Suppose you have a web site all finished and ready to be uploaded to the web. How do you do it?
The first thing you do is purchase a domain name. This is your address, your URL (Uniform Resource Locater), that allows people to identify and find you. Think of it as the address on your front door. You can "rent" your domain name from any number of vendors. I use "www.ns.com" and it costs $14 a year. It used to be that you could only get domain names from one source and that was a quasi-governmental organization called "Network Solutions." That has changed and was "deregulated" and now there are many sources for names at a variety of different prices.
Researching and purchasing a domain name is a breeze. Type "www.ns.com" into the URL bar of your browser and on the page that appears, you can see if the name you want is "available." If the .com name you wanted is already taken, ns.com will offer you alternatives. You can select and purchase a domain name on the spot with a credit card. It only takes a minute. If you rent that name, it is yours and nobody else can use it without your permission as long as you pay the yearly fee. Notice also on the home page of "ns.com" that there is a Whois link. Click it and you can find out who owns a given name and if you can buy it on the secondary market.
The domain name you choose could reflect what you make, as mine does- "www.newartpottery.com," or it could be your name, perhaps "www.lindasmith.com," or perhaps your existing business name like "www.snakecreekpottery.com." The ".com" means commerce. It means, "I am a business; take me seriously." You can have a site at your current e-mail address, but don't bother. Nobody will find you and they won't take you seriously.
Next, you have to pay an "ISP" (internet service provider) to rent you some space on a server to hold all your data that people will click and view. I pay $25 a month for the most basic service from SBC Communications. It allows me 100 megabytes of space and 20 email addresses. 100 megs is a lot of space. The only other cost to get your site up and running- and it is optional- is either a DSL or cable connection. It is optional, but virtually a necessity. Monthly cost is $45 or so. Shop around for these services; prices vary.
You can put hundreds of pages on a 100 megs site. And you get twenty different e-mail addresses included in the price. You wouldn't think you need them, but you will find a use for them. I have three on my site. One is to me- my primary e-mail address- and the other two are so people can add or delete themselves from my e-mail list with ease. I use other e-mail addresses for other endeavors and I have one for my son and one for my wife. If I didn't have those twenty, my wife and son would have to pay someone for internet access and e-mail. Since I have all this power (a DSL line), space (the 100 meg website) and the 20 emails, I have networked my house and the whole family runs all their internet concerns through my web site. Having a web site is a powerful tool that will open doors and possibilities as you use it.
Once you have a domain name and a contract with an ISP, it is time to upload your web-site onto the server. For this you need some software. I do not know what PC users use, but I use FETCH v3.03 on my Mac. It is a very simple and logical bit of "ftp" (file transfer protocol) software that allows you to manage your files on the server. It is just like transferring files on your computer. Think of the server as just another mass storage device like a harddrive or cd burner. It is no different, it just stores information for random retrieval. Fetch was free for me off the web. There was a learning curve doing all the ftp, but I quickly got a handle on it.
Take this for what it is worth. I use SBC Communications for my DSL and ISP. I have no complaints with them whatever. The phone support is quick and courteous and always solves the problem. The first time I uploaded, I was having problems. I called for help and the woman that answered assisted me by actually watching what I was doing on the server and correcting me. And she was up in Canada and who knows where the server was! And I don't think I have ever waited more than five minutes. My experience is limited, but I would recommend them.
Another tip that I just recently learned about is, "What takes up space on your web site?" I recently checked the stats on my web site and was surprised that I was occupying 88 megs of my allotted 100 megs. I was surprised and admittedly I had not checked it in a long time. Something didn't look right, so I called the information phone number. When I asked how much space I had, I was told that my webpages occupied 45 megs of space but the "weblog" was occupying the same amount. "What's a weblog?" I asked. Turns out that a ton of information about visitors to my site is recorded and that information's space on the server was billed to my site. Some people might need that info, but I did not. I deleted the current log and that freed up 40 megs of space. I was ready to purge my web site to make room, since I did not want to exceed my 100 megs because they charge 50 cents for each meg over 100. Just something to remember.
You have most of the information. So, let me make a FEW SUGGESTIONS.