OK here’s a very quick and rough guide on how anyone can set up a website. First, some basic terms;
CMS (content management system); use WordPress software – download free from wordpress.org and install on server, but they also have website (wordpress.com) where for small fee you can build your site on their severs using the same software very easily. Great thing about WordPress CMS is, if you want to go elsewhere with it, you (simon) can download the site/db it yourself in a few clicks. It also allows anyone to customise the look in a click with 1000’s ‘Themes.’
Web Hosting (all done in cloud these days – even having your own ‘server’); For non-MOD stuff all you need is a shared and managed (host takes care of server/software updates) £15pm. Most have 1-click WordPress install feature. You need full DNS control (managing/pointing) of your domains.
Of course there are dozens of hosting and domain registration companies but I’ve tested quite a few eg do not use 1&1 – messy and lack of control over domains – so here are my unbiased and not-for-my-own-profit personal recommendations.
You have 2 basic choices…
1) go to WordPress.com create entire site there cheaply and register domains there also. Your site/domains will be hosted by wordpress with 1000s others – no prob and you can easily migrate away. Cons; plugins available (for things like calendars/contact us forms) and the ‘Themes’ are limited but can still make good site editable by anyone. Note: not sure if they allow DNS control of domains you register there – your dev will know.
2) What I have for bit more control (ie you might need developer to do custom coding + more control over plugins / front-end design); Bluehost.com. V cheap. I use Namecheap.com to register domains as I have lots and it’s bit cheaper – but you could do all your hosting and domain registration on Bluehost. Full full DNS control at both Bluehost and Namecheap.
Avoid using developers own software or servers – create your own account at your host company eg Bluehost and then give developer login – that way its all in your name and no one can hold a gun to your head and drag out the work/bills if you want to use another dev company.
Timescale; basic site;
1 day to register domain/hosting, install WP get site up.
3-5 days tweaking functions/about us pages/design.
My dev company
Dotsquares are a great web development company, charge me £75 a day booked in 5 day blocks but you’ll need to either; up at strange hours to manage them – or b) give very clear instructions. Freelancers will drag things out and work on 10 clients at once and can make moving away hard.