Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Top Ten List Of Extremely Annoying Web Page Design Elements!

Easy navigation and usability are one of the most important aspects of creating a "user friendly" website. However, there are still a "plethora" of web-sites out there that are, to be politically correct, “functionally challenged.”

Does your website keep people captivated, or does it send them fleeing as soon as they get to the first page? Do you offend your visitors by employing these ten web design faux pau’s?

1) Music, or any voice recording that automatically plays when you enter a site, without the option of turning it off. Yes, there are still website owners who think that putting their Midi version of "Play That Funky Music Whiteboy" will some how impress their visitors.

Always give people the option of listening to any recorded information you have on your website. Don't automatically assume that your visitors will be captivated by your voice, or your music.

2) Spinning or animated GIF's of any type. Floating cursors that follow me around while I am visiting your site. If you want to distract me from viewing your information, then incorporate this “flotation device” into your design repertoire! It is like having a security camera follow my every move!

Obnoxiously large font that takes up the whole landing page, and web pages that do not fit in my viewing screen. If you are not sure how your website looks on other browsers, then use this free tool called Browsersizer: http://www.applythis.com/browsersizer/

Browsersizer helps web developers see how their web pages look on different screen resolutions. Slow loading web pages. Compress, or eliminate large lumbering graphics. Your landing page should load in 10 seconds or less. Here is a website that will analyze you load times: http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/

Web-sites that are “Under Construction.” Don’t promote what you don’t have. It is almost guaranteed that once I see that logo on your site, I will not visit again to see if your construction is finished. Web-sites that don’t not allow me to use the “back button.”

Eliminating my ability to move out of, or through your website, has me looking for the X button. If you want people to visit much, and often, then make your site with the dynamic content that will persuade people to add your site to their favorites file.

3) Any website that looks like it resembles Times Square in New York City. Multitudes of “flashing” or “blinking” banner ads shoved in my face as soon as I reach your landing page will send me running.

Flashing banner ads are the equivalent of a carnival barker trying to lure people into his sideshow! You don’t need to shout to people to get you message heard on the Internet. Keep you banner ad’s limited, and your content abundant!

4) Website owners that make it too hard to navigate their site. If I have to jump through "link hoops" to get to your information I am outta there. Make your product, price, or service, clear, precise, and easy to find.

The "about us,”or "frequently asked questions" section of some web-sites, leaves me with more questions than answers. Design your content so that even elementary school children can understand the purpose of your website.

5) Pop-Ups..Pop-Ups...Pop-Ups..I don't mind one, or even a few. But, if I have to close multiple pop-ups to get to your website, I will flee the scene. I have encountered some sites that had so many pop-ups they froze my computer screen even with blocking software.

The same applies for those "fly-in" or "hover ads" that bounce across my computer screen. If you must incorporate a Pop-Up in your website, then use a service such as Instant Attention: http://www.instantattention.com/

6) A page full of dead links and "Page Not Found" error messages. Keep your links up to date and take down the links that are no longer active.

7) Cursing or using worn out phrases like "Kick Butt," or "Kick Ass." (Example: “Kick Ass Copy-Writing Service,” “Kick Butt Web Marketing”). I can't exit fast enough when I see anyone using that phrase in website advertising copy.

It maybe an excellent marketing headline, but for me, it is a total turn-off. Impress your visitors with intelligent, informative, advertising copy and content.

8) AND SOMEONE-ANYONE-PLEASE! Stop the "ultra" dark background accented with an equally dark font! I have discovered many a website in which the background, and the text fonts are indistinguishable from each other! It looks like your are staring into a black hole!

Lighten things up a bit, and don’t make me turn the brightness controls on my monitor to full! And no, I don’t want to highlight the text so I can read the information on your website!

9) While I love Marcomedia's Flash, I think it should be used sparingly. Unless you have a film site, or a product that requires a detailed visual description, just forget about using flash for e-commerce. There are still a majority of people out there who still use those pokey dial-up modems (me being one of them) and I "hate the wait!"

Even when I use the skip feature it still takes to long for the page to load. While doing research for The Ultimate Guide To Products For Resale: http://www.productsforresale.com I noticed that some designer clothing wholesalers where using flash to sell their product. The same applied to retail sellers of designer shoes, designer handbags, and designer clothing.

My question is why? If you are using your site to sell a product, just stick with high quality, fast loading photos, followed up with good creative descriptions of each item.

If you make your site and your shopping cart system easy to use, you will earn more sales. If you absolutely, positively, must use Flash, then make your files as fast loading as possible, especially if you are selling a product.

10) Solid blocks of text with no breaks between paragraphs. The only industry that gets away with that format is newspaper, book, and magazine publishers. The Internet is a different world altogether. People not only want their information quick, but they also want to read it in smaller, "bit size" portions of content.

I like to skim over articles for the main points. If I have to "slog" through content that looks like a rambling diatribe with no paragraph breaks, I’m gone! Make your content clear and concise. Break up your paragraphs, and use plenty of "white space" when possible.

So there they are. My “Top Ten” pet peeves of dysfunctional design! Do any of them apply to you? Remember, you only get one chance to make a good impression. There literally billions of web sites out there, and you need to capture your visitors attention within seconds.

Make your site neat and ready to greet! For more information about how to make your site user friendly, go to Jakob Nielsen's Usability Site: http://www.useit.com/ site for tips on better website design.

Robert C. Potter is a wholesale and retail surplus products specialist. He is the author of “The Ultimate Guide To Products For Resale!” Over 300 Wholesale & Surplus Supply Sources For Ebay Auction Sellers, E-Commerce Websites, Flea Market Vendors, and Retail Store Owners! You can find his 160 page ebook at: http://www.productsforresale.com


Maximising Web Site Viewability Browsers

With so many different configurations internet users have their computers set up with, it can be difficult to decide how web sites should be configured so that it is viewable in as many configurations as possible.

So in the last 6 months i have been logging the statistics from my web design site to achieve as accurate a result as possible to answer this question.

The results are interesting reading and in my next few articles i will be analysing this data. First is browsers, and here are the

general statistics :

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and above - 49%
Firefox 1.0 and above - 34%
Apple Safari - 15%
Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 - 1%
Macintosh Camino - 1%

One of the things this shows is that Internet users do in the whole upgrade their internet browsers to the newest version. Only a low percent are infact below the newest version.

It also shows that the foothold Microsoft gained in the browser wars is failing. No doubt they will once again gain ground next year with the eagerly awaited new operating system codename longhorn.

The open source mozilla firefox is gaining ground, but i have noticed that this is mainly because of users who are big gamers on the internet have switched to firefox. This is taken from statistics i did on one of my gaming sites which showed firefox on 65% and Internet explorer on 35%. It appears business users stay with Microsoft.

The message here to web designers is that web sites should be configured viewable in the 3 major browsers which are Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. This can be achieved by running the pages through a validator which can be found at http://www.w3schools.com

http://www.onestop-webdesign.com One Stop Web Site Design specialises in creating the complete web site without the buyer having to understand all the jargon. Simply sign up to our low cost monthly plan, and give us an outline of what your website should be about and what products to sell. You can then sit back as we organise everything from hosting, web site development to setting up your shop and web site ready for going live.


Maximising Web Site Viewability Resolution

This is my second article on maximising web site viewability. Analysing screen resolution data.

With so many different configurations internet users have their computers set up with, it can be difficult to decide how web sites

should be configured so that it is viewable in as many configurations as possible.

So in the last 6 months i have been logging the statistics from my web design site to achieve as accurate a result as possible to answer this question.

The results are interesting reading and in my next few articles i will be analysing this data.

resolution statistics :

1024 x 768 Screen Resolution - 52%
1280 x 1024 Screen Resolution - 24%
1600 x 1200 Screen Resolution - 11%
800 x 600 Screen Resolution - 12%
1152x 864 Screen Resolution - 7%

These statistics basically show that internet users are moving towards their highest resoultion, with the largest resoultion of 800 by 600 going by the wayside. But there is still 12% using this resolution.

I see many web designers who seem to think nobody is using 800 by 600. Ive done several polls and gathered statistics on resolution and it has hovered around 10% for quite some time. I suspect this is people who have old computers, as the most popular operating system is XP and its resolution default is near 1024 by 768. All they accomplish is lost visitors and possible sales. For a visitor there is nothing worse than viewing a website that looks awful in their particular resolution.

You can check your website in the different resolutions by right clicking your desktop and selecting Properties, then go into the settings tab to change your resolution.

