Comparison & tradeoffs between different hosting options

Option 1: Hosted wordpress site, e.g. with Godaddy, 1and1, or other.
Cost: $3.99-5.99/mo. (now, on sale at Godaddy – don’t know how long) You’re looking for a basic WordPress hosting package.
Domain name if you need it, usually free with hosting plan.
You also receive 3-5 email addresses @(your-domain)
You get fast server speed, and technical support, and they make backups for you..
It’s a little painful, but Godaddy gives deep discounts for paying in advance up front. I would recommend pre-paying 2-3 years, because it goes up to $7.99/mo. In subsequent renewals. The expense is not so bad, considering once it’s up and running and starts to be found by the search engines, it’s basically your cheapest form advertising and promotion.
-None of the steps involved in setting up a WordPress hosting situation is highly technical, so with patience and some time you could do it all. If you lack the time and inclination, a few hours of help from an experienced person may be the way to go.
-If you already have a domain name registered, some sort of pointing has to be done. This is an area where you may require help.
-Other areas where you may need help;
The initial setup of your hosting, including such things as selecting a theme, walk-through on creating pages, entering data and images in widgets (basically sidebars or header or footer sections), selecting ‘Plugins’ (modules which add functionality such as contact forms, galleries, search engine optimization, etc.) maybe set up a ‘Posting’ page for periodic updates, specials, ordering info, or similar, email config., est. 2-3 hours.
Upon setup and once you’ve made some steps in shaping your site and content, you may need some help in things like refining fonts, alignment, layouts. Also fairly technical is hiding some elements*, and among other things get you started in positioning your site for search visibility. Est. 2-3 hours, assuming massive customization is not desired.
*Wordpress themes typically come with built-in elements, such as comments, archives, recent posts, (amenable to a ‘blogging’ functionality) which may not serve you well in a typical website situation. It may take some coding or finding of options in order to have these items show selectively or not at all. COST OF THEMES; WordPress comes with free themes, or you can pay in the range of $50 – $100.
There is free wordpress hosting, but your options are limited. You may want to research it;

Option 2: The second choice is actually a range of “Website Builders” – drag and drop template based systems.
-These include Squarespace, Weebly, Wix. Most hosts have their own templated systems; e.g. Godaddy website builder.
-These typically charge a more on a monthly basis in exchange for the drag and drop functionality – say $6 per month (Godaddy)– $12 per month (Squarespace)
They will often tempt you with a free URL name with their hosting package, which isn’t much as its only $15/yr. outright.
-The learning curve is quicker and more clear than wordpress, and the need for expert help should be less or none.
-The easy drag and drop type interface is limited in its ability to be customized, so you should be prepared to go with their template layouts.
-If your updates are more frequent, the ease of use may be worth it. One client I set up didn’t like it because he just set up his site and didn’t want to make many changes, so he was paying for functionality he didn’t utilize.
-Godaddy has a 1 month free trial if you want to try their website builder.

Option 3: Traditional hosting at a similar price to WordPress hosting.
– This option involves using an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver (or a number of free options)
– The master files will be stored on your local computer, with the ‘live’ files stored on a server.
– The technical setup may require some help, arranging the files and establishing a connection with the live files on the remote server, however your hosting company should be apble to walk you through this.
– Once set up, your changes will be uploaded to the live server with a few commands and you should be able to go on without a need for help.

Whatever you choose, you want to make sure you have a ‘Responsive’ or ‘Mobile Friendly’ website, which adjusts its format depending on the device it’s being viewed on. (if you choose WordPress, this is determined by the theme, so it means selecting a Responsive Theme).