Before hauling your body through the tall-grass of the field that is being a webmaster, you should have a few tools that will enable you to chop away at the grass, clearing an open path for your legs to stumble. Stopping for directions is not wise while walking through the wilderness of being a webmaster, so this page has been summoned forth to aid you in your preparations.
In much of the same way that water is essential to the survival of life, a web-host is essential to all webmasters. A great design and content can mean nothing with a bad host, so it is essential for your own success to pick a great host. Up-time, storage space, and speed are all factors that can make or break your website. Just think of it this way – if you have a bad host, you’re already being handicapped in the race of becoming a great and successful webmaster.
HostGator is the epitome of hosting providers, giving a literal sense of their slogan We Eat Up the Competition. With prices as low as $4.00 (USD) a month, their hosting is a literal steal. Supported by their 99.9% up-time guarantee, outstanding technical support, and insanely fast and efficient servers, HostGator has all of the lavish and fine detail required to be a top dog in the competition.
Whether you are a blogger or not, HostGator has you covered with support for easy 5-minute installs of PHPBB, WordPress, Joomla, and an endless list of other software included in the price. Easy and free site builders available on HostGator enable you to build elegant static webpages that will attract audiences that cannot be brought forth by blogs or forums.
If you are interested in purchasing from HostGator, use the coupon code 25WebsiteBegin at checkout to receive 25% off of your total order!
A domain name is very much like your identity. Only you can have it, and it is what sets you apart from every other website on the web. So long that it is not taken, you can have any domain name that you can possibly imagine. Just be sure to choose wisely, for your domain name says a lot about your website. It is wise, though, to host your website and domain on separate accounts (eg: HostGator and Namecheap).
Much as the title says, NameCheap is a domain name registrar that offers extremely cheap prices. Don’t let their cheap prices fool you, though – the service and support is extraordinary. With extremely fast DNS resolution times, you can get up and going on the web in no time – they make it extremely easy to bring your web identity to the next level.
NameCheap is primary my domain registrar of choice, but there are still multiple (and possibly better) registrars out there. Some of my other favourites are:
WordPress is easily the most powerful and popular blogging software out there, earning respect from major businesses such as The New York Times. Given access to thousands upon thousands of free plugins created by the WordPress community, editing your blog is easier than ever before, allowing you to achieve the most beautiful website of pure divine imagination.
With the constant updates of the WordPress software, your blog is always secure and current, giving you an edge on non-Wordpress users. Even better, WordPress is completely free and is supported by nearly every hosting company. Should you choose HostGator, installations of WordPress take less than three minutes.
While blogs are a very current and popular trend, forums are still very relevant in today’s society, giving all the more reason to use them. Building a community is of the simplest tasks on a forum, especially when your forum is powered by PHPBB. Having originated in 2000, PHPBB has seen all of the trends of the web, and has contoured itself to be more relevant to modern-day users.
Whether your niche is website development or your determination to make pigs fly, PHPBB can be molded to fit the exact style of your dreams. Much in the way WordPress is easy to edit, PHPBB allows you to access hundreds of modifications from their community, creating the ultimate user-experience.
While blogs and forums are key for community-oriented websites, some sites are meant to be more show-and-tell or store-like than community websites. Backed by larger organizations like IKEA and GE, Joomla’s website builder has earned itself fame and glory with an exceptional set of editors.
Much like PHPBB and WordPress, most hosting providers such as HostGator allow quick 3-minute installs of Joomla, making the creation of your professional website that much easier!
The design is, second only to content, the most important aspect of your website. Without a good design, very few will be attracted to your content, dispelling any chances you have of winning readers over. With designs being free to design on your own, and cheap to have designed for you, there is no excuses for having a bad design. Since the majority of theme developers in today’s world focus solely on CMS such as WordPress, I will only include designs for WordPress, PHP, and Joomla.
Even with over 45,000 people using Thesis, no two sites are exactly the same, each containing their own divinity. Thesis is the most empowering theme I’ve ever had the pleasure to use in my entire life. Despite its hefty price tag of $87 (One time – USD), Thesis is probably the most profitable theme to ever show its face to the internet.
Coded to suit both beginners and expert coders, Thesis incorporates simplicity and efficiency, while also having top-notch SEO value. Search engines drool over the elegant code that is sewn into the Thesis framework, making it a great investment for any blogger. The biggest names in blogging use Thesis framework, and some even create their own themes to be sold within Thesis. Thesis is, simply put, true and utter magic.
If you aren’t the best designer, aren’t the most creative tool in the box, or simply want a beautiful theme that is already assembled, Elegant Themes is your answer. For just $39 (per year – USD), you gain access to nearly one-hundred beautiful themes that will inspire readers to keep coming back to your content to see the utter perfection emanating from your theme.
Being unique is incorporated in the DNA of ElegantThemes – each of their themes portray the latest trends on the web. While having a unique website is nearly impossible with ElegantThemes, you will still benefit from the intensity of the great design.
In my experience with PHPBB, their community’s style database is the most creative and beautiful collection of themes to ever cross forums. Hundreds of styles fill the database, enabling users to have access to endless possibilities of customizations, only limited by their imagination. Any forum can benefit from the database of styles, for at least one of them are bound to suit your needs.
RocketThemes is a multi-platform theme website that I stumbled across recently. Searching for just fifteen minutes left me awed, my jaw clearly on the ground. The creativity and sheer beauty that is present in each and every theme is unexplainable. Whether your Joomla site is meant for sales, personal uses, or anything in-between, RocketThemes has you covered. The beauty of each theme is well worth the hefty price tag, starting at $50 per theme.
