Chandler’s Ford Today is the product of passionate people from Chandler’s Ford.
I’m inspired and challenged by many of you.
Web designer Neil Duddridge from the company SO53 came to my rescue last summer. He took over the site and provided technical support while this site was struggling to get noticed. His brilliance in hosting and supporting the site has allowed me to focus on my main tasks for this site – writing and researching.
How did the story of Chandler’s Ford Today begin?
As a blogger on WordPress.com for five years, in March 2013 I set myself a new project – to create a new website for Chandler’s Ford, with a vision that this site would become a community site, managed and supported by a team of people one day.
I wanted to have total control of this new website, so I decided to self-host the WordPress site.
This project was the biggest challenge I had ever given myself on my online life. I paid about US$200 for a distance web design course from America specialising in WordPress, learned key skills in web design, and managed to set up the site, crafted each page, and had the site hosted and backed up in America. The site was up and running within two weeks of my hard work, and it was called Eastleighnet. I wrote my first post called Welcome With A Fairtrade Message on 19th March 2013.
You see — I set up this website all by myself successfully. I bought a domain name, set up a hosting account, installed WordPress, and played with themes and design settings. It was my DIY website. The site looked amateurish, however, I have learned the key skills in setting up a self-hosting website. I did it!
I chose Eastleighnet as the domain name for this site then as I felt I might cover a wider area, and Chandler’s Ford is within Eastleigh, and Eastleighnet sounds catchy and upbeat. I still think it is a brilliant domain name.
Chandler’s Ford Today: What a smart idea!
In my previous post, I told you that Roger Clark, Trustee of The Hilt, had convinced me that Eastleighnet was no longer appropriate for this Chandler’s Ford focused site. This site is growing steadily that it is no longer ‘my’ site. I must listen to advice and make changes.
I returned to Neil for more advice.
I first approached Neil last summer after finding him online. I liked the style of his website — enchanting with a flying cartoon character, use of chalk font, excellent colour scheme, and his website is rich in personalities. I like the voice of SO53. Quite importantly, I found Neil just lives across the road, about 40 metres away from me.
I explained to Neil about my new project, and how this website was still hosted somewhere in America. I continued to pay for upgrade and some services in America which I was no longer sure of.
I asked Neil if SO53 would consider helping me. I told Neil I had a very low budget and this project might even fail. I was lucky. Neil charged me a very small amount from hosting, updates to backups. In this email, Neil also wrote:
“Regarding the ongoing development of the site, I do appreciate this is a not-for-profit site and being a lifelong Chandlers (sic.) Ford resident that I am happy to see what I can do in my spare time without charge…”
I forwarded emails from Roger to Neil and after a few brainstorming sessions, Neil came up with Chandler’s Ford Today. This name sounds fresh. It is perfect.
In the past two weeks, you may have noticed major changes on this site. Neil has successfully dealt with renaming and site transfer.
Who is Neil Duddridge?
You may have met Neil in the woods in Chandler’s Ford. Have you seen a man with four huskies in the woods? Yes, Neil is pack leader to 4 Siberian Huskies – Kai, Shadow, Mya and Delilah.
Website design work involves concentration, long hours and attention to detail.
Neil believes that a website designer needs to think clearly to get the best results. It is important to unwind at the end of a project or working day.
“I find there is no better way to do this than to go out running with my huskies, either on foot, scooter or rig. It’s a great work out for both man and dog. The pictures above are of me from a recent Canicross event, hanging on to the scooter whilst Kai and Delilah pull me round a 5km trail then letting Mya run me through the puddles for another 5km….. ”
From Neil Duddridge on SO53 blog: As a website designer it’s all play and no work, right?
As Neil analysed it well – A clear-minded designer is a happy designer and a tired husky is definitely a happy husky!
I’m lucky to have Neil as one of the great men behind Chandler’s Ford Today. I’m free to be creative with the site and do whatever I want, and Neil handles all the technical tasks behind the scene. Currently Neil is looking into finding a more flexible and responsive theme to better serve this growing site with multiple users.
Finally, though Neil coined the site name Chandler’s Ford Today, I saved the apostrophe for Chandler’s Ford on this site in our great apostrophe debate. I’m proud of saving the apostrophe. The decision was widely supported by many passionate and articulate residents of Chandler’s Ford.
- Chandler’s Ford Today For Chandler’s Ford Community
- Is Chandler’s Ford A Jaguar? Meet Roger Clark.
- Neil Duddridge: The Man Behind Chandler’s Ford Today (With Huskies)
- Lib Dem Joined The Apostrophe Debate of Chandler’s Ford
- Chandler’s Ford Or Chandlers Ford? You Choose.
- Does Spelling Matter? Notes On Chandler’s Ford Library.
- How I love Your Comments