very frustrated and sad: artisteer vs anything else for newb

by TMW
23 replies
  • WEB DESIGN
  • |
Hi. I've spent the last 2 months buried in my computer, literally 12-14 hours a day, trying to learn SEO and website design. I think I've learned a lot but now hitting huge road block and would appreciate any help.

I developed our small company biz site using artisteer (html version). When I convert that site to WP, I just get a blank template and have to upload the content to WP by cutting and pasting. That would be fine but it looks totally different and basically like crap. Meaning template is ugly.

So I researched forever new template and settled on YooThemes, which are beautiful. I pay and download them, thinking the whole thing would be user friendly. It was not. I can't figure out how to change the demo content to save my life.

I'm on the verge of deciding that I must go with the artisteer version even though I don't like it because I can't figure out the template. Would Joomla be easier to customize? I mean, I don't know Joomla and realize it is even more complicated but WP seems impossible to customize. I do not know html and css and frankly don't think I can learn within a reasonable amount of time.

Or is there a more user-friendly WP template that still looks good? Like with sliders and that sort of thing? My artiseer site is nice but looks very dated. Also the html version is a huge problem because updating is a pain *and* more important I can't do things like add a FB like button unless I re-add the button every time I update the site.

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, feedback, ideas...particularly interested in any user-friendly WP themes, whether switching to joomla would make this any easier (I'm doubting seriously), or whether I should go back to artisteer or some other (better looking?) program to make my own WP template?

Is there any hope for me?

My current html site:

Home

Thank you!!

Tina
#artisteer #frustrated #newb #sad
  • Profile picture of the author phpg
    For sure switching to Joomla or anything wouldn't help, and of course wordpress is very customizable and you can make it look whatever you want. I'd rather hire someone who knows how to do this - it's really not hard or time consuming, and shouldn't be expensive.
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    • Profile picture of the author TMW
      Originally Posted by phpg View Post

      For sure switching to Joomla or anything wouldn't help, and of course wordpress is very customizable and you can make it look whatever you want. I'd rather hire someone who knows how to do this - it's really not hard or time consuming, and shouldn't be expensive.
      I had several sites planned and if it's not difficult, I'd like to learn. Can you suggest any tutorials? Maybe I'm just being stupid but I can't figure this out.

      Or any ideas for a programmer and what something like this should cost? How long would it take them?

      I'm talking about things like changing boxes around, creating or deleting columns, titling menus and pages, uploading photos, changing logo, etc.

      Thank you for answering!
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  • Profile picture of the author msu
    I think you'll find WordPress easy to get to grips with once you've played around with it for a while. Have you tried looking at the tutorials and list of template tags on wordpress.org - that's usually a good start.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlueLayerHost
      You may want to consider buying a pre-made theme from ThemeForest and then customizing it to fit you needs.
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      • Profile picture of the author TMW
        Originally Posted by BlueLayerHost View Post

        You may want to consider buying a pre-made theme from ThemeForest and then customizing it to fit you needs.
        Thank you. I looked through ThemeForest extensively yesterday and saw a few good options.

        But (not sure if you read my too long of a post) I already have a template installed...a really nice one...found here:

        Quantum Theme

        But I can't for the life of me customize that theme. I just spent an hour on the phone with gatorhost, and learned a few things about how widgets interact with menu item and regular pages, but still stumped.

        The GatorHost guy said that this theme just has many many many options, maybe too many, and that's what he thought was probably creating my confusion.

        I had a WP blog for quite a while before but never had to manage menu pages and widgets assigned to various pages, etc.

        Anyway, do you think the themeforest templates would be easier? Or am I just as likely to figure out my current theme as any theme?

        Thank you to everyone who posted! I will also check out WP tutorials but every time I read one of theme, they start talking code and my eyes glaze over. :confused:
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  • Profile picture of the author RichKent
    You spent the last 2 months (12 hours a day+) learning web design and SEO, but didn't learn HTML or CSS? What were you learning?

    You can learn HTML basics in a few hours, and CSS doesn't take much longer. It will take a while for it to be second nature, but cover the basics and refer to W3Schools Online Web Tutorials every time you have a question, and you'll be up to speed quickly.

