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Top 5 Best Payment Gateways for an Online Entrepreneur

The online entrepreneur is the term which could make any talented single to attain the highest position irrespective of any dependent jobs or dependent help from anyone. The startup may lead a single project to the extreme if the basic and the real strategy rules get involved into the entrepreneur’s mind. The small business owners are very much energetic and happy with the growth part as the online exposure made dramatic changes in the standard of the output in every aspect.

The online entrepreneur must have some essential tools and factors for their business such as a good domain, core theme, SEO, irresistible hosting packages, branding, influence, advertising campaign, help from venture capitals, appealing web design, targeted e-mail marketing campaign, tax liabilities, legal acts, and other major factors.

When it comes to the “Payment” section, there is a huge step to be carried out effectively to achieve the growth without any issues. The online entrepreneur and the small business owners should have the ability to understand the various criteria regarding the tax liabilities in various countries to withstand the business. The online payment gateway could be an essential factor as it decides the entrepreneur’s output in the form of currency.

There exist several payment gateways for the online business transactions. Some of the services would cost you high for setting up and for the subscriptions. This blog post will deliver the top 5 best payment gateways for an online entrepreneur and also helps for the great startup.

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Create a Web Design That Helps Convert Visitors to Subscribers

If a visitor sticks around your website and reads your completely reads your content, it would be pretty safe to say they like what they see. When visitors read what you have to offer they are left wondering – what’s next? There’s different things that are offered such as other related posts or ads, but if someone has stayed around long enough to read the entire content, you need to recognize that this is the perfect time to ask for their email address. Your web designer needs to create a web design that promotes subscriptions.

E-newsletters are still an excellent way to connect with potential and current customers regularly. But collecting email addresses isn’t as easy as it might seem. Even those individuals that love what your site has to offer may become hesitant when you want their email address even when you are going to be providing an e-newsletter. Let us look at ways you can convert visitors to be subscribers.

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Blowing The Dust Off Your Blog: Three Ways To Network

Hey, remember blogs? Times used to be when we talked about how blogging was the next great marketing venue of the 21st century – it’s been about ten years since then. How about we get back to basics? Blogging is still the main way to go if you want your business to get exposure on the web, but now that everybody has a blog, you have to work harder to get noticed. So here’s a refresher course in networking to promote your blog:

1. Interact with your readers. The best way to keep traffic coming in is to make them feel welcome. So when a visitor takes the time to leave a comment, thank them! If you use the Disqus plugin or similar systems, you can even rate them – just a little +1 or ‘like’ to say ‘thanks for your feedback.’ And replying just to say ‘thanks for your insight’ goes a long way. Get into an interesting discussion or two with your commenting readers sometimes, it shows that you’re not just a megaphone shooting your mouth off, but have an open mind and thoughts to consider.

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Six Random Moments Of “Aha!” In Web Design

We thought we’d share a few silly little tricks or ideas that solve a lot of problems in a small amount of time, or just look knock-out cool for very little effort…

#1. Using a “position:relative;” div tag on the outside of a “position:absolute;” See, normally, the ‘absolute’ attribute in CSS makes the element stay stuck to a spot on the web page as if it were nailed there. And that happens no matter how many nested floating divs you stick it in. Until you make the div just outside of that one say “position:relative;”, then your absolute element finally says “Ooooh, so THAT’S what they want me to do!”

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Web Design – A Look Back At Big Tech Stories OF 2012

Looking at web industry from a business angle, Ars Technica muses upon six big stories that stood out last year. Of those six, we’ll peg BitCoins as the story we’re most likely to look back on in a decade and wonder “what were they thinking?” Like Microsoft Bob, Pets.com, and the CueCat, BitCoins still have that cachet of “naive pre-web-bubble idea”. The article goes into several ways where BitCoin has had trouble already, which we predict is the shape of its doom, arrising like a Grim Reaper in the West.

7 Successful Business Blogging Tips for Boosting Brand Visibility

Blogging, especially business blogging, is the in thing these days; just about every business with an online presence is into it. It’s something that everybody is doing, and why not, after all a blog not only brings to a website an added sense of credibility, but also improves the brand awareness of your business and its products and services.

But, it must be remembered that blogging just for the heck of it, and because everybody is doing it, doesn’t work. It must be purposeful in order to succeed. To make you job a little easier, you need to keep a few business blogging tips in mind, to ensure that your blog is successful.

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Designing A Secure Website? These Five Linux Distros Can Help.

Every now and then, perhaps we should remind each generation of web developers about Linux. Although even the staunchest Linux advocate will admit that the Linux desktop lags behind on gaming (unless you’re a Minecraft junkie!) and can’t run Photoshop for beans, Linux is a powerhouse for the average web developer. Linux is baked into the backbone of the Internet, after all. And how much flash and polish do you need to slap together Javascript, XML, and PHP?

So here’s a post on five Linux distros that focus on security. They are formidable accomplishments indeed, filled with the usual terms you see bandied about at any Black Hat security conference. And there’s no fear of commitment, since most if not all Linux systems are designed to run from a USB pendrive, DVD, or other portable media. Why not give one a spin every now and then and penetration-test your website? You might learn a thing or two from it.

Looking For An Offbeat Image Source? Look No Further

Web Designer Depot has a post up about the gems you can find in creative commons images on Flickr. “Creative Commons” basically means “free to use” – sometimes technically for non-profit purposes, but really, does the 0.0005 of a penny you get from ad clicks count as “profit” anyway? While we’re at it, here’s a bunch more royalty-free image sources every web designer should have bookmarked:

Web Design – Explore How The Web Has Formed

A must for anybody interested in business and eCommerce on the World Wide Web, we hope none of you missed this site on how the web evolved. The interactive timeline, itself a gilded dragon of a web design, takes you through the various tools and tech of the web. Hover over one aspect to see info boxes pop up explaining different key stepping stones in that aspect’s development. Through this, you can see that the WWW proper got off to a start in 1991 (though BBSs still dominated on the home front for a number of years), that Netscape (grandfather to Firefox) and Opera both predate Internet Explorer, and that AJAX actually came to the fore in 1999 – so why did the inductry not discover it until circa 2004?

Website Security Has Five New Threats You Never Thought Of

Just saw this insightful post at PC Pro, about five new hidden security threats. These are all based on (relatively) recent developments in tech, like QR codes and SMS. Even the URL obfuscation, one of the oldest phishing tricks in the book, takes on a new form when modern handheld devices and Twitter feeds rely so heavily on URL-shortening services or just abbreviating the URL.

It’s important for webmasters to remember that if you own a website, you are always an attack vector. Others can be targeted by compromising your site. And with the profusion of new gadgets cropping up, new vulnerabilities in them come up before half of us even get around to learning how to use one…

Web Design – This Is Why People Don’t Join Your Site

Possibly the most excellent post we’ve read this year: 8 Reasons Users Don’t Fill Out Sign Up Forms. Every website owner or maintainer ought to be required to read it and pass a comprehension test afterwards.

Newsletter-iconBriefly, the point is that users avoid signing up to become a member of a site unless they absolutely have to. Call it, if you will, “social media fatigue“. Ten years ago, the web was yours just like your TV set, and the only time you had to sign up for anything was if you were buying something. Now you can’t click a mouse button without logging in with a nick and password. Who can remember them all? Why does it feel like getting married every time you just want to leave a quick note somewhere?

Web Design – Guess What? Social Networks Haven’t Changed Since The Pleistocene Era

Oh, you think you’re pretty savvy and sophisticated, with your Twitter and Facebook and Blogger? You think we’ve gone places and done things that could never have been done before? That we’re living in the future, plugged into a worldwide hivemind that our predecessors could only dream of?

holding_big_smart_phone_icons_1600_clr_9132Nah, actually, Wired assures us that we’re not any different than prehistoric cavemen when it comes to social networks. Researchers studied a primitive tribe of hunter-gatherers and discovered that they had the same behavior patterns in socializing that our electronic socializing does. They found matches in mutual popularity, closer friends versus more remote ones, and similarity breeding friendship, among other factors. Continue reading

Web Design – Coolest Recent CSS3 Tricks

We haven’t been showing enough love to CSS3 lately. There is a fundamental shift in web design happening right now, between the end of the Flash era, beginning of the HTML5 era, and the advent of (at last!) working CSS3. Here’s a roundup list of pretty and/or cool tricks in CSS3 that just make you go “Awsome!”

 

Web Design – A Good Tutorial on XSS Attacks – They’re Easier Than You Think!

Just in case there’s a few designers out there who still haven’t gotten the word, here’s a great, simple explanation of how web page code injection works. It’s astonishingly simple. Read through this example, then try it on your own website if you have a PHP page that takes variables as part of its URL (who doesn’t these days?). In a nutshell, code injection works when your URL ends with something like “?search=something” and then your script does not check for valid input in the variable “search” before using it.

HackerXSS vulnerabilities are also easy to discover. For instance, imagine a cURL script that runs through your bookmark file and looks for the characters ‘?’ or ‘=’ in a link. It then tries to fetch a page for each of those links with something like ‘

‘ and then checks the returned page for the text ‘EXPLOIT ME’ somewhere in the body. If it finds that, it adds the link to its list of pages with exploit potential.

You could just Google random dictionary words and find dozens of sites per day with a system like that! So don’t assume that a potential vulnerability will never be found – they get discovered and used every day. Continue reading

Maybe Web Designers Are Just Hard For Everybody To Understand?

We were amused by Why Adobe Doesn’t Understand Web Designers, a post ruminating on the failings of Adobe to woo the web design crowd, provoked by its latest controversial ‘Muse’ product.

web-design-bannerYou’ll notice that the latest “easy enough for a caveman!” web design product always draws the same discussion online: First somebody moans how this is really a toy, no good for professionals. Then somebody always counters (in a snide tone) “Well this isn’t for you elitist professionals, this is so mom and dad can design web pages for their cookie business!” Yeah… but we’ve been hearing this since 1998 with Microsoft’s FrontPage Express. You know how it goes: The easiest-to-learn tool (which always has the least features) soon becomes an industry standard, at which point its user base demands more features. Then it isn’t easy to use anymore, and somebody makes another alternative… the cycle repeats.

The money quote from the article: “WYSIWYG’s shouldn’t be a way to avoid learning code, they should be a way to teach it.” Yeah, but that only makes sense on non-Earth planets. If it were as simple as “learn to code“, we wouldn’t have invented any of these tools. Humans and code appear to be mostly incompatible.

 

Make A Magnetic Design Portfolio

If you’re like most web designers, you let your portfolio get stagnant after awhile. Are you feeling a pang of guilt while reading this? Sure, we know how it goes. At first, you pour all of your creative energy into your portfolio, taking a whole week or two getting it just right. Then, when the work pours in, you get so busy with clients that you forget the portfolio exists. Then one day you take a look at it, and it’s outdated.

electronic-portfolioRule of thumb: Anything you design in the tech world will always appear, in retrospect, to have the shelf life of a banana.

Mashable offers 10 Ways to Make Your Design Portfolio More Appealing to Employers. While the advice seems pretty basic (“Choose the Right Hosting” – What were we doing before, spray-painting it on the wall?), it’s a good refresher course in connecting with potential clients – and of course, Mashable picks examples of cutting-edge designs.

A bonus buck while we’re on Mashable: 17 Web Resources for Improving Your Design Skills. Continue reading

Are You Driving Users Away? Also, What’s Up With Pop-Ups?

We loved these “8 user experience gaffs that annoy your prospective customers” – it reminds us of the old days of Vincent Flanders. But this post is just a few days old, and yet not much has changed in what not to do in the world of web marketing.

Some things that bear analysis are asking why users can’t stand a certain element. For instance, why do users hate pop-ups? Well, it’s because you were trying to read this web page, and all of a sudden a new box appears in front of it. What it’s doing is, it’s interrupting your mind, like shouting over the top of someone who’s talking. Can you imagine if you sit down to watch television, and just then someone comes running in with a painting and sticks it between your eyes and the TV screen right when the news gets back from commercial?

Things like that – they seem to be hard to explain to some web owners. Even if that element makes some sales, you have to look at how many people are getting frustrated and going away.

 

Which Hack Will Break Your Website? The One You Didn’t Think Of!

