Friday, May 25, 2007

Website.Com...Make Your Own Website for Free (or Cheaply) with These Easy-to-Understand Instructions

Make and create your own website.com for free by following these steps written in plain English that's easy for non-techies to understand.
by Paula Neal Mooney

"Make your own free website.com," or "create your own website.com," you frantically type into search engines.

You've got a burning desire to make a free web site for kids, or another kind of personal website.

Problem is, when you search around for the steps to create your own website, all you find is a bunch of techies talking about "flash" and "php" and other acronyms you don't understand.

It's a white man's world...but it's changing
I'll admit it, working with techies over the years, I discovered that most IT departments were filled with white men. Some were really REALLY sweet and helpful. But others were as cocky as that techie in the commercial that calls his non-techie coworkers "chumps" -- a guy they can't fire because "he's the only one that knows how to fix our computers."

I was glad to see the IT departments diversify, first with women digging around underneath the floor of server rooms in skirts that companies forced us to wear, then later with Indians with extremely long names on their name plates, curiously colored pictures with religious symbols in their cubes and oddly odiferous smells emanating from the break room microwave.

I'm sorry for the way I act sometimes
The reasons some of us can be so haughty over any techie skills we've been blessed with is because we know that website creation is a gold mine -- yet but for the grace and knowledge of God, we'd have none of this -- so my goal is to share with everyone how to create a free website in plain English for the most non-techie to understand.

For all my pontificating and tryin' to hang with the big boys -- some who just don't like the fact that a "Nigga Know Technology" (forgive the shocking link, the guy makes me laugh and shake my head all at once) -- I'll be the first to admit I'm still learning -- and that nearly two years after creating this blog, JUST LAST NIGHT did I finally understand the difference between a web host and a content mgmt. system after reading Blogtrepreneur's viral post about 101 Essential Blogging Resources.

So, in the Spirit of stealing some of his links, here's "how to create your own free or cheap personal website.com" in as plain and simple English as I can muster:

How to Make a Website in Plain English

1 - Buy a Domain Name
Yes, I know I said free, and you CAN set up a free domain name like I did this blog on Blogger.com. That might be good practice for you at first to get your feet wet, but the web world looks down on websites that contain "blogspot," "wordpress," "typepad," or "myspace" and such anywhere in the URL -- which is another name for the website address.

Save yourself heartache, ditch the cafe mocha for a few days and find a good dot com name:

Namecheap - $8.88 per year with free WhoisGuard
GoDaddy - $8.95 per year (and lower)
1&1 - $5.99 per year with free private domain registration
MyDomain - $8.25 per year


2 - Get yourself a host
I guess this is just like it sounds, a website "host" is whoever's house your website party is going to be held at. For example, Blogger.com "hosts" this blog for free for me. But again, when you hit the big time with your money site, other advertisers look down on free hosting sites, so skip a lunch or two and choose a host:

Dreamhost - Great plans, great prices with loads of bandwidth and diskspace.
Frozen Webhost - Small company but only $5/month and very reliable.
Media Temple - Awesome recommendations, grid and dedicated hosting.
Rackspace - Managed, dedicated and scalable web hosting for businesses
Hostgator - Shared hosting at $6.95 per month


3 - Choose a blogging platform
This is where you actually write the content, the words, the articles, the posts -- whatever you want to call them that makes sense to you. Again, I use Blogger, but I'm going to start a new website on Wordpress, so I'll let you all know how that goes.

Wordpress - The industry standard and most widely used - and its FREE!
Blogger - quick blog creation, but FTP can be slow and you don’t have full control
Typepad - another blogging platform, but pricing from $4.95/month
Joomla - CMS and Web Application Framework and free


That's it for now.

Play around and delve into the above links and start setting stuff up. Of course, there's so much more to it, but sometimes too much information is too overwhelming at first, so I'll give it to you in small doses as I learn.

