Building my first website....

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Forum topic by ShannonRogers posted 04-10-2008 03:14 AM 2600 views 3 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 5246 days

04-10-2008 03:14 AM

Hey all,

I desperately need to get a website up and running to showcase some of my stuff and to direct customers to. I have only done two craft shows so far and I had business cards made up at Kinkos to hand out. As I expected, everyone asked, “what is your website?” My mom called from Colorado and said that when she was at the post office the mailman asked her about the cool pen she was using. She said, “my son made it!” He immediately responded saying that he wanted one. My mom then called and said that if I had a site she could direct people to it and I could fill orders that way.

I admit that I have done little to no research on this so far, but LJs has always been a great source so I thought I would start here. Does anyone have any site to recommend or books to pick up. I have very little capital to invest into this right now so I am hoping to do it myself. I am certainly computer literate as I work in for an IT staffing and services provider, but I am no programmer.

I appreciate anything anyone can point me to to get me started. Thanks in advance.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

27 replies so far

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 5242 days

#1 posted 04-10-2008 03:41 AM

I use WordPress for my personal site. Granted, my site is a blog, and I think that WordPress is optimized for blog users, but I have seen it used as more of a “regular” website. You can get your very own domain name for usually under $10/year (I use GoDaddy), and for $10 more per year, you can point your free WordPress blog to your domain name.

Good luck and keep us informed!

-- Eric at

View Tim & Candy Hicks's profile

Tim & Candy Hicks

332 posts in 5169 days

#2 posted 04-10-2008 04:20 AM

Hi there, I use Frontpage for my website. I know that Frontpage is no longer being made and updated but it still works for me and is easy to understand. I know that microsoft has a new program out that took place of frontpage but I know nothing about it. I taught myself pretty much all that i know about designing a site, and what I didnt know I searched on the internet for it. I use Ipower Web for my webhosting, it costs $100 a year but I have great bandwidth and disk space to use and if you dont want to make your own web template they havem any to choose from. So far I have only used like 4% of my disk space. I do have some great tips about optimizing the website for search engines and within a month of doing all these little tweaks we had 500 new visits and we are ranking higher in the search engines. Make sure that you can accept credit cards, right now I use paypal, it is free and you can set up your own shopping cart. When you deign your site, keep it simple and to the point, I dont think a person needs to explain how great their product is, the item should sell itself, but you can say how unique it is or makes a great gift and so on.

Well that is all that i Can think of, if you have anymore questions dont hesitate to ask
Good luck


View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 5257 days

#3 posted 04-10-2008 01:49 PM

The biggest bang for you money, with the least amount of effort to get a professional website up and running that will give you all the bells and whistles … can build it yourself with ease, maintain it, and grow it…

There is NOT a simpler, more effective and cheaper product/process for getting online. It includes email, email, web statistics, and a free coupon of google ad words.

Any questions contact me offline

Best of Luck

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View TreeBones's profile


1828 posts in 5482 days

#4 posted 04-11-2008 07:34 PM

Hi Shanon, I am not a skilled tecno wizard and I use Yahoo Sitebuilder, this tool is free and works very well (check out my site). I sell on line using paypal buttons with no extra fee. Having a web site has been a big asset to my business.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View odie's profile


1692 posts in 5299 days

#5 posted 04-12-2008 02:26 AM

You are going to get a lot of advice to this question. There are so many ways to go … weigh them all first. Study, study, study then shop, shop, shop. There are sooooo many to choose from. If you can do your own web page work, Yahoo is a great choice. You can get your domain name from them too. TAKE YOUR TIME … see what Google says.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View Joe Dusel's profile

Joe Dusel

22 posts in 5189 days

#6 posted 04-12-2008 05:05 AM

I’ve got about 4 web sites and 3 blog sites setup on Netfirms. These guys have pretty good prices for the domain names ($5.95 for the first year), $9.95 / month for hostiing on their better plan, support for Frontpage Extensions, WordPress, Joomla, MySQL and MS SQL. I can’t say they are prefect since they had a bit spotty service in the past month due to server upgrades, but for the most part they have been very reliable for me.

I use Front Page and MS Expressions Web for my sites ( and I use WordPress for my blog site (, but I use Windows Live Writer to add and update pages and posts. Live Writer is much more user friendly than the interface that comes with WP 2.5, especially for things like adding and adjusting pictures or videos. It also lets you see what the article will look like before you actually post it.

For our eCommerce site we used a template from This will set you back about $149 and it’s well worth the price, but you need to know a bit about web sites before mucking with this one.

