If you own or run a website, you’re always going to need tools to check it’s fit for purpose. Here are a selection of free and insightful tools you’ll find useful.
For a tool that quickly crawls your website and finds important SEO-relevant information such as meta tags and page errors, Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a fantastic utility that allows you to quickly audit your website. It works on Windows, OS X and Ubuntu.
To check your site for broken hyperlinks, download Xenu’s Link Sleuth – available for Windows/Ubuntu (instructions for running on OS X available on the site). Running the app will scour your site and report on various errors and broken links.
Every business wants and needs a good quality website. But they can be a real drain on resources – whether paying for your domain name and hosting or administrating the content.
But there are ways to reduce the cost and time spent on creating your website, and it’s never been easier to do things yourself with just a small amount of know-how.
Follow our links below and you’ll discover lots of free and low-cost ways to find your ideal website address and quickly get up, running and productive.
The quickest and cheapest way to get your website up and running with no outlay is by using a free service such as WordPress.com or blogger. These sites will give you your own subdomain name such as www.yourbusiness.wordpress.com. But if you want your business website to reside on a top-level domain like www.yourbusiness.com instead, then you’ll have to buy your own domain name.
Domain names can be very expensive if you’re after a short, notable name on a .com address, but there are some places where you can get a domain name for free.
Free website domains
You can get a totally free top-level domain at Freedomain as long as you’re happy with a .co.nr (Republic of Nauru) suffix and provide their site with a back-link.
An alternative way is to buy a hosting package with One and you can get your domain registered for free for the first year. Similarly, 1and1 will provide a free domain, including .com domains, for free for the first year with their small business hosting package.
Cheap web domains
For the no-strings-attached registration of a new domain, which you can then take with you to the web host of your choosing, Freezone offer competitively priced domains, as do Go Daddy and Fasthosts.
It’s possible to spend a ton of cash on a website. But with a small amount of skill, it’s also possible to build your own for free. Below we list the best sites to visit to quickly create your free website.
When you create a website, you need to register your domain name (such as www.freebusiness.com), find a web host to provide storage for your site and link it into the web, then finda way to add content to the site – usually by using a content management system or CMS. That used to be a complicated and costly process. But there are sites that provide all these and more for free.
Quick and free all-in-one site builders
WordPress.com allows you to quickly build your site and use their free tools to create content. The basic account allows you to create your own domain name such as www.wordpress.com/freebusiness. You can pay a little to use your own website name though (our domain www.mappo.co.uk is hosted using wordpress.com).
Google’s Blogger is very simple to use while Tumblr is another popular and very sharing-orientated builder that’s particularly great for visual content. Other builder/blogging tools which are becoming popular include Anchor, Feathers (great for distraction-free article writers) and Medium.
More fully-featured free builders
These offer free versions but may serve ads on your site or require small, usually monthly payments to add extra functionality (e.g. adding your domains name is always extra). However, they’re all easy to get up and running quickly. Wix, Weebly and Jimdo are all similar with attractive themes and e-commerce options.
Advanced (but free) CMS solutions
If you have your own domain name and hosting, using one of these content management systems (CMS) makes building, designing and managing site content easy.
WordPress.org is hugely powerful and allows you to add ecommerce and new content by using free third party ‘plugins’, as well as design your site using ‘themes’. Similar open source systems are offered by Drupal and Joomla – all are used on gazillions of sites worldwide.