You’ve spent hours designing, days developing, and have shown it off to all your friends and family. With a sigh of relief you say to yourself “finally it’s complete” but now what?
Although there are many programming languages, frameworks, and content management systems out there, the fundamentals of launching any site are the same.
1) Get Yourself a Domain.
The very first step to owning the web with your shiny new website is to think of and purchase a catchy yet memorable domain name. This can be much harder than it seems. Unless the domain you seek contains your name you may find very quickly that a lot are taken. Try various combinations or even adding the city you service. If that does not help consider a .net, .org, or .ca. godaddy.com even offers a .ninja
At the end of the day you will probably be spending $10 to $20 per year for your domain.
2) Website Hosting
There are many options out there that vary drastically in cost. Most likely your website will do just fine on a shared hosting environment. With a shared environment you share resources such as memory (RAM). Most hosting providers, such as godaddy.com, hostpapa.ca, or bluehost.com will offer shared hosting for less than $100/year.
If you think your site will be receiving a ton of traffic you may want to look into a VPS or Dedicated Server.
2b) Point Your Domain to Your Hosting Account
If you purchased your domain at the same time or on the same account you can probably skip this step. Otherwise this is a very important step.
We need to first determine what your web hosts name servers are. If you are not sure what they are, contact your hosting company.
Once we know what our name servers are, log into your domain account and click Manage DNS. This may vary from registrar to registrar and if you need help finding this location I would suggest contacting support. Once in your domains DNS settings change the 2 name servers to the ones your hosting provider provided you.
It is important to note that this could take up to 48 hours to propagate, but in my experience usually only takes 2-4 hours.
Ok Now we are ready to upload out site to our brand new hosting account. The first thing we want to do is download a FTP client such as FileZilla. Once we have FileZilla installed we need to connect to our web host via FTP. IF you are not sure what your FTP credentials are I suggest contacting your web host. Usually you can enter your domain name and then the same user / pass you use to log into your hosting account. Once you are logged in, start to upload your files.
If you have a database it is important to import it into your new host.
The most important part of launching your website is to test. Double check to ensure images and links are not going to your local website still. It is best to test on multiple computers and browsers. You should also test any contact forms making sure emails are sending to the proper email account.
6) Google Analytics
Jump over to Google analytics and follow the steps to embed tracking code into your website. This will allow you to monitor traffic on your website.
7) Web Master Tools
You will also want to make sure you submit your site to Google by adding your domain to webmaster tools and uploading a site map.
As mentioned above there are many different ways to develop and design a website; however, making your site public to the world generally follows the same approach.