It's Done. Need commentary and suggestions

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
May 24, 2004
I finally got the gallery to link correctly and the links to gallery effeciently....

Now I just need some eyeballs and brutal commentary.

Sharpen the slings and limber the arrows...

Baer's first attempt at a real web site.
Baer- I can't get it to finish loading. The colored background comes up, then after about 10 seconds I get nothing more than the continually spinning beachball, while the bottom margin notation in the broswer says
Sending request for /_layouts/1033/wh/js/ollows.js
and the progress bar is stuck at about the halfway point.
Btw, I'm viewing this with Explorer 5.1 for Mac on high speed DSL.
I think it looks great, Baer. Your writing style is very personable and entertaining and I loved the framing gallery.

Sorry I couldn't be brutal. :D

OK, I will be brutal (you'll thank me in Saratoga, I am sure... ;)

I thought I'd intercept and redo the text of your first page, before Captain English has a heart attack....

Here's my rendition of it, I fixed the grammatical mistakes and re-worded the spirit of what you're saying, but it still captures the essence. It may need a bit more tweaking, but it is definitely an improvement (how brutal is that?, LOL - if you don't like my changes, feel free to toss them!

Custom picture framing is first and foremost a profession, and secondly it is also a craft.

People bring their memories and captured emotions to us, framers, and it is our job to enrich, preserve and enhance those in such a way that people favorably view our customers’ art, photos and memorabilia or other frameable items.

There are as many levels of framing as there are reasons to frame. From the every-day frame to the over-the-top “gaudy for gaudy’s sake” frame. And beyond that, there are the Extreme frames which are our contemporary version of a Trophy frame.

As an independent manufactures’ representative, I have carefully chosen who I represent. Not because of financial gain, but for the value these companies place in their customers and the contribution they make to the industry as a whole.

Great site,loads ok here.

I like Paul's changes,bearing in mind a website is international, and here framing is seen very much as a craft as well as a profession.
Web Master Baer,

I am very interested in this thread as I desperately need to re-work my own site.

The following three links do not work because of the double “http://” in the address line.


I am not familiar with the program you are using. Is it possible make your links open in a new window? That is better than taking people away from your site. Just as an observation, your gallery does not work in Netscape, but everything else does, as far as I can see.
Loved your website, Baer - great job
It is very easy to navigate, although, like "Hired Help", I couldn't get those three links to work. I also liked Paul's suggested changes to your homepage text.

A couple things that I noticed in your gallery of frames:
- Some of the photos fill the screen so much that I couldn't see the whole frame at one time - I needed to scroll to see the top or bottom. I prefer seeing the "whole picture" at once (maybe I'm just too lazy to scroll :D )
- I also noticed that you have photos for two of your frames appearing more than one time in the slide show - perhaps you wanted them to appear more than once? I looked at the slide show twice to make sure I just wasn't seeing the photos from the start again. The ones that I think are duplicates are:
- the small print/photo of the mountain with its reflection in the water. This one has a brown embossed fabric mat.
- a page of calligraphy (?) with very ornate illustrations in royal blues, reds, etc. This has a very ornate gold frame and a royal blue mat. I think this one actually appears 3 times.

Is it possible to pause on a particular picture in your slide show? I love looking at the details of your framing and I found that the picture disappeared too quickly sometimes to take in all of the details.

Thanks for giving us permission to "steal" your ideas. I'm sure I'll be taking you up on that offer.

p.s. Hope your wife hasn't looked at your gallery page or she'll find out her anniversary present ;)

Looks good.

In addition to the previous comments:

Site Map is OK but redundant when the navigation bars are identical to the Site Map. Just a personal preference thing for me.

Macs cant display the slideshow and it's a problem known by Microsoft that has only been recently confirmed. Amazing huh? Sometimes funny things happen with IE7, because at the time it is not on the "supported browser" list.

The "Contact Us" script as you know has problems which have also recently been acknowledged by MS.

That's why it still in Beta, but MS promises tweaks in the final version.

[ 07-16-2006, 10:42 AM: Message edited by: Rick Bergeron - CPF ]
Internet Explorer recently decided to end my 'freebie' days, so I'm using Firefox for now. I can't view the Gallery.

My question is - are you selling something, or is this an informational / 'I love me' site? Good job so far, with the noted grammar, sentence structure changes Paul noted above.
Framers don't need to spell perfect or use perfect grammar. In fact, "I think", it's required to become a master pictureframer.

If I could spell better I would have become a nuclear scientist in my youth and the world might be at risk. I think it nature's way to preserve the status quo.

