How to Start Your Own Fantasy Website

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This article assumes that you want to create a fantasy website devoted entirely to a specific element or game and will not be using a free website program or web hosting. The end result will be that you will completely own your own domain and website without advertising that you don't want (and don't make money off of)--a wholly private space for yourself and those who are interested in joining you in your celebration of the fantasy element you have chosen.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen & Paper
  • Text Editor such as Notepad or a WYSIWYG web-page builder like Adobe Dreamweaver or CoffeeCup
  • Some HTML knowledge (less if you use the WYSIWYG editor)
  • Access to the Internet
  • Around $25 available on a credit card to get started
  • Optional: Graphic editing program like Adobe Photoshop, Fireworks or Flash

Design and Planning

  • Build your website using pen and paper. Think about what pages you will want your fantasy website to have, including a message board, if you like. Draw a rectangle for the home page (where visitors first arrive) and draw subsequent rectangles to represent the other pages, such as "about us" or "contact us" or "links."

  • Design your primary navigation method. Will your visitors get from the home page to the other pages just by clicking on text links, or will you use images? Figure out the two basic states for these images: what they look like when they're just sitting there (the off state) and what they look like when someone puts their mouse cursor over them (the over state). Does it change?

  • Draw out on pen and paper how each page will look. What text do you plan to have on each page, and where will it be? Left aligned? Centered? Will you use headers and images? What about the background?

Get your Space on the Web

  • Select a domain for your website. That's the www.WhateverYouWant.com or .net or .org or whatever. You can pick your name, but it must be unique among every other domain name in existence. Purchasing it from a place like GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com should cost around $10 per year.

  • Having purchased your domain name, it's like you've bought land but have no house to put your stuff (your website) in. You now need to buy a hosting package--the house to put on your land. There are literally hundreds of places that offer hosting packages on the web, such as Jiffynet.net, hostmonster.com, bluehost.com, or even GoDaddy, if that's where you got your domain. Again, prices will vary but it is possible to get a great package deal from some hosting providers for as little as $6 per month.

  • An alternative to doing Steps 1 and 2 separately is buying your domain name and hosting account together at the same place and perhaps receiving a package deal.

  • If you buy your hosting package separate from your domain name, you will need to log in where you bought your domain name and change the nameservers to your hosting company's nameservers. Your hosting company will send you information on how to accomplish this.

  • Wait for propagation to take place. When you buy a new domain and hosting, it can take up to 48 hours for the World Wide Web to realize that you are now there and have your space. That means that for a while, you may type in www.YourNewDomain.com and get nothing. Or perhaps you get nothing, but you call your friend and he can see it fine. Give it a couple of days, during which time you can involve yourself in the next steps.

Build and Upload Your Web Pages

  • You've got your design. You've got your space. You can start building using either your vast HTML knowledge to hand-code the page from scratch or a WYSIWYG editor like Adobe DreamWeaver or a free editor like CoffeeCup http://www.coffeecup.com/free-editor/.

  • Use your program to arrange your first page (and only your first page) just the way you like it. If you want to include images, you can download them from free image sites on the Internet or use programs like PhotoShop to create your own. Save those image files in your site folder and import them where they belong.

  • If you want to have a discussion board attached to your site, you can either buy one or use one of the many free ones available on the Internet, such as Pro Boards http://www.proboards.com/. Set up the page on your domain by following the instructions on the site from which you get it.

  • Test your site by uploading your main page to see how it looks on the screen. Make sure your fantasy elements are aligned just the way you like them. Test the link to the navigation board and make sure it is working properly.

  • Once your home page meets your approval, create the other pages for your site to fill it out. When you are done, advertise your site far and wide using social media like Facebook and Google to tell the world you have arrived.

Tips & Warnings

  • There is no need to pay for those packages that submit your website to search engines like Google. It is easy enough to do manually by visiting those sites yourself.
  • When building fantasy sites, the background color or image is important for setting the tone to visitors as soon as they arrive.
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