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7 Low-Cost Website Builders to Use When Creating Your Company Site

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Creating a website or blog for your business is crucial in our digital-first world. But just having a website isn’t enough, as it also needs to be engaging, intuitive and user-friendly in order to draw potential customers in and keep them on your page (instead of on your competitor’s). At the same time, with the right amount of focus and effort, your website or blog can quickly find itself ranking past the competition in the search results through the power of great content, marketing, and SEO.

So, how can you create a website that has all the bells and whistles while still keeping costs low? There are many affordable web builders out there that can simplify the process, whether you’re turning to a professional web designer through B12 or customizing your site with WordPress. For the most part, many of these low-cost solutions will provide you with everything you need to get started, such as hosting, a domain name, a user interface and sometimes even a drag-and-drop platform for having full control over the look and feel of your site.

We asked seven entrepreneurs from YEC to share the tools they rely on when building their websites. Bonus: Some of these tools are completely free.

1. Squarespace

Squarespace is by far my top recommendation. Its natively designed templates are very stable and meticulously engineered and can be adapted to suit almost any business need. The emphasis on great design removes the need to hire a separate web designer. Though there is a slight learning curve required to get the most out of the platform, once you master it you’ll use Squarespace for everything.-

Annie Wang, Her Campus Media

 

2. Google Web Designer

Google Web Designer is good when you want to have animated elements on your website. It also integrates with other tools offered by Google.

Peter Daisyme, Invoicing

 

3. Shopify

“But that’s for e-commerce,” I hear you say. Not really. Shopify has some pretty amazing options, and it helps that they’re capable of taking potential customers’ financial details in case you ever want to expand your business and sell merchandise. You won’t pay the same bill as someone who actually sells products and everything is practically plug-and-play.

Cody McLain, SupportNinja

 

4. WordPress

WordPress is extremely simple to use and there are free plugins available for virtually every function your business website will require. A business can essentially create a website without spending any money, outside of hosting, if it’s built using WordPress. There are free customizable themes available as well, and a business can opt for a custom design once the budget allows for it.

Jonathan Long, Market Domination Media

 

5. Wix

In my experience as a digital and advertising matchmaker, the most popular no/low cost website builder is Wix. I’ve seen many agencies and early-stage companies use Wix and benefit from it’s low-cost/high-value ratio. It’s not for everyone (you’re “leasing” a hosting website that is template-based), but it’s fast, cheap and good enough for many.

Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard

 

6. B12

A website is your online storefront, so don’t skimp! B12 is a great service that creates beautiful professional websites for businesses. They pair you with an experienced web designer, and then use artificial intelligence to automate the tech. This keeps quality high and costs low. Basically agency quality at a fraction of the price.

Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

 

7. Self-Hosted WordPress

WordPress is great because it’s free and easy to install from any web hosting company. It’s best to use self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com, which is the same company but hosts the site for you (so you have less control). What I like about WP is that it’s suitable for beginners but you can add many advanced features as well. You can choose among thousands of themes and plugins.

Shawn Porat, Scorely

How to Start a Website in the Next 10 Minutes

If you still don’t have a website or blog of your own, there is simply no excuse out there that is good enough to back up not having one. With so many resources and tutorials on the internet today for how to start a website or blog of your own, it’s amazing how many people are still sitting on the sidelines. Follow our how to start a blog guide and discover how simple it is to go live with a site of your own in just the next few minutes, while also costing you just a few dollars per month in hosting costs.

Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Managed WordPress Hosting 101: What Site Owners Need to Know

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The first and crucial thing when establishing a website is a solid foundation for running it. Building a website maybe not that hard, especially if you have a WordPress website on your mind, but keeping a website safe and secure is a big obligation.

You can hire professional developers, but also you can take advantage of web hosting providers and choose the packages of the best hosting solution. Nowadays many web hosting companies offer different solutions for maintaining a website. For one price, you can get a whole hosting package that has everything suitable for your website, and the only thing you need to consider is: what exactly your website need?

There are a few different web hosting solutions: shared hosting, managed hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, etc. Choosing a compatible hosting depends on your website, so think about crucial things, or ask someone with more experience to help you. For example: if you have a small website with less traffic, the best option for you will be shared hosting. You’ll share the same disk space, memory, and power with other small websites on the server for an affordable price.

