This week was all about comparing and finding the right site builders and hosting providers for our projects. It seems like this is a big world of confusing options for many people, especially those who have no experience building a website and having it hosted. I can see why, because the the sheer number of possibilities are mind-numbingly ridiculous.
There are hosting providers with their own drag and drop builders. There are providers who offer shared hosting with a c-panel back-end that allows you to install your own builders. There are free deals that end up not being such good deals, and there are expensive programs that aren’t feasible for the newbie. There are companies like GoDaddy who offer everything you can imagine, from domains, to hosting, to WYSIWYG editors, to click-to-install WordPress, not to mention a vast array of services and add-ons that are perfect for clouding the issue and driving you to spend more than you need. It’s a wild wild west of web hosting ridiculousness.
I feel blessed that I’ve got at least enough experience to know what I need and where to find it, and how to avoid the things I don’t need, but I remember the days when it was a sea of confusion for me, too. The best thing I could suggest for those who were confused about what to get was to simply advise them to find something that has everything we need for the class, is affordable, and feels comfortable. They may find out later they don’t like it, but it will give them experience and help them make more informed choices down the road.
When I started this class, I planned on doing the assignments in conjunction with the business I’m already building at SnazzyFalcon.com. It’s an e-commerce site selling men’s underwear and shirts and it’s built using Shopify, which is an all-in-one builder and host. So far, there’s a lot I like about Shopify, but I decided to go another route with the class project.
Instead, I’ll be using an old standby method of doing business, which is building an affiliate site using WordPress on my GoDaddy shared hosting account. I’ve already got the site up and am playing with themes and layout at Kayakaroo.com. My plan is to review and compare different types of kayaks, and I’ll be using the Amazon and perhaps eBay affiliate programs to monetize the site.
The difference this time is that I’ll be generating paid traffic from Adwords, rather than relying on SEO and free search engine traffic. I have some thoughts on how this may influence the structure and layout of the site, which I’m sure I’ll talk about in a future post.
I’d say this has been a productive week; I’m excited about how things are coming together and looking forward to learning some great new skills.