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Photography | Design

All systems go

So the people of web design forum world have largely given the thumbs-up to pi2.011 Images – even using multiple index pages. A little work was required to get the menu vaguely consistant but I think I’ve got it. Also, hit the PayPal button to see that they’ll accept credit cards so I guess it’s running. More graphics content to add, and probably more photo catagories needed soon.

Just one small fly in the ointment – no one’s bought anything. Still, can but hope the cash will start rolling in soon (lol).

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What makes a good web designer?

When pondering setting up a web design business it has often occured to me, though prehaps a tad obvious, that out there are graphic designers who have immense skill at creating fantastic looking designs and layout. These people being rather more skilled in the task than I. Likewise, out there are coders (techies) who can put together mindingly complex and powerful code, particularly in the realms of .NET, PHP and cgi/Perl (not to mention all the other sqillions of other technologies out there). Again, I don’t have a problem admitting these people are way ahead of me on this count too.

So should I throw my hands in the air and declare my intention to give it all up and go start up a shoe shop in Oban since I can’t compete with either camp. A ha! That’s it you see…they are TWO camps: graphics and tech. I, like many a freelancer, must walk the middle ground between both disiplines, calling on a reasonable amount of quality from both areas, pulled together to create a web site, which in essence, is a product of both art and technology.

So has this to do with business? Well, as a one man show this is all fine and well, but ultimately it is restricting. I am excluded from highly complex jobs through lack of necessary skills. Cutting edge design might also suffer too. I like to think what I have done so far is mostly quite good, but it isn’t at the front edge. My point is that to really be able to grow then getting specialised staff is the next step. My job would be to pull it together into a concept – the web site itself.

Know what you can do, but also know what you can’t.

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And they’re off…

Well, the π2.011 Royalty free images site is now open for business, or at least visitors can now purchase and download images provided they have either a UK credit card or a PayPal account (still haven’t figured out how to get it to accept credit cards yet!!). There’s still a few extra pages that urgently need doing, like a contact page, help page, about page. These are big things. I also need more CMS functions like tracking reporting, sales reports (ha!). Also, dire need of more graphics items – logos (none at the moment), web templates (only 3), backgrounds (2 and they’re photographic), and miscelleous (only 1). It’s a start though.

I haven’t even started with SEO work yet but I want I more test site before pushing it out there. Let’s see how it goes.

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Slowly but surely

I’m refering to π2.011 development of course. The payment system, followed by download function are now working (for NOCHEX at least). Need to set up a download retrieval system for users to enter their transaction id (so I don’t have to keep download files on the server for more than 24 or so hours).

Problems with Doodle bus. The conversion rate isn’t good. The hit rate is fine but people are making enquiries. Need to meet with the client to discuss the issue. More than just an SEO issue. Back linking is fine (the site has a PR3 which could be improved) but I think there will need to be more consumer confidence (the testimonials made clearer). More Scotland-orientated content, news, reviews, recommendations, image gallery. Look at the queries that have been made. Are there any questions that appear that could be addressed online: some people are asking but others may be hitting the back button. I think more (expensive) traditional marketing will be required. Still works better than anything else. It’s those newspaper travel supplements. Figure out how to get a feature written…nows that’s gold dust!!!

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In the lounge!

I’m in the lounge and writing this. It took a while and I’ll need to sort out the encryption but hey!! Hey!! Try this with a ZX81.

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Going wireless

Having just purchased a new laptop (with lots of bells and whistles, including Centrino wireless connectivity), my next purchase was a wireless router. Hopefully not too complex and installation process but we shall see. I’ll write my next post with a cup of coffee from the garden (or upstairs bedroom is weather inclement) assuming all goes simple pimple.

π2.011 continues to be built. Have the thumbnails, pop up previews and download products all on the server. Now it’s just the tedious task of adding all the data to the db get get it all visible. The online payment seems to be set up fine for UK credit card payments (using NOCHEX) but still haven’t figured out how to get PayPal to work. Also, I’ve only prepared one graphic (a web template) for download. These are more complex as they have to be made of properly labelled layers in Photoshop, converted to TIFF format, and then zipped for download.

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