CLAY'S QUICK WEBSITE STARTUP GUIDE
Hello, this is Clayton Middleton. I've built 6 websites over the last few years, so I decided to make this 5 step guide for those of you who want to get a website up and going by yourself. If you want to get your website on the internet you will need to implement the 5 steps I've listed below for you. You may want to print this off and use it as a guide. It's important for each step to be completed. Getting a website online is an easy process, but it can be confusing the first time you try to go about it. I've tried to be as detailed as possible in these 5 steps without writing a book about it. I will give you the summary first of the 5 steps I've listed below, that way if you already have a grasp on the web design process you won't have to read all the detailed steps.
THE SUPER QUICK GUIDE - THIS IS A SUMMARY OF THE 5 STEPS LISTED BELOW THIS: Just get on Google and find a website that will do 4 things: (A.) register your domain name, (B.) host your domain name, (C.) help you build your website if you don't know how, and (D.) that has File Transfer Protocol(FTP) built-in so you can send files over from your computer to the server in order to update your website. All this I just mentioned can be found on one website by which ever company you choose to go with off of Google. All you have to do is shop around for a good packaged deal that saves you money. And it's as simple as that. If that isn't enough for you, use these fully detailed steps below that will break down the whole process.
STEP 1. Come up with your domain name. For example, ClayIsGreat.com or ClayIsAGenius.net, or whatever you want. If you are making a website to sell a product, then come up with something short, catchy, and easy for consumers to remember.
STEP 2. Register your domain name. Get on Google and type in "Buy a domain name". There are plenty of websites that will register your domain name. You can shop around for prices. You will register the rights to that domain name for a specific period of time. When I first bought my domain name, I paid $25 for 1 year. After that year was up, I renewed with a multi-year deal to save money. You may want to get the multi-year deal to begin with, such as 3 years for $50 or whatever deal they have going on that site. Just shop around. Also when you are at a domain name site you can use their seach engine to make sure your domain name choice isn't taken by someone already. As long as the domain name isn't taken by somebody else then it can be anything you want it to be and have any extension you want. By extension I mean (.com) or (.net) or (.org) or the many others that are available. The most popular choice in the United States is of course (.com).
STEP 3. Once you have bought and registered your domain name, you will need to have that domain name hosted by a web server. The web server contains your website files on their server. All the websites you see on the internet are actually files that are contained on someones or some companies computer. This computer I just spoke of is referred to as a SERVER incase you didn't know. These servers have enormous amounts of storage capacity for databases of files. These days you can buy your domain name and have your domain name hosted by the same website although you don't have to. For example, years ago I bought my first domain name from a website called Register.com and I had my domain name hosted by a website called Gate.com. I don't suggest doing it that way though. That's the old school way you could say. It will be easier for you to just buy your domain name and have your domain name hosted at the same time from the same website. This is what I have suggested to many others and it works out easier because these sites have technical support to answer any and all questions you may have. Once you have selected the website you want to use to buy your domain name and host it, you will need to purchase that service. Once you have purchased the domain name and hosting, you will need to confirm that your domain name is actually online. There may be a delay of 15 minutes to 24 hours before your domain name is actually online. Technical support at the website you bought all this from can walk you through this if necessary. It's fairly easy and self explanitory though. But if it isn't, don't be afraid to call tech support because they are very familiar with their own site and how it functions.
STEP 4. Build your website. Now the fun begins. This is where all first timers run into trouble. This is where things may seem complicated. Now that your domain name is online you need to build a website. Right after you buy your domain name and it is hosted and you've confirmed that it is online, it will be a blank page. It will have absolutely nothing on it. It may have a message on it like, "Coming Soon" or "Under Constuction". Learning how to build websites isn't rocket science but it could take you a while to learn even the most basic HTML. HTML is the basic foundation code used to make a website. But companies have come to realize that not many people actually know how to write the code for themselves to build a website so these companies have made applications that will do it for you. These days, the website that you bought your domain name from may have a built-in application that helps beginners build websites and it will guide you step by step in the process of building the website. It will actually write the code for you by asking you questions of how you want your page to look such as Font Size, Background Color, etc. By CODE I mean the programming languages that are used to make websites display how they do. If you don't like the built-in application for website constuction that your domain hosting website provides for you, then you can use another application such as Microsoft Frontpage or Macromedia Dreamweaver. I like Dreamweaver, it's easy to use and it comes with prebuilt templates for various styles of websites. So, to sum up all of this up so far, you need to kill 3 birds with one stone. Find a website where you can: 1. Register the domain name you came up with, 2. Have that domain name hosted, and 3. Build your website. Hopefully you've found a website where you can do all 3. This brings us to the last step which may be even more complicated for a beginner.
STEP 5. Transfer your website files to the server. This is called FTP(File Transfer Protocol). FTP is simply just communication with your server in order to copy files from your computer over to the server. Or in other words FTP is the transfer of files from your machine to their machine. You will constantly be sending over files from your computer to the server. It only takes seconds. This is how all websites are updated and it happens instantly. Your computer has to be connected with your server to transer your files over to it. Of course there will be security measures such as user names and passwords that only you will know. But transferring files is how you will be updating your website. As I'm sure you know, all your website really is are files that are contained on that server. Those files have to be updated for changes to be seen on your website. Now, I said right before this that you have to be connected to your server. You connect to your server through an application such as WS_FTP PRO. I use WS_FTP PRO because it is really easy to use. With any version of WS_FTP you can do one-click transfers. What I mean by that is, that once you have made the changes to a web page it only takes one click of the mouse to transfer it over to the server. Once it's transferred you can open up your web browser and see the changes on the your website. That one click I'm talking about just takes the files from your computer and puts them on the server and if that file already exists on your server then it overwrites it with the new data. Here is the lucky part for you if you don't want to have to buy a FTP application such as WS_FTP PRO, these days FTP can come built-in to the website that you bought your domain name from, have your site hosted from, and built your website on. That's right, it has everything you need to get a website up and running, built into one package on one website. It's just up to you to find the website you want to use for all your needs. Well, I hope this helps you get your site off the ground.