You might have heard that, amid the recent rash of cyber-attacks on high-profile institutions, that Citicorp got hacked. Details of some 200,000 bank accounts got compromised. But the news gets weirder when you consider how it was done, in the most blazingly obvious way.

misc_hackBriefly, credit card customers noticed that their credit card account number showed up in the URL of any given page when they were on the Citigroup website. Well, what happens when we substitute another credit card number? Oops, that shows you the page for that card! Great, let’s write a script to have wget or lynx or something run through all the 16-digit combinations and save whatever pages it finds for later phishing.

Yeah, it was that simple.

The lesson we can all take away: Think of everything! While it may seem blindingly obvious now that not hashing the account number in the user’s visible URL was a bad idea, would you have thought of a similar hole that large on your own site? One expert is quoted in that article that he: “…wondered how the hackers could have known to breach security by focusing on the vulnerability in the browser.”

It just goes to show, anybody can be caught off-guard. Continue reading

Web Design – Amazing Things in SVG

It’s good to keep your thumb on the pulse of some web design aspects, even if you don’t use it directly yet. The World Wide Web is far away from an SVG standard… but maybe some day it will come true. When it does, we’re thinking of the possibilities…First off, here’s an SVG editor at googlecode.com. Right out of the blue, if you couldn’t edit SVG before, you can now, for free. Speaking of free, for desktop SVG editors you can’t beat Inkscape, one of the best SVG editors out there, for any price.Here’s a jigsaw puzzle done with SVG and JQuery. Check the code, it’s remarkably simple to implement. Ajaxian finds many more SVG demos in the SVG category.

An amazing charts demo, done without canvas! It’s live (try editing the code in options), has dozens of different features and modes, and we find it to be snappy-responsive, even on a battered old laptop.

A bit old, but if you haven’t seen it yet, SVG Tetris.

SVGWow has many SVG demos, including this colorful bokeh effect.

Finally, here’s a paper on SVG vs. Canvas on Trivial Drawing Application. Along the way, it sets up demos and links to them, going concept by concept, and explains the code to do so. A must-see for tutorial purposes.

Web Design Case Study: Laneway Music Festival Website

Melbourne, Australia hosts the annual Laneway Music Festival, and they’ve got a website that’s been attracting attention in web-design circles. For those not in the know, Laneway is the premiere event for the Indie music scene, hosting such headline acts as The Hold Steady, Echo & The Bunnymen, Midnight Juggernauts, and too many more famous acts to list here.

designers-instrumentary_512The site attracts attention for its unusually clean design. One really odd quirk that we don’t like, though, is that it has to build a different page for each major city, forcing you to a landing page that makes you select a city – why? The content looks identical regardless which city you selected. You can also change the city from the drop-down menu after you get to the main page anyway, so that’s pointless all over again! Here, the festivals’ in Melbourne, we gave you the Melbourne link.

After that, the site’s a treat. A hip graphic header, easy navigation, splashy photos, and piped-in multimedia content from Twitter, Flickr, and forums make for a site that gets you where you want to go and tells you what you want to know with efficiency and taste.

It just bears pointing out because… hey, have you seen most music-related websites?

Internet Explorer’s Test Drive Site

Wow! For all the derision and loathing we pour on Microsoft and its village-idiot web browser, every now and then you see some engineer project from a back room on the Redmond campus that makes you think that somewhere in the steamrolling bureaucracy, somehow, there are fun, creative minds just trying to claw their way out.

Witness the IE Test Drive Site. It’s a place to test out demos relating to HTML5 and other web technologies, which Microsoft is trying to keep on track for preview editions of Internet Explorer. But there’s lots of fun, fun stuff here, including a pinball game, a Sudoku generator, an asteroid field simulator, and tons more stuff. Just be advised that it’s meant to be cutting-edge, so if you’re not updated to full-modern standards, you won’t be able to run this stuff.

We have just one question: Why aren’t the people behind this demo site running the whole dang company? It’s this thrilling attitude towards playing with technology and making it do gee-whiz stuff that Microsoft had in spades in its early days and so grimly lacks now.

Can Web Software Be Successful Without Being Open Source?

We were reminded of this factor when we saw Tech Drive-In’s list of 11 Biggest Open Source Success Stories That Are Changing The World As We Know It. And all of them are tied to web and Internet business in one way or another.

fxosWe have Linux in general and Red Hat Enterprise Linux in particular (Linux is dominating the web server market and Red Hat is one of the chief vendors), Ubuntu (the most successful user-level Linux distro, distributed mostly over the web), WordPress and Drupal (there’s your whole CMS management system for websites), MySQL and Apache (the web server that ties it all together), Firefox and Google Chrome (two of the most popular web browsers), and of course Android (bringing mobile phones into the market). That leaves Open Office as the only desktop-related, non-web technology… although it’s a standard fixture on Linux.

Where’s the competition? Microsoft is still pushing against the web browsers with Internet Explorer, now at version 9, so they’re still alive there. Granted, MS web servers do make a dent in the market. Oracle competes with MySQL… But really, when you look at the whole ecommerce world, it seems like open source software has completely skunked the competition. We can think of no widely-adopted proprietary blog software or CMS.

It kind of tells you that the open web and open source software go hand in hand.

Tim Berners-Lee Still Knows What’s Best For The Web

Sometimes you have to wonder what it’s like to be Tim Berners-Lee. To have coded out some basic piece of Internet technology that effectively made the other pieces come together, and then to see your baby become the new media for the whole world and all of the effects it has. Is it working out the way he expected it to? Does he ever feel like Prometheus, perhaps having given us fire too soon?

Sir Tim recently gave a talk at the Nokia conference, cautioning us once again about the dangers of leaving privacy up to corporations and governments, and also about the importance of net neutrality.

Throughout the developed world we see the continued erosion of the idea that the web is a free zone for everyone. It’s starting to become a matter of where you live, what laws control the content, and from whom you buy access. Tim Berners-Lee, like Richard Stallman (founder of GNU), is one of our “Jiminy Crickets,” voices that can do little but talk, and so are out there quietly being the conscience of the tech world. The distressing thing is, their voices grow fainter as time goes on, and few are listening or taking up their cause. What that may spell for the continued level playing field of the web business market is anybody’s guess.

Why It’s Time For Everybody To Start Hyping HTML5

We work in the web development industry, and so we love our shiny new stuff! Don’t we? We love our chrome-plated glowy neon high-tech toys, because they make us feel like the hero in a Tron movie.

web-developmentOhhh, it’s exhausting keeping that up. But anyway, as painful as it will be to live through, we’re starting to see lots of enthusiastic hype for HTML5, which means that it will come to pass. It works this way because the life-cycle of all new web tech runs like this:

  • Initial spec. Somebody like Tim Berners-Lee or Paul Graham makes a blog post about it; everybody laughs.
  • First implementation. Some bright little start-up implements it before its time and it falls over. All the big companies sniff over it and turn their nose up at it.
  • A handful of bright bloggers keep yammering about it and why we should give it a chance.
  • A few more take up the march, but now they’re posting demos with amazing things happening. Start-ups form. The first dollar is earned from it.
  • Suddenly the whole tech world goes crazy for it! People can’t hype hype hype it enough! The buzz becomes buzzwords, hype, overkill, and burnout. An investor bubble forms around it and bursts.

Yeah, think it over. Look at past examples. Cloud computing, Web 2.0, text messaging, RSS, SaaS… isn’t it always in that pattern?

The Web Designer’s Most Dreaded Fonts

Why do web designers get so worked up over fonts? A decision on whether to use one font or another for a logo may embroil an entire office, waging cubicle-to-cubicle warfare (imagine stapler-cannons, binder-clip mortars, and waste-paper-basket helmets here) that shoots down an entire day’s productivity. A non-designer will look on all this and wonder what on earth gets into people.

Let’s try to explain the rationale behind the most-dreaded fonts and why designers feel that way. On top of all these, the thing that makes a font the least popular is when it’s been overused.

  • banned-rubber-stamp-graphicComic Sans – The thing is, this font was only intended as a joke/ novelty font. Think “party invitations.” Instead, a whole generation of novice web users latched onto this font for dear life and use it for everything, be it funeral notices, dear John letters, or results coming back from an AIDS test. There are tombstones chiseled in Comic-Sans out there.
  • Vivaldi – If Comic Sans is in trouble for people who don’t take themselves seriously enough, Vivaldi is the font for people who take themselves too seriously. Vivaldi is appropriate for snooty French restaurants and symphony programs. Anything else just makes it scream “pretentious snob!”
  • Curlz MT – Not only is Curlz ridiculously silly for any purpose except a circus train, it’s stupidly hard to read. If this article were displayed in Curlz MT, you’d have given up by now.
  • Kristen ITC – Well, if you have to ask “What’s wrong with Kristen ITC?”, you’re probably beyond hope. It’s designed to look like it was hand-lettered by a preschooler. And that’s just how your intellect comes off when you use it. Remember, you’re inviting people to think that you’re four years old when you use this font. Don’t blame people for treating you like a four-year-old if you do.
  • Bradley Hand ITC – Bradley hand is one of the hand-written fonts that basically lacks any imagination, while still making everything illegible and pretentious all at once. It’s like making a tray of fancy hors d’ouveres out of Ritz crackers, Spam, and Velveta.
  • Papyrus – Papyrus is hated for being too dramatic. As such, it belongs on movie titles, movie posters, banners at Renaissance Faires, and nowhere else.
  • Viner Hand ITC – If Papyrus is too dramatic, Viner Hand is the cursive font that’s too campy to be dramatic. Don’t use it unless you’re a 14-year-old Goth who shops at Hot Topic and wears a razor blade on a bracelet, because that’s what you’re telling the world.

Tips For Web Designers To Reduce Stress

Hey, it’s refreshing to see somebody acknowledge that web workers have stress, isn’t it? Most of the time our acquaintances will be all, “What are you complaining about, all you do is sit around and type all day?” So this list of tips for reducing the stress of web work really hits home.

Some particularly strong points that need emphasizing here:

5005Exercise One of the things they don’t warn you about is that a life of sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen will make you fat. There’s no way around this; it doesn’t matter what you eat, if you never burn calories, you will gain weight. So yes, taking a walk will also help burn some pounds off your chunky waistline.

Socializing Those of us with families are far luckier – working from home means that we share space with the people we love instead of those annoying co-workers. If you have pets, kids, or roommates, try to learn not to shut yourself into a shell when you’re working and invite them to join you in your den or office. You can tolerate a lot more distractions than you thought you could. It really helps fight off the stress if you can carry on a casual conversation and type at the same time. Dropping by the park or coffee shop with your laptop can be a nice change of pace, too.

Non-electronic recreation It’s funny when you think of it, but you spend all day staring at a computer screen, then get off work and for recreation spend a few hours staring at the telly screen. Or you code web pages all day, and then for break time you play video games on the same computer. This is a recipe for burn-out! try recreational activities that are completely non-digital: do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper, walk your dog, play ball with the kids, work in a garden, or even just get to a park and climb a tree. We bounce around from computer to television to MP3 player to mobile phone to PDA and back to computer like there were nothing else in the world. Build a ship in a bottle or something!

Seven Outdated Web Design Concepts

I say, isn’t it about time you updated that website you had your nephew build for you back in 1998? Outdated web pages look older every year, and now that the World Wide Web is pushing on into the 2010s, even some of the hot trends of the 2000s are beginning to show their age.

If your website’s outdated, it says bad things about you. Visitors might think you must have gone out of business, have no taste, only care about an older audience, or are just too technically incompetent to keep your website up to date. If your website is sporting any of these long-gone elements, perhaps it’s time to think about an update just to keep up with the passing decades.

Vectors_Art1. Photoshop design / Image slicing – This used to be the default method of design, even by the pro shops. But not only is slicing an image to fit into tables now outdated, but the whole “design it in Photoshop” thing is an anachronism. Modern-day sites, relying more on CSS than tables, fare far better if laid out in Fireworks, Illustrator, or Inkscape.

2. Background music / autoplaying media – Probably there are no .MIDI sound files playing any more (we hope! those got old even in 1998!), but today’s equivalent is media such as video or Flash ad content that starts playing sound as soon as the visitor arrives. At least let the visitor mouse over the element or give them a way to pause it.

3. Instructions on how to view the page – “This page best viewed in Internet Explorer 6.0!” You might as well have a gravestone over the top of your site: “Rest in Peace.” Not only does the version number date you (IE6 is about a decade old!), but the whole concept of specifying the correct browser is just not washing with modern audiences. Ditto screen resolution; we have people reading web pages on everything from mobile phones to XBox consoles on wide-screen HDTVs now.

