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TIP: How to develop your great web site easily
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Aug 2, 2009

Now and then I visit translators' web sites, and I notice that many of them either:
a) consist of a very simple one-screen page with basic information; or
b) had to hire some developer (credits usually appear), and they probably have to wait in line every time they want this developer to add/update any tidbit there.

A web site nowadays is some kind of a "must" for anyone to sell their wares on the Internet. I have to admit that I am a complete klutz with HTML, never learned how to use it. On the other hand, my elder son is a top-flight computer wizard. So a few years ago I organized some content, gave him a sketch of the structure, and he built me a web site. Like any other IT professional, it took him 18 months to find a time slot to do it. And then he did the whole thing in one afternoon.

As he advanced in his career, working more and more hours every day, I didn't want to burden him with more stuff to do. So I tried on my own, and developed several disconnected mini-webpages. The main domain was kept empty. I tried all kinds of software to do it, e.g. FirstPage, Astound, CoolPage, PageMaker, Acrobat, Netscape Composer, and maybe a few others I don't recall. Results were not good by any standard, but the content was apparently interesting to some people.

A few weeks ago I found an Italian software named WebSiteX5 and tried its demo. Ease of use was impressive, and the results were even more so. Hence I bought the whole thing for EUR 60, quite inexpensive considering what I'd have to pay to a developer outside my immediate family. I quickly adapted the contents I already had there, added a few translations, and today got it tentatively up and running. You may have a look at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br . Please bear in mind that:

  • I still don't know squat about HTML.
  • I probably used less than 20% of its resources, none of the fancier ones.
  • I haven't learned yet how to implement most of the program's features.
  • A lot of content is still missing there. The program will automatically upload only the changes I've made since the last one, so I can keep working on development.
  • All that you see there for the time being (Aug. 2nd, 2009) adds up to slightly over 1 MB, and my host says that I'm entitled to 1 GB.
  • The e-mail there is not working yet, because I must find out if my host offers something called "php", their weekend support staff can only handle basic emergencies.
  • If you are fond of good ol' Netscape 7.2 like me, it doesn't work there. You'll have to use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.


If you want to see more info on the program, their site is:
http://www.websitex5.com/en/index.html

NOTE: This is not advertising, as I'm not getting anything in return from the publishers. Actually, they don't even know I wrote this here. It's just a solution that I was after, for several years. Maybe it will help fellow Prozians to get their stuff on the web too.


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Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
great website Aug 3, 2009

Hi Josè

I've created my website with Kompozer (freeware), because many agencies seem happy if we have a website, and even as a personal challenge, but I trust a lot more on ProZ page (or other translator portals) as, to me, to have a similar visibility one has to spend much more than hundred dollars ...

Claudio

P.S. my kompozer website is here, if you want do a look ;-D : www.traduxo.com

[Edited at 2009-08-03 00:35 GMT]


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Kai Döring  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 23:22
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
Proz - website builder Aug 3, 2009

Hi Josè and Claudio,

Are you aware that proz is offering a website builder. Free of charge! (for paying members)

You have the option to upload your own created website or use the site creator.

Josè,

I would suggest you erase "under construction" from your website. I would say, it is quite complete.

Claudio,

since you trust proz, try the website creator.

Thanks


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Your story is... Aug 3, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
So I tried on my own, and developed several disconnected mini-webpages. The main domain was kept empty. I tried all kinds of software to do it, e.g. FirstPage, Astound, CoolPage, PageMaker, Acrobat, Netscape Composer, and maybe a few others I don't recall. Results were not good by any standard, but the content was apparently interesting to some people. ... I still don't know squat about HTML.


Your story is in a way similar to mine in the sense that I also developed little mini-webpages (most of which will be gone by the end of the year when Yahoo finally kills off Geocities and removes all its content from the web). But unlike you, I do know some HTML (and even some CSS). I find web design quite interesting.

