I think the basics are about as simple these few steps:
1. Get a web hosting plan. I use Exabytes.com.my a lot. Please tell them I recommend you, OK?. I don't know about those free web hosting so you might have to do something about that.
2. Install a CMS. Ok, this is usually what you do after you got your web hosting up and running. Seriously, you cannot edit html or php files anymore, that is so February 1999. Use something like Drupal. Go to this site for open source CMS recomendation. Trust me, this site helps a lot.
3. Make use of the free templates provided or you can usually get other free templates around. Eventually you need to customized the template site to your liking so don't worry about that, it's pretty normal. No, we won't think you are a sick perfectionist.
4. Once the site is ready, don't rush out and tell the world about it yet. Ask a few friends to test it out for you. Ask your mom. Check spelling and grammar. My grammar sucks so I really need help in this and I ask for help. No shame in this.
5. Add content and serve. Look here, it's all about the content. And quality content, not some craps you copy and paste from somewhere else. Sometimes quality content can be boring. So use common sense here abit ok.
Thank you and Good Luck.
*PS* BTW, please visit my online magazine, www.RubyDevelopers.net.
** August 2011 Update: Sorry guys the rubydevelopers.net site was taken down long time ago. Not because it doesn't work but it works really well just that I decided to put my focus on software engineering instead of online publshing.
*** Btw, you guys might be interested in self publishing for the Amazon Kindle platform. This guide looks good to me and suitable for newbies "Kindle Cash Machine"
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