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Web site procrastination


#1

Hi all. Earlier this year, someone posted about Adobe Contribute
(Thanks!), a program that allows you to manage the content your own
website. I bought it, but quickly realized that I really needed to
revise my website structure first. I put out an Orchid call for a
Dreamweaver designer who could get into the nuts and bolts. That call
was answered by our own Bev Ludlow (www.bevludlow.com), who did a
terrific job flogging things into shape. She was a delight to work
with and I recommend her highly! And she’s a Mac and I’m a PC!

I chained myself to the computer to learn how to use Contribute. The
learning curve was way lower than expected. The program is very
intuitive to use, and in no time I was editing text and swapping
pictures. It was easy! I had been procrastinating for years about
learning this stuff, much to the detriment of my site. I even stopped
signing off here with my site link, I was so embarassed by the state
of things.

So, FINALLY, things are up to date. I’m still not happy with the
photography, but I’m working on it, and it’s way better than what I
was using before. But the logjam is broken for good!

How many of you out there are website procrastinators? Thinking about
a site but haven’t gotten around to it? Have one but haven’t updated
lately? Get off your ass! The weight that was lifted from my
shoulders by getting this done is enormous. And I’m proud of my site
again, which feels great! Much thanks to Bev and the great Orchid
community!

Allan Mason
Hermosa Beach, CA
www.silvermason.com


#2
So, FINALLY, things are up to date. 

Congratulations, Allan, it looks great. I especially like the
bracelet with the little space on each side of the gold strip.

But what are the little red dots below your head shot?

Noel


#3

Wow!!! I wish I had the time to sit down and learn to do a web-site.
About 2 yrs. ago I had a friend of a friend who did web-sites on the
side. I have completely given up on her trying to get it done. After
$1000.00 paid with checks and cash I completely shut the web-site
down. Im now looking for someone to redo and start over. It seems to
me there are a lot of on the side web makers or so called.

I bought the Digital camera and a M.K. Digital Light box that works
great. Cost $1000.00. I have great pics and thats about it. This web
person would never tell me how much? I just kept giving money. Big
mistake.

Does anybody know of any one in Little Rock Ar to work as a Web
designer, Apprentice, and to do shows?

I feel that if im not being productive at the bench im loosing
money. Im really busy with four stores and making Jewelry for future
shows. Really need help!

Thanks Johneric


#4

Hi Johneric

I don’t have a complete solution to your website problem, but I did
want to tell you about a good website company. It’s called homestead
(homestead.com). I signed on with them because I needed something
that I could manipulate myself, with no need to learn new languages
(for now). It’s all pretty much click and drag and I can import my
own photos from my computer. Admittedly, my photos are not good (too
dark), but at least I can import them myself…Also, a website can
be written in any other program ( I think one example would be
called dreamweaver?) and, once done, imported into your homestead
site. I am thinking, once you find someone, you can have a person
create your website for you and, once the initial site is
satisfactory, you can maintain it by updating it yourself with fresh
pictures. It literally takes only 5 minutes to pop the camera card
into my laptop, resize the picture in Photoshop, and upload it to the
site. It’s that easy. I just need better pictures!

Kim Starbard
http://www.kimstarbarddesigns.com


#5

I have been reading all of your posts and am here to the rescue! I
have started building websites on the side so that I can start my own
jewelry business. I have a portfolio online and my prices are listed
as well. Feel free to go to my portfolio and look and see what I can
do for you. I have just finished building a site for the art and
jewelry gallery that I work in, so look at that one too. I enjoy
reading all of your posts and am learning so much! Thanks for
everything.

Nicole
www.nicolewilkinson.com


#6

Please visit http://madjeweler.smugmug.com. It has been a fast
solution to getting my image back together. ( I am in the middle but
I think almost done, divorce to qualify that statement and got out of
the shop with my loop. THANK GOD I shoot my own pics and she had no
interest in Photography or the web etc…!)

