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Old 08-19-2012
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Default What is your favorite free site builder?
I would like to build a website for my sister n law's business and take a snap shot of her site for advertising on my site. Please give suggestions about your favorite free website builder.
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Old 08-20-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
What type of business does she have. For my regular business sites I use Wordpress. It is one of the most versatile and easy to use. I have used Joomla as well but WP still tops for me. There may be a learning curve there there are many free templates and resources.
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Old 08-20-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
Hi April,

I don't have a favorite free site builder. When I first started out in 2006, I did use a free site builder which was Office Live. It was very limiting what could be done to the site and my SEO was not very good at all.

I moved to WordPress after learning about its benefits to flexibility, SEO and customization. And while the foundation for WP is free, hosting is not. However, for the inexpensive price to pay for hosting (I use Hostgator) it is all well-worth the investment. A good website is an investment in the business. From there, you can find free WP templates to use however, be wary because they can have hidden malware in the freebies.

So my suggestion is to think about hosting a WP site and buy an inexpensive template page such as Elegant Themes or Themeforest to start. Eventually you can offer WP as a service which is often in client demand.

Janine
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Old 08-20-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
Mari,
She is thinking of starting an event planning business and has limited start up funds. I am trying to help her spend as less as possible (while gaining experience of site building) until business picks up and she's able to invest more into the company. I was thinking of using Wix and thought that I would ask for preferences.

Thanks for the reply
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Old 08-20-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
Hello Janine,

Thanks for the advice. I found starter packages that are fairly reasonable, just as you said, that I will talk to my sis-n-law about. I will browse WP themes also.

Thanks again
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Old 08-20-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
You can try out Coffeecup.com and look at using their software. It's reasonably priced and they have several different types of software for downloads.
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Old 08-20-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
April,

If you search 'free WordPress themes' in google you will find thousands. Again, my only concern is that there may be malware contained in the theme and the companies stick in coding which links back to their sites. But there are good, free WP themes that can be used as starters. If you use a free WP theme, you only have to pay for hosting. There is no contract for hosting so no need to commit to long-term.

There are free sitebuilders as you mentioned such as Weebly but I personally think they often look 'stiff' and they look like sitebuilders as opposed to a more flowing, creative flair that paid WP themes offer.

But I understand starting out and wanting to get something 'up'. I think if you are going to spend the time creating a site, it may be worth the few dollars to host and use a paid theme.

Janine
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Old 08-21-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
I have also used the Wordpress.com sites and tumbler to create a movie site until I could move to my own webhost. That is another option. Most free themes from Wordpress are located right on the wordpress.org site. Yes, some want a link back but some do not. You can read the terms to see if they do. I don't personally mind. If not there are places that offer themes for as low as $10 that you can customize and remove the link back. Research around and see what works best for her.
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Old 08-21-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
Has anyone taken a look at:
* Joomla?
* Weebly?

Thanks,
Anne
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Old 08-21-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
I second Janine on the free site builders. They have limitations on growing and what you can include.

I am a WP gal. I find it inexpensive, easy to use and grow. There are many themes out there that are inexpensive however the two that are included, Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven, have versatility to as to how you can make it your own.

There are many premium themes that are inexpensive as well including Elegent Themes and Theme Forest (which offers a free file of the month).

I have clients who use Weebly, straight HTML, and Wix that are all having issues growing them into what they need. In the short term you may need to invest a little but in the long run it will save you time and money.
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Old 08-21-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
Hi April,

You've been given a lot of good advice and I know that WordPress is hugely popular for its flexibility and what it can do and would think that's the route you would want to go. I would also have to agree with Janine about where you want to spend your limited funds when starting out. I think just about everyone has limited funds when starting out, but I would argue that initially spending more time and money on a website is essential to success. It can also prevent having to redo the website down the road which can be a huge hassle and many of the free sitebuilders are not attractive, lack SEO capabilities and are restrictive when trying to make changes. Buying hosting is relatively inexpensive and with the huge amount of WordPress templates that are reasonably priced, it just makes sense. I don't know anything about Joomla but have heard it has a steeper learning curve and less user-friendly interface than WP. Good luck with whatever you decide, let us know what you decide and how it goes!
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Old 08-21-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
April:

I am currently having my site built by a wonderful VA I met here via a barter agreement. See if you/sister-in-law etc/ VA can do the same.

Also, this is probably the ONLY topic that I disagree with everyone with (which is okay). But if you don't have the money, you don't have it. Period. As a friend of mine who is a business owner says "Do what can with what you have." When you have money to have a website built (if the bartering doesn't work) then have one built.

Caroline
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Old 08-21-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
Caroline, I agree. Yes, a paid site with hosting is more professional most of the time, but if you don't have the money, you just don't. A friend of mine uses Blogger for a website. Doesn't pay a thing. No advertising at all on her site. I would never know it's free. Probably doesn't have a lot of options, but it's a nice looking site. There were some times in building my business that even five dollars a month was too much!! She may end up liking the free site well enough to keep it down the road, or later be able to afford something better.
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Old 08-21-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
Hi April,

I am currently learning WordPress and helping my clients with their sites, I only use it for my blog. I did and still do not have the money. The option I went with was Intuit through Google's Get Your Business Online program. They offer a free website, free domain name and hosting for the first year. The templates are very easy to work with though you are limited to 3 pages with the free version. Check it out at www.gybo.com It was truly the best option for me. You can check out my site also.

Have an awesome day!
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Your favorite free site builder
One of my clients uses Joomla for an estore and they're pretty happy with it. I use wordpress.org and I like the freedom it gives you to make changes but for something really easy and fast I would check out Square Space. They have great templates and infallible hosting. If I didnt have someone to help me with my site on wordpress (which is totally not nearly finished) I'd go with that. It isnt free but they are pretty affordable. http://www.squarespace.com/ There is also a free service through Wix.com. They have some pretty flashy sites as well as simpler ones but theyre editing options are a little limited. Although theyre pretty easy to use. Hope that helps.
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Old 08-26-2012
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Default Re: What is your favorite free site builder?
I agree with the other comments that Wordpress is a great place to start. Even if you start with a free Wordpress.com website, it's easy to create a landing page that looks like it's a website and it's pretty inexpensive to purchase the name. I believe it's like $17. If she wants to change to Wordpress.org in the future you can always transfer the account.
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