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Struggling with doing my own website - suggestions for making it easier, please!

(9 Posts)
SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 08-Jan-17 11:43:45

I'm currently struggling with building a website and would love some advice, please. I've got a domain name and host with Tso Host, and I've started to build my site on Wordpress using the Optimizer theme (free version, not pro) but it looks a bit crap and it's really obvious I've done it myself! I want separate pages for each area but I can't see where to add pages and can only work out how to put stuff on the front page, so everything is currently on there, meaning you have to scroll down to see everything. It just looks unprofessional and I can't even begin to tell you the amount of hours it's taken me just to get this far as well.

Is there an easier way to self-build a decent site? The pages I need to start with are a homepage, about me, my services (with options for people to book and pay for my services, so links needed to PayPal/Stripe and my scheduler), a products page (where people can download my ebooks and pdf worksheets), and a contact page (including my email subscription form, do needs to link to Mailchimp). I'm also struggling to add Stripe and PayPal buttons to my services, as from what I can see it involves code, and to a non-techy like me that seems intimidating and really complex!

I'd love to hand it over to a developer to do but don't really have the finance to do that. Is there any way to make this all WAY easier? Some kind of 'out of the box' or 'idiots easy web build'? Thanks.

arrizel Tue 10-Jan-17 13:04:28

If you have some funds to finance a web design you can have a look at www.peopleperhour.com I have managed to have a site built for £40 and I have just had to pay for a theme separately and my site consists of only 4 pages.

If you are really strapped for cash then you can design it using weebly.com which is free and it's a drag and drop website design and I've seen some nice simple, streamlined sites from there. What you would need to do is redirect your URL to your weebly site which is easily done using your control panel for your hosting site.

Hope this helps and good luck

wirethorn Mon 30-Jan-17 00:11:45

I second arrizel’s suggestion of Weebly. I’ve been using the free version for over 5 years and can thoroughly recommend it. You don’t need any experience whatsoever and it’s very easy to create a professional-looking site. A paid version is available, with more features.

A page is constructed of ‘elements’, for example, ‘text’ box and ‘image’ box (you can put an ‘image’ into a ‘text’ box) and you need a bit of practice before you can easily place the elements where you want them but you soon get the hang of it. If you want to link to larger photos or documents, it’s better to put these on Google Drive and put a link to them there from your Weebly page. (Google Drive is vastly better than Dropbox, which can be incredibly slow to load and has an annoying ‘comments’ option, which you can’t altogther prevent appearing, even if you prevent actual comments.)

You can upload documents and larger-size photos to the Weebly server itself but it’s almost impossible to keep track of what you’ve uploaded. The ‘window’ showing what you’ve uploaded is small and very unclear and only a few items are visible at a time. Also, if you want to remove any of those items, you have to remove the complete ‘element’ in which the link to the item occurs, which means that if you want to keep the rest of that ‘element’ you have to copy the contents and repaste them into a new element.

Sometimes there appears to be a glitch and when I want to make, say, three words a ‘hot link’, the URL gets applied to ALL the text in that ‘element’ (‘element’ in that case being a text box or text box with an image in it). If that happens, I just give up and try again later. Sometimes the site will fail to update, even though a ‘site updated’ message appears. These problems seem to be experienced by Weebly users world-wide – try googling and see what comes up.

Having said all that I would still recommend Weebly. I’ve never known it go down completely for more than 15 mins (very occasionally, for maintenance) and the results you can get as a complete beginner are really stunning. I’d give it a go and experiment – it's free, so you've got nothing to lose.

olderthanyouthink Mon 30-Jan-17 22:22:11

SoftKitty (Love the NN) I'm a Web Developer (99% of what I do is Wordpress). I can give you some pointers, I answer the kinds of questions you have several times a day for clients at work.

To add pages go to Pages, then at the top there's a button "Add New". Make your new page (title, content) , click publish.

To add pages to the menu, go to Appearance, Menus, then create a menu. Give the menu a name eg Main menu. Use the checkboxes to the left to add items to the menu. Once they're in you can reorder them by dragging. Below this stuff there should be check boxes for different menu locations, check one or more. Click save.

There are loads plugins for bookings. I use Woocommerce for products/e-commerce and I believe they do a appointment extension.

Paypal...Its not that hard to get basic working, I believe its just Copy/Paste some HTML (looks scary, but its no big deal). But I've experienced paypal being a bitch to get right if someone wants it not so simple (their documentation is bad in some places).

Download PDF's is pretty easy. Go to the page you want the link on and use the Add Media button, upload/choose the PDF. Click insert into post. Then you can change the link text.

Contact forms - Contact form 7 plugin

MailChimp - MailChimp for WordPress plugin

A custom site by a web dev would be expensive but just set up wouldn't be that much.

Olympiathequeen Wed 15-Feb-17 20:57:27

I use Wix. It's very easy to use and easy to make different pages etc. You can use the domain name you have bought so it will all be free.

skerrywind Thu 16-Feb-17 17:41:43

I'm glad I found this thread. I have been struggling with wix for a few days, and really need a website.

I'll have a look at weebly

GrumpyOldBag Sun 19-Feb-17 17:34:48

Also worth looking at Squarespace. Lots of good templates and really easy to use.

FlorenceandtheWashingMachine Tue 21-Feb-17 23:33:20

I find Moonfruit really easy to use.

OstrichRunning Thu 23-Mar-17 13:28:11

No so sure about weebly. I use them at the moment but they're not entirely free in that they charge about 30-40 per year (can't find email with exact amount) for, if I recall correctly, is just for ongoing domain registration. That's a bit high imo. I've been thinking of moving from them but am worried about effects of my work gmail account, which I set up via weebly. I emailed their support email about this but they didn't answer the question at all (surprise, surprise).

Also, I find them a bit glitchy and limited. I'd recommend playing around with setting up a site with them and finding out any hidden costs before going with them.
hth

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