I hope I’ve illustrated a number of easy and not so easy ways to post content on the web. Most of these web technologies are either free or have a low cost. There are some areas I’ve overlooked such as Content Management Systems (complex), Photo and Video sharing (specialized), and Social Sites (sub-optimal for content, but I will review a them later). I wanted to focus on simple technologies for posting mostly text content.
I wrote an entry about each of these technologies.
- ISP Hosting – historically this was the quickest and cheapest way to create a web site. It no longer is the case. I would avoid using your Internet Service Provider to host a web site. It generally means a lack of flexibility, limited functionality, possible non-standard interface, and locking yourself into their services.
- Free Hosting – Not much better than your ISP, but at least you can pick and choose which host/features you like. The ads that are fed over your content are usually a deal killer too.
- Paid Hosting – Your best bet for long term content. You trade price and complexity for maximum flexibility and control. The cost doesn’t have to be high (see NearlyFreeSpeech.net) and tools like Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression can help you manage the complexity.
- Blogs – If your content is created on a schedule and you want a consistent look and feel, it’s hard to beat a blog. Google’s Blogger and WordPress offer lots of themes and control. You can use free blog hosting services or host WordPress on your own site. In addition, you can set up WordPress to manage your web site like a CMS (Content Management System) with both blog content and static pages.
- The Wiki – If your content is managed by multiple people and/or from multiple computers on multiple sites, a Wiki may be for you. At one time the simple text interface of the Wiki made it a unique solution, but thanks to Google Apps that is not longer the case. Still, there are many fun and creative things you can do with a Wiki either hosting the software on your web site or using a free Wiki host like PBwiki.com.
- Google Page Creator – If you want a small web site with a limited number of pages; if you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money, it would be hard to find a better solution than Google Page Creator. The themes are very well designed. There is some flexibility in the layout and the tools are easy to use. The complex HTML is hidden from view, but is accessible if you need it. The photo tools are particularly impressive. Buy an inexpensive Domain from Godaddy and link to your Google Page(s) and you have a quick and cheap web site with your own domain name.
- Google Docs and Spreadsheets – Google Docs (Word Processor) is perfect for a quick page that you need to link to, or that you need to share. The tools are easy to use and the service is free. (It helps to have a free Gmail account.) Google Spreadsheets offer a way to share your own custom applications, tables, and forms online. There other online spreadsheets but the Google Spreadsheets are part of the valuable Google Services.
Although it seems as if I left the best for last (Google Services), each of these technologies has a place especially Blogs and Paid Hosting. If you do any collaborative work you should check out a Wiki. Many of these services are free, so I would recommend you give them a try if you’re curious.
This is the final post of a nine part series on posting content to the Internet.