Advise on my Website

December 8, 2012 at 04:02 PM · I recently created a website for my private students, information on gigs, and free downloadable music/handouts. If you have any advise, or adjustments to the site I would love to hear it.

Thank you

www.ShawnBoucke.com

Replies (23)

December 8, 2012 at 04:29 PM · Shawn,

It's a great site. I do have a suggestion for an addition to your downloads, since you have scales already: a list of practice patterns. When I teach scales, I have a list of slur and rhythmic patterns that I require my students do, starting with slurring two notes and ending up playing an entire scale in one bow (many people call these acceleration exercises because as you add notes to each slur the scale gets faster). Students can also use these patterns for any kind of passagework. The great thing about the site is that you won't have to keep writing them into scale books as I do.

Scott

December 9, 2012 at 01:38 AM · Thank you. I do the slur patters with three octave scales.

I like the idea of adding practice patterns. I'll update the scale book soon, and add those in.

December 9, 2012 at 02:13 AM · Nice web site.

The picture on the front is something that I have noticed quite a bit with players (including some rather famous pros) who use Guarneri type chin rests... the player's jaw does not really rest in the cup of the chinrest but rather on the small hump of wood that goes over the tailpiece. Seems like it would be uncomfortable but so many players do this that it's either not that bad or you just get used to it. I can understand the rationale, to move the violin back on your shoulder. Just wondering why have that chinrest cup over there if none of your flesh ever comes near it. Why not fashion basically a very small center chin rest instead, like a Flesch rest that is substantially cut down and carved out.

December 9, 2012 at 02:24 AM · I just got used to the feeling of the chin rest there. It's not uncomfortable at all. Maybe I just have a deformed chin :)

I think the main reason is that I got the violin about a year ago, and have not experimented with a lot of different chin rests yet.

December 9, 2012 at 12:43 PM · I noticed that you have links of other websites appearing on your webpages. Some of these links open up new window, while others launch these other websites on your webpage.

Have some consistency. (Sorry, I used to do web application for living...) That is either launch them on your page or launch them in another window. I would prefer opening them up in another window so that visitors will stay on your website.

Just glanced a couple of pages... I'll let you know if I find anything else...

And nice site!

December 9, 2012 at 01:39 PM · Awesome. Thank you. I'll check that now. I've had difficulty with my PDF downloads. some would open in another page, and some not, but it's not as easy to change as links.

December 9, 2012 at 01:56 PM · It is a well designed informative website which could even be a good reference site. However there are a few things you could to to help your SEO (search engine optimization).

Instead of calling your image "2577578_orig.png?0", call it something like 'shawn_boucké.png' and in the alt section put something like "Shawn Boucké playing violin at such and such a recital".

You have put "About" in h2 tags which is a waste, you should also put your name within these tags, e.g. "About Shawn Boucké" or just "Shawn Boucké" or "Shawn Boucké - violinist and teacher"

Try to make the link text more specific. For instance on your blog section you have the link text "all" which does not tell visitors, or the search engines, anything specific.

Finally though the best SEO technique is good informative information which you already have. If you update it regularly all the better.

December 9, 2012 at 02:08 PM · Ah. I have tried doing a lot for search engines, but I didn't even think about that.

I do have a question. I changed a lot of things from "Shawn Boucké" to "Shawn Boucke" because the "é" has not been read accurately. Sometimes it comes up blank, while other times it is replaced by "A©" Is it wise to just put a regular e, or does it not matter that much?

December 9, 2012 at 02:27 PM · It's probably best to keep it simple and avoid accented letters, particularly on a website that is going to be viewed on a wide range of browsers and setups, some of which wouldn't be able to cope with characters outside the basic ASCII set.

December 9, 2012 at 02:45 PM · "Is it wise to just put a regular e, or does it not matter that much?"

I don't think it matters as search engines seem to read either, and the é has been coded correctly on the page I looked at. Regarding Trevor's point, é is part of the ASCII character set so it should not be a problem on portable devices.

Sometimes I have to search on the Catalan Google site and they don't distinguish between "a" and "à". Certainly whether or not the acute is used your website comes up first on Google U.K.

December 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM · "Instead of calling your image "2577578_orig.png?0", call it something like 'shawn_boucké.png' and in the alt section put something like "Shawn Boucké playing violin at such and such a recital"."

I tried to change the image name, and re-uploaded it, but after I do, it seems to change it to random numbers.

Oh well, I think it may be something with the site I am going through (Weebly).

I'm planning on continually updating it with more download-ables for students and teachers. I already have fingering charts, instrument parts, and circle of 5ths. Do you have any other suggestions?

I'm planning on finishing my adv. scale book which will be 2 octave 3rds, 6ths, octaves, and harmonics. I am also working on a valentines day music book of public domain romantic songs to be out by mid-late January.

December 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM · Here is another question as far as updating the site goes. Is it better to wait, and update every couple weeks, or load up the site now. For example, lets say I finish the advanced scale book, Valentine Music book, St. Patricks Music book, Classical music book, and a couple more tutorials by the end of December. Should I put them all up at once?

