The Agony and the Ecstasy: Building Websites

The Agony and the Ecstasy: Building Websites

Deciding to create a website from the blank page up is to utter a terrible consent, not to oneself, but to the Cat in the Hat – Yes, that one. In a whisker, the tall dark stranger in the taller striped hat winks his unsuspecting playmates into a Seussian world – From whom else would you learn vocabulary such as, dashboard, widget, plugin, fusion slider, meta tags and move to trash? – a land where every push has its pull and every pull pays its price. A little click here or a forgotten field there, and poof! – a page, a video, a paragraph vanishes. It’s a strange world built on binary math and we all know what that means. After tiptoeing through multiple steps, after checking and re-checking the ingredients, the souffle´ flops! One little surreptitious slice of HTML and the page warps, disappears, or freezes.

The following is a true story:

Web master navigates to front landing page – no video. He checks video source and views page – no video. The Dashboard aficionado reconfigures media from video to web format; reloads video to media library; pastes it to the page; sets its parameters; checks slider to slide link; updates page; holds breath and – Ah! A Video! But there’s an ugly grey strip sporting some code number. Into what depths, from off the Dash-board, must I dive to eliminate the dratted swath of grey?

I suck in a breath. Dashboard>Appearance>Theme Options – Nope! It’s getting late. Dashboard>Fusion Slider>Add or Edit sliders>Clouds Slider>Full Screen Slider>Check>Update>View page…? Back up for air! I’m going to bed.

Indifferent to my web and woe, publishers and agents, indie authors and book bloggers – Suessian names if ever I heard any –rise to a synchronous choral refrain, chanting Platform, PLATform, PLAT-FORM! BUILD YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM!! And a burn that dust speck to you too! And when the sly cat reaches into his tall hat of tricks, he pulls out what the initiate must first master: a BLOG, with a DOMAIN NAME clutching at its heel. These are terms a person should encounter in Dungeons and Dragons, not in building an author platform. Multi-player game or not, the endeavour spells S-T-E-E-P LEARNING CURVE.

Yours truly is one of those hapless kids, who, duped by the wily cat, snatches a quick look at a task and says, Hey! I can do that! The problem with us adventurous types is that sometimes, well, we can’t. I remember watching an instructor roll a kayak and pop back up as effortlessly as if his head were an approved flotation device. “That can’t be too difficult,” I said; “I’m athletic,” I said; “Let’s give it a whirl –” I said. After being submerged beyond the instructor’s estimated time limit, which he had lengthened from years of casual experience, long after my sinuses had flooded with stinging, over-chlorinated pool water – yes, I was there for a class – don’t ask – my instructor hauled me up, smiled a Cheshire grin and purred: “You’ll get the hang of it – eventually.”

You’ve been warned. If a silk-tongued black cat with a tipsy striped hat croons to you, with a twinkle in his eye, Don’t worry. We’ll be back before supper, just say, no. It is a long and bumpy road to a custom-made website. Even the custom templates, if you get that far, need a map and guide to navigate the Suessian jungle.

Let this not be a discouragement, but a warning. If the flame of creating your own website inexorably draws – oh, moth – start simple. This is not a paid commercial, but choose WordPress. Install a popular simple theme that meets your needs, not your appetite, bon ami (a theme is a template in which designs for the basic structure and appearance of your website are pre-set). And if you’re up for it, if you have the spunk; It is a heck of a lot of fun.

I’ll leave you with some wise advice:

“Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.”

From Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

2017-05-08T13:15:43+00:00
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