What to do before the workshop

Sure, you’ll build a website in a day. But there are things you need to do before the workshop.

  1. Register for the workshop
    Reserve your spot.
    And then, between now and then…
  2. Register a domain name
    The webhost where your site will be requires that you have a domain name before you begin the process. The workshop starts with arranging hosting; you need to have your domain name before we begin.
  3. What is a domain name?
    A domain name is It’s the authoritative way to translate from domain name to a special number where the website lives.

    When you register a domain name, you reserve exclusive use of that name. It’s a way to translate from domain name to a machine with a specific number that lives on the internet.

    (A domain name is the something-dot-com or something-dot-net, such as auntialias.com, 2020hindsight.org or familyoralhistory.us).
    There are special entities that handle the registration and administration of domain names; they’re called registrars or domain name registrars. In the olden days of the internet (oh, about 10 years ago) there was one and only one registrar. NIC Network Information Center was an acronym used by that entity. Since then, more registrars have come into being, many of whom use NIC in their names, such as DirectNIC and PairNIC.
    Choose a domain name
    So that means you have to do some research. Basically that involves entering possible names into engines like these to see if they’re taken already. Here are three domain name registrars.
    Register a domain name, and park it (during–or after– the workshop, you’ll direct the domain to the site you’ll be building).
    Who to register with? Here are three options:

    • Godaddy.com
      Rock-bottom prices ($9/year and lower) paired with several pages of crippling questions (do you want this? How about that? Or maybe this?). In order to get their good prices, you need to look past the questions, scroll to the bottom and click “continue” over two or more pages of options. Godaddy’s method is to trap you into some of their offerings. Their low prices are good if you’re sure what you want. Willing to put up with a little confusion? You’ll get the best price. (I use godaddy, but I have registered several domain names. I know which option to skip over.) If you think extra questions might trip you up, spend the extra 5 or 10 bucks and go with one of the other registrars.
    • DirectNIC. ($15/year )
      I didn’t know about these folks until Hurricane Katrina. There was someone posting to a livejournal weblog from a downtown office in New Orleans. During the Hurricane. After. With a webcam set up to view the street below. Turns out it was a blog from someone who stayed behind to help out his friend’s company weather the storm. What was the friend’s company? An internet company. DirectNIC and Intercosmos stayed up the whole time, what with emergency supplies and diesel generators and the like. It was gripping reading of a company that literally weathered the storm, and knows how to bring a company through an emergency. (They have since added redundancy in other locations besides New Orleans) . So, if you want to put a little money into the New Orleans economy and support an outfit that did what it takes to keep their customers up and running during Katrina, go with them.
    • PairNIC.
      More expensive ($19/year), but straight forward. PairNIC is a very reputable domain name registrar. I have website clients who registered their domain names with PairNIC. No problems there.

    Inner CFO Option: If money’s tight, spend extra time overcoming confusion at godaddy. If time is tight, go with DirectNIC or PairNIC.

  4. Plan what to have on your site.
    What do you want to have on your site? What different pages or sections do you wish to have?
    Any text that you have already written will be good. During the workshop, you can create the pages and enter that text. (More on planning your site here.)
  5. Choose an appearance.
    (You can do more of this after the workshop, too. We’ll walk through changing your site’s theme during the workshop.)

    Go to this site and browse through all the different WordPress themes. There are hundreds to choose from; this link takes to first to the themes that are “Widget Ready.” We’ll be working with a feature called widgets to make it easy for you to arrange (and rearrange, and rearrange) what elements of your site that you put on your sidebar…. things such as the pages navigation, the archives, text blocks to describe your site, and so forth. Look at the sidebar on this site, these are put here with widgets)

    Some helpful hints for navigating around the Themes.Wordpress.Net site:

    1. When you see one that interests you, click the image of the theme.
      The web page reloads, displaying that theme. You see the name of the theme, and two additional links: A Download link, and a Test Run link.
    2. Click the Test Run link for that theme.
      A new browser window appears. It loads with a sample test website that uses that particular theme.
    3. Explore the theme. See how it works. Click links to see how to navigate to pages. See how text is displayed (as a paragraph, as a list, as a numbered list, like the one you’re reading right now).
      (As you click around on different theme pages, pay attention to comments. They’ve been made by people who downloaded and tried out that theme. It’s meaningful information about the theme.)
    4. Explore several different themes this way to get a feel for how the same elements are handled by different individual themes
    5. If a theme interests you, download it. It’s totally fine if you find more than one that interest you. And even if you don’t find one you like, don’t worry. You still have the option of making a decision later. (You’re not, well, buying a coffin. ;) ) During the workshop, we’ll walk through how to download and upload themes and change your site from one to another.

    Update: here’s a list of 83 Beautiful WordPress themes. Not all are available for use; check each one.

About this site

Formerly “All Things Bryce” this site is home to the professional consulting business of Susan A. Kitchens, AuntiAlias & Associates.

What is AuntiAlias, anyhow?

AuntiAlias is a pun on the word antialias. In computer graphics, anti-aliasing is the process of adding what seems to be blurry in-between pixels to smooth the image so it won't appear so "jaggy." The pun came about in the early days of Bryce, the 3D landscape software. Bryce's final rendering pass is anti-aliasing. On the software's support boards, I'd sign my posts as "Auntie Alias." I thought, "Hey, I'll make that into a screen name!" The 10-character limit resulted in this spelling you see here: auntialias.

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  • 2 comments

    A domain hosting service I like is Hostway.

    They have domains starting at $7.95 for .com, .net, .org, and others. They have .info domains from $1.45. If you own multiple domains, you can manage all of them from one interface and renew or change information.

    Susan A. Kitchens

    Cool, Julie… That’s good to know. Julie (she’s a friend) told me separately, in IM that they’re easy to deal with.

    You can get Godaddy.com-level prices without having to jump through their crippling array of choices. (tho GoDaddy will call you up after you register to make sure all’s well.)