Monday, February 28, 2011

3-2-1... We Have Liftoff

I finally managed to get my website ( up and running, though it is definitely a work in progress. It will go through many incarnations in the next few weeks. The most important thing is that I went through the rigmarole of getting the address set up and then having the guys at Go Daddy walk me through the logistics of making it go live.

For the record, Go Daddy has amazing customer service, not something you would expect from one of the biggest internet providers around. They were helpful, accessible, and spoke perfect English. I never had to wait to get through, though I probably called during off-peak hours.

Either way, it took me quite a while to get this thing up and running. First I had to learn the design software, which was pretty straightforward and easy (?) with the Mac, which has its own internal web software, iWeb. The hardest part for me was to write up some of the bio pieces. What the heck are you supposed to say in these things?

I’d found the best approach was to just go for it. Rather than worry about how it looks and where things should go, just throw things together and then worry about the details. The same approach works in writing. It is imperative that you write what Ann Lamott refers to as the “sh_tty first draft” and then go back and fine tune it. For many of us, it is the only way that writing, and many things in life, get done.

I also wanted to mention that it was extremely difficult finding someone who would help me get this done. In fact, it was non-existent. Just finding people who knew web design was hard, but once you located them, not a single one of them had the time, or maybe the desire, to lend me a hand. It sort of boiled down to money, which I understand on some level, but on another, I wasn’t asking them to donate an organ. I just had some questions.

The people who knew what they were doing charged the big bucks, on the order of hundreds of dollars, even thousands. If I had gone that route, I’m sure the site would have looked more professional with all sorts of bells and whistles, but I don’t need all that stuff. At least not yet. In all fairness, I did get a lot of free advice from a homeschool mom, JG, who was always available to answer my questions. She’s a professional designer, though, and has better things to do with their time.

In the end, I spent weeks tweaking the site, just getting things in place and positioning them so that they looked okay. Then I had to learn how to do things like make links and important photgraphs. There are still a few things I need to learn, like setting up RSS feeds and properly inserting HTML snippets, but for now, I have the barebone essentials for a website.

I am not completely thrilled with the appearance, I think it needs more color, but again, it’s a work in progress, and will continue to morph over the next month or two. For now, it will do the trick, and I can embark on this new adventure that I fondly refer to as my glorious freelance writing career.

That, or lose my mind trying. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to RIC for the pic.

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