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How do I Publish a Website?

Alex Tree
Updated May 17, 2024
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Creating a website is a process made simple with site builders and freelancers willing to do the work for you. For the novice who wants to publish a website, these routes are probably best. First, however, you need to choose a domain to register, which is essentially the name of your website and the text that makes up part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Next, choose between a site builder or freelance web designer to put together the content and layout of the website and publish it. Creating a website can range from inexpensive to very expensive, depending on the methods used.

Choosing a domain is often complicated because people tend to put a lot of thought into it. Sometimes, however, a person wants to create a website just to host his or her resume, in which case using his or her real name or nickname is a popular and easy option. Whatever you choose as a domain, you will need to register it with an Internet domain registrar and host it with a web hosting company. The price of domain registration depends on the popularity of the domain, the generic top-level domain (gTLD), such as .com or .biz, and how long you choose to register it. Hosting can usually be paid by month or year and ranges from cheap to inexpensive, though websites for personal use typically do not require expensive hosting packages.

Once the domain is registered, working, and hosted, you can start building the website. Many web hosting companies offer site builders for free or at a small additional cost to help novices create a professional-looking website with no coding experience. Often, the site builder will lead the website owner through the entire process of choosing a layout, theme, and placing content on a new website. This is one of the easiest ways for novice webmasters to publish a website, and it usually does not require help from someone with more website building experience.

Hiring a web designer is also a popular and viable way to publish a website. This method is often very expensive compared to using a site builder to publish a website, but it is a hands-free method that generally only requires talking to someone about what you want. The web designer can code and build your website precisely the way you want, either for a flat fee or hourly rate. He or she can also tweak the website once it is finished for an additional fee or even for free.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
Discussion Comments
By SarahSon — On Mar 04, 2012

@Mykol - I think it depends on what your reason for publishing a website it. If this is a site to share information with friends and family, having a professional look isn't as important as it would be if it was for a business.

I have used free publisher website templates in the past, and they are easy for someone who has no knowledge in building a website.

You simply go through their choices of templates and patterns and create your own look. You may have to pay extra for something like a shopping cart if you are going to sell products on your site.

You brought up a good point about the hosting companies. Some are much better than others and I have used more than one. For my business website I went with one that had a dedicated server.

This way I knew it would be fast loading, and it was also very easy to go in and make changes if needed.

By Mykol — On Mar 04, 2012

When it comes to publishing your website and choosing a hosting company, how do you narrow down your choices?

I am confused and overwhelmed by all the available options and don't have a lot of money to get started with.

I know that a domain name will cost around $15 a year, but can you pay for web hosting on a month by month basis?

I agree you get what you pay for, and if I was going with a free website publishing site, wouldn't expect it to look as professional as if I had hired it done.

As far as hosting companies, is there a big difference in how fast the site loads? I don't want to pay a lot of money up front and find out I lose people because the site loads too slow.

By andee — On Mar 03, 2012

There is a lot of information available (free and paid) where you can learn how to publish your website.

There are pros and cons to both, and it usually boils down to how much money you have to invest in something like that.

I have a website where I sell homemade bath and beauty products and when I first got started, I went with a free website service.

There were minimal options available, but it got me started and familiar with the process. I did spend the money on my own domain name which ended with .com. I think this shows you are serious about your business.

As my business grew, I updated and started spending more money on website design and publishing.

By nony — On Mar 02, 2012

@miriam98 - If you want to know how to publish a website you can buy a popular website authoring software and read the tutorial, and then upload the files online. However, let me warn you about the so called free web site hosting providers you get on the Internet.

You get what you pay for. These free sites make up for their costs by requiring you to allow affiliate ads to be placed on your site. So unless you want all this advertising on your website I would avoid this option.

The only affiliate ads you should put up (if you ever do so) should be your own, not those of a hosting provider.

By everetra — On Mar 01, 2012

@SkyWhisperer - I think that domain names are the most important part of the website building process – although technically they’re not part of building the site as such.

However, domain names will play an important role in helping visitors find your site. I recommend that people use search engine optimized domain names. In other words, use words or phrases that people will be searching for on the Internet, and which relate to your site.

If it’s a site that sells herbs, for example, find some of the popular search terms for those looking for herbal products. You can use Google’s analytics to help you figure this out. Then incorporate that term in your domain name. That way it will be easy for the search engines to pick it up.

