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The first step in setting up a website is securing your domain name. The domain name is what comes after "http://www." in most of the domains you see on the web. For instance, Amazon has amazon.com. This website is karenswebworks.com.
Generally if you're an author you want a domain that is the same as your pen name with a ".com" after it. Small businesses, likewise, want their business name with a ".com".
Of course, you can't always get the name you want. A lot of names are currently in use, so you might have to consider other options. Opting for a ".net" instead of ".com" is sometimes a reasonable solution. Or adding a "-" in your name so you become "Mary-Author.com" instead of "MaryAuthor.com".
To see if the domain name you want is available, and if not, who owns it you can go here. Scroll down on that page for a good explanation of what it means.
GoDaddy.com -- You can't beat their prices or their ease of use. Just ignore all the extra junk they'll try to offer you when you buy a domain name. The only one of those you might want to consider is the Private Registration option, because otherwise, your contact information will be displayed as part of the domain name registration information whenever someone does a "Whois?" lookup. For extra savings on either hosting on domain registration, click on one of the buttons to the right.
For a modest fee, GoDaddy will "backorder" a name that's taken. If that name expires, they'll grab it for you as soon as it becomes available.
I can now provide hosting for a reasonable fee that's comparable to other reliable, full-featured hosting services. Contact me if you're interested in having me host your site.
If you'd prefer to host elsewhere, though, these are some of the most reliable and feature-rich website hosting services:
Hostgator - Their customer service, rates and services are the best I've found. Their "Hatchling" plan is a great deal for a simple, single website with no bells and whistles, but their "Baby" plan is generally adequate for most small businesses.
Dreamhost-- Comes highly recommended as well
These are the Big Three of Search Engines, the ones that matter most, with links to their URL submission pages. Go to the link beside each to add your site to their lists. (Keep in mind though, that it may take them some time to get your site indexed and inserted into their databases.)
Yahoo - http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit
You'll have to log into Yahoo to do this. If you don't already have a Yahoo account, be prepared to sign up for one.