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Melissa2010B
05-16-2010, 07:16 AM
I have a small part time home business company of my own, with my sister partner. I'm a process server.

I did the web site with CoffeeCup HTML Editor.
http://www.coloradoprocessservers.net

I get some compliments on it, at times, but my skills are so basic that I've never even learned CSS yet, and I keep pretty busy with my work.

I never noticed how crummy my site CAN look until I went from my old 2001 XP PC with a 19" CRT monitor, to this refurbed quad core Windows 7 PC with a new 24" LCD monitor. Then I went "ack!". The stuff is all over the place.

Someone was telling me that I can center it all and make it look better if I use CSS, but I looked into that with CoffeeCup's CSS software and it's like greek to me.

Then I was talking with someone who said to just get Dreamweaver, that it can help me out without me writing all the code, and do CSS. ( CoffeeCup has their VSD but I dont think it does CSS )

But then I looked at the prices for Dreamweaver and said HOLY COW!
( well except for some guy on Craig's List who claims he's selling CS5 for $75, but I'm guessing that's not legitimate. Oh, I see his post disappeared...

I met a guy today who does web design with Dreamweaver but he says he's done like 2 years of classes in it. Is that necessary to do something like I need to do? If so I'm cooked.

He says he can charge me to redesign my site in DW but it's important to me to be able to update my site myself and maintain it, without having the financial drain of keeping a web designer paid.

So your thoughts on this?

If I invest in DW, say an older version like CS3 or CS4 ( assuming they work with Win 7 ) will I just be able to hop to it and quickly and easily redesign my site with CSS, so it stays centered and nice looking on any monitor?

In my business, I'm not into all the latest flash and stuff, in fact that might detract from my business. I just want a nice professional looking site that people like, and that brings me in clients.

edbr
05-16-2010, 07:25 AM
to centre your site would not require much. dreamweaver is a tool no more than thaT AND THERE IS A LEARNING CUURVE

Corrosive
05-16-2010, 07:29 AM
OK, the 'is Dreamweaver for me' question is a hard one. To be honest this forum is littered with posts by people who thought DW would 'build their site for them' without having to know and understand CSS. Frankly it doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, the price tag is worth it for web designers as it makes coding a lot easier but you won't have a (well built) website up and running for a while.

Like any software you've still got to learn.

My suggestion is to find a web design firm who can offer a CSS coded layout (that looks consistent across platforms, browsers and resolutions) combined with a decent CMS (Content Management System) that you can update easily without having to learn web design in full.

I don't want to put you off learning DW as it is very rewarding and an awesome piece of software but you'll need to put the time in I'm afraid.

edbr
05-16-2010, 07:31 AM
centring your content need not be a huge task. dreamweaver is just a tool though, and although your site could be 'written better , it is tricky question.
as to if its wor,th it to you . there are other editors around if money is an object ,html kit selida2 to name a couple.
you could have a look at these and you can also download a trial version of dreamweaver. you will still need to learn some css though

Melissa2010B
05-17-2010, 01:17 AM
centring your content need not be a huge task. dreamweaver is just a tool though, and although your site could be 'written better , it is tricky question.
as to if its wor,th it to you . there are other editors around if money is an object ,html kit selida2 to name a couple.
you could have a look at these and you can also download a trial version of dreamweaver. you will still need to learn some css though

Depends on how "written better" is meant. It needs to have all the facts and details that are there now. If they can be placed in better style, sure. :p

edbr
05-17-2010, 01:33 AM
if all you want to do is centre your site tou need to make a wrapper div to hold your content and give it a width set margins left and right to auto and that may do what you want.
by better written you need to see if your site is acceptable in all poular browsers. try browserlabs perhaps.
it really depends how deep you want or can invest the time in , if it serves the purpose of your business and it works for you , that may be enough , if you want to invest time and money it could lead to a better optimised site which with some and effort 'could' lead to better search engine exposure. it really is a choice for you to make.

i suggested these other free alternatives which although not as extensive as dreamweaver may help you decide what is best for you .
as well as future editing can be done with them

Corrosive
05-17-2010, 05:58 AM
Depends on how "written better" is meant.

I think whenever any of us say this you can safely assume we mean the code rather than your content. Don't think any of us would be presumptuous enough to tell you how to write your website content!

We mean the quality of the code. Just because something appears on screen doesn't necessarily mean it is well-written. There is best practice of how to build a website correctly and this can help with cross-browser compatibility and how your site performs for users with disabilities and in search engines.