While none of the listed programs are necessities, they are catalysts to your success as a webmaster. Most of the listed programs simply ease the burden of un-productivity from your shoulders.
While the native email clients that most hosts providers provide is somewhat useable, I want to be able to actually feel at home when reading my emails. ThunderBird is a great program presented by the genius developers behind Mozilla FireFox, which integrates a great design with an even better functionality. Instead of having to access each email account for each domain name that I manage via multiple interfaces, I can have everything in one central screen.
It is possible to load all of my email accounts into one program, allowing my eyes to quickly ponder upon which accounts received new emails, then quickly dive into each email account and make further changes. A complete list of all of your contacts is kept, too, so you no longer have to balance a list of contacts between each email client. Even better, you can integrate Yahoo! Email and Google Email into the program, handing complete and utter control over your entire virtual mail collection.
If you have ever used Twitter, you may be plagued by the same problems that thousands of others have – the inefficiency of the layout and design. Twitter is an enormous killer of all productivity simply because of the layout, making TweetDeck a huge time saver. With TweetDeck, you can control what parts of Twitter (and, recently, FaceBook) you will see through the client. For instance, you can enable the client to show tweets from certain users in certain columns, remove @mentions from showing up in the client, and so much more.
The client is, essentially, an organizational tool. In my honest opinion, Twitter, natively, is a distraction, bringing all the more reason to use clients like TweetDeck.
File Transfer Protocol (or more formally shortened as FTP) is, without a doubt, one of the greatest ideas to even peak its head upon servers. With FTP, you can effortlessly transfer files from your desktop to a server (or vice-versa). Almost all good hosts will provide FTP access, but then you have the problem of finding a client to allow you actually transfer the files. While there are hundreds out there, my favorite is FileZilla.
Hundreds of features surround FileZilla, making it an obvious top dog in the competition. Drag and Drop capabilities, remote-file editing, and cross-platform capabilities are just a few of the great featured FileZilla provides. Almost any server will allow the use of FTP, and it’s free!
When I began writing code for websites, I used Window’s NotePad. While it got the job done, it was horribly inefficient; Code was often misplaced. All of your code would be written in black, and unless you made an effort to space it out, it’d end up in huge chunks.
Testing and development is essential to the growth of any website. You cannot deny that fact, making your efforts to expand your website just that more key to your success. You run into a large problem, though, when you think of how to test out new aspects of your website. If you make a major change that scars the face of your website, you will be left with downtime and reader-frustration. There has to be a way to test things locally.
Luckily, there is. XAMPP is the solution to hosting your very own Apache and MYSQL server, allowing you to test any aspect of your blog. If you use WordPress, imply install WordPress to the server using on-site instructions, then download your theme, content, back-ups, and more, allowing you to edit your live blog on a less-live field. Everything for WebsiteBegin was designed, originally, on a XAMPP server, then uploaded afterwards.
Go, NameBoy, Go! With the millions upon millions of domains that currently are registered, finding your own unique name can be difficult. Unless you have a genius idea backed by world-genius marketers – as was the case with Google – your domain name will be essential to your success as a webmaster.
The creation of NameBoy was, thus, a beautiful idea, for it gave millions of webmasters the ability to generate niche and brand-specific domain names that will help tip the first domino in the reaction that is webmaster-success. For example, when I asked NameBoy to give me suggestions for a football coaching website, it gave me about one-hundred suggestions, my favorite being FootballFolk. Now I can generate the beginning aspects of my football website without the hassle of finding a quality domain name!
Whether you write your own code or not, being sure that your website looks amazing universally across all browsers is a must. BrowserShots allows you to view your website in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and many other internet-browsers across Linux, Windows, Mac, and BSD. Although it can take up to 30 minutes for the website to generate every single image, you are able to queue your website for snapshots on a remote server of multiple platforms, enabling you to see all, if any, defects to your website.
The best part about BrowserShots is that they offer their 137 combinations of browser and operating system screenshots for free. Ever since I joined the web development world, I’ve depended on BrowserShots to get the job done.
Whenever it comes to designing a website, color is the utmost of essentials; nobody wants to see a black and white website all of the time. Thus, ColorPicker was born. Presenting you with a color palette that you can scroll around, finding a color the suits your exact needs is simple and magical. Once you find the color you like, both the HEX and RGB values are given, allowing you to edit in CSS, HTML, or just about any other coding language out there. Best of all, it is a free program!
Your website’s speed is one of the most important things when it comes to first-time-visitors. Following the ten-second-rule, you only have ten seconds to capture your first time visitor’s attention. If your site takes four seconds to load, you just lost about half of those seconds.
Speeding up your website is extremely easy to do, and Pingdom Tools make it just that much quicker to find the loopholes in your website that drag you down. Whether it is your extremely large website size, references to external sources, or just general server loading problems, Pingdom Tools is a highly sought-after tool to see a breakdown of your performance for free.
The Pomodoro Technique
For everyday people and webmasters alike, time is a very limited resource that we must amend our lives to. With just twenty-four short hours in each day, we are very constrained to what we can and cannot accomplish from the time we wake up to the time we fall asleep. Many time management courses and eBooks have been written, but none are more elegant than that of The Pomodoro Technique.
Written by Francesco Cirillo, the book has been shown throughout the world, enabling users to manage their time more wisely. The idea of the book is simple – by limiting yourself to increments of just twenty-five minutes – one pomodoro – you are more likely to focus on your task at hand and be less distracted. The best part of this technique – which I proudly use – is that it is completely free to read and use. You may download the eBook for free from their download page, or order it in paperback format for $26.40 (USD).
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