16/06/2024

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What’s Stopping Me From Getting a Website?

What’s Stopping Me From Getting a Website?

I’ve been having a bit of a problem lately. As I’ve been working for an Internet company for a couple of years you might expect that I’d have my own website by now. I really wouldn’t mind having one. As a creative writer it would be great to put up my books to sell, as well as advertise my skills for freelance work, and be able to put up my resume and portfolio. I even like the idea of making a few dollars by having items that I like, such as music albums or favorite novels that other people can then click on to buy through affiliate sites. The problem is this: There seems to be a barrier in my mind to taking the plunge into the Internet world. Today I’ve decided I’m going to get to the bottom of it.

First of all, I liken the acquisition of a website to any other service or product that one wishes to experience in this life. If I want to buy a book on the Internet, people will tell me to go to http://www.amazon.com. If I want to sell some old antiques my relatives left me, people will tell me to sell them on http://www.ebay.com. If I want to buy a good pizza I’ll go to the place that my friends recommend in the local area. However, it seems that when I ask the question (and this is to my friends who are software engineers), ‘How do I get a cool-looking website in a few minutes for as little cash as possible?’ I get a wide range of answers that have confused me even more than when I started contemplating my own place on the Internet. ‘Download software’ is one answer that I don’t like at all. When you want to buy music off the Internet people will tell you, ‘Try http://www.itunes.com, http://www.limewire.com, or http://www.mp3.com.’ Why can’t people give me a specific answer? It’s daunting when people tell you to just ‘search Google’, I mean the Internet is huge right?

That’s one of the problems. People are busy these days. The age-old saying, Time is money’ couldn’t be more appropriate than in this Information Age that we are now inhabiting. We want and need simple solutions to our inquiries. Otherwise, we fear that we will be wasting valuable time that could have been spent working productively, instead of on fruitless Google searches that provide us with millions of links, none of which seem to be related to any company or brand name that you’d recognize. People want to hear a familiar, respected name like Microsoft, Sony Playsation, http://www.wikipedia.com, Apple Ipod, or http://www.myspace.com. That’s another one of my blocks. I’d like to know that my fellow species believes in the product or service that I’m about to undertake in.

It’s rare for me to read a camera manual and I don’t want to spend my time adjusting lenses and light settings on old fashioned SLR machines. I’m the kind of person who would like to point the camera, push the button, and get quality photographs. Lucky for me the camera industry has evolved to fulfill my desires. Many people will admit that the Age of the Internet is in its infancy and that my expectations might be a little bit ahead of their time. My tech-friends however don’t believe it. To them, making a website is as easy as eating Mom’s apple pie. So, I’ve done a bit of research and discovered a couple of things.

It’s now easy to get a blog online. Blogs are online journals, but now I realize that they can be used in many of the ways in which I would like my website to function. They are in all actuality a type of website. The simple fact that they are usually only one or two web pages is what differentiates them from other websites. There are lots of blog sites out there on the web (many of which are free) like http://www.blogger.com which has just been bought by http://www.google.com, http://www.spaces.msn.com, http://www.myspace.com, http://www.xanga.com/Default.aspx and http://www.typepad.com. Supposedly you can get a site on http://www.geocities.yahoo.com up and running in just half an hour using one of their templates to put all of your information/details into. You can make it so Yahoo isn’t even mentioned in your domain name, so it looks more professional if you are hoping to do some business. Also check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog which has a list of links to where you can set up a blog.

If you are a freak like me and are one of the around three percent of people in the world who own Mac computers (oh why do people have to do things differently, and incompatibly?) then you can check out Apple’s new website technology called IWeb. I don’t know if it will work with Microsoft Windows systems but you should check it out anyway. In Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ latest keynote presentation he showed how you can have a multi-page website capable of blogging, podcasting, storing and sharing music, photocasting, videoblogging, and more in a matter of minutes. Now this looks good to me, but can I make it into a commercial site? I don’t know. The idea is great though. With simple templates you can make your site look individual and exciting, just by dragging-in and pasting cool pictures and sounds all through the pages. Does only Apple do this? Have others figured it out that we need simplicity when getting a site going? Steve Jobs explained that there are easy ways of downloading site-producing software on the Web, but that usually the sites created are boring and ugly. He said that you could make beautiful sites as well, but you’d need to know how to code html, in other words, be a tech-head.

People like me can be scared to start something new like having a website even though we hypothetically know the positive consequences that could eventuate from the venture. Our fears could be irrational and unfounded, but nonetheless they probably have some reason for coming into existence. Websites usually cost money (although many blog sites are hosted for free) and we don’t want to waste our hard-earned paychecks having a site that does nothing for us. After you get your site we have to figure out the best ways to promote it, to bring in ‘traffic’. Can we make money from it? Does having large banner advertisements limit credibility? How do we get connected to these affiliates who we can work together with to sell products? Does commenting in other people’s blogs and leaving your URL bring people back to your site? You bet, as long as what you’re saying is honest and relevant.

What’s scared me into waiting to go online? In the past there have been too few simple, clear answers as to where to go to get the job done easily with an aesthetically pleasing result for techno-novices like myself. We fear loss of money in having a site that does nothing. We are concerned that we may waste time searching for the ‘right’ site-building software, and that there may be too many to choose from. So how do we know which the best are without many famous brand names and advertising? These are some of the stifling questions that stop a normal human being from going ahead with this opportunity that technically-savvy people never think twice about.

It seems that after doing more research that it may not be as hard as I anticipated, and the ironic thing is that it is usually the case. Experience leads to knowledge and wisdom. If we are too scared to act, then nothing gets done. We need to put our feelers out, ask people ‘in the know’, and search the Web. Still, I love it when things are made easy for me because of other people’s hard work and helpful, generous sharing of information. Get on the Internet people! I’m going to give it a shot.

P.S. If you’re a little more technologically aware, you can get your own web hosting space and then download these supposedly easy software templates to build your own site: http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/hosting, and http://wordpress.org/.