Hi there! This little page was created in response to some emails we’ve received about our website.
Our site is currently powered by WordPress with a modified template on our own host for our website.
A site called hsj.org offers free school newspaper hosting, but it isn’t very customizable.
So where do you start, you ask. Well, there are many roads and no one “right” way. There’s no definitive guide to making a website, which is unfortunate. Most of my experience comes from doing it and experimenting.
I assume that the newspaper is in production and that you’re looking to expand onto the web, because starting off by publishing an online-only newspaper is more difficult than if you already have content and readers.
There are many great sites that let you create a free website, such as webs.com, wordpress.com and Google Pages, which is now sites.google.com. Some, like blogspot.com, weebly.com and tumblr.com, let you use your own domain name. They are all really easy to use and provide great-looking templates. If you’re just starting off, I would recommend any of those. Try them out and see what you might like!
It would be wise to determine if you want a domain (like news.com), or a subdomain (you.example.org or example.net/you/), which is what you get with those services. A domain costs around $9 a year (if it isn’t on sale) and is most likely a worthwhile investment. You don’t have to worry about this non-issue–you can always start off with a free subdomain. The domain can come later.
If you’re interested in hosting your own content management system (CMS), WordPress is an option. If you’re looking to host it yourself, which gives you more control, there are a few good free hosts out there–one would be freehostia.com.
Setting up a self-hosted website might require/involve purchasing a domain name from a domain registrar, signing up for free hosting, pointing the DNS servers, installing a CMS such as Joomla, configuring a MySQL database, modifying a template, and posting content up. It’s a little more complex, but you have more freedom with do-it-yourself sites.
Victor Ma, former Web Editor
You may wish to view The New York Times Learning Network’s special on online journalism featuring The Spectator Online.