Sunday, February 13, 2011

Creating a Website for the Newbie: Sites


A lot of the real work from home jobs you will find out there will call for (or be enhanced by) having your own personal website. A personal website can work to promote what you do, whether that be articles or products, it can also help promote the service or services that you offer.

Today I will be discussing some of the different site options that are available to you to create a website both free and paid. I will also briefly touch of the pro's and con's of the different options that you have available to you when you decide to create a website. Later on I will follow up with the following topics that will help you with your website creation; customizing your sites with CSS (for noobs - easy shortcuts), widgets, html and resource sites that can help you find what you need to create a completely personalized and customized site.

Where you can Create Free Websites

There are several free options that you have available to you. With most of these sites the url for your site will not be what is considered a pretty URL and will often be a subdomain of the site you are creating with  i.e. yoursitename.blogspot.com. The best thing about these sites though is that a lot of them allow you to upgrade your site - meaning purchasing a hosting plan and or having your own domain name attached to the site yoursitename.com(.org, .net, .biz etc). <-- notice that the free website sites name is no longer a part of your domain url.

Anyways here are some of the best sites that allow you to set up a free website and offer a decent amount of customization.

Blogger.com has one of the easiest platforms to customize a site and have it look just about any way that you'd like it to (just as an example you can see some of the different layouts and styles you can create by viewing the sites I've created personally using this platform: here, here, here, here, here and here (and of course this one that you are on). Yes, I know that is a lot of sites, the sad thing is that is not the complete list. Unfortunately I am a bit addicted to creating different sites - keeping them updated on the other hand is not such an obsession.

Pro's:

  • Thousand of template/theme options both generic and theme specific (recipes, blogging, products, photography and more) 
  • Customization/personalization of most any template (width, colors, layout, display...more)
  • Good selection of Sidebar widgets and content (links, pages, archives, blog roll, ads, html/java, text, pictures, 3rd party code...more)
  • FREE
  • Upgradeable - you can purchase or have your own domain pointed at your site for complete personalization
  • Offers 10 static pages and unlimited posts. 
  • Free domain hosting
  • Can add Amazon and Google Adsense ads (and other 3rd party affiliate programs and adverts)
  • No site ads displayed on your page even with the free version
  • lots of professional looking templates
  • Create unlimited blogs
Con's
  • A lot of the customizations to templates is done through code. So can be difficult if you don't know what you are doing. (However, there are hundreds of cut and paste or step by step tutorials that are easy to understand)
  • All free sites set up through blogger without a personal domain will include .blogspot.com in the url.

Wordpress.com (not .org) offers free blogs with a lot of extra. 

Pro's: 
  • Like Blogger offers an enormous amount of templates a.k.a themes to choose from
  • Professional looking templates
  • Easy personalization through widgets
  • Free site stats to monitor traffic etc
  • Utilizes Askimet which reduces spam made to comments section etc
  • Large forum for questions and help
  • Offered in 50 languages
  • Can transfer over current blogs hosted on other sites 
  • Make your blog private or open
  • Unlimited blog creation
  • Upgradeable
Con's
  • Can not add your own Google Adsense, Chitika or Amazon ads or affiliate links to a dozen specified programs (However if you get more than 25,000 monthly visitors they may allow you to display ads from Google Adsense, Chitika or Amazon but you have to split revenue with them 50/50 but you must first apply for this opportunity and be approved. 
  • Displays their own self serving ads on your free sites and pages 
  • Customizations can be difficult for a newbie. Most is done with CSS coding and what is required for one simple change can call for different code from one theme to the other. 
  • Forums are full of unanswered help questions and some members are quite rude when responding to questions. (However, there are a few really great forum helpers)



Weebly.com is a drag and drop site builder that offers a free website platform. It comes with pre-made site templates. There are a couple dozen site templates to choose between but it offers less customization in its free form than sites like Blogger. However, this site requires little to no knowledge of website design or creation as you simply drag an element onto the page (most are self explanatory: Paragraph w/ Title, paragraph, media, html and so on).

Pro's

  • Easy page and element set up using the drag and drop feature
  • No html or css coding knowledge needed
  • Free Version
  • Upgradeable with personal domain and hosting options
  • free hosting
Con's
  • When editing an element sometimes the edit box gets placed too far up which prevents you from successfully editing the element in question. (I've used Weebly for a couple of sites and this was an ongoing frustration)
  • Not enough options to customize certain elements and aspects that help make a website personalized (not all templates allow personal/custom logo's, header customization is limited and not available on some templates, limited design styles, generic font customization, media limitations on free accounts) 

Webs.com is another option for those who want to set up a website without investing any money into it. Like the other options mentioned above set up can be quick and easy.

Pro's

  • No HTML/CSS code knowledge required
  • Easy click to add and edit elements
  • Several templates to choose from
  • Can preform simple customizations to layouts and pages
  • Upgradeable to premium paid services
  • Decent looking site creations with both free and paid versions
Con's
  • Can not utilize Google Adsense and some other 3rd party affiliations on free account
  • Limited customization on free accounts
  • Site displays self serving ads on your free website pages (unable to opt out of this it comes as a condition to using the site for a free site set up). However these can be removed with an upgrade to the paid premium services which also opens up more customization options. 
COMING SOON: Customizing your site CSS, Widgets, HTML and more for Noobs or Newbies. Will include resources. 

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