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Jaxilon
01-03-2011, 03:12 PM
I sort of got around to putting a website together on Wordpress and I would be happy for any input as I have little idea of what I am doing. I think it will at least work as a place to refer potential clients. A portfolio of sorts.

Some of the things I wanted to do, like the drop down menu were a bit of a pain. It's also rather like a Wordpress layout which is of course due to it being a Wordpress layout. Not much I can do about that I don't think.

Hopefully I have everything set up correctly as far as allowing folks to make comments and/or whatnots. Not sure if I want that but I figure I'll figure that out along the way. I'm sure I have a lot of stuff to flesh out yet. Like my Bio and so on.

Without further adieu, for those who are willing to burn a few minutes, I present RIVENGARD! (http://www.rivengard.com)

PS. I still don't know why my banner is connected to the 'featured map' setting and if I try to change the 'featured map' it changes my banner. I must be missing something there.

Djekspek
01-03-2011, 03:45 PM
heya, looking pretty nice, although it could use a little more 'spice' I think. Wordpress is a great blogging tool but I'm not sure about the use of it as a portfolio-site but I think it's really useful to show people what projects your involved in and what you're up to at the moment. Btw, dA also has a portfolio component that can be set-up easy and you can put stuff from your dA gallery in it as well (http://portfolio.deviantart.com). Some remarks / thoughts on your site and wordpress:
- the banner image is a bit flat, maybe use some more color or maybe a more lively composition of some of the cool things you made ;) or maybe tilt can create a cool logo for you ;D (if I'm correct he's in that business...)
- if hosted by wordpress itself, you are limited in plug-in and layout capabilities, but you can still choose from a large set of predefined templates. Check the 'appearance feature' in the admin tool to see a gallery you can select one from. There are some that have a little more spice ;)
- if hosted by a 3rd party you can upload many templates (thousands can be found on the web, free and paid ones) and plugins. Many parties that host sites now have wordpress capabilities for no extra fees. I started one at Wordpress to see how it works but now plan to move to one hosted by my webhoster.
- as for pages/content: try avoiding 'empty pages' such as the 'cartography landing page' which only states to click on on of the submenus (tbh I'm guilty of doing that too, chosing categories and menu's always takes some thought. Maybe just create a page 'cartography'(without the submenu that took so much time to make ;) and put the categories as links on that page, maybe with your best one from each category featured...)
- as for menu items, maybe add a link 'commission' or something so people know where to click if they want you for their job :)

anyway, I think for a first time website it looks pretty slick already... good luck in the wonderful world of website building (still working on my custom build portfolio site ... :P ) cheers!

Gamerprinter
01-03-2011, 04:38 PM
Actually, Jax could get an Envato template design for Wordpress from http://themeforest.net.

They have many excellent portfolio/gallery site designs. I bought one for $30ish called Prosto template.

However, since I'm really quite inept with PHP and CSS, I've been working on a new site myself, relying on good old fashioned HTML and nested tables, while I hope to eventually upgrade to my Wordpress Prosto template, I need to get the site going and have all the features I need. Once the site starts earning cash, I will move everything to Wordpress eventually.

But I agree with Djekspek here, the basic Wordpress Blog sites, are rather boring (cartographically speaking). But, like me its a good temporary start. I'll be looking for updates, Jax.

GP

Jaxilon
01-03-2011, 07:20 PM
Thanks guys. I'll definitely look into those links you posted. I am currently on their "freebie" deal and using one of the templates they provide but it does seem rather uninspired...clean though, I'll give it that. A long time ago I played around with Dreamweaver but never really got anywhere. I'm afraid if I started doing my own thing I'd end up with a mess. Sort of like how I suddenly had that blank page DJ noticed. That's because i didn't know what I was doing ahead of time :)

If my art starts to bring in some cash I can put some of that into a better setup. I'm working on getting a tablet first though.

Thanks for the time you spent taking a look, I appreciate it.

ravells
01-04-2011, 03:09 AM
I like it, Jax...but then I'm completely clueless about web-page stuff. I do like the link DJ posted though...seems to do it all for you!

tilt
01-04-2011, 03:44 AM
congrats on your new webpage Jax.
I agree with Djespeks analysis of it, and adding a "commision" link to the menu is also an advertisement for your services, so you should do that. There are gallery templates made for photographers and that would probably be a good fit. I've used themeforest myself as well for the theme for www.pogg.dk
If you need a specialized look for the page I have the contact info for some guys in.. eh the carribian or somewhere that takes a photoshop layout and "wordpresses" it for you ... but that costs money
And yes, I do do the logo-voodoo (www.catapult.dk) so if you need help, I'd be glad too aid you :)

OldGuy
01-05-2011, 05:41 PM
Congratulations on getting the site up!

Although I agree that the standard twenty-ten theme layout is a bit spartan, I disagree that Wordpress is simply a "blogging tool". Blogging is certainly it's most common use, but as a content engine it can support any type of site imaginable. I have seen a number of artists create some truly amazing gallery sites with it. I think you will find that it will make an excellent portfolio site.

As gameprinter mentioned, there are various sites that offer inexpensive (and often times free) wordpress templates, as well as tons of plugins downloadable from the WP site.

I love your work and I'm glad to see you have a place to display it. I also like the name; I'm glad it was available.

