Getting Your Own Web Page

So you think you would like to have your own Web page. I was there once, many web pages ago - back in the last Century in fact. My Internet Service Provider (ISP) offered some free space for a web page and a turn-key do it yourself site building program allowing selection of colors, various layout templates, and ability to somewhat customize the text to my needs. I made a page for my consulting business and now had an Internet presence. It was a pretty humdrum looking page but I became an instant webmaster and had a web address to put on my business card, about the only way anyone would ever find it. Search engine technology was pretty archaic by today's standards. The web address for this site was shared with others and more complicated, definitely not the same as owning RPDMS.com domain.

My son, an undergraduate at UF was the webmaster for his Professional Services Organization, a group of students pursuing health care careers, actively involved in community service to build the curriculum vitae needed for admission to medical or dental schools. After seeing his custom web page, far more professional looking than my template thingie, a most fitting description by comparison, I asked him for some lessons. He said he learned by studying the page source of other web pages containing features he liked and showed me how to get started. It wasn't long afterward that I purchased a beginner's guide to HTML, started learning from the ground up and soon purchased my own domains. Having a web page on my ISP was not like having a real page of my own! If you feel that way also, then read on.

Today's site building tools are far more advanced, offering many more template options and even opportunities for incorporating personalized items of your own. This is particularly true with many of the programs provided by web hosting companies. These systems and more sophisticated WYSIWYG programs like Frontpage and Dreamweaver create volumes of redundant tags making manual modification difficult when the results are not exactly what you're seeking. To summarize, if your web host, assuming you have your own domain, provides a quick means of creating pages, then the quickest and cheapest route to Internet presence for your business is to use these resources. Be prepared, however, that some other means of driving viewers to your site will most likely be needed! Additionally, maintenance and changes to your web site will be your responsibility and the turnkey source code created by these programs can be quite intimidating for even experienced HTML coders. Although you'll have complete access to your site, you'll likely be forever tied to the original program and web host.

Consider that you may be way ahead by letting us write you a customized, tailored just for you, web site utilizing the latest technology developed to ensure the viability of the Internet far into the future. Our web pages, by separating the content from the design, make site maintenance much easier, and in fact, so simple that it can be maintained with little HTML expertise beyond basic text formatting tags you can learn in a few minutes. We carefully follow the latest XHTML and CSS standards creating pages that look the same in all up to date browsers supporting the latest W3C standards.

Although no one can guarantee any particular ranking or placement in search engines, we have carefully studied the webmaster guides aimed at helping search engine compatibility, optimization, ranking and placement. Google, for example, repeatedly states in their webmaster guides to write a web page aimed at the user and not the search engine. By providing well organized, well documented, accurately described content using relevant terminology, your search engine placement will take care of itself. That is precisely what we try to do. Beware of those who guarantee any particular search engine placement via key words as bait for your business!

Regardless of your decision, here are the steps to having your own web page:

• Have Internet access - unless you are reading this page at the library or someone else's computer, you're already beyond this step.

• Come up with a domain name. Decide what top level domain you wish to register, i.e. .com, .info, .us, etc. This will affect the annual registration cost. I personally own rpdms.com, corhian.com, spde.info and penrods.us. I used to own singalongwith.us but my wife no longer does activities so I let it expire.

• Decide on the domain name. Try to keep it related to your intent by using meaningful words that will help search engine placement as well as remembering the domain name, ala my singalongwith.us. Come up with some alternative variations in the case your first choices are not available.

• Find a registrar that handles your selected top level domain. ICANN list of registrars. You will also need a web hosting company, often a service provided by the registrar and may offer first year domain registration free with hosting also. My domains are registered and hosted through Godaddy.com, probably the most visible registrar-host but I have also had good service from Gate.com. Can't offer any advice beyond this.

• Visit the site of your selected registrar-host and search for availability of your primary domain name and/or secondary as needed.

• Select a hosting plan. Recommend a Linux basic system for starters. Complete transactions as outlined to take advantage of any hosting-domain registration discounts. Be sure to record your account user ID's and passwords. If you decide to let us do your web page we'll need FTP Login ID and Password to upload your pages.

• What will be your annual cost? Depending upon the top level, your registration cost could vary from $7-$12/year and the hosting plan should be $60-$100/year. You may or may not get the first year registration free with a hosting package. The registrar and hoster do not have to be the same company so you can shop around for the best deals. Also, new registrations are sometimes discounted to get your business and they often honor the lower price for a longer initial registration period. These prices are pretty basic and, depending upon your business intent, can be higher with add-ons, like shopping carts, secure site to take credit cards, etc. The basic will more than cover a services type web site intended for your customers to find you and everything you want them to know about you and your services.

If you're still with me, you must be somewhat interested. Follow here to the next page and more details regarding the anatomy of our web page writing system.