Archive for December, 2007

28Dec

Artists need a good website to get maximum exposure. Here are 18 super tips from Uncle Arthur – the artist’s friend – on how to make that website a pleasure to visit. This goes beyond a bio, artist statement and recent resume.

Sometimes I feel like Vincent Van Gogh, don’t you? Vincent would have had a website, you can count on that. And Uncle Arthur would be right there looking in to give Vincent some tips too.

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1. Keep your color scheme simple. Don’t blind your viewers. Bright colors can be difficult to look at on a screen and detract from your artwork’s impact. (Just because Vincent liked yellow is no reason to do the whole site in yellow, right? So choose a good themehere!)

2. Keep your website simple. Don’t try and put every piece of information about your career or display every single piece of artwork you ever created. (You should save something for a conversation with an excited buyer.)

3. Keep file sizes low. People viewing your site don’t all have a high speed connection to the internet and too many images or too many large files can slow a site down.

4. Make navigation simple. Do not try and have too many categories or too many layers in your navigation system. Keep the placement of the navigation buttons consistent: if you choose to have your links on the left side, keep them there throughout the site and don’t scramble the order of your buttons from page to page! (Even Mondrian wouldn’t do that!!!)

5. Have your own domain name. Impress galleries and collectors, make sure they know you take your art seriously. Registering a domain has become quite affordable: typically between $10 and $15 a year with hosting costs between $5 and $15 a month. (You don’t have to be Toulouse-Lautrec to afford that. And check out the beautifully designed webpage templates here! )

6. No under construction page. If you are not done building a page, don’t link it to your site. (Uncle Arthur mentioned this kind of cheesy practice in earlier articles – so don’t forget it this time.)

7. Prominent contact info. Your site is too sell or at least connect with interested viewers (Duhhhhhhh!!!) Collectors and galleries need to know how to contact you.

8. Label all artwork. Labeling your work with price can be valuable if your aim is to sell online. (Uncle Arthur reminds you to price realitstically – not $5 for one and a million for another – that’s New York stuff.)

9. Include a brief art statement and your resume. A few paragraphs for an art statement, and a 1 page resume. (Even Picasso could whittle it down to the main points.)

10. Keep the texts simple. Sans serif fonts such as Arial are easier to read on the screen. Don’t overuse bold and italics which make text harder to read and can get confusing.

11. Avoid underlined text – this should be reserved links.

12. Do not use a background image. They slow down the website and can ruin the look of your texts and other images.

13. Avoid music. It could sound good but your viewers might not share your preferences in music and music files are large. (Even if you play the violin – save it for your music website!)

14. No stupid mouse animation or idiot smiles in navigation. This would bother your visitors! (Uncle Arthur tries to be patient, but if you do this I will pass out.)

15. Refrain from using frames and Flash. Both of these coding methods tend to be search engines unfriendly.

16. Make sure your site is looks good in all browsers. Different browsers can display the same code in slightly different ways. Adjust code accordingly. (That’s right, it’s not all just nudes and lunch on the grass, you need to consider technical matters!)

17. Check each of your links. Visitors don’t like dead links and neither do the search engines. (Would Vincent have a lot of dead meat links on his site?)

18. Open external links to a new window – in a new browser window – better looking and more convenient.

Uncle Arthur has done his best to simplify this process for you artists out there. Now don’t make us both look foolish with a sloppy portfolio. Paint your heart out!!!!!

I want a large sofa painting in blues and mauves for my living room,
Arthur “Artistic” Browning

27Dec

The design of custom jewelry or unique art jewelry is something that a regular jewelry store or chain of shops cannot do. A designer can use an online website with a gorgeous Flash Template to compete with bigger chains, so the seller can exhibit creations of jewel art.

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Flash Template #17643 from templatemonster.com

A Flash Template created especially for the Jewelry Designer and Seller provides a Shop and Store for Custom Creations in Jewel Art with a Website Online showcase.

Any store or shop for jewelry can use a custom version of this Flash Template Website Online. This in effect lets a Designer become a Seller of their creation, Jewel Art.

Flash Template Online Websites are easy to create. Follow the link to choose one from this unbelievably priced collection. Jewelry Designers and Sellers boost Shop traffic and Store interest in Custom Creation with Jewel Art.

Custom Creations like this Flash Template for your Jewelry Website let you get Online with Designer jewels Seller or support a bricks and mortar Shop. Create a custom store to show off these art creations.

