About.me and Flavors.me are examples of nameplate services. You simply upload one big photograph as the background for your personal webpage, then artfully overlay information and links to create your digital nameplate. These free sites help you pull images from your social networks or from a hard drive, then provide the tools to make the text and links work unobtrusively, though it really behooves you to check out other personal pages for an idea of what works.
The toolset we are about to introduce, WiX, uses a different approach. Instead of a tool with a graphical interface that allows the developers to collect the files and other related tasks making up the installation process manually, it is much more like a programming language. Integrating perfectly with the usual process of creating applications, it uses a text file (based on the XML format) to describe all the elements of the installation process. The toolset has a compiler and a linker that will create the setup program just like our usual compiler creates our application from the source files. Therefore, WiX can be made part of any automated application build process very easily, be that based either on the classical technology of makefiles or the similar features of contemporary integrated development environments.
While the the best of them offer surprising amounts of flexibility, they also impose stringent enough restrictions to page design that you shouldn't be able to create a really bad looking site using one of these services. Typically you can get a Mysite.servicename.com style-url with no commerce abilities for free from one of these services; you have to pay extra for a better URL and the ability to sell. One issue to consider is that if you eventually outgrow one of these services, it can be hard to export your site to a full scale advanced web hosting like Dreamhost or Hostgator. If you know that's where you are eventually going, it may be better to skip the sitebuilder step.
In addition to this integration, providing basically nothing more but developer comfort, WiX offers another level of integration, far more advantageous than the first one: the integration of the setup development process with that of the application. Traditionally, setup programs were only written when the main application had already been finished; often even by different developers. This approach requires a tedious and error prone process of collecting information about all the resources making up the application. While the files themselves are usually obvious, registry entries, services and most forms of inter-resource dependencies are often hard to reconstruct in a later stage: if solid development documentation is lacking, the setup developers have to collect all pieces of information from the original developers or try to extract it from the source code.
If you don't have a design already in place and think templates are too limited, consider Adobe Muse CC. This unique little program concentrates on letting you design. Templates are handy, embeddable web fonts are great, and the sitemap view may be the best way to get an overall feel for what your site will have. Export it to HTML and you're ready for upload. It's part of the Creative Cloud bundle and also available individually for $14.99 a month with a yearly plan.
Your website needs a place to live on the web, and the quickest way to reserve your web address is to find a web host. There are a variety of cheap web hosting providers, and each one has a specialty. Look for a web host that offers a price that fits your budget, has the web tools you need to create your envisioned website, and provides support when you need help or have problems.