I live in Peru (South America), and I want to lauch a tourism website about my country for foreigners. I’ve all the content for the website ready in my PC. I need all the information you may give about the process to launch a website.
1. I need to buy a domain name. Do you recommend to buy a “.com” or a “.com.pe”?
2. It’s necessary to buy a hosting? Some people said me that the navigation speed depends of the hosting? It’s true? And they tell me that it’s better to buy a Linux host, because they’re cheaper and you can use PHP. Do you know good companies, with a good technical service (better if they speak Spanish or they’re located in Peru) and that can allow to put forms and another things to the website?
3. When I have the domain name and the host, how may I get a email with my domain name? I prefer to use Googlemail (Gmail) with my domain (like firstname.lastname@example.org). May I use Thunderbird to manage my email account instead of Outlook or you recommend me another GPL software?
4. What kind of software or what softwares do you recommend to design, write and upload my website? You can tell me about Open Source or GPL software and pay programs. In this moment I’ve Macromedia Fireworks, Flash and Dreamweaver installed in my PC but I’m not an expert.
5. How can I do a good forum for my users? Some people say that open a blog is easier than a forum, but What is better, a forum or a blog? I want the forum or blog become in a good reference for travelers (as Lonely Planet forums, for example).
Thank you very much 4 ur help and 4 give me all the information that I need and if possible, much more.
Wow. You’re looking at a fairly big task here. But let’s take it point by point.
1. Buying your domain name is probably the least of your worries. You can get a .com domain for about 10USD(30 nuevo sol) a year. Some people can be suspicious of country-specific domain names, but it’s not at all unusual. e.g www.russia-tourism.ru/, english.visitkorea.or.kr, www.scotland.org.uk, www.enit.it/ — That said, most tourism websites are still .com.
2. Here’s the thing about hosting. You CAN technically do it yourself. However, to do so, you will need A) Server(s), B) software, C) configuration, D) IT to oversee the systems, and fix any problems E) Bandwidth. Every request will go through whatever internet connections you can have available to the location you store your servers. — Essentially, buying hosting saves you alot of time, effort, setup, resources, and potential problems. If you have an excess of people who love fixing problems, go for it. Otherwise, you probably want to buy your hosting and let someone else deal with them. If you DO decide to do it yourself, you can get a web interface to make most of your tasks easier. cPanel is a thoroughly awesome way to do basic website maintenance and configuration, but it won’t build your site for you.
3. You absolutely can use gmail with your own domain name. Here’s a good rundown on how to do it: http://www.shoestringbranding.com/2008/02/15/branded-gmail-address/
4. Wow. Okay, well, building the site is going to be tricky if you’re looking to do it all yourself. A simpler option would probably be to upload a good Content Managing System(CMS), which will allow you to do all of your website building, maintenance, and configuration through a web interface. It will have a less professional feel, but it will require less professional work. It will require whatever hosting service you have to have backend systems to handle it’s requests though. Things like mysql and php are a must.
You have alot of options here. Take a look at the different content management systems you can find, and see if you like how any of them look. Some basic ones to start with are drupal, wordpress, and joomla. Here is a list of different content management systems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_content_management_systems
If you want to build your site from scratch…well…you’ll probably want to hire a professional web designer.
5. There’s no real reason for you to choose between a forum and a blog. They are fundamentally different ways of generating and displaying information. With a blog, you will typically have one or more designated “authors” who will all collaborate to build pages, this is closer to what you would see on a standard website, and indeed, many content management systems can be described as or used to create blogs. Forums however are a community driven endeavor. Typically if you have a forum, you will also have some sort of website which then links to them. It is very rare for all of your content to be on a Forum, however a forum can provide you with more feedback on your actual content. Things you would look at for creating a forum would be vBulletin, bbPress, Vanilla, YaBB, etc.. Installing them is much the same as installing a content management system.
Installing Content management systems and forums are typically a matter of editting configuration files, uploading all the files involved to your hosting system, and then browsing to a specific page to get things online. Assuming your server has all of the backend requirements you need. There should be detailed instructions as well as a list of requirements for your hosting provider on the web pages for the specific software you’re looking for.
You may need a rather diverse skill set to get all of this up and running with a professional quality site. If you were going to delegate your tasks entirely, you would probably want.
A) Web site designer – If you’re going to be making a professional quality website, you will need someone who knows how to work those programs you have. An amateur job won’t cut it. You can PROBABLY get around this by getting a CMS, but someone who knows aesthetics, and can find good themes and page layouts for you would still be very helpful to keep your site from looking like a generic blog.
B) Systems admin to keep your servers up and running, configure and install software, prevent vulnerabilities, update backend software..basically most of what was in this answer.
C) Network admin to make sure your bandwidth is well utilized, do load balancing on servers, limit downtime, keep things running(this can be bypassed entirely by purchasing hosting)
D) A writer, or several. Your site needs information, you’d also probably want good photographers. I.e. – Everything you’d need if you were going to make something in print rather than a website. It’s important to have content as well as technical function….obviously. This one I know least about making, but it’s arguably one of the most important steps.
by: Gemini R
on: 11th May 10