A lot of the free stuff has unfriendly interfaces and an aesthetic best described as Care Bears Go ClipArt - create a Flash slideshow for your website with a background from the 'Love' Theme, anyone? No, nor me. The AnvSoft Flash software has its fair share of that but it's easy to use, clearly laid out and there's a plain option in there, which worked for me. The results can be contemplated here.
I also learned that not all of the features of the web-building pages on Mr Site are compatible with Chrome - or Firefox for that matter, which would explain why my images kept vanishing whenever I tried to insert a link into them. Blew the dust off Internet Explorer, which worked.
I also opened the door onto the horror that is Twitter. I'm very ambivalent about having to use the internet to drum up business. We both had an appointment with an arts business advisor (shortly before he went out of business) and he recommended the usual - Twitter, Facebook, blah blah blah. I held out against it all - I tend to misanthropically think that two of the most damning indictments of human nature are slavery and the comments section on YouTube.
It's not like I've not waded in before, though. I Was There in the early days of StumbleUpon, lovingly crafting a well-designed html-tweaked page of Gill Sans goodness, until finally getting the inevitable internet ennui, that feeling that my brain is freezing over and that I'm making a splendid meal out of rice crackers and nothing else. Step away from the computer, the voice said, go and look outside. I kept up the resistance until a couple of days ago when I joined Twitter.
I'm sure it will prove to be useful, but bloody hell - it's like opening your front door and finding your house on the edge of a gigantic abyss of celebs, Rooney, Zodiac Facts, sikes! and LOLs, a billion voices all yammering away at once and saying bugger all. It's rather depressing. It seems sometimes that if each computer is a chimney then the internet is smog, and now I'm sending my own personal plume of smoke up there into it.
I have been assured that it needn't be like this ("you have to ignore all the bollocks" my friend Colin advised), that it's a tool and not an end in itself, but even my girlfriend who has patience and mildness of judgement in superhuman abundance was moved to describe it as a "vacuous black hole."
We shall see.
Anyway - if you do stumble into richjohnson.co.uk while out walking in the smog, come inside and have a cup of tea.