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Interest in web hosting and support service?


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#1 William Demeritt

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

As one of many resident nerds (I bow to Afton), I had a thought that possibly might benefit others.

I know lots of operators previously used MobileMe as their webhost, and used iWeb for their web designers. Since MobileMe shut down and now iCloud (which is free) doesn't offer webhosting services anymore, I'm curious to know what the operators here have done for their website needs?

I'm thinking of starting a simple service for operators here to get a webhost set up, plus I can hook you up with some options for WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) webdesign software, how-to guides, and everything you need to take over where some of you left off with MobileMe. Demo reel hosting, list of credits, even somewhere to upload those set photos.

Likewise, if you have issues or have questions that need answered, you'd be able to contact me directly for help.

I'm not much of a web designer, but I do have referrals to people who can build you a custom site if you like. Also, the web design software out there is pretty nice (I personally use RapidWeaver)

A coworker years ago once said, "A website is like personal business card that's accessible 24/7. Everyone needs one."

Feel free to PM me to discuss further, or just say you're interested without posting in this thread. Discussion is welcome!
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#2 Afton Grant

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:30 PM

Hey Will,

It's a good thought. Certainly would fill a need for a lot of people. Before I ever picked up a rig, I was a full time web developer. Although I don't manage nearly the number of sites I used to, there are still a handful under my control - my site, Steadishots, and a few for friends and family. At times, it can be terribly time consuming. Time, however, is all relative I suppose. I used to have it for all that stuff, but now I have a family, house, career (hopefully) on the rise, etc. While I couldn't be happier with all that, I'm disappointed in myself the attention to my other projects, like Steadishots, has to be diluted. That's life, I suppose.

Aaaannnnyway... rolling off of the therapist's couch....

Perhaps to simplify things for yourself now and in the long run, you make an abbreviated version of what you proposed above. Arguably, the two most important things we need to have easily accessible by anyone, anytime, are our demo reels and contact information. ...followed closely by list of credits. If I were to take your thoughts and do something with them, I would make a service that offers nothing more than a single page containing those important things. Name at the top, demo reel below, downloadable resume below that, and then contact info. I would even offer custom domain names, but that would be about it. All the important information available. A very turn key, simple process for both myself and the customer.

I guess ultimately what I'm trying to advise is to not make too much work for yourself. Websites have an uncanny ability to balloon into projects far larger than the original vision - we used to call this "scope creep" but who knows what the kids are calling it these days. So, take from this what you will. Let me know if I can offer any further advice. Best of luck!
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#3 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:46 AM

I agree with the statement that websites tend to balloon quickly. And that's why I just updated my website and shrunk it to this: www.victorlazaro.com
I'm not sure of what you are trying to say. Are you proposing to create a single website to gather every operator's name, reel and resume (a bit like SOA)? If so, that would be great! Just ad a location based search and send it to every single production company.
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#4 Afton Grant

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:58 AM

Actually, come to think of it, very much like the SOA, though each page would be independent. As brotherly as we all are, I don't want a link on my page to another operator. That's bad marketing.
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#5 William Demeritt

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:48 AM

Afton, thanks as always for your thoughts. I'm just seeing an opportunity to fill a void created by the disappearance of MobileMe (good riddance). Lots of operators seemed to use iWeb for design and MobileMe for hosting. I have a webhosting account with a ridiculous amount of space, bandwidth and my own know-how.

I was thinking of creating something turnkey, like you said. Recommend the WYSIWYG apps that I like, provide how-to information on how to set it up, log in, and then create whatever you want. Likewise, some handholding with the usual hosting needs (help with creating domains and pointing the nameservers to my host, etc), and a open resource to answer questions or help find solutions. Need a demo reel online? Here's how I recommend you set up a Vimeo account, or I'll host the video and help you set up the coding. Want a "contact me" that uses PHP to submit an email? Here's a PDF walking you through, or other ideas online on how to accomplish it.

I'm trying to keep the scope creep to a minimum, as with anything computers, it's easy to step into quicksand. Some people want a website designed by "their guy", but they can't afford the upkeep after the initial design. Some people know how to use design programs, or just want to get something up themselves and don't know how. I figure there's a limited scope to those questions, all with the understanding that I can help get you close to answers, and offer future support with other questions you may have. I figure lots of guys 1) don't want to spend several g's paying for their website PLUS the cost of updates, and 2) much like Steadicam, would rather handle it themselves. I'm always happy to help provide those skills.
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#6 Alan Rencher

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

I like Afton's idea. If you could design a simple "upload these things" style of site, that would be helpful to a lot of people who hate dealing with it. Have something that is blog styled; has options to upload a reel, resume, gear list; allows you to choose a theme or site colors; etc.
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#7 David M. Aronson

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:57 PM

Something Wordpress based would be good. It's easy to use, very customizable, and you don't have to know how to code to make pages on it. Plus, if you want to host another site, just add another database. (I'm not a hosting expert btw, so feel free to tell me I'm wrong)
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#8 William Demeritt

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

David, Wordpress is a decent place to start, but they're also the victims of some pretty nasty hacking incidents (the SOC is currently dealing with something along those lines). I also don't know if Wordpress can do email accounts with a domain, etc. Probably worth investigating and helping people if they want. I'm mostly interested in helping operators get a website back online (or get one online to begin with) and bringing them up to speed to be fairly self-sustaining.
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#9 Jameson Johnson

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:16 PM

I have a pretty basic web hosting package with GoDaddy, and I have wordpress installed on my server. The rate is reasonable, and it allows email if I like - for a small fee.

But for email, I've utilized GoogleApps for email. It's free, and Google has easy to follow steps for linking the domain to Googles servers for email.

Wordpress does all the content on my site, very easy to modify and keep current, even has a mobile app for remote management. Since it's not linked to the full Wordpress website, I don't feel that there are the security concerns of a large website.

For larger files, videos, etc I host elsewhere to keep hosting cost down. I use Vimeo for clips and reels, and a public folder on dropbox for downloadable files. I use the public link provided by dropbox to link on my website itself.
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#10 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

I'm on the hunt to completely overhaul my website, but in the meantime I was able to port my iWeb site over to Godaddy (where I already owned several domains). They walked me through publishing directly to the domain, it wasn't too terrible. While I am very itchy to update the functionality and look of my site, it was helpful to keep things status quo after MobileMe went down.
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#11 David M. Aronson

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:20 PM

David, Wordpress is a decent place to start, but they're also the victims of some pretty nasty hacking incidents (the SOC is currently dealing with something along those lines). I also don't know if Wordpress can do email accounts with a domain, etc. Probably worth investigating and helping people if they want. I'm mostly interested in helping operators get a website back online (or get one online to begin with) and bringing them up to speed to be fairly self-sustaining.

Will, you make a good point with the hacking. Spam is also an issue... I wasn't thinking about email either. That can't be done within wordpress.
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#12 Jameson Johnson

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:49 PM

Wordpress has an Akismet plugin to help with spam. So far it's been a good filter for blog posts. GoogleApps email seems to be working well. I get email at my web domain, but it's free.
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