Now that I had decided I was going to lay out some coin, what are the potential costs?
I absolutely wanted my site to be hosted under my own domain name (e.g., storyworlds.com), not a sub-domain of hosting site (e.g., storyworlds.wordpress.com). There are essentially two ways to approach this.
First, you can register and host your domain with most of the website design/providers (I’ll call these “hosted sites”) mentioned in the previous post (e.g., Weebly, Webs, Jimdo, WordPress.com, etc.) and then still use their tools to create your website.
Second, you can go to a hosting company like Namecheap or GoDaddy where you can register your domain and purchase and self-manage a plethora of services such as website hosting, email, website design, storage, etc. (I’ll call these “personal sites”). Clearly, the second option again is for the more technologically inclined. Each provider has its own pricing scheme, some a la carte, some bundled with other services, but you can expect to pay about $10-$20/year for your domain alone, not including other hosting services.
You want email address(es) connected to your domain or subdomain? $$
You want more storage? $$
All these little add-ons will cost you and, again, will sometimes be bundled and sometimes a la carte. These will also be recurring costs. I highly recommend spending some time figuring out what you want so you can do an apples-to-apples comparison among the various providers.
As I mentioned previously, if one of the designs or themes from the hosting site works for you, this can be zero or minimal additional cost.
Another option is to install a website design tool, such as WordPress (which you find at wordpress.org, not .com) on your personal site. Since I’m using WordPress, I will give it a shout out. It makes blogging a breeze and like wordpress.com, it has numerous themes you can install for free or for a couple of dollars. In addition, there are copious third-party plugins to add functionality like automatic posting to Twitter or spam blocking or download managing, etc. A lot of this functionality is available on the hosted sites as well, by the way. A personal site take a lot more work to set-up than a hosted site, but gives the do-it-yourselfer a great deal of control over his/her site.
Of course, you can always hire a professional website designer or company to build your site from the ground up, but be prepared to spend thousands of dollars.
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