Information on Developing this Website

PHASE 1

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

       Introduction to JavaScript

       Creating WordPress Websites

As a bonus, they were all eligible for Continuing Education Units and I was able to get 3.6 CEU’s.

PHASE 2

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.

PHASE 3

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.

TOTAL COSTS

ItemTotal Cost
Online Courses$0 – FREE
Purchase Domain Name for 2 years$15.35
Avada Theme Fusion$69
Purchase All-in-One WP Migration plug-in$59
My personal timePriceless
A2 Hosting for 2 years with free SSL$105.49
GRAND TOTAL$248.84