How fast can I get a bare-bones website up and running from scratch? (Urgent!)

A local news station will run be running a story about my pet local history cause later this week. The reporter wants to know if there is a website I want to send viewers to.

I’ve been meaning to build such a site, but have not done so. I’m pretty design savvy, but I’ve never built a webpage before. How hard, time-consuming, and expensive would it be for me to create one – a very bare-bones one – in a day?

I’m not terribly concerned about appearance and content at this point. It could basically consist of one page containing a few photos, a text timeline (already written) and my email address. I would add additional elements later on.

But here’s the thing. I would like my site to have a normal, catchy name, not one with a bunch of slashes in it. And I would like the name registered to me, not the provider, so that I have the option of changing providers down the line.

Can this be done in a day? If so, who do you suggest I use to get it done?

The hot one right now is GoDaddy.

They are an official ICANN Domain Name Registrar, not a middleman.

They also do webhosting and have a service called WebsiteTonight

Lots of services have click-to-build tools that let you build a decent looking site with no coding. They have templates you pick from a you just use boxes and forms to change their default text to yours. They also offer photo galleries and things you can upload pictures to.

With no experience, you should be able to pick a host, register a domain, and build the site (it will be available immediately) in less than half a day.

Registration and hosting for a year should cost $80 or less for the year (sometimes much less). Definitely doable.

You can register and build it in a day easily, but DNS propagation will likely take a little longer, probably as much as two to three days to fully complete, unless you buy an already-registered domain name and host it on it’s registered server. Until DNS propagation completes, some people won’t be able to access your website using the domain-name URL. Anyone can access it if they know the IP address, since that’s the “direct address” that the DNS propagation process associates to your domain name.

Do you already have the name registered? If not, do that first. You might be able to find someone on Rent A Coder, but I’ve heard horror stories about the kind of kids that do this kind of fast’n’cheap work.

Really, your best bet is to do it yourself. Buy a domain name from GoDaddy, and some of their cheap hosting. I think GoDaddy has some basic build-a-website tools that you could use (I’ve never used them though, so I cannot say for sure). They probably do.

You could either use their tools, or download the Mozilla Suite and use its Composer program to whip up something. If you have a modern computer, something that came with Windows XP installed, you should have access to Frontpage Express, which IIRC is located at start > all programs > Internet Explorer > Frontpage Express. It has been a long time since I used that, too.

With a short timeframe like this, do it yourself. Unless you can get someone you know, or knows you (via IRL or a board you visit) involving anyone else on such a short notice is going to lead to problems.
Mmmmm, my first post. Long time lurker pulled out of the shadows because current unemployment and boredom with the topics on his usual hangouts.