Tech tips: Setting up your own website

"I want to set up my own website. I've heard all sorts of free options are available. What's the best," asks Jo Wall, of Hamilton.

The common wisdom of "you get what you pay for" equates the highest cost with the best product, while denigrating less expensive and free items.

There is cost associated with providing a free online service, so the provider of a free service will make money from you some way or another.

This could be the insertion of advertising on your website or they may subtly and quietly analyse the content of your emails to establish how to best advertise to you.

The method will depend on their business model, revealed by the terms and conditions that you accept when you sign up for a free service.

Google offers free options for hosting online content, including Blogger (blogger.com) for web publishing and Picasa Web Albums (picasaweb.google.com) for photo sharing.

With WordPress (wordpress.com), you can create a free website in just minutes, choosing from more than 200 customisable website themes.

GetOnline.co.nz, an initiative from Westpac and MYOB, provides any New Zealand business with a free website for 12 months, and then for about $100 each year after that.

Professional web design and development companies can provide a more comprehensive, professional and relevant website.

They will also deal with important technical considerations such as adaptive design, tablet and smartphone usability, cross-browser support, search engine optimisation (SEO), online payments, and database integration.

If it's worth doing, it's worth paying for it.

David Hallett is the chief nerd of Need A Nerd in the Waikato. To contact Need A Nerd, phone 0800 633 326. To ask a question, email techtips@needanerd.co.nz and be in with a chance to win ESET Smart Security 6 for PC and Apple Mac ($144).

Waikato