Creating a website by a Dummy!

Oh dear! I apologise for those that have subscribed to my blog and just got an e-mail showing an incomplete blog. I had lunch with a very good friend today, who set me a challenge to work out how to enable people to subscribe to my blog. After a little Googling and some testing (yes I subscribed to my own blog!), I worked out how to do it. Of course what did I do next? Pressed tab (I think) and ended up publishing a draft post by mistake. Luckily I had subscribed to myself and got the e-mail, so I was warned! Sorry. :(

I guess that was a good introduction to my “guess work” at setting up a web site and a blog! I am a beginner! I bought 2 “for Dummies” books months ago… I can’t even remember when, it might have been after I saw Julie and Julia! Actually it may have been before that, when hubbie started his own business in early 2010 and I was considering setting up a website for him… doesn’t time fly by! So even with the 2 “for Dummies” books, it has been a bit of a mission to set up my website. But I guess it is a good way to keep my mind active while I am not working.

The first book I started reading was Blogging for Dummies 3rd Edition by Susannah Gardener & Shane Birley. This was quite useful. Chapters 1-4 give you some really good basics on blogging, and even some do’s and don’ts. Chapter 5 started getting technical and I thought I understood it. It started talking about registering a domain and selecting web hosting, so this is when I thought I would start reading the second book.

Creating Web Pages for Dummies 9th Edition by Bud E. Smith was okay for the first 4 paragraghs, but if this book is for dummies, then I am not sure what I am. I thought I was a pretty cluey person and usually get on well with computers and IT people. But trying to create a web page was not easy. I have a vision (it’s still a work-in-progress) of how I want michelleslabyrinth.com.au to look like, hence why I decided to get my own web address and not just use WordPress directly. Getting a web address was the easy part.

Getting the domain name was the easy part. (Domain name = Web address! Which the second book explains in one sentence, but at least the first book said how to get a domain name.) Can you imagine how excited I was when I realised michelleslabyrinth.com.au was available! But then I got stuck… what do I do next?!!

I chose to go through Melbourne IT as hubbie had heard of them. After both hubbie and myself trolled through the “for Dummies” books we worked out that we needed Web Hosting – basically a server somewhere to house all my site’s software, images etc. The first book explains this quite well, but it is not really explained in the second book, and examples of Web Hosters (I may have just made that up!) is not mentioned until page 255! After some Googling we worked out Melbourne IT hosts websites! LOL!

When we subscribed to Melbourne IT for hosting, they sent a pretty good e-mail, which I was able to read (along with Blogging for Dummies 3rd Edition) and finally got my website up!

So if you want to set up a website, this is what you need to do:

1. Register a Domain Name (lots of websites do this. Google “Domain names”!). Registering Domain Names costs money.

2. Get Web Hosting… I’d Google this too. Getting a web host also costs money.

3. You need software to upload your images to your website (something to do with FTP if you want some jargon). I use FileZilla as both Mebourne IT and Blogging for Dummies 3rd Edition mentions it. FileZilla was free to download.

4. You need software to create your HTML (basically instead of creating a word document ie dummies.doc, you are creating a dummies.html – which is what the format webpages are in). I use Coffee Cup – just because Creating Web Pages for Dummies 9th Edition uses it in all its examples. Coffee Cup (free to download to try, I think I only have the trial software) is pretty good, because you can create your webpage using Visual Editor (WYSIWYG = What you see is what you get. Which I remember from 1st year Uni!) and HTML code. So you don’t have to be a HTML code genius. If you do need any HTML help, use Google :). Just a couple of hints with creating your own web page:

  • the main page needs to be called index.html
  • for uploading pages/images, use lower case and no spaces in the names (ie don’t use ” michelles labyrinth.html ” – using underscores is okay (ie  _  )
  • reduce the size of your photos (800×533 pixel is recommended)

5. I even Googled copyrighting. If you created it (ie took the photo, or wrote it), then you can copyright it. You don’t need to register it anywhere. (This is for Australia, not sure of other countries). I have been using the software GIMP 2.8.0 (free to download) to crop, re-size, add Copyright etc to my images. I plan to use more “photoshop” options in future posts. I used GIMP to create the below photo of my dog Makita :)

When I was Googling  “Melbourne IT” and other random words I found some helpful FAQs and a blog. There was a feature to easily upload WordPress blogging software to my new website. I wanted to use WordPress as some friends use it, it seemed user friendly and it was also recommended by Blogging for Dummies 3rd Edition. From there I have been Googling “WordPress and…” whatever options I like. I have added a Share Plugin (eg Share with Facebook, Twitter etc) and obvioulsy today I was playing with a Subscribe Plugin.

One thing I will mention about Melbourne IT’s website is that I don’t think it is very user friendly. Do you think I could find the useful FAQ/Blog once I had closed it? No. I seem to get the idea that they (the infamous they, not just Melbourne IT, IT people in general?!) want to make web designing as hard as possible so us “dummies” can’t do it and have to pay someone to do it!!

I am sure I will re-visit my 2 “for Dummies” books over the coming months to see what else I can do! If you have any other suggestions to make my blog better, please tell me or point me in the right direction! I am keen to self-learn as much as I can :).

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9 thoughts on “Creating a website by a Dummy!

  1. Excellent! Now you’ve saved your computer illiterate sister the trouble of figuring out the first steps of creating your own website. Thankee kindly xxx

  2. Awesome that you started a blog, but sounds very complicated to my tiny brain 😉 I had the same idea after Julie and Julia! I might try again to go through a blog website. Love the yawning pic ;D

  3. I personally desired to show this specific blog,
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  4. Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up quite forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite good post.

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