[WEBSITE | UPDATES] Commissions Website Progress

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 4.15.47About a week ago, or perhaps a little over a week ago, I began to work on my Commissions Website. I decided a while back that I would put that up first, particularly because the slight bit of extra money would be a good thing for me. I also have had people wait over a year for me to reopen commissions and I am/will be thankful if they still want to purchase from me.

I had started the Commissions Website prior to completing all the artwork. My mind though, the way it is, thought it looked TERRIBLE, so I stopped working on it. I think that way my brain’s way of telling me not to work on the website until all the artwork was done.

Once all the artwork was completed, I was able to actually work on the website.

Progress

I:
– created individual graphics for all the style offerings and commissions options that show them all grouped together, with the intention of making it easier to compare;
– scrapped the idea for a slideshow on the home page (made no sense to me when I actually thought about it);
– revamped the home banner;
– revamped the individual page banners;
– copy and pasted all the text from my word document and reformatted them to look better visually on the webpage;
– learned how to batch resize images in Photoshop to create thumbnails quicker – trust me, it was A LOT easier; if you don’t know how to batch resize images in Photoshop, you should learn it;
– did theoretically pricing on ALL example gallery image titles;
– messaged previous clients to ask their permission to place selected orders into my “Previous Commission” gallery; created said gallery; said gallery does NOT have theoretical pricing, but does contain the year it was created in, colouring style, and option (as well as style/option availability);- created a divider bar that I did numerous versions of; Hurricane360 was the one who made the ultimate decision, since I couldn’t decide;
– added “back to top” buttons to long pages;
– started condensing the FAQ page by requiring people to click the question to view or hide the answer

Yesterday/Today continued on with the website progress. I FINALLY completed the condensing of FAQ. While it’s rather easy to put in the show/hide thing, it’s also quite time consuming. Sometimes I attempted to make it easier on myself and just copied and pasted the “<a href=”javascript:unhide(‘divid’)”>” where I needed it, but most of the time, I just typed out everything. I didn’t bother to check each link, but I got Hurricane360 to do so before he went to bed (I think 5 out of the 41 questions didn’t work correctly, which isn’t too bad – I was able to fix them easily). I like the condensed FAQ, as I call them. They look a lot nicer to me. I just hope people are smart enough to know to click it (I put a message at the top of the content box that says to click to show/hide, but who knows how many people are actually smart enough to do that or will actually read it).

Today’s Progress

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 20.47.04The biggest focus for today had to be the order form.

I knew when I was simply in the planning stages of my commission website that I wanted an order form. I had wanted one on the previous commission website as well, but I found it far too hard to get the form actually sent to me, so I gave up. I wasn’t going to give up this time, no siree!

The first thing I tried to do for the order form was to find this old site I used to go on that would generate an order form for me. Alas, I could not find it (instead, I found about a billion sites with super fancy order forms and I’m just like “I JUST WANT A SIMPLE, PLAIN ONE”). So, instead, I decided to just code my own, which is probably for the better.

Of course, I knew from the previous times I tried to make a form, I had issues getting the actual data to send to me. Since this was a problem for me, I decided that since I’m going to go and code my own form, I’m going to hunt down tutorials!

Apparently nobody wants to write a super straight forward tutorial on how to have form data sent to you. At first I came across this tutorial, but I didn’t care for the writing style, which I found to be a bit too bloated for my taste. I continued searching until I found this tutorial, which worked BEAUTIFULLY…until it was all like “okay, no more lessons for you until you join and pay”.

Luckily for me, the free parts of the tutorial sent me into the right direction – I needed to check my web host’s support to see what they said about setting up a CGI Form Email. Once I located that on my host’s website, I loosely followed other tutorials to create the actual form.

Creating the actual form was rather straightforward. It took very little time to do. Adding in the text fields was super easy, as well as all the other options. I initially had the commission styles & option selections as radio buttons (those little round buttons you see in surveys and whatnot), but I changed them to a drop down menu because I thought it looked nicer.

I had to search up some tutorials on how to make text not only light in colour, but disappear when the text field was clicked. I noticed that sometimes I get some not-so-bright people sending commission order forms to me and they keep in my explanation text, when it’s suppose to be deleted. The “disappearing text” is suppose to prevent that, and from the looks of it, that’s definitely what it does. Unfortunately when you press “Reset”, it does make the text black temporarily until you click it (then it just disappears).

…then we get to actually submitting the form and getting it sent to my e-mail.

I was SUPER excited.

I was all like “YEAH, THIS IS GONNA WORK” and HAHAHAHAHAHA…

…no.

No, it didn’t. While the form worked itself (including the awesome redirect page I made that tells you THANK YOU), the actual sending of data did not. I was wondering if it didn’t work because I coded something wrong or missed something…but I couldn’t figure it out. I checked my host’s support, I checked around the Internet for the answer…and turned up with nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It appeared I had done everything correctly, so why didn’t it work?

Note all this hunting around for how to make the form and make it actual send data probably took a good 6 to 8 hours, if not more to figure out. I had to hold myself back from trying every little thing I saw because it was either 1.) too complicated or 2.) just didn’t seem to be the right thing (usually both).

Eventually I found this YouTube tutorial, which was the key!

THE SUBMISSION FORM ACTUALLY WORKED.

Somehow my “Thank You” page became broken, but the submission actually worked. I fixed the “Thank You” page and tried the submission again…AND STILL WORKED.

I had Hurricane360 also try the submission page. I quickly became scared when the e-mail didn’t come through right away, but I thought about it – my host’s support DID say it would take about 15 minutes for form mail to come through. Sure enough, it did! (Along with my next form attempt.)

Since I had success with finishing the order form (for right now – I have some minor adjustments I want to make), I also made my inquiry form, which was a lot easier (less fields and I knew how to make it work).

Other additions to the site were some minor adjustment in the spacing between the dividers and the text, as well as making certain form fields required.

What’s Next?

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 20.47.06I would argue that the hardest part – the dang order form I almost thought I would have to give up on – is now over. Everything else left is rather minor and I won’t be surprised if I have everything done by the end of this week or by the end of next week…which is probably a good thing, since I plan on launching it next week!

So, what am I doing next? Hopefully:
– Adding “Private Commission? Yes/No” to order form (totally forgot about that);
– Write up the “About” page;
– fix spacing between dividers and content;
– format hentai page better (primarily font styling-wise);
– make the order page’s style/commission options required (couldn’t validate it via the Dreamweaver options, so I need to hunt down some tutorials for those);
– create a “Thank You” image (or two) for the Thank You pages;
– link all banners back to their main pages (like the “Information” banner to “info.html”);
– Fix everything written as “cell” to “cel” (except for in divIDs) since I realized I was spelling it incorrectly after “misspelling” it and realizing, oh wait, that’s the right spelling;
– add page descriptions for pages that currently lack it;
– add titles to all images;
– make sure everything works;
– check for mistakes (spelling, coding, etc.);
– minor adjustments, if applicable;
– add a site update

I’m debating if I should also update the templates that have “rest of site links here” for now with something else (copyright, maybe?), then change them to what they’re suppose to be (linking to the rest of TrainerKelly’s Network). What do you think?

I know that seems like a lot of stuff, but honestly, most of that will probably take me a few hours at the most to get it all done.

I’m so excited! I’m looking forward to the next update!