Friday, December 19, 2008

Online Venue #1--my website

My first, most important, and longest-running online presence is my own website. First established back in 1995, it was originally merely a bunch of pictures and prices. A virtual catalog, if you will. The pictures were terrible--it was way before I had a digital camera, and even after I took several shots of the same item, after they were developed I had to choose the "least bad". And often the "least bad" was still pretty bad! I had no clue about staging, lighting, composition, or any of the things that made for an attractive picture. But it was cool that I was online! I felt like a total business-grownup!

I scrapped that website in 2001 and hired my most excellent webmaster Eve to design something new and fresh, and definitely more user-friendly. The new site was launched in February of 2002, and is the one I still use today, with updates just about every month and modifications as often as we decide they're needed. For instance, the photography...(that darn photography, it's definitely an ongoing learning experience!). Over the last year and a half, I've been reshooting all the pictures and Eve has been upgrading the layout. Bigger, brighter, clearer pictures--if you poke around the website you can tell which pages have been done and which haven't! And you'll also discover some of Eve's cool touches--for instance, try the rollover of the stone/bead names and you'll see a picture of that color stone pop up!

Although I personally don't "maintain" the site, I do shoot all the photography, write the text, and make the decisions (or at least most of them) about what to do next and how it should look. I send everything to Eve and she does the maintenance. I am one client among many, so sometimes she gets to it quickly and sometimes I'm the "last in line". And why don't I bitch about this, you ask? Because Eve and I have been friends since junior high (and that was many, MANY years ago). Because no one else could possibly do the "perfect" job for me that she does. Not only have we known each other for more than 35 years (so she knows me well!), at one point in the late '80's she moved to Florida and made jewelry with me for a couple of years. She has always been a phenomenal artist--drawing, painting, crafting--so she was a natural with the jewelry design. She knows how the jewelry is made, what it's made of, the techniques involved, and how best to "showcase" it. What other web designer could boast that? After she left Florida and went back to Albuquerque, she went to school for graphic design and started her web design business. So because we've known each other personally for so many years, because I know what a talented artist she is, and she knows how the jewelry works, it's the perfect symbiotic relationship! And my final reason for not bitching about being "last in line"? Because that's often about when she gets a payment check from me!

As this was to be a summary of one of the online venues over which I spread myself, I will close by estimating that my website takes about 4 or 5 hours a week of my time. And because it is the main window through which the world can see me and my jewelry, it's definitely a worthwhile investment of time!


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