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Olga

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This is a split off from my thread "Business Aspects..." that is dedicated to discussing our websites, Social Media vehicles, getting feedback and getting connected. If you want to get a feedback on your site related to teaching of Stretch Therapy, or related work or experiences, you can post here. None of us are professional web designers and we are creating those sites as part of the work we do to promote Stretch Therapy or similar work. Sometimes I find that getting feedback and tips from the peer group is better than from a technical expert.

so this discussion took off when I was revising my own WP-based website corepilates.at to update the theme.

Re WP Themes - I feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of them, is there a way to have a step-by-step selection process as opposed to trying them endlessly on? I always end up with the first that looks allright after about 10 tries.

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20 minutes ago, Olga said:

Re WP Themes - I feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of them, is there a way to have a step-by-step selection process as opposed to trying them endlessly on? I always end up with the first that looks allright after about 10 tries.

I think it's a very individual thing as long as the theme has the basic features you need. I found mine on themeforest. I really liked the look (colors, drop-down menus, etc.), it was responsive (very important if you expect people to come to your site on a variety of devices), and it was quite reasonably priced. Those were really my only requirements. If you're not really sure what you're looking for, I'd sort them by popularity or ratings and browse a bit.

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12 hours ago, Nathan said:

Just want to make sure you realize that will be taken as a joke by most, I would think :lol: It's impossible to finish on the second-to-last run, because once you've decided you're finished, that will always be your last run of the day! Also, most people will quit for the day (making it their last run) once they've had an accident, so it makes sense the majority would be on the last run ;) With that in mind, it could definitely be used as a tongue-in-cheek tidbit!

He he, you're not wrong.  But jokes aside, the times I've seen people get hurt is often on the last section of the last run after saying... lets do "just one more run". Energy and concentration drop, it might be getting cooler if the sun is behind the mountain etc.

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Can people talking about their web sites link to them, please (to save paging back or searching? Liv may respond on which theme we use for ours, which is here:

https://stretchtherapy.net/

We change the selection of the rotating images on the Home page from time to time, too.

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8 hours ago, SwissDanny said:

But jokes aside, the times I've seen people get hurt is often on the last section of the last run after saying... lets do "just one more run".

Yeah, that makes sense. Basically, they're getting hurt on the run that they don't take seriously. I guess it's kind of like the "reps in reserve" concept with lifting. You're more likely to get injured as you push toward less reps in reserve since you're pushing your limits. So quit while you're still fresh, and then wind down in the hot springs instead of the hospital ;)

1 hour ago, Kit_L said:

Can people talking about their web sites link to them, please (to save paging back or searching?

My site is www.linguasmith.com. The theme is called Switch. I purchased it quite some time back and it's probably outdated now (I don't think it is being updated anymore), but it serves my needs just fine. (Most of my clients are established already and new clients tend to come through other channels, although some do find me by my website.)

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I have just updated my Theme to Antenna which comes free with my Premium WP Plan.

My old theme Truly Minimal was no longer updated and when i tried to customise it to Mobile Version it did not respond well.

I even used CSS (with help from the WordPress chat) to tweak some page presentations - this coding is pretty COOL thing, I now want to learn more :D

Next steps for working on the website and SEO:

- usability audit

- Keyword research

- SEO steps to update the website. Focusing on Local SEO.

I am using Skillshare courses (one month free Premium membership) to understand what needs to be done, and how.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/27/2017 at 1:35 PM, Nathan said:

The first thing that I notice is that multiple languages are jumbled together. Personally, this makes it a bit confusing for me and I'd probably give up looking for interesting content pretty quickly.

This week I have finally split the languages and made two different language versions of my site. These are not obvious to the reader, the reader can simply switch between the languages via a button on the menu. But behind it are two different sites and will be maintained as different sites (sigh...). The final straw that made me do it was the SEO impact of mixing languages in one site. Apparently, not recommended. And I made a clear German version (with German Keywords) and English with the English ones.

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11 hours ago, Olga said:

But behind it are two different sites and will be maintained as different sites (sigh...).

I think it will totally be worth it. It looks a million times better, in my opinion, and that will keep people there. You're working hard to get them there, so it would be a pity if they left right away because it appeared jumbled and daunting. The only thing that I'd like to mention is that there are ways to detect the language of the browser and have it automatically sent to the correct site. I'm not sure if this is implemented, but I am sent to the German site by default. That may be because my browser language is Japanese. If you don't have this kind of functionality set up, I would definitely look into it!

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5 hours ago, Nathan said:

I am sent to the German site by default.

