These services can host your content on their servers free of charge, but in exchange for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less-than-elegant domain, such as jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. That might be fine for a personal blog, but it will look too low-rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for whatever it's selling.

If you’re using Wix’s free plan, then you won’t be able to use a regular domain name like “www.mysite.com” or “www.mysite.net” (domains like this come with Wix’s paid plans). Instead, your site will follow the format www.yourname.wixsite/yoursite, which is enough to get it up and running. But if you’re going for a more professional look, then we recommend upgrading to a paid plan to secure a more polished domain!  
There are thousands of templates to choose from in WordPress’ own Theme Directory. Search for the types of themes you’d be interested in. If you’re setting up a newspaper search ‘newspaper’, if you need a site for your café search ‘cafe’. There’ll be dozens, if not hundreds, of contenders. Clicking on a theme takes you to its own page where you can see user reviews and preview the theme in action.
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.
With so many steps, trying to remember all of the best practices for SEO can be challenging. But executing each strategy is easy when you have Alexa tools that point out where you are missing optimization opportunities or making mistakes.  Try the tools today. Sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to get all of the tools mentioned in this post, along with other useful keyword research and SEO reports and tools.
Hi Glyn, You can indeed keep your domain name. Domain registration is a separate process to site building, so there's no risk of getting one stuck on a platform you don't want to use any more. Wix is great at walking you through the domain transfer process step by step when you sign up. There's an official video guide here if you'd like a sense of how it's done. Hope that's helpful! Ta, Fred
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. 

You can absolutely do that. If you want to upgrade to a paid plan to get some of the features you want, then you can switch at any time through the My Products option in your account or with the help of a GoDaddy Guide. Once you upgrade your site will have all the same customizations and work that you've already put in place, just with the added features.
As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand (if you're a novice, The Best Courses for Learning How to Build Websites is an excellent starting point). You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.

Don’t publish duplicate meta title tags and descriptions. Just as you don’t want to publish the same copy on pages, you don’t want to publish duplicate SEO meta descriptions. Write unique meta titles and descriptions for each page on your site. Also, keep the description to under 320 characters and don’t use special characters to ensure that your entire description will show up properly on SERPs.

Customization on WordPress requires much more technical skill than it does with website builders. You’ll need to dive into the code to make the changes you want. If you’re comfortable with HTML, CSS, and Javascript (or looking to learn more about them), this shouldn’t be an obstacle. Just be wary. WordPress offers more control than website builders, but only to those equipped to use it.
Hi Paul, I totally feel your pain here! It can be so hard to know where to start. You might find our website builder comparison chart a good place to start, or you can take our short quiz for a personal recommendation. The comments under our articles should also hopefully prove helpful. Other than that, we often find Reddit a good place to engage with a lot of like-minded people, so I'd suggest taking a look there. Thanks, Hannah
The major player in the blog game is WordPress, a content management system (CMS) that powers millions of websites, including The New York Times, Quartz, and Variety. WordPress-powered sites are incredibly easy to set up, customize, and update—ideally on a daily basis. You aren't required to learn fancy-schmancy FTP tricks (though you can certainly use them if you like), and there are ridiculous numbers of free and paid WordPress themes and WordPress plug-ins to give your website a pretty face and vastly expanded functionality. Though WordPress dominates the blogging space, it isn't the only blogging CMS of note, however.
I'd like to express my thanks to Rob Mensching for creating the toolset in the first place, and to Neil Sleightholm, Vadym Stetsyak, Robert Pickering, Marc Borgers, John DeSoi, Markus Karg, Greg Glass, Stefan Krüger, Nobuo Kihara, Phil Wilson, Peter Tewkesbury, Nicholas Muguira, David Adams, Mike Green, Chesong Lee and Christophe Michel for the material contributed to the tutorial.
Hi Osi, Thanks for your comment! That's great you want to create a website to reach your readers - WordPress is certainly the most powerful platform, and is perfect if you want a totally customizable website. However, it's important to know that it also comes with more ongoing maintenance and can be a bit technical depending on how you approach it. So if you have time and technical confidence, then yes it would be a perfect choice! If you want something super quick and easy though, then you're better off with a website builder. If you want some alternatives to explore, I can also recommend Wix, which offers tons of creative freedom along with template designs specifically designed for writers like you! We have a Wix vs WordPress comparison if you want to see them compared side-by-side. Another alternative is Weebly, which has great SEO tools to help your website get found in Google. Here's our Weebly Review if you want to learn more! I hope this helps, and best of luck with your website! Lucy
Use canonical tags on duplicate content. If you need to publish content that is already published on another webpage (whether it is on your site or another website), use a canonical tag that tells search bots to ignore the duplicate content. This tag points the crawler to the original copy. It doesn’t add SEO value to your site, but it helps you avoid duplicate content penalties.
By creating a website, you are creating an online presence. This allows you to connect with people that you might not otherwise be able to reach. Whether you’re making a basic website with contact information for your small business or medical practice, creating a landing page for your freelance work, a multi-page experience for your wedding photography business or you just want a place to blog about your thoughts on food, having a website will give you a dynamic advantage.
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