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Dennis Michael
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Using Images to their Fullest

As the saying goes,"A picture is worth 1,000 word". Make it worth more! use the "name=" tag and "alt=" and give the picture meaning and "meat" to it.

For example, a picture with children laughing is an excellent choice for a Birthday Party website. The alt="Fun for everyone, and this is what your party could be like!" When the cursor crosses the picture that comment is displayed. the "name" tag could be "Children having a lot of fun and laughter At he Dennis Michael Magic Birthday Party."

Use a variety of phases with key ad-words that match the picture and if you want your name to get know make sure it is in a lot of these tags.

A Photo Gallery page helps the customer make a decision on hiring you. IF you use animals display these. If you use illusions display them. Kids having fun on stage is also a good image to use.

Avoid cutesy smiley faces and other icons for images unless you need them for some major purpose. Bullets are OK to highlight Key points.

The photo should not overwhelm the page. Beyond "half the page width" is as large as it should be. 400x400 or smaller is a good size.
Dennis Michael
monstercreations
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Get a website designed by a professional!
Magicians think nothing of spending 100's of buck on tricks that sit in a bottom drawer but are too tight to cough up for a professional looking site.
There are guys who post on here giving website advice who I think nearly all without exception have terrible looking sites!
Sheesh! When will you guys get it!
I can guarantee a good looking site will get you more work! Of course I'm going to say that, I'm a graphic designer... but I have done enough sites now to know it works!
In fact if anyone can show me a better looking site than one of mine... I'll design you one for free!
Ade
ScottRSullivan
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Ok, why not contribute and offer something to help those that might not be as blessed with your creative insights. Or even name names and pick apart what specifically you don't like about some sites from those who have contributed?

It's easy to paint a broad stroke. Let's get our hands dirty and "fix" someone's site.

I agree wholeheartedly that a well designed site will help with the performer's branding and allow him to command higher rates. So let's all raise the bar instead of pointing at how everyone is stubbing their toe on the bar because it's so low.

And I understand you're in it for the money, but a little critique from an expert like yourself would build a ton of goodwill!

I produce videos for a living but still think that a raw 30-second reaction from a real spectator, shot on a pocketcam and uploaded to YouTube, can sometimes be more powerful than a slick 3 minute promo video.

Not everyone can afford what I do or what you do, yet we can all help raise the bar for those that decide to do it themselves.

I'm game. Who else is in?
Scott Burton
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Nothing will drag down and destroy a business like ours faster (IMO) than making regular poor choices when it comes to spending our time. Money can be made back again but time is lost forever when wasted.

I don‘t like hearing of performers spending weeks upon weeks to research, discuss, design, and create their own web site. I especially feel saddened when it is the person who is struggling to keep their business afloat who goes down this long path to save a few bucks.

Create a vision...yes! Create a concept, a strategy, and your marketing approach...yes! These things are important for you to consider absolutely and should be provided to your web designer as guidance. Learning how to build and create a web site - when you are building an entertainment business - is usually (again, IMO) not the best path to take.

Two things that I have discovered and learned for myself as I build my business:
1 - There are tons of web developers out there who want your business and will charge reasonable rates (from dirt cheap to the sky‘s the limit). My site cost me $250 to have built and includes an administrative back-end system that allows me to update it an infinite amount of times without any cost or technical knowledge. I am happy with it. Is it worth it for me to learn to do it myself to save $250! No way! That same amount of time could be spent selling myself and actually booking gigs.
2 - Something that may be a little controversial here but....you don‘t actually need a web site to start earning a living in magic! Want to own one of the greatest marketing courses for magicians out there? Go buy Paul Diamonds “It Takes Guts Dammit“. It will cost you $5, take you 15 minutes to read, and there you go. The big lesson in the book: if you want business then go out and get it.

A web site is important. I absolutely agree. However, if you cannot afford to pay someone to build your web site and you instead choose to spend your valuable time to educate yourself on the techniques of web site creation, then the solution is this: forget about the website (for now), go out and connect with people, and get yourself some business until you can afford to pay someone.

