kimtown's Top 10 Web Pet Peeves

I often get asked to critique websites to see what they can do to improve or change. I came up with this list while I was in the shower (I do my best thinking in there) and just had to blog about it. I would love to hear your comments. Let’s discuss…

10. Unprofessional Website
It was cool in 1995 to have flying doves (clipart animated) and a big spinning E for people to click on to contact you, but those ancient design flaws are {and should be} a thing of the past. Potential clients WILL pass judgement on your company based on how your website looks. If your site is dated and has images with people in sweater dresses (oh wait that’s coming back huh?) and bangs taller than most small children, it’s time to update. I know not everyone can spend thousands on a new website, but kimtown websites are inexpensive and look great.

9. Blog with Blogspot.com
Really? You can’t afford to host your site for about $6 a month and get a professional looking blog with thousands of FREE themes with wordpress? Many of you have read about why I don’t think blogs should be with blogspot, but just to recap…Free sites/blogs/etc are a dead giveaway that a business is not making any money; bottom line. That of course means you have little or no experience with what you are doing; so why would someone hire you? I know I will get flamed by some for this, but it really is true. Your web presence is SO important to your brand, since it’s often the first way your potential clients “meet” you. Not ponying up a few bucks a month to appear professional is really speaking words about your business. (Not to mention that annoying bar that goes on top of the blog to promote the free site you are on)

8. Paid Blog space
Places like Typepad, Movable Type, SquareSpace etc charge too much for their blogs and don’t even give you an unbranded name. Last time I checked it was yourname.typepad.com. That’s just as bad (if not worse since you are PAYING THEM to carry their name) as yourname.blogspot.com. Get serious about your brand. You can go far for a few dollars a month. (Check out Dreamhost up top there)

7. Flash websites with super fast transitions
Don’t make your viewers dizzy by all your fancy transitions that you just learned in Flash CS4. Remember less is more. Just because you know HOW to do it doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. (This goes for FLASH SPLASH PAGES too, just don’t do it okay?) ‘Nuff said.

6. Clicking Sounds
In photography, I always learned that if it isn’t an integral part of the image, then leave it out (props, backgrounds, etc). Same goes for web design. I don’t want to hear a camera shutter, click, whine, moan or buzz every time I roll over a link. Β When it doubt, just leave it out.

5. Would you kiss your mother with that mouth?
One of the worst things you can do when blogging or creating your text pages on your website, is to curse (cuss). Many of my clients and viewers have children (many that can READ) and you don’t want junior next to you reading four letter words. It really discredits you and your professionalism when you use foul language to express your emotions. Can you really not think of a substitute word? This goes for your facebook and twitter updates too; just be careful what you say. Everyone will read {into} it differently.

4. Watch your background
Background according to the dictionary {fine arts} is “the part of an image represented as being at maximum distance from the frontal plane.” Keyword here is DISTANCE. Your background should be a nice subtlety to your foreground and content you want viewers to see first. A background should NOT be dizzying, blinding and overpowering. It’s good practice to fix the background so it doesn’t scroll when the viewer scrolls. Viewers will be so busy being nauseated they won’t notice your content.

3. Black and White
Black really is not the new black. Black can be a very powerful color when creating photography websites, but are HORRID for pages with a bunch of WHITE text. Unlike the reverse, black backgrounds and stark white font is extremely hard to read. If you like the black, consider changing your font to a very light gray (#cccccc is a good one) so you don’t put your viewer into tunnel vision hades.

2. Stuffing
Can you fit ONE MORE THING on your website? Sure! Throw it in. STOP IT! Less really is more ( I think I’ve said that before). Okay no ones’s site could be as bad as Bella De Soto’s website, but try to keep your content in the window of your viewer. I know that each person has a different screen resolution and monitor size, but scrolling horizontally AND vertically is just downright annoying.

