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March 27, 2007

Getting a website can be a fun, exciting, and profitable venture. You will encounter many tough decisions throughout this process and I am writing this from my own experience so that you might be able to get a good start.

There are several things you will need to decide before you get started making your website:

  • What will the purpose of your site be?
  • What will the topic of your site be?
  • What will the domain name be?
  • What will the name of the site be?
  • What company do you want to register your domain with?
  • What company do you want to get hosting from?
  • What ads will you put on your site?
I will try to help you make the best decision for each of these in the following paragraphs.

The first thing you need to decide when making a site is what the purpose of the site will be. Will it be just to have the satisfaction of having a site? Will it be to entertain people? Will it be to make a profit? Or will it be something else? This decision is completely up to you! Pick whatever sounds good to you.

After you get the purpose of your site you need to pick a topic for the site. If you are making a site to just get satisfaction pick something that you like and interests you. Some exaples might be trains, flowers, history, coins, photography etc. If it is to entertain people then pick something that interests you and you know a lot of people will like. Some examples of this might be games, movies, music etc. If your purpose in making a site is to make a profit then you need to pick a topic that will bring people to your site. That means your site should be about something that people want to hear about or see. One of the things I learned when doing this is it is also a good idea if you pick a topic that does not already have a lot of sites about it. Pick something unique but still interesting. This is probably a good idea if you are making a site to entertain people as well.

Now that you have a topic for your site you need to find a domain name! A domain name is the part of the address of the site between the www. and the .com or .net or whatever. (Example: www.DomainName.com) This part can be hard because there can only be one of each domain name. Once someone buys a domain name no one else can use it until it expires which happens when that person decides not to renew it. You buy domain names for years at a time. If you are just starting a site it is probably wise to buy just one year and then renew it before it expires unless you are sure you are going to want it for longer. Most of the good domain names are taken but if you can get creative you can find some good ones. You can check if a domain name is available or not by going to Name Cheap and using their free search. When picking it make sure to keep in mind that the domain name needs to be short, easy for people to remember, and easy to say. If you have a domain like www.thisisareallylongdomainname.com it is hard for people to remember. Make sure that when you are telling people about your site they do not think the wrong thing. If you pick something like www.TheNumberTwoGames.com people will think it is www.2Games.com. You can not have spaces in a domain name but you can use hyphens although I prefer not to because it makes it a little harder to communicate to people. There are different thoughts on how to pick a domain name. One way you can do it is to use the topic of the site. If you were going to make a site about trains you might pick the domain www.Trains.com. But since that is probably already taken add a couple other words like terrific and then try www.TerrificTrains.com. I used this method to get this site www.WebGameDesign.com which is for my web designing company Ddot Design. Another way you can pick your domain is by using the name of the site. To do this you need to think of names you would like for a site and then see if that domain name is available. I used this method to get www.PlayAddictingWebGames.com.

The next step is to actually buy the domain name. There are several companies you can get it from and you have to pick one. There are a few places where you can get a free domain name and hosting. If you are making a site just for satisfaction and you do not want to spend any money, this is the way to go. The disadvantage with these places is they usually put an ad or link in your web pages which is ok if you do not mind, but if you are trying to make a profit I would suggest purchasing a domain name and hosting. When you purchase it you get a lot more options. If you wanted to change what company provided your hosting and keep the same domain name, you most likely can not do that if you got a free domain name. You should be able to do that if you purchase your domain name. For my domains I have only used Name Cheap and I would highly recommend them. If you do a Google search you can find many other places but do some research on what other people say about the site that you get your domain from before you buy it. It might save you from a painful experience.

Now you need hosting. Hosting is the place that stores all of the info of your website and gives it to computers when people view your website. When someone goes to your site the domain name tells them where your website is hosted and then the hosting computer sends all the information to the computer that requested it. Again there are places where you can get free hosting and it can be a good deal if you just want to see how to make a website or you do not want to pay for anything. Several places offer free hosting but you may not get to pick your domain which is perfect for learning before you actually spend any money. Once you are sure you want to pay for hosting I recommend Host Gator for this. That is the only company I have used so far and they have good support, good prices, and they fix their server quickly if it has problems.

If your goal was to make a profit then this is a very important step. You need to put ads on your website! That is where the profit comes from. One of the biggest ad companies is Google Adsense. It is my main source of profit on all of my websites. There are a few other sites I have used and they may work better than Google depending on your site. A big part of this is just trying different things and keeping track of what works best. Here is a list of places you can sign up for ads:

  • Sign up for Bucks 4 Banners.
  • Reach Ads (ads for gaming and entertainment sites)

If you have any questions about creating a website contact me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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