The following are basic steps that need to be taken in order for your website to go live on the Web:
Step 1: Get a Domain Name. Your domain name is the actual name of your website/URL. Make sure you have a domain name that is easy to remember and isn’t too long. There are many web hosting and domain name services that will show you how to do this. Go for the best price and make sure your domain name is available. If it is taken you’ll have to find a different variation. Make sure you go with a .com extension instead of a .org or other type. Don’t worry about buying a domain name with different extensions either. All you need is a .com. You can pay for your domain name annually or to save money you can pay a one-time sum amount, which will have you paid up for the next few years in advance.
Step 2: Get Web Hosting. In order to have a website, you need to have a web hosting service. This is where your website will be uploaded and published to the Web. Web hosting services offer all kinds of tools to help your website stand out. To kill two birds with one stone and make it easier on your wallet, it is helpful to have your domain name and your web hosting services with the same company. I personally use and love www.godaddy.com. They have cheap domain names and hosting services and I’ve had nothing but great customer service experiences.
Step 3: Get Your Website Together. There are a number of ways you can go about this. There are some websites that allow you to build as you go and don’t require any knowledge of coding or any other graphic design skills. An example of such a site is: www.homestead.com. These sites also offer web hosting and domain names as well so you can have everything all in one place. Prices depend on what membership plan you choose.
Another way to get a website put together is to hire a graphic designer to create one for you. I will say, however, that this is one of the most expensive methods. Graphic designers do great work but it’s hard, tedious work. There are some graphic designers who may charge on the lower end—especially given the economy these days—but don’t be surprised if a graphic designer offers rates starting at $2,000 or higher. If you go for this option, the graphic designer will be your to-go person for everything and that includes updating your content and/or images. That could involve additional fees. Remember, this is their business, which is why they charge extra for certain features and operate the way they do. Be sure the person you hire is trustworthy. If you lose touch with your graphic designer or he/she just ups and disappears, you won’t be able to do anything with your website unless you have access to the files and other documents needed for the website to function.
The next method you can turn to, which I currently use and recommend, is to purchase a premade website template and then customize it. This is one of the most affordable and convenient ways to create your website. For my modeling website, I simply went to www.flash-website-templates.net and browsed around until I found a modeling template that I liked. Then I purchased it for $60. And trust me, that is a good deal! Most of the templates range from $40-150, depending on the style and complexity of the template design and it’s a one-time fee so once you purchase your template you don’t have to pay any other membership or annual fees. Once I had my template, I used Photoshop to customize the pages. I swapped out the content and the images for my own. I don’t have any coding experience so after I had my Photoshop documents customized I hired a friend, who is a graphic designer, to code the pages and upload the files to my web hosting account. Then I was live on the Web and good to go. If you choose the template option, it is helpful if you know Photoshop—if you don’t, you’ll have to find someone who does. The best way to remedy this problem is to have the template customized for you by the website that you purchased the template from. For example, the website where I purchased my template from will put together your template for you with your content and images for under $200. That means you can have a fully functioning website for much, much less than other alternatives.
If you’re interested in this third option and want to know more information, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I customize website templates as part of my art business so if you would like to pursue this option, I’d be more than happy to help you out.