If you have a WordPress website, we have good news. With the bigger and bigger popularity of WordPress, many hosting providers offer a hosting package specially designed for WordPress websites. This kind of web hosting adds some convenient features designed for easier managing. Keep reading to discover all the benefits of managed hosting and how it can help you to run a flawless WordPress website.

 The Difference Between Managed and Unmanaged Web Hosting

The great difference between these two types of hosting is the quantity of responsibilities of hosting provider. Standard (unmanaged) hosting service means that you usually, optimize the website by yourself, keeping it up to date and making sure everything is ok. Managed hosting provider is specially designed for a WordPress website, and it’s much more customized for owners – the provider company will manage your hosting, not only ensuring server security and optimization. Your hosting provider will take care of many tasks that will make your job easier. It offers various services along with the server space so your website will run smoother, with your minimal involving and monitoring it. Hostinger provides hosting solutions for small or medium WordPress websites, so you could think about the offers. Before choosing a reliable hosting company read the reviews, inform yourself wisely – it can save you a lot of money and time.

Managed hosting isn’t so much a plan as it is a description of the services you’ll receive: in one package you’ll get everything you need customized for a WordPress website so you can focus on website content or something more interesting than a monitoring security and all that complicated tasks.

Here are some of the great advantages of managed hosting:

1.   Expert team support

The web hosting companies specialized in WordPress have more experience with typical problems and it will faster troubleshoot any bug. Technical problems can happen with any kind of website, and sometimes it can be really hard to solve it on your own, or to explain to your provider what’s happening. So, the best option is to have a reliable host with a personal support team with 24/7 availability, to answer all your questions and concerns. An expert WordPress technical support has the experience to solve any problem immediately. A highly skilled group of technicians will be there for you in case of any emergency: on email, on the phone, on live chat. Everywhere!

2.   Backup regularly

As you can assume, backups are your key to security and it’s very important continuous performing them. If you don’t have time to backup a website by yourself regularly, it’s important to find a web host who will do it for you. Some managed web hosting solutions offer daily backups, some of them weekly, and it’s important to decide how often you need copies. After your decision, try to find the option that fits what you want. With managed hosting provider offering backups as many as you want, your website will run smoother and you’ll be peaceful.

2.   Scalabity Whenever and Wherever

One of the most important things to look for when signing up for a managed WordPress hosting account, is to make sure they are not just focused on WP-powered sites, but that they also have the tools, solutions and options for scalability in place as well. This will be ideal for any site owners starting off with a brand new site and don’t have a lot of money to spend in the beginning for their hosting — however, when their site starts to pick up in traffic and revenue, the option is also there to upgrade to a better managed hosting plan.

3.   Keeping a website safe, not just solving a problem

With managed hosting service, the host team will supervise your WordPress website regularly and keeping monitoring of any suspicious activity. It is extremely important especially if you are a newbie in online business and haven’t experienced recognizing potential threats. The support team of the hosting provider maintain your website and work on preventing any of the potential threats. You must admit it’s perfect resolution: instead of requesting support after some issue, the technical team keeps everything safe all the time. 

In Summary…

If you have a high-traffic WordPress website, managed hosting will be the best solution for you. Experienced WordPress hosting provider with expert staff will give you the necessary support and make things easier. WordPress is giving endless possibilities for creativity, so don’t let complicated things interfere with your work. Good luck, and let managed hosting be with you!

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Protecting Your Online Business with Cloud Access Security Brokers

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No matter if you are a blogger just starting out, or have a full time business online, you need to make sure your site is up at all time ans that your data is also secure. This is something many individuals and brands think they have in place, until a new security leak and hack comes into play. One of the best ways to make sure your online business and customer data is safe, is to make sure you are hosting your site with a reliable solution. As ‘cloud computing’ also becomes more accessible and at cheaper prices, it’s yet another option for keeping your online brand and business safe at all times,

A cloud access security broker (CASB) assists with cloud-based security concerns. While you may have outstanding security measures in place both within your organization and with your cloud service provider, there is still a point of vulnerability between the two. A cloud access security broker helps you protect your data everywhere from the point of origination to its final storage place in the cloud. There are several options available for service providers in this area, so it’s important to know how to assess them and make a fair comparison across all your potential security brokers.

