Websites for the self employed: part 1, creating your site
There are three kinds of websites that the self employed can consider: a "brochure" site, an article site, or a store front site. Ideally, your site will be all of these things.
Creating a website
Nowadays, this is fairly easy. You need to pick out and register a domain name, pick a site hosting company, create your site, point your domain at it, and that's it. The actual creation of the pages is something you can do yourself: programs like Microsoft Word can create HTML files, and it's really not all that hard to //aplawrence.com/foo-web/creating-simple-web-pages.html">write HTML yourself. There are many other web site editing tools available; many of them are quite easy to learn.
Hosting companies are easy to find also, with prices running from free (except that they run ads on your site) to hundreds of dollars per month. If you are just starting out and don't think you need a lot of sophistication or power at first (you probably don't, and if you do, you know you do), something around $10.00 a month is probably about what you want. It's easy to change later, so don't get too worried about that part.
The hosting company can also take care of registering your domain name for you, but I recommend you do that as a separate step even if it costs you a few dollars more to do so. Before you even pick out your hosting company, go to Network Solutions and register your domain name. The reason for this is so that you have total control of your domain. Read Control your domain to understand how important that is.
Even if you have someone else take care of everything else, make sure YOU register your domain name. Do not trust this to anyone else.
This part is all simple. Next you have to decide what sort of site you want. We'll start covering that tomorrow.
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