Dripping with Diamonds,
Arthur Browning

26Dec

Flash and Swish are providing some of the best tools for designers who want to take the website past the static and the visual. Motion and sound allow lots of creativity. I visited the portfolio of Oren Farhi at http://www.orizens.com and enjoyed the works there. I asked Oren for an interview.

Where are you located? “My Name is Oren Farhi. I am 27.5 years old, engaged to a lovely girl named Adi – a Jewel in Hebrew. Currently I live in Israel, in a small town near Tel-Aviv, though I plan to go abroad if it’ll be possible.”

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What are your areas of specialization? “I am a web designer/developer – some refer to it as ‘deseloper’ – dealing with various areas related to the web: Flash sites, Flash applications, html/css sites, programming with php and actionscript, designing full websites templates.”

What are you most known for on the web? “My website in its flash version, known as ‘http://www.orizens.com‘, is known around the world and has had quite a lot of entrances from around the world – according to google analytics. Moreover, I started my flash knowledge with the great software Swishmax and have been a forum moderator for about 2 years in the international swish-db help forum. Afterwards, I asked for swishzone’s permission to run a support forum for it’s products in Hebrew thus I am known in Israel as the founder of the only swish Hebrew support forum. Some of my known clients includes a real estate company working in Cyprus and the UK, a rock band form Las Vegas and a local big main health service provider.”

Where do you blog or work at? “Currently, I work in a web 2 development company which is located in Israel and deals with clients all over the world. I’m also keeping my freelance services.”

What tool-set do you choose to use in your work? What do you believe the benefits are? “I use various tools for achieving my goals. I use the great notepad for coding html, css, php, javascript. I use Swishmax and Flash for creating Flash websites/apps. Recently, I took Flex 3 Beta for a test drive. I use photoshop for most of my graphic works, various 3d softwares – cinema4d, Bryce. I usually test websites on various browsers to assure compatibility and consistency in the workflow.For web marketing I use google analytics – which is awesome! and which gives me a wide angle of analyzing the traffic for my websites and optimize them according to the information.”

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How did you get into web design? “Since I was a little boy, I liked drawing. After learning swishmax, I felt the need of going into web design and learning concepts, tools and trends.”

Do you remember the very first website you designed? “Oh yeah. . . it was awful. I used wysiwug editor – geocities hosting – as well as MS Frontpage and decided to make a website for my music compostions and my bryce creations.”

Where do you get your art for these webpages? “Whenever I go on a trip, I take my camera with me and take lots of pictures on every detail that my eyes catch and sometimes I use these pictures to create the elements I need for my projects. Of course, I use google to search for pictures or elements that I might need for a certain project, and I enhance it to fit to my project.”

What is your general opinion on current trends in design and development, such as Web 2.0 and AJAX, etc.? “Current trends are very welcome! The Ajax trend has raised the role of our web to a higher level. Web 2.0 trend is trying is to make the web a better place, more intuitive for us users – I refer to anyone who uses the web – for a good cause, of course.”

Why do you think CSS design is becoming so popular among web designers? “CSS is easy, neat and very flexible for updating and maintaining designs. It gives a designer great control over the design. Besides, it is somehow easy to learn and get into it. Moreover, one can achieve some pretty cool ideas!”

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What will be the next big development in webpage design? “It’s not that easy to predict but when I’m trying to think of it I look at what the big companies are offering for us: Adobe’s Flex for complex UI’s, Adobe’s Thermo, MS Silverlight. Developing complex UI’s is a pretty strong trend at the moment and I also see the use and thought of 3D concepts in this area.”

What do you think about Flash technology? “I Love Flash! Flash is an awesome technology. Especially since the last release of the flash player 9 and after Adobe introduced the roadmap and some of the abilities which are to come with the next release. Flash is a great source of inspiration for me. Moreover, It is crossed browser and crossed platforms.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Flash? “Flash is smooth, strong for developing rich UI’s and web applications with the new Actionscript 3 engine, creating interesting ideas and concepts and visualize them in a smooth way. Flash files are not searchable but as for today, there’s a workaround for this issue and not all websites have to be ‘that’ searchable’. I am referring for web applications and integrated ‘html + flash’ websites.”

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If you could eliminate one trend from the Web, what would it be? Why? “As for designing html/css + javascript websites, browser comptability is a tough issue.”

