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Build A Website For Free

Software Applications and Tools I Use.

Ever since I started this travel blog I’ve been introduced to countless numbers of platforms, software applications, plug-ins, services, and more.

Many of these resources were required for building my websites, staying organized, remaining productive, and even maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Through all of these online endeavors, I’ve accumulated a lengthy list of tools, software apps, subscriptions, and resources.

Everything from online training, freelancing, graphic design, or just increasing my productivity has required some investment of time and money and is often a learning curve.

Here I’ve listed a number of products that I have experience using on a regular basis.

Most of these products I personally recommend or are highly recommended by mentors and influencers that I follow.

Below you’ll find resources for helping you build your own website whether it’s a blog or an E-Commerce store.


Domain Name Registration & Web Hosting Platforms

The first thing you’re going to need no matter what type of website you plan on building is a domain name & hosting service for your website.

Domain Name & Web Hosting

NameCheap

The last domain I registered was with NameCheap  Before that I’d been a GoDaddy subscriber for many years and didn’t have a good reason to switch.

However, the opportunity came up for me to register a few new domains, so I decided to give NameCheap a try.

I’ve been using NameCheap now for more than five years and I am still impressed with their low prices, simple, clean interface, and helpful customer service.

Network Solutions

network solutions are the world’s first domain registrar according to its homepage introduction.

With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Network Solutions has a proven track record of providing top-notch services to individuals and businesses alike.

From domain registration to web hosting, email, security, and design, Network Solutions has just about all of the services you need to get a website up and running!

GoDaddy

When I started this website in 2013 I used GoDaddy for Web Hosting and Domain Registration.

The pricing was affordable and it was a well-known and established brand I was familiar with. GoDaddy was a convenient option at first for a small website. They didn’t however, have plans for multiple websites and guaranteed uptime.

So, as my need for site speed and multiple websites increased, I began looking for other options.

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SiteGround

My next Web Hosting choice was SiteGround and I used SiteGround for hosting my sites for the next few years.

SiteGround offers Managed WordPress hosting and excellent uptime, speed, and performance. Their support team was responsive and helpful.

I later started another site and wanted to try a different brand. As a result, I eventually ended up migrating all of my sites over to the next hosting service GreenGeeks.

GreenGeeks

Currently, all of my WordPress sites are hosted by Green Geeks.

I’ve used Green Geeks for approximately 4 years now and I am still very content with them.

They first caught my interest because of their eco-friendly approach as a web hosting provider.

Data Center carbon pollution is a serious concern and Green Geeks has made a commitment to be the most eco-friendly web hosting company.

They also have multiple hosting options including WordPress, WooCommerce, Reseller Web Hosting, and Virtual Private Servers.


How To Build a Website For Free

Build a website for free at WordPress.org

Using A Content Management System (CMS)

The Content Management System or CMS is the software that allows you to create and manage your website’s content. For example, your content may include blog posts, pages, images, and more.

WordPress

There are a number of Content Management Systems that are more popular for blogging, but the one I’ve been using for almost 10 years now is WordPress.

Other popular CMS platforms for blogging that you might have heard of are Joomla and Drupal.

Joomla

Joomla is a powerful content management system (CMS) and probably the next most popular open-source CMS after WordPress.

Joomla has a user-friendly interface, a drag-and-drop page builder, customizable design templates, and easy content management tools.

It is one of the most popular alternatives to WordPress and another way to create beautiful websites without coding knowledge.

Drupal

Drupal is yet another open-source content management system (CMS) that can be used to create and manage websites.

In terms of customization, Drupal is considered to be more customizable and allows for more granular control over the website’s functionality and design.

It is also known for its strong focus on security and scalability which enables it to handle larger and more complex sites. For these reasons, it is more often used by larger businesses.


WordPress Themes

This is the design template for your website. You can choose from a variety of pre-designed themes or create your own custom theme.

I began with the Elegant Themes Theme initially a few years ago.  I am no longer using that theme, but I remember they offered great customer support and they are well-known for their amazing theme called Divi which is equipped with a fast visual page builder that allows you to edit your theme in real-time!

