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How Can a Website Help Me?


Web Applications:
Archiving
Audio
Video
E-Commerce
Password-Protected Areas
Electronic Mailing Lists and Newsletters
Blogs
Teaching Applications

LUNA Website Gallery
Web Hosting and Domain Registration
Costs

How Can A Website Help Me?

There are myriad good arguments for everyone to establish a web presence. The web is at the nexus of technology. It is the hybrid medium that defines the way we do business these days.

A website can provide a permanent and comprehensive archive, but all changes result in a first generation document. It provides huge of amounts of stored information, yet can be browsed for pleasure.

In addition to being a static medium, like a library, it is a real-time medium like radio and television. Audio and video are integral parts of the internet.

It is a world-wide distribution system, yet is is virtually free.

Costs involved in creating and maintaining a website are remarkably modest.

The question, then, is not "Why build a website?", but rather, Why not?"

These issues and many more are addressed in greater detail below.

Specific Website Benefits

Archiving

A web site has the capacity to store a huge amount of print documents, pictures, audio, video, etc.

For example this site: www.chrisrutkowski.com, has about 34 mp3 audio samples (all of them full length), 3 Quick Time videos, several pdf files and 15 HTML pages-some very long. It would be considered a reasonably large site, especially in light of amount of memory-intensive media. It takes up 706 megabytes on the server. The entry-level (and very reasonably priced) hosting package that it uses allows for the use of 50 gigabytes. That is not even 2% of the capacity!

A dynamic archive.

A web site can serve as the repository of all of the documentation of a career. But there is another major advantage. Because a visitor to the site is free to browse in privacy at her/his own pace, the owner of the site is much less constrained by a concern for the visitors time and attention span. The visitor is free to end a session at any time, and can return at will. The advantage is put into stark relief when compared with a hard copy mailing to a potential client. Here one has to edit drastically, with potentially severe consequences if one misjudges the client's taste, interests, time constaints or any number of outside factors that may be in play.

Updating is very easy.

The ease of updating a web site provides another powerful advantage. Because the archive is built through a cumulative process, only the small amount that has to be changed needs to be entered. However, every update results in document that shows no sign of correction-it is always a first-generation document.

Audio

MP3 audio samples.

MP3 is the standard audio format used on the web, as well as in the iPod and other mp3 players. Mp3 files are much smaller than CD formats, such as AIFF or WAV, thus are much quicker to download. As anyone who uses an iPod can attest, the sound quality is still remarkable. LUNA Media accesses mp3 files in websites with Quick Time, playable on Windows or Mac OS. In addition to freestanding pages featuring a particular piece (e. g.: click here), an mp3 file can make a welcome page special. For example, click here. Note the quick time player in the body of the page, allowing the visitor to turn the music off at will.

Video

Quick Time Video Files.

While video files are very large, there are formats that can be successfully incorporated into websites. LUNA Media currently uses Quick Time for video as well as audio. Click here and here for two examples. A video featured on the welcome page can be especially effective in drawing in the visitor. Here is an example using a video from a PBS affiliate: Click here to see how the video is prominently featured on the home page, then click on "WATCH" there, or click here to see the video.

Custom-Made Videos for the Web.

Check back soon for references to videos created specifically for website applications. This will include videos for teachers demonstating particular techniques, linked to relevant documentation, such as a musical score of the excerpt.

 

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E-Commerce

The Virtual Store for Anyone-At Almost No Cost

It is now easily within reach of an individual to create an on-line store offering the full range of commercial instruments. Remarkably, this is possible at almost no cost, other that the set-up and maintance of a website. No bricks-and-mortar expenses: no building, heating, maintainance, display, etc. Even advertising is optional. For the creative professional, an added bonus is the ability to refer clients to the impersonal and neutral space of the website, rather than relying solely one's personal sales skills (or lack of same). Of course, this means that all profits remain with the website owner-e. g. a self-publisher keeps all profit from a sale, not just the standard 10% offered by legacy publishers.

Secure Credit Card Purchasing.

E-commerce is now available for individual websites, at no cost until a customer makes a purchase-and then a small fee is charged when the credit card is used. The following two elements are involved, both with the highest level of internet security:

Shopping Cart.

When the customer clicks on a "Purchase" link, s/he is led to a shopping cart provided by an independent website, Mal's E-commerce, which calculates cost, tax, shipping and handling, etc., and then sends the customer on to another site for credit card payment. You are automatically notified by email of the order by email, along will all relevant information. Mal's is certifed as secure, and you or your customers can conduct business in confidence. Here's an example of the "Purchase" link embedded in a website, and s a screen shot of the shopping cart that it accesses. (You can try out the system by entering test information in the first example.) Here is some info concerning Mal's security.

Pay Pal.

After the customer fills in purchase information, s/he is transfered to another independent website, Pay Pal. 's a screen shot of the Pay Pal page that the customer would see for the example above. This company is well-established throughout the world as a leading processor of electronic payment. It is very secure and costs nothing until it's used, and then a fee is deducted from the credit card payment. Thus, one doesn't have to do any accounting whatsoever. When a payment is made, an email notification is immediately sent. You can transfer your cash to your personal bank account by electronic transfer with a few clicks.

