How easy is this stuff?

A self-deprecating aside from long ago: When I first ran a semi-big local website, sophisticated content-management systems were just becoming available. Big chunks of the site were programmed by hand, using HTML code written by producers.

Those hand-coded pages were then shipped off to our distant web server by a direct-transfer process known as FTP. To make life easier, we kept a spare computer forever linked to the server – when a producer had something to load, they’d just hop over to that empty desk, slap their file into the computer via a floppy (kids: ask your parents) and voila! Done.

Of course, an always-live connection to the server, in the wrong hands, was a guaranteed way to crash the site. And mine were the wrong hands. Don’t get me wrong: I had a lot of skills in journalism, management and business. But I had (and still have) horrible skills at coding.

How horrible? The site’s very good executive producer quietly passed the word: If I ever sat down at that live computer, someone was to run over there and slyly, but quickly, get the keyboard out of my hands.

I tell this story to make a simple point: You do not need to write code to run a website. In 2000, I needed a great staff of producers; today, all you need are some free tools. Another post of mine on the GrowthSpur blog has some basics about that.

If you’re serious about being a journopreneur, you need to be able to do this. It isn’t hard.

This blog, for instance? Launched it in the course of a weekend. Costs $9 a month for hosting (only because the $6 a month host I had previously was too dodgy for my liking).

The basic design is a free (the favorite word of any journopreneur) theme for WordPress called Bueno, from the fantastic folks at WooThemes. (Full disclosure: I did buy $70 worth of themes from them for some other sites, including my wife’s – and their free forum support was so great I tossed a few bucks at the founder’s favorite charity.)

Oh – and every bit of work on this site was done by that guy who wasn’t allowed to touch the live keyboard at a big website. Heh.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Free tools not named "Blogspot" | Tom Davidson on 01.06.10 at 3:55 pm

[…] REVISED TO ADD: In a Facebook conversation on this topic, someone fretted about the technology being complex – perhaps even too hard. To which I politely say “nonsense.” I can do this. […]

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