How to Set Up a Website & URL
By Larry Amon
If you're still new to this whole Internet thing or you have a little experience but you need to setup a website and you have no clue, don't panic. Setting up a website and a URL is quite simple and can be done in a few minutes. You can and will need to put more time into to developing a nice looking website, but the initial setup is your first step. After you complete this, you will have confidence and be ready to move on to building a successful website.
Get a URL. URL stands for uniform resource locater and this is how people find you on the web. Come up with a good name that will communicate exactly who you are and what you do or want to do. You also need to do this with as short a name as possible so that when you tell people your URL, they will be able to remember it. You will have to try several names for your URL, though, because most of the best simple URLs are already taken. Go to a domain name registrar and register your URL. The registrar will let you search for URLs and tell you if they are taken. Some registrars are located in the resource section below.
Find a host. To have a website you need to have a place that will host your files. Your files are what comprise your website. A host is the place that keeps all of your files and the URL points to these files. Hosting can range in price from $5 a month to several hundred (as of 2009). For most beginners, the cheap option is fine. IWhen you have a large organization that will have thousands of visitors or more a day, then you need expensive hosting that will accommodate an extremely large amount of traffic. Most hosting companies will give you the ability to register your URL directly with them. This is the best option because if you register elsewhere you will have to point that registrar to your host. This is not extremely difficult but is an extra step.
Create a site. To get your site going you will need to create at least one page called a homepage. You will need to either use website creation software or create this manually. It is much simpler to do this with software like Frontpage or Dreamweaver. Some hosts have a built-in tool to help you make pages. You can also use a content management system or CMS. A CMS is software that you install with your host or they may already have it set up to use. Every host provider will give specific instructions on where and how to upload your files and how to use a CMS if they have the ability; you just need to ask the host. Some examples of CMS tools are Wordpress and Joomla. If you are not using a CMS, then your homepage needs to be called index.htm or index.html. The index page is the page that will come up when anyone types in your URL.
Learn and improve. Your site is setup and your URL should now be working. Now just start building more web pages and links to improve your site. You can do this by learning some HTML and learning more about your software or CMS tool.
- Don't feel overwhelmed, start small.
Larry Amon has been working in the computer field for more than 10 years and has experience writing scripts, instructional articles and political commentary. He has been published online, as well as in "NRB Magazine" and "Delmarva Youth & Family." He started a nonprofit media organization in 2000.