To celebrate the release of our awesome
new fansite kit, we thought we’d put together a blog entry offering a few tips
on how to get started on making your own Total War fansite.
If you’ve yet to grab the fansite kit
itself, here’s a list of its contents:
Medieval II Banners x6
Medieval II Box Art -x2 (UK and US)
Medieval II Logos x 4
Medieval II Screenshots x42 (Various
Medieval II Videos x1
Medieval II Wallpapers x12 (6 designs in
Medieval II Forum Avatars x49
So you’ve grabbed that little lot -
where do you go from there?
Finding A Host Or Some
First things first,
you’ll need to decide if you are going to build your own site and get it hosted
or use one of the popular blogging sites. Building your own site may require
some technical know-how and will mean you’ll need to purchase some webspace
(see hosting tips below). On the plus side you’ll have almost total freedom in
your design and content.
An alternative is to use one of the free
blogging platforms such as Blogspot or MySpace. Blog sites like this very site
have become an enormously popular method of getting seen and heard on the web.
They are easy to customise, even if you’re not technically minded, and there
are loads of great free templates to download. Other personal page services
include wordpress, which have space to blog, share photos, pictures, your movie
files and links. This option is great if you’re looking to get your site off
the ground and your content seen as soon as possible. In the long term though,
you may want to look at a more ambitious design and to get your own webspace,
which involves some more hands on design work and coughing up for some hosting.
There are many companies offering
hosting services out there. These companies will host your html files, images
and movies and provide tools to help you update your site regularly. Many will
also offer domain name registration – the registration of your chosen URL
address. Simply do a websearch for “cheap domain hosting” and you
will find 100,000′s of services from as little as $1 month and url registration
from around $5 a year.
The URL of your site (the http://www.bit/) will need to be
registered first; this is the address people use to find your site. One thing
to keep in mind here is copyright, don’t use someone else’s IP (intellectual
property) in the URL otherwise you may be forced to close or rename your site
once it’s launched and built a community. As mentioned, most of the sites that
offer hosting include registration services, but if you do register a domain
name with your hosting service you’d be wise to check who owns the url should
you want to change hosting providers and take you url elsewhere.
So you’ve decided on a host or set up
your blog site, now it’s time to consider design and this means making a few
more decisions. Websites are constructed using HTML (hyper text mark up
language) and more recently XHTML, both of which, with the right book(s) and
resources, are easy to learn. Just visit your Internet retailer of choice and
have a look at the basic html tuition books there are loads of great ones out
there. The web itself is also a massive resource in this area – there are so
many good tutorials it’s hard to recommend just one but - webmonkey.com is just one
example of the many great sites out there that do so.
The rest is up to you now but there’s an
awful lot of help around. If you have friends who have made their own site to
talk to them about what options they went for. Also if you are a member of any
forums, a quick post asking for advice will normally do the trick. The web
itself is certainly your best tutorial and guide.
You can get a lot of ideas
for website design by just browsing other peoples sites. You can even get
plugins for your browser such as the web developer plugin for Firefox
that allow you to examine the code, images and scripts behind
websites in detail.
Hopefully our fansite kit and this blog
has inspired you and helped you take the first few steps. After the holiday
we’ll post a second blog to give you some help with regards to promoting your
site and setting up your own forums.
Medieval II Fansite Kit – Our awesome fansite kit full of goodies
such as images, logos, banners and much much, more.
Some great resources
- More great html and web tutorials and tools
HomeStead – A good
start for WYSIWYG hosting
Blogger.com – A popular
MySpace – Yet another blog
style service network.
WordPress - A popular