What do you think of XHTML 5 and JavaScript standardization under W3C? “If every vendor of browsers will follow W3C’s standarts, I think it will benefit everyone who’s using the web.”

What language do you use for coding? Why? “In my opinion and experience, PHP is great for server side projects and server side actions. I use it quite often and integrate it on my work with flash’s ActionScript. I use ActionScript for my flash projects or any kind of project’s which requires the user’s interaction. I also use CSS for designing simple pages which are rendered as a html code.”

Tell us about your use of colors in your designs. “I usually follow some of the concepts of the Color Theory – not more than 5 colors for a design.”

What are your sources of inspiration? “I like to use adobe’s Kuler web application for catching some nice color combinations. I also surf some web galleries such as: cssmania.com, templatemonster.com, dailyslurp.com, designmeltdown.com.”

What are your favorite website designs that you did and did NOT design yourself? “I like the various designs which are shown in the templatemonster.com website. I also like the css zen garden project designs. One of my favorite designs is my website conversion to a css zen garden design template.”

What are your interests and dislikes in webpage design? “My interests are creating special and nice to the eye design. Such a design that will make the user to go on and exploring it to its little details. One of my dislikes in webpage design when it’s getting too “minimal design” as in text only websites.”

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What were the mistakes you learned from most while in the web design industry? “Well, we all know that the customer is always right because that’s what they want. Don’t try to explain the tech stuff and how much time thinking you are spending on a project – try to talk with them in terms they feel comfortable with.”

What is it you most like and dislike about being a web designer? “I like it when you the control and freedom to create. I dislike the situation when a project changes more than 3 times after approving the design in each time.”

What blogs and magazine articles would you suggest reading for knowledge? “I am subscribed to various RSS feeds that I find useful for areas I want broaden my knowledge and ones which are being updated at least once a week or so. So, I suggest to use a RSS reader and while surfing the net, be aware to various websites that you can benefit form.”

What advice would you give to beginning web designers? “Stay tuned to the trends of the web and the new technologies which are being released.”

Thank you Oren for your experiences and ideas.

Happy Holidays!
Arthur Browning

24Dec

A personal blog is just one reason to use a WordPress Theme for news or writing a journal of private or family business to friends. But SEO or Records for a different website is another reason as well as for comments from a club or school.

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WordPress Theme #17602 from templatemonster.com

A News Journal or Record for Business, Club or School looks great on a WordPress Theme. Your personal blog can also have private articles for family or friends. And it can be used for SEO and Comments too.

A Personal Journal for Private use may only be seen by the people that you send your link to. A WordPress Theme can make your Blog for Family and Friends special too. Businesses online can use the SEO of links and traffic to News, Records and Comments just as a Club or School can

To see the best values available in WordPress Themes for Personal Blogs click here. Private, Family and Friends Business can all be shared in this sort of website. News for SEO provides a Journal or Record of the Comments made for club or school.

Comments about your new WordPress Theme will make you proud of your Personal Blog where you can show photos of you Private life, Family and Friends – or promote a side Business that you have started. SEO for a News Journal makes a good Record or a Private account of affairs of Club or School.

Blog of a Lifetime!
Arthur Browning

21Dec

Any photographer, artist or designer needs a good online gallery to showcase a portfolio of their works for business. A Flash Template is the most powerfully elegant way to present this webpage portfolio for the graphic arts. Present your studio website in photos for advertising yourself as painter or sculptor too.

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Flash Template #17733 from templatemonster.com

An online studio or webpage gallery for arts business is the best way to go for the sculptor, painter, photographer or artist if they want to present photos in a website for advertising. This Flash Template makes a great portfolio for graphic design.

Advertising online is essential for any arts business and it’s the way of the future for electronic files. A Flash Template Portfolio for Graphic Design in a Webpage loaded with Photos by a known Photographer creates a Studio Artist Website. It’s a Gallery for Painter or Sculptor Business.

If you want to see the finest collection of Flash Templates available on the web at a bargain price then check out these Portfolio Graphic Design Arts Webpage Photos here. Any Photographer or Studio Artist could create a truly beautiful Website for the Advertising of an Online Painter or Sculptor Gallery Business.

Photos of your Painter, Sculptor or Graphic Design Business will be easily uploaded to replace those of the Flash Template  to create your personal Portfolio of Graphic Design in the Arts. A webpage studio that has the artist’s Website advertising as the focus in a tasteful online gallery gets big recognition.

