Creating the Skydingo site...

I have been in IT management roles for many years now... Although I have stayed very technical from an architectural and design level, my hands-on systems admin skills have started to fade away. One of my goals in creating the new content for was to learn basic web development skills and create the site through hands-on self learning. The following is a list of the objectives and tools used, or planned to be use, throughout the process.

Site Requirements...

The site requirements consist of basic components required for a small business to launch a site, market the site and collect revenue (i.e. learn how to do the things that would distract and slow you down if you have a great product or service idea to launch). And therefore build the knowledge and template for execution when a great entrepreneurial idea presents itself!

  • Create basic website components (header/footer, placement (grids), carousels, image controls, etc.)
  • Create a site template/framework
  • Create or pay for a site logo
  • Add an eCommerce solution with a donations button linked to a bank account
  • Create search engine optimization, tags and strategy
  • Create a layout for Ad placement
  • Add revenue generating Ads to site
  • Create and add content pages to the site
  • Establish site utilization/tracking analytic tools
  • Pay for at least one freelance contractor to do something: web, js, db schema, art etc.
  • Create downloadable content based on email registration
  • Execute an email or similar marketing campaign to generate site traffic
  • Establish site management and monitoring solutions

To Do's, Tools & Things to Learn...

The To Do List The Solution Notes & Comments
Create an isolated work space/home office Private home office Kicked everything out of the guest bedroom and took over
Pick a Hosting provider The site UX and UI is not good, but it works and is cheap
Pick and register a Domain Name Registered via, already owned since 2011
Add site backup and recovery process Not Started
Add database backup and recovery process Not Started
Pick an FTP Client (for Mac) CyberDuck (Free) It seemed like the best option that included both Mac and Windows versions. I did no evaluations of other products.
Pick a text editor Sublime2 (Free, but I need to donate) Installed both Sublime2 and TextWrangler (Mac installs). Sublime2 just seemed easier with lots of functionality, but I didn't do much effort into the evaluation.
Pick a drawing/diagram tool Visio 2013 (Purchased) Running it on a Windows VM via VMware Fusion on Mac
Pick a photo editor PaintShop Pro (Purchased) It is cheap and has more functionality that I'll ever need. Running it on a Windows VM via VMware Fusion on Mac
Pick a Screen Capture tool Snagit (Purchased) Although Windows and Mac both have native screen capture tools, some of the functionality and resolution quality wasn't great. I purchased Snagit because of the rich editing features and because it is available for both Windows and Mac.
Pick training materials - web/dev technologies Treehouse (Monthly subscription - $25), I like the format and there is lots of training content. The videos/training have short interactive "challenges" or "tests" throughout the courses which are annoying but does force engagement; helpful for self-learning where it is easy to drift or skip some of the fundamentals. I used training videos for: MySql, SQL, PHP, Python, Ruby, Bootstrap, Wordpress, CSS, javaScript, HTML, Responsive Design, Linux Console Foundations, and many other web/dev technologies.
Pick training materials - web/dev technologies (Free) I have used for years as a great reference tool.
Pick training materials - web/dev/images/sysamdin/everything technologies (Free) YouTube videos are a great help for everything
Pick a web language PHP (Free) Did learning tracks at Treehouse for Ruby, PHP and Python. PHP just seems to be the easiest and has the most support for low-end entry level hosting sites; all are scalable for any size platform.
Pick a site framework Bootstrap 3.0 (Free) I was interested in it and found it to be real easy, didn't look at much else. Used Treehouse training videos.
Pick a font provider Google Fonts (Free) It's free, easy and Google.
Pick a glyphicon provider TBD TBD
Pick a site tracking and diagnostics solution Google Analytics (Free) It's free and awesome.
Pick an advertising tool Google AdWords (Free) It's free and Google.
Pick a site Ad display/revenue solution Google AdSense (Free) It's free and Google.
Pick an eCommerce solution Not Started
Pick a bank account solution Not Started
Pick a CRM and Marketing Platform (Not Purchased Yet) They are local, #2 behind salesforce and focused on small business.

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