Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Website Evolution

Well, by now you all know what my big secret is/was!! I got a NEW WEBSITE!!!

I thought it would be interesting for you all know to the evolution of my website.

I started "beading" and making jewelry a little more then three years ago. And in the Fall of 2004, I recieved an email from Yahoo! about buying a domain name. (A domain name is a web address, mine is "kabsconcepts") They were having some special that let you buy a domain for $4.95 a year. I talked to Ron about it and he thought it would be a complete and total waste of $5 bucks. LOL. But I went ahead and did it anyway. In my confirmation email, Yahoo! provided links to their "hosting" offers and packages. Being new to the website world, I of course went with the cheapest option available. It was just $11.95 a month to have my website hosted on Yahoo's servers. They also provided a free website building program called Yahoo!Sitebuilder.

I downloaded the program, which is very easy to use. It is just a point and click, drop and drag program that gives you what-you-see-is-what-you-get layouts. I have been using that program since I got it to create the website you were used to, until yesterday. My first version of my website (along with my jewelry, I might add) was very amature. It was choppy and had no "flow". I never thought I would use it for anything more then showing family and friends the stuff I was making.

About 6 months after I put up the first site... I decided to make something completely different. If you ever checked out my old archived glass galleries you might have seen glimpses of the older site. It had deep purple backgrounds with big white boxes where I showed pics of all my stuff. I slowly started to figure out what I was doing with that site. I was better at linking things together, I learned about thumbnail images, I started adding "Buy Now" buttons and the starts of the "Kab's Concepts" you are more used to started to come out.

In the winter of 2005-2006, I got bored AGAIN, lol, and did another revamp on the site. I wanted something cleaner more professional looking. I also started this blog around that time too. I cleaned up my design, using lots of white, and letting the jewelry and beads be on display more. I was also paying attention more to things I liked about other sites and then manipulted the program I was using to make my site look like those. I made the menus on the left hand side, I organized catagories and pages so that they made more sense. Later, I added that big image to my homepage with pics of my work and linked it to different parts of the site. And that is where it has been for several months now.

Is if you couldn't tell from my work, lol, I am one who loves changing things up. I get bored doing and seeing the same thing all the time!! LOL!! I have been wanting for sometime now to do something different with my site. I needed to get a more "grown up" website. One that is more user friendly. I wanted to have an actual shopping cart system, I wanted product availablity to update itself, I wanted to be better organized and be able to have a layout more condusive to writting descriptions too. If you check out the sites at Artzee.net and MyOhMyShops.com, you find that about most of them are hosted by a place called www.pappashop.com . I have been so tempted to upgrade to one of their sites for sometime. This weekend I started asking more questions about making the switch.

I am in love with their service. Any questions asked by email were answered in less then 24 hours, their online tech support has been very very helpful, their Pappa-Pak program is a breeze to use, and although it is a bit more expensive then other hosting services... I think it is worth every penny. Surprisingly though, I am now only paying $1.00 more a month then with Yahoo!

When I made the switch, I quickly had to teach myself FrontPage and some html. I decided not to get a designer to create my new website. (But maybe someday) Being the former designer I am, I thought I could do it myself. As I learn more about the programs, I will make changes to the new site. What is great is that I only need to create a single "template" page and the Pappa-Pak software applies it to every page, and I don't need to reload my products. So, here and there, you'll be seeing changes as I learn new things. I also have Jessi Kelly at www.jessi-design.com working on creating a better "banner/header" for the top of my page. She created the original "Kab's Girl" logo for me a little over a year ago. She is wonderfully talented and HIGHLY recommended.

So, some cool things I like about the new site...

"GUEST BOOK"... go sign it! If you have bought beads or jewelry from me, write I review for others to read!!

"FAQs"... get quick answers to common questions! Check this out for some important info to my shipping policy. I have had to up shipping to $3.00, sorry :(. But I had to, with the cost of packing materials and gas to the post office... had to make the change.

"Featured Items"... I am going to be able to have at a glance featured items right on my home page, kinda cool.

"Contact" form... getting messages to me will be super easy with this new feature. Just type you message and it gets right to me!! No need to open you email programs, just type and send.

There is also going to be "Gift Certificates" available and "Wish Lists" too.

Thank you so much everyone for being patient while I make all these changes. I am going to have Bead Box Beads on FRIDAY!! So we will have the true test of the new shopping cart then! :) Needless to say, all these changes have kept me glued to the computer the past few days and not at the torch... I will be making beads tonight, tomorrow and Thursday too. I have 6 plus bead sets almost ready in me really fun "Party" style. I know you are gonna love 'em!! It'll be worth the wait, I promise!!

This week's free beads winner is Cindi H!! YOOHOO!! Congrats CINDI!! I'll get new pics posted soon :)

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