I would suggest making sure your website is viewable equally in 800 by 600 and 1024 by 768. This basically covers all screen resoultions.

http://www.onestop-webdesign.com One Stop Web Site Design specialises in creating the complete web site without the buyer having to understand all the jargon. Simply sign up to our low cost monthly plan, and give us an outline of what your website should be about and what products to sell. You can then sit back as we organise everything from hosting, web site development to setting up your shop and web site ready for going live.


Web Site Templates and Their Benefits

Unarguably, the most important part of your website is content. To draw in clients or customers, you need captivating content and search engines are blind to web design. They only see content. The images, structure and colors of your website go out the window when it comes to search engine placement, which we all know is the single best traffic generator. Your web design is really only a shell that makes your content look pretty. Don’t get me wrong, your site’s design can be very important. People are influenced by colors they see, and the quality of your design lends credibility to your brand-image.

So why are so many people spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for someone to build them a custom shell for their content? The answer is simple: because they don’t know about web site templates. Or maybe more accurately: they know about templates, but don't know how to utilize them. Did you know that many web designers actually buy web site templates that they then customize to meet their clients needs?

A website template is the fastest, easiest, and most cost effective path to building your website. Where custom design can take weeks or months to finish, and can run you in the thousands of dollars, web templates are relatively inexpensive, and can be ready to publish in a matter of days. Many high-quality templates are available for under $100.

There are a few different options for finding web templates. There are membership based dealers that offer a öne-time or monthly subscription fee which buys you the right to download their entire collection. Then there are companies that deal on a one-by-one basis, selling a single template for use with one website. Personally, I find the one-by-one type companies offer much higher quality designs. Not to mention the aspect of exclusivity. If ten thousand people subscribe to a membership based template company, and one thousand of them like the XYZ template, how many websites are going to look exactly the same? You do the math.

Many of the single-sale companies offer two separate ways to buy. The first and most common is the general purchase. This gives you the right to use the design to build one website, whether you’re building a website for yourself or for someone else. Then there is the unique price. This not only gives you the right to use the template, it also means the company will stop selling the template to other customers. You will be the only one out there with that design.

I know what you’re thinking, “Even if I did get a template, I wouldn’t know how to edit it.” The great thing is it’s not hard to find a company that will sell you the template, and then help you edit the template for a nominal fee. Basically, you’re getting professional web design at a fraction of the cost. There is really no reason not to buy a web site template.

Visit your local template shop and have a look around. You may be pleasantly surprised to find exactly what you’re looking for!

Jon Hancock is the president and founder of HighTide Web Services. We are proud to be a fast growing, California based web services firm, offering high quality web site templates from some of the best designers out there, as well as excellent and affordable web hösting.


Choose & Use the Best Colors

The Psychology of Color

Are you using the best colors for your web site? Many web designers often overlook the issues of color in web design. When choosing colors for your web site there are three main areas that should be addressed.

1) The psychological effect of colors,

2) The effect on the readability of your site, and

3) The complementary choice of colors for your background, graphics, links, and text

These are all areas that must be well satisfied to create an effective and professional web site.

Listed below are a few characteristics of color that should always be considered when designing your graphics.

* Colors have an effect on our emotions within 90 seconds of viewing.

* Color choices can motivate, impress, and persuade your prospect to buy from you.

* Colors not only intensify the item, they greatly influence our behavior.

* The effects of color differ among different cultures.

* Color choices alone are sending a specific message to your viewers.

Given the fact that people respond more to non-verbal cues than verbal cues, it’s all-important that you choose the corresponding colors for the emotional trigger you want to trip. The following colors are associated with certain emotions or qualities in North American culture.

White - Suggests truthfulness, purity, clean, devotion, mild, and contemporary. White is the best color for a background color on the web. For business it can be refreshing and sterile.

Black – Suggests elegance, boldness, power, authority, seductive, evil, sophistication and classic. Black is the ideal choice for text on a light background. It is hard on the eyes when used as a background on web sites.

Red – Suggests strength, sex, excitement, passion, speed, danger, aggressiveness, and demands attention. In business it is associated with debt. Red is the most emotionally intense color. It stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing.

Blue – Suggests security, trust, reliability, coolness, faithfulness, belonging, and dignity. Blue is the most popular color. It is the second most popular color. In business it suggests fiscal responsibility and sanctuary.

Green - Suggests abundance, health, fertility, freedom, healing, nature, growth, jealously, and cool. In business it suggests status and wealth. It is the easiest color on the eye.

Brown – Suggests effectiveness, politeness, richness, and helpfulness. Brown is the color of earth, and is abundant in nature.

Gray – Suggests earnestness, authority, and practicality. In business it suggests traditional and conservative.

Pink – Suggests softness, sweet, femininity, well-being, innocence, and nurture.

Purple – Suggests dignity, spirituality, royal, luxury, wealth, authority, mournfulness, and sophistication. In business it is upscale. Purple is favored by the artistic.

Orange – Suggests playfulness, pleasure, cool, warmth, cheer, vibrant, strength, endurance, and ambition.

Yellow – Suggests sunshine, warmth, cheer, happiness, cowardice, and jealousy. In business it is appealing to intellectual types and is good for accents. Yellow enhances concentration, increases metabolism, and is the most difficult color for the eye to take in.

Gold – Suggests expensive, and prestige.

Silver – Suggests cold, scientific, and prestige.

Whenever you begin to choose your colors, think about your target market. What emotions do you want to evoke? Give some thought to the current emotion of your prospect and to the message you want to send. Then choose your colors.

Copyright 2005 Andrew Eaton

Andy Eaton is one of the most sought after graphic designers on the web, not only does he create quality graphics, but he also teaches you how to create them step by stem in his video membership site, Right now you can get access to some FREE quality videos by signing up to his action packed ezine Visit http://www.graphicsecretsexposed.com/ezine


What Content to Publish on Your Website

Many businesses want a simple website where they tell people what their business is about, some information on the products they offer and a means of contacting them.

However, content is vital in the growth of your Internet presence. Information is your asset and all you need to produce it is the knowledge you attain over time.

For some, they simply don’t know where to start. Here are some things to consider that could lead you to providing great content and a value-adding website.

1. Write what you know
Knowledge is power. Post articles to your website that show that you are well informed in your industry. If you can position yourself as an expert in your industry you can boost perceived credibility of your business on the whole.

2. Entertain
Everyone likes to be entertained. For example, if you are marketing African tours, you might publish photo galleries or post stories on the African people, travel tips, the climate, etc.

3. About Your Business
Are people interested in the current happenings in your business? Post news items on your website. Eg. “New branches Country Wide”

4. About Your Product
What do your customers often ask you about? What are their uncertainties? If you offer a “complex” product, which requires much learning on the part of the consumer, a website is a great place to teach them! This in mind, you might not want to be too technical in your copy – tell them about the benefits, not the features.
A great way to clarify uncertainties is to publish a “Frequently Asked Questions” or a “Q&A” section.

5. Back to the Plan
Take a look at your marketing and / or business plan – what goals are you trying to achieve and how are you trying to position yourself in the market place?

6. Watch your competition

6.1. What are competitors offering through their website that you are not?
6.1.1. Determine why they publish this content, then think of ways that you can improve it and use it on your website. Don’t copy – enhance.

6.2. What are you offering on your website that competitors are not This raises two questions:
6.2.1. Is the information you offer really satisfying? Does it need to be there?
6.2.2. And, if the information does give you a kind of competitive advantage, how can you capitalize on that?

7. User Behaviour
Consider your Internet market – what do they do on the Internet.

7.1. Do they like to communicate with other Internet users about your industry? Consider having a forum on your website where you can allow website visitors to do this
7.2. What websites do they visit and what kind of information might they be looking for on those websites? If this kind of information is consistent with your industry and the product / service you are marketing, try to offer this kind of information on your website

John Simms is an Internet Marketer for Eiledon Solutions, a South African company based in Cape Town offering website development and related Internet Marketing services.


Browser Compatibility

Internet Explorer, created by microsoft has been the most popular web browser for many years. But the gap is shrinking with the release of Mozilla Firefox, by an open source community.

At the last count it is said that there are 64 million firefox users on the internet. Growing in massive numbers by the day.

So, the issue with browser compatibility is at its highest importance. The way browsers are constructed, they can show a webpage slightly differently.

For instance, the IFRAME tag shows perfectly in Internet Explorer but does not show in Firefox. This is only one of many instances of none browser compatibility.

Therefore, webmasters should be making sure their web page is viewable in both internet explorer and firefox equally. If it doesnt, then they risk loosing a large percentage of web users. There is nothing worse than surfing a web site and not being able to see it properly in a particular browser.

The solution for webmasters is to make all their pages XHTML transitional. Web sites that validate to this, have a higher chance of being viewed correctly in all major browsers.