Data Security Measures

The primary purpose of a cloud access security broker is to enhance your data security as information moves between internal or external storage devices and the cloud. While the cloud itself may be safe and secure, the transmission of information can create a weak point where cybercriminals have the opportunity to snag sensitive data en route to its next destination.
When you’re comparing cloud access security brokers, you must assess the details of their security measures. How do they control access? What measures are in place to prevent data leakage? How do they handle encryption key management? Compare providers evenly at this point to see which offers the most comprehensive data security services.

Visibility

Enhanced visibility is one of the key services offered by cloud access security brokers. Your broker should monitor all content moving in and out of the cloud, performing regular security audits. It’s important that you, as the consumer, have access to data and security logs and regular reports. Your CASB should also provide helpful alerts that will draw your attention to any potential weaknesses and guide you toward the best solutions. Find out how much visibility a CASB provider offers and what form it comes in.

Threat Protection

How does your cloud access security provider handle threats? You will inevitably come across cybercriminals who are attempting to access your data. What measures are in place to analyze user and entity behavior and capture these criminals? How does your provider detect data theft, and what steps do they take to then block the criminal from accessing your information? Your CASB should not only protect you from potential threats but also aid in the investigation of suspicious activity.

Compliance

Discuss compliance requirements with your cloud access security broker. Are they knowledgeable about the latest requirements for legal compliance with data management within your industry? Do they have smart solutions to help you monitor and maintain compliance throughout the cloud? While compliance is an issue that will still ultimately fall on the shoulders of your company, a cloud access security broker should have the knowledge to assist you in this area, and they should always be on the alert for any compliance concerns that you need to be informed of.

Research your options carefully to make sure you’re working with a cloud access security broker that is well-equipped to assist with your industry-specific needs. The best option should suit both the size and scope of your company.

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Five Free Web Hosting Providers for First-Time Webmasters

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When you’re first getting ready to launch a website, the web hosting provider that you choose is one of the most important decisions that you make. After all, the web hosting company is in control of the infrastructure that powers your website and which serves it up to visitors from around the world.

The problem that many would-be webmasters come up against is that hosting can quickly become expensive, especially if you start to pay extra for optional addons. Not everyone has the money to pay for it all up front, especially if they’re just starting out. It’s usually easier to pay for your website when your website itself is up and running and making money.

That’s why free web hosting is such an attractive choice. Sure, it might not be powerful enough once your site starts to take off, but it can save you from hemorrhaging money when you’re starting out. And so with that in mind, we’ve taken a look at just five of the best free hosting providers and noted down everything you need to know.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

  • FreeHostingEU

As you can probably guess from the name, FreeHostingEU is a European web host that offers up 200 MB of disk space and 4 GB of bandwidth for free, as well as additional features like email accounts and FTP access.

The venture itself is backed by FreeDomain.co.nr and AttractSoft GmbH, two well-established German companies which also offer paid hosting options for customers who want to upgrade to a more robust plan. True, their paid plans are potentially better suited to other German businesses just from an ease of use perspective and to avoid problems with the language barrier, but their free plans are an attractive choice for users from across the globe.

Better still, FreeHostingEU is one of a number of free hosts which offers powerful one-click installation tools for content management systems like WordPress and Joomla. That’s all you really need to get started, and they also offer support for PHP, MySQL, Perl, Flash and other technologies and programming languages.

All of this combines to make it an attractive choice for those who are looking for free web hosting, and for those who are targeting European markets in particular. At the same time, though, it’s up against some tough competition.

  • 000webhost.com

000webhost.com takes its name from the fact that it charges $0.00 for web hosting, and they’re trusted by over 16,000,000 users from across the world. They’ve been going strong for over ten years and promise to be free forever, which is probably why they rank consistently high both on search engine results pages and in lists like these.

000webhost offers a 99% uptime guarantee for their users and they even allow you to view historical logs to prove it. Openness is a theme at 000webhost, and it’s reflected by how open their platform is to different technologies and languages, with support for PHP, MySQL, Curl, GD2, Zend, XML, fopen(), PHP sockets, .htaccess and more.

And if their auto-installers and choice of over 50 popular scripts isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you can also use their inbuilt website builder software to make whatever your heart desires with no coding or graphic design expertise required. They also offer near-unlimited disk space and bandwidth, which is good news if you’re looking for a heavy duty free hosting provider that you can rely on.

