So you want to dabble with the Internet yourself? Perhaps run your own web presence, or online shop, or a blog like this one? Yes, there are loads of adverts for simple managed hosting, but sometimes there is a lot of satisfaction that can be gained by installing it / hosting it / maintaining it yourself. That’s exactly how I feel anyway.
I was recently asked by a family member to help her with her online shop. She had set up a very simple shop using an off-the-shelf managed solution for a hosting company, but she was finding it difficult to configure, we didn’t think it looked very good, and, most importantly in this case, she wasn’t getting any sales. Ofcourse, maybe she should just look around
for another packaged online shop, or even just upgrade with her current provider. But I wanted to use this as an opportunity to bring some of my technical skills up-to-date and do much of it myself. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that I wanted to code a bespoke web shop system from scratch – there are plenty of mature freeware packages out there which have strong community-based support offerings and we should use one of those – but at least by installing, hosting and managing it ourselves we would get more control over the shop, and, when sales do grow, we could scale up with it.
Co-incidentally I have recently started on a project at work which utilises cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and it became clear that their offering would be ideal for this. Moreover, their free usage tier would allow us to experiment without incurring hosting charges for the first year, and therefore the (small) amount of money that she was currently spending on her existing online shop hosting charges could be spent instead on Google AdWords, to generate traffic, build her brand awareness and drive sales.
And this allows me to do something else I’ve wanted to do – write a blog – since what I learn how to do I can write about and share with other enthusiasts like myself. Over time I intend to build up a library of How To articles on AWS, Prestashop, Basic Linux administration, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, WordPress, DNS etc. etc. Read on, and I’d love to have your comments and feedback.