The main site corepilates.at is the German language version and it is consistent with the .at domain extention (Austria = German-speaking area). This is where all visitors are directed to. The English version is a subdomain en.corepilates.at. It can be arrived at by switching the language  in the main domain version or by doing seach on Pilates in Vienna in English (ultimately, when this version picks up some traffic and becomes more visited by the search engines).

Other ways of doing it would be registering a brand new landing site for the English version: corepilates.com or co.uk or .net (not available anyway) or doing one site only with different categories of posts and pages (corepilates.at/eng/ and corepilates.at/de/). That last option was not doable in my current WP set up and probably would send the mixed signals to the search engines so not good for SEO. The subdomain route seemed to be the best in my situation... I researched the topic thoroughly before committing to it.

Endlich... I am operating in a German-speaking country (not multi-lingual like CH for ex) and it is only expected that you land on a German page :D When you land at any page with .at extension you will be shown German language as default.

WP has explained the options for multi-lingual blog here

Google gives this explaination if you want to dig deeper

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Olga's and others' comments have been stimulating. Maybe I can take this opportunity to ask for feedback on the design of my own website. The link is here: http://www.jimpflex.com.au/

I should say:

1. I am not really interested in marketing. I have one class/week with a fairly stable group of students who are older. I find that people who find me from advertisements, social media, or the website tend not to stay long. They are also often younger, and may be put off by my generally older clientele (60s-70s); though the class can be quite vigorous, and is quite capable of being more vigorous than they want. The students who stay long-tem all come as a result of word of mouth from existing students. So in lots of ways the website is mainly for reference, and to have a web presence.

2. I dont aim to make an income from it; I do it for fun - as long as I cover my expenses I am happy (I am retired from my day job).

3. The website has been going for A VERY LONG TIME. When I started it, mobiles had not come in much and a website had to look busy on the first page to attract readers. Now people go for a minimalist, cleaner look (which unfortunately means you often have to do lots of clicking-though to get salient information). I guess people might be put off by my old-fashioned look.

4. It is written in Compozer which is a free html scripting program that has a lot of mistakes. There are lots of simple things that should work that dont. Also the code comes out very inefficient (e.g. if I make several attempts to get the font size right the html code has long sequences like <small><small></small><big></big></small>. I certainly have not bought a "theme" and it is all made from the ground up (probably very inefficiently) using this error-prone free scripting language (which at least has a WYSIWYG input).

I have never invested in a proper scripting program because I dont really see the point, but maybe I should buy a theme and smarten it up.

5. There are lots of sub-pages which have grown over time, which I am not going to alter. I am going to leave them unchanged because not only would it be a lot of work, but also because they appear in search engines.

6. I have never attempted to optimise for mobile phones etc. It is visible on my phone but I have to enlarge the picture enormously. Due to the errors in the Compozer output, it looks different on different browsers in ways I cant understand (but none too cricital; not that I've done much testing recently).

7. I guess what I'd like to know, what do the main page http://www.jimpflex.com.au/ and the class page http://www.jimpflex.com.au/classes03.html

look like to the modern person?

Many thanks if someone can spare a moment,

Jim.

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14 hours ago, Olga said:

The subdomain route seemed to be the best in my situation... I researched the topic thoroughly before committing to it.

I agree with this position completely, Olga, and being able to simply click on the "English" button is simple, and follows current best practise on the many multi-lingual sites I have visited.

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@Jim Pickles: the purple background on the Professor Pantaloon page makes viewing the photographs difficult. Plain text on a white BG with images off to the left (as on "Jim's contortion pages, on the other hand, work fine. From an information perspective, the class page works, but the current trend is to break longer paragraphs up in to small ones (these work better on phones, too) and this 'chunking' makes skimming for desired info. easier.

7 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

I have never invested in a proper scripting program because I don't really see the point, but maybe I should buy a theme and smarten it up.

Do you host the existing site yourself? A basic (free) WordPress site would make this information look more elegant, and contemporary, but as you mention that you are not interested in marketing, perhaps this aspect is not of interest to you. But I would say that the main point of a decent site-building software is to not be burdened with all the problems and poor code that Compozer seems to yield. And all of the current WP themes are tablet and phone friendly.

@oliviaa may comment further on this aspect; we know from recent stats that ~70% of all web information is consumed on phones here in Australia (over 90% in Asia) but in your demographic, still more likely to be laptops and desktops, but there is no way to be sure of the percentage. WP sites take care of this aspect for you.

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16 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

7. I guess what I'd like to know, what do the main page http://www.jimpflex.com.au/ and the class page http://www.jimpflex.com.au/classes03.html

look like to the modern person?

@Jim Pickles

I like the minimalistic look (plain background, one text column, menu on one side). Can't comment more on the design elements as I am not a good designer myself, and for me content has always been more important than the design around it.

