Q. I am an emeritus professor and a bilingual writer of critical articles and novels. I’d like to set up a personal web page to preview my future publications and draw readers, but I am far from a computer expert. What is the most convenient and cheapest way to set up such a website?
A. Creating a personal site has become fairly simple. In the early days of the internet, the process involved finding server space, buying a domain name and knowing enough about coding to make pages. Today, you can get the server space, the domain name and easy-to-use page templates for just a few dollars a month — or even free.
Some universities may offer email and website services to alumni and retired faculty. If that is not an option, you can use a paid service or a free blog/personal-site builder. Paid services typically provide technical assistance and customer support, while help with free services is often limited to online forums and pages for frequently asked questions.
WordPress.com is one popular inexpensive option that offers various monthly plans; it also has an ad-supported free version. The company’s least expensive plan is about $3 a month and delivers a custom domain name, site security, ad-free pages and six gigabytes of storage, which should be plenty of room for text articles, photos and short videos. WordPress.com has more than 350 visual designs to choose from, and creating pages is not much more difficult than using a word-processing program or uploading photos to a social-networking site.
Although the web address is similar, the WordPress.org site provides a free copy of the web-publishing software to download. However, you need to find your own web-server company to host your site if you do not have an online home for it already.
Other commercial website companies to consider include TypePad, (prices start at about $9 a month), Wix, ($10 a month if the free version is not suitable) and Squarespace ($12 a month for a personal site).
The web is full of free services for quickly making your own simple blog or site. Google’s Blogger and SimpleSite are among the many contenders, but they may not give you as much control over the look of your site or the advertisements that appear on your pages.