I can recommend this book to anyone who wants to design a web site:
http://webstyleguide.com/
It is for sale but you can also read the entire thing online for free (even download it using a webstripper). It is more of a style guide than anything else. Reading it will prevent your web sites from looking like something tossed up by someone who just discovered the internet.

There is a danger with programs like the one you mention, namely that people will use certain features simply because those features are available in the program. For example, an anti-right-click function on the web site to "protect" your content. When I try to paste my phone number into your contact form, I can't, because your web site has an anti-right-click script blocking me, informing me of your copyrights (as if a client would want to learn about your copyrights when they're trying to fill in their contact details).

What I'm missing on ProZ.com's forums is a dedicated forum for critiqueing translators' web sites. Sure, one can ask a general web designers' forum for such a critique, but translators know what translators (and clients) want or typically require, so a forum where we can safely flame and be flamed about our newest web site creations would be nice. Just a thought.

PS. My current web site is handcoded HTML with borrowed CSS. It is very slap-dash, sorry.

PPS. Two more links I would recommend to anyone who want to design a web site are these:

* http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/coolhome.html (on web design)
* http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html-primer.html (on HTML -- it will help you understand why certain things that work in PDF or DTP formats simply don't work on the web)




[Edited at 2009-08-03 06:58 GMT]


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:22
German to Spanish
Sorry Aug 3, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:


You may have a look at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br . Please bear in mind that:


* I still don't know squat about HTML.
...
* If you are fond of good ol' Netscape 7.2 like me, it doesn't work there. You'll have to use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.





Sorry but this "style" is so old fashion that you can not have a professional Internet presence with it. Clients could think you have never change your presence since 20 years and maybe you are not the right partner for translations where you should be up-to-date.

People with a Mac has no problem to create a actual Internet presence (with blog, feed, etc.) in a hour cause it is part of the Mac OSX for free, I mean iWeb ( http://www.apple.com/support/ilife/tutorials/iweb/iw1-2.html ).

Internet presence means also design, and if you still thinking in the good old Netscape, well you are missing 20 years of changing, and maybe the Windows "bad taste" has also lamed over the years what a nice and up-to-date design should be.



Maybe it is better to buy a good designed template (and ask friends for a confirmation) and just change the contains. So a template cost ≈ 50 $

Good intentioned tip

Regards

Fernando


















[Edited at 2009-08-03 09:30 GMT]


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Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 16:22
English to French
+ ...
XHTML and CSS Aug 3, 2009

After having tried (and failed to like) a lot of fancy editors and solutions, I ended up sticking with the clean and standard XHTML/CSS combination.
For the website newbies reading this (just like I was a few months ago), the advantages are :

1) XHTML is not exactly the 'old' HTML that you might have seen a few years ago. It is a clean, self-explicit and human-readable markup language that contains only semantical information about your document (no layout and decorations).

2) The layout/styling of the document is kept separate in a CSS file that you can 'borrow' from elsewhere without understanding most of it. In short, you say what you want to say in your XHTML document, and the CSS will style it for you.

3) You can combine this with *very minimal* PHP scripts to incorporate a dynamic menu that you will not need to rewrite on each page. I have done this, and believe me my PHP skills are close to zero at the time of writing.

Here is how I am writing my website :

-> Each page on the document (item on the menu), including the main index.php file, is written using this template :

mypage.php :

<\? php
include 'top_banner.xml';
include 'header_and_menu.xml';
include 'mypage.xml';
include 'footer.xml';
?/>


And to this php file corresponds an XHTML file (mypage.xml) that contains the central part of the page (excluding the menu, banner and footer).

-> The header_and_menu.xml file contains the menu that links to the .php files (not to the .xml files).

-> There is a single style.css file that is included only once in the top_banner.xml file, called by each .php file. You can borrow one from the internet, there are thousands of web sites that let you download such files with a free-to-use licence.

If some colleagues would like me to send them a simple template, they are welcome to send me a private message.



