History of Kathy's Kritters Website
It has taken me about 5 years to get my website to this level
of sophistication. At first, I started out very simply. Then, as I learned more
and practiced what I learned, I began to expand my horizons. It's been a lot of
fun and a great learning experience, but also a lot of hard work. Following are
a few details of my progress.
Originally, I created a Microsoft Word document, a daily journal
of a hamster litter with photos, and saved it to the web. Later, I switched to
Broderbund Print Shop software to add a little pizzazz to my site. Next, I bought
Microsoft FrontPage 2000, software whose purpose is to help you create and manage
websites easily, great for a first-time website creator. The main drawback is
that you have to make sure that your web host supports FrontPage extensions (note
this requirement may not be needed for FrontPage 2003). Finally, I "graduated"
to more sophisticated software, mainly Macromedia Dreamweaver to create the site
and Adobe Photoshop to create the artwork and edit photos. Both of those are my
favorites, but they can be rather expensive and take a significant amount of time
to learn completely.
My original site, years ago, was just the Hamster Journal. I
simply typed in the words and added some pictures each day, creating separate
each day and linking them together (by inserting hyperlinks). Later, when I created
the pet stories, I gave each of them its own web site (at first). After
my own domain, in February 2002, I combined all 3 websites into one and, over
time, added a bunch of other information (FAQ, gallery, etc). The latest
in March 2003, made the combined websites more cohesive and easier to navigate
I started out with a free site at Yahoo
Geocities. In fact, I still have a simple Geocities
site to redirect people to my current site. When I started to add my pet stories,
I put them on a different free web host (I don’t remember the name). The
main disadvantages of the free web hosting sites are pop-up ads (Tripod sites
drive me crazy, but it’s not so bad now that I have PopUpCop) and limited
bandwidth (think of those Geocities sites that won’t display pages for an
hour, because they have hit their maximum hourly bandwidth – it doesn’t
take much). With my internet provider (Roadrunner) I was able to have a free web
site, but unfortunately, it only allowed 5 MB of space, which wasn’t enough
for all my photos and pages. So I finally decided to get my own domain and web
host provider. There are many low-fee hosting services for under $10 a month,
perfect for the hobbyist like me. I went with a friend’s recommendation
and set up my site at OLM
with a plan costing about $9 a month. At the same time, I registered my own domain
name (kathyskritters.com), which often can be done in conjunction with signing
up for a web host provider. I paid for 5 years in advance for the domain, to save
money and the hassle of paying each year.
Note: In January 2004, I switched to 1and1 web
hosting, which offers shared hosting for only $4.99 a month and domain names
for $5.88 a year. So far, I have been very pleased with them.
If I were starting out today, I would probably go to Yahoo
Geocities and sign up for a free site. They have a lot of help features and
helper applications to get you started. In addition, Web Monkey for
Kids has some good ideas about building your own web
Your internet provider may give you access to creating your own
web site. If so, you can use software such as Microsoft FrontPage to help you
get started. Just make sure that it is compatible with your online service.
After you get a simple website up and running, then you can research
on the web or through books different ways of improving your site. It really would
be a good idea to study HTML, and there are many websites and books about that.
Depending on the level of sophistication you want and your willingness to work
at learning new information, you can gradually create the website of your dreams.