10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

WordPress is not the be all and end all of website creation, as some other excellent services will prove to you.

The sturdy WordPress platform continues to be one of the top choices for creating a website, and deservingly so. But, in certain scenarios, WordPress as a website solution can be overkill.

Say, you’re a writer or a photographer. All you want to do through your website is showcase some of your work, introduce yourself to people, give them a way contact you, and maybe throw in a landing page for your next product. In such cases, you’re better off choosing from alternative platforms like the ones outlined below.

Some of them need a working knowledge of HTML/CSS, which is easy to acquire if you put in the time and effort to go through our XHTML guide. We recommend it, since HTML/CSS skills will stand you in good stead in the Internet era.

one pager   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

For The One-Page Lovers

Ideal if: You want a simple solution, preferably a point-and-click one, to create a visually engaging single-page website. The concept of single-page websites goes well with our increasing use of hand-held devices. If you’re undecided whether you should opt for such a website for your next idea, Matt’s post on the benefits of a one-page website will help you make a decision.

Flavors.me

Pricing: Freemium

Flavors.me started the trend of unifying your Web presence and presenting it as a rich tapestry of color and content. Since its inception, it has introduced various features for customization, but its basic format of content aggregation from various services and social networks has remained the same. There’s no coding involved, but just a WYSIWYG interface and enough options to craft a unique landing page for yourself.

flavors me   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

In late 2012, Moo, a successful business card printer, acquired Flavors.me. It hasn’t made any attempt to change the original flavor (no pun intended) of Flavors.me. Only free business cards courtesy Moo.com have been added to the mix. Users have to pay the shipping charges only.

About.me

Pricing: Freemium

With About.me you can have a Web page for yourself or your business up and running within minutes. Like its biggest competitor, Flavors.me, About.me is all about pulling content from multiple Web services and turning them into a beautiful, centralized Web presence. There’s no technical know-how required whatsoever.

about me   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

Getting a new business card? Add your About.me url to it, so that when people decide to look you up online, they’ll be greeted by your interesting new home on the Web.

Strikingly

Pricing: Freemium

Strikingly provides an easy-to-setup one-page website that looks gorgeous on any device. It doesn’t get much simpler or better than that. Sign up, pick a template, use the WYSIWYG editor to add content and tweak the visuals to your satisfaction, and hit Publish. Your site is now live!

strikingly   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill
In addition to a contact form, analytics, privacy settings, and a Twitter summary card, there are various settings to bring your website to perfection. Of course, some of the options are available only for premium users. Here’s an interesting feature of Strikingly. You can turn your LinkedIn profile into a neat online résumé in just one click.

The Personal Page

Pricing: Free (code is licensed under the MIT and GPL licenses)

A stunning backdrop, a logo, and a brief overview of your work and life. If that’s your vision for your website, The Personal Page is just what you need. It’s a lightweight, mobile-friendly one-page HTML template that you can upload to your server. To modify the page, you’ll need a little bit of HTML/CSS knowledge — just enough to replace the default text and images with your own. Upload an interesting high-res image to make the page inviting, but ensure that it doesn’t detract from or overpower the textual content.

personal page   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

For The Tinkerers

Ideal if: You want more control over how your website looks and behaves, or if your website requires multiple pages and additions like a blog or a store front.

Squarespace

Pricing: Paid, with a 14-day free trial

Everything about Squarespace is sleek and beautiful, right from its shiny, responsive templates, to its point-and-click editor. The service gives you the versatility of WordPress plugins, without asking you to learn coding if you’re not inclined to do so. Options like analytics, social media integration, and SEO optimization are built into Squarespace’s dashboard by default.

squarespace   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

Whether you want to create a portfolio website, a personal page, an e-store, or any other kind of website, Squarespace makes it possible. It’s perfect if you want something feature rich minus the coding aspect that lies at the heart of website creation. That perfection comes with a monthly fee based on your requirements. But with web hosting, a domain name, and a steady, reliable service included in the fee, the pricing is well worth it.

Virb

Pricing: Paid, with a 10-day free trial

If you want a robust website builder, Virb is a great choice. With its sole pricing plan, you get unlimited access to all of Virb’s features, which include cloud hosting, custom domain support, password protection, file support, integration with Dropbox, Google Tools, and social media. Choose from a selection of beautiful responsive themes, take advantage of the built-in blog, or set up a storefront.

virb   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

You don’t have to fiddle with any piece of code unless you are interested in the workings behind the scenes. If you have something basic in mind for your website, Virb might be an expensive pick, and one of the single-page options listed above would be a better choice.

