Look no further.
I know it can be really difficult to choose a web designer, platform, and hosting service. I know I struggled with it plenty, and have used every DIY site under the sun. Different platforms have different strengths and weaknesses. In my experience however, Squarespace, WIX, and Wordpress-based websites offer the best design elements, SEO options, and flexibility.
"But Erin," you may ask - "what's the difference between them? Which should I pick? This is all so overwhelming!"
Honestly, if you're overwhelmed by all of this, but want to manage your website entirely on your own after I do the initial setup and design, I highly suggest choosing Squarespace. While their plugins aren't flexible, they are all-inclusive and all managed internally by the service itself. Squarespace has incredible customer service and seem to be very friendly towards our particular sector of service. Their templates are beautiful, easy to manipulate, and come with a readme that's very helpful for after I hand over the website to you. Their hosting services are very reasonable, coming in at $144 (as of June 2017), and they also offer a free domain name with your first year of service. Their servers are located in the US though, so if overseas hosting is a priority for you, you'll want to consider the second option. SEO is a place where Squarespace could definitely use some improvement; there aren't as many customizations available in this area. Overall though, if you're looking for a website builder that's easy to learn and manipulate after I build the initial site and you're not already familiar with Wordpress, Squarespace is for you.
These hosts come with a few options for my involvement. Tech support is provided solely via Squarespace since they are handling the servers. Any technical issues you'd have with your website would have to be dealt with through them. If I am simply building your site and handing it over to you, you'd be dealing with Squarespace folks on your own (they're super helpful).
I can, of course, manage your website for you for a monthly fee- this includes updates, troubleshooting, and dealing with any technical support issues on your behalf.
I also offer updates for a per-update fee should you want to deal with updates in that manner.
If you're looking for domain acquisition outside of Squarespace I can also handle this on your behalf for a small fee.
Wordpress on the other hand, is truly about customization and options. The initial installation of Wordpress is completely bare, and you often have to find plugins that suit your needs. All of my Wordpress websites come with startup components that are the most useful for folks in our industry: a real-time drag-and-drop page builder, security options like 2-step authentication and enhanced firewalls, image plugins like galleries, sliders, and video embedding, SEO enhancements and more. If you're a seasoned Wordpress user and have your own plugins and templates that you know and love, I'm more than happy to let you handle that on your own as well.
With Wordpress-managed sites, there are way more options available as to how involved I am, too.
Maybe you don't want a damn thing to do with your website ever, and want me to handle the setup, creation, and ongoing management of your site. I'm more than happy to do so! I've created a specific portal site that allows you to submit requests for updates, technical issues, and the like. Because I host all of my own Wordpress sites, technical support is included with your hosting fees. I can also acquire your domain name for you on your behalf if you don't have your own.
Perhaps you know your way around Wordpress pretty well, but you're really into my aesthetic and design choices and you want me to create a custom website. Absolutely! This option is what really made me famous- initial website creation that's then turned over to you. I'm available for help for a short period of time after the project is finished, but you'll mainly be on your own as far as design elements are concerned. Tech support is always available and is included with your hosting fees. I can also acquire your domain name for you on your behalf if you don't have your own.
If you're a Wordpress expert, this next option is for you. Essentially, I give you a brand spankin' new Wordpress environment and host your site for you for a low cost. If you have initial plugins that you'd like installed with your build, please let me know; I'm happy to include them! Again, I can also acquire your domain name for you on your behalf if you don't have your own.
All hosting through Black|Ash is currently $120/year paid up-front. If you'd rather pay monthly, it's $15/month. My server is overseas (in Amsterdam, specifically) and is incredibly secure (I'm constantly updating programs and discovering new security enhancements that I can make).