XHTML is the next generation web language, and is said to replace HTML eventually. XHTML was released in January 2000.

XHTML is not a difficult language to learn, it is basically identical to HTML but the main difference is that tags in XHTML always have an end tag.

For example, a IMG SRC tag in HTML has no end tag. In XHTML the IMG SRC tag has the end tag of />

More information on learning XHTML can be found at http://www.w3schools.com/xhtml/xhtml_intro.asp

Once you have constructed your XHTML web page then you can validate it at http://www.w3schools.com/xhtml/xhtml_validate.asp

Further, to ensure near complete browser compatibility you can validate any stylesheet here : http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

http://www.onestop-webdesign.com - One Stop Web Site Design specialises in creating the complete web site without the buyer having to understand all the jargon. Simply sign up to our low cost monthly plan, and give us an outline of what your website should be about and what products to sell. You can then sit back as we organise everything from hosting, web site development to setting up your shop ready for going live. One Stop Web Design also create sites that validate to XHTML to ensure browser compatibility.


What Happened to My Website when I Deleted the Home Page by Mistake

There is a widespread confusion among lots of new website designer concerning the home page.

If you get any book, any course, or ask most web page designer how to build a website, they will advise you to build your home page first.

It is a good idea, and most website designers start with creating a home page first. The problem is, some web designer think if they deleted the home page, the whole website is gone.

So, what they do is deleting all directories and sub-directories and the files within, and they start building the website from the ground up.

This is lots of work, and it is not needed. The solution is very simple. You can delete, or edit the home page without affecting the rest of the structure of your website.

As a matter of fact, your website stays intact with one difference only. The only difference is, when you type the URL of the website, you will be presented with a list of links to the files in the home directory, and sub-directories of the website.

The home directory of the website is /www folder where the home page (index.html) resides with other files, that can be accessed when you type the URL with the file name appended to the URL.

For example, suppose you have a website with the following pages: index.html ( home page), contact.html, about.html, and privcy.html. If you delete index.html by mistake or for any other reason, you will be left with the three above files in the home directory (/www).

So, if someone types your URL, instead of the home page, the website will display the list of the three above files. With each file, you will find its size, date created or modified, type , and other properties.

In other cases, where you have more than few pages on your website, the whole structure of your website will be displayed. That is all directories, sub-directories.

Now depending on the permission on each directory, some you can access, others you can not.

In summary, if you are in the process of editing your home page for any reason, and it was inaccessible for a short period of time,it is not a problem. Your website directories and files are still there.

However, as long as your home page is not present, your visitors can see the structure of your website. So, may sure have a directory on your website with permission set so that no one except you have access to it. This where you hide files you don't want others to see.

Article published by George Chamoun. I have been involved with web page design for two years. During that time, I have a acquired an intermediate knowledge. If you are new to this field, and want to learn web page design, join my list for tips and tricks about HTML coding, web page design, and website building. Just visit my subscription page by clicking the link to get your free 7 part tutorial.


How a Custom Designed Website Can Help Your Business

Over the years, the internet has grown into a marvelous avenue to promote your business.

In my last article, "Why Your Business Needs to Have an Internet Presence" (http://www.jvmediadesign.com/info37.html), I discussed 5 valid reasons why your business needs a website. In this article, I discuss some things to avoid and how a custom, professional website can help your business succeed.

Professional is the key. Remember, the internet has a global reach. Some of your new potential clientele may be learning of your business for the first time by visiting your website and the old cliché, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression", still rings true.

When a business makes the decision to gain an internet presence, whether they are the largest corporation or the smallest home business, they may be tempted to take what appears to be the "easy way" to get the company website up and running fast. The three major potential pitfalls here are:

1) Some hosting comes with "do it yourself" capabilities and pre-made templates. Although this is a great way to upload photos of your summer vacation for your family and friends to see, this is not a good way to make that great first impression for your business. In short, these "solutions" really do not present a professional image, and often use very minimal templates and overall poor layout and design.

2) Many companies now sell website "templates" for low cost, making it easy for you to get up and running quickly. While this is true (you can get up and running quickly and many of these companies do sell more professional designs), you run the risk of other businesses using that SAME design. And to buy a "unique" copy of the template the cost is often just as, or more expensive, than if you were to hire a professional company to create a custom design for you.

3) Complete websites for $100! This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I have actually seen advertisements for complete websites for very low prices. You must remember that you are investing in your business when you decide to have a custom website developed, and you really do get what you pay for. A professional design firm creates original designs, from scratch, tailor-made for each individual client - and the prices for that work can vary a lot, but do expect to pay a reasonable amount for the services.

These three potential pitfalls aside, the process of getting your business onto the World Wide Web does not have to be a confusing, time-consuming, and costly affair. Below is a succinct outline of the process.

1) First, you need to design on your domain name for your website. Avoid names with "-" in them and very long names. Try to be as succinct as possible. It is easiest for your visitors to remember a URL that is your company name, or at the very least, keywords that describe your company. For instance, if your business is ABC Accounting, you could consider abcaccounting.com or something such as accountingservice.com. You may find that your first (and second!) choice for a domain name may already be taken, so you may have to get creative. Just remember that a domain name that reflects your business is key.

2) Shop around for the right design firm. There is no shortage of companies who can handle the design and development of your website. Do not be afraid to shop around. Prepare a detailed RFP (Request For Proposal) that outlines things such as the goals of your website, your target market, the information you would like to have on your website, and advanced features such as ecommerce. Review the portfolios of companies and send out your RFP to the ones you feel have the skills to do your job. When you've narrowed down the prospects, do not be afraid to ask for personal or telephone interviews. Find out what their design process and work flow is like. Ask for recommendations about what type of web hosting your site will need. Also, make sure to review the design agreement or contract with the company you choose (a professional company will ALWAYS require a contract before work begins).

3) Have a basic idea of what you would like your finished site to look like. It's a good idea to do some "surfing" of the web to see what your competition and similar companies are doing, but look outside your industry as well for designs that catch your eye. This will give your design team a place to start and an idea of the style of design you expect for your own website.

4) Work on your "content". The content of your site includes all the text you wish to display. This is a very important aspect to your site. Although you do not want to overwhelm your visitors with nothing but pages and pages of text, you do want to offer clear, concise, professionally composed and edited information. Proof read, proof read, proof read! If you are in doubt, it is best to consider hiring a professional copy writer. Remember that grammatical errors shout "unprofessional!" to the viewer.

5) Once your site is up and running, don't be afraid to add or edit your content periodically. This keeps your pages "fresh" and shows repeat visitors that your business is active and "takes an interest" in staying up to date.

Sherry Holub received her degree in design from UCLA in 1995. She is now the Lead Designer and Creative Director at Southern California Studio, JV Media Design.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Don't Overdo it!

Have you ever been to site with so much ad clutter that you wanted to just leave? Odds are you have, and odds are even better that you did in fact leave! Always refer back to the KISS philosphy. Keep It Simple Stupid!

1. Make sure you keep your add density down. Too many adds in comparison with your content makes a site look flimsy, and un-attractive.

2. Make sure your ads, if any (!) are as relevant as possible, without being too competitive.

3. Don't try to do too much fancy coding. Either you will screw it up (coding can be hard work!), or it will not be good for SEOs, or even more imporantly, it will just be ugly!

4. Use a decent color scheme. Greys and whites with just one prominent color look nice. When in doubt, keep it simple!

5. Don't force your customer into buying, give them alternatives, and reviews. If they think your product is so good that you'll offer alternatives, then they will have more confidence.

The real trick to getting sales with your site is how you treat your customer. If you have ever walked into a car dealership with over-zealous employees, odds are you got scared and wanted to leave. Not a good way to start the sale! Don't make it sound like your site NEEDS your customer, never make them feel obliged to buy your product. If it's something they want, they'll buy it, if it's not, forcing them will simply make them leave with a bad taste in thier mouth, never good for business!


Is Your Website Color As Inviting as Your Home? Does Color Really Matter

We've all read the countless publications about effective web site design, outstanding written content and the never ending need for search engine optimization. But often the importance of color for a web site is overlooked. Yet it is a proven fact that physical changes take place when individuals are exposed to certain colors. Because colors have the power to stimulate, excite, or even depress, specific color combinations can possibly work to your advantage or to your detriment.

Is Your Web Site Color Sending the Right Message?

