Website totally Overhauled... MUCH better.

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Blog entry by Blake posted 03-03-2010 08:43 PM 7084 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

K.I.S.S. …KEEP IT SIMPLE… right?

Some of you will remember the old site. It was pretty good but not very straight forward. The navigation was not very intuitive. My new site is MUCH easier to figure how to get around. Please let me know what you think. And send me a note from the “contact” page so I know its working properly if you could. By the way, there are lots of photos so it may be a little slow to load.

Here’s the link:


The program

So my old website was done on Yahoo! Sitebuilder with my old Dell computer. A few months ago I went Mac and can’t use the same program to update my site anymore. So I had to find a new program.

It turns out there’s not much out there for Mac. iWeb comes with iLife but I hate it. Then there’s DreamWeaver ($400 bucks) and RapidWeaver ($50 bucks). So easy decision. RapidWeaver it is.

It is actually a pretty good program. It is still template oriented but it is “open source” which means that there are lots of third-party add-ons you can purchase on the net to customize your site.

-- Happy woodworking!

14 comments so far

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 4107 days

#1 posted 03-03-2010 08:59 PM

It looks nice, glad you are able to do it yourself.

--, Making design and application one. †

View Tony's profile


995 posts in 5083 days

#2 posted 03-03-2010 09:09 PM

Hi Blake – I have just upgraded to the iMac as well fantastic system compared to Microsoft – thanks for the tip on Rapid Weaver – I was not that impressed with iWeb either.

The website is great – quite clean and wants to make you explore it.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5015 days

#3 posted 03-03-2010 09:22 PM

I Really like it, Blake, Your right, it is very intuitive and the photos are great. Good work and I hope it brings you lots of work.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3813 posts in 4490 days

#4 posted 03-03-2010 09:48 PM

Hmm.. iWeb in my opinion is a fantastic program with an easy learning curve. When people move to a mac they often over think it as they’re used to with a PC. I’m betting iWeb is the same thing for people used to another type of web program. Not much you can’t do with iWeb that you can’t do with another Web making program.

The new website looks good BTW.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View lew's profile


13332 posts in 4808 days

#5 posted 03-03-2010 09:48 PM

Great Job, Blake!!

Nice to see your Mom’s sewing machine table, again.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5152 days

#6 posted 03-03-2010 10:00 PM

Hey Blake, I just got schooled on resizing photos for the website. You are a lot more web savvy than I am and you are doing this right?

It dramatically increases page loading.

Since learning about this I realize why my old site loads so slow, but I don’t really have the time to go back and resize everything since I am working on getting the new one going.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5152 days

#7 posted 03-03-2010 10:03 PM

I just went over there and looked at your site. It looks good but the pictures load slow just like my old site.

You can resize your photos with “Preview” on the Mac without opening a larger program like PhotoShop or even Elements.

If you need a tutoring lesson let me know.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5152 days

#8 posted 03-03-2010 10:09 PM

I really like the “Design Process” segment. It provides a nice demonstration of the process.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View SawDustnSplinters's profile


321 posts in 4834 days

#9 posted 03-03-2010 10:16 PM

I like your site, it looks professionally done, thanx

-- Frank, Dallas,TX , , “I have a REALLY BIG chainsaw”

View degoose's profile


7281 posts in 4407 days

#10 posted 03-03-2010 10:18 PM

Nice clean site. You are right… go Mac… I have had one for years and would never go back to PC. IWeb in itself is a fine site builder but each to their own.
Todd is correct in the resizing of pics … if they take up too much memory then they will be slow to load..
One small point… the individual items may be better with only one pic that opens up to other pics. I personally found it disconcerting to see a few different pics of the same item and not really organised. Some galleries had a line of pics.. that was good… but some had a different number of pics that crossed over into other rows… not so good.. Just MHO

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View devnull's profile


30 posts in 4079 days

#11 posted 03-03-2010 11:11 PM

Site looks great, very simple and clean. My only recommendation is under process tab you may want to align the text to the left. – just my opinion.

-- __A Clean Desk is a sign of a sick mind.__

View _bp's profile


18 posts in 4320 days

#12 posted 03-04-2010 12:52 AM

Hey Blake,
I think the site looks really nice. I really like the overall look and feel.

I have a couple of suggestions though.

1. I agree with devnull. Left align the text in the process tab. It will increase readability.

2. Your header and your content body aren’t aligned. In the file Style.css under #contentContainer delete the line that says float:right;.

3. In your drop down menus, the link of the current page turns black, the same color as the background, so you can’t see it. This is a usablity no-no. You can change this in the file colourtag.css by modifiying the id ”#navcontainer #current.” The color is currently set to #000000, which is black. Replace it with #66CCFF if you want the same color as the blue on your site. Something like #FF3300 would be a complimentary shade of orange, but you can pick whatever you want. Bottom line is that you want the link to be visible and want some way to distinguish it from its neighbor links.

4. As others have pointed out you have some page load issues. It is very slow—problematically slow. I think there are two main reasons for this.

1. One is that you are calling SO many external css files. That is a lot of server request that is unnecessarily bogging you down. There is no reason you can’t combine them all into one. Let me know if you need me to explain how to do this.

2. The other issue is your images. You have to download over one meg. to view all the files. The files should be optimized to reduce file size. By doing this I think you could cut the total size by almost two thirds. I will come back to this. I don’t think this will be enough to solve your problem though. The problem is that you have two of every thumbnail image. To view that blue border around the photo it has to load another image. So this doubles your size with little return. There are ways to fix this, but they are a little complicated.

I would recommend making a new page each project. Not only do I think this will make for a better user experience, but I think it will cut down drastically on your load time issues. On you main project categories landing pages just add a thumbnail that links to a page where you can view all the photos of a project.

As far as optimizing your images, you might need a fairly expensive program to do this. If you want to send me a zip file with all the images on your site, I would be glad to do it for you while I at work tomorrow. I can automate the process in photoshop, so it would only take a few minutes for me to do.

Oh…and if you make any of the code changes I recommend make a backup of the files first.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4927 days

#13 posted 03-04-2010 01:14 AM


Thanks a ton. I will work some of these issues out and get back to some of you when I have questions. It may have to wait until next week when I get more time though.

I will definitely work on resizing images and improving load time. That will be my first priority.


-- Happy woodworking!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4726 days

#14 posted 03-04-2010 04:01 AM

Nice website, Blake.

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