I was introduced to the “world wide web” back in the early 90’s when I was working as a Test Engineer for General Instrument. A co-worker walked into my office and said “you gotta see this”! He opened up a Mozilla browser on my Sun workstation and proceeded to open a web page. I remember being awestruck by the fact that you could potentially pull up information about something from somewhere else across the globe!
There was no Google back then and web pages were comprised of basic HTML tags such as <font size=“3” color=“red”>, and <center>This text will be center-aligned.</center>. Once I discovered the web though, I had to build my first web page with these “new fangled” tags. I eventually graduated to Microsoft FrontPage and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread!
Wherever my work took me over the next 10 years or so, I would offer to make group pages at work and my husband and I bought our own domain shortly before we got married. I promptly filled it with animated cupids announcing our wedding to the background music of “Here Comes the Bride” along with lots of information about our impending nuptials. In 2000, we announced the birth of our first (and only) son together and then I ran out of time to keep the website updated.
Fast forward to 2006. I was working at Nokia at the time in San Diego and the decision was made to shut down all CDMA operations and move to a different model. All employees in San Diego were given a release date and I was left without a job and nothing to do for the next 3 months while waiting for my release date. One day while sitting in my office trying to figure out my next step, I started looking up classes in Adobe Dreamweaver. FrontPage appeared to be a thing of e past, but I wanted to get back into web development. I found a Dreamweaver class at a local community college, but I also found this class on Web Standards taught by Judith Fontanella that has forever changed my life.
So, what do I use? For my hosting, I am a reseller for a company called ICDsoft which i use exclusively and not Bluehost like everyone else. I was introduced to ICDsoft through one of my professors and I’ve continued to use them for the past 7 years. What I like most about ICDsoft is their customer service and simple control panel. They don’t use cPanel like a lot of hosting companies do and I find it a lot more intuitive and easy to use than cPanel. They don’t have annoying chat windows popping up for customer service. Instead, the put in a help desk request with a question about a specific website and you typically receive an answer in less than 5 minutes. It doesn’t matter how obscure the question, these people know their stuff and are very helpful.
The one caveat is at my current sites are very small with very little traffic. When it comes time to look at dedicated servers because of increased traffic, I will probably make the move to mt (media temple). They sponsor a lot of the good conferences like WordCamps and DrupalCon and seem to have a very good reputation.
For domain names, I am a reselling partner for SRSplus. Each .com domain costs $9.44 per year plus $5.00 for private registration for a total of $14.44 per year. I put private registration on all my domain names to keep my name and address off the “whois” searches. I learned the hard way with our family web domain name that if your info is available for anyone and everyone, what will happen is that registrars will send you notices about your domain name expiring soon and attempt to lure you away. It’s not a horrible thing to switch registrars, but I like to keep all my domain names in one place and I just like the privacy of private registrations.
For my blog, I’m sticking with WordPress because it’s easy to use and Drupal is a little too powerful for a simple food blog! I’ve always gone the self-hosted blog path, so I can’t actually speak to the WordPress.com path. When you self-host your blog, you have more control over the inner workings.
I chose to go with a theme framework called Genesis by StudioPress. It offers more flexibility for developers which is what I wanted and I’m using the Focus child theme which I am customizing myself.
I used 99 Designs for my logo design and I’m happy with my final logo. You put together a brief to explain your likes/dislikes, you set a price and then different logo designers post logo ideas for you to critique. You can put together polls of your favorite designs and ask people to vote on them and you can ask designers to make changes. After seven days, you pick around three designers for the final round which lasts three days until you end up with your final logo design.
The plugins I always use for my websites are:
* Gravity Forms
The new plugins for the food portion of this blog that I’ve recently learned about are:
* Easy Recipe (vs Ziplist)