Websites

A New Website For Me!

I made the plunge a few weeks ago and decided to finally do it: get my website designed for me.

Joomla You may say, "Don't you know how to design websites, Nicole, I mean you work for a web company!" Here's the thing. I have no design experience. (Why do you think I'm using a template that came with Typepad?) I create the content, folks. I write, podcast, edit video… I don't do cms or know how to use a frame. (I only know these things exist and can use them in a sentence to sound smart).

As far as design, I know what I like, but not exactly what I want. In short, I'm a nightmare client.

I'm paying the company I work for to design the website for me for several reasons:

1) They do a great job. I've seen the thought my coworkers put into other people's designs and I want a product like they put out. Plus they understand me and my blog pretty well from our daily interations.

2) They're affordable. My custom designed Joomla! site is going to run me about $1,000, which is a reasonable rate from what I've seen.

3) I may not be able to design a nice-looking site from the ground up by I can sure mess with a created site. Since I work with Joomla on our newspaper sites, I have an idea of what can be done with my site.

4) Having my own site will teach me a lot of the web stuff I've been avoiding… but not having to set it up takes a lot of it off my mind.

5) Free software means nothing I have to buy… though I did order a $20 Joomla! book to teach me a little more.

Anyway, so if you know anything about websites or Joomla! (I'm going with version 1.5 for you computer types), if you can think of things I should include when I'm thinking about all this, please comment or email me. Suggestions from others are so helpful when you are doing something like this!

And don't worry, I'll try not to turn into more of a nerd then I already am.  

Review of MaineCreates.com

I met Matt Zito at that SMBIZ4ME Conference I went to last week. I had done a little work before with Maine's Creative Economy (one of my old bosses is on the Maine Arts Commission). I enjoyed talking with him and the idea of having a place online to connect with other people in Maine who have similar "creative" work. (Myspace is great for music and film but kind of leaves out other professions as far as major networking opportunities.)

Here is my take on www.mainecreates.com.

Mainecreates

The Bad

The site is a little cumbersome (I have been trying to add to my ideas unsuccessfully for about ten minutes, though I am admittedly not the most web-saavy person). It is hard to browse for something unless you know specifics. For example, I can look at all the cabinetmakers on the site or all people in Ellsworth but there seems to be no "here's everyone" place on the site (you have to select one user at a time). The very specificness of the categories also makes it on one hand, easy to glimpse what people specialize in but on the other, harder to just "run into" people.

The other thing about the site is you can only have 10 connections total. (That seems to mean ten people/profiles, though I'm able to send messages to people I'm not connected to, it just involves an extra step). Limiting the number of connections seems odd; the more connections you make on a social networking site, the longer you stay on it, right? I'm also unsure about how the site determines my "possible connections". Is it by location, or perhaps similar work?

And the site will start charging for access after a year. Hopefully, the revenue can be generated by advertising or some other way besides charging users in the future.

The Good (Because despite my long paragraphs above, the site is mostly good)

Mainecreates.com is clearly a site with a lot of thought put into it (both in design and information organizing). This is clear because people are joining it in addition to myself. (It's less than a month old.) The creative economy is a dynamic part of Maine that needs to be celebrated and needs to connect people.

On a more selfish end, I enjoyed how easy it was for me to create a profile as well as how easy I found people I knew (or people I want to know). If you live in Maine and have a creative job, sign up for an account. It's free and you might meet some people to collaborate with.

I also see that Matt is taking every opportunity to present this site to people (he wasn't impatient talking to me at all, even though I'm just one blogger). The guts to go out on a limb for people who don't have a ton of money but need representation (I'm guessing most creative folks in Maine do their craft as a supplement to their income).

So spread the word about this website if you know someone who could benefit.

Liked this post? See related post: Getting Up In My Business (SMBIZ4ME Conference)…

Three Things To Make You Mad

Ignore Them Or Learn About Them: One Way Or Another, They Aren’t Going Away

So there were multiple things going on in the news this week that would make even an even keeled optimist like myself fume just a little. You have the option of ignoring these things but personally, I’d rather know. Here are the three issues of the week that really got my goat:

Bear Stearns: Their Ridiculously Spending And Decisions That Got Them In Trouble
The Satellite Sisters (who have a great talk radio program whose podcast I listen to often) broke down the Bear Stearn’s money wasting ways (pre-stock crash). Julie put it the best I’ve heard it yet on their March 28 show. Below is an excerpt.

Bear Stearns: The Fact The Fed Bailed Them Out With Our Money
Here’s some great audio from Marketplace about us paying for the bailout of a huge coorporation who would never do us the favor in return. (There is also text to the story if you don’t have the means to listen.)

And Straight To The Dark Ages, Women Still Make Less Than Men
In Maine (and probably other places), things are still a little sexist, though slightly more sexist if you don’t have a college degree. See the article here. Sadly, this got little more than a mention on news programs and in newspapers.

So I don’t know what effect hearing about these three things in a row will have on you but you are probably pretty fired up! I hope you can harness just a fraction of that energy to do something positive for the world (or even for yourself). Because there is plenty of good out there but apparently, we may need to provide it!

Money In The News

For your midweek news roundup…

Gold is through the roof…

You’ll be getting that rebate check by May 16…

Some people are hoarding…I mean investing in copper…

75% of Americans think we’re in a recession, but it won’t be official for awhile…

Restaurant eating is down 0.3% and chefs are making higher profit meals (pasta dishes, cheaper meats) to compensate…

Grocery stores are noticing people buying less beef and more store-brand products…

Interest rates were cut but everyone seems to think this is just a drop in the bucket…

Making A Web Page 101

Remember a few days ago when I got really excited about buying my very own domain name and how it took me an hour to figure out how to make Typepad point to my new address. The good news I did it right. The bad news? Well, sometimes I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack.

Me: "So I made my blog point to my new domain name but nothing is happening. Could I have done it wrong?"

Person I work with: "Well, did you buy a hosting package?"

Me: Silent.

So you can have a domain name all you want but if you have no hosting, nothing will happen. Hmph. I actually knew that. Not ready to invest in hosting at the moment so I guess I’ll just own a domain name for now. Just thought I’d follow up on my earlier post so you wouldn’t be wondering what was happening. Excitement slightly tempered but not entirely gone. 

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