Now where did I lose that new atom I've been working on?


Good Job, Baer!!
Your page background looks classy, Baer. Here's a couple of my suggestions:

Salvo #1: More pictures of your work throughout the site. I couldn't get the slide show to work in Safari. Even if I could, I wouldn't know whether I wanted to take the time to watch the slide show because in all the pages I only saw one other sample that appeared to be your work. You've gotta have something on the home page to tell me its worth spending some time reading about you rather than going to the next search result on google.

Salvo #2: If you are trying to get people to your place of business, I don't know where you are. If the purpose of the site is for booking training engagements, you may be ok. Either way, some mention at least about where you are in the country would be helpful.

Salvo #3: Who's the mafia guy on the home page? Was he conducting business outside the Louvre when you were there? I know: He must be extorting large sums of money or free picture framing from you if you don't keep him posted on your home page! Just one of the seedy realities of doing business, huh?

Keep up the good work.
Cant view the gallery either. I tend to think the writing up top about what you have on the website is a bot too small. Almost overlooked it.

Then it was a bit plain. You are someon who creates extremely unique put tons of framers in awe each time you post a pic of something you have done. The first page has got to have more pics to keep my interest. Something to give you the WOW right off the bat, to make me want to explore more. I know you have tons of pics of neat things you have done, get em on that first page.

I read some (not a big reader here-pics I like) the writing seems ok. And i would think knowing you that your background would look like some kind of fabric...just a thought. I know doing this stuff is hard and it is a start. However you seem to be very particular when you are choosing fabric and making wild frames.

I think it needs more Baer= fabric and frames.

Sorry you did say honest injun.

Really enjoyed the gallery and the invitation to borrow ideas - would have enjoyed seeing some interior shots of your shop/store and to see how your creative mind transforms an interior.
It looks good to me Baer. You used the same template that I did. I was kind of proud of my site until a web designer basically told me my site sucked.

I think our sites look as good as a lot of professionally built sites I have seen.

All the bugs will be worked out as time goes on. It is still in beta testing.

I'm with Rick on the redundancy of the site map, however, after removing mine I am finding out that the big search engines use the site map as well as meta tags to crawl and categorize your site.

After you get your site looking the way you want it, search engine placement is your next hurdle.
I think Ron makes a great point. Whom do we expect to visit our sites and what action do/can we expect?

When i visit a site, I must admit that grammar and spelling are way down the list. I'm not sure what that says about a "potential" consumer, anyway

We hae been constantly tweaking our site and created it primarily because we had a few "bigger" clients that sort of "expected" us to have a presence

Unfortunately, I think the vast majority (ours included) of sites fill two primary purposes: a generous stroke to our own egos and a vehicle for other framers to "act elitist" with their criticism

Personally, Baer, the last person I would ask for a critique is another framer. I would call 20 current clients and ask them to give a quick review in return for a redeemable coupon for their effort.

That way, a "real world" client can give you you a response and the coupon just might bring them in to buy something

When we were determining what we were looking for, we visited many sites. And, to be perfectly brutal, the majority were pretentious and boring. I kept getting the feeling that they were designed with "other framers" in mind

I'd love to know if anyone has actually developed a meaningful tool to measure the effectiveness of their site. Our's is a work in progress and probably will be forever
Baer, I couldn't get the gallery to work either.

I can't quite figure out who the site is for. Is it for us the framer? Or is it for the public? I am thinking since you rep products you are using the site for that purpose. There is no mention of the store you work in, so, that would make sense.

As handsome and debonair you look in that picture I think the home page looks more like an ad for mens wear than for framing. There is not one frame anywhere to be seen.

I would have liked to have seen the gallery. I will have to try on my computer in the store.
LOVE the GQ photo shot of yourself! Such class!

Was this a self-taught wonder, or did you take a class on designing, making and implementing your web site?? Like all your projects, "mucho greato"! It sooooo YOU!
Thank you one and all; here and those that sent email.

One: It's a site for me as a frame maker, teacher, passing on pitures, and as a rep.

[dang! I thought those double "http"s were fixed.]

As for tweeking things... hmmmmm. *%%&*))#^*&, no. This is a site that is "free" and very "easy" to build a usable site for then NON web master. Like that brown thingy in the upper left corner... I'd love to replace it with a frame corner.... and a fabric background would be wonderful....

Firefox: Oh, I don't EVEN want to go there. I use FF all the time... and no the gallery won't load for me in FF either. but they are going to fix it for the Macs first..... the site is MSN and we know how MicroSoft feels about FireFox....

Sprinkling the website with pictures... great idea.

