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Setting up a site

It is very easy to set up your own website but there are several factors you have to consider first.

What is your website going to be used for?

Do you intend to inform people (teach or preach), communicate with like minded people (get feedback from the surfers of your bit of webspace), advertise, sell things or just promote yourself?

Is a setting up website the best way to solve your problem? Promoting yourself or preaching might be better tackled by setting up a blog - a weB LOG - a sort of online diary - often used for online rants! Another possibility is setting up a You Tube Channel and uploading vidclips of yourself - this is especially useful if you wish to perform on a musical instrument in front of an audience.

What is it going to look like?

You need to think about the style of your site - that will depend upon the primary function and the audience you wish to attract (and hopefully keep). The best idea is to surf the web and look at the sites other people have set up with a similar purpose. Think carefully about what you like (or dislike) about sites you visit and make a list of attributes you want your site to have.

You then have to decide on a colour scheme - font style - page layout - means of navigation (how users move around your pages) etc.

How much time and money are you willing to invest in your site?

A site takes on a life of its own. It needs caring for like a houseplant! It needs watering (with new info and updates) and pruning (rethinking layout, removing 'dead' graphics and pages) to grow as you want it to! All of that takes time.

It will cost money if you want to have your own domain name and space that is not leased in the name of another company. Do a careful costing before you sign up to anything!

How are you going to write your pages?

Web pages are usually written in HTML (HyperText Markup Language) but there are lots of programs that provide a WYSIWYG platform to work from. Working within these you actually see the page almost as it will look when finally uploaded to the webspace. I use Dreamweaver - that is a WYSIWYG program, but knowing a bit of HTML is useful when using it.  

Most web hosting companies offer a WYSIWYG program that you can use - but they are often limiting - it depends what you want to do.

Your domain in cyberspace

The area of webspace that your site occupies is called your domain. You also have to have somewhere in cyberspace to store all of the pages and files associated with your domain. So you need a host for your domain.

Be careful which company you choose to host your site.

For your home site your braodband provider will probably be your best bet. They usually offer free webspace for each cable connection. One downside to this is that your web address will contain the provider's name. My first cyberphysics site address was at ''. The other problem is that the webspace is limited. For a home site it is often fine - but as your site grows - particularly if it has a lot of graphics associated with it- you will soon run out of space.

There are several companies who offer "free hosting". Some will bombard you with spam or sell your email address to other spammers. Others will paste their ads on your site. Make sure you know what you are signing up to before you commit yourself. These also often only offera limited amount of webspace.

If you decide that you do not want adverts on your site - or want to use your site for you own adverts then you need to find a hosting company that will allow this. Total costing for your venture will require you to consider the price of the site hosting - not just for the first few months - but the regular cost... read the small print!

Domain name

You will not only have to purchase the hosting but also the domain name. Domain names are registered so that only one site of any name can be set up.

The cost of your domain name will depend on the 'ending': .uk .name are cheaper than .com .net .org which in turn are cheaper than .info .biz

There is usally an annual fee charged for your domain name. If you do not pay each year you will lose your web address - and someone else may take it over.