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Topic: Website software
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (Feb 24, 2010 09:57PM)
Up until now I have always paid people to create my websites for me.
This has been expensive and I have not always been happy with the end product. When someone else creates the website, I have to get them to update it for me as well.

I was just wondering what software people are using to create their websites. I would like something that makes it easy for me to update myself as well.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Does anyone have any experience with bigpixie?

Thanks

AM
Message: Posted by: alexa (Feb 24, 2010 10:21PM)
I paid a designer to make this CMS site for me: http://www.princesslexiloo.com
I can add unlimited pages including internal links and I can edit it as much as I want anytime I want.

For a new start-up I created my site myself at http://www.sitecube.com
The site I created is http://www.greatglitterparties.com
It was extremely simple to do.
Message: Posted by: sb (Feb 24, 2010 10:37PM)
Look into "wordpress"
Message: Posted by: Alikzam (Feb 25, 2010 02:26AM)
Wordpress is probably your best bet. Lots of plugins, lots of templates, and it gets updated often. My wedding website I built with wordpress. You can see what it looks like at http://www.MagicalWeddingStory.com. (The "enter your name" script I wrote myself in php and isn't a part of wordpress, or any wordpress plugins)

If you have limited design experience, I would recommend finding a wordpress template that you like and then just editing it to suit your needs. A few color changes and a custom header can easily change the entire look of a site with minimal work. That way you can focus on whats really important- your offer, and your content.
Message: Posted by: Mr Hyde (Feb 25, 2010 03:57AM)
I was just writing up a tutorial for my [url=http://www.magiccoach.com]MagicCoach[/url] readers.

Here's the short version.

[url=http://www.wordpress.org]Wordpress[/url] + [url=http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=198392&u=402777&m=24570&urllink=&afftrack=]The Thesis Theme [/url]

Wordpress is free and comes with a one click installation on quite a few hosting packages. (Host gator, GoDaddy etc.)

Thesis continues to get huge reviews and has all sorts of SEO features built in. It also has a great support community. You can do anything with this and some of the sample sites shown via the link are amazing. I think it's around $80.

If the thought of learning a new tool is a worry, seriously suggest you invest $25 for a months membership of [url=http://www.lynda.com]Lynda.com[/url] .

Timothy
Message: Posted by: Majestic12 (Feb 25, 2010 06:43AM)
[quote]
On 2010-02-24 23:21, alexa wrote:
I paid a designer to make this CMS site for me: http://www.princesslexiloo.com
I can add unlimited pages including internal links and I can edit it as much as I want anytime I want.

For a new start-up I created my site myself at http://www.sitecube.com
The site I created is http://www.greatglitterparties.com
It was extremely simple to do.
[/quote]
No offense but that sitecube website you built leaves lots to be desired. Your other site is great.
Message: Posted by: jackturk (Feb 25, 2010 07:39AM)
Wordpress is great and so's using a theme.

Be aware, it still requires coding skills to do anything beyond adding text and graphics to a basic template.

If you want to adjust colors, fonts, change banner graphics, adjust widths, add opt-in boxes, etc. etc. etc. you will need to get comfortable messing with PHP and CSS for themes and some basic HTML nonetheless.

It's not rocket science and to be honest, IMO most folks need to spend more time on writing quality sales copy than on formatting issues. A very simple 3 page site with:

Home page sales letter
FAQ page with answers to frequent questions
Clients page with testimonials

And contact info on each page will do very well. The main benefit of Wordpress happens when you include a blog page that you'll regularly update with content packed with relevent keywords / keyword phrases -- if you don't do that (and I will admit, this tends to get backburnered pretty easily) then the major benefits of Wordpress fade a bit.

