Email and Domain Names.
It’s fairly simple to get an email account. You could choose for instance Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail (Outlook). I would recommend Gmail because you will also have a Google account which has many advantages. If you prefer Yahoo or Hotmail it is still possible to have a Google account and connect your Yahoo or Hotmail to it.
If you are a small organisation, club or social enterprise you may wish to register a domain name to provide a bit of polish to your profile e.g. email@example.com
There are many ways to do this but the starting point is choosing a domain name and registering it. The video below explains how to register a domain www.vimeo.com/578012463 but before you go ahead and register there are a few things you should consider first:
Think carefully about the domain name you choose. Is it easily to understand if you bump into someone and say “check out my website at…… or email me at …….” If you have to spell or explain your email address then it is probably not a very good one. You may not be able to get the name of your organisation or club. For instance,
Catalyst is Catalyststockton.org – a perfectly good way of making a common word unique.
The domain (email/website) name you register does not have to be precisely the same as your organisation if you find it is already registered. If you are looking for a unique name for your enterprise try the three suggestions below. Whilst they all point towards places you could actually register your chosen domain it may be best to just use them for information and then go and register your domain separately. The video below explains how.
- Check out this site www.naminum.com/ – I entered “Steve Gardener” (as if I supplied garden services) and it suggested (among other things) stevegardenero and also told me stevegardero.com was available to register.
- If your organisation does not have a name yet try www.wordoid.com and see if any randomly generated name takes your fancy.
- www.namechk.com is an interesting site. Enter the name you are thinking of using and not only does it check the availability but it also checks whether the name is available as a username on social media helping you maintain uniformity across the platforms. See below (this is just a section of the results) The green ones are available (I entered “Stevesblog”)
How To Register A Domain Name from Catalyst Stockton on Vimeo.
Email On A Domain.mp4 from Catalyst Stockton on Vimeo.
Developing a Website
I’m a firm believer in people and/or organisations taking charge of their own websites. Many people pay a developer to create their site but if you rely on a developer to also update your content it could run up quite a bill over time. There are ways you can even develop your own website as well without paying a developer a penny.
There are many tools for website creation. These days the most popular ones are online rather than software driven. I’m sure there are many more that the ones I’ve listed below but here’s your starter for 10. You can try them all for free so even if you eventually use a web developer you could ask them to use one of the tools below once you’ve had a look.
Don’t let the name put you off. All Blog software also allows you to create pages as well as the blog. If you consider the chronological blog section to be your “news” section then it all falls into place. Blogger was one of the first such tools going back to 1999. Google purchased the platform so If you have a Google account (see https://vimeo.com/581834342 ) you can create blogger sites for free. Your first attempt will be addressed as www.yoursitename.blogspot.com but you can register a domain name and apply it to your site. (see https://vimeo.com/578012463) In my opinion a Blogger site looks a bit clunky but it may suit your needs.
Not everyone’s cup of tea but again, free if you have a Google account. The URLs (web addresses) created are a bit convoluted nut you can apply a custom domain name to your site.
You can get a free account at www.wordpress.com and create several WordPress sites. The generated web address would be www.yoursitename.wordpress.com but you can apply a domain name
WordPress self hosted
For this method you download the WordPress software and install it on your own web space. The software is free but strictly speaking it’s not a free method as you need to purchase web hosting. (see separate document for costings). Many web hosts now offer one-click installation of WordPress (and other software). There are some free or low cost web hosts that provide one click installation. These are OK for testing but if you decide to go with the hosted WordPress solution, I would not recommend using a free host long term.
You can sign up for a free Wix account and try it out. This is a template-driven solution and the provision of resources is quite comprehensive. If you decide to go with it there are reasonable monthly plans. You can even build an e-commerce site using Wix. The free version will generate web addresses like: www.yoursitename.wixsite.com/my-site-1 but the paid solutions allow the addition of a custom domain name.
Very similar to Wix. The free version will generate a web address of www.yoursitename.weebly.com but you can apply a domain name.
All the named resources are free so it’s really worth designating a simple website on paper and then trying to create your ideas in each of the examples above and find out which one works best for you.