[Edited at 2009-08-03 09:57 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Some comments Aug 3, 2009

Claudio Porcellana wrote:
I've created my website with Kompozer (freeware), because many agencies seem happy if we have a website, and even as a personal challenge, but I trust a lot more on ProZ page (or other translator portals) as, to me, to have a similar visibility one has to spend much more than hundred dollars ...

P.S. my kompozer website is here, if you want do a look ;-D :
www.traduxo.com


Ciao, Claudio,

I saw your web site, and you seem to be just one step ahead of where I was before setting up the site we are talking about, namely on your site a) everything is integrated, organized linked to one start page; and b) content is great.. but the looks of it are not so good, especially not uniform. It's kinda like a job for which everybody sent their CV neatly laid out with some DTP application, and yours - in spite of the possibly better content - was rendered with a manual typewriter.

The e-market has set some design standards, so people look for an attractive appearance as part of the whole package. It's not a requirement, but a poor look will detract from the overall effect.

I recall I did download Kompozer as one of the options, but never developed any of my loose pagelets with it. I could give a URL list of my such pages, but they'll soon be replaced with links to the new ones. For the time being, most links are still on my Proz profile.

Regarding cost, I compared the software cost, plus my 1 GB hosting expense (some USD 20/mo.) with, say, any CAT tool or other working software I bought, and it seem quite affordable, considering the business return it can offer.

My Proz profile served a different purpose. It was the only place on the web where all those pagelets came together, and where I tried to stand out from the crowd. The assumption was that a Proz job poster would successively click on all applicant profiles, trying to find who would offer what they were looking for. I'll have to review that.

Kai Döring wrote:
Josè,
I would suggest you erase "under construction" from your website. I would say, it is quite complete.


You've seen nothing yet! As I offer several other services on top of translation, many parts are still missing.

The "under construction" is a warning to friendly users, so they won't send me a swarm of e-mails telling me what's not working properly yet. There are several details to be ironed out. But I intend to remove it in a week or so.

Samuel Murray wrote:
Your story is in a way similar to mine in the sense that I also developed little mini-webpages (most of which will be gone by the end of the year when Yahoo finally kills off Geocities and removes all its content from the web). But unlike you, I do know some HTML (and even some CSS). I find web design quite interesting.


Samuel, the reason I started this thread is to give people like us the option of doing it without learning what's missing in HTML plus some other things that sound Greek to me, like Javascript, CSS, php, etc. My programming skills are quite good, but they date back from the days of the Apple II; sometimes I feel like a skilled mechanic, but specialized in Model T Fords.

Samuel Murray wrote:
I can recommend this book to anyone who wants to design a web site:
http://webstyleguide.com/


A great tip. I'll certainly read it when I have 80% of the site up, to give it a detailed quality touch.

Samuel Murray wrote:
There is a danger with programs like the one you mention, namely that people will use certain features simply because those features are available in the program. For example, an anti-right-click function on the web site to "protect" your content. When I try to paste my phone number into your contact form, I can't, because your web site has an anti-right-click script blocking me, informing me of your copyrights (as if a client would want to learn about your copyrights when they're trying to fill in their contact details).


Definitely! There are blog and order form + shopping basket functions that would be quite tempting. While I might use the blog to publish some articles, I don't intend to set up a translation supermarket.

I have learned to resist this temptation. While I've been using successive versions of PageMaker over a 20-year span, I happen to know maybe a hundred features of it that I'll never use. The late Astound Presentation has a much larger array of temptations, which I wisely refrained from using. The solution is to take a stance like you'd do in a sel-serve all-you-can-eat buffet: there is only so much you can eat, just as there is only so much pizzazz your site visitors can take.

Meanwhile the "in construction" warning is a way to apologize for all the features I haven't been able to implement properly yet.

Samuel Murray wrote:
What I'm missing on ProZ.com's forums is a dedicated forum for critiqueing translators' web sites. Sure, one can ask a general web designers' forum for such a critique, but translators know what translators (and clients) want or typically require, so a forum where we can safely flame and be flamed about our newest web site creations would be nice. Just a thought.


