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Old 03-08-2014, 10:30 AM   #1
Lizzard
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Default Simple web hosting?

Sorry if this is unusual/confusing, but here's the background - bear with me.

I'm doing volunteer work for a UK charity. A couple of years ago, a professional web designer offered to redo our site for free. Too good to be true? Well, yes. He's done it and it's truly awful. I (rashly) offered to try to redo it.

The charity works with local kids and one of our aims is to include them in the running of the website. They learn DW at school, so I have taught myself the basics of DW and have rewritten the site. I may have done it all wrong, but when I preview through firefox and explorer it works so I'm hopeful it's not too bad!

The previous designer has given us the password to access WordPress but that's all I have. I've tried to export the DW files but have no idea where they've gone to, can't find how to change the templates, home page, etc. I've tried to get my head round WordPress but their online help is technically over my head. I'm totally lost!

One thought, then, is to basically start again. I don't know if this is possible, but I'd like to try and find a fairly simple and inexpensive host where I can keep our domain, get rid of everything that's there at the moment, then export my DW site to there. Is this possible and, if so, could you recommend a host?

And yes, I know the ideal answer would be to find another web designer but we are very strapped for cash and cannot afford it.

Thanks
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:24 AM   #2
edbr
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to move a domain you need to change te DNS of that domain so yu have to log in to the registrar ad change the setting ie ms1u.rdomain.com to ns1.urnewdomain.com.
the web will then point to the new site
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:10 AM   #3
domedia
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This site is hosted on site5.com, no big complaints.
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:40 AM   #4
d a v e
 
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i'm sure every one has their favourite host so i'll mention mine http://ukwebsolutionsdirect.co.uk/ very fast to answer emails and very helpful.

control panel is good with one click wordpress install for example and one click site backups.


can't you just stick with the same host? does the original designer have the hosting details? (account name and password and ftp details?)

you may find wordpress could be the best solution in the longterm for updating - and most modern themes are responsive, there is of course a learning curve

there are lots of people on here who can help with dreamweaver, design, hosting or wordpress issues - and if you would like to then we'd be happy to look at the link of the existing site

if your dreamweaver site is just html (not php) then you can upload a copy to dropbox (if you have it) and share a link
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:08 PM   #5
Lizzard
 
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Thank you, all. I have managed to get in touch with the original designer who has given me the ftp details and password and, somehow, good old dreamweaver has done the rest. To be honest, I have no idea who the host is but it seems to be working! The previous designer is going to continue footing any bill, so that's a huge relief.

Our site is:
http://www.shylowen.com/index.htm

I know there are a couple of bits that need attention - a blank page, some alignment issues, and some of the images need resizing/interlacing. Given I knew diddly squat about dreamweaver 3 months ago, though, and I've leaned it through books and by googling, I'm fairly pleased!

It's great to know you're here if I have a problem. Thank you.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:28 PM   #6
d a v e
 
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(note had to remove all my smileys cos only allowed 4 images and those count too )


i think you've done really well in such a short amount of time to take on something new. I had a read around the site and if only there were more people like you and your (husband or wife?) and less poeple with planks of wood then yes the world would be a better place

incidentally when my wife was still a teenager she used to do riding therapy with kids with disabilities before she became a teacher (i love animals but i find horses a bit too nervy for me)

without wanting to comment too much on the tehcnnical aspects of the site i would like to offer some pointers and some things to consider for the future of the site... so here goes. (some of it may go over your head, understandably but stay with me...)

1. pics
- you already know you need to size/optimise the images (some are 13mb!) do you have sofwtare to do this? you *can* do it directly in dreamweaver and after resizing press the resample button but you'll get much better results with a dedicated graphics app. I assume you don't have photoshop so i would suggest the gimp http://www.gimp.org/downloads/ not the easiest to use but for basic resizing, sharpening and exporting to web probably one of the best free ones. Also remember to save photos as jpegs, not pngs (unless you need transparency)

videos
might be nice to embed the youtube video in the page so people can see what it is - if there's room and you don't think it's too many

