January 14, 2012, 7:19 AM — Creating content online and getting your message out into the world is easier than ever before. You can find many tools that let you create beautiful websites, both personal and business-oriented, without writing a single line of code. And if you're already using simple Web design tools, you may be able to take your projects to the next level with some of the more advanced developer tools I cover below.
To find all the downloads in one handy list, see our "Create or Improve Your Own Websites With These Great Tools" collection.
Build Personal Websites
If you're just starting out creating content online, you may want to limit yourself to designing a personal page or website. One of the best ways to do this is to use a service called Flavors.me. The tools in Flavors.me let you assemble a personal webpage sporting a large, visually striking photographic background, and they can pull in feeds of your activity across the Web. For example, you could present material from Facebook, from your Flickr page, from Foursquare, and from numerous other online services. Flavors.me has a free version, but reserves some of its more powerful features for the $20-per-year paid version, such as the option to serve your page on your own personal domain.
Open an Online Store or a Business Site
Maybe you need to create a business website, instead, so that you can offer products or services in an online store. Shopify (starting at $29 plus transaction fees per month, 30-day free trial) is one hosted service that can help. Setting up a store with Shopify is easy, and the company does much of the heavy lifting--such as credit card processing--for you.
If the website you wish to open is not exactly a personal home page but isn't an online store either, consider a more general-purpose service. Weebly is a service that lets you create pretty much any kind of website you can think of, using visual drag-and-drop tools.
Start Your Own Blog
Blogs are another important category of websites. And by far, the most popular blogging platform in the world is WordPress. On WordPress.com you can open your own blog and customize it free of charge. The service currently hosts about 30 million different blogs, so it must be doing something right.