The Silent Boulevard

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Website help...

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Yep, another plea for help from the technical geniui on here...

I've decided to finally create a website to host my photography an' that.

Couple of questions...

1. I have limited experience of Dreamweaver and Flash but am a very fast learner. I have both Flash & Dreamweaver MX on my iMac.

I guess I've got to consider which to use, or incorporate a bit of Flash into Dreamweaver etc.
Does anybody have any recommendations as to useful tutorials and whatnot - I don't want to create a shite high-school-IT-project type site which many online resources seem to offer. I have quite a clear idea but just need to get the ball rolling. Someone suggested www.w3schools.com for learning code etc.

2. My name is a bit crap as a domain name for several reasons...

www.carlosbourn.com
/>
Most people misspell Osbourn and either leave out the 'u' or add an 'e'

And it just doesn't really, well, look that good. Adding something like 'photography' to the end doesn't really help it.

So I need to come up with a witty domain name really. I quite like 'silentboulevard' because it is a bloody good Tom McRae song and when I think about it, I imagine a nice black site design with light opaque fonts etc which is exactly what I want really.

3. Finally, any preferred domain name companies or are they all pretty much the same. Someone mentioned www.123-reg.co.uk?
/>
Thanks to anyone who can be arsed to reply - the majority of my posts of late have been whiny asks for helpness :)
17th Jan 2008, 17:29  

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mat says:

you can always have more than one domain pointing at the same website. if you're doing this to help you get work as a photographer, I'd recommend getting some or all variants of your with 'photography' on the end. Stick with .co.uk's, 'cos they find better on google uk, which is where most people will likely be looking for you. You could always get the .com(s) as well if you wanted.

then get silentboulevard.com for personal use. you can give out carl@silentboulevard to your friends, and carl@carlosbournphotography.co.uk for work stuff.

that's what I'd do.

For making the site itself, have a look at SimpleViewer, which creates lovely (although flash powered) galleries really easily. I think there are plugins for Picasa and Dreamweaver, but it's pretty easy to use on it's own.

For web, and domain, hosting, I recommend xilo, who host mbUK. 123reg are OK just for domains, and I've also heard good things about domainmonster.com

helpful? :)

17th Jan 2008, 17:42

Alfie says:

The one caveat with using Flash is that even using Adobe CS3, metadata support is really poor, and images are not at all well indexed by google as a result. Personally I'd try and find HTML/PHP gallery alternatives.

17th Jan 2008, 17:51

thanks man - i knew you'd answer first :)
so by having multiple domains, i can have a single website? you'll have to excuse my spasticness :D

17th Jan 2008, 17:52

I use 1&1 for domains and hosting.

If you get a hosting package with SQL databases included then you could use something like gallery2 which is free and pretty good.

http://gallery.menalto.com/
/>
Loads of options and plugins for hosting your own pictures and getting prints with on-line ordering.

I did try setting up a photo sharing site with this with some success, but then real life got in the way and I stopped.

[Edit] any decent host will allow you to point any domain to any site that own :D

17th Jan 2008, 17:53

Alfie says:

I use 1&1 too, but they're a bit on the 'spensive side. Their hosting packages are good though, with MYSQL databases your options really open out and you can do some interesting stuff quite easily.

17th Jan 2008, 17:55

I have a pro package with them and find them very good. Tech support should you need it is good and there are loads of included apps that you can add to sites without worrying about being a l33t programmer like Joe or mat.

17th Jan 2008, 17:58

mat says:

1&1 are , in my experience, awful. They are one of the worst hosting companies I've ever dealt with (and I've dealt with a lot). I wouldn't go near them if you paid me.

[edit: one of the reasons they are so bad is they piss about with fancy graphical control panels and pre-installed applications, which I can't stand. all I want is a commandline and, preferably, a root password. less techie people may like a less 1337 more comfortable management system. note that there are other reasons they suck, but most of them are technical too ]

17th Jan 2008, 17:59

I have used them since 2003 with no problems at all.

Maybe you just smell?

:D

17th Jan 2008, 18:00

nige says:

i agree with mat on SimpleViewer though. it is rather elegant. i've used it for a friends wedding site before.

