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Old 04-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #1
Anne Wright
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Default Small business website

A young friend has asked me to set up a website for him. He's been running my horse farm for me since he was 15. Now he's nearly 20, just graduated from farrier's school and will probably officially lease the farm from me.

He believes that every business should have a website and wants me to set up one for his farrier business. I'm not that sure it will help that kind of business but I'd like to do it for him.

Before I get into the rest of my questions about the site - what are some good reference books for HTML and CSS? When I set up my sites before, the most useful book for me was HTML 4 for Dummies mostly because it was simple and very easy to use as a reference book. I need something equivalent to update my years old knowledge of web design.

For this young man, I think using WordPress would be a good way to handle the site. I can create the CSS, graphics and basic layout, then let him put in content and upload photos. He's very savvy on his smart phone so I'm hoping to be able to set it up for him to email new content and photos.

For web hosting, I can add his domain name to my web space for $20 a year (I use only a very small amount of the space I have so there will be no bandwidth problem). That way I can keep up with updating WP and any plugins without any problem. I will have him register his domain in his own name so if he wants to pull it from my control or if I become unable to handle it for him, he can take the domain to another host.

In addition to having the ability to put in new content, I think a very useful tool would be a calendar. If he could add his farrier appointments to the calendar and check his schedule from his smartphone, that would really help him keep organized. I see several calendar plug-ins for WordPress and need to check out which might work for him.

Does this sound feasible for a website for a one person business? He will not be selling anything through the website, just using it for promoting himself and his work.

I can set up WordPress as part of my own site. I have a very little used BlogSpot site and can import that so I will have content to play around with. I can use my installation to test plug-ins and to see how it will look. The only problem is, I don't have a smart phone - and even if I did, I get no cell signal here at home. I might have to upgrade my phone and carry my laptop to another location to test and fix problems!

I've read through the messages here about WordPress and have learned a lot - most of which convinced me WP is probably a good way to go.

Any suggestions, cautions, ideas?
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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I suggest you look at the latest version of Elizabeth Castro's HTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide. Her books are really easy to follow, so if you liked the Dummies version, I think you'll find this one an acceptable replacement.

Check the catalogue for your local library first, to see if you can borrow a copy to get you started and maybe save the cost if you don't like it...

And I agree with the use of WordPress. It's attractive out of the box and there are lots of good plug-ins as well as themes to get you up and running quickly.

Also, blog entries are indexed quickly, so changes and entries are findable in the search engines. If your young guy is articulate and finds he likes writing, he could drum up business by writing his own blog articles, which will then make him findable on the web by people looking for good farriers in their area. I find on my forum that farrier recommendations are one of the most common questions. They also want to know which farriers will travel to their area, so these are things you/he can include on the site.

   
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annc View Post
I suggest you look at the latest version of Elizabeth Castro's HTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide. Her books are really easy to follow, so if you liked the Dummies version, I think you'll find this one an acceptable replacement.

Check the catalogue for your local library first, to see if you can borrow a copy to get you started and maybe save the cost if you don't like it...

And I agree with the use of WordPress. It's attractive out of the box and there are lots of good plug-ins as well as themes to get you up and running quickly.

Also, blog entries are indexed quickly, so changes and entries are findable in the search engines. If your young guy is articulate and finds he likes writing, he could drum up business by writing his own blog articles, which will then make him findable on the web by people looking for good farriers in their area. I find on my forum that farrier recommendations are one of the most common questions. They also want to know which farriers will travel to their area, so these are things you/he can include on the site.
Thanks, Ann,
I had looked at Amazon and the Castro book looked good, but pricey. Our local library does not have a good collection for technology. Yep, just checked their catalog - no copies available and the ones in their catalog on HTML are from 2000 and 2007. On the other hand, they have two copies of her 2005 book on Blogger.

I'll go to the bookstore tomorrow to see what they have - actually handling the book is important to me. That's why I want a book rather than look for answers on the internet - I want that hard copy in front of me.

