I am just returning to work after 1 year of maternity leave. Work has dried up a little, so I am trying to put myself out there. I thought about setting up a little website for myself. I work through agencies mainly, so have never needed a website for my business. Also, a present I just have a hotmail e-mail account and one agency turned me down for work on the basis that I don't seem very serious. So my other job is to get a personal e-mail address, ie. myname.co.uk
Ok, so here's my question - where do I start with this? What are my options for setting up a nice straight forward website with a bit of info and contact details? I have been looking at 1&1 and I can get a basic website and an e-mail address for £4.99/month. Does this seem like a reasonable price to pay? I seriously have no idea!
When in the same position, I was advised by some very knowledgable MNetters here to use Wordpress. I have done, and I have been really impressed so far. It is easy to use and best of all... Free! They do not provide use of an email address, but I have also gained a business email address of firstname.lastname@example.org using another free email provider who Wordpress suggested. Again, I have had no problems with them at all and I have been really impressed up to now.
That offer from 1&1 looks a bit poor to me. I use business hosting from 123-Reg, at the same price, which is much better value. Although, the package I use is probably overkill for your purposes. (I'm running a website and 2 blogs and, atm, I use the rest for testing.)
If you want a good, fast-loading site, then your cheapest option is to ask a student to do it as a portfolio piece - you get a free site and they get a real project. You could use any of those point-and-click, drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG editors that 1&1 and various other hosts provide. But it will look generic and it might be bulky (i.e. slow page loading). Depends if that would actually bother you or not.
You don't need any particular package for email. All you need is a domain name. Set it up for a catch-all to forward direct to your Hotmail address. You can do that yourself, no problem.