see nerd blog — the corrupt web

I run corrupt press: a small, rather too occasional, poetry press. It has a website built like this one.

Once in a while, I’m asked by another small press owner about setting up and running a website. Well, my sites are a very bad example. Few should follow my approach.

I’m a full blown computer nerd, second class. My websites are hand coded. I use no special web editors, packages or tools, just Notepad and its Mac equivalents. This allows me to build technically a very simple site with few maintenance requirements. This lets me avoid almost all the urgent security patches every responsible site owner should urgently install, because they don’t apply where the leaky software isn’t used. Like many, I have neither time nor the global eye to patch properly. But because I use almost the simplest approach I can (google fonts are the unnecessary but beautiful luxury), just about the only time I actually need to update the corrupt site is when a new book is published.

The first problem with doing the same is you have to know how to code in HTML and CSS. You can’t copy the technique if you don’t have the skills.

The second problem is that there is no mechanism for user interaction, beyond paypal buttons and an email address. The site allows no comments, no discussion, nothing. Now, I’m happy with that for corrupt press, because I have no intention of creating and supporting a corrupt community (there’s enough of them out there already). If you might want an online community now,or in the future, this approach doesn’t work.

The third problem is that I have absolute control over the layout, colours—everything. No graphic designer was involved. Now, I like what I see, but I am biased and tasteless and not aware of problems on computers that aren’t elderly Macs. My site is not tempered by a graphic designer’s professional knowledge and experience.

The final problem, which is not a problem for me, is that I need to host the site. Actually, I run my own machine in the cloud for quite different reasons, and piggy corrupt press on the back of that. This is not a good solution for someone who just wanted a website.

A website makes good sense for any small business that wants to reach beyond a range of local buses. Unfortunately, my approach demands a certain nerdy smelliness. Those who prefer to bathe in the milk of normality should probably consult owners of similar bizni who lack computer nerdiness. Don’t talk to people like me.

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