Having a web site is not the determining factor of whether you will succeed. Your success, rather, is dependent upon how you choose to spend you time.
Dennis Michael
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To choice a pro, or not to choose a pro, is a good topic. I spend most of my time doing others websites and not building on mine. It's like the plumber who has leaky faucets, the carpenter who need work at home, etc. We have a tendency to neglect our own websites.

If you know very little about a website, then a pro will make the difference. Even some pros don't understand our business so one must be informed of what works and doesn't and help the pro. There are a lot of bad sites, and good looking sites and neither are not selling themselves right.

So the Web Secret here is, invest in the pro that has done other Magician pages, you think would work for you. Graphic artists are expensive, but here is a tip see
* Angel or Susan Contreras Angel's Artistic Endeavors, Inc.
* PO Box 146
* Mokena, 11, 60448
* angel@art4clowns.com
* http://www.Art4Clowns.com
* 708-479-3837
He does excellent characters that can make your site exciting and funny. He also does lots of magicians!

This is such a true statement by Scott above:
Quote:
Having a web site is not the determining factor of whether you will succeed. Your success, rather, is dependent upon how you choose to spend you time.


If I spent as much time on my magic as I do on the computer or the 5,000 plus postings, I am sure I would be a far better magician today!

Dennis

I looked over, monstercreations posts and much of what they say here on the Café, related to web design, is a put-down on many magicians, even on there own web page. For obvious reasons, his site graphically is suburb, top-notch!
http://www.monster-creations.com

His approach to customer relations may need improving if he wants business. I know I can't afford him, he reeks of "this guy is to expensive for me!" Having said that, I have stereo-typed him, and apologize to him for that, like customers do to magicians, they stereo-type us by our website and its content. Graphic designs with the right marketing like this can do wonders and hurt business. There is much more to a website for magicians then just design.

I personally don't believe using "foul" language to get a point across, especially as a business man. Put-downs displays one's inner character. Offending is the quickest way to lose business and to use it to make oneself better than another is also bad business practice. I say this not as a put-down, or to offend, but to help others realize there is much more to web design than the design itself. If one gives of themselves, and helps others, goodwill is a key business trait. Remember this when you decide to put together a website. Remember this in selecting professionals.

Content is key, a site can be pretty good looking but if the content offends, one moves on to someone a little more compassionate, and understanding especially if he is willing to shell out his hard earned money.

Dennis
Dennis Michael
monstercreations
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Hi Dennis and everyone else,
Apologies if I come across as offensive towards magicians, I don't mean to be...I love you all... it's just frustration!

Heres why I'm frustrated. I'll give a quick example...to give my son a great birthday party I wouldm't get my Uncle Bob in to do the 21 card trick to a bunch of 7 year olds, I would hire a professional magician, someone who knows what they are doing and whos publicity ie business card, flyers and website look professional! I would always use a professional.

As for prices you really would be (pleasantly) surprised at our prices... people seem to assume we are ultra expensive. We arn't! I came across another magic related designer who offer template sites... for £200 bucks but if you wanted the design exclusive then it's $1000! We don't offer template sites, we don't code in frames and tables either, all our sites are exclusive and for 1000 bucks you would get one hell of a website with CMS, with design for flyers and business cards thrown in!

How about to make the peace, I will design, code and host a website for the first person to PM/email me for just $200! You will however need some content such as text and a few photos! Let me know,
Ade
MikeClay
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I am probably (ok we know I am) one of the "Web advice" guys who has a bad looking site..

and ya know what.. I don't care about some aspects of it.. Yeah I would like to get a graphics designer to redo the look (but it's not on top of the list)

the look is just 1 aspect of a site, and I would love to test the conversion ratio, but UMM I care more about the bank account at the end of the week.

and from TONS of testing the look doesn't effect the $ enough to make it a priority over all the other things.

