DawnReel.com believes in "Capacity Building." Unlike most web shops and technical assistance providers we want you to learn to manage your site and be as independent as possible. Become competition even! Here are resources to learn to make quality, standards compliant, mobile-friendly, future forward websites. These high-quality, up-to-date tutorials are free and rated "beginner," "intermediate" and "advanced."

Web Design & Development Tutorials

Make great websites cheap! The ultimate collection of free and inexpensive web design tools in fifteen different categories from planning to editing to debugging to testing! http://www.netmagazine.com/features/15-ways-make-great-websites-less (some beginning, mostly intermediate and advanced)

The tutorial site Tuts Plus is a fantastic resource to learn a lot of the basics of web and graphic design. The "premium" material costs $19/month, but many basic tutorials are free (you pay extra for additional PSD files, advanced tutorials, latest tutorials, etc.). Do the "Web Design from Scratch" series of 16 lessons. It takes you from what you need to know/download first to start learning coding, all the way to advanced topics like useful online development applications. (beginning to intermediate)

Done the basics and read for the latest HTML5 coding examples? Remy Sharp, co-editor of the short, readable HTML5 book, also has an awesome code repository of HTML demos and examples. (advanced beginner to intermediate)

Ready to pay a bit for top-of-the-line lessons? Treehouse offers a breadth of expert-curated web design, development and iOS development topics (HTML, CSS Foundations, Technology Foundations, Aesthetic Foundations, Introduction to Programming, and others) and charges users from $25 (and up) a month to access its tutorials, forums and online community. Special now, students only $9/month. You will be expertly guided along all the skills you need to get where you want (not just learning programs)--and get to earn badges and shine before industry-leading web professionals on interactive spaces. If you are working in the web design field, or a serious student with $25/month, this is the best place to learn. (From seriously easy, so "easy" they never explain it, to advanced.)

Want to learn JavaScript, the most popular programming language on the web? Okay, they are a bit old, but if you've had problems learning JavaScript before because the online class was geared to coders, not web designers, than http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com/ is a great place to learn the basics. They don't just jump into "Creating Functions in JavaScript" like CodeAcademy.com does, they give you 12 lessons first. (advanced beginner) But if that sounds boring, or you already know C & could care less about HTML, use CodeAcademy. Done with that and want what's next? Learn jQuery in 30 days at http://learnjquery.tutsplus.com/ (class free in early 2012, then small fee) (intermediate).

Already done HTML5 and basic JavaScript tutorials and want to make a Web App and sell it on the Apple and Android stores to become rich and famous?! Nope, not using iOS or any native code, but open source jQuery to work across any platform (class assumes you've already taken HTML5/ CSS3/web design classes). Sign up for the 12-week web application development class at CodeAcademy.com. A fantastic resource for more intermediate students. There are corresponding CodeAcademy groups worldwide for folks going through the CodeAcademy program. You can also learn other skills beside web application development with this priceless, and free, resource for advanced-beginner to intermediate level programmers. Frustrating for complete beginners.

WordPress Tutorials

There are two types of WordPress: (1) WordPress.com and (2) WordPress.org. Total beginners, first learn WordPress.com. Yes, they have free video-based lessons and website hosting! Perfect for small not-for-profits as well.

Want to do more cool things than you can do on a WordPress.com website? Experienced with basic HTML, CSS and basic web hosting? Want to make websites that have a lot of functionality (do lots of cool things); are easy for a non-tech to maintain (but not create, that's your job); and professional? If you answered "yes" to all the above, I recommend trying WordPress.org. If you don't know basic HTML, CSS and webhosting, learn it here first, free.

WPBeginner's WordPress 101 video tutorials will teach you how to create and manage your own site(s) for FREE. Very well-designed series. Fantastic place to start learning, especially for folks who like video-based learning. When done with the beginner lessons check out the rest of WPBeginner.com. The WP Beginner community is the best place to learn all things WordPress including plugin recommendations, theme reviews, folder permissions, building an online store and so much more!

WordPress.org has its own extensive online training. It's geared to learners who are like to learn by reading and who want more detail. Start here.

