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Websites 101

Looking to start your own website, but don’t have a clue where to start?  This article was written to help cover some of the basics of starting a website.

Getting started with a website requires only a few simple steps:

1. Stop – Before you go any further make sure you have a clear plan or goal in mind for your website.  What is the site about?  What’s your target market/demographic?  How much are you willing to spend on the site, and how involved will you be in the process?

2. Register a Domain Name – Now that you have a basic plan for your website, the first thing to do is register a domain name.  A domain name represents your website, and is used by the Internet Domain Name Servers (DNS) to direct visitors to the server where your website files are hosted.  There are many companies these days that offer domain registration, and I personally use and recommend Godaddy for their low prices and great customer service (remember JB Design and Photo also offers domain registration!).

3. Set Up Web Hosting – Once you have the domain name registered, the next step is to set up web hosting so you have somewhere to put your website’s files so that they are publicly accessible.  I’ve produced a follow up article, entitled “A Quick Look at Web Hosting for the Beginner” that provides a quick review of the different types of web hosting and the companies that provide them (remember JB Design and Photo offers web hosting too!).

4. Point your Domain Name to your Web Server – This procedure varies slightly depending the company or “registrar” that you used to register your domain name, but the basic concept is that you need to update your domain’s DNS settings to point to your new web hosting server.  Commonly, once you have your web hosting account set up, you will receive instructions including the “nameservers” that your domain will need to point to.  Once you have the correct nameservers you will need to go through your “registrar” and update your domain name’s settings with these new nameservers (Note: this change can take up to 24 hours as the Internet DNS servers update their information).

5. Upload your Files – You’ve set up your domain name and web hosting, and you try typing in your domain name in your browser but you get a blank page.  Well that’s because we haven’t put any files on the web server yet!  You have a couple of different options as to where you get these files: learn html yourself, use a template or website editor from your web host, or have someone else design and build the website for you.

Now that you have your files loaded onto your web host, you should now be able to go to your domain name and view your website!  And remember, JB Design and Photo offers web design, development, hosting, and domain registration for all of your website needs.

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