Make a Web Site

Sandvox has selected Southern Shorts as a featured website created with their software. Check out our user profile at 

Sandvox User Profiles

We would like to share our experience with creating and publishing a family web site. So, we added this page to document our efforts as first time web site creators. We use Apple computers around our house, so this is focused toward products compatible with their operating systems. 

Programming a Web Site

The first step was deciding if we should learn programming or use a friendly website creation software. This was a fairly easy decision considering the current availability of a selection of software options. After a little research that included playing around with free downloads, we selected Sandvox which is marketed by a company called Karelia Software. 

Sandvox is very easy to use. We found the built in 'Help' section to be thorough and well indexed to the point of making the absence of a User's Manual a non-issue. A huge selling point is the WYSIWYG feature, you see the actual site layout as you create and edit. If you can type and drag photos, you can create a web site. 

Just pick a design template and get started. The range of design templates in Sandvox is fairly extensive. If you're not pleased with a design, it's a simple click to change and see how your site looks in another design. 

There is also a thorough selection of page set ups for your site. These include various text pages with and without side bars, photo or video pages, blog pages, contact forms and your site map. 

Publishing the Web Site

There are scores of web site hosts out there and one could spend a very long time working through the options. Because of our success with Sandvox, we elected to go with their recommendation to use 'A2 Hosting'. The folks at A2 generated an email telling us how to set up the Sandvox site publishing template. When we encountered questions, A2 responded quickly to assist us and our site was on the web in a couple of hours. 

Before publishing, you need to look into a few things. First is select the host and determine their fee structure, billing cycles / options, cancellation policy, and major features, particularly if you will use the site to support small business sales and payment transactions. 

Then determine if your site name (the URL) is available. The host should offer a free screen of site names. Other costs will include registration of the site name (URL) through the 'WHOIS' system, and a security certificate (SSL) if you are selling products from the site or asking people to submit confidential information through your website. The complexity of the SSL and it's cost will be determined by the use of your site and the host should provide guidance. 

Finally, you should list your site with the major search engines to facilitate recognition and location of your site by folks entering key words into their search engines. Sandvox provides excellent guidance with respect to making your site visible to the world. We registered our site with Google and also set up a Google account listing our location, website URL, Google category (Farm; Livestock Producer), and a couple of relevant photos that would be captured under 'Images' during a Google search. 

Maintaining the Web Site

With Sandvox, updating a site is simply a matter of re-publishing the site. You will have a working copy of the web site in your computer. Make changes as appropriate, then hit the 'Publish' icon and your site is updated. If you have pages under construction and are not ready to publish them, Sandvox offers a  'Draft' check box that holds the page until you are ready to publish it. As we gain experience with maintaining and updating, we will share it here. 

Copyright Tim and Karen Leard ©2012-2013 
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