So hang with me, put your email address right here for free emails about stuff like this and more. Just delete the posts that are too techie and go over your head.

I'll include basic, plain English instructions in most of them that will help you get started making your own website, and help you make some money off it to boot!

Heed the burning desire in your soul.

You were born to create that website idea that keeps you up at night and excites your being.

Stop being afraid. You can do it. Start it today.

13 comments:

Laura said...

It's a good piece Paula. You've got some good, solid links here that readers will be able to use.

now g net said...

To add to your list, some domain register companies give discount coupons, you just need to Google them and make sure they did not expire or, just like Dreamhost or other host companies, domain is provided free with annual sign up, so you can save there a lil.

Paula Neal Mooney said...

Thanks, Laura -
I was so happy to find Blogtrepreneur's post -- it really inspired me to get myself in gear and set up some new websites, that's in between or after creating the June 2007 edition of Paula's List of Blogger Salaries... coming soon to a blog near and dear to you!

Thanks Now G Net,
I'd forgotten about the discount dealie.

Hmm...do hosting companies have coupons?

In essence, as long as the ads on the sites pay for all the hosting and domain name cost and such, it really does turn out to be a free website w/o much cost up front.

Peace,
Paula

Theo J. said...

Paula:

Once again, great post. Out of college in (1999) I was faced with a similar situation. I was a young, black programmer in IT and most of the people around me were older white males. I had to work hard to prove myself and gain the trust of the group. But times are changing. The workforce is more diverse and companies are preparing for the retirement of the older generation.

Thanks for sharing this information with your readers. I love technology and it's been a blessing to me. It pays the bills and allows me to provide for my family. But at the same time, I have a passion to teach others how to take advantage of it in their daily lives (especially when it comes to the African-American community).

I think the African-American community needs to catch up with everyone else when it comes to embracing technology. A lot of people I talk to either fear it or don't understand the role it plays in society. Most people want a website, but are unwilling to take the time need to research how to build one. I'm glad companies are coming up with easier ways in doing it. There're tons of business opportunities out there for IT people. Why should I try to keep it to myself when others are in need?

Theo J. said...

Oops. I forgot to add something. When companies "give" you a domain, make sure you are the owner and contact person for it. I've seen a couple of friends of mine get free domains and lose them if they are looking to move to a new web host.

If you are getting a website for a business, registar your own domain and use a paid web host. Paula, some of the companies you listed are good. Don't be fooled into paying more for high bandwidth and storage. The average person doesn't neeed close to what these hosts are giving out.

And finally, as boring as it may sound, read the terms of service for a web host. That way you know up front what you're getting in to.

John said...

Thanks for the information Paula, it's useful for those starting out in making a website.

I've found that creating a website is the easy part. Maintaining it and getting it well-known (promoting) is a whole different story!

I know some people who are quite excited to make a website or blog, and they just leave it set idle for months without ever updating it.

maurizio said...

Hey..
my personal notes:
1. why this distinction about white and blacks? I should probably visit your country..up here skin color isn't a problem..I mean..sometimes I don't remember the color of people I saw :-) (here we have other problems..mainly nationality or "regionality" :-/ )

2. Dreamhost? You should have asked my Referrer ID. dreamhost
Btw.. With my coupons you can pay less than 30dollar for the first year! (shameless plug)..and the Domain Name is free. With some coupons you can even have more than one for free..

3. Don't speak about Joomla. You want to scary people? :-)

4. You should be the queen of empathy.. I admire you.

5. I think I will write something similar to what you wrote, but trying to be more technical.. I'd love to be as technical as me, but as interesting as your posts. (I wonder if I will ever be able to make people more curious about the potentialities of a website)

Paula Neal Mooney said...

Hey Theo
I'm so glad you chimed in.

The racial makeup of IT depts. is something that's long been on my soul, but I used to not speak about it till now.

It's so funny that when I met another black female programmer at my old job, it was such a rarity that we exchanged life stories!

