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Creating the DIY Website

Hi, my name is Julie Francis. I make websites and this is my website.

People search for web designers not web developers. I am not really a web designer, as such. Web designers have great graphics skills and mine are very mid range compared to true professionals. I guess web developer is a better term for what I do, but I think of myself more, as a website project manager.

The skills required to create really great websites lie with programmers, graphic artists and writers but someone has to blend the content into a website that works. I don’t claim to have any IT qualifications to do this, I am self taught like many other Wordpress users.

So the only qualification I have to offer is this website, and my profile page which shows websites I have made for myself and other people. If it’s a little thin as yet, it’s because I have only just started making websites for other people.

Creating the DIY Website

I started to create this website in October of 2010. I knew basically what I wanted to create and I planned out the website carefully, and the plan survived a week! Such is strategy but I’ll admit that many aspects of how to do what I wanted to do were new to me. This is my first membership site for example

Creating a Membership Website

I wanted most of the articles and tutorials to be available to people if they searched for an article on a specific topic. This was important to me because Wordpress is open source and I have benefited from the generous publication of articles on so many other websites who freely share their knowledge. But I also wanted to provide an incentive to people to subscribe and become a member. The two aims were in conflict and at first I couldn’t think of a way to solve the conflict.

As I started to get familiar with member site plugins, such as how to change what people logged in could see and what different levels of membership can do, this continued to seem impossible to achieve without getting a premium membership plugin and even then perhaps not.

I solved this by restricting access to navigation rather than to content. There are a few specific areas which are restricted to subscribers and to members, but most of the tutorial posts are public. What subscribers get access to, along with the exclusive content, are the detailed menus that enable them to navigate this website with ease and find specific content they may be looking for in categorized menus.

Examples Of What Can Be Done

I also wanted this website to be an example of what can be done, so I can in some tutorials show where I used a specific plugin to create a specific page. As usual I forgot how long it takes to create many pages, especially as I wanted them to be useful pages with extra tips and some personal experience in them.

Also I needed to make sure that although my impulse is to start with lesser known ways to use Wordpress, my visitors are at different stages on their journey. So I have used a lot of embedded You Tube videos to provide most of the beginner content. I could be here till Christmas if I start making videos and why re-invent the wheel? These are good videos that give great information and many will also lead you to new sources of information on your journey.

I wanted people to understand that WordPress makes great websites. That making a website doesn’t have to mean learning code. I wanted to show that Wordpress is more than a blog, that sidebars don’t have to be always the same, and that a Theme doesn’t have to be left the way that someone else made it.

The hardest thing about this site is keeping track of where things should go for the best user experience and keeping up with adding new content when I’m making websites for other people. Anyway, I hope that you find something useful here and enjoy your visit.

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