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If you are planning on starting a website and aren’t sure what steps to take, you need to first outline your goals. Your set of goals are going to determine which particular set of steps you take in starting a website. The first step is purchasing a domain name.

Purchasing A Domain Name

If you take your website seriously and want to use it to build a business or name for yourself, you need a unique domain name. Purchasing a domain name is a branding investment. If you purchase a domain name, the title can be anything you choose, so long as it isn’t already taken. You can choose something that suits your business or brand such as www.HotNewOrleansGraphics.com, or www.TheDiaryOfAmy.com. If the .com is taken, you can sometimes get a .net, .co, or .info domain.The cost of a domain typically costs $10-$15 per year. It’s best to buy your domain from the web host you sign-up with so you don’t have to go through an arduous transfer process involving fees and wait periods. The drama of buying your domain separately because it appears cheaper is not worth the mere  $2-$5 savings you’ll receive when doing so.

Hosting Your Domain

In addition to purchasing your domain, you must typically pay a fee for hosting that domain. Your domain name is like a sign/store name, and the hosting is like a space rental fee. You must pay for hosting in order to make your websites files, data, and images visible to others online. Hosting also enables you to and receive visitors on your domain. Every time your site receives a visitor, there is a transfer of bandwith/data as the visitor loads your sites content into his or her browser.

Popular Web Site Hosts include:

Host Gator $6.35mo

Just Host $6.95mo

iPage $4.50mo

Go Daddy $7.99mo

Host Monster $6.95mo

Blue Host $7.95mo

Fat Cow $4.67mo

Paid Hosting Alternatives

There are a few platforms that provide reliable, free hosting. If you don’t want to pay to start your website, the most reliable option is setting up a free site on a blogging platform. Many blogging services give you both free hosting and a free, somewhat customization domain. These free blog platforms can handle heavy traffic, and are rarely down. When you choose this type of free domain name, you will have the name of your the platform in your domain. Your domain will be something like HowNewOrleansGraphics.wordpress.com, or TheDiaryofAmy.blogger.com. You will have to use the site builder supplied by your free host to design your website, and this restricts what you can do with your design somewhat.

Some of the most popular site that allow you to host a website for free include:

If you aren’t sure your ready to build a business, a professional blog, or a brand yet, or you can’t afford to pay, you can start out with one of these free options and test things out.

Building Your Site

Once you have your website up, you will need to design it and add site content including articles, posts, information, or images. Most website hosts and blogging platforms come with a free site builder located in their Control Panel. These are sufficient for more basic, plain websites, and easy to use even for individuals with no HTML or CSS experience.

Alternatively, you may use more customizable platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, or a number of Ecommerce platforms for more advanced options. Some knowledge of HTML or CSS and possibly even PHP is helpful when working with these.

Web Design Resources

You can find premium themes that are all ready for Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress at ThemeForest. Premium themes cost anywhere from $10-$150. You’ll save hundreds by not paying a web designer! Premium themes come with images, aesthetic layouts, and are easy to install with a few clicks.

Good Luck!

 

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