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Setting up a new website - advice would be most appreciated

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Setting up a new website - advice would be most appreciated

Post by quizking » 19 Jan 2011, 15:30

I'm thinking of setting up a new website for my business. I'm based offline, but it would be good to have a basic web presence better than the messageboard i've been using for the last six years or so. I have no html knowledge, but have been looking into using something like SiteMaker, via moonfruit or webeden. Anyone in fisoland have any experience of these companies? A quick look around user opinion on the web indicates that webeden has better customer support, but moonfruit is bigger (and in these troubled times, might be more likely to still be around in a couple of years). As sitemaker uses flash, and then this is translated into html, has this caused anyone problems if trying to view a site from an ipad for example? I'm a novice here, and have never used any apple machine; i'd just like my site to be viewable from all platforms.
Aarrgghh, so many questions. Any advice would be appreciated - and also any suggestions as to other possible companies that do the same sort of thing as the two mentioned above.

cheers

steve

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 19 Jan 2011, 16:36

Depends how much flexibility you want from the site. If you go with a company like those two mentioned then as far as I know you can't get your hand onto the code for any decent functionality

As a beginner that may not bother you too much, but if in the long term you wanted to expand what the site does you will be limited

But as a first venture onto the web they will certainly do a job for you. If you're using the free versions then obviously support will be limited/non-existent tho

My suggestion would be Joomla. It's free, is very expansive and you can make it look shit hot. You would pay £15 a year with the hosting company I use for their basic hosting, and that will more than suffice.

It does take a little bit of getting used to, but I could give you some pointers on that - I use Joomla for most of my sites here - you can use and abuse my Live Support link if you wanna keep firing questions over. There are plenty of extremely professional free templates which would blow any templates on the sites you referred to out of the water.

Happy to lend a free hand if you choose the Joomla route - can have the site set up in an hour ready for you to put content in.

It's always best to keep as much of the website in your own control than to use a middle man company, as you are paying for the privilege of squatting on their code rather than using your own....

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by eagle224 » 19 Jan 2011, 17:00

I'd agree with MM about having control over your site being quite important. Joomla, Drupal or WordPress are good for managing content that changes regularly or for adding features to your site quickly but if you only plan on using your site as an advert for your company then these are probably overkill

What features are you planning to have on your website?

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 19 Jan 2011, 23:04

Thanks for the replies so far!

MM - i'll certainly follow up on your suggestion, will look up Joomla straight away, and cheers for the offer of help. I'm not going down the free site route, as don't want other peoples ads on my site anymore. I've been impressed with what i've seen can be done with SiteMaker so far, and have already got a first demo site that i'm playing around with - but am definitely up for anything that can look as totally professional as possible. As mentioned earlier, i was looking more towards webeden than moonfruit due to their support. Am also thinking that once i've learned some basics, could always move on later - will be keeping the domain name of course. My core business will almost certainly remain offline though - running real life bar and corporate quizzes does still involve getting real people into real venues and consuming real food and (usually alcoholic) drink. So i can't see the site needing to expand too much, unless i get enthusiastic about web design (unlikely).

E224 - main features will be news of what quizzes are on where, with links to pages, each for a day of the week, promoting which gigs are running, with further links to the individual bar websites. And i'll have a couple of pages for online competitions and questions. No need for loads of storage, videos or suchlike - that's why the Sitemaker stuff seems more than ok at the mo. I'm fine at the basic layout and design bits - it's mainly drag and drop anyway - just a few html details for importing code for widgets etc. i'm not sure of yet, will be learning soon no doubt.

Thanks again, i'll be back with more questions soon for sure. In the meanwhile have to post news on other sites - my messageboard, facebook, gumtree etc. - as tonights real life quiz had to be cancelled due to a real life fire at the back of the building, so have to let everyone know that we're back there next week. (No-one was hurt, no damage done, nothing to see here, move along)

ta again

steve

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by Rob » 19 Jan 2011, 23:27

I've tried Drupal, Joomla, and Wordpress and would definitely recommend Wordpress.