ATTENTION PROZ STAFF:
==================


A great idea!
I think there could be a sub-system where Prozians would submit their web site URLs, and peers would visit them and give objective scores on things like richness of content, design, style, organization, quality, ease of navigation, whatever, maybe adding some short text comment, so that all could exchange feedback in some organized form.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Going directly from a stroller to a Ferrari? Aug 3, 2009

Fernando Toledo wrote:
Sorry but this "style" is so old fashion that you can not have a professional Internet presence with it. Clients could think you have never change your presence since 20 years and maybe you are not the right partner for translations where you should be up-to-date.


Certainly not if you are a leading edge web developer. However I see too many translators whose web site is a typewritten-looking page with their contact info. The intent here was to find a way for a decent-looking site.

Fernando Toledo wrote:
People with a Mac has no problem to create a actual Internet presence (with blog, feed, etc.) in a hour cause it is part of the Mac OSX for free, I mean iWeb ( http://www.apple.com/support/ilife/tutorials/iweb/iw1-2.html ).


People with a Mac always say they don't have a problem with anything. A bit over 30 years ago, when I had an Apple II and a PC-XT, the Apple was much more efficient overall. So the Mac should indeed be a much better machine.

However I always wonder why PCs outnumber Macs so extensively worldwide. Anyway, this is out of the topic here.

Fernando Toledo wrote:
Internet presence means also design, and if you still thinking in the good old Netscape, well you are missing 20 years of changing, and maybe the Windows "bad taste" has also lamed over the years what a nice and up-to-date design should be.


No doubt Windows is bad enough. MS Word is the worst word processor I've seen in my life. Each new version is even worse in user-friendliness. Nevertheless, they are the market standards for translation. Mac owners I know devise all sorts of emulators to fit in.

And yes, in the last months of my Apple II I had a board named Trackstar 128, which emulated a complete Apple II within the PC-XT. This is how I handled the shift. Its accompanying software did conversions both ways.

Remember the Sony Betamax video? Technically, it was much better than VHS. Look how long it lasted in the market.


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Uwe Schwenk
Local time: 09:22
English to German
WebSite Design Aug 3, 2009

I am using personally a German product called Zeta Producer for a number of years and I am very happy with it. They have a trial version which allows all functionality to be tested. I amk using the Desktop edition, and (IMHO) its very reasonably priced.

http://zeta-producer.com/de/index.html


Uwe


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:22
German to Spanish
Good made or better nothing! Aug 3, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:


People with a Mac always say ...



Sorry if my posting was too based on this matter (Mac). What I wanted to say is that a internet presence muss be according what you offer. If not, it is better not to do it. Or let somebody who knows do it.

Also a site must be focused to your potential clients, a "translator" site is nothing, cause nobody will search for a translator, but for a translator + law, or medicine, or any other specialization. If somebody offer 1001 specialities, nobody will believe it, if, for example, you work with audio, voice-over or this kind of services, your site should not see like a Powerpoint presentation 1990. You have to implement sound, must be technical up-to-date, must show how you work in this sector, the client must see your "merchandise" in your "showcase".

There is not standard showcase, each case is different.

It is better to put a simple one page site with a Address (but with a actual font!!, not things like "comic sans", very popular for 15-20 years) in a white background, then to make a old fashioned frames based site with old fashion fonts, etc.



And as I said, better to buy a professional template in places like http://www.templatemonster.com/ .

All this free software have very sh... templates
But this is just my opinion, of course, and I am real happy to have a ...

Regards

This will be my next site, till now only my addresse, no time at the moment, Mac made, of course
http://lenguateka.com/www.lenguateka.com/Kontakt.html


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
DIY and DIY with style Aug 3, 2009

There are many ways to create simple websites without you having to learn everything about HTML coding although knowing a little helps. Just use a WYSWYG editor. There are a few of them around and a very versatile and FREE one is called NVu (www.net2.com/nvu/). It’s also a good tool to learn coding and CSS.

