Amy is an amazing fine artist. Her digital skills aren’t too shabby either, she regularly produces audio-visual installation pieces. She’s a firm member of the Adobe club with techniques I can’t understand in photoshop, premier pro and after effects. I’m a digital marketer. Editing, tweaking and overlaying stock images for responsive websites is no problem. I regularly create sales videos and interview case studies. So, we should be in for an easy ride setting up a website together, right?
We thought so. But it turns out that our skill sets are pretty far apart. Whilst we both spend a large portion of our week embedded in the Adobe creative suite, we are doing very different things. And now we’re having a laugh trying to bring our skill sets together. Following our big decision, we’ve realised that we need to find a way to earn money whilst we travel if it is going to last any longer than six months.
To earn money, we are in the early stages of setting up an online presence. It’s a lot more than that too, but that is the driving reason for needing to make it work. This online presence obviously needs to start with a website. This one! We sat down on Saturday morning and bought a domain, hosted it and turned on wordpress. I’ll do a whole new blog on exactly how I did that, and how I’ve prepped it to be SEO ready.
But this blog is all about working together as a couple, for the first time. I have no problem writing blogs, doing the backend meta tags and social bits. Amy has no problem producing stunning imagery. So, it is a simple solution. Amy creates the beautiful images, I write the content, and voila. We’ll obviously have a professional site that showcases our abilities. Or so we thought.
We sat down earlier this evening, our website only four days old, to beautify it. Amy spent the day editing some of her photography from our holidays over the last few years. She also created an awesome logo. As we are anonymous on this blog until the day we quit our jobs (Chloe and Amy are pseudonyms) she turned our silhouettes into a logo. It looked AWESOME in photoshop.
First task, get the logo up. I asked Amy to send me a vector file containing the logo. I’d need to scale it down and save it as a PNG (portable network graphic). Amy looked at me as if I’d asked her to repeat Pi to the 14th decimal. Enter a long discussion about raster and vector images.
So, the logo is a bit blurry. And for the life of us neither of us can work out how to get our PSD file into illustrator without losing clarity. If anyone can help here, please post in the comments. We’d really appreciate it.
Next up, loading the header image. “Set the home header to 1500 x 640 pixels” I asked Chloe whilst our overly affectionate cat demanded my attention. I continued chatting away happily until I turned and saw Amy giving me the Pi to the 14th decimal face again. Enter a lengthy discussion on pixels and web terminology. Once we’d got images looking good at the right size, I watched Amy’s face drop as she tackled responsive design for the first time. I went through exactly the same thing when I first got going in digital marketing.
Responsive design is awesome in many ways. A website can work well and look good on tonnes of different sized devices. But it sucks for image design. Take a stunning photograph, for example Amy’s photo of a certain landscape featured heavily in Game of Thrones, to use as the main header image on our site. Crop and edit to hide the landmarks that could reveal it as one of our holiday photos (we need to keep our anonymity until we’re ready to quit our jobs). Then upload it as an image that’s three times as wide as it is deep. Suddenly you lose the top and the bottom of the image. You can expand your image until you are happy with the selection it is showing. Then open your website up on your mobile. Your image is now a small section from the centre, much deeper than it is wide. Totally different. Add in a hovering logo, title and introduction, and you have one complicated formula. For tonight, we’ve got a stunning image on desktop, and a nice sky blue background for mobile. It will do.
What a week, and it is only Tuesday. The website is online and we’ve gathered 40 lovely followers on Twitter in our first two days of being live. I’ve enjoyed my first travel themed twitter chat #ttom (Tuesdays, 9:30 GMT). And we’ve booked a viewing to see our potential wedding venue for just over a week away. Not bad going, even if we are a little sleep deprived.