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Website Design

28/02/2018 updated 06/5/2021

This is not a wordpress site.  I have done quite a few wordpress sites and I find them slow, cumbersome, and deluged with constant updates.  Apart from the slow download speeds, they also take a long time to open for editing.  Also, despite my wordpress sites and html sites being on the same server, the wordpress sites usually took a lot longer to open.

I am not recommending or even suggesting that anyone follows my methods below, but they may be of interest.

A summary of MY needs are:-

So I decided on a simple html site. I uses "server side includes" (SSI) for the article menu on the right so every time I add a new article I only have to update the one file and the menu will appear in all pages. I do the same with the header, footer and navigation.

The site has a few different templates, this is the current one.

I made a simple template using Microsoft Expression Web 4 (MEW4 - it's free) and I use that for all pages.
Pages are written in XHTML or HTML5 (see below) and I check compliance with Markup Validation Service

MEW4 has a built in FTP program and I manage the site which is hosted by the Cornish Hosting Company. Any graphics are made using Photoshop CS2 which I have used for years.

I check the speed using Pingdom.  You can specify the server to be used.  There is now a UK one in London.

Quite a few of these pages I have imported from my old wordpress site.  The code is awful.  It's bloated and full of oft repeated tags.  I have cleaned up much of it but the way that wordpress WYSIWYG editor does the code is not ideal. I usually reformat it using MEW4.

As an example, I am designing a new site for Tin Taxi.com and considered using wordpress. It took me quite a few hours to get the wordpress page looking similar to the MEW4 site (I made the MEW4 page in HTML5 in around 15 minutes). Then I tested both on the W3C validation service and Pingdom. 

  MEW4 Wordpress
Lines of Code 63 251
Size 66.2KB 489.5KB
Load Time 883mS 2.27S
Performance Grade A 99 C 74
W3C validation errors and warnings 0 133

This is for a very simple page with a picture, some text and a menu to select other pages

It's simple stuff - basically similar to the way I designed websites twenty years ago using Microsoft FrontPage.  Each to his own I guess.

As for hardware, I usually design websites on an much loved old Lenovo Thinkpad X200s . I use Windows 7 for MEW4 and an old version of Photoshop (CS2).
To get the operating system up to a sensible speed I have

After installation I did a full scan using Microsoft Safety Scanner, Made a system restore point and I run without any anti-virus software.  I download and run the scanner around once a month. There is never a problem.

I went right off cloud backups.  They are slow

I occasionally design and host other sites. For example:


Update May 2021
I found that XHTML pages which have passed the w3c validation recently have started to fail. This is because they are changing the specs for transitional HTML.
 For example the previous version of this page  showed 2 warnings and 7 errors and it used to be error free.
So I bit the bullet and this page and all new pages and sites will be designed in HTML5. 
But life is too short to update all of my existing pages (or to fart about with wordpress)   
Update June 2021
I must be mad - I bought a Macbook.
Editing html sites on a Macbook is a nightmare. There is no decent WYSIWYG editor that works on a Mac.  There are code editors but nothing comes close to MEW4.
I retried duplicating a page on my tintaxi site in Wordpress.  The original site appeared around 2 seconds after clicking on the link.  The Wordpress on took 13 seconds! I think it may be that the PHP is slow on my hosting service.  My sites (like this one) do not use PHP and are all simple, and fast, html.
It may be time to split my site. Some parts are really wiki type pages and some are more blogging types. My blogging is very simple and I could use Google's blogger - which seems to loads very fast and is easy to update an write to. I can link to it from here.
Further update
I played around with Google blogger and it's OK. But using Blogger, Gimp, and Libre Office on the Mac is much more cumbersome and time consuming than MEW4, Photoshop and Excel on any of my windows machines. So I'll not be using the Macbook for website design or maintenance.
Yet a further update
I CAN do simple updates on the Mac using SublimeText and uploading with Filezilla. I am using this technique to write this.
I can also do more complex stuff by writing in Blogger and copying the html code into Sublime text. A spin off is that the article can be on the web in two different places - not a bad thing.



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Other sites by Ye olde Webbesmith are Twenty Forty Five and Tin Taxi.