Pay Pal provides many other free services, including the ability to send invoices by email, which can be paid electronically.

Protected Password Area

Certain areas can be placed in a folder that requires a user name and password. This site reserves a great deal of information for active private students, including the teachers current schedule, syllabi, targeted repertoire lists, video demonstrations, etc. is a screen shot of the options behind the password.

Emailing Lists and Electronic Newsletters

Free Automated E-Mail Lists.

Visitors to our websites can opt to join an email list. When they click on "Mailing List" they are linked to a free-standing program which collects their information, stores it, sends an email to notify you of a new addition, sends an email to the visitor asking them to confirm, and allows those on the mailing list to unsubscribe anonymously. The owner of the site can then send mass emailings to all those on the list. Here is a sample "Contact" page which allows the visitor to opt-in to the mailing list. is a screen shot of what the subscribe page looks like.

PHP List, the e-mail-list program that we use, is free with the web host we recommend, Have-Host.

HTML Newsletters.

We are exploring the possiblity of doing HTML newsletters with the email-list program. These newletters are easily recognized by the extensive use of website-like graphics withing the body of an e-mail. is an example.

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Blogs

A Conversation with the Blogosphere.

Blogs are of course ubiquitous these days, but one may not be aware of how inexpensive and easy they are to use. Some people use blogs as their websites (e. g. this site). Blogs allow for an extraordinary dialog with visitors to your site, and is a medium unique to the web. Blog scripts are very powerful and include notification when comments are posted and a sophisticated moderation panel.

Free Blog Scripts.

The webhosting service we recommend includes several blog scripts at no cost. Word Press is used in the above example and at this site.

Specialized Blog Applications.

Blogs can be used for any purpose, but one application we are developing is as a tool for educators. For example, a teacher may assign his/her students to research a particular piece of music and post a number of comments on the blog. Here is an example of a musician and college teacher who uses a blog in many ways.

Teaching Applications

Here is an example of a musician and college teacher who uses a blog in many ways. There are dedicated categories of posts, which feature imbeded video, links to useful sites, and archived instructions for student projects. Guest bloggers can be authorized, creating an ongoing forum that be accessed anywhere, anytime. Permanent archiving can create research leading to academic papers.

Gallery of LUNA Media Websites

mikecunningham.us
Jazz Pianist, Composer, Recording Artist

markrutkowski.com
Painter, contains extensive e-commerce

karlhartman.com
Saxophonist, contains large area for students

davisbrooksviolin.com
Violinist, Professor

chrisrutkowski.com
Composer, Jazz Pianist, contains video, audio, e-commerce on this (LUNA Media) site

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Web Hosting and Domain Registation

In order to build a website, two preliminary steps to be taken:

Domain Name Registration.

Every website needs a standardized identity to distinguish it from everything else in cyberspace. This is called a domain name. There are many domains on the web-these include: .com, .gov. .edu, .us, and many more. Within each domain you must have a unique name. Domain name registration is done by companies such as GoDaddy.com, and is not very expensive. A .com address costs about $13/year, while a .us address costs about $8/year.

Web Hosting.

A website must be located on a server with a permanent connection to the internet. LUNA Media suggests Have Host. We have found them to be completely reliable, using the best equipment, and with superlative customer service. In addition, they are extremely well-priced. At $66/year, they offer 50 Gigabytes of storage, and a very generous range of free add-ons, including 4 blogscripts and a mailing list. As noted above, even a very large site, with lots of multi-media files, is unlikely to use more than 1 GB of memory.

Costs

Many Ways to Keep Costs Low.

Expenses in creating and maintaining a website are really quite modest. This can be viewed in several ways. First, the ratio of expense to results is very good. One need only consider all the benefits detailed above-permanent archive available to employers/clients, virtually free e-commerce with a worldwide reach, use of the web as an educational tool, etc. Second, that actual cost of building a site can be very reasonable. Third, see the next point

An Incremental Process Makes Expenses Even Lower.

As was pointed out in the Archiving section, a web site is easily updated with no seams showing. This has important consequences for those with limited budgets. One can start with a basic 4 or 5 page website, and gradually expand it over time. Thus, one can also spread out construction expenses.

Pre-Construction Costs.

See the above entry. Domain Name Registration and a Web Hosting Package are required before a site can be built. These are yearly costs:

Domain Name Registration: Between $8 and $14

Web Hosting Package: Many to choose from, but we recommend Have Host at $66/year

Website Construction Costs

This a big variable, and is depedent on the size of the site and the amount of bells and whistles involved (e. g., e-commerce, audio/visual files and whatever processing is necessary, whether graphics need to be created, etc. Market rates for a site like this one is about $1200, but LUNA Media is likely to be able offer many ways to reduce or mitigate the cost. We recommend first of all to contact us to talk through the wide range of options, and secondly to consider the incremental approach mentioned above-starting with a basic site that can be expanded.

Entry-level Website: $300

About 4 or 5 pages. This will include a page design that can be applied to pages added later, a plan for content, and a navigation bar that can be used for subsequent pages.

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