website questions

Old 06-29-2010, 03:29 PM
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For those of you that have your own websites (not blogs), I'd love to hear about your experiences if you'd care to share.
Are you happy with your web host?
Would you recommend it?
Were you able to design the site the way you wanted it to look and act?
If you used templates, were you able to customize them enough to make the site uniquely "you"?
If you didn't use templates, what web design software did you use and do you recommend it?
How easy is it for you to update your site with new photos and information?
Would you do anything differently?
Please share any praise, warnings, or lessons learned so that those of us just starting out on the road to a "web presence" might benefit from your experiences. Some of us are still staring at the map trying to decide which is the best way to get there from here. :oops: Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:07 PM
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I have a yahoo web site, but my daughter designed it. I use Yahoo sitebuilder to update it when I need to add something to it. Is easy enough to use. She has found another host and we may be changing it, but for now I am OK with this. I can change colors and templates enough to make it mine.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:56 PM
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I have a yahoo site--it's $14 a month. I'm not selling horses anymore, but I like having it. I enjoy working on it--but the format is all goofy when viewed through Explorer--but it looks great through Firefox.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:25 PM
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I started out with a Prostore site. It was free for one month then $30 amonth.I didn't have much input into it as to look of the site. It was ok as a beginner but I switched to Hattie's Workshop and she took what I wanted and designed the site for me. That was my first one and then I had her do another one for me. She charged $85 to design the first site and now she charges $125 but it was worth it. I only pay $10 a month for the first one and $15 for the second one. By the time she set up my second site with her(my 3rd site as far as me learning) I had learned enough to be able to do more on the site myself and I added alot of personal touches to it. I don't know how to do code but the admin site is really helpful.

When I started I didn't know anything! I didn't know what a URL was or anything. The one thing nobody could explain to me was how to link a page within the site to the home page. I eventually got a nice tech who didn't talk over my head and walked me through it til I understood.

If you have access to taking classes then I would. Everyone kept telling me to take a class but I wasn't able to. There is alot of info online but as a beginner none of it was down to my level. Now I understand some basic stuff but am by no means a techy!!

If I can help in any way I would be happy to. Whether I know enough to be much help might be debatable! LOL

My website links are at the bottom of my signature
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:15 AM
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Thanks, that all helps a lot. I registered the domain name with GoDaddy, but have yet to select a host site. I've heard good things about lunarpages and also about networksolutions, so I've been looking at those two hosts. I could also just go with GoDaddy as a host, as well. I have taken the 'online start-up' class at Quilt University, Rhonda, and another 'art career business class' with Jane Davila that covers web presence from that standpoint. It's given me enough knowledge to be dangerous I'm afraid. :shock:

There are a couple web host comparison sites, but it's kind of confusing to understand what exactly they are comparing when you don't "speak the language". And as with anything else, customer service is a key factor as well.

Some people say that the templates merely offer a change of colors and where your nav bars get placed. That just doesn't sound like enough flexibility for me so I want to consider the options for designing the site myself. I know HTML, but not CSS, and I am willing to buy some mid-line web design software. As I understand it, the design software must be compatible with both my PC and with the host site, kind of like a translator.

I'm looking for as much information as possible before making a decision and I thank you all for adding to that base. :-D
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:41 AM
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the marketing aspect of it is the really important part. I did a lot of research on adding my banner and or link to others web sites. Other than the board the one place I did the best was on http://www.freequiltpatterns.info
They tell me the more links you can exchange with people the higher your rating on the search engines will be. But of course the traffic I get from the board has helped tremendously! I have had mine for 4 years and I am now getting up over 3000 visits which is great!.

Brenda my host was confused when I set up my Bits n Pieces site. She has all the buttons going down the side of the page. I put the buttons in rows going left to right in the middle of my page. Now I know the left or right side is supposed to be easier for the robots to find but I wanted to make my own sections so I did and it worked just fine. I have had no trouble with the robots finding it and it is easy to navigate that way. I am one that doesn't follow the crowd. I have learned to create my own graphics and to some extent I can work within the site she did for me. It is easy to use but I had to ask for the original admin instead of the new one. I like being able to expand to a full screen when I am working on a page and the newer admin was only a small window with no way to expand it. I need to see the page the way it will appear to work on it.

Now I don't know much about any other hosts but I liked Brenda's homey crafty look to her sites. I wanted to put my own fabric in the background and she lets me send her anything I want to put in as and where I want it. I have seen several others that are good too. I will be interested in seeing what you come up with!!
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:48 AM
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I've had many websites over the years that I made and promoted myself. There are many that are free and easy to design yourself..........BUT if you are wanting one to sell from in my experience Ebay and Etsy are way better than a website for sales and exposure. Just my opinion. :wink:
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:13 AM
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Thanks Marsye. The website will be in addition to an Etsy store and will send people there for sales.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:33 AM
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Rhonda, we learned in class (the QU one) that buttons (aka the nav bar) are best on the side for people, too. It's much easier to scroll up and down than side to side. We also learned a few things about designing websites that make them more "friendly" for visually impaired visitors (color choices, contrast, font styles, wording for electronic readers, etc). That was pretty interesting and something I would not have thought about otherwise. Also that words should be at the top of the page, not graphics...you'll be higher on a search engine list.

In a perfect world, I'd go with a local host and develop more of a personal relationship with them, but there are limits in going with a small host as far as down time and security are concerned and both of those are pretty important. That option is still on the table however. I'm very small town at heart.
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