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Web sites 'n stuff


#1

Hi Folks,

I make it a regular practice (or indulgence) to check out the Web
sites of Orchid folks who provide such about themselves on
this forum. I have been continually impressed by the integrity and
quality of the sites of the Orchid members maintain. Overall a high
quality of images, site design and professional presentation is
evident and worthy of note.

I also frequently check out “the competition” through random searches
of the 'net, and am aghast at the abysmal state of many of the “high
visibility” sites on the Web! I frequently cannot find my own Web site
through specific searches, but come up with buttloads of shameful
sites as a result. I am focusing on improving my Web site promotion,
but from what I see, this is terrible!

When I am contacted from folks who want to order from my Web site (a
few times a month), I am quite gratified, and wonder how they found
my site through all that stuff!

I’m not looking for advice at this time (for once), but encourage
everyone to maintain the highest standards of Web design… as much as
you do on your slides and displays. We, as a group, are setting a
standard to be admired by our counterparts and competitors. I truly
believe it has an impact on whether consumers follow through on their
purchasing impulses.

I’d be glad to offer objective feedback and guidance for folks
seeking feedback. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask, but also be
open to objective and constructive feedback! I “used” to do tech
support for FrontPage as a Microsoft employee and have a little bit of
insight to share. I’m primarily and Excel expert, if you need help on
that, too!

P.S. Let’s design an Orchid banner to display on our sites in respect
and appreciation to the contribution Hanuman and this forum have made
to our journeys…

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#2

Hi Dave,

You brought up some good ideas. This is a great community that Hanuman
has started. Another Idea might be to start an Orchid web-ring.

Timothy A. Hansen
TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
web-site: www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft
e-mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen


#3

Hi Everyone,

In response to the visibility of sites on the web, one of the things
I have been told by one of the web technicians is that now to get on
the beginning list of search engines people are paying fees, and that
it is not as easy as it used to be. My old website of JD Findings was
easily found on search engines a year ago, however things have changed
rapidly.

The best way for people to get to you is to advertise in places where
your clients will read about your website rather than paying a search
engine for advertisement.

My current website is already delayed about a month to open up to the
public. (I feel as if my web technician has taken it for hostage)
It has been all consuming with many frustrations but I have been told
it will be up any time to the public. Tucson was such a relief as I
did not look at a computer once for the week I was there.

Diane
www.sweetgemstones.com.


#4

Dave Sebaste and All,

As my day job is web marketing, I just wanted to take a minute and
point out that there are many free or low cost ways to improve your
site’s “find-ability” vis a vis the search engines.

Two things that are key aRe:

(1) Make sure you use all of the keywords that your customers will
be using to find your site in the header HTML of your home page.
Here’s an example and some code - use whatever words are descriptive
of your work:

…(WHATEVER OTHER CODING IS NEDED)

(2) Register your site with the major search engines. Its pretty
much true that if you don’t do this, the only people who find you will
be those who already know where you are - not good for growing your
business. Here is a listing of many web sites that help you
accomplish that all-important search engine registration:
http://addme.com/

http://www.mycomputer.com/
http://1stplaceranking.com/software-google.htm
http://www.global.gr/mtools/linkstation/se/


http://www.submitawebsite.com/clients.html
http://www.submitexpress.com/
http://www.submitco.com/main.html
http://www.submitco.com/super.html - flash promo

Ivy


#5

Dave,

I totally agree with your comments. I believe the persons taking the
time to communicate on Orchid, and graciously share with
all of us make the probability of creativity and integrity a given.

The few times one of another ilk has shown up here it has been so
obvious that the wagons circle to protect us all.

While spending time in both Quartzsite and Tucson, I noticed some
"above and beyond" demeanor, and would like to share it with the list.

Hardies in Quartzsite, I spent some time in there and spoke with both
Ken and Alice Hardie, I later saw Ken at the AFMS Faceters get
together in Tucson. They both are wonderful people rich with helpful
This open year round retail and mail order company, aware
of both the Snow Bird and Rockhound influx at this time of year,
routinely reduce all prices by 50%. This makes it easy for shoppers
and rockhounds without resale licenses to get bargains. Many of our
senior mom and pop “dig, create, and sell” small businesses live and
work across many states from their RV’s and have no permanent
location for license requirements. Makes their stuff more affordable
and supplements Social (in)Security.

