Your Own Piece of the Web for $40/year or less.

Peter K Johnson's home pagePeople understand the Web because they use it every day. But, not everyone knows how easy it is to get your own web site up and running on the Web. You can do it for less than $40/year.

Domain Names

The first part of getting published is to get your own domain name. A good domain is hard to find because most of the common ones have already been taken. You want one that meets the following requirements:

  • describes your site
  • is easy to remember and easy to spell
  • is available on the Web

The DNS (Domain Name System/Server) keeps track of all the domain names on the Web so there are no duplicates. Domain names can be ordered from InterNic and other DNS vendors. For your convenience most web hosting services allow you to order a domain name as one of the services.

An annual license for a new domain name will cost about $17/year. Many web hosting services offer domains for free or very low priced as a loss-leader. Existing names are more expensive. Many people around the world purchase domain names hoping to resell them later. Often names licensed names will cost $1,000’s, especially if a company really wants a particular name as part of their product identity.

Because of the scarcity of good names it is best to make up a list of 20 or 30 names that would be appropriate for your web site. Prioritize them, then visit your web host provider as outlined below and do a search for each one. Be ready to purchase any you find. I’ve heard tales of people searching for names only to come back a few days later to find that their names have been licensed by someone else.

Purchase as many years as you can. (This is one of the criteria that Google uses to determine how to rank a web page.) Also, think of purchasing multiple endings (.com, .org. .net) as well as multiple names. If there’s a variation (or commonly misspelled version) purchase that as well.

Keep in mind that domain name licensing is separate from having pages published on the Web. You can license a domain name now without having the added expense of hosting a site right away.

Because of their high value and growing scarcity, a good domain name is an important asset for any company or business.

Web Hosting

There are thousands of hosting services available. A simple search on the Web (for example: web hosting comparisons) will give you lots of options.

Beware of GoDaddy.com. They are very popular right now and market their services heavily. However, their servers have very strict policies and a lot of tools such as Drupal, a popular CMS (Content Management System) , and CGI scripts are very difficult to install.

Building Web Site

You can create your own web site with a text editor and a browser. Cost: your time. More sophisticated web programmers use DreamWeaver from Adobe/Macromedia. Please don’t use FrontPage. It is now defunct having been replaced by Microsoft’s new product: Expression. There are also many free web editors available including NVue, FirstPage, AlleyCode, and Amaya which runs on Mac OS X as well as Windows.

Often people take my Web Programming I course just to learn how to write HTML and build their own site.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to build your own web site you can always contact the computer science or art department at your local college. Ask if their web students need projects to work on. For example, my Web Programming I and Web Programming II courses both have capstone requirements involving community business partners.

Your Own Piece of the Web

So, for less than $40/year you can have your own site up on the Web. At the very least you should consider setting up a personal home page. And, if you are an entrepreneur (or even thinking about being one) now is the time to get your piece of the web. At the very least, reserve your domain names.

Want to see more details on all of this? Check out my business presentation out on my web site: Web Marketing