If you’re the kind of person who makes purchasing decisions based on user reviews then 000webhost is probably the best choice for you. They have an army of happy customers who are quick to sing their praises on third-party review sites.  

  • Awardspace

Awardspace is another free web host that’s owned by two parent companies (this time it’s AttractSoft GmbH and Zetta Hosting Solutions Ltd). They offer “completely ad-free hosting” and also throw in a free .dx.am domain name, allowing their users to create up to three subdomains for blogs, forums or other areas.

As with FreeHostingEU, Awardspace will allow you to create an email account that’s associated with your website and you can install WordPress and Joomla with a single click. They also have a web-based file manager so you can download, edit and upload files, but you can also just use their free website builder if you prefer the point and click approach.

With 1 GB of SSD storage and up to 5 GB of monthly traffic, Awardspace gives you enough resources to run a small-to-medium-sized website, and they also back up their offering with a 99.9% network uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer service. Those are nice added bonuses from a free host that really has no obligation to guarantee anything.

Awardspace is a good choice if you’re looking for an overall all-rounder with pretty good resource limits and decent customer service. It really depends what you’re looking for, and while Awardspace isn’t about to win any awards for the amount of space it offers, storage space isn’t everything.

  • FreeHosting.com

If you’re looking for heavy duty hosting then FreeHosting.com is the choice for you. That’s because it comes with a whopping 10 GB of disk space and 250 GB of bandwidth, and they don’t even compromise the integrity of your site by running advertisements. You’ll even have access to FTP uploads and more powerful tools like cPanel.

It does have its limits, though. You can only use it to host a single website and while you can create an email address that’s associated with your account, you’re limited to just the one. You’ll also need to purchase your own domain name unless you use a subdomain such as http://yourdomain.freehosting.com.

FreeHosting.com also offers paid upgrades for users who exceed the impressive resource limits and need unlimited disk space and bandwidth. Upgraded users also get access to unlimited email addresses, which makes it worth going for if you’re using it to host a business website or something similar where multiple people need an email account.

This host is without a doubt the best choice for those who require large amounts of storage space and bandwidth. In fact, some people even use FreeHosting.com purely as a tool to store backups thanks to their generous resource allocations and the fact that they have no limit when it comes to individual file sizes. If you want to upload a 10 GB zip file, you can do.

  • Freehostia

Freehostia will give you 6 GB of bandwidth and 250 MB of disk space, but unlike FreeHosting.com they’ll also throw in three email accounts. Better still, like Awardspace, they guarantee 99.9% server uptime and offer 24/7 customer service.

They’re able to do this because they also offer paid hosting plans, which is good news if you run out of resources and want to upgrade without jumping to a different provider. Better still, because they provide paid services as well, they take customer service pretty seriously. They even promise to respond to any support tickets within an hour, which you’ll be glad of if you run into any problems or if your site goes down unexpectedly.

When it comes to actually getting started with your website, Freehostia offers a tool called the Elefante Installer which enables you to set up WordPress, Joomla and other CMS software in just a couple of minutes. They’ll even allow you to run a phpBB discussion forum if you’re creating a community site as opposed to one with a commercial focus.

Freehostia is another pretty good all-rounder, and it’s particularly good for non-profits, community organizations and other small teams thanks to the ability to create up to three different email addresses. Plus it’s always nice to have the option to upgrade if you need to.

Conclusion

When you’re first starting out with your website, free web hosting can be a godsend. It allows you to get your site up and running and to start growing it way before you ever need to pay for extra resources. If nothing else, it’s a great way to buy some time so that you can launch with your minimum viable product and test the waters. And honestly, for 90% of websites, free hosting is good enough. People often start out with free hosting and then never upgrade because they never need to.

Perhaps one day you’ll want to upgrade to paid hosting and maybe even a dedicated server all of your own. By that time, though, it’s likely that you’re already making money from your website and so it’ll pay for itself.

In the meantime, you can still get yourself off to a good start with one of these free web hosting providers. It’ll be enough to get your site up and running and to launch it to the world and then you can see how it goes from there. You might even find that free hosting is good enough to power your site indefinitely. Only time will tell.

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