4. Javascripted links – All browsers these days have tabs, which means that your visitor wants the option of opening a link in a separate tab. Any link on your page that tries to force the visitor to do different is annoying and obtrusive. Links should be in HTML only. Note, however, that having HTML open the link in a new window is compatible, because the visitor can still force it into a tab instead.

5. Splash pages – Old, old, old. The only exception to this rule is some media-heavy website for an accomplished artist. Musicians and animators and such can get away with making a big production out of showcasing their website. Everybody else has visitors who are there to grab that thing they need and be on their way, preferably in one minute.

6. One-page sales letters – We’ve all seen them. They looked tacky and gaudy when they were first being made back in 1996. In addition, there’s something about the way a lo-o-o-ong, hard-selling page that scrolls and scrolls, which is just kind of ranty – it reminds you of the TimeCube guy. In this day, visitors are so turned off that they’re likely to ban your domain just for seeing a sales letter on it.

7. Background images – The exception is if the image is small, minimal, unobtrusive, and the content still has a solid box behind it so you don’t have contrasting background. Even then, it’s a risky design. The rue is, if the background image is one of the first three things you notice about the page, you’re doing it wrong.

Web Designers Bandy About NoSQL, Everyone Else Baffled

The least sexy word in the English language is “database.” You could just have the wildest party in the world happening, and run in and yell “database!” and it would take the fizz out of the champagne, make the DJ pack up his rig and go home, stop the dancing cold, and make everybody run away. Databases are the exact point where a CS major quits studying to be a web developer and decides to become a web designer instead. It’s still used in Catholic school to punish unruly students.

SQLSo everybody’s supposed to be very excited about this new NoSQL thing. Now we have to pretend to be excited too. We also have to pretend to understand what NoSQL is all about. Yes, horizontal scaling!

And we’ll also nod along with the important-sounding acronym ACID, which stands for “A Completely Important-sounding Designation,” and something about what databases should do. Of course, all this is drawing fresh ink because Oracle bought out Sun, and… wait a minute, what does Oracle make again?

Join us next time for the thrilling conclusion, when the backlash movement “YesSQL” makes an even more obscure ripple of hype!

Web Design – What Is Flash?

Apple says Adobe is working to sabotage HTML5. Adobe says HTML5 is no threat to Flash. Everybody’s watching the fight, and we love the six-fingered tattooed fist in the image, guys!

While we’re all bickering, could we help by pointing out what Flash is?

folder-adobe-flashIn the first place, Flash is not an Adobe innovation. Flash was originally developed in 1992 by a company called Macromedia, when it created a browser plug-in originally for Netscape Navigator. Life went on this way for 13 years, all the way up until Adobe bought out Macromedia in 2005, in a hostile takeover which also acquired Dreamweaver. Since 2005, Flash has gone from being a relatively controversy-free plug-in to being a hotbed of drama and turmoil.

But here’s all Flash is: a way to script actions and animate images in a web browser. That’s it. It is made out of just three things: SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), XML (actually just the SMIL-type functions, for multimedia markup), and a scripting language called Actionscript (which, as is plainly evident to anyone who’s coded in it, is just an ECMAScript implementation nearly identical to Javascript).

It is very difficult to justify this plug-in in the year 2010, when it can very easily be mimicked with open standards that have existed for years. In fact, that’s exactly the case with what we’re seeing now:

  • “All major desktop browsers, and many minor browsers, have some level of SVG support, except for Internet Explorer.” No less than Tim Berners-Lee has criticized Microsoft for failing to implement SVG browser support.
  • Then we have AJAX. For basic user interface controls AJAX blows Flash away. There’s even the AJAX Animator project.
  • And then there’s Java. Java is open-source now. The Java plug-in still works, and it does much more than Flash can do anyway.

So it isn’t a case of Adobe having to defend its turf. Its turf has already been invaded, occupied, settled, and homesteaded. It lost its last leg to stand on as early as 1998, when Netscape spawned the Mozilla browser by releasing their code under the Netscape Public License.

 

Web Designers – Know the Web Audience – Age Demographics

Every web designer should at least save a copy of this chart listing social media use by age. It’s a gold mine of information in a small image. Charting age brackets for young teens, young adults, Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomers, Older Boomers, and Seniors, it shows who’s using the features of the modern web, from creators to spectators.

Obviously, you can see the age range from 12 to 40 doing all of the web activity to speak of. After age 40, the dip falls off dramatically until you get to seniors whose extent of web use is email. One interesting exception: RSS usage is flat all the way across the age groups! As surprising as it may seem to those of us who simply can’t start our day without our news feed, syndication just may not be taking off like everybody expected it to.

Web Design: 53 CSS Tricks In One Place

A nice little round-up of 53 CSS-Techniques You Couldn’t Live Without, over at 9tricks. These represent the leading edge in everything CSS is capable of lately. It’s surprising that we don’t have more of it deployed.

A few observations on the list:

  • CSSWe’ve seen 1001 rounded corners tutorials, but none of them will compare with the one-line ‘border-radius’ feature… when all web browsers support them.
  • Wrapping text around an image – every hack for this we’ve seen deployed so far works in two browsers and breaks in all the others.
  • The dynamic piechart looks like one of those painfully-obvious image-sprite hacks, but you have to admit you never thought of it until you saw it.
  • The adaptive layout technique – this is the next feature we’re going to be crying for better solutions for, in HTML6 and CSS4. The massive array of screen widths we now have to deal with, from pocket-mobile devices to ridiculous monitors the size of a swimming pool, is a mark that it’s high time the device took care of more of this for us.

 

Web Design – The Ten-Minute .htaccess Guide

On any website using Linux website hosting, chances are good that you have the Apache web server software at your command, which puts you in charge of the most useful file on the Internet, the .htaccess file.

If you haven’t peeked into this file and learned what’s going on in there, you’re missing out on a powerful tool for disciplining your website (and unruly users!). You can edit it with any text editor – even Notepad! Below, a hint list:

Block directory listing:

“Options -Indexes”
What it does: Stops visitors from being able to view a directory in raw form. You might do this to prevent paid content being viewable for free, or for security reasons.

Block referrers:

After the line that says “RewriteEngine on” put:
“RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} badplace\.com
RewriteRule .* – [F]”
What it does: Stops visitors who follow a link from a specific site. Usually you’ll want to do this to stop a referrer spammer.

Have a custom 404 page:

tb_sign1“ErrorDocument 404 /my404.html”
What it does: Lets you override the default ‘file not found’ page built into the web browser with your own custom page. This is great for catching the visitor so they don’t go away discouraged. Explain the error, and offer them a link to your home page, a directory listing, a search box, or even just a silly picture so at least they smiled.

Redirect URLs:

“Redirect permanent /oldfolder http://www.yoursite.com/newfolder”
What it does: Makes all calls to http://www.yoursite.com/oldfolder/index.html go to http://www.yoursite.com/newfolder/index.html instead. This is a common problem if, say, you changed a major part of your site and will have a bunch of incoming links getting lost if you don’t redirect them. This is also called a 301 redirect and can be set up the same way as the above,
ie: redirect 301 /oldfolder/index.html http://www.yoursite.com/newfolder/index.html


Stop image hotlinking:

After the line that says “RewriteEngine on” put:
“RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?your-domain.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gifjpgpng)$ – [F]”
What it does: Prevents outside websites from embedding your images in their webpages. Stealing other people’s bandwidth is a huge Internet etiquette no-no, but some idiot out there never gets it. What this string actually says is: If the file is an image (ending in gif, jpg, png) and the link is not from my site, deny it.”

Block bad bots:

Again after the line that says “RewriteEngine on” put:
“RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^BadBot
RewriteRule ^.* – [F,L]”
What it does: Prevents visitors based on the user agent (the identifying string) instead of where they came from. You would only want to do this if you think some sort of automated program is crawling your site for some nefarious purpose, such as harvesting email, downloading content to steal, or just plain being a nuisance. You *don’t* want to do this to a legitimate site crawler like googlebot! That’s Google’s own site indexer.

Make PHP executable from any file:

“?AddType application/x-httpd-php .html .htm”
What it does: Allows you to include PHP in a file with any extension, not just .php. By default, Apache only calls the PHP engine for files ending in .php. A warning: You want to think twice about doing this with some forms – For instance, if you have a blog running PHP and a comment form on that blog, a scripting attack could be initiated by typing PHP code (along with other code, such as Javascript), into the comment form.

Websites: The Big Five Web Hosting Backend Tools

When picking your web hosting company for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look through the options for what the host offers. Here, we present the top five most-used back-end technologies – and what they are good for!

1. PHP

The number-one server-side scripting language. Probably 90% of all the web applications you’ll find on the Internet are written in PHP, from blogs to bulletin boards to galleries to shopping cart applications. PHP is designed with the web enterprise in mind. In the case of Linux website hosting, it’s a lead-pipe certainty that this will be included.

PHP is *somewhat* easy to code in. If you’re familiar with application languages like C, C++, and Java, PHP borrows a lot of syntax from that. You can do quick edits yourself, especially considering that HTML code can sit line-by-line with PHP code, but major fixes should be left up to professional developers. PHP is also one platform that needs to be maintained – past versions have had shaky security, so you want the most up-to-date version.

2. MySQL

mysqlLike PHP is the language of choice for server-side scripting, MySQL is the chosen database for websites – at least until you get into the big-business enterprise layer (where you’re doing the hosting yourself!). MySQL is everything you’d expect in a small database app – fast, convenient, with a clean syntax and a very low learning curve. Once you pick up a SELECT statement, you’ve pretty much mastered it.

There almost isn’t any competition for small database software at this point. MySQL just fits so nicely into this space, it is almost as much of a web standard as HTML itself!

3. Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is the newest kid on the block. Ruby itself is a programming language. It is the most popular with the youngest generation of programmers. It is also the technology currently described as “sexy” – think trade journals and computer expos. Ruby is somewhat inspired by the languages Perl and Smalltalk, though in practice its more similar to Python. Ruby on Rails is the web development framework built around Ruby.

To hear the current generation of programmers tell it, Ruby is a near-Nirvana experience to code in. It needs to be, because it has problems with not scaling well and not being very fast. You’d be hard-pressed to find a major website which runs entirely in Ruby – instead it’s found wherever a garage start-up is just getting off the ground. However, Ruby is still a young language and it may yet find a more solid footing than being the current big fad.

4. Python

Python could almost be described as the most-hyped language before Ruby. Out of all of the technologies in this list, Python has the distinction of being deployed more for the desktop and application use than the web server. On the application side, it powers some of the most popular open source applications today, and has a thriving development community. Like Ruby, Python is a joy to code in.

However, like Ruby, Python also has a problem with speed. It is still faster than Ruby, and unlike Ruby, Python scales fantastically. When websites deploy Python, they tend to be major multi-national corporations. The reason for the scarcity of Python deployments on the web is also a matter of finding qualified programmers. In any case, Python brings a huge library, an even bigger development community than Ruby, and excellent security to the table.

5. Perl

Perl once ruled the web the way PHP does now. There days, you’re more likely to see Perl described as “old school” – it’s been a long time since the last release, and its creators, once hailed as coder demigods, now spend more time resting on their laurels. Perl is also finding fewer and fewer available coders. Not to start a flame war, but Perl may one day find itself in the position of being a legacy technology like COBOL.

Still, if you have a legacy server app that needs Perl, most Linux website hosting companies will toss it in. Perls’ two biggest strengths are speed and security. In fact, it is faster and more secure than any other platform listed here. However, it pays for that in developer pain. Its syntax is best described as looking like a trail of random punctuation marks, and the language is so huge with the motto “There’s more than one way to do it!” as its most-cited value, that anything written in Perl is considered “write-only.”


Webcomics That Web Designers Will Appreciate

Thank Heavens for web comics! Before them, comics were doomed to die a horrible death in the newspapers, where 75-year-old franchise-zombies hold on forever, getting moldier every year.

