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How the Cape Verde Tips website has evolved

How the Cape Verde Tips website has evolved

How the Cape Verde Tips website has evolved

Cheryl Thomas - Tuesday, January 31, 2017
How the Cape Verde Tips website has evolved

Having watched the TV programme 'A Place in the Sun' early in 2005 about the islands of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), I was immediately interested in what the islands offered.... as well as, or near enough, 'all year round sunshine'.

I carried out some research before visiting Sal. There were a number of websites already set up in English, Italian, Portuguese and German on Cap Vert, Cabo Verde, Cap Verdes, Kaap Verdie, but not many about the Cape Verde isles, in English that I could find.

Cape Verde is made up of 10 islands but the television programme was promoting Sal as the main up and coming tourist island destination. I decided I wanted to come and visit the island and made arrangements to travel there. There were no direct flights from the UK at that time so I traveled out via Lisbon.

I, like a number of other Brits had arrived to look at properties, some of us met up and shared our experiences. Some  properties were off-plan, others that were part completed or built. Some were in Santa Maria, others up at Murdeira near the airport, on the west coast of the island.

I started making notes whilst on Sal, notes about travel, properties and experiences etc.

On return to the UK at the end of my holiday I started going through my notes and writing about my visit and experiences traveling there. It seemed this drought hit island had made an impact on me, the people were friendly, the beaches in the south of the island in Santa Maria were white with clear blue crystal waters, the climate was fantastic and there were already other nationalities living and working there. What this island was lacking as regards infrastructure, trees, water, grass and much more I told myself, would change in time. I could see there was obviously going to be a lot of interest in the islands in the coming years.

So, with about 40 pages of information and tips that I wanted to share I decided the best way to do it would be to start my own website. The name became quite obvious and it was called 'Cape Verde Tips'. I had a basic website built and hosted by an online web company in the UK, I think it was launched in January 2006.

Having moved out to Sal in March 2006 I continued to try and update images and pages within the website but had to rely on asking people to do this for me.

Some time later I decided I needed a website on which I could edit myself to some degree, changing and uploading info. I knew someone on Sal that could help me with finding another host and designer so I went with that and linked up with a web designer that was based in Portugal. There's more information about that within the webblog.

People still ask where is Cape Verde? Where are the Cape Verde Isles? I receive emails saying we are visiting Cape Verde and asking if I can recommend good restaurants, fishing operators etc., but they don't mention which island they are visiting. Some people still think Cape Verde is one island! So there is still a lot to do to educate people through the media.

In January 2009 after some research I chose to move host and purchase a new layout and business system offered through Eclipse Online Solutions (EOS). Note: Further info on this move can be found within the webblog.

Also, in June 2009 I launched a second website with EOS and called it 'Expats Cape Verde'. This provided some information in English from English speaking Expats, other nationals or local people who wished to promote or provide information about something that had happened or that was taking place in Cape Verde. However most of the news came from people on Sal, but from time to time we also received an input from some expats on Boavista and Santiago. The Expats newsletter was initially introduced and circulated every fortnight to those who wanted to subscribe to receive it, but then it became weekly.

Late 2015 and early 2016 it was clear there was a need to review both websites as I was told they were 'not user friendly', they weren't responding well to those using devices such as ipads and phones that had smaller screens. The main website was 'Cape Verde Tips', so that was the one I needed to have updated first.

While I was deciding on what template to use I started updating some of the pages on the present site.

Once I'd decided on which website template package would be the best to use for my site (that decision took months), some thought then had to be given to how the layout should be set up. The template package I'd chosen was called a 'responsive template', one that would be 'user friendly' to view to those using various types of devices. It also included a set of several template layouts which would form the new website. The new templates seemed to work well using the Adobe Business System from what I could see from looking at another website that used the same design and business system. I'd paid for some work to be done by EOS, some information from present site was transferred over, some web apps were set up, the layout was structured and more. When that was set up it was down to me to look at what needed to go where, however, I soon realised I was slightly out of my depth in many ways.

The template design is different to my present site and, as time went on, it was becoming more apparent to me that I would need to learn more about how to use more functions within the site management system, become more creative and learn how to change things using back office coding, work out how to fit square pegs in round holes and much more. After trying to decide what to do and where on the templates, it all became too confusing and, on a number of occasions I needed to look away from it, sometimes for weeks at a time and just do the things I knew how to do.

I've realised (all but late in the day) that I should have approached what I needed to do differently. I was only partially familiar with the use of the business system. I probably needed more experience or 'know how' to have tackled something like this on my own. Although I'm not quite starting all over again, I am developing a 'new' website with 'new' layouts and using some functions within the business system to add things into the new website layout and templates, that I haven't done before. That's why it's taking longer. I'm slowly working out what it is I need to do, then how.

I have managed to make a number of apps and changes to template layouts by copying what was already set up for me by Eclipse, but at this point I wouldn't try making a new web app if it was going to be too complicated for me, there is too much else to do! A lot of my time is spent taking small steps forward and hopefully fewer steps back each day.

I'm not as near as I hoped to getting the site close to re-launch, but in saying all that, I am really glad I did it this way, not only because it saved me a lot of money, but to say 'I did this'!

So if you want to read more about what's happened (in our eyes) since 2005, you can read more within the links to other blogs and further information within the menu bar and lists. We have plenty of photos and additional information that you can view too.



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