The account I bought is $39.00 for the whole year, the back-end when
you login allows you to see the statistics for how many unique wiews
you get and all kinds of cool and useful stuff. You can try a free
account to check them out. You can even see what bandwidth is
consumed by your viewers, thereby causing you to realise that perhaps
you could RESIZE your image so that it still loads in a page fast yet
no appreciable loss is seen in quality. My mom turned me on to them
because she is on SLOW as molasses dialup (24,600) and anything else
was PAINFUL to load and watch a slideshow. (Heh! I loaded 195 pics a
couple of months ago in ONE gallery and she was able to start a web
slideshow and let it run for a couple of hours and NOT because she
was waiting for ONE pic to load) THAT is impresive!

The interface for uploading, once you have appropriately resized your
pics, cropped them and cleaned them up is painless with many
different choices for uploading. (MEANING NO FTP, Just Drag and Drop
or Browse… )

Keith (AKA MadJeweler)


#7

Hi Kim,

I’m sure many will tell you this, but you can brighten your photos
while you are in photoshop - or any editing program you use. Your
pictures look great but do need to be brightened.

Jan
www.designjewel.com


#8
Admittedly, my photos are not good (too dark) 

Photoshopping your images would be the best option. However, if you
do not want to, using MS Photo Editor would at least lighten the
images and give a much better feel and look. Besides, using Photo
Editor is very easy and would take just a few seconds to achieve
better results.

Email me off list if you need more details.

Regards,

Rasesh Chasmawala.
Mumbai, India.


#9

Hi all,

I’m the Bev Ludlow mentioned in the original post by Allan Mason and
I would be happy to give a price quote to anyone interested in having
a site designed or redesigned. Heck, pay me $1000 and my time is
yours. :slight_smile: For that amount you would get a home page, product pages,
and almost as many “inside” pages as you need. Usually, my price for
a web site is much lower than that.

I do have to say, as I said to Allan, that I’m not yet a "real"
designer yet, but I’m working on my web designer’s page now. You can,
however, view some of my work at wirewrapjeweler.com, silvermason.com
and colorharmonies.com. Also, I have several sample page layouts that
I could show you.

Email me directly and we can discuss details more fully. BTW, thanks,
Allan, for the kind words, it was (is) fun working with you, too.

Bev Ludlow
Renaissance Jewelry
http://www.wirewrapjeweler.com


#10

I just am attempting my first web site. I know next to nothing about
this, but I bought some space from Yahoo and they provided a free
program called “Yahoo Site Builder”. After a little fiddling around,
I think I’m making progress. I’m far from done, but you can see what
I’ve done so far at thelittlecameras.com

My biggest mistake was assuming that everyone is working at a screen
resolution of 1280 x 1024 or larger…boy, was I wrong. So I have to
go back and re-build it for the smaller resolutuon screens so people
won’t have to scroll sideways. Well, I’m learning.

My home page was taking a while to learn, so I’ve made the images
smaller and now place just the thumbnails on the page so it loads
faster. I still have to go through the rest of the pages and a
couple more, as well, but I’d sure appreciate feed back that will
help me make this better, more informative, etc.

Thanks in advance and a Happy New Year to a wonderful group. What a
great place to learn and to share!

Wayne Emery


#11

I have worked developing websites for about 14 years. I have learned
is that creating the site is about 1/3 of the effort needed for
success. A site is a large commitment of time (and/or money). It is
critical that you to keep the site updated and market it in much the
same way you do your jewelry.

It is best to keep the site simple About 35% of the people still do
not have high speed Internet and many site visitors will not want to
wait for an introductory or “splash” page that does nothing more than
slow them down. Your jewelry is the star, not the website.

The Orchid site is a great success because of its fantastic content.
Content is and has always been king.

Louise
http://www.jewelryspectrum.com/showcase.htm


#12

Hi Johneric,

I’ve been working on my own Web site since 1996, so I know a bit
about your needs. The Internet provider I recommend is at the top
portion of the page, and the design company is at the bottom. Simply
go to this page and get all the you’ll need for a
successful site:

http://www.silversmithing.com/1bluehost.htm

Good luck,
Jeffrey Herman


#13
but I'd sure appreciate feed back that will help me make this
better, more informative, etc. 