So now to the content.

The menu looks very confusing to me. And the menu is the first thing I look at when I want to find out what I can get from the site. There are several levels of the menu items and some of them are URL links while some others are not: what does that supposed to mean.

A quick test such as: I am interested in Stretch classes and look to find out the price, starting from the home page: it took me 4 clicks to get to the price info (without being directed personally by you to the relevant page). That's about usability: think what a brand new person who lands on your home page is going to look for, and give it to him in 1-2 clicks.

Back to structure, the site seems to be a mixture of articles and practical info: I would separate those. I have "pages" for studio info, class info, prices, etc and a "Blog" area for articles. These are clearly separated.

If you use Wordpress.com FREE service, those things (menu structure, separating articles from posts etc) would have been sorted for you from the beginning. I ran my Hong Kong business site using such Free Plan for years. Easy to set up once you get over the initial learning curve. Pls consider - learning something new is always fun!

(the only cost I paid was US$13/year to redirect my domain name to my Wordpress site as all their sites initially have xxxxsite.wordpress.com URL addresses).

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10 hours ago, Kit_L said:

Do you host the existing site yourself? A basic (free) WordPress site would make this information look more elegant, and contemporary, but as you mention that you are not interested in marketing, perhaps this aspect is not of interest to you.

@Jim Pickles  Your current site certainly taps into a retro-theme, c.1995! My professional site is also largely static, and runs on Wordpress, as Kit says wordpress really can deliver very clean results with very little "programming" effort. I do think your achievements and work deserve a fresh online showcase.

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Many thanks for your comments - much appreciated!

@SwissDanny Re "c. 1995" - please - its at least 1998! This is when I started making the site, with reports of the contortion conventions. This was at a time before Facebook and there weren’t the easy ways of sharing images that there are now so it had reference value. Since then the site has grown and changed but still as you have picked up, retained relics of the earlier approach (when by the way, people were adding as much colour as possible, animated spinners and wheels, little characters jumping up and down, etc). By the way, I looked for a link to your own site to see as an example but couldn’t find it – maybe you don’t want to mix work and play. But I’d appreciate seeing an example if at all possible.

@Kit_L: 1. The site is hosted by Media Fortress in Melbourne, who provide all the other services. I’m happy with them and don’t want to change at the moment.

2. Is it possible to use the free Wordpress template and editors without getting them to do the web hosting (free or not) as well? I haven’t been able to work that out. At this stage, I am looking to redesign the site and produce clean html files that I can upload. The older contortion convention files have many many subpages and links and I’d prefer to leave them untouched if I can. Once people have dug that far into the website I guess they are not so concerned with design – it’s the front end that I want to get right and more modern looking (and that will have to keep changing over time too).

3. Yes, thank you for the comment on the Prof Pantaloon purple. That page will be updated anyway in a few days time when I add the photos and videos from the Australian Circus Festival, and I’ll take your suggestion and change the background. A lot of performers use black backgrounds, and this has worked well on my other pages, and also gives an inside-the-theatre-type feel. I think the purple is one of those relics from the older style. I’ll also break the text paragraphs on the class pages up more as you suggest.

@Olga –many thanks for your comments on the difficulties of navigation. That is the type of comment I am needing to hear! The menu on the left is mainly html links (except for the topic headings which I hope was clear) but you will also have seen the list of links along the top of each page. Many of these are to page anchors, and, yes, to my regret, some of these are no longer appropriate done like this, as classes have come and gone. A priority to fix. I’d just like to know: I presume the menu at the side was clear, it was the status of the links across the top that led to confusion?

As you say, the site is a mixture – as it is now, the front end is intended to advertise the classes, but there is a whole back-structure of my other activities which I’d like to keep. It would be much better (as you point out) if I kept these clearly separate so people knew where they were going at any one time (I guess navigating a website is like navigating a landscape with limited vision – you know where you are now, you know the step behind, and you know the step ahead, but not much else – so you need some sort of continual map to orient yourself).

As for the back-structure, professional performers now tend to have very minimalist pages – maybe a photo of them doing something wonderful, and a few links. I think it is important however that people interested in them can find out as much as possible via their webpage , so I think they should have more. For me, as an amateur just having fun, the pages are more of record of what I’ve been up to (and given my age, will soon probably never to be in a position to repeat). That is why they are more extensive than the pages for professional performers – who in fact may want to bury the older stuff which is not up to their current standard.

Anyway, many thanks for your comments; and if you have examples of sites you particularly like I’d be glad to see them.

Jim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

I looked for a link to your own site to see as an example but couldn’t find it – maybe you don’t want to mix work and play.

www.templeman.net  There is actually an attempt to mix a static "what I offer" side with a (very irregularly updated) blog dimension.

