Most of us are not quite the computer guru we might wish we were, so learning my way around registering my domain name, finding a web host, pointing the domain name to the Web site, and so on were confusing and intimidating to me. However, as luck would have it, I found a very informative site that explains the whole process in terms I can understand, so I thought I would share that with anyone who might be in a similar situation. It’s called The Site Wizard, and it’s loaded with all the information you need. Free. Although do consider making a donation if you find it helpful.
Initially all I wanted to do was to register my chosen domain/pen name, and work on developing a site later. There are several companies that can do this for you, registering the domain name with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). You can get a list of them at the ICANN Web site, as well as see who they’ve received complaints about. One of the better known registrars is GoDaddy.com, but there are tons of others: Network Solutions, Register, and on and on.
WordPress.org lists a few Web hosts that they recommend, but from what I can tell they all force you to sign up for hosting with them at the time they register your domain name, although the domain name registration is then free through them. Alternatively, WordPress.com can register your domain name, and map it to your blog for a very small fee ($14.97/yr, $9.97/yr if you already own the domain name). You can read more about that at this Support page on Domain Mapping. You will still be limited on what kind of content you can have Lots of choices on how to go about this. I guess it comes down to personal preference.
I’ll admit I have a little bit of a leg up on some. I know how to use Dreamweaver, and have created a Web site with it, although that one is hosted free by my ISP. I know how to upload static pages via FTP, how to design them, know what an IP address is. If I want to go that route, I certainly can. However, most of the hosting companies that I’ve been checking out from here, recommended by WordPress.org, don’t require any of that. I’d be using the same WordPress software I’m used to, and there are more templates available to play with, so site design at least initially would be relatively painless. Later on, if I learn more and figure out CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) I can customize more.
Something else you might find helpful was a short four-part series at Editor Unleashed on Building Writers Websites the DIY Way. It’s a nice primer that explains a lot of the process, very clearly. I’ve read it over more than once.