The web saved comics, end-of-story. For the web designer and developer audience, here are the essential web comics:

  • comic-lifeXKCD – The webcomic that made webcomics famous. Also spawned 1000 stick-figure comic imitators. Which is silly, because the point of XKCD isn’t the drawing, but the brilliant scientist creator who thinks up those impossibly geeky jokes!
  • Dilbert – The only newspaper comic to survive its time in print to be reborn online as fresh as ever. It helps that creator Scott Adams is still alive and well, unlike the creators of the franchise-zombies.
  • Penny Arcade – Well, sometimes you have to take a break and not think about work! This comic is focused entirely on gaming and video game culture. It’s what web designers do in their off time anyway.
  • User-Friendly – Founded in 1997! It can be said to be the oldest surviving web comic, and from day one it was about tech, geeks, “hackers” (it meant something else in the old days!) and development.
  • Doomed to Obscurity – A new up-and-comer, but definitely worth watching. It’s been called both a modern successor to User-Friendly and “Dilbert without the dog,” but its humor is blaringly original, while having a focus sort of like the above four comics combined!

 

 

A Web-Designer Shares their Toolchain

It’s always nice when web designers share their tools of the trade, especially when it’s a mom-and-pop outfit.

This designer lists a lot of free and open source tools which they use to build a pretty impressive portfolio. Fancy IDE? Nah, Notepad++! And a freebie FavIcon generator. Open-source Firebug, the Firefox extension that turns Firefox into a power development tool. And of course, for graphics… Gimp.

People are always astonished when you say you use Gimp for production work. Bad press from Adobe and a legion of elitist Photoshop users have given people the false impression that Gimp can’t do anything, like it’s not even as functional as Microsoft Paint. No, Gimp is really all you need for basic web graphics. It’s just doomed to live in the shadow of everyone who doesn’t want a Gimp, but instead wants an open-source Photoshop.

YouTube: What really is the bandwidth Bill?

A great new insightful article over at wired.com suggests that YouTube may pay less to be online than you do.

The story goes on to say that “the extraordinary fact that a website serving nearly 100 billion videos a year has no bandwidth bill means the net isn’t the network it used to be”

Ideas For Money On The Side In Web Design

If you work for a web design firm, you might have to sign no-compete agreements (depending on the laws in your area) saying you won’t work for clients in your off-time. However, web design is a big field, and touches a lot of side enterprises. Here are some ways you can put your extra tech-savvy skill points to work doing a little moonlighting:

  • Blogging – So obvious we almost don’t have to say. Most every web designer has a blog or social media account of some kind. Toss in some ads, and you’ve got a little side money.
  • Facebook apps – Fun little side boxes you can make in Flash, AJAX, and Javascript. Can be useful or fun – most are trivial, and if it’s popular enough you can sell memberships and or licenses for revenue.
  • iPhone apps – No doubt you’re heard of some of the top-selling applications for the iPhone. Apple lets you set up a store and sell these at the iPhone apps store.
  • Twitter backgrounds – Twitter has given rise to a new cottage industry in making backgrounds for Twitter home pages. Many sites give away backgrounds, a few sell them or make them to order for a fee.

 

A Piece of Web History – The Very First Banner Ad

SCTimes brought up the very first web banner ad, created by none other than – AT&T! The American telecommunications company (and father of Unix and the C programming language, to boot) launched this ad in 1994.

For those of you who don’t remember, the banner ad’s phrase “you will” was the catch-phrase for AT&T’s early-’90s marketing campaign. TV commercials featured voice-overs asking “Have you ever…” followed by some Utopian visions of futuristic tech usage, and then closing with “you will! And the company that will bring it to you… AT&T!” It was so saturated that numerous parodies sprung up in computing culture. Some original AT&T ads on YouTube.

 

Web Design Tips – The Five Web Page Ads That Users Can’t Stand

Of course, we all want to make money on the web. Our web design clients especially.
And most users – even the ones who never click anything – understand that. In the polls we’ve seen of the average website visitor, most say they don’t mind ads as long as they don’t interfere with the browsing experience. Oh, but those others! Here’s five advertising designs not to use:
  • advertisingPop-ups – Doable with a simple JavaScript ‘alert’ function, pop-ups are the oldest hated ad on the web. Almost obsolete since most browsers can be configured to not display them anyway.
  • Talking ads – Like the ‘smiley’ one you see that whistles and yells for attention. Users hate these, and they might also get fired for browsing the web at work when their web browser suddenly starts chattering and they forget they have the sound up.
  • Expanding banners – The corner kind are OK, since they are easy to recognize and don’t intrude onto the main parts of the page. But when you have the flat kind that drop down over the web page like a curtain, it’s irritating.
  • Floating boxes – These are the Javascript dealies that have replaced pop-ups. Browsers can’t block them without turning off Javascript completely. A Javascript box that coasts in after a minute and hovers in the center of the page with no visible way to turn it off just drives the user somewhere else.
  • Misleading linked text. – This could be not-so-annoying, if only the link went somewhere that had something to do with the article. An adlink going to a swimsuit site in the middle of an article about hamsters, however, is pushing it.

 

 

Your Buzzword For The Day: UX

“UX” stands for “user experience”, and a blogger over at Mashable talks about 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design.

The article does cover some good ground on the whole subject of interface – whoops – experience design, and is worth a look just for the thought it provokes. I like #4: It’s not “just about usability”. No, it actually has to do something worthwhile, is the point that needs emphasizing.

While I agree that experience design is important, and there are designs that are better than others, I have noticed in the past few years amongst the professionals with “nebulous titles” (see #9) is that they try to hard to justify their profession and end up over-thinking the whole thing. The best intentions and all that, you know. But have you ever seen something designed by a committee? Say, a government committee? Then you know what I’m talking about.

It’s good to be aware of the need to design the user experience, but at some point we also need to quit making up six-syllable words, get out of our academic ivory towers, and just say “It’s a button and a menu! Leave it alone!”

 

An Easy Target For Ridicule

One of the favorite sports of web designers, apparently, is to point out websites with poor designs and ridicule them.

One blogger recently posted a mockery of the corporate website for McDonald’s.

Ho ho ho! What a lame site!

Hold on, here. Why should a fast-food restaurant chain even care about its web image?

I mean, are you going to order a Big Mac online? Truly, many of the most famous brand names in the food industry have sub-par websites. In the case of McDonald’s, they’d sell just as many Happy Meals if the Internet never existed. They already have TV, radio, and print media saturated.

Here’s some other examples we found:

 

  • Burger King – No apparent marketing to customers at all. You get a very plain world map and when you navigate to a country, you get “franchise opportunities”, “careers”, and “management team”.
  • Dairy Queen – A pretty showy site, with Flash animations and lots of stuff to see and do. Still you almost have to wonder “why am I here?”
  • Domino’s Pizza – Now we’re talking! At least with a restaurant that delivers to your home, their web strategy makes sense. You should try ordering a pizza online some time; you feel just like you’re living in the 21st century.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts – Not as bad as McDonald’s, but still pretty blah. You could have phoned this in with DreamWeaver and an out-sourced Flash team.
  • Starbuck’s – Only a sliver better than McDonald’s site; off-putting color scheme, fixed-width, and badly organized links with bits of text here and there. Even though they’re another fast-ffod type enterprise, you’d think they would try to be more appealing, since their demographic ties in so well with the laptop and smartphone crowd.

 

 

Our Favorite CSS Showcases

For everybody who doesn’t use Internet Explorer, CSS is the gift from the gods that made the web more beautiful. Galleries of CSS magic, then, basically boil down to “porn for web designers”.

While your day-to-day reality will more likely involve getting a shopping cart application to check credit card numbers correctly on a client’s ASP-powered site, you can always dream of a world where Microsoft is shelled into the ground and we can all use the modern, 21st-century web.

CSS Play – Stu Nicholls is nothing less than the wizard of CSS. Is there anything he can’t do with it? He can draw Christmas trees, make maze games, animate sprites, create fly-out and pop-out menus, and tell you ten ways to make an interactive image gallery.

Web Designer Wall – When you land at this page, the startling design tells you right away that you’re at the site of a true artist. Chock-full of inspiration.

25 Hot Female Designers – It’s a common complaint that females in tech careers are sorely underrepresented, so here’s a list of 25 of them and screenshots of their site. At least the design field gets to have a balanced male/female ratio!

CSS Vault – Very complete collection of CSS designs, all organized by layout.

CSS3 Preview – You’ll be sick with desire when you see some of the things we could have in CSS3. For instance, how many lines of Javascript are you using to get rounded corners on your boxes? CSS3 gives you one short line.

CSS Zen Garden – We couldn’t leave this out or everybody would say, “Hey, you forgot Zen Garden!” So here’s the most famous of them all – a single page of XHTML which users can then customize by submitting CSS designs. The gallery has expanded over the years, so there’s a lot to see now.

Five Predictions For The Social Web for the Next Five Years

Since other bloggers are jumping on the band wagon and making predictions for 2009 (because that’s what bloggers do!), I’ll go one better, and also delay the time before anybody can prove me wrong: I’ll predict through 2014! OK, crystal ball/ on the table/ tell all the future/ that you’re able. Something’s coming in…

Yahoo still won’t get bought. – Did that get your attention? We spent the better part of 2008 gossiping about Yahoo and Microsoft and their expected tryst. Never happened. Microsoft is too greedy to pay through the nose and Yahoo is too full of pride to offer lower. And Yahoo is actually still more profitable than some 90% of web-based businesses. They still made $7.22 billion in 2008 and they’re still a Fortune 500 company, OK?

Google will launch their own stand-alone operating system. – They kind of have that already – Android on the phone, Chrome for a web browser, Gears for widgets, Google Docs for office tools, SketchUp for a graphics editor. Put all the pieces together and make a boot-loader, that’s all they have to do. Microsoft is literally shaking in its shoes at this one.

More astroturf. – “Astroturf” is where a professional hired by a corporation poses as your friend in a social site, then tries to sell you something. Worse, ten of them band together to mod you down if you have anything bad to say about their product, and up if you cheer for their product. They’ll also troll and badger you to change your opinion. It’s fake grassroots support, so they call it “astroturfing”. Expect tons more. We already saw it online this year with the United States presidential election and candidate Ron Paul’s fake support, the fake hype over movies such as “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man”, and the usual dirty tricks by big corporations everywhere. Expect to see jobs hiring professional commenters.

Sun Microsystems is going down. – Open-sourcing Solaris and Java was their last gasp. Even that hasn’t helped either of these limping technologies pick up new supporters. Without Solaris and Java, Sun has some nice servers to sell, and that’s it.

Twitter will get bought. – Most likely buyer: Google.

 

Free (or Cheap) Graphic Design Tools

Colour us “jumping to conclusions”, but we’d have to guess that Photoshop is the best-known graphic design tool out there. but it’s not an optimal solution for everybody – the price tag is high, it has a steep learning curve such that you could spend years studying it and not know all of it, and it’s also aimed more for print graphics than web graphics.

For those of you looking for a more compact and economical solution, here’s a list of tools you might want to look into. These are all less costly (all but one is free!) to download and use, and are geared more towards smaller solution sets as well.

  • GimpShop – As the name suggests, this is the version of the open source G.I.M.P. program geared to Photoshop users. G.I.M.P. stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”, after the GNU.org general public license. It’s about 90% feature-compatible with Photoshop, and is a much smaller, cheaper, and easier-to-learn program.
  • Paint.NET – This is the free graphics program using Microsoft’s .NET 2.0 framework. It’s come a long way since its origins as a better alternative to Windows’ Paint program (the one that comes with all copies of Windows). Now it’s a nice half-step between a Paint-level application and a Photoshop. Just right for slapping together a quick design.
  • PIXEL editor – This is the non-free one – but it’s only US $32! For that price, it’s barely paying for more than the bandwidth to download it. PIXEL is highly-praised by many users, citing it’s vast features, light-weight system demands, and easy-to-navigate interface.
  • Inkscape – Another GNU-licensed free program, Inkscape produces vector graphics that are right up to par with Adobe Photoshop. Even more so than other GNU competitors, Inkscape is simple enough that a child can use it, yet can produce professional results. It’s actually the one that’s fun to just sit and play with!
  • Google’s Picasa – While Picasa isn’t a full-featured web graphics workshop, it is a very handy photo tool. It’s geared more towards home users who want to organize and post a web photo album, with some common photo-editing tools built-in such as cropping, rotating, and colour-correction. It can still be useful for working with stock photos before posting them in your blog.

 

 

Web Geeks – Meet Your Idols!

