Your Ghost Hunting Website

Based on the research you've done online, get your team members together and identify your favorite sites. Start thinking about the features and the look of your website. Let your imaginations run wild.

Talk about the website's overall tone and message. Is it going to be somber or scary or comedic? Will it have a gallery, a forum, a blog? If you have a general idea of what you want for your site before you begin the hunt for a web designer, you will save time and money. If someone in the group is web and design savvy, he may be able to build a basic site for the group without going to a web pro.

Once you map out the basics, start getting into the details. Decide what domain name to reserve for the site, and discuss who is going to write the copy and maintain the site if you choose to run it yourself.

Salem, Massachusetts, is one of the best places to capture paranormal images. Sometimes you can even capture a ghostly ectomist.

Photo copyright Melissa Martin Ellis, 2007.

Before You Begin

Do a little background research to familiarize yourself with the basics before tackling the actual website projects. Check out books and videos about web development. It might be worth it to look into a course at your local continuing education center. Remember, if it all becomes too difficult, you can shop around for a web designer and dump the whole project on her. It will definitely cost more money, but the time you save might make it worth the cost.

Getting Up and Running

To realize your ideas and work toward a finished website, you must follow these steps:

  • Decide on content. Write the text and choose the graphics.

  • Reserve a domain name.

  • Find a web host.

  • Microsoft Word includes web templates, and basic sites can be built and uploaded once they have been put together. Of course, you need to obtain a domain name and a web host before you do anything. If you're clueless about any of this stuff, your best bet is to find a web designer to help get the site up and running.

  • Find a template that suits your design goals or a web designer who will follow your design.

  • Approve the finished template design and upload it to the web host.

  • Tweak the content.

  • Monitor the site for e-mails and client appeals for help.

Helpful Information

There are a lot of options when it comes to web hosts and website design. It is definitely a little intimidating to try to build your first website, but if you have the guts to be a ghost hunter, you probably have enough tenacity and gumption to build a website, too.

Websites with paranormal photography get a lot more hits than those that do not. Before putting photos up, be sure to remember that there may be privacy issues involved. Set up a system for noting which photos you can post on your website and which need to remain confidential. Always give photo credits and use captions, too.

Google has easy website building tools. This site has a single-click page creation utility called Google Page Creator. Creating a new page for your site takes a minute or two; it requires no knowledge of HTML markup language. There are different types of pages and templates.

Users can upload files and attachments up to 10MB in size. When you sign up for Google Apps, which is free, your account gets 10GB of storage for your website — quite enough to get the site up and rolling.

You can insert videos, presentations, and photo slide shows to enrich the content of the pages. There are no software downloads involved. The pages created are hosted on Google servers, and your URL will follow a conventional pattern: http://yoursitename.googlepages.com.

You can also find a lot of information and useful tools for building your own website at About.com Web Design.

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