    Wordpress is incredibly easy to modify if you know HTML and CSS - no php knowledge required (although it doesn't hurt).
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    • Profile picture of the author BlueLayerHost
      Originally Posted by RichKent View Post

      You spent the last 2 months (12 hours a day+) learning web design and SEO, but didn't learn HTML or CSS? What were you learning?

      You can learn HTML basics in a few hours, and CSS doesn't take much longer. It will take a while for it to be second nature, but cover the basics and refer to W3Schools Online Web Tutorials every time you have a question, and you'll be up to speed quickly.

      Wordpress is incredibly easy to modify if you know HTML and CSS - no php knowledge required (although it doesn't hurt).
      Agreed, one the template (theme) is setup up then it's just a matter of modifying HTML/CSS.
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      • Profile picture of the author TMW
        Originally Posted by BlueLayerHost View Post

        Agreed, one the template (theme) is setup up then it's just a matter of modifying HTML/CSS.
        p.s. I'm not even sure "modify" is the correct term for what I want to do. i just want to INPUT text, move widgets around (or delete them altogether in many instances), and upload photos. Oh, yeah, and label menu items. That sort of thing.

        It's not like I want to change colors from template, or make header larger or smaller, etc.

        I was planning on hiring someone to upload my logo onto the site. I was hoping that was the only thing that required advanced knowledge.
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    • Profile picture of the author TMW
      Originally Posted by RichKent View Post

      You spent the last 2 months (12 hours a day+) learning web design and SEO, but didn't learn HTML or CSS? What were you learning?

      You can learn HTML basics in a few hours, and CSS doesn't take much longer. It will take a while for it to be second nature, but cover the basics and refer to W3Schools Online Web Tutorials every time you have a question, and you'll be up to speed quickly.

      Wordpress is incredibly easy to modify if you know HTML and CSS - no php knowledge required (although it doesn't hurt).
      I started by researching what software would help with creating a site, found artisteer, then designed and wrote the site, organized photos, etc. In the meantime, I also read extensively about organic SEO, things like importance of title tag, header, etc. Domain names, hyphens, no hyphens, places page, adwords, gees...lots of stuff. Lots and lots. Backlinking pros and cons, how to analyze site, software for everything, etc.

      In the course of that mess, I stumbled upon what I considered an excellent SEO tutorial and he said you needed updated content on your home page. That led me to realize that my html site would not work for SEO and I really needed WP.

      So that led to an exhaustive study of various templates, features, what looked good and didn't etc.

      I was also researching web hosts, good and bad, etc. Had to go through a lot uploading the html site via file zilla, which didn't work, then file manager, etc.

      Just lots of stuff...throw in a little photo editing, photo shopping, graphic design questions, video creation, youtube channel creation, video creation, etc.

      Probably tons of other stuff.

      I also read an html tutorial and made it to page 2. Gees that stuff just makes me crazy. The first page made sense but then there was like an encyclopedia list of the various functions and html coding for those functions and that's when I decided that I would not/should not learn code.

      Oh, yeah, I also watched several joomla tutorials and practiced making a baby joomla site, at which point I concluded that the WP fans had it right.

      Is there any possible way to design a nice-looking WP site without coding knowledge? I mean, these widgets and menus and pages and assignments make NO sense...

      I have also learned that the back end (admin) section of the various templates vary a LOT. Some that I didn't purchase look considerably simpler but I don't want to keep buying templates only to discover new problems.

      I'm still trying on this template but seems like if I had a basic understanding of how widgets get put onto pages and how menus are created and how text gets put on pages, etc., then I would be doing very well...

      do I need code for that stuff??! Please dear GOD say no!!!!

      But seriously thank you for asking and replying. Maybe I will end up back in code tutorial but I sure hope not.

      Maybe I just need to ditch this today and start again fresh tomorrow. I am very very determined to crack this nut.
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  • Profile picture of the author TMW
    I'm sorry to keep asking so many questions but I have realized that I must learn this, however long it takes, so I've been struggling through the WP admin trying to set up my site.

    The good news is that I surprised myself by googling html image and managed to create a thumbnail of my logo and insert it on the site, so maybe there is hope for me yet. I also managed to add a menu item and page.

