Not long ago, my mom was visiting us from Vietnam. One of her usual missions was to bring us as much food as she can, and cook as much dishes as possible during her short stay here. There is always this assumption about us starving in Canada as we dont have any food to eat. While that is not true, we always enjoy her food.
Anyway, this time, there is another thing that she wants: a website for her classes.
She’s a middle-school English teacher and it’s amazing how she manages her classes without some sort of online management. Everything is verbal, from class scheduling to daily announcements. The fact that she still has to call each and every one of her students every time there’s a class schedule change is simply unacceptable.
She must have a website.
It turned out that my brother already has a website with GoDaddy two years ago, triethuynh.com, which he left in dust ever since. But it’s still a good starting point: get a name for her website.
The first task turned out to be quite easy: we went on godaddy.com and searched for the name we want. Godaddy doesnt care if the name was taken or not and suggests a bunch of other names. We ended up with hoangsuong.co because hoangsuong.com is obviously naively not available.
Next is to pick a theme for our website. Theme defines the look and feel of the website so we took our time choosing it ( a little over 2 hours). We settled with a class room theme, which we thought pretty befitting.
After choosing the theme, came the real challenge: building the actual content of the website. At that point we realized we didnt have a clear idea of what it should be. It’s funny how Engineering Requirement Elicitation techniques were applied here: we actually did a formal sit-down with mom, our client, to try to ‘elicit’ her requirements – what she really needs, not wants. Got several points down:
- A way for people to contact her
- A way to put announcements and notifications
- A way to publish class schedule
- A way to introduce herself, who she is, what she does
Sounds like a good list. We spent the rest of the day polishing it. Here is the final product, hoangsuong.co (if you can’t load it, dont be surprised, it’s only hosted on Godaddy till 12/2015, and Godaddy hosting sucks)
We were pretty happy with the website. Mom really liked how we were able to squeeze some pictures on there (even though it’s not a requirement). Our dad, however, had a different idea of what the website should be. After 10 seconds, he concluded the website was pretty ‘useless’ (insert heart broken sound here).
He pointed out that there is no way for mom to post documents. Documents such as exercises and grades for her students to download, and they should be password protected. Well, turned out we completely missed that requirement.
Not all is lost, after a couple days looking at the website, we realized something: static website sucks. It’s the same thing over and over again. Who would come back to a website that doesnt have new content?
We decided to make a shift into dynamic website, the kind that you can grow your content, and have some sort of human interaction with it. Something like … a blog.
Surprise! And yet I thought a ‘blog’ isnt something that we want, since blogging to me sounds like a hundred years ago. Who still does blogging?
Well, turned out there are a lot of active bloggers out there. Most of them blog for money now. Anyway, that’s when I collided with WordPress.
I spent the next day building my own blog instead (what you are reading now). Got me a new domain name and all but I wouldnt call it a side-tracked. Consider it a necessary sacrifice to get to know Wordpress. I have this whole post How to make website and blog to prove it.
After proving WordPress is the one, we bought a new domain name and started fresh with it. You can see it live here at hoangsuong.ca
It looks pretty cool, doesnt it?