If you use a commercial hosting service for your website, you may consider Wordpress (No, it doesn't have to be a blog!) No HTML or CSS to worry about. Very easy to create pages and update contents. You can easily change the look (theme) of your site since there are hundreds of them for you to download and use absolutely free. Know more about Wordpress: www.wordpress.org and wordpress.org/showcase/. No more daggy early 1990s-look websites.



To install Wordpress on your site, you need to do it from Cpanel (common and popular website management console) and you can find out how to access it from your hosting company. Make your monthly hosting fee worthwhile.

[Edited at 2009-08-03 13:56 GMT]


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Free and easy Aug 3, 2009

Weebly -- www.weebly.com-- offers a totally free web site creation option that requires no mark-up language and very few skills. It has you "drag and drop" different elements, such as titles, photos, sound clips, and the like.
The site I designed with it is incredibly basic, but I use my web site sort of as a business card -- an indicator that I am a serious professional. Since I am not offering design services, I am OK with its lack of pizazz. I have seen many sites out there which are more pedestrian and lacklustre than this.
Weebly will host the site for free if you allow your address to be at weebly (e.g. mytranslationservices@weebly.com). They will host it at a fairly low rate if you want to have an address that includes the name of your business (e.g. you@mytranslationservices.com).
My site address is www.vtwordsworth.com. I am almost afraid to put it out there because I do not want comments such as others offered on this thread. However, it can show fellow denizens of ProZ what can be accomplished in two hours at no cost.


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Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
NVU is dead ... Aug 3, 2009

Kompozer is its successor ....
;-D

NVU 1.0, released in June 2005, is the last official release that you will find at most download sites, however, it isn't the newest or best version of the Nvu software. An unofficial bugfix/update called "KompoZer" is available here http://kompozer.net/.
KompoZer fixes some of the major bugs and annoyances found in Nvu 1.0. If you are using NVU 1.0 and it works for you, stick with it. But if you run into problems, give KompoZer a try and see if it helps.

IMHO, the core concept is another:
a Pro translator is not usually a Pro graphic designer/crative, so it's very unlikely that a translator is able to create a cool&trendy website by himself

on the other side, a cool website made by a trendy graphic designer/creative can easily costs thousands dollars, and you must still add a lot of dollars for a skilled SEO and a good advertising campaign!

this is why I prefer to have simply a page on ProZ (why loose time to have a website on ProZ too?): a professional page and a guaranteed flow of interested customers (agencies in my case) is all that I need

Claudio

[Edited at 2009-08-03 23:13 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:22
French to English
+ ...
Your site isn't ranked by beauty... Aug 3, 2009

If you want to use it to get customers via search engine searches, you need to worry much more about the actual content of your site and getting links from your high-profile clients than the prettiness, beyond some very basic level. (In fact, some "pretty" features such as flash menus can actually hinder search engines.)

Then, focus less on how to give your site a patterned background or add a picture of your dog, and more on the information that you're going to put on your site to encourage people to refer to it, bookmark it and link to it.


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Claudio Porcellana  Identity Verified
Italy
encourage people to refer to it, bookmark it and link to it. Aug 3, 2009

and why?
my "people" must visit my website 1 time, so no need to boomark it for a next visit or coming back again

and IMHO is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a valued website puts a link to me!
LOL

if these people (agencies in my case), was searching for a freelance, send me a work, thereafter are happy about it and include me in their freelance portfolios, my website will be useless for them, as next time they will call me by e-mail or phone ...

BTW, I checked the keywords used by my (rare) website visitors and more common ones on ProZ

now, excluding robots, my website:
99% was not searching for a translation job, but the most implausible stuff
(not surprising as my website is very primitive)
BUT
Proz: 80% was not searching for a translation job, but the most implausible stuff
so this makes one thinks deeply about the real significance of visitors flow/number

furthermore, in both cases, visitors used mostly ungrammatical sentences and/or keywords, even when they were really searching for a translation job ....
so this makes one thinks deeply about the real significance of keywords ...
;-D

Claudio

[Edited at 2009-08-03 15:27 GMT]


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