Jekyll

Pricing: Free

Jekyll is a powerful platform to create a static website and to retain minute control over it. But using it is not for the faint-hearted, especially if coding is not your thing. With its 5-minute install, even WordPress might be easier to set up. The good news is that if you’re willing to get your hands dirty and learn as you go, there’s plenty of detailed documentation to help you set up your website using Jekyll. Begin with the Jekyll by Example tutorials or Jekyll’s Getting Started guide.

jekyll powered website   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

With this popular website generator, you can abandon your hosting provider and instead use GitHub Pages to host your website, on your domain, for free. What’s more, with Jekyll driving your website, you can blog with Markdown, which is a smart way to write for the Web, as Bakari shows you in our Markdown guide.

Type & Grids

Pricing: Freemium

As far as difficulty levels go, Type & Grids is a step above WYSIWYG options like Flavors.me and several steps below i.e. easier than code-heavy solutions like Jekyll. It is not a standalone service, but a set of two almost ready-to-use, mobile-friendly HTML templates that you can upload to your Web host. The changes you need to make involve replacing the placeholder information and images with your own.

If you crave neat, responsive interfaces with beautiful typography and icons, you’ll love Type & Grids. There are no sign-ups and monthly fees to bother with. The free plan comes with six color schemes and six typography themes that you can mix and match to your liking. Type & Grids is best suited for portfolio pages. You can download the free two-template set by sharing your email.

type and grids   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

Want more out of Type & Grids? Opt for one of the Pro packages, which provide more color and type themes as well as smooth integration with the popular flat-file CMS Statamic, allowing you to add a blog to your portfolio, with ease.

Cargo

Pricing: Freemium

Cargo is ideal for people whose work has a visual element at its core, such as designers, illustrators, photographers, and architects. The platform presents simple tools to showcase your work in the best possible light.

You will need some knowledge of HTML/CSS to mold the website as you see fit, but even without it you should do okay, thanks to the comprehensive knowledge base on the website. If you’re interested in the development side of things, you can delve into your site’s full code. The option to follow people and bookmark their work imitates the social aspect that we have become comfortable with, and look forward to, on the Web.

cargo collective   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

Signing up for Cargo involves the extra step of applying for an account by sharing a bit of info about you and your work. But don’t let that scare you off. It’s not as stringent a barrier as you think.

Brace

Pricing: Freemium

If you like and appreciate the simplicity and the ease of use of Dropbox, how about using your favorite cloud-hosting service to set up your website? Brace.io makes that possible by creating a special folder in your Dropbox to hold your website files.

You don’t really need to code a website from scratch. Choose from one of the free or paid templates available online, upload the template files to the Brace.io folder in Dropbox, and make HTML/CSS changes based on how you want the website to look. Brace.io automatically updates your website based on these changes. But this website version stays as a draft until you ship/publish it. The live website is hosted on Amazon’s cloud.

brace io   10 Ways To Create A Small And Simple Website Without The Overkill

There are a couple of suitable website templates right here in this post. The Personal Page is one, and Type & Grids is the other. Instead of uploading the corresponding templates to your web host, put them in your Dropbox and ship them using Brace.io.

An Attractive Web Presence Made Simple

Based on your website requirements, not all of these services will turn out to be perfect solutions for you. Although some of them can handle complex websites, their overall approach to website creation lends itself best to compact and static websites. If that is the kind of website that you’re after, you might just be ready to skip WordPress and give one of these services a shot.

Which service do you use for your website(s)? Let us know in the comments.

31 Comments - Write a Comment

0 votes
Reply

Zack McCauley

Don’t forget Yola!
They have offered a huge selection of free site hosting for many many years now. They have a WYSIWYG editor and an HTML widget to do what you need as well!

0 votes

Akshata

Yola looks interesting, Zack. Thanks for the tip!

0 votes
Reply

Rajaa C

What about Weebly?

0 votes

Akshata

Weebly is definitely quite popular. I was going for variety, so I limited myself to just two similar options (Squarespace and Virb). Weebly’s new avatar looks great though, and I guess it’s time to try it out :)

0 votes

Saad

Weebly is the best website creation tool I’ve used.. Its free plans provide basic needs for creating a full fledge website. And you can even customize it to your needs if you have knowledge of html and css.

0 votes
Reply

Pat N.

And Wix? And Zoho?

0 votes

Akshata

I did consider Wix, Pat. Too many great options to fit into one article :)

0 votes
Reply

Dann A

Great list—I think a lot of more people should take advantage of these simple templates. People have a tendency to go for mega-detailed, feature-rich sites. I’ll definitely be looking into Flavors.me. Thanks for the roundup!

0 votes

Akshata

Flavors.me is one of the best WYSIWYG options. If I didn’t need a blog attached to my website, that’s the one I’d have chosen. Thanks for reading, Dan!

0 votes
Reply

Terry Cole

What about Google Sites?

0 votes

Lisa O

That’s one alternative. Google Sites is a simple enough service for anyone to roll out a personal landing page if you’re not picky with appearance. Besides, most people already has a Google account available. Definitely gets the jobs done, although not with flairs and eye candies these newer services offer.

