Website Hosting Options

      Woodworkers discuss various ways to put up a quick and simple website for marketing purposes. October 2, 2007

Question
I want to put together a small website to show my work. I am a one man shop, and I already have a URL. I also have some good pictures from a photographer that I hired to shoot some of my projects. I know there are a lot of companies out there that offer simple web page templates, with hosting, etc. I am trying to find a place that will work for me. Where are you going for your web work, and how much did it cost you? I am seeing offers of as low as $5.00 per month for 5 pages, and up to $28.00 per month. I realize that there are many variables that determine costs, but I am looking for feedback from people that have used one of these companies that offer templates and lower cost hosting. I used to work in manufacturing and we built our own site from Dreamweaver and Flash software, but I am not in a position to spend the time to relearn all of that, and I donít have the desire. I also donít have a large budget to simply pay someone to build me a site, although I know that the cost of site construction has come down a lot.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor B:
I have had good luck with ipowerweb; they are highly regarded, offer good support, and are very reasonable for basic services, or more if you want. They offer many templates to help you get started, certainly not the same as having a web designer, but still great shortcuts in getting up and going. Generous server storage and downloads, lots of email pluses as well. Less that $100 per year.



From contributor C:
I agree with contributor B. I also use ipowerweb and am very happy with the service. Great price. Server reliability is great. I usually check every day to see if I can get to my website. It is always there.


From contributor T:
Also try JustHosting.ca. Very reliable, full service web service. I'm very happy with them. I had my site built by a family member's web business, including the logo. This was in exchange for some millwork on his front porch. I couldn't get any changes made so I took it over myself. Now I make all the changes I want, including adding pages when I want them. I would never do it any other way but the learning curve was steep. I'm working on an online furniture catalogue these days. As a project is finished, it is photographed and put in the catalogue. It helps to learn to crop photos and make up your own backgrounds. Good graphic arts software helps. I use Corel Designer 10. It has CAD for drawings. For building and modifying my website, I use WebEasy 6 from Staples/Bus Depot, but Designer 10 can build a website too. WebEasy is like it says, easy.


From contributor L:
I have a website from my ISP. AOL.com and COX.net. Both are free. If you are just looking for someplace to put up your pictures and give the URL to your clients so they can see your online portfolio, then you can't beat the price. If you are using it as a business generating website, then you will need to go to the pay sites to get your site listed with the search engines. Mine is now within the grasp of many search engines, but it took a long time and I had to do a lot of submitting and getting linked with forums that I frequent (like this one - put your shop info into the shop gallery and it will be found by a search engine).


From contributor G:
I just bought a Macbook with a .Mac membership ($89/year) and I use iWeb software to manage my site. I used to code it with Homesite, which took forever to do and update. iWeb is so much easier. It's so easy to add photo galleries of projects from iPhoto. I can even make my own DVD's for customers to look at. I know people can't search for my site through Google, but I'm not really looking for business from the web right now... maybe later.


From contributor R:
I don't have my site up yet, but I built it very easily with the iWeb program too (my wife has the Macbook Pro). Mac just makes everything easy. Are you running your CAD program on your MAC? I run e-cabs on a PC and plan to switch it over to an iMac very soon. I use NeoOffice on the Mac for 2d quasi Visio drawings.


From contributor N:
If all you want is an online portfolio, that is one thing. If you want the website to attract customers, you need things like meta-tags, alt text and links so that the search engines can find you.


From contributor S:
I think having a website that attracts peopleís attention is better than just sticking a bunch of pictures online. You might be able to find a student to build a site for you at a reduced cost. We hired a design student from a local university and were very pleased with what we got. We hired a website design company before, paid out about $2,000.00 to get started, and didn't like the design he came up with. He was supposed to do a redesign and come back to show us and we haven't heard from him since.


From contributor O:
My CAD and cutlist program are still on my old XP laptop. I bought Parallels for the new Macbook so I hope to run XP under that. The only XP copy I have came with my Gateway laptop, and I've heard it won't work with Parallels but I'm going to try this weekend. If not, I can buy a new version of XP, or find CAD and cutlist software for Mac.


From contributor X:
Form follows function at its best. I go to so many woodworking sites and CAD related sites, and if I have to wait for stuff to load more than a few seconds, I'm outta there. Slow sites lose a lot of potential business.


From contributor N:
Some websites load fast because the picture files are about half the size of others. It is a tradeoff between fast loading and higher quality pictures. It is so easy to tell the sites made by pros from the home-made ones.


From contributor K:
You seem to be getting a lot of feedback on websites. Here is the way I heard about this. I have a friend who mentioned this to me because he has a cabinet shop and reads a lot of these posts. I was in the woodworking business for about fifteen years. Manufactured wood parts, cabinet doors, moldings, kiln drying, etc. After that part of my life I got into computers and internet service and web hosting. So I have designed websites for about 7 years. Here is my bottom line. With all of the fluff, I charge 300.00 per year. This gets you a website built with your choice of over 500 templates. You don't have to do more than get me the info and I do the rest. Hosting for one year is included. And all of the updates for as long as you host with me. I like to keep it simple.


From contributor I:
I put my site together using CityMax - I'm very impressed with the technology. All you need is a browser and you can put together an impressive site. No developing the site locally and noFTP uploading. It's $200 per year and I think it's worth the cost.


From contributor V:
I have spent this entire weekend putting a website together using doteasy.com. I don't know that much about computers and nothing about making a website (until now, and I still don't know much). I paid $35 for one year and spent about 25 hours making this site. I am almost sure someone that knows what they are doing and has a connection faster than dial-up could more than cut that time in half.


From contributor M:
I set my site up through Yahoo small business. Cost is about $12.00 a month. They have a program you download to build your site. The program has lots of templates and such to make the process fairly simple. I don't know that much about computers, but I thought their program was pretty easy to work with. You also get e-mail with your site and can monitor traffic on the site.


From contributor Z:
I have always done my own site; I have gone through several revisions and used three or four applications over the years. Needless to say, I have countless hours in learning how to deal with HTML, Java, and Flash. Most people think our site is very nice. It's not as snazzy as a full professional site, but with all the content, I shudder to think what it would cost if I had my site done over by a pro. Last time I looked into it, we were talking thousands, not including hosting. We host with 1and1, which has some very good deals, as well as templates. Another thing worth considering is a Wordpress setup, which is free, fairly easy to install, has a ton of templates, and as it is essentially blogging software, gives you the ability to easily upload content via web browser.

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