If those template customizations don’t look like enough for you (though if you’re building your first website, they will be), you might want to think about building your website on an open source platform like WordPress.org – this is the ‘Option 2’ that we’ll be covering a little later on.. You will get more flexibility, but if you’re not a coder, learning WordPress takes a lot of time — especially compared to drag-and-drop builders.
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.

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.


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

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!  
If you build a website that’s optimized for search engines, then yes it will. It’s a common myth that you can’t rank as well with website builders – you definitely can! How to create a website that ranks in Google will require good content, and a bit of background research into SEO. Building websites that people can find is key to a good website marketing strategy, and not that hard to do.
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.

If you're on a Mac however, there's another option: RapidWeaver. This WYSIWYG webpage editor has full code access and FTP support for uploading pages. There are plenty of built-in templates to get started, all for the one-time price of $99.99. On Windows there are numerous choices. Xara Web Designer 365, for example, starts at $49.99 and promises you don't need to know HTML or Javascript to create sites based on the company's templates.

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.
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. 
As a consequence, WiX is not equally suited to all developers. The relatively steep learning curve (although our primary goal is to help overcome this difficulty with our tutorial) and the unavoidable exposure to the internal details and, sometimes, intricacies of the underlying Windows Installer technology suggest that less experienced developers or those who don't really need the unlimited and unparalleled performance WiX can offer might be better served by a simpler, GUI-based setup authoring tool, of which there are both commercial and freeware solutions available.
You can make a website for free, but there are catches. Free accounts on website builders hold a lot of important features back. You can’t use custom domains, and your free site will have ads for that website builder. If you’re looking to learn more about website building then the free options are worth a look. However, if you want a professional, feature-rich website you’re going to have to pay at least a few dollars a month.
Topic clusters involve changing your website structure to have single “pillar” pages acting as primary hubs of information. From this hub, each subtopic (or cluster) has its own page connected via link. Think of it like spokes on a wheel. Every piece of cluster content connects back to the hub, with the pillar page providing the primary anchor point for navigation.
The best way to create a website is to find a web host that has all the services your website needs, and that offers a website building application that will create the type of site you want. This way, your site will be up and running quickly. Even though these website builders do a lot of the work, you’ll need a good plan, an efficient design, and engaging content before you create your website and publish it on the web.
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