View Full Version : I'm planning on building a website for my woodwork any suggestions?

Bill Wyko
08-11-2008, 9:56 PM
I know a lot of you have websites. I was just wondering if anything worked better than other things. I was also wondering if anyone has noticed anything that really stood out to them. Thanks.

David DeCristoforo
08-12-2008, 1:17 AM
Dreamweaver!!! (and Fireworks too if you can afford it).

William OConnell
08-12-2008, 2:13 AM
One of the things that I think you should avoid is a sub hosting account like Geocities or any of the other ad financed we hosts. They just put way to much eye candy ads on the screen and its distracting. So you should get your own domain and web host (paid). Bluehost.com is a good one it seems. I used front page and now Expression web 2. Its pretty good software and easier for me to use than some of the others.
Alot of the photo galleries on board some of the web software is less than stellar so try to make a page using a stand alone photo suite like Gallery or coppermine. Many of the hosts offer these applications for free.
I'm by no means a webmaster but i was able to muddle through with patience and help from forums such as expression wes forum wich is active with microsoft certified proffessionals posting daily.
gallery is a good photo suite and its free. Many members have made some really nice mods to the software
I like it because it gives the people browsing options for clicking for several sizes of photos

John Eaton
08-12-2008, 6:31 AM
The easy-peasy way is to create a free blogging account at blogger (turn off the ads) and then point your domain at it. You get multiple customization options and all the infrastructure for editing is already there, along with photo-hosting. The only thing that's missing is a shopping cart and you didn't state that you wanted one? The benefit here is you don't need to learn HTML (although you can to enhance it), there are tons of plug-ins for specific features/functions, and it's very easy to maintain. So ask yourself - do you want to spend your time 1. coding things up, or 2. describing items and posting images? With your own site you'll have to get software to maintain it and things can be tricky. With a blogging site you just post (and ideally add some key words for cross-referencing everything in the built-in searches).

-- John

08-12-2008, 8:10 AM
+1 for dreamweaver!! great program. and fireworks and contribute are good too! i got the whole package while i was still in school for like $100. Just buy some hosting/domain (godaddy) and the program then your off and running. It is fun to mess around with and a good place to showcase your work.

Something i have thought about adding to my site is a decent blog. but at this point i dont have time for it, so....

Good luck,

Don Bullock
08-12-2008, 8:56 AM
You've made some beautiful things that should be on a website.

Don't fall into the situation I'm now in. I used software supplied by my Internet provider to create my website for our basset hounds. It was very easy software to use which allowed me to set up the website very easily and quickly, but now that I will be moving I will have to change Internet providers. That means that I will have to create a whole new website. At this point I'm not sure that I'll even be able to keep the same domain name because I got the one I have through them too. I would have been much better off using a program like FrontPage, Dreamweaver, etc. and purchased a domain name.

Mitchell Andrus
08-12-2008, 8:56 AM
Don't skimp. Plan 3 to 5 years ahead. Yes, a simple website will get you going but don't stop there because everyone you'll be competing with won't stop at 'cheap and simple'.

I've had 3 websites (same URL) in 12 years. A 'starter' show and tell site (phone orders only), a 'cheap' store that handled simple choices and credit cards, and my current platform that wouldn't have even been possible when I started.

My retail sales doubled when I went from 'show and tell' to a real store.

Jerome Hanby
08-12-2008, 10:01 AM
I'm not a big fan of any of the web production tools (front page, dreamweaver, whatever). Some of the HTML editors are not bad, I still use HoTMetaL. Main things I look for in a web site host:

1. Bandwidth: I want a big pipe and I don't want limits

2. Storage: The more the better. My service provides 150MB initially and will add more storage in 50 MB chunks as requested.

3. CGI Friendly: I want the system to run Linux, I want FTP and Shell access, I want CRONTAB ability, I want access to c, perl, and php.

4. Imagick: I want this tool installed so I can manipulate graphics to create thumbnails, resize pictures, convert formats, all under program control.

5. SQL: I want MySql or something similar available for my CGI programs.

6. Online Tools: I want a good set of web based tools to manage my website. A big plus if they also provide for database management.

7. Wildcard DNS: I want to be able to create my own base URLs. Ex - first.testsite.com, second,.testsite.com, ...

8. Support: I don't need on the phone hand holding, but I do need responsive email support

I'm sure there are lots of web hosting services that can cover all of that. For what it's worth after moving a few times, I've settled on phpwebhosting. It's inexpensive and does all that I need.

Jason Whelehon
08-12-2008, 10:09 AM
Don't reinvent the wheel. Don't rebuild your site everytime you want to change one thing.

