I’ve Purchased a Web Domain… Now What?

As many of my friends and family know, I’m trying to launch a Freelance Writing business (anyone need a well educated, experienced and creative writer? If it involves words, I can write it!) After completing the Freelance Writing course in the fall, I decided that the top of my personal to do list would be to implement as many of the things I’d learned during that course. So far, I’ve done pretty well – I joined Twitter (haven’t had time to utilize it to the fullest, but I figure I’m still learning…); started a blog (as you can see, I’ve posted quasi-regularily… and I enjoy it immensely); and now, the next step – purchased a web domain. That’s right, I am the proud owner of a website.

*insert cheering crowd here*

The process of purchasing the website was quite… intimidating. It felt somewhat like walking into a store, finding the item I want and, on my way to the cash register, having people shove merchandise in my face, informing me that each piece would go well with the item in my cart. I guess it doesn’t help that I went into the purchase only semi-educated in the mechanics of website creation.

This is what I knew going in:

– in order to have a website (which is essentially the virtual version of a store front), I need to purchase a web domain. Web domains are the “plot of land” on which I can build my business. They are purchased annually through any web domain provider person… site… thing…

– in order to put anything on your domain, you need to have web hosting. To be honest, I still don’t fully understand what web hosting is… I’ve had it explained to me various times and I’ve researched it online, but I just can’t seem to fully grasp the concept. The best I can tell is it’s the infrastructure for your “shop” that is on your “plot of land”… it connects you to the rest of the world…. or something like that.


 

Update: If you’re still lost on the web hosting thing (and where to go from here), check out Web Hosting Services Explained posted on FirstSiteGuide.com. It does a far better job than I ever could of explaining the murky waters of website development.


 

Other than those two facts, I hadn’t the faintest idea what to expect. Now, after a week of poking around on this new domain, I’ve learned the following:

– When you purchase your domain and hosting, both earn you an email box. One is larger than the other… don’t know why. But I am the proud owner of an email address with my domain after the @ sign

– When you purchase your domain and hosting through a web provider person, thing… they will provide you with documentation that will tell you everything you need to know on how to get started… except, perhaps, how to actually create your website design.

– Everyone and their dog will help you. This is a good thing. Listen to everyone. Listen to their dog. They know things. Maybe not things that will help you, but information is never detrimental (unless you act on it without knowing all you need to know first). For instance, I’ve learned that WordPress has a web building software. I also learned of a flash-based web building software (free). I researched html (learned how to make the simplest of codes to announce to the world that yes, I am working on creating a website.. on the off chance that someone accidentally stumbles onto my domain)… I also learned that my brother knows how to do web hosting and I could have gotten it for free (see what I mean by not acting until you have all of the information… could have saved myself some money… ah well)

Where am I now? I’m in the midst of listening to everyone. And working on the copy for my website (best part about being a Freelance writer? I know my website copy is going to be perfect) Hopefully this weekend I’ll have a chance to explore the construction of a website… I’m looking forward to it!

Never fear, I will be posting another blog soon to update everyone on my progress!

Interested in purchasing a web domain? Here are a few of the links I visited (I visited many more, but I neglected to write them down… sorry!):

godaddy.com – web domain “store,” they are a Realtor of sorts. They offer hosting as well and, other than the initial purchasing process, where they kept trying to convince me to purchase everything, they’ve been very informative and helpful.

wordpress.org – if you go through godaddy, once you have purchased your domain & hosting, they offer “apps” that you can use. WordPress is one of them. I suggest you install it directly through godaddy, as I tried several times to do it from the wordpress website and failed, miserably, each time.

wix.com – free flash-based website builder. I looked into it, but I don’t really like flash-based websites.