Websites and Presentation

Major Tom

One thing people have told me about my website for Major Tom's Tarot is that they are bombarded with pop ups! I've known this was a bit of an annoyance but didn't realise the extent. Unfortunately, as the site was on a free host - I couldn't control how many pop ups plagued my visitors. Does anyone know a good free host?

Anyway, I've fixed the problem by changing my host. No pop ups or any other advertising for that matter - I promise. :D All the scans of the cards so far are full size. The new site features some design elements it took me some time to learn but aren't really that difficult. :laugh:

Two previously unseen cards: the 5 of Swords and the 7 of Swords featuring friends of mine. ;)

I'd welcome any constructive criticism. :)

I'd also like to foster any debate regarding website construction and it's usefullness for getting your work known. Thoughts anyone? })


Ah! Much better MT :D And I *do* like the way you have set it out showing the full size image. :)

The free sites I have always used have been Geocities ones. They do have that annoying popup down the side of the screen and some other irritating ads but none of them are actually banners on the webpage so I can deal with that.

Those that have not seen them:
Kayne's Celtic Tarot
21st Century Tarot

Lately I have been putting my work, not just tarot but my other art and photography on my DeviantArt site which I really like because it gets seen by so many and the way people can comment on the work is great. It is also so easy to update...

Major Tom said
I'd also like to foster any debate regarding website construction and it's usefullness for getting your work known. Thoughts anyone?
As far as getting your work seen it has worked for me slightly, but mostly through my involvement with Aeclectic I think. I submitted my sites to Google and anyone that has found me on the net has found it through that... Not too bad really.

Insomnia Turtle

I know I'm one of those tarot newbies so I'm not sure if my opinion counts for much, but I saw your site and I love your cards! It's really nice to see a deck that involves real people that are not all dressed up to be "neat". It has an honesty to it that I really admire!

I looked at your site I noticed a few things you may want to fix, unless any of these are intentional. The Hanged Man erases your buttons in the left hand menu. Temperance and the Two of Coins bring up a "page cannot be found" message. The Queen of Wands, Coins and Cups come up as their own window. I hope that any of this information is helpful to you while you are creating your site.

As for thoughts on websites and usefullness, I have way too many. But here are a few that I think are important.
First, It has been my personal experiance that consistancy is the most important thing in all art forms. I know that MANY people will disagree with me on this, but those who are consistant in their work, be it website or whatever, look professional because it looks like they know what they are doing.
Second would be a good layout (which can tie in with consistancy). A site that is easy to navigate is good for everyone, including the person making the site. All content should be easily accessed as well as uncluttered.
Third would be content updates. As I have always said when it comes to art, "A well fed mass of random people is a happy well fed mass of people". A site that has a lot of good stuff, but only updates once a month, will often not get as much traffic as a crappy site with lots of updates and even lose some of their audience (sad, but true). However, that isn't necessarily a bad thing when it comes to slow sites, as the people who come back are the ones who are actually interested. It is much more fun netting your target audience rather than a bunch of ho-hums who go to your site to send you annoying nasty emails and suck up your bandwidth.
Fourth, for me, would be bug checking. No one likes to go to a site where there are massive bugs everywhere. I understand that it takes hard work to keep a good site running, but it doesn't hurt to take one day out of the month to do a bug check on your own site. Every bug you fix is one less thing people will complain about.
Fifth is contact through email, message boards, or even just a quick note at the beginning of your homepage that changes every once in a while. If you communicate with your audience not only do you gain valuable knowledge of what others think, but they will respect you and your work more.
Well, I've blabbed enough. Feel free to attempt telling me otherwise. I always love a good debate.

If you want to get your site more known for your tarot cards, I suggest going to some art message boards and display your work for critique. Not only will you get feedback, but you will get people to visit your site and see the other things you have to offer.


hi Insomnia Turtle, it's great to meet you and welcome to aeclectic, and just to let you know that your opinion is as welcome and worthy as anybodies, so don't worry about that.
I agree with all that you say and would like to add a few notes of my own: I HATE FRAMES, I HATE FRAMES, I HATE FRAMES, textured backgrounds and popups on any website.
Tables are much more worthy on a site, absolute positioning being the way to go for the future.
Nested tables of thumbmnails for galleries with saved for the web/optimisation.
CONSISTANCY, very important for the viewer/buyer with clear, easy navigation too.

Netfirms seems to be the BEST free host I have seen and heard people use as they just deposit a small, modern, business like banner at the top (right) of your index/home page.


Insomnia Turtle

Thanks for the welcome allibee (I really like that name!).

To your comment on frames and pop ups, I raise a cup of tea in salute! I must say that, personally, I believe that texured backgrounds can work IF they do not get in the way of legibility, IF they actually have something to do with the site and IF it's so subtle you wouldn't notice it unless someone pointed it out to you. This brings me to add another important thing (typed in a few different ways in case you may have heard of one of them):

LESS IS MORE!!! (and I do not mean less content)
K.I.S.S. = Keep it simple stupid
Success is if the audience thinks it's there and it's really not.
The things unseen give the seen more impact.

If you have never heard any of these sentances before (or one that says the same message) than you have been deprived of one of the most valuable tools an artist can ever have. Complexity, while it may "look cool" to you, just gets in the way and is tossed out with the next rising trend. Simplicity will work forever.


Hi Major Tom,

Ah, Regarding the frames ;)

Certainly they are deprecated from a design and presentation point of view and also from certain others - such as difficulties in bookmarking. That said, sites with large numbers of small pages can still use 'em, on the basis that you won't be loosing quite as much money as YAHOO would if someone somewhere doesn't see quite what you intended! :D But any "framed" site can benefit from using parameters: NOSCROLL and NORESIZE in the frame lines of the "frameset" while ensuring the framed PAGES (such as the menu and header) actually FIT within the default specified size. The number of scroll bars then becomes CONTROLLED (by YOU, not the browser!) and, with a bit of thought, extra ones can be eliminated. It's a simple change with a large impact e.g. for those using smaller screens and/or windows.