A Lover of the Arts,
Arthur Browning

20Dec

Online Marketing can be difficult if you are in a competitive market. Getting a reliable and honest SEO company to handle the SEO for your website can also be a big problem.

Search engine optimization takes time, in some cases in a particularly competitive field it may take months for real progress to be observed. The search engines have changing systems in how they rate a website but a good SEO specialist will know of all recent changes. A professional company they can achieve a high rank by dealing with competition, mechanisms and strategies that can be employed to make your website well visited and making money.

The top 3 search engines, Google, Yahoo! and MSN, receive over 1.5 billion searches every day. But if you don’t have good search engine optimizing techniques you will rank lower and lose traffic. Finding a professional search engine marketing company that does good work for a fair price may help your business.

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Search engines work automatically, but there are sometimes unapproved ways for a webmaster to get better ranking. Using these unapproved ways can be risky business. If your website is found to be using unethical ways of getting rank it could be banned by search engines. If that happens it could take a long time and a lot of work to achieve some rank in search engines again. The SEO companies that use these unethical ways to get high rankings for your website may get only temporary results and could really hurt your website in the long run.

Some the unethical ways that SEO can be done: 1) Unneccessary keywords repetition 2) Copying content of other websites without permission 3) Increasing the number of links by linking with irrelevant websites.

There are some good tips you can use for selecting an a good SEO company. 1) Study some basics of SEO so you can talk about your situation 2) Be careful of big promises of quick results 3) Know what you need so you can choose from SEO companies offer 4) Get a form of guarantee for the goals outlined by the SEO company 5) Ask for references on the people who run the SEO company.

Finding a good SEO company will take your time and some knowledge but you can also ask around in webmaster forums on who is reputable and reasonable in their fees.

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas. . . ”
Arthur Browning

18Dec

It’s me again, Uncle Arthur! Today we need to talk about Content Management Systems (CMS). CMS has made websites easy to design and easy to use – even for novices and non-techies. It had to happen. Blogs caught on essentially because anyone on the internet can go to WordPress or Blogger and set up a free blog. You can choose a free template from either one of these CMS blogging platforms. This is the same reason that all the other CMS platforms like MySpace caught on.

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Many people now want a larger, more flexible website design, BUT they still want the ease of CMS. Why not? Mambo and Joomla both offer flexible CMS systems and you can use templates to save time and money in designing for either Mambo or Joomla platforms. You must provide your own hosting, but that is a small price to pay for a larger, well-functioning CMS website ( $6-10 per month ).

You might say – “Is that the end of work for designers?” No, designers will still be able to use the newest technologies and most original variations possible for a webpage. That kind of design work will always be found near the cutting edge, but it will be much more expensive than a CMS webpage using a customized template for originality.

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Most people want a good-looking and functional website. They do not necessarily want all the bells and whistles, some of which are difficult to use or maintain anyway. Packaging is great but the CMS systems are doing a very adequate job for 90% of the websites needed out there. Sometimes a website can be more about content than packaging. And a lot of people don’t have $600-$5000 for a design, nor do they have the money for hiring a webmaster upload photos or texts to their website.

When a designer creates a website he will use every dollar of your budget, and you will still be dependant on that designer to make changes or answer questions. Not so with CMS systems. So get an inexpensive CMS website with a low cost, easily customized template. The best collection of templates for Joomla are found here – and for Mambo here.

And when you are quickly loading your content, or making changes on your own, remember that Uncle Arthur got you on the right foot.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . . ”
Arthur Browning

17Dec

Your family or business department needs a Happy Holidays blog. You can spread Seasons Greetings for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year just the way Santa Claus would spread the news about Products, Gifts, Announcements, Club and Company parties on your new WordPress Theme.

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WordPress Theme #17598 from templatemonster.com

Blogs can be a lot of fun during the Holidays because the Family or Company Business Department can announce news or parties or projects with a beautiful WordPress Theme – Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Seasons Greetings! Let Santa Claus show you the new Products for Gifts to the Club members.

WordPress Themes make your blog a lot more merry for Christmas and the Happy Holiday Season – so give your Greetings with a Happy New Year from Santa Claus to the Family with News on the Business, best products, gifts, club announcments – Happy Holidays Company Department!

To see a superb array of WordPress Themes go here. Gifts exchange and holiday announcements in a blog make the Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings for a Happy New Year. Santa Claus wants the Family to have News and Business Club Products for a Happy Company Department.

