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Publishing Principles & Site Design Philosphy

This website started as a small 10 page site that only people in San Francisco searching for guitar lessons would ever see. It now has over 200 pages and gets 40,000 unique visitors on a slow month. I have spent considerable time, money, and effort to adhere to the following principles:

Top 10 Goals in Designing this Website

  1. Always Tell the Truth, Even the Unpopular Ones

    Most people find the world of music intimidating. To sign up people up for guitar lessons the easiest thing to do is to affirm what they believe to be true and make them feel comfortable. The last thing you want to do is to add a sense of greater confusion by shattering any preconceived notions they might have. But so many of these ideas are negative, counterproductive or even outright prejudice. If everyone in the music community did the right thing we could eliminate blatantly false prejudices like "girls can't play guitar" or "you have to start as a child" from popular consciousness within a decade.  But I guess this would take away a convenient excuse from teachers who can't adapt to a students learning style. 

  2. Education before Search Engine Optimization 

    One of the biggest factors in how high Google and other search engine rank your pages is whether or  not material on one page is duplicated on another. Now this site has been plaigerized in at least 9 different languages (according to Copyscape.com), which hurts my rankings, but another issue is how much material is duplicated inside the site itself. I cannot assume the level of musical knowledge of any visitor to the sight, therefore I must repeat explanations of core theory and notation concepts. Plus it is standard educational practice to begin guitar lessons (or any kind of lesson) with a review. I can't vary the text up too much because music theory has a specific specialized vocabulary that must be used consistently.  This is why so many times the image on a page is often the #1 search result, but the page itself  is on page 2 or 3. You can help combat this by linking to the site using the sharing buttons, or by using the HTML or BBCode on the bottom of each page.

  3. Speed is of the Essence

    Pages load in under 1 second as measured by Pingdom or Webpage test when benchmarked from a Northern California server using Google Chrome.

  4. Two Clicks to Any Page

    No one likes to dig. Regardless of what page you are on, you can reach any other page on the website with no more than two mouse clicks or taps.

  5. No Cookies required

    To eliminate privacy concerns, this site is completely functional with cookies blocked in your web browser. This took a surprising amount of work to implement, but the work is done.

  6. No Registration Required

  7. All Sharing Links Implemented in HTML Only

    Any time you see a counter (likes, tweets, +1s, etc)  from any social networking site, it means that the website is loading Javascript from that network. Depending on number of counters and the social network(s) of origin, this usually increases the page load time 2-10 times from the page load time without them. Plus you are automatically tracked by every website that has their button displayed. By using  HTML only sharing links, I eliminate all tracking and Javascript from social networks. This is why the counters are not displayed and why there are custom buttons.

  8. Everything on the Site is Free to View on the Site

  9. No Third Party Ads

  10. Maintain Human Friendly URLs

    In your browser address bar this site will display www.jayskyler-guitarlessons-sanfrancisco.com plus a long filename that is usually the title of the page. This is because search engines and computers are very literal and have no clue what you are talking about unless you spell it out for them. Every page on the site can be reached at the sites original (and actual) name www.Jayskyler.com, and important pages have a shortened filename featured in the picture on the top of the page, so instead of www.jayskyler-guitarlessons-sanfrancisco.com/guitar-fretboard-diagrams/index.html you can simply type www.jayskyler.com/charts to link to the page. You can even leave off the www if you are typing into your browser address bar.

All Articles and Artwork ©2005-2015 Jay Skyler

Guitar Lessons San Francisco, CA