Author Topic: Scaffolding is in place  (Read 6645 times)

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Scaffolding is in place
« on: February 27, 2007, 10:04:34 AM »
Oooo... may I start this subforum?  :P  For those who've been waiting breathlessly for the unveiling of my faux database experiment (and for everyone who hasn't ;) ), the basic layout is now published for the background tiling section of my #2 site. Following the several layers of clicks from the homepage will still get you to the tiles (at least one of those layers, and probably more, are now redundant so will be removed), but the easiest way to get into the section at the moment is by using the links in the homepage text to "specific artists" or "colors".

The homepage link to the "Techniques" section will get you to that section only - it's not connected to the rest of the site yet, and there will be more parts to it besides the current "Tiling Tips". (If you look at that section, keep in mind that the "tips" and, therefore, the Paint Shop ads, were scattered throughout all 3000-or-so tiles rather than bunched up as they are now. And, yes, the ads are for an old version.) 

I expected this to take a lot of work - and it does! I've decided not to create a database page for a tile already published unless it needs to show up in more than one category. I don't even have all of those done yet, but the majority are now in the database. If you browse through the tiled pages, any that have a number beneath the "save image" picture are being pulled up into a container page from the database. I've been pretty happy with the speed of loading. On both dial-up and high-speed, they take just a bit longer to load than a regular page, but I think people are used to that when dealing with products, etc., that have to be pulled from databases.

I have about 700 new tiles backlogged, waiting until I can publish them straight into the new system. I also have to set up all the categories and search functions that brought about this re-do in the first place so, basically, everything is right back where I started! :P But now to move on from there, at a slightly slower pace than I've been using over the past couple of months to get to this point. My #1 site, as well as everything other than the tiling section on my #2 site have been completely neglected...  :-[

------I don't know if I really want critiques at this point, but if anyone has ideas on a more user-friendly set-up for browsing I'd at least listen to them. :)


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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2007, 10:41:19 PM »
Wow, that looks really good I like it!  :clapping:
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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2007, 09:10:02 AM »
Thanks :) . My biggest question has been how to implement a site search without people ending up on the database pages - since they have absolutely no navigation at all. What I'm going to try is adding keywords that describe the tile just on its container page in the "by color" section, so a search doesn't pull up 2, 3, or 4 container pages for the same tile. I'll just have to make sure the site search that I use on my other site picks up on keywords, but I think it does.

In the past, I've inconsistently used alt tags on the table pages to describe the tiles, but if someone's doing a search, it won't help them much to pull up a table with 30 or 40 tiles in it. So I think I'm going to have the alt tags give the dimensions of the tile.

Of course, this will mean redoing one page per tile (I just did my first count since the update, and am now up to about 3200). But I knew things like that would be involved, and I still don't think it's any more work than entering that many items into a real database. :P I should end up with a system that will make it much easier for someone to find what they're looking for than it is on the top site of this type; I already have significantly easier browsing than that one does. 

I've learned that I have to do things step-by-step or publishing becomes a problem - I tell ya, this project has almost made me give up my dial-up connection! :o

Of course, what to do with all of this is still up in the air, although I have some ideas.

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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2007, 02:28:20 PM »
Your idea sounds very reasonable considering what you are working with. I have been long wondering where you might take this wealth of creativity - lol. One thing I have also been doing is creating things on cafe press - I have the opportunity to present things to agents soon and perhaps someday they will be "out there" on a roylaty basis. But the items look great and are of good quality and I will be selling them on my site soon. I used zazzle some too but cafe offers more choices and their online creation tool is more stable and easy to use. ... So many of your things would make great products or backgrounds for sayings etc... just food for thought  :yes:
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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2007, 01:21:49 PM »
Oh, yes, I never lack for ideas - just the time to carry them out :banghead:. I'm actually thinking of the Cafe Press type items more for my main website, which is the reason I've been looking into vector graphics programs. The site's logo is pretty recognizable, and wearable, etc., but since I've never done vectors I have it only in the three sizes that I use on the site. I also have some note card designs specifically for that site that are mostly text and straight lines, so would be (relatively) easy to do as vector graphics. None of these would be anything the general public would be interested in, but the people who are "into" the topics of the site would be, and having them available as various products would be a good thing for that audience.