Drupal is supposed to be very good but went way over my head.

Joomla was okay for a while but I found that wordpress could do the same things in an easier to understand way.

You can get a feel for the back-end admin interface for wordpress by following the instructions here:http://php.opensourcecms.com/scripts/de ... =WordPress
or Joomla here:http://php.opensourcecms.com/scripts/de ... ame=Joomla

Basically click on the Admin Page link and input the username and password.

If you end up choosing Wordpress I can give a few pointers from experience.

Good luck

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 20 Jan 2011, 00:04

Wordpress would certainly be a lot easier to master and not too much of a step away from the sites initially mentioned.

As a personal preference you can't beat the extra functionality of Joomla or Drupal IMO, but as an easier starter choice that still beats the socks off your initial sites you were looking at - Wordpress would be a good stepping stone/solution

You've got more than one offer of help anyway, so you've got the luxury of being brave if you want and picking something that may suit your needs more even if you lack experience. I think I speak for the others when I say that once one of these sites are learned even to Novice level you can get them singing and dancing to more or less whatever tune you want within reason, so you'll not get in the shit at any point and if you do there will be plenty of men with shovels :D

Will you be trying to create online quizzes/competitions for people to partake in or just advertising them? I'm guessing it's the latter, but just to let you know it only takes a plug-in or two on the website to easily create your own if it's something you would be looking at...

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by bspittles » 20 Jan 2011, 08:26

sites.google.com might be suitable. You get templates provided, and it all links nicely in with google docs and google calendar, so if you use these to create and schedule quizzes then it should be pretty easy. Free to set up and free hosting as well.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 20 Jan 2011, 10:33

Thanks all for the futher comments and suggestions. To address a couple of them -

There will only be a few quiz questions on site - to win a prize, say, a bottle of champagne per month, there might be five online questions, and then another five will feature in my quizzes around town; the idea is to get people to become regular customers at our weekly venues. The winner will have had to visit both a bar and the website.

I've been very busy - looking at both joomla and wordpress. I don't think they're what i'm after - i move around london and the south-east, using various isps, and even a dongle for 'net access while travelling around, so i don't have a host provider as such. I could do with a one-stop-shop, ideally with domain name included so i don't have to point from one site to another. That's one reason why google sites isn't ideal either, though looks like it would be straightforward to set up for a hobby site. I've already learned a lot just by following some of the links - hopefully others on here can pick up some tips too.

Coming back to my first post - anyone got any experience re issues with apple, or accessing flash sites from mobiles? I've been looking around and getting conflicting messages as to whether apple and adobe will ever be compatible. According to this they won't be..

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Anyhoo, more later

steve

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by bspittles » 20 Jan 2011, 12:34

I can't see Apple running flash until they start to lose out bigtime to Android devices. Having just announced $6bn profits, that's not going to happen soon!

According to this article http://www.google.com/support/pages/bin ... swer=99448" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; you can have your own URL for a google site, currently a .co.uk is £2.99 per year from 123-reg.co.uk

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 20 Jan 2011, 12:55

I use http://www.ovh.co.uk/domains/ for domains, cheap as chips - very simple interface. DNS changes are virtually instant

For hosting - http://www.webhost.uk.net/, exactly the same reasons as above.

With regards the Google Domains for anyone who takes note, you can obtain a free domain through GBBO initiative and of course if you like the Google sites can use them

But after 60 days you are not tied to using the Google sites any more and can point your domain wherever you like. You can only have 1 domain per mobile phone as they text you for registration

Saves you a little bit of money anyway - every bit counts these days :P

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 20 Jan 2011, 13:54

Cool - thanks for those links, i'll be coming back to this. Was thinking about a .tv domain - ovh are the cheapest i've seen.

