Saturday, May 1, 2010

Adventures in Dreamweaver

Ten years ago I purchased Macromedia Dreamweaver 3, thinking that, as a graphic designer, it would be a good thing to expand my skills into the web design arena. That thought quickly faded and the program sat virtually unused until recently.

Since the beginning of the year, I have really wanted to design my own website, so I finally opened up Dreamweaver and ran with it. My biggest hurdle was that my design mind thinks in "print media" - I spent years designing brochures and magazines - instead of "web media", which is an entirely different animal. SO, I would work on it a little, get frustrated, set it aside, go back to it a few days later, figure something out, get excited, get stumped again, get frustrated, set it aside, and so on...I of course didn't read any manuals or watch any tutorials because of my innate desire to make things as difficult as possible. :)

After a few months, I had figured out enough to actually create my site with links that actually worked (after few rounds of adjustments). I researched the crap out of hosting options, then just settled on godaddy because I had used them previously, and frankly, because I got tired of doing the research. It's really hard to find honest reviewers of hosting sites that aren't being rewarded in some way shape or form for their review.

One HUGE lesson I learned is that most ftps (file transfer protocols, which you use to upload your files to the hosting server) do not like slashes or spaces in titles. So, I had to rename some files and fix a bunch of links. Once I did that, to my surprise, everything actually WORKED. I have since even made a change to one of my web pages, uploaded through the ftp, and the change actually appeared almost instantly on my website - that was a relief. I'm feeling a bit more comfortable with my abilities now, but I still have a looooong way to go!

I wanted to keep my website simple and clean, with the main focus being the photos of my products. Each collection has a shop link, which takes the visitor to my etsy site to make any purchases. As confident as I'm feeling about getting a handle on basic web design, I'm not ready to handle the ecommerce aspects of it on my own - yet. I did, however, figure out how to add meta tags to my site - oh, was I giddy over that discovery!

One other thing. Being from the print media side, I assumed that if you manually centered elements in your web page, they would automatically show up that way on the web. Of course that isn't the case, so I need to rework the layout at some point - this time, I have a book I'm reading so I can do it right the first time.

Ok, now that you're dying of suspense, here's a link to my "possibly" centered website (but no guarantees).

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