2. layout
you mentioned the layout needs some attention - the header is left aligned and the main content is centered so on larger screens the whole site sprawls across the view and looks disjointed

your secondary navigation is in differenent places in different parts of the site

the page would be better as all centred in a wrapper with margins set to auto on it

3. text
Hobo font will only show up on machines with it installed (don't know what it was doing on my mac if you want to use a font that everyone can see - or you don't want them to miss out - then have a look at using @font-face or googlefonts (http://www.google.com/fonts/). hobo isn't the nicest font out there - but i guess that's a matter of personal taste there are friendlt script/handwriting/informal fonts on google and font squirrel for free use that might be worth looking at at a later date. the text could (should) be bigger 16px really as the browser defeualt size for normal copy bit smaller say 14px for table text or secondary text if needs be. the line height (in css line-height: ) could be a bit more generous to help reading and be more open and inviting (say 1.4 to 1.6)

use headings for heading text (i.e. <h1>main heading</h1>)



are you still with me ? not fed up or depressed yet? good


4. colours
what, no Liverpool FC colours? just joking. i think the green is a bit saturated - maybe a white background would be cleaner - just a suggestion or then a subtle hay coloured background you can still use the green to highlight links or for other decoration

also the gradient on the buttons could be a bit more subtle and not so dark at the top so the text is easier to read.


5. technical stuff
I'm not sure where you learnt the code from for the site but using tables to layout a site is archaic and you've been misled

also because the pages aren't based on a dreamweaver template or use php then i assume if you make a change on one page (add a menu item, narrow the columns, change something in the css, etc) then you have to use a site-wide search and replace. I'm a bit concerned about the amount of work this will be for you - especially because your hands are full of horses (!) all day and other work. so...

suggestions:

Dreamweaver and templates:
use a dreamweaver template or learn how to use php includes so you can base all the pages on a common layout and changes are made once and applied sitewide very easily (php includes take common elements of a page e.g. header or footer, then )

take the css styles and put them in an external stylesheet and link to that from each page. then if you want to make the font a bit bigger for example you simply change on value in the stylesheet and it's instantly updated sitewide.

does it work on a tablet/phone?!
at the moment it doesn't and it's worth thinking about how people are going to be using your site - quite often on their phones only to find it's slow and won't resize (other than fitting in by zooming out to a tiny version or by people having to scroll a lot)
if i remember rightly dreamweaver has some repsonsive basic 2 column layouts with header/footer so that's one option. however see below

Wordpress:
this may be the best idea for the longer term view but with more of an initial investment in time and effort

you already have it installed on the server you said and if you have the passwords then you can pick new themes for it and change the look (honest you can)

the benefits of using wordpress is that it handles a of the basics for you
a) most modern themes resize nicely on phones and tablets and look spiffy on desktop too


b) navigation and navigation with drops downs are handled pretty easily through the dahsboard - want to add a page to the nav? simply make a page tell in what order it comes in the navigation and wordpress sorts it all out for you adding it to the nav on all pages. same goes for search

c) consistency - want a nice modern clean site? wordpress will give you a basic layout with some options and some nice google fonts all sorted (you can change them too)

d) appearances - you can edit the stylesheet to change colours - it's a little more fiddly to mess with than doing it in dreamweaver especially if you're new to css but it's not so bad

e) content editing - make as many users as you need and it makes it easy for example for kids to write a post with a picture, youtube video etc as if they were (almost) writing it in word.
(there are different levels of authoring from full god-mode admin to people who can simply write posts and not have access to anything else - so they can't accidently delete or move something)

f) plugins - need an image gallery? there's a plugin (or many) same for calendars, contact forms, etc etc and etc.

this is an example site http://www.gekkoweb.com/kp/ i'm working on with friend that uses last year's default wordpress theme ( http://wordpress.org/themes/twentythirteen) sorry it's in Finnish I'm no wordpress guru but i can modify templates to more or less how i want them (also my wordpress whisky tasting site - another work in progress http://www.gekkoweb.com/vissy/ I am English btw but i've been living in finland for 13 years now.

anyway i'm sure you're feeling a bit overwhelmed now but i just wanted to say i'm seriosuly tempted to offer my help for free, limited though it is with time and having 3 young kids. I am a full time employed graphic designer but because of the current economic climate that may very soon be no more

dave
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:36 PM   #7
Lizzard
 
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Dave, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write all that. I promise you'll read it all very carefully and learn.

