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Can I learn to manage my own website?

Posted in Web Design
Written by jason gallagher
Cut and Paste
“I'm a business owner who would like to manage my own website. Can you teach me?”

This is a request that I get at least a couple of times per week. It's nothing unusual for site owners to be unhappy when it comes to depending on a web developer to make the changes and updates they need. It makes perfect sense. These days, websites have evolved to be much more than an online business card. They are now rich publishing platforms which require continuous updating to feed and inform our information hungry customers. Because of this, it has become very unwieldy to keep relying on an external company for content updates and simple changes.

Luckily, technology has been quickly evolving to make things easier, less expensive, and at the same time offer a greater level of control then ever before.

Read more: Can I learn to manage my own website?


So just what do I need to know?

Posted in Learning
Written by jason gallagher
So what do I need to know?

If you are new to computer graphics and are trying to decipher the role of each software — and therefore deciding which programs you need for your projects — you'll first want to understand some terms. Specifically, bitmap vs. vector vs. page layout. A bitmap graphic is a graphic made up of a map of pixels. The more pixels there are, the more detail is available. Almost always, files taken from a digital camera or a scanner are bitmap. Bitmap is a good format for photography and artwork with complicated texture or lots of detail. The main drawback of bitmap graphics, is that you can't scale an image larger than the size it was captured without loosing quality.

Read more: So just what do I need to know?


Classes, workshops or tutoring? HELP!

Posted in Learning
Written by jason gallagher

There are many ways you can choose to learn. Classes, workshops, private training, books, tutorials, video training, etc. The best thing about private training, is that the lessons will be customized exactly to your needs. While certain fundamentals are important, we can prioritize your interests if you wish, and we will go at a pace that is comfortable for you.

Private lessons are also a great way to go when time is an issue. They are comparable or less expensive in price to workshops and let you cover a lot more ground in a much shorter time than you could by taking courses at a design school or community college. If you prefer a very predetermined way of learning, workshops can be good. But again, workshops are expensive and aren't tailored to your needs. You also end up having to take many different courses (like Photoshop I, II and III, Dreamweaver I, II and III, etc.). In private lessons since everything is allowed to overlap...this can end up saving substantial time.

Read more: Classes, workshops or tutoring? HELP!


Open Source, the Dreamweaver killer?

Posted in Web Design
Written by jason gallagher

Up until a couple of years ago, if you would have tried to tell me there was anything better for building websites than Dreamweaver, I would have had trouble hiding the grimace from my face. I have always enjoyed the creative aspects of design, and code was the ultimate symbol of geekdom (I never wanted to be a geek). Like many others who weren't born with left brains much larger than a pea, I fought for a long time to stay in my comfort zone of drag and drop.

However, if you take a quick look around at the web design world today, you'll know that a lot is changing very quickly. It used to be easy for a print designer to slap together a design in Photoshop, make some rollovers, slice it up then export to Dreamweaver. But that was before the world cared about good website design. That was before clients were concerned about those little things like budget, turn-around time, ease of maintenance and interactive features. It was the hey day of poor usability, bloated designs with pixelated graphics, scroll bars everywhere and look ma, I can do a Flash splash screen too...

Read more: Open Source, the Dreamweaver killer?


Using texture in your design

Posted in Tutorials
Written by jason gallagher
How to use texture in your design

If you've checked out some of my design, you can probably see I'm fairly fond of using textures. Textures or texture patterns can be an interesting way of adding some spice to graphics or areas of solid color in both web and print design. They can add depth and a lot of interest if done carefully. There is endless room for creativity when choosing them. A texture can be something organic like wood grain, paper, stone, cloth, metal, water, paint brush strokes, etc. It can also be something you create yourself digitally (using Photoshop filters, the paint brush, or blends of different layers for example).

Read more: Using texture in your design


Search engine secrets

Posted in Web Design
Written by jason gallagher
Search Engine Secrets

SEO (search engine optimization) is a broad topic. To get very good SEO, it’s going to take time, maintenance and care from everyone who creates copy for the site. In my contracts, when I design a site I build a good foundation for SEO right from the beginnning and offer a basic level of SEO optimization. Coding the site well, creating relevant copy, adding a sitemap, etc. are great first steps. But earning good page rankings in the search engines (and keeping them) takes ongoing work and some trial and error.

The best time to consider SEO is right from the very beginning. Here is a basic list of must do’s for SEO when you are building your site. If your site is established, try and do as many of them as you can. Like anything else, you will get as much out of something as you put into it.

Read more: Search engine secrets


Need some quick help? Try the forums

Written by jason gallagher

It's now been about a week and a half since the site has launched. As I expected things are starting a bit slow, but in the past few days some new people have registered. A lot of people are visiting and some have contacted me personally, but not many are taking advantage of the forums just yet. So if you need some graphics help, you've found the right spot. For the bigger problems, I'm available for private lessons but if you have a smallish question, the forums are here for you. It's free to sign up and use, and it only takes a minute.

Read more: Need some quick help? Try the forums


Out of the fog, into the Blog

Contact Jason Gallagher

Phone: 415.287.3221
Email: click here •  Bio: click here

About this Site

This site is designed and developed by Jason Gallagher and run on the Joomla! open source content management system.

Stay tuned for a new improved and updated version of the site. In the mean time, the forum is offline. Apologies for any inconvenience.