So your group wants a web site…

This page is designed to help groups that want more than a presence on BPFP.org. Read it carefully, and email us if you have any questions.

You’ll want a domain name

Examples: www.ourgroup.com, www.we-are-doing-great-things.net, www.ourneighborhoodpark.org

Acquiring your name.

  1. First, find a name. You can check with your domain registrar company (see #2 below). You can also use whois.net , which will tell you if the name you select is already purchased.
  2. Pick a name you think represents your group. Chances are your first choice will already be taken, but you might luck out. I would avoid dashes in your name, they will tend to confuse people (and if the name without dashes is already taken, some folks will type it in without the dashes). Bottom line: Your domain name is not as important as many think. Best is something that you can easily say to people and they’ll be able to write it down . But most of your traffic will come from links from other sites (and search engine results), which will have "copied and pasted" your link, so spelling isn’t important.
  3. There are several companies out there that handle the selling of names. You buy it and pay a yearly fee (about $10/year in 2009). You can pay your fee annually, or pay several years in advance. Probably the most popular company is GoDaddy.com , their prices are about the best, and their services are reasonable.
  4. After you’ve bought it, don’t forget to renew your domain each year. If you do lose your domain by not renewing it, it may be difficult to get it back.

Once you get your name, you’ll need to tell your registration company where the web site is hosted:

Hosting your site: The computer it runs on.

A host these days will cost you $3-5/month. There are free sites out there, but if you can pay the $30-60/year, you have more control and won’t have to worry about ads or the company changing their free policy. Another free option is BPFP.org: we can provide you with free hosting that includes a web address "yourgroup.bpfp.org" You can still have register and publicize your own domain, it’s just that when people type in "yourgroup.org" they will end up at ‘yourgroup.bpfp.org"

Just like domain registrars, there are many web hosting companies out there. BPFP uses u2-web.com , which has great service and good prices (you can check www.webhostingjury.com to read reviews of your potential host company).

Running your site.

The "old school" web site is written on your computer, then "uploaded" via FTP to your host. These days many/most sites are database driven. Examples include WordPress (runs BPFP.org), Joomla, and Droopal. There are a couple advantate of a database driven sites:

  • All the pages reside on the site, which allows you to update the site from anywhere, and multiple people can edit it without worry about who has the most updated version of each page.
  • The work of all the code for the site is already done, all you need to do is select a style and add your content.
  • There are numerous add-ons and themes (styles) to select from.

More to come.

We’ll add more here in the future, but this should get you started with making your decisions about your web site.

Links.

June 2nd, 2009

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