What do you do when you hose your website? Do you give up and pay somebody else, or do you refuse to be beaten? Is this a life lesson?

I've been wrestling with my website for a week or so. It was woefully out of date and I knew that, since I'd moved it to a new hosting service, I'd be responsible for maintaining it. I was quite comfortable with routine updates, adding content, images, setting up the pages like I wanted them, but now, there was no expert to go to for help, no webmaster with magical skills to do that voodoo behind the scenes.

I was a bit scared, to tell the truth, but, I set out to start the process...

And hosed my website...totally. Yeah. Sick-to-my-stomach stress induced coma followed.

The next day...after I recovered...I decided -- dag blame, goldurnit -- I was not going to be beaten. I was going to learn what I needed to know to maintain my website. Luckily, my hosting company has terrific support and they quickly restored the website to what it was before I screwed it up.

Once the site was restored, I started studying. I''m here to tell you, if you have a question, there's an answer out there. If you're looking to do your own website, you can't do better than to find a forum where questions are answered. Just searching the archives will most likely tell you what you need to know. If you purchase software or obtain freeware to use on your website, pay attention to the websites where you get it and, if there's a forum, join it!

Keep your website updated! My biggest problem was that I wasn't able to use the simple update method and had to go through a process of three updates to finish the job.

Don't panic! Once I determined that I could fix whatever problems occurred, I moved ahead, armed with the knowledge I gained from those in the forums who had experienced exactly the same problems I encountered.

Read the documentation! There are normally things you need to know, like, what version of PHP is your server running?

Meanwhile, even though my website doesn't look any different on the surface, what runs the whole thing is way different. And I'm feeling rather proud that I stuck it out.

So, to apply this to life, enjoy the process of learning something new. If you want to do something, whether creating your own website or writing a book or learning how to knit or shoot a gun or whatever, and you fail the first time, try again...and again...and again. But don't flail away. Look for help. It's out there. Remember, you're not alone.