We missed this a while back with all the pre-Holiday rush, but IT-News Australia published the list of the top ten geeks of all time. And yes, it is an article which uses the word ‘geek’ in the positive sense, the way we used to use the word ‘hacker’.

The list is worth pursuing, because it reminds us of all the people without whom we web developers wouldn’t have a job today:

ComputerLinus Torvalds – Maybe you don’t use Linux on your desktop (yet), but it is certainly on the job every time you use the Internet. After all, every time you use Google, you’re using Linux.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee – Made the World Wide Web. ‘Nuff said.

Marc Andreessen – Made the first WWW browser. Also ’nuff said.

Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce – Invented the integrated circuit. Well, yeah, there’s that.

Richard Stallman – Together with Torvalds, has basically single-handedly kept the flame of intelligent computer use and computing freedom alive. Chances are some of your favorite tools exist under the banner of the GPL license.

There’s many more who deserve mention, but I have to admit that of all the top ten lists of influential people in computing, this one is the most accurate.

 

Hollywood Hates Web Designers

I say that because nearly every film and TV program that comes out, when it shows a computer screen, has some fantastically unrealistic magic going on. So the expectation is set high, and when clients come to you to design their website, they wonder why you can’t make it work like that.

From the orchestra-conductor interface in Minority Report to the fantasy computers on the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek (you like how Captain Picard can talk to the computer, but the bridge crew still has to push a million buttons to drive the ship?), the film and TV industries are acting like they’ve never seen a computer in their entire lives.

Here’s the specs for the Hollywood Operating System.
You’ll recognize it all.

And here’s some more dumb Hollywood hacking cliches.
You’ve seen them all, too.

And for you hardcore programmers, here’s the list of all the ways Hollywood misrepresents code.

Really, we need a Hollywood webkit. They’ve come close to that a few times already! There’s the LCARS interface from the Starship Enterprise, recreated as a theme for the Enlightenment window manager. Hey, if you can’t beat-em, join-em, right?

But even better, we need to encourage Hollywood to represent our profession more realistically. One flick that got it right was 2001’s Hannibal. Notice how the characters use technology in this movie? A character looks up Hannibal Lecter using something that looks a lot like Google, and gets to something that looks a lot like the FBI’s most wanted list, all while using an ordinary operating system on an ordinary computer.

See? It can be done!

 

What Are Your Web Developer Peers Thinking?

AJAXian has released the results of their 2008 State-of-the-Web survey, and the one glaring thing that stands out is that the people surveyed (“as many web designers and developers from around the world as possible”) seem to be losing touch with their audience.

A minority using Windows, a minority using IE, and a minority using mobile devices. That makes huge sense for web developers.

firefoxBut that’s a sharp contrast to the web audience, where the most common visitor is still running IE6 on Windows XP, with the second place going to IE7 on Windows Vista and the third going to a smartphone running Windows Mobile.

This is a generalization derived from many survey sources, but it’s close enough to make the point.

The thing is, the farther apart web developers and web users drift, the farther the designs of the former will meet the expectations of the latter. True, we all test our websites on several platforms (I hope we do, at least!), but that’s still different from using the same thing your users use, day in and day out.

Yet, to a web developer, the thought of using Internet Explorer on a Windows system fills them with dread and horror. And justifiably so – the people who know more about how the web works are unable to tolerate the sloppy calamity that is the Microsoft web experience. It’s hard to look at Microsoft’s behavior and not think that they just plain hate the Internet!

So we try it the other way: convince users to switch. And after almost 15 years of trying, it’s time to give up. We can’t get users to stop opening viral attachments in their email; how are we supposed to make them believe that the web isn’t supposed to look this way?

Oh, and the other glaring thing we can tell from the survey: Perl is dead.

 

What web designers must know

If you are a web designer, then there are scores of things that you need to know, so that your websites will be successful. The website that you design must be able to create a rapport between the site and the visitor for a common good. This is one of the many definitions of a successful website.

In addition, your website must be interesting enough to gain the attention of a visitor who may or may not continue on to your site. Thus, there are many things that you need to take heed of in order to achieve a successful website. Here are some useful tips that can help you to become a better web designer.

website1. You must be very patient in order to be successful as a web designer. One of the greatest problems that web designers face is the fact that many web designers will try to rush through their work and thus they will often make mistakes. Don’t forget that your website will serve millions of people on the Internet and you need to be patient and meticulous in your efforts, so that you can satisfy a majority of them.

2. Make sure that you spend ample time planning for your website. This is important, as your plan will create the main layout for the website and thus this is the only way in which you can make sure that all needed elements are there. Think about the expectations from that particular website and then plan for all the elements that need to be there.

3. It is important for the web designer to be aware of the prospective audience for that particular website. Thus the design of the website must reflect the needs and the expectations of this prospective audience.

4. Make sure that you are up to date on various new techniques and tools on the Internet. It is very important for the web designer to be armed with the latest technologies in order to create a more competitive design. If you need to improve yourself then take some time off to learn about these new technologies

 

More on what web designers must know

5. A good web designer must be able to balance the use of graphics and Audio – Video files with website viewing efficiency. Using graphics can make your website interesting and pleasing to look at; but overdoing it can cause your web viewing times to slow down. Thus as a website designer, you will have to balance this equation for that particular website.

6. A good web designer must be able to balance out the content of the web site into numerous web pages. This will be better for the visitors and it will also be better for SEO purposes.

7. It is essential for a web designer to know the driving force behind SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It is important for the web designer to be familiar with Search Engine algorithms. This way the web designer will be able to adjust keyword densities and other relevant SEO related criteria.

8. A good web designer will seek professional help and opinion whenever needed.

Why choose the right colour scheme for web sites

When used correctly, colours can not only enhance the visual appeal of your website but also help in conveying your message to the target audience effectively. Modern web browsers share 216 common colours necessitating you to stay in this colour range while designing key elements.
Going outside the standard 216 colour pallet would require the browser to mix colours. The browser thus borrows tiny dots from the colours that already exist to create the required colour, a process that is called as dithering. Most of the times, this dithered colour is so speckled that it becomes impossible for users to read the text.


Layout and navigation–Critical to website success

Layout and navigation are the key for attracting attention to a website. On a well designed website, individual elements, be it graphics or text, appear to be in harmony with and complimentary to each other. The quality of the layout dependents on the right mix of placing of objects, font size, empty spaces, and background.

Use background colour that enhances the look of the text or graphic on the foreground. Lighter shades are generally preferred and practically found to be useful. Avoid adding colours just to create shock value or add an element of surprise. In addition, the background has to be appropriate keeping in mind the focus of the site. A site dedicated for a medical facility may have white or light blue as the background giving an impression of purity, cleanliness, healing etc., while darker colours may not be suitable.

Placing of the text and the spaces in between may also give different impressions about the website. A website for a media company may display text and graphics in a random manner which may not be appropriate for, say a charitable organisation.

Use font size of 11 or 12 and a pleasant font type – I like Georgia, and avoid Arial type fonts.

Avoid the use of video clips and graphics that take an eternity to load and play. Be sure to add an option tab to skip the video or flash graphics if it is the first thing anyone encounters while entering your website. People would not want to go all over the show every time they visit the site. Do not use animations in the background that run without end, as they may prove to be a distraction in reading the text in the foreground.

Another important feature of a website is the navigation system. A good navigation system can be somewhat compared to finding one’s way using a map. If the clues and directions are foolproof the going gets easier, and more importantly, interesting. Keeping the user interested is the purpose of a good navigation tool. Imagine you have a site dedicated to provide information about all the ways and means for people to travel to exotic places and tips to find cheaper means of transport and low-cost lodging. A well-designed navigation tool will make it easier to gather information, as well as explore deeper and wider, for the possibilities of adding various places on to the tour itinerary. A link attached with each location name could lead the user to a page dedicated to photographs or video clips of each location.

A good navigation tool helps in moving from one page to another with minimum effort. It is generally advised that the navigation system be planned and finalised well before the website is developed. Many a times it so happens that a user does not find specific information on a site, in spite of it being shown consistently when a Google search is made using the keyword.

The importance of navigation can be well appreciated when accessing data from websites of popular organizations. Adding a navigation chart that can be accessed from the home page is advisable. A user may find it easier to find his way using the chart rather than exploring all options available.


Fixing Validation Problems Effectively

It is very important that you have a valid HTML document.

A valid document is important so that your page displays correctly on all browsers. You can use different validations that are available for the purpose. By using these validators you can understand the various errors that exist in your document and easily make sure that you remove these errors to make your page W3C compliant. These validators can provide you with a detailed description of errors that you can read out and eliminate.

When you submit a page for validating you generally get a window or an email that will explain the errors. You cannot have a perfectly valid page the first time so it is important that you validate your page. Moreover, with validation, you ensure that your page can load properly even when HTML versions improve. To effectively fix validation problems you can undertake the following measures:

• Read the full text of each error:
When you submit your page for validation, these validators provide you with a lot of information on errors. Though it seems like a lot of information, you should read through it thoroughly. It gives you many important information for elimination.

• Fix errors in order:
The validators read the HTML code sequentially. It is better to start fixing the problems in the same sequence. You may find yourself spending more time on fixing errors if you go from the last error to the first error.

• Re-validate after every fix:
Typically for errors of any kind a single error at the top can generate other errors after it. If you eliminate the errors in a sequence and validate them after each fix, you may find that some of the errors get eliminated without having to work on them.

• Go to line number and start reading up:
From the list of errors provided, you would know the line number for the error. Go to the line and find the error if it exists on that line or before that line.

• Line and column number are not necessarily accurate:
Though the validators give you a near accurate idea as to where the problem starts, it is not always perfect. You can take the information provided as a guideline and check the code around that line to find the problem area. Move up from that line if you do not find the error on that line itself.

• Warnings may be ignored:
There are some warnings that these validators sometimes provide you with if it is not sure about something in the code. You can remove the errors and have a fully valid page with the warnings. They are simply shown to indicate that there may be problems for some browsers or user agents. If you want, you may choose to correct those.

There are various validators available like HTML validators, XHTML validators and CSS validators. They validate what their names suggest and are easy to use. They use W3C to validate your HTML, XHTML and CSS specifications.

You may also make use of the Link Checker that can help you to find if the link is working or broken. There are accessibility validators also which can check your document.

Fixing validation issues is not difficult and makes your page compliant with most of the browsers.

 

Web Page Design

Good web page design is vital if you are planning on optimising your page for the search engines – and why wouldn’t you?

You should plan the design to suit search engines and your customers.

Some of the things that you need to keep in mind are:

demonstrationMaintaining a consistent theme for your website plays an important role in how effective your natural website rankings will develop. A properly developed website theme will reinforce the users understanding of exactly what your company is offering.

Your website design should provide strategic navigation that does not permit your visitors to get lost within deeper pages, creating traffic fall out and abandoned shopping carts.

Create a navigation layout that is both search engine and user friendly. We want to focus on creating a clearly defined hierarchical layout that enables the average user to navigate easily throughout your site.

If you feel it is time to redesign your site and you’re having difficulties coming up with a good design, Perth Web Designers can design an effective web site that is sure to meet the expectations of your customers and search engines.

Web Design And How To Create Great Content To Get Good Links

Regular readers on Earth Movin’ Media would know that along with web design, I quite often write about search engine marketing techniques on this blog.

However, for more in-depth search engine marketing strategies – then I also write another blog covering internet marketing strategies and search engine ranking factors for web design and development. You will find it here – internet marketing blog

websiteslinks-iconWriting articles is an art, and something that has long been used as an option to build relevant links to websites for the purpose of Internet marketing. The idea is to write good articles to create great content for search engines.

If you write and submit good quality articles with content that is relevant to your product or service, it can be seen as highly useful and therefore generate lots of relevant, high quality links to your website.

So how does this fit in with web design?

You will no doubt be asked along the way by clients to assist in their web marketing. Maybe not in a big design firm where you operate as a designer only. But, if you choose to go out on your own, you will find that you are requested to fulfill multiple tasks that you may not have expected to do.

So here we go.

Using good content, you can create good articles (& blogs) which can then create direct links to the website. This is done in the article BIO that you will be asked to include when submitting articles to directories such as Ezine Articles.

Creating good content requires writing on topical issues relevant to the website you want to link to.

