/ Personal website-suggestions

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Richard Popp - on 17 Oct 2012
Hi, opinions sought. I am a free lance consultant working mainly in the drug and alcohol field but also across social care in general. I have operated at policy/operational and strategic levels. I am realtively new to working for myself and this has interrupted by having a serious illness. I have had some nice big peices of work this year form organisations and from local government, all this has been word of mouth and door knocking. I would like to develop a web prescence to try and generate more work and potentially diferent types of work (though all in same/similar field) As far as I can see I have two options-pay someone to design/build a website or do that myself using Wordpress.

I do want to keep it simple and be able to "manage" it myself, it obviously needs to have my basic details but I would also like to be able to "publish" comment peices (with room for responses) and put up links to news and older peices of work (from anywhere) I feel are intresting or relevant. This is because a)I feel I have something to say and b) to drive traffic (what ever that means) I know from my own use of the net as a research tool and resource material what i think makes a site work, this is mainly about it being up to date and not involving too much searching within it.

A good friend works in computers though and can put me in touch with some web designers he rates, I do however quite like the idea of Wordpress mainly because if I set it up I will be more likely to be competent in keeping it live and up to date.

So any experiences, thoughts or alternative suggestions would be appreciated.

Many thanks

Tall Clare - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp:

You can have a solution that incorporates both - a lot of designers work with wordpress, so you can have something that looks beautiful at the front end and is still really easy to manage from the back end. Result!
EeeByGum - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp: You could opt to just have a blog style web site or something really simple the effectively amounts to an online CV and then use the likes of Tw@tter, Farcebook and Linkedin to spread your wears. it is worth pointing out that there is no point in having a web page unless others know to look at it. That is the really hard bit. How do your peers get work? Do social care providers really google consultants when needing some work doing?
Kieran_John - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp:

So many big sites are built on wordpress, with a decent theme and customisation you can get pretty much anything you want out of it.

It's easy to set up and easy to maintain, and you won't need to pay anyone to do it for you.

Have a look at the Wordpress showcase to see just how unique sites can look:

Tall Clare - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> Do social care providers really google consultants when needing some work doing?

I don't think it's so much about that as about a) credibility - if someone meets Richard they might want to find out more about him, and a website does that, and b) with a website Richard's able to create a blog linked to his area of expertise, share articles, etc.

Richard Popp - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp: Cheers for responses. It is tight knit world atleast regionally, I know most the other people working in this area and we do pass work between us and recomend each other-actual work comes very informally via word of mouth on the whole. My thinking is by raising my profile and making my experience, values and skills explicit though a website my name will get rememebered more widely and when an organisation is considering a peice of work my name will already be known to them.

Thinking about the responses has also made me think about other blocks I might have personally about working with a web designer-I have well developed and quite strong tastes around what things look like. My nature is collabrative but I am not sure that I want to work, in what will be a quite quick peice of work, to have these interperated by another.

fisherjade on 17 Oct 2012 - host-92-27-141-78.static.as13285.net
In reply to Richard Popp: I would definitely recommend have a site running on wordpress. I find it so easy to update a wordpress site with practically no knowledge of html or programming!
tallsteve - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to fisherjade:

Nooooo! Not Wordpress.

WP is blogging software that has grown beyond its original usefulness to the point of being a nasty mess. Yep it looks nice, and there are some nice plug ins, but behind the scenes its a nasty series of hacks to make it look like a non-blog thingy.

Many web hosts have an "Instant Website" offering that allows you to build your own. I can recommend daily.co.uk - currently hosting about 30 sites with them. Real human who knows what they're doing at end of phone. Fast response to support tickets, fairly cheap. DON'T use Fasthosts or 1and1 (from personal experience of both).

Here's Daily's "Build your own" offering:
You can even try before you buy and sample the service.

If you want to get more complex then you could install your own content management system like Wordpress (please don't) or may consider Xoops, Joomla, Drupal or "CMS made easy", the latter are actually written as CMS systems and not just a twisted blogging system.
Scarab9 - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp:

Wordpress is VERY popular due to how easy it is to update the sites once they're done. You can also build a site with a little work without needing to understand much about what's going on behind the scenes.

The question is whether you want to spend the time doing it. There's a hell of a lot of free lance website designers (hi there! <waves>) who would knock you something together cheap and to specification given by you, then all you need to do is follow very easy ("write in this box what you want to say and click submit") instructions to post or amend info.

The only thing I'd say to beware of with Wordpress (and not necessarily Wordpress but more the easiest way most people use it, and therefore a lot of designers would push for) is having a blog style site where there's just a long list of posts going down the page. You might a more professional or well ordered approach. It's easy to achieve though.

Wordpress isn't your only option either, there's lots of Content Management Systems, or bespoke stuff can be written (personally I like to write my own admin page when I'm doing a new site so it's just as easy for the client but also I find it easier to design from scratch.

I'd suggest if your friend knows some people that your best bet is to note down what you're after (even go as far as drawing it on paper if you know what you want it to look like) and then speak to one or two of them. If you don't get on either try someone else or give it a crack yourself. Nothing to lose there.
thebrookster on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp: Wordpress has the advantage it is a) one of the biggest, and b) does pretty much everything.

However, it is not that easy to manipulate, I find it is geared overly much too dynamic content, and can be a bit of a pain in the backside for publishing static content, although that may just be the configuration I ma using.

Have a quick look at my site: http://www.kinkyspit.co.uk (I hasten to add this is NOT what it sounds, it was originally set up as a blog for my old Classic Sportscar, a Triumph Spitfire with reg no KNY 701K!!) This has been made in wordpress, though with a nearly stock theme (I want to play with a few other CMS options before changing themes etc, which is a bit more in-depth). The Blog is a dynamic page, everything else is static, but what I had to do to get the look was create seperate templates for every static page! Not ideal, but as I said that may be the set up I have, I am not certain. Blog functions fine, no problems there, but the gallery is also a PITA! In fact, in general I find wordpress a nuiscence for hosting pictures full stop, fine for the odd one here and there on a page, but actually hosting a gallery? HAHAHAHAH!!

Anyway, that is my experience, another plus I suppose is that many server providers will already have wordpress as part of the package (not applicable to me, as I am running my own home server made from an old Acer Aspire One netbook!!)


elsewhere on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp:
WordPress doesn't have to look like WordPress - see http://wordpress.org/showcase/

Easy enough to set up but probably worth paying soembody to do the design.

Link to it from your linkedIn profile & vice versa.
EeeByGum - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Richard Popp:

> I have well developed and quite strong tastes around what things look like.

Quick word of warning here. You sound like one of those people you see on a Sarah Beany programme who impose their own tastes on a house they are about to sell / rent out. If you have strong tastes on how your website should look but don't know much about website design, I would be very careful. Your site needs to appeal to the tastes of those who will look at it, not your own.

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