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HELP! Get Me Started Online!

Software Review and 5 Short Steps to Getting Online and Making Your Own Site Simply and Easily

By Simon Loveday

Anyone wanting to start out on the Internet, although perfectly capable offline, may feel like a dummy when it comes to starting out online. Just the sheer volume of competing and distracting information available is enough to get you banging your head on the table in frustration.

There is just so much but it often fails to consider the position of the complete beginner's question, 'Where do I start?'

This is something the pros who have grown up with and often made the Internet what it is today, do not consider when they expound ever more complex strategies and the latest of the advanced pieces of software.

Novices, however, need a clear and simple path to follow so that they can get some experience behind them and the confidence to adopt the more esoteric possibilities that abound.

So, what is the first thing to do?

Well, the order is debatable, but we can break the process down into just 5 Clear Steps

1. First, you really do need to think about what your intentions are and what you hope to do online. If, for example, you merely want to have your thoughts recorded for posterity - or a group of friends, then a blog (think online diary) could well the way to start.

Usually free to use and maintain, they are the simplest and quickest way to begin but lack the versatility of a 'proper' site.

If you are thinking of something more static and 'businesslike' then, read on.

For someone hoping to operate a business or community site -and assuming you are not an expert of HTML (the basic language of the web), you will need to get yourself a sensible piece of site building software.

Free is possible, but be prepared for no or slow customer support and bugs that do not get fixed or attended to promptly. (You will also find that 'free' often means expenses elsewhere – either in 'additional services' that are often included in the commercial packages or limitations that have to be overcome. And your time, remember, should not be counted as free, viz Economics 101.)

Rather, a robust and supported software is preferable, as well as one that does not require a PhD in Computing to follow the manual.

2. After trial and error we finalized our site building operations on a piece of software by a company called Intellimon that has proved to be sooo nice to use. Operating it really is very intuitive and it just contains almost
everything you could think of having under one roof and then some more. Especially, so since Version 2 was released.

The learning curve is a lot less steep than with many another site builder and it is really this that allowed my creative juices to be given free rein. Best all you don't need to know any HTML to get your site going.

The software is called XSitePro.   Click here for more information on XSitePro

3. Next, you will need to think of a name for your site. Once you've done that, get it registered at a domain registration service. This should cost no more than a yearly fee of $10 (down from $70 or more just a few years ago!). My favorite, GoDaddy, is also one of the cheapest and has proved to be very dependable. You can get you domain now at

4. Now, you will need a reliable 'hosting' company. This is essentially another set of computers -'servers' - that make your site accessible 24/7 to other computer users.

Monthly packages are available and are probably the best as you are not locked into a poor service for long and they have to work hard to maintain customer satisfaction.

Think around $6-10 a month for this. You will then transfer your new domain name to the hosting company if they are different. My recommendation is for Hostgator, which is where all my sites are as of this writing. You can get your account at Editor'sChoiceForHosting

5. Finally, you will 'upload' your site to your hosting company. This is the scariest part of all for newcomers – I know, I was worried that if I made a mistake I would possibly blow-up my hosting company's system when I first tried. LOL.
Actually, it wasn't that bad. And aanyway, they have rebuilt, now, though, I hear.

There, 5 Steps to Getting Online! Essentially, that is what it is all about. Alright. I know. The devil is in the details. But at least you now know what to look for. I wish I had understood that when I was starting out. But now you do, so go to it.

To Your Success.

Click here for more information on XSitePro

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