There are numerous reasons to set up your own website, like promoting your business or sharing your life with friends and family. Doing so takes some work, but with a little free time and a small budget, your site can be up and running in as little as a few days.
Items you will need
- Plain-text editing program
- $50 budget
Decide on a domain name. The domain name is your site's address, which will be on the World Wide Web. Choose whatever you would like, but try to keep it simple so it can easily be found.
Buy your domain name and find a host for your website. Usually, you can use one company to do both, which is convenient and often saves money. GoDaddy.com and Lunarpages.com are two popular options. First, see if your desired domain name is available. If it is taken, you may just need to change it slightly by adding a number or your initial. You can select between ".com," ".net," ".tv" and ".org," among others. Once you've found a suitable domain name, choose your site host and hosting options. The cheapest packages available will suffice for most personal site creators. However, if you will be posting lots of photos and videos, you may want to upgrade. A domain name and hosting package, which usually extends for at least one year, can cost as little as $45.
Create your site. This is the trickiest and most time-consuming part for those without any website creation experience. Learning HTML is the best route. The knowledge gained by writing actual HTML code will be valuable if you want to edit your site later on or create a more elaborate site. An excellent tutorial online that will teach you everything you need to know is by W3 Schools (w3schools.com/default.asp). Once you know HTML, all you need to create HTML pages is a simple text editing program like Notepad or TextEdit. Follow the instructions you learn in the tutorial. As you edit your HTML document, keep in mind that you can open it right from your hard drive using any standard browser. This way you can preview as you work, before you put the site online. There are also WYSIWYG -- What You See Is What You Get -- programs available online that you can use to create your site without much HTML knowledge. This isn't advisable, however, because the code these programs create is often cluttered and can cause compatibility issues later on.
Upload your files. Once you have an HTML document created, with possible linked files like images or more HTML pages, you will need to upload them to your site. For this, you will need an FTP client program. Some site hosts offer a free, online FTP client program. Otherwise, there are many free programs available online. Ask around or check the review on Download.com for a PC FTP client. Once you have the program installed, you use it to connect to your FTP site, which involves typing in the FTP address and entering the password you set up via your host. Once connected, follow the programs instructions for uploading the files; it is usually as easy as dragging and dropping.
Check that your site is online. Open any standard browser and type in your URL. After you hit enter, your website should load in the browser. Check to see if all your images display properly and that links and buttons work. If everything is working smoothly, you're all set.
There's no need to get too fancy, especially when you're just starting out. Sometimes the simplest websites are the best because they're easy to navigate.
When creating your website, try to make image files as small in size as possible. These will take up less of your allotted server space and more importantly will make load times faster for your site visitors.