As more and more people use the Internet to research, buy and sell homes it is getting extremely important as a real estate investor to have a web presence. This can be a daunting task for many, but it does not have to be. You can hire out the job to professionals for upwards of $ 5000 or even find a rent-a-coder and pay them a few hundred. Why would you do this? When it's so easy to create your own page quickly and cheaply!
In Part 1 of this article series I'm going to describe the parts that you need in order to develop your own professional looking web-page. Lets get started.
Web Hosting Service – 1 and 1 Hosting – $ 5.00
The web hosting service provider is where all your files and webpages will be stored and served to the public. There are TONS of options out there for you and you could get dizzy trying to decide which one is best for you. That is why I'm going to just recommend one and it's the one I use. 1 and 1. This could not be cheaper! I pay $ 5 a month (they are actually running a special right now for $ 2.49 / mo). The plan you want is the 1 and 1 Home Package . It provides everything you will need and I'll get into it in another article.
Domain Name – GoDaddy.com – $ 9.99
The domain name is the webpage address your visitors will type into the address bar. For example my domain name is StrugglingInvestor.com. Are you wondering what the "www" is that you always have to type in? That is the Sub-Domain name. By default a "www" is created for your domain, but as you get more advanced you can create subdomains yourself like, homes.StugglingInvestor.com. It can be a great way to organize your site. Ok, back on topic … Godaddy is the domain registrar I use. There are TONS out there and prices vary greatly but I like the way GoDaddy handles it and there is always a coupon out there to make the price cheaper (you can usually get 25% knock off by searching Google for "Godaddy Coupons").
Now the reason why I do not use 1 and 1 to registar my domain (which you can) is that having one central location for all my domains (godaddy) allows me to point my domain names to different Web Hosting Providers (1 and 1 or wherever). Not only that but most importantly if you were to register your domain with 1 and 1 you may have difficulty if you ever decided to switch Web Hosting Services. With GoDaddy all you do is redirect your domain. It's also good to have all your domains organized in one easy spot.
note: Godaddy also offers webhosting, but I do not like it very much.
Development Software – WordPress – Free
This is by far the best way to get a professional looking website up and running in a matter of hours. Many of you might know wordpress as a blogging site, but they also offer a free software that you upload to your site and it gives you all the tools you'll need to develop a quick and easy web-page. My site is 100% developed in wordpress! It's not just for blogs baby! (in my best Costanza voice) I will have a separate tutorial on setting up wordpress as well as using it in a later article.
WordPress Theme – Studio Press Theme – Agent Theme – $ 75
If I had a gun to my head I would say the theme is not that important and you could get by without it. Heck though, why do you want to just get by? Having a professional looking theme makes life so much easier. I use the Agent Theme from Studio Press and love it. It is rather expensive, so you can find some rather good free themes like the Arras Theme. You will get better support and quicker updates from a paid theme provider.
FTP Client – Filezilla – Free
For those that have never used an FTP client before, it's really simple. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocal, aka, a program that helps transfer files from your computer to the web hosting server. You will not be using this much, but comes in handy if you ever want to upload tons of pictures at once. Good to have it and FileZilla is the best and it's free so you can not be that with a stick.
Image Editing Software – Paint.net – Free
You will ever need to create icons or modify an image here and there and MS Paint is just not gonna cut it. If you have Photoshop or Fireworks or another editor like that, use it. I have them on my home computer but for work I found this great free softward called Paint.net that is awesome! If you are a graphic designer you might find it limiting, but for a hacker like myself it is perfect! Go get it!
That's actually it. You do not really need more then that. The above tools will give you an outstanding framework for your content. Go get all these items and I'll be continuing this How To Series on monday with Signing up for a 1 and 1 account, creating a domain name and pointing the domain. It's a lot easier then it sounds!
Hope that helped …