How to build a website for free

Something I get asked a lot is “How can I make a website?”

The answer to this depends on several factors:

Are you proficient in IT? If you’re asking the question in the first place, then the answer to this is probably no. But do you need to be? No you don’t. There are plenty of companies like Wix and GoDaddy who will give you a nice interface that shields you from geeky IT stuff. Obviously this all comes at a price, so….

Can I get a website for free? Yes you can as long as you are prepared to accept a few compromises. What are these compromises? In no particular order, they would typically include:

  • A less than ideal domain name. You’re probably imagining you want something like www.[YourBusinessName].co.uk right? Sorry, out of luck. If you want a name like that, you will have to pay for it. For free, you will be able to get something like www.[ServiceProvidersName].[YourBusinessName].co.uk
  • Adverts. Nobody really does anything for free, so the price you pay for “Free Hosting” will be that the provider will put adverts on your website. Want to get rid of them? Pay up.
  • Limited space for content such as pictures. This shouldn’t be a major issue unless you want to use ultra high resolution pictures from a DSLR or have videos on your site.
  • Speed. Your website will share space and server power with potentially hundreds of other ‘free’ websites. This will mean your website may load slowly at peak times.
  • Features. Maybe you’ve seen some slick websites with really cool aminations and layouts. All this costs money.

Ok with all that? Read on…

Do you know html? No of course you don’t. But if you do, you can use a service called 5gbfree.com which as the name implies, gives you 5GB of space for free and no adverts! The downside is that you have to code your own website.

So what would I recommend?

The 3 ‘W’s’:
wix.com, wordpress.com, weebly.com

Each of these offers a free plan with all of the aforementioned compromises e.g. adverts, provider domain names, limited space. Weebly is a bit crap to be honest compared to the other 2. I like WordPress as it’s what the MPBA is built on. iMBRA use Wix, which is idiot-proof and has a great editor, but I find it quite slow and I don’t need the hand-holding. Bear in mind both MPBA and iMBRA pay for their sites.

You can have a basic website up and running in 30 minutes with Wix or WordPress. It will be crap, but you can refine it over time by changing the style, adding pictures and links. All you need to start is some kind of logo in jpg format and an idea of what to say to describe your site.

I built a wordpress.com website for Victoria Model Steamboat Club in 15 minutes:
https://vmsc.home.blog
Zero cost to the club. I can make one for you for £50 or you can do it yourself.

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