Let’s Build a Website: Planning

Welcome to the first part of a series of posts on building a website – Now these are not a complete and comprehensive resource, there is always custom coding, advanced elements you could do, but this is more of a guide in getting starting and publishing a simple website that will get you online and give you some basic learning in the process. So let’s dive in!

Planning

If you want your site building no matter how you are building it – you need to plan it out. The idea of just buying a domain and suddenly you are “Online” is one which as I’ve seen time and time again bring a site to be done about 25% of the way then you are unsure where to go, and you simply walk away, to “Work on it another day” and we all know how that goes 50% of the time.

I’ve done it so many times with my project websites, I have a rough plan for 45% of the site, and the rest will “get done” as I go along, but so far there is a project or three that I need to finish, and I’ve settled to working on continual Google Docs to work on it on the go, while I’m trying to get a baby to sleep, or when I’m in a resting spot with a project.

So how to do it? Well I’m going to use one way that’s free, but again feel free to adapt as you see fit.

Using Google Drive

I love Google Drive, if you have a Android or iOS Smartphone you can get the Drive application from Google and in your Gmail account you can create a folder of all your content. So if you are unsure, login to http://drive.google.com and you’ll do the following steps:

My_Drive_-_Google_DriveMy_Drive_-_Google_Drive 2

 

1. Create a new folder and give it a simple name, I used “My Website” but if can be anything to identify what your website information.

My_Website_-_Google_Drive

2. Now you have your new folder, its blank and ready to create some written information.

Untitled_document_-_Google_Docs_and_ThrustNetworks_—_Inbox__15178_messages_

Untitled_document_-_Google_Docs

3. Create a document, rename it based upon the page you want to create: for instance, I made homepage.

Homepage_-_Google_Docs

4. Build your Pages! A separate doc for each page you want to create!

Homepage_-_Google_Docs 2Homepage_-_Google_Docs 3

5. Have others help with editing, just share to an email, and give them permission to edit with you! You can both work on it in real-time if needed!

Now the great thing about Google Drive is you can drag in ANY file, so if you have more resources to add in like photos or a logo, just drag them into the folder you created and it will all be there when you are ready to go!

Explore in this what works for you, some folks use Folders to build out sub-pages like About Us folder = all sub pages in About Us like maybe Company Information, or Contact Us, build those pages out however you like, but don’t be afraid to try something different! This is again just a guideline not a “DO THIS OR YOUR SITE WILL FAIL!” — Everyone is different and there are plenty of options!

 

Part two in two weeks! Stay tuned!

New FlockHosting.com!

FlockHosting.com has been updated! Fresh look, some new services, and more on the way! For now though I’ve added a few new add-on’s for current customers to, when you order a new account or when you check the available add-on’s in your account you can now choose from these two options:

Image 2015-05-01 at 11.23.27 AM

Managed WordPress is here! For $10 a month FlockHosting will fine tune and secure your WordPress based site, see the new site for details! But too if you are wanting you can sponsor a church by adding $1 extra to your monthly bill!

Other new additions such as Email Servers is a great new addition, and Reseller Access to manage and create your own accounts without a need to sign-up all of your accounts, you become your own hosting company!

More is on the way, but going into the month of May I do need to ask for some help!

What’s Going On….

What started out as a simple idea “Hosting Churches for Free…. I can do that” has grown! With even the new hardware I’ve reached the point where when I get 2-3 orders a week and currently 5 orders pending free domains & free hosting – I need help.

The thing about doing a ministry to churches like this is everything else is going to come under attack, and while I’ve had a church or two get hacked, my business as a whole has seen a huge increase in attacks, one this past weekend took out an entire server for one of my customer’s for several hours, not good – My primary computer is starting to get glitchy, and finances are tight (9 month olds are expensive!) 🙂

So if you could lend a hand, here’s the list in priority:

#1 – Prayer

I need your prayers, if you could tack Me, My Family, & Business into your prayers, I could use it! Try juggling a 9 month old & trying to deal with an outage, stressful for sure.

#2 – Promote

I don’t have a huge advertising budget and I’d love if you could help promote FlockHosting and help really bolster things up to where I can build up Church Hosting, and provide a new batch of customers with great hosting!

#3 – Donate

Yes it’s actually #3 on my list, while I would love for someone to just donate $10,000 and really fund Church Hosting for this entire year & growth of it – I’d love for that need to be on someone’s heart and it just happen as God see’s fit, if you’re that person then please by all means feel free to donate and lend a hand to grow past 200 churches hosting!

More to come!

I’ve gotten a few requests for SSL Certificates, Dedicated Servers, and Website Design, more is on the way, I just wanted to get the new site online and really put out the note that FlockHosting could really use your help!

Updating Support

When FlockHosting started 9 years ago, support was easy to manage and handle thru Instant Message — Some customers from those early days still occasionally chat with me on AOL Instant Messenger, however things grew and got busy, and having a direct line sometimes slowed things down vs. helped as it was my personal IM account so even being online in the evenings meant I was on-call.

Well as of this morning as the new website came online I’ve brought back Chat, you may have noticed something on the main page, here on the blog, and even in the customer zone using SSL! A little bar that looks like this:

I am excited to bring this functionality BACK to customers for ease of support, REAL TIME help, simply click it and your off and running!

Why Bring it Back?

FlockHosting has gone thru a lot of changes over the years, from the look of the website to the tech powering the servers – and as things are moving forward and changes are happening I wanted people to really have an easier connection to getting ahold of me, and the option too as the company expands and grows (as I am praying it will!) – I need a set of tools to empower employees to serve you!

