“I’d really like a web presence for free”

Linda ScottTutorials0 Comments

Here at Silicon Dales, we get many requests from organisations such as charities, parish councils, sports teams and churches, who would like a web presence, but don’t know where to begin or don’t have an appropriate budget – or even sometimes any budget at all!

Silicon Dales wants to help clubs, societies, local interest groups, religious organisations, and small charities to achieve the best they can from the internet. So for those who fall into the “we can’t quite afford a new website” category, we have created this comprehensive guide to the ways in which you can get value online without spending a lot of money.

So what can you do to create a web presence by yourself?

In short, you have three options, which I will explore in detail below:

  • Use a free service like Facebook or Twitter to get a web presence;
  • Use a free website-like service;
  • Pay a little on hosting – and do the work yourself – the guide below will explain how to do this precisely.

Remember, whatever you do, to never be upsold services unless you know you need them.

Free is often free to hook you in, and there will be paid-for services you may not need associated with any free tool. Also, be prepared for some form of advertising to feature in your web experience.

Contents

Free Services

Here are some recommendations from Silicon Dales on where to start with your new web presence:

facebook-logo-smaller

Facebook connects over a billion people in a user-friendly way. Connect in an intuitive way with members and the public by creating a Facebook “page”.

What is a Facebook page?

A Facebook page is not the same as a Facebook personal profile. A page can have several admins and is viewable by members of the public who are not already on Facebook.

What are the relative benefits and disadvantages?

Facebook is used by around half of all men and women in Western nations with a relatively even spread through the ages – slightly biased towards the 18-35 bracket.

Benefits
  • Publicly viewable by anyone
  • Unlimited storage for images
  • Simple option for playing videos from Youtube or Vimeo
  • Allows multiple administrators
  • Good platform for connecting with existing and potential new members
Disadvantages

Facebook’s guidelines give a minimum age of 13 for use of Facebook, which may make this option less useful for Scout clubs or schools.

How do I get started?

https://www.facebook.com/help/104002523024878

twitter-logo

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a microblogging and social networking platform used by around 500 million registered users.

What are the relative benefits and disadvantages?

Twitter only allows users to post 140 characters at a time – so, a couple of sentences, a link, photo or video.

Benefits

Simple.
Very easy to use on mobile phones.

Disadvantages
  • Only one admin allowed.
  • Restrictions on amount of content
  • Takes some understanding to tweet at people and use hashtags

How do I get started?

Firstly, sign up an account:

https://twitter.com/signup

Then follow the tutorial:

https://support.twitter.com/articles/215585-getting-started-with-twitter

Free Website-Like Services

wordpress-logo-260-185-portfolio-smallWhat is WordPress.com?

A free blogging platform.

What are the relative benefits and disadvantages?

Benefits
  • Well supported.
  • Relatively simple transition from free platform to paid version.
  • Only requires an email address to get started.
Disadvantages

Web address will be at http://whateveryourwebaddress.wordpress.com rather than http://whateveryourwebaddress.com

Some restrictions on type of usage, content and advertising. Usually not a problem for new users.

How do I get started?

https://wordpress.com/

blogspot1

What is Blogger?

A free blogging platform owned by Google.

What are the relative benefits and disadvantages?

Benefits

Well supported.

Disadvantages

Have to sign up a Google account in order to use.

Web address will be at http://whateveryourwebaddress.wordpress.com rather than http://whateveryourwebaddress.com

Some restrictions on type of usage, content and advertising. Usually not a problem for new users.

How do I get started?

http://www.blogger.com

weebly-logo

What is Weebly?

Weebly is an American web-hosting service that features a “drag-and-drop” website builder. As of August 2013, Weebly hosts over 15 million sites, with a monthly rate of over 100 million unique visitors.

What are the relative benefits and disadvantages?

Benefits

Relatively easy to get started and provides an intuitive step-by-step process towards the paid upgrades such as a dedicated website address.

Disadvantages

Not that easy to export content if you wish to transfer to another provider in the future.

How do I get started?

http://www.weebly.com/

Niche Options

Some organisations have very helpful niche umbrella websites, which dedicate a smaller section to individual or local branches. A good example of this is ClubWebsite.co.uk which provides a platform for sports teams – in return for a share of advertising revenue generated by the club.

Political organisations also frequently offer this type of platform for notable figureheads and local associations.

What if I Want MORE Than That – and a Designer to Do the Work?

Talk to us! Silicon Dales provides best practice, a high level of quality service and consultancy on your options based on experience with some of the most popular websites in the world. Our team will walk you through the process of representing your organisation online from start to finish with full support along the way. For information on services and quoting, get in touch.

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