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studiowhiz.com behind the scenes

Tweet I’ve now owned the www.studiowhiz.com domain since 16 Jan 2001, that’s coming up almost 8 years already and the site has been through a number of ups & downs since then.  I actually started the site as go.to/studioworks.com before I could afford the real domain. Of course you’ll have noticed I couldn’t get StudioWorks, [...]

I’ve now owned the www.studiowhiz.com domain since 16 Jan 2001, that’s coming up almost 8 years already and the site has been through a number of ups & downs since then.  I actually started the site as go.to/studioworks.com before I could afford the real domain. Of course you’ll have noticed I couldn’t get StudioWorks, and so studiowhiz it became. (funny story, go.to/studioworks.com still sends about 3 people a day to the site – not sure where from).

Originally slated as my place to share my knowledge, studiowhiz.com eventually grew into a fully fledged web & multimedia community, it even became my part-time job for 3 years while I ran Kiwi Interactive alongside. The internet archive (wayback machine) gives some snapshots at times throughout the life of this site, take a look at 2001, 2002, 2003 (complete with 3D animated character) and 2005 for some of the design over the years. (full history here).

I’ll admit once I wrapped up Kiwi Interactive, I no longer had the time to continue daily hands on involvement with Studiowhiz that the community needed. A series of hacks on the forums gave me headaches I didn’t want. I struggled to monetize the site (too wide spread focus), and it burnt a hole in my pocket (was costing over US$600 a month in bandwidth and brining in US$120 in advertising – ouch). So … I shot it in the head – much to the disapointment of many of my dear studiowhiz friends.

In the past few years the site has wandered around, and as some of you will be aware I recently toyed with brining back other authors and trying to rebuild a community here – but again, I don’t and the authors I talked too, don’t have the time and effort to dedicate to it that it needs.

So what about now?

If you hadn’t guessed I’ve done a full reskin (and yes there is still some work needing done – like searcch), and created a site I’d be happy to visit & read. I’ll post on here things from life, web, marketing, business, life, technology, life and well…. life.  Things I’m interested in – that you maybe as well.

So what have I done & why?

When I set about to create this skin I wanted to make the site funky. I wanted to try some new things and I wanted to bring into the site some of the social media stuff I tinker with (hence Twitter & Flickr on the home page). I no longer do html, css and design as part of my job, however I work along some some people that I can safely say are at the top of their game in NZ (Darren131 -  design, html & css guru, WebHelp – leading SEO and User Experience fella, and others). I guess I kinda wanted to see if I could still play at that level.

Fonts:
You might know I’m doing some Presentation Design at the moment where I’m learning to play more with typography. I wanted to trial some of this in the site header and so I went looking for fonts.

I decided to explore using the Vista Fonts and get away with using typography to add visual elements to the site header.

Example of Vista Fonts in header

Example of Vista Fonts in header

For those of you who don’t have the Vista Fonts – this is what the header SHOULD look like – and NO I’m not (yet) allowing for other fonts in the CSS. This currently has a reflection in the header too, if I change the fonts this gets harder to do.

For body font I explored bigger than normal letters with decent whitespace around to make the site easier on my aging eyes – someone said “Your site is BIG” – my response is my eyes hurt, I wanted it to be easier for me!

Colours:
I have always loved colours, but struggled when it comes to picking ones to work together. I loved the freshness of this blue and so ran with it right through the site. Darren131 suggested I look at additional colours and so with his help introduced the Orange – I’ll continue to explore opportunities to have colour highlights throughout the site. (Thanks man! I value the input!)

Platform:
In a word – wordpress. It has it’s negatives, but after playing with it for a while you can pretty much bend it to your will easily and if you can’t no doubt there is a plugin to do it. The other reason I picked it, there is a GREAT tool for the iPhone to allow me to write and publish from the phone. The current version is SO much stronger than previous – and the admin is hugely improved (IF you can find everything!)

Integration:
Expect soon to see an iPhone optimized version – just because I can (or will be able too soon), and expect to see more rich content here as I’ve now got better flickr, YouTube and various other platforms integrated.

Marketing, Sharing & RSS:
In a nutshell – no. I know it wasn’t a question but I’ll answer it if it was. I’m not going to do any marketing or pushing of this site. If you want to Stumble something or Digg it, or whatever – go for it. It’s on a cloud based server so it’ll handle without a hitch – but I’m not going to encourage you to do it – that’s cheating. Sharing, RSS – meh, I’ve played with most RSS readers and personally I still love to visit the website. I’ll read Autoblog everyday – ON their site, I just find it a better user experience!  The RSS is still here if you really want it, and sure I will look at adding the link in the footer – but meh!

Future?

Who knows, in the past 12 months (almost to the day) I became a Dad and that changes lifes priorities. I also want to try new things (cake decorating probably be a full time option though). I’m working on my first novel (I’ve published technical books before), I’m starting to speak again (on christian subjects rather than technical) and I’m exploring life for what it can offer – rather than chasing the dollars for the sake of dollars.

I’ll write here what interests me. I have some future ideas for blogs such as reviewing Alpha & Beta apps, comments on tech gadgets, Mac’s & their software, web trends, blogging tips, web tips, business tips, marketing etc – things that interest me. If you want to come along for the journey, you are more than welcome.

Studiowhiz.com - a blog by Mr K, where you are welcome to read, comment and .. well what ever else you do with a weblog.

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