Monday, May 18, 2009

Free Website Creators

Remember the day when you had to learn complicated software to create a website?
Well those days are over. People often ask me about creating websites, so I thought it might be helpful to show you a few places where you can create a FREE and EASY website.

The first one is Microsoft Office Live. Microsoft Office Live has several things going on. Live Workspace is their cloud computing section (like GoogleDocs & Adobe Buzzword). They also have Live Spaces, which is their blog software. But what you're looking for is the Office Live Small Business, which is the website creator. You don't have to be a "business" either to create a website. I have a website through them, and I enjoy working with the program. Here's what I like:
*It's very easy to build a site.
*Lots of templates - not a huge amount, but enough for my purposes
*You can choose your own domain name for free
*You can create several email accounts associated with the domain name
*You can upload docs, pics, videos etc (For videos, you will prefer to have an embed code. If you want to upload videos that aren't hosted elsewhere-you will need to do a little more legwork - it's possible, but not super, super easy)
*There are a few reporting functions to see who is visiting your site
The only drawback I've seen so far is the fact that it doesn't mesh with WordPress. Microsoft has its own blog (Windows Live Spaces) within the software, but I didn't really like that. It does allow Blogger blogs to be imported.
I originally thought you couldn't import your own banner on a website, but I've seen sites where this has been done, so appears to be possible.
I've seen some really beautiful websites created through Microsoft Office Live.

The next FREE website creator is Webs.com. I created a site through webs.com back when it was called Freewebs.com. It served my purposes back then, but if they hadn't upgraded, I would've easily outgrown this program. They now have many more templates, more flexibility and frankly the sites look great!

They have a neat community feature too. You can allow your friends to upload videos to your photo or video album. You can add a forum/message board to your site. You can easily add widgets, polls, RSS feeds, even your own store that accepts payments. Overall, these upgrades look fantastic! The all new Webs.com appears to have everything you would need in building a site.

Next is Wix.com. Wix seems to have all of the features of Webs.com, but uses Flash.
Here's what they're saying about it on their site "High quality fully customizable designs
Go beyond Flash templates. Find all the graphics you need on Wix.com.
Loaded with tons of designs, media items, effects, and animations."
Sounds awesome - especially since it's free!
There are many, many more free websites out there. Here are few more to check out:
Weebly
Yola
Homestead