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Mike M
01-27-2008, 12:22 PM
This is a long passage-just skip if uninterested in webdesign.

I tried posting in the website forum here at lawnsite, but I'd like to be more specific to the lv community here; those working with DSLR night-time images and marketing with a custom approach for lv lighting.

I am looking at photoshop (ouch/cost but necessary) and I want to get a webpage designer/editor.

Seems like Adobe has a good product with Dreamweaver? The Adobe website is tough to navigate as far as getting answers on which software and which add-ons are essential (apparently by design), I would love a whole Adobe package but that's eccesive for me, besides, my commerce is lighting design, not designing websites for others.

My remaining concern is font control without requiring more premium software, I hope I can use Weaver combined with free fonts available online.

Microsoft's FrontPage seems a little limiting and too template-driven, but affordable. Seemingly in the same venue as Publisher and other generic stationary and greeting card software. Not as controlable and refined as Weaver?

I can manage my images with a free program like Google's Picassa (again, thanks James, 2 more points). I know I can edit html code with free on-line software, but I don't have that much time for learning and applying on code-level for everything I do. I also have free ftp software.

Currently I have a webhost (siteground) and I also got vBulletin for another endeaver (a nonprofit project I'm starting).

Recommended reading for anyone else interested, I just picked this up at B&N:

The Principals of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beard. (2007 sitepoint, Australia) Awesome design book. He evan talks about the Golden Ratio of Design Proportion and applies it to a "thirds" principal for webpage layout.

Again, if interested, keep it going here or pm me.

Thanks!

steveparrott
01-27-2008, 12:51 PM
Before I give advice on the software, some straight talk. I'm wondering why you're trying to do this yourself. Even if you have a good design sense, you will not come close to creating a website as nice as would be done by a pro web design firm.

Your site needs to reflect the value of your business. High-end consumers have come to expect high-level web sites. As enthusiastic as you are, and as creative as you are, still web design is a skill that takes years to perfect.

Sure, you can learn the basics of dreamweaver in a day and throw up a simple web site - but I guarantee you that the result will look amateurish and will not reflect the value of your service. I've been through this with dozens of contractors - they either do the site themselves or their brother-in law or the kid down the street does it. Every time they either regret it or don't realize how poor their site looks.

In my opinion as a web designer and marketing guru, you should bite the bullet and pay between $3,000 and $6,000 for a beautifully designed site. If someone is offering to do it for less then you won't be happy with the results. This is an investment that will serve you for years to come and pay itself back many times over. Even if you need to take out a loan for the project, you'll cover that and more.

Fine, if you want to play around with web design, get Dreamweaver and design sites for fun. It will also come in handy when you want to edit and add to your professionally designed site.

As for photo editing, Adobe Elements, or (better) PhotoShop are essential. These are great programs. The learning curve is a little steep but there are great classes and online tutorials.

Lite4
01-27-2008, 01:03 PM
Mike, I have to agree with Steve here. Lets put it in this context: A homeowner will hire you to do their lighting because you know all the tricks and can make their house look like a professional lit it up. The same thing is true in every profession, even webdesign. I fortunately got very lucky, and am currently having mine constructed by a designer who is going to do it for trade work with me. I figuire it will be worth 4-6k when it is done. Remember, your web page will say volumes about you and the kind of work you do, in direct proportion to the quality and creativeness of your website. Just my opinion though. I am sure some will disagree with me.

Mike M
01-27-2008, 05:54 PM
Mike, I have to agree with Steve here. Lets put it in this context: A homeowner will hire you to do their lighting because you know all the tricks and can make their house look like a professional lit it up. The same thing is true in every profession, even webdesign. I fortunately got very lucky, and am currently having mine constructed by a designer who is going to do it for trade work with me. I figuire it will be worth 4-6k when it is done. Remember, your web page will say volumes about you and the kind of work you do, in direct proportion to the quality and creativeness of your website. Just my opinion though. I am sure some will disagree with me.

Okay, Tim. I'm sure a trip through the Grand Canyon would be safer by a commercial pilot who knows the local skiies and ground features, and who can point out signifcant features and provide a well-researched historical narative. So why do it by yourself?

