Website Wednesday

Last week we laid out the Who, What, Where, When, How and Whys of starting your first website. We touched on the differences between a free website solution and a paid website solution, and we also talked about domain names and design. This week we’re going to expand on a free website solution for someone that wants to start an easy to use and maintain personal blog. While there are hundreds of blogging tools out there, we narrowed it down to three that we feel provide an easy user interface that are established systems with massive and growing communities. If you’re ready to get started with a blog or website of your own, start with either WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr.

Free Website CMS Systems

Content management systems, such as WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr, run off of a database. You can change your theme as often as you like, but the meat of the site–the content–never changes. While these choices can be run on normal websites with actual domain names, it isn’t necessary. This means they are completely free. Granted, you will not have a fancy domain name of your own. Instead, your URL might look something like http://mycoolwebsite.tumblr.com/. But again, they’re free. The one caveat is you will be supplied with a limited amount of themes with free website solutions–most of which are actually quite good.

Which Content Management System Should You Use?

Since these three are very similar, it’s really a matter of taste. We recommend you try all three before you get too involved in your site. Remember, the decisions you make now might impact your website and its content in the future. Having used them all, we prefer them in the following order:

  1. WordPress.com
  2. Blogger.com
  3. Tumblr.com

Create a free account with each and see which one you prefer. Because these are free accounts, you should choose a CMS that has a template design you like, as well as functionality aspects that allow you to expand your website’s usability for your readers. Aside from the templates, these content management systems will have various plugins you can install. A plugin is extra code, usually created by a third-party developer, that can help you incorporate forms, social media, video and other tools the bare bones CMS does not have. These plugins are a CMSs strength, and are what make them preferable options in websites going forward.

So there you have it–three free ways to begin your Internet presence. Whether you want to create a website about your hobby, your cat or even a product reviews site, these three free choices can help get you started.

Let us know which of these free website solutions you use and why.