July 5, 2013

Website Builders and Blogs: WordPress

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Untitled6I’m not even going to pretend that I would consider any other blogging or website platform over WordPress, but I’d be selfish if I didn’t at least mention some of the other great tools out there. These tools range from sites that are super easy drag-and-drop web builders to on-the-go blog and instant publishing tools that make it easy to collect and share content.

WordPress sites have come a long way. When the company opened its doors in 2003, it offered the earliest of blogs, simple sites that allowed you to write and share snippets of your life online. As blogging grew, so did the value of these types of sites; and search engines took notice. Before long, the dynamic nature of the content on a blog was attracting more search-engine attention than static websites. And when WordPress blogs became a part of regular sites, the sites (and companies behind them) benefited greatly.

Starting a WordPress blog or website is easy, for both personal and business use. For a free hosted site with a URL such as nerdybestfriend.wordpress.com, simply create an account and pick a name at WordPress.com. There, you can also purchase various upgrades, including a custom URL if you want your blog or site to live at nerdybestfriend.com. If you want total control – including a custom URL, a wide variety of plug-ins and the capability to sell your own advertising – you can download the free WordPress software from WordPress.org; but you must arrange and pay for hosting of the site.

The next step in building your site with WordPress is choosing a theme, and here’s where the magic begins. For less than $50, you can buy an easy-to-install framework for a full site, complete with the embedded blog for dynamic content, or not. You can further personalize your site with any of the thousands of plug-ins and widgets to do everything from embed video to automatically tweet your posts to Twitter to install a carousel-type photo gallery.

If you don’t want to use WordPress, we’re lucky these days to have myriad user-friendly website builders. You will frequently find an ad-supported free version, as well as pricing that starts at less than $10 a month and includes a free domain name and hosting. In addition, these types of services may also integrate robust site analytics plus an instant mobile version of your new site. Not a bad set of features for a do-it-yourself site!

WordPress made Beth’s Top Website Tool list!


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