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, a standard website can be set up for very little money. www.GoDaddy.com even offers a free one page website if you register your domain (website name) with them. If you need more than one page, GoDaddy.com offers web hosting with site building tools, as does Yahoo! Web Hosting. Both offer excellent support for the do-it-yourselfer.
Right now iPage is offering $1.99 a month hosting. A regular hosting company like iPage won't have the kind of hand holding support GoDaddy supplies, but they do have a site building tool for those who don't know HTML. Midphase has a good deal right now: 6 months free hosting! They have 24/7 support, as well
Setting Up an online store
For a few dollars a month and some sweat equity, you can set up a store that will enable you to offer your products to customers around the world. No HTML or technical expertise required. Yahoo! Merchant Solutions 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.
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.
WordPress has become very
popular as a vehicle for online news as well as blogs, but you need to
sign up with a regular web hosting service that provides WordPress
hosting, such as WordPress Hosting at Bluehost or
Wordpress & Go Daddy 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 Artisteer, a Wordpress Theme Generator that lets you create your own design for your Wordpress site. Many non-blog-like sites are built on a dressed up platform of Wordpress. There's also Diaryland, which is customizable and easy to use. Lately, they've been charging a $2 good faith fee, but they're worth it.
Another interesting alternative 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.
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.