--Jack Turk
Message: Posted by: TheMagicianGuide (Feb 25, 2010 10:27AM)
One thing to keep in mind, ask yourself just how much designing does your time allow for, and is it really something you can continue to use to gain business advantage (especially against competitors)? We have been in web dev for 11 years and have seen many small business owners who have tried to start their own websites etc. Its really just about knowing what you do best (in your business, in your business niche), and what you are able to do best to promote your own business.

In the time it can take to teach a business owner how to "do" their own site (whether in WordPress, Dreamweaver, Joomla, etc.) we could have built them a very professional site, as well as a number of additional professionaly presented landing pages and advertisements etc, and who knows what else? (and at extremely affordable costs) . . .

Magicians are naturally creative and if your tech savy and have a ton of time on your hands, all the better - Go for it! Just remember who looks at your website - your customers. Remember to also ask yourself if your competition is designing their own site as well? Make sure from the get-go that you will be able to design a site that replicates your professional presence (and, equally at the least, your competitions). More importantly, know your limits . . . nothing can be more frustrating than devoting time, money, and energy into an endeavor that will only result in "I did it myself" design . . .

Not to be discouraging though, just recognize what you do, and can do, best!
Message: Posted by: alexa (Feb 25, 2010 11:39AM)
I am not saying the SiteCube site is the be-all-end-all of website building in a box. It's a really easy to customize template so that I could have a site that looks professional up and running for my target market. Already clients are booking more because of it. It's a start-up, as opposed to the professionally done site, and I'm very happy with both because I have different expectations of both.

If you feel that sitecube leaves a lot to be desired because it's entirely flash, that's not a concern for me. SEO is not a main concern with that site at this time, but it certainly doesn't look like a site done ten years ago like a lot (most) entertainer's websites.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Feb 25, 2010 12:21PM)
I'm in the process of creating my own site. I'm not that graphically creative, but I did teach myself VB programming, and I'm diving into HTML and JavaScript.

I'm using PageBreeze free web page builder. Yah, it has limitations, but for me and my first site, it'll be fine. And I use FileZilla (also free) to upload any changed pages or files to my site. (Note: nothing on the site you get to from my sig link was created by my PageBreeze efforts. That's the stuff you get when you save a Word file as HTML!)

On the other hand, I am learning why a good web developer is worth the money. The pHp and JS coding that go into making it all run smooth under the hood is like the computer stuff on my car engine - there's a reason why it takes a lot of tools to make it work!

Bottom line for me is: if I could afford it, I would spend my money having someone else do this and my time working on my routines!

Just my thoughts.
Ed
Message: Posted by: Brian O. (Feb 25, 2010 12:55PM)
It really depends on what you want for your site. If you're looking for a basic three- to four-page "virtual business card," I'll echo others' recommendation for Wordpress. (Heck, even a decent Blogger template could do the job.)

If you're looking to create your own feature-rich site, and you want something that's accessible to the average person who's willing to take a bit of time to learn, I'd suggest looking into Joomla. (http://www.joomla.org) It's open source (read: FREE!) and very versatile.

Best of luck.
Message: Posted by: kinesis (Feb 25, 2010 12:55PM)
My current website I authored using SWISHMAX (although I could have written it just with HTML)

The one I'm working on right now is created using Serif WebPlus X4

Both sites required a knowledge of dynamic html, php and javascript. I learned it all on the job with the help a loads of people on appropriate website forums.

Watch out for the new one appearing in a few weeks...

Derek
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Feb 25, 2010 02:23PM)
I built my site using HomeSite. That's basically an HTML editor. But that's just me. I like delving into the code stuff and can truly enjoy the fruits of my work. Its just another creative avenue. Mind you, I built this when I first went 'full-time' and I had more time than funds at that point. But if you have the basic skills, and an already well-designed site, tweaking it isn't that difficult and doesn't take that much time.
Message: Posted by: Mr Hyde (Feb 25, 2010 04:42PM)
I've had a bunch of queries about the Lynda.com training videos.

To answer your questions ... Yes, No, Yes, Perhaps.

