(for Nov 14, 2012 presentation) (This page is 'Tab 4' at top of BilltownWeb.org) (edited 11/13/2012-c)-A. Intro:
- Many ways to create a web page; code in HTML, use a Wordpress.org template, use one
of the many free template systems (like Blogger, Weebly, Yola, Wordpress.com, Facebook), use a
paid template system like Homestead.com, use a 'web authoring tool like Dreamweaver, and probably many more.
* Exercise: Do 'view source' for this page, to show HTML code.
- Please note that there is a list of some of the LOCAL WEBMASTERS on the BilltownWeb.com's Other Developers page (see note at bottom re Library's webmaster).
B. Pluses & Minuses of The Free Systems:
* Simplicity: You don't have go through the complication of registering and setting up the web hosting.
* Flexibility: If you're not using the page for a while, it can just sit there and not cost you anything.
* No Security: You have no guarantee your web page won't suddenly disappear or radically change appearance. Examples would be Yahoo Geocities, Microsoft Small Office; and also Homestead which changed from free to $8 per month.
* Backups: Backing up is more "challenging", since all your "work" is on someone else's servers. I recommend printing copies, or saving pages to your hard drive in PDF format.
* Blogs can also be backed up to a ".xml" format file, but (far as I know), '.xml' can only be uploaded to another blog.
C. Some of the Free Systems:
- You can read the latest opinions by Googling a phrase similar to "best places to build a free website".
- I have experimented with Google Blogger, Google Sites, Weebly, and Yola. I currently use Google blogger most of the time. (Google 'Sites' seems 'clunky' to me.)
I would recommend you experiment with Google Blogger, Weebly, and Yola if you have time. I personally prefer Weebly over Yola.
- Question: How does a Blog differ from a web page?? A blog is one form of web page, usually intended to be used somewhat like an online diary.
* But a blog can be "minipulated" to look almost like a normal web page, which is what I do.
- FACEBOOK: Some people even use Facebook 'pages' for their web page, example Haywoods On The Water. I find these Facebook pages somewhat cluttered and difficult to NAVIGATE, due to all Facebook's ads, over which you have no control.
* Note that you COULD forward a domain to a Facebook page, and later redirect it to a regular web page.
* Note you want a Facebook 'Page', not a personal profile, not a Facebook 'group'.
D.Advantages Of Using Blogger:.
- Simplicity: You don't have to worry about paying a recurring web hosting fee every year, since Google/Blogger generously allows free hosting.
- Helping Others: Once you get familiar with the Blogger system, then you can use it YOURSELF, to build MORE websites at no-cost or low-cost for yourself or your friends.
- EDITING: Editing is simple: Almost like sending an email, except instead of clicking a "send" button after editing, you instead click the "Update" button.
- Copying Between Sites: You can copy complete pages or parts of pages from one website to another.
- Can setup restricted access: You can add and remove "administrators" that can edit the website. You can add and remove "authors" that can edit only one or
two or three specified pages with no privileges to edit the rest of the
website, which "protects" an inexperienced editor from accidently
damaging the website. This feature is very useful for a GROUP.
~~~~ Other advantages: ~~~~
- Financial: It's part of Google, and thus financially "sound". You don't get constant requests to "upgrade to the paid system" like other free services.
- Many Websites: Blogger allows you to build as MANY free websites as you need. Many services limit you to only two (Weebly) or only 5 (Yola) free websites. I have built around 50 websites on Blogger.
- Blogger gives you almost complete control of width and colors. The free versions of Weebly and Yola are more restrictive.
- Photos: If you have a LOT of photos you want to display, you can use your same Google Blogger ID, to create a free PICASA photo album.
- Video: You can use your same Google Blogger ID, to upload a Youtube video to "promote your cause".
E. Disadvantages Of Using Blogger:.
- Formatting is very limited, somewhat "clunky". (Using the
'automatic numbering' feature to type this page, has been a real struggle.)
* Weebly and Yola use "elements" that give better control of text and photos, but are somewhat more tedious to work with.
- Instability: Blogger is perpetually CHANGING their system which causes features
to malfunction; resulting in confusion, frustration, and lost time.
* Automatic spam-detection software may delete your legitimate web page (due to problems with Spammers). (Avoid creating empty pages, triggers Spam software.)
- Support: Support is almost non-existent. You cannot call them nor email them. You can only post your problem in a public forum, and then "hope and pray" that a 'forum monitor' forwards it on to Blogger support.
- Mobile: Mobile Template not so great. According to the Library's webmaster, "sometime next year mobile use on the web will be higher than viewing on notebooks or desktop computers." Blogger HAS a mobile template, but it's not the greatest.
F.Examples & Demonstrations:
- Blogger Examples: CutsUnlimited.net, MiltonModelTrainMuseum.org, OasisVerde.org (note connected Picasa album), WildBillCWdance.com (note linked YouTube video), ToyTrainExpo.org (note 3 videos on same page).
- Weebly example: old BilltownDance site || Yola example: Old BilltownWeb site
- Login test UserID ___________, password __________
Go to billtowntest.blogspot.com . Note editing procedure is on Tab 6 'Editing' on BilltownWeb.com site.
- Go to billtowntest2.blogspot.com . Note this same ID has only "Author" privileges for this blog, so can only edit just 1 page.
- Go to Template designer, show how colors and widths can be modified.
- Documentation: Again, make sure you properly document your login IDs and passwords.
Here is an example of the type of file I prepare when I set up a website for someone.
- Note I attempted to define the steps to setting up a new blog website on BilltownWeb.com's 'Settings For A New Blog' page, although this stuff is hard to keep up to date.
- Comment: The Brown Library's knowledgeable webmaster
Charles Ormsbee does NOT recommend this "free system" at all. He prefers using Wordpress.org templates and paid hosting someplace like Hostgator.com or WebHostingPlan.com for around $24 per year.
* Note: Charles has indicated he can provide a workshop on this technique (also 'mobile-responsive' templates). If interested, please indicate your interest on the survey form.
* You can also contact him about building a Wordpress page for you; you can reach him via his address on the Library's 'Staff Directory' page under 'North Central Library District (firstname.lastname@example.org).