Jaxilon
01-05-2011, 07:46 PM
Hehe, it better have been available. My wife and I came up with it several years ago and I've been sitting on the url for years. I'm happy as heck to be able to use it. I just wonder if I need to get some sort of business documents for it. I mean, can someone come along, create a business and say, 'Hey, back off, that's our name.' or does having it pretty much cover me? I hate it when i don't know what I'm doing. It's fun but I always feel like someone is going to come along and try to roll my apple cart over.

tilt
01-09-2011, 05:24 PM
I'm guessing US laws could be a little different, but basicly if you use the site activily (and not just as mail-addy) you are a lot more secure in your right to the name. Of course usually when buying a domain you also sign that you aren't violating 3rd persons rights in doing so - so its always a greyzone. Personally I got bullied (read lawyers) out of a domain some years ago, but I didn't use it activily - I was only working on a site to place there and had been for years (yep, more important things kept popping up), I won the right to the domain in the first (and free) "battle", but then they dragged me to court - and I couldn't afford to not win (and you never know in courts) so we made a compromise and the bought me out.

Jaxilon
01-09-2011, 05:52 PM
Which is probably what they wanted anyway.

Djekspek
01-09-2011, 06:55 PM
Must agree with OldGuy now ... changed my opinion I guess. I've been fooling around with my own portfolio site (won't hijack this post though ;) and indeed there are many 3rd party plugins that support good galleries for WP. I also got this Artiseer tool that can be used to create simple templates quiet fast (So Jax, if you want me to create you a simple template, just send me a PM). Didn't find a decent way to create a little 'e-shop' yet to sell PDF's via the WP site (there are some plugins and manuals to link to paypal, but they dont seem very mature)... btw Jax, love the new banner you added :) cheers!

armoredgear7
01-09-2011, 09:57 PM
My map site, www.adventurers-atlas.com (http://www.adventurers-atlas.com) is built on Wordpress. It uses a theme that I purpose-built for it, and I've figured out ways of implementing pretty much all the functionality I need from it. To be able to turn a Wordpress theme into soft putty that conforms to your imagination takes a fair bit of doing if you don't know CSS (for layout & styling) and PHP (for functionality).

Adventurer's Atlas doesn't run under the Wordpress.com server (we have our own hosting) so as a result I probably have access to more stuff to customize than you do on the server side, but I'd be happy to help you out with Wordpress development if you have any specific, technical questions.

papaholmz
01-09-2011, 11:10 PM
Looks good. There are plenty of wordpress themes for wordpress v.3 that are built specifically for portfolios; some are free.

-papaholmz

tilt
01-10-2011, 10:04 AM
by the way Jax, shouldn't you link to your site in your signature? :)

Jaxilon
01-10-2011, 02:36 PM
Yeah I need to do that, thanks for the nudge :)

mearrin69
01-10-2011, 04:27 PM
Looks good!
M

loongtim
01-16-2011, 05:16 PM
Congrats on the new site.

I can honestly say that starting your own website is a great path to take if your goal is to get commissions. That's not my goal at all, and I don't advertise myself as being for-hire. But just having a website gets me at least a few commission requests every month, 99.99% of which I refer to the Guild since I just do it as a hobby.

Wordpress is a good choice for a CMS and there are plenty of gallery themes out there to simplify things for you.

RobA
01-16-2011, 09:20 PM
Congrats on the new site.

I can honestly say that starting your own website is a great path to take if your goal is to get commissions. That's not my goal at all, and I don't advertise myself as being for-hire. But just having a website gets me at least a few commission requests every month, 99.99% of which I refer to the Guild since I just do it as a hobby.

Wordpress is a good choice for a CMS and there are plenty of gallery themes out there to simplify things for you.

You probably also get lots of traffic just because of the domain name you have.

-Rob A>

loongtim
01-16-2011, 11:16 PM
You probably also get lots of traffic just because of the domain name you have.

-Rob A>

Yep, definitely doesn't hurt to pick a good domain name right from the start. However, if you can get something short, memorable and brandable you should be alright. A minimal amount of SEO will take you a long way. If enough people have their own websites and are interested in a quick, basic SEO tutorial, I'd be happy to write one up.

Jaxilon
01-16-2011, 11:43 PM
Ok, at the risk of sounding stupid, and since it is not coming to my mind at the moment...what is "SEO"?

loongtim
01-17-2011, 01:11 AM
Search engine optimization. Basically just positioning your website to appear prominently in the search engine results when people are searching for your target keywords. For instance, you might want your site to appear at the top if people are searching for "fantasy map artist" or something like that. If it's just a hobby site, then this probably isn't very important. But if it's a commercial enterprise, then you definitely want to get traffic from search engines. Assuming you target the right mix of keywords, search engine traffic tends to convert better than other marketing channels (except for referrals) because people are actively looking for what you offer.

OldGuy
01-17-2011, 04:12 AM
There are a number of SEO plugins on the wordpress site that aren't bad. they take care of some basic things to help your visibility without forcing you to actually know much about it.

loongtim
01-17-2011, 09:38 AM
There are a number of SEO plugins on the wordpress site that aren't bad. they take care of some basic things to help your visibility without forcing you to actually know much about it.

Yes, Yoast's WordPress SEO (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-seo/) is the best one out there right now by far. Second choice would be HeadSpace2 (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/headspace2/). But for those people not running WordPress, it's still good to know some basics. Since this isn't a hyper-competitive market, proper keyword research and minimal promotion will probably be enough to get you to the top.