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How to build your own personal website from scratch
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tansy



Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 2106
Location: La Manche, Normandy, France

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:31 pm    Post subject: FINISHED!!! Reply with quote

Do all have a look...

At last Tony has finished my web site...I am totally thrilled with the finished result – even though the distance factor – he’s in Italy, I’m in France we’ve worked well together,(I hope he says the same about me!). It’s been painless – frustrating when I had the old computer...but all came together when I got the new technology! So please don’t think it has been Tony delaying things.

Naturally a few things will evolve – e.g. The floor plans Brooke invented will come in the next few weeks – the basis of the map with places of interest, I’m particularly pleased with, this will also evolve as I develop new links and negotiate entrance rates into various museums etc round here for our guests – they’ll go on our map is the incentive to give me preferred rates!

But what I wanted to say – is that if anyone is thinking about getting a site built – Tony is your man – with a plus factor that he understands the rental business.

A BIG thank you to all who got involved – it’s been a great project...I hope we’ve all learnt something and thought of new ideas...

Alan maybe you do need a site...one of the biggest bonuses I've discovered is that I can cut the paperwork I send out by more than half – it’s all on the site...so I’m now saving trees as well!

On paper saving, Tony is going add a PDF brochure that can be printed out - with a route planner...but not the final directions and the address until I've received payment! I'll email that seperately.

I hope you all like the site..obviously anyone sees anything we've missed or think could be better please say!

Again - a BIG THANK YOU to everyone.

Tansy
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enid



Joined: 27 Dec 2004
Posts: 5614
Location: Labretonie France

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you add your www button to your profile? Thanks - then I'll have a look - can't wait!
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Ciapolin



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 440
Location: Cossano Belbo, Piemonte

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony and Tansy - well done it looks great!

My site is live but will need updating as the building work finishes. I hope my end product is as good as yours.
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Carole-Anne
Cascina Ciapolin
www.piedmont-holidays.com
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Hanorah



Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 323
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love it, it looks really good, you have all done a fantastic job and educated us all on the way. Well done !! Very Happy and here's to your future success.
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Alan Knighting



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 4170
Location: Monflanquin, Lot-et-Garonne, France

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tansy,

Quote:
Alan maybe you do need a site...one of the biggest bonuses I've discovered is that I can cut the paperwork I send out by more than half – it’s all on the site...so I’m now saving trees as well!

On paper saving, Tony is going add a PDF brochure that can be printed out

I have been watching the progress of your site in its making. Now that it is finished I am very impressed. I think I probably do need a site of my own and Tony has been kind enough to offer help if I need it.

All my written documentation is already in PDF format and I send it out as attachments to e-mails. Rarely, if ever, do I print and post anymore.

Regards

Alan
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tansy



Joined: 20 Sep 2004
Posts: 2106
Location: La Manche, Normandy, France

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all and excellent news Alan, have you ideas yet of what it will look like? - I must admit that was the hardest part!

There are some fantastic sites out there - I looked at Chalky's today and was impressed ...so now I'm thinking Oh do I need a movie?!!!

But that's what it is all about change!
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Renaud



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tansy, just took a quick look at your site. I was a bit bothered by the 'Google ads'. Are they really needed? To me they immediately suggest 'commercial site', which I know technically it is. But I would think that the impression that I would look for would be 'personal, but professional'.
It might just be me. But if I was searching for property for a holiday I wouldn't linger on a site with advertising on it. Sorry to sound negative, but just an honest opinion.
I will visit again when I have more time, as it sounds like theres a lot more to look at.
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Alan Knighting



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 4170
Location: Monflanquin, Lot-et-Garonne, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tansy,

I have a number of questions for myself which I have yet to answer.

Why would I want a personal website?

I can’t get away from the basic fact that I wish to market my properties and the Internet is one way of doing that. The holiday rental websites seem to be making a reasonable fist of it. Would/could a personal website replace holiday rental websites or would it be a valuable addition to them?

If I had a personal website what should it look like?

I have a very strong preference for websites which are straight to the point and are clean, clear, uncluttered and easy to read. I detest heavy backgrounds and colour contrasts for text. The “bells and whistles” may be very clever but do they make any contribution to selling the product?

If I had a personal website what should it contain?

I am trying to market my properties so, how far should I go in providing information? Should I limit myself to what is pertinent or should I try to emulate the local tourist information office?

What I have at the moment is all the tools to do the job and the basic ability to use those tools. What I don’t have is a clear idea of what I want to achieve and why I might want to achieve it. Having a personal website for the sake of having it is not on my agenda, it must do something.

I have lots to think about, don’t I?

Regards

Alan
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paolo



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3931
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In brief, my answers are...

Why would I want a personal website?

1. To refer enquiries to a place where they can see more pictures and information than a listing site ad allows - to sell the property on your own terms.
2. To be found in an organic search on a search engine.

If I had a personal website what should it look like?

Clear and uncluttered, as you say, is my recommendation. Minimise the number of people you will put off with clever designs. Pay particular attention to the first screen of the homepage. Make sure it states and shows in pictures your property's key selling points, without having to scroll.

If I had a personal website what should it contain?
Start off with your property. Then keep adding more on the local area and not-so-local area. The more content you have that is skewed to your particular location,
- the more chances you give yourself of being found in a search engine search;
- the more likely people will stick around and return to your site.
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Lay My Hat
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Alan Knighting



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 4170
Location: Monflanquin, Lot-et-Garonne, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paolo,

Many thanks for your replies. As usual, very convincing and very clearly put. You don't leave me with many, if any, excuses for delaying further.

By the way, I have just downloaded a CSS editor, Style Master 4.0. First impressions are very good. You might like to take a look at:-

http://www.westciv.com/index.html

Regards

Alan
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livinginitaly



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 266
Location: Italy (at last!)

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So glad that Tansy is pleased with the end result Smile

Must admit, that it wasn't all from the 'goodness of my heart'! .... I have learned an awful lot from the site too. For example, I honestly didn't know that the differences between Mac/PC and Opera/IE/Moz were quite so demanding!

Thanks again to everyone for their input and guidance.

Re: your 'dilemma' Alan.

Paolo covers many of the points, but one of my main reasons would be that, whilst people may initially find your property on H-R, VRBO etc ....... they'll never remember that page link to 'pass on' to friends and family. Anyone who 'likes' Normandy Beach Rental will probably remember the name and therefore the website will be the first 'port of call'. Also, to say you found a lovely property on VRBO invites them to look at alternatives.

Besides amongst the 'stress' there's also a bit of 'fun' involved Smile
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Tony
http://www.livinginitaly.co.uk
http://www.property.livinginitaly.co.uk
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Alan Knighting



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 4170
Location: Monflanquin, Lot-et-Garonne, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony,

I think that is an excellent point. To be told to look at property No "X" on the Acme Crap Letting Site is not the most memorable piece of information. Being given an individual website address is as easy as being given someone's e-mail address.

I will admit that, for me, getting "hands on" again is very appealing so long as I finish up with something of value.
OK, I'm convinced! Now, I have to make myself find the time.

What do you think of Style Master?

Regards

Alan
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livinginitaly



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 266
Location: Italy (at last!)

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
Quote:
OK, I'm convinced! Now, I have to make myself find the time.

Could be another 'winter project' for you Alan Wink

Stylemaster? still downloading so can't comment. But I did try to use 'TopStyle Pro 3' which i'm guessing is kind of similar.

Unfortunatlely, I didn't fully understand the 'technicalities' of CSS at the time (still struggle!), so chose to stick with Dreamweaver. I'll certainly give it a 'trial' for 30 days though.

Thanks for the pointer.
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Tony
http://www.livinginitaly.co.uk
http://www.property.livinginitaly.co.uk
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Alan Knighting



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 4170
Location: Monflanquin, Lot-et-Garonne, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony,

Quote:
Could be another 'winter project' for you Alan

A major one at that! Winter is the time for the complete annual makeover of my properties. Will I find the time? Who knows?

On the subject of CSS, it is something that Dreamweaver supports but I think it does it internally. The "real thing" is to work with external CSS style sheets and that is where Style Master comes into its own - I think.

Regards

Alan
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enid



Joined: 27 Dec 2004
Posts: 5614
Location: Labretonie France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the colour scheme - a real on the beach feel. The other thing that struck me was that there was no question what this site was about - the offering up front and clear as a bell. Two pages for me to think about for my own wite - Places of Interest and Visitor's book. I do have places of interest on my site but again too obscurely and yours are up front and accessible. I didn't have any visitor's comments when I did my site but now I have I'd like to add them. So a busy winter for me too!

Well done and thanks from me too for the thread - it has been very helpful.
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