Re apple - it seems bizarre to me (as a layman) that one company with such a relatively small share of the world market can have such a big influence on all other players in that market. Can't think of another field where this would occur. Not a topic i'd thought much about before as it seemed a bit geeky - and i'll never be in the market for one of those shiny shiny make everything better machines - but am starting to see the implications.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 20 Jan 2011, 14:02

that's Apple for ya :D

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by Jonathan » 20 Jan 2011, 14:31

I am a big fan of Apple, but I do find their reluctance to allow Flash very annoying, especially with the BBC website when I am just flicking* through pages on my iPhone or iPad and I can't play the media for sport interviews. html 5 is looming and will apparently be able to do a lot of things Flash can, but if you don't want to annoy quite a large percentage of potential visitors to your site, avoid any non-Apple compatible wizardy.

As for the most basic of features to allow easier site updating, take a look into SSI (server side includes), which work by pulling in and basically formatting uploaded .txt files to your server, but your host must allow SSI's to run.

edit: meant to add that if you do find you don't need regular easier site updating, take a look at http://www.mrsite.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

edit 2: *for effing read (f)licking :shock: :lol:

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 23 Jan 2011, 01:06

a quick update
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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 23 Jan 2011, 01:13

....... just a screengrab to show, one page of many at least, that i've been busy - monkeying around with graphics bits and bobs and suchlike. The foreign language welcome signs move across the screen and everything, wooh. That bit is fun - but am realising the hassle of having to recheck embedded links every time any single object gets moved. And i'm only on second demo run so far, not even up to a beta version of a site yet. But we're getting there.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 25 Jan 2011, 00:04

sorry for the late feedback - went into the pub sometime on Friday and only just sobered up now :? :oops:

looks good - i like the colours. looks nice n user friendly too. once you do a few runs you learn to link all up at the end rather than as you go :D

a useful trick is to put the link as "#" so the code reads

Code: Select all

<a href="#">Link Text Here</a>
this way the click goes nowhere, but you still see it as a link and it will remind you to finalise it at a later date if its a link you can leave unfinished for now

appreciate you can't do this on all links of course

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 25 Jan 2011, 10:11

Thanks for the tip - i'd never have known about that otherwise. I'll be having a credits page - will be sure to post a link to your site, with thanks for the advice.

Currently trying out different fonts etc., want to get a match between how the website looks, and plans for new business cards and stationery. I may be some time!

Have been looking through some website galleries - learning from some of the best laid out sites - but also what mistakes not to make, from some of the worst. It's an education.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 01 Feb 2011, 10:52

http://www.quizking.eu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Beta site now up and running. Any constructive criticisms and/or nice things to say, most welcome.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by Rob » 01 Feb 2011, 11:53

quizking wrote:http://www.quizking.eu

Beta site now up and running. Any constructive criticisms and/or nice things to say, most welcome.
Good on you for rolling up your sleeves and getting on with it.
One immediate teak would be to change the hover on the menu, when you hover over each menu item the colour change obscurs the text as they are too similar.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 01 Feb 2011, 13:40

Thanks (and to marquismark for spotting it too) - now fixed - exactly the sort of thing i wouldn't have noticed, or known to look out for.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by stuboy » 01 Feb 2011, 23:19

Couple of things I spotted

- most of the links take you away from the website, rather than opening a new browser window. This occurs when clicking on one of the quiz locations; or getting the 2011 scorecard. This prevents you losing the user.

- other thing I spotted was a typo I believe. On Sunday's quiz, in the blurb it says "free meals, mine and chocolate" - not sure if that is meant to say wine instead.

Like the website though and look forward to trying out the questions available online.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by quizking » 01 Feb 2011, 23:53

Cheers - mm has posted me a code snippet which i'll try to implement to enable users to open new windows rather than take them away from the site - again, something i wouldn't have had a clue about otherwise. And thanks for spotting the typo! I shall remedy forthwith.

Funnily enough, a couple of customers at the pubs have wondered why not all the bar adverts have links to the pubs - the reason is, not all pubs have their own websites in 2011. A bar i was working with only last year (which shall remain nameless for the time-being at least), in central london and on a fairly prestigious main road, does have a computer in the office - but it's running windows 95.