And thanks for the warning about owning your own domain.

Which domain registrars and hosts do you use and like the best in your experience?

Thanks again for all the info.

(And I'm the same way. I just spoke to a group of black female writers a couple of weeks ago, I was urging them to all get online -- saying how much our presence is needed in this world wide web.

And that's my passion too: To see the net get more and more diverse and to teach all people -- including African-Americans -- how to set up website as I learn to do the same in a way that we all can understand!)

John, you're right. Follow-thru is so important.

I'm glad I've been blessed with a combo of writing- and techie-skills and the wherewithal to get all these ideas onto other websites in their own niches to drive more traffic.

Maurizio
1 - Where do you live? I don't trust people who say they're colorblind. That's the first thing I notice about people -- and wonder what their nationality is. This does not preclude me from getting to know the person underneath the skin, however.

2 - Thanks for the link spam on Dreamhost! (Just kidding, kinda, I didn't even know they had a referral program.)

Now, if the domain name is free, what if you want to change from dreamhost someday?

Ah well, guess I'll just read thru their boring legal mumbo jumbo and find out.

3 - Is Joomla bad?

4 - I'm grateful for the gift of mercy. You wouldn't call me empathetic if you saw me screaming at my kids. Thank God He's changing me and making me better...

5 - Yeah, I've always worked best as a go-between in the middle of you real techie guys and the non-techies of IT depts.

I've found my calling!

Digital Nomad said...

Hello Paula,
Still reading and watching you. You have come a long way in the time I have been reading. This should be a good series.

I hope you take copious notes about wp.com vs. wp.org. I evidently did this wrong and am living to regret it.

Paula Neal Mooney said...

FROM EMAIL

Hi Paula,

First let me say Thank You for sharing a nice post that was very
compassionate and a blessing to everyone that needs to step out an
get that First Domain Name that they own themselves. That's very
smart and the sooner the better. I'm speaking from experience
owning Four at present myself by the grace of God.

I attempted to post this on the comment section this evening
and forgot to put the first copy on my clip board so I lost all
of my work when Bloggers wouldn't let me sign in to post. Most
of the time there is no problem at Your Blog, but for what ever
reason sometime the Bloggers platform can act really crazy.

Well any way, this is a step by step system I wrote a module
for on one of our websites. Once a person has a Domain Name,
they can practice "Do it Yourself" Set-Up of eCommerce web
pages. This was as Simple as I could explain the process:

Upper Room Solutions

It is our prayer that this will support what You are sharing.
Thanks again for being LinkedIn and part of Our Communities.
God bless You and Your Family evermore.

I just remained silent the other day when You were talking about
using the WordPress platform, it is an improvement but You have
done so well with Bloggers until it probably wise to just start another
Blog at WordPress and still grow at Bloggers. One day soon when
Your WordPress Blog is in the excel mode it will be a lot easier.

From what I hear it can be a real pain, yet Google has some very
serious benefits when understood like you do. No one else can
compare in some many ways for sure. I use both platforms.

Bless The LORD, Grace to You and Peace!

In the Beloved Community,
Jim Legington

pearl said...

very nice post paula - been reading you for sometime now and am constantly finding your site to be addicting with all the good stuff, tips and stories.. :) I am a bit hesitant too but I guess I am reading so much about having your own domain, I am tempted to try it.. good question about dreamhost giving free domain, would they let you take it with you if you wanna switch?

Steve said...

Hi,

A really good, but little used free domain name service is available at:

www.freedomain.co.nr

Rather than take up a huge mound of space here, I've just posted up a complete review of the product and it's uses at my site, so take a look if you want to know more,

Steve

10x Free Web Hosting said...

We provide free web hosting for starting website owners or bloggers who are starting out new. The free accounts are not crippled, but there are reasonable limits on bandwidth and freespace.

When you have good traffic you can switch to cheap plans available with us.

Paula Neal Mooney