top 5 picks for a DIY website

The web is a fast place. 10 years ago you really had to know what you were doing in order to make your own website. I taught myself Dreamweaver, Flash and HTML - and then made a crappy site. It was slow, not intuitive, gaudy and just generally bad. And! You had to buy the software to make it in the first place!

But now it's cheap, easy and fast! (You get to pick all three.)

I would recommend spending an afternoon or morning and get an account on each and see what you like the best. Build a 5 page site with a contact form and then see if it's easy to add e-commerce or a domain name(

Chances are you are going to be with this system for a while so take the test drive and put it through its paces.

Look for:
-Blogging ability
-Mobile pages (does it work on your phone? Do you have to make a second layout or is it automatic?)
-Contact forms
-Cost (hosting etc.)
-Cost per transaction if accepting credit cards
-Contract length
-Social Media Plugins (hook up you facebook account for easy likes!)
-How easy is it to upload images?

Top 5 web-based website builders:

1. WordPress
A good reason to look at WordPress is if you need to enhance in the future. Wordpress can do anything - though there is a learning curve so you'll need to figure it out when you get there or hire someone. For a starting point it's not too hard to figure out and you will have way more flexibility than most when you start to need to add features.
The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.

2. WiX
Super easy to build a nice looking, intuitive site. Free to start - pay a little more to add your domain name. If you just need a basic 5 page site...then I would recommend this.
We believe everyone deserves to have their own stunning website. Wix offers valuable premium
services (hey, we need to make money too), but our business model allows us to provide
everyone a professional website for free.

3. Weebly
See above. Easy as pie - start free.
Building a website on Weebly is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Our drag & drop website builder makes it dead simple to create a powerful, professional website without any technical skills required. Over 6 million people and small businesses have joined Weebly to build their online presence.

4. SquareSpace
A really versatile content management system - beautiful drag and drop interface for arranging your page. Starting at 8 bucks a month - 24 for business, try it out for free for 14days.
Whether you need simple pages, striking galleries, a professional blog, or an online store, it's all included with your Squarespace website. Best of all, everything is mobile-ready right from the start.

5. Strikingly
Build cool one page websites that smoothly scroll between content.
Absolutely no code or design experience needed. Do everything on one screen. Click anything to edit, and publish instantly. Build a beautiful website in under 30 minutes.

Honorable mention if you are looking for e-commerce right from the start. You want e-commerce and a website? How about an IPad check out system?