Help a Numpty
I posted the following on the technology Forum,but it's like a graveyard in there!...
I have recently started my own freelance CAD business and want to create a website for it. I have no idea where to start though!
Would any of you clever people be able to point me in the right direction?
I have bought the domain name www.durleycadservices.co.uk but don't know what to do next. It may seem quite obvious to some, but I've never done this type of thing before.
Are you planning on designing/developing the website yourself or getting someone else to do it?
My last post today, so here goes:
Thanks Weston, looks interesting. I'll have a look.
The Kraken - will do one myself to start with, just t get contact details 'out there'. Once it's up and running, I'll get it done by someone who knows what they're doing.
I could get granty to do it tonight, as he wont be watching England!
Well if its just a simple one then there's plenty of tools out there to do the job; including the one Weston sent. Even MS Word will let you save a document as a web page; never used it myself, but I imagine for something extremely basic it'll be ok. Then download yourself a free ftp client such as filezilla to upload your files when they're done and get your site published.
Originally Posted by Durleyfos
But yeah; do get something done properly eventually!
Download filezilla; its a free FTP client. You'll then need your FTP upload settings from your web domain to physically upload the files to your web directory
Originally Posted by Durleyfos
Doesn't Baj do this sort of stuff.
[Layman's explanation follows. Apologies if this sounds like I think you are remedially challenged]
Durleyfos, if you want your web site to do some of the work in getting you freelance CAD work then you're going to have to do more work and/or spend more time/money thinking it through. Getting a web site live is the easy part. Making it work for you and return you in the searches that your prospective customers will enter is the hard part.
So, assuming that at this stage you only really want a place where you can refer people to if they want to find more information, I'd recommend taking a look at *WordPress. It's a very simple Content Management System. This means you create pages with an editor, link them together and then chose a design theme to make it look nice. It's all very straightforward, it's very popular, has a very active development community, good documentation and it's free. There are also thousands of free and commercially available design themes to choose from.
WordPress doesn't create web page files that you then need to upload to a server, instead it stores the pages you want in a database and automatically serves those to visitors when they hit your site. So, to use WordPress you will need a server somewhere on the Internet where you can install it and have it serve your content to your visitors. There are many companies that will offer web hosting solutions that include WordPress. I have used a company called JustHost and it is a very straightforward but they have some pretty sharp practices regarding renewals and conditions of use that put me off.
The best I've found for the sort of site I believe you're looking for is a small UK company called PoweredByPenguins (don't worry about the weird name, it contains a totally hilarious geek joke). They host one of my WordPress web sites for which they charge me ~£25/year. This also includes email addresses (which you'll also need) and lots of other good geek stuff. I was worried at first that for this sort of fee their service would be (understandably) non-existent, but you'll find them really keen to help and very responsive. No idea how they make money.
A couple of other points. Firstly, you'll need some help/advise to point the domain name that you've registered to their servers. PBP will help you do this as part of the sign-up. Other hosting companies will give you generic instructions to follow that can be confusing. Secondly, if your site were to be incredibly busy or you want to use more powerful software then you might need to spend more, but if you just need an "I AM HERE" site with low traffic, you can't go wrong.
*Other content management software exists and is similarly easy to use. You could instead think about creating a Facebook,Google+ (plus) page for you business. These are free, will be found in search results, but perhaps don't look as professional as having your own domain and they won't give you a email@example.com email address either.
Durleyfos: I merely want to second bletch's advice; a simple website to help translate web traffic into enquiries is a great and cheap idea, but preferably it shouldn't look too amateurish. And Wordpress is easy and free and has a number of different templates that can get you off to a good start... Plus the idea of a CMS (content management system) is great for newbies like you and me, as it helps you to add, edit, or remove content on the website through a plain vanilla browser - no need for any standalone editors or programming tools.
Thank you saintbletch and lazlo78.