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Old September 22nd, 2007, 02:05 AM   #31
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I stopped coding for a while and I just came back to using CSS and i'm quite impressed, it seems that firefox and I.E are kind of on the same page, at least I haven't had any huge problems.

PHP / MySQL are a great solution, no matter how big the project, in my opinion anyways ;)
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Old September 22nd, 2007, 04:47 AM   #32
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Hi Jenna:

This thread may be getting out of scope with respect to what you originally envisioned. There are so many ways to do the same and everyone has an opinion - usually, they like what they have done because that's what they know. In particular, when it comes into the technical platform you can get into the crossfire of some fierce discussions - duck! :-) - the platform is really not important as long as it works.

I suggest you sit down and write some notes about what you want on your site, and try to put yourself in the place as a potential client.

First, think *content*. What information do you think a visitor would like to find. Without knowing anything about you or your services, what I would want to know is: What do you do (do you do what I need?), show me a case (prove you can), tell me the price (what did you charge for the case?). Even if my need is different, this gives me a starting point.

Then think structure: How should that information be organized so that the visitor will easily and quickly find it? Think of this: For each action required before the visitor will contact you, you loose 50%. People are impatient, and it is terribly easy to check somebody else.

Then think presentation, this is where you think how your content should appear. Both in terms of elements on the page and colours etc. I actually sit down with a piece of paper in horizontal and draw boxes for each of the elements, to design a site. Presentation may mean you have to reorganize your content, if you get vertical scroll bars, anything not visible in the window when the page loads must be unimportant, few users care to scroll down, in particular on the first levels. Horizontal scroll bars simply indicates bad design and must be avoided at all cost.

If you pay for a developer, a static layout (fixed widths) usually indicates that the developer comes from printed publishing and has no idea about web design. Of course images and videos have fixed widths, but the page as such should be fluid, designed to look best at some reasonable common setup, and look good in all other situations.

Finally, think function, in particular search. Many people, when they don't find what they were looking for on the first page they entered, go straight to search. If your page is well built, you can just use Google directly. When you think function, remember that many visitors may not be seasoned web surfers and can easily get lost in even simple tasks. If you don't need to add functions to do a task, it may be better.

It is not illegal to take a look at competitors' sites, see how they have done it and what they suck at. Again, www.useit.com is really good source for understanding how sites fail to communicate, there is a top ten don'ts, and lots of other tips. It may not make your site look as fancy, but the important thing is communicate your work because that means business.

In all this forget about the platform. Once you've done this, you may start out searching, maybe there is a solution that you can just pull down and use. For your first site, you may just want a couple of pages with no functions, search done by Google and contact is by email (careful not to get your address harvested). In that case you can completely forget about the hosting platform. If not, come back and start a new thread.

Hope this will get you moving :-)

Cheers, Erik
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Old October 19th, 2007, 11:40 PM   #33
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If you use 1and1, be sure to register your domain name through someone else like GoDaddy. I've heard 1and1 doesn't like to release domains very easily.

But I have been using them for two years as a host without any problems, and I have over 10 GB worth of videos on one of my sites that has over 3,000 members and barely do 300GB of bandwidth a month (I've got 2000GB to play with). However the videos that are hosted aren't high-quality.

As soon as I get my other site going (the one in my sig), I'll have HQ videos up then.

If you're looking for HTML editing software, Dreamweaver is good...it's almost like using MS Word, but for web pages. If you're into coding your own pages, you can do that with DW too.

You can also check out websites like Templatemonster where you can pick up pre-made sites where you pretty much only have to "fill in the blanks".
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 04:37 PM   #34
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bringing this alive again..

Hey again everyone, it's been a while, but I felt like bringing this post alive again, because I'm getting to the point where I really need to make some decisions, but to be honest, I still feel completely clueless. Many of you tried very hard to explain these things to me, but it just didn't quite sink in.

I want to know the step-by-step.

So far, this is what I understand, correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm sure that I am.

Alright, I find a host (I'm seriously considering 1and1) Q?Do I pay them for a full year in advanced? Can I pay monthly to see if I like it?

Okay then perhaps I want to get a domain, which I can either get through that website, or another website? Is this a one time fee? And how much is it usually.

Say I wanted to higher someone to build me a website, how would they do this? Would I give them full access to my hosting account, or would they somehow send something to me? (I am very confused by all of this)

And the most important part of all of this is video. So far I have no understanding of how this is supposed to work and would love for someone to explain the process of getting my video from my computer, to my website.

I keep reading people say "uploading" but then read that it's "nothing like uploading to youtube". Then what is it like? Do I have to have something separate from my webhost to post my videos?

These are the points at which I am very confused, and until I understand these things better I do not want to even pay for a website.

thanks everyone!
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 04:57 PM   #35
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Actually, it's a little like uploading to YouTube.

You usually transfer files to your webhost via FTP. Most webhosts provide a web interface for doing this, which is like uploading video to YouTube, but it's a lot easier and usually faster to use FTP client software, of which hundreds of examples abound.

