I paid for a year of hosting and a domain, now what?
January 8, 2014 11:55 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to get back into managing a silly little bit of webspace for myself and my whims. I paid for a year of hosting and two domains through Dreamhost, but no real idea of how to go forward, and I don't have significant blocks of free time to really get involved all at once.

In the past, I made and updated HTML by hand, which worked, but was so far from efficient, and I'm sure my code was atrocious (for example, a year of playlists on one static page). Can you suggest a way to get started, perhaps some tutorials with a clear series of steps that I can go through, a few every day or week? I have some free time in the evenings and weekends, but I rarely get a solid block of hours by my self.

I also have a daily commute of ~1 hour each way by train, so I can read a lot on my laptop or tablet, though internet service is only on my Droid phone.

My goals: host a blog or 3 with my photos, old recordings of my radio shows, and random blatherings, or one blog that will look different depending on the tags you view. For example, "photo" blogs will look one way, while "music" will have a different appearance, but there will be one decent over-arching appearance if you just want to chronologically browse all my blog posts.

I also have a few forgotten Blogger accounts I'd like to roll into this site and start them up again, or at least archive them on my own space.
posted by filthy light thief to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Dreamhost makes it very easy to install wordpress. Instead of hand crafting HTML you could pick out a theme and populate a blog with your thoughts. Or start modifying the theme to your liking. There are heaps of resources to get started on wordpress. Just a thought.
posted by nostrada at 12:06 PM on January 8, 2014

And they are running trials of DreamPress, their own roll of wordpress.
posted by tilde at 12:09 PM on January 8, 2014

If you want to focus on your content and not the nuts-and-bolts of creating a website see (like was mentioned above) if your domain host provides a 'one click' Wordpress install. Then you can focus on the look of your site and adding your content.
posted by pibeandres at 12:12 PM on January 8, 2014

Dreamhost should have a few one click installers available for various blog systems. They should also have a WYSIWYG-ish web site builder available too. Log into CPanel or their equivalent and poke around at your options.
posted by COD at 12:29 PM on January 8, 2014

Dreamhost has 1-click install for WordPress, I've used it a couple of times, no problem.
posted by mr vino at 12:35 PM on January 8, 2014

Response by poster: I want more control, and to understand more about the install and setup, in part to be able to modify themes to my liking.

I'm happy with going with Wordpress, but then what? Search around for WP tutorials?

I rather like tumblr, but I realized I had little idea of how to modify themes.

I'd like to read up an hour each day and learn more.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:40 PM on January 8, 2014

I'd also recommend installing Wordpress, which is dead-easy on DH. If you want to go custom, you can create a child theme of an existing theme, or you can hack on a barebones theme created specifically for that purpose. Day-to-day usage of WP is not hard, and there's pretty good documentation at the WP website. There are also numerous "how do I do XYZ in Wordpress?" guides scattered around the web.

Creating a good Wordpress theme that takes advantage of all the bells and whistles is somewhat daunting. I created a WP theme from scratch a few years back, but I'm too much of a dilettante to make a good one that I'd be happy with today.
posted by adamrice at 1:07 PM on January 8, 2014

With Wordpress you can add plugins to do any of the things you've mentioned. You could start a blog (which will datestamp and manage your entries, and for which you can create tags or categories) and add static pages for lists of things, even without any plugins. Then try out a gallery plugin or some other portfolio style plugin for photos.

If you really want three blogs it can be a bit tricky, but there are ways of having sideblogs or of adding a widget that would put a tumblr blog into your blog.
posted by zadcat at 6:06 PM on January 8, 2014

I just started the same "I should learn to do something with my domain" phase. I actually prefer keeping the site on my local computer to fiddle with, then rsync the whole thing at once to my web space when I'm happy with my update.

I went with bootstrap For a starting point. That makes customization as easy as learning some CSS a little at a time. Drawback: bootstrap looks a little generic at first until you override the styles. Advantage: browser compatibility and mobile legibility built-in.

Then I went with nanoc to automate the generation. The learning curve on nanoc is steep, though, unless you are familiar with ruby. (I wasn't)

The result is marginally passable for a beginning, I think. (Pardon the self-link. Non-commercial, no ads)
posted by ctmf at 7:00 PM on January 8, 2014

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