Welcome to my new website and blog! I sadly lost years of blog posts when my old site went down, but when one door closes…

For my first post on the new blog, I’d like to thank The Free Website Guys, the team who helped me build this site—and give anyone reading this the opportunity to work with them, too. You see, I was perusing LinkedIn one day when I noticed a fellow writer was announcing a new website. She mentioned that her site was almost done; she was working on some final tweaks. When she said the group she was working with was called “The Free Website Guys,” I was intrigued. The word “free” will do that to you.

I’d had a website for years, but its design and style were outdated. Like many authors, however, I didn’t have a big budget for a major website overhaul. So, I was curious what “free” meant when it came to “The Free Website Guys.”

The more research I did, the more impressed I became. This group of developers chooses clients from a pool of applicants and offers to design their websites for no cost whatsoever. It must be a scam, right? I wondered, too. But the reviews and information all checked out; this seemed to be the real deal.

I had nothing to lose by applying, so I filled out the form on their website, responded to a couple of messages, and before I knew it, my application had been approved! Now here I am, a number of weeks later, launching this new and improved website.

Full disclosure: I did end up paying some minor costs for which The Free Website Guys get a commission, but they were optional. I chose to change to their preferred hosting service, which costs a modest $35 per year. I also opted to sign up for Divi, which offers design templates I liked, more jazzy templates than the ones that are available for free on WordPress. I chose the lifetime membership option so I’d have access to Divi templates for years in case I wanted to add pages or build another website in the future. These two costs together added up to about $300, although the team stressed that neither were required in order to complete the website (of course, every website does have to be hosted, so anyone with a website pays hosting fees to someone). For the amount of work this team did on my website, the optional $300 felt like a bargain. It can cost thousands of dollars to hire a website designer or design team.

I want to be clear on one more thing. If you’re digital design and WordPress savvy, you can design a basic website on your own these days with the tools that are available online. What The Free Website Guys do is all of the basic startup for a WordPress website that can be intimidating and time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing. They set up the basic structure of the site on WordPress, working with you to develop a site with the pages you need and a theme (page layouts and colors), you choose. They do some back-end work, adding plug-ins that help with things like Search Engine Optimization, stats, and website security. Once the basics of your website are in place with stock images and dummy text, they do a “handover,” providing you with videos and documents that teach you to add images and content to your site so you can complete it. In other words, it was my job to populate the pages of this site with images of my choosing (in my case, my own photographs) and my own text. I was able to teach myself to do these things, being a bit computer savvy and having used WordPress to manage my old website. Others might need to peruse the videos and documents to learn to do it.

For me, the time savings and expertise I gained by working with The Free Website Guys was invaluable. The website I’ve ended up with is far better than anything I could have tried to design myself without that initial assistance. Far, far better. So, I am grateful.

If you want to apply for the service yourself, they provided me with this link you can use. Good luck! And thanks, Free Website Guys!