While we all have our own color preferences, when it comes to a web site, you may have to abandon your favorite color and consider what draws a person's eye, what feels inviting and mostly what says, "I'm someone you want to deal with." In fact, to one person the color yellow represents brightness while to another the yellow color seems repugnant. But no matter how you look at it, colors make the difference. Whether you are selling a product, offering a service or promoting a new business, your web site is your primary advertisement on the Internet. Therefore your job is to make everything about your site as inviting as you make your home. After all, this is how you represent yourself to millions of viewers. And just as you want people to feel at home and at ease when visiting your house, you want visitors to feel the same level of receptivity when visiting your online business.

How Can You Be Sure Of The Right Color For Your Website?

1. Have you ever noticed that on some days you feel more vibrant and alive simply by the color of clothing you're wearing? The color actually influences your mood. The same holds true of your web site. Based on the colors selected, it either comes across as vibrant, relaxing or depressing.

2. Visually, some colors elicit feelings of excitement, serenity, joyfulness, and even distress. Pay attention to what feelings are evoked when seeing a particular color, and then apply the same principle to your web site.

3. Do you think that people buy more often when they see a certain color? The truth of the matter is that when used correctly, you can encourage more buying and selling power when using the right colors. Colors emphatically stimulate a response, sometimes positive and sometimes negative.

4. You may think that when you look at an ad that you're attracted to the words or the style, but in fact, more than likely you're attracted to the color. If you like the color, you'll be drawn to buy whatever the ad is promoting. If the color doesn’t appeal you may very well be turned off by the product.

5. White is always safe and easy on the eye as a background color for your site plus it lends itself to a feeling of trust. Although black does appear at first to create drama, it is not a good background color for your web site.

6. While any color blends well with white, all colors are not as appealing to the emotional eye. Red activates excitement while greens and blues leave a feeling of peace and calm. Dark colors evoke dense, heavy feelings. Yellow offers a feeling of brightness. Since all colors have different meanings and elicit different feelings it's important to choose a color that reflects your intended message.

7. When making a color choice for your web site, remember that colors on the red side are warm and stimulating, while blue/green colors are cool and relaxing. Review your site objectively and ask yourself if your site is sending the right message.

8. Darker colors may appear a bit somber but when mixed with some bright colors they can add a more cheerful tone and be very inviting. As an example, I recently reviewed a site that contained a lot of gray, but there were hues of rust and yellow intermittently dispersed which made it very attractive.

Colors and What They Suggest:

BLUE - suggests security, authority, faithfulness and dignity

BROWN - suggests affluence, effectiveness.

GRAY - suggests authority, practicality and creativity

GREEN - suggests health, freedom and tranquility - easiest color on the eye.

ORANGE - suggests pleasure, excitement and ambition

PINK - suggests femininity, well being and innocence.

PURPLE - suggests spirituality, wealth, and sophistication

RED - suggests excitement, strength and aggressiveness

WHITE - suggests purity, devotion, and truthfulness.

YELLOW - suggests warmth, sunshine and happiness - good accent color.


Charlene Rashkow brings 15 years of experience as a Freelance Writing Stylist. She has successfully helped countless numbers of companies and individuals reach their objectives by writing outstanding web site content, press releases, bios, articles of interest, letters and all other forms of marketing material.


How To Choose The Right Web Design Company

1. Size does not equate to competence

People sometimes assume a company with more money, employees, office space etc will be more capable than one with less. This is not necessarily correct. In fact much smaller businesses (or individuals) if they apply themselves intelligently/effectively, are often likely to be able to deliver better quality-and more personalized-services than bigger ones. My advice it that you get authentic proof of competence in form of past web design projects (website addresses) the individual or company you want to choose has handled. Go one step further, if possible and request for client contact details so as to verify the claims made.

2. Do they have a business philosophy that protects you, the client?

Customers naturally often complain about unreliable service providers -including Internet-related service providers. The “newness” of the website concept sometimes can lead to uninitiated business owners getting less than they pay for. For instance, websites could be built with little or no effort made - by the designer - to help the owner understand how to use it to reduce advertising/marketing expenses while increasing sales leads generation. Such costumers would subsequently lose faith in the use of websites for low cost, high impact marketing saying “It doesn’t work!”. Ask the designer for details of what they will do for you, to help your website succeed, that others will not. Use the responses you get to compare with others you are considering - it will not be difficult to identify who is offering you the most tangible benefits.

3. What can they do to make managing your site easy and convenient for you?

Is the individual or company you are considering willing to (search for and) incorporate useful tools/resources(e.g. relevant and appropriate automation) that will equip your website to deliver the results you want at less cost, in less time and using less resources? Ask them for examples of useful automation they have setup on websites-and specific ones they can adapt to suit your biz needs.

Without the intelligent integration of appropriate automation on a website, the challenge of using the website to achieve increased business productivity will, over time become overwhelming. The website should make it cheaper and easier to put information about your business in front of a wider range of prospects almost effortlessly. Website automation using server-sider custom CGI(Common Gateway Interface) scripting is one of the most common and effective ways to do this. Ask your prospective web designer if s/he is conversant with the use of this technology - or has reliable access to someone who does. If you get a “No”, MAKE SURE you find someone else who can take care of that aspect.

4. Do they have a web marketing strategy for you?

This is the most important one. A competent web designer must demonstrate the willingness to study(and aptitude to understand) your business - including the goals you aim to achieve. Most importantly s/he must be able to tell you - in simple, non-technical English - how the website can be used to further your business goals and objectives. So, ask if s/he has a Web Marketing Strategy in mind to enable you maximise the Returns On Your Investment in the website. If s/he struggles to answer, be very worried.

What is a Web Marketing Strategy?

A web marketing strategy is basically a step-by-step plan(that should be developed) based on an understanding of the ultimate purpose you intend to use your website to achieve. If well conceived, it will guide you on the specific things to do - daily, weekly etc - in order to leverage your website to get the intended results.

Without a web marketing strategy, you will soon find yourself struggling to justify the money you have spent(and will spend) to keep your website online. I’ll be a bit blunt here. Traditional methods can no longer satisfy today’s business marketing needs. If you do not have a web marketing strategy, your business WILL become extinct - and that’s putting it mildly too!

One of the many performance metrics currently used by serious business website owners is the Website Conversion Ratio(WCR) computed by dividing the total number of visitors to your website by the number of those visitors who eventually take action subsequently to do business with you. The WCR will vary from one website/industry to the other. For instance on the net a typical target WCR is about 3.0% - which means for every 100 visitors to your site, you will expect only about 3 persons to eventually do business with you.

This is why you must have a good marketing strategy to ensure that only the “right” visitors(i.e who fit the “profile” of your target audience) visit your site. The “right” visitors will constitute your “pre-qualified target audience” i.e people already interested in what your website offers. A web marketing strategy makes more of the “right” people visit your site giving you a greater chance of getting contacted by more of your potential customers, so you get a chance to “close the sale” and record an increased WCR. Another way of looking at the WCR is by seeing it as a measure of what I like to call the Return On Your Investment(ROYI) in a business website.

One Analogy: A website featuring a product that makes hair grow on bald heads will not interest a person who regularly visits the barber for a full hair cut! The process involved in developing a web marketing strategy will help you craft marketing messages that make those who NEED your product or service recognize the unique benefit your website offers - and therefore subsequently visit it.

The above is not an exhaustive list. I have only highlighted four of the most important issues which if properly addressed should make your adoption of a web designer end up making you look good in the long term. You might want to visit the www.google.com and type the question “How to choose a good web designer to build my website” or a similar query. You will come up links to other useful articles written on the subject. If you think you’re too busy, get someone to do it for you. The time you spend on this preparatory stage could save you from making costly mistakes!

Tayo Solagbade devotes his time to exploring new frontiers of Self-Development Education, especially as it relates to showing people what they can do by themselves for themselves to achieve their set goals at work and/or in life - despite the limitations of their circumstances or environment. In a previous life, Tayo worked for over seven years as a manager in Guinness Nigeria Plc during which time he successfully employed Self-Development techniques to give himself a consistent edge as Brewer, and later Technical Training and Development Manger. To play this role effectively, Tayo functions as a multipreneur to explore, discover and document best practice ways of successfully venturing into various areas of endeavour.

Visit http://www.lulu.com/sdaproducts to download a FREE Chapter Preview of his NEW book "Ten Ways You Can Use Self-Development To Become A High Flyer At Work". Learn more about Tayo by visiting his Online Portfolio


Hiring The Right Webmaster

The Questions You Should Be Asking …
The Answers You Should Be Receiving

When interviewing webmasters, don’t let price be your deciding factor. Among webmasters there is a split between those who are skilled in the fine art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and those who are not. To obtain high rankings for your site on the major search engines, multiple SEO Marketing tactics must be included within the design of your website. As an online business owner you should be concerned with the depth of SEO Marketing knowledge possessed by the person you hire to design and build your website. Do you know the right questions to ask a potential webmaster to ensure that you are doing business with the right person?

