Shopify’s primary focus is ecommerce, so they are specifically geared toward building this kind of site for as little as $29 a month. There is also a ‘Lite’ plan available for only $9 a month, which allows users to add a Shopify buy button to an existing site (which can be on another platform). Importantly, the industry- standard encryption SSL certificate is included with all their sites.
Getting your message out these days requires good helpings of Facebook and Twitter, with maybe a dash of Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr. But that's not enough: if you want an internet presence that truly represents you or your organization, you also need a website that sets you apart from the crowd. A real website, as opposed to a social media page, gives you complete control over design and content. This lends credibility to your business, organization, or personal brand. Facebook pages all look alike in terms of design, but on your own website, you can realize a brand image, offer products for sale, and integrate third-party web services.
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Why it works: the MailChimp sales funnel works because of simplicity. The lead page does not look cluttered, and it is easy to understand what the company is offering. The pricing page is also very clear, and you can choose the kind of plan that suits your business. The sign-up is short and sweet, and those who are interested in buying are not likely to abandon the process.
One thing that stands out about them is that they live up to their promise of handling all the technical aspects of your site, unlike other hosting services. They take care of software updates, setups and security patches, leaving your website running optimally. Their support has tremendously improved and will help if you are having problems with anything.
Because Amazon‘s free web hosting tier doesn’t offer many of the features some of the other web hosts mentioned here do, it may serve us better to look at the pricing surrounding their paid services. We published an article covering Amazon Web Services’s flexible pay-as-you-go model for its cloud infrastructure service. For businesses that don’t want to commit large chunks of their budgets to hosting in the long term, AWS might be a good fit. However, the host does come in as the most expensive option on our list.
There are lots of ways to add content and customize your site. Click the Add button on the left-hand menu for a swath of options — text, buttons, slideshows, menus, et cetera. Under the Apps button, there are many features you can add to your site for additional functionality such as comments, live chat, and an online storefront. You can also upload your own multimedia content, such as fonts, images, videos, and music, and start a blog.
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You also want a web host with 24/7 customer support—if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to communicate with another human to get things ironed out as quickly as possible. That said, not all 24/7 customer support teams are equal. Companies like GoDaddy and Liquid Web boast incredibly knowledgeable and helpful customer support squads—a fact that we confirmed in our in-depth reviews of those web hosting services.
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This ‘free plus shipping’ type approach has been empirically proven in a variety Psychology of Marketing studies and has been recently popularized by researchers such as Dr. Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and author of the hugely influential book Predictably Irrational. We’ve seen this approach drive increases in sales of an upsell product 3-4-fold.
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Responsive design is a popular web design strategy used by some of these site builders. This approach reformats the same webpage content to fit different screens. But in terms of SEO (search engine optimization), the search engines only care about whether a site displays suitably on mobile screen sizes. Both Bing and Google have pages where you can enter your URL to see if your site plays on mobile acceptably.
How it works is that you rent hosting space from someone like HostGator, and then you host third-party sites on your rented space. You’re kind of like a middleman. HostGator does all the hard work and takes all the risk from a server point of view. This can work really well if you’re looking to diversify and are already in the web-tech sphere, say as an app developer or website builder.
Things to look as you vet hosts for ecommerce include drag-and-drop store builders, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) software for safeguarding financial transactions, and email marketing plug-ins, so that you don't have to work with an outside vendor to promote your business. There's nothing wrong per se with using an unconnected marketing service, but anything that adds convenience means more time to spend on the rest of your business. For more in-depth advice on getting started selling online, you should consider our story on the 6 Factors Companies Need to Consider When Choosing a Web Host.
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But, again, operationally it's quite strong. 24/7/365 customer support is available not only by live chat and email, but by phone. It offers free site migrations with some dedicated attention paid to making a transfer as smooth as possible. And, if you're willing to go for one of the higher-end plans, the company has put some serious attention into performance and caching.
The company's entry-point pricing is extremely low -- we'd say it's among the cheapest web hosting when you first start -- and while this will buy you up to three years of very low-cost hosting, do be aware that its post-promotion price will increase substantially, putting its subsequent year pricing more in line with the rest of its competitors. That said, we liked its 24/7 phone customer support, SSD support on some plans and 30-day money-back guarantee.
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Migration or transfer services are often free or offered at a reasonable fee at web hosting companies. These services help move your existing site to the new hosting provider. They can save a huge amount of hassle. Just remember that the migration process is often automated, and may fit in with the host's processes and needs rather than yours. Not everything may migrate, and you may find the organization of the newly migrated site makes for harder maintenance in the long run.
Almost all the services offer some sort of drag-and-drop website builder that makes it easy to drag and drop items to build your page. These are great for getting started, but they often lock you into the service. Most website builder setups are proprietary to the service, or don't create HTML that's portable enough to be easily moved to another service if you decide it's necessary.
WordPress is not an all-in-one package. It’s a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows you to create and organize digital content. Other elements like hosting and domain registration are best done separately. It’s up to you to bring these together in service of a WordPress site. This isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think, but it’s not the easiest way to make a website. We wouldn’t recommend it to people uncomfortable with technology.
The web hosting provider got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. Be aware, though, that the promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost offers 24/7 phone support, a 30-day money-back guarantee and SSH access for certain plan options.
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More-advanced options found in some builders let you process credit card payments and add your own cart and checkout pages. The more-powerful site builders include product promotions, email marketing, and inventory and shipping tools. Some let you sell digital downloads, while others don't; see the table above to find out which do. Only a couple of these builders let you put ads on your site, though most of them allow some degree of custom HTML code insertion.
Sure, Squarspace isn’t that cheap. But there are NO hidden fees or complicated stuff. Trust me, I’ve tried everything, but they are all disappointing. Squarespace has not suspended me or those stupid rules other site builders have. You’ve got to pay more to do some advanced stuff like coding but there is always a workaround. It’s the best platform I have ever found!
“Some of our guests have huge social media followings so we use their fans to get more listeners. It’s not an exact science but when we invite guests, we check how many followers they have on their social media accounts sometimes. We alternate guests that will help us grow our audience base with other guests who provide quality content but don’t have much social media presence.”