Professionally created websites & custom domain names can cost a lot of money. However, you can also create and host as many websites as you like without spending anything/very less; lets see how.
After a quick sign-up, About.me helps you create a search engine-optimised homepage with a small biography and links to all your social networks. You can customise the background of the page (upload your own), select a font and choose your favourite colours. It takes only a few minutes and once you publish your page, visitors can email you directly from the page or leave compliments. About.me also tracks your page’s statistics and keeps a log of your activity on the page — accessible via a dashboard once you sign in.
Flavors shares many features with About.me. However, it offers a few additional features — you can alter the layout of the homepage, organise content from different sources and add visual effects to your content. The free account lets you add up to five social network services. If you opt for a premium account (US$ 20 per year), you can choose from more designs, add unlimited services, create a mobile optimised webpage, view realtime stats, add a visitor contact form and use Flavors with your own domain name.
Follr takes a different approach — they create a virtual visiting card for you. Your card has details of your social networks, skills, work experience and your contact details. It can also automatically update content from your Twitter timeline or details about your influence from Klout/PeerIndex. It even works as a mini social network — you add known people to your network and they vouch for your skills and influence. Upgrading to a premium account (US$ 2.95 per month) gives you statistics & custom page designs.
A big advantage with Dooid is that it shows you a live preview as you work. In other words, as you add services, tags or change the layout, it shows you a preview of the finished page at the same time. The free account allows you to connect up to 10 services/links and even creates a mobile optimised version of your webpage. Visitors can download your virtual business card with contact details as well as view your social network updates in a ‘lifestream’. You can remove the advertisements, add unlimited services, embed a contact form and use a custom domain name by paying US$ 5 per month for a pro account.
Create & Host Full Websites
With Weebly, you need to first specify the type of site you want to create ( forum, blog, portfolio and so on). You can create a subdomain on Weebly or purchase a new one. Creation couldn’t be simpler — you select a theme and then use simple drag-and-drop to add different elements and multimedia. Advanced users can even create ads slots for revenue generation. The owner can also allow other people to manage the website (with admin access).
Yola offers an easy-to-use graphical user interface to build a website. After selecting your website category, Yola generates a starter website (where every element can be configured to suit your taste). A bottom pane lets you quickly switch between multiple themes, layouts and add widgets where required. Once done with the design, you can publish the site as a Yola subdomain and track your visitors through the admin panel.
Wix is loaded with stylish templates that will suit many different kinds of websites. You can choose a free template and edit it to your liking in Wix’s own graphical HTML editor — no coding skills required. After you have customised the template, publishing the website so that anyone can access it takes only a minute. The only issue is that the website address is slightly long and complicated to remember (www.yourusername.wix.com/sitename).
Zoho also offers multiple templates to choose from, depending on the style of the website. You can then customise the available templates using a simple drag-and-drop interface — inserting multimedia or embedding elements from third parties is child’s play. Zoho even lets you add widgets on the page for useful services like PayPal, Google Adsense, Google Maps and supports embedding of dynamic content such as user feedback.
Mobile Website Creators
If you need to create a mobile site in minutes, Octomobi does the job really well. Sign up for free, choose a template, edit the layout, add content, upload your logo and your mobile-optimised website is ready. The free account lets you only create a website on the Octomobi network. By paying US$ 9 per month for a pro account you can map the site to your own domain with Google analytics integration.
Onbile allows you to create a website as a subdomain (www.yoursitename.onbile.com). You can create a rich mobile site with multiple pages, a catalog, an image gallery or an e-commerce site. The free version of the site has ads on each page and only offers basic site statistics. Opting for a pro account (US$ 12 per month) removes the ads, offers 500MB storage and detailed visitor analytics.