Also, you need to get a domain registered first. Then you tell your domain registrar where your site is, and the registrar propagates that information through the DNS system. Registering a domain is a one-time fee, and you need to renew the registration every year. This is very important, because cybersquatting will grab up expired domains hoping to sell it back to you.

Once you register the domain, you retain a webhost. Usually, the webhost can take care of updating DNS information to reflect your new site.

A website consists of a series of web pages supported by other software. You can create your own -- it's not that difficult -- but if you want a professional look, you should really employ a web page designer. Once you've got all the files constituting your website, you upload all the files to your webhost at a specific address reserved for you. The main page of the website will be called index.htm (or index.html). That's your home page, and everything will link from that.

With respect to video, everything depends on how you want to maintain it. As you know, video takes up a lot of storage space, so make sure your account with your webhost allows for the room that you need. You'll transcode your video to something compressed -- usually wmv (windows media), RM (real media) or mov (Quicktime) and upload that to your website. Virtually all webhosts allow for streaming the video, i.e. multiple viewers can watch at once. You may, however, have a bandwidth limitation in addition to the storage limitation -- this will limit the amount of data that can be sent to website visitors so, again, make sure your account provides for enough bandwidth to support what you're doing.

Most webhosts allow either monthly or yearly contracts -- as with many businesses, you'll get a discount for the longer commitment.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 06:41 PM   #36
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A quick answer to a few of the questions.

With one and one they normally do a few months payment up to a year. It depends one which account you get. The cheaper the account the more months they require usually. I had a business account and I had the option of 3 month payments or one year. Second, The 1and1 plans all come with one or more domains included so when you sign up for hosting you get to register your own .com or net or org. Hope this helped some.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 07:16 PM   #37
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It's best to register your name with a domain registrar like www.namecheap.com. Then you can use a company like www.hostgator.com for your webhosting. Keep registration and hosting seperate so you can easily leave the host if you don't like the service. If you register your domain with the webhost, you may have issues if you want to leave.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 07:54 PM   #38
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The problems with leaving a webhost could be an issue if you choose a bad one but any good one will provide you will the info on your admin page to leave to another register. I have moved multiple domains in and out of 1and1.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 08:02 PM   #39
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Jenna,

I've had Yahoo. I've had Lunarpages. I've had 1and1.

Yahoo and it's truly easy to use Sitebuilder is perfect for html illiterates like me. About $12/month for more space than I can use. Free domain registration and NO long term hosting plan required. You could try it for a month or two. If you don't like it, it's easy to go elsewhere.

Lunarpages was cheaper for sure. Free Coffecup software which to this day is a total freakin mystery to me. I couldn't get it right when I was with LP. The software was way too complicated to just pick up on. My videos hung all the time on playback. For many I guess LP is great. I didn't care for them or the long term contract they require.

1and1 was as disappointing for me as LP was. Too much hassle for me. I spent hours trying to understand the so-called simple easy to use website designer.

I'm back with Yahoo and although it costs more, I don't have to scream and b*itch because I can't make something work.

I'm telling you. I'm a total moron when it comes to html and all that other website jargon used to design sites. Yahoo and Sitebuilder are perfect for me. I'm not going to pay a website designer to put together a fancy site for me and then be obligated to go through them to get something added or deleted from my site.

In fact, in the time it's taken me to write this post, I could have added a new page with a video clip and uploaded it from my computer to my website.

That's easy.

Jeff
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 09:04 PM   #40
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Jeff Emery, I am somewhat familiar with yahoo, but I'd like to ask how easy it is to upload video.

See this is one of my main concerns, everyone is talking about DNS systems, and FTP client software which makes no sense to me at all. Also, if anyone can point me to some articles about doing all of this rather than explaining it yourselves, that would be great.

My fear is that I'll go buy the domain, get a webhost, and then be completely stumped as to how to get my video onto the website. Quality is VERY important to me, There's nothing I dislike more than a youtube quality video.

Would it be easier to actually have a host for my videos, one that I actually would have to pay for, but I'm looking at what will be easiest for me to understand, otherwise it's pointless to have a website if I cannot get my videos up. I know someone who was so confused they just got a myspace and put their videos there, because they had so many problems.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 09:42 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
Jeff Emery, I am somewhat familiar with yahoo, but I'd like to ask how easy it is to upload video.

See this is one of my main concerns, everyone is talking about DNS systems, and FTP client software which makes no sense to me at all. Also, if anyone can point me to some articles about doing all of this rather than explaining it yourselves, that would be great.

My fear is that I'll go buy the domain, get a webhost, and then be completely stumped as to how to get my video onto the website. Quality is VERY important to me, There's nothing I dislike more than a youtube quality video.

