About

 

About Whitewater Host

It evolved out of necessity…and I happened to be there.  I had been self=employed for several years as a consulting engineer and while the internet was building into the marketing and eCommerce force it is today, it wasn’t there in 2002 when I began working for myself.  Never the less, I knew I needed a website so I built a simple and basic static html website and called it good.  I updated it a few times over the next few years, but not very often as updating a static html website can be an exercise in self-inflicted pain.  But, the beginning was there – I had a web hosting account and knew how to set up domain names, web sites and email addresses.

Then in 2007 I joined the Oregon Whitewater Association as an outlet for my love of all things outdoors, especially whitewater rafting.  Shortly after joining the club I was elected to the Board of Directors and one of the first mandates the newly elected President that joined the Board at the same time I did was to say the club needed a new website.  She was absolutely right – the website was old and outdated, it was rarely updated, it had a lot of broken links and it wasn’t doing anything for the club.

So one of the club members who is an outfitter – a rafting guide – volunteered to make a new static html website, and it looked great – at first, and we hosted it my my web hosting account.  One of the biggest problems with static html websites is they tend to get outdated really fast.  Content needs to change on a website and if it doesn’t, it becomes very obvious to anyone who visits the site.  Another issue was the outfitter who made the site was completely unavailable during the summer months when he was at his peak busy season with work, so I began to take over some of the website administrative duties.

At the same time I had been thinking there just had to be a better way to run a website than all of this manually updating all of the slow and tedious work that goes into managing a static html website that was quickly growing to more than 100 pages.  I wondered how website managers of larger website did it and figured there was something out there that I was missing – and boy was there.  I had stumbled across the term “CMS” which stands for Content Management System.  Basically what that means is a website is served from a database.  The pages don’t actually exist until you click on the link for a particular page, then software running in the background on the web server serves the page template with the correct content in it and your web browser puts it all together.  That is very powerful because you can dynamically change contents of a page on the fly based on several criteria.  Think of an airline site – it doesn’t know what airfare to display until you tell it where you are flying to and from and what dates.  When you give it that information, the web server then created the page with the information you requested on it on the fly and you get the information you want.

Then I discovered Concrete5 – the easiest to use, most powerful, and easy to learn Open Source CMS.  It took me a while to fully grasp what this was – I was new to all of this, but I taught myself CSS, PHP and a little bit of MySQL database programming, and the rest is history.  I got sick and tired of constantly updating the OWA static html website and one day I just took the whole thing down and put up a new website for the club that I built with Concrete5.

Now, the Oregon Whitewater Association has a website where trip reports are always being posted and the latest ones automatically show up on  the front page, the trip calendar is easy to update and maintain, new users can sign up online, courses and gear can be sold through the website, and more.  In the first year the Concrete5 website was online, the club nearly doubled in size and we had to keep adding more to the site to manage the growth.  The Concrete5 website is one of the single best things that has happened to that OWA, and it all started with someone saying that the club needed a new website and I just happened to be there and have a very basic set of skills at the time. 

I have parlayed that website into a full-fledged business.  My wife is a graphic designer and she makes all of the graphics and color schemes for the websites Whitewater Host builds.  And I have the technical knowledge to build your website.  Along with designing, building and hosting websites, Whitewater Host is committed to empowering you with the knowledge to do this yourself.  I have tried several things that don’t work very well and a few that do.  I have had things go well and amazingly bad for me in regards to the websites I have built and hosted over the years and I will give my knowledge to you in the blog section of this website and recommend companies and products that I use and trust.

So please, explore the site and fell free to send me any questions you have.