so let me share a story with all of you of MY experience with this new TWIST (balloon pun intended)
About a year ago I was hired as a marketing consultant for a company and we started working with the in house web editor to get things all in order. I spent a few days and built a set of guidelines of things to do per page and such. Then one morning at a networking meeting the owner met a Graphics design "WEBSITE GURU" and he hired the guy without talking to the rest of the team.. A few days later the site SUDDENLY changed (not the designers fault, but the CEO's)

so we threw out ALL the work we had already done and started again with new changes and such. We sent changes to the "Artist on high" who promptly told us that his design was perfect and didn't need to be changed. Within 3 days the site lost 70 pages in the index due to new 404 errors (there where over 2k of them the day the site changed)

the new "PRETTY" navigation once we installed split testing software was getting 90% less clicks.. Sales of the site dropped over 30%

the CEO asked me what I was doing, to which I told him WHY and what the issue was.
60 days later (after changing back to the original BORING design) sales where back up, and the CEO learned a valuable 5K lesson.

A good design needs to increase conversion not get in the way, it's not about having a pretty site it's about my bank account at the end of the week.
If a PLAIN site with NO text is what converts BEST in my market.. then that's what I will use..

http://www.myweddingfavors.com
uses stock photos, inside a yahoo store
they even used a stock logo that was edited in house
and they do about 120k in sales a DAY

so I am going to keep my boring dull badly designed site, until I hit 1000 unique a day then will SPLIT TEST new designs


----
EDIT less that 2 min after post..
OK I was writing mine as Monster was writing his..

and for 1k I would hire you
I have 3 contracts I am pitching next week and will add in 1k for a site redesign

shoot me an email and we can start talking about what I need for clients cause I REALLY want a talented graphics person to sub work out to for my clients.
cause I am a marketing guy not and a code junkie, not a graphics guy
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2010-06-17 23:47, Scott Burton wrote:
1 - There are tons of web developers out there who want your business and will charge reasonable rates (from dirt cheap to the sky‘s the limit). My site cost me $250 to have built and includes an administrative back-end system that allows me to update it an infinite amount of times without any cost or technical knowledge. I am happy with it. Is it worth it for me to learn to do it myself to save $250! No way! That same amount of time could be spent selling myself and actually booking gigs.


Like Scott, I also have an administrative back-end system that allows me to update it an infinite amount of times. Very handy, because I know almost nothing about website coding.

I like being able to update it in that fashion.

And I also like that it isn't hosted on my designer's server.

I get concerned when they want too much control.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
monstercreations
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Scott, I did actually offer some help to a Café member and was told it wasn't needed.
Ade
Scott Burton
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I just wanted to mention that I have worked with Ade (on print material in my case...not web sites) and have nothing but good things to say. Great work, great customer service, and reasonable pricing. That's my experience.
Dennis Michael
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A web graphic designed site for $200 is a steal! Someone should have jumped on this offer.

My son paid $2,000 to a web designer and hated it. He ended doing his own and it turned out great. We both have degrees in system design and computer science, but graphic arts is a specialty.

Monster creation needs a portfolio of magic related graphic designs. Similar to Angels characters. It was those drawings that gave him at least 100 jobs at the KIDabra Conferences. I'm sure Ade can get the business if one likes his work.

I know it is hard to meet minds of a Graphic Artist, Web Design, and the Mind of the person paying the bill.

I am willing to bet if someone did a Monster Magic Show, you could create a dynamite graphic intense website. Even a Dinosaur Magic Show, or a Halloween Magic Show, you would be my choice.

Quote:
On 2010-06-18 10:28, monstercreations wrote:
Scott, I did actually offer some help to a Café member and was told it wasn't needed.
Ade


Have you considered, possibly you may have scared them away because they have not seen or heard of you helping others?

I get at least 3 phone calls a month from web designers want to help me make more money with my website(s). They have reached the telemarketers annoying calls level.

Also, your help may come at a price which, many magicians just don't have or are part-time and don't want to put out more money. We've all grown to know that FREE is never free, some how it ends up costing money.

