Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have Pun Will Travel Update

Just about a year ago I registered the domain name with They have a website builder called WebSite Tonight, which I decided to use to make a site rather than struggle with learning all over again how to do web pages. I know enough HTML to be dangerous, but CSS is still a mystery.

As it turned out, I probably should have taken the time to develop stuff on my own. The WebSite Tonight pages turned out to be rather limited and only 800 pixels wide in an era when most people have screens that can handle 1024 or more. But I developed a site because I wanted to put up pages for The Punnery, a collection of posts made on the old GEnie service back in the early 1990s, before there was a World Wide Web with its graphic interface. I started with my own posts, then got permission from one of my oldest online friends Dick Ford to add his posts. Over time I got permission from several others who still join in for the Sunday Punday sessions on AIM.

I also added some pages for authors, based on the Squidoo lenses I'd done. I added some of the Celtic music stuff from Squidoo as well. I also added the stories I've written, plus a page about the tornado I encountered (from a safe distance) in Kansas while driving out here to Portland in late June 2000. The stories and tornado page are not on Squidoo.

Although I built all those pages, I was never happy with the limited design, so this time, when it came to renew, I decided to not use WebSite Tonight and go with just a standard hosting package where I upload everything from my computer after designing pages offline. That was another drawback with WebSite Tonight - it might've been easy, but sometimes it could be really slow.

So I've been working with Dreamweaver, trying to figure out templates and how to use them. I chose a design included with Dreamweaver. It has a header, a footer, and a sidebar on each side. It was set up for 800 pixels, but I was able to figure out how to modify it for 1024. I found some free background images and figured out how to put them in. I redid my white whale logo so the whale is white but the background is transparent. That required using a free Illustrator-like program called Inkscape (suggested by a Squidooer on Twitter), and that required a bit of learning of its own, although I did remember enough of what little I'd learned about Illustrator back at the newspapers so it wasn't too horrible.

It's been a process of trial and error, mostly error it seems, but I've made enough progress that when the WebSite Tonight subscription runs out on Friday at some point, I should be able to upload at least some of the site. I'm hoping to get all of The Punnery up first, in addition to a home page, of course, then add author pages, Celtic music pages, and the stories, not necessarily in that order. The stories might be easy because I was able to upload them to the site without using WebSite Tonight, although later when I wanted to do that for the Celtic Music pages, somehow I couldn't figure it out.

I've got ideas for the sidebars, but haven't really put anything on them yet. Thursday will be very busy. About all I plan to do with Squidoo is check to see if the payday notification comes through.

Once the revamped site is up, I'll spend more time developing it, probably learning stuff to make it better. I recently did a little calculating on how much I get from a sale through Squidoo, and it turned out to be less than I'd thought, so sales through Amazon, CD Baby and any other affiliations I make should work better on my own site.

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