Melissa2010B
05-17-2010, 06:09 AM
Ah ok, well thanks. :-)

Interesting thread, I just have to absorb it and see what I can learn from it.

Corrosive
05-17-2010, 06:32 AM
People's first threads are always the most interesting. It is because it is usually a wide-open question about 'is this for me' or 'what can be achieved' or 'how can I go about'.

If you do decide to learn to code then you'll be asking questions about 'how do I get this to line up' and 'what is this tag for'!

I definitely think you need a reliable web designer to rebuild your site using CSS and around a CMS platform so you can make updates quickly and easily.

Good luck :)

Melissa2010B
05-17-2010, 06:38 AM
Ok, another newbie question; What's a CMS platform? :-)

Corrosive
05-17-2010, 06:46 AM
OK, CMS is a Content Management System. You may have heard or Drupal or Joomla maybe? Even Wordpress is a CMS. It basically means that you (as a non-webby person) can add and remove pages and change content through a text editor rather than having to code.

Your web designer builds a layout in code and then you can edit the pages with no fear of 'breaking' the design by accidentally deleting a closing div tag or something.

Very much like the box you type in to make posts in this forum you get style options for text and you can add images, links etc. really easily.

This is why I suggested it for you...

it's important to me to be able to update my site myself and maintain it, without having the financial drain of keeping a web designer paid.

domedia
05-17-2010, 02:59 PM
Interesting thread.. similar ones come up from time to time.
I'd like to make a few observations, not sure if everyone agrees:
1. Dreamweaver is not a substitution for knowing how to make websites. Just like buying a hammer won't make you a builder.
2. Learning how to make your website, or paying someone else to make it for you, is a cost of doing business today.
3. Some say it's better to have no website, than a really crappy one.

When that is all said, I don't think your website was that bad.

edbr
05-18-2010, 03:04 AM
i agree with all of that including the comment about how the site looks.
web sites are to businesses in general no more than a sales tool, whether point of sale or as branding or general marketing to attract customers.

dreamweaver does give the message that any one can do anything if you buy me, in general it does to but as we all know and have seen its not that simple. included in that are a lot of ive got dreamweaver so im the one for you designers.
Ive seen a lot of sites that even if they dont look right behind the curtains, get great rankings get many viitors and bring in good revenue so from that perspective im sure they are not worried or their customers.

Melissa2010B
05-20-2010, 12:16 AM
Interesting thread.. similar ones come up from time to time.
I'd like to make a few observations, not sure if everyone agrees:
1. Dreamweaver is not a substitution for knowing how to make websites. Just like buying a hammer won't make you a builder.
2. Learning how to make your website, or paying someone else to make it for you, is a cost of doing business today.
3. Some say it's better to have no website, than a really crappy one.

When that is all said, I don't think your website was that bad.

Thanks. I'm totally in the dark though, about redesign. Torn between hiring someone to do it for me, or trying to learn how to do it myself, without college classes.

I see student versions of Dreamweaver for sale in various places, at lower prices, but am not sure if it makes you prove you're a student, to use it, or I can just use it to learn DW.

Melissa2010B
05-20-2010, 12:25 AM
i agree with all of that including the comment about how the site looks.
web sites are to businesses in general no more than a sales tool, whether point of sale or as branding or general marketing to attract customers.

dreamweaver does give the message that any one can do anything if you buy me, in general it does to but as we all know and have seen its not that simple. included in that are a lot of ive got dreamweaver so im the one for you designers.
Ive seen a lot of sites that even if they dont look right behind the curtains, get great rankings get many viitors and bring in good revenue so from that perspective im sure they are not worried or their customers.

My site is not so much about getting people to push shopping cart buttons.
Looking at Google Analytics, the site can sometimes have as many as 1200 visitors a month. It's the first impression for visitors who dont know me yet, or my work. If the site can convince those people to call me and give me work, that's the desired end result, so it's percentages. If even 25% of those 1200 were to call and give me work, we'd be doing great.

So the site has to convince them I'm professional, and to call me and give me their job. These are usually single jobs, for example to go out and serve a summons on someone for an attorney from another state. If they like my work, they can give me future work, IF AND WHEN they have some for my area. One day last week, two people called and said they were referred by someone who used my services before that. That's great.

But the whole focus of the site is to get them to have confidence that I'm professional AND to make that call and give me work.

By the way, does DW do W3C compliant code, all with the GUI instead of dealing with the code myself?

