Top Free Web Building Resources for Freelancers and Small Businesses

Building a web presence as a freelancer or small business is tough. There are so many angles that you have to cover and every one takes precious time that you don’t have.

Top Free Web Building Resources for Freelancers and Small Businesses

There are some great web building resources aimed at freelancers and more aimed at small businesses. These are mostly low cost, with some being free. They make the task of building a web presence possible even for the smallest business.

The importance of having an online presence for your business cannot be stressed enough. The Internet has levelled the playing field, putting you on a stage together with your bigger competitors. More and more customers are also buying online. According to eMarketer, worldwide business to consumer sales online reached $1.5 trillion in 2014, growing a little more than 20 per cent.

And even if customers are not buying online, they are searching for more information about your products on the Internet. A recent IBM study revealed that more people are using their phones to browse shopping sites. They disclosed that around a quarter of their respondents browsed shopping sites on their phones, but the actual online sales from phone shopping is 7.5 per cent. Meanwhile 12.8 per cent of the respondents “window-shopped” on tablets, but the actual online sales from these devices is13.5 per cent.

In short, your competitors and, more importantly, your customers are online. And this is enough reason why you should be online as well.

And thus, we have seen an influx of web designers, Webmasters and marketers who are out there to help businesses have their own Web sites. You can work with professionals to come up with a Web site that gives you all the bells and whistles: a checkout system, a catalogue, great looking graphics, interactive elements, and all that jazz.

However, what if you only need a simple Web site for your business and do not really plan on having all of these frills? Or what if your budget prevents you from contracting professionals?

A few years ago, even the simplest of Web sites needed a substantial investment in both time and money. Anything from Web hosting to site design to graphics, maintenance and everything in between meant money going out. Thankfully, technology has made it easier for businesses to have their own online presence.

There are now tools that allow you to have your own online presence without having to spend too much on anything. What are these tools?

1. WordPress

WordPress

A lot of businesses have been publishing blogs on the WordPress.com platform. Technically a content management system, WordPress.com has given businesses an easy way to get online. All you have to do is create a free account, publish pages and blog posts, and voila, you have an online presence. The entire process could take minutes, and updating your Web site is a breeze. If you want to customize or spruce up your Web site’s looks, you can just choose a template that would take care of the layout, and then just tweak the stylesheets. If you need anything else, there are plug-ins that you can install. It could not get easier than that.

Of course, the downside is that you would need to pay in order to customize your domain. Addresses or URLs on free WordPress.com sites look like this: www.yourbusinessname.wordpress.com. If you want to have your own domain at something like www.yourbusinessname.com, you would need to pay.

2. IMCreator

IMCreator

IMCreator gives you an easy way to design and publish your own Web site. You can get a mobile-ready, responsive and adaptive Web site without needing to know how to code. Everything is drop and drag, allowing you to add pictures, maps, videos, text and other content without writing a single line of HTML. What’s more, you can just connect your newly created site to your domain and publish it. A bonus: All Web pages created by IMCreator are SEO-friendly, making it very easy to find on search engines. In addition, IM Free has hundreds of copyright free photos as well as other resources you can use on your site. You may not know this, but you can’t just use photos you find on the web, chances are they are copyright protected.

3. Images

Images

Apart from IM Free, you can check out other solution. Pixabay gives you the free images you will need for all your business publications. The photos are all public domain, so you can legally use them on websites, posters and business leaflets. There is no need to insert a distracting link giving credit to the photographer or source; you just download the photos and insert them into your documents.

These are professional quality images that are indistinguishable from stock images that you pay $300 each for. You cannot buy exclusive rights to a photo, so others may use your favorite pictures in their websites.

4. Hostt

Hostt

Hostt offers free Web hosting services. You can create your Web site on IMCreator or WordPress and host these sites on Hostt. No more worrying about the recurring hosting fees, you get it free and unlimited here. And unlike other hosting sites, your site is not peppered with ads!

5. Social Media Monitoring

Social Media Monitoring

Cyfe allows you to monitor all your social media accounts from one screen. This makes social media do-able rather than the impossible task that is overwhelming to many small businesses. You just keep one browser tab open with your Cyfe dashboard running rather than five separate LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook tabs. Each of your accounts shows as one sub-window in the Cyfe Dashboard.

The free option is not time-limited and allows up to 5 accounts to be monitored.

6. Office Software

Office Software

FreeOffice is a totally viable and free alternative to Microsft Office. It includes a word processor called Textmaker, spreadsheet software called Planmaker and presentation software, Softmaker Presentations. There are no annual fees, no per-user fees and you have the software on each computer so there will never be cloud issues. You can use FreeOffice even without an Internet connection. There are also Linux and Android versions, so you are not tied to the Microsoft Windows operating system.

You don’t get what you pay for:

The beautiful thing about these tools is that you get professional quality web sites. Your customers would think that you have a team of skilled Web designers, content producers and expensive Web hosting running the show. This could not be further than the truth. In fact, you can do all of these and you can do it for free. These tools are proof that cheap and free does not instantly equate to tacky and low quality.

And the beauty of it all is that you can get your savings and use it for other more important activities for your business.

What Do You Think?

Are there any other free tools that have been omitted? Please share your favorite tools using the comment facility below.

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5 Comments

  1. Great share, thank you!

  2. I would add Joomla, because building a real website with a blog tool is just wrong. The reason so many people like it is because it is a majorly dumbed down version of what a real CMS is!

  3. That’s pretty dank. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi, thanks for sharing this post, I am a freelancer and use all of them I must say it is a very appropriate list for a beginner for starting to develop website at home.

  5. SitePoint has recently released a new free course that takes you through the process of creating a new website from scratch, with full files and a working HTML/CSS site completed at the end of the course.

    sitepoint.com/courses/build-your-first-html-css

    This course provides pretty much all that you’ll need to create and build a new site from scratch and the teacher (Russ Weakley) provides excellent step-by-step instructions.

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