The process of hiring a webmaster may appear to be as simple as contacting a few designers and getting price quotations for their services. In the end you select the lowest bidder and move towards getting your new website built. Do not confuse price with function. Typically, a very low price indicates a finished product that will not be capable of competing for business online. Additionally, there are some designers who can accommodate you not only with design services, but with hosting services as well. They will charge a very small fee for the design services, which looks great on paper, only to hit you hard with a high monthly fee for your hosting. In the end you pay far more and your website is still not ready to compete on the search engines for any volume of business.

How important is SEO Marketing to the design and development of your new website? Remember, if your site cannot be found in the first three pages on the major search engines, it won’t matter what you spent or how lovely your website is; no one will ever see it, and therefore, no one will be able to do business with you. SEO Marketing should be at the core of your entire web design process.

The Obvious Questions:

May I view your portfolio?

A webmaster should be ready and willing to show off their past projects to you. If they have nothing to show you … run.

Do you have a list of references?

A qualified designer should not only be proud of their work, but so should their clients. Contact a few of their clients to verify their overall satisfaction with the design and the process involved. Keep in mind, good designs cost money and also take time.

What software do you use to design?

To the untrained eye this question may seem ridiculous. The truth be told, there are vast differences between webmasters and their skills. As it stands there are a small handful of great design programs which would qualify your potential designer as possessing the experience required to get the job done. However, there is one design program that will immediately disqualify your designer as someone who knows what they are doing; Microsoft’s FrontPage®. If they say, “FrontPage®”, say something polite as you hang up the phone.

The Not So Obvious Questions

Do you have any SEO experience?

While some designers cannot even spell SEO, others will readily admit to their lack of expertise in such matters. Obviously you are seeking out a designer who claims to be well versed in the practices of SEO Marketing. How can you tell the difference? Ask them to show you some of their top ranking sites on Google, Yahoo, MSN or other major engines. The search phrases they use to find their client’s websites should be commonly worded phrases that people would actually think to type on the engines, and not some cryptic, uncommon mixed-up set of words which many so-called SEO Marketers use to justify their poor work. Remember, we can all rank high by typing in our company name, it’s the sites that rank high when you type in the nature of their product or service that makes for good SEO.

Do you incorporate SEO into your designs?

Many designers will offer SEO services to you 'after' your site has been completed. For some, they must outsource these services as they are not qualified to perform SEO page optimizations during the design phase. A good SEO job requires that the majority of the text on a website be completely rewritten. So if you’re not including this with the design, you’ll be paying a whole lot more for it down the road as the SEO Marketer must take your nicely written content, tear much of it apart and rewrite it so as to appeal to the engines for higher rankings.

How much text will you include on my web pages?

While this question will obviously have a different answer for each page of your site, a smart SEO Marketer knows that a minimum of 300 to 400+ words per page will assist your site in obtaining and more importantly keeping higher rankings over longer periods of time. To the search engines text content is king. Text is “essentially” the single largest factor in helping a search engine determine your position in the rankings.

What else you should know . . .

Flash and Graphics are not text.

While search engines are slowly becoming able to read the text content for some types of Flash presentations, such presentations are still mostly what the name implies … “Flash”. The sparing use of Flash to enhance the look and feel of your site is never a bad idea, as Flash can add a very professional visual aspect when used appropriately. However, there are several site architectures which are fully encased within a Flash presentation, where the entire site is Flash. Such sites will be hard-pressed to ever gain any ground on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), as Flash content simply does not contain the same relevance as standard HTML based pages.

Graphics, on the other hand, cannot be read at all. Graphics, even those with text on them are simply rectangular voids to the engines. None of the content from a graphic image can be read or used for the purpose of optimizing your pages for the search engines.

Frames aren’t as bad as they used to be.

The use of ‘frames’ in web design are no longer posing the obstacles they once did. Like some types of Flash, many of the major engines can now decipher frames-based websites and deliver visitors to your site based on the content of framed pages. There are a few tricks that experienced webmasters use to ensure that the frame structure remains in tact no matter what page a visitor is initially delivered to on your site.

In closing, beware of the webmaster that tells you that they will 'SEO' your site by submitting to the major search engines. Submitting a website is not at all part of the intricacies involved in performing true SEO optimization on the pages of your website. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Submitting your site could certainly be included as part of your SEO services, but submissions are not themselves SEO Marketing.

Kevin McElligott owns and operates iTech Developers, a web design, web marketing and web hosting company. With over 15 years of experience, Kevin is moving in the direction of "consumer advocate" by taking his technical background and applying it toward helping to protect the online business owner. He worked through most of the 1990’s as a Novell NetWare and Microsoft NT network technician. During his final years as a net-tech, he taught MCSE certification courses for a short time before completely changing his focus to the Internet in 1998. Starting in 1995 he began developing websites, and by mid 1996 had started a second company which focused solely on website design, hosting and marketing services which is his current company, iTech Developers. Working in and around web development, he's discovered several trends in the industry which consumers need to look out for. He continues to teach and consult for both small businesses and established businesses alike. He can be reached at "kjm@itechdevelopers.com". Visit his website at http://www.itechdevelopers.com


Color Scheme for Your Website

Yes, in a world that is obsessed with makeover madness, even your website needs to follow specific color guidelines when picking out "what it will wear". The colors you use when designing your website tell an awful lot about your business, though you may not know it.

I had this problem myself. I loved my website, it was so cool looking. I had a red, black and white color scheme, and it matched all of the material I sent to meeting planners. They were my colors and I fought changing them.

That is, until I paid $640.00 an hour for Corey Rudl, arguably the most successful small business marketer on the Internet, to critique me. That may sound like an absurd amount of money to pay for a consultation, but Corey is the best, and he definitely came through. Corey told me point blank, my website says "I am trying to sell you something".

That is not the look I was going for. I wanted my customers to be at ease on my site.

Corey taught me that colors that make people feel comfortable are those that they are used to seeing. So, I toned down my harsh (but still cool) colors and replaced them with gray and blue. I did this because some people are still new to the computer and the Internet. They are tentative with new sites and many haven’t a clue what they are doing.

However, many of those same people are very comfortable navigating Microsoft programs, which are gray and blue.

My hopes were that the similar colors of my site would put newcomers at ease, giving them the same sense of simplicity and control they have when using Microsoft programs.

Tom Antion provides entertaining speeches and educational seminars. He is the ultimate entrepreneur, having owned many businesses BEFORE graduating college. Tom is the author of the best selling presentation skills book "Wake 'em Up Business Presentations" and "Click: The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Marketing." It is important to Tom that his knowledge be not only absorbed, but enjoyed. This is why he delivers his speeches laced with great humor and hysterical jokes. Tom has addressed more than 87 different industries and is thoroughly committed to his client's needs.


What is your color

Our association and upbringing is the one factor affecting our experience with colors. From early on in life, we were exposed to colors, making it known that colors are something beautiful. That without it, things are dull or dead-looking. Color still. We can relate things, events and even persons to colors.

As everyone may know, yellow, orange and red are often associated with heat, thus the sun and fire. It seem inappropriate representing heat in different colors other than that. Somehow it lacks something we cannot point our fingers on. These same colors are considered high stimulating colors. Red has been known to arouse the senses and increase the blood pressure. This is seen as an example in a casino. According to studies, people tend to gamble more and raise their bets when seated under a red light.

Blue, green and violet, on the other hand, signify coolness, the color of the leaves, ocean and sky. Although most artists add their own touches by blending in other colors, these former were the original and most distinguishable ones. These are the opposites of red, yellow and orange; they are the low arousal colors. These colors are often associated with peace and tranquility and appears exciting to the eyes.

For most people, especially women, the first decision they make at the start of the day is about color harmony. This is in deciding what clothes to wear for the day. Oftentimes, the kind of season plays the biggest part in these decision. As with other associations, the weather has its own variety of colors in clothes that people wear. The brightest of the season brings with it the brightest of the clothes as opposed to gloomy weathers which brings with it the tendency to dress poorly because of the depressed feeling caused by the weather.

Nature is the main source of color ever since time started. Flowerbeds in its bloom, the sun reflecting in the slow moving, butterflies flying low in the garden, fishes swimming in the pond and the view of the mountain in front of the setting sun. These are just some of the examples of nature that artists have tried and still trying to put into their canvasses. These artists captures nature and color into prints as close as they are in real life. Although not even the greatest of the best of them can equal the color that is in nature.

So, do you know your color?