Mike M
01-27-2008, 06:11 PM
Steve, since spending 6k will get me more than enough biz to pay for it, can I borrow it from CAST? :)

Lite4
01-27-2008, 08:19 PM
Mike, What are your ideas for how you want your site to look. Are you wanting any video or animation. To be fair, my brother has dreamweaver and we tried to put something together but the results looked very sterile and amateurish. That was when it struck me that I was out of my element here. I had my website storyboarded, but I didn't know how to do all lthe flash work and animation to put it together. I just decided I needed to rely on the knowledge and experience of a professional. Yes, 4-6k is a lot of dough, but so is losing that job to a competitor by someone shopping and comparing you with your websites. Still just my .02, you may be very good on the computer design programs where I am not.

ChampionLS
01-27-2008, 10:53 PM
I suggest you hire someone too. The problem with doing it yourself is most of the programs are based upon w.u.s.i.w.u.g (what you see is what you get) It's impossible for a novice to understand all the programming codes, tricks and shortcuts for designing a website. Something as simple as posting a picture on the Internet from your digital camera requires lots of formatting. Example : converting to 72 dots per inch from 300 dots per inch, resampling & scaling, converting a CMYK document to RGB and vice versa.

Fonts are the easy part. (well almost, as long as you stick with standard web fonts) Also there are many different operating systems out there that will be viewing your website - IBM/Mac etc. And..there are different web browsers- Internet Explorer/Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox. Do you think your work will display exactly the same on all those systems? I've only touched the surface here. It's best to allow the web designers take your work and build you a nice site based upon your budget.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-28-2008, 12:49 AM
Mike

I have pretty good amatuer experience in photography, photo manipulation, graphic design and desktop publishing. My advice to you is to hire out your web page design. I did and have been reaping the rewards ever since.

Find a company who will do it right, then see if you can trade a lighitng system for it. The company that did my site (Metropolis Media) actually went so far as to research our industry so that the designer actually understood what he was talking about.

You do what you are good at and hire out to others for what they are good at. You wouldnt advise a web developer to install his own lighting would you?

Regards

steveparrott
01-28-2008, 10:04 AM
Steve, since spending 6k will get me more than enough biz to pay for it, can I borrow it from CAST? :)

You'll be getting a check from Bush in a few months and maybe some extra tax write-offs for capital expense. :usflag:

Mike M
01-28-2008, 10:08 AM
Boy, I ask you guys for help, and I'll I get is a bunch of advice.

Chris J
01-29-2008, 12:34 AM
Boy, I ask you guys for help, and I'll I get is a bunch of advice.

That has to be the quote of the month! :laugh:

steveparrott
01-29-2008, 08:12 AM
Mike, check your PM's.

Mike M
01-29-2008, 08:32 AM
I am not Mike, but you may refer to me as Mike M. I am a professional forum poster hired by Mike's business to conduct his threads and replies.

Arthur P.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-29-2008, 08:49 AM
I am not Mike, but you may refer to me as Mike M. I am a professional forum poster hired by Mike's business to conduct his threads and replies.

Arthur P.

Mike M.... you change your persona, and signature line like I change my shorts! You figured out who you are and what you are doing yet? :laugh:

Have a great day.

NightScenes
01-29-2008, 01:35 PM
I paid less than a thousand for my site and I think it is very impressive. You don't have to pay through the nose for a quality site but I do recommend paying a professional. I originally did my own site and it was OK but nothing like it is now. I now get comments all of the time about how nice the site is.

Mike, if you would like info on a good web guy that won't put you in the poor house, let me know.

steveparrott
01-29-2008, 01:59 PM
Paul, you're a great guy and do great work, but your $1,000 site has some serious issues. I could make a long list, but. . .

If anyone wants a real pro assessment of their site, submit it in the following pro web design forum: (but be prepared for some hard criticism!)

http://www.webproworld.com/submit-your-site-review/

Mike M
01-29-2008, 11:21 PM
Steve, other than Tim's daily demo photo, when was the last time you saw someone post an install here, let alone post a website to get torn apart! :laugh: