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Step-by-step guide to building a personal website
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How to build your own personal website from scratch
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livinginitaly



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 7:04 am    Post subject: Step-by-step guide to building a personal website Reply with quote

Ok, being the 'nightowl' that i am ...... i've made a bit of a start on the layout for the site.

Much has been discussed about CSS so i've decided to work in this format, mainly because it keeps the code much clearer and for people starting out the less html to wade through the better Smile

The basic layout can be seen here http://tansy.webworks-uk.net (please ignore any reference to colours ..... i tend to work in shades of grey to start with!)

Tansy, there's no rush to get yourself a domain name if you havn't already got one, but the cheapest and most straightforward company i've had dealings with is 123-Reg, http://tinyurl.com/6tk7e. A .co.uk domain name will cost about £12 for two years (a .com around £12 per year). As the site is some way off completion we can just use the above link to view it amongst ourselves for the time being though.

To keep any updates as simple as possible, the whole of the content of the page is contained in two 'text' files anyone can open these and make changes using 'notepad' without the need for expensive editing software.

As far as actually getting access to the site, i've sent the username and password to Paolo so he can take a look, and maybe we could discuss 'ftp options' tomorrow Smile
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Tony
http://www.livinginitaly.co.uk
http://www.property.livinginitaly.co.uk
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paolo



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is how Tony's first step looks:


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paolo



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony,

You don't hang around do you? Very Happy

Let me just back it up a little here and ask Tansy a couple of basic marketing questions - what does the site need to say and who should it say it to?

I think this is the necessary first step in building a site, because it informs every subsequent step of the process.

Tansy,

Can you give us a brief description of your house, where it is, what are its main selling points, does it have a USP (unique sales proposition)? I happen to know it does have a great USP - it's right on the beach!

Also tell us about your target market - nationalities, types of renter (families, couples, young, old, active, sunbathers, etc).

This step is important because a website is a means of communication, just like a TV commercial or a magazine - you need to establish what you want to say and to whom, before you can work out how to say it.
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livinginitaly



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, i was going against my own 'dictum' there. Thing is i needed something to do at 4.00am and didn't think Tansy would appreciate the 'wake up' call Smile

Anyway in reality, all i've done is set up a 'blank page' (despite the gibberish that's on there). From a technical side, and as i too am trying things a 'different' way, i wanted to make sure that Tansy is actually 'comfortable' with gaining access and updating the text.

Bunglebob has noted that i havn't provided for the 'user' to increase the 'font' size (well spotted!), this is a pretty important feature considering the types of 'user' we are hoping to attract and will be changed shortly.

Please, please can i just say, that I hope this will be a collaborative effort and therefore all comments / ideas / instructions are welcome. I personally have the skin of a Rhino, so find it frustratingly difficult to have my feelings hurt Smile
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Tony
http://www.livinginitaly.co.uk
http://www.property.livinginitaly.co.uk


Last edited by livinginitaly on Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fraise



Joined: 30 Oct 2004
Posts: 2083
Location: Charente Maritime and Middle England

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:36 pm    Post subject: from scratch Reply with quote

Very Happy This is such a good idea!We've just had to do this 'cos our web-builder couldn't finish( Long story),we mailed a couple of others but decided in the end to "give it a go".I contacted Paolo and he was lovely-very helpful.One dilemma was whether to get it up and running,warts and all.or wait for a while until it was perfect.For us this would mean a delay of several months as the builders are in at the moment and we can't take better photos until they've all gone and it's decorated( and hopefully sunny too for pool shots etc!!).We have gone for the first option but in an ideal world I should have liked to have waited until everything was looking great for the photos.I understand how important good photography is and will replace all the house shots as soon as poss.Amazing how many unexpected things can throw a spanner in the works ,which is another reason this thread could be so useful-other people have been there before!!I'll throw in my few centimes worth from time to time if it's of any use to anyone ( LOL-probably a lesson in "how not to" !!!)
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tansy



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys here is first part of copy - will this help now.....this part I thought as a section on our area...we're in a Park.

I would also like to do a section on the 2nd world war 1944 invasion etc - which I'm working on...translating some stuff from Ste Mere Eglise.

I have lots of photos - when would you want those?

A recently renovated house located on the dunes of Utah Beach with stunning views to sea.

This newly renovated house, a former fisherman’s house is tucked up in the dunes of Utah Beach - spectacular views over the sea to Grand Camp Maisy, Point du Hoc and the Isles of Marcouf.

The house within a group of 30 with ours one of the 14 with sea views, a path leads from the back gate directly to the glorious sandy beach.

Our beach fronted house is set in Cotentin and Bessin Marshlands Regional Natural Park which covers 145,000 hectares with 144 villages and towns within the Park.. Utah Beach is located on the eastern side of the peninsular is set in a significantly important coastal protected area of 12,000 acres with the Beauguillot Nature Reserve/Bird Sanctuary of 1,200 acres 500 meters from our house.

The area is in stunning countryside and completely different each season. For example in the winter the marshlands flood to create a beautiful watery scenery with the big skies reflected, then in the summer it becomes pasture with cows peacefully grazing.

The East coast being slightly wilder than the west coast is very unspoilt especially with the government owning vast tracts of the coast line to preserve the natural beauty.