Unfortunately the young man is not a writer. He's great with horses, but he may need help with getting his farrier and training knowledge into words. I'll try to help him with that as much as I can, but I want to have his site set up so he can take the lead.

I think his contacts will help drive business to his sites - he not only rides hunter, he also ropes and is training a gelding I bred to rope, so he has lots of contacts in various parts of the horse world around here.

I've got to run errands tomorrow but Sunday I'll try to install WordPress on my website and start playing with it. I'm sure I will be back with a lot more questions!

Anne
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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Good luck with it, Anne. There's lots of support on the WordPress site as well.

   
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:40 AM   #5
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If you are going to use WordPress, which is probably the easiest to use of the mid-range content management systems, try to use a responsive template from the outset so that it reformats its layout automatically for mobile devices. However, not all plugins work in a reponsive system, with either layout or JavaScripting issues (or both) so some checking on the WP forum may be necessary before installing a plugin, especially if it is one of the more expensive ones.

I no longer use WP for new sites (I am now 100% Joomla) so unfortunately cannot advise on template/plugin choices.

   
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:49 AM   #6
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I think WP would be good for what you want - and you won't really need to learn HTML or CSS if you go with one of the templates - not that I want to put you off learning, of course

For a simple site like that, I am not sure it is worth going to the effort of custom templates and page designs - you can do quite a lot by changing header images etc. without delving into the code.

Also, you might consider using hosted Wordpress (wordpress.com) rather than DIY hosting - then you wont have to worry about keeping the s/w updated, taking backups etc. The add-ons that are essential (domain pointing, no ads) are not very expensive, and your time to keep it up-to-date might outweigh the cost to your client.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:47 PM   #7
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I have set up several WP sites in the past couple of months. For the first couple I used the default theme; for the most recent I used the free version of the ThemeKraft Custom Community theme (http://themekraft.com/custom-community/).

With the default themes, my first step turned out to be to create a child theme (google it), which allows one to code CSS to override the standard CSS. The ThemeKraft theme has its own custom CSS module.

Figuring out what CSS to change turns out to be a bit of a detective job, but I have been able to achieve pretty much every mod I want. The point of a child theme is allow the updating of the basic theme modules without losing the customization.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:00 AM   #8
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Useful tip Bob- thanks!
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Old 08-06-2015, 06:07 PM   #9
Anne Wright
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Lois,
I finally made it back here after a really bad year in 2013 that made the last two years hard to keep up with anything. One of the major reasons I want to have my own blog on my site is to control the rights over the content. My goals have changed - I'm going to set up a WordPress blog on my own site to post old family photos (old by as a hundred or more years old), maybe some family documents and musings about genealogy. I'll probably also throw in some about my needlework and other things.

Bob,
I'll take a look at the Themekraft Free Base theme. When I start out I just need a very basic layout, but I want to be able to put photo/image albums with tags to make it easy to locate photos and information about particular people and families.

I've got Lisa Sabin-Wilson's book on WordPress Web Design for Dummies - of the ones at the store it seemed the best without getting too deep. But I simply don't have the time to put into making a pretty blog - I'd rather have content! And I have a ton more negatives to scan. Right now I have four bundles of large format negatives (3.5" x ~5") from the 1910-1917 period to scan from my grandfather when he was living in New Orleans before World War I. We think some may show the levees being built and some may have the flooding from the hurricane that hit in 1915.

Anne
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:13 PM   #10
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Hey Anne...so nice to hear from you! I am most interested in what you are going to be putting up...do, please let us know when you are ready...

What scanner are you using? I worked through quite a bit of my slides taken on travels--using my old Minolta Dimage Scan Elite II--and then I seemed to go into a lull and I've not gotten back to finishing my own slides or the ones my dad took that my sister gave me. Maybe looking at your work will kick me in the butt to get started again...


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Last edited by terrie; 08-07-2015 at 12:48 PM. Reason: fix a typo
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