A free web page might be OK for a while but if you want to have more control and create a better impression, having your own website on your own domain (web address) is easy to achieve and can be very affordable provided you know how to do a few things yourself. A domain name is your own unique space to express yourself, share your passion or even sell your goods or services. The following are the basic elements of creating a website (not necessarily in that order).
- Domain name
- Content & design
- Promotion (if you want people to find your site)
Setting Up A Domain (Domain Registration)
Domain registration is easy and inexpensive. It is not difficult to find a good domain registration service (registrar) that offers a dot com domain name for around $10/year.
Which domain name is best? The most common domain type is the dot com domain. The dot com domain is recommended unless you are targeting a specific geographic market such as the UK or Germany or another country. But if you plan to run a site that targets the web as whole, then dot com is by far the best choice because most people automatically assume and type that extension. If you plan to run a non-profit organization such as a charity, then dot org may be more appropriate.
If you are really set on using a particular phrase or word that is not available in dot com, you could consider other popular extensions such as dot net or dot org.
There are some free hosting services but there is usually a catch. You may be forced to display advertising. Also, a free service will be me limited in capacity and control. Free services are usually less reliable and slower (pages load more slowly).
Paid hosting is available for as little as a few dollars a month, which is around the cost of a cup of Starbucks Coffee. Given this, paid hosting is worth considering if you plan to run a quality reliable website.
There are many companies that offer a domain and hosting package. Buying the 2 together could be cheaper than buying the 2 separately but be aware of the conditions should you decide to cancel your hosting service. Please note that once you register a domain, it is generally not possible to get a refund on the registration fee.
Building your Site (Content & Design)
You don’t need to have a high tech website with all the latest widgets in order to have a useful site. There are many useful sites that are entirely or almost entirely comprised of simple text. Of course if you plan to run a forum or other functionality, you will need more than just text.
Getting Traffic (Promotion)
Having a website means very little if nobody goes there. To get a lot of visitors to your website you need to offer valuable information. Make sure you identify who your target audience is and build great content for them. For example, if you want to build a website about a particular topic, try to offer as much information on that topic as you can in order to make at the most informative and authoritative site on that topic.