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Thread: Complete website setup novice

  1. #1
    Junior Member esc4p3's Avatar
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    Question Complete website setup novice

    Hi there

    I volunteered some help with the maintenance of a website which has morphed somewhat into being asked to completely redesign it. It is Tibetan Spaniel Association and at the moment it is maintained by someone using Windows XP and an old version of Microsoft Publisher and uploading individual html files to the site.

    I've had a look at Wordpress.com as an alternative and it seems I could easily recreate the current content and in fact enhance it somewhat.

    Where I get stuck are two main areas:

    Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org
    I would probably prefer to go down the .org route because as I understand it, it would allow me more flexibility particularly with plugins for creating content, but plugins are only allowed in the most expensive plan of the .com route. I've watched various videos which show easy creation of Wordpress sites using the .org route, but am I wrong, are there other factors I need to consider (obviously many other tools like Wordpress, such as Wix etc.)

    How to migrate
    This gives me the biggest headache. I don't understand how I would migrate the current site to Wordpress or any other product. I think if it was Wordpress.com it would be fairly easy in that once I had signed up to one of their lower cost plans they would provide guidance on how to make it happen. I'm not so sure that would be the case with the more DIY approach of .org. So what would be the best way of making this happen?

    I am pretty good with tech things, but creating and setting up websites is completely new to me, any advice great received. Cheers, Carl.

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    I want to start off by apologizing if some of my comments are a little blunt but it would not be helpful if I sugar coated things.

    However let me start with WordPress.org vs .com vs Wix. One of the big pluses of WordPress.org is portability. If you go with a WordPress.com site or a Wix site you are pretty much stuck there. With WordPress.org if you host with one host and don't like them moving your site is easy. Another plus with WordPress.org is the vast number of free templates and free plugins which let you style your site any way you wish and add any features you wish.

    Now for the blunt part. I think you might be better off not trying to migrate your existing site. The site you have now looks very 1998. There are so many changes in the way modern sites are set up you might be far better off finding a good free pet theme and adding your content to it.

    If you want to keep your site as is, I have never tried this exact thing but have done parts of it and "think" it would work. I think you could highlight and copy your existing pages to a word file and then paste them into a WordPress page and most of the formatting would remain. The photos would likely be there but you might want to delete them and add them the usual way. You would need to find the image file for the background image and load it separately. You would likely have to play with the navigation a bit which would be easy.
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  4. #3
    Junior Member esc4p3's Avatar
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    Thanks Turboguy - blunt is fine, I'd rather know now.

    Wordpress.org - your advice follows what I'd ideally like to do, and for the same reasons. Wordpress.com does look more restrictive, but of course the 'hand-holding' approach is appealing. So I'm happy with the .org approach, although I'll come back to that.

    I don't want to keep the site how it currently is, it looks awful. I want to get the association into the 21st century, get some better photo galleries up there, some more interactive content and videos plus link up with their social media. Some elements of the site would be a simple copy and paste, such as their club rules, breed standard etc. I'd definitely want the photos properly inserted as even they look rough as they are. Some elements are held within a table, and a quick play with Wordpress.com templates suggests I can't create a table without knowing html or using a plugin....which of course I can't unless I pay 20/month. But I could easily get a table plugin with the .org version.

    My confusion and lack of knowledge lies with developing a wordpress.org site with the existing host. If I were to install Wordpress into the host server (assuming that is even possible, I don't know who the host is yet.....do all hosts allow Wordpress to be installed?), I could then begin to develop the new site, but would these pages immediately become visible and what would happen to the current site. I envisage a "magic button" where once I am happy, and the association are happy, with the new site I press this button and the old site disappears and the new one appears. The current person who maintains the site has a full backup of what is there currently.

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    There may be more hand holding with WordPress.com, but there are lots of support forums for WordPress.org and many of the themes and plugins. There are also tons of YouTube tutorials that show you how to do most anything you wish to do.

    Most hosting companies allow WordPress to be installed and with most it is a one click install. You just sign up, then go into your control panel and there will be a button to click to install WordPress which takes about 2 minutes. There are a few hosting companies that don't like WordPress sites, or so I hear, but most do allow them and some even have special hosting for WordPress.

    The problem is that to edit a WordPress site it pretty much requires the domain to be pointed to that site which means it is live. The domain pointing is controlled by the company you purchased the domain through and can be re-pointed in the control panel of the domain hosting account.

    There are a couple of options for working around that problem. One is you can install WordPress on your own computer and then move the site to a hosting company when you have it created. You need to download more than just WordPress but there are some one click installs to do all you need and there are tutorials on YouTube that show how to upload your site when you are done. If you want to go this route I can tell you more about what is required.

    The other option is some hosting companies will set up a temporary URL to build your site and then move it for you when you are ready to go live. The host I have done this with is SiteGround who is one of the best WordPress hosts around. They will do that with their deluxe package but I am not sure if they will do it for the economy hosting. You can ask some hosting companies if they can do that. That is pretty much the "magic button" you are talking about. One option if you need to have the premium hosting to accomplish that is that they discount the first year and you could move to a cheaper package after the year was up.

    Back when your site was created people used tables for page layout. That is no longer done. There are some page builder plugins that allow you to do what you want without the use of tables. They are fairly easy to use and give lots of control to your page layout.
    Last edited by turboguy; Nov 01st, 2018 at 01:27 PM.

