I built this site with iWeb which is a simple, intuitive and completely out of date software that came with my Mac (Apple stopped developing it in 2011). There are quite a few similar and free template-based softwares out there for creating websites which save you the hassle of learning to programme (although that will of course take you into another realm of possibilities). I’m not going to explain how I use this software, because if you can use a mouse and a keyboard, you can create a website with iWeb. Using this software does impose quite a few limitations on what you can do as it is difficult to edit the html code, so have a good think about how far your want to take your site before choosing the simple option. is registered through Gandi which seems to me to be one of the most forward thinking domain registrars out there (it doesn’t advertise, uses open-source software and supports Creative Commons). It is very simple to use and I haven’t experienced any problems using their service.

The domain is hosted with 1984 on encrypted servers in Iceland powered by 99% green electricity. After being with the corporate, so-called ‘green’, hosting service Hostpapa, switching away was a relief. 1984 respond quickly to queries and are very helpful with advice. Their prices are good too. While the Hostpapa service includes swish interfaces and unlimited MySQL databases, their support service is close to non-existent, their business plan includes bullying their customers and one of my sites got hacked on their servers (although this could admittedly be my own fault). 1984 requires a little more self-learning in terms of uploading to their servers, sorting out DNS and installing stats software but none of that took more than a day to learn (and I’m not a very techie person).

If you don’t know much about the technicalities of websites there are two things to learn:

» a domain (the www part) is separate from a website and can be registered using a domain name registrar for an annual fee;

» a website is the user interface which takes up physical space on a server and needs to be hosted somewhere.

Often domain registrars will offer hosting services, or vice versa, but if you don’t register and host your website with the same company you will need to point your domain to the server where your website is hosted. All this costs money of course, buying your own domain and hosting it somewhere decent can range from £50 to £100 depending on your needs (for example, with some smaller hosting companies you pay for using MySQL databases, which many content management systems – like WordPress – use).

I have used WordPress for some of my other websites ( and the blog on PatternWhichConnects). While there is quite a lot of stuff to learn if you want to install and use a WordPress module for your website it is all pretty straight forward and there is excellent documentation for how to do this. Once you’ve got going with WordPress quite a lot of possibilities open up because there is a large community developing themes, plugins and other little tweaks.

Using iWeb comes with the down side of not being able to directly edit the meta-data for the pages you create. I’ve found this iWeb SEO tool really simple for that. It’s not free but as a one off purchase I think it’s worth it if you’re interested in making it easier for people to find your site.

Creating and maintaining a website with these tools is not hard. It took me a couple of days to make this site. The difficult bit is content and presentation, which take much longer. If you’re thinking of setting up a website my advice would be to start small & simple and then gradually work your way towards your larger vision. Think carefully about how much time you want to invest in being online – it is not a little addictive and requires a lot of hours at times. I’m happy to explain any of this in more detail, so if you need some quick advice or help, feel free to ask.


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