- Internet & the Web
You can do it on your own; make your own web site
You can do it on your own. We can all do it these days. To make your own web site you need a domain name, a hosting service, various design tools, and some content.
Pick Your Own Domain Name
To pick your own domain name, search online for a registrar and use their tool to pick a domain name that has not yet been registered. If you plan to publicize the domain name on your letter head and other forms of advertising, consider a domain name that ends in .com, but remember that there are plenty of other options and many internet gurus consider the .com realm to be saturated. Hot tip: append an 'I' or an 'E' or a "my" to the beginning of your domain name in order to make it unique. If DogHouseConstruction.com is already registered, try registering myDogHouseConstruction.com. You can get more information about selecting a domain name here.
Your domain name will need to be registered. The standard term is at least one year, but you can usually get a price break if you sign up for three years. Shop around a little for the best price; all registrars perform the same services because all domain names eventually end up in the same worldwide database. An inside tip; you can register your domain name anywhere you like and host it anywhere else you like. You don't have to register and host with the same company. However, it's usually much simpler to let the hosting company handle the domain name registration.
Find a Hosting Service
The Internet contains about 2 trillion hosting services; just kidding. It's probably closer to 1 trillion. Each service varies slightly, but expect to spend about 6 dollars per month for basic hosting on a Linux platform. Windows platform hosting typically costs more. One reason is obvious; Linux is free and Windows costs money. It's cheaper for the hosting service to provide Linux servers than to provide Windows servers. Which is preferable? If you plan to do it on your own, make your web site from Linux-targeted tools and you will save money in the long run. Many tools target both Windows and Linux hosting servers. Some tools are specific to one or the other. For example, php code will run on either platform, but .Net code is intended for Windows servers.
Good rules of thumb when selecting a hosting service:
- Ask around. Ask your friends what hosting service they prefer.
- Look for a service that's in your local time zone. Of course you can expect your hosting service to be up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but if you plan to do it on your own, make sure that you can reach a real person during your working hours.
Pick Your Design Tools
Design Tools necessary to create your own site include a web page layout tool, a graphic design tool, and a programming tool. The simplest pages won't require a programming tool, but keep the option in the back of your mind.
Many web page layout tools are available online. You can pay big bucks or you can download free tools and try them out.
A powerful graphic design tool is GIMP, which is free and will run on both Linux and Windows computers. Of course, the graphics that you create with Gimp will also be compatible with both platforms.
When you do find yourself ready to begin programming, a universe of retail tools as well as free tools are available. Microsoft Visual Studio .Net is an excellent software development tool. You can download a free version, referred to as the Express Edition, from the Microsoft web site.
You Need Content
An old saying in the real estate business goes like this:
What three things determine the value of a house?
The same bromide applies in web site design. The three things that determine the value of a web site are content, content, and content. Flashy animations will hold readers' attention for a brief period, but will not engender repeat visits. In all honesty, a flashy intro of any kind will tend to drive people away; they aren't willing to commit the time to sit through a preamble more than once in order to get to your content, even if it is interesting.
If you plan to do it on your own, make sure you have sufficient content to hold the interest of your visitors. Of course you can purchase content from third-party providers, referred to as "Content Providers" or you can generate your own content. Many online services offer free content in the form of videos, graphics, and articles. Beware of free content; it's probably already published on many other sites by people with the same ideas and goals as you.