Once you have decided to create a website (an author page, a book page, or a company page), you'll have to make several important decisions. First, you need a domain name and a web host, somewhere to post your page. The possibilities are endless. Almost everyone has some kind of server these days, and It's very hard to know what will be the best deal in your area. Here are a few suggestions and some things to look out for.
First, claim your domain name by registering it with one of several companies that handle these matters. Godaddy.com may be the best-known of these, but you can also use Register.com, NetworkSolutions.com, or WebsitePalace.com. They all provide the same services, so check carefully to see what each one charges.
You'll want to find a domain name that is short, simple, and relevant to the purpose of your page. Are you creating an author page? Then use your own name. A book page? Use the title or an abbreviated form of it. A company page? Then you'll want the name of the company. (Avoid Initials unless you're as well-known as IBM or AT&T). You may also want to register the same term with several different extensions, so that no one can leap onto your fame and steal it for another site. So don't just register SamSmith.com; you also should own SamSmith.org, SamSmith.net, SamSmith.biz.
Now you must choose a web host, and it is up to you to decide whether you want a free one or one that charges a monthly fee. Sound like a no-brainer? It's not. Free sites are widely available, but in the eyes of many, free equals cheap.. Some of the best-known and most popular are on Google, or companies like Blogger.com or Yola.com. Your decision depends on the purpose of the site. At the moment, I have a free website on Blogger, where I can post some of the out-takes from books I'm writing. They are there because I love them, but they don't fit into the book. So I'm offering them for free to my dedicated followers, who just want something new to read.
The site works because it suits my purpose, but it has several drawbacks. The URL is a mindboggling one: onthroadtofrogmore.blogspot.com. The inclusion of "blogspot" in the URL tells everyone that this is a free site, and really savvy internet users -- and most search engines-- will automatically reject it as not a "serious" site. I also do not have complete control of the content. I can't transfer the articles easily, and Blogger could shut me down at any moment. I can't run ads, although pop-up ads not of my choosing may appear, or sell anything on the page.
For my more serious site, the one that supports my independent publishing company and its publications, I use a paid site hosted by Vistaprint. This is a personal choice, and a relatively little-known one. Vistaprint also handles many of my printing needs, such as business cards, banners, brochures and items with my company logo, which means that my website can use the same graphics and "match" my other advertising items. I can use my own domain name --KatzenhausBooks.com--and use the pages as I wish, to carry an order form for my books or to open it to other advertising. So far, I have been well satisfied.
Other popular choices include Bluehost, Drupal, Wordpress, Dreamweaver, Powweb, Site Build it, or HostGator. Their options and learning curves vary greatly, so I recommend you survey them carefully before jumping to any one. Perhaps the best way to choose is to look at websites you really like, and then consult with their owners to find out what host and software they are using. Take advantage of those who have gone before you. You really don't have to re-invent the wheel to create a website. It can be as easy or as complicated as you wish.