mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
I have been swayed to renewing the website of www.buikdansopleiding.nl. This is the website for the two year training for bellydancers, I took it between 2005-2007. Two of the curriculum teachers are friends/colleagues: Laudie is my dance mom (can't say no to her) and Peter was my second teacher and fellow article writer for the Dutch BD magazine.

Their webmaster died about half a year ago and since then, the website has been neglected. The webmaster build his own CMS which is now seriously compromised and they need to make it easier to update and maintain the website. Laudie asked me for advice, and when we got to talking we ended up with 'I might as well do it myself'. Yep. Bad, bad, bad decision on my side. We all know how webdesign can go seriously off track, with people requesting animated kittens and glitter. I have faith that we can work it out though, and we're going to work on it together next Friday.

My system to prevent major communication breakdown is that I am going to sit in a room with two of the members, and they are going to do part of the work. The genius plan is:

1. If they are tired, we'll stop. Thus tey understand how I am not spending many hours on getting the last pixel juuuuuust right, because I am not letting them go until they say they are satisfied.
2. I take care of installing Wordpress and fiddling with templates. They prepare the content, add, edit and create pages. Thus they will be busy with their own work, leaving less room to nag about my work.

I tried it a couple of years ago with making costumes for Sense of Bellydance, and it worked. At the end of the sewing maraton they understood how much work it was, and how I would not want to do that all by myself. Nobody asked me to make costumes since the sewing marathon, they rather noodle around by themselves because when I get involved, I make them work. I wrote a short document for them to set the assignment and scope the subject. I am not a designer and I will not change fonts or edit pictures though we all know that I will be resizing and cutting a bit during the proces. I gave them a list of content to prepare and questions to ponder, we'll see how far we get.

This is what it looks like now:


I think I can top this with a day of work. And if this goes well, I also have the Dalla Dream Dancer's website to take care of. I care too much about too many things and other peopla re lazy and won't google to solve their own problem.
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
Remember when I said I had a huge digital archive? I found a lot of english pages of my previous website and I thought that it would be neat if other dancers could see more of my costumes online.

But I don't need the stress of managing yet another website or adding regular updates. I decided to reuse and repurpose (after all, that's what I like to do with costumes too!). I opted for creating a free wordpress blog on www.wordpress.com. I quickly learned that most of my LJ posts can be copy-pasted into wordpress, including the pictures. That made things a lot easier. I also learned how to make a portfolio.

My tutorials and the old images are from my old website. I have better images from my book that I will include. The page on making an easy belt and the lycra mermaid skirt already had a makeover. In the next couple of months I will improve the tutorials when I have the time. I just wanted the stuff I made to live on the internet once more.

With a bit of pride, this is my English website on costuming:
https://kyriascostumes.wordpress.com/

Please let me know if there are structural things I need to change. I already noticed that my writing has gotten better through the years and there are a lot of typos in the blogpost. For some reason my tags aren't working the way they're supposed to, but maybe that's because I am logged in. Once I am happy I will start posting about the website on social media and such. And Andalee, if you need more material for bellydance at any size, let me know!
mekyria: (chandelier HEC)
Remember that one time that I hired a graphic designer to make me a logo and she sold the concept to a fellow dancer in my area? After firing her by email and never hearing from her again, I played around with photoshop and came up with this (sorry for the low resolution):

I am considering moving the dancer completely to the left to make it a cleaner design. This will get me through the next year or so, until I redesign my website. I have been playing around with photoshop and learned some interesting things about plugins and filters.For example, that using HDR filters will instantly turn your regular photo into a intense and colorful artwork. Then I started noticing how many images are edited with an HDR filter: pretty much every surreal looking picture of landscapes, architecture and people outside. All the links on facebook about 'amazing places around the world'. HDR filter. Pictures of cities with light gleamingoff buildings: HDR.

I am looking forward to experimenting with the filter myself, this gives me some new options for webdesign and (digital) flyers
mekyria: (dancer in neonlights)
I added a SEO tool when I redid my website in august 2013 but never took the time to figure it out. But! it has a new interface which makes it easier for me.

I found out that my SEO sucks. I sometimes doubt about the seuggestions of the tool but I decided to do it anyway because I'm guessing that the tool does a good job based on it's ratings. But it is a lot of work so I only did the three most important pages on my website: classes, workshops and performances. It raises the interesting question:what would happen if I actually get more gig and workshop requests? How the hell would I manage that?

