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Old 12-08-2008, 08:50 AM
 
27 posts, read 73,153 times
Reputation: 11

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I am a self employed mason and have been told by many people to build a website to get my name out there. I have no idea where to start, do i pay for a site, is it free, and where do i go to get started. My goal is to have a site with some pistures of my work and contact information so i can travel around to build fireplaces. How do i get people to my site. I know this is alot of questions but i'm fish out of water here anyone have some tips?
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:12 PM
 
Location: kcmo
712 posts, read 1,963,174 times
Reputation: 373
Many ways to make a site.. sounds like you want to be your own webmaster..

Well's there 2 main ways to go then..

1. Pickup a WYSIWYG editor.. like frontpage or dreamweaver or what free nice equivalent is out there.. and either buy a theme or create one.. for your site.. and build a basic html site..
2. Experiment with/learn to use CMS systems like joomla and there are a dozen others but last I checked joomla was still considered one of the best.. Content Management Systems to be clear setup the site for you.. help you edit the name, links and everything else inside.. but that doesn't make them 100% easy to understand..

When it comes to optimizing your site for search engines that a whole other category.. I suggest you read up on the keyword "seo" or search engine optimization.. and here's not the real place to learn about that..
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:39 PM
 
40,169 posts, read 41,782,366 times
Reputation: 16740
Having a website is cheap especially for one with the kind of traffic a new site like yours will generate. I'm not trying to discourage you from having a website but for a small business I would not expect a windfall of business. Consider it as an enhancement to your current online presence and way to showcase your business.

For example when people search in Google for a business yours may may pop up, you can get a Google account and add a link to your website....

A cheap hosting package is all you need for a site like that, you'll first have to register a domain for about $10+/- a year and the hosting is another $10+/- a month.

Creating a website is a different matter, professionally made sites are generally not cheap and those made by yourself are generally going to have a "cookie cutter" design and not have that personal touch. Anybody can go get a template or use a site generator tool but these sites will all have that same general look. Not very professional IMO but then again you have to balance that with how much is it worth to spend on a site that might not generate much revenue.

If you want to get started on the road to making and managing your own site this might be lot to digest and go beyond the time you want to spend but if you want to do it right I'd suggest the following:


Downaload and install XAMPP , XAMPP provides a local testing environment that more closely mimic a live site. You'll find a folder called htdocs inside the XAMPP directory, save all your files to there. Start the Apache server with XAMPP then type in:

http://localhost/yourfile.html

And it will magically appear in your browser. It also provides PHP, MySQL but that is for advanced use.

Download and install Notepad++ , notepad plus is text editor designed specifically for coding HTML, CSS and may other types of web documents.

Follow this tutorial to create your first HTML document and beyond that here: HTML Tutorial

Once you get the basics down for HTML switch over to the start of the CSS tutorial here and HTML and CSS are married.

CSS Tutorial

Now once you get a basic design going you can move onto making t live, purchse some cheap hosting and upload your site. It's not an easy road doing this yourself but if you have the time its worth the effort.

Once you have get a decent understanding of both you can move onto some more advnced things like PHP. Manual can be found here:

PHP: Documentation


For more information visit WebmasterWorld News and Discussion for the Web Professional
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,209 posts, read 18,488,428 times
Reputation: 8052
Find a local kid that you can pay to do it for you. It's probably not worth hiring a professional firm ($$$), but you should be able to find someone local that will do it pretty cheap.

You'll probably need a domain name, and a place to host the site. I recommend using GoDaddy for the name and hosting with HostGator. You can also host with GoDaddy - it's not as cheap, but it makes it convenient since there's just one place you go to pay for/update your name/site.

If you really want to do it yourself, you can, but I get the impression that you're not very Internet savvy, and it may not be worth the hassle for you. If you're set on it, though, then as 'themaster' said, you'll need a CMS (content management system) that you can work with, and a way to edit the content.

I'd stay away from Joomla. It's NOT for newbie webmasters. You might want to consider WordPress. It's primarily for writing blogs, but it can be used for a regular website, too.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:35 AM
 
Location: NJ
11,470 posts, read 21,879,672 times
Reputation: 10022
Quote:
Originally Posted by wi_framer View Post
I am a self employed mason and have been told by many people to build a website to get my name out there. I have no idea where to start, do i pay for a site, is it free, and where do i go to get started. My goal is to have a site with some pistures of my work and contact information so i can travel around to build fireplaces. How do i get people to my site. I know this is alot of questions but i'm fish out of water here anyone have some tips?
I would check with who you get your internet from as most ISP's offer free web space. They also have web builders on them.

To get going quickly, you might want to make a myspace page using your business name.

Also popular right now is Windows Live, from what I've seen they also offer web space.

You can also check out google options if you already have a google gmail account. They also offer web space.
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
34,281 posts, read 59,604,944 times
Reputation: 33307
If I go to a mason's website, I would expect to see a gallery of different projects he had done, with good photos showing the quality and intricacy of some of the projects.
I suggest, if you haven't already, start to build a Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, or other online gallery of good photos ASAP.

Wordpress.com is fairly painless way to get a site up for a few bucks a month. While WP is a blogging platform, it is super easy to work with and importing photos into a document is also super easy.
I get the embed code off my Flickr photos, and can introduce the photo into an article, or make the photo the entire article.
The writing end of things isn't that hard. You can make it a journal. It makes it very easy to introduce personal elements and personality.
As people learn about you, they will be more (or less) interested in hiring you.

"We got to John Doe's place this morning and finished his brick backyard barbecue. I thought it came off well, and as the photos show, the patio integrates very smoothly with the pool and the deck, and the setting has a great view of..."

The minor downside of WordPress.com is that the site url is a subdomain and not your own personal url. You can do a redirect to the site, and that works but is more difficult for search engines to find you.

At that you need to ask yourself if you are doing a site as a brochure that you will advertise to folks to bring you visitors, or if you will be dependent on search engines to deliver traffic and business to you. I need both in my business, but I would think if you are a small operation, locally oriented, that the brochure and advertisement will work OK for you.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:47 AM
Bo Bo won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Tenth Edition (Apr-May 2014). 

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Location: Ohio
16,896 posts, read 33,628,448 times
Reputation: 13840
If I had a need to get a site online ASAP, had limited knowledge of how to do it, and wanted an inexpensive (free!) solution, I'd use PBwiki. It's free for small personal sites and very powerful.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:36 PM
JL
 
7,362 posts, read 12,057,592 times
Reputation: 7209
Is it better to design or work on your site locally and then once that is done, then signup with a web hosting company to see how your site works live? Any recommendations on what is a good, reliable, yet inexpensive web hosting firm? Thanks.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:00 PM
 
Location: sowf jawja
1,940 posts, read 8,303,235 times
Reputation: 1042
i've been using omnis.com for years.

their prices are very low and they are a very reliable host.

the customer service is hit or miss; most of the people i've talked to there are extremely arrogant and have no time for anyone other than a master web designer, but their cheap prices have kept me there, and luckily i've been able to figure out problems on my own.


as for design, i recently switched from frontpage to microsoft web expression; its a very nice product.
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