1. Your Navigation is WHERE?
My biggest pet peeve of all is shoddy navigation. Your online presence should create a {good} memorable experience with your viewer. If they are ticked off when they leave your site because they couldn’t find the info they needed to, chances are they aren’t going to hire you (or ever visit your site again). Additionally, if you have music on your site (which would be pet peeve #11 if there was one) put the OFF button close to your navigation so people can find it quickly and easily (or just turn it off and let them turn it on if they want the “experience”). There’s nothing like getting a potential client reprimanded at work because your site was a dead giveaway they were on the internet, instead of working.

As much as I would like to include samples and screenshots, I don’t want to embarrass or offend anyone. You know who you are though and you know it’s time for a change πŸ˜‰ Check out the kimtown SHOPPE for ideas for your online makeover.

Tutorial: Adding a Paypal "Buy it Now" Button to WordPress

If you’d like to accept payment for your customers, but only have a few products (or session fee etc) then adding a paypal button to your site would be beneficial.

Many of you have kimtown client sites, blog+sites or blogs built on wordpress. Here is a quick tutorial on how to add a buy it now button to your wordpress site.

Step 1: Login to your Paypal account

Step 2: Click the MERCHANT SERVICES tab at the top, then click BUY IT NOW BUTTON
1Merchant Services - PayPal

Step 3: Start filling out the necessary fields that pertain to your item. For this tutorial we are adding a Portrait Session Fee “Buy it Now” button.
2Create a PayPal payment button - PayPal 3

Step 4: Go to Step2 & Step3 on your Create Button screen
3Create a PayPal payment button - PayPal 2
4Create a PayPal payment button - PayPal

Step 5: Click CREATE BUTTON at the bottom of the page
5Create a PayPal payment button - PayPal

Step 6: Copy the code in the box
6Generated Code - PayPal

Step 7: Paste the code on the HTML side of your wordpress page (or post) and click PUBLISH and you’re all done!
7Add New Page β€Ή kimtown β€” WordPress

Domain Names for SALE!

I have several domains I need to part with and thought I might open it up to the photography world πŸ˜‰ If you are interested in any of these domains please let me know πŸ˜‰

Here is a list:
beinspiredbeinspiring.com
dudeoir.com
ktandco.com
littlesisterphotography.com
misterboudoir.com
mykidisbored.com
pachildphotographer.com
pamaternityphotographer.com
pennsylvanianewbornphotographer.com
purevintagephotography.com
thedesignertoolbox.com
thevendorsguide.com
waynesborophotographer.com

WordPress 2.8.5: Hardening Release (Should I wait for 2.9?)

It seems wordpress comes out with a new update every couple of months, but this is for good reason. When vulnerabilities are found in software, the company will release a patch to fix it, right? Well wordpress is no different. If you are running anything less than 2.8.5 (released yesterday) then you need to upgrade NOW; don’t wait for 2.9.

There were numerous security issues with the release of 2.8 that they found and patched with several releases (up to 2.8.4). Now that 2.8.5 is out, it will fix the follow security gaps:

  • A fix for the Trackback Denial-of-Service attack that is currently being seen.
  • Removal of areas within the code where php code in variables was evaluated.
  • Switched the file upload functionality to be whitelisted for all users including Admins.
  • Retiring of the two importers of Tag data from old plugins.

What does that mean to you? It means less chance for a hack or breach into your blog. What does that affect? It could affect a lot of things, not just your blog. After a breach is found in your software, it is open to viruses and hacks that can get into your server/host and destroy other parts of your entire server (and possibly others).

So unless you want a total online meltdown, upgrade your wordpress please. πŸ˜€

If you aren’t comfortable backing up your site and upgrading your blog, kimtown can do it for you. If you have ONE wordpress to upgrade it’s $50 and you can purchase that HERE.

If you have TWO or more wordpress that you’ll need to upgrade they are only $30 each. You can purchase that HERE.

Read the full post by wordpress.org