By in Technology

Time To Show Off

You all know I have been making myself pretty scarce around here, so today I will show you what I've been doing. My website redesign went public this Thursday night and I've been trying to get some of the bugs out since then. It has been quite a process.

My old book site was built in 1997 in FrontPage, at its time about the only WYSIWYG design tool for those of use that didn't know how to code. A few years ago Microsoft replaced it with Expression Web, which was harder to use. This year all the web hosts stopped supporting uploads through the program.

I knew my page was obsolete anyway, but wasn't sure how to fix a 600-page site. When Google put the final nail in the coffin by penalizing all sites not mobile friendly, I knew I had to do something.

I knew I could start over by simply removing my content and installing WordPress and starting to build again. That would mean having no content left on my site while I was building and that I would lose all traffic I had built up. I explained all this to my web host tech person and he said to put a test site in a sub-folder called test.barbsbooks.com. Then, when the time came, to have the web host replace the main site with the new site, which would take about 72 hours. If I preferred to speed things up, I could call tech support again when I was ready and someone could walk me through this in about half an hour on my own.

I heaved a big sigh of relief, figured out a way to edit my main domain content to let people know what was happening, that I was retiring and changing from direct selling to affiliate selling for most items, while making it possible for people to buy out-of-print or hard to find items directly. At the first of the month I canceled all my overhead expenses I wouldn't need anymore – second phone line and DSL service at home in Templeton, since I don't use that office much anymore; Endicia shipping program; credit card processing services; my e-commerce store; and my book listing software subscription, which had just gone up. That saves more than $200 a month of overhead. I also started building the new site in WordPress.

A few days ago I thought I had enough up to form enough of the site to make it live. So I called tech support again to walk me through the migration of the site to the main domain. Got a different person who said they don't do that. Someone from the transfer team would have to do it, so he signed me up for a transfer – no mention of a fee. I'll spare you the rest of the details of multiple calls, the $75 charge, and being in limbo not knowing if and when I could do anymore work on it myself because I didn't know if someone else was doing something back here I might mess up. Let's just say it's been a frustrating experience. Since Thursday night it's been my baby again. I don't have all the bugs out because I never learned much HTML or any CSS. The web development person's job was just to move the site so that the links would go where they should, etc. The content is my job.

So far I have created or rewritten 15 pages of the old 600+ page site. It's actually harder to redo it than starting from scratch. I won't need to recreate all of it. I only want to push the books I really like and that I think will be helpful to the average person with children and to home schooling families. The navigation is from the top or the left side. The tabs on top show the sub-pages when you mouse over them. I have so much content I want to add.

There is also a blog tab at the top with one post up. The blog tells you how I first was introduced to some of my favorite books when I was a child. You also get to see a photo of me as a two-year-old with my great uncle. From the blog, you can see any other part of the site you choose, since the links are at the top and side of every page. I'm working on reviews for my favorite Newbery Award winners, novels about teens and children who had to deal with the death of a loved one, my favorite picture books, and books by authors I like. The index pages, except for the cookbook index, all contain introductory content – not just links.

So, friends, here is it is – my new book blog . I hope you will check it out. Since all pages of the site but the blog are static, only the blog pages are set up to receive comments. The static pages are for information only. My heart and soul are being poured into this project, and it's the reason I'm not getting much else done online.

If you look at the page for Thomas Locker, one of my favorite illustrators, you will see a bug I spent hours on yesterday trying to fix, unsuccessfully, in the spacing between two photos. I was able to fix a related problem with the text, but I’m stymied in trying to get those two photos from being so close together near the middle. If you know how to solve the problem, I'd be happy to hear from you. I've tried adding paragraphs and breaks in the code to no avail. Here's a screen shot of that problem. The title for the lower photo looks like it goes with the upper photo and review, when it is for the lower. I need more space between the upper photo and that title. I don't know how to get it.

I made the screen shot of my original work from my own computer.

And now I have to go back to work while I'm still fresh enough. As I’ve heard on tech support recordings many times this week, “Your feedback is very important to us.” I'll spare you the survey.

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 201 5 , All Rights Reserved


Image Credit » Screen shot of my own web site, which is my original work.

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.

Comments

Kasman wrote on June 6, 2015, 5:00 PM

That sounds like an awful lot of work. As for the spacing problem how about simply deleting the title - after all, it's on the book cover and the blurb at the side. Good luck!

Last Edited: June 6, 2015, 5:07 PM

CoralLevang wrote on June 6, 2015, 6:16 PM

I wanted to congratulate you on all your hard work. I will come back and read more closely in a few days. Heading out now.

inertia4 wrote on June 6, 2015, 8:27 PM

BarbRad Now that sounds like a lot of work to do for a blog. But it is your baby and I understand. I am trying to make one simple. I don't want nor need all the bells and whistles like other sites. Mainly my blog will be links to all the content I have written online. Only I will not have direct links to the posts here or elsewhere. I will be putting them on my blog of all to read with a link to the original post. That way I have all my bases covered. It will take me some time though.

bestwriter wrote on June 6, 2015, 8:43 PM

All what I have so far done is to create a blog which hardly has any technical stuff that would bother me. But you seem to belong to the techie world. Good Luck to you.

BarbRad wrote on June 7, 2015, 12:23 AM

I put the title there to fix the way the text was wrapping. It isn't as simple as it looks. I can think it's fixed in the edit screen, but in preview it goes crazy. Then I have to play with the code to try to find a solution.

BarbRad wrote on June 7, 2015, 12:24 AM

Thanks for stopping by anyway. I appreciate it. i look forward to any feedback you may have.