This area in Normandy is also famous for it’s horses with numerous stud farms and training stables. Here on Utah Beach Trotting Horses are trained everyday on the beach as 2 natural causeways surface at low tide.

With the bird sanctuary just a few hundred meters away we enjoy an amazing number of different species of sea birds and ducks. If it is particularly quiet on the beach you may be able to spot the colony of seals.

Huge mussels and oysters beds right opposite our house destined for the finest restaurants and tables in Paris and other gourmet destinations – it is possible to purchase shellfish direct from the farm shops locally or if you prefer gather them your self. Certain months of the year the beach is famous for rod fishing for Dover Sole and Sea Bass…folk come from as far as Paris for the day during this season.

In the summer the beach is paradise, miles and miles of golden sands a perfect spot for a peaceful read, a sun bathe or a busy day with the family on the beach, beach combing, shell fish gathering when the tide is out, it's safe to swim and it's never crowded.

For further information about the Park and the region to include planned walks, boat trips (river & sea), bird watching , places of interest and of course the invasion in 1944 please log onto http://www.parc-cotentin-bessin.fr


I noticed I think it was Joanna mentioned fonts....I always use Palatino as I find for office work it is one of the easiest to read.

Thank you!
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Alan Knighting



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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tansy,

Fonts. This is one of the many areas which can cause all sorts of problems on Websites. I have literally hundreds of fonts on my system but Palatino is not one of them. You may prefer a particular font but you cannot assume that a visitor to your Website has that font installed on his/her system. A recipient’s browser renders your pages with what it’s got, not with what you send it.

The standard fonts that are supplied with operating systems vary, so good practice dictates that you include at least of couple of alternatives fonts for your pages. For instance:-

<FONT SIZE=”2” FACE=”helvetica, arial, courier, sans-serif”>

That way a recipient’s PC will choose the first alternative that exists on his/her system.

Alan
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BungleBob



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 67
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:58 pm    Post subject: More fonts... Reply with quote

My designer assures me the following are also "in vogue" and pretty universal:

Lucida Sans Unicode, Georgia

+ Verdana, Trebuchet and Tahoma - all designed specifically for screens.

Rich
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livinginitaly



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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 12:28 am    Post subject: Fonts Reply with quote

Here's a quick page to show a few of the font options

http://www.tansy.webworks-uk.net/font.htm

Any preferences?
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http://www.livinginitaly.co.uk
http://www.property.livinginitaly.co.uk
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livinginitaly



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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick note on fonts .......

If you really, really, want a 'non standard' font to be used for the text on your webpage there are a couple of options.

First and most obvious one is to type the text into a 'graphics package' with a background the same colour as your webpage background. This is only advisible for 'banner' or 'header' text though, due to the filesize.

Second option is to 'embed' the font into the webpage, this allows the browser to use the correct font even though it's not actually installed on the 'users' computer.

Only real problem with 'embedding' fonts is that Explorer and Netscape handle the process in a completely different way (as always!) so it's a lot of work for what can be viewed by some to be a 'minor' issue.
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sleekitbeastie



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two comments on fonts – first many (most) fonts are copyright and you might run into problems using them embedded, second san serif fonts tend to look better for shorter pieces of text – serifs are designed to help the eye follow long tracts of text and aren’t needed on web pages (for example Time Roman looks beautiful on a newspaper page but perhaps somewhat less attractive in a short sentence).
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sleekitbeastie



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just read the proposed text from Tansy and I think it worth trying to avoid some of the errors like ‘it's’ (which is a contraction of it is) when ‘its’ is required and peninsular (which is an adjective) rather than peninsula (which is what we live on). People who don’t care about this stuff won’t mind it being wrong but those that do might be put off. And surely the oyster (no s) beds aren’t sent to Paris – only the oysters? We author/edit children’s books so I can probably get an editor to work over the text – but after it has been rendered into the form required on the site as I guess it will be reduced and reformed.

My text output is always massacred by our editors and is frequently the source of great mirth but I have to admit that the result always reads a million times better.

Tansy/Tony – if you post the selected text here or put it directly on the site I’ll get it checked if you want me too.
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paolo



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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sleekitbeastie,

Don't worry, there will be no typos - I am a copywriter and very pedantic!

At this stage we need to think about any information that may be missing from what Tansy has supplied. My reaction from one readthrough is that all the benefits are focused on the parents, and not enough on the children. Obviously the parents pay for the holiday, but they really want to know that there will be things for the children to do other than museums and supermarkets.

Tansy, any ideas?
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paolo



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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A tangential discussion on apostrophes has moved to the Cafe.
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vrooje



Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 3263
Location: Burgundy, France

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Mozilla in Linux, so many fonts are not available to me...

Arial, Verdana, and Trebuchet look identical on my browser. Courier is just disgusting to me for anything other than code (for which it's very useful), and I agree that Times and Palatino are both perhaps better used in print. I think the Palatino font looks too compact in my browser window. I wouldn't want people to feel cramped when reading my copy!

This is such a cool project... I'm new to this forum but do read the newsletter Paolo sends out.

I did want to put in my two cents for powweb.com, which is what I use for hosting. They're Linux-based, so that means that if you want to write your site in a scripting language, you have to use PHP or perl. Their hosting is about $100/year and they have a 99% uptime rate. I registered my domain names through them (though they are in my name) and I've found that they have a great admin site.
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