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Your guide to setting up a website without hiring a web designer

Setting up a regular website

If your goal is to share information about your company or service, or to communicate among members of an organization, you can get a website for very little money. For example, Yahoo Web HostingYahoo web hosting, a company which specializes in providing website building tools for beginners, offers programs starting at about $4 a month. Those programs include hosting for your website, free online tools to help you design your website, a choice of customizable designs and 24-hr phone & email support. GoDaddy Free website page even offers a free one page website if you register your domain (website name) with them. If you need more than one page, GoDaddy! offers reasonably priced web hosting with site building tools. Their phone support is excellent, so you can build with confidence. If you find you really need help designing your website, GoDaddy has custom website design services available.

Although almost all website hosting companies offer free tools to help you build a website, companies like Yahoo, GoDaddy and Homestead (owned by Quicken)Homestead websites specialize in do-it-yourselfers. All three have been in the business of helping newbies set up websites for several years now, and their tools and their support are all well tested. Wix is a relative newcomer, but they are squarely targeted at the do-it-yourselfer, and even offer a free option.

Setting Up an online store

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions

For a few dollars a month and some sweat equity, you can build an online store that will enable you to offer your products to customers around the world. No HTML or technical expertise required. Yahoo! Merchant Solutionsset up an online store offers site building and product upload tools, and credit card processing built in to their various packages. BigCommerce is a new company, dedicated to ECommerce. Their interface is straightforward and they offer lots of support. 15 day free trial.ecommerce online

Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time setting up your online store. The signup and initial setup are the easy parts. You will be able to choose a design that fits the products you're selling, and customize it easily. The time consuming part is entering your products, product descriptions and prices. You'll also have to be prepared to enter shipping policies and pricing. An online store is a commitment!

Sharing thoughts: a Blog

Blogs (short for web logs) have become very popular. Like an online diary, they let you post your thoughts, ideas and emotions to the web whenever you wish, without having to know anything about HTML or other web technologies. Some let your readers post responses to your entries.

set up a blog

You can get an ad-free blog completely free at, owned by Google, or, for $2 flat, at Diaryland. Both are easy to set up.

WordPress has become very popular as a vehicle for online news as well as blogs. Many non-blog-like sites are built on Wordpress. Much of the value of WordPress is the community of developers who have created plugins to stretch the capabilities of the WordPress platform. To set up a WordPress blog, you will need to sign up with a regular web hosting service that provides WordPress hosting, such as Bluehostbluehost WordPress hosting or GoDaddywordpress hosting for a few dollars a month.

For a step-by-step guide to setting up a blog on Bluehost, see Steps to setting up a blog

There are a number of (not free) add ons, available from WordPress and third parties like Artisteerwordpress website, a Wordpress Theme Generator that lets you create your own design for your Wordpress site.

An interesting alternative to a blog is Squidoo. It's sort of like a blog. You can write pages of information about yourself. But it also offers you building blocks of your own to add videos, polls, news headlines, links to other websites and more.

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Participating in, or setting up, a social network

Social networks, forums and chat rooms are ways for people to talk to each other. Forums are online bulletin boards, where people leave messages that others can read and reply to. Chats are real-time text conversations.

Using social networking sites to promote your website >>   
How to set up a forum, chat room or other social networking site >   

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Set Up a Website: Your guide to setting up a website quickly and easily