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Building a Web Site to Document Your RV Build Project & Travels

August 2007

Building a web site for your online RV build log and/or travels once flying is not nearly as hard as you might think.  The biggest reason for doing all this, of course, is it gives you total control over how your information is presented.  There are several online solutions already in place (blogger, web-based services, etc) that give you some input over how things are displayed, but if you want the entire creative reigns, then nothing beats doing it yourself.  Do you want a great big old honkin' splash screen with an image of your latest favorite picture (like I did on deltaromeo.com)?  Do you want a video clip embedded into a page (like this one with me using the Bogert Tow Bar)?  Do you want to have the images you upload default to 900 pixels wide?  Doing it yourself gives you these options and much more!  I've found over the past ten years that I like to change the look and feel of my site every so often.  It's not a big deal to do.

I've been pondering an article like this for some time and am finally getting around to doing it.  I'll assume for this piece that you use a PC (not a Mac).  The theory still applies to almost any operating system and applications exist for them all.

OK, stripping it down to its bare essence, you'll be working with nothing more than: 1) a glorified word processor, then 2) saving a copy of the files you create to another computer somewhere in the world that your 'domain' name points to (ex. www.StansRV7A.com).  It's just pretty easy, actually.

Getting it set up the first time is the hard part.  If you have your 15yr old cousin over for dinner he'll probably do it for you.  Once all the stuff is in place and working right you'll find that making changes to your site is not difficult at all.  Let's begin with what you'll need...

Here is a screen shot of the software I use to create the VAF site.
Looks like a word processor, doesn't it?

My FTP client (I use cuteFTP).  The 'window' on the left is my home computer's hard drive, the
'window' on the right is the web server (in another city) that I'm copying the changed files up to. 
You simply drag the file from one window over to the other and watch the progress of the upload in the bottom 'window'.
Like I said, it's not rocket surgery <g>.

Recapping, once you own a domain name (ex. www.StansRV-7.com), web authoring software, a FTP client and some graphics software, it is essentially like opening up your word processor and typing on a letter.  Then you simply drag and drop the changes up to your server space.  Easy as pie and you have complete control over how it is displayed.  If you download and use the free 60 day web authoring software up top and use the 30 free trial for web space and the 30 day free ftp client software, you're only out the cost of the domain name (and you never know when you'll need that domain name, so buying it isn't really a bad choice anyway).


Other upsides:  If your Internet provider goes belly up you still have all the code on your computer at home.  Find another Internet provider, have them redirect your domain name to this 'new' location and upload your files using your FTP client.  In no time you can have the entire site 'live' in its new location.

Hope you found some of this useful.


Doug Reeves