Web Design For Dummies: Creating a Website By Yourself

In 2010, soon after I started Silverleaf, one of the first things I did was get business cards. After choosing a design, finding a printer, and deciding on how many I could afford, I anxiously placed my order. The day my new cards arrived, I ripped open the box…

Instantly, I hated all 500 cards. The free template design I chose looked low-quality and cheap, and having a personal e-mail address on the card seemed really unprofessional.

I needed a new design, and a separate business email address. However, there were problems: the domain name I purchased was WAY too long, and I didn’t know how to create a new email address @mynewdomain.com

Oh, and I didn’t know anything about creating a website.

Creating a Website With Software

As I began researching website design, it soon became clear that creating a website was not going to be easy. The more I learned about domains, host servers, CSS, FTP, and HTML, the more I lamented, “FML”.

Website Design

First, I looked into using web design software. The software promised to make website design easy: position some buttons, images, and menus, and viola: a professional-looking site, complete without the need to learn any code!

In reality, what I ended up with was a strange-looking, mis-aligned template page that I couldn’t fix, because I hadn’t learned any code.

I had a vision of what I wanted my website design to look like, but I just couldn’t make it look right. As a do-it-yourself-er, I would normally have the patience to continue learning on my own, but at this point I was spent. I needed help.

Finding a Web Design Professional

Next, I decided to look for a web design professional that could make my vision a reality, and not overcharge me for a basic design. After all, why should I spend a lot of time trying to do it myself, when I could pay someone to do it for me, quickly and correctly?

Silverleaf Web Design

Finding someone to do a professional website design turned out to be much harder than I’d imagined, however. I asked family and friends for referrals, and out of about SIX website designers I contacted, only ONE responded to my request.

Even worse, the designer that did respond quoted me a high price and long wait time, for creating a website that I felt had an extremely basic design, and shouldn’t take that long to make.

After my discouraging experience hiring a web designer, once again the do-it-yourself attitude in me kicked in. I decided that if I wanted a website, I was going to have to learn web design myself.

Website Design For Dummies

Fast-forward two years later, and www.silverleafcs.com is complete. I’ve even completed a few other sites as well. I honestly can’t say how many hours I’ve spent learning HTML and CSS, staring at line after line of code, and creating a website that I think finally looks perfect.

I don’t recommend that anybody assume my crazy “do-it-yourself” mindset, at least not when it comes to a technically and creatively complex project like website design. In fact, I’ve partnered with a team of web design professionals for exactly this reason: website design isn’t easy.

So, if you’re thinking about creating a website, please, save two years of your life and check out the Silverleaf web design page for a free quote instead.

How To Delete Your Google Web History Before the Unified Privacy Policy Takes Effect

Delete Your Google Web History

Google recently announced that it was changing its privacy policy and sharing data that it collects about its users amongst all of its services, beginning on March 1st.

What this means is that information from your web history searches and the web sites you visit is going to be combined with information from other Google products like YouTube and Gmail.

If you’re sensitive about your personal information being shared on the Web, then here is an easy way to turn off your search history and stop it from being recorded:

  1. Browse to Google.com, and Sign In to your Google account.
  2. In the upper-right corner of the page, click the dropdown menu by your name.
  3. Select “Accounts Settings”
  4. Find “Services Section”
  5. Under “Services”, there is a section which says “View, enable, disable web history.” Click the link next to it which says: “Go to Web History.”
  6. Select “Remove all Web History”

When you click on “Remove all Web History,” a message appears that says “Web History is Paused.” What this means is that although Google will continue collecting and permanently storing information about your web history, it will make all data anonymous: Google will not connect your Web History information with your online accounts, and will therefore be unable to send you customized search results.

You may have already known about turning off search history, as this is one of the top settings to change if you don’t want any potentially sensitive searches (religion, sex, health, location, etc.) to be recorded. But with the information giant consolidating its products and “simplifying” its privacy policy, now is a good time to check your personal data sharing settings in Google.

FREE Computer Virus Removal Software Isn’t Free

Computer Virus Removal SoftwareEvery PC user knows that computer viruses are bad news, and that the best way to avoid infection is to install antivirus software to protect your computer. What many people don’t know is that there is virus removal software available that is completely FREE to download and use. However, using free computer virus removal software comes with a hidden price.

The Real Cost of “Free” Protection Against Computer Viruses

Most PCs have antivirus (AV) software pre-installed, but it is often only a “trial” version that expires after a set time, and then requires the user to pay for the “full” version. While these types of computer virus removal programs are effective and well worth the money, a cheaper alternative exists.

Free virus removal software is a cheaper (and arguably, better) alternative to subscription-based AV software. You can download and use it for free, and it doesn’t extract a yearly subscription fee from you in exchange for continued protection from computer viruses. What “free” computer virus removal software DOES extract from you, in various ways, is your personal information.

Free Computer Virus Removal Software Programs

“Free” antivirus software not only protects you from getting computer viruses, but it digs up your personal data and sells it to the highest bidder. In addition to being effective virus removal tools, software programs such as “AVG Free”, “avast! Free Antivirus”, and “Avira Free Antivirus” are also ingenious data-mining and marketing machines. Virus removal software companies offer these programs at no charge, and then make money later by selling their user’s information to marketers and advertisers.

Who needs free software? I’d rather keep my personal data!

To demonstrate how “free” antivirus software (or any type of free software, for that matter) can easily gather a user’s information, consider this important but often overlooked step during the installation process of a popular free AV software program:

“Quick Install (Recommended)” (If you choose the “recommended” install settings, the software installs automatically – congrats, you’re done! Unfortunately, you also just opted-in to about 7 different data gathering schemes.)

“Custom Install (Advanced)” (A custom installation lets you uncheck all of the options that would install various information-gathering gadgets, email scanners, search bars, toolbars, etc., leaving only the essential software installed.)

A custom installation isn’t that hard to do, but a software company will nearly always label this option as “advanced” in order to intimidate users, and instead recommend that they perform a quick install. Although technically quicker and easier, this “recommended” option usually installs unwanted data gathering features alongside the core software.

If you manage to get through the installation without falling into any data mines and protect your information, free software can actually be quite useful. Free computer virus removal software in particular should be installed carefully, and with close attention paid to the “recommended” settings.

As always, please feel free to contact me for help with virus removal, or with any computer question.