February 2017: Another Website Upgrade( 'Takes about 7 minutes to read. )


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It’s late February, nearly March, 2017. I’m doing another website upgrade: This time I’m adding an animated avatar to almost every page, and to a certain extent, to every post too.

Due to the way my website’s theme is set up, I have to write this article as a page rather than a post, in order to be able to add a unique avatar sequence to it. – That’s purely due to the way my WordPress theme works.

While I could add the avatar sequence as an additional overlay on a post, and redirect the URL via my site’s domain to make it appear “easy”; such an approach adds complications in this case; and so a page it is.

I’m using VideoPal for the website upgrade.

VideoPal_LogoWith VideoPal I can generate a character and use text-to-speech, before saving that individual project and generating a script to place in the HTML page code for the relevant article.

I can also use VideoPal to universally place an exit-pop on posts; in this case I accomplished that by dropping a script into the posts’ footer file in the theme. I could have done the same kind of thing with pages; but I already had a couple of unique exit pops relating to a couple of pages.

Another great thing about using VideoPal in a website upgrade, or not – as the case may be, is that you can place an animated avatar in front of another active web-page and keep that page fully active at the same time – rather than just a picture of the page. This can be particularly handy with regard to some affiliate offers for instance; although it doesn’t always work with every affiliate offer as it depends upon the way the server is set up as to whether not the avatar actually manages to make it through a number of redirections.

Anyway, I still haven’t finished the upgrade; but having broken its back I though it a good idea to write an article about it.

I started off this website with a fully customised theme: I’d hacked up the Twenty Fifteen theme by the WordPress team, and I’d added extra functionality to it; by means of theme additions and plugins, sometimes both in tandem with one another. I added full https-compliance site-wide, with the help of a plugin and an SSL-certificate.

For instance

I’d assigned a static Home Page, and assigned my posts listing to the Blog Page. The posts’ listing, however, continued to adhere to the WordPress default of a scrolling chronological listing. I’d solved this issue on my previous site by using a PHP routine to highlight the latest posts only, adding excerpts to their listings, while relegating previous posts. That method still wasn’t an indexed or ordered listing though. It was simply making the best of a bad job. I used a rather complex PHP routine, written by a greater geek, that was above my PHP writing capabilities, to index the posts and place them neatly in order as 5 posts to a sub-page. See my Blog page to see what I mean.

Without making too much of a dog’s dinner of all this, I managed to make it look like a professional site should after an initial website upgrade, and I added extras such as an HTML sitemap, page guides, push notifications, an non-spammable guestbook, also Terms of service, Privacy Policy, Testimonials, and Contact Form pages… All those little things that get you a tiny drip extra Google juice.

But still it wasn’t a unique site.

I was a unique artist with my own individual USP; but my website was… well a website. If you went to another website then you’d been to another website’, and when you returned to my website you were on ‘another website’. OK it is one of the better-looking websites possibly, and it has some fairly awesome content on it in places. – But it is, at the end of the day, just ‘another website’. A visitor could leave it and forget it existed as easily as they could any other website. They may have felt happy and entertained on site; but afterwards they had nothing really special to remember it by.

I’d decided that I needed an animated avatar to use in another website upgrade back in 2016, and there were a few around. It was just a case of which one to use: Some of them cost a small fortune, others would be a challenge to even the combined mighty technical intellects of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs combined. Some were both.

There was one I came across though:

It was technically easy to use. I didn’t need a degree in advanced computer science to implement it by any means. It was also cleverly programmed and extremely versatile. It also didn’t cost a fortune. – In fact the price is very reasonable. This was one to jump on.

avatarAnd so I started using VideoPal. – But my problems were definitely not all over: As you see above, there are a number of ways that I could have implemented the new avatars: I could have had a default avatar for posts, a default for pages, and a default exit-pop, and that would have done the trick to a certain extent… But I don’t want this website to be ‘acceptable’. I already have an acceptable site. Adding acceptability makes it acceptable and fat. I want it to be memorable as well as a great site. I want visitors to know that they’ve visited Sharron-Idol’s website, and I want them to remember it: –

“Yes I’ve visited Sharron-Idol’s website.
It’s like – WOW!”

I’ve put loads of work into this site. I’ve no VA helping out. I’ve no design-team to brain-dump ideas. ‘No dedicated mastermind group working for me. – ‘Just me; a slow-typist with a fast and agile mind. As with everything else I do I’m giving it 101% effort for the amount of time that I spend on it. I’m doing my best to employ the 80/20 rule to my advantage. I’m burning midnight oil because it can be purer than midday oil. I’m employing ART in upper case, lower case, and in any case.

Yes it’s time consuming when I individually create every single avatar sequence individually as a unique entity. It becomes frustrating, boring even; but look at the results so far and imagine what the site will be like when it’s complete!

After this website upgrade, every page will have an avatar narrating a unique introductory passage as soon as it has formed on the user’s device. All users will be left without a doubt as to what the purpose of the article is and what the subject matter is about. All pages and posts will have an exit-pop, which will increase the site’s subscription rate.

Creating a unique avatar sequence for each page is a long task.

– Each separate project is going to have to have an avatar chosen (I mainly use only one avatar.), have the spoken text written and then tested in a simulated environment, then adjusted accordingly to get the optimum accentuations, tenses, and pronunciations available. The avatar and the speech are then combined and synchronised to some extent, settings are applied, and then the project is processed and finalised.

The processed avatar sequence is stored on a cloud server, and called to the article when a visitor loads the page, via a script which gets appended to the end of the page’s HTML code manually in each case.

I’m really excited about this update

– with the help of VideoPal. – It’s happening already, and it’s ongoing until it is complete.  –  That should be in or around April 2017.

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