Creating a web page

Yesterday, Parand challenged everyone to create a web site. Here are some resources to make that easy. Primarily they are one-stop hosting sites where you can use a variety of templates to customize a landing page and some subsidiary pages. Some offer free plans; others offer first 30 days free.

Alternatives to LaunchRock 

A list on Quora of about 10 hosting software packages. Little information about each, but look in the comments. From 2015.

A list 0f 25, with descriptions written and paid for by the sites. It also has filters. It’s probably more up to date, because companies that vanish don’t pay. This links to the site, filtered to show only sites that include on-line host, A/B testing, and web based (they provide hosting).

If it’s not obvious by now, you need 4 things: One or more web pages (“content”), a server where you will host it (site), a URL, and software to easily build web pages (“package”). Usually you will also start with a template that has generic versions of everything you intend to put on your page. The template sets the overall “look and feel” of the page. I recommend finding a single web site to provide all of these things except your own content. At this stage there is no virtue in messing with hosting sites.

Things to consider

Domain name: Consider registering your own domain name at the very start. That way, if you change hosting sites you won’t have to change your URL. BUT registering a site is roughly $50 a year, and it may be prudent to start with a compound URL. (ucsdstartup.wordpress.com versus ucsdstartup.org, for example.)

Criteria: There are many criteria for choosing a hosting site. For now, ease-of-use ( mainly how easy it is to make changes) and low cost may be the lead contenders. Some of these sites are much more ambitious and designed to offer the ability, for example, to turn your site into a full store. Here is one list, in the form of a filter for sites.

  • A/B Testing
  • Analytics
  • Drag & Drop
  • Form Creation
  • Real Time Editing
  • Responsive
  • SEO Management
  • Templates

Reviews: Please write a few  reviews of sites/software that you look at. Rather than each team investigating all these sites, if you look carefully at a site please write a 1- 2 paragraph review and put it in the Comments on this page. We will gradually move them from comments to the main part of the page. I will open up ‘comments’ at least for a short while.  We will also request/require a review of whatever site you end up using, as part of your final deliverables.

Plan to throw one away: One way to make experiments faster and easier is to resolve, at the start, that you will start over midway through the project (rebuild your web page from scratch, with a new host). As a good friend used to say, “You will have to start over anyway; you might as well plan for it from the start.”

WordPress: WordPress.com offers its own ecosystem for building entire sites.  I use it. It’s overkill for what you need, but if you are already familiar with it, consider using it. I’m sure you can find several templates that fit your needs rather precisely.

Aesthetics and functionality: This site has thoughtful critiques of 15 landing pages froma variety of sites. His comments will help you think about how you set up your own page. For example, how to make best use of images.   Don’t look at this too early. First get something up on the web, no matter how crude.

Author: Roger Bohn

Professor of Tech Management, UC San Diego. General blog https://Art2Science.org Rbohn@ucsd.edu

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