Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Websites

I’ve been pondering websites for a while. I have a pseudonym or two that I might use, when I am published. Someday. And I’ve checked at least one of them—totally not taken anywhere. (It’s mine All Mine MUHAHAHAHAHAHA….)

I don’t know that now is the time to invest a ton of money into building a website. Or even a little money. Maybe just a little money.

There are lots of options. This blog is free. I could set up something on Wordpress for free. Or I could go with a hosting service.

And then there’s the actual website. Part of what holds me back is the technology. Its not that I don’t understand it—the opposite. I’m a software engineer. I can build a website myself. In theory. I’ve been taking a few classes these past few months—after hours but paid for by my employer—on website content design. Not the super-technical side, but HTML (which I already knew), CSS, Photoshop (coming up in June), client and server side scripting, etc. Fun stuff. The problem is that I need to choose something. Something that could, possibly, also lead to other opportunities. I’d love to eventually make a little side business in web development.

I’m actually in the server-side scripting class right now. It's an introduction to a handful of server-side technologies: CGI, ASP, ASP.NET, Perl, PHP. By "introduction" I mean the barest glance. And last night we dipped our toes into ASP.NET. Now, I’m a Microsoft kind of gal. 11 years and counting of VB, Visual C++, C#, etc. Its what I do every day at work, on a standalone computer instead of the web. And, it's basically the same kind of stuff as ASP.NET. Like frozen yogurt and ice cream—it all scoops the same and tastes great with chocolate syrup. While the instructor was slowly walking the other students through what a property page was, I was zipping ahead, my mind racing through the possibilities. Its like finding your voice in writing—that "aha!" moment where things just click.

So, now comes the hosting dilemma. We have a family domain name that is hosted through Powweb. I’ve checked out their services—they’re exceedingly reasonably priced, and have been reliable. And they provide all the basic back-end stuff that most websites need: support for Wordpress and PHP and Perl and a list of other things. But no ASP support. Doh!

And many of the providers that I found that support ASP charge more for it. I'm sure there's more maintenance (it is Microsoft), and it's an environment more likely to be used for e-commerce and other hard-core web development and "real" businesses. As opposed to, say, a handful of quasi-static web pages that no one but a few of my friends is likely to visit for the next few years.

The good fit costs more. I've mentioned that I fret about money, right? Even when I know what the right answer is, if it’s the more expensive answer I moan and whine and get nervous.

Dilemmas. Dilemmas. Dilemmas.


Amethyst Willow said...


I recently set up a website myself, using a CMS though 'cos at the time I couldn't be bothered to jump in the deep end of databases or trying my own scripting - I *only* know HTML. But I went with hosting, I didn't need ASP but they have a good service and their "professional business" package does do ASP support. I have no idea if this is within your price range or if you'd seen them already but I just thought I'd say. They really are great, I had a bit of problem setting stuff up and I emailed them and they fixed it in less than 12 hours. Anyway, here's the link: Hope I helped :) xx

Kristi said...

They seem on the higher end. I ran through a bunch of sites listed on a couple of host-review sites. There were several that were <=$10/month for basic packages that included ASP. Powweb, where we have our family domain, is currently less than $4 a month (pout!).

I'd have to find out more about any of them to know what the downsids are to some of the lower end places. Right now, I'm not worried about bandwdth or anything like that--just the capability to actually do something.

The good thing is that there's no specific timeline that I have to pick a host and set up a web page (unless by some miracle I sell a MS at RWA national this summer). So I can watch and learn a bit before I leap in.

We'll see.