Wayne, if I had one criticism it would be that your look and feel is
a little TOO stark. Some color and design would help make it more
interesting. I’m on dialup at home and it loaded as well as could be
expected - stalled a bit on one page, maybe because they are.pn
images instead of.jpg, or maybe just because it’s *&^ dialup. Good
start, anyway.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#14

If you need a web site, content is important, but soare images.
Images and the site layout tell the story. You need tohave a certain
look to your page, whether contemporary, folk, whimsical, etc. You
do not want your site to look amateur and going with the cheapest
bidder isn’t always the best bet.

  1. Make sure the photographs of your work are professional and not
    taken by you with your digital camera. You are a jeweler, not a
    photographer.

  2. Make sure you have a variety of images in your portfolio.

  3. Keep the pages consistent with color/theme.

  4. Do not include TOO much text or you will lose the viewer and they
    will click off of your page.?

Trying to save yourself money and do it yourself is great, but
remember, you aren’t a professional graphic designer, you are a
jeweler. Its better to stick to what you know.

If you have any questions or want to talk about having me build you
a site, feel free to contact me via email. An example of one of my
sites is: www.spectrumartandjewelry.com

Best,
Nicole W.
www.nicolewilkinson.com


#15

Hi everyone…

I’ve been lurking on here for while now soaking up all this new
and advice and I’m thinking its time to sign up and
hopefully have some input.

My wife has been studying jewellery part time for a while now and I
have been slowly building up the workshop facilities to a point where
we have decided to both give it a go full time…

Its a huge learning curve but we have got as far as putting together
our first range (well, that sounds rather grand =AD it has just grown
quite organically while trying new techniques and tools) and an
ecommerce website

If anybody has any feedback on our site or work we would love to
hear your opinions and if anybody else is going through what we have
just done we are more than willing to share our experiences.
Photography, website techniques etc etc.

Kind Regards and happy new year
Warren and Bec at Cloversoul


#16

Regarding website procrastination

Hi, All…just thought I’d weigh in. I also put off building my
website for over a year. My daughter, a freelance writer, put me on
to yahoo’s sitebuilder software. It’s extremely user friendly,
reasonably priced (the software if free, but you have to pay to have
them buy the site name, and then pay a monthly fee… $9?), and it’s
Very Easy for me to go in and change things.

Check out my site. I’m sure it’s not as good as the pro’s, but it’s
worked well for me as a marketing tool.

Happy New Year!
Barbara Louise Bowling
www.LouisesLeap.com


#17

Hi Warren

I like your website!

The things I especially like…the photography is wonderful, nice,
close-up images…the bracelet shown on the front page was a very
good pick, it makes me definitely want to go further into the site.

There are a couple of typos…on the front page, earrings is spelled
with only one “r” and under ‘smile a while crocodile’, there is a
backslash in there by accident.

I like the earrings a lot, but I was wishing that I could see them
as they would look when being worn. As a customer, this would help me
decide to buy. Maybe they could be photo’d suspended from fishing
line? or check this out
http://www.fragments.com/catalog_listing.aspx?c=earrings

I hope this doesn’t upset you, but I am confused by one detail on
the site. You describe your work as “English Solid Sterling
Hallmarked Silver”, but, under some of the items listed for sale, the
description says (for example) “A heavy piece of hand forged sterling
silver plate”. This phrase, to me, says the items are plated with
silver, but the website says the items are solid sterling? Perhaps
this is a matter of terminology differences between countries.

Overall, you have a very professional site and I like it a lot. Have
you decided how you are going to get traffic to your new site? Can
you go into how you get such good images? I have a Nikon D250 SLR
camera and I can’t seem to get my pictures to have enough light
(white balance is off or picture is just too dark). Thank you to
everyone for your past suggestions on using Photoshop, but, if I
lighten in Photoshop, it lightens everything (not just the
background).