However, I prefer being found and asked to do a gig and then politely decline. My ego works like that. Things I did:

1. meta tags (old school! should have known this one!)
2. naming your page. I named my page 'classes' but obviously I should have named it 'bellydance classes'. I then went back through my navigation menu to shorten all the navigationbar links back to 'classes'
3. using the meta tag in a heading in your page. (apparently this is like the holy trinity and you have to use it thrice)
4. adding ALT tags to your images (people will now find my website if they are looking for images of bellydance classes. neat)
5. expanding the text to the adviced 300 word minimum per page
6. including an out of site link if appropriate
7. changing the URL so it includes the meta tag
8 I used the keywords in the first paragraph of the text (this increases the ranking position)

What I did not do:

I ditched the suggestion to use shorter words and write shorter sentences as I thought long and hard over my content before writing it down and I made it as short as possible. I am not ditching 'oriental' because other people consider it a difficult word.

I did not expand the titel to 40 characters because I lke my title to actually cover the content instead of add words to get more hits.

I did not increase my keyword density. Using 'bellydance classes' in every sentence wears out quickly

For the wordpress peeps, I used the free yoast plugin. When did you last update the SEO of your website and what tools did you use?
mekyria: (Default)
I am making a pdf handout for my beginners, including answers to common questions, top ten benefits of bellydance, exercises to improve balance and coordination, overview of styles, etc. The visualization that I talked about yesterday is part of the hand out. It'll be a thirty page booklet with pictures and drawings that I made/own. In addition, several dancers in the past couple of years asked me for business advice. Creating a pdf download that answers questions about taxes, how to set up promotion, that kind of thing. The third idea was to reedit the costuming book that I made in 2007 and offer it as a digital download instead of print. I want to make it a paid download but have trouble with finding a technical solution for the payment that would work.

Most Dutch people pay with debetcards and in order to have the online payment option iDeal, I have to pay 25 euro per motnh to the bank, plus a small amount per transaction. I expect that the sales will (at most!) be 120 items over a two year course, which would not be cost effective. In short, I adjusted my belly dance strategy towards doing things I like and I am good at and I want to charge a small amount of money. For example, I've been writing for several bellydance magazines for over 8 years and though it is a labor of love, most of my work is gone because magazines went out of print/stopped existing. My own website with articles went under because I didn't spend time on the technical platform. Creating downloadable pdf's seems like an affordable way to tap into the e-reader market, spread the information that I want to share and get a little bit paid in return. By little bit, I was thinking about 7 euro (10usd) for a 100 page pdf (costuming book, book for professionals) and a couple of other products like t-shirts and posters, probably through a  third party like cafepress.

Anyway, I want to give kuddo's to Autumn Ward. She never really caught my attention through her instructional dvds, but I found out that she has accompanying pdf downloads for her dvds and they are amazingly detailed and well thought out. I have to revisit her dvds soon!
mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)
With reworking my website, that is. I ended up buying the theme 'qualifire' for 40 usd and I spend every free hour in the past two weeks on learning to work with this theme. In short, I recommend buying a theme though a lot of things are not as neatly done in the backoffice as it could have been. I don't feel like recoding stuff myself so I am happy with how it turned out. The only downside is that there is a belly dancer on the other side of the world that uses the same theme as a basis for her website. Our content is completely different though, and since the theme is for sale on the internet it is not a matter of 'you are copying my website!'

New features:

-frontpage slider. I really wanted one, on account of me staring at it like a cat staring at a washing maching in motion. It's fascinating and creates the illusion of a dynamic page and things happening.

-I changed the focus on the website. In short, I am selling classes, workshops and performances and that is what I repeat. For myself ad nauseum, for a random person landing on my website it is helpful to have a quick overview of things. It took rewriting of the text (shortening) and adjusting the images

-found a solution for the failing nextgen plugin. I still haven't found the cause, but instead went with prettypicture because it works.

-redid the blog part of my website. For students and dancers, this is probably the most interesting part because it contains unique content geared towards dancers. I deleted some of the older posts, did a bit of editing on other posts and added a banner picture to each of them so the blog page looks good. While I was at it, I made some extra banners for future use

-updated my photoshop skills. Turns out that photoshop is a standard program on my work desktop and since it is the legal version, it works perfectly all the time!! For all the new pictures and banners I used the 'save for web' option. I should be using png as a standard, but haven't gotten around to it. 

