(or How I dragged myself from under my basic HTML rock)
The number of COVID cases in Rochester, NY is increasing at an uncomfortable rate so . . . I’m staying home. I may as well be productive, right? I will spend the time updating my website (last done in 2014), and perhaps growing my online presence.
There have been some changes since 2014.
I have worked on my site in the same fashion since I first built it in 2000, I use Notepad. I had an interesting time finding a plain text program for either my Ipad mini or my Chromebook that’s so old Google no longer supports it. A plain text editor is the only tool I’ve ever used for website construction.
Websites are insecure now?
Google has a charming “Not Secure!” notice next to my site address. Ok, fine, we don’t need to share my site’s emotional problems with the world. I spend the better part of 2 days reading about certificates and documents and identifying before I realized that my host provider had done everything and I just needed to turn it on. I then felt stupid, relieved and full of information I don’t need.
6 years of blog technology I’ve missed
Lets check the blog now, most important part of an artist’s site because without it you just have a bunch of pictures that Google can’t see. Well, I need to update my version of WordPress. Not surprising, however, it won’t let me until I update my php (I don’t know what that is). Google provided endless resources that told me to update the php on the cpanel on my hosting site. Cool, that’s simple. I clicked every file, every option, every dark recess on my cpanel and couldn’t find the “update php” button. Soooo, because I’m me, and asking for help is never the first idea I have, I decide to try and learn php. I learned html… I learned css… I can learn anything! Nope. At least not in a timely fashion soooo I cave and call my hosting provider. The pleasant young man who took my call explained that my site was on a server that didn’t offer updated php (why do they even have that server?). It would take a several hours but they could switch my site to the other server… you know, the useful one. WordPress is now updated and yelling at me about a couple theme plugins that have to be updated/deleted because they slow the load time. I’m not using these plugins so I try to delete them. I can’t, they are so old they’ve been deleted so the link to delete them goes nowhere. At present I am ignoring this.
Lets make the website functional
I seems now people are surfing on their phones. My site is completely unusable on a phone. So now I’m building a whole new site from scratch so my art can be viewed on teeny weeny screens. Part of me that finds this hilarious. I have learned about viewports, AMP html, Open Graph protocol, Schema.org markup and microformatting. At this point I begin to have hard feelings toward those cell phone surfing folk.
It turns out my site is so simple that I didn’t have to learn as much as I did, but those with more complex sites who end up writing an entire second site just for mobile users have my sympathy.
Social Media? Aaak!
Now that I’m in the “let’s research websites” groove, I stumble upon a statistic…. today about 5% – 10% of your traffic comes from search engines. All my SEO knowledge isn’t going to cut it anymore. Now my traffic will come from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (and I’ve spent some time disparaging Pinterest). People, I’m an introvert. I occasionally like to watch people socially interact and that’s enough for me. I’m going to dive in, we’ll see how it goes
Input on the site’s the functionality is appreciated, comment below!