CVs are out. Personal websites are in. Traditional brick and mortar businesses are sprucing up their online presence. Government agencies all over the world are focusing on e-governance in response to the increasing demands for transparency and faster delivery of services by the public. Whether you are a professional who is looking to reach a wider client base or an age-old business trying to remain relevant in this ‘click and buy’ era, a website is the first and the most important aspect of your online presence that you need to focus on.
The process of creating your own website essentially involves three steps – purchasing a domain name, signing up for a hosting plan and building the website design. All these can be taken care of by one single entity or by multiple entities. It all depends on you – whether you are the non-technical kind who would prefer to outsource it to some third party who takes care of everything and charges you a fee for it or you are the tech savvy kind who would prefer to browse the World Wide Web till you get the best deal for all the three tasks. Whichever kind you are, here’s a list of a few websites that can help you in getting your own website up and running
This is arguably the most well known website that serves those who are looking to get online. A quirky name, coupled with an even quirkier ad campaign, GoDaddy.com provides you the option of buying your domain name (the name which people will enter in the browser to reach your website), choosing a hosting plan and designing your website with the help of their website builder. You can select any one or more of their services and rely on other service providers for the rest. For example, you can use GoDaddy to buy a domain name of your choice, and then host your website on any other server. It all works just fine. GoDaddy offers combo plans for those who opt to use all their services. So enquire about any discounts that they might be offering if you are looking to save some bucks (who isn’t?).
Similar to GoDaddy, weebly.com offers you all the required services but goes one step further. You can create a sub-domain and use their services for free, subject to certain limitations. This means, if you want to create a website called www.hifi.com, what Weebly does is allow you to create www.hifi.weebly.com for free. Along with this sub-domain, you can create and host your website for free using this sub-domain. This comes in really handy for newbies who aren’t ready to pay for building their website yet. Once you are sure about your site, Weebly will help you get your own domain and host it online. One drawback of Weebly, when compared with GoDaddy, is that it does not have a special website for the Indian users. You need to pay in US dollars which might be an irritant for many skeptics and small businesses.
This is like India’s GoDaddy (if you know what I mean). Again, like the previously mentioned sites, bigrock.in provides domain name, hosting and everything that you might need in connection to a website. All this, with an Indian touch. Since it is an Indian company with its headquarters in Maharashtra, the barriers of language and payments in foreign currency are done away with. Though it must be mentioned here that GoDaddy too has a completely separate website for Indian clients where all payments can be made in rupees.
We talked about Weebly, which provides you free services if you opt for a sub-domain. But what if you don’t want to compromise on the name of your website and have already purchased a suitable domain name and what you want is free hosting and website designing while you test the online waters? Does Weebly allow you to do that? The answer is no. If you already have a domain name but don’t want to spend on hosting or website designing yet, hostinger.in is where you should go. Barring a few restrictions on space and traffic (which is quite obvious as there are no free lunches), Hostinger is very simple to use. Your website will be up and running in a matter of minutes. There are a lot of website templates that you can select from and edit to meet your requirements. The only drawback is that the site takes a little extra time to load and there are chances of downtime. But, considering the services that they are offering for free, this can be overlooked if you are just testing your websites and will anyway go for a paid plan soon. Hostinger offers paid plans too. Even while I was using the free plan, their services were good (except the downtime for a few minutes) and the reply from customer care was prompt.
So, if you are sure about what your website should be, then GoDaddy is the best option for you. You can try BigRock too. Otherwise, it’s always best to try your hand at Weebly or Hostinger (which, by the way, also offers the sub-domain facility like Weebly) and make up your mind as you go about things. However, it’s always best to decide on a domain name very early on and purchase it right away as they can be difficult to get hold of since there are millions building websites even as I speak (or write, have it as you may please) now.