And yes, "Mrs Baer" saw the anniversary present... and just said 'nice mat, is that at the shop?'.. I love her clueless sometimes. :D

As I have time, I can tweek the pages a bit.. I'm thinking about a page listing [with pictures] the classes/lectures available.

Bob, I just did put this out to my customers... some buy Garrett, some buy Frank's and some buy both. :D

Like Rick, I am running under Mac OS 9.2 and I cannot get to load either under IE 5.1 or Netscape 4.7.7.

Dang, I really wanted to be brutal, too.
For Sherry Lee and anyone else who may have missed the original thread, here is the start to building your own website. It is very easy to use, as Baer mentioned, and it is worth the time to play with if you have never had a working website for your business. It will give you a presence on the internet and, although I don't think it will give you a shopping cart or PayPal with the beta, it will give you a means to learn how a website works and interacts from one page to another.

And it's free in beta form.

Baer (and Jerry),

I also use Mozilla Firefox, and the slideshows appear not to work on this platform.

I feel the best website are simple and load fast. Have you both checked how fast features you use take to download ?
Many people still use dial up.

You will find all sorts of (free) website optimisation tools by Goggling website optimisation tools :D
There are many informative tests you can do on your site.

Slideshows of pics can be too long / too slow most of the time. People lose interest, and move on, so your good stuff isn't seen.

Galleries are usually best with thumbnailed pics, the best examples you can offer up (update when better ones come along), and spaced in an interesting way on a page. Loads fast, and that should be a major objective.
People get an overview and click on the ones they like best to see the larger image.

Agree, 'where to start' with websites is worth putting a lot of thought into.
Who is your target, what do you want the site to do (inform, sell, other), works well on all the big browsers, looks good in the most common resolutions viewed, speed to load, holding interest, building trust, being found, time updating to keep it fresh, bringing visitors back.

With a dynamic business, you must have a dynamic website. Takes time, sometimes a lot.
I have a MAC and can't get the site. Maybe if you give me the actual address or url, or whatever it's called, I can try it in another browser.
I found this on eWeek

Microsoft's browser has dropped by 1.8 percentage points over the past three months to 93.7 percent of the market, according to data provided Wednesday by Web analytics vendor WebSideStory Inc

If I'm good to go with 93.7 percent of all web surfers, I am ok with that.
Nona, the site is

I can't help the Mac world users... but for those using FireFox, I have put up a static gallery below the slideshow.

It's the best I can think to offer with what the site can or can not do.

Thanks for all your
Baer, now those pics come up fine.
Hey, I certainly recognise a lot of those pics from your Grumble design posts ! : )

I am on cable broadband, so speed isn't a problem, but always think of worst case users with dial up when considering loading times.

There is a site you can visit, type in any page url for your website, and it will tell you how long it takes to load at all the different cable and dial up speeds.

If you can't find it, let me know and I'll take a good look around in my bookmarks for it.

Keep at the website anyway, it is an ongoing thing.
At least you have a start, and can improve from there.

Jerry, fair enough if you are happy with that info.
So do you think MS gave them that ?
What do *your* stats say ? That's what is really important.

FWIW, July to date mine are :
MSIE 73.6% (inc MSIE6.0 71.3%)
Mozilla 20.9%
Netscape 0.4%
Others 4.8%
(Mmmm, that's 99.7% of them anyway !)

Countries of origin, US tops the list followed closely by Australia. This covers the vast % of visitors.

I do feel that Mozilla is a growing and important browser to be viewable on.

It is amazing what info my stats can tell me, and these should be used to build a more successful site.
I must admit, I have hardly looked at them this past year, must do it more often.

Make sure you can get yours through your host; they are possibly the most valuable tool to improve what your website can achieve.
Some solid changes - and I can now view your Gallery!

I have to admit I sort of miss the debonaire (Middle English debonaire, gracious, kindly, from Old French, from de bon aire, of good lineage or disposition) picture of you!

misspelled - "Manufacturer's", "compilation".

(Don't wish to disagree with framer, but I firmly believe correct spelling and grammar are imperative to a professional presentation.)

...And thank you, Baer for allowing us to critique your site work.
My next post was about 'Manufacture's' etc, you beat me to it deac.

But shouldn't it be Manufacturers Representative ?
Simply a plural.

If it denotes ownership / belonging to, it should be Manufacturers' Representative (I think, school was such a long time ago).

Further, would this be better ?
Bungalow Frames is the website for Charlton Productions, a Manufacturers Representative company.

It is also the contact page for information about lectures and classes by Baer Charlton, Master Picture Framer.