One of the easiest ways I have seen for getting a quick site up is to use Joomla. It’s a free program and it seems pretty user friendly. We had one of the members of our guild demo it at a meeting.

Good luck!

-- Joe,

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 5628 days

#7 posted 04-12-2008 05:13 AM

My own choice in building a site is Dreamweaver. It does have a bit of learning curve but it is worth it because of its flexability.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View toyguy's profile


1792 posts in 5296 days

#8 posted 04-12-2008 12:44 PM

Like said before there is a lot of different ways to go for a novice web site. Spend some time and look around the net to find something that will work for you. There is a ton of information available on line…...

I have used a few different free sites, and a few different types of software. At this point in time I am using Site Spinner. I find this to be very user friendly with a great help section. There is also a good forum that most questions can be answered at. This program can be had on a free trial and is not badly priced if you decide you want it…....... check it out.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View David Freed's profile

David Freed

113 posts in 5126 days

#9 posted 05-12-2008 04:32 AM

I am probably jumping in to this conversation too late to help, but I am just now in the process of building a new website using Homestead. I made my first website using another site building program, and it is like comparing using a flannel graph board to using a cad program. Since I only have experience with these 2 site building programs, I can’t really say that homestead is a lot better than other programs. I think part of the difference is that the other one wasn’t very good. With that said, I have never had any training, and I did build my site from blank pages, not a template. Also the Homestead site builder will let you set up an e-commerce store, use PayPal if you want and several other things

After typing this reply I happened to think to click on your profile to see if you had a website yet. I looked at all of your pages and have a suggestion. The black font color is not too easy to see against the purple background, especially the small font size on the about us page. If you or anyone else can see something that would help my site I am always open to suggestions.

-- David, Southern Indiana

View Pianoman's profile


8 posts in 5123 days

#10 posted 05-16-2008 07:12 PM

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 5227 days

#11 posted 05-18-2008 02:43 PM

you could use, they have an easy web designer thing and once your done you can buy a .com name. right now i’m working on mine using them and there is less customability but i think that it works fine.

View kjwoodworking's profile


266 posts in 5346 days

#12 posted 05-18-2008 03:58 PM

You don’t have to be a programmer to have a good looking professional site these days.

Some good advice has been shared here. Some good looking sites too!

I would do a little homework, check out some of the options above and pick the one you are most comfortable with.

My first site changed as I learned, and building a site is much easier than it seems at first. I now have five and it gets easier with every new one I build. I started with front page and a host 4 years ago. I have just started using Joomla on two sites about four months ago and it sure has made it a lot easier.

Good luck and let us know when you get it up and running. I will exchange links with you if you would like.

-- Kirk H. --

View RusticElements's profile


167 posts in 5184 days

#13 posted 05-18-2008 04:17 PM

Just as a reference point, I have been a web programmer for ~12 years now. I ran my own server for ~8. When I closed my server I moved all my clients to iPower. Biggest mistake I ever made. What a nightmare! 90% of them moved elsewhere within 6 months. One thing I have learned over the years is AVOID CHEAP HOSTING COMPANIES!!!! As with everything else, you get what you pay for.

As far as building the site goes, most places have on line site building tools. They’re not as good as one of the site building programs would be, but totally adequate for starting out. They’re all easy to use. No knowledge necessary.

-- Michael R. Harvey - Brewster, NY - - -

View David Freed's profile

David Freed

113 posts in 5126 days

#14 posted 05-18-2008 09:52 PM

I would like to know your opinions on pointing out mistakes on other peoples website. I have sent an e-mail or pm to a few people in the past after noticing something even as simple as one word being misspelled. I hope people don’t take offense when I do that, because I am only trying to help. As for me, I welcome someone letting me know about a mistake on my site. It is not an award winner by any means, but even a simple site can make an impression if there are no mistakes and it conveys the message you want. I have looked at many simple sites that looked very good to me. No matter how good a page looks, if someone sees a misspelled word on it, that will stand out in their mind more than anything else on the page. I don’t want that, and I wouldn’t think anyone else would either.

-- David, Southern Indiana

View kjwoodworking's profile


266 posts in 5346 days

#15 posted 05-19-2008 02:49 PM

I don’t mind. I try not to misspell but it happens.
I too have sent emails pointing out a misspelling or if something else is messed up. Some thank me, some you never hear from, but the misspelling or problem gets fixed.

I have had my site looking great(to me) on IE and be weird looking on FireFox but not know until someone emailed.

-- Kirk H. --

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