How to do a Website
Decide why you want to do a web site and what you want to accomplish by doing a web site.
Decide how much time and effort you want to put into your web site and what kind of education you are willing to get to accomplish your goals. If you decide you don't have the time and don't want to make the effort, then decide how much you are willing to pay to have someone else take the time and effort. If you decide you don't want to make much of an effort, than don't expect that your web site will be "award-winning," but maybe it will be acceptable to your needs, and that's what really counts. If you want the web site without putting in time or effort, you can decide to pay someone to do it for you. It could cost $500-$5000+ to hire someone to do a web site, depending on the number of pages, complexity, and other desired outcomes you want on your site.
Get a decent computer.
There is nothing more frustrating than working on a web page and having a computer that is too obsolete to support your work. Consult with a friend (or teenager) about basic computer necessities before deciding to do web site work.
Get a reliable internet provider.
The last thing you want is to have your internet provider to go down for the day, or go bye-bye after you have spent hours working on your web site. This won't affect the pages you have already loaded on the web, but it will slow down your future work until you have your internet up an running again. Ask 5 or 6 computer literate friends what service they are using and if they like their service before choosing the one for you. There are advantages to picking "msn.com" and "aol.com" because you can pick up email and load web pages from any location world wide, but there are disadvantages too. Many smaller providers, that you can find in your local phone book, might charge a flat monthly fee instead of computer time (aol) and are less likely to disconnect you in the middle of an application. In most cases the smaller providers have quicker access without having to re-dial to get into the internet.
Decide what type of web site you want.
(FYI - JaredStory.com is mostly a Vanity page - a healing website project.)
Think of a Domain name for your site. Make up a list of names you can be happy with, is catchy, and can be easily remembered. Expect that you may have to try many domain name ideas before you get the one you want, that isn't already taken by someone else. Be imaginative and different and you will find the domain name that is perfect for you.
The price for a domain name will run from about $15 dollars to $35 a year, depending on whether you contract your domain name for one, two, three or more years. The more years you commit to, the less the domain name will cost. Unless you are committed to doing a long lasting web site, one year renewal at a time is sufficient.
Most domain names end in ".com", or ".net," but there are many new ones out there now to pick from. If you want your name as your domain name you can now buy the ".name" ending, (www.johnstevens.name). If you are doing a non-profit site, than you may want to go with ".org," for organization, (www.bullypolice.org). Many people feel comfortable going to ".org" sites because they know they probably won't have someone selling them something, except advice (good or not).
Find a web server/web host/hosting provider Don't be confused - The internet provider and your web site host are not the same thing. Even though you may be able to use the same company as a host provider, they are different applications. The internet provider makes it possible for you to be on the internet, checking out web sites, and reading email. Your web site host allows you to load your site on their servers, via the file transfer protocol (FTP) and allows you to have space in their system.
Cost: Some hosting services will charge $10.00 (a month) for a basic 20-MB to 25-MB's of space. Business web site hosting will charge $20 or more a month and provide more options and space. (Templates are almost always free and you won't need a hosting provider.)
One free (vanity) hosting service, with no annoying pop-ups or required banners is www.doteasy.com. They make money by charging domain name fees and for extras in their hosting options, mostly for business web sites. Sometimes your own internet provider may offer free hosting, but full service hosting of a vanity or business site with a provider isn't common. Most internet providers that provide free hosting require pop-ups or banners in return, and you will be required to use a template.
Open a file just for your web site.
Keep all your web site work (web pages) separate from your other work. Always use lower case filenames with no spaces. Example: my_best_friend.html or mybestfriend.html. Your first (main) page, the one everyone will visit first, should be named "index.html."
Organize, and design what you want on your site.
Begin to brainstorm about how you want your site to look and what you want on it. Get input from family members and friends. It may be easier to design a basic site with pencil and paper first. Use crayons to see how colors would work on your site. Have fun! Look at other websites you've enjoyed for ideas on how to set up your own personal look and design.
Subdivide your front (index) page up according to topics
For example, if you are doing a vanity page, you might want to have a section that tells about YOU, or the grandchildren; A section that talks about your philosophy on life and religious beliefs; A section that talks about your hobbies; A section that gives advice, (...make that good advice only), and a section that gives your favorite web sites links. For safety's sake, don't give out any information that might be used for evil purposes... like your social security number. If you have a business than get a business phone number and use that phone number on your site. Put your email address link somewhere easy to find on every page on your site. There is nothing more annoying than not being able to find someone to contact on a web site.
Link everything humanly possible on your web site - Link pictures, stories, articles and everything else that might slow the loading of the index page. People are very impatient on the Internet and they will leave your web site before they see it, if it takes too long to load.
Learn some basic web site building skills
Take it slow and easy while you learn. Since building a web site is fun, (in my opinion), you shouldn't get stressed out trying to get things perfect the first time. You can always go back and make it better the second, third, forth, etc., time. Pick up a book or two at your local bookstore, (or on www.half.com), that will give you some basics. I have several books that I use. One at my finger tips gives me some HTML codes and another is called, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Web Page. ...Not that I feel that I'm an idiot, but everyone can learn something from any book - even one especially written for idiots.
Here are some basic skills needed (or skills to be learned):
Find an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) service to load your site onto the Web Server. Bullet Proof, is one of the best known and is what I use, but Office's Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, may offer FTP along with Front Page and other Web Page programs. Follow the directions for loading given for these programs. As long as you have filed your web site work properly, (see step 5), it won't be hard to find and upload your files onto the server when you are ready. Also, the website host might offer this service for free.
Make back up copies of all your files before beginning FTP transfer. If anything traumatic should happen while you are uploading or sending your files than you will be able to recover your work or start again. From experience, nothing is more traumatic than loosing a file, or thinking you have lost a file. It's rare that a file is lost, however, it just seems to get lost in the void of hyper space. You can always do this: > click on your start button > clink on find or search > click on files or folders > then put in a keyword or your file name. If your computer was on when you created that file, it will show up. Be happy!
You have successfully completed a WEB SITE!
But wait a minute... You are never done, (and this is good news). There are always things to add, things to learn, people to tell. You may want to learn a simple advertising technique, ...talking. But, a more advanced way to get the word out is by understand Key words, Meta tags and Search Engines and how they work, if you want others to know you exist. Many communities offer inexpensive classes on how to do this. This is the way I learned to get the word out about JaredStory.com. After a while, a good web site advertises itself through the recommendation of others, but until that happens, you will need to find alternative ways to get the word out. Advertise by word of mouth, email, business cards, in Christmas letters and on your T-shirt if you want. Be proud of the work you have done. Talents are learned, not born with unless you are a teenager on a computer.
This article is the Intellectual property and research of Brenda L. High, author of JaredStory.com
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