Web Design--Advice Requested


#1

I’m investigating the idea of investing in a website. I have a “Family” supported by Taiwan Yahoo that my students use to download extras like class notes, practice questions, stories, and the like.

Some of you have developed your own sites, or had others design them for you. Can I get some advice? I’ve worked with designers in the U.S., but I’d like to work with somebody local. Any thoughts on pitfalls to avoid, pricing, suggested designers, web hosting fees?

Thanks.

T.


#2

Write your own code, host it in the US.


#3

[quote=“hsiadogah”]Write your own code, host it in the US.[/quote]Ooh, that’s not very helpful

But I agree – host it in the US, can’t beat the prices.

These phpBB forums are free. go to www.phpBB.com and ask people to help you from there.


#4

If you are hosting a site in the US and need support, you might want to be aware of the time difference. Nothing can be so fustrating as having problems while your web hosts support staff are asleep. If you host your site in the US I would recommend Pair. I have used them for years and never had a problem.

One advantage you may have with hiring locally is price. Generally, I have found that these services have been undervalued and undersold in Taiwan. You may have the oportunity to pay considerably less in Taiwan then you may have before in the US.

If I understood more specifically your needs, I think I could help you find someone locally who can work with you in building your site. Feel free to send me an email.[/url]


#5

ICD soft in Hong Kong. Support in English, Chinese and Russian. US$60 annually gets you 333Mb, 5 subdomains, unlimited POP email addresses etc. The interface is very easy to use too, which is important to me 'cos I’m not exactly Alan Turing. My only gripe is that I can’t do much with the mailing list facility. It’s still ‘under development.’

I previously used ipowerweb in the USA and had several technical and service issues. Also a lot of email was returned 'cos the servers were being used for spam. I still have occasional email problems because some filtering services associate my domain name with those bastards.

I’m a bit useless when it comes to coding so I just use Netscape composer for the basics, then 'port in any java etc using the text editor.

Hope that helps.


#6

I’ve been on virtualhostingsolutions.com for a few years now. They have been up 24/7 except one day the building was flooded… USD15/mo for 50MB space and 1GB transfer. Mailing list software is SmartList, which I really like. Help staff actually respond to email and have fixed any issues I had in a day or two. Can’t beat the bandwidth either.

I wasn’t trying to be funny with the comment about coding. I don’t think there is an html editor out there that can write really clean code. Dreamweaver comes about the closest though. I’d learn that IIWY.

cmacleod is correct in that design is way underpriced here, which is why I don’t do it anymore… :laughing: Only problem is going to be finding someone who you can easily work with in the development stage and who will be around to hold your hand afterwards. Most companies are on the hit and run business model. Updates and fixes are DIY. So, better KISS.


#7

The former ORIENTED.org and my own site are on a US server in New Jersey. The tech support has been awesome, even around the clock:

hostexpress.com

Prices are low and quality is good.

However, in your case, it seems that you are not interested in doing a lot by yourself (page design, uploading, etc.), so my advice and others’ may be too complicated.

My suggestion is that you eventually learn how to use a Web page editing program, even if you don’t learn how to write HTML. Even MS Word can output Web pages in HTML format. But another general-purpose program is MS FrontPage. THis is not the way to go for intermediate or advanced users, but might get the job done with a minimal learning curve, especially if you aren’t focusing on a pretty deisgn, but more interested in letting students download class items. As for business purposes, you’ll have to find a designer or get more into understanding layout in the program you choose to use. Sorry, don’t have a lot of advice on a good designer/webmaster.


#8

If you use someone else to make the site, specify in your contract that the HTML and CSS must validate. Otherwise, the code will be harder for you or anyone else to fix, and the site will probably suck (though not everyone would notice).


#9

Segue is hosted in California by bigbiz.com, the owner is a friend of mine. I had a discussion with Gus about his usage and the web host seems pretty good. The host has servers at Above Net in San Jose with good backbone network. The speed to Taiwan is pretty good. You would have to ask Gus about how the service is due to the time difference.

100 meg space.
4000 mbyte/month transfer
1 IP, 3 host names.
MySql
PHP
PERL
Frontpage 2000 extensions.
for more info check.
bigbiz.com/bigbiz/domain.phtml

using products like MS Frontpage to make web page is a very bad thing. It like to add in a lot of unnecessary code that uses up your bandwidth allotment from your web host. There are a lot of site management software out there depending on what type of site you want to put up. What you use as your development tools will depend on what type of site you want.

Mark


#10

Thanks for all of the advice.