This is why I created this thread, for those who are going to try to make it on their own. Ideas and tips to help them.

If one can afford a professional, then go for it. If is cheaper in a long run to have another do a knock-out job but can they do it that fits their idea of a website.

I don't know Ade, but I am willing to say if he can create pages like this monster-creations page of his, in a usable magical way, he will have more work then he can handle, of course if the price is right.

I really love it but it is not magical. Can you show something magical with rabbits, doves, top hat, wands, streamers, for Birthday Parties, Clowns, Balloonist (Not a one picture fits all, but something non-monsterish so one can make an informed decision if they would like your services, and yes I can look through watermarks to prevent graphic hi-jackers.)
Dennis Michael
monstercreations
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Hi Dennis,
There is a web gallery on the site with at least 30 sites showing different work, with different styles for pro-magicians, semi-pro and amateurs. There are CMS sites, basic css/html sites and wordpress sites!
We don't only do websites, but all graphic design, and not only magicians... monster-creations is the magical side of things!
As for something magical with rabbits, doves, top hat, wands, streamers etc this is 2010 not 1950 so its really not my style!
I think I have offered to help by offering a site for $200 bucks! No takers!
I guess I won't be breaking into the American market! Ah well...
All the best,
Ade
Decomposed
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He who dies with the most websites wins. Smile
Dennis Michael
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Ade,
I went to your Gallery and looked over your designs:

Below are some decent designs that scream professionalism and suited for corporate or agency type work.

Children Magicians/Adult Magician: http://www.klassymagic.co.uk/
Children Magicians/Adult Magician: http://www.magic-chris.co.uk/
Mindreader/Magician: http://www.robertfox.net/

I've seen these design types before and do love them.
http://www.webdesignerwall.com/category/trends/
They have the best design series in this type of professional web pages. They are great for those who like this kind of web interface.

These designs are clean, crisp, visual, 3D and beautiful. However, I can't put my finger on it other than saying, "I couldn't afford these entertainers". Something inside me tells me there is something very important missing. It maybe weak on content, marketing, or something.

Quote:
As for something magical with rabbits, doves, top hat, wands, streamers etc this is 2010 not 1950 so its really not my style!


Here might me where the personal objection to this style lies, and why I don't like to do web sites for others. "The mending of what one wants and what the designers want many times is very far apart." I can related to these designs because I've studied them, bookmarked them, and like them.

I mentioned before I am the "Classic Magician" as depicted in a child's mind, so my web design should reflect that character. This modern style wouldn't do it. If I was a close-up guy who table hops, well maybe this would work.

The hardest part about designing web pages is to find out what the customer wants and give it to them, leaving personal feelings outside. Add in that most of the time, the person wanting the web pages, has no clue about what "their" customers wants or the "benefits" of hiring them, etc. (Weak Marketing skills.) All this compounds the problem of coming up with the "perfect" page, if it is at all possible.

Only the informed entertainer can begin to explain what they want if they have some knowledge on what they might need, hence this thread on Web Page Secrets.
Dennis Michael
MikeClay
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I like Abe's designs...

but it always baffels me when I find sites like the webdesignerwall

the graphics take away from the content..
your eyes are DRAGGED to the image for the background and it takes a second to find the navigation because of how dramatic the background is..


as far as what a customer wants for a design I have a list of things I go over with them as EDUCATION for "Picking the right design for your business" that we use..

the key elements are
1. How the human eye looks at a website and where hot spots are on a page
2. How to effectively use layout to help increase conversion (perfect example is a TRULY HIDEOUS designed squidoo lens, the conversion was to get them to click out of the page,, UGLY WORKED)
3. Customer based design

what these 3 things do for me..
1. means I only need a handfull of images from a pro so I can skin the Wordpress Theme
2. Means I get rid of the nit picking over design factors, because we will TEST IT LATER after the launch (traffic matters more than design at this point.. what if you have what YOU see as a AWESOME design and your ideal client is confused by it)
3. I can focus on what I am good at and sub out the artsy stuff (=

Which on that note Abe.. shoot me an email I would love to go over some specs for a few projects I have on the table to see if you can help out..
monstercreations
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Hi Mike,
I have mailed you!

