Saturday, February 19, 2011
Making a new Website
I belong to a local writers' group and we run challenges and competitions every month, sharing our work with each other on a private website. It's a great way to share without risking issues with copyright or copying, but it's not a very good way to advertise the group, since no-one can see it. So... this week I tried to make a public site.
The original site's on google, so it seemed a logical place to start. I searched for Google Sites and followed the "get started" link, signed in, and found myself offered a gallery of templates to choose from. The one I picked had a flowering tree-branch for its background--trees/wood/paper? seemed appropriate for writers--and an apple for its icon--fruit of our labors; okay, I picked it 'cause it looked nice. There's tons of different templates and backgrounds out there. Then I tried to give the site a name and found the obvious one taken, obviously, by us--by our private site. Ah well. The site's now stored at http://sites.google.com/site/cedarmillwritersmill/, which is moderately logical.
Next came sidebar, navigation, information, calendar, pages, etc... I spent a couple of hours on it, keeping it private, then invited a couple of friends to take a look. All seemed well; even the calendar worked--my first google calendar! In the evening I played with polls and other apps, but not very successfully. The next day I spent another couple of hours learning about google documents, forms and voting; I succeeded in creating my very own first poll, which should be useful but will probably end up restricted to the private site. Time to check with my brave testers again. All seemed well, so I changed the settings to public and logged out.
It was kind of sad that my pictures promptly disappeared, but I realized they were linked to the private site; new public copies quickly got that fixed. The calendar turned out to be private too, so I set it to public and found it somehow defaulted to British time! Appropriate in a way, but not very useful. I fixed that and found that Google had linked the location of our meetings to a perfectly appropriate map. How very clever of it. Then I sent out emails to our members and sat back; job done; I've made a website!
Actually, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself, but really I should just be saying what a great job Google does of making it easy. Pay us a visit if you like. See what 6 hours computer time can generate.