We have been given a old copy of Dreamweaver MX, hence it being archaic. Because of that the books I used are all 10 years old! I knew it wasn't going to be cutting edge.

Yes to resizing the images. I have PS Elements 11, so no problems with the theory, I just need to do it!

Liverpool colours? But Everton fans would abandon us!!!

I can't take the credit for the centre - you'll find me in the team as Liz. I'm a horse trainer who went up to help for a weekend but was so blown away by what they do, I got hooked. We need to add more about how the horses help the troubled kids get off the streets but I need to make sure it's carefully worded and not critical. And yes, gallery, embedding video (working on getting owner's permission), and loads of other stuff you've said. Off to digest over a cuppa...

Thank you again.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:59 PM   #8
Lizzard
 
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My numptiness is winning at the moment... but not entirely.

To answer your points more fully:

1. pic sizes, yes, I'll get that sorted, and also make sure the .png files are interlaced

2. videos. The main one on the 'EAL' page does need to be embedded but for some reason it shows as needing the owner's permission. I've emailed her about this and she's not sure how to fix it. We're working on it.

The plan is to have videos for some/all of the horses we're looking to rehome, and also some of those in training to show how the kids are working. More about the horse pages later.

3. Layout. I've struggled with this, getting conflicting views from different people. Is this something that should be covered by templates? It looks horribly inconsistent.

4. text font. We wanted something softer than the normal Ariel but I didn't know where to look. There are some great fonts on the google fonts link. Again, I'm assuming you'd put that code on a template? Do you have a problem with the headers being in one font and the text being in something plainer and easier to read? If so, how does that work with google fonts?

5. I'm still with you! And not depressed, interested.

6. Colours. I originally did it with a white background but the request from the top came for a background colour. I went for that pale straw (one of the non-dithering colours, apparently!), but that was ruled as boring. The reason behind the green is that there are posters and things with that colour, so it ties in with the 'corporate image'. I agree, it's too saturated but was struggling to find a code that was still green but was paler. Does that make sense? Green's not an easy colour. If we could desaturate it a bit, I agree it would look less in your face.

7. I can redo the buttons if you think it would make a significant difference.

8. The tables are dreadful, I know. I'm already zapping them in the shop area. The main place I used them was on the horse areas. This is temporary, but I do need to work on it a little now. The idea is that the kids are going to design and work up the horse pages, with each horse having a page they can keep updated. I really just need to have something there while the do it. The girl who was in charge has, I'm told, just discovered boys so it's not going very quickly!

9. Oh dear, now I get lost... I tried to master templates but for some reason they defeated me. I'm sure it can't be that hard, is there some source that explains them easily? php/css... zzzzp, over my head at the moment, I'm afraid!

Apart from not having a clue myself about wordpress, the reason that we're trying to stick to all the editing etc in Dreamweaver is it is, I'm told, what they are learning at school. It's boggling my wee mind enough already. Wordpress may come later, but I don't think I'm feeling up to it just yet!

My family used to live in Finland, back in the late 70s, but I stayed in the UK at school. My Finnish was pathetic, but I can remember a couple of bits.

Hyvaa paivaa! (and tack, but that's Swedish, our neighbours were Swedish Finns).

Liz

ps - this has gone way off topic from the original question, if Admins what to move it, please do!
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:53 PM   #9
blake
 
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Hi Lizzard. I took a look at your site and was impressed with what I saw.

We're kid and horse people here also with a few pet mules thrown in the mix...the norm being the Morgan horse.

We have a lot of adopted kids from several countries living in our valley and they're writing an ebook telling their stories.

Maybe you would like to do that with some of your kids on your site that have a story to tell, just a suggestion.

Let me know if I can be of any help to you.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:03 AM   #10
Lizzard
 
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Thanks Blake, that's really kind of you. Yes, we need to get some of the kids' stories up there. I'm going up in July and will take a voice recorder and camera with me. They're not always that keen on writing.

You're a great bunch on here
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