Hi Giani,
Didn't understand your comment I'm afraid!

Hi Dennis,
Hmm... it's a fine line to walk as a designer working with a client... some clients just won't listen! I know what works best to get a client noticed website wise but theres not much I can do if they don't have content either text or photos. I have access to a very good copywriter (a magician themselves) to provide good copy but bad photos will still let a site down. I can and have designed sites from just one photo or even no photos but its tough!
I have found that some clients think they know best and a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing. I wouldn't hire a magician to perform at my party and tell him the 21 card trick is a killer ... I hire him because he is a professional and knows best. So why in design to do some clients think they know best? Is it because the internet gives people the tools to have a go themselves ? I have also heard it said that is because design is subjective... I'm not sure it is.
Of course I will listen to what the client says but there has to be a compromise between what the client wants and what will work for functionality and design.
If you said to me I want a site with rabbits, doves, top hat, wands etc then I would beg (lol) you to reconsider and would suggest alternatives BUT if you were insistant then I could maybe come up with other ways to make you appear as a classic magician rather than a cheesy one!
I can design for you (or anyone) a great marketing website, good for SEO with great design but need from the client the freedom to do so, its also usefull to have promo photos, actions shots, content, quotes etc
Ade
Dennis Michael
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Ade,

I think you are on the right track and this topic is a little off course.
A separate one would be better related to marketing, another related to Graphics, etc. I fully know your frustration. Hence, I still like to play and learn. I do have the time to do that. (I like this stuff but I know I am not as good as you are in graphic design.)

Quote:
Hi Giani,
Didn't understand your comment I'm afraid!


This is a pun, a play on words,
"He who dies with the most websites wins." is a takeoff of: He who dies with the most toys wins. (Boats, Motorcycles, big screen TV, etc.) A Manly thing.
Dennis Michael
daffydoug
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Quote:
On 2010-06-02 09:08, Dennis Michael wrote:
After reading "Top Five Marketing Courses for Magicians" I thought it would be nice to list the "Top Five Web Page Secrets for Magicians"

Here's a Start:
1. Rename your web page names to something more significant so the search engines list them better. Here are some Examples:

  • about.htm to AboutDennisMichaelsBirthdayParties.htm
  • testimonials.html to WhatPeopleSayAboutMagicalBirthdayPartys.htm
  • contact.htm to New_Jersey_Magician.htm and same page Philadelphia_Area_Magician.htm


Naming them something significant instead of the millions of "about.htm" pages.

2. Offer a guarantee. Make sure the reader understands there is no risk in hiring you. The customer wants a perfect event and a guarantee does put them more at ease. Remember for children parties, it's the Mom who does the hiring and the decision many times depends on what she is reading so Content is very important.

3. Make sure you list testimonals, the more the better. If there are ones where she can contact another to hear 1st hand about your show, the better. (Principals/PTA/PTO Leaders will contact other leaders)

4. A you-tube video is a solid seller. They get to see you in action. It better be what you are really doing and not something you no longer do.

5. The index.htm page (Home Page) top half is what they see first so make the pitch there and so powerful they want to scroll down and read the rest.

6. Get away from the 600 width size, most (95%) of all today's computer can read minimum of 800px width. Its more room for you.

Opps that six, What do you suggest?

Dennis


Thanks for the beautiful advice!
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Jay Jennings
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Dennis -

You said, "I mentioned before I am the "Classic Magician" as depicted in a child's mind, so my web design should reflect that character."

That statement caught my eye and got me thinking -- what magicians would a child of today have seen? Chris Angel? David Blaine, maybe? I can't think of anyone a typical child would probably have seen who we'd think of as a "classic magician."

Jay Jennings
Dennis Michael
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One needs to watch children TV stations and read Children books.
Dennis Michael
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