I admit it, I have a habit, this is about the sixth website that I’ve had since 2001. After many years of doing my own, I’ve gone back to working with a pro. Diabla Design put this site together for me, suggesting a lot of new ways of structuring and presenting information. Check out the large format instrument pictures on the newer posts, and don’t miss the fun “before / after” slider on the Restoration page. We’ve also restructured the Blog for easier searching and expanded the Shop Pics page, so that I can indulge my other habit: photography
Tool for Violinmakers
Over the years, the way I use my website has changed. Initially it was simply a glorified online-brochure, these days I have other uses for it too:
- Brochure. The site remains an ideal place to present your credentials and to showcase your work. It is also makes your contact information quick and easy to find. This used to be done on printed paper, but computers allow a deeper presentation with more impact.
- Private workshop notebook. I make a lot of private notes to record things like varnish experiments, recipes, and workshop techniques. I also collect links to useful information on the web. Posts can be emailed from your phone; a quick photo and a few of words are easily saved and can be kept private so that you don’t need to worry about presentation or ideas being half baked. All posts, public or private, are searchable so it’s easy to retrieve information and to make connections with earlier ideas. In some ways this is the most powerful part of the website.
- Blog A place to, record and share my thoughts on anything related to my profession. In the vein of “if you really want to understand something teach it”, I find that the process of preparing a post helps me organize and clarify my thoughts.
- Present ideas for publication in other media, Editors are always looking for stories. With a blog post, they can see in a moment if you have an idea worth pursuing. Blog posts such as Skeleton molds, & Beauty in Repairs were turned into magazine articles with very little additional effort. The website also capitalizes on any feedback from publications
Website: How to get one
- Do it yourself with an online site builder like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. You can get a functional site quickly,
- Do it yourself with WordPress. Get more control over presentation and structure. It does take a lot of time investment to stay up to date with developments in the web world, so I now recommend…..
- Hire a professional web designer. Like hiring any other professional help, this is the most time and cost-effective way to go. Free your time up for generating content (or building instruments!)
My history with websites
When I started out in violin making, brochures, business cards and letterhead were about the extent of my public outreach. I designed brochures literally cutting and pasting hand-drawn artwork, printed photographs and Letraset lettering. I published using photocopiers. Websites and computer graphics changed everything.
For my first site I hired a friend from Silicon Valley, I got to watch him put the site together and I was hooked, I had to have a go myself.
Do it yourself
I got Photoshop and Illustrator and, using various web editors, I put together a string of passable websites. They were by no means as polished as the first one, but I had more control over the structure and content.
Then came the WordPress based sites and the possibility of making blog type entries which are searchable. My relationship to the website changed, instead of it being just a glorified brochure I found myself using it as a place to organize and record my thoughts on various things. The workshop procedurals are not only a means of sharing ideas but also a place for me to record information for my own use. Besides the public posts, I also use it for a place to dump information that I might find useful later. I make a lot of private posts which are searchable.
Back to the professionals
By the time WordPress style sites took off, I’d had enough of trying to keep up with the technology, You can build an okay site using a WordPress theme or a website builder Wix, Weebly or SquareSpace, but I find that I want more flexibility and control than they offer. For my last two sites I’ve started working with a pro again, it’s rather like hiring a lawyer or and accountant; you can do all these these things yourself given enough time, but they can do it better and faster, leaving you time to add the content.
This new site is a collaboration with Tina Stenger of Diabla Design, Tina suggested new ways of presenting my existing content and we worked together on the overall look and structure. I then sat back and Tina made it all work. Anyone wanting a professional, personalized web site should contact Diabla Design immediately!