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In search of a good web host & web design software


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 Jon_Are

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Posted June 02 2009 - 11:38 AM

(I've done a few searches for this info, but I still need some help)

I plan on jumping into real estate photography soon and I've determined that I need a website. I'd like to hear some recommendations for a host with the following in mind:
  • I do not need the capability for anyone to order prints or any sort of merchandise from the site; just to view it (and, of course, be able to contact me through it)
  • My plan is to have examples of my real estate photography, as well as a good amount of information - both in words and pictures - about why my product is special and how I achieve my results. In other words, I will educate realtors about what makes a good real estate photograph.
  • Inexpensive is good, but I want something a bit more than dirt cheap. Above all, it must look professional.
I also need recommendations for idiot-proof web design.

I've never had a website before, so there's a lot I don't know. If anyone can point to an online resource to learn the basics, or steer me toward a site that will meet my needs, I would appreciate it.

Thanks!

Jon

#2 of 19 DaveF

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Posted June 02 2009 - 01:28 PM

I see five separate, but related, questions that capture all of your issues:

* What will be your domain name and how will you own it? This could be a WordPress or Google or MobileMe site. It could be a custom, registered domain name.

* What hosting company will you use for your website? Again, you can have a website through the many sites like Google, MobileMe, or even your ISP. Or you can get hosting from a company like GoDaddy or 1and1.

* Who will design your website? Will you do it? Your tween nephew? A professional?

* Will your website need frequent updates? This might be photographs, blog comments, or other professional info? How frequent?

* What's your total budget?

There are many permuations. For example: My wife has a domain name registered with GoDaddy, and the website is hosted with Apple's MobileMe for $99/yr (includes her email). She designed it herself on her Mac with iWeb. She updates her samples and testimonials occaisionally, with her design program.

You could do everything with Google's free website system.

You can get your own domain name, host the website with 1and1.com for about $10/mo, and hire a pro to build the site for you, with tools to let you update your photos as desired.

To check domain name availability, go to a hosting company and use their tool. Type in a name, select a .com, .net, .biz, etc. TLD and see what you can get.

Hope this helps. Posted Image

#3 of 19 nolesrule

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Posted June 02 2009 - 01:36 PM

I don't recommend you try to do it on your own. If you want your site to look professional, you need to hire a professional to do it. Anyone can build a website, but it takes skill to make a functional and aesthetically pleasing site that is optimized for search engines.

I'm a web developer, but I concentrate on the programming aspects (databases, custom eCommerce, data manipulation) rather than design, so I do a lot of subcontracting for designers that don't have the programming skills. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with a good designer that I have worked with before. His company also provides hosting.

EDIT: DaveF was posting at the same time, and makes some good points. Make sure you get your domain name as soon as you can. You won't need hosting until the site is actively being developed. Depending on whether you do it yourself or get a pro involved, you'll start paying for hosting when you start developing the site or when the site goes live.

In terms of blogs, don't host a blog on your site. Use Blogger from Google. The blog posts get indexed by Google faster than regular sites, and it'll help improve your site's relevance through links back to your main site in your blog posts, improving your main site's search engine results. (Some free SEO advice).

#4 of 19 Jon_Are

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Posted June 02 2009 - 02:56 PM

Thanks for the replies. I haven't yet decided on designing it myself vs. hiring a pro.

Does anyone have an opinion on Microsoft Expression Web? Apparently this is a replacement for FrontPage (which, as I remember, was not well regarded).

Jon

#5 of 19 nolesrule

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Posted June 02 2009 - 03:38 PM

Never used it, so I can't answer your question. I hand code in text editors. Posted Image

#6 of 19 Jassen M. West

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Posted June 02 2009 - 10:45 PM

Front Page, Expression Web all result in "broken" pages in browsers other than Explorer. With the number of users that are on or going to browsers such as Opera, Firefox and Chrome I wouldn't risk my business losing sales due to a site that doesn't load correctly due to "instant website" software.

"No self respecting southerner uses instant grits"

#7 of 19 Michael:M

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Posted June 02 2009 - 11:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jassen M. West
Front Page, Expression Web all result in "broken" pages in browsers other than Explorer. With the number of users that are on or going to browsers such as Opera, Firefox and Chrome I wouldn't risk my business losing sales due to a site that doesn't load correctly due to "instant website" software.

"No self respecting southerner uses instant grits"

This may be true for more complex pages, but it isn't true across the board. I have a personal site which was half hand-coded and half done in FrontPage; I have no problems viewing it in Firefox. It looks and "behaves" exactly as it should.
"Life began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between." - Diane Ackerman

#8 of 19 DaveF

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Posted June 03 2009 - 02:11 AM

iWeb also does well for general use pages and modest professional sites.

