In the previous installments of this column, I talked about the preparation and research you need to do before you get started actually building your website. Today we’re going to look at some of the different systems that you can choose from to build your own website or blog.
Just a few years ago, building your own website was a highly technical matter. These days, there are numerous brilliant systems in existence that make building your own website a breeze, even if you have no technical knowledge whatsoever.
Perhaps the best-known of these systems is WordPress, which is, without doubt, the best option to go for if you want to set up a blog. You can go for the easy “all-on-one” option by signing up at WordPress.com (https://wordpress.com/), and be up and running with your own blog with no more than a few clicks.
The alternative to the “easy” version of WordPress is the “self-hosted” version of WordPress (also known as “WordPress.org“—https://wordpress.org/) which you install and set up on your own hosting. This is a whole lot more complex and involved, but it does allow you many more customization options and you also retain total control over your blog.
While we’re on the subject of blogs, there are many seasoned bloggers around who are dedicated devotees of Blogger (also called “Blogspot“—https://www.blogger.com/). While Blogger is a good system and it’s perfectly easy to get set up and blogging within just a few minutes, WordPress does give you much more scope for customization and it’s generally seen as the better of the two major blogging options (whether you choose WordPress.com or the more complex self-hosted version).
With regard to setting up a full-blown website rather than simply a blog, self-hosted WordPress can do everything that you’d ever want your website to do for you (selling your products, taking bookings, listing events, functioning as a membership site, and so on) and is seen as the obvious option for many people who want to set up their own website.
There are several other options that non-techie people may find suit their needs better, though. Precisely because self-hosted WordPress is now so full-featured, it actually isn’t as easy to use as many assume it will be, and you also have the hassle of maintaining it after you’ve set it up, as well as being responsible for security and dealing with any other difficulties you may run into (such as hacks, which do occur).
If the idea of sorting out these kinds of problems fills you with dread, worry not because the easier options are hosted for you, so you won’t ever need to think about security or technical hitches, and you’ll always have client support on hand to help you whenever you need it.
Wix (http://www.wix.com/) and Weebly (http://www.weebly.com/) are my two favorite “all-in-one” systems and I recommend them daily to people who want to get an attractive, functional, professional-looking website up and running quickly, while avoiding all technical nitty-gritty. Take a look at their templates—you’ll be impressed, and both systems are also super easy to use.
There’s another new system I also love called Strikingly (https://www.strikingly.com/). This allows you to set up a gorgeous-looking one-page website with as many sections as you like within it, visible to the visitor as they scroll down the page. If you want something simple but stunning I do recommend you look at it—you’ll certainly be surprised.
These are just a few of the fabulous systems that exist today to help non-techie people create their own website or blog without any fuss.
Next time, we’ll look at a couple more plus some of the options available to people who want to dive into e-commerce and set up their own online store. And if you want me to focus on particular themes, let me know in your comments below!