If so, can I just install DW and open my site with it, and convert it to CSS etc?

edbr
05-20-2010, 01:21 AM
1. Dreamweaver is not a substitution for knowing how to make websites. Just like buying a hammer won't make you a builder.


no it wont, it requires some learning. as we have said .

davidj
05-20-2010, 05:56 AM
A CMS or Content Management System is a site which has functionality built in to allow the administrator to edit and create content, create menu's, upload and display images without seeing any code what's so ever.

Melissa2010B
05-20-2010, 06:10 AM
A CMS or Content Management System is a site which has functionality built in to allow the administrator to edit and create content, create menu's, upload and display images without seeing any code what's so ever.

I think that's supposed to be the idea of CoffeeCup's Visual Site Designer ( VSD ) only it wont do CSS or other advanced things.

Corrosive
05-20-2010, 06:27 AM
I think that's supposed to be the idea of CoffeeCup's Visual Site Designer ( VSD ) only it wont do CSS or other advanced things.

These are still slightly different things. WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) software that includes Dreamweaver and VSD say they will write code for you but I've yet to come across one that truly writes clean, compliant code without you having to know a bit about web design and the technology it uses.

Most of us use Dreamweaver to some extent or another but we've all had to end up learning HTML and CSS as well out of necessity.

As for learning vs hiring. Only you know if you have the time but if you approach a designer then ask for a CMS so that you can update your content.

BTW, I think Adobe would ask you to prove you are a student to get the educational discount and that would be a student of a recognised institution. I don't think 'learning Dreamweaver' would count...but I may be wrong!

domedia
05-20-2010, 01:59 PM
You might want to consider a solution made for non web people like squarespace
http://www.squarespace.com/

Melissa2010B
05-20-2010, 06:27 PM
...

BTW, I think Adobe would ask you to prove you are a student to get the educational discount and that would be a student of a recognised institution. I don't think 'learning Dreamweaver' would count...but I may be wrong!

No, you're right! I researched it. And this guy on Craig's List is insisting it will work, and IMO trying to SCAM people:

> Subject: Re: Adobe Creative Suite 4 Windows - $125 (Boulder)
>
> > No. Normally we wouldn't sell to non-students, but since CS5 is coming out,
we
> > have no other way to get rid of these. I've sold several already and they
all
> > work normally.


I emailed him what I easily found on the web:


> "If you purchase an Adobe product and are not a student, you will not pass the
> validation process and will be unable to return the product for a refund.
> Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this policy."
>
>


He replied:


> If it doesn't work, I will refund your money. I have so many of these that I
> can't move, I can take the risk.


My reply to him was, that I'm a process server. I see and serve all kinds of court cases. One, for example, was against a guy who promised someone, that if they bought his car, it WOULD pass emissions OR he would refund their money. It didn't and he wouldn't, so I was hired to serve him a summons to get him into court over it.



I told this guy that I'd be a FOOL to go for his offer, in light of such things.



( This is why I was also asking here, if perhaps "being a student" might include learning DW myself. "Home schooling" is certainly ok to me, as long as Adobe has no problems with it, but apparently they DO.)



There's also the FACT that in my business, my word and my honesty are gold to me and my clients. If I'm not honest and trustworthy, who would want to hire me? I was already considered "too honest for my own good" before starting work in this field, but have strived since then to become honest beyond any question. That even includes little things like, if a clerk in a supermarket makes a mistake with weighing something and charges me too little, I point it out to them and pay more.



I'd rather pay full price for DW, or perhaps discounted price on a non-student version of CS4, than do something like this.

Corrosive
05-20-2010, 06:30 PM
Looks like he tried to scam the wrong person. You must see this all the time in your line of work. Basically, if something sounds too good to be true... It usually is!

In my web design business I also can't afford to be running hookie software. Where does this leave you with your conundrum?

Melissa2010B
05-20-2010, 06:33 PM
You might want to consider a solution made for non web people like squarespace
http://www.squarespace.com/

I'm sort of in-between on that. I've been on the net since 1994, used ftp, have been able to set up the FTP in HTML editor, to upload what I do.

So now, I'm inclined to either get something like DW and, like you folks have been saying here, learn what it takes to supplement it, or just hire someone to fix things up for me and make it so I can do, and upload my own changes when needed.

I did find a very nice "free" template last night, but it's at Wix and they wont allow people to just download and use it, it has to stay on their site. But I love the clean simple look:

http://lakewoodcolorado.net/TEST/WebsitestyleIlike.jpg

I could put my color photo from my site http://www.coloradoprocessservers.net
in, full sized, as a background in that template, and do my own tabs. It would be awesome.