Yes its totally possible, even probably normal to host wordpress on your current host (Im assuming you just have a typical shared server service).  Most hosts offer it as an automatic install/update widget from the hosting control panel (typically cpanel); Im with namecheap and they certainly do this for a very modest monthly cost (5usd all in (ie including hosting) if memory serves)

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11 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

2. Is it possible to use the free Wordpress template and editors without getting them to do the web hosting (free or not) as well?

It's completely possible and quite common too. I installed WordPress on my site and keep it updated myself, although, as @SwissDanny mentioned, most hosting services allow this to be done automatically and it is almost always going to be free since it is automated. I checked the Media Fortress site, and they seem to be using cpanel, so I'm sure you have access to this functionality. It will take a little bit of work to move the site over to WordPress, but once it's done the maintenance and updates will be much simpler than using compozer and FTP.

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I've cleaned up some pages a bit to get rid of the illogicalities, before doing a more fundamental revamp. By the way @Nathan - thanks for looking at the Media Fortress site - yes, they use cpanel, but there is no mention there of Wordpress. However I'll experiment with a free Wordpress site and see if I can transfer it over. Many thanks for everyones' comments,

Jim.

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9 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

By the way @Nathan - thanks for looking at the Media Fortress site - yes, they use cpanel, but there is no mention there of Wordpress.

I only looked at their hosting plans. I can't see how they have cpanel set up since I don't have an account, but this document on the cPanel site tells you how to do (it should be in Site Software in cPanel) it if Media Fortress has it enabled. I see no reason why they wouldn't, but you may want to contact them and confirm. If it's not there, the third tab tells you how to install it yourself. It may sound daunting, but if you can use compozer to keep your site updated then I'm sure you could handle it!

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@Nathan - thanks for looking. I've been experimenting with setting up a basic free Wordpress site as a trial.

The MediaFortress cpanel doesnt list Wordpress, but if I need to use it I will face that issue later. At the moment, I'm more keen on trying a modern-looking site and one that adapts automatically to different screens.

I looked at lots of their themes - and wonder why mine looks so old fashioned. As far as I can tell, I have quite a lot of text among the other elements. The templates they suggest have either lots of pictures and little text, or a block of text and one picture. Called me old-fashioned, but my response to websites used to be that they had to have enough immediate information there to grab my attention. Clearly, things have changed (its also the uncool pictures - I may change to others). I need to address this.

Maybe I should get ideas from a proper web designer.... but I'll keep experimenting.

Many thanks for your input,

Jim.

PS with this stimulation I have cleaned up my site a bit though. And sorry @Olga that your topic has been hijacked.

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Kit wrote above: WP sites take care of this aspect for you. To an extent, you still need to check your site in a variety of screen sizes. I do this for a laptop, iPad, and iPhone, for our website and our email newsletters.

 

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Well I've been trying to set up a basic free Wordpress site, and though what I've done looks nice, I find it imposssible to use. Clearly, many other people dont, so somehow I dont understand their philosopy of editing at all. But I dont think I'm particularly stupid. Simple things like the Header has a tagline - I cant change its colour (it doesnt contrast with the photo background). Somehow adding text to the main body of the page comes up in a menu on a new page seemingly at random, but I cant edit text from the page where most of the editing seems to be done (the edit button is greyed out) - and when I add text, it is shown on a page with the default header photo not my custom one. The help link and what I can find on a web search are not at all helpful (and most of those seem to be related to blogs). Even Compozer is easier to use, at least for me. But I shall struggle on, for a bit.

I'm not asking for a Wordpress tutorial on this site (as you have more sensible things to do) but just expressing my feelings.

Jim.

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14 minutes ago, Jim Pickles said:

I'm not asking for a Wordpress tutorial on this site (as you have more sensible things to do) but just expressing my feelings.

Just to pick up on your philosophy point, it really is a content management system, not a wysiwyg html editor.  The theme choice and theme options should take care of things like text colours and fonts across the whole site so you get a unified look and feel, while the content is done via pages (the relatively static site page structure based on page templates) and posts (for dynamic blog-like content that will be fed into the blog type pages).

As you've identified, wanting to change the text colour of a specific page element (header tagline) of a specific page instance (just the one with the photo background that clashes) sort of defeats the content management logic, that tries to avoid that each page needs individual configuration. That said a good theme, designed for heavy photo based content should allow you to avoid or manage such issues (either the text doesnt ever overlap the picture or you will be able to tweak its colour for example).

As you are still tinkering, you should be able to just switch between basic themes (at this early stage and to a point) and see if some work better than others for your aims.

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