In Tucson the weather over the years has been both wonderful and
awful. Many venues are simply tents atop soil. In a rain, the ground
becomes a muddy mess and there is no relief from this. One year I
stepped out of my van into this muck and my shoe stayed sucked in when
I took the next step. Well with this in mind the Depue family of
Diamond Pacific spent close to 5K in buying wood and laying it down in
their sizable tent as flooring, then covered it with grass cloth.
Theirs was the only comfortable place to shop in all of the Congress
Street Expo at the new location of Tucson’s Electric Park. When the
electricity was not there at the beginning of this show, they bought
several generators, and powered their tent. There was always a full
coffee pot, hot water and tea as well as cookies and candy. Diamond
Pacific treats their customers as guests in their home whether they
are buying a $1.00 bur or a 36 inch fully automatic diamond saw.

Alpha Supply, I was trying to replace some of the tools stolen from
me. I had about $50.00 worth when I checked out and found they did not
take American Express, and I did not have enough in my checking
account. I asked Andrea when they deposited checks, hoping for some
respite. She told me “I will hold an open ticket for you, when you can
pay, please come in and do so.” I said that was fine and I would leave
my bag of stuff there for that time. Andrea said “no take them with
you now, and pay when you can!” This level of customer service floored
me. She had no idea who I was, or where I came from, yet she gave me
the merchandise there and now. You know where i will get more tools
when budget allows.

WigJig, Suzanne Helwig was demonstrating her WigJig products at Rio
Grande’s wonderful show. I have long had respect for the Helwig
family and their wonderful online WigJig University <www.wigjig.com>
and had previously written them to tell them. Suzanne had responded to
me with delight, and once again I found a merchant who did not take
American Express, but trusted a customer.

While Suzanne was demonstrating her product, I asked why she did not
mention the WigJig University. She explained to me that this was
Rio’s show and she did not want to take advantage of them by
mentioning her Web Site. There is the integrity of an honest merchant.

I think most of us that work with wire know by now, many “books” on
this topic sell for a dollar a page. Are without color, photo copied
sheets, with a slip on spine and sold for over $20.00 for ten pages
double sided. Well on WigJig University there are hundreds of designs,
clearly explained with many illustrations all available for easy
download free of charge. The Helwig family could have easily kept
these designs until enough for a pamphlet booklet, and sold them for a
profit. Instead they maintain an excellent Web Site with excellent
customer service.

I prefer Orchids to Onions any day, except for grilled onions which I
love.

Teresa


#6

Hi Dave,

If you have some time, please look at the site
www.joiasdobrasil.com.br to see my works and others designers from
Brasil. I’m still waiting for my book ( The Artist’s Way ), maybe we
can talk again about that, I just want to read it !

Luciana Preuss


#7

Greetings,

I’ll contribute a little further here. Be aware (or beware) that many
prominent search engines have started charging for services that used
to be free. For example, Yahoo now charges $199 to list any business
or business oriented site. Yahoo cites the size of the Internet and
the sheer number of sites they need to track. You can be sure that
more prominent search engines will follow Yahoo’s example shortly.

Within the next couple of years, businesses will probably need to
include search engine fees into their annual operating budget if they
want to maitain good positioning online.

Take care,
John Harvey
MJSA


#8

Hi Gang,

Holy cow! I sent this over a month ago… I was feeling a bit
philosophical, I guess. Mainly a group pat-on-the-back for the folks
bearing the standard of great Web design, so to speak. Rather arrogant
of me to set myself up as the seal of approval, or whatever. Just
humbly offering myself as a servant to the community. Meant every
complimentary word, and will respond to everyone who has sent email
and requested feedback. This isn’t a blow-off… I will really take
the time to follow through on each email.

I’ve had a couple questions about promoting your Website, and hiring
a company to get you ranked highly in the search engines. I agree
whole-heartedly with the people who responded that this is a process
you can manage yourself, if you can build your own site. It takes a
bit of effort and ongoing maintenance. It’s certainly nothing I’ve
mastered. After all, I want to be a jeweler, not an accountant or
webmaster!

