Tumblr, WordPress, Squarespace — there are countless ways to make a personal website.
The key is finding the right one for you. In the digital age, having a personal website is the final step in establishing a solid web presence, but there are dozens of sites begging users to pick them.
With so many options, it can get complicated to pick the right site for your life and career. Are you the artsy type? If so, head to Tumblr. Are you a stiff-straight office professional? You might want to look into WordPress.
We weighed the benefits of five platforms to help give you a fuller idea of what you should pick.
WordPress is something of a heavyweight. The blogging platform has been around since 2003 and has become a go-to for site-building. As the design site Creative Bloq points out, there are dozens of ways to use it, along with dozens of different clients, from small businesses to web agencies.
- A basic website that comes with all the essential WordPress trimmings — unique themes, multiple pages, clean imagery — is free.
- You can create a clean, polished look, which is great for people with serious careers.
- If you don’t want that pesky “name.wordpress.com” tagged onto your domain name, you can register a new domain for $18 per year.
- The site has a a lot to offer. You can optimize SEO, monetize the site, explore plugins, keep an eye on analytics and more.
- The learning curve is kind of stiff if you’re not tech-savvy. On WordPress’s template, you have to spend time to really get what you want and get familiar with the site’s nooks and crannies.
- You’ll have to learn a bit of HTML. While that will help you in the long run, it’s frustrating to try building an effective personal site and get into coding 101.
- If your CV is a little slim, all of the site’s juiced up options might be overwhelming. You might be better off going with something simpler, like…
Tumblr is a huge creative force, used for blogging and personal sites alike. It’s perhaps the trendiest of the big three, probably because the word “Tumblr” itself has become an adjective or a verb — a catch-all term for all things dreamy or unbearably hipster.
However, Tumblr is super easy to set up. It makes building a website fun, and incredibly personal.
- It’s perfect for people with creative jobs. Graphic design, illustration, film — this site caters to your kookiest desires with its wide realm of themes. The template is perfect for showcasing artistic careers.
- It’s free to set up, but you can also get a custom domain name. That will cost you somewhere around $10-$40 a year.
- It’s also a social site. You can follow and reblog other Tumblr accounts, and easily create your own blog posts. That kind of networking could be great for getting extra eyeballs on your site.
- No plugins. “Plugins are pretty much snippets of code (i.e., small programs) that you can attach to your blog in order to do pretty much anything,” writes The Social U. “There are plugins for just about anything, from blocking spam to optimizing SEO.” If you’re the customizing type who’s nuts for that kind of stuff, you might want to look elsewhere.
It seems like the newest option of the trio, but Squarespace was actually launched in 2004 (that beats Tumblr, founded in 2007). If you listen to podcasts, you’ve probably heard a million advertisements for the crisp website-builder.
- From the jump, Squarespace sets itself apart as the website builder. When you create an account, it asks whether you’re building site for “Personal,” “Business,” “Non-profit” or “E-commerce” purposes. It also automatically makes you select an available site theme.
- There’s no way to make it ugly. Squarespace has a certain aesthetic, and no matter which template you choose, it’s going to look crisp and clean.
- It performs well on mobile. Its templates are responsive, meaning you can “resize your browser and the content,” according to a five-star review on blog Website Builder Expert. A strong mobile performance is priceless in the digital age of phablets and beyond.
- No freebies here. If you want Squarespace, you’ll have to pay either $8, $16 or $24 per month to keep your site up and running. That makes it far and away the most expensive site builder on this list, which could automatically rule it out for people who just wanted a quick and easy website.
There are so many other sites one could use, we’d be remiss not to mention these two popular options.
- Weebly: This gorgeous site starts off free, but you can subscribe from $4 to $25 per month. The site has a variety of striking themes, and easily walks you through its setup, from creating pages to adding text.
- Wix: This is a cloud-based platform that has about 55 million users. If you want a fun, graphic look, Wix has it — something of a cross between a professional Tumblr and Squarespace. However, like Squarespace, it’ll cost you. The subscriptions range from the most basic $4.08 per month to $24.90 per month.