Creating My Website

I’ve been dancing for 5 years now, teaching for 2 and a half, and recently have started to really be looking at growing beyond the local scene for both performing and teaching. As such, I wanted a website for myself, so that people could actually find some information about me without having to go through the websites of other things I was associated with. Call it target marketing if you will! 🙂

Swingcopation logo

My second site: Swingcopation. Functional, but a lot of sweat and tears, plus pretty scathing of the 'pretty' factor.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve created web content, though I’ve never actually been taught how to do it. In high school I created a (terrible) intranet site for the I.B. students at our school with Microsoft Frontpage. It wasn’t very well made, but it gave me a taste for the sort of things you could do. I hadn’t touched design again until quite recently, when towards the end of 2009 I created a site for my performing: Swingcopation. I decided to have a go at building from scratch after getting fed up with the CMS system Joomla because I couldn’t make it look how I wanted. I aquired myself a copy of Adobe Dreamweaver, and hacked away at it periodically over a couple of months. I basically taught myself the surface of the program, as well as Photoshop, all on the fly. I made a lot of mistakes, learnt a whole lot of new things about how the ‘net works these days and ended up with something that I was proud of making (albeit not as ‘pretty’ as I’d really like, since I am terrible with graphics and Photoshop). It will probably stay much the same for a little while before I port it over to how I’ve done this one.

Wordpress Logo

Wordpress: Not just blogging any more, but smooth and easy to use. It gets better every day thanks to contributions and customisations from the public.

Coming back to the prospect of creating another full site, I decided I simply wasn’t good enough to make a simple, stylish, functional website just yet and needed another option. I’d heard about using WordPress (a blogging site) for full websites so thought I’d give it a shot! Already having a web host for my previous site, I bought up some domain names that were actually useful (benjamin-cook with .com, and extensions), added them onto or parked them on my server and used the very handy one-click-install feature of my web host (Whoop!). Within minutes I had a website with a cool theme, and a couple of lines on a single page. Pretty good compared to a few months! Of course, I can’t help but want to tweak and change so there’s a lot of time that has gone into doing very minor things, so I’m sure it will grow and evolve all the time.

I must say that I would highly recommend WordPress to absolutely anyone wanting to create a simple website for themselves or a small company. It’s user friendly, you can find answers to any problems you have just by searching the forums or Googling the problem (and I’ve had many questions!), and it makes it simple to manage a lot, or a little, of information. You can’t quite get the level of detail as writing it yourself, but the advantages far outweigh any negatives. WordPress it up, and save your sanity!

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