Guide to Starting Your Own Web Site
There are just a few steps to creating a website. Whether you want to create a small personal site or a large commercial
site the steps are the same. It is the scale that will change. In brief the steps are:
If your name is Tennessee Tuxedo you probably have left already to make your millions from your web site. (NOTE: This refers to a cartoon character that used to do things without all the details and got into trouble because of that.)
Getting a web site online is not difficult at all. Creating one that is successful can be very difficult and a lot of work.
90% of web sites that are created are down or "dead" within 9 months. As much as I tell people that fact, it seems most (comes to about 90%, go figure!) make the same mistake. Hopefully the information provided here can help some of you avoid those mistakes. So now onto the details on each step. Following those are some further assistance.
- 1) Register Domain Name
- 2) Choose a Host
- 3) Site Planning & Design
- 4) Attract Visitors
Step 1: Regisgter Domain Name
This is the first step but in some cases it is not needed. A Domain Name is the name used to access your web site. Here the domain name is: webjunk.com. The "www" is an add-on. Here "www.webjunk.com" and "webjunk.com" point to teh same web site. Basically, domain names start from the right to left. In this example, the ".com" is the
top-level domain (TLD) for a commercial site. You can also use ".edu" for education; ".org" for an organization; ".net" for (generally) Internet services plus several recently added such as ".biz". You will also see ".ca" for Canada; ".uk" for United Kingdom; etc. Additionally you will often see ".tv" This has no relation to Television! This is for the Pacific island country of Tuvalu. It is the third lowest populated country, around 11,000. But many people and companies register with this TLD as it is easy to remember and offers more available domain names.
You can not just register the top-level domain although you need to choose which TLD you want to use. You must add a name to the TLD. A domain name can be any combination of letters and/or numbers up to 63 characters. If the name you desire is already in use you can not use it. So do not bother trying to register:
"webjunk.com" Choose your own! Without getting too indepth I recommend using something that relates to your site. It also should be easy to read and type. This means if you use something that has "lll" (three L's) it is too easy for someone to mistype. Playing with words or spellings (because your first choice is not available) also can cause problems. Using "ihavstuf2sell.com" because someone is using the corrct spelling of "have" and "stuff" is very bad practice. It will mainly drive traffic to the web site with the correct spellings. The result will be they will not get to your web site or will get a site vastly different from yours. Beyond that the domain name often is not real important. "websitedomainname.com" (as example) could work no matter what kind of site you will have. The reason I say it is not that important is that with few exceptions people do not enter domain names at random.
You need to market your site which is Step 4. Also domain names will not help you with search engines, rankings or links.
Register a domain name that has some (does not have to be perfect) relation to what your site will be and easy to read and type. You will have much more important things to work on.
Now the domain name you want to use must be "Registered." This is so no one else uses it and it is centrally managed. You register domain names with a "Registra." There are a number of Registra's. Prices vary between as does support and services.
Godaddy.com is one of the cheapest but support can be spotty. NetworkSolutions.com (who I normally use) is much more expensive but also has much better support. When you go to either registra's website you will see a screen to enter the desired domain name. It will then tell you whether your choice is available; or available with a different top-level domain (edu, net, com, etc.); or that you must choose another. Be patient as it might take fifty tries to get an acceptable name. How long you register the domain name is up to you. Registrations are per year. If unsure of the success of the site you could register for just one or two years. I would not recommend registering for more than ten years although they now offer registrations for up to a hundred years! Understand if your registration expires and you forget to renew you could lose the domain name and someone else could register it.
This is Step 1 because you can register a domain name without having a web site online. But you can not put a web site online without a domain name. Well actually you can. Step 2 is about where your web site will actually reside or be hosted by on the Internet. No need to skip ahead. Its coming up quick!
On here we host many websites. Some use their own domain. Some "sort of" use our own. One way is to just use a folder/directory off our main site. (These examples are purposedly not actual sites) So instead of just webjunk.com, they use: "webjunk.com/folder1" so the link would be: http://webjunk.com/folder1 The second way is to use a sub-domain. An example is: "theirname.webjunk.com" so the link would be: http://theirname.webjunk.com
If you are putting up a small personal site you might not care about the domain name at all. And your Internet service provider (ISP) which gives you access to the Internet may allow you a directory for web pages. Usually in that case it is based on your login ID and often has a tilde "~" in the directory name. An example of this can be: earthlink.com/~loginname
If you use this you do not need to register a domain or pay for seperate web site hosting. The downside is no individual identity, little or no support and lack of extended features needed by some type of web pages. Also watch out for deals where they package hosting and a cheap domain name. There is no free lunch and these are almost always very bad deals. The quality of the hosting in these packages is often sub-par.
Most Registra's offer an additional service called something like "Domain privacy." Without this your contact information for your domain name (name, address, telephone, email) is open information on the Internet. Do yoruself a favor and pay for the service.
Lastly on this topic, you should register the domain name yourself (if possible) or at the very least make sure it is registered in your name and address. While the choice in name is not real real important, it will become like your business name. It is not good business for Pepsi or Chevrolet or google or ebay to change their name or domain names. If your domain name has to change and you have a successful web site, then how will your users find you? Anyone who had your domain name bookmarked will now point to the wrong place. Now let me write this again as this seems to be one of the most common mistakes I see: Make sure your domain name is registered in your name. With your address and phone number. Do not trust your boyfriend, relative, best friend or yes even web site designer! Otherwise THEY own your domain name and you have NO RIGHTS TO IT! And do not lose the Login ID and password to manage the domain name.
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