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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Yahoo SiteBuilder is one place that provides the ability to use a contact form without any knowledge of PHP if you host with them, I'm sure there are others, but you have to use their template, I presume.
Alex - I use Yahoo Sitebuilder for my main site as well as my blog. Its nothing fancy but was easy to setup. I pay around $14/ month to maintain. I haven't done any Search Engine Optimization but still get about 20% of my leads from clients who found me via Google. I was thinking of upgrading to a flash site this year but may research a bit more after reading Jeff's comments.

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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:56 AM   #17
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Art, I started out with sitebuilder at Yahoo. Because of the ease in creating contact forms and the flexibility in design and the ease of inserting sample videos it was a PERFECT place to start.

I quit using Sitebuilder tool because their last upgrade didn't work properly for me, no matter what I did, so was forced into leaving it about a year or more ago.

After doing so much research my head hurt, when I upgraded I went the template route.

I must say that the site Don Bloom recommended for web templates and design looks very nice, and that is a place I would look at very hard. Appears to be top quality and extremely user friendly. I love the DIY feature of that place. Great stuff.

I am sure the sites recommended by the others are great too, just haven't looked at them.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:48 PM   #18
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Not to toot my horn too much (ok a little) but check out my site(s). They all run on php & MySQL, using lots and lots and lots of freely available templates (think of them as drop in graphics for a "look & feel") and just about any web dev knows how to make a template for the app I use.


This is why I like the non-flahs sites. Lots and lots of features, such as:

Embedding Video:
Embedding videos is trivial with a plugin I use, and adding content, changing content is about as easy as using MS word using the admin back end. The sites are viewable on any monitor size because the templating system can use either fixed width or variable templates. The load times are pretty fast, especially if I fine tune my database cache settings. Very little "big graphics" to load, so tiny wait time.

Easier to optimize and tweak:
I can create a new page / Menu in about 5 minutes. I can add a new video in less time.

Lots of traffic stats
Combined with many other strategies is how I have had a Google Page Rank of 2/10 for the past two years (most 1 person companies are 1/10 or not even listed in page rank). I get 20% direct traffic (bookmarks), 25% organic Google, and 55% referrals from other sites. I had 14 unique viewers to my site yesterday and average only a 25% bound rate (ie only 25% of visitors to my web site leave right away) and the rest spend an average 4 minutes on my site (that is viewing at least one sample video) and view an average of 4 pages.

I can tell you that in the last month, 10 people found my web site because they searched Google for "Video Deposition Rates" etc etc. I love stats and my site designs are specifically tailored to finding out the stats of what I do.

It might be hard to get that detailed of info on a purely flash based site. :-)

But Flash is improving its ability to provide meta data that can be indexed by bots, but I doubt it will reach the same level of search engine ease as plain text on a page.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #19
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Alex, give me a buzz (or PM). I can help you out with simple design as well.

I just created my blog with godaddy hosting, and it costed me nothing (except hosting costs). Free blog software, free template, free video hosting at vimeo. With a little tweaking of the template (change pics, colors, add/remove some sections) you should be happy at the beginning. And you will be able to manage the website on your own - no need to have web design knowledge (but sometimes it might help).

As far as the loan and bank - tell them it's $200 a year (if you do it my way :-)
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #20
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I see you updated your site Jason, looks great.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #21
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I see you updated your site Jason, looks great.
hehe... you spying on me? ;-) but yes I revamped it in Jan. Thanks for noticing! Actually what I did was split weddings from everything else using the graphical theme my GFX guy made for me (hence the non- generic text logos).

That work right there was virtually the entire month of Janurary right there. Even doing it with my short cuts takes a lot of time. A lot of fiddling. etc. I spent way too much time on it.

I still would probably like to try the "fancy flash site" thing, may be if just for a showcase video gallery (of course I woudl need some real impressive footage to show first).

But I maintain, that getting my web site visitors works best by having lots of relevant content and good referrers (like wedding guide book web sites etc).
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:00 PM   #22
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SEs look for text, properly tagged images, etc etc., it can't index flash.
Yes, they can and they do. Adobe announced that Google was indexing flash sites in July 2008, but Google had been indexing links within flash sites for years prior. To see an example, enter the following search terms at Google: "video filetype:swf".

I still wouldn't say that flash is equivalent to clear text in terms of search indexing, but it's not the black hole it used to be.

Anyway, Alex, our full-service web design and development starts at $2500 and includes one year of hosting. After that, it's $15 per month. I'd say our average web project runs between $3500 and $4000. We're not the cheapest, but we're certainly not the most expensive.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:05 PM   #23
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Thanks for the clarification Chris.

As a web designer you are certainly the expert, not me. I do believe however that in the Cincinnati metro area not a single videographer with a flash site comes up in the first 50 results, and I know there are plenty of them.

My statement about flash not being indexed is obviously wrong, but it would appear that from a practical standpoint that at this point flash is still no more than an afterthought for the search engines.

Also, in my case, my 20 year-old bride-to-bes are not going to do a search for wedding video using the :swf suffix. Actually I don't know any average web-shopper that would. That is a useful bit of information, though, thank you.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:15 PM   #24
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I decided to abandon flash as well. The issues of load speed, updates (I can't program flash so i always had to hire someone), SEO indexing, but mainly it was ease of use and slow loads. If you are planning a small business loan, than I would get a few written quotes from hosts that will get you to where you want to be. The more detailed info you have for a loan the better off you will be, especially right now when most banks are hesitant to lend. In my case, I pay a little over $300 every 2 yrs for hosting/domain reg and do all my design in house with GoLive (a retired Adobe web design program.)

We can give you an idea of what we do, but for your loan I would seriously recommend getting specific quotes to show the bank you have done your homework. You also might want to include some expense for maintenance. The first site I launched, i tore down in 2 months because what i thought was good many others did not. It is an organic process.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 08:22 AM   #25
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Thanks for the clarification Chris.

Also, in my case, my 20 year-old bride-to-bes are not going to do a search for wedding video using the :swf suffix. Actually I don't know any average web-shopper that would. That is a useful bit of information, though, thank you.
Lol, that was only to show you what flash results look like on Google... :) Flash results can and do show up without adding "filetype:swf".

I'm with you that well-formed HTML is best for search engine indexing, but just pointing out that flash isn't totally ignored.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 08:29 AM   #26
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Sorry, I've been away for a day due to bad weather out in Oklahoma. Thanks for all your help. Just from this, I really feel like I'll be steering away from the flash. For now anyhow. What sold me more than anything was the fact that people don't want to sit around and wait for that. I'm the same way. I get impatient enough with Vimeo, but at least you can pause those until fully loaded.

I have nothing set in stone, still, but I thank you for the assistance so far! It's been more help than you realize.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 08:42 AM   #27
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Flash is best when it's a part of a complete website, not the whole thing.

If you really want to see what works best and is most accepted (you know they test everything in front of focus groups) go look at what the "big dogs" are doing. Check out Apple, Chrysler, Xerox, Citibank, etc. Be sure to look at a wide range of industries. Of course, you won't be able to pour the same kind of cash into a website, but you'll be able to pick out key elements of usability and design that you can have incorporated into your website.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #28
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Along with Chris' idea, when doing that type of reseach you can also look around to see what the web design firms are doing also.

That was how I first got the idea that a full flash site or flash intro was not such a hot idea for me. I noticed that all (or most) of the sites that sell flash templates have non-flash sites. Many use elements of flash for preview purposes, but that seems to be all!
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