Websites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website Website - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So you want a website, huh?

Exciting! I'm happy to walk through it with you.

Content Creation

Your homework (!?!?) before we meet is to start writing content and collecting any pictures that you want to use. In my experience, this is the hardest part. You can start with something simple like a document in a word processor (even an email) and just write some of the things you want to include. It doesn't have to be a final draft... just rough notes are fine. Think about questions like "What service do I offer?", "How much does it cost?", or frequently asked questions that clients may have.

It also helps to search for other examples of sites that you like. They could be sites that offer a similar service to yours, or just sites that you like the way they look.

Your Own Domain Name

The next step up on the road of website development is to register your own domain name. If you have your own domain name, you can point it to one of the free hosted solutions already mentioned. With your own domain name, you can always change where it goes. This gives you complete control over what is displayed and how it is displayed. If you change your mind on the system you want to use for the site, you can change it without having to tell people the new address. (Some links to specific content may be broken in this scenario.)

If you need a recommendation for a good affordable host, try Dreamhost:

http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?266169

If you wouldn't mind saying that I referred you, just use that link, or when asked for an email, use admin [at] charlesbrandt [dot] com (formatted as a real email address).

Registration

To find an available domain name, go to: http://www.dreamhost.com/domains.html

Under "Check domain availability" enter the domain name of choice. Press the "Check Availability" button. If the name is available, you will see a page that says: Congratulations! domain is available for registration!

Once you've decided on a name, press the button that says: "Register domain..."

On the next page "Start Your Free Trial!" enter email and password to create an account. You'll use this to make changes in the future, so remember it.

On the next page "Pick a domain..." The default of "Register a new .com/net/org/info domain for me." is correct. Re-enter the domain in the "Domain:" box.

On the next page "Pick a plan..." under "Just register domain with DreamHost for:" choose how many years to register the domain.

Make sure that you do not select an option under "Full web hosting:", unless you plan to host your website at Dreamhost. They are a great host, but this will cost ~$9/month. If you're not certain you'll actually use your website, this can be more expensive.

The rest of the steps should be pretty self explanatory.

Once you're registered, you'll need to set up your name to the location you have your free site hosted.

This varies from service to service. Generally you'll want to add an entry to the DNS records at Dreamhost that forward traffic from your new domain name to the address currently hosting your website. You may also need to configure the service hosting your website so they know to accept traffic for your domain name.