A Critical Business Asset
Your website is one of the first places potential customers will learn about you. Do you want a lousy site that reflects poorly on you? Or do you want one that’ll make you look great? These tools can help your web presence shine.
I’m a big proponent of WordPress for websites. I believe it’s the most versatile, powerful, flexible website system available. But it can be made even better by choosing the right theme and plugins. You can learn more about WordPress here.
One of the great things about WordPress is how you can make it look like pretty much anything. And how you do that is with themes. Think of as being like the “skin” that gives your site its look and feel.
There are thousands of paid and free ones. But one of the very best is Astra. What sets it apart? It is more flexible than most, gives you lots of options, has great support, loads fast, and works especially well with “page builders” (more info on that below).
There are both free and paid versions, and it’s quite possible the free one will do everything you need. If you do find you need even more features, then you can upgrade to the paid version.
If Astra is the canvas on which to paint your website, then Elementor is the Brush.
The simplest way to add content to your website is to use the built-in page editor. And for basic pages it works great. But if you want to quickly design a website that looks better, had more features, and can be constructed quickly, and opens up a range of features you simply can’t get with the basic editor.
There are other page builders available – most notably Beaver Builder and Thrive Architect. But Elementor has aggressively been developing more features, and consequently gaining deeper market share than the others. There’s also a great Facebook users group.
Website Hosting for WordPress
- SiteGround – This is my current favorite WordPress website hosting company. They’re pricier than InMotion. But I think it’s worth it.
- InMotion Hosting – This is the company I used before switching to SiteGround. They’re excellent – especially for the price. Good customer service, fast servers and more. You can’t go wrong with them.
- BlueHost – I had nothing but problems with this company. During one month, my site was down several times. At one point it was so bad they couldn’t even tell me why, nor how long it would be before they could get it back up. I won’t even run a link to them. DO NOT USE THEM.
- HostGator – They used to be perhaps the best shared-hosting company. And then EIG bought them, gutted it, crammed as many sites onto a server as they could, and cut back on customer support. DO NOT USE THEM.
- GoDaddy – GoDaddy is fine for managing your domain names. But they suck at web hosting. Tales of their inept customer support and lack of quality control are rampant. DO NOT USE THEM.
- Any EIG-owned web hosting company – Before you decide on a web-hosting company, make sure they are not listed on this page. Like BlueHost and HostGator, these are companies that used to be good, got acquired by EIG – which then promptly gutted them and turned them into web-hosting nightmares. DO NOT USE ANY OF THEM.
Other Website Builders
If you only need a really simple site, have a very limited budget, or just feel “tech-challenged”, there are other website building applications that might work for you. Here are a few …
If WordPress feels daunting, and you want to do a more point-and-click website, then Wix is definitely worth considering. They have website templates where you literally just add your own copy, images and other items.
You don’t actually “own” the website like you do with WordPress. But if you’re daunted by technology – or if you want to get up a website fast – then this is a great way to go.
This is another highly recommended alternative to WordPress. Like Wix, it’s a point-and-click website building system. You begin by choosing a template you like, then adding text, images and whatever else you want to complete your website.
Images & Graphics
Images are key to making your website more visually appealing. Whether you use graphics or photos, the following resources should be of help to you …
Buttons & Logos
Colors and Design
- Kuler Color Creation – A great site for creating colors based on any number of approaches. Also has popular and recommended colors.
Free Stock Images
- Beautiful.ai – for creating presentations.
- Canva – Great, free online program for creating graphics.
- CoolText – Create online buttons and graphics.
- Flaticon – Free vector icons.
- GraphicMail.com – Create email templates here. Free service. Worth looking at.
- Piktochart – for creating infographics & presentations.
- Pixlr – An online picture editor.
- Quozio – for creating graphics with a quote in it.
- Venngage.com – for creating infographics.
- Visme – Online graphics, infographics, etc.
Icons and Graphics
- Pixlr.com – A very flexible online photo editor. Great for editing existing photos and/ or creating new graphics such as headers.