By SkyWhisperer — On Feb 29, 2012

@miriam98 - I don’t know what service you use, but you can get free website templates online to use with certain authoring packages. I don’t know if they work with your service or not. But they may be more flexible in allowing you to customize them, if that's what you want.

You could of course hire someone to build a site for you. But I would offer up a bit of warning. Be prepared to pay expensive fees if you want this done professionally.

Also, realize that the first draft of your site may not be exactly what you expect, in which case you will be asking for multiple revisions. This is why a web designer’s fee can be so high. They know that it’s not a one time thing.

By miriam98 — On Feb 29, 2012

I used to have a website online that hosted my freelance writing portfolio. I used a website builder to throw the site together. The results were very professional and required no coding on my part.

I got some rave reviews by people who were in the “know” in website design and those who weren’t. All of them asked how I did it and I told them it was a template driven wizard.

However, over time I became dissatisfied with the template approach. There were tweaks and fine adjustments I wanted to make to the site and the template wizard was very constraining in that regard. However, the only other option I had was to go with a pure coding approach, which didn’t work well either.

In the end I just left the website up until I acquired more website skills. I think the wizard approach is good if you just need to put your business online to get a presence, as I did.

By serenesurface — On Feb 28, 2012

@Kat919-- I don't really agree with you. I don't see how domains ending in .com is more legitimate than one that says .biz. .net is usually an alternative to .com and might be less costly but I certainly wouldn't reach any conclusions that it is a poor business, just a smaller one.

As far as I know, .com means "commercial," .net means "network," .org means "organization" and .biz means business (usually small business). The domain endings just describe the kind of website. I don't think it tells us anything about how trustworthy that site is. I judge how trustworthy a site is by checking for a well known security certification on the website.

By fify — On Feb 28, 2012

@EdRick-- I agree with you. Even businesses with official websites have facebook and twitter pages now. I also have a friend who has a beauty blog which is also her online store. She makes and sells handmade jewelry and she pays very little to run the whole site.

Having a professional looking website doesn't mean that it costs money. In fact, I think for businesses, advertisement through online networks has become as important as the official website.

You're so right that things have become very easy now. It's as simple as opening a facebook page. Because everything is automatically published on these sites and they come up very easily in search engines. A publisher website is not even necessary.

By ddljohn — On Feb 27, 2012

I have a website that used to be on a public free domain. Many of the sites which provide free webpages also have options for making it into a personal domain for a monthly fee.

At first, I didn't want to pay for it, but as the site grew and I had more followers, I decided it would be best to have my own domain and customize the site a little bit more. So I signed up for a personal domain for monthly fee which is pretty affordable.

I didn't lose any of the information that was on my website in this process. They just changed the url address and gave me more options for customization and formatting. I don't have a web designer or anything like that. I do everything on my own and the site makes it very easy to do that. I didn't need to take any website building courses or anything like that. Some people do need need their own designers though if the structure of the site is more complicated.

There are so many options for publishing a website now and they are affordable. I remember in the 90s, when these things first came out, publishing websites was difficult and pretty expensive.

By EdRick — On Feb 27, 2012

An alternative to free websites if you are a fledgling business is to make a nice Facebook page, Google+ page, or blog for your business. I'm not sure if these are totally free for businesses (I think they are, though).

That way, you are reaching your potential customers where many of them are probably already spending a lot of time (in the case of Facebook especially) and you can present a professional, legitimate-looking front without going broke doing it.

Another way to actively maintain your web presence without your own website is to pay attention to ranking sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. You can make sure that your business's information is listed accurately and you might even be able to provide additional info. People will them be able to know how to reach you and what you do without your having to pay for a website.

By Kat919 — On Feb 26, 2012
Before you publish your website, make sure to think about what you want your top-level domain to say about you and/or your business.

.com says "legitimate business."

.net says "business without much money."

.biz and .info say "spam."

I'm not saying that those assumptions are always or even often warranted, but I would, for instance, hesitate a whole lot longer before giving my credit card information to a .biz site than a .com site. I probably wouldn't do it at all unless I had a personal recommendation (as was the case the last time I ordered from a .net site).

Alex Tree
Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and WiseGeek contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
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