Advice starting a website

Tom O'Neill
@tom-oneill
4 years ago
6 posts

I guess I'll throw my nickel in the pot. I have worked a number on years on open source E-commerce programs, mainly writing the code that runs them. With Word press and all of it's add ins you don't really need to know HTML, CSS, PHP, MYSQL, Java and all those other weird abbreviations. You just need the correct plug ins, and templates.

Don't forget security, Its really embarrassing when you get your site hacked. So use those security and user plug ins.

Keep your Word Press up to date, old versions are a hackers paradise.

If you are going to work on the code, don't forget to validate the site. For instance http://villageofchatham.com/ has 82 errors and 52 warnings in the code. Which is a lot better then this page which has 209 errors / 39 warnings. There is an add on for Fire Fox called Html Validate 0.9.5.8, It will show you these errors.

And it goes on and on and on. But don't despair when you are starting out, just remember KISS when you are starting out.

Garland Coulson
@garland-coulson
4 years ago
16 posts

Sure Stremelia, here is thehosting company I use.

Strumelia said:


Garland, can you post that link here? I'd love to know it too! Thanks. Smile.gif

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Garland, thanks so much for the advice. I just checked out weebly and it appears to work about the same as webs.com, which I am using now (see the link in my original post). It is certainly easy. The problem for me, though, is that while these web hosting sites allow the quick setup of a site, the prefabbed templates also limit what you can do and maybe I'm too much of a control freak. I have a vision of what I want a page to look like and get frustrated if I can't get exactly that. I think I am more likely to find another web hosting site that supports Wordpress. A couple are specifically designed for Wordpress and have one-click installs. When things slow down at work (erhaps over the holidays) I'll probably junk the website I just set up a couple of days ago, register my domain name, and set something up from scratch, probably using WordPress.

Thanks for your suggestions. And Byron, I will definitely check out Luna Pages. How is their customer support?




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Byron Kinnaman
@byron-kinnaman
4 years ago
9 posts

Garland,

I had never heard of Webly. A quick look at their web site and I have to agree with you that for an easy set up and the price it would be hard to beat.

I use Word Press through Luna Pages, installed through cPanel. The good thing about installing through cPanel is the updating through cPanel, a click or two and you're done. Luna Pages also does domain registration with the ability of some large number of subdomains.

Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,763 posts

Garland, can you post that link here? I'd love to know it too! Thanks.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Garland Coulson
@garland-coulson
4 years ago
16 posts

Hi Dusty,

I teach Internet marketing and design many client sites.

The simplest tool I have found for a beginner to set up web sites is Weebly.com. The one that gives you the most flexibility and power for a free content management system is Wordpress. Wordpress has thousands of plugins to add things like shopping carts, forums, membership area, video galleries and much more.

I highly recommend Wordpress but do NOT use Wordpress.com. Instead just get hosting from a reputable company that gives you cPanel access. You can install Wordpress yourself in a couple of clicks from cPanel.

I will send you the link to the hosting company I use - about $7 per month for unlimited web sites.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Thanks, Lois. I guess it's about time I figured this stuff out, huh? If I do go the Wordpress route, I will certainly choose a host that is designed for WordPress so that I get the extra support. We'll see.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
4 years ago
59 posts

I use WordPress for our church library's catalog and Blogger for 3 blogs. They have limited support, but are free and fairly flexible.

My own website is through HostMySite.com, with great support 24/7. You can get your domain name through them, too. To design it I started out year's ago with a template, but nowadays I use Serif WebPlus which is easier and less expensive than DreamWeaver and way easier than Microsoft's web program (I forget the name, but I tried it and hated it; worked out a return). I'm overdue on upgrading my site with some planned changes I want to do, but know that if I have questions the user forum for it is a good group. Serif's about to come out with a new version, so you might be able to find an older edition which ought to still do all you need. I remember the last time they upgraded, Office Depot had the previous edition drastically reduced.

I know a webdesigner who thinks equally highly of KingWebHost.com.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Wow, Kevin Y., thanks for all those links. That will save me a lot of time. The more I ponder this the more I think I am going to use wordpress and take control of the whole process rather than continue with the pre-fabbed stuff that is quick and easy but not necessarily what I am looking for. Plus, I should probably learn moremore web designfor work, so I can sort of justify whatever time it takes. I may indeed contact you with questions down the line!

