Question Easiest way to build a simple but customisable website?

Discussion in 'computers, web and general tech' started by teuchter, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    I want to set up a website. It doesn't need any fancy features; in fact it probably only needs to have about 3 static pages. No social media widgets, no comments sections, etc etc.

    However, I would like to have good control over how it looks - ie, typfaces, colours, layout and so on.

    I've been looking at Wordpress.com. It seems quite easy to use, but although there are a lot of templates to choose from, they are only customisable up to a point, beyond which you have to pay for a premium upgrade. I can make something that'll do, but would like a bit more control.

    I'm currently looking at blogger. It seems there are more options to adjust the templates but I don't like the UI as much as wordpress.

    It seems there is a version of wordpress - wordpress.org - that you can use if you sort out the hosting with a third party. From what I read this would give me more options. Is it worth trying it out (for example dreamhost seem to offer a "free" two week trial)?

    It seems that there are a few hosts who offer "one click install" of wordpress.org. If I went with another host, how difficult would it be to set up wordpress.org?

    Finally, are there any other options I should be looking at?
     
  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model One star in sight

    get someone else to do it for you
     
  3. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    If wordpress has a style you like you are probably best using it.

    Personally I prefer to write the pages from scratch using html.
    (I.e. create my own page template and then tweak as required)

    html is not hard to learn and then you have maximum control.
     
    Wilson and Nigel like this.
  4. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Thanks for your contribution, which exceeded expectations.
     
    fogbat, devit, UnderAnOpenSky and 2 others like this.
  5. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    Basic Wordpress stuff is pretty easy to pick up. Depends how much you want to tweak stuff rally.
     
  6. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Yeah but it seems rather like re-inventing the wheel. I don't want anything that is wildly different to zillions of other websites out there. Really I just want a template that I can then tweak to my will. And although in the long term I may learn more HTML, this is something I need to get sorted fairly quickly, hence something that can be easily adjusted via a UI is best.
     
  7. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    I want to tweak it more than it will let me in the free version of wordpress.com (for example it won't even let me adjust typeface or size). Hence my question about how easy it is to go down the wordpress.org ie. self-hosted route.
     
  8. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model One star in sight

    don't fucking ask for options then come over all arsy when people offer them. why not try, just for once, not to be a twat.
     
  9. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Please be assured that your advice is valued and always treated with all the respect it is due.
     
  10. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    The advantage with the hosted option is you have FTP access to all the files, can up / download them after changes. So when you know what you're doing more, you can edit the code in the themes to your liking. The initial installation of Word Press is made extremely easy on many hosts. You can buy your domain name from the same company, have Word Press installed, choose a theme for the time being for roughly £25 PA for a basic package.
     
    fogbat likes this.
  11. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model One star in sight

    "your call is important to us"
     
  12. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Any kind of easy to set up website is going to be a bitch to customise.

    If you only want three pages with no clever stuff, I'd probably suggest you have a go at building it yourself, perhaps by downloading a template as a guide.

    You can get some very good looking - and simple - websites made with Wordpress too and they have the benefit of being easily upgradeable/expandable.
     
    teuchter, 89 Til Infinity and Nigel like this.
  13. 89 Til Infinity

    89 Til Infinity Apparently a "Well-Known Member"

  14. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    Not that hard. I think you can get a domain and a year of hosting from Vidahost for just over £20 including tax atm. There's a feature on your hosting dashboard that installs the software for you. Piece of piss.
     
  15. Corax

    Corax Luke 5:16

    I've heard that AOL is where all the cool kids are at for this kind of thing.

    Although Geocities seems to be giving them a run for their money.
     
  16. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    Heh. I Googled for something earlier and it turned up an old Angel Fire page.

    Don't forget, if you want a very basic site to mess around with, you likely as not have some web space with your ISP. I use mine for storing docs I want to refer to now and then. Otherwise just go with Vidahost or similar. Buy a domain and install one click Wordpress.
     
  17. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Thanks. It looks like this might be my best option.
    What's actually "installed" for wordpress by the way, is it something at the host's end or at mine?
     
  18. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Good point
     
  19. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    For the time being, just basic info, contact details, maybe one or two images. It would be useful to have the ability to expand it over time without starting again though.
     
  20. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    This is the thing that gets me about things like wordpress.

    People decide that they are going that way because it is easy, then they spend hours and hours agonising over templates, hosting, fonts, styling etc etc and I start wondering, it is almost taking as long as it would have done just to get an FTP program and learn some basic html.
     
  21. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    By the way... how do people generally deal with putting contact details online? I don't want to be swamped with spam emails/phone calls as a result.

    I know some websites use a "contact us" form, and/or have one of those captcha verification things, but personally I find these a bit annoying and it makes it feel less direct compared to just sending an email.

    Maybe have an "contact@" email address for people to use, and just accept that it will get spammed loads, and use other addresses for day-to-day use?

    Does it work to have email/phone number on there as images or will the spambots still find them?
     
  22. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Thing is, though, if you've built websites before, it's probably easy to forget that there's lots of basic stuff that you know that someone like me doesn't. So it's not just the time learning how to use HTML, but just thinking about the best way to lay out stuff and things like that. It helps to have a starting point so you can see how that looks and feels, and make adjustments to it incrementally.
     
  23. JimW

    JimW 支那暗杀团

    I signed up at the new Microsoft free webmail thing (outlook.com) just for an address that I could use where spam was likely - still recent-ish and a fair chance you can get an address that sounds like your name, plus can set it up to forward to your main account.
     
  24. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies


    t's at the hosts end. The quick installation sets up the database, file structure and the pages themselves with a basic theme. You get emailed the admin details and you can customise it as much or little as you want.

    Later on, if you do get into serious editing of the theme, you'd be best to create a Child theme. Just makes managing your own changes easier, especially if the main theme gets updated. You don't need to do any of that to have a respectable site though.
     
  25. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Personally I would probably list your email address as an image, that way the spam bots can't harvest it.

    If you want to have a contact me form, make sure it stores your email address on the server not in the code on the page or again the spambots will harvest it.

    Basically your email address should not appear in the code of the page. If it does it will be harvested.

    As to a phone number I would list it, depends what the point of the site is though.

    tbf I would be more interested in how I was going to generate traffic. No point in having a website if no one is going to see it, especially if there are relevant people out there who you would like to see it.
     
  26. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    You can write your email address replacing the @ with "AT"

    Use a JavaScript to hide the address from spiders.

    Use a contact form, written in something like php.

    I'm pretty sure Wordpress must have a plugin though. Which is your best bet if you go with that I reckon.
     
  27. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    IMO don't list your contact details as an image. It's bad form, breaks accessibility guidelines.
     
    de_dog and Fez909 like this.
  28. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Thanks for the tips.

    At the moment I just want some kind of basic online presence that I can point people to in real life. Kind of like a CV really. Plus it would be nice to have a domain name and an email address that isn't a free webmail one, in order to fool people into thinking I am worth taking seriously.

    Generating traffic and search engine optimisation etc are things that may come later.
     
  29. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Yes, but listing your email address as text, which makes most usability sense, results in piles of spam.

    IIRC you can't get an Open Directory listing without a street address. Not that ODP are that important these days.

    I wonder what the purpose of the site is?
     
  30. xenon

    xenon Radical efficiencies

    Static HTML pages are severely limited though. You'd want to learn a server side language too, if you want any database action. Then there's all the JavaScript and AJAX stuff for more user interaction.
     
    fogbat likes this.

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