Re the links again - i haven't started worrying about (though have started thinking about) SEO yet, as the primary purpose of the site will be to engage with the current customers from the real world offline business, rather than attract on online audience, as i won't be posting whole quizzes online, there are plenty of other sites for that. But when i do, am thinking that the more links to busy external sites the better, so long as they link back to me too; or does a one-way link count, but maybe only 50% as much? Will be sure to research this eventually, but if anyone wants to butt in with an obvious answer that, again, mr newbie here wouldn't have known about, do let me know.

And also - i've noticed that this thread has had lots of hits - anyone else in fisoland thinking of setting up a site for whatever reason, please join in with other questions or comments. I might be able to offer some advice too, from a novices viewpoint, have learned a lot in the last couple of weeks. When first setting out on this, one thought was just to pay someone to do it all - but then realised would have to keep on paying every time i wanted something changed on the site, if i didn't have the basic knowledge of how to fix it myself. Second thought was to send someone to find an eight year old to write the site for me, but apparently there are child labour laws that this new evil coalition government hasn't gotten rid of yet.

Otherwise, back in the real, er, fantasy world, closing in at top of the fiso league in fantasyleague.com, but not so good for my team on top of the tff fiso league, so it goes. Perhaps trying to juggle too many balls at once. Oh, and potential girlfriend issues. And money stuff, oh whatever, grrr.

cheers all

steve
Last edited by quizking on 02 Feb 2011, 01:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 02 Feb 2011, 00:58

correct in your link analogy, you need em linking back to get full advantage

sign up for google adwords as soon as you can and they'll probably send you a voucher pretty soon

there are other SEO tips such as the META info which i'll not bore you with until you ask, but once your site is settled that will need addressing to give you a good boost

all depends on what angle you want to promote your site. set up a facebook page and link to the site - that will help. the higher a site's 'page rank' (basically a chart position in google) the more you want that site linking to you as it boosts you even more.

all bridges that can be crossed when you feel you're ready of course

so far so good tho :D

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by Rob » 02 Feb 2011, 07:23

It's possible to embed a google spreadsheet into a website: http://www.slideshare.net/ericcole/embe ... preadsheet

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by Jonathan » 02 Feb 2011, 08:01

Get yourself a Google Account and then check out Google Analytics which will help a lot in getting your site noticed by the search engines. Also, check out the sitemap generation and submission instructions on the Google site.

I notice in the link you provide that although the text you posted contained www, when you actually are taken to the site, the url misses off the www. Take a look here to stop that happening. It is bad because your site will exist with and without the www, and Google will therefore index your site twice - meaning duplicate content - which is damaging to search engine results.

Nice work though. You obviously know how to just get on with things - a skill I lost many years ago!

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by andycoull » 11 Feb 2011, 09:37

I am hoping to do something similar but I have some very basic questions :oops: :oops: .

I think that I will try Joomla based on a recommendation i Have had.

My goal is to achieve 4 websites for 4 very different businesses. Can I realistically pay one basic subscription (webhost ?) and then design it so that there are 4 sites that appear to be independent ?

Do I need to "buy" a domain name ? who owns them that they can then sell them ?

I am sure that there will be more questions but any help would be appreciated :wink:

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 11 Feb 2011, 11:07

andycoull wrote:My goal is to achieve 4 websites for 4 very different businesses. Can I realistically pay one basic
subscription (webhost ?) and then design it so that there are 4 sites that appear to be independent ?


Yep, not a problem - I use Webhost UK and do exactly that. The basic Linux Standard here will sort you out.

A Joomla installation is around 30-40MB of space, or if you have a shopping cart or community builder module can be around 60MB. So assuming you're not streaming videos or uploading ridiculously large images/files then 400MB of space for 4 sites is plenty. You can always upgrade anyway - still cheap.

Also - bandwidth - that should be plenty, and you get an indicator in your control panel how much your using anyway - but again, for 4 sites - thats plenty

As far as the 4 sites being independent - this hosting allows as many add on domains as you like, so you just add a new domain via the control panel and it will create the necessary folders for you to upload the new Joomla installations.