By the way, does DW come with a bunch of templates, one of which may be like the one above?

Instead of paying someone $400 or more to redesign my site, heck I could use a DW template and do it myself and learn CSS to go along with it?

Melissa2010B
05-20-2010, 06:42 PM
Looks like he tried to scam the wrong person. You must see this all the time in your line of work. Basically, if something sounds too good to be true... It usually is!

In my web design business I also can't afford to be running hookie software. Where does this leave you with your conundrum?

Exactly. Yes, I see examples of it all the time, with defendants being sued. I even see a few people to try to trick us into doing things that would be illegal, and we tell them "NO".

It leaves me the choices, like I said above, of hiring someone to redesign the site and set me up with a way to maintain it, or getting something like DW and learning the CSS etc. that I'd need to supplement it.

Melissa2010B
05-20-2010, 06:44 PM
Jeez, this guy doesnt give up. He just said, and I replied:

>
> I'm awash in these and am unlikely to sell them off.
>
> How about I send you one for free and if doesn't work, you're not out anything?
> If it works, you pay me the $125.

My profession depends on honesty Jason, and if it's not honest, I wont do it.

Corrosive
05-20-2010, 08:15 PM
You've rattled his cage I'm afraid. Best to just not reply in my experience. Give him the cold shoulder.

On the other thing you would find learning CSS and web design very rewarding as we all do. It is a good skill to have and we can help you out. Just be aware it takes time and commitment (oh, and some late nights).

Read this first though so you don't fall into the traps! http://corrosiveonline.co.uk/articles_beginner_mistakes.php

Melissa2010B
05-21-2010, 12:01 AM
Thanks. Nice of you. Such nice folksies here. :)

edbr
05-21-2010, 01:06 AM
have a look at these freebies i mentioned before.
http://selida.camelon.nl ----free bit old but usable for learning
http://www.htmlkit.com/ -- very good editor and plugins

i would try them, then try the free dreamweaver trial and you will be in a better position to decide what you want to do

Melissa2010B
05-21-2010, 01:33 AM
Thanks Edbr!

:)

Melissa2010B
05-21-2010, 02:53 AM
Wow this is weird. It looks like Adobe is selling CS5 at their site for $399, but you cant even get near it anywhere else for that price. CS4 is selling for almost that much, on Ebay.

Corrosive
05-21-2010, 05:59 AM
That sounds about right to me. DW CS5 in the UK is 419.48 and I can pick up CS4 now for 159. Make sure you know what editions/packages you are looking at. There are lots of different combinations of software from Adobe.

Melissa2010B
05-21-2010, 07:41 PM
I put an ad on Craig's List under computer gigs, for someone to redesign the site, and this woman contacted me and said she would only charge $10 an hour but thinks it would take 120 hours to make a site similar to that Yoga template.

Seriously???

Corrosive
05-21-2010, 09:08 PM
Sounds a bit expensive and slow to me.

Melissa2010B
05-21-2010, 09:17 PM
I told her "thanks anyway".

edbr
05-22-2010, 01:13 AM
have you looked at the free templates on this forum? thet are varied, all css and so can be modified

Melissa2010B
05-22-2010, 01:19 AM
Not yet, and thanks, I will.

Corrosive
05-22-2010, 07:05 AM
There is also a job offers section on this forum if you'd like some more idea of prices to compare your options.

Melissa2010B
05-22-2010, 07:13 PM
Thanks!

My main concern is that I posted an ad on Craig's and got about 40 responses within 12 hours and had to shut it down. Most of the responses were useless - commercial people who wanted to charge a lot.
Some were even from China and India. Whew.

On an international forum like this, I could get plastered?

I was taking a look at the DW features, and that's a truly amazing program, if it can just do what it says it can. And for the kind of site I need, I dont need it with tons of bells and whistles. Too bad there isnt a stripped down version for less than that $400.

Corrosive
05-22-2010, 07:49 PM
Well. Dreamweaver is a premium product with a premium price tag. You could try the 30 day trial maybe? Am also not sure what you mean by getting plastered?

