So you’ve decided to start your own small business. What do you need? Business cards, a phone number, a Facebook page, and perhaps most importantly, a website. In an age where customers are increasingly likely to research and make their purchases online, it’s important to have an attractive site that showcases what you do. If you don’t have bundles of start-up cash to spend on a website designer, there are some great free options to get you off the ground and onto the World Wide Web.
One of the most popular platforms available, WordPress accounts for 26% of all the websites in the world. There are thousands of free themes and plugins, so you should have no trouble finding something that fits. It might have a slightly steeper learning curve than some of the other drag and drop sites, but there are plenty of YouTube tutorials to help you learn the ropes. If you’re after extra snazzy features, even the premium themes are only around $70USD each.
Wix has 85 million users, with another 45,000 joining each day. As with WordPress, you don’t need any coding knowledge to build a site – it has an easy-to-use drag and drop interface. Wix is an all-inclusive solution, meaning they provide the hosting for all their sites. If you use the free version, they will place advertising on your site.
Like Wix, Weebly is an all-inclusive solution. With 30 million users, it’s also one of the more popular options. It has an easy drag-and-drop interface and a range of attractive themes to choose from. They even provide tools to edit your site from your mobile device. Their free plan offers unlimited pages, though storage is capped at 500MB. They place a small Weebly advert in the footer of your pages if you are on the free plan.
Another simple-to-build option, you can create a professional-looking site with access to their entire range of attractive and responsive templates. Their XPRS building system uses something called Polydoms (or content blocks) to get you up and running quickly and easily. Their free plan limits you to 50MB of storage and there’s no email address included.
With hundreds of responsive templates and drag-and-drop editing, Sitey is another provider that promises to get you online quickly. Their free plan limits you to 50MB storage, 1GB bandwidth, and a maximum file upload of 5GB.
Note that with all of these free solutions, you’ll end up with a subdomain URL, e.g. yoursite.wordpress.com. Paying for a domain name and web hosting will remove this requirement, and usually any advertising they are placing on your site. Because there are differences between each of these tools, such as level of customisation available, included features (like SEO and analytics tools) and costs for upgrading, it’s important to research them carefully before choosing the one that suits you best.