Website Design, Strategy, Social Networking, SEO, Susan Pomeroy, Ph.D.

Five Quick Ways to Get a Free, Professional Web Site

by Susan Pomeroy

free websites

If you’re a sole proprietor just starting a new venture, you may not want to pay a designer for a custom web site—especially when you can test your market, concept, and business model with little or no investment of time and money. Here are some web site options that can get your site up and running fast, with no stress about time or cost.

Some require that you already have a domain name ($10) and a web hosting account ($4 to $5 per month); some are self-hosted and totally free.

Free Downloadable Web Site Templates

Do a quick search on any major search engine and you’ll find thousands of free site templates, many of them quite good looking and well constructed. Caveats? Read the terms of service—some require a link back to the site or template author. You’ll need some basic html knowledge in order to input your content and upload the finished files to your web host.

Use Your Web Host’s Free Templates

Many web hosts, including Godaddy.com and Yahoo, offer free web templates. You purchase a low-cost hosting plan, then pick a pre-designed template that most closely matches your business. Customize it using built-in or downloadable tools, and voila, there’s your web site. You don’t need to know anything about coding or html. True, you don’t have total and absolute control over the appearance of your site. But it’s quick, good-looking, and it’s cheap.

Free Google Sites & Blogs

Google offers a totally free online site-building tool and hosting service. You don’t need any expertise whatsoever, you don’t need to pay one dime, and you can use these sites for business and commercial purposes. You can have your own site up in half an hour, no technical knowledge required. Check them out at sites.google.com. Remember to read the terms of service, privacy, and policies pages.

Planning a blog? Google also offers a free blogging service, blogger.com. Your own very attractively customized blog can be online in five minutes.

More Totally Free Sites

Check out the free services out there, like GoGoPin, or blogging guru Seth Godin’s Squidoo (single-page sites called “lenses,” that gather information on a particular topic, product, project, or business), or the free start-your-own-social-network site, Ning. (Again, always read the terms of service and privacy policies. Be aware that a free, hosted site service offered by a brand-new company may or may not be a long-lived endeavor.)

Free WordPress for Web Sites, Blogs, Ecommerce and Membership Sites

WordPress was originally developed as a free, open-source blogging platform. It has evolved into a powerful site tool that’s used by major newspapers, universities and businesses—and it’s still free.

WordPress is not the simplest option out there, but it is the most scalable. Starting with a simple one-click template, you can later evolve your site into an extremely sophisticated and powerful system. WordPress allows you to start small and end up big, without ever having to change platforms or portage your content from one interface to another.

WordPress.org offers free downloads to install on your own domain. Many web hosts also offer free, one-click installation.

WordPress.com offers free, hosted blog sites on their domain.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect!

The web is not a permanent medium. It encourages flexibility and experimentation. Yes, you can get started now, on a shoestring! A very short shoestring. Or even no string at all. Your site isn’t perfect? That really doesn’t matter, because it will continue to change as you learn and grow. Sometimes it just makes sense to begin simply, even when you’re aiming high.

Do you have your own free site source, comment, or experience to share? Please join the discussion.

P.S. If you already run a WordPress site and want to keep it updated and backed up without hassle…  plus full restoration if there is every any disaster… check out my new service, CompleteWP Update & Restore.

Website so out of date you're embarrassed?
Get a custom WordPress site designed for your business... for as little as $65 per month.

Rent-a-website

Don't buy, rent your web site.
Click here to learn more.

Previous post:

Next post: