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Very new to website development, help needed

4:08 am on Jan 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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As the title suggests I'm a newbie. I want to create a website for our small business and want to maintain it myself part of the reason is that I don't want it to beat me, the other part is that we can't afford to pay someone to do it for us. I have got a 30 day trial for Dreamweaver and bought an idiots guide for it and have found it heavy going, at the same time it has been suggested , by a friend, that I should look at someone like Blue Host where it is real simple to set it up. I then read reviews on them and uncovered horror stories, but then probably every hosting site has, at the same time I found Intuit which is more well known but they wanted my credit card details for the free demo so up goes the red flag. All in all what should I do, battle on with Dreamweaver and will the light come on suddenly or trust one of these sites.

Thank you in advance

6:59 am on Jan 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion, Dreamweaver will have a steep learning-curve for most newbies - but I think the same can be said of other Macromedia/Adobe products. Regardless if you're using software or a yellow legal-pad to design your website, I think whether any non-web person should do their own site or use a service depends partially on how much time they want to spend building and managing it and how deep their site intends to be. The less custom your requirements need to be, the more a template system from a pre-designer (like your mentioned Intuit) may work for you. It may be more cost-effective in terms of dollars and time. BUT... with cost-effectiveness and the use of a cookie-cutter method will come an amount of restriction in design (that may or may not apply to you). Where that line between thriving with a template design or needing a custom design lies is different for everyone.

Without providing details about your company

1. Will your site be small or big
2. Require a lot of edits
3. Will those edits be simple text edits
4. Will it include shopping
5. Do you need to change the layout of pages
6. Will it contain a lot of images - do you know image-manipulation
7. Would a website based on a blog like Wordpress work for you

Just a few things to think about. Oh, and don't get stuck on doing it yourself for the sole reason of not letting it beat you. Some may say that it did beat you if you get caught being a slave to managing it. Determine what's best use of your time... managing a website or furthering your business through other means while someone else manages the website.

11:11 am on Jan 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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One thing to avoid is to get locked in to a hosting services on-line site building programme.

One thing about using templates is to get the template that does what you want and not to make usual beginners mistake of downloading the first one you come across then trying to reformat it. Most templates that I have seen use some sophisticated coding which makes changing one more difficult than learning html and writing your own pages from scratch.

9:38 pm on Jan 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is good advice so thank you both.
1.We want to expand our business so initially will start reasonably small but as we divert in to other stuff it will grow quite a lot.
2. Yes as we get going we will be editing a lot
3. Yes
4. Yes.

It's my curious mind that makes me want to build and manage it, for instance I love making a spreadsheet do want I want it to do with all those formulas, I know it is not the same as HTML but I like to see the changes in the code reflect the finished article.

11:50 pm on Jan 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Welcome aboard Cosworth, shock alert ahead . . . please take this for the constructive criticism it is.

It's my curious mind that makes me want to build and manage it

This is completely the wrong reason to manage a business web site. Time and time again, I am called in to help on projects that have gone on for years precisely for this reason, and a related one - someone in the company wants to have control over the company site for the sole reason of being the "company web site developer" but eventually throws their hands up in frustration or cannot cross some line that needs to be crossed.

And every single time, it is a nightmare costing them far more than if they'd have taken the hit at the start. And it's always the same story - we love you, but we can't afford you.

Building web sites to expand your skills is something you do with a personal project, not a business tool. Think about this: having never touched a video camera, would you presume to offer to prepare your company a 30 second television commercial?

To assume the position of developer without any clue as to what you're really getting into, or the long term effects - I advise against it. You will be making decisions for all the wrong reasons (i.e., 95% of which will be presentational and "cool factor" over ideas you haven't even considered) and in the long run, it will hurt both of you more than it will help.

Again, this all may sound harsh, but I really do mean it constructively. Over the years I've echoed this "fantasy" in my mind, "if I could have only told this person what they were getting into before they started . . . " So here you go.

Budget, for a business, simply does not wash with me, and it shouldn't wash with you either. I'll keep quiet as to the why's of this - but there is always a budget for a starter web site, and there are always talents willing to work with you to help build it right.

But, should you proceed, this web site will help you. By understanding bad web sites - which is surely the path you will start on - you can avert some of the disasters. If you don't accept any of the advice here, I hope you can manage to study, and return, to this site often, use it as a guideline of what NOT to do - it will help.

http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/ [webpagesthatsuck.com]


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