HTH, Mac

P.S. Also check out parameters: FRAMEBORDER FRAMESPACING MARGINHEIGHT MARGINWIDTH BORDER etc. (I'd have to check :)) which give control on the precise size of page/frame borders. Hint: the Frameset's parameters can be variously set to things like "NO" and "0" etc., so that FRAME contents exactly abutt oneanother, leaving PAGE margins to be specified explicitly within individual page. It can also be easier to maintain (some) cross-browser compatibility too. This will ensure that every pixel of space is used productively.

Major Tom

Kayne - Thank you for noticing the improvement over the old site. :) I've joined DeviantArt.

Insomnia Turtle - Thank you for the broken links. Any suggestions for art message boards?

Allibee - I'm learning HTML as I go along and find it somewhat painful. *my head hurts* It took me a while to somewhat figure out frames...

Macavity - Thanks for your suggestions. I will endeavour to learn these parameters. I suspect they lead to invisible frames. :laugh:


Here's a few art message boards. Not sure how useful they'll be considering the niche tarot is in, but it couldn't hurt. Some don't get very frequent postings so the advice needed will take a while to get to you. for digital artists


Insomnia Turtle said:

LESS IS MORE!!! (and I do not mean less content)
K.I.S.S. = Keep it simple stupid

Did we go to the same college? *LOL* I LIVE by those, heheheh

Major Tom: I too am learning html as I go but may I make a suggestion? Have you ever considered using a readymade web template?
I'm not talking about the kind that comes with microsoft works either.

You may have seen some of my sites ... they are mostly templates and you just paint by numbers adding text, piccies and links wherever.
I can give the links to loads of the best free website templates or ones that cost no more than $20.
Get the looks and the techno babble sorted for you, you just add the content!!!!!!


Insomnia Turtle

Major Tom - Me recommend art message boards? Hmmm.... there are MANY out there. It just depends on what kind of reply you want. If you are just looking for a way to get your art and site known I suggest finding "friendly" boards, which I can't really help you on because I do not use them.If you are looking to improve your artistic skills then I can probably send you in a few good directions. Here's a site that focuses on digital art that has frequent replies:

There are a few people who do photo manipulation there, but the majority is hand drawn. I would point you here because there are some awsome artists that frequent this board and some have some good advise to pass on. There have been a few posts dealing with tarot art in the past, but it is not a common occurance. There are also, as with any board, many jerks floating around who critisize alot and I do not mean constructive critisism (to those of you who don't know, yes, there is a differance) but just ignore those types.

A question I was always asked when I used to be the moderator of an art message board is "Why don't people give me any advise?". For those of you not used to or are frusterated using art boards (as they are definatly a different beast than Aeclectic), on any art board there are a few things to keep in mind when posting if you want to get some good responses:

1. Always put that you want a good and honest C&C (critique) in your subject line. You are more likely to get people to critique that way.
2. If you can, always post your work directly to the post. There are many people who will not bother with links unless you are well known. Unless, of course, you are asking for a critique on your website. Also, check and make sure you didn't accidently put up a bad link.
3. Generously accept all constructive critisism, even if you don't think what they are saying is right. However, if someone critisicises your work, defend yourself politely while stating why you didn't think it was appropriate. This keeps away unwanted jerks... usually.
Critisism: "Your art sucks! And you suck too!"
Constructive Critisism: "Your anatomy is a little off. Try fixing the shoulder area."
And never say "I did that because it's my style" as an excuse to not take someone's advise. Nothing will get you less respect than this sentance. In fact, many of the better artists with good advice will ignore your posts from then on.
4. Explain your peice! Tell people what it is (a tarot card) why it is (explain the meaning of the card itself and whatever symbolism you have used) how it is (what art programs you used and, if it isn't a "professional" software like photoshop, explain why you do not use it) and when it is (tell when you made the card or what influence you had when making it). If you clearly answer these questions, you can avoid comments such as "go buy photoshop" (by the way, it isn't the software that makes an art peice, but some people think it is). You can also avoid confusion and "uneducated" responses.
Well, I've rambled enough. I hope this information helps someone out there.

Note to save myself for any impending flames: Posting to advertise your site, unless posted in a section which says it's ok, is spamming unless you actually participate in the other discussions. To get something you must always give something in return.

Allibee - Did you, by any chance go to an art collage? If so, maybe we did go to the same collage :).

On the topic of "ready made" web templates, I personally, have mixed feelings on them. There are many good and bad points to them.
Good points:
Someone else does the technical stuff for you so you can spend more time on what you want to do. Your target audience is people who are interested in Tarot, not web design. Save time and money while giving your audience what they came to see :).

Bad Points:
It's been done before. Maybe the average person doesn't see it, but a regular web junkie will notice instantly. This is not a bad thing, unless you take it from an artistic point of view of web design. A highly professional site would get caught dead doing this, but, then again, you should always do what YOU want to do. If your target audience isn't in the typical "web junkie" zone, then make it easier on yourself and get a template. However, if you want a bigger hand to reach with, make a site with an original design. If it's good, you will probably get people visiting your site just by rumours that it looks good. Such a technique could introduce tarot into the lives of people who would have normally brushed it off as some silly cards. As I stated before though, It is always entirely up to you.

Of course, these are only my opinions. Personally, I don't really mind seeing templates too much, as loong as they are the simple ones. It does get old after a while though...