17th Jan 2008, 18:00

Joe says:

Yep you can point as many domains to the same place as you like.

I use 123-reg for all of my registrations.

My views on flash:
Don't use it. ever. for anything at all. it doesn't get indexed by the search engines, it doesn't work in every browser (think iphone and ipod touch) it is horribly inaccessible for the partially sighted, and it will always take longer to download and render than HTML. That said, it can look pretty when used for purely aesthetic value.

My advice would be to get a good grounding in standards compliant XHTML and CSS, and then use those skills to "beautify" a gallery type application or blog.

I'm always happy to help anyone develop new web skills so give me a shout if you'd like any more pointers :)

17th Jan 2008, 18:01

beth says:

mat > i dunno if you helped him but you certainly helped me. I think that simple viewer is the perfect solution to putting some of the photos i've got of the show i did on my website. so thanks!

17th Jan 2008, 18:01

mat says:

I agree with Joe about flash, myself. I don't even have it installed. IIRC, SimpleViewer also creates a plain html gallery too, although don't quote me on that.

BUT.

The big thing about SV is that it's dead easy to use, and it's as pretty as hell. Pretty counts for a lot in a portfolio; and Easy means you can spend more time making pictures than learning xhtml/css (which can be a PIG). As for loading time - that's largely academic, the swf might be an extra 100KB or so, but we're talking about a gallery of large jpgs - SV's thumbnail image preloading system is both beautiful and elegant, and provides a very slick browsing experience for the potential client.

17th Jan 2008, 18:07

Joe says:

I have to agree...SV does look bloody good.

Like mat says, it's a playoff between time and effort vs accessibility. I don't know enough about SV to know how it deals with search indexing, if it deals with it at all.

17th Jan 2008, 18:17

mat says:

seo isn't that big an issue when your search keywords are your domain name. :)

also, if you put an SV gallery in the context of a bigger website that has 'about me' text and stuff on, then it's fine. google not indexing image names isn't a big deal, unless you really want to be found for searches like DSC_0213.JPG (or spend ages renaming all your photos to the_beach_at_sunrise.jpg)

17th Jan 2008, 18:41

Dhamaka says:

I've had terrible experience with 1&1 too. Wouldn't touch them with a bargepole and more than 8 months later they are still trying to charge me for services I never used

17th Jan 2008, 23:54

thanks for all your advice everyone - simpleviewer looks absolutely shit-hot and seems exactly what I am looking for with what seems little hassle. although, to be honest, i hope to one day learn html & css etc but i don't really have the time to figure out building a site that way.

does anyone have any recommended resources for learning html / css etc? so that I can learn gradually in my spare time?

18th Jan 2008, 09:29

I thought your name was Carlos Bourn when I saw the domain name... I like silentboulevard very much.

18th Jan 2008, 10:57

god theres so many options with SV. what server typedo i use? where the f*ck to start? can you get picasa for the mac? plus i only have ps cs and it says you need cs2. or should i use a server side script in dreamweaver?

18th Jan 2008, 19:15

Alfie says:

www.csszengarden.com/ mate, best for CSS

18th Jan 2008, 19:21

James says:

Simpleviewer is great and there's a photoshop automation script which speeds things up a lot!

As for hosting...I use 1&1 but I'd think twice about recommending them. I think their packages are great value for money (particularly in terms of webspace/bandwidth, which is ideal for what I do - host musicians' sites)..and when everything goes to plan they're awesome....however when you have a problem their tech support dept. is a disgrace. A few years ago they were great, but since they shipped it all off to the USA (via dodgy VOIP lines) they've really gone down the pan, and I know several people who have left them because of this. The only reason I haven't is because it will be a real ball ache to move all my sites and mysql database data etc.

18th Jan 2008, 22:12

Alfie says:

James, exactly what you said, I have about 50 domains with them, and moving would just be an insane hassle. That said, for the last few wordpress blogs I set up I used Laughing Squid who are really great, and really cheap. I love paying in dollars :)

19th Jan 2008, 18:27