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    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    It appears as though your current website is hosted by GoDaddy, and I assume the domain is also hosted by them.

    It's difficult to do a wordpress site on the same existing website without disturbing your existing site.

    So my suggestion is to get another webhost account with GoDaddy and have wordpress installed as the website. GoDaddy does that automatically from the control panel, or you can just ask them to do it. You will be given a temporary domain name to use while you are working on the site. When it is done, you ask GoDaddy to point your existing domain name to the new website. The old website account can just expire and go away.

    For a wordpress theme, you can find dozens of really good ones for free, or pay a small amount for a theme:
    https://themeforest.net/tags/kennel

    If you are thinking that you can do this all for free, go ahead and try. But "free" is not "free". You'll discover that later on. You need to invest in a real webhost account and pay for a premium wordpress theme, that has most of what you need. For example, the theme may already support "members" and "social media" features.
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    There are also some pretty good free themes. Here is a link to some that are free and others that are paid. https://www.templatemonster.com/blog...dpress-themes/

    Keep in mind too that you will likely be changing the photos and text so it doesn't have to be a dog based theme. Any theme will work.

    Two free ones that I would recommend are Vantage and Pure and Simple. I have used Vantage on several sites and it is a nice theme.

  8. #7
    Junior Member esc4p3's Avatar
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    Thanks again Turboguy and mlseim, this is just the kind of feedback I need. Probably really straight-forward to you, but a mystery to me!

    Quote Originally Posted by turboguy View Post
    Most hosting companies allow WordPress to be installed and with most it is a one click install. You just sign up, then go into your control panel and there will be a button to click to install WordPress which takes about 2 minutes. There are a few hosting companies that don't like WordPress sites, or so I hear, but most do allow them and some even have special hosting for WordPress
    I've watched a couple of videos showing exactly this, it looks pretty simple and I think it would be my preference.

    Quote Originally Posted by turboguy View Post
    One is you can install WordPress on your own computer and then move the site to a hosting company when you have it created. You need to download more than just WordPress but there are some one click installs to do all you need and there are tutorials on YouTube that show how to upload your site when you are done. If you want to go this route I can tell you more about what is required
    I'm a bit wary about this option. I've got a decent desktop computer used for all the normal daily stuff plus some gaming, but my wife will kill me if I mess it up with the website stuff. I'm probably preferring the other option given by you and mlseim, but far from decided as yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by turboguy View Post
    The other option is some hosting companies will set up a temporary URL to build your site and then move it for you when you are ready to go live. The host I have done this with is SiteGround who is one of the best WordPress hosts around. They will do that with their deluxe package but I am not sure if they will do it for the economy hosting. You can ask some hosting companies if they can do that. That is pretty much the "magic button" you are talking about. One option if you need to have the premium hosting to accomplish that is that they discount the first year and you could move to a cheaper package after the year was up
    I think this would be my preferred option and I think what you are saying here is the same as what mlseim is saying about GoDaddy and creating another webhost account.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by turboguy View Post
    Back when your site was created people used tables for page layout. That is no longer done. There are some page builder plugins that allow you to do what you want without the use of tables. They are fairly easy to use and give lots of control to your page layout.
    Some page builder plugin suggestions would be appreciated, as I'd prefer to go with a more modern way/better way.

  9. #8
    Junior Member esc4p3's Avatar
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    Ha! I didn't notice that there were prices against some of those themes.....so anything from free and then $10 up to around $60. That would be a one-off cost?

    Thanks again for your help so far, very much appreciated

  10. #9
    Junior Member esc4p3's Avatar
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    Drat! Posted a reply to this but it disappeared....

    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim View Post
    It appears as though your current website is hosted by GoDaddy, and I assume the domain is also hosted by them
    Thanks for finding this out, I need to email the chap who currently maintains the site and find out who is the host and how much he pays and what type of account he has.

    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim View Post
    So my suggestion is to get another webhost account with GoDaddy and have wordpress installed as the website. GoDaddy does that automatically from the control panel, or you can just ask them to do it. You will be given a temporary domain name to use while you are working on the site. When it is done, you ask GoDaddy to point your existing domain name to the new website. The old website account can just expire and go away.
    I'm liking this option I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim View Post
    If you are thinking that you can do this all for free, go ahead and try. But "free" is not "free". You'll discover that later on. You need to invest in a real webhost account and pay for a premium wordpress theme, that has most of what you need. For example, the theme may already support "members" and "social media" features.
    I totally understand what you are saying about "free", like the free games you can download from Android/iOS which aren't really free because they have ads, harvest your data and have micro-transactions. But it would be useful to know what it is I will discover later on with free templates!

  11. #10
    Junior Member esc4p3's Avatar
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    One final question for tonight before my head explodes.....

    Wordpress.com - they are the webhost in this scenario and host the site, the association already have a domain name. You pay 3/7/20 a month for a plan for this service which includes the Wordpress software. Assuming the association currently use GoDaddy for hosting, they would stop paying GoDaddy and instead pay Wordpress.com.....or do you still have to pay both?

    GoDaddy - (or any hosting company) they are the webhost in this scenario and host the site, as above already have a domain name. You pay 5.99 a month for the Economy plan which includes the Wordpress software. (you can pay less per month if you sign up for longer)


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