I’ve given this “lesson” many times over the years, so it’s high time I post it here so it’s preserved and readily available. This begins with “the 3 things you need to have for a website” and then takes each of those a couple of steps further.

The Basics: 3 things you need for website:

  1. Domain name: These tend to cost around $15/year, plus/minus a buck or two. If you want to go the totally free route, then several online web hosting companies offer you free websites with free subdomains. A subdomain is a domain “under” a domain, and appears as a word before the main domain, such as mycoolwebsite.weebly.com or mycoolwebsite. wordpress.com. That’s ok, but not very professional looking — and I’m surprised sometimes to run across a business website that appears quite professional, clearly wants to look professional, yet uses a free subdomain web hosting solution, instead of spending a few $$$ a month to have a “real” domain — that is, an actual domain registered to them, rather than just a subdomain.
  2. Web Hosting account: This is whoever you’re paying to host your website. If you’re paying more than $7 – $10/month, you’re paying more than you need to be… If you’re unhappy with who you’re paying now, we can talk about this… Most hosting companies —all the biggies— are about the same on basic tech stuff, all that “99.9% uptime” talk… so in my opinion the one thing that is so important and separates the good from the great, is this: Do they have 24/7/365 toll-free phone support and also 24/7/365 online chat support, and are they both US-based in-house (rather than being transferred to Bangalor or Saigon or wherever, after hours)? I use HostMonster and BlueHost; they’re in Utah— and in fact I think these two companies are actually the same company, and they each offer that level of support, all in-house (i.e. people who work for them, not 3rd party out-sourced support), and they have always been great, never not solved any issue quickly… and they’re very reasonably priced…
    I recommend Blue Host (bluehost.com) because they have all you’d want from a web hosting company, and offer very good tech support: 24/7/365 toll-free phone and chat support. Their phone support is always US-based, techs working at their Orem, UT headquarters; their chat support is outsourced to Asia after hours, but I have never had an issue they were not able to solve. And, if you use my “affiliate” link, I get paid for the referral — which will earn you an hour of my time helping you get started! www.bluehost.com/track/taltenberg.
  3. Finally, Content: The actual words, images, videos, etc. that comprise the content of your website. This of course is the “biggie” that will take most of your time…

Next: Websites these days must be “responsive” i.e. “mobile ready”

Go WordPress!