Want to make your own website?

You need good software

In the past I tried pc's with Windows, and on my present Apple Mac I tried Dreamweaver, Golive & Freeway (and several others). And found all of them too expensive, and too complicated. I personally don't like it when I need to study the manuals all the time...

Then I found
Shutterbug. Quite inexpensive ($ 39.95), great customer support (I know from experience, very fast & helpful, updating the software all the time), relatively easy, nice to work with. Especially suited for websites with many graphics. Good for photographers and artists, and others with photo albums etc. Not so good for sites with a lot of text. That's why I switched to...

RapidWeaver. Sooo much easier and faster than Dreamweaver. I use it for most of our websites now. Has great plug-ins and beautiful templates to build on. But... You need an Apple Mac for it. It doesn't work on Windows.

On a Windows PC I worked (and would work again) with
XsitePro. I like it very much. It is very good for Search Engine Optimization. If you want to work quickly, easily and professionally, get XsitePro. It's more expensive than the programs mentioned above ($ 199), but much better priced than Dreamweaver.

XsitePro was not made for people who want the most beautiful and complicated designs in the world. But for entrepreneurs wanting visitors, links, clicks, sales, results, good SEO (search engine optimization). It's better for SEO than any other program I tried so far. It has its flaws (like ANY program) but overall I really like it.

Another option:
WordPress. It's free, works on any platform, any computer, anywhere. Originally WordPress was made for weblogs. But you can easily create websites with it too - if you take the time to find the right themes, plugins, and adaptations (sometimes they cost a few dollars). It's possible to combine RapidWeaver & XsitePro with WordPress: to me that looks like winners.

Other software we use:
CSSEdit, and the rest is mostly free "open source" software, like OpenOffice (instead of Microsoft Office), GIMP (instead of Adobe Photoshop).

You need a good hosting provider

Finding a good hosting provider for your website(s) can be a real challenge.

I'm situated in Holland, so I tried to find a good one here. But... most of them are much smaller than in the USA, more expensive, and offer far less.

So I researched American hosts. A lot. I finally found one, which was quite good: ThirdSphere. However, after a few years I also wanted to create websites with WordPress. My host was not optimized for WordPress. So I had to start looking again.

I looked at the offers of dozens and dozens of hosting providers. Compared them. Read dozens of review sites and user forums. Each time I thought: this one looks good - and then I found some place with many complaints about customer service, downtime, etc.

It took me 6 months before I made a choice... I found
HostICan. I've been with HostICan since November 2007 now and moved my 8 websites over to them. My opinion?
  • No complaints whatsoever. Everything works as promised.
  • They are optimized for normal .html websites and WordPress blogs/websites (recommended by WordPress).
  • Their customer service gives very fast & effective replies (I needed them a few times, and they helped me very quickly, even in the middle of the night, on Sunday, and at Xmas).
  • Good price ($ 6.95 per month) for an unlimited number of domains + enough space for many sites (600GB).
  • I have no reservations in recommending HostICan at all.