Building Your Website
There are plenty of ways to make a presence for yourself online from Facebook to your own blog on Wordpress. Setting up your own site outside the umbrella of another site such as the ones mentioned is similar than you may think! There are basic 3 steps to having your own website. These steps include registering a domain, finding or creating a design, and getting hosting.
Registering Your Domain
Picking and registering a domain of your own is the quickest part of the process. You will want to think of a website name that identifies you well. Once you have picked out a name, you will want to go to a site that registers domains. One of the biggest and most reliable sites for this is GoDaddy.com. They offer a ton of online services for individuals and companies so this is just the tip of the iceberg with them. As a word to the wise, first names are hard to register as they will often already be in use or purchased for the purpose of reselling it for a nice profit.
Registering a domain costs about $10 per year. Often times you can catch a sale on them as well especially when you are registering a new domain.
Once you have your domain registered, it's yours so you can do with it exactly what you want! This includes personalizing it. When you register your domain, site's like GoDaddy will give you a free basic setup to use but you will have little control over how it looks and there will be a little on how many webpages you can have. Getting your own design is really the best way to go for two reasons: if you're spending anything to register a domain you may as well put effort into making it look appealing and two you can get a great design for free!
There are a few ways of designing your website. If you are one of the people who is great with code, html and css, then you may want to design your own website. If like me you think this will take up just too much of your time, or if you just don't know how to design or write out a website there are tons of templates available online. Many website templates are free and some cost a small amount.
Finding A Host
Your website host is highly important. You want to find a site that is dependable and has great customer service for any questions you may have. A web host stores your website on it's servers or elsewhere within its company and makes it accessible to anyone you wish on the internet. This does not have to be expensive either. Hosting can be found for under $5 per month from various sites like iPage, Host Gator, FatCow and more. Often times as a promotion, when you sign up for new hosting you can get free domain registration through the same company.
All In One's:
There are some places that do all of this for you on the same site. They have great website templates, will register your domain and host your site for you for a nominal fee. The only downfalls are being locked into using just that company's design options and rules vary from company to company on contract length's. Try these site's on for size: Moonfruit, Ning, Webs, Weebly and Wix.
Once you have your domain name registered and your site designed and with a host make sure you let people know about it! Post links to your site on your social networks, have it printed on your business cards and tell people you meet!