    I'm trying to learn as I go about what widgets to place where. My problem is that when I create a page, it looks boring, without all of the fancy boxes from the template. My font also looks screwed up.

    Can anyone tell me what step you would take next if you were learning...what would you try to learn to modify next?

    again site is:

    Quantum Theme

    I would GREATLY appreciate any thoughts, feedback, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author TMW
    And why is my site titled Quantum Theme when I enter the URL?!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author RichKent
    So just to be clear, you're looking to build a site for your small business?

    I know you're trying to figure it out yourself, but I'd recommend saving yourself countless more hours and hire a designer. I can build a small business site on WordPress in a day or two - and no, this isn't an offer, I'm just giving you a point of reference.

    Alternatively you could use a theme with a WYSIWYG editor, such as: Headway Drag and Drop WordPress Theme I haven't used it myself, but I have a friend who really likes it.

    I build most of my sites on Genesis. With a little HTML/CSS and a hook reference you can make your site look like anything you want.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    1. You picked the worst possible theme to learn WP...

    2. Learn WP on a vanilla install with the default 2011 theme.

    3. Imagine the "mirror" situation, i.e. imagine me entering your business place and saying:

    "Man, I don't understand all this HVAC thingy, wtf, I want to be able to install heating cooling and stuff but I don't want to go and get qualified, please tell me I don't need to get licensed for this bullsh*t... Is there any user-friendly way to do this stuff without regularly attending continuing education classes... no, really, I went to another guy but he didn't let me work in his workshop, he said I'd screw up his clients... so now I am here, can you please let me learn it urgently... I already have in my house heating and cooling, I just need to figure out how they work, otherwise I am OK..."

    4. You have a business and you are expert in it - so stick to it. You are a pro in that field.
    Building websites... no, building professional websites is a pro job - not for amateurs. (you are a bad amateur in web site building)

    5. Why do otherwise normal business people think that building websites is not as serious business as theirs?

    P.S. Two months x 12 hrs = 8weeks x 5days x12 hrs = 480 hours...
    Even if you pay yourself $5/hr that's $2,400. And I assume if I hire you you would value your time way higher than $5/hr! Well, for those $2,400 you can hire a very professional, excellently trained professional web developer/designer.
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    • Profile picture of the author TMW
      Thanks to everyone for the advice to hire someone but I have thought a lot about the decision and just isn't right for me. I want to control a lot of the elements of the design. I don't want a website with a blog that changes. I want a website that gets deeper with content over time, all organized in a menu that I know how to modify, for one thing. I guess I'm pretty picky about websites because my job involves internet research and writing, so I've certainly been a consumer of many of them for a long time. I don't want a nice 10 page site, with the only new content being thrown into a messy disorganized blog with categories and tags that no one really ever delves into. I want to write an authority site in a different area with organized menus and submenus. I also want to build a few niche sites just because those seem to do well in certain respects. So I need to learn how to do this myself or it will never be right.

      Also not that it really matters but I know nothing about hvac and wrote that site myself, which I am designing for a family business. I know it's long but I really don't expect anyone to read all that much, just enough to pick up the phone. My long-term goal is to build many sites, making hiring a pro not feasible. I have a plan in completely unrelated business and making numerous good sites (or at least reasonably decent looking sites) is part of that plan.

      I am hear to learn and have spent a considerable amount of time and planning to spend whatever additional time is necessary to learn. I consider myself a student of web design at this point and that's what I want to learn, so please understand that I don't want to do something else. This is what I want to do.

      I appreciate anyone who would give me suggestions for building my own WP site. Not a blog. I had a WP blog and I get that concept just fine. I want to build something with menus that looks good. Nothing that I saw from any web designer fit what I wanted to do. I know what I want from a website in terms of content and I want to control the design. But thanks for advice otherwise.

      At the moment, I am considering something called "templateer," which is an add-on the artisteer. I don't know if it's any good, part of the problem with all templates. I guess you have to buy before you know, but that's what I plan to do until I get it right, and then can repeat the process. I am getting closer all the time and have learned an amazing amount in 2 months. Just amazing. So I intend to continue.