Kevin M., thanks for the encouragement. I've found it pretty easy to just plug content into the templates at webs.com but I end up with pages that don't look exactly the way I want them to. I think I'm going to abandon that site you were looking at and start over. Once I do that we could definitely link between our sites. The main purpose of the River City Dulcimers site is for our local group to have a resource to find tablature, information on our meetings, and so forth, but I still find myself fielding questions about luthiers and instructional materials, so even our local group would benefit from links to people like you.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Byron Kinnaman
@byron-kinnaman
4 years ago
9 posts

I've also done several web sites. I would recommend that for content control use WordPress it's free and not too difficult to use. I just restarted by travels site at http://trips.kinnamans.net Check it out, that's wordpress. A little bit of menu work and you're up and running.

As for hosts I use Lunar Pages, by pay for 4 years at a time my monthly cost is around $5.00. There's lots of free web applications available with these folks too.

I've done both HTML and WordPress also used a few other tools.

Go to kinnamans.net follow some of the links and you can see some of html and CSS stuff. But, I wouldn't bother trying to learn it unless I was going to a lot of web stuff.

Kevin Messenger
@kevin-messenger
4 years ago
121 posts

Very nice start Dusty, you have been busy. I will continue to check on your progress. At some point if you want I can put a link to your page on my site. Never know maybe someone from your area might find you that way.

Kevin Yeoman
@kevin-yeoman
4 years ago
8 posts

Dusty,

I would recommend the HTML5 CSS3 quick Start Guide: http://www.amazon.com/HTML5-Visual-QuickStart-Guide-Edition/dp/0321... It is a good reference book to help you master all the coding. Another thing you can do is look at some of the free online tutorials about how to do some of the basic features, these can be very helpful.

I will give you a very basic concept to remember and you can work from there. The HTML is the structure or framework of the website. It will contain all the elements that make up your site. <body> tags, <div> tags etc. The body tag is where all of the content of the page will be placed. It can contain multiple <div> tags, <img src= ...>tags, etc. If you do some simple coding already you probably already know this. The CSS is where you beautify the site. The CSS controls the location(somewhat) the colors, the fonts, the navigation menu is formatted here, etc. There are several sites that will supply CSS code for your site, all you have to do is modify some of the code to give it the appearance you desire.

Hereare a couple of HTML sites:

Here are a couple of CSS sites:

If you need any help or explanations let me know. I would be more than happy to help.

Wordpress is a good site to use to develop a website and blog. Has a lot of plugins that allow or enable a lot of features. There are several tutorials and explanations concerning Wordpress too.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Thanks, Kevin and Tom.

Kevin, the link I provide above is to the beginnings of a website on webs.com. I can see why people would like it. My only objection is that I'm limited to certain templates that can't be altered. And I am unsure if I want to continue with them or switch. It's good to know their customer support is good.

Tom, thanks for the encouragement. I do use pieces of HTML coding in courses that I design, so I'm not afraid of it, but starting from scratch still seems a bit much. It's good to know it isn't that hard. I could probably get a free web desing class where I teach if I really wanted to put that much time into it.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Tom McDonald
@tom-mcdonald
4 years ago
27 posts

I took a web design course at my local community college back in 2008. The cost was minimal, maybe $300 + a book, and the instruction was excellent. Besides the canned problems in our book, the class had a small business owner as a client. She was starting out as a consultant, intending to act as a one-woman HR department for firms to small to justify a full time person in that role. Interesting concept, I thought. We each built a website for her, and she actually chose one of them for her internet presence. The guy teaching the class drove a rotating collection of pricy sports cars to work, money earned by his web design "sideline." We looked each week at a big-name site that worked and one that really didn't (news, insurance companies, etc.) and so learned about design elements. I much preferred the mix of real classrooms with online assignments to straight online learning.

Anyway, that was prehistory in online terms, so I have no current advice to offer except that with Dreamweaver or similar software and some training, even HTML coding it isn't that hard.

Kevin Messenger
@kevin-messenger
4 years ago
121 posts

Dusty, I use , webs.com. They are very reasonable and have great customer support. You have full control over designing your site, and for me to be able to build a site was something I never thought I could do. Check them out.

