Setting up your Web site

Webmonkey, a child project of Terra Lycos and my long-time favorite Web creation/tips site, will be closing down following a found of layoffs in their U.S. division. Wired has an article about this shut-down here. In the past, I have often pointed fellow Web designers to Webmonkey as a place where they could get specific Web development guidance, but now where can I suggest they go?

Here's a short, simple list of my recommendations for setting up your own Web site.

Domain registrars: A registrar is the name of the service/company that you buy your own Web domain name. Although I've used several in the past, there's really only one I use these days.

  • GoDaddy.com: They're very cheap (although their domain management tools are a little difficult to get used to). If you like, they can host your site and your new e-mail address.

Hosts: Once you purchase your domain, you then need a service to both host your new name and give you a space to store your Web files. If you're confused about the difference between registrars and hosts, maybe it helps to think of the registrar as the post office who knows your address while the host is your actual home.

  • Hostrocket.com: This is the hosting service I currently use. They're fairly cheap, give you a lot of space for your files, and have a lot of special settings that advanced Web developers might like.
  • Surpass Hosting: A friend of mine uses this service. It's got a lot of the same bells and whistles as Hostrocket.com, but with more Web space. If I hadn't gone with Hostrocket.com as my host, I would have gone with this service.
  • Dathorn Internet Services: A co-worker of mine recommends this service, but although it also has many of the same perks as the two sites mentioned above, it seems to run a bit slow from what I've seen.

Guides: Even though Webmonkey is going away, here are several sites I visit frequenyl and recommend to to new and veteran Web developers:

  • A List Apart: My favorite advanced Web development site. Lots of CSS, accessibility, and general design tricks.
  • Zeldman.com: Jeffrey Zeldman is the creator of A List Apart. Although his personal site includes some of the same material as ALA, it also includes Web development & community news, among other tidbits.
  • CSS Zen Garden: A beautiful exploration of CSS designs. Very inspirational for those trying to get more into CSS.
  • Scripty Goddess: A blog-style guide, sharing a variety of tips & tricks on topics like CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Movable Type (more about this publishing system below).
  • The Girlie Matters: Like Scripty Goddess, a blog-style guide sharing tips & tricks on CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Movable Type.
  • HTML Dog: As pointed out by it's tag line, this site is "a good practice guide to XHTML and CSS." It's fairly new, but is shaping up very nicely.
  • W3 Schools: This site includes tutorials for HTML, XML, JavaScript, SQL, PHP, and more.
  • Gazingus.org: This site has a few neat gimmicks, like a "page weight" bookmarklette that I use sometimes.

Publishing systems: Maybe the reason you're setting up your site is to start your own blog ("blog" comes from Web log) journal. There are two general directions: publishing systems you set up for yourself, or publishing systems managed by an existing service.

  • Movable Type: This is the free, pre-packaged publishing system that I use. In the past, I've used NewsPro, Greymatter, pMachine, and I like this publishing system the most. It's updated frequently and gives you a lot of control over how your site is displayed.
  • Blogger: This is a journal publishing system hosted & managed by the Blogger group. If you're just looking to make journal updates, and not so interested in Web design, then this may be the option for you.
  • Live Journal: Similar to Blogger, Live Journal is a third-party journal publishing system that makes it easy to jump into the blogging community.

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