      Other option is elegant themes. Their admin looks easy enough but who knows. I will also take a look at the theme that someone mentioned earlier in this thread (thank you).

      FYI today I started a tutorial re: html and css, but still want to find a user-friendly template.

      Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions to help me build my own sites. I will re-read and again check out the references. Thanks!!
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  • Profile picture of the author TMW
    p.s. As a plug for the designers for anyone reading this thread, I will say that unless you have a LOT of time to devote to the cause, I would not recommend building your own site. But this has become my life goal, even dream, and I do have time. So this is what I'm going to do until I get it right. I am looking at genesis now and appreciate any recommendations to any templates that would be friendliest to people lacking knowledge in code.

    Also, I am convinced that the galleries and sliders in YooThemes truly are not functional. I don't believe that my inability to make those work relates to my lack of skill. I could be wrong of course but really have tried all options on admin panel and the pictures on the slider just do not line up. I have tried re-scaling pics and many other tricks. I believe that I could learn the menu, widgets and pages otherwise...would take a LOT of time but I believe that I could learn anything functional. Also their module layout map is not accurate...
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  • Profile picture of the author RichKent
    As Istvan said, you've chosen one of the worst themes to learn WordPress.

    I've worked with a lot of Elegant Themes, and while they're well designed I find the control panel irritating.

    Spend some time on a quality theme directory like WordPress | ThemeForest - My favorite theme site and I'd be surprised if you can't find something you really like out of the box. Pay attention to ratings and comments before you purchase a theme, and you'll be good.

    As this is your passion learn HTML and CSS - don't give up. Oh, and use current books/tutorials or else you'll learn how to build sites in tables and then you'll have to unlearn it as all current sites are built using <div> for structure.
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    • Profile picture of the author TMW
      Originally Posted by RichKent View Post

      As Istvan said, you've chosen one of the worst themes to learn WordPress.

      I've worked with a lot of Elegant Themes, and while they're well designed I find the control panel irritating.

      Spend some time on a quality theme directory like WordPress | ThemeForest - My favorite theme site and I'd be surprised if you can't find something you really like out of the box. Pay attention to ratings and comments before you purchase a theme, and you'll be good.

      As this is your passion learn HTML and CSS - don't give up. Oh, and use current books/tutorials or else you'll learn how to build sites in tables and then you'll have to unlearn it as all current sites are built using <div> for structure.
      That's awesome! Thank you!! I read through quite a few themes on Theme Forest, ratings, etc. Even many with good ratings had bugs that sounded concerning (e.g., can't upload photos, etc.) But I have my eye on one anyway that looks pretty good.

      I also have learned to try to look at dates--of course many WP tech blog now have removed dates so that can be frustrating.

      Another couple of questions--what do you think about RT for beginners? I love their themes and have heard some good things but then doing a search for them, found a few support complaints in their forum, with replies from moderators saying they gave answers, etc. Looks overall pretty good but I'm worried the admin panel will be similar to YooTheme.

      Also I found (I think) a solution for my problem with this html site, wanting fresh content on the page. I *think* assuming blog (below link) was not outdated you can add an RSS feed to a WP site and I'm going to try to hire someone to do that for me, so that snippets of the blog will appear on the front page and I don't have to re-build that site on WP. Then I will just upload an Artisteer background for the WP blog and hopefully can link that somehow to the html site.'

      Blog re: RSS feed for html site (could be useful to programmers if clients come and want to keep old site but add fresh content--and assuming like I said this technique isn't too dated):

      http://www.corvidworks.com/articles/...on-other-pages

      http://www.corvidworks.com/articles/...with-simplepie

      Does anyone who has time to look think the first option would be bad for any reason? I'm not sure about the third party program download required for the second one...

      Again if I can choose one of these, I am going to look into Warriors for Hire or someone to add the code. I mean, I can read and everything, but I wouldn't totally trust myself to add that stuff right now.

      I'm going to start a new site (my second--yay!!) on WP. Also was reading html and css blog, and doing "assignments" in notepad at about 3:00 a.m. this morning thanks to you guys!!!!!

      Thank you again!!

      Tina
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  • Profile picture of the author RichKent
    Be aware that a lot of 'bugs' are actually user error - or conflicts with outdated plugins.

