Online Web sites: Getting started

Looking to make the move online or expand your current presence? Here are some things to think about and some links to help you get started. Click through for some links on where to get domains, sites for hosting, programs to help manage your content and more.
Get a domain: Get a simple domain to point people to your site. Long, confusing domain names are hard to lock into the brains of your audience. Get domains a variety of places from GoDaddy.com to Register.com. GoDaddy is a good place to get them and you can often find coupon codes for discounts at places like fatwallet.com.

Host your content: Your content needs to live somewhere. Your district may provide space (I would still get a separate domain to point to rather than fhn.fhsd.k12.mo.us/therampage — that’s just not easy to tell people about). However, if you want your own space there are a host of places from Siteground to GoDaddy (most hosts sell domains and offer hosting). Here is a list of options from CNET as well.

Manage your content: Updating and maintaining a site can be a daunting task if you have created a static site rather than a dynamic one. Most news sites today are created dynamically using a Content Management System (CMS). The advantages to using a CMS such as Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress to create your site is that it’s a free, open-source program and updates can be made via the web so you aren’t tied to a computer at school. Basic to Advanced HTML web skills are needed to create and maintain these sites. The site you are viewing was created using Joomla.

Keep it simple: While there are a variety of ways maintain an online presence, one specificially designed for high school media programs is ASNE’s my.hsj.org. Little web knowledge is needed. They will host for you and give you the tools necessary to get you up and running. Check them out their online hosting here.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 19th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He created The Next 26 and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on Twitter and Instragram @manfull and on Snapchat as aaronmanfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

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