For comments and inquiries about the article visit http://www. colorprintingwholesale.com

About the Author

Florie Lyn Masarate got a flair for reading and writing when she got her first subscription of the school newsletter in kindergarten. She had her first article published on that same newsletter in the third grade.


Keeping your Website's quality on top

Almost every time, the question you will hear from the people is how to make stunning designs that the people and users will appreciate. It is important in a growing website company to make exclusive designs which are known for their standard and quality. It should have uniqueness too in order for them to stand out among others.

If you design a good website, it will make your site well-known and viewed by most customers all the time. It is essential that your site makes people want to look at your site frequently. Building a website with numerous pages and countless links and paying off for multiple graphic designs and arts might be something to spend with but what is it worth for earning the title at the top of the page rank?

Your website should remain attractive as the users will definitely interact with how appealing your site appears to them. There are some important things you should remember and put in mind. Some hints should be considered to stay in on top of the line.

Of course, some customers may not be very patient as you. If your website runs like a slow turtle, the users may not stay long in waiting for a page to load. No matter how interesting and great your designs are, your efforts will be put to waste if they find your page loading too slow. Don’t let your customers wait too long. Comments about your site may not be very satisfying at all. Pages that have too much designs load slowly not like pages with more text than graphics and animation. So if it is not really needed for too much graphic, escape it. Put in mind that some of your users might be using the old model computers which still has low kbps. Make your design easily be viewed by all kinds of customers.

You should make your website user-friendly or has an easy user interface. Some of your users may not be that computer literate so make it easy for them to navigate and browse. If possible make some instructions. Place your links too in one window. It would be very messy if they will keep on jumping to other pages when looking.

Make your links page appropriate like where it directs them should be the right button. Having a well-organized page does it all! So remember these small but helpful hints in making your sites popular.

About the Author

Karen Nodalo came across writing when she was about 11. The whole craze for writing started when she first wrote her diary during elementary years. After school, she would write in it first before doing homework. She finds it cool and until now she still keeps one.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Banner Enhancement Designing Your Banner

A well designed web site is great to have, but what if no one ever comes to it? Most web sites either rely on advertising, or have used advertising at some point in their existence, to get people to come to view the site. This means that your going to have to have not only a well designed web site but also well designed banners to attract your visitors.

Tip 1 - Flashy is no Longer Catchy

Most people are used to advertisements being on a web page as they browse the Internet and they tend to ignore them all together. In the past, to catch the attention of the surfer, banner designs have flashed bright colors repeatedly and used pictures that change colors. In the Internet that we are dealing with today, this no longer works. People ignore these banners knowing that a poorly designed ad normally means a poorly designed web site. Try to avoid rapid image changes unless they equal a smooth movement (ex. a ball rolling).

Tip 2 - A Banner is a Glimpse of Your Site

Your banners, no matter what width or height, should always try to represent your site, with colors, information, and quality. If you have a purple and green scheme for your web site, don't make your banner red and blue. In relation to this, if your web site is about eggs, don't have a picture of a ham dancing around. You want to show what information you have on your site, not just attract people with catchy images (such as a scantly dressed woman for your site relating to eggs). Yes you want to get people to your site, but you also want people to stay on your site. Wasting your money for traffic that's just going to leave once they find out what your site is really all about is a waste of money. You want to keep the people who click on your banner on your site, so make your banner like your site!

Tip 3 - Don't Show Them too Much

The purpose of your banner is to entice people to click on it. Talking about your site a little bit is fine, but giving a three minute speech isn't. You want to give a little information, then lead them to click on the banner to find the rest.

Tip 4 - Unanimated Banners are Good Too!

People these days are spending much time and effort into making that ham dance just the right way, but have they ever considered that maybe having the ham not move at all is better? Moving images do attract attention, but a nice picture also does the trick. The benefit of just having a single frame is that you only have to display a small amount of information. This will entice people to click on the ad to find out more (see Tip #3). Creating a multi frame image results in the viewer expecting more information that maybe you don't have.

Tip 5 - Don't Just Display Your Domain Name (with a few exceptions)

Unless your web sites's name is "WeSellEggs.com" or "Eggs.com," don't just display your name. Having the viewer guess what's on your site based by your name can be risky, so why risk it? Put a little blurb beneath your domain name with a short (fifteen word max) description. Most sites already have this description in the header, so just copy and paste.

Tip 6 - Make Multiple Banners

Having a wide assortment of banners means that you can "match" your banner with the site it is going on. Yes having contrasting colors makes your banner stand out, but you also want to make it look professional. The viewer of the ad, without even realizing it, is looking at the colors of the page as well as the colors of the banner. Having an orange banner on a green site will turn the viewer away from your ad for no reason other than it doesn't fit.

Now that you have some information, open up your paint program and start making slides (or just a single image if you wish). You can always find an easy program to combine your frames together. Try googling "gif animation program" and find one that suits your needs. Good luck and be creative!


Cool Web Design And Promotion Tips

This article gives free tips on how to find a cheap website designer and free tips on website promotion services.

Cheap website design services.

You do not have to spend thousands of pounds to have an internet prescence. In my opinion you should only have to pay between £50 and £100 to have a website built. The amount of competition in the internet web design sector means that there are some great deals available, if you are willing to be patient and to make lots of calls

You can find these cheap website design companies by looking on internet auction websites, internet search engines or in the Yellow Pages.

Website promotion free tips.

Everyone would like an increase in traffic to their website or an increase in their page rank rating. In general the higher the page rank you have the more visitors you are likely to get.

To increase this page rank it is important to build up the number of backward links your website has. You can do this by e-mailing other websites preferably in the same business sector as your own and asking if they would be willing to swap links with your site.

Writing articles like the one you are reading here is another way of obtaining backward links. By submitting these articles to article websites, other webmasters are then able to use your article on their website, thus giving you an extra link. This is because you are able to add your information and web address in the author bio at the bottom of the page.

You may also want to consider google adwords. This is a form of pay per click where you pay to appear on the right side of the search results in the paid advertising section of the google search engine for a specific key phrase. Always remember not to spend more on the advertising than you are likely to earn from the website.

If you would like to earn extra money from your website you may want to consider google adsense. This is where google put ads onto your website. When your visitors click on the ads you get paid.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Kinds of Websites - Which SuitsYou

Often the best type of website for you to launch for your business depends on the on the nature of your business, your corporate goals, the stage of development of your business and the resources you have at your disposal. Here are some types of websites to give you an idea of what you might consider looking for.

Static Websites – Brochureware

- Most small businesses start out with a small, “static” website.
- In order for the business to update their static website, they will have to contact their website development company and request that the changes be made. It is for this reason that they are not updated very often and remain “static” for a long period of time.
- A static website can, however, feed off dynamic content from other websites by syndicating content. Such content often includes the latest weather, news headlines, exchange rates, etc.
- A static website mainly serves to provide a business with basic online presence.

Dynamic, Database-Driven Websites

Today, most successful websites are dynamic, meaning the content changes regularly without necessarily feeding content from other bigger websites (as in the case of many static websites). Dynamic websites are usually maintained by members of the business using a Content Management System – a web-based software application that allows them to update their content without having to learn anything about web programming.

Corporate Style Websites

- This is the next step up from a static website, where the business can update the website content themselves without having to get hold of the web design company.
- It is not necessarily more expensive to launch a dynamic website than a static website. In the long-run it will in fact be cheaper if you intend to update regularly (which in itself is a good Internet Marketing habit)
- Many businesses publish press releases, photo galleries, project portfolios and other things more relevant to the nature of their business. Online enquiries can also be stored in their back-end as a post to being sent to their email address.

Many mainstream dynamic websites are a mixed hybrid of the following types of websites:

E-Tailers or E-Commerce Websites

- E-Retailers or E-Tailers are websites that allow visitors to purchase products online.
- The website owner uses a back-end to add or remove products and their properties, process orders, analyse sales and more.
- These kinds of websites have become more popular in recent years as the online shopping industry has grown quite considerably (Internationally, at least).
- In South Africa, however, many businesses are hesitant to implement online transactions into their website strategy as it can be expensive to implement the necessary security measures. This often discourages businesses as they are uncertain on whether or not they will see significant returns.
- An alternative to a Shopping Cart System is to implement a Quotation System. This means the visitor adds all the item they are interested in to a “quotation basket” and once done, they submit it to the company and are contacted by a sales representative to complete the transaction.

Information Driven Websites

- Eg. Website directories, article directories, a Short-Story/Poetry submission website, etc.
- These websites mainly derive revenue from selling advertising space on their website.
- The information is generated by people that visit the website and submit content – the website is self-generating and the content follows current trends and interests.
- Although the owners of the website do not have to produce the focus-content, they do need to be able to control the type of content that is submitted – they need to implement measure that will prevent spammers from flooding their website with unwanted content. They also need people to moderate the content that is generated on the website.