Melissa2010B
05-22-2010, 08:03 PM
Getting plastered by emails from tons of people seeking the work, few of whom can do what I need for the price I need it. Obviously not "getting plastered", as in drinking. :)

Corrosive
05-23-2010, 07:54 AM
Obviously not "getting plastered", as in drinking. :)

Shame :wink:

It depends how you approach it I guess. Lay out some ground rules;

1. Must be CSS based design
2. CMS so that you can admin your site and do your own updates
3. Must be located in or near ______
4. The budget is ______ and this must be a final and fully delivered project

...and so on until you weed out the potentials from the time wasters.

Still reckon you should give the DW 30-day trial a go and see how you get on. You never know, you might love it :)

Melissa2010B
05-23-2010, 09:52 PM
Thanks Corrosive ( do you have a real first name? :)

Or I may just get a lower cost pack of CS4. I was discussing it with the guy who works at Whole Foods and does web design. He says CS costs $1700 but I was telling him that I saw it for $400 as a download from the Adobe site. There must be SOME difference between what he saw and what I saw. I'm not looking for the whole 9 yards of Adobe CS, if that's what the $1700 one is. I JUST need Dreamweaver CSx. So I'm hoping that's what I get with CS4 or CS5 if I buy or download one of them.

Melissa2010B
05-23-2010, 10:09 PM
If I install the trial of CS5, will it let me delete it and use CS4 after that, without problems?

Corrosive
05-24-2010, 05:33 AM
I think your friend is talking about the entire Creative Suite Web Premium which includes Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and so on. In fact pretty much everything you are going to need to be a pro web developer. DW on its own is about $400 but you'll probably need some kind of graphics tool to make your website look good mind you.

As for install CS5 and fall back to CS4 I've never done it so can't comment. CS4 will do what you need though.

Melissa2010B
05-25-2010, 05:57 AM
Thanks again! Well for my kind of site, I do photos best anyway.

Corrosive
05-25-2010, 06:21 AM
Still think you'll want to edit some images along the way. GIMP is a free programme that does a little of what Photoshop is capable of. Don't forget that, even if you only use photos, you'll still want to resize, edit, crop and then optimise for web to save download time :)

edbr
05-25-2010, 06:35 AM
Gimp does quite a lot really,

Corrosive
05-25-2010, 07:28 AM
Gimp does quite a lot really...

...but that's enough about your domestic arrangements ;)

Joking aside, I'm sure it does. I have it downloaded but can't seem to see my past my trusty Photoshop. Just a bit daunting learning another new piece of software!

edbr
05-25-2010, 09:32 AM
yes i am the same , i have it on linux and there is a add on /plug-in that tries to mimic photoshop,

domedia
05-25-2010, 01:39 PM
GIMP is a free programme that does a little of what Photoshop is capable of. Toby, Can you back this up? My guess is that most people that has used both would disagree 8)

Corrosive
05-25-2010, 03:18 PM
Toby, Can you back this up? My guess is that most people that has used both would disagree 8)

Yes, I've chatted to a few people who have used it and who have said that it matches some basic functionality of Photoshop but it doesn't have some of the bells and whistles. Have I been misled?

edbr
05-26-2010, 01:45 AM
itis not as complete as ps but handles most of the functions needed by many it is not as easy to use if you are used to phtoshop, IMO but is still agood open source program

Melissa2010B
05-27-2010, 05:24 AM
Still think you'll want to edit some images along the way. GIMP is a free programme that does a little of what Photoshop is capable of. Don't forget that, even if you only use photos, you'll still want to resize, edit, crop and then optimise for web to save download time :)

Actually I want to use that photo presently on my site, which I consider THE BEST photo I've ever taken. I have a large copy of it, heck I even have the original print if I need it. But I'd like to use it as a full page background image, and resize it to automatically fit any screen that anyone views it on, full screen, then use tabs to view the info on my site, all with CSS.

By the way, I'm now proud owner of Dreamweaver CS4 Web Standard, the lowest cost package. I installed it and opened it up and went O..M..G!

What an intimidating thing it is, for a first time user. :mrgreen:

Now all I have to do is totally redesign my site with CSS using it. :mrgreen:

<music> Your mission, should you accept it....

Corrosive
05-27-2010, 05:52 AM
Excellent :) Now go and read up on CSS and HTML and see what you can do with it.

Melissa2010B
05-27-2010, 06:03 AM
Ok, let's try this:
http://www.dreamweaverclub.com/forum/showthread.php?p=178623#post178623

Corrosive
05-27-2010, 05:28 PM
Yep, looks good. Very clear what you want. I'd throw our hat in the ring but we are in the UK. I'm sure you'll find someone though. It is also worth chatting to other local businesses to see who they use.