Click if you want to view
mekyria: (thee drinken)
I tried to update my plugins and my wordpress website decided to break down on me. Something with insufficient php memory, tracked it down to the nextgen plugin. I tried to fix the plugin but the error was persitent, so I killed it. And then I noticed that I lost my customized theme...

I put a bandaid on it, meaning that I installed the Customizr theme, added an integrated responsive slider (you know, those moving images on the top that you can click on) and did a quick rewriting of my text and images. It is not as good as I want it to be, but it could pass for now.

I tried several (free) slider themes but this was the best that I could come up with in short notice. I cross checked the website on my iphone, ipad and pc, but next week I'll ask the guys if I can use our testroom to test the website across all platforms. I am happy that this theme works well on mobile devices, ran into trouble with some of the other themes that didn't work as well on phones. Tons of people use their phones to quickly find a dancer so that is one of my priorities.

It is a good reminder that I wanted/needed to update my website thouroughly this year. I have wanted a responsive slider for a while now and after trying several plugins first, I feel that an integrated slider works best for my current needs. It also means that I have to get back behind my home pc, get photoshop up and running and create killer images for the sliders, as it will be the most important feature of my website.

I also want to get some good videomaterial so I can make a promo clip for performances, one for classes and one for workshops. That should do the trick into dragging my website into this century and making sure I stand out from the other dancers in my area.
mekyria: (nikkij Ice queen big)
I vaguely remember that I once had the time to update my website on a regular base. That must be.... three years ago? Much to my own dismay, I haven't had time to work on my websites or even do basic stuff on them. I did a quick sweep to clean things up and make it more manageble....

Read more... )
Like I said, I am not sure if I am still alive and kicking on the dance front, despite my weekly classes, the theater projects, the hafla's I am participating in, FaKyMa and Sense of Bellydance.
mekyria: (Default)

A dancefriend asked me to show her around Wordpress so I m gathering examples of wordpress sites for belly dancers. Thought my flisties might be interested too.

http://ranya.net/
Custom made theme by Dreamstar Studio's

Bahar Bayram: http://medamcamp.org.au/
theme: sliding doors

emma: http://emmabellydancer.co.uk/
theme: twenty eleven :-)

Belly dance at any size: http://bellydanceatanysize.com/
Andalee's new project! Looks taylored from a theme, I can't find the theme in the coding though

Kitty kohl: http://www.kittykohl.com/
theme: cloriato-light

My own website: www.buikdansereskyria.com
theme: twenty ten. I know, very outdated, I'm thinking of changing it to sliding doors.

And some random googling:
shanti: http://shantibellydance.com/?page_id=2

well, now that I'm googling, I conclude that there aren't many examples of well done wordpress websites for bellydancers besides the flistie websites. or are there? to be continued....

*edited to add Emma's website*

mekyria: (Default)
I have grossly neglected my websites in the past year(s), due to being Career Woman and all that. I did a quick update round, but it appears that the free wordpress.com websites have disappeared because I can't access them after I log in. The website states that ' I haven't gotten a blog yet, start here!'. Well, I have two, thank you very much, and I need to update at least one of them so GIVE ME MY BLOG BACK ALREADY.

This only proves how little you can trust free cloud services like wordpress.com, even though they are very nice and trustworthy in general. Glad that I host my bellydance website on a server in the Netherlands, granting me full control. The reason why I updated my website is because I was called by a lady for a booking next Thursday and I realized that I hadn't updated my online calendar for a while. I did ofcourse update my website earlier this year to reflect the VAT going up from 19% to 21%.

Next week is insane: I'm doing a (close to charity) gig with FaKyMa on wednesday in Zoetermeer, a christmasparty performance in Bussum on Thursday (party thrown by surgeons, they pay the standard deal without complaining. Yay!) and performing in the Stairway on Friday (It's a local club, quite famous with the general public, I'm doing full blown bellydance with veil and zills). Saturday I celebrate my birthday, woohoo!! Sunday is wedding dress shopping with [livejournal.com profile] ikaiya.

