|Posted on May 27, 2012 at 5:50 PM|
Having a website is crucial! As our BBBW membership continues to grow I’m noticing that many of our members do not have a website. I would love to learn more about all of our members and their businesses, but some of you are simply nowhere to be found on the internet. So here’s a list of FREE website builders that have been tried and tested by BBBW.
Moonfruit has everything you could dream of when it comes to creating a polished website. Unlike other site builders, you must work with the templates that are offered. With Moonfruit you can start with a blank backdrop and design your own template. Basically, they allow for TOTAL drag and drop design control. This allows for you to create a more modern layout and give your website a touch of your business’s “personality”. The free version of this website builder is great for photographers, artist, crafters, or free-lance workers. If you need to set up an online store keep in mind you can only sell 10 items or pay the upgrade fee to sell more inventory.
Dislike: Not enough web space/storage
Like: Super modern design elements and templates
If there is one thing I can say that is that Weebly is simple to use. Anyone can pop up a site here within minutes. Unlike other site builders, Weebly has very clear instructions and guides to help you get your website up and running quickly. Their pre-made templates are not too shabby, I guess we could say slightly “modernish”. If you need to sell a lot more than 10 items on a tight budget, Weebly is your best bet. They offer unlimited storage with the exception that each file you upload is fewer than 5mb in size.
Dislike: None yet
Like: Plenty of web space/ storage
Setting up a website on Webs is actually pretty simple and quick, but beyond the initial set up you will find yourself having mini breakdowns. Webs does not provide a large amount of templates, and they are not advertisement free. Also, Webs has many glitches within their templates and widgets. However, if you can get past all of that you can still have a knock out website. A plus is that they give you a good amount of bandwidth/online storage.
Dislike: Too many glitches and “kinks” to work through
Like: Unlimited number of websites under one account
**Keep in mind that these ratings are based on the FREE features of each site builder. Having a good website is like growing a garden. It requires time, patience, and daily maintenance. Eventually you may want to purchase a premium membership from the site builder company you are using.
Terms to look for:
Bandwidth - Bandwidth is needed to transfer data from your website to a visitor’s computer. Having this feature can be important if you need documents to be downloaded from your site to someone's computer.
Members - Members are people who have joined your website. They are not transferable from one site to another. So make a good decision about what website builder to go with, because you can’t just pick up your members and go elsewhere.
Facebook or eBay Shop - This is something kind of new and ingenious all on its own. Not all site builders offer this capability but its catching on very rapidly. We now have the ability to publish our online shops to a Facebook or an eBay account. This can be great way to advertise or a huge time saver if you just want your inventory available in more than one place.
Adwords - This is probably the most important term we need to look for when choosing a website builder. How much money do they offer on an Adwords voucher? If you pay a monthly or annual website fee you should be getting an Adwords voucher. This voucher allows for you buy advertisement space with Google. When someone searches for a specific item or service, Google pulls out key words from that search and matches them up with words on your site.
CSS - This term stands for Cascading Style Sheets. Plainly put CSS is the coding used to create the color, layout, and design of a website. Webs, Weebly, and Moonfruit all allow for you to change the CSS of your website template. However, not all site builders let you do this. For instance, if you want to change your website’s background color from black to red-orange you would insert the coding number #FF4500 into your CSS page. Sounds complicated but to be honest there are dozens of videos on Youtube and websites that teach you how to use CSS coding.
* If you decide to upgrade your website from free to a more optimized package, then think about paying for the entire year. You would save yourself a lot of money this way versus paying month to month.
*A great website to learn about CSS is http://www.w3schools.com/css/. This site has easy to follow guides that teach you how to change the design of your website.
Does anyone else have a Free or low priced website builder to share? Please share in the comments section below.