IntroTKDTutor has over 950 articles, each with many pages of information. Building and maintaining a site of this size requires thousands of hours of work at a cost of thousands of dollars, even when you do all the work yourself.
Setting up a siteTo set up a site that has a large amount of information:
- First, there is the research, writing, and editing for all the information on the site.
- Then, you have to choose a domain name (such as TKDTutor.com) for the site, which incurs a yearly cost.
- Then, you have to choose a CMS (Content Management System) to use in site design and to manage all the data on the site. Some CMSs have a cost; however, some of the best, such as Joomla and Wordpress, are free.
- Then, you have to choose a web host to host the site on the internet; this has a setup fee and incurs a monthly cost.
- Finally, you have to build the site using the CMS.
Maintaining a siteOnce the site is up and running, there is still a lot of work involved:
- You have to keep adding new information and updating the existing information.
- The CMS will have constant updates you have to install.
- The CMS will have recurring major upgrades, which sometimes require a total redesign of the site.
- You must fight a constant battle against hackers, viruses, spam attacks, people who link to your images and therefore steal your bandwidth, and rouge search engines that index the site constantly and use up your share of the server’s bandwidth.
Building TKDTutorIn 1999, I designed the original site using Microsoft Frontpage, which later became Microsoft Expression. The site went online in January 2000. In 2012, the entire site was redesigned using Joomla 2.0. In 2015, the entire site was redesigned again using Joomla 3.0.
Rebuilding TKDTutorAfter 17 years of maintaining the site, I grew weary of the work needed to maintain it and the cost of keeping it online; however, I still wanted to keep the information available on the web. I just needed a cheaper and less time-consuming way of doing it that still allowed visitors to find the information and then presented it in an easy to read format. After a lot of research and weeks of trial and error using various methods, I found a solution—convert the site to a free Google cloud-based blog.
Cloud resources used in the rebuildI used the following free, cloud resources:
- Google Blogger. This is the platform I used to host the site. Using Blogger as a platform for TKDTutor was not possible before now because Google had a 20 page limit on the use of static pages. Now, there is no limit on static pages.
- Google Docs. This is the word processor I use to create, edit, and the articles.
- Google Sheets. This is the spreadsheet I used to catalog and track the articles.
- Google Drive. This is the place I use to store backups of all the articles as documents. Google Drive allows 15 GB of free storage; however, all files created using Google products do not count against the storage limit.
Construction of the site
- First, I designed a navigation structure that uses a groups/subjects/topics/articles classification system.
- I created a blog on Google Blogger.
- The blog is used as a standard blog, but it is used primarily as a portal to allow visitors to easily find and view all the articles.
- The menu contains links to all the groups.
- Selecting a group opens a list of subject links for that group.
- Selecting a subject link opens a list of topic links for each subject.
- Selecting a topic link opens a list of article links for that topic.
- Selecting an article link opens that specific article.
- Each subject, topic, and article link has a short description of what information is contained in it, which provides a sort of guided tour. The topic and articles lists and the articles are created on static pages.
- I designed an article template on Google Docs and converted all the articles from the old Joomla site to Google Docs using the template.
- I created a folder system on Google Drive to store all the articles as documents using the navigation structure I created.
- I created a Google Sheets spreadsheet to catalog all the articles and act as a control panel to make it easy for me to manage the articles and to open either the article’s Doc file, it’s Bogger page, or the article in the Blogger editor.
Final resultIt took a lot of work but the final result is a site that costs me nothing to maintain, is easy to maintain, and is easy for visitors to use.