Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HOW TO KEEP YOUR SITE FRESH


This is my newly revised home page. I had to simplify it because I kept on adding new pages and links. Web pages and sites do need updating and I advise you mark a date to review your site on your calendar. Maybe in January or in your downtime. You can print out your current website and mark up revisions at the kitchen table.

Also, check out other sites and see which elements you like that you don't have. Maybe a colored background, an interesting collage, some white space would add interest to your page.

If you have a constantly changing schedule of events you can have a brief description of your shows and add a link so interested parties can email you for the show schedule. Then your site doesn't have to be changed every month.

And I have mentioned in a previous blog entry that you can use a site like Flickr to upload and show your current pictures. That way you can keep your web site as a showcase that doesn't need too much updating.

~~~Geraldine

WHERE DO I BEGIN?



HOW ON EARTH DO I START MAKING A WEB PAGE?

What basic elements make up a web page? Pictures and text. Simple enough. You need a banner with your name, or the name of your business or gallery, and you need images (jpegs) of your art. The text should be a synopsis of who you are and what you do. What services do you provide? Do you want people to contact you so you can email them an up-to-date listing of your shows? Do you want to give out your street address? Or just the town or state, perhaps? Your email should be provided for the most basic of contact.

I suggest you get out some sheets of 8 ½ x 11 white paper and plan where you want your parts to go: banner at the top; navigation bar, if needed under the banner, or vertically at the left; text, images, important elements.

Text should be typed out and edited in Word or any text editor. Include important key words. These help search engines find you. Note that location, medium and subject of 'Suzan's' art, etc. are all included here.

For instance: Suzan Greene is a Portland, Maine artist who shows at Maine Women in the Arts art and craft shows. Her watercolor paintings of the shoreline and York County rural scenes of barns and cows can be seen at the -- Gallery year round. View the online art gallery for a taste of her whimsical paintings, which can be purchased direct from the artist.

The next page could be the gallery with a selection of your art. They can be enlarged when clicked upon if you want. Information about how to purchase art should be included, plus something warm and fuzzy about yourself. Viewers want to make a connection with you.

In the image, everything above the dotted line is seen on the screen when the visitor initially views that page. Everything below the dotted line can be seen when they scroll down. I prefer the home/main/introductory page to be seen in its entirety at a glance, so design it to fit a horizontal piece of paper, as shown.

I edit images for my clients as needed, but you still have to plan what you want to be shown, and where it will go. You can use sketches, printouts, photos or post-it notes to lay it out on paper. Pan your web site on a cocktail napkin if you're more comfortable with that.

Planning is very important because it not only helps you figure out what is most important for you to depict to the world about yourself, but it helps the web designer. The more you give the person who does the technical work, the easier and less time-consuming it is for all parties. Prepare, prepare, prepare!


~~~ Geraldine

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Basics of an Easy Web Site Design


A local artist who knows very little about the web asked me the best way for her to get her art online. In response to her question I created a sample single web page and linked it to Flickr.

The idea is to have a static web page that doesn't need to be revised often, and also to use a free photo site in which to place new images. You need to prepare pictures and informative text. I edit pictures for people, create the banners, help with the design and text, but you need to block out your site for the web designer.

You can sketch out how you want your site to look on a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Remember that the important elements must be at the top so people don't have to scroll down in order to see at a glance what your site is 'selling'.

Then lease a domain name (like aikmandesign.com) for 2-yr. to 5-yr. period. The next step is pay for a host. Think of the host as the telephone company - they connect your site to the Internet, for $4 a month on up. There are often deals for first-time buyers.

Although you could build a free Google web site, using their templates for colors and structure, the URL will be www.googlepages.com/aikmandesign, for instance. ( Google Pages Overview )

Note the parts of this page I made to show you:
Native American Prints The banner at the top is a picture. The text uses words with which search engines can find you, and includes pricing and contact information.

And then you need to make an account with Yahoo and then Flickr in order to load additional pictures of your art as you create them. Just take it one step at a time!

~~Geraldine

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Free Flickr


I have been uploading my photos to the free online photo-sharing site called Flickr for some time. Although I began by sharing my photography, I have also started to add some of my paintings. I've seen small businesses, especially craftspeople and artists, display images of their work there. It's a great way to advertise and will only cost you the time it takes to add your images!

You do need to write titles, add keywords and descriptions to all of your pictures so people can find you in search results. This picture is a screen capture of the many folders I created to hold my various categories of photos and art.

I can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinidesign

flickr - getting started guide
What is flickr?

flickr is an online photo sharing and community website. Users from all over the world post photographs of every conceivable subject and style to flickr and they choose whether to share these photos with friends, family or with everyone.

You can put your location or where the photo was taken on a map, link your images to others across the world with a similar subject, such as lighthouses. I've had people from around the globe make comments on my images.

Anyone can look at photographs on flickr, but in order to upload your own photos to any part of flickr you must create an account. Basic accounts on flickr are free of charge.

If you want to join flickr you need a Yahoo! ID http://www.mail.yahoo.com/ (because Yahoo! owns flickr) so start by creating a Yahoo! ID and that will let you create a flickr account.
Start with the FAQ at flickr: http://www.flickr.com/help/faq/

I sized my art about 4 inches, 72 dpi, so nobody can download them to reprint.