I don’t need anything fancy on the site. I just need something clean looking (I’m careful about my personal appearance and about anything I write or produce for public consumption) and functional.

The objectives are two-fold: Provide a better-looking and easier to use online classroom for my students (recall that I am using a Yahoo “family” right now) and market my publications and provide links to sellers.

My habit with web sites I’ve developed in the past was to hire a local firm to design the initial site. I wrote the content and approved the designs. Updates were done either through the contractor, or in one case, myself using the designer’s software. That didn’t work too well because the software was inflexible and bug-ridden.

Given the majority of opinions here, I think I’m better off spending the time to do this myself, unless you think I can find somebody to set up the site for me, and teach me to handle the updates myself.

Thanks,

T.


#11

A lot of purists here can’t stand Frontpage, but for a beginner I think it’s fine.

That’s how I learned the basics of HTML… fooling around in Frontpage and then looking at the ‘raw’ view to see what the code was.

Another thing I did and still do–and come on, if it’s so “wrong”, we wouldn’t be able to do it, would we?–is visit sites I liked and when I saw a feature I liked, ‘View Source’ to see what the code looked like.

I’ve done that at Cranky’s site! (hee-hee)

Also learned a lot from Webmonkey. Now the reason I continue using FP is when I need to look at the Big Picture before I’m ready to FTP.

Also, MSWord is one of the absolute worst things to use for a webpage. I used it once to test something and there was all kinds of code that I couldn’t understand and that I’m told is totally unnecessary.

Now I edit freehand in my browser (but just have to remember to copy files back to my harddrive) or Notepad, sometimes FP in ‘raw’ view.

J.


#12

HOW? That’s less than I pay now. Can you share a link with us? And have you had any down time? I host now with someone in the States (not Taipei Baby) but we’ve had quite a bit of down time in the past year. I’ve always wondered what the advantages are of hosting in the US vs. Asia.

J.


#13

FP is responsible for the ugliest, vilest, worst-coded pages out there. Picks for best html editor?

Text based: Arachnaphilia

Graphic based: Dreamweaver


#14

Asia has a bad reputation for being the source of SPAM worldwide. Sometimes ISPs don’t even realize they are part of the problem but lack of training and not using updated software makes many email servers vulnerable to being used to send massive amounts of SPAM. Before you think about using a server based in Asia (if you want to use it for email, too) make sure it hasn’t been blacklisted. This would make it impossible to send email to many people. Check relays2.osirusoft.com/cgi-bin/rbcheck.cgi

You’ll need the address of their email server.


#15

This is OT but I love telling people about successful mother-owned/home-based businesses. I know a wahm (work-at-home-mom) who started out about 5 or 6 years ago doing site design (remember what ‘website design’ meant just a few years ago? fonts in all colors and sizes?) and then started offering hosting and now hosts over 5000 sites. She is awesome!!! Has a young child, works at home doing something she loves, and I think she’s got employees now who all work from their own homes too.

J.


#16

jrc asked for a URL:

icdsoft.com

I checked, yes I got the cost right.

I’ve never been aware of any down time, although the mail server connection times out occasionally. It always works the next time, and the webmail interface works fine.

I had a problem with mail to me not getting through, which the service people tracked down quickly and efficiently - me forwarding everything to my hotmail account! - and they seem to be on the ball in all respects.

I had problems with ipowerweb in the USA being used for spam, but no probs so far with ICD

Best of luck


#17

Yes, FrontPage makes ugly code. Another option that many have forgotten in this Microsoft World, is the clean, simple and easy Netscape Composer. You can download Netscape 7.0 free, and it includes a module called “Netscape Composer,” which allows you to do FrontPage things without all the complication. I write my own code, but when I am in a real hurry to make a quick graphical e-mail, I use Composer:

channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp


#18

Thought I’d already posted this, but obviously was deluding myself again.

icdsoft.com - price as reported, features advertised as reported. I have the occasional timeout while connecting to the mail server but it always works fine a few minutes later. The webmail interface works fine, and I haven’t been aware of any downtime.

Had one mail glitch, my fault, identified quickly by the support people - available 24/7. Generally I’m a lot happier now that I’ve switched from ipowerweb in the USA. No indications that icd are involved in spam.

My only complaint is that the mailing list management is inadequate. But I hardly use that feature anyway.

All the best


#19

I’m very much in the “FrontPage is evil” camp.

But even if it weren’t, for your purposes you don’t need it. Why pay a lot of money when you can use another tool for free that will work just as well if not better for your purposes. Try Jeremy’s Netscape Composer suggestion. If you want to play more with HTML, I recommend Notetab, which is freeware.