How do I create a web site? How do I start selling online?
One question I answer often is: Should I create my own web site or use a “free” site like MySpace? Sometimes instead of MySpace, it’s the free web space that comes with their ISP account they’re asking about, but the question is really the same.
Establishing a web presence with a professional image requires your own web site and domain name. MySpace is awesome, however it’s a social networking tool used to “network” or find people and stay in touch with them. Like most of the tools in your toolkit, it has a function and can be very useful. Use MySpace and other social networks as a marketing resource: to help people discover you or your business and lead them to your main web site.
If you are in business, or a serious amateur or hobbyist, you need your own web site. You can setup profiles on all of the social networking sites like MySpace and use those profiles to direct people to your web site. But you need your own web site and domain name. Each site like MySpace has rules and will sometimes delete accounts, either for breaking the rules, or by mistake. You don’t want your only site on the Internet exposed to this kind of risk. In addition, you want to look as professional as you possibly can.
How do I get started? How do I start my own web site? I’ll outline the steps.
1) Domain Names: You need to register a domain name. Select a name that is as short as possible and that reflects your site’s function. There are sites on the Internet that you can use to help research this. Once you decide on a domain name that’s available, you need to pay for it – this is called registering. You can register it for 1 year up to several years. I use registerFly.com for this. They also have a domain spinner tool that can help you find available domain names; you simply enter two words and the tool makes variations and combination of the names and checks their availability.
2) Web Hosting: You need to a place for your web site.
There are a lot of hosting providers you can choose from.
They all work in a similar fashion. You rent space on a web server and bandwidth (traffic to and from the server) by the month for your web site. Prices range from less than $20 per month all the way up to the sky depending on how much space and bandwidth you’re using. I can recommend a hosting service if you need help selecting one.
3) Putting the domain name and hosting together: If you registered your domain name with a different service than the hosting provider, you’ll have to tell the domain name registrar where your web site is hosted. You do this by telling the registrar the addresses of the “name servers” of the hosting facility. The hosting provider will usually configure your DNS (domain name server) records for you web site on their DNS server and you need to give the name server’s address to the registrar of your domain name so that your domain name points to the correct DNS servers. It sounds complicated, but it’s really not. If you registered with the same service that you’re using for a hosting provider, then this is usually done for you.
4) Create the site: Finally, make your web site. You should spend some time researching popular web sites of the same type as the one you intend to build. This will give you a good idea of what works in that area. One of the keys to being successful in any area is to follow the lead of someone who’s already successful. Find some successful sites by doing searches on Google, Yahoo, or MSN and looking at the top sites that are returned. Even if you have no experience making web sites, you can still create a very nice web site. I offer online courses for beginners on how to create web sites – see my info below for the link.
In a few hours you can have a very nice looking, functional web site.
I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion about web sites, social networking sites like MySpace, and how to start your own web site.