Monday, 23 May 2011

A Newbie Sets up a Website

Yes. For years I've been traversing across the internet doing things that most of us have come to accept as normal everyday life. Communicating by email, searching for info on Google, watching the Canucks beat the Sharks 4-2 on Youtube and talking to the family many of thousand of miles away on Skype.

Everyday, I am learning more about this inetrnet creature and and how to navigate my way through it.
Last winter I asked for more trouble (or learning experiences, as Money & You grads would say) than I really needed when I thought
"Hey. Wouldn't it be a great idea to build a website for the Artists & Crafters of Salt Spring where everyone was in one place, thus making it easy for people to find us?" Silly me when I answered "Why yes, it would." I called it Salt Spring Craft, because Salt Spring Artisans just didn't sound right. That was the easy part.LinkLike so many of these great ideas, it took more time, more sweat and more tears than I had bargained for. Now, I'm not saying that I'm regretting having set up the site. In fact, it's blossoming slowly but blossoming just fine. I guess I'm saying that everytime I look at the website, I feel that I can do so much more and that I'd have to go on an intensive learning curve if I wanted to make it the way I see it in my head.

Because I have no web-building experience, I figured I'd build it on a Blogger platform as I'm already using it and have become accustomed to it's idiosyncrasies. This was great for organising posts into categories like weaving or ceramics to make it easier to find an artisan. All artisans can list for free. Click here for the form.

We now have over 40 listings and it is slowly growing. However, in the midst of all adding all the artisan pages to the website, it occurred to me that many Salt Spring artisans have no web presence. So how would people off-island see their work? Ergo, the Showcase Listing was added to give artisans up to 10 pictures for their page and stacks more options & room for describing their designs, work & process.
Then I tried to integrate the free google search box. Well, that didn't work. Apparently google's free search box is, err, not quite up to the standard of it's paid search feature. Thank goodness for blogger how-to & know-how pages. I found most of what I needed to customise the website from there.
Based on feedback from a great many helpful people, I've added a Salt Spring Events calendar which has dates and information on as many events, classes & workshops I could find trawling the pages & website of guilds, tours, b&b calendars and the indepensible Salt Spring Exchange.
Here's a place, if you're visiting or have freinds & family visiting, to go to to see what's happening on the island. And if you have a Art (this includes performing art) or craft event, workshop or class, click here to send me the info to list for free.

That was the other thing. I'm building this webiste for artisans and organisers to list for free and yet, even with a free blogging platform & free gadgets, there are costs. That's when I learnt how to use Ad Sense and that I needed to get some revenue to cover some of the marketing costs of getting Salt Spring Craft noticed by the world at large. So, ta-dah, down the right is a space for advertisers and a Donate Button. So please donate if you feel so inclined to help independent business in a workd of the mass produced.

And so was born a new little website that will, hopefully, grow up to be useful to all who come to it, inspirational to those who seek products and experiences that come from a slower pace of life and engaging to all who value that which is handmade, unique and speaks from the human spirit.

No comments: