After setting up FirstBite email at Google Apps (see the previous post), I had a look at web pages.
My existing website had become out of sync with my needs and I was no longer using all it had to offer. In fact, my business these days revolves around this MacTips website: the blog, the weekly MacTips and the Learning Centre.
The FirstBite site had become mainly the repository of my CV and portfolio, but since I’ve changed my work considerably recently — dropping training, support and making websites to focus on writing — even the portfolio was no longer appropriate. I realised that in fact all I needed for FirstBite was a couple of simple pages. Google Apps include 100Mb of website hosting as part of the package.
Setting up the pages involved choosing from some templates and entering text and images. It seems there are some more advanced methods of adding pages, but I just haven’t investigated them yet.
An immediate problem was that the HTML produced from this point and click template method just wasn’t up to my standards. After some wrestling though I was able to pound it into a satisfactory shape. My new FirstBite page is simple and lean.
That had created my new one-page site (with scope for more pages if I need them), but the domain name records were still pointing at the old site. That worked well while I explored and tested, but today I was ready at last to make the break with the old FirstBite. It was time to update the domain records.And that proved to be confusing.
In the past I’ve registered a domain with Freeparking, and then edited the DNS records to point to the site on HostMe. Google Apps doesn’t work quite the same way: the IP addresses remain the same, but you have to change the CNAME records. Scary.
Still, I followed the instructions on the Google Apps Help pages, held my breath and visited my domain name. The old pages were still being delivered. Hmm. Was this just because it can take several hours before such changes take effect, or was it because I’d messed up?
Well, in short, it was just that it takes time for these things to work through the system. I’m not sure how long it takes to propagate around the world, but now, at least locally, my domain name is delivering the all-new single page FirstBite website.
I guess I’ve now officially moved all of FirstBite’s operations to Google Apps. I’ve used FTP to grab everything from the old server, exported the database content, and now need only cancel the hosting when it comes up for renewal next month.