• When you are writing content for article links, your focus is not only prospective customers but also other bloggers or writers who are writing similar type of content. When you have good quality content, you will find that many people rely on your content for interesting information. Similarly, if you put interesting content in your blogs and/or discussion forums you will also attract many visitors. This is noticed by other companies. Such companies will contact you for partner links. It would be mutually beneficial for both companies as the traffic that one pulls add on to the other’s links to a certain extent.

• You may select a topical issue on which to write. If there is some issue that matters most to your industry, a discussion based on it can become very interesting if handled cleverly. Such a discussion can give you a great insight to the industry, as well as have some new ideas or opinions about the issue in question.

• When you develop content, ensure that it becomes conversational. When people are tempted to participate in discussions and when your conversations become more popular, you find a large number of visitors. With the added traffic to your website, you will find more and more companies approach you to share links. You have to be diligent in selecting only the links that will add value.

• Other companies can be happy to share links with you if you have good quality content. Write your articles correctly and precisely. When other sites find linking to your sites beneficial for traffic creation you can well feel assured of getting their traffic as well. This helps in improving your page ranking.

• When you create content, pay attention to the basics. The use of title, headings, spelling, and grammar is vital. Break articles into meaningful sections, word counts, etc. Moreover make sure that you do not try too hard to promote your product or service in the articles.

You should be able to submit your articles to different publishers. Try submitting to social networking and social bookmarking sites such as digg. These sites can potentially deliver huge traffic and great links.

 

More technical tips for increasing your website loading time

Website design and page loading speeds

The total number of HTML files on each page should be as low as possible although most browsers can multithread. Minimizing HTTP requests is a key to web page loading.

The total number of objects & images should be a reasonable number. Combine, refine, and optimize your external objects. Replace graphic rollovers with CSS rollovers to speed display and minimize HTTP requests.

Keep external CSS files per page to a low number and should be in the HEAD of your HTML document. They must load first before any BODY content displays. Although they are cached, CSS files slow down the initial display of your page.

Consider reducing total page size of your web page to less than 30K to achieve sub eight second response times on 56K connections. Pages over 100K exceed most attention thresholds at 56Kbps, even with feedback. Remember you still need to cater to dial-up connections.

Make sure external script files are either one or two. Combine, refine, and optimise your external script files.

Total size of your pages HTML file should be less than 20K which will allow your page to display content in less than 8 seconds, which is the average time users are willing to wait for a page to display without feedback.

The use of whitespace

Whitespace is the space between elements in a piece of work. More specifically the space between major elements is macro whitespace.

Micro whitespace is the space between smaller elements – lists, captions, images or between words and letters.

Designers use whitespace to create a feeling of sophistication and elegance for upmarket brands. Coupled with the intelligent use of font and photography, whitespace is seen all over luxury markets.

Cosmetics advertising embrace the extensive use of whitespace in marketing material to tell the reader that they’re stylish and superior in quality.

In the case of direct mail, material needs to appear down-market to work and adding whitespace to this type of design would lend an undesirably upmarket quality.

Less whitespace = cheap
More whitespace = luxury

A lot more goes into branding than just whitespace, but as a project lands on your desk for a luxury brand, it’s likely that the client and their target customers will expect whitespace to align the product with its competitors.

Active and passive whitespace

Whitespace is often used to create a balanced, harmonious layout. One that just feels right.

It can also take the reader on a journey through the design. When whitespace is used to lead a reader from one element to another, it’s called active whitespace.

Once you know how to design and manipulate the space outside, inside, and around your content, you will be able to give your readers a head start, position products more precisely, and perhaps even begin to see your own content in a new light.

How To Avoid Costly Mistakes When Designing Your Website

Designing a new website or making alterations to an existing one is fraught with the possibility of mistakes and sometimes even blunders. Therefore it is important that you take certain precautions before plunging into your web designing. Failure to do so may land you in delays rather than in quick success. The following guidelines would help you avoid the unnecessary fuss and frustration!

Know your prospective site user:
Acquire a good understanding of the expectations of your prospective site visitors. Analyze their needs. What do visitors of such websites look out for? What kind of websites do your prospective customers expect to see? What should be the layout and design of your website copy? Does it need photographs and graphics? Will you need to alter the content from time to time? A thorough customer research will answer all these questions

Pay for what you need:
Don’t overspend your budget. If your business is small you don’t need a lot of bandwidth and web space every month. If you wrongly believe you do it will cost you quite a lot of money. Go for something small that is economical and yet useful. It may turn out to be faster too.

Avoid complicated techniques:
As far as possible avoid using complicated techniques such as frames, custom mouse pointers, sound, doorway pages or any other technology that asks users to download rare plug-ins. Usually such techniques scare away most Internet users as they find that it is confusing and takes a longer time to download leading to a complicated navigation.

More Tips For How To Avoid Costly Mistakes When Designing Your Website

Keep the search engines in your focus:
All web surfers use search engines. Therefore, make sure your site is duly listed in a couple of popular search engines. It is also important that your site links up well internally, and all important pages open with a simple click of the mouse. Your website must be search-engine-friendly for which you must use keywords clearly not only in your website title but also repeatedly in the first paragraph of your web content and text. Remember your key words are the words that Internet users are expected to type in the search bar while looking out for your type of website.

Give usability top priority:
Make sure that your web design projects your brand very well. Your site’s usability is of vital importance. If it is not very user-friendly then web surfers will go elsewhere. It is the correct use of key words that makes your website user-friendly. Your texts should be clearly visible and site navigation smooth. Your fonts and colors should look pleasing to the eyes. Your link structure should help people find information quickly.

Remember that the usual top-level menu items are: Home, About Us, Products, Services, and Contact Information.

 

Some More Tips For How To Avoid Costly Mistakes When Designing Your Website

Simple rather than flashy:
The use of multimedia can help you provide all kinds of features making your web pages lifelike and interesting. However, it is advisable to avoid its use if you really want your prospective visitors to gain quick access to your website and obtain the relevant information. It is a good idea to limit flash navigation, which can confuse users if over used. Always make access to your Home page direct from any page.

Focus on speed:
Files with graphic formats should never give users long download times or they will be driven away. Remember search engines find it hard to decipher text embedded in graphics and these features take longer to download. Avoid such things as far as possible. Have a look here for more technical tips on website loading and page design.

Headings are important:
While surfing the Net do you enjoy reading a huge passage without headings and sub-headings? Not really! Therefore use catchy headings and sub-headings (the juice) to help your website visitors go around your site freely without getting lost in the mass of words. Use bullets to give quick indicators to simple-worded detailed information. In your headings, choose key terms that can be easily indexed by search engines.

Finally, remember that your prospective clients and customers are your target. Put yourself in their place and ask yourself if your website will be able to live up to their expectation. Also, regularly revise and update your website keeping up with the changing technology and needs of the time.

 

Firefox 3 – What a nightmare

When Firefox announced a new version for their excellent web browser a couple of weeks ago – Version 3 – I wasted no time in down loading the latest version. Full of excitement.

I have been a massive Firefox fan (along with every other tech geek around) for a long time now.

What an absolute disappointment.

Along with the fact that half my add-ons were unsupported (such as RoboForm), it has an unbelievable amount of bugs, clashes with Norton 360 – and is just a massive let down.

After using the new version of Firefox for a couple of hours I actually changed my default browser back to IE7 (which I hate with a passion). Not for long however, because when you’re used to using Firefox – IE just doesn’t cut it.

So, IE goes back to being used only as the test browser for new web development – that’s about the extent of it’s use.

Yesterday, I uninstalled it and reinstalled Version 2.0.0.1.6 – and it’s back to it’s brilliant best! I love Firefox again.

Some technical tips for increasing your website loading time

Coding should be clean as possible, free of structure and CSS files should be off page where possible.

HTTP compression, otherwise called content encoding using gzip should be considered.

Consider compressing your textual content ie javascript etc with mod gzip or similar products.

CSS alternate style sheets should be referenced in the HTML but are not actually downloaded until they are needed and therefore reduce the total page size.

 

Windows 7

By Andy Patrizio September 12, 2008

Publicly, Microsoft has said Windows 7, the successor operating system to the firm’s much maligned Windows Vista, will not ship until early 2010, but its internal calendar has June 3, 2009 as the planned release date, InternetNews.com has learned.

Also, Microsoft will use its Professional Developer’s Conference in late October as the launch platform for the first public beta of Windows 7. Microsoft plans to release the first beta on October 27, the first day of the show, when Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie will be the keynote speaker.

More at www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3771391

Advanced tech tips for web page loading

The total size of your images should be under 30K. Consider optimising your images for size, combining them, and replacing graphic rollovers with CSS.

The total size of external scripts ideally should not be over 8K. Consider optimising your scripts for size, combining them, and using compression where appropriate for any scripts placed in the HEAD of your documents.

The total size of your external CSS should be under 8K. Optimise your CSS for size by eliminating white space in the code, using shorthand notation, and combining multiple CSS files where appropriate.

 

Web Design & Usability

When designing your web site, you need to remember that your visitors want to know more about the details of what you do;

1. how you do it
2. how long you’ve been doing it
3. how great you are at doing it
4. the specialized fields in which you do it (vertical)
5. the people that you have on staff doing it
6. and their experience doing it

Website Usability

When talking about usability, most people will refer to “simple things” like making sure your phone number is in the top right corner of your web pages so the visitor can easily convert for you.

Stuff like that is important (the point of driving people to a web site is to grow your business). However, that’s only one reason to focus on usability.

The goal should always be to improve the user experience.

The more that we, as web designers focus on the user, the better quality service we’ll provide our clients.

Website design access

1. How is your web site constructed?
2. Do you have enough content for users to thoroughly research your company?
3. Do you use words that are commonly used by your target audience within the content of your web site?
4. Do you make this information easily accessible to your users, or do you have a lot of your best content buried and not properly linked from pages?

Creating And Designing Your Own Website – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 1

Designing a website is a crucial business task.

Below are few tips which can help to guide you if you plan to design a website.

Be organized: one of the greatest flaws, which many novice designers are prone to, is organization. Your web site must be well organized and not just for you but for visitors. Make the navigation tools convenient so that the user can search for information easily. Don’t let your visitor get lost under several layers of pages without a clear way out.

Don’t write too much text: don’t over stuff your website with too much text. You can break up the content and put bullets, bold words or make short paragraphs. This will help the reader understand text easily.

Visitors never read every word you write – no matter how interesting you think you might be! Rather they scan the pages. If you need to write a lot of text to cover a subject, I usually find it best to use javascript links to expand/collapse text blocks. This will allow the visitor to go to which ever section thay are interested in – and expand that particular section without getting hit by a huge page of text. But if you find the designing process overwhelming and you need help, Northern Lights Web Design in Perth can help you get the best quality website design.

 

Creating And Designing Your Own Website – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2

Use software for web design: these days you can find various web design software tools in the market. You can either choose advanced or beginner software for website designing depending upon your skills and knowledge. Some of the web designing software is Flash, Front page, Dreamweaver, and so on. You can also get some inexpensive software in the market but make sure that they provide the level of quality you require.

Frame a layout: decide the kind of layout you want for your website. For effectiveness, it is always advisable to make the layout as simple as possible.

Update your website: always update your website. Outdated sites are boring. Keep the interest level up always.

Keep a backup: if your website suffers a crash or attack you need a backup for your website, it will help you to get the website back online in a short period. These are usually your local file copies, but can also be extended to other drives or websites especially created for such a purpose.

Interactive website: make your website interactive by using different forms, tabs buttons or text boxes. The more the interaction between you and the user, the better the results.

 

Creating And Designing Your Own Website – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 3

Colour scheme: an important aspect of the design process is colour. It affects physiologically and psychologically as different colours have positive and negative attributes or feelings that they evoke in people.

Apply an attractive web page header: this is important because the header is the first thing which any visitor will notice when your web page loads. Headers are not difficult to create and are definitely the best way to improve the web design.

You can create headers with basic elements of design. These types of images can be easily developed with a few twists, which give your website a professional look.

With a little effort you can design a website that will make you proud.

 

Web Design For Beginners

If you have your own business or simply want to have your own website to reach out to prospective customers you need a great website. Your potential customers or clients want to see you on the net.

website-designing-patnaYou do not need to be an expert at designing websites to start off. You need to just be aware of three things; using HTML, registering for a domain name and finding a service to host your website.

