In my last post, I wrote about making your Web site work better, but what if you don’t have a Web site? Check out these free and easy DIY Web site building services that I recommend to my clients:
• Microsoft Office Live
If you are familiar with creating and editing documents in Microsoft’s Word, you will find the Office Live Web site editor easy to use. Page templates suggest content and layout for standard Web site pages, and you can brand each page with your logo, colors, and choice of formatting.
Once you have set up your free account, you can have a simple Web site up in as little as an hour or two. You can spend more time and use the tools they provide to add pictures, forms, HTML code, a slide show or video, PayPal, map directions, and/or your blog.
A free account includes a Microsoft-assigned URL, the Web site building tools you need, site analytics, e-mail, and Web site hosting, which in my experience involves very little downtime. If you choose to upgrade to a domain name of your own choosing, there is a low annual (not monthly, like so many companies) fee. The only complaint I have heard is the lack of free step-by-step instructions with pictures.
Weebly says, “Absolutely no technical skills required” and they mean it. Their Web page set up is largely intuitive with the ease of dragging and dropping content into place. They offer a variety of themed templates as well as the tools you need to include pictures, forms, audio, video, and a blog.
A free account includes a URL that is either a domain you already own or a sub-domain of Weebly.com, the tools you need to build your Web site, analytics, and highly reliable Web site hosting. Create an e-commerce store connected to your PayPal or Google Checkout, password protect pages, or get fancy with CSS and HTML code. The only complaint I have heard is that the page editor takes a little while to figure out if you don’t use the tutorials Weebly provides.
Weebly also offers a free educators’ version. Password protect student pages and leave other pages public. Create a class blog. Use Weebly’s audio and video players for media presentations so students don’t have to leave your site.
Although WordPress is a blogging platform, it allows you to build a simple Web site quickly and easily. A free account includes a URL that is a sub-domain of wordpress.com, site building tools, user reports, little downtime, and a wide variety of themes and widgets to choose from. T. J. McCue goes into more depth about WordPress and other free Web site building services in his blog posts.