More on websites

I have written before about my website, johnreisinger.com. (Nowadays, you can pretty much skip the www. prefix since most browsers can figure that part out on their own.)
I’ve had a site for over ten years and have modified and rearranged it many times after designing and constructing the site from scratch. Starting with the basic site, I added and modified as I went along, using an HTML editor. There were two problems with this approach. First, as the number of books and things I wanted to include on the site such as video trailers and related articles increased, the site became ever more busy and unwieldy. Adding another item or book meant rearranging the site and risking conflicts between the various sections. Second, the complexity of the site made it harder to keep the site consistent with the various browsers. Little coding glitches such as question marks and weird gaps or line spacing would appear and defy my efforts to get rid of them despite having a so-called WYSIWYG feature on the HTML editor.
When you get to this stage, managing the site starts taking up too much of your time and causing lots of frustration you don’t need.
So what to do?
What I did was pretty much start over with a system that did some of the work for me. Now, there are plenty of web hosting sites that have instant EZ websites included. You just answer a few basic questions and your website appears, using a standard template. The problem, of course, is that these sites are so generic, that they are only good for the simplest sites and give almost no flexibility or ability to modify. So somewhere between a rigid template and total do it yourself HTML, I found WordPress. WordPress has standard templates, or themes, but allows a certain flexibility in what is presented and how it looks. WordPress has two ways to go; WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Wordpress.com is the site that many people use to construct blogs, but if you chose the static page option, it can be used to create websites as well. With a little patience, you can make a pretty professional looking web page with WordPress.com, and not have to worry about all the coding and formats. WordPress.com includes free web hosting, so you can’t beat the price. Two big drawbacks are that WordPress.com cannot support “storefront” buy and sell sites, and, unless you pay a fee, will give you an awkward URL such as yoursite.wordpress.com, rather than simply yoursite.com.
The way I went was with WordPress.org. WordPress.org is also free, but does not include web hosting, so you’ll have to make your own arrangements, and have your own domain name, but once you do, you’ll find wordpress.org is far more flexible and allows numerous plug ins that are not available on WordPress.com. You can pretty much modify every part of your page if you use a free program such as firebug to inspect the various elements so they can be modified. The template I chose has built-in drop down menus that are automatically keyed into whatever pages or subpages I add, making updates and revisions quick and easy. Both Wordpres.org and youtube.com have videos showing more details of how to construct and modify webpages. And you get to use your own domain name as your URL.
Anyway, this was just my experience. Your mileage may vary. You can view the result at johnreisinger.com. Below is what the page looks like.

webpage

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