Seriously, the best way is to try it out. Visit the site
and search the Software titles. Most major Products have their own
training videos and quite a few minor ones are there too.
Photoshop, ACT, Office etc

I believe this link will give you Free access for 24 hours!
It might be all the time you need :)

[url=http://www.lynda.com/promo/freepass/Default.aspx?lpk35=930&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=ldc_affiliate&utm_content=655&utm_campaign=CD897&bid=655&aid=CD897&opt=]Free 24 hour pass to lynda.com.[/url]
Message: Posted by: chefmagic (Feb 25, 2010 06:28PM)
Try this site is seams reasonable: from $1 - $9.95 a month with free domain name

http://www.tiptopwebsite.com/index.html
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (Feb 26, 2010 04:26PM)
Thanks for all the responses. It seems like Wordpress has a lot of fans.
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Feb 26, 2010 07:59PM)
Yup. Wordpress and Coda. I have about 8 blogs/websites that are all Wordpress themes. Some look like blogs, some like traditional websites.

All were created with Wordpress on the server and Coda on my laptop. Coda helps you to code the actual site.

Coda (a Mac only program) allows very efficient design of CSS, HTML, as well as several other standard formats.

It allows direct upload from within the program of the files, very easy error correction and much more. I live by Coda:

http://panic.com/coda/

Of course, if you're on a PC, nevermind. I'll just keep it for myself. *grin*
Message: Posted by: MikeClay (Feb 27, 2010 11:01AM)
Yep Wordpress ALL the way...

there is a theme out there with some REAL power as far as LOW geek speak and ability to adapt..

Builder by Ithemes.com

also if your going to dive into Wordpress my ASKMIKECLAY twitter account has a list of WP Gurus that you can follow and learn things from..

If you choose not to use Wordpress that's fine to.. just keep a few things in mind..

Search engines cannot link to internal content built inside of FLASH,
IPhone, Ipad, ITouch do not support flash and the user base is GROWING

If you menu is javascript, the search engines will ignore it.. build it with CSS (this is one of the many reasons search engines favor wordpress)

don't forget the basics of ON Page marketing and SEO
1. Use Proper Meta tags (Title, Description, Keyword "not read by google")
2. Use keywords in header tags (h1-h6, and use CSS to style them)
3. Check the crawlability of your site.. to make sure the search engines like it..
Message: Posted by: Cesar Munoz (Mar 1, 2010 06:16PM)
I use Adobe Dreamweaver. It has a lot of functionality that I haven't learned how to use. But, it was relatively easy to learn how to create a simple website. It's also super easy and fast for me to do my own updates.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Mar 2, 2010 09:33PM)
I've finally bit the bullet and really started to use WP
last summer. its really the easiest CMS available.

I've been exploring other options.
and intergrating other feeds.

Like artist data for show
and even looked into four four
Message: Posted by: Astrocity (Apr 4, 2010 06:41PM)
Cesar,
I originally built my site using Dreamweaver. While it a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) type of software and allows for building websites without getting into HTML coding, I found it to be tedious, confusing and difficult to work with myslef. It is very powerful, but I found that I had to do a good deal of trial and error to get what I wanted out of it. It was a long process and very frustrating at times. A fellow magician, Austin Brooks, told me about Net Objects Fusion 11. It was like the heavens opened up and the angels sang! This software is just as powerful and complete as Dreamweaver, but it is 10 times easier to use! Everything is laid out easily, it contains a ton of style sheets and some templates, and it just makes sense as you work out your site. It utilizes property boxes for everything from pages, to master borders, to pictures, forms and text boxes. I re-built my site that originally took me about 25-30 hours to build, in less than 4 hours! On top of that, the site came out 10 times more professional looking!! I highly recommend NetObjects Fusion 11 to anyone who wants to build their own site or does not have the money to pay someone else to do it. Here is the website:

http://netobjects.com/

Hope it helps some people out,
Hank
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Apr 5, 2010 07:04AM)
Let me put my Two cent's into this discussion. I have 20 years of coding, and self taught in multiple areas. HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, Flash, Word Press and others.

