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Hello,

 

I am either full of questions today or full of bs! :addohno:

 

This question is for those of you that have created your own websites. Which site do you like and did you find it easy to use?

For my small business, not anything to do with va, I initially used Microsoft Office and hated it. I found it didn't have very many template choices, and it was difficult to align text. Ended up paying over a thousand to have it done professionally.

 

For a va website, I would like to keep costs down and would prefer to attempt this task myself. You input would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

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Rather than using a "site builder" (seems like that is what you are referring to?), you can build your own site offline but still take advantage of the many templates available. Just be sure the template you choose is "SEO-friendly" among other things.

 

I highly recommend investing in Dreamweaver and taking a short course in it (I took one at ed2go.com and it was perfect). The rest I learned by researching tutorials on the web and just tinkering around. I'm not a "web developer" by trade but knowing the basics of HTML and CSS are important for many reasons when you're a VA.

 

Karri

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Guest Simone

Cathleen,

 

I use InMotionHosting.com and they have a site builder. I had my sweetheart design the template for me in Dreamweaver according to the specifications of the webhost (he only shook his fist occasionally) and now I can update it with the site builder. It's a little bit of a pain sometimes because it doesn't like to update the font correctly and the preview is slow. So, changes take a little bit longer than in Dreamweaver. I have since learned Dreamweaver, so eventually we will change the whole site to Dreamweaver and I can do the updates in it.

 

I think, it would be worth having someone design the site in Dreamweaver, and then you can buy the software and update it yourself. You really just need someone to design a very basic site (a couple of pages) and then you can add on to it yourself. I used a book called Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 which is a Lynda Weinman book (lynda.com) and just went through the lessons. Of course, it helps to have a professional graphic designer/college professor at home. :) But I really didn't need his help much, it was very easy.

 

If you can do both, Karri's online class suggestion and the book, you shouldn't have any problems.

 

Let me know, if you need any help.

 

Simone Christoph

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Rather than using a "site builder" (seems like that is what you are referring to?), you can build your own site offline but still take advantage of the many templates available. Just be sure the template you choose is "SEO-friendly" among other things.

 

I highly recommend investing in Dreamweaver and taking a short course in it (I took one at ed2go.com and it was perfect). The rest I learned by researching tutorials on the web and just tinkering around. I'm not a "web developer" by trade but knowing the basics of HTML and CSS are important for many reasons when you're a VA.

 

Karri

 

Thank you for your advice Karri, I will do my homework tonight! I am going to check out that class you spoke of. I am not a web developer either, and want to make this process as painless as possible!

 

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Cathleen,

 

I use InMotionHosting.com and they have a site builder. I had my sweetheart design the template for me in Dreamweaver according to the specifications of the webhost (he only shook his fist occasionally) and now I can update it with the site builder. It's a little bit of a pain sometimes because it doesn't like to update the font correctly and the preview is slow. So, changes take a little bit longer than in Dreamweaver. I have since learned Dreamweaver, so eventually we will change the whole site to Dreamweaver and I can do the updates in it.

 

I think, it would be worth having someone design the site in Dreamweaver, and then you can buy the software and update it yourself. You really just need someone to design a very basic site (a couple of pages) and then you can add on to it yourself. I used a book called Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 which is a Lynda Weinman book (lynda.com) and just went through the lessons. Of course, it helps to have a professional graphic designer/college professor at home. :) But I really didn't need his help much, it was very easy.

 

If you can do both, Karri's online class suggestion and the book, you shouldn't have any problems.

 

Let me know, if you need any help.

 

Simone Christoph

 

Wow, thank you also Simone for all the advice. Everyone is so knowledgable it makes me :sick: green in the face! lol...I just really wanted to use that icon for some time now! The kids can cook their own supper, mom's got research to do. I'll let you know if I get stuck.

Thanks again!

 

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I just finished reading the Online-Networking for the Newbie by Angela Smith. It was full of fantastic tips!

It is a must read to all newbies.

I just learned how to trim a post when responding to a post...my apoligies.

I will do my best to improve. :blink:

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PS: Make sure you use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to format your pages (font styling and general layout). It makes updating or changing the look of your site WAY EASIER. Wish I had known about it when I started.

 

There are lots of great tutorials on the web too - a standby is http://www.w3schools.com. Bonus: it's FREE!

 

Good luck!

Karri

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There are lots of great tutorials on the web too - a standby is http://www.w3schools.com. Bonus: it's FREE!

 

Good luck!

Karri

 

Hi Karri:

 

Someone needs to kick me out of this website for the night so I can check those two educational sites you mentioned!

I appreciate the wonderful advice. So here I go. :naughty:

 

If I'm caught peeking in, someone slam the door, please!

 

 

 

 

 

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I second the W3schools website, I often find myself in there checking on something to work out where I've gone wrong!

