Website virgin


I have a website that I'm not particularly pleased with, but would like to learn how to upgrade it myself because;

I'm a bit of a control freak and I can't justify spending any money on it at the moment.

I'm trying to teach myself Dreamweaver at the moment, with the help of a book and various tutorials from the web, but I'm finding it a bit of a struggle. Also a friend has said that I should look at doing it using an HTTP template?

Before I spend hours on what could be a fruitless task, I thought I'd ask for opinions.

All I really want to achieve is a relatively simple site that acts as an online 'folio, has contact facility and something that allows downloadable pdfs of samples and case studies that I can easily update. I see the homepage as mainly images of work samples dissolving from one to the next constantly with as many images that is practical, I also have an idea of style which would reflect my new image, rather than that of my current site, which I realise is quite dowdy.

Marketing-led design for print, advertising, exhibitions, new media. Terry Symonds Design

Where to start? (bearing in mine I have no web technical knowledge at all!)
Hi Terry,

My advice to you would be the ditch Dreamweaver and instead look to use a free CMS-based method such as WordPress.

WordPress is free to install and use and it comes with thousands of free (and paid for) web templates that you can install to give you a really slick portfolio theme that you can add your own images and text to. You login to WordPress via your web browser and then you update your text and images which is why it's a very popular Content Management System.

I've been using Dreamweaver for many years and I think that it's a bit of a steep learning curve for a complete novice. Not only would you need to have a decent understanding of Dreamweaver but you'll also need to know a bit of HTML and CSS to get the results you want.

With WordPress, all of the programming and design has been done already so you could realistically get a website up and running in an hour.

To give you an idea of the type of templates available for WP, check out

If you'd like any further help, by all means send me a PM


It's a good idea for you to explore the WordPress route or similar, but don't ditch Dreamweaver. The trouble with pre-made themes is they almost always look pre-made and are never exactly what you need, so you'll want to find one you nearly like then tweak it to your own requirements. This is a very productive way of learning, as well.

One approach is to set up test sites in subdirectories of your website (, for example), make sure everything is working properly and looks the way you want it to (don't forget testing for different browsers, etc.), then when you want to change publicly, you can just move the whole subdirectory up into your root.
Another alternative if you don't want that "blog" look, is indexhibit. It's not for everyone, but it is very customisable and works like a blog in the posting sense.

Just something different to wordpress! :) alternatives are goood!
Go the Wordpress route which will be a vast improvement on anything you can 'learn' to create yourself and in the background have a tinker with the code on a test site as suggested.

My sites are all Wordpress and the plugins available for adding functionality are amazing and very easy to install and un-install if it doesn't do what you want it to do.
But doing a few HTML & CSS tutorials as well as going the Wordpress route wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Wordpress - where to go?

Ok, this is where I reveal my total numptiness in regard to web basics.

I've googled Wordpress and it's come up with a massive array of options and as I don't have a clue, what do I need to download to make a start.

I presume that if I want to do things like dissolve from one image to another I may need plug ins, is it too early with my limited knowledge to attempt this?

For me to make a start, what do I need (in the most basic laymans handholding terms please).:icon_confused:
...or just pay someone to set it up for you initially, doesn't take long to get a wordpress site up and running, find a skin that you like, get that installed and then you just have to create the content for each page, sure somebody would do it on here for a decent price, just a thought.
Struggling on!

I know it all appears to be a lot of mucking about, but I'm determined to do this myself. This is how I've learned every programme I use and I've (eventually) become very proficient in them all.

Coreldraw fell by the wayside many years ago and now it looks like Quark is going to head the same way. I've grudgingly taught myself InDesign, which I expect I'll get to like - but that's life.

Does anyone miss marking up type and waiting overnight to get galleys back?(at this point, several generations of designers scratch their heads wondering what the old git is rambling on about:icon_biggrin:)
Just thought I'd mention that to use Wordpress as a CMS you'll need a MySQL database available through your hosting package if you haven't already.

For testing offline I highly recommend xampplite - apache friends - xampp

It basically installs an Apache server and MySQL database locally on your machine (you can even use it from a flash drive and take it with you) so you can play around with wordpress, change source code, modify themes, etc, then upload the changes to your webserver). It's available for Mac and PC.
I am also oblivious to HTML,CSS, etc etc....having tried hard to learn Dreamweaver also - to be honest, I gave up! So, I looked at wordpress, and found the 'system' very convoluted.

Eventually I used - suits a web phobe like myself, and made my site look exactly how I wanted;
Minimal, easy to navigate, easy to build, and also has a wide variety of skins etc. I am also impressed about the support in pointing to a domain etc...suits me!