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How do I even start a website?

Blog, Maintaining a Website

25 Feb 2011

This blog will have helpful tidbits I’ve picked up (and the occasional rant, of course). We begin with how to get Your Name dot com, which is especially important for student journalists. You don’t need anything to get started. Here’s what we’ll cover…

  • Domain (michaellocklear.com, yourname.com, whateveryouwant.com)
  • Hosting (this is the place where your website is stored… like a Word doc on your laptop)
  • A bit of money (you’ll need this to get the domain and hosting)

The Money

Hold up. How much money are we talking about here? Well, getting and keeping yourname.com will set you back $20-80 a year. This website (michaellocklear.com) costs me about $70 annually. I’m OK with that. I think it’s a good investment.

Money... for my website? Huh? Photo by Thomas Hawk.

If you’re not ready to spend the money, look at getting a domain that looks like yourname.mp or yourname.wordpress.com. There are a lot of freebies out there, but you’ll have to hunt them down. Ready to spend some money?

 

Yourname.com will help sell you, so buy it! Photo by Giant Ginkgo.

The Domain

This is the first thing you’ll need. Mine is michaellocklear.com, and I bought it from 1&1. The first year, these domain companies will entice you with “deals.” Looks like 1&1 is charging only $4.99 for the first year, but be careful… the price jumps to $8.99 in the second year. You have to pay for your domain every year, and if you don’t, you’ll lose it.

I pay $8.99 a year for michaellocklear.com. If you pay any more than $10-12, you’re getting ripped off. GoDaddy‘s charging $11.99 a year so that the company can afford to pay for its models and commercials.

The Hosting

Prepare to pay about $5 each month for top-notch hosting. You can find hosting for about $10-20 a year if you want to hunt around for a hosting company. Keep in mind you typically lose some level of reliability as the price goes down.

I pay $60 a year for michaellocklear.com’s hosting at Site5. Their customer service and tech support have worked for me. If you pay any more than this, you’re probably getting ripped off.

Hosting is on a server, another computer that dishes up your website. Photo by warthog9.

Integration? Maybe.

You can get your domain and hosting at the same place. That’s probably easiest for beginners. The reason I don’t do that is because I’ve dealt with some shoddy hosting companies in the past. Go with a very reliable company for your domain so you don’t jeopardize losing it.

Site5 offers domain & hosting. That could be a good option. In fact, most companies in the website business offer integration, but make sure you trust ’em before you do that.

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