Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting Started: Free Blog vs. Pricey Website

Sure it's great to pay for a fancy website when you've got a successful business paying the bills but what to do when you're first starting out?

I started with a Blogger because I'd been using it for years for my personal blog and it's free. I played around with the templates to make it look more like a website than a blog. If you've never worked with Blogger before it's quite simple to just use their templates but if you're familiar with HTML or CSS then you can put your own thumbprint on it.

My (Current) ShowIt Website
Blogger does have it's downfalls though. I found that I had to spend hours and hours fiddling around with codes. Any minor changes I would make would disrupt everything else and it would take hours to get everything back to where it was supposed to be. (This won't happen to you if you're just using their basic templates — only if you're fiddling around with codes.) Eventually I just couldn't take it anymore so I decided it was time to upgrade.

Ready to upgrade? I recommend ShowIt!
Following in Jasmine Star's footsteps I decided to give ShowIt a try and it's been easy sailing ever since! If you can afford to spend $39 (£24) a month on your website I totally recommend it. ShowIt makes my life so easy! Sure, I devoted days (and nights) to setting up my ShowIt website (because I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I couldn't decide what I wanted it to look like) but now that I've got my foundation set so updating & tweaking is so simple!

Until I switched to ShowIt, I was anti-drag-and-drop because I thought it was too simplistic and wouldn't give me the freedom to customise designs. It may be like that with other website builders but ShowIt keeps an awesome balance between being easy to use and giving you 100% freedom over your design. ShowIt really lives up to their slogan "Free to Be Me."

The one thing ShowIt is missing is the ability to include a blog on your website. For this reason, I'm still using Blogger for blog and I just link to it from my website.

Now, what if you aren't ready to pay for a website?
Like I mentioned above, it is possible to put your own thumbprint on a Blogger blog and you'll be able to do that if you learn a little HTML coding. There are tons of websites out there that offer simple HTML tutorials. It's so commonly used that you can literally type your question into Google and the answer will usually be somewhere in the top few results.

Because blogs use standard templates and many people don't bother to customise them, you'll find many blogs out there look almost identical. When you're trying to set yourself apart from the rest of the world, that's definitely something you'll want to avoid. You want your blog/website to be totally unique. In order to do this you'll need to figure out your own style and run with it. If your site is screaming personal style then you won't need to worry about being grouped with everybody else and their cookie cutter blogs.

Using a blog instead of a website requires more patience, creativity and time but it's definitely possible and can save you a lot of money when you're just starting out. Just remember, one day you'll be able to move up in the world but right now, props for being clever & thrifty :)

My Blogger "Website"