Most people have heard about Wordpress, but did you know WordPress.com and WordPress.org are completely separate entities that can be utilized different ways? In brief, consider the difference to be like renting or buying a house.
WordPress.com (renting) is simpler, cheaper, and an all in easy set up. Get up and running immediately. You can make minor changes to the website (house) but nothing major. WordPress (buying) takes a bit more effort but allows you to paint rooms, knock out walls, and upgrade entire floors. Once you have a basic knowledge of blogging and website, I recommend an account with WordPress.org and purchasing a domain name and hosting with Bluehost.
If you’re looking to get a simple website or blog going right away, Weebly is an excellent option. For those lacking even the most basic skills or looking to get something up and on the net in just a few easy steps, Weebly offers simple drag and drop layout options. They have a number of options from free to premium and can work with blogs, small businesses, photo layouts, etc.
Interested in hosting your own online store or even a simple website to sell things? Shopify is a good one. I’ve used them and they are tremendously easy to use, easy to set-up, and offer a 14-day free trial. If you’re looking to make some extra money selling things online, check them out.
BigCommerce is another online storefront that allows you to sell your items online. I’ve used them as well and found them to be a good value with good customer service. They offer a free 15-day trial to give it a try. Last year they signed an agreement with Alibaba (China’s version of Amazon) to partner in bringing a more integrated shopping experience.
Bluehost has a reputation for its website hosting service and for good reason. It’s a solid company with good customer service and good prices. It will walk you through an easy WordPress installation as well. I use Bluehost to host this website and recommend the company for web hosting. If you’ve passed the initial phase of a basic website and a website you can improve and customize, I’d recommend using a hosting account with Bluehost and then using WordPress.org to design your site.
I’ve used AWeber almost since I started my blog. There is a reason many bloggers will encourage you to use them, they are efficient, have great customer service and are great product. If you’re looking to simply and effectively increase email signups to your site, AWeber is my first choice. The cost is less than $20/month and you receive your first month free to try it out.
An excellent online program allowing you to create tons of different graphics, headers and marketing materials. Free to use with additional images available for purchase.
Crop, slice, and re-size images.
Another excellent tool to re-size your image
Combine images into one, alter the edges or create a rounded frame look. I used this tool to round the head shots of the individuals who gave me testimonials on my “Get Advice” page.
Specializes in adding letters or words to an image. Great for turning an image into a poster, or meme or main graphic on your website.
Photo editor with a strong focus on different filters and effects.
If you’re looking for higher end design, graphic or logo for your business or website, consider 99 Designs. The let you to indicate what you’re looking for and graphic designers then present you with their work. You get to see many different options before you choose the best one and don’t pay if you don’t receive anything you like.
Similar to UpWork but at its core a bit more geared toward simple tasks that cost you about $5. You can get very intricate though by adding “gigs” to make your design more intricate, different colors, or receive a faster turnaround. Design work, video editing and voice over sound files are a few examples.
Kind of like an EBay for freelancers. Create a posting, list an electronic task you you need done, and free lancers bid on your project. They have many tasks you can search for. Everything from graphic design to document editing, to data entry to hiring a virtual assistant.
Want to knock it out of the park with a professional looking website? A lot of it has to do with your theme. There is no shortage of free themes you can download but once you get serious about your blog or your website, you’ll realize that spending a few dollars for a premium theme will make a world of difference. Consider Studio Press’s Genesis Framework and then take your pick of any one of the different themes. The way Genesis works is first you need download the Framework and then add a “child theme” on top of it. Think of it as the skeleton of your site or the metal frame of a new car. Your child theme is then add the paint job, new tires, etc. The “Live Smart” website is built on the “Genesis Framework” and I then use “Outreach Pro” as my child theme. You can get the two together, the Genesis Framework and the Outreach Pro Theme as one complete package and purchase right here.
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