I LOVE Drupal (http://drupal.org/). It's free, fun, easy and probably one of the best content management backbones around.

There are a TON of really usefull plugins and modules to get you going and most if not all good webhosts support the requirements to install drupal.

I absolutely LOVE Crystal Tech (http://www.crystaltech.com/) for a web host. Even at 2am if I call, a fluent English speaking technologist answers the phone and helps me out. And, they're inexpensive to boot!

Jim Becker
08-12-2008, 10:24 AM
I agree with Mitchell...do it right the first time and DON'T do it on your ISP's servers. You want your site to be independent of any kind of Internet access you have. Use a reputable hosting service. Use tools and techniques that allow easy modification and content additions. These are not usually supplied by "free" tools. (The stuff that comes with MAC these days may be a major exception based on some things I've seen lately...) If you don't have the time or experience to develop a professional level site, consider hiring the design an initial implementation out, but be sure that you have the tools and coaching required to maintain your own content going forward.

I use MyHosting.com for my sites and both Dreamweaver and Blogger (Google & Online) for content at the present time. I've been very pleased with the hosting service over quite a few years now. The Linux hosting is quite economical, but not the cheapest on the street. That's ok by me...my site pretty much never goes down and I've not had any surprises relative to expenses, etc.

Neal Clayton
08-12-2008, 11:03 AM
a good way to check on and random webhost is to see where he's hosting his machines. there are good colo/server rental outfits and bad, just like anything else. most smaller hosting companies simply rent dedicated servers or colo dedicated servers from a short list of hosting providers that sell to businesses.

some of the better ones from my experience with renting servers over the past ~7 years are...

theplanet.com in dallas
steadfast networks in chicago
pair networks in pittsburgh

and i can't think of any more top tier server/colo providers off the top of my head that sell to the end user/general public. if you take the IP address of any hosting company...like so...(see image)

and then see who owns that IP address, like so...


you can see where any hosting service is hosting their servers.

if you go a step further and search for the server provider on the forums at http://www.webhostingtalk.com you can find out what folks in the hosting business think about them ;).

i agree on Linux/BSD being the better platforms, windows on a fat internet pipe is a big target saying "hack me". but contrary to random internet arguments Linux/BSD servers are not secure out of the box, so if you want your own machine you need to know how to run it properly and solve security issues on your own, otherwise stick with a shared host.

Justin Leiwig
08-12-2008, 12:11 PM
For my two cents worth if you have a lot of content you'll get more traffic. The guys who try to make their turnings sound mysterious and a little bit magical get passed over by me real quick. The ones that go into detail on how they did things and even give an example or something to download get my vote. They know I'll try it myself, fail and then come back hat in hand with a new appreciation for their ability.

Lee Schierer
08-12-2008, 12:40 PM
Don't make your email address a hyperlink. Put your email address on the site, but make it plain text. I had mine as a hyperlink when my website was first created and it didn't take a week for the junk mailers to find it and start sending me stuff. At my son's suggestion I changed it to text and the junk mail started dying down almost immediately.

It will be a bit of a pain for people wanting to contact you to copy and paste the address into their email client, but it will prevent the email address harvesters from picking up your email and sending you tons of unwanted email.

Mitchell Andrus
08-12-2008, 1:33 PM
Nuts and bolts talk, in a nutshell:

HTML is out, XHTML is in. Many classic tags (ie: align) are loosing favor - because CSS is now the 'standard' way to shove stuff around on the screen. If you can manage it, buy a 'shell' program like mine, BVC5. They are available for about $600.00 and put new tools and programming (like .aspx) at your fingertips. You'll grow into this website, not out of it. You'll spend a little or a lot more depending on what you want it to look like when you're done - some are stunning but cost some bucks to 'design'.

Test your site in IE6, IE7, FF2, FF3... they all handle stuff differently. Building a site that looks good in FF2 may fail to line up in IE6 or FF3. I know of sites coming from professionals that fail to accept the fact that people do still have 4 year old machines on their desk... and the answer ISN'T to put "Best viewed in Firefox 3" at the top of the site. 30% of my visitors/buyers still use IE6.

Keep Google in mind. Some really great websites are invisible.

Google these:

Mission style medicine cabinets - I'm #1
Arts and Crafts mantel - #1
Arts and Crafts inlays - #1
Inlaid mirrors - #3 (oh, well)

Make sure you hook up with a host who takes search engines seriously.

David Freed
08-12-2008, 6:10 PM
I know that many people have a great deal more knowledge at building websites than I do. When I built my first site, I blindly stumbled onto what I now consider one of the worst sitebuilding programs there is. Not knowing any better, I signed up, made a website, and after about a year of frustration, I started looking for a better alternative. I found the Homestead website, and ended up switching to them. saying the difference was like night & day, is not fair to night & day.

