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Creating Your Own Website

I was asked by a close friend about getting setup with their own website. They've used sites like LiveJournal and Facebook to manage their blogs and content they wanted to share with friends, but some people get to a point where they want to break out of those "silos" and have full control over their own website. I've described how to setup your own Blogger site using GoDaddy so that you can have Blogger run from your own domain name, but we're going a step further today. This is the way to setup your own custom website.

Obviously the first step is to choose your domain name. It's simple and you can usually find a .com name available for registering for less than $10. Unless you are running a business, it's not strictly necessary to own a .com domain name, so don't be afraid to use a .Me or .Us extension. Search engines and friends will still be able to find you. If you expect to use a lot of videos or link to your YouTube collection, then you can pay a bit more and get the .TV extension. Go Daddy can register any of those extensions for you.

Now, once you have a name, the easiest and likely the cheapest thing for you to try is Go Daddy's very own hosting service. What is a hosting service? Well, Go Daddy has a huge farm of web servers that they configure in such a way so that individuals like you get their own little slice of the server to do with whatever you want. They have both Windows and Linux servers available so if you have a personal preference, you can choose which Operating system you want your web server to run. And then they offer a package of services and software that you can use on your slice of the server. For example, you get a web server with the ability to host one or more domains, you get an ftp account where you can upload and store data for your site (photos, etc.), you get free software such as blogging software, photo galleries, shopping carts and more than can be setup with a click of a button.

Then it's all up to you to create your content. If you chose, for example, to setup WordPress on your site, then you can just use WordPress to create articles and posts for your site, but because you have ftp access to the server, you can install your own WordPress plugins, you can setup your own MySQL database and write your own web applications, etc, etc. etc. You also get Mail services, so that you can have your own unique email address @ your domain name. Many people won't take you seriously with just a gmail or hotmail account. So it's a great way to get respect. Managing your email is easy and you can use their built in webmail system or hook it up with your own copy of Outlook or set it up so that your mail goes through Gmail for easy, centralized management. You can get all of that for as little $5 a month!

You also can buy additional services, such as site building tools, SSL certificates for secure shopping, or a dedicated IP address for application development or better SEO ranking on Google. I highly recommend you continue to use Google Analytics for monitoring your site's visitors as the default logging with most hosting accounts is fairly limited, but there's really very little you can't do with a shared web host like Go Daddy. I've used them for a number of sites and can recommend them wholeheartedly.

I've just recently stepped up to my own Virtual Private Server (VPS) as I've got too many sites to manage on a shared web host, but that's a story for another time. Hopefully this gets you the tools you need to get started. If you have questions, holler!

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