I want to set up a website to rate restaurants etc and was wondering where do I start. I have googles it and there are plenty of offers but wondering if anyone has any personal expierence they would like to share?
Are you looking to set up something like this
To be honest you do need to find out if such a facility is a worthwhile venture - given that you will have to dedicate time and effort.
You need to know
1. How popular such sites are.
2. Review criteria - its all too easy for any fool to just say "de fud wuz crap"
3. Marketing - who is your target market
4. How much time and, money and effort are you willing to make this a success
5. Can you make this site successful
6. What makes it stand out from the other that are out there
7. Any chance of making money from this - if so, how
There are loads of other questions to ask - its basically confirming whether it is unique (which is isnt) but what can you do to enhance/make it unique
For any website, you will need a hosting account and a domain name. You can get cheap webhosting from the US and often cheaper domains also, provided that you have a credit card. You can get hosting from irish hosts as well, but with the currency conversion and lack of tax, US hosting may be cheaper.
The type of hosting you get will depend on what functionality you want to provide on your website. If you want to provide a means for users to submit restaurants, provide feed back, hold discussions and so on, you will need hosting that provides PHP (or ASP) support and at least one or more databases accounts.
My only recommendation to you is to stick with good quality, secure, Linux-based hosting which is what most websites will use, these hosting accounts will nearly always provide you with at least 1 MySQL database account and PHP scripting support which is enough to get you started, most hosting providers can upgrade your package to a better one as the site progresses.