#9 of 19 juda

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Posted June 03 2009 - 04:01 AM

You really just want to buy a .com [on offer at godaddy currently] for a few bucks, you can get cheap hosting with a good provider like hostgator for a few bucks a month. The most costly part is degining, certainly don't spend money on software to design, Depending on your needs you could host a simple 1 page site using wordpress on your own domain [free] or have a domain custom designed flash website which sounds best for photography but if you have no experience don't jump into it because there is a lot to learn. If you need any information feel free to ask away.

#10 of 19 nolesrule

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Posted June 03 2009 - 04:47 AM

Flash isn't necessary for any well-done website. Posted Image

It's a nice feature for some things like a slideshow of photos (although I've found DHTML and AJAX are just as good and causes less performance issues), but as a website in total, no. It's just not flexible enough for quick updates.

#11 of 19 Jon_Are

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Posted June 03 2009 - 04:53 AM

Well, I got my first quote and it was quite a bit more than expected ($600). That's their "basic" package.

Quote:
The most costly part is degining, certainly don't spend money on software to design, Depending on your needs you could host a simple 1 page site using wordpress on your own domain [free] or have a domain custom designed flash website which sounds best for photography but if you have no experience don't jump into it because there is a lot to learn.

A simple site is all I need, but more than one page. Aren't there any website-building-for-dummies templates that would hold my hand through the process? It seems as if Microsoft Publisher might have that capability?

Jon

#12 of 19 MarkHastings

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Posted June 03 2009 - 05:19 AM

FYI: Most hosting companies will offer web templates for free.

#13 of 19 Jon_Are

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Posted June 03 2009 - 06:52 AM

Quote:
FYI: Most hosting companies will offer web templates for free.

Thanks, Mark. So far I've looked into GoDaddy and they seem to have lots of tools and options for the simple-minded; just what I need. Posted Image

Seems pretty reasonable, too, unless they're going to hit me with a bunch of hidden add-ons.

Jon

#14 of 19 DaveF

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Posted June 03 2009 - 07:43 AM

Take a look at 1and1.com, too. I use GoDaddy for my personal stuff and they have good prices and responsive tech help. But I've found their management tools confusing and awkwardly organized. Glancing at 1and1's site, it looks like it might be more sensibly organized; their prices seem reasonable as well.

You've asked for tools: do you use Windows or OS X (or Linux)?

#15 of 19 Jon_Are

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Posted June 03 2009 - 08:23 AM

I use Windows Vista.

And I will check out 1and1; thanks for the tip.

Jon

#16 of 19 juda

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Posted June 03 2009 - 02:25 PM

Whatever you do, don't go with 1and1, they are terrible & support is very disappointing especially if you don't know what you're doing. You could use a platform like wordpress with a nice template, its very simple to use & you could modify it to look like a site rather than a blog quite easily. Wordpress is the best option if you are constantly adding content & photo's & generally people tend to become attached to a blog & the search engines love them.

I would recommend hosting with hostgator as they are very reliable [99.9% uptime] & I would avoid paying the $600 at this moment, you could outsource the work if you really wanted to and have an amazing site for >$200.

#17 of 19 drobbins

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Posted June 03 2009 - 02:50 PM

I used a existing template and then modified it with Notepad. I think that is a good way to learn programming yourself. This site The W3C Markup Validation Service will tell you if the website uses internet standards and can show you what to fix. And this site Check Browser Compatibility, Cross Platform Browser Test - Browsershots will show you how it actually looks in different browsers and systems. Regardless if you do your own designing or have someone else do it, check the the site out through those links.

#18 of 19 Paul D G

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Posted June 03 2009 - 08:22 PM

mjzhosting.net - 500mb disk space, 15gb bandwidth a month = $19 a year (they have a special now for under $17) and up from that. I've been with them for years and have never had a problem.

They have just started domains. .com @ $10 a year.

#19 of 19 Jon-SA

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Posted August 30 2009 - 05:21 AM

HostGator has been on top 10 of most top webhosting review sites. They're being trusted by over 2 million subscribers. Here's what they're offering.
  • unlimited disk space
  • unlimited bandwidth
  • 45 days money back guarantee
  • they have a site installer which they packed with over 4000 templates
  • a script installer that installs popular blog, forum, eCommerce templates
  • prices start at $4.95
  • more features not listed here...






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