Free Online Website Builders

There are plenty of online web-builders now available, but which one could be right for you? Before we go any further… let me familiarise you with some jargon that’s out there.

Glossary

CMS – Stands for Content Management System. Good CMS is essential if you’re new to web-building as it helps you organise the site behind the scenes,  from the way you manage pages, uploading and labelling of photos/videos, to help linking the site to Paypal or Facebook etc…

HTML 5 or FLASH – Which code to create the site with? Why does it matter? Whilst Flash looked great on desktops, it drained batteries on mobile devices. With the rise in popularity with mobiles devices such as tablets and phones, the more suited HTML5 is now being adopted for web development. Still in it’s early days, however, it can prove less universal on some desktop browsers – though this is rapidly changing.

SEO – How far up are you ranked on Google and other search engines? The 64 million dollar question. After all, everyone wants to be at the top and unless your are prepared to pay big bucks, there’s no guarantee. The algorithms Google use to determine how it lists sites change often so as to deter misuse. Only the smartest people in the know can stay ahead of this ever changing science. Built in SEO is the smartest option to go for and should stay updated with the listing trends!

OK – now some of these sites

Moonfruit.com – This site seems to be the most attractive I’ve found. Great design features, adapts to mobile devices, offers blog and you can even set up a shop and sell stuff. It also relates well to other social sites – like Facebook. Good SEO as well as Google Analytics so you can track and analyse visitor stats about your site once it’s up and running. Many of its features are free, whilst there is also the option to upgrade to a premium level too with  features more than you’ll probably ever need!

Wix.com – Offers to build sites in either Flash or HTML5. It boasts it will host your site (most of them do, so not sure what that’s about!) Pick from 100’s of templates, though not sure how flexible and adaptable the designs really are. Good for mobiles and social sites like….erm…Facebook! Good explanatory videos and a good help section. Domains can now be purchased through them at additional cost (there’s a video explaining that too) though be careful as purchases cannot be cancelled or refunded. Having no experience with purchasing domains through them I would recommend you purchase the domain from 1and1 or Reg123 then point it to your Wix site!

Other options worth checking out are

  • Doodlekit – a versatile site, though the designs they offer are a bit dull.
  • 350.com – there is a free basic site option, though it IS pretty basic!
  • Weebly – You can sign up through Facebook. Price plan looks unclear – “No upfront fees… Pay us after sites are built”??? And any site that offers under the language tab English with a Stars and Stripes flag only looses points with this Englishman!