HTML stands for hypertext mark-up language. Although we commonly refer to it as “code,” it’s essentially a specific set of instructions that explain how a web browser should display content.
Pronounced Whiz-ee-wig, this is an acronym for “What You See is What You Get,” and refers to programs like Dreamweaver that give you the ability to create web files without knowing how to write code.
This is essentially the URL for your web site, for example: http://iamcool.com. A domain name may end in various ways (.com, .org, .edu, .info, .net, .biz…etc.), depending on availability (a domain name may be owned by only one person at a time). There are many companies selling domains online; it is a good idea to do your research before committing to a contract, as the prices vary. A simple Google search of “purchase domain” will give you plenty to choose from. (I have used GoDaddy.com and found it to be fairly user friendly; I have also used Register.com, which is a little less so.)
Once you find and purchase your domain, you must find a host for your domain. Web hosting is similar to "renting" space on the Web, either by the month or year. You rent that space according to the size and needs of your website. Many companies that sell domains also handle hosting, allowing you to work with just one account; however, it is not required that you host your domain with the seller of the domain. Here is an online feature reviewing the Top 10 hosting companies. There are many others to choose from. As with domains, it is best to do your research, as the prices vary according to services provided. (Some companies include e-mail, blogging, e-commerce, and other tools as part of the package. Be sure to read your contract before signing, and know beforehand what you really want and need.)
Uploading your Files
If you have designed a web site using Dreamweaver or other tools, you upload your files to the host account. Most host providers offer customer service sites with detailed explanations on how to upload files using their system. For GoDaddy.com, for instance, this explanation is provided. Mydomain.com offers this handy support page.
Once you have uploaded the files, they will be accessible from your URL on the web. Whatever file you have set as the index.html file will be your home page, and the other pages will connect as they did within Dreamweaver.
You should plan on keeping your Dreamweaver files intact on your home computer (and back them up on an external drive if you really want to be safe). If you ever want to change something on your site, you can make the change to the original file in question, and then load just that file onto the host to update it.
Applying a Domain to your Wordpress (or other) Blog
Let’s say you created an amazing Wordpress blog, but instead of having a URL with Wordpress in it (creativeepublishing.wordpress.com), you’d prefer to change the URL to something more like this: www.creativeepublishing.com. There are two ways of doing this.
- Redirect domain to blog URL: By redirecting your domain name, a person visiting www.creativeepublishing.com would be rerouted to your blog; once they arrive, the URL changes to the creativeepublishing.wordpress.com URL. To do this, purchase a domain name (no hosting is necessary, as the blog acts as your content host), and follow the instructions given for redirecting. Within GoDaddy.com, it’s fairly easy. This generally doesn’t cost anything extra.
- Map your domain to the blog: By mapping your domain, your readers no longer see the blog URL at all. For example, a link within your blog that before mapping looked like this (creativeepublishing.wordpress.com/about) would after mapping look like this: www.creativeepublishing.com/about. This is a great way of maintaining a web site’s branding within the blog format. There is generally an additional cost for remapping; GoDaddy charges $10 per year to remap to Wordpress, for example. GoDaddy’s customer service section offers instructions on how to map a domain to Wordpress, Blogger, and other blogs.
What is FTP?
People say FTP all the time, but what is it exactly? It stands for file transfer protocol, and in layman’s terms, it’s simply the process by which you transfer files from one computer (your home computer, for instance) to another (uploading to your host site, for example) over a network such as the Internet.