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Strumelia, that seems like good advice. The fact is that what I want to do with the website is pretty simple, but that does not mean I'm happy with the generic design elements of these prefabbed websites.

I took a look both at the website you and Brian did and the wordpress site, and it looks like it might be a good plan. At this point I'm leaning to wordpress and one of the web hosts that are designed specifically to integrate with it.

Thanks for the suggestion.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Thanks, Kevin. That is helpful information about the <header> section. The link above is to a webs.com site, which I used only because I was able to give it a try without paying anything. Now that I want to register a domain name and develop a more permanent website, I am not sure webs.com is what I want. Among other things, it does not let you code in HTML on your own. I guess I'm still searching for a web host.

I do indeed do some instructional design, but I am not an instructional designer. I teach online classes, and over the last few years I've found it easier to design my own courses than try to give the "content" to someone else and have them do it. For similar reasons, although I would love to have one of your students design a website for me, I really need to learn to do it myself. In the past we've had people who found a really nifty way to present some content in a course, but then 10 months or a year later we want to make some changes only to find that individual has moved to a different job and no one knows what they did.

Anyway, thanks for your response. I may have some specific questions for you as I get more into this.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,763 posts

Dusty have you really considered Wordpress, or wordpress with using their social network plugin = BuddyPress? Sounds like it might be quite do-able with the simplicity of what you are talking about.

Check out the Wordpress site that Brian and I had a big hand in designing and setting up for our local village's new site:

http://villageofchatham.com/

We got to choose all the colors, fonts, layout, our own banner, etc. This was done even without a BuddyPress plugin. We did pay a very small fee for the calendar, which was better than the free ones.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Kevin Yeoman
@kevin-yeoman
4 years ago
8 posts

Dusty,

What you are wanting to do with the banner picture will require a <div> tag or putting the image in the <header> section of the new HTML 5 code. I teach Web Design and Interactive media, if you would like to have a hosting site I would recommend almost anybody except GoDaddy.com. I have had nothing but trouble with them and I don't like their business practices. If you would like a simple site designed let me know and I might be able to talk a student of mine into designing something for youas a project for my class. I am always looking for real world examples for them to be able to put in their portfolios for graduation. On a side note, did I read correctly that you work as an instructional designer? That is what I do for my full time job also.

Talk to you more soon.

Kevin

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Thanks, Bobby. You confirm that webs.com is a reasonable site. At least they let you built a website before you decide if you want to upgrade and start paying. The other cheap web hosting sites out there want you to pay upfront before you start building a website.

I hadn't explored the podcast app, but I'll look into it. I did add an audio file to the home page.

I guess what I find frustrating is that you have to choose a backdrop for every page based on the pre-fabricated templates. I would like one template that is just a blank page so that I can customize that backdrop. I did make myself a banner. It is in .jpg formate and I can resize it to any size. But I can't seem to make that banner part of the backdrop of the pages. I am stuck with webs.com templates.

One final question for you: have you ever used customer service at webs.com? I am curious how responsive they are on the phone or through text messaging or whatever.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger
Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
4 years ago
886 posts

Hey folks, I seek advice about how to start a website.

I want to find acheap web hosting service that will allow me set up a basic website for my local dulcimer group so I can keep a page of tab for the songs we play, a list of local events, some pictures, and so forth.

I started using one free web service that offers dozens of basic templates for the website, but I really want more flexibility. I don't know HTML code, but I do design online courses, so I have some experience with this stuff. The problem is that I have a vision of what I want for each page and am frustrated stuck in the pre-fab templates the web service offers. I would much prefer something with blank pages that allows me to just move items (pictures, text, audio files, etc) to where I want them and resize them at will.

For example, this is what I have so far: http://rivercitydulcimers.webs.com/. But I want to be able to put my banner (that image with the Sacramento River and skyline with the words overlaid) on the top with the tabs for the different pages underneath that, as well as customize the rest of the page. This free web service has me locked in to one prefabbed format or another. It seems to me that what I seek is pretty unsophisticated and basic.

Before I pay to register a domain name and to get some kind of medium amount of customer service, I want to make sure I have a web host that will let me do what I want.

Any advice you can offer would be most appreciated.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

"A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think."
-- Pete Seeger

updated by @dusty-turtle: 06/11/15 07:39:36AM