I have been handcoding websites in Notepad for about ten years now - all pretty vanilla stuff, nothing in the 'all singing all dancing' category, but trying to make sites which are (hopefully) user friendly. One is aimed at providing information for browsers/customers about our Art Gallery/Studio.
I've come here seeking advice from knowledgeable web designers about how to update this website.
First of all, we're a husband and wife team. Hubby is the artist and I do all the computing and IT stuff including the website. I think he does appreciate the work I put into the website (and the money saved by not spending a lot of money to have a fancy site one professionally done) but now he's wanting more functionality and I'm not sure how to go about providing it.
The website itself was originally handcoded in about 2002 and one section hasn't changed because there is nothing new there. Parts of another section are pretty much archive to they haven't been updated in any major way. I've redone the index page, added some extra pages and spruced up others. I've also 'bolted on' a small separate website which I created for a month-long solo Exhibition he had in 2009 and an accompanying seven page 'blog' with photos. His latest Exhibition last autumn has a Visual Lightbox slideshow for customers to view. All in all, it's a bit of a ragbag of slightly disjointed sections and I really need to pull it all together properly (which means a lot of work). The older pages are coded using basic HTML but the newer ones employ CSS to format the text.
The site is partly news and events (exhibitions, art holidays, biography etc) and partly a shop window or online brochure. He currently has some fifty giclee prints for sale and each one has its own page showing a large scale image together with a description, details and price. Then there are a similar number of lithograph prints, eight sets of cards, a perpetual calendar and postcards. We don't have online ordering but I try to make the images as accurate as possible (given the huge range of monitors etc that will be displaying them).
With the increasing number of prints on offer (he completes a couple of dozen original paintings every year and most of them make it into print), everything is getting a bit unwieldy and he is worried that customers might be searching for something specific (blue + flowers) for example and not being able to find it easily.
So he wants me to create a search engine just for the Gallery website which allows visitors to search paintings/prints by keywords and delivers relevant results so they don't have to go trawling through pages and pages to find the one that inspires them to buy. He's actually described a 'tickbox' option where a customer could tick several options and receive results based on that (beach+flower+summer) for example.
At the moment, the website is hosted on our ISP's server space and the domain name (registered with a separate company) is masked to map it to a page on our webspace. I'm thinking it will be necessary to move it to a proper domain/hosting package to access the necessary back-end functionality that his requests demand.
Could anyone point me in the right direction (using fairly simple terms) so that I can make a start on updating the website fairly soon? He says he doesn't mind TOO much how long it takes but I suspect he'd really like it done as soon as possible
Thanks for any help you can give me,
P.S. If anyone wants a link to the website so they can see what we have and what we need, please PM me and I'll send it to you.