December 11, 2012 at 07:07 PM · I do Web programming and SEO as a trade. A few things:

In RE to "Shawn Boucké" vs "Shawn Boucke" -

Use the non-accented version in all text.

Use the accented version in images, but use the non-accented version in the ALT for the image.

Include the accented AND unaccented version in your keywords section. (Which you did, bravo!)

If this were not an English-language site the advice might be different, but a Web site must target to its *audience* not its *creator*.

Your drop-down menus do not preload their background. Thus, the first time a visitor visits your site and then tries to use your drop down, they get a FOUC.

You should not use bold text (or "black" or "heavy") in content areas. It's great for headings, but the general text that your users would read should be a lightly decorated or a sans-serif font that is not heavy in appearance. This will help avoid fatigue and even a small amount of fatigue will decrease readership.

You should also not use gray-on-gray for your text. Also OK for headings (but not ideal) but text needs more contrast. On screens in bright environments (outdoors or with reflective lighting) it will be very close to unreadable.

Some areas load especially slowly. (Like under the Lessons submenu). I don't know why.

It appears you may be using a theme. If so, you might want to forward these comments to the author.

Now, all that said, let me say that your site is also quite well done. These aren't glaring problems and you have succeeded well beyond the level of site I usually see when someone says "hey! I put together a site come see!" It's very professional in appearance and the copy on it is very good. Well done.

As for the last part, you should stagger your content for SEO reasons. However, readership is important too and if your readership is waiting on a series of articles that are related, you might put them out at the same time.

December 11, 2012 at 07:49 PM · THANK YOU. That was great. I am using a theme.

I will look around to see what I can adjust. I know I am able to change specific things about it. Hopefully text is one of them.

What is FOUC?

December 12, 2012 at 01:02 AM · Flash Of Unstyled Content.

It's when something looks wrong for the split moment in time between it being on the screen and when the browser finishes loading whatever it needs to look "right".

December 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM · My one particular observation is that your default landing page, the 'home' one, doesn't tell the visitor anything at all.

I'd much prefer this page to incorporate some of the 'about' information, and this is surely more likely to engage visitors and get them to click through further than a quote from Plato...

Some of the downloads do look very useful. It would do no harm to clarify 'free to download and use' by using a Creative Commons licence.

December 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM · Shawn, I like your website, and it seems like it would be very useful for students. I also like your page on care and maintenance - it is very important to let younger students know about proper care early on so that they are aware of dangers that might not otherwise be obvious.

One thing that might be helpful would be to add some Flash or other types of animation to various spots on your website, like on the Circle of Fifths explanation page. There is a lot of text on that page, as well as information that younger or beginner students might find complicated. It might help them to engage more if they can see some animated visuals, or other interactive elements. I have found these types of interactive and animated elements to be very useful. (Feel free to take a look at our website for ideas - click on my name to see the Tempo website address. All-Flash websites are certainly not the easiest to maintain, but even specific Flash or other animated elements that don't require a lot of maintenance can add to a static site.)

On the Circle of Fifths page in particular, I saw that you have a few bullet points. You might want to consider breaking down some of the other concepts that you explain in longer paragraph form into bullet points, or into shorter, simpler fragments that might make them easier to follow and digest. You could also highlight important terms or phrases more to make them pop out. You might also want to consider making the text font darker - it appears as a light grey, and making the text darker and/or bolder could make it easier to read on pages like that one that have lots of text. Also make sure that your line spacing is consistent on pages like that with lots of text so that they are easy to follow. I hope that helps!

December 13, 2012 at 03:30 AM · Thank you. I have made the font a bit darker, but not completely black. I went back and forth on the home page having more information, but figured the "About" gave more direction, and assumed people would only be at the page if they had some idea what they were looking for. How do you think I can add some information without making it look too short, but still including all that is n the site?

I have yet to add a footer. I see one at every site, but never like the way it looks when I try to make one.

I just added a Creative Common License. I'm surprised how simple that is. I just put a general one at the bottom instead of posting separate logos for each download. I feel like putting it at the top made it a bit obtrusive.

December 13, 2012 at 04:15 AM · The text doesn't need to be black - what you changed it to is awesome.

You don't need a footer, IMO. It's better to reduce the visual noise if it adds no value.

December 14, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Be careful with Flash. Firstly it cannot be seen on iPhones or iPads; and secondly there are many people - like me - who absolutely hate it. As soon as I have to wait several seconds for some graphic to dance across the page I leave the website and go to one more user friendly.

Website usability advice is don't use Flash!

March 2, 2013 at 01:57 AM · Thank you to everyone who helped me set my site up last year. within one month I was hired for enough gigs to pay for my domain name until 2022, and my private studio jumped from 30 students in november to 50!

Thank you again, and if you have any comments, or suggestions you can always send me a private message through the site!

-Shawn

March 3, 2013 at 05:59 PM · Wow, 50 students. I hope you can remember their names, let alone what pieces they're working on. :)

March 4, 2013 at 01:20 AM · great looking site

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