How WordPress.org Works, a 6-part videotape of a presentation to the NYC WordPress Meetup group. Great for advanced beginners. And check out the many WordPress MeetUp groups all over the world

Social Media

There are a wide range of (mostly free) social media tools organizations can use on their website to that empowers website visitors to do more than just passively read, but to actually get interactive! An interactive web user can interact with you the web worker, and if you want, to connect and share information with other online users as well. You can thus design an experience for your web visitors that is much more exciting, personalized, valuable and enticing to return to--and in turn they can contribute to your site and build community and value there (and you're not even paying them!). These different social media tools include: blogs, photo sharing, bookmarking, RSS, wikis, video sharing and more (yes, like Facebook and Twitter). Read easy descriptions and watch short, cute videos of specific types of tools.

Do you understand these concepts and really just want to kick out your first Facebook page? Check out this super Facebook articles collection.

Email Lists (organize the world)

Beginner Solutions

Did you know free email services like Hotmail and Yahoo have limits on how many emails you can send at a time? When you bump up into this problem you're ready for an Email List service. Also, it's a pain administering and updating email lists manually. Email lists let people sign up and edit email addresses and preferences themselves! Common free ones (advertizing supported) are Yahoo E-Groups and Google Groups. These are great in the beginning, but when you need email segmenting and open-rate and click-on statistics you have to pay (or have more advanced tech knowledge or a 501c3).

Easy Profesional Solutions

MailChimp.com is a great email choice for groups just starting out that want a free solution and who do not have a 501(c)3. It is more robust than Google or Yahoo E-Groups and free for up to 2,000 subscribers (warning-they change this amount all the time). Send up to 12,000 emails per month free. No expiring trials. No contracts. No credit card required. Easy, and actually fun, for beginning Email Marketers. Yeah, the Chimp really is fun, unlike Clippy!

VerticalResponse.com is a full-featured email service that is free for nonprofits with a 501(c)3 certificate in their own name (don't try borrowing one from your friend who works at MegaNonProfit.biz, they check!). They have fantastic free Email Marketing Articles & Reports; Email Marketing Guides; Case Studies; fantastic weekly Webinars; Podcasts; and Videos that teach you beginning through advanced Email Marketing. All you have to do to access them is signup for a free account (first 100 emails are free, no credit card needed for signup). If you are a qualifying nonprofit or ambitious Email Marketer-to-be, sign up now!

Free, Professional & Require Tech Knowledge

Once you have 2,000+ subscribers you need more features and should move up to the paid email (or export your info and import into the totally free Google Groups or Yahoo E-Groups, but it will be a big letdown). If you can't afford the higher volume prices, and have a bit of experience, consider the open-source Dada Mail. You can install it yourself if you have intermediate skills (or $100 they install; $50 manual & lifetime updates). DadaMail is based on CGI scripts, easier than most PHP-based open source email programs, and geared towards artists (Dada) and non-techs.

Lastly, if you have access to advanced skills, a huge list and broke, use the largest open-source email list solution, PHP List. You can set it up and use it for free, but unless you know a bit of PHP/web programming, you won't be able to. Do not attempt this without knowing some PHP! Or pay a one time fee of @$185 for them to set up a free, high-volume email account and @$50 for their large manual. They offer hosted email for $5/month and free for the first 300 subscribers.

Read about more HTML Email Newsletter/Services.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Wonder why your popular website isn't listed higher up on Google? Sure, you could buy ads, but there are a lot of free things you should do first. Learn some basic SEO and show off your site!

Why Does My WordPress Site Give Memory Errors?

Are you trying to install a theme to your WordPress install and getting messages saying "...not enough memory"? Or trying to upload a correctly formatted media file and can't because "...not enough memory"? You need to fix the setup of your server. Ask your hosting provider for help, or read this and try fixing your maximum file upload size yourself.

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site


A major reason WordPress websites are slow is if they do not have a cache plugin installed. Every WordPress site should use a caching plugin. Caching can make your WordPress site anywhere from 2x to 5x faster. If you want a free plugin and willing to configure it yourself, here is a guide for how to set up W3 Total Cache wordpress plugin: https://www.shoutmeloud.com/how-to-install-configure-w3-total-cache-wordpress-plugin.html. If you'd rather pay for a plugin that involves no configuration, I recommend WP Rocket ($39/year).


Have a cache plugin installed and yet your site is still getting slower--or you are getting more visitors or have new functionality that requires more speed? Any WordPress website grows slower over time. Sites accumulate data, get more complex and thus become less efficient. To some degree, that is normal. However, on the other hand, it doesn't have to be and there is plenty you can do to keep your site from slowing down. Check out this guide by Robert Mening and the smart folks at WebsiteSetup: https://websitesetup.org/how-to-speed-up-wordpress/.