A toe in the web

Alicia Crane WilliamsI recently put my toe in the web and obtained a domain name for a new website. I won’t share that name with you right now as nothing is connected to it yet. Actually, it isn’t my first domain name. About a decade ago I obtained a name for my freelance genealogy business, which I eventually abandoned even though I did get as far as creating a website. I was too busy to tend to it and the technology was above my comfort level.

I have been encouraged to believe that today the technology is far more user friendly, so from time to time I will keep the Vita Brevis community updated on my progress as I create my website, which will be focused on my family’s history. First, however, some ground rules: (1) I make no promises about how long this all will take. This will be my personal site, and I do have a job that takes precedence. (2) I don’t want to get involved in a tech discussion about programs, hosts, etc. I know there are hundreds of choices, but I do best when I blunder about by myself—trial and error is my best learning method. (3) You should probably not follow any of my advice on this subject.

Domain names
A domain name is what identifies your website – e.g., the NEHGS domain name is www.americanancestors.org. Obtaining a domain name is very simple, but then you need to register the name—and deciding which service to use for that can be a headache. If you Google “where to register a domain name,” you’ll get plenty of choices. You should also Google “Things to know before registering a domain name.” I chose an old standby, Network Solutions, which is the company I used with my other domain name. It offers a place to “try” names to see if they are available. In fact, I was only browsing when I found an available domain name that was too good to pass up.

Web hosting
The next task was to find a “host” for the website – a company that sells “space” on the web. Domain registration sites are commercial enterprises and most, if not all, today don’t charge specifically for the domain name—they make their money from selling web hosting and other services. I signed up for Network Solutions’ web-hosting service, which will cost me about $24 a month (and also encourage me not to dawdle, since right now I’m paying for dead air). There will be other expenses, especially for software, but for now I just need to sit down and follow their instructions about setting up my website.

I’ll let you know how that goes when there is something to report.

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

14 thoughts on “A toe in the web

  1. Hi Alicia,
    How times have changed with the internet at our fingertips! I will always remember fondly, however, your and Ann’s trips to Maine in the 1980’s on behalf of my Parker and Moulton families to uncover the documents that led to Mayflower lines through Francis Cooke and John Howland. My 96 year old Aunt Priscilla Phillips, who originally hired you as the genealogist, is now living in Exeter, NH, and still enjoys hearing of my latest family history discoveries.

    1. Judy, please send my “Hey” to Priscilla. Bless her soul. The genes are good! I enjoyed the trips to Maine in those days, when I had relatives to stay with!

  2. Alicia, congratulations on taking the big step! Have fun with it. I will be curious to see what you come up with. Whatever it is, I know that I will learn something from it– both the process and the result. I’ve done several websites on my own, but not a genealogical one yet. I think genealogical sites present both some challenges of their own, and some unique opportunities for creativity!

  3. Congratulations, Alicia, on taking this step. A lot has probably changed since the last time you had a web site. There is always a learning curve.

    I have a new definition of maturity: putting one foot in front of the other until the new technology is mastered or at least usable. Smile.

  4. SUPAH! This advice was good for me, too. Tho if in NE, I might make a pitch to Jim Moore on his offer. But being in Oregon that’s not functionable. After all, temps just broke 60 in Grtr Porltand & its sunny and dry for the next week+. Gotta go take a walk. Ciao!!!!!!

  5. Alicia, Network Solutions has changed since the old days and is probably not the right choice for your domain registration or web hosting. I’ve found their prices out-of-line with their competition. For web hosting, for example, $24/month is quite expensive and would only be reasonable if your site consumed a lot of resources (a lot of visitors, CPU-intensive processing on the server side, or something like that). It’s unlikely your site has such requirements, and my guess is you are paying 4x what you should be paying. I provide one such service, but I won’t mention it here.

  6. Hi John, thank you for your input. Changing hosts may be something that I get to in the future. Right now, I’ll just continue with the experiment. For everyone else who is reading this, remember the rules are that you shouldn’t follow any of my advice on this subject!

  7. Good ideas, but as said above, expensive. I only pay $44 a YEAR for my business web hosting through Fat Cow in Burlington, MA and they have a special right now for $3.15 a month. I have no connection to them, just a satisfied user.

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