How to Start a Website (Part 2)
See How to Start a Website (Part 1) for information on templates and CMS systems
Once you have done a bit of research and decided how customizable you’d like your new site to be, you can now go about figuring out your hosting needs.
If you have chosen a pre-templated site, you do not need to read any further, because you will not need a new host for your site. In short, you already have one. Just read their FAQ section.
If you have used a CMS system like WordPress or Drupal, then you will want to read on and read about how to build their system into your new website.
Free Hosting (Not recommended for business purposes)
Free hosting is one way to go if you don’t plan on needing too much space, bandwidth or you want a personal website (like a couple of pictures of your dog.) Be wary though: the room on your site will likely be quite limited. After uploading a few pictures and files you may discover, to your horror, that you have already reached the maximum storage limit! Mercy.
Ok, it isn’t likely to be that bad. But I am serious about the pictures of your dog thing. Seriously, just get a facebook or flickr account.
You can go here for a huge list of different free host providers. Some are better than others.
Paid Hosting (Recommended)
If you are planning on making a real business out of your site, then you will probably want to pay for hosting. Scratch that. You definitely will. There are many reasons why paid hosting services are better and I am not going to list them all. In general, shelling out some cash for these platforms gives you quite a few more features including tracking, a whole lot more bandwidth per month (low bandwidth takes away your ability to do pretty much anything), allowance of most file types and really high limits for storage. Many hosting platforms that are paid, like Bluehost, which is what I use, have very, very good customer support centers. The Bluehost tech-support people are available all the time and are quite helpful. In the 6 or 7 times I have called their customer help line I have been put on hold only once.
Many of these hosts also allow for multiple domain names on one server. What this means is that you can have multiple website addresses on your account. These must be renewed on (usually) a yearly or bi-yearly basis, but this is not that expensive once you have paid for hosting.
And how expensive is hosting? Well, Hostmonster is only $5.95 per month for shared hosting Hostgator is $6.95/month. These are just some examples of solid hosting services which offer a good product. You really just have to do your homework here. Check out their storage capabilities, features, and read reviews. One thing to keep in mind is that while this is a monthly rate, you usually have to pay for all 12, 18, or 24 months (or more) right off the bat. So be prepared for a potential up-front investment of $100 or more.
But fear not. If you have a good business plan, and you are dedicated to what you are doing, then it’s worth it. And once you familiarize yourself with the basics, it’s not as complicated as it seems.
Naming Your Site
Once you have paid for your hosting platform, you will be directed to a bunch of screens that you likely have never seen before. This can get confusing. I will get into what all these things are (php? parked domains? search engine submission? oh my!) at a later date.
For now, you need to know two things. First off, when you wish to update your website from this point on, you will log on to the host’s website, and sign in with your user-name and password, and if necessary, use the File Manager. Next, you will need to name your site before you can even do of this.
Naming your site is one of the most important things you will do. If you mess this up, your potential traffic can be cut in half, or worse. For example: my site’s url is www.thegreatofficeescape.com. I thought about the name for this blog/site for a week before I finally settled on a name that I think is catchy, funny, ironic, and is descriptive of it’s content. It’s also easy to remember. Now, if I had named my site “www.the4thstage.com” which I originally was going to choose, nobody would have known what that meant at first glance. I already lost the catchy, the ironic, and the funny also went out the window.
If you already have a name for your business, this will be easier. But your name might already be taken. You may have to experiment a bit to see what is available first.
In general, there are a few site-naming points to remember:
- Shorter names are better. They are easier to remember and to enter.
- Try to end your site with a .com or .net if you can.
- Match your site’s content with the name. If you take HarryPotterRoxMySoxOff.net you’d better have a good amount of Harry Potter content. Don’t sell umbrellas on www.buymyhorseorelse.com.
- Don’t put too many numbers in the url. Actually, don’t use any. You are not creating an instant messaging screen name. If you are heart-set on something that’s probably been taken to death like www.love.com, don’t go naming your site www.love9175915184881.com. Nobody is going to remember that. It also makes your site look like spam.
I plan on continuing this series at a later date. For now I will move onto other things and adjourn my web-site start up guide. Until then, I wish you the best of luck on this venture! It is certainly a rewarding thing to do if you work hard at it.
Charting Your Voyage Out of the Rat RaceMay 12th, 2010
How to Find Legitimate Telecommuting JobsMarch 31st, 2010
How to Start a Website (Part 2)August 19th, 2007
How to Start a Website (Part 1)August 16th, 2007