The Framing Gallery is a compilation of selected framing jobs completed by Baer, several of them award winning in design and craftsmanship.

I agree, bring back the pic ! Looks plain without something else there.

My personal opinion is that more people should put contact names on their websites SOMEWHERE, if not a pic also.
Makes it more personal . . . maybe the About Us page is best for that, but in Baers case, the front page works too.

I like home pages that tell me in a few paras what I can get from this business / person.
You shouldn't have to scroll a home page, just enough info and maybe one to a few small graphics to paint the picture to the visitor.

Baer, maybe you can make the links text bigger too, and duplicate the links same top and bottom.
I couldn't get it in Explorer but could in Safari. Nothing on the home page and site mat, but everything else came up.

Thank you for the link to the free website implementation information. That was very kind of you!

You are correct, I can't read EVERYTHING that I'd like to.....just HAVE to get a little work in during the 24 hours. :rolleyes:
My laptop is set at 1024 x 768. The gallery page is to wide. I have to scroll to the right to view the majority of the page. There are large empty areas on the left. Also the text at the top of the page needs scrolling to be able to read. Definately a distraction for me.

Love the frames by the way

"I'd love to know if anyone has actually developed a meaningful tool to measure the effectiveness of their site."
Well, Bob, after many classes with you and others (have to give credit to John Ranes for his Website class), I can confidently say that I have learned the importance of solid, trackable numbers We tracked and measured the usefulness of our website over the course of one year. I have 12 monthly sheets with a number written on every day. Does this count as a useful tool?

Over the last year, we have advertised in our local paper's "Homes and Gardens" section twice a month. Prominently in the ad is Our web host has a tracking page that gives me all these nifty little statistics as to how many hits we get a day, down to the hour and day; I can see where people are coming from and what they are accessing: are they retreiving content, etc. I looked at every day and marked how many legitimate hits we received, hoping that the money we spent on the newspaper advertising would bring results. Would you like to know what I found? A 20% increase in average daily visits. Did this increase occur due to our ads? Unfortunately, if I look at every Thursday, Friday and Saturday after the ad ran,the numbers have no consistency; meaning the numbers did not spike up. I am discontinuing the ad and will once again, for a year, track the numbers, compare them to the last year and gauge the effectiveness.

May I ad to this already long post? I have received phone calls from New York, Ohio and Columbia, South America because the client found our web page. The gentleman from Columbia shipped me a very beautiful wood carving that we are working on, as he lives in Portland but is currently out of the country. So, it has been our experience, and take it for what you like, that our web page is a very useful tool, albeit a small one, in driving traffic to our business. We update it every month like clockwork and check our ranking every month by Googling keywords like "picture framing".
I hope this helps and doesn't sound too much like a rant.

I know you asked for all of this help and most of what everybody says is true to a point, but the fact is, I loved it. It was not what I would expect from a typical framing web site.(which I liked)

If I were a customer who wanted to get my precious something framed, It would make feel very special and confident to take it to you from what I saw on your site.

I think you put a different spin on the concept of sells. I didn't feel like I was being sold on something but instead was seeing what a craft and art custom framing really is.

The only thing I might really consider is putting more of your work through out the web site. I also think the page of class schedules is a great idea.

Very Classy and well done!
Hi Baer,

I love the basic approach and content of your first website attempt!!

I do agree about the redundancy of the site map page.

1. some of the pages load too "wide".
2. Type face should be consistent throughout for the different parts of paragraphs, text and headlines.
3. Layout of the images needs some tweeking... make them all as proportionate as posssible and either line them up on the left or right or as you would do a collage of frames on a wall.
4. Your lead in line on "About us" sounds a bit negative with the word Groaning - suggest a more positive statement (busy at the moment but will give it some thought later).
5. Fav links: Colors clash - have some continuity to type/background colors and type faces here as well.
6. Gallery: can you do thumbnails to view all at once and then have a separate "click" for the slide show. And a "click" to enlarge individual ones? Also, the lead in text could be another positive statement about your work!! It is beautiful!! Use of headlines is a great way to boast and then the text will talk!!

Hope I haven't been too brutal...

"(Don't wish to disagree with framer, but I firmly believe correct spelling and grammar are imperative to a professional presentation.)"

Deaconsbench: Way To Go! I wholeheartedly agree! (I double checked the spelling of wholeheartedly

The navigation area below the top banner should have larger font for those with aging eyes. If it is 10pt bump it up (at least) to 14.

The right side of the navigation area is "framinggallery". Separate the words and capitalize it.