Between the present and a Vingian singularity there comes an era where eveyrone is computer illiterate. I'm an early adopter.
April 4, 2012 5:08 PM   Subscribe

I want to set up a personal web space - a blog, some articles and vanity e-mail address type of affair. Unfortunately, I've spent too long using software instead of making it and all my web design and programming knowledge is a hopelessly outdated. What does a person need to know these days if they want to register a domain and set up a not overly complex web page and blog with a service provider who is slightly more scrupulous than the average Batman villain?

It's not that I'm computer illiterate or anything. There was a time when I could put together simple functions in assembly, build a pretty decent page and I'm currently teaching myself R. Unfortunately, the web based resources I'm finding make it sound like I've got to know twenty or thirty scripting languages and markup protocols; are the same old religious wars; or feel like the computer tutorial equivalent of this skateboarding video except for the meant to be funny part.

Can someone direct me to a current, low BS guide to setting up a web page / blog and a non-sociopathic hosting service? Thanks.
posted by Kid Charlemagne to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
For one-stop simple stuf, you're looking for Squarespace
posted by softlord at 5:15 PM on April 4, 2012

For a personal web space, you really don't need to know too many languages. Basic understandings of html and css should be enough. Here's a good tutorial.

For blog, you can try wordpress. If you want a blog and some other things to come along, it would be better to start a blog, then incorporate articles and start pages into the blog.
posted by Thisispiggy at 5:17 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been hearing some great things recently about Squarespace, but if you want something a little more heavy-duty, I'm a huge fan of Dreamhost (do a google search to find some good coupon codes). No one who I have recommended them to has ever had anything but great things to say.
posted by Betelgeuse at 5:22 PM on April 4, 2012

I host an extremely plain static webpage on Laughing Squid on my own domain. Plain HTML, super simple CSS. I have email at that same domain - I happen to use Google Apps For Your Domain gmail, but you could certainly use the Laughing Squid you'd get if you host a domain there, they have a very nice email setup.

Then I have a blog on blogger, with a custom domain. That was dead simple to set up.

That's about it. I give big points to the Laughing Squid customer service folks, I have barely had to talk to them but they are very nice when I do. I'm very comfortable with unix & could probably have gone with a cheaper hosting service where I'd set up my own apache, but I didn't feel like dragging my "work" into my own vanity site. ;) Hence the outsourcing, and they do a very nice job.
posted by lyra4 at 5:22 PM on April 4, 2012

I'd recommend coupling a self-hosted Wordpress blog and whatever WYSIWYG editor your host may include. Installing Wordpress seems to have gotten easier and easier, and you could even use a relatively cheap host like HostGator or Dreamhost (~$4/month) and have 1-click installs of a lot of different scripts, including Wordpress and other blogging software, so you have the freedom to choose.

There should be some pretty good domain registration coupons floating around. Using FatWallet should get you a year-long domain name for like $6.
posted by quinlan at 5:28 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm on Dreamhost. Getting a blog set up on a DH account is a one-click affair. They make it really easy to use Google Apps for Your Domain (essentially gmail, but with an address), which I highly recommend.

I'm sure there are others that are also good, but DH is pretty good.
posted by adamrice at 5:28 PM on April 4, 2012

A couple of options in order of complexity/power. Quick note, these days I do all my email hosting through Google Apps takes a bit of DNS setup to get working but once you do its pretty much the best free option out there.

1. Tumblr dead simple up and running quickly and I'm pretty sure you can even have your own domain name point to it.

2. Hosted wordpress, more powerful and feature rich then Tumblr plus all the upgrade headaches are taken care of for you.

3. Hosted Dreamhost mentioned earlier has a one-click install of wordpress. Works like a champ dirt cheap and you have your own domain. Note you have to do some maintenance (They also have a real simple method for switching your email to gmail/google apps)

Squarespace is more flexible but its not a blogging platform per-se. I like it better for very simple brochure sites for small businesses.
posted by bitdamaged at 5:33 PM on April 4, 2012

I set up a simple website+email for a small business this year using to register the domain and handle the email, and Squarespace to put together the website. I've been very happy with both, and was able to hand off the editing of the site to the business seamlessly. Squarespace has a very easy interface.

Squarespace allows a one month free trial, so you could check them out and see if their set of prefab modular widgets has all the stuff you want (blog, etc).
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:44 PM on April 4, 2012

I'm on for my own domain + blogs and they're alright, not actively evil. They can do everything you want to do and best thing is that they do one click installs of wordpress or other (blogging) software so you don't need to know too much yourself.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:40 AM on April 5, 2012

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