.com. They will have listings of both free and paid software for editing web sites.
The first option is to use a web site editor to edit static pages. These can then be uploaded to the web host with an FTP (file transfer protocol) program. It is important to remember that not all free websites will allow the user to take this approach.
Another possibility is to use a general purpose blogging platform like Wordpress or Blogger. This has the advantage of being very low maintenance, as the publishing system really has only one option : write a blog entry, and then publish it. The disadvantage is obvious - the user has limited options.
Finally, a slot-in web 2.0 platform like HubPages can be used. This provides a halfway point between a true website builder, and a creative blogging interface with different modules that can be slotted in to provide content. These generally limit the website design options that the user has, but are an easy way to make a website quickly.
A quick search of the internet will reveal that there are many free websites and free web hosts out there to choose from. The snag is, they are generally supported by some kind of advertising. For those unwilling or unable to pay for their web hosting, the best solution may well be to choose a Web 2.0 platform, like HubPages, where they can at least share in the revenue that the advertising generates.
These hosts, however, come with their own limitations, and special guidelines for content creation. Luckily there is plenty of support in the forums for those just starting out and hoping to take their first steps to create a website.