0 votes
Reply

Ed

I’m just using HTML/CSS in a one-page site that opens links into modal windows. Anything more comprehensive in what I want to say (resume, articles, etc…) takes you to a Google doc with the appropriate info.

The site is hosted for free on my Google Drive .

eAponte.com

I do want to overhaul the layout, but still use a one-page site with modal windows.

Basic HTML and CSS knowledge with some Googling for help gets the job done.

0 votes
Reply

stupidlyclever

There’s also Scriptogram, which is exactly like Brace (in the terms that it uses your Dropbox as web storage) except it’s completely free (as far as I could tell, at least). I’d say giving that one a shot.

http://scriptogr.am

0 votes

Akshata

I have used Scriptogram for my blog before. The clean and minimal templates appealed to me a lot. But I think for someone who’s looking for more customization for their personal brand, the options might be limited. You can change the HTML/CSS, but I guess it’s not as easy as replacing a template. Site44 is another great alternative to Brace.io, and I think that was the one that started the trend of services using Dropbox to host websites.

0 votes
Reply

Lisa O

I’ll be giving The Personal Page a try to complement my blog. It looks customizable enough, and I don’t have to use generic subdomain. Oh, and I have to use this opportunity to thank the MUO team. Ever since winning MUO’s Webhostinghub giveaway last year, I have learnt a lot about hosting, domain, and self-hosted apps. It’s really an enriching experience.

0 votes

Akshata

That’s great, Lisa. Good to hear that you’re finding MakeUseOf so useful :) As for the Personal Page theme, I had used it for my website before, and it was easy to customize. It does make a good template for a home on the Web.

0 votes
Reply

Srinivas G

Surprised that tumblr isn’t mentioned anywhere. Or did I just skim past it? I settled with tumblr after hopping through many services.

0 votes

Akshata

Since I opted for services that focus mainly on website creation as opposed to blogging, I omitted Tumblr from the list. But Tumblr is definitely a great platform for setting up a website.

0 votes
Reply

Michael Teague

Any thoughts on Ghost? It was successfully kickstarted a little over a year ago. https://ghost.org/

0 votes

Akshata

Ghost looks amazing, but afaik you need to know node.js to set up a website using the free version. I guess the pro version has an easy setup for people who don’t want to fiddle with code. Either way, it looks like a sturdy platform to set up a website & blog.

0 votes
Reply

Subhradeep C

Although a blogging tool, Dotclear is good too. I have used it on my website and its quite easy! :)

1 votes

Akshata

That’s a service I haven’t heard of before, Subhradeep. Thanks for the tip!

0 votes
Reply

Bhasker R

Akshata

You have a great job of listing these simple web page creation sites.
Beginners will definitely benefit by using these web sites for creating their web pages.
Thanks once again
A. S. Bhasker Raj
Bangalore
India

0 votes

Akshata

It’s good to hear that, Bhasker, and glad to be of help. Thank you for reading :)

0 votes
Reply

Shinnen

Hi Akshata,
Thanks for your review of these website services. I didn’t realize such a thing exists. Are these service free? What do the providers of these services get from providing the space/service? I assume that the name of your page would be prefixed with the owner of the service’s URL? So, would your page show up on a Google search? I had my own website, until a few months ago, but decided to give it up, because I was just shelling out money for something I rarely changed. However, I kept my domain name. Would I be able to use it with one of these services?
Thanks,
…… john

0 votes

Akshata

Hi John,

The services listed here come in three varieties: free, freemium (free + paid plans), and paid (with a free trial). This is listed right below the name of the service in the article.

In the freemium services, the free plan will usually give you a url that reads http://your_name.service_name.com. If you choose to upgrade, you can use your own domain name though. The websites do show up in Google search.

If you want a simple website with content that won’t need much change over time, The Personal Page theme listed here would be a good choice. It’s free, easy to edit if you know basic HTML/CSS (just to replace the placeholder info), and you can use your own domain.

0 votes

Akshata

The Personal Page is a single-page them. You will need a web hosting plan. Or if you have a Dropbox account, you can upload the files to the Public folder and use the Copy public link feature to view the website. You can use the url masking feature (that is available with your domain name provider) to ensure that the website displays you domain name instead of the Dropbox url where your website is hosted.

0 votes
Reply

Shinnen

Hi Akshata,
Thanks for your help, and advice.
So, which particular service do you think would serve me best. I’m mainly interested in posting my photographs.
…….. john

0 votes

Akshata

John, if you have a limited set of photos that you want to showcase, both Cargo and Type & Grids are good choices from among those listed here. They both have free versions too, but with Cargo you can’t use your own domain in the free plan.

If you want to keep posting photos on a regular basis, like a photo blog, try one of these solutions.

0 votes
Reply

Shinnen

Thanks Akshata. I appreciate your help.
…. john

0 votes

Akshata

You’re welcome, John :)

Your comment