Design Dilemmas

I’m contemplating embarking on a major website redesign. Not just a “the.details” redesign—a revamping of all the Diana Network of websites. I’m contemplating actually paying for my web hosting, and getting a decent amount of storage space. Perhaps an ASP-enabled server (so I can at least put pre-made scripts on it, even if I can’t make myself learn ASP alone). Hopefully at least PHP and SQL and Perl. Perhaps even abandoning LiveJournal altogether and trying out one of these other packages like Movable Type or WordPress or Textpattern.

Thing is, now that I give the idea some serious thought, I’m not sure how much control I would have over my design and coding if I use blogging software. My goal is to have a more dynamic page with more flexible design elements—”skinnable” is close to what I’m thinking, although I’m not sure if I could think of more than one or two site designs at once. But, anyway, having started as a hard-coder of HTML, it’s hard to give away all control of my coding, CSS or HTML or javascript or what-have-you. Even in Dreamweaver, I have to go in and fix code sometimes to get it the way I want.

And then there’s the Trendy Factor™. I don’t want my site to look exactly like everyone else’s site, spiffy and acclaimed though they may be. Unfortunately, however, my iFrames aren’t very searchable or trackable or navigable, though I once thought they were the proverbial shiznit. I want a clean, easy-to-update site with highly customizable design elements. I don’t necessarily want bleeding-edge web tech, nor do I want a rubber-stamp MT page with dashed lines around the blockquotes and a pretty patterned background behind my main content panel. I want a classic yet fun and moderately untraditional page that looks like I designed it.

When do I find my style? The one that I like as much as I like the styles of others? The closest I ever got was the Saginaires Alumni page, and even that’s beginning to look stale to me. It’s like it’s almost done, but not quite out of the draft stage. It’s missing something vital, some important detail elements.

Now, before I get a rash of “shut up—you design great websites!” comments (which, admittedly, I wouldn’t mind reading for an ego boost), I’ll concede that I do have some good ideas every now and then. I just can’t seem to make them combine into a solid final cohesive product with which I can be satisfied.

Maybe I’ll design a spiffy-looking new website with more dynamic and engaging content. We’ll see.