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Starting off a blog.... hmmm.

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by GilmoreVisuals, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Hi everyone!

    It's been a while -shock at the new website... good job!-

    Anyway, i'm starting off my site (once again) which I am sure some of you will detest the way I created it (oh well) using a geek-free design software (carboncookie) which I quite enjoy, as a designer.

    It's still under construction, hence me asking for critiques from some of you (Squiddy?! ^^ )

    Also, as for the blog, I am hoping to post every week (commitment or what!?) but as a bare minimum at least once every 2 weeks.... anyone run a blog? What are the benefits? More traffic? I'm really looking to build an audience up for interaction/working with/opinions etc

    The top banners (this website was created with carboncookie etc) will be removed once I purchase the paid hosting...

    What do people think? Too much going on in the home page?

    Some of my inspiration sites: and

  2. tim

    tim Senior Member

    take a look at tumblr if the current version of your blog is the template you want to use. it's much easier to update, and is a great CMS.

    much easier to change the look and feel, much easier to view user feedback (eg. reblogs instead of waiting for 1 out of 1000 to comment)
  3. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    True- decided after I posted this to change the software... would wordpress be equally good?
  4. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Hey Alex, long time no see! Glad to see you are looking into re0doing your site.

    I don't think I can really comment much on it at the moment as it's so bare. The navigation looks a bit dodgy, the buttons are a couple of pixels too small which is resulting in the the edges being cut off slightly, furthermore, the font hasn't been rendered very well. I'm assuming that's either Futura or GeoSans Light, either way they should be a lot smoother! The logo is out of alignment with the content. Also, what's that random grey rectangle at the top centre of the page? The social buttons look quite isolated all the way over there.

    The content has no degree of interactivity whatsoever, but I assume that this is most likely because the site isn't finished. It all feels quite squashed, the content needs more room to breathe. If I see one more KEEP CALM poster... I also think you should get some new content as there are a couple of pieces on there that don't really show off what I reckon you're really capable of.

    Overall the home page just feels quite... bland. I'm not getting any sense of personality or flare. I'm also not seeing any sense of direction throughout the site. The closest thing is the "If you would like to form" text which is very small and doesn't stand out at all. It's almost like you're trying to hide it! Whilst we're on the subject of text, you've got a typo; it's modelling, not moddeling. (Home Page - Services list; "3D Moddeling")

    I don't like the dark and light grey striped background on the subscribe to gilmore visuals section, it doesn't really work where it's the only implementation of that style. I could go on explaining why I don't think each little section works too well but I think you get the idea already. It doesn't feel like a website, it feels like a portfolio, I don't believe they are the same, or similar things and shouldn't be used in place of each other. It's actually something that's beginning to annoy me a little these days because people seem to think they can just spend an hour or two using some free site builder and get the perfect solution. Not saying that's what you did, but if you want a professional site I think you need to do a lot more than this.

    At the moment all your site is saying to me is "Hi, I'm Gilmore Visuals, here is my work. Maybe if you feel like it you can contact me too. Oh and I have a blog." I don't think this is what a site should be saying to prospective clients. I believe that a proper website for someone in a creative industry should give people the chance to look much deeper than simply what it is you do. They should be able to understand who you are, what drives your motivation, know about your design methods and processes, have an understanding of your skill sets and abilities and more without even having to speak to you over the phone. Clients will want to know about these things, even if they don't ever get round to asking you (because they've probably just come up with their own set of (probably incorrect) assumptions) the specific questions. I think there needs to be a lot more emphasis on qualitative aspects like why you do what you do, what it is about your service that should inspire trust in your clients, what you do differently, why you believe you are worth hiring and ultimately why they should spend their hard earned cash on you.

    You should be trying to anticipate the questions that potential clients might have and answering them through your website as articulately as possible without confusing them through a website design that is pleasing, intuitive and fit for its purpose. You've got a lot of competition out there, think about how many freelancers and agencies there are in Europe, the US and other countries like India and China (who will work for a LOT less). You could just use a wordpress template and bung some content into it but I wonder how many other people are doing that and more importantly, is it really enough?
    GilmoreVisuals likes this.
  5. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Thanks a lot for that Sean.I agree with most things you said and to summarise it I think 'At the moment all your site is saying to me is "Hi, I'm Gilmore Visuals, here is my work. Maybe if you feel like it you can contact me too. Oh and I have a blog." I don't think this is what a site should be saying to prospective clients.' is a fair statement.

    I think maybe stating my objective of this new site might be helpful. I want the main focus this site to be the blog, and as a side aspect, have my work, similar to what Jacob Cass has done.

    Thinking about it, I might need to consider having them as two separate sites, so I would need to start a completely new site specifically as a portfolio, which would be used to try and get some freelance work through. Anyway, at this point in time I would like to get the blog started off before my personal site.

    I think that moving towards the style of some other blogs/tech updates sites such as mashable, technobuffalo etc, would be the style I would like to be heading towards. I would also like to eventually have other designers contributing in too.

    So I'm a bit in a stand-still as I'm a little unsure of how to move forward with these two ideas (or if they could be one idea...) In any case, you helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do, so thanks! (again!)
  6. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I think this is an issue that plagues a lot of people. They've got an idea of what they want but they haven't nailed down the specifics, and then they go off and start the project without setting up the proper foundations. Needless to say, they end up running into a host of problems further down the line.

    The best way to go about it is to, as you say, work out your objectives starting with the most obvious ones and then working out the levels of priority so that you know how prominent each aspect of the website should be. This way, when it comes to designing the site, you'll have a better chance of coming up with something that looks like what you actually want.

    Something I've been thinking of for a while now which may actually be of use to you is to simply have your main domain feature a very simple landing page which consists almost entirely of a navigation element that (in your case) would direct you to either the blog or your portfolio with just a little bit of content (i.e. one blog post, a couple of pieces of your work) to lure the viewer further into your site. We can talk about it some time if you want to develop that idea further, or you want help with one of your own concepts :)

    EDIT: On second thoughts, that's probably not something that you want, but either way, I've got some other ideas if you want further help

    Glad I can be of help :)
  7. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Right, that makes sense. I'll have a think about exactly what I want and come up with a design concept of the blog site.

    I think it would also be good to see for the long term how to maintain such an idea, so working out exactly what I would need to do now is important. I had a look at wordpress so far, and looks a little faffy from what I have seen. I think i'll try out the Blogger and tumblr before making a final decision.
  8. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    If you need help with a CMS just let me know, Jen has her WP site hosted with me and I set it all up for her. She even makes all the changes herself now. You don't have to use WP there are other packages you can use that are just as easy to use, some even easier.

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