I've been horribly ignoring that site the last few months, except that I've continued trying to finish up a book-length collection of interrelated essays for it. Because the subject is fairly complex, I don't want to put them online until they're a cohesive whole, but I have to get some new "regular" essays up on the site before visitors decide I've abandoned the place! I've also been thinking of ways to make it more of a destination site as the more fannish Tolkien-related sites that blossomed briefly because of the movies wilt away, as they're now doing. 

My heart and soul are in that site - the one with the tiles is an enjoyable hobby. Some people knit to relax after a hard day at work - I come home and make a few background tiles. I've taken time away from my main site over the last few months to try to get the basic overhaul done on the second one, but now I hope to get my priorities shifted back.

Not that there aren't ideas for the second one. Because of the original greeting card purpose of the site, I've started using some of the tiles to design note cards and stationery - the "We've got over 3000 images, and you can pick any of them to put on your note cards" idea has been put aside, because I'm discovering that just because a tile looks great on the screen doesn't mean it'll print out well. If the cards could get going, the next thing would be wrapping paper, which some of the tiles are wonderful for - I could afford to buy a "wide format" printer that could do wrapping paper, but they're not cheap and I wouldn't want to buy one until I knew it would get used (maybe when I retire). Of course, all of the tiles are raster images, so trying to do a Cafe Press type thing with them would be pretty limited, I'm afraid. And there are very few of them that I'd even want to try turning into vector images - they just aren't right for it.

Other "monitizing" ideas would be selling special collections of tiles that aren't available on the website or having a subscription-only area of the site. The book-length set of essays could be sold, too, I suppose, as an ebook (I can't imagine trying to do it on paper without internal hyperlinks). But I hate to limit things that way, and monitizing has never been a big goal for me. Anyway, I keep learning with everything I try, so I don't consider something wasted just because I don't make money from it. (And trying to make money from it just adds more layers of things to worry about that I don't want to take time for right now.)

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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2007, 02:22:41 PM »
Hmmm one thing I like about Café or zazzle is that when you put your things up there you can choose to let the customer change the elements and that means they can add their own words or even delete your picture and put up their own. It seems kind of odd and I don't allow it on some things but if a person lands on your item and decides to build their own or add their own words or background then you still get a commission from it. And about transferring raster images and such - I have a tip that I have used for such items. I merely bring them up and take a screen shot and transfer the images into jpegs and then can use them on those types of sites. Pretty simple and they look fine.  :yes: Well I bet what ever you do it will be a success as your sites are just wonderful!  :clapping:
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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2007, 09:03:28 PM »
This is a great program.  It will hide your downloads.  I use it on my site.  For only being $29 it does more for us small websites than anyother program.  I'm sleepin' and makin MONEY

http://www.vibralogix.com/linklokipn/

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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2007, 08:33:54 AM »
Thanks, Ken - I'm pretty sure that's the same program used by [person whose name I can't remember :v8slap: ] who sells her needlework patterns by download. I was actually going to ask if anyone could tell me what it was, :) but the name of that one sounds familiar.


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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2007, 09:01:22 AM »
Yep.... this is it.  I can't say enough about it.  I will say, it takes a bit to set it up, but the help is above and beyond.  Read the manual three or four times before setting it up.... You can download the manual before buying the product.  Take a look I'm sure this is what you want.

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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2007, 03:17:16 AM »
I took a quick look - is this only for pay pal or can you use it with other payment options?
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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2007, 10:12:24 AM »
The link I posted is for Paypal, but there are many other products available.

http://www.vibralogix.com/products.htm

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Re: Scaffolding is in place
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2007, 08:41:52 PM »
Thanks Ken - I thought so - I don't see one for the merchant I use but will have to change merchants for downloads anyway so this might work esp if I go to PayPal.
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