A non technical guide to setting up a business website.

Depending on your needs, setting up a website can be an easy task.
If you’re not going to need an e-commerce solutions where you bill and take payments through your site then I’ll recommend GoDaddy.com for the hosting and wordpress for the content management system. I’ve used GoDaddy for years and they do a good job and wordpress will keep you from having to hire a programmer. You can set up and maintain a site for less than $100 a year. Here’s a set of simple steps you can use to get started.

1) Go to godaddy.com and research a domain name for your company. They have a form you can enter names into to see if they are available. Choose a name that is easy to explain and doesn’t require that you spell it out when telling someone about it. You can use .com, .net, .us as the domain extension as it is not necessary to have a .com to run a business.

2) Once you’ve decided on a name, purchase it and a basic hosting plan that supports wordpress. For our purposes, I recommend the basic linux hosting plan that supports mysql and php and a single domain name.

3) Install wordpress on the root directory of your site from using the Install Apps menu, login, and configure a theme that best fits your needs. Take your time looking for the theme as you want the site to look professional and represent your business and some theme have special features that can help you show off videos or pictures of your work.

4) Install plug-ins to link your facebook fan page and twitter account.

5) Publish content weekly to your site to build search engine authority and get found. This will take 6 months to two years to establish if you stick with it.

This method should net you a good website without the development hassle and expense of hiring a programmer/developer.

Best of luck to you.

– Joel

Replacing Windows – And Saving Money

A couple years ago I set out to totally replace Windows as my operating system of choice. I wanted to use Linux and open source software for everything I needed on the PC. Two years later I’m happy to announce that I’ve mostly reached that goal with the exception of tax preparation software, I’m using Linux and open source software for the following tasks.

Word Processing: Open Office

Spreadsheets: Open Office Database: Mysql, phpmyadmin

Web Browsing: Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and others.

Email: Thunderbird Audio Processing: Audacity

Audio Ripping: VLC

Video Viewing: Adobe Flash, VLC, Xine, Media Player

Software Development – Web Development: NetBeans IDE, Eclipse, Cssed and others.

Remote Desktop: Gnome-RDP, Tight-VNC Viewer, SSH

Remote Administration: Webmin

Gaming: SpringLobby – RTS, PlaneShift – RPG

This list is far from complete. I’ve found that no matter what the task or objective, with a little research, I can find an open source project that other people in the community are working on and use it to solve my problems. I can’t imagine ever going back to Windows and paying for functionality again. – Joel