Tag Archives: Articles in DeHaan Blog of Writing

Why Add Custom HTML Code to a Free Website

Today I wrote “How to Add Custom HTML Code to your Weebly Free Website” in response to a reader’s question.

That was a reasonable place to ask the question, since I use Weebly to host that blog as a free website.

Why Use Weebly as a Free Web Site?

"Weebly Page HTML Code" image by Mike DeHaan
“Weebly Page HTML Code” image by Mike DeHaan

Besides offering a website for free, the Weebly platform allows custom HTML code and monetization for their users.

This is important if you want the chance to scrape every penny from your online blogs.

By contrast, a free web site hosted by WordPress is not allowed to add monetization or very much in the way of custom HTML code. You can indeed switch from the visual WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor to the “text” or “HTML” editor; but I’m not convinced you can add absolutely any HTML code at that point. The WordPress host can still drop any code it doesn’t like, once you’ve saved the page or post. You might have a little access to the header or footer, but probably not enough to do what you want.

In general: if you know how to code HTML and Javascript, you can add special effects or features that might not otherwise be possible without custom HTML.

How to Add Custom HTML to a Paid WordPress Site

By contrast, because I pay for this DeHaan Services site, I have access to the HTML code editor under WordPress.

Once you’ve logged on as an administrator or editor, open the dashboard. Click “Appearance” in the left menu to find the next options. This is where you chose a WordPress theme for your blog.

Click the “Editor” selection. You now see the CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) where you can modify the XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language). In the right margin are other HTML names, such as “header” or “footer”. Click on one of those to find yet more HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language) code.

This allows you to add custom HTML code so you can change the theme or add functions like monetization.

On the other hand, there are many free WordPress plugins, as well as plugins for sale. Probably you should get one that does the job you want to accomplish, and follow their directions for adding it to your paid WordPress site.

Since I’m not going to teach you to how to code HTML, CSS or Javascript, that’s the end of this discussion.

I once changed a line of code and caused my site to fail, including the logon page and the dashboard. The nice folks who host the site had to load the default theme.

Custom HTML Code for an E-Commerce WebSite

When you’re ready to build your own e-commerce web site, check what Big Commerce offers. Their packages let you create your online retail presence quickly, manage your store. They even give you a half-hour appointment with their experts so you can be up and running fast.

You could hire someone to write custom HTML code, plus Javascript, to install your shopping cart and Pay Pal payment widgets. But check Big Commerce‘s prices first and see whether you should start your online buisness quicker and cheaper with their solutions.

Free Website Creation and Hosting

You can blog contentedly using free website creation and hosting from any number of providers. I have:

  • The DeHaan Directory hosted by WordPress: no custom HTML code and extremely little chance of earning a penny.
  • My Fitness… blog is hosted by Blogspot, aka Blogger, aka Google. They permit some HTML code so it is monetized.
  • I have some pages at Wizzley; I don’t remember trying any customization, but they support monetization through advertising. If you join them, please use my Wizzley referral. Thanks.

The Second Screen Capture for Custom HTML Code on a Free Website from Weebly

"Weebly SEO Settings" image by Mike DeHaan
“Weebly SEO Settings” image by Mike DeHaan

One of the disadvantages of the Weebly platform as a free website is that it has a very narrow column for the blog post. Images are pretty small by default and cannot expand as needed.

So I promised my Weebly readers that I would show off the screen capture pictures here also.

Professional Writing by DeHaan Services

DeHaan Services writes web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science and other web sites. That’s why we highlight these online articles on this blog page.

To only see our Toronto events (for things to do in Toronto) or fitness articles, please click on the appropriate category in the “Categories” section at the bottom of the right-hand margin.

Thank you for reading about why and how to add custom HTML code to a free website.

Free Website Design: How to Add Widgets to a Weebly Sidebar

A reader of my Blog of Writing: Weebly Tips asked, “…how to add a blogroll or links tab to the Weebly sidebar”?

I deal with that specific question in that blog, but here I want to address some broader questions about web hosting options.

By the way, I use the word “premium” as “must be paid for” and “opposite of free“, but not necessarily as “expensive”. Some “premium” options are quite inexpensive; they are just not free.

Using Weebly’s Free Website Design Software

"Open the Sidebar Menu" image by Mike DeHaan
“Open the Sidebar Menu” image by Mike DeHaan

My full answer will take two or three entries in my Blog of Writing, but “Weebly Tip #3: How to Add Elements to the Weebly Sidebar” explains the first steps.

I expect to answer the rest of this question over the next week or two in that section of my Blog of Writing.

That blog is hosted by Weebly, where anyone can create a free website for blogging. It uses Weebly’s proprietary free website design software. Each free blog is included inside the Weebly domain.

I started writing “tips” as well as “discoveries” and “mysteries” about Weebly because, to me, that platform led to a lengthy process of discovery. However, I was able to use Weebly for free and eventually became accustomed to what I could do with it.

The phrase “cheap and cheerful” comes to mind. Are there other options to build a website free? Why do I also use others? Should you pay for your own Internet domain, or pay website builders for web design?

Two Other Free Blogging Sites

Do I use free blogging sites? “Tootin’ right, I do”! So do uncounted hordes of fellow bloggers and web authors. Here are two of my free blogs.

