Monday, March 30, 2009

To code or not to code? Templates are the question.

Web. A large complicated jigsaw puzzle. You would think it would be as easy as my space. I am sure there are programs out there that build the site for you and make it really good, but someone is writing that code for you and getting paid to do it. I spoke with my instructor about how I was avoiding using templates to create my pages. I wanted to figure out myself how to code a functional website and considered using templates as lazy. Mr. Williams said to me that he actually encourages using templates as a learning tool. I never looked at it that way. You can use them as a tool by trying to understand how the template code is written and why it was written that way.

I have been struggling the past few weeks with positioning. Creating content for me is easy but placing the content where I want it to go is another story. The easiest way I have found so far when positioning is putting certain items in a div tag such as my top links, bottom links, images, and paragraph text, even my h1s and h2s. After I have those in divs I start to play with my css. I first assign margins to my body so all my content will be placed within a specific area on my page. Second I adjust my top, left, right, and bottom margin percentages of each one of my divs. I then go even further by adjust the individual content within my divs the same way. So far this has worked out pretty well for me, even more so now that I am introducing 2-3 column layouts to my pages.

You can see a big difference in my 2 live websites. The first one "Search Engine Optimization" is extremely boring and ugly. I struggled with positioning allot with that site. My second site "Writers and Editors" is a huge improvement and I have allot more control of the size, shape, and positioning of the elements in that site. Please feel free to give me your honest opinion on my sites.
I typed in the web address due to the links I added are not showing up in my blog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Are her eyes green or brown?

So I was told that no one truly has blue eyes. Huh? What? You have to be kidding me. I look at my son every day with his bright blue eyes. There has to be some mistake. So I take his picture and load it onto photo shop. WTH happened to my sons blue eyes? It's all about subtractive and additive color schemes. Whether you are looking at the eye in RYB or RGB. When you look at someones eyes with out using a camera or a digital monitor you see reflective light. This light is subtractive and takes away color giving it a feel that what you see is blue. Now take the same eye and load it onto a computer. Now you are looking at direct light which adds color giving it a totally different feel.

It sometimes becomes a task when you create an image on your computer and when you go to print it looks nothing like you thought it would look like in print. This is because the digital world is using Red, Blue, Green (RGB) Direct light when determining color and print uses Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (CMYK) reflective light. You must think about this when you are choosing your colors on an image and adjust when needed. When ever possible use the Pan tone color formula guides to select which colors to use.

Color creates emotion in an image. I created a logo for a project in class. I researched the meaning of the colors that I used in the image. I wanted a warm and motherly feel when creating my logo. The main image was of the Phoenix. The image itself has a meaning of re-birth and the ability to heal. The colors I used were Yellow and Orange. These colors not only compliment each other, they both give a positive and comforting feel when you look at them. Yellow has a majestic, happy, and powerful feeling while Orange demands attention and represents the flow of change. Combined with image I feel it brought out the emotions in people I was looking for.

Colors can change the effect you have on an audience, so choose them wisely. Colors can give give an illusion of other colors depending on the light around them and how you are viewing them. Color is what makes this world such a wonderful place and color will continue to shape our world until the end of time. That will happen in 2012 BTW lol. Have fun and do some finger painting instead of watching TV for a change.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Search Engine Optimization

Every time someone creates a website for the first time, they have wild dreams that millions of people are going to see their site and that they will make a ton of money or raise awareness to a cause they believe in. Sadly this is not the case. There are allot of factors that go into building a website that determine whether or not your site falls into the "invisible web" or is seen by millions of people.

This is where SEO comes into play. Search Engine Optimization consists of many different techniques and combined increases your web sites visibility when someone uses a search engine like Google or Yahoo!. Fact is most people when searching for a specific subject, normally do not go past the 2ND or 3d page of search results. So how do we get up in rankings of a search engine? First off you do research. You check out the main sites you see on a specific subject and find out what they are doing to have such a high ranking. You will notice the placement of keywords, robots they use, there description in there title tag, how relevant the keywords they use pertain to the content of their web site.

Those concepts of placement of text and the order the search engine crawls your site, with robot txt giving importance to specific content it wants the search engine to crawl. I used all the possible techniques you listed, but my site still has a low ranking you say. Well allot of search engines for a fee will boost the ranking of your site. Also it is up to you to let the search engine know your site exists. Also the more number of hits to your site increases your search engine ranking.

USE VIRAL MARKETING! Just because we live in a world where actual human contact is no longer needed to live @.@ does not mean that word of mouth is dead. Use the people you know to your advantage. Have them help you generate a buzz about your site. Family members, close friends and co-workers are great tools to help get your name out there. Also have interesting content and encourage users to pass the virus of your website to others, for example, YouTube does a great job of this by adding a share button with every video posted on there site. This allows the user to send the video to others with YouTube name on it. Then that person can send it to others and so on.

There are helpful free tools out there from Google and Yahoo! that will assist you on optimizing your site. I strongly recommend you use these tools. It is not easy when creating a site for the first time, but use your social networking tools, friends and family, and keep track of your placement and content you use, plus with some good old fashion research, you will not be left wondering why your site never took off.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Then and now.

I have grown in these past few months. Everything I see and everything I do has a whole new meaning. I find myself talking to strangers about the unique characteristics of letters and how important they are. A lot of times I just get a blank look on someones face when I try to explain the difference between a serif and a sans-serif font, but they still politely pretend to listen to me go on and on about the subject. I had no idea that type would be some much fun. Funny thing is we never stop to think about the time and effort people put into making sure we all have an enjoyable reading experience. For the better part of my life I dreamed of becoming a professional musician, but now it would be just as rewarding to me to start a career at a local newspaper.

I also enjoy on-line PC MMO's. I never understood until recently what I was typing when creating specific macros for the program. All along I had been writing a form of HTML code. I started chatting about it to fellow guildies on-line. I received a great response from several of them wanting to know more about code and how to write it. It sparked a weekly discussion on Saturday evenings where we all meet up and talk about the different ways to create add-ons for the MMO.

This past weekend my wife and I decided to go out to dinner. We ended up at a Japanese Steak House in Lakeland due to our normal spot was closed for remodeling in Winter Haven. I sparked a conversation with our waiter about Graphic Design. He wanted to know exactly what I was learning in school. We talked about everything I have learned so far from photo editing to SEO. He seemed more interested than most, so this really got me going on the subject. Before we left the restaurant our waiter Ron stopped me and gave me a flyer. He then begins to tell me of the company he and his twin brother Rob started and they were looking for someone to create an Identity for the company and help optimize their website. This was a chance meeting with a total stranger that led me to my first "freelance" job. We are meeting later this week to discuss what needs to be done.

The point to my ramblings is this. I have found something very important. I have found happiness and the light at the end of the tunnel. I have found a way to incorporate all of my loves and hobbies into something productive, meaningful and useful. All the time I spent obsessing over technology, music, and art has actually paid off.