    I've used RT themes - they have quite a few now. They're ok, but not my favorite to work with. Some of the coding in their older themes was sloppy, and were obvious problems that should have been fixed prior to release, such as navigation dropdowns appearing below homepage sliders. Easy enough to fix, but shouldn't be released that way.

    One of the better designers on Themeforest is Kriesi - Kriesi | ThemeForest. You can't go wrong with any of his themes.

    Regarding rss feeds, you can add an rss feed widget to any site pretty easily. Search for 'rss feed widget' and you'll find many options. Wordpress already has an rss feed widget built in - just go to widgets and you can add it to any page that has widget areas - or to your sidebar or footer.

    Stick with the HTML/CSS. Once you 'get' it, you'll be surprised at how simple it really is. Much much much easier than any other code.
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    • Profile picture of the author TMW
      Originally Posted by RichKent View Post

      Be aware that a lot of 'bugs' are actually user error - or conflicts with outdated plugins.

      I've used RT themes - they have quite a few now. They're ok, but not my favorite to work with. Some of the coding in their older themes was sloppy, and were obvious problems that should have been fixed prior to release, such as navigation dropdowns appearing below homepage sliders. Easy enough to fix, but shouldn't be released that way.

      One of the better designers on Themeforest is Kriesi - Kriesi | ThemeForest. You can't go wrong with any of his themes.

      Regarding rss feeds, you can add an rss feed widget to any site pretty easily. Search for 'rss feed widget' and you'll find many options. Wordpress already has an rss feed widget built in - just go to widgets and you can add it to any page that has widget areas - or to your sidebar or footer.

      Stick with the HTML/CSS. Once you 'get' it, you'll be surprised at how simple it really is. Much much much easier than any other code.
      Thank you again!!!!! Do you mean that I can add a WP widget to an html site? I thought widgets were only for WP?? I want the snippets from the WP blog to appear on the html site...do you think the widgets will work for that?

      I will check out that designer definitely!!

      I am going to stick with it. I actually found a pretty good/conversational blog on topic, current and amazingly interesting.

      In the old days when they had the "TRS 80" I was president of my computer club. This was somewhere around 8th grade when I knew nothing about computers. I was also in some programming contest for God knows what reason--4 person team--me and 3 guys--we totally lost but I am hoping that will give me a head start. Hopefully not too much has changed, hahaha.

      Tina
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  • Profile picture of the author RichKent
    Hi Tina - no, I mean that 'widget' is a fairly universal term for a box on a website that serves a particular function, and there are RSS Feed Widgets that can be placed on any website.

    Yes, you can add a WordPress RSS feed to a 'widget' placed on a non-WordPress website.

    Computer/Web Design/SEO years are like Hamster years. Every 1 year is equivalent to 50 human years! Maybe not quite that bad, but everything changes quickly and you have to stay on top of it or you'll be left far behind. Good luck Tina!
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    • Profile picture of the author TMW
      Originally Posted by RichKent View Post

      Hi Tina - no, I mean that 'widget' is a fairly universal term for a box on a website that serves a particular function, and there are RSS Feed Widgets that can be placed on any website.

      Yes, you can add a WordPress RSS feed to a 'widget' placed on a non-WordPress website.

      Computer/Web Design/SEO years are like Hamster years. Every 1 year is equivalent to 50 human years! Maybe not quite that bad, but everything changes quickly and you have to stay on top of it or you'll be left far behind. Good luck Tina!
      Again many thanks!!
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  • Profile picture of the author SMazinTX
    As an avid Artisteer user for several years now, I just wanted to chime in. You can grasp this software and use it to create either an HTML site or a WordPress theme. You should be able to pick it up and work with it to design something successful in a matter of a day. At the most, it shouldn't take you more than a week of working with it to do it yourself. Now, with the latest version, they even have a several sample designs you can start with and tweak to your liking.

    Also, if you're going to design many sites, than I think Artisteer is the way to go. I recommend buying their advanced version because it lets you tweak more things than the basic version. I've got the Templateer add on as well and it adds some very nice features to your WordPress themes. But, you WILL need to invest some additional hours to fully master it's complexities.
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