Information on Developing this Website
I have been planning on creating a web page for a while now so I can stop clogging up everyone’s email box. I finally had some time and took the plunge early Jan 2017.
I found out many public libraries have free online courses so I checked my home town library and found some web development courses I was interested in. I started sometime around Jan 5th and finished the following courses on Jan 16th.
Create webpages using HTML5
Introduction to CSS
Creating WordPress Websites
As a bonus, they were all eligible for Continuing Education Units and I was able to get 3.6 CEU’s.
I then started researching web development environments. My goal was to find a WYSIWYG system which would simplify and hopefully eliminate most of the HTML/CSS/JS coding. I looked into DreamWeaver, RapidWeaver, Flux, CoffeeCup, etc. I wrote off DreamWeaver immediately as Adobe only does subscriptions and you can’t buy the software. Sorry, paying $20-$90/month forever was not in my budget for a small, fun website.
I then downloaded Flux and RapidWeaver and tried them out in demo mode for a few days. RapidWeaver became somewhat useful when you purchased some additional add-on software but in reality, it was still a kludge to use. Flux seamed to be a little behind the RapidWeaver capabilities and definitely required more coding.
I was very surprised that I was not able to find a reasonable WYSIWYG editor to use on my iMac.
This led me back to WordPress. When I took the online class in WordPress, I was not in love with it but I decided to do some more research. WP does have a HUGE library of free and paid “themes” that you can download. These provide some very nice structures for a variety of websites (cafe’s, small business, ecommerce sites, etc.) that you can then tailor with your own information. A lot of the themes seemed fairly limited but as I did more research, I found some themes to purchase that provided more capability.
I ended up purchasing the Avada ThemeFusion ($69) that provides a number of pre-built themes and also a Fusion Builder interface that helped simplify some of the web editing. Their link is here: https://avada.theme-fusion.com
Once I committed to a development environment, it was really a matter of sitting down for hours and trying to figure out how to create menus and pages, and how to link them together. I used the structure provided and started editing the existing pages and adding my own pages. In the process, I also started deleting pages and junk in the pre-built theme that was not needed for my site. I probably spent 4-8 hours a day for 3 weeks to figure out how it worked to get what I wanted as a basic structure.
At this point, I am refining the data I inputted and am trying to get a consistent look and feel for the site. The main goal is to keep it simple, clean and easy to navigate.
Once I had a rough structure (90%) built on my home computer, I had to find a website hosting company, upload my site and then edit it so it actually works in the “real world”. I ended up going with A2 Hosting. They had pretty solid reviews whereas a number of other hosting companies had really mixed reviews. I found a coupon online that gave me something like 40% off for a new customer. Ultimately, it was $105.49 for two years of unlimited size and unlimited domains. Plus, it included free SSL.
This site is NOT perfect – it is a work in progress. The structure is fairly basic. The overall theme and colors are OK but could definitely be better. I may mess around with it after a break to try and improve it.
Anyway, if you are reading this, hopefully I have been successful in creating my first web site and it works for you.