My DeHaan Directory is a free blog hosted by WordPress, which uses their web design software. There is a thriving market for premium WordPress themes, as well as many free themes and plug-in components.

My DeHaan Fitness and Weight Control is another free blog, hosted by Blogger which may now be a subsidiary of Google.

Each free web hosting site has the following features:

  • The site charges nothing for the service: good!
  • Anyone can start a blog from any country: good!
  • Each blog and article, post or Lens is inside the main site’s web domain, making it less attractive to search engines: poor!
  • Each site has its proprietary software tools and methods. Some are easier to use than others. This depends on what you already know; how you think; how well they document their own methods; and what you want to accomplish. “It depends”!
  • Most sites offer premium upgrades at some cost. If you need it, that’s a good option!
  • If you decide to migrate from one site to another, you may have to rewrite all your content: bad if you need to do it.

One of the big differences among sites is whether you can “monetize” your blog. The free WordPress hosting system forbids monetization, with a possible exception if you are incredibly popular.

Programs such as Google AdSense might not affiliate with a blogger who only uses free websites. In my case, I started with DeHaan Services, and could add DeHaan Fitness afterwards.

It’s quite unlikely that you could create an e-commerce website, or an “online retail store”, in a free blogging site.

Why Pay for a Premium Website?

This site, DeHaan Services, uses WordPress templates and software but pays for the domain name and hosting. Why do I pay for hosting this blog?

Search engines may give a paid-for domain name higher credibility compared to free-hosting blog sites. Visitors may also find it more “professional” to see the owner’s domain name, rather than “owner.freehostingservice.com”.

This for-pay web site affords me much more control. For example, I can choose whether or not to permit advertising and through which organizations. I chose to add sidebar buttons for Google+ and ZoomIt, for example.

I had used Kontera but now use SkimLinks to monetize DeHaan Services using the following:

Premium Hosts and the Choice of a CMS

Usually when you pay for a premium hosting service, you can select from several CMS (Content Management System) options. WordPress and Joomla are two of the most popular. In truth, Blogger, Weebly, and others might each have a proprietary CMS or might have adapted a standard one. The CMS handles data:

  • Add a new blog page (like “About Me”) or article.
  • Track categories and tags, building links for to the articles based on those tags and categories.
  • Permit comments and attach them to articles.
  • Lock private pages behind passwords.
  • Control editing and logins.

The CMS also handles themes, which include the number of columns, whether there are pictures, background colours, fonts, and what goes into the sidebar(s) on every page.

The free website hosts may allow a range of themes but not a choice of CMS.

If you have a WordPress site, for example, you should be able to copy the data from one host and migrate it to another’s WordPress installation with relatively few problems.

Options for Website Hosting

You can certainly use any of the free hosting services I’ve mentioned. As far as I know, anyone anywhere could use any of the free sites.

If you want to pay for premium hosting, or if you need a domain name for your business or for personal use, you probably want to start checking web hosting companies in your own country.

Although I don’t use any of these myself, you could start your research by checking one of the following companies based on your country. I believe each provides domain name registration as well as site hosting and either free website design software or premium CMS paackges.

  • One Canadian web hosting service is “My Hosting“.
  • In the United Kingdom, “Base Kit” offers a free trial option as well as a full range of low-cost premium services.
  • Americans could consider “1&1” for web domains and hosting.

Professional Writing by DeHaan Services

DeHaan Services writes web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science and other online sites. That’s why we highlight these online articles on this blog page.

To only see our Toronto events or fitness articles, please click on the appropriate category in the “Categories” section at the bottom of the right-hand margin.

Thank you for reading about free versus premium web hosting options, all begun by a question about the Weebly sidebar.

A Weebly Tip about Your Archive

Do you blog using Weebly? That’s where I have my Blog of Writing; but the Weebly platform differs from WordPress which supports this site. It has a few quirks, and needs a slightly different set of skills for efficient editing.

If you ever need to revise an old article on the Weebly platform, you want to read my “Weebly Tip #2: Edit Articles via the Weebly Archive“.

Why Use the Weebly Archive to Find Old Articles?

"Weebly Archive List" image by Mike DeHaan
“Weebly Archive List” image by Mike DeHaan

Weebly’s editor shows a few articles in full; the author can then select and update one article. Without the archive, one must click a “previous” button many, many times to find the old blog post.

WordPress gives the author several choices. In the administrator’s area, the author can go to a page that lists article titles. There are enough titles on one page that scrolling back is not too bad. However, the best alternative is for the author to find that page (through a search, or via a link from a directory). Once on the reader’s version of the page, if the author is logged on the site, clicking “edit” allows revising the contents.

Publicity for this How-to Use Weebly Article

In my main Blog of Writing page, “How to Use Your Weebly Archive” includes a confidential writing tip.

Professional Writing by DeHaan Services

DeHaan Services writes content or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, and other online sites. That’s why we highlight these online articles on this blog page.

To only see our Toronto events or fitness articles, please click on the appropriate category in the “Categories” section at the bottom of the left-hand margin.

Thank you for reading this promotional article about my tip on using your Weebly archive to revise old blog posts.