You can hire one of these companies, hit-or-miss, and pay 'em a few
hundred bucks to promote your site, or take a little time to register
your site yourself on the search engines, plug in a few meta tags (as
mentioned by another savvy Orchidian) on your home page and invest a
few hours a month fine tuning your own content.

Just a general thought in follow up… develop for the least common
denominator. If you design a Web site that requires the latest and
greatest technology, you will eliminate a large portion of your
potential viewing audience. As much as I’d like to think everyone is
running the latest version of Internet Explorer, many people out here
are running Navigator and AOL browsers. They may not support the
technologies you are building into your pages.

As with your jewelry displays, let the works be the focus of
attention. The Web design is just there as a complimentary vehicle of
content delivery. If people are actively noticing the Web design, they
are not paying attention to the jewelry.

In my humble opinion,

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com mailto:dave@sebaste.com


#9

On things computer related, just heard on the radio that the
AnnaKournikova virus writer has fessed up. No details.

I do the website for Metalwerx (www.metalwerx.com), a combination
gallery, studio, and school in Woburn, Mass., US. I’m self-taught,
though I did have a leg up, as they say, because I used to work for a
company that used an HTML cousin many, many years ago for document
production. I’ve been a technical writer by trade, though I haven’t
done this work professionally for a few years. I write the HTML by
hand and I believe that that makes the files clean, glitch-free, and
fast loading.

For what it’s worth, here’s a few of my favorite websites that have
to do with web stuff:

www.bignosebird.com, best one-stop source for all kinds of how to
www.searchenginewatch.com, all about search engines. Oh,
and it takes a while for the engines to “pick you up.” Be patient.
www.selfpromotion.com, this is a kind of odd ball site but I thought
I picked up a helpful hint about registering on Yahoo via a “side
door.” http://www.w3schools.com, this last one has very useful
about color values and shows the colors.

My favorite browser is Opera (www.opera.com). It’s very fast,
reliable and small. It’s also vanilla-HTML compliant, and therefore
very good at making sure your website looks good for most people.
They’ve got versions for many operating systems; I know they’re
working on the Mac version and it may be ready now. It’s free with
unobtrusive advertising or available for a modest fee.

I personally own an adult novelty website, www.hotflashdesign.com. I
may expand the product line in future, for now I have enough on my
plate.

Christine, in Littleton, Mass., US, where it’s warmish and overcast.


#10

I have one word to say to you who write a jewelry website: jewellery.
Remember that while you use the US�spelling in your site text, retain
the English spelling for your META keywords.

Dave’s point about a site that requires the latest technology
eliminating a large portion of your potential viewing audience is a
good one. Content must always have the highest priority.

Christine Quiriy’s quirky site was fun! So she claims she just heard
on the radio that the AnnaKournikova virus writer has fessed up but
gives ‘No details’. Hmmm :wink: She ‘used an HTML cousin many, many years
ago for document production’ - was that cello? Christine does
www.metalwerx.com and looking at the code it sure looks lean. I like
all the comment lines! I also write my pages by hand, in a text editor
mode called HoTMeaL that displays the code in a variety of colours
<www.adam.co.nz/link.htm#zap> so that on a black background, comments
are green, links blue, viewable text white, etc etc. It’s called Zap
and runs on www.riscos.com only.

Regarding tables, www.netmechanic.com/news/vol3/html_no2.htm has a
tip with regard to table widths. Other useful sites:

<validator.w3.org> W3C validation service <www.w3.org/MarkUp>
accessibility guidelines <www.cast.org/bobby> Analyse for
accessibility to people with disabilities.
<www.fourmilab.ch/webtools/demoroniser> check those pesky FrontPage
pages <www.anybrowser.org/campaign> The ANY BROWSER campaign.

www.bignosebird.com looks good Christine. Note that URLs in emails
like to be well separated from other text, like commas.

Opera <www.opera.com> is good. I even have it on my hand-held PDA
computer <www.psion.com>. It’s very fast, and the download filesize is
small - I appreciate that in software.

A last word about viruses, I just installed Pegasus email
<www.pmail.com> on a friend’s computer to try to wean her off MS
Outlook Express.

Bri
NZ