Best of Luck
Kim
Kim Starbard
http://www.kimstarbarddesigns.com


#18

Has anyone here had experience with pre packaged web sites? I am
exploring that as a possible easy solution for a new site. You pay
by the month and they provide a template for site building, I
believe they are fairly easy to use with a photo editor and they
start at about 20.00 a month.


#19

Hi kim

I like your website! 

Thank you!

The things I especially like....the photography is wonderful,
nice, close-up images....the bracelet shown on the front page was a
very good pick, it makes me definitely want to go further into the
site. 

We have had a “debate” over that image! I like it because its work
in progress. Bec doesn’t like it as you can see the solder join and
file marks!! Not to mention here perfectly manicured fingers!!

There are a couple of typos...on the front page, earrings is
spelled with only one "r" and under 'smile a while crocodile',
there is a backslash in there by accident. 

Well spotted, all corrected I hope. Spelling was never my strong
point hence 5 years at Art College.

I like the earrings a lot, but I was wishing that I could see them
as they would look when being worn. As a customer, this would help
me decide to buy. Maybe they could be photo'd suspended from
fishing line? or check this out
http://www.fragments.com/catalog_listing.aspx?c=earrings 

I like that, its one of the more interesting presentations I have
seen. We are about to start a new photoshoot session next week so
shall try that technique.

I hope this doesn't upset you, but I am confused by one detail on
the site. You describe your work as "English Solid Sterling
Hallmarked Silver", but, under some of the items listed for sale,
the description says (for example) "A heavy piece of hand forged
sterling silver plate". This phrase, to me, says the items are
plated with silver, but the website says the items are solid
sterling? Perhaps this is a matter of terminology differences
between countries. 

Good point, the intention was to differentiate between cast and
sheet work. I suppose it goes back to my sculptural days playing with
1/4" mild steel plate. We have not experimented with electroplating /
forming yet, but its on the list. I have removed the references to
plate to reduce any confusion.

Overall, you have a very professional site and I like it a lot.
Have you decided how you are going to get traffic to your new site?
Can you go into how you get such good images? I have a Nikon D250
SLR camera and I can't seem to get my pictures to have enough light
(white balance is off or picture is just too dark). Thank you to
everyone for your past suggestions on using Photoshop, but, if I
lighten in Photoshop, it lightens everything (not just the
background). 

Traffic to the site is a combination of grass roots marketing on the
internet, adwords via google (expensive) and Press advertising in
the UK (very expensive). I’m going to create an affiliate graphic
package in the next week or so to see if we can bring the advertising
rate down a little. If anybody has any experience of these affiliate
programmes I’d by interested in any observations.

Image wise I use a Nikon d70 with a variety of lenses - a macro
105mm is the mainstay and a reversed 50mm very occasionally. I would
try and stay away from photoshop manipulation and try to get the
photograph exposed correctly. An external light meter is a big help
and my secret weapon are some BIG studio flashes which everybody said
was overkill when I bought them. I found it better to have power in
reserve than my first tactic which was to use my nikon speedlights
which were nowhere near powerful enough. Try and use the RAW photo
format if possible and look up DNG workflows on google.

Thanks for the comments kim, much appreciated and we love your bead
work!

Warren and Bec at www.cloversoul.co.uk


#20

Kim–

First, when Brits say “plate” they mean what we call “sheet”.

Second-- to correct your pictures in Photoshop, try the "levels"
tool-- go to image, then adjustments, then levels. You’ll see a
graph with three little sliders (triangles) at the bottom. The right
one controls the darks, the left one the lights, the center is
midtones. Try moving the right one gradually to the left, and I
usually also move the center one slightly to the right. Play with
these and see what it does-- this, plus “unsharp mask” (unfer
filters) are my favorite corrections.

You can also select only the background (or any other part) and
correct only that, though that can be a bit more complicated. If
there is strong contrast between the foreground and background, you
can select easily with the “magnetic lasso” tool in the toolbar. To
get the background, you then click “inverse” under “select”.

I hope this helps. I actually enjoy photoshopping images, though I
am adept with only a few of the available tools.

I recommend “Photoshop for Dummies”.

Noel