Community Websites

- Eg. Job Search Websites, Online Dating websites, Discussion Boards, Special-Interest Portals
- These websites usually cater for certain types of Internet users. Their main source of revenue may be advertising or offering different levels of memberships with different benefits (e.g “Gold Membership”)
- The website almost becomes type of social being in itself by interacting with the member on a very personal level. For example, after submitting a post to a discussion board, the website will email the member to inform them when they have received a reply. The website and the member, in a sense, form a virtual relationship.
- The membership registration process is usually automated allowing the website owner to concentrate on selling advertising space and monitoring performance.
-They do however need to moderate what members do on the website in the case of chat rooms and forums (eg. To stop users from swearing, advertising for free, promoting hate speech, etc)

About the Author

John Simms is an Internet Marketin for Eiledon Solutions, a website development and webs design company in Cape Town, South Africa. Get a free quote at http://www.eiledon.co.za


Effective or Irritating: The Use of Pop Windows in Internet Marketing

A few years ago, pop-up windows were all the rage in Internet marketing. It seemed that every time one opened a web page they would be bombarded with offers for this or that. It had gotten to the point where surfing the Internet was almost like playing a video game; when the ads would pop-up one would try and close them out before another one came. This is precisely why we have seen the decline in the use of pop-up windows on the Internet today; surfers simply do not even look at the pop-ups anymore. They close the windows out before even reading the ad. Very often, a surfer will even leave your site if there are too many pop-up ads. They simply do not want the hassle of closing those windows while trying to obtain the information that your site has to offer. This information, while valuable, is not as valuable as the surfers time. Studies have shown however, that even with these set backs, pop-up windows are still an effective method of Internet marketing.

Is there some way that pop-up windows can be less irritating and still be effective? Yes! What if the pop ad were seen upon exiting your site instead of entering? This would allow the surfer to obtain the information that they need from your site, feeling that they were able to come and go quickly without being hassled by other ads and offers all the while making the surfer happy. You have left the surfer with a positive attitude and therefore are more likely to respond to the pop advertisement. This is being accomplished more and more by using what is being called pop-under windows. When the surfer comes to your site, the ad is opened discretely behind the your web page. Then, upon leaving your site, after obtaining all the information that they need , will see the ad and therefore be more likely to respond. Since the surfer has the information, he has achieved his objective and is now open to do other things; ideally respond to the pop under advertisement.

Not all pop-windows are created equally. There are some things that you can do to make your pop-windows, whether pop-up or pop-under more effective. The pop-window should be easy to “escape” from. If the surfer does not want to see the add, but has a hard time closing it out, they will likely become frustrated and could leave your site all together. You should either use a button to that will allow the surfer to close the window or be sure that the “x” is easily visible. Another good idea is to use a script that utilizes cookies. Cookie will prevent pop-windows from overloading the surfer since you can decide the frequency of the pop-windows, rather than each time a page is opened. Also be sure that there is no more than one pop-window per page.

When creating a pop-window, you will be asked to fill out a short information form, select the length of cookies, and choose the layout of the pop-window. When choosing the design of the pop-window, you can increase the effectiveness by creating a large headline that includes benefits that will be most appealing to the customer. You should also consider using incentives and lastly do not ask the customer to read a long and drawn out advertisement. Keep the message simple yet powerful and your pop-ads will be sure to generate profits for your site.

About The Author:

Bibi Liew can help YOU start your own profitable business on the Internet within the next 24 hours...


Web Standards Part 1 : What are web standards?

There is a lot of talk about web standards within the web community but to business owners talk of web standards is like double-dutch. This article will give the low down on what these technologies are and how they relate to your web business.

When we refer to web standards, we are referring to open standards primarily used on the World Wide Web. These standards are laid out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

“The W3C is a consortium that produces the free software standards—"recommendations," as they call them—for the World Wide Web. The Consortium is headed by Tim Berners-Lee, the original creator of URL, HTTP and HTML, the principal technologies that form the basis of the Web.”

Source: Wikipedia

However when we talk to web standards we are more often then not referring to the following technologies.

* DOM (Document Object Model)
* ECMAScript (Standardized Version of JavaScript)

These technologies will form the basis for web applications for years to come and any site built using them with be future proofed for a considerable time. It’s a nice feeling when you know your site will look good in Internet Explorer 15 as it does now.

Designing and building with these standards simplifies and lowers the cost of production, while delivering sites that are accessible to more people and more types of Internet devices. Sites developed along these lines will continue to function correctly as traditional desktop browsers evolve, and as new Internet devices come to market.

Source: The Web Standards Project

To read part 2 of this series on web standards entitled "The business benefits of designing with web standards " visit www.webdesigngoldmine.com

About the Author

Gary is the founder of webdesigngoldmine.com and has been developing websites since 1999. Visit www.webdesigngoldmine.com for more articles and tutorials on web standards, css and accessibility.


Web Design - 7 Key things to avoid

A search for "web design" on Google returns more than 325 million results. So how do we start eliminating all these so called designers? Here are a few of the most common shortcomings.

Watch out for:

1. Templates
2. Subdomains
3. DIY Hosting
4. High Renewal Costs
5. Poor Coding
6. Inaccessible Design
7. Advertising / Self Promotion

1. Templates

Watch out for designers offering you a choice of templates. This not only means that they're doing no new design work for their fee but could also have an affect on your search engine ranking. If the search engine robots see the same layout, background images and styles over and over again they could penalise your site for being a copy of another site. Best avoided.

2. Subdomains

Watch out for design services offering you your own domain where the address still includes a reference to another company. You should have a domain in this form - www.yourcompany.com. Watch out for www.yourcompany.hostingcompany.com or www.hostingcompany.com/yourcompany. These forms mean that they are putting your site in a folder of their own site and it doesn't carry as much weight. It's an easy way of them saving money and giving you a lesser sevice.

3. DIY Hosting

Watch out for anyone who does their own hosting. If their server goes down it could mean that your site disappears. Servers can be left on for long periods of time but do need to be restarted occasionally. You don't want your site going down - there could be someone in the middle of using it. If they claim to offer hosting find out if they outsource it to a professional company. This is much safer.

4. High Renewal Costs

Watch out for hidden costs. It's quite common for design companies to offer you a full all singing all dancing site for a great price only for you to find that it will cost you half of that again the following year. There are always ongoing costs to a website, hosting and domain name renewal. If there are no ongoing costs quoted, monthly or annual, be wary.

5. Poor Coding

Watch out for poor coding. HTML, the language of web pages, is developing and changing all the time. In fact, HTML is on its way out to be replaced by an enhanced language called XHTML. Look at a page the designer has done or their own site. View the source code and look at the section between the head tags (the word "head" in between angled brackets). Any mention of "style" or a ".css" file is a good sign. Now look at the section between the body tags. If you see lots of tags in angled brackets like "font" or "td" then the page coding is showing its age.

6. Inaccessible Design

Watch out for inaccessible design. This is very similar to the last point. It's important that your site can be used not only by PC users but also by the visually impaired, people using palmtops, PDAs and mobile devices. You can't afford to reduce your audience by having an inaccessible design.

7. Advertising / Self Promotion

Watch out for the design company using your website as a means of marketing themselves. Whilst having a discreet link to their company site at the foot of the page is quite fair and reasonable, be wary of any additional links or advertising. They could be making money selling advertising space which you're paying for.

About the Author

Chris Smith works as a web designer, developer and internet marketing consultant. For further information on high quality, good value web design please visit his site - Professional Web Design


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How To Make a MySpace Layout That Stand Out

If you are a MySpace user, you have learned what an easy to read and fun profile looks like. The only problem is, you may not know how to create or find out. Most of the time when you see an awful MySpace layout, it's because its sloppy, hard to read, or has annoying links you didn’t even see. That is because since MySpace has been growing so much, so have the layout sites. In fact, MySpace layout sites have been generating tons of revenue through advertising. This advertising can even be through hidden spam in your own profile.

Once you start seeing all the nice profiles on MySpace, you instantly hit Google and start searching away for a great free MySpace layout site. What you don't realize that the ones you are going to find the easiest will most likely have the most spam. As a website publisher myself, I understand why this spam is there, and what it accomplishes. But as a MySpace user, these hidden links can get annoying. So you have to know what you are looking for in a layout.