Talking about belly dance adminsitration, I should also sit down and make the bill for last semester's classes and the trial class in September. I could use the money for the Aziza Dreamcamp next year. I have HUGE first world problems, being that I am planning my holidays for 2013 and I have to choose between going to New York for the Belly Dance Theatrical Festival, or to Aziza's Dream Camp in Belgium.  Woe is me! *faints while holding her hand to her face*. Ranya and Anasma, or Aziza and Hisham? What Would Flisties Do?

I digress. I have to figure out how to get control back over the two public websites, being the event website for RonDom Buikdans and the troupe website for Sense of Bellydance. I'll start out by the wordpress faq, will post back on the result.
mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)
I've added the language files and made the website www.buikdansereskyria.com multi language. Weehee!! The strong point of the plugin is that you can provide your own text/translation per page, so you won't get weird translations. The bad thing about wordpress is that some plugins don't work when I try to configure them in explorer, but they work if I try in Safari or firefox. Weird!

Using Firefox or Safari is a relieve, very clean browser windows and now annoying extra buttons along the top.
mekyria: (naaigerei)
I worked on my wiki-assignment: create a wiki page, 10 lower level and 5 lower-lower levels. Phew! Subject is Privacy in 2020. In my break I made a quicky sarongstyle skirt. It's basically a straight skirt, but overlapped on the top. Has elastic tunnel to keep it stay put. I will probably turn this into a tutorial in december. I dressed it up with heels and a hipscarf, thought it would look better for the picture.
picture! )
I also did a bit of light research on the subject ot making my Kyria bellydancer page multilangual. Installed a plugin and will start copy-pasting the right text in different languages in a couple of weeks. After that, my website is essentially done! By using wordpress I changed from a static HTML page that included content and graphis into two seperate files: the text and images are in the databse. The lay-out of the website is programmed on the server. By changing the settings in the programming I can change the lay-out of the whole website in a heartbeat. Well, more like ten seconds, but still. I'm also conceptually going over Kyria's Closet. I consider putting it into a wordpress format too.

Did somemore tweaking on www.buikdansereskyria.com and added a module that shows four random images from my galleries and a kalender option. I've added the workshops that I signed up for, so fellow dancers know when they might see me in RL.
mekyria: (playful on tree)
Today was the yearly arrival of St. Nic (Sinterklaas) in the Netherlands. A big event with a four hour report on the public TV channel. The scenario is precariously plotted out and slowely unfolds during the newsreport. A lot of adults watch the welcoming of Sinterklaas too because some of his helpers (black Pete/Zwarte Piet) are famous Dutch people in disguise, adding a touch of adult inside jokes in the mix. And yes, they are all white people with very badly done make-up pretending to be black people.

A lot of the trademarks of SInterklaas lend themselve to make inside jokes of:

- He is always carrying or holding a big staf with a nob on the end
- There's a lot of anxiety wether he'll come or not
- His helpers are carrying bags filled with presents
- Insinuations about being sweet or bad and wether you'll get candy or a beating with a roe (Don't know the English term but it bares a close ressemblance to the InonesianSappoelidi. Scroll down to fourth image)

We watched a short bit before I ewnt upstairs to work on my website. I finally managed to add a decent picture gallery to my website. AFter trying the simpleviewer plugin, photobucket plugin AND flickr plugin, I settled for NextGEn plugin. A plugin in this case is a bit of software that you plug into your CMS and adds extra features. Check out my new and shiny gallery on this page. I had to search my external harddrive for suitable pictures and I"m glad that I now have enough promo pictures and live shots to fill a page. I made the arbitrary decision to add the pictures taken while I was dancing that are low quality or more amateur like to the performance pictures instead of the photoshoot pictures. To me, photoshoot says nice, clean and high quality pictures.

I'm hoping to receive the edited pictures of the last shoot soon so I can add them to my website. Then I'll be done for a while, at least with getting decent photoshoot shots. Live shots are of course always appreciated and needed.
mekyria: (dancer in neonlights)

I compiled a list of blogsitesfor the Dutch website for bellydancers and it features Khalida's blog! Read the article here:
http://www.allesoverbuikdansen.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=64:buikdans-blogs&catid=34:overig&Itemid=6

Khalida, hope you don't mind using a screenshot of your blog for visual interest :)
mekyria: (blue dress with veil)

I need to update my Kyria- Bellydancer website and I decided to give wordpress a try. Sofar it's okay to work with, not as easy as Joomla! for me, but maybe my mind works better with that CMS system. See my testpage for the current lay-out.

