The Swains Website

Having completed the Swains website earlier this week, bar the DNS propagation, I had some downtime so decided to write a post about the site and the software used.

Hopefully the site should soon be available at www.theswains.net. There's a temporary link over in the portfolio section of IWG.net. The whole purposes of this site is to promote gigs and prevent local agents taking bookings on behalf of the band... and then charging 20% of the fee: kind of like a band pimp.

The gig calender

Using things like the event calendar and ticker, I wanted to let people know about gigs as soon as they arrive at the site. They don't have to navigate anywhere, the information is just there. It's is also deliverable straight to them through the email newsletter.

Hopefully users will explore the site and as a consequence they'll find more information about gigs, the band, original compositions and hopefully a regularly updated blog. I didn't see the point in including a gallery, Facebook will cover that.

As per everything web based I do... it's a Joomla! site. I wanted the band to be able to administer the site on their own, although I will still be supporting things like upgrades and more advanced operations.

Other components and plugins

Acy Mailing (Non-commercial)

An email subscription componant that allows people to register through a Moo Tools popup box. It also supports mass emailing, HTML and plain text compositions as well as a lot of other features.

Random images

The standard plug-in that ships with J!1.5 drives the images in the header.

Akeebah backup (previously Joomla pack) (Non-commercial)

Backup software I use on all my Joomla! sites; it's used for taking snap shots of the database. I've never had to re-instate (touch wood) but I'm told it's really easy.

Eventlist (Non-commercial)

A brilliant events management component and the core of the site, loads of features that I highly recommend. I've also installed the plugins event ticker and Quiva eventlist calender for the header banner

1pixeloutplayer (Non-commercial)

A plugin used across a variety of platforms and very useful. I haven't figured out the MP3 meta tags though, sometimes things like the band name and song title aren't shown.

Title manager plugin (Non-commercial)

A brilliant little plugin that I first heard about on Twitter. Very simple, shows the article title and category header in the title bar of the browser window. Just makes things look nicer, improves SEO and most importantly it's easier for the user.

Facebook module

Custom code from the bands page, you need to be an admin to get at it but it's a lot better than a standard Facebook button.

JComments (Non-commercial)

A free commenting component that I also use on this blog.

sh404SEF (Commercial)

A very useful component, cleans up the Joomla! URLs and improves your SEO. Loads of additional features over the standard Joomla! SEF URLs, I'm ashamed to say I haven't scratched the surface here.

Xmap (Non-commercial)

Again, to help with SEO I installed Xmap to cover the sitemap. Very simple to activate and dynamic so doesn't need anything else once it's set up.

Summary

With the regular updates to the blog and posts from Facebook the traffic should increase, hopefully increasing the search rankings.

And that's about it. I still want to set up Webmaster tools and Analytics. The site has the potential to attract a lot of visitors and I'm confident it'll be a success.