 

I know everyone seems to love Dreamweaver and it is definitely the best choice, but for people who are not looking to get into web design and just want to build themselves a site, you can do wonders with a template and a "What You See Is What You Get" HTML editor rather than investing a heap of money into full-on programs. There are masses of free templates and editors around on the net.

 

I use NVU and its pretty good most of the time. I also have a good knowledge of HTML and basic knowledge of XHTML/CSS so that makes it easier to fix things that aren't quite right.

 

Good luck with building your site!

 

LJ

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Hi Cathleen,

 

You've received some great advice so far. I'm a template girl myself. I learned so much just by messing around with the template I purchased and figuring out how it all went together. With that said, I did some basic HTML training up front, so you're definitely on the right track!

 

I just finished reading the Online-Networking for the Newbie by Angela Smith. It was full of fantastic tips!

It is a must read to all newbies.

Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful. :blush:

 

I just learned how to trim a post when responding to a post...my apoligies.

I will do my best to improve.

Trimming posts can be tricky sometimes—gotta watch out for all the little BB Code symbols. It's just one of those things you figure out with trial and error! :)

 

Best of luck with your new website! I'm looking forward to seeing it when you're finished. (By the way, websites are *never* really finished!)

 

Angela

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Anybody considered that a blog site might be a good way to go? I actually encourage many new VAs to consider this as an option. You can get free hosted blogs at Blogger.com or Wordpress.com and there are templates available to choose from. The blogger ones are editable, the Wordpress ones aren't, unless you pay for the hosting. They are quite easy to use, and you can purchase a domain and have it pointed to the blog. Later when you can afford to pay for a website to be designed or have learnt how to do websites yourself you can use the blog as an addition to your main site and you will have already built a presence. Search engines love them!

 

Blogs these days can be set up with a static front page and I've seen many VAs using this type of site for their businesses.

 

I'm a blogging addict and own 12 blogs these days and co-write for others and it's just so easy to set them up. My personal preference is Wordpress (there are thousands of free templates available) and because I have my own server it's nothing to set up a new blog site and have it operating in less than half a day. http://www.worth-more-than-rubies.com is one I set up around 2 weeks ago with a static front page, in fact most of the pages are static and it's already listed in Google. I edited the template and still have a couple of things to do but it's almost done. And on the weekend I shifted my husband's blog from Blogger to my server and set it up in Wordpress and edited the template at http://www.mtb4thee.com.

Edited by kathiemt

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Anybody considered that a blog site might be a good way to go? I actually encourage many new VAs to consider this as an option. You can get free hosted blogs at Blogger.com or Wordpress.com and there are templates available to choose from. The blogger ones are editable, the Wordpress ones aren't, unless you pay for the hosting. They are quite easy to use, and you can purchase a domain and have it pointed to the blog.

 

Kathie,

 

I like this idea, using the blog as a temporary website. One question: Can you use your own domain name(that I've already purchased) or do you have to purchase one from the site you are blogging with?

 

Deb

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Anybody considered that a blog site might be a good way to go? I actually encourage many new VAs to consider this as an option. You can get free hosted blogs at Blogger.com or Wordpress.com and there are templates available to choose from. The blogger ones are editable, the Wordpress ones aren't, unless you pay for the hosting. They are quite easy to use, and you can purchase a domain and have it pointed to the blog. Later when you can afford to pay for a website to be designed or have learnt how to do websites yourself you can use the blog as an addition to your main site and you will have already built a presence. Search engines love them!

 

Blogs these days can be set up with a static front page and I've seen many VAs using this type of site for their businesses.

 

Oooh, yes, good point Kathie! A fantabulous program that is designed to work super well with Wordpress is Semiologic. And the guy who owns the software is a total dear. He has a great forum where you can get very good help if you need it. I've used the free version which, I believe, just means you need to do a little more tinkering on your own. But it's really quite amazing software. And the paid version is a good deal too.

 

Karri

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Kathie,

 

I like this idea, using the blog as a temporary website. One question: Can you use your own domain name(that I've already purchased) or do you have to purchase one from the site you are blogging with?

 

Deb

 

Yes, you can, whether it's a free hosted blog or you've got paid hosting. Just point or forward your domain to the blog.

 

 

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When you're doing the forward in your domain panel...make sure to make it "masked" if you can, that means when they get to your blog it will still say www.yourwebsite.com and it won't switch once it forwards.

 

I've seen a couple VAs lately online that don't actually have a static webpage at all. They use a combination of MySpace, LinkedIn, Squidoo, Ryze, and others to give themselves an online presence without actually having a website. So you could use your www.domainname.com to forward to the blog, and then in your links section have all the links for where you can be found online so people can learn more about you as they see fit.

 

If you use a blog make sure people can easily link to your "About Us" "Pricing" "Background" or whatever posts you have that you consider a "must read" for a potential client.

 

 

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