If you are into the technical side of websites, you can type html all you want to get things done. If you want things simple like I do, their sitebuilder will let you drag and drop to your hearts content. It probably won't do some things that Mitchell's program will, but many of the sites I have looked at made with Homestead look as good as any on the internet. You can set up a store, use paypal, and much more.

Here is a site that someone made recently using Homestead. This was his first attempt at building a website. http://rockinjwoodcrafts.com/

I have 3 websites with them (2 published, 1 in progress). I have the $20/mo package (+ $2/mo for each additional site). That package includes 100 mb of storage and over 15 gb of bandwith. Since I completely changed directions with my woodworking business in the past year, they are just basic, information type sites right now (no pictures yet). As I get more orders (I hope; business is dead) I will add pictures and probably change things around some. One of my sites is listed in my profile.

Neal Clayton
08-14-2008, 12:29 AM
in the interest of saving money, an idea for you all if you get enough folks that want to do the same thing...

the rate on a rented server with 1000+ gigs of transfer per month is about 100-150 dollars a month depending on the specs of the hardware, which aren't that high in requirements for web hosting. if you got 10 or 15 people together you could all rent a server yourselves and get alot more for the money than typical hosting plans.

Mitchell Andrus
08-14-2008, 8:50 AM
Running your own server means renting a tech ($) once in a while (unless you'll do it youself) to upgrade/maintain it's O.S. and hunt down problems. Also, a 'real' host will mirror your site on a second server to recover from crashes and hold DB backups.

My store costs $49.00/mo. with a host that knows my software inside-out and has helped me more times than I can count with a phone call and at no charge. This includes SEO submittals and tweaking on a regular basis. I've needed 2 rescues in the last 18 months (my fault).

My previous host was a bit less expensive, but charged $20.00 each time I asked for them to back-up my data. Yikes!!!

They all offer plenty of throughput and storage space, it's the panic phone call that you're paying for.


Jim Becker
08-14-2008, 10:31 AM
I agree with Mitchell on this...while there can be a certain attractiveness to having your own server (even as a group), the reality is that unless you have the skills and time to maintain it and all the other aspects of such extended responsibility, it can be unproductive and ultimately "more expensive". A good hosting service is like an insurance policy that revolves around up-time, disaster recovery and other things. Most artisans and woodworkers don't really have the time or skills to take on all of that themselves. A web presence can either enhance a business or consume it...

Mitchell Andrus
08-14-2008, 11:52 AM
A web presence can either enhance a business or consume it...

Great line, Jim.... While setting it up, my new website (launched July 07) consumed every spare minute for 4 months. 'Enhance' comes after... like cooking and then eating a good meal.

Ed Sallee
08-14-2008, 1:15 PM
Bill, I just got a domain last night through google.com/a and it was very, very, very easy..... Take a look at mine, I did this in three hours last night... PM me or drop me a line if you want... www.waxingmoonwood.com (http://www.waxingmoonwood.com)

Bill Arnold
08-15-2008, 3:15 PM
I've used IX Webhosting to host my website for many years. You can spend whatever you need to accomplish your goals, but their basic hosting rate is $3.95 per month, if you pay for two years at a time. Domain registration is free with a hosting account.

For editing, I used a simple text editor for many years, then an HTML editor I found but is no longer available. I now use MS Frontpage.

Good luck!

John Keeton
08-15-2008, 4:00 PM
Bill, I just got a domain last night through google.com/a and it was very, very, very easy..... Take a look at mine, I did this in three hours last night... PM me or drop me a line if you want... www.waxingmoonwood.com (http://www.waxingmoonwood.com)
Ed, I know very little about website construction, but have watched this thread with interest as it is something I will want to do in the future.

However, I understood that it takes keywords imbedded in the source code to get "hit" by search engines. I am sure there are others that are far more than I about this. I noticed on your site, in viewing the source code, that there are no key words. How will the search engines find your site? Can anyone comment on this?

David Freed
08-15-2008, 4:54 PM
Ed, I know very little about website construction, but have watched this thread with interest as it is something I will want to do in the future.

However, I understood that it takes keywords imbedded in the source code to get "hit" by search engines. I am sure there are others that are far more than I about this. I noticed on your site, in viewing the source code, that there are no key words. How will the search engines find your site? Can anyone comment on this?

I have talked to people before that know all the ins and out of html, seo, etc. They might as well be speaking another language, because for the most part, I don't have a clue what they are saying.

As for embedding keywords, the Homestead sitebuilder has a button that says "enter your keywords here". I can understand that. They have really good help files to help you do the right thing in the right place.