If you want to start a blog or website, there are tons of ways you can do it. You can choose a commercial software application (such as Microsoft Expression Web or Adobe Dreamweaver) to help you design it. The only problem is that these are commercial applications (meaning they will generally set you back a few hundred), and they are not very user friendly. They also really aren’t set up to best be used with a blog format.
Which Blog Software Is Best? WordPress?
If you are wanting to start a blog for free, and you need a great script to help you streamline the blogging process, manage photos, update posts easily, etc., then look no further than WordPress.
WordPress is a free open-source program that will help you manage your blogs with ease. It literally has thousands of plugins, which can help you add functionality to your blog (create sitemaps, paste in adsense, optimize it for search engines, etc.). The plugins are generally 100% free, and are easy to install and use.
I used to use Microsoft FrontPage 2003 to manage my websites. However, after playing around with wordpress on a site, I was totally overtaken with amazement. It is written in PHP code, and it stores everything in a database. This means it is incredibly easy to keep up with posts, update things (such as your adsense placement), and more all by simply editing the core files.
It used to take forever to update designs, change Adsense coding, and more. Now, it can be done in minutes by just changing one file. Furthermore, it is easier and faster than ever to publish articles, upload pictures, keep track of posts, and more. There are also tons of free themes to choose from, so you can customize the design of your blog for free!
Is WordPress Better than Blogger or Other Scripts?
In my opinion,Wordpress blows blogger or any other scripts out of the water. It is so much more user friendly, has way more plugins, and is used by the majority of the “big bloggers.”
I am still sometimes amazed that WordPress is free! After all, it really makes blogging super easy. It is literally used by millions of blogs, and is constantly adding new features, new plugins, and more.
If you are asking yourself, “How do I start a blog,” look no further than WordPress.
How Do WordPress Blogs Work? Can I Host My Blog Myself? Can I Host it At WordPress?
Another great thing about WordPress is that the script is totally free to download and use. You can install it as many times you want. You can use it on your own servers, and there is no limit to the number of blogs you can use with it.
You can also use free hosting by WordPress itself. This may be a good option for people just wanting to publish some ideas and opinions, but don’t want to invest in a domain name or hosting.
If, however, you expect to eventually make money (monetize) your blog, or you feel as if you want your own domain, then you should definitely get your own domain & hosting plan.
I use Godaddy.com to run several blogs. The domains are as inexpensive as $9.99 per year (or less). The hosting plans start as low as $4.99 per month, and go all the way up to as large and robust as you need. So you can update and change as your blog grows.
Conclusion: How to Start a Blog Free, and the Best Blog Format to Use
If you decide to start a blog, I would recommend WordPress hands down! It is easier than most others, has almost unlimited plugins and options, and it is totally free!
So if you want to start blogging, grab a free copy of WordPress, and go to town! If you plan to make money or eventually have a “big blog,” you may want to go ahead and snag up a domain & hosting plan as well.
Free Open Source eCommerce Script by Magento
Do you want to start your own retail store or eBook store? There are tons of options you can use to do so. You can create your own design by using Microsoft Web Expression or Adobe Dreamweaver (or this free HTML editor), you can pay an online service such as Yahoo Stores or ProStores, or you can use a great free script.
Magento Free eCommmerce Solution Script-Start Your Online Store
You can get a very stable, popular, and yet sophisticated online script to use with your retail or eCommerce store for free from Magento. The script has tons of options to help you customze product pages, accept orders via Paypal (or other payment processors), keep track of sales, and more.
If you are thinking of ditching eBay (fee-bay), and want to venture on your own path and start your own eCommerce site, you should definitely give Magento a close look. It has great features, and best of all, it is free!
Free Website Content Management Software by Joomla
If you run a website, chances are you know that the more content (pages) you have, the more difficult it is to update them, make changes, and keep them organized.
If you want a great (and free) script that allows you to keep a very neatly organized site, with great themes, plugins/tweaks, and more, you should checkout Joomla.
What is Joomla, and Why a Content Management Software Solution?
Joomla is simply a website script that allows you to professional design your website, and streamline you content publishing.
A content management system is software that keeps track of every piece of content on your Web site, much like your local public library keeps track of books and stores them. Content can be simple text, photos, music, video, documents, or just about anything you can think of. A major advantage of using a CMS is that it requires almost no technical skill or knowledge to manage. Since the CMS manages all your content, you don’t have to.
Overall, Joomla is one of the most popular website script content management systems on the market. Again, this baby is completely free (open source), and customizable to your own website needs.
This is great for so many applications such as:
- Corporate Web sites or portals
- Corporate intranets and extranets
- Online magazines, newspapers, and publications
- E-commerce and online reservations
- Government applications
- Small business Web sites
- Non-profit and organizational Web sites
- Community-based portals
- School and church Web sites
- Personal or family homepages, and more
The only other great script that I would mention is the one I use for most of my blogs by WordPress.org. Again, these scripts are top-of-the-line, work great, have loads of great features, and are totally free.
So if you are considering starting a website, or if you are looking for a way to keep track of those old, out-dated HTML pages, at least checkout Joomla. If Joomla doesn’t do it for you, perhaps WordPress will. In any event, these are both great scripts that can help you realize your dream of being a web-entrepreneur!
Free Forum Software
Today it seems like more and more people are finding their way to the world wide web, and starting blogs, websites, and forums. Forums in particular can be a great way to establish a “community.” It allows for easy posting and sharing of ideas, views, and more.
How to Start a Website Forum for Free
If you want to start a forum, the first thing you will need is an actual forum script. After all, if you don’t have the software (script) to run a forum, you can never have one!
The great news is that there are a few scripts that are totally free, very user friendly, and very stable. These are available for a free download, and you can begin using them immediately. Also, you can use them for as many forums or websites that you want!
PHPBB is one of the great scripts that have been around for quite a while. It is very stable, and there are several tweaks you can add to customize it to suit your needs. It is also an open source script, meaning that not only is it free, but you can customize or add coding to it as your site grows or your design needs change.
Simple Machines Forum is also another great script, and in my opinion probably the best free website forum script there is right now. There is great support, lots of plugins, and it works very well. I have used it on one of my sites for over a year, and it works great.
There are also many proprietary (costs money) scripts out there. Vbulletin is probably the most popular, and it too works great. If your forum grows to a massive size and generates a lot of revenue, you may want to eventually upgrade to a paid version. But it is completely optional, and to be honest, the other (free) scripts work almost just as well.
Getting Hosting & a Domain Name for Your Forum
Starting a website forum is a great way to build an online community, and possibly even earn an extra income. While there are totally free scripts out there, you may want to invest a small amount of money into a domain name and hosting plan.
A domain is the “.com” that you will have for your site. They generally cost as little as $9.99 for a one year registration period. I use Godaddy.com to manage my domains, and I would highly recommend them.
You will also want to get a “hosting plan,” which is simply a server which you can rent a portion of the space on to keep your site live at all times. They too are very inexpensive for the shared hosting plans, and cost as little as $4.99 per month. I also use Godaddy.com for this, although there are tons of other great hosting companies as well.
In conclusion, starting a forum is easy. Grab a free script, get a domain and hosting plan, upload the script to your site (there are usually instructions on the forum script page on how to install & upload it), and bam, you now have your own website forum!