Transition from MobileMe/iWeb to a new website -- on the move!

1106230232 - Version 2

I really like doing pictures that are different than the typical picture.  This is a family portrait and I like the sense of motion and energy in the picture.  In my opinion, it feels more dynamic.  But this post is not about family portraits but my experience in moving my website off of MobileMe.  As some of you may know, the MobileMe service will no longer be hosting websites as of June 2012 and the future of Apple's iWeb software is very much up in the air.  When these changes were announced last summer, I started looking around for options.  

The simpliest option was to obtain another hosting site and point iWeb to that new site.  While simple, all of my blogs would disappear and there was no easy mechanism to generate a blog as part of the new site.  I think that this issue combined with the uncertainty of the future of iWeb forced me to the conclusion that I needed another website building software.  So the problem was two-fold: a new web hosting site and new software to do web design.  

Web design software:  I spent a fair amount of time on Freeway Pro and while I could get a site sort of put together, any addition or change seemed to be complex and it was tedious to use.  I then tried Rapidweaver and rather quickly abandoned it as too complex.  While I enjoy learning new software, my real goal was to allow people to understand my photography services and not learn new software.  I then downloaded Sandvox and read their support pages.  It seemed simpler to use, but I could not find a design that I liked.   Eventually I found Grafite from Behind the Rabbit as a plug-in which is the design you are currently looking at.  In my humble opinion, the dark background is more conducive to viewing pictures and video.  But Sandvox offers many different designs and while it is difficult to modify these designs (if your skill level is similar to mine), there are some many different designs you should be able to find one that suits your needs.

There are several capabilities that make Sandvox relative easy to use.  There are multiple objects available from a Contact Form to Facebook buttons to more powerful tools such as the RAW HTML editor and inserter.  It integrates well with Aperture so all I need to do is drag a picture in Aperture over the page in Sandvox.  On the Sandvox site they walk you through the insertion of Google Analytics and StatCounter. There is also excellent support for slideshows , videos and blog structures.  

For slideshows, I use JAlbum.  As a photographer, this is one of the best pieces of software to display your pictures.  It comes with many different skins, online help is excellent and email support is pretty quick as well.  I use the Turtle Skin and it is possible to insert analytics code.  It take a little bit of time to figure out how to get the best displays.  Under settings, in Pages I use 'Link to originals via scaled images; in Images I use 'Smooth, 25 Sharpening, and 100 JPEG quality, thumbnails at 140x100 and images at 2048x2048 pixels.  I also select the option 'Attempt to use hardware accelerated scaling'.  Under the turtle choice General, I select 'Fit images to browser'  There are many other very nice features such as just dragging an mp3 music file to the album and adjust the setting in the turtle:Audio and video.  Once done, make the album and you can test it  before uploading it.  When you are satisfied, select the upload button.  You will need to webhosting information, but it is pretty straightforward.

To add new pictures to my individual albums, I export a 2048x2048 image from Aperture to the Jalbum folder, remake the album and upload.  Very simple and easy.

For webhosting, I eventually decided to go with a2hosting.  They offer great support and made the transition away from MobileMe to be quite easy. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I will try to help.  But all of things I mentioned above have great online support and responses to email where both informative and relatively quick. 

A© 2011-2018 by Steven Seelig, Chicago Photographer                          630-561-6581