Web design is not easy to learn. Especially graphic design.

Flash Websites are pretty and coming into the picture more often. They seem must for large illusion show type shows. Learning Flash is hard work, and the skills learned are easily lost if not using it continuously. Modifying templates makes the job much easier but it also takes skill and considerable time to do this to learn to do this. If you are unwilling to spend months learning Flash, then don't try this on your own. Doing a unique Flash site for the newbie is takes a much longer commitment to learn Flash.
Example of a converted Template Flash Website: [url=http://www.JeffCarsonMagic.com][b] Jeff Carson Magic[/b] [/url]

Example of simple Flash Purchased Websites by a designer:
[url=http://www.kenscottmagic.com/][b]Ken Scott[/b][/url]
[url=http://www.brucebraymagic.com/][b]Bruce Bray[/b][/url]
Sites look very similar, different Market Areas and are clean well designed, and expensive. Still cannot edited them easily, must go through designer. This is a good choice for getting up and running without loss of time for the heavy working magician. Designers have thought of things most magicians haven't even considered.

Dreamweaver: Like flash it requires a learning curve but it does create clean designs.

HTML: well this is still the most prominent method of we design creations. It requires learning a lot of code and also requires a learning curve.

The easiest and best method to learn is a CSS designed website. CSS allows a stylesheet to be created and then using simple HTML codes like bold, or the paragraph statement to create a decent web page.
Right click and look at the source code for this web site:
http://www.kidabra.org/about.htm
Notice how easily the CONTENT can be changed. This is a little more complex CSS design but modifications once designed are 100 times easier than straight HTML.

Here is a simple good looking page.
http://www.kidabra.org/member/DennisDowhy/index.htm
It uses 3 graphics: The menu graphic, the backgound "stars" animation graphic, and a blue side bar graphic. These are pointed to by the style sheet code. Just change the graphics and a whole new design is created.

The number of pages is simply copying the existing list code and changing the name of the pages.
Want a new menu? Well here is a free menu creator, where you just change the Menu Code in the style.css with the code created by the program.
Get the CSS Tab Designer at: http://www.highdots.com/css-tab-designer/

There is a lot of other good information at this site
For the Beginner, this is the way to go.
Message: Posted by: Cesar Munoz (May 19, 2010 10:06PM)
Hank,

Thanks--I'll check it out.

Cesar
Message: Posted by: monstercreations (May 20, 2010 05:13PM)
Hmm... I'll bung my 50 pence worth in...
The coding of the site is the easy part... the hard part is the design of the site.
Wordpress is nice and friendly but you still need the site designed.
Elements of Flash in a site are ok but a whole flash site is still a bit of a no go.
The Jeff Carson Site is poorly implemented it took nearly 20 seconds to load and by this time I wouldn't have bothered. Also all that lovely text is wasted for SEO as it's in Flash!
I still don't get (and I know I will get flamed for this!) why magicians will spend 100's of bucks on magic tricks and props but are still unwilling to spend out on good promotional photos and websites!
cheers,
Ade
Message: Posted by: MikeClay (May 20, 2010 07:41PM)
Ade,

It's not just magicians..
I have consulted with business owners who are not in the entertainment arena who spent THOUSANDS on direct mail or telemarketing and didn't have any way to know if it worked or a way to track what they where doing.

Then complained when we mention the price for a Marketing Strategy (that is guaranteed) that includes a website.

almost all industries have this issue...

what drives me crazy is how many people spend money on marketing websites and so on and don't even have a business plan, much less a marketing plan (man I have really been hung up on marketing plans this thread.. whats my problem)
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 12, 2010 10:49AM)
Check out the website builders software ratings:

http://website-creation-software-review.toptenreviews.com/