How to Establish a Web Presence for your Writing Services

As my time has become increasingly taken up with writing website content these past few weeks, I’ve decided to take the plunge and set my own website up to showcase my wares.

I purchased for the princely sum of $7.99 (about £4) the domain name www.ghostslair.com through GoDaddy.com, a domain name registrar and hosting company in the US. I now have a website design company putting together a rather simple website within which I can showcase my talent or lack thereof.

My budget for setting up GhostsLair.com is $200 or about £100 and this is certainly within everyone’s budget.

Here’s my “How to..” guide for creating your own web presence.

Step One : Choose and Buy a Domain Name

A domain name is simply the name given to your site, so www.supaproofread.com is the domain name for SupaProofRead and www.ghostlair.com is the domain name for GhostsLair. Domain names are unique and you should take some time in choosing a name that suits you and your services.

Registering a domain name is very easy and is extremely cheap unless you go after a seriously popular domain name e.g. www.madonna.com. I personally use GoDaddy for my domain name purchases, but you can find many, many others simply by inputting “domain names” in google and I have even purchased domain names off eBay.

Step Two : Arrange Email, Hosting and any Extras

This is something that you will arrange with the same people you buy the domain through if you use one of the established companies such as GoDaddy, Enom or 123-Reg

You don’t need to purchase an email plan if you still wish to use your hotmail, gmail or yahoo webmail, however it is a sign of web professionalism that you have email using your own domain. So for instance, I have set up ghost@ghostslair.com as my email address for use with the rest of the world. This has cost me about $20 for the year with Godaddy and for that I get 5 email mailboxes so I can have sales@ , info@, service@, chiefchimp@ or whatever email address I wish to go along with the domain.

Hosting can be arranged with a very wide variety of service providers and once again, it’s very cheap but a word of caution here; you get what you pay for. Hosting deals with where your website actually resides on the web and you need to ensure that whoever hosts the website for you provides certain quality assurances that your website will be online when it is supposed to be i.e. all the time. Hosting for GhostsLair is going to cost me $10 per month (about £50.

There are additional extras that can be added to your website package such as traffic generators, adding a blog (like this one), and various other widgets and gadgets that frankly you need not be too concerned about here.

Step Three : Designing Your Site

I have mentioned GetAFreelancer, eLance and other freeelance websites in the past as potential sources of business for you as a budding writer for profit. Now you can use these sites to source a web designer wh0 can put your site together cheaply and to your specification.

A cautionary tale; I once awarded a project to a web design chap in the US and paid an advance on the project. I never heard from them again and needless to say, did not get my website either. Pay over money AFTER the project is completed and be very clear what you are asking them to set-up for you.

I highly recommend that you surf through various sites until you find some that you like the look of. You can take the style of one website and combine it with a colour scheme from another, while taking features such as a shopping cart from yet another site. Performing this research will eliminate a lot of time and confusion when you find a geek web designer to actually code up the site.

GhostsLair template design is budgeted to cost $90 (about £45) from James at NW Village Studios in the US and I’m hoping that this little plug for his work will encourage him to deliver the site so I can show it off to you for next week 🙂

En Fin