Plus as FlockHosting does not offer telephone support, this is an alternative that’s protected by SSL in the Customer Zone, so chats are secure, and for the simple Q&A here and there, it’s easy to use and on-demand!

What it’s Not…

End of the day, Support Issues may be better served thru Trouble Tickets, if something is detailed and your REALLY having a hard time with something laying it out in a ticket is quicker than a live chat about it – same with some billing issues – Tickets allow for more data to be collected/reviewed and resolve quickly.

What it is…

Great for questions, help on a problem your currently diagnosing, quick pre-sales questions, order/account management errors that may crop up, in the end a ticket may need to be made, but if you have a question and you’re hoping for a more “INSTANT” answer, this will work just fine.

Talking out an idea too is welcome here! If you have questions or an idea you’d like to really work out either a new website, your current website or a “What if” website, my 15 years in this industry as well as colleagues I have at my disposal who fill in the gap where I am not too savvy – are at your disposal, I want to see your website succeed and do well! Be it your blog, community, gallery, event… You name it. I am here to help!

Times of Operation

My goal is to keep this schedule best I can:

  • Monday thru Friday 9AM till 5PM
  • Saturday – 10AM till 2PM
  • Sunday – Closed

All these times are Pacific and they are not the only times, if you have been a customer here and interacted with me in tickets/email/etc. you know I don’t always keep “standard” hours as far as times of the day I’m awake, so if my evening is mellow and I’m working on some servers, you may see me on anywhere from 5PM->3AM easily – don’t hesitate to contact me!

When is it okay to chat?

Anytime. I can’t repeat this enough to customers:

I am a resource, I want to be a help!

You may already have a “Webmaster” or company that has designed and deployed your website – Excellent! They are a great member of the team of support you have for your website, but add my name (Chuck Brown) to that list, if you have a “What if…” or “Can I….” type situation, and your designer/webmaster isn’t sure – Simply fire up chat.

FlockHosting is not some cold-calculated business for me, chatting DOES NOT start a meter running calculating a cost for help, my help to my customers and visitors looking at FlockHosting is 100% free – I truly hope and pray you can use the information in my brain as a blessing to you and your website!

I hope you give chat a try if you have a question – the website will continue to get some extra makeovers here soon, more resources, more support documents, some extra support guides & videos! So stay tuned for even more!

Rebuilding FlockHosting.com

So the usual “hard” project for me has started. Re-Design. Re-Building.

FlockHosting started out very humble, some carefully crafted code, some 10 years ago, a basic billing system I actually wrote from scratch, and a trouble ticket system that was free and clunky 🙂 It’s come a long way, and it’s getting a make-over in the front end as well as the backend.

Mid-Year Catch-Up

Man this year is just blasting by! Everytime it seems I start to get caught up with various projects I get hit with things again, I do apologize for some of the recent outages network issues at some of the datacenters I use seem to have had some issues, but most seem to be patched up and working smoothly again – So thanks again for your patience and prayers!

2010 – Part 2

The remainder of the year is going to bring some changes, some I have mentioned on the Facebook/Twitter account – for one this blog will be re-located to off-network location for ease of status updates, and should also line up with Facebook and Twitter – so across the board it should line up nicely.

After trying out a new pricing structure it’s become clear it may of helped 1 or 2 folks find a plan that “fit” their situation, however it’s simply over-complicated it for others looking for that “Easy” to sign-up hosting plan – so to that end I am creating 1 base plan, plenty of storage and resources for a Church, Business, or Personal – but offer easy to upgrade add-on’s which will include a new feature I have been working on for those wanting to do media, but not wanting to fiddle with 3rd party solutions which require complex keys, urls, which can be time-consuming, but rather simple high-traffic media solutions for Audio and Video, including mass storage & transfer quotas – so stay tuned for that.

To the current customers on the various packages and plans over the last few years, your going to be adjusted to a “LOYALTY” plan, which will get quarterly upgrades – so additional storage/bandwidth every quarter – so you’ll see your packages upgrade on server occasionally – but if you feel the need to upgrade to the new standardized package you can, but you’ll miss out on the increases – first one will be if your account does not have 1GB in storage (with the exception of tiny customized or under $5 a month packages) you’ll get 1GB of storage by the end of June – and your increases will go from there – there will be some caps on this, but I’ll have a full run down on that as the process moves forward.

Last upcoming change coming in June is the new website, should help in the simplify process – hope to get a lot of work done on it and avoid more projects and distractions this month as I write it up and get the code adjusted and site looking slick – also if you are a designer please drop me a email looking to get some contact information for a new “Find a Designer” section of FlockHosting, hopefully it can send some business your way!

Final Bits

There are a few other mini-bits which I would post, but I am still fine tuning things, but I appreciate everyone sticking with FH these past few years, and I do as always apologize for lag in billing issues – working to get that spruced up and back on track after the recent PayPal issues where payments weren’t getting posted, if your still having issues, cancel your subscription and re-create it on the next invoice, I apologize for the hassle, but just how PayPal works I guess – but things will get better in that area too.

If you have not checked out the Facebook Page or Twitter, I encourage you to like/follow them – most of the updates lately flow there quickly – so a good place to watch for news on outages, but soon that’ll tie into the blog as well – but stay tuned! More good things coming very soon! Thanks for your continued prayers and business – looking forward to a great 2nd half of the year here @ FlockHosting!