MySpace layout designers will put hidden backlinks to their site in all of their layouts. What this does for them is 2 things. 1. It creates free advertising for them and possible hits from all over the MySpace world. 2. These backlinks help their page rank in Google. The more links to their site, the more important their site looks to Google, therefore the higher up it will rank when MySpace layouts are searched for. The site MySpace Trends goes into great detail about this, and how web marketers use this.

Now all hope is not lost when looking for a good layout. These backlinks that MySpace layout designers use is not all bad. In fact, it does help keep your favorite MySpace layout site in business. But knowing what you are looking for is important.

Try and stay away from the layouts that have lots of links and menu bar modifications. I have found that most of the back links will come from modifying the menu bars. The good MySpace layout sites you will find are the ones that let you "hack" your MySpace profile. This will let you edit one aspect at a time instead of just throwing a new layout on your profile all at once. This will also let you control any unwanted layout designs, and you will also become familiar with the coding.

These tips will help you create a great looking MySpace layout without much hassle. Check out MySpace Trends for more great tips and ideas about MySpace.


Professional XOOPS theme design - What to look for

In general, prices for theme design work will range depending on a number of factors. If you don't mind the designer releasing the theme on their site for others to purchase, then you can expect anywhere from $20US to $50US for your theme. If the theme must be a one of a kind theme that only you use, you could expect to multipy the fee by at least 10x.

Also, there is the option of finding a PSD based webiste design that you can get permission to "port" to XOOPS. Essentially, just look for a free website template that has the design you want and write the author asking if you are allowed to modify the template for use on your site. You may even want to inquire as to whether or not you can re-release it to the community. Make sure you get written permission to do this as the original designer has full copy rights to all images in the design, even if it is a "free" template.

If you don't feel confident "porting" a static website template to XOOPS, there are some who specialize in this an would do it for a nominal fee, usually $50-$75US depending on the complexity of the template. Some have to be completely rewritten at the code level. Of course, those cost more because of the labor hours.

It should be stated that the prices listed above are a general starting point. Depending on the experience of the designer, the quality of their work and inflation, these prices may vary quite a bit. But having a good baseline to start from never hurts when stepping up to the barganing table. ;-)

An important thing to note is that you want to verify the work of the designer. Ambitious new designers may promise to deliver, but may find they are over their heads once the project begins. Ask for a list of active sites the designer has worked on. Nothing speaks louder about the quality of a designer's work than a real live site.


Irish Graphic Design Industry

Graphic design is the use of color, light, balance, contrast, emphasis, proportion, proximity, repetition, texture and a plethora of other elements to create a work of digital art that is pleasing to the eye. Graphic design is about seamlessly molding image and text to convey a theme, message, or often advertise a product or service. Graphic design dates back to prehistoric times. With hieroglyphs and cave-dwelling designs that became some of the first written language. Although communication, not aestheticism, was the primary concern, one can still argue for the overall visual design of the prehistoric artists.

With the 1584 Gutenberg Printing Press, graphic design took on a whole new meaning. Now, text, coupled with visual appeal, could reach a wider audience than ever before. Although the use was - at first - primarily for Biblical and other important writings, the trend would soon spread to visual-appeal. Graphic design, as we know it, didn't reach its boom until the computer era. With companies finding it increasingly necessary to have a corporate identity solution, visually-pleasing logo, and an online presence, graphic designers are definitely getting all the work they can handle.

Today, graphic design and website design are two separate, but closely related, entities. Most all websites offer some visual appeal - that is, they include graphical elements. When one understands this, they can really begin to grasp the widespread effect that graphic design can have. Creating something with aesthetic appeal is a laborious task, when one considers all the elements of graphic design, along with the viewing audience. Attempting to convey an emotion or theme is especially difficult. Special consideration to the following principles is necessary - mood, style, message, and hierarchy.

Moreover, one must consider the audience. Although anyone can view a website, logo, or corporate identity package, only a few are really in the 'target audience.' With graphic design's worldwide appeal, designers have developed geographic markets in which to showcase their talents.

With Ireland's technology boom, a widespread graphic design industry has developed. A Google.com search for "Irish Graphic Design" yields almost 2 million results, a true testament to this unparalleled growth. One of the front-runners in this burgeoning population of graphic design studios is Red Fly Studios. While Red Fly is a full-service firm offering web application development and design, their attention to graphic design detail is unmatched. Take a look through Red Fly's portfolio, compare to other Irish design firms, and you'll see that the company has a lot to offer.


How to Create a Splash Page for Your Website

These splash designs prove to be quite popular, especially among the designers as they allow the designer to show their skills in flash and any other technology on a single page. The splash page design involved in the splash page will be one that is very attractive to the eye of the viewer. Its main intention lies in captivating the viewer the moment he looks at it. It can be a stationary design or an animated design, which in turn makes it more interesting to look at!

There are quite a few advantages and disadvantages to a splash page. The main advantage of a splash page is that through a splash page, one can get all the information required on the first page of the website without much scrolling as splash pages are fast loading. And just think, after all that effort put into the making of that animation or flash splash page design, you can be confident that through a splash page, the visitors of the site at least see the splash design at least once. Splash pages are a great way to show off the best work you can produce, and thus also act as a portfolio of your work and work capacity for potential employers. As the splash page states the technical requirements required for their particular website, it allows the reader to choose, prior to visiting the site, the technology that best fits them and their computers. It is also a great means of using your server logs to get the complete breakdown of the actual number of customers to the website.

The cons to splash pages are not that many or major. It is only that some readers do not like splash pages as it prevents them from entering the website immediately, and thus may leave the site upon seeing the splash page. Splash pages also tend to break search engines as most splash pages have a redirect. It should be remembered that splash pages cannot be used for sending emails to a third party. As it can be seen, the pros of a splash page heavily outweigh the cons of a splash page. It all lies down on how one accepts a splash page on seeing it! Remember, splash pages are fun to build. They are very creative and allow the user to play around with animation and sound, to get the desired splash page design they need!


Does Your Web Design Include Background Music

When you design your website, you may wonder whether or not you should include background music in your web design. The answer to this requires you to ask two additional questions:

1. Will music benefit your website?
2. Do you know how to add music to your website

This article has been created to help you answer those questions and make the best decision for your own website’s design.

If you are using a text editor in order to code the pages of your website – that is, instead of using a web editing program that has buttons for all of your options, and creates the code for you – background music may seem to be somewhat of a mystery to you. After all, it isn’t just as simple as pushing the “background music” button. However, this doesn’t mean that it is out of reach.

Before getting to the coding, though, you’ll want to decide if you really want background music on your website. There are a few issues to be considered here.

Some visitors will find that background music that begins automatically while the webpage loads is very pleasant. However, others find that a sudden blast of music that unexpectedly blares out of their computer speakers (because the volume is turned way up from the last sound task they performed) may cause them to automatically close the screen or hit the back button to get away from all the racket. In this case, it doesn’t seem to matter how loved the piece of music is that you choose. Remember that not everybody is using the internet in a place conducive to sudden bursts of music. People often use the internet:

In internet cafes
At public libraries
At work
At home when other people are asleep.

And still there are others who may find it annoying to have music automatically play on the computer, even if it is their favorite piece of music.

Even if you are absolutely certain that your website includes a type of visitor who would love hearing background music, you may wish to consider an alternative to having the website’s background music play automatically when they enter the site.

For example, you might want to offer your visitors a button so that they may opt to hear the music that you have to offer. This will allow people to choose whether or not to hear it, and will allow them to prepare their volume levels and other preferences.

To add this feature to your site, you will need a MIDI, WAV, MP3 or other audio file of the piece you want to make available to your visitors. Use a HTML link to point to the file on your site:

If you want to actually embed the music in your website – that is, have it play automatically when the person enters the site, and not give them control over its playing –then things become a bit more complex. For one thing, different browsers have their own way of working embedded music files.

Now, this may seem to have been simple enough, however, sometimes, for some reason, this doesn’t always work. If the music doesn’t automatically play in Internet Explorer 3.0+ or Netscape, it could be possible that your web server isn’t providing your browser with the correct MIME type. Therefore, you need to tell your browser how to handle the file, and to do this, your server needs to be configured for sending the correct information about that file. For example, in the case of a MIDI file, your server should send your browser a “Content-Type” header that states “audio/midi”.

In order to check if the configuration is set up properly, in Netscape, click “View” in the menu to open the drop-down, and select “Page Info”. Here, the MIME type of the music file – as well as other information – will be displayed. If the MIME type is indeed incorrect, simply contact your web host and have them repair it.
Just like most other aspects of coding your web design, adding background music requires a level of proper coding techniques. Even then, there will – on occasion – be a visitor who cannot hear the file the way you want it to be heard. Therefore, when choosing to add background music, do so with great care and take the decision seriously.