I do not have an affiliate link for Elegant Themes but I still think they are a great option for someone just getting started.

One Away was built on the Himmelen theme by Magnium Themes and that remained for about 5 years until I felt it was time for a change. 

Then I switched domain names and the theme to the Vagabonds Theme by AxiomThemes which was a beautiful travel blog theme, but I just wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out after hours and hours of designing to look nearly as good as the demo.

Finally, I landed on the Zeen theme by CodeTipi. I purchased through the Envato Market (ThemeForest.net) and I am somewhat satisfied with it.

Let me know what you think of the current design in the comments below.

I have two other websites currently using the Zeen Theme, but in the future, if I were to build another or redesign I would use a simpler, faster, and lightweight theme, such as the GeneratePress Theme or Kadence Theme by Kadence WP.

I am currently using their free Kadence Blocks plugin which you can see throughout this page.

Most Recommended Word Press Themes and Plugins

  • Kadence Theme and Kadence Blocks
  • Generate Press Theme
  • Elementor Theme and Page Builder
WordPress Themes

Zeen Theme on ThemeForest

This site was built using the Zeen Theme I found on ThemeForest also known as the Envato Market. High-quality WordPress themes can be downloaded here. I’ve been using their themes, code, and even music for years!

Go to ThemeForest

Kadence Theme

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Elementor Themes

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Astra Themes

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Website Builders

I built this website on WordPress.  

I admit, it is not the easiest for a beginner to get started with, but you have so much flexibility. There is just no other blogging platform that compares to it.

The other blogging options are great for getting started quickly and they offer pre-built themes so there is no coding required.

However, there are limitations, and in many cases, there will be features that you want to add but may not have the ability to add because a theme does not have the capacity for it.

If I needed to create a quick professional site that could be easily maintained by someone new to web design. Squarespace would probably be my first choice

Their themes just look so good!

Website Builders

SQUARESPACE

Squarespace is probably the most popular of the one-stop website builders that include Domain Registration, E-Commerce (no transaction fees), unique templates, stock photos, a logo-maker tool, and more! Choose a monthly or annual payment plan.

WIX

Wix is another easy way to get started creating create beautiful websites. It has a user-friendly interface and a host of pre-made templates

Add content and customize the look and feel by changing colors, fonts, and even adding your own logo and images.

Wix helps you save time by eliminating the need for coding or design knowledge.

WordPress Plugins

These are additional pieces of software that can be installed on your CMS to add extra functionality to your website. There are many plugins available for a variety of purposes, such as SEO, security, and social media integration.


E-Commerce Websites

Shopify

I’ve used Shopify for 4 different e-commerce stores over the last 8 years. 

Drop shipping directly with Manufacturers in a few different niches, has been the business model I’ve used for these stores.

I currently have 2 stores open and have had to shut down 2 others.  It’s definitely not as simple as the dropship evangelists make it out to be.  

It takes a lot of hard work and persistence to begin to see profitable results, especially with always increasing amounts of competition.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that enables small and medium-sized businesses to create and manage their online stores with simplicity.

Like Shopify, you can also create custom-built websites with their intuitive drag-and-drop web page builder. BigCommerce offers many features and integrates with over 150 apps and services.

E-Commerce

Shopify

As far as E-Commerce platforms go, I highly recommend Shopify, for its ease of use, and its wide variety of plugins, design, and payment process options.

Big Commerce

Big Commerce is another e-commerce platform that solo entrepreneurs and small-med. businesses might consider. It has many robust features and they provide 24/7 support, unlimited product listings, and no transaction fees.

Author and Website Designer | Website | + posts

Brian Dennis is a full-time software engineer, some-time traveler and location-independent entrepreneur.

Chasing his passions in addition to travel in recent years has become a little challenging but even more fulfilling with his wife Betina and 1-year old son Divine.

Currently he is located in S. Florida and continues to share what he's learned with travel tips, guides and some motivating inspiration to encourage others to do more and experience more outside of their comfort zones.

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