Friday, 15 August 2014

Wesite Building for Goblins (and bemused felt makers)

Hey Mel, where have you been? Oh hey random voice in my head, I'm so glad you asked me, I've been busy building a website. So you lucky folks will get some lovely posts about my experience doing just that over the next couple of weeks.

There are things in this life at which I consider my self good, baking, felt making, eating cake, and then there are things which I consider myself not good at. Right at the top of the list is webdesign! HTML what? SEO who? So when I set out to make a website I had a look around and sought out advice.

In the great forest of advice I found Kim Lawler's site and the advice she gives is great, straight forward and delivered in a conversational tone. Her post on 10 Questions to ask yourself before a website redesign was incredibly useful as a starting point. I used her questions to brainstorm and it helped me create a wishlist of what I'd want in my perfect website if budget, time, skill and attention span were unlimited and from this wishlist I built a massive mind map (which is the only way I can really do adminy tasks) with everything I wanted my website to have.

I then started thinking about hosting and where I wanted my website to be, became available so I grabbed it like a greedy kid with a sticky lollipop. I briefly flirted with the idea of a wordpress site because they look soooooooo good when done properly... but lets face it with a budget of virtually nuffin and an attention span of a... wait what was that... well, I wasn't going to go down that path without doing some serious research and honestly... ooo look some buttons!

 I chose Yola because they were already hosting my existing website and I kinda like the drag and drop widgets and reasonably goblin proof and intuitive system they have. The big friendly buttons appeal to me too. I upgraded my package from Bronze to Silver so I could use more templates, get some support if needed and add a shop and my own custom URL (URL who?) Then there was another decision to be made about the shop it's self, there were lots of options open to me, I went with Ecwid because Yola has a partnership with them and you can just drop a shop widget on to a page.

Ecwid isn't intuitive or easy to use, it has these big friendly buttons and looks like it should be but try sorting out your shipping without reading 3 tutorials, an instruction manual and a lot of screaming and you're lost, or I was. My advice here is breathe and reboot, you find yourself on the verge of chucking your computer out the window step away... I did... I had a glass of wine and got talked down of the ledge by a pal, got a good nights sleep and came back to scream at it again the next day... I'm still not there but I'm closer and by the time the website goes live I will be there. (if the goblins ever stop sitting on the keyboard)