The first thing that the website needs is a domain name. A domain name is nothing but the address for your identity on the Internet. For e.g www.google.com, is the domain name for the search engine by Google. Your domain name has to be registered for a certain period of time. The name that you decide should be such that it easily identifies with your company name or product that you are selling or the purpose of the website.

It should be easy to remember and as short as possible. If you can include one of your keywords in it – then great – but it isn’t essential. Something quirky, that also stands out as being different is also a good way to go.

 

Web Design For Beginners Part 2

Once you have the domain name registered you need to have an website designed. Something to stand out from the crowd.

htmlYou need to know HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) to be able to create the design for the web pages. HTML is necessary for browsers who can only interpret pages created as HTML pages.

When designing your web page you should make it simple and easy to understand. You should design it in a modular manner so that it has a balanced and structured look. This simplicity would enable your potential clients to understand your business products and/or services and fetch them desired information.

If you do not know HTML there are various sites that offer tutorials of short durations. You can develop your own website which is versatile and to your liking and tastes, or you could get Slinky to come up with a concept for you.

Using professional web designing services offer the most professional and consistent result – but you should be prepared to pay for the service.

Once your website is ready you need to host your site. This will allow your website to be viewed on the world wide web (WWW).

Costs for hosting usually depend on your bandwidth requirements along with the speed you want to connect with.

You need to ensure that your site has been optimized for searches. You can accomplish this with the diligent use of keywords. Other marketing options like banners and links can also be used.

Good quality content is key to retaining visitors and turning them into paying customers or clients.

Things To Do and ‘Not To Do’ When Designing Your Website

There are many things you would like to do for your website but you should not do.

Here are a few tips that you should do and should not do for a better website design.

So, you are a music lover and would like to have some light background music for your website to set the mood right?

Music should always be kept to a minimum for websites. Files can be heavy and thus increase response times for your visitors. If you feel like you need to use music, then make sure you include an on/off button and try not to use music that may be offensive to other musical tastes.

Embedding music into flash files can be a good way to include music in your website as it can be optimised well, but it will still add valuable loading times to your pages.


Things To Do and Not To Do When Designing Your Website – Part 2

The structure of web pages, is a very significant part of website designing. Most of the people surfing the net like consistency. This applies to the structure of your web pages as well. So, even if you are bored of the same structure, stick to it. Do not try to experiment and create different structures of different web pages. This might end up confusing the visitor and thereby forcing him/her to exit.

Automatic pop-ups can be a real nuisance for net surfers.

If you are toying with the idea of whether or not to include some in your website, then don’t!

Pop-ups are typically used when you want to display some unimportant information. Most visitors know this fact and thus do not like automatic pop-ups. If there is any information that you would like to incorporate as automatic pop-up, then integrate it in your website. However, this should be done in an interesting way to grab the attention of your readers instead of shooing them away by having pop-ups.

 

 

Things To Do and Not To Do When Designing Your Website – Part 3

You may be surprised to know how much people prefer the old conventional methods when it comes to navigating websites. Top companies have researched on the style of navigation that most people prefer, and the results have been in favor of the old conventional systems. However, if you are tempted to use a funky navigational style, like all links arranged in a circle, then resist your temptation and stick to the convention.

Everyone likes to be their own boss. This also applies to people visiting your website. So, if you have a particular style for your window that will look good only in a particular window size then drop your idea. Because, if you continue with the same, you will have to add scripts that will automatically resize the window of your website visitor and this can tick off people! So, go for a style that is flexible and fluid.

 

Designing Websites For Web Browsers

While designing your Website, you should understand the fact that your visitors might try to get access by using one of the many different browsers used throughout the globe. Hence, a vital part of your effort focuses on ensuring that your Website performs satisfactorily when accessed by any browser. If your Website is not accessible or does not run smoothly with certain browsers, then you might lose those visitors and potential clients to your competitors.

Various operating systems use different browsers. Therefore, even as Windows users prefer to use Internet Explorer, Firefox, or even Opera – Linux users could be accessing your site by using Konqueror while Mac users could visit via Safari.

The best way to design and test your Website would be to design it for use with Internet Explorer and then test it with the other browsers.

Use HTML 4.01 or even XHTML as your code.

Another simple point that results in irritating errors is the proper encoding of specific characters. While some browsers can automatically correct character errors, other browsers that understand only encoding might result in display or execution problems. Thus, it is important to encode all characters other than alphabets or numbers in their hexadecimal forms.

 

 

More on Designing Websites For Web Browsers

Another common problem that afflicts some visitors is the incorrect use of colours on the Website.

Your images, graphics, animations, and text especially should be viewable and readable by all users irrespective of the browser or resolution setting.

Many visitors would enter your Website with high colour settings; there are still quite a few web users whose computers have a setting of 256 colors.

Ensure that your Website does not have any dithering issues for visitors whose monitors have different colour settings. Thus, your font and background colours should be in sufficient contrast so that all your visitors can easily read your web pages irrespective of their browser or colour settings.

Instead of directly using the colour names, ensure that you use the matching hexadecimal codes to allocate the colours on your site.

 

Designing Websites For Web Browsers part 3

Your graphic format should also be easily accessible by different browsers. Images can be stored and transported under various formats. The more common ones are JPEG, GIF, and PNG.

Some GIF users have run into patent problems and have thus shifted to PNG or JPEG formats. There are various other graphic formats but since most work only with a limited number of browsers, it is better to stick to a format that the maximum number of browsers can access.

If possible, try to ensure that all the browsers load the text on your Website so that your visitors can browse over the content of your site as your graphics load on to the page. This will prevent your visitors from leaving your site if the graphics or animations take a longer time in loading.

Thus, in order to cater to a wide variety of visitors from various corners of the world, it is necessary to design your Website in a format that can satisfy the maximum number of visitors irrespective of their operating systems or their browsers.

By designing and testing your Website with various browsers, you can detect and remove any flaws and thus ensure that your Website loads smoothly on to your visitor’s machine.

 

 

What’s New in the World of CyberSquatting?

Cybersquatting is the ugly-sounding name of an ugly, but borderline-legal, practice of registering a domain name with the intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The problem is, as is usually the case with gray laws, the proving of intent.

icon-domainICANN has the “Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy”, which it applies as a sort-of rule-of-law for resolving cybersquatting cases. But you’re probably heard where their rulings are controversial, no? There does seem to be some huge corporations out there who win a lot of exclusive rights to domains that shouldn’t have anything to do with them, while small businesses are lucky if they can get their case heard at all.

Take the case of “Microsoft vs MikeRoweSoft” that was settled recently. This one is almost anyone’s call. On the one hand, there’s no way you could confuse the two domains when typing them into a web browser. On the other hand, Mike Rowe admitted that he’d done it as a joke. On another hand, even Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler admitted that they may have been too aggressive in their defense of the “Microsoft” trademark. The case got settled for what amounts to a treasure chest of party favors and Mike Rowe made some money off the deal, so all’s well that ends well?

In a world where we have Linux paper towels and MicroSoft laundry detergent, proving who has the rights to a particular trade name can be a slippery task, especially with the international market. Is anybody out there finding new sound-alike domains, such as those recently recovered by the group CitizenHawk?

 

 

Designing Websites For Universal Access

The Internet has no geographical or cultural boundaries and one can expect visitors all corners of the world to your site. A well-designed Website should be accessible to all types of people including those with hearing disabilities, are visually impaired, and even those with physical disabilities.

If you want your Website to reach out to a larger audience, then it could be better to incorporate additional features at the planning stage itself. This could save you the trouble of re-writing all the programs and codes required to changing your Website. A feature that can jump across geographical boundaries would be the ability to incorporate a translation facility, to translate the language used in your Website into various other languages. This helps people from other countries gain access to your Website.

You might at present, be restricted to translating your Website into two or three different languages based on your target audience. The future might provide Website designers the power to translate the entire Website into any language that a visitor desires.

If you need help designing your website for universal access, you can find a web design company with a broad understanding of the different needs of web users with physical disabilities.

 

Websites For Universal Access

There may be a small percentage of visitors with physical disabilities, who have problems in navigating with the mouse. In such conditions, it is better to provide a large display on which visitors can click their choice, instead of providing a very small button on which to click. Try to maintain a standard format on your Website where the choice buttons appear in a specific corner of every page. This will make life easier for all your visitors, including those physically impaired.

If your Website contains videos, then this might pose a problem to those people with hearing disabilities. In such cases, you could attach streaming text at the bottom of your video that runs along with the video or if you regularly change your applets or plug-ins. You could also provide a hyper-link that provides such visitors all text in readable form.

 

 

More On Designing Websites For Universal Access

Visitors who have visual problems require a little more effort. A fraction of your visitors may be colourblind. To be easily accessible to colourblind persons, insert colours that do not appear similar when viewed. You can hold trial sessions for colourblind people to give you an idea of the colour shades that you can safely use to maintain their distinct quality.

In case of totally blind visitors, the task can get tougher since normally, blind people use a screen reader software that reads out aloud one word at a time, one line at a time. This could be very frustrating for them since if the information that they require is at the bottom of the page, then the software would take up valuable time in reading through the entire page before reaching the bottom.

You should use adequate space between various words and make your alt-tag information short and precise. You can also place various key words in brackets and any accompany links by the word ‘link’, to make it easy for your blind visitors to understand and navigate.

The changes that required doing to cater to the special needs of your special visitors could well worth your while, since there might not be many sites thoughtful enough to incorporate them in their Websites. This could provide you and your business with financial as well as mental satisfaction.

 

 

A Guide To Designing Profitable Websites

A website is the image of your company. It acts like a representative for an off-line company.

Thus, it is very important to have a well-designed and attractive site to hold the attention of the browser and leave a mark on him. With an increasing number of businesses going online, the competition has increased tremendously and you have to be very creative when it comes to designing your web page. Your website is your mouthpiece and you need to let it deliver the best to the readers.

As a website has the power to boost your business, you need to be at your best when designing it. Here are a few tips that can help you design a profitable website.

• The moment anyone logs on to the website he looks out for the navigation button to flip through the site pages. Do not have fancy website navigation, as it may confuse the visitor. A website should be user friendly and one should instantly know how to go on to the next page or search what they want.

 


More On Designing Profitable Websites

• Although graphics and images make your website look trendy, they also increase the loading time. Make sure you do not have too many images or your website will run slowly and the visitor may lose interest. Let there be graphics and pictures, but only where necessary.

• When you write any articles or details on the web, remember to keep your paragraphs short and simple. Internet browsers may not have time to go through wordy and lengthy sentences. Thus, split your paragraphs and sentences. The fonts and text color should not hurt the readers’ eye. You can use white space so that it relaxes the eyes and the reader doest get lost while reading. The font should be visible enough so that readers find it convenient to go through it.

• Do not be relaxed if your website looks good only on the Internet explorer. If your website breaks and does not show up well in Firefox or other browsers, you need to fix the problem. It is always better to view your website on various browsers to know how it looks. If your website is not coming up well on other browsers chances are you are losing many prospective customers.

• Do not be restricted to any particular script, as it may not open up on every computer and the visitor may miss important information. Always use normal script available that any server can easily open and read.

• Always make use of website templates as it saves both time and money when you want to create a new layout. However, when you make use of templates make sure you do not go in for very popular ones as many other websites may be using the same template too, and you may just be following the herd.

Apart from the website being user friendly, it also needs to appear neat and attractive. Following the tips above will help you make the most out of your website and increase traffic tremendously. A well design site is sure to help you earn loads of profit.

 

Great Tips For Proper Web Design

Internet is a great platform for online business. There are numerous websites on the World Wide Web, however, only few manage to do good business. An unappealing and poor quality website is a big failure, as it will have less or no browsers at all. To propel your website towards success you need to know ways to do so. This article will give you some useful tips that can help you design your website well, and generate huge traffic.

Here are a few tips that will help you with your web page design.

It is important to make your website appealing and attractive by adding graphics and visuals. However, these visuals or effects won’t be of any use if the website takes too long to load. A website should not take more than 10 seconds to load or you certainly will lose the browser.

Have quality content on your website. The words you use should be search engine optimized so that the engine finds it easy to locate your website and display it on the first page of Google. You can use tools like word tracker or keyword discovery to find out words that are less frequently used and can help in generating huge traffic.

