Build Your Own Website! Tech Seminar Recap

Friday’s quarterly tech seminar at the LightHouse was all about building your own website. Attendees told us they worried the topic would be way too complex, but actually found the presentation quite easy to follow. A longtime LightHouse friend and peer support group leader said, “I really feel like this is quite do-able. I am 62 and not super tech-savvy, but after listening to today’s seminar, I feel like I can have my own website!” We were happy to hear this feedback since web DIY is quite easy—and fun!

For quick reference, here are some points we covered in the seminar:

Blogs

-A blog is a kind of ready-made website. Many blogs are informal and people use them to share their lives and interests (i.e., daily life with a new baby, chronicles of a marathon runner, a virtual gallery of personal artwork, etc.).

-A blog can also be used in a professional capacity. Lainey Feingold, a disability rights attorney, has won awards for her law website, which is run through a simple blogging platform.

-You can structure your blog by creating categories and tags for the different types of content (text that is posted) on your blog. You can create categories as whimsical as “My philosophy on sunsets” or as businesslike as “Browse our product list.”

-With a blog, you choose from a list of different templates that will determine how your blog is set up. Templates create the colors, boxes and appearance of the content. You simply scroll through a list and choose which one best suits you.

-Two blog  platforms we reccomended were WordPress and Blogger.

Websites

-While establishing a blog is a basic and workable way to make your web presence known, building your own website allows you to be more intricate with design and functionality.

-Having a blog is generally free, whereas operating a website will usually require that you purchase a domain name and pay a monthly hosting fee as well as a webhosting test to make sure your site is running the way it is supposed. This means you buy the rights to use a certain internet address name, like BlindBargains.com. Then, you must pay rent on this online space. These fees can be quite low if you shop for deals.

Cathy Ann Murtha of Access Technology Institute spoke with us about creating websites from scratch.  Creating your own website requires that you learn to write HTM

-HTML is a code or blueprint for a website. It relies on symbols and tags that determine everything from where a capital letter goes to how a video or sound file is inserted into a page.

-Cathy of ATI offers an HTML writing course as well as remote tech support. “This course teaches the basics of web design through some of the most advanced features of HTML, including adding images, creating tables, frames and more. By the time you are finished with this course, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the language of web page design and have the ability to share your own web creation with the world.”

-As a visually impaired techie herself, Cathy really espouses HTML skills. These skills, she says, allow one to navigate advanced web design software like Dreamweaver and tweak the software to make it more accessible.

-Cathy recommends that just as the sighted person who is setting up his or her own website should have a visually impaired user test the site to catch accessibility snags, the
VI do-it-yourselfer should have sighted users review their sites to make sure the print and graphics are easy on the eyes.
-You can get in touch with Cathy at cathy@accesstechnologyinstitute.com, (520) 303-5885.

If you missed the seminar or want a second listen, tune into it on the LightHouse Tech Seminar archive page.

Have blogging/web-building plans? Travails? Know where to search for coding shortcuts and easy plug-ins? Talk back in the Comments section!