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The second in a two-part series, writer Liz Da Ponte explains the ins and outs of self-branding. In part one, Liz gave pointers on how to define your personal brand. This week, she advises that in order to kick ass at self-promo, you need to be sure your tech game is on-point.
Is your personal brand top of mind yet? If you’ve got a few technical skills under your hat and are okay with spending some money, you may want to check out the options listed below.
In the first post about getting started with your personal brand , we looked at Wix, Tumblr and Branded.me as free options to get your own site up and running. Now, let’s check out some paid options.
No post about website software would be complete without mentioning WordPress. Over 60 million people around the world use WordPress to power their websites. WordPress started as a blogging platform but has evolved to become a fully featured content management system (CMS). Businesses and publishers of all sizes use it for their sites. Some examples include TechCrunch, Canada.com and Momofuku.
Part of the WordPress appeal is that is maintained by a global community of developers and designers. It truly is an open source project. There are thousands of plugins and themes available to help make your website truly unique. (Plugins and themes are available as both free and paid options.)
The WordPress software is completely free, however, you’ll have to pay for the domain and hosting of your site. This is probably where a lot of people get intimated by WordPress. Running a WordPress site means knowing how to select a hosting service, set up a site, install the WordPress software, install a theme and custome the site to your liking.
If you’re unsure how to do any of that yourself, you’re going to need to recruit a developer to help you out. While hosting plans can run as low as $12 a month, a developer is going to cost you a lot more than that.
If you’re not as technically savvy but still want to invest in having your own site, SquareSpace may be an option. SquareSpace calls itself an all-in-one platform with layouts available for photographers, stores (eCommerce) and blogs. All of the layouts are mobile responsive meaning they’ll look as great on a cellphone as they do on a desktop browser.
The entire set-up process really easy – you can even buy your domain through the site. (Although prices appear to be a tad bit higher than what you would pay through another registrar.) Currently, transferring a domain that you already own isn’t available, but SquareSpace says it’s “coming soon.”
One of its limitations is that it’s maintained by a much smaller group of developers and it’s not an open source project. SquareSpace will continue to be around while it’s making a profit, so if it runs into issues or decides to cease operations, your website could be a casualty.
SquareSpace plans range from $16 a month for personal sites to $46 a month for advanced e-Commerce sites. If you’re unsure if SquareSpace is for you, they offer a free 30-day trial with no credit card required.
Weebly offers users a drag-and-drop interface to create websites and like SquareSpace, it allows users the ability to create a website, online store or a blog. Weebly has their own eCommerce platform and responsive themes ensuring that sites will look good on any screen.
Like SquareSpace, Weebly is also a for-profit business so any sites built and hosted through their service would be at risk should anything happen to the company.
Weebly’s plans have more tiers than SquareSpace so you’ll want to spend some time reviewing them before making a decision. The starter plan will cost you $10 a month and with that you get a free domain, no Weebly ads, unlimited storage and advanced site stats.
Weebly’s most expensive plans cost $60 a month and that’s really aimed at companies running an eCommerce store with a lot of inventory.
Weebly offers a $100 Google Adwords credit with all of its plans so if you’re looking at getting a boost in advertising your site (and you) Weebly might be an option for you.
So what do you think? What options (free or paid) seem most appealing to you? Is there a website building service you’d like reviewed? Let us know in the comments!