Getting Started on the Web

The web can seem like an intimidating place at first. This page will shed some light on how you can get started.


There are basically two ways to get started with a web page. You can get started for free with blogging systems like Google's Blogger or Wordpress. All you need to get started is an e-mail address. These options work best if you have a very tight budget, want personal control over content, or expect to make frequent updates. Of course, if you want a blog, they're an obvious choice.


What's a blog? It's like a public diary where you can write or post anything that interests you. Your entire website can be just your blog, or you can use your blog in conjunction with your website. In my case, I have a main website that I rarely update, and I have a blog that gets frequent updates. Since they have links to each other, they work together to enhance my search engine results.


The other approach is through a custom programmed website (like this one). The advantage is that you have unlimited flexibility in how the site is presented. Also, you're not tied to a large system, so the site can be light and nimble. It looks more professional when you establish your own domain name without a reference to a blogging network. This flexibility will cost a little more.


What do you need to get started?


Free: As I mentioned above, all you need is an e-mail address to get started with Wordpress or Blogger. Between the two, I prefer Wordpress. When you register, you'll get a domain name something like "" If you'd like to see an example, I set up a copy of this site using just the free Wordpress services. As you'll see, it isn't an exact match, but if your main objective is to establish a blog, it may be all you need.


Inexpensive: If you want your own domain name, such as "" then you need to register it through a company like Go Daddy. It doesn't cost a thing to see if the name you want is available. If you do register a domain name, you'll also need to pay an annual fee to maintain the name. By owning your own domain name, you can avoid someone else using it, and it looks more professional for your website.


Medium Cost: Once you have a registered domain name, you will also need a hosting plan if you want a custom website. (Blogger and Wordpress provide limited hosting for free.) Again, I recommend working with Go Daddy, but there are lots of other companies as well. For a simple website, even the least expensive option will usually provide more than enough space. As with the domain name, you'll pay an annual fee to maintain the hosting space and bandwidth.


Professional Look: If you really want a professional look, you can also set up one or more e-mail accounts to go with your domain name. Using an e-mail addresss such as looks much more professional than or, worse yet, something like


I'm hesitant to quote prices since they can vary quite a bit, and there are frequently discounts for the first year when you sign up. In general though, a complete setup with a domain name, hosting and an e-mail account will probably be in the neighborhood of a few hundred dollars per year.


As your consultant, I can help you decide which combination best fits your needs and budget. I'll then walk you through the process to make sure you get what you need, but don't buy features you don't need or want.



What's Next?


Once you have a website strategy, you need two more things; a website design, and content to put on the site. I can create the design for you for either Wordpress or a custom site. Typically, you'll already have the photos, videos and ideas that you want to display on the site. If you need updated photos, I can help there as well.


If this sounds like what your looking for, send me an e-mail or give me a call to discuss your project.