A few people have asked how we put together our site, so I thought I'd make a post out of it. It's surprisingly simple and easy to maintain once the setup is all out of the way, and I have to give all credit and many thanks to our friend Steve for providing the inspiration and helping us get started: we're by no means experts, and wouldn't have been able to do it without his help!
Initially (back in the El Gordo days) we used FrontPage and the free webspace our internet provider offered to create our webpage. It was fairly easy to use, but filled up fast and was a pain to manage all the content broken into small pieces. After we moved we decided to get serious and have our own domain name: picking one took a lot of thinking about, and was probably the most time-intensive and agonizing part of the process.
We elected to use PHPWebhosting for our site, mostly because that's what Steve used and being in unfamiliar territory I wanted to avoid introducing any new problems into the recipe. It's $10 a month, with seemingly unlimited use (we've got a lot of content on there and they haven't squeaked yet.)
Next, to register our domain name we went to Verio. There was an annual fee, I don't remember exactly but I think it was around $70. It looks like they're offering webhosting services now too, might be worth checking out in lieu of phpwebhosting.
After we had our domain name and webspace, we needed content. Fortunately, we invested in a digital camera in 2000 and have used it a lot since. With FrontPage, we found managing all the thumbnails and links to be the biggest pain of the process. We wanted something automated, and noticed a few of our friends using a program called Dalbum.
DAlbum is available free from their website, but requires an ftp client to actually get the pics from your local drive onto your ftp site. We chose SmartFTP for that, it's also free from their website. The installation instructions are on the page, and are pretty straightforward.
Once it's setup, adding new pictures is a very simple, drag-and-drop process with the ftp client. Afterwards you just login and click a button and the program generates all the thumbnails and organizes all the content for you. It has a web-interface that allows you to add captions to photos and descriptions to albums, but we found that we were losing a lot of the posts into "the void" after we'd update. We wanted a way to archive things so we could look back on events and interact a little with our families and friends: weblogging seemed just the thing.
For our weblogging we use Movable Type (also free from the site.) Like DAlbum, once you set it up it handles all the layout and archiving itself. Updating it is about as simple as sending an email. There are versions that are easier to setup too, but we again chose to copy Steve literally.
And that's pretty much it! It might seem like a lot at first glance, but it's really pretty simple.