Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Creating a Brand New School Website

I am in the process of creating a brand new website for our school. I want to leave a breadcrumb trail behind so that if someone else from my school needs to learn what I have done, they will be easily able to do so. A bigger concern is that if I have to do it again for some reason, the entire path will be laid out here. Perhaps someone else will find it useful, too.

Getting the Domain Name
Our school is associated with a parish. There are a multitude of hosting sites to choose from. My choice of HostGator was simple because the church had just set up their new site through this company. The parish chose a business account so the school followed suit. 

Advantages of HostGator:
The website was very easy to use. We will be allowed to host unlimited domains on our own account. I am not sure how that will help us yet, but I will find out. There are unlimited POP3 email accounts. They have a one click installation of WordPress. When I had a question, I was able to call their 800 number and I received a quick response from an individual who was well trained and their spoken English was easily understood.

Minor Inconvenience:
The company sent an email requiring the principal to call in to "prove" that we had indeed requested the domain. It took a day between submitting the electronic paperwork and having the principal call the company to verify the transaction. This was not a disadvantage, but it did slow me down a little.

Setting Up the Initial eMail Address
I believe that it will be advantageous to have an admin email address to capture all of the various sites and supports for the system. I created an administrator account in eMail. After signing on to the CPANEL (Control Panel) I looked in the Mail section for the Email Accounts icon. I created an account to administer the website creation project, an account with my own name, and there is a separate account that is automatically created as a "catch all" account for unrouted mail. 

The actual account creation is simple. The Email entry is the "address" of the email such as annoro. The Password must be at least five characters. It checks the strength. Mailbox Quota specifies how much storage space the individual will have in their account.

Installing WordPress
The installation of WordPress was fairly simple. I found the installation in the Software/Services section of the CPANEL. The Quick Install icon gives an array of choices. I found WordPress under the Blog Software heading. When the pointer hovers over WordPress a green arrow appears. Clicking on the green arrow leads to a Continue button to install the software. I did not capture all the steps in the installation of WordPress, but it seemed logical to me as I did it.

Determining the WordPress Theme
This step is quite time consuming. There are many free and paid WordPress themes. I have been taking a course through Team Treehouse. I applied for, and received, a two year scholarship to learn on their website. The most recent course I have been working on is Building a Responsive Website under the Intermediate Website category. Team Treehouse deserves a post of its own sometime. I knew I wanted a Responsive WordPress theme.

I did a search in Google for wordpress responsive theme education and came up with several choices. I then removed the word education from the search query and came up with a few more choices. My principal and I then sat a looked at theme after theme. We started listing what we liked and did not like about the themes. A pattern began to emerge. When all was said and done we settled on Avada. There is a one time fee for the theme. We needed a Paypal account to pay for the theme. After submitting payment I downloaded the theme and followed the 0 - READ ME FIRST.pdf directions. The developers really paid attention to the customer. They left a breadcrumb trail of files to get me to the documentation folder. This folder had a second 0 - read me first.txt with a simple message to open the index.html file.

The Table of Contents menu in index.html contains 24 major categories to get the user going with the theme. I signed up for the free forum support and began following the directions for the WordPress installation. I downloaded a free Museo Slab web font and installed it into WordPress. I imported the demo data into my site. This is a useful step. The demo data installed all I needed to get going with the development as well as the entire sample website. Another post will follow this with my foray into the development of the site.

Keeping Track of Various User IDs and Passwords
There are an interesting collection of new IDs and passwords. I opened a TextWrangler file to log every website, user id, and password. There were more than I would have imagined: the new website has a CPANEL userid and password, downloading the Avada WordPress theme required an envato account, ThemeFusion required an id and password for the community forum, the new website has an associated default email account, the administration account and the one with my name and those associated passwords, HostGator has a billing system with a unique password.

Now the Development Fun Begins
I have already started developing the pages. As I was doing so the other evening, I realized that I was missing a big opportunity for myself by not documenting all the steps. This will serve as a record of what I have done and I am doing. I have a few most posts to get to where I am in the process now. From there forward, I can document as I create. In this way, I will not forget any steps.

No comments:

Post a Comment