Can give you more info on this as and when

Do I need to "buy" a domain name ? who owns them that they can then sell them ?

You'll need at least one domain, preferably four - depends on how you wanna market

You can have four individual domains - http://www.company1.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. company2.com. company3.com. company4.com

Or you can have a main domain and 3 sub-domains, eg fiso.co.uk as the main one, and 3 subs: football.fiso.co.uk, cricket.fiso.co.uk, tennis.fiso.co.uk

Best off with 4 unique domains - but the options are there.

I use OVH.co.uk for my domains. Nice n cheap, and they are always on the button when you ask for stuff (DNS changes, new domains etc etc).

If your preferred domains are taken, you'll need to speak to whomever owns them - but to be honest you can always just compromise on your domain name and go for something close

eg I wanted iris.co.uk, i went for iriswebs.co.uk

Noone 'owns' a domain until they buy it - so if someone hasn't grabbed your domain, or have previously had it but let it expire - then it's all fair game. The moment you buy, its yours (or whoever registers it) until you decide otherwise/stop renewing it

them's the basics anyway, fire away when you need more info

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by andycoull » 12 Feb 2011, 09:17

Thanks Mark. When i tried to install Joomla I followed all the steps (without understanding much of it) but when select either Site or Admin I get the following error nessage. Any clues ?? In one of the steps it asks for a website address - which I don't have yet - and I just entered a name. Is it that site that it's looking for ?

Object not found!

The requested URL was not found on this server. The link on the referring page seems to be wrong or outdated. Please inform the author of that page about the error.

If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.
Error 404
localhost
11/02/2011 17:06:19
Apache/2.2.17 (Win32) mod_ssl/2.2.17 OpenSSL/0.9.8o PHP/5.3.4 mod_perl/2.0.4 Perl/v5.10.1

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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by MarquisMark » 12 Feb 2011, 10:15

joomla shouldn't ask you for a web address during the install - just the name of your site, your preferred login and your database info

where did you download this Joomla package from?

did you ever get to login to admin at all?

as far as the message you are getting - it hints at search engine friendly (SEF) urls being switched on.

the solution can be three possible things

1) Reinstall Joomla again, which would be my choice. I know they've just released Joomla 1.6, but it will take a while for all the modules & components to be Joomla 1.6 compatible - so I'm still using Joomla 1.5 for now from
here

Getting errors now is not a good sign, so rip it up and start again whilst the site is a skeleton

or if you wanna battle the error

2) Download and unzip the attached file - it is a .htaccess file which you upload to the root of your site (the same area you uploaded Joomla and contains all the joomla files). If your site is set to have SEF URLS it will need this file otherwise it throws an error as seen here

3) You can manually edit your config file so that it is NOT attempting SEF URLS. In your root again - you will have a configuration.php file (not to be confused with configuration.php-dist)

If you open this file with notepad and ensure these settings are as such:

Code: Select all

var $sef = '0';
var $sef_rewrite = '0';
var $sef_suffix = '1';
Back the file up first in case you fook it up, then make the changes - Save, and Upload - overwriting the file on the serrver

What are SEF URLs?
By default, a URL from joomla will look something like

http://www.website.com/index.php?option ... &Itemid=12" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

which looks a little nasty in a browser, so by setting a couple of options in admin (the ones I have pulled from the config file above) and uploaded a .htaccess file as configured above - your URLs can look like

http://www.website.com/welcome" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Get the configuration of SEF URLs wrong and you get grief
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Re: Setting up a new website - advice would be most apprecia

Post by andycoull » 12 Feb 2011, 13:11

MarquisMark wrote:joomla shouldn't ask you for a web address during the install - just the name of your site, your preferred login and your database info

where did you download this Joomla package from?

did you ever get to login to admin at all?
Mark - I downloaded from joomla site. I think installing 1.5 might be the best thing. One question tho. My bad use of terminology, it just asked for the info you described above. The fact that i have no site yet - i just put any old thing in there. That hasn't caused the error has it ?

Andy

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