Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why build your own web site?

Why oh why?
Some times I question myself; why am I spending so much time and effort on a web site? I hope people enjoy what I put up, but who knows really. I get a good amount of traffic considering I don't spend any $$ to drive people in. The traffic I have brought in has been a lot more subtle. Signing up show-visitors for my newsletter, I tweet, Facebook and now blog to interest people in visiting the site. Answering the question "why?" is tough.It started long ago.
Let's go to the beginning. My first real job, believe it or not, was in the computer department at the Great Western Sugar Company in the late 60s. The computer took up a room of about 30' x 40' and that room was temperature controlled. I moved on to see the world, but embraced the computer from the beginning of the personal computer--buying one early and making it do as much as it was capable of doing. Now my laptop lives on my lap and I love all that one can do on a computer and especially on the Internet.
Where do you start?I'm a graphic artist so it is natural, I guess, to become involved in the building of web sites. I'm not sure that has been my reason. I have simply just been interested! I took an "html" class (one of the languages that runs a site) about fifteen years ago because I wanted to know how a site worked. I managed to get a site up and working, but from that class, decided I needed to find an easier way for me. All of that code was just too intense for me, but now I understood how things worked. Dreamweaver, a software produce by Macromedia, was my solution when I started working on the site that was going to show the world my handmade jewelry.
Thoughts on building your own site.
Before I started building my site, or for that matter even bought the software, I did a lot of research about getting a site built. I also knew a couple of guys that were building sites, asked questions, and listened to them talk about their clients. I knew I had limited site dollars and in the larger scheme of things had a feeling I would not be afforded a lot of time from a service that would be catering to the client that had the larger budget. So I bought my Dreamweaver software and spent the next three months absorbed in learning it. The result was a much less sophisticated version of my current site not quite five years ago. I've continued to learn the Dreamweaver software and am aware I don't know it completely yet.No Fear.
Now there is a fabulous array of hosting services that provide an easy route to getting a site up with limited knowledge and very little financial outlay. I'm not aware of any of this existing even four years ago. In fact, Blog Spot is one of them. It's free and there is an amazing amount of functionality with their system and with others. All I have learned while building my own site helps be me be able to alter Blog Spot, Facebook, Twitter and otheres with out fear. I have used all of these various venues to increase my branding. I continue a common look from one to the next. I have no fear of going into the html pages and changing the thing that will get the look I am after. You may not touch the code that makes your blog or site work, but you are now able to do so much with an ever-expanding group of possibilities.Am I glad?
You bet I'm glad. I have complete control over what goes on with my web site. There is no waiting around for someone else to make changes or add product. Of course, I get to enjoy all of the problems. It is an incredibly complex collection of parts that must function and cooperate in an exact way. I recently went through what I am calling "Paypal Purgatory." I still don't know what really happened that caused my Paypal connection to stop working properly. Now I know how to keep it working and hopefully I won't be having these particular problems again. I made a lot of cosmetic changes and enhancements to the site starting in November of 2009 and somewhere along the way caused the functions of the site to get whacked out. It took two weeks, off and on, to get it all figured out and working again. Now 1 Bead Weaver is pretty and works!
You must want to do it.
I don't think building your own site is for the faint of heart. You must be pretty dedicated to following through to get a site up and then maintain it. There is no doubt that I am a full-fledged geek. Actually, I'm proud of that. It is really time-consuming, so you need to feel what you are doing. I enjoy the challenges. Who knows--if there were all of the web-hosting services available when I was starting out a few years ago, I would have blindly gone with one of them and never known all I know about how a site works. I will never know everything. I absolutely don't even know a fraction of what there is to know about the Internet, but I know enough to make work.
Are you up to building your own?
Should you build your own site? That will really come down to how much time you have, how intense you are with details, and to a great extent, how patient you are. If computers on a regular basis make you crazy, don't build your own web site. You will save money by doing your own, you will have complete control over content, look, feel, etc. and things will get done more to your time frame. It's all about personal preference and temperament. I say, go for it!

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