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Create your own website for free - part 2

So, you've already chosen where to host your website, selected a template, and written most of the content. (To see my previous blog on setting up a free website, click HERE.)

There are several things that you can add to your website's content or to track your website's statistics once your website is live - for FREE and without annoying ads.

1. Contact Form

If you want to add a contact form to your website (which is a great way to protect your email address from spam - the message gets forwarded to your address), JotForm is a great hosting option.

Link for JotForm:

It is very easy to build the forms online and paste them into the HTML (coding) of your site.

They will host an unlimited number of forms for you, and will limit the number of messages you can receive per month through each form to 100, but my websites have low enough traffic that I have never even come close to the limit. They also have a premuim edition for $9 per month if you find you really need it. Here is a link that compares the free (basic) edition to the premium edition:

I have been using this service since summer 2007, and have not had major issues or complaints.

2. Search box for your site

If you want to add a search box so that users can search your site specifically, you can sign up for a custom search through Yahoo or Google. I personally prefer Google. This feature works as long as the website's pages are indexed by Google.

Link for Google Custom Search:

3. Website Statistics

If you want to know how many visitors you have come to your website each day and what state or even country they are from, how many visitors return, what pages of your website are most popular, etc, then you can choose one of the many free hit counters on the internet.

There are many choices for this kind of service, but the two I am familiar with are StatCounter ( ) and Google Analytics ( https://www.google.com/analytics/)

Google Analytics is probably the best, because it is easy to use and more sleek-looking, but StatCounter offers a counter that you can post on your site if you wish. If you already have a Google account and use other Google services, Google Analytics is probably the best option.

4. Tools for Webmasters

Google and Live Search both offer a service in which webmasters can create an account and login to see how their website is being indexed by the search engine, if the search engine found a broken link, what pages link to your site (that were found by the search engine, etc.

Link for Google Webmaster Tools:

Link for Live Search Webmaster Center:

Yahoo also has a tool that you can use to see how they index your site, ( ), but as far as I can tell, you do not need to create an account to use the service.

5. XML Sitemap Generator

If you need to create an xml sitemap for your website (it helps the search engines to index your site), you can create a free one at . Google Page Creator creates one for me automatically, but I created a secondary one because it indexes more files and pages.

6. Gadgets

If you would like to add something fun or unusual to your website, you can check out Google Gadgets. ( )

There are many unique and fun gadgets you can add to enhance your website, but the only downside is that they are not created by Google, but by outside developers, so they can have bugs or coding mistake, or have advertising. I had this problem, but if you design your own gadget (look at others to see how to code it), you can determine what content is in it.

7. Polls

If you would like to add a poll to your website to survey your visitors, is a good free option. It is completely free, and they do add advertising to the bottom of the poll, but you can easily remove it from the coding. Other websites that you can create free polls with use your website to put in pop-ups (which I find very annoying).

That's just a few thought on services I have used to enhance my website affordably and without annoying ads. Those have been two of my main goals in developing my own websites. I hope this is useful to someone that is creating their own website!

That's all, folks! :)

Photo credits: Eclecticelegance.

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February 10, 2009

Eclecticelegance

Update - It appears that you do need a Yahoo! account to use the Site Explorer tool.

January 16, 2009

Arenacreative

110mb.com also offers ad-free hosting (free) gotta love that

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