BarbRad wrote on June 7, 2015, 12:26 AM

I'm hoping this site will earn a bit of cash to help pay my internet expenses. It's to replace the site I used to make money with before the Microsoft, Google, and state governments worked against me to make a lot of my curriculum materials obsolete.

BarbRad wrote on June 7, 2015, 12:28 AM

I really don't belong to the techie world. That's my problem. I don't write code and I don't know how to proofread it.

carolscash wrote on June 7, 2015, 7:24 AM

I wish I knew more about the technical stuff related to sites as I would love to change my own blog around, but I just can't figure it out. I would like to add my own photos as my header and stuff, but can't figure it out. I have thought about hiring someone to do that. I love that you are working so hard on it.

inertia4 wrote on June 7, 2015, 9:23 AM

BarbRad Well, I do hope it works out for you. I did take a peak at your new blog and I love it. I just wish I had the patients to do one like that. But I don't. Like I said, my new one is and will be mainly a catalog of my content. A list of clickable links. I find that was and more comfortable for the reader.

CalmGemini wrote on June 7, 2015, 2:46 PM

Visited your blog.No wonder you are very busy.You have done so much.Congratulations.

MegL wrote on June 7, 2015, 7:17 PM

I right clicked on the page to "view source" The lines are numbered at the right hand side. Line 136 and 137 say, and Sailing with the Wind This is the title you added? You have tried deleting that? With onnly a quick glance, I wonder if line 138 might be a problem? I am not sure that the / should be there right at the very end of the line. .

Alternatively, you could try resizing your photo, if the text is going crazy. The picture of Sailing with the wind is a lot bigger than the others. That has caused problems with the text for me. In that same line 138, the width of the picture is "349" and the height is "450". You can change those numbers but they need to be kept relative to one another, so you don't stretch or squeeze the picture. You can just specify the width if you like and delte the height figure and the program will specify the height for you, or you can specify both. I would suggest a width of about 300 or 306, same as sky tree and see if that helps.
Do that by changing width="349" height="450" to width="300" height="387"

jiangliu1949 wrote on June 8, 2015, 3:36 AM

Small wonder we have seen something of you lately .You have got so much work done ,which gives your book site an entirely new aspect.I can open ,but not the test.barbsbooks.com .

BarbRad wrote on June 11, 2015, 2:32 AM

I don't find the headers difficult. It's spacing the photos and text inside the blogs that give me fits.

BarbRad wrote on June 11, 2015, 2:33 AM

I actually enjoy creating the content. I jut wish I had more hours to do it in.

BarbRad wrote on June 11, 2015, 2:34 AM

Thank you. The blog is actually the smallest part of the site. It's the pages that take the most time.

BarbRad wrote on June 11, 2015, 2:37 AM

Resizing does help. I've done that with the other photos. But I want at least one photo large enough for Buffer to pick up. I will check out that line 138 and see what's there I might not have found. I also just found a tag I once used to fix a similar problem on another blog and I might try that. Thank you for taking the time to offer these suggestions.

BarbRad wrote on June 11, 2015, 2:39 AM

I think the test site is gone now that the real site is live. Some visitors are still getting a cache of the old site. I'm hoping that will disappear soon.

shaggin83 wrote on June 14, 2015, 10:26 PM

That sounds like so much work but the pictures of the site look very nice so I hope it is worth all the work in the end for you!

BarbRad wrote on June 15, 2015, 2:15 AM

I should be adding to the site right now, but I don't have a large enough block of time. I spent all day on another article I've been writing on and off all week. Finally finished it late this afternoon, but I just don't have any serious writing left inside me tonight.

MarshaMusselman wrote on June 16, 2015, 2:21 AM

If you're interested the sentence you have that follows the info about [your sub-folder: test.barbsbooks.com] in green, doesn't make sense. It's like an introductory clause which isn't really introducing anything. If you'd like you can delete this comment once you check it out, or I will if that's the way it works. (I don't remember as I've not been around in quite a while-shame on me).

MarshaMusselman wrote on June 16, 2015, 2:29 AM

You know there are books around that help simplify coding for sites, maybe one of them would help you in this regard. Just a thought.

BarbRad wrote on June 18, 2015, 4:37 AM

I've got books and I also reference online sources. I think I have found something that will help now.

BarbRad wrote on June 18, 2015, 4:41 AM

That's water under the bridge now that the test site is gone and replaced by the real site. You're right. I did use a sentence fragment there, but it made sense to me at the time.

Last Edited: June 18, 2015, 4:42 AM

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on June 20, 2015, 6:46 PM

Wow, I can't imagine how much work all of that must have been. I'm sure you must be glad to have gotten so much behind you. Hopefully you are on to much more fun stuff now.

BarbRad wrote on June 22, 2015, 2:00 AM

Unfortunately, this will be an ongoing work. This is just the beginning.

LindaCPearson wrote on June 24, 2015, 11:33 AM

I have never attempted designing a website and really don't know anything about it. It sure sounds like you are mastering yours and are very busy doing it!

FreyaYuki wrote on June 27, 2015, 3:40 AM

About that problem that you mentioned - have you tried adding padding or margin to either the text or the photo? Maybe a margin-top and margin-bottom or even a padding-top and padding-bottom. You can try to experiment / do trial-and-error and see what happens. You can try using both negative or positive values. Good luck with your site. Hope you get everything fixed/working emoticon :smile: .

BarbRad wrote on June 28, 2015, 3:54 PM

I'm learning. I'm hoping this will help keep dementia away. I doubt if I'll make much from it.

BarbRad wrote on June 28, 2015, 3:57 PM

I think I've found a solution. This seems to work. tag to start text on next line after the break.