Family and Business News gives cause for thanks during the Happy Holidays. Christmas and New Year clubs need to know what Santa Claus has to say. Let your WordPress Theme make a merry blog for Seasons Greetings while it shows off products, gifts, announcements for the company departments.

Is Santa Real?
Arthur Browning

14Dec

Templates, templates who’s got the templates? Uncle Arthur loves CMS and he loves those templates too. So, how did CMS get so popular???????????? The same way that the touch tone replaced dialup phones, which replaced operator dialing in 1930. The same way that the color television replaced black and white, which replaced AM radio, that was replaced by FM radio. Progress! Yes, that’s right progress!

The whole need to scratch every character in every line of code in every coding language then upload it some weeks later is over. The whole need to keep a full time designer/coder/programmer on the payroll for a 12-page website is over. When you heard that the web shouldn’t prohibit non-techies, that was a wake up call. When you heard about CSS, that was a wake up call. Now here’s Uncle Arthur shouting – Wake Up!! Wake Up!! CMS is here to stay – just like Rock ‘n Roll. And the hits just keep on coming!

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Mambo Template #17366 from templatemonster.com.
CMS is getting better everyday. Now you can buy beautiful templates to keep it ever more simple to design and operate your low cost website. Run it in minutes by yourself – or let one of kids upload your changes, texts and images. What is easier than WordPress or Blogger? Not much. If you can do a FREE blog on those CMS platforms, then you can easily take the step up to a major new website that has far more capability and flexibility with Joomla or Mambo systems. And now they have the low-cost templates that Uncle Arthur loves to blab about.

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Joomla Template #17207 from templatemonster.com

Where are these beautiful Mambo and Joomla Templates? Read all about them here – Mambo: http://www.templatemonster.com/mambo-templates.php and Joomla:
http://www.templatemonster.com/joomla-templates.php . If you are a non-techie or you need to turn out a major, fully functioning, gorgeous, simple to manage website on a tight budget then you gotta check it out!

Uncle Arthur knows that there is beauty in complexity too, but if you need to manage a complex business or complex publication you don’t need to spend all your time and money with the OLD complexity of HTML and every other code possible. Did you learn Aramaic or Greek to read the Bible? No! Your website can be and should be easy to choose, customize and manage. So this is a wake up call – Joomla and Mambo Templates with unique designs are now very low priced. . . And they are here to stay!

Get a Life!
Uncle Arthur Browning

13Dec

Every coffee shop in the country wants customer loyalty. That comes from customer involvement, which can begin with an internet presence. A Flash Template give your Cafe or Bakery Restaurant or Bistro the look of a real nice place to visit. Specialty Grinds and Roasts can be sold with Blends, Gifts, or Club memberships with a personal or designer Cup or mug. Boutique Espresso, Cappuccino and Lattes go with Breads Stores, Rolls and Pies.

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Flash Template #17062 from templatemonster.com

A really good Flash Template gives your Coffee Cafe and Bakery the best look. Blends of espresso can be sold as gifts. Club members get a Cup. Boutique shoppers will delight in Cappuccino, Latte, Breads Store. Rolls, Pies Shop, Restaurant, Bistro – all can sell Specialty Grinds and Roasts.

Espresso, Latte and Cappuccino Shops that also sell Breads in their Store can advertise new Rolls and Pies on the high impact Flash Template webpage. Coffee for the Cafe and goods for the Bakery or Restaurant look great in this showcase.  Bistros offering Specialty Grinds or Roasts will become landmarks for their Blends. Soon they will have to sell Gifts to the Clubs in the neighborhood. A Cup Boutique for Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte can show off their Breads in a Store for Rolls or a Pies Shop.

To see the best available collection of Flash Templates look here. Your restaurant can offer the better Coffees as an upscale Cafe with Bakery and Bistro Specialty Grinds Roasts Blends. A Gifts Club can sell artist made Cups in the Boutique. Rolls and Pies can be merchandised along with the Espresso and Cappuccino. You an offer Lattes with Bread Store Rolls and Pies Shop orders.

So get an online life – use a good Flash Template for the best advertising possible. Coffee, Cafe, Bakery, Restaurant, Bistro and Specialty Grinds Roasts Blends. See your gifts shope mark up profits on a club that collects cups as a display. Boutique it up with Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte. Serve fresh breads at your store as well as Rolls and Pies in the shop.

Mocha Latte, please,
Arthur “Caffeine Free” Browning

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