These days, you hardly exist if you don’t have a website so it’s a good thing you have decided to learn the tools of the process. The web, your local library and that know-it-all neighbor abound with great ideas for the tools you need to build your website. There are too many good ideas out there to count. For this piece, we are focusing on the best tools for you, as someone who is not a webmaster, to create a decent site.
Assess Your Needs
The reason you want a website has much to do with which tools you select to create it. The premise here is that you are not a developer, referring to a technical person who can write code. You may learn to write code as you experiment with your site, but at this moment, it is not in your toolbox. We consider that you need a basic business or personal site.
If you decide you have outgrown this self-created site, you have many options for upgrades. You can make changes yourself, hire a professional, or, if you enjoy the process, create another site from scratch, perhaps using a new tool or with a very different focus. No work you invest in this project is wasted. Creating your own site teaches you an appreciation of how much work can go into a site, can provide you with ideas for changes, and certainly makes you more intelligently conversational about websites in general.
Squarespace: All-Around Excellent
No question, there are newer tools out there that may eventually be as reliable, easy to use and widespread as Squarespace, but for today’s new web builder, Squarespace holds all the aces.
It enables you to create a site with easy-to-follow instructions, provides an editable collection of templates, and includes a set of visual editing tools that even the novice can master quickly. Including the visual editing tool set is essential. With the ability to easily modify the templates, you can make your site look unique.
Using this tool you can literally build a responsive site in minutes. You will almost certainly want to tweak that five-minute-site, but that’s an amazing accomplishment. And that quick site will be very attractive.
Additionally, Squarespace makes all the administrative functions quick and simple. Adding pages, uploading photographs, and blogging are tasks anyone can accomplish. You can accept comments, integrate social media, generate statistics and maintain your site through a mobile app…all good things.
Squarespace is not free. You sign up and build your site for free. When you want to publish your site, which means making it available to the world, you start paying. There are regular price adjustments, but you can expect to lay out around $8-$10 month and a little more for add-ons.
WordPress: Less Easy, Less Expensive
WordPress is the grand dame of site creation software. As such, one of the more persuasive reasons for selecting it is the vast, vocal community established around it. If you hit a problem, a simple Internet search will yield pages of solutions. It can be intimidating to have pages and pages of solutions to review, but if you consider it a learning experience, it is more tolerable.
Because WordPress is an open source application, when you start to set up your site you select personal hosting or WordPress hosting. Since you are unlikely to have a server to support self-hosting, having WordPress host your new site is probably your best bet.
Though WordPress is fully customizable, without coding skills you have limitations. However, it is a great, user-friendly, quick way to get the site you need up fast. WordPress regularly updates its templates that they call “themes”. This means that some are taken out of the rotation so you can find yourself with an unsupported template. However, if you keep up with released updates, which should not be a problem.
There is no charge for a basic WordPress site; sites with complete access to their many custom features cost about as much as a Squarespace site does per month.
Tumblr: Best for Short Posts
Using Tumblr, you can create a site and have it up and online quickly. Of the three possible site creation tools suggested in this piece, Tumblr is the most limited in terms of unique or distinctive appearance options. The selling point of Tumblr is the Tumblr community that happily and frequently reposts each other’s blogs. This provides you with immediate access to a large community.
If the Tumblr community is not valuable to your situation, use WordPress or Squarespace to learn how to best create a website. For a debut site to sell your widgets, introduce the world to your art, or start your own movie review blog, Tumblr is not as good a fit as the other two tools.
Choosing a Web-Creation Tool
All three of the tools suggested here will get your site up and available quickly. To decide which one to use, you need to examine what you will post on your site. The question is less about the amount of content than the purpose of the site.
If you want to make sure your neighbors know about the stock and services of your hardware store, most of your content will be static, that is, unchanging. You may have changes seasonally and might run some specials, but your list of goods and services will not alter often. Squarespace is a great choice for this. Your visitors will find the site attractive, the information easy to access and they can post comments about your great service.
If you are an artist building a name and following, you might consider Tumblr. Its community is interesting in seeking out new members and you might find your traffic numbers grow fairly quickly. On the other hand, if your primary purpose is to have samples to show prospective clients or gallery owners, Squarespace with its superior visual editing tools might be better.
If you just want to get your feet wet in blogging and posting, Tumblr is a great choice. You are immediately an insider there and may find yourself addressing comments from anywhere the first day you go live.
Learn How to Best Create a Website
Take a chance as many have before you. The tools are there and they have all been tested by wide audiences and found reliable. No need to put it off until you can code; create your site today…you can always change it tomorrow!