About the site
Although I got my first computer role back in 1999, it was not until 2006 that I felt the need to get myself a presence on the web. The first obstacle I had to overcome was my complete lack of web development experience, so where does a newbie start? I downloaded numerous website development tools, searched the Internet for HTML tutorials, bought a book (HTML & Web Design ISBN: 0-07-219394-8), and of course asked people that I knew if they could recommend any particular programs. Needless to say, everyone had their own preferences, most of which were way beyond my comprehension.
Initially I tried a program called WebDwarf with which I produced my first 'under construction' page. I liked it's ability to make a background picture almost see-through, like a watermark. Almost immediately though, I found it impossible to create anything more productive, so on I moved to CoffeeCup HTML. This enabled me to create my first site using a basic links page and a few content pages, based around a template I purchased, but it still wasn't good enough. Had I have been able to modify the template graphics and use frames to keep the navigation links onscreen at all times, then I'd have probably stopped there, but of course my graphics editing skills are as limited as my web development skills, so on went the search.
My next step was Microsoft's FrontPage which I am still using as my main page editor, along with Web Album Generator for the photo galleries in the My Photos section, and Flash Slideshow Maker for the slideshows in the Private area. Changing to a new template, I spent three days chopping and changing the page before eventually giving up and, using my book and an online tutorial as a guide, recreated my own version (of the template) which is effectively just a grid of cells which I laid out into sections to give me my header, links menu and body text. In July 2008 I began again to look at changing the site to use frames so that I could reduce the amount of editing required to make a simple change to the menu (currently I have to mirror any change across dozens of pages), but their use appears to be frowned upon and could prevent search engines from indexing the page content, so an alternative solution is being sought.
It's alright creating a website, but people need to be able to find it for which you need two things: Firstly you must register a domain name which people will type in to their browser to visit your site, and secondly you must pay someone to host your site. I registered my domain name with 123Reg where I found it quite simple to set everything up, and I chose the Starter package at Connex Hosting which suited my needs for the first 3 years. Unfortunately the adage 'you get what you pay for' proved to be true as, costing just £1 a month, their support staff seemed unwilling or unable to help me when I couldn't access my accounts page to pay my renewal. This happened every year and ultimately led to them shutting down my site, so in April 2008 I moved to Ware Welch Web Hosting where I purchased their Web Builder Standard package. It costs more than twice what I was paying before, but offers increases in space, traffic and features which I feel are worth the extra.
I believe that all software should be available on a try-before-you-buy basis, especially those titles that cost hundreds of pounds, but not all of it is, in which case you may feel you are forced to obtain pirate copies. I cannot and do not condone this, and urge people once they've found a product that suits them and meets their needs to go out and buy a genuine version. Only this way can the author continue to develop it.
All pictures used on this site were obtained by searching Google. In many cases, identifying who owns them is not always possible, therefore some will have been used without permission. Credit is always given, where possible, to the site that they were taken from, and you are urged to visit these sites. Permission has not been obtained from sites that I link to. However, the nature of the Internet makes these sites readily available and their position in search results is dictated by how many other sites link to them, so I have assumed such permission to be given. If you own one of these sites and would like me to remove my link please click here to contact me. Pages also move or close so if you find any broken links or believe you know of better sites that I should link to you should also contact me by clicking here.