Would it be easier to actually have a host for my videos, one that I actually would have to pay for, but I'm looking at what will be easiest for me to understand, otherwise it's pointless to have a website if I cannot get my videos up. I know someone who was so confused they just got a myspace and put their videos there, because they had so many problems.
Well, I have to laugh a bit. Here we have professional videographers who are creative and gifted people who, daily, work with complicated hardware and software and scoff at the amateurs who think they can produce professional results with consumer-level equipment and knowledge. With all due respect, website design and maintenance requires just as much talent, knowledge, skills and tools. If you're concerned with quality and a professional look, I'd seriously suggest you consider hiring a professional. I have my own video website and I do understand ftp and DNS, which codec to use for streaming and HTML. I did my website myself and it looks just like my videos: the work of an advanced amateur, but nothing that would ever be confused with the work of a pro.

If you're really this unfamiliar with website design and maintenance, stick to what you're good at -- video -- an let a pro set up a site that shows you off as the talented professional that you are.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 07:04 AM   #42
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Re ftp, it will be to your benefit to learn to use ftp from the command line. Once you know it you can do file transfers from any system without finding and learning a new GUI ftp program (yep, even on an Apple). I can usually finish a file transfer before someone else finds and opens their GUI tool. There are only a few commands to learn. The ones I tend to use the most are: bin, asc, prompt, mput, mget, cd, dir. The * wildcard character lets you save a lot of typing.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 07:52 AM   #43
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Just to add to what Paul suggests above, find someone local to where you live to help you set up your web site. Being able to have questions answered step by step in person on a face to face basis is going to carry you a lot farther than any help coming from an internet message board.

However in the spirit of helping from an internet message board, you might want to look into www.godaddy.com, where you can get a lot done in one stop, from getting a domain name registered, hosting, and more.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 08:52 AM   #44
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Jenna, you really need to get hooked up with a web developer. They will be invaluable to you and will make sure you have a professional, effective site. Our office does about 50% web design, 30% video and 20% software development, so we do have quite a bit of experience with video on the web.

My personal preference is flash video. It has several advantages:

1. Good ratio of fast load time/quality.
2. Makes unwanted downloading and sharing of video more difficult.
3. Easier to make a seemless integration into your site design.

It also has one drawback - it requires flash to be installed on the viewer's browser, but flash is on about 90% of computers.

Here's an example of some simple flash videos from one of our clients: http://www.harvestwillmar.com/Blogs.aspx

I also highly recommend 1and1. They offer the most bandwith for the least cost. I have used them for several years and never been dissapointed. We do have web servers in our own data center, but I still use 1and1 to host video because it transfers the bandwith hogging video to their servers.

I'd recommend you don't bother registering your domain or purchasing a web host until you talk to a web developer.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 06:30 PM   #45
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Jenna,
I think valid points have been made in recent posts about letting a pro design your site for you. And, there's certainly nothing wrong with going in that direction if it suits you.

I don't think you neccessarily need to have a professional design your website for it to be effective. What is it you want your site to do? Display information and samples. You don't have to have a fancy site in order to convey your message. It just needs to be fairly decent looking, easy to navigate, and easy to understand.

I've checked out a good many websites designed by "professionals." While some are pretty flashy and impressive, some are kind of cluttered, hard to navigate, videos take a long time to load, or I'm prompted to download and install a certain player in order to view the video or some other nuisance that requires me to adapt my computer to suit the website designer's whim. I'm on a 7Mbps cable high speed connection. If a site takes too long to load because of all the fancy crap put on there that's making me wait, I'm gone.

In some cases, having a pro do your site might be a great idea. But that doesn't mean it will be any more successful in generating business than one you do yourself. Besides, you can mimic the look of almost any website you want simply by doing a screen capture, editing the image to remove their info and insert yours. Then paste the photo as your website's background.

An important factor to consider also is how will your site look on different browsers. My site looks one way when opened with Internet Explorer, slightly different with Firefox. In IE, my audio players appear as Windows Media Players. In Firefox, they appear as Quicktime Players. In the picture below is another example. Based on the link posted in post #44 by Chris Davis, you can see how the page looks if opened in different browsers. And in the Firefox browser, the page told me "This site makes use of Macromedia Flash software. You do not have Macromedia Flash installed" meaning if I wanted to see the video using my FF browser, I must download Flash. There's my point from earlier about a site requiring me to customize my computer to suit the designer instead of the site being customized to suit the viewer. In the Internet Explorer 6 browser, the first video hung several times. I would suspect that video has a problem with buffering and the fault lies with the hosting service provider, not the site designer. That hanging reflects the problems I had with Lunarpages hosting.

There is no right choice for design and hosting, only the right choice for you. For me the right choice is Yahoo and Sitebuilder. You can download the program for free and play around with it to see if the design is something you want to tackle and you can read the help files to learn how to insert video and publish your site.

I'd be willing to put together a short video demonstrating how to create a page, insert video and other content and publish on Yahoo. I can do this over the weekend and send you a link to a page in my site where you can view it. If you're interested, send your email address to me at dvinfo@jeffemery.com.

Jeff

Last edited by Jeff Emery; July 9th, 2008 at 04:32 AM.
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