Step 1 – Plan
Work out your audience, your message and how you will maintain, build and publicise the damn thing. Look at other websites and note what you like and dislike. Storyboard your website to work out how many pages you need.
But do you really need a website at all? Maybe a simple blog – an online diary – would do the trick. A myriad of blogging sites will let you rant within minutes (try www.blogger.com).
If you are determined to build a website, here’s the fastest way.
Step 2 – Buy your land and register your virtual home
You need to find someone to lease you space for your new home on the web (a host provider – see links at the end). Find a company that offers space, gives you a web address (lets you register your domain name) and also offers free and idiot-proof site building tools.
If you can’t register your site through your host provider, do it through www.gandi.net, the cheapest place to register domains for non-profit organisations and activists. Or use an existing domain shared by groups working on similar issues (www.schnews.org.uk).
Step 3 – More advanced sites and communities
If you want your site to look professional, you may need to buy website software such as Microsoft’s Front Page and Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. These take a while to learn and are often expensive, but give you total control.
If you want to build a community site where people can post their views and you can store masses of content, look at the Open Source movement. This massive community creates free software to get people on the web. Take a look at ready-to-go portals such as PHPNuke (www.phpnuke.org). The learning curve is steep, but open source software lets you create a complex site without spending a penny.
If you’re not a web techie and have a bit of dosh then look at ‘website in a box’ resources. Poptel (www.poptel.net), for example, has a click-to-build website that can get you online in hours.
Step 4 – Test
Test your site before launching it. When you are ready to go, ‘soft launch’ first – your site will go live without drawing too much attention, allowing you to check glitches that only occur after you’ve started up.
Step 5 – Web promotion
With major search engines overrun by product commercials, getting found on the web is a whole different ball game. The bare minimum you must do is:
Everything the budding webmaster might need for building, promoting and maintaining their lovely website is at www.freesitetools.com.
The best free resource for web-related stuff is www.webmasterworld.com
Free web hosting for activist groups with no funding is at www.riseup.net. For groups with money, it will take a donation.
#236: The War Racket: Palestine Action on shutting down arms factories ● Paul Rogers on the military industrial complex ● Alessandra Viggiano and Siobhán McGuirk on gender identity laws in Argentina ● Dan Renwick on the 5th anniversary of Grenfell ● Juliet Jacques on Zvenigora ● Laetitia Bouhelier on a Parisian community cinema ● The winning entry of the Dawn Foster Memorial Essay Prize ● Book reviews and regular columns ● Much more!
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
With the worlds of architecture and video games becoming increasingly intertwined, Gerry Hart examines how video games communicate through their design
Looking at the growth of the free and open-source software movement, Marco Berlinguer explores how the digital commons have been absorbed into capitalist markets
Liam Kennedy speaks to John Chadfield and Eran Cohen of the new United Tech and Allied Workers (UTAW) branch about their plans for the sector, democratic workplaces and big tech’s pollution problem
Jamie Woodcock examines the growing range of tools bosses use to spy on their workers – and how they can be resisted
As cryptocurrencies take the world of finance by storm, Thomas Redshaw examines their rise and what the left should make of them
The government’s new Nationality and Borders Bill is part of a wider reshaping of citizenship fuelled by biometrics, argues Nisha Kapoor