I'm uploading a couple of plugins to create forms and contact information. I doubt that there will be a whole lot of people who want to follow me around through social networking sites, but I think it might help to discern my website form all the other sites. I'm not sure about this lay-out, will fiddle some more next weekend.

wordpress

Jul. 24th, 2009 01:57 pm
mekyria: (Default)
I've been following the web 2.0 hype for my work, but Ive also looked into the 'new' way of making websites. I'm trying to make my website more interactive, but I'm thinking that converting everything into wordpress might be the solution. The tags will allow you to easily jump from article to article, you can make your page as soothing or as frantic as you like. It's easy to use (or so people tell me) and it's free!

But...

I can\t help but wonder how people will survive in a world where you constant have to Twitter/blog/etc. I don't want to be bound to my website, I don't want to blog every day or even every week in a public space.I like to put a couple of how to's online so they're available for people who are interested, that's all. So maybe wordpress is too demanding for what I want?

What do LJ friends say? Experience/stories about using wordpress or daily public blogging?
mekyria: (Default)
It's been a while since I updated the English part of my website. I've been translating and editing stuff in the evening and things are coming along. The new CMS system disagrees with me: after editing 15-20 pages, it refuses to refresh *sigh*. Ah well, at least I got to upload a whole bunch of new belly dance diy tutorials and I have 5 new tutorials waiting in line for the gothic/rest part of the website.

Will continue next week, have to finish my CIO essay first!
mekyria: (Default)

The google webmaster tools made it clear to me that I needed antoher sitemap then the basic one that I made ages ago. So I did a bit of fiddeling around with tables and tried to list every page currently connected to my website. I prepped pages for future update, but haven't included them yet. What do you think? I tried the color thing to show what pages belong to different part of the webiste, but I'm not sure wether I like it.

Just for fun, counted the pages including toppages (e.g. 'Bellydance' included in pages about bellydance):

Dutch BD pages: 84
Dutch gothic pages: 45
Ducth pages rest: 10
Total: 139

English BD pages: 10
English gothic pages: 12
English gallery: 18
English other: 7
Total: 47

man I'm productive!
mekyria: (zills and practice gear)
In the last two weeks I did some major works on the Dutch Kyria's Closet website. Some of the information was outdated or incorrect (ah, we live, we learn!). I found a tool so people can subscribe to a newsletter wich I want to add to the website soon. Improvements in short:

-I went through 10-15 articles and edited and adjusted them, added pictures and drawings. This included articles about basic BD attributes, make-up, 'your first costume' and how to dress for class.
- I created five categories in the BD articles so the amount of information is easier to find.
-Amazing, I didn't have an article on 'what is belly dance?' yet. It's high on my priority list, but I don't want to cut and paste from my book because that chapter is way too long. To be contiuned!
-Added embedde youtube video's to the dvd review (It's SOOO web 2.0!)
-dug up articles on Jeoffrey's harddrive, like the dvd review for I love Turkish bellydance! and added them so I can add them to the site for a  future update when I have less time to write.

I think it's a big improvement in quality and it makes the website better suited for the current day and age where people expect more from the internet. We can get nostalgic and look back at the time when you had to trade BD tapes to catch a glimp of real Egyptian belly dance, but this is now and we need to innovate to stay ahead. 
mekyria: (urbantribal)
Sofar this weekend is going very well. I got most of the things done that I wanted to do, like retrieving Jeoffrey's computer from mycom (which means a 20 minute walk with the computer on the back of my bike), returning stuff to the library, buying extra sequin fabric for the second melaya dress, traveling to Bussum for group practice and nailing the drum solo.

I think I deserve bonus points for updating my website, it took me three and a half hour to do basic stuff but I'm pretty pleased with myself. Hopefully I can create a new slideshow for the other website and maybe replace some of the pictures. Then again, it looks nice enough as is, so no worries.  I have some ideas for the next website update but I also want to run through the material on the website to remove spelling errors, add new pictures etc. The essence of internet is that it's always changing and that the quality of the information usually isn't high. So instead of investing in quantity I'd like to upgrade in quality. I'm sure that it won't be as popular as updating in quantity because it's less visible, but I'd be happier with the results in the long run.

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