Apr 27 2009
Create a Website for Free
Brought to you by: James
This week, I’d like to continue with the “theme” established by Brian in last week’s Freeloader Friday and “farm-out” to a few different sources in order to show you some quick tips to get your first website off of the ground.
Keep in mind that this article assumes that you have already signed up for a host with PHP and MySQL, such as Pair Networks or A Small Orange. Need a domain name? I highly recommend . All of the following items mentioned are free and open-source, except for SimpleViewer and Delicious Library. SimpleViewer is free, but the source code costs $45. Delicious Library costs $40, and is closed-source.
First, you’ll need an FTP app to transfer these files to your website. I recommend Cyberduck.
WordPress is easy to install, especially when you follow these instructions. Does your host provide you with cPanel? Then follow these cPanel-specific instructions. Are you planning on installing WordPress locally on your Mac? Then follow these Mac OS X-specific instructions. Do you already have WordPress installed on your current host, but plan to change hosts? Then follow these moving directions. If you’re upgrading from v1.2.x to the latest v1.5.x, then follow these upgrade instructions.
Now, that you have WordPress installed (which is not difficult), it’s time to take your first steps with WordPress. You probably want your blog to have a better look than the one provided by the default theme. Start by looking through this list. For a one-column theme, I recommend Manji. For a two-column theme, I recommend either Fauna or Rin. And, for a three-column theme, I recommend either Anaconda or Journalized (Winter). Do you want to replace that big blue header image in the default theme with a nicer image? Then give Kubrickr a spin. If you’re skilled, you can create your own theme, using the blog design and layout guides, or this theme generator.
Ok, now you’ve got WordPress installed and personalized a bit. You may want to learn how to combat comment spam (because it happens to everyone), backup your posts and data, optimize your blog for search engines, or work with Pages. If you want plugins, there are three resources. The Official Repository, The Codex, and the unofficial WordPress Plugin DB.
Is WordPress not what you’re looking for? Do you need something bigger? Something grander? Then you probably want a Content Management System. As Brian mentioned, Drupal will make a fine CMS for your needs.
Ok, so you have your blog. You probably want a gallery too. You’ll find a great collection of gallery scripts here. I recommend SimpleViewer. Now, working with SimpleViewer is no walk-in-the-park. For that, try adding SimpleViewerAdmin into the mix.
Now, if you’re like me and have a big collection, you’ll want to add some form of a personal library. I use Delicious Library (review) to keep my personal library catalogued. To make my library internet-ready, I use DeliciWeb.
Ok, you’ve read my recommendations, but maybe you just want to do it your way. Then download NVU and start designing. You can find free website-building tutorials at W3 Schools. Remember, I’m no professional designer. You’ll have to talk to Rick or Jon about that.
Now that your website is live, I should let you know that there are some bad bots out there. Some bots are out to index your site for search engines or other legitimate online services, but some are out only to spam your site, steal email addresses, and waste your bandwidth. Fortunately, it’s easy to keep bad bots out of your website.
Well, hopefully you’re on your way to having a great website. If did get your site up-and-running because of either Brian’s article or mine, please let us know.