Someone asked me recently about getting their own domain name and setting up a website. I’m not very good at this stuff, but I have been through it once or twice, so I thought I’d at least offer this up in case it’s useful.
Let’s say you want to buy example.com, and set it up as a series of static informational pages about Example Business Inc, along with @example.com email addresses. There are (at least) 3 ways you can go:
1) the standard method
- Grab the domain from GoDaddy (or any other domain name registrar – they all do basically the same thing). It’ll cost you $10-20 for a year or two
- Then you need to find a place to host your site (e.g. Rackspace, Dreamhost). You’d spend c. $10/month to rent space on a server, point your new domain name to the server’s IP address, write and upload some html and images, and away you go.
- You then need to set up email addresses. If it’s GoDaddy, I think you’ll be able to set it up to forward your email to an existing account without too much trouble.
- This is what i had to do with Memrise because I wanted control over everything. Honestly, it was much much more complicated than i had anticipated to figure it all out.
option 2) use Google
- Use Google to register your domain name
- I think that’ll automatically set you up with Google Apps (custom Gmail, Calendar, Sites, Blogger, Docs etc.) for free.
- Then you can set up the design and content of the pages of your website with Google Sites.
- So then you’d all use a custom Gmail interface to check your @example.com address, and have access to blog.example.com, calendar.example.com etc. I’m a big fan of Google Apps.
option 3) Weebly (or some equivalent competitor)
- Besides Google, there are a variety of companies that help build a site. I’ve heard good things about Weebly, but haven’t closely investigated it for myself.
- Much like Google Sites, it looks like they’ll do most of what you’d want: help with design templates, deal with the hosting, potentially help with domain names, and a bunch of other stuff. Nice!
- As long as your needs are simple, I would consider the Google/Weebly approach, since I think it’ll be the most straightforward.
- Down the line, if you decide that you want to build something more complicated and interactive, you can always hire a programmer and switch from Google/Weebly to your own hosting set up.
- If you have someone to help who enjoys techie stuff or has set up their own site before, then setting things up with GoDaddy and your own hosting will probably go smoothly. But otherwise, a company like Google or Weebly that’ll do 90% of the work for you, so you can focus on building a great site :)