More Great Tips For Proper Web Design

It is better to use HTML, as it is reliable and a versatile language, that can help you code your web pages. It is easy to learn HTML and is very effective in designing the colour, font, and style of the content on the website.

The navigation buttons used on the website should have fewer words written on it, or it will make the content area crowded and not pleasant to the eye.

If you find some problems in loading your website do not give up but look for professional help. At times your website may have a problem to open up in Netscape due to complex designs, however, you can seek a solution by looking out for an expert in web designing.

 

 

Tips For Proper Web Design

A website needs a lot of planning and preparation before you actually work on it. Poor planning can lead to a poor website. Have a rough plan ready about the graphics and visuals to be used, the content, font, style, and color. You should also be sure about the number of pages you need to upload, where and how to place the navigation button and so on.

Before you upload your site you need to register for a domain name. It is an address given to your website which can be easily identified among various websites on the Internet. You may not be able to purchase it but can get it on lease for a period of two years.

It is true that pictures are attractive and speak about the product. However, visitors to your website are more interested in your content and do not waste time in uploading pictures that take time to load. Instead, use quality and unique content that will be useful to the reader.

Taking care of these things will help you catch hold of many browsers. However, update your website often, and revamp the website once in a while, to keep the visitors coming back for more.

 

Few Friendly Tips For A Better Website Design

Are you going crazy because you have tried an unending list of ideas and options to increase the traffic for your website but nothing has really clicked? Well, then here are a few suggestions to make your website viewable and appealing for most web surfers and increase the traffic for your site.

People like to visit pages that are not linked in a confusing manner. It would be great for you to include a site map of your website for the same purpose.

A site map is a simple web page that includes all the sub pages of your website in an organized fashion. This makes it very convenient for the visitor to navigate to the required page and also increases his/her chances of visiting your website again simply because of its user friendliness.

 


Tips For A Better Website Design

A web page can contain text, image files, multimedia clips and so on. When the size of all these elements present on a web page is added you get the total number of kilobytes a visitor will have to download to open that particular page of your website. Simply, it is known as page size.

If a person has to wait for more than 10 seconds to download your page then chances are that he/she will move on to the next option he/she has. Though high speed Internet is gaining popularity steadily, yet there are many users who still use orthodox 56-k dial up modems. Thus, it is advisable that you keep your web page under 60 K in size to make it downloadable by maximum number of visitors.

Again, there are many people around the world who still use the old 800 x 600 resolution and you will amazed to know that they comprise around 40% of the net surfers! Thus, even if you have a high-resolution setup, you should still try to design your pages according to 800 x 600 resolution. Otherwise, the visitor will have to scroll though your page horizontally, which can be very frustrating.

Tips For A Better Website Design

Many times while trying to open up a page you have seen the 404 page. These pages have very little information, which states that due to some fault you are not able to view that page. Users do not like to view such pages. However, a good idea would be to make your own custom 404 ‘page not found’ page.

It can have information for the visitor that they have come to the right website but not the right page. It can also have links to redirect the visitor to the home page or the site map. If your website has a search engine, then you can also include the search in your custom 404 page. After this has been done, all you need to do is to ask your web host to set it up so that you can use your own 404 page.

To boost the speed required to open your page, you can add a forward slash (/) at the end of the URL of that page. This is done to remove one of the steps that the web browser would have to perform. This way the speed is enhanced and your page can open up faster. However, if the link points towards a particular file (a PHP/ASP page or an html page) then do not use the trailing slash.

These are a few tips that will make your website a pleasant search for the surfers and a user friendly- site for the visitors.

 

Common Web Design Myths

Have you ever wondered why some Websites look and perform better than others? It is because many web designers are caught in a web of myths, and cannot manage to produce the desired effects and results. Here are some common web design myths that can have an adverse effect on your Website.

Myth – Only Good Content Can Determine A Good Website: While good content does indicate a high quality website, it is not the only criteria. Your visitors need not only to be educated, but also entertained at the same time. No one would like to look at endless pages of high quality content if it is does not contain presentable graphics, images and interactive menus. The key is to find the right combination of content, graphics, and images that enable your Website to run at optimum speed as well as provide the information required to your visitors. If your Website targets mainly the younger generation, then they are not be attracted by good content but will instead, be more impressed by high quality graphics, video and images.

Myth – Only A Well-Designed Front End Ensures Success: While an attractive and interactive front end is essential to impress visitors, the absence of solid architecture to back that front end will result in disappointed visitors cursing and leaving your site. Formulate a proper plan with inputs from the web designers, Search Engine Optimization [SEO] experts, and your marketing department. This should translate into a Website that not only has a well-designed front end but also has links and sub-menus that actually work in a seamless manner. Ensure that you execute trial runs using all possible resolution combinations and using various Internet speeds. Ensure that your Website allows surfing, accepts inquiries, orders, and payments. The complete package should work in complete synchrony.

Myth – Throw In Some Good Graphics, Make Some Sound And Your Website Is Ready: This could be the advice offered by a novice web designer but in reality you will need much more than just adding videos, graphics, sound and animation to make a desirable Website. You first need to research on your target Website audience, and design your Website according to their likes and dislikes. You can compromise a little on the quality of graphics by reducing the number of colors, or reducing the size of the images if it is not too critical for your Website. Experiment with different resolutions until you find the right combination of graphics that works well in all resolutions. Many web designers are also of the view that only one ready-made web template should be sufficient for all their clients. This could result in an average Website that offers nothing new to your visitors.

Myth –Visitors to Your Website Have Good Internet Knowledge: Many designers assume that most of the visitors have excellent Internet knowledge and thus design Websites that could prove to be difficult for a novice to comprehend and navigate. A Website design should be easy to use by one-and-all. Before launching your Website, try to rope in a few novices as well as experts and provide them with a demo of your site. Observe their actions and reactions and use that feedback to improve your site.

It is therefore necessary to be aware of the above myths in order to design a balanced easily navigated Website accessible by visitors of all levels of Internet knowledge and skills.

 

 

Web Design – Top design strategies for a great web site

Keep it simple

hero--deskThe business web site is there for the customer. Keep your customer in mind at all times. Don’t become so enchanted with showcasing your company that you lose sight of the reason your visitor came to your site. If you lose him once, you are not likely to get him back for a second chance.

Update often

Good web sites have changing content and changing design. If your site looks like it has not been updated lately, can your customer actually depend on the information he finds there? Well designed web sites allow for easy updating within the structure of the site. The best designs offer a dynamic site which has something different each time the visitor returns. Talk to your designer about options for automating your web site content.

Provide relevant content

Do not assume that your visitor is interested in your company history, employee roster, personnel photos. Give him something worth reading in an interesting format and he will return to your site and recommend it to others. The most visited web sites are those which offer unique content and easy access to information the visitor cannot find elsewhere.

Look professional

Many companies try to save on their web sites by designing and maintaining them “in-house”. These offices often end up spending more on creating and maintaining their web site than if they had hired an outside consultant. What often happens is that employees have other responsibilities which must be balanced with the web site, and when time is tight, the web site is the project which gets put aside for later or given to another employee to finish. Remember that your web site has the potential to reach thousands of customers every day. Be sure it is leaving the right impression.

Use quality graphics

Just as you would not decorate your customer lobby or the front of your offices with clip art, you should not use these images in your web site. Quality photographs and graphics are an essential part of your professional design. Good professional photography and graphics enhance your web site and keep your visitor exploring longer.

Use quality fonts

Too many web sites can be found which use fonts more appropriate for greeting cards than for business. Keep your web site clean and professional with one font and add interest by changing sizes and weights. Resist the urge to scatter fonts creatively throughout the web site.

All computers were not created equal

Remember that colors will vary wildly from computer to computer. There is no way to control the exact appearance of colors across the web. Therefore, don’t spend a lot of time trying to match your letterhead or logo.

The web is not print

This may seem like an obvious statement, but it is important to remember that printed materials cannot just be scanned to your web site. Printed materials must be reformatted for use on the web. It is not always practical to try to reproduce your existing printed materials for web site use. Let your designer guide you to find the right balance between good web design and consistent image for your business materials.

Spell check

Errors and typos always seem to find their way into web sites. You can reduce the number of errors on your site and the time necessary to correct them by using the spell check function for any text files you send.

Download time matters

The average visitor will wait 4 to 6 seconds for a page to download. It is important that your web site have something for your customer within that time or you may lose him forever. Keep your web site pages to a size which can be downloaded quickly. There are still plenty of potential customers out there using dial up modem to connect to the Internet. For more information of page design.

Use animation sparingly

The use of FLASH animation can dramatically increase a Webster’s interest without increasing the download time significantly. However, too much animation can compete for the visitors attention and actually drive away traffic. Integrate your animated elements into the design concept and let them support your information rather than competing for attention.

Make your site unique

There are thousand upon thousands of web sites out there today. Most of them look very much the same. Do not design your site with a template which will make your web site just like all of the others. Keep your design memorable, but professional.

Navigation

You have probably been to one of those sites which makes it hard to find the information you are seeking. Clear navigation is important. Your site should allow the visitor to clearly choose his options and to get back to the beginning without difficulty. Good navigation is an important key to successful web site design.

Get your money’s worth!

Listen to your professional designer – After all, that is what you are paying for! If you have chosen your design firm well, then they will know their business – just as you know yours. Too many cooks spoil the broth – and the web site, too! Of course you should be involved in guiding the direction of your new web site, but let your designer give you the benefit of his expertise in the field.

 

A Few Web Layout Tips

• Navigation should always be simple and easy. Websites with unfriendly navigation miss the traffic. A navigation key should help you easily browse through web pages without any difficulty. If your navigation system is vague, the visitor will get frustrated and leaves the site never to come back. All successful websites use simple navigation keys.

• A web layout helps you decide what content comes from the first page until the end page. It lets you know where exactly you want to use graphics and where and how many pictures you want to insert. It will also help you decide on which font color, background color and the text color to use.

• You can make use of templates as well, and edit it to upload on your website. However if you do not wish to be a part of the herd make sure you go for less popular templates.

• There are many layout tools that help you look at the website before you can upload it, so that you can amend the required things.

More Web Layout Tips

• There has to be a flow in your website. You just cannot place any content or text anywhere. The content and the graphics used should have a meaning and it should in connection to the previous content.

• Make sure that the content you use is correct and beneficial to the readers. The language should be simple and words easily understood. Always use pleasing fonts and colors.

• Always use limited file size that makes the website easy to be viewed.

A well-planned layout is a foundation of every website and thus should be careful in drafting it. A simple and easy to understand layout will help you generate a better website. Seek a professional web design help so you know you are on the right track.

 


Css And Your Web Design

Web-designers use CSS or Cascading Style Sheets for separating page content like paragraphs or images from the stylistic elements of the page. These stylistic elements may comprise of colour, fonts, layout etc.

The term generally used for this is ‘Separation of Content from presentation.’

CSS represents a breakthrough in web designing as it equips web developers with the ability to control styling and layout of multiple pages all at once. Web designers can choose a style for every HTML element and apply it to multiple web pages at per their requirement. To effect changes globally, the style needs to automatically update all elements in the web.

However, many people refrain from using CSS just because they lack a proper understanding of it. It nevertheless is worth investing time to learn CSS, as the advantages gained through its use are tremendous.

More On Css And Your Web Design

Some of the major advantages of CSS are

• Creation of smaller file sizes
• Greater control over page structure

Smaller size files and CSS: you can reduce the overall code-amount present in your web pages. This is possible by taking out styles from an HTML page and putting it a standalone style sheet or .css file. Pages containing less code make for smaller file sizes that are preferred by all search engines. The SEO community generally considers page sizes up to 100KB as good.

Better control over page structuring: When using CSS, you can structure your pages as per HTML standards with no compromise on the appearance and feel of the a page. CSS caters to well-structured pages allowing designers to create pages that are attractive and have great flair.

It is best to use CSS in Website design and write one or more than one .css file to house all the style codes and then apply it to the relevant pages with the HTML link tag. Adopting this approach will allow everything related to the look of your web site to be found at a single location and not have it jumbled up with the site’s contents. This will allow you to change your site’s content without affecting its.

Advantages of CSS

Another major advantages of CSS are that it allows being picked up by search engines better, because of clearer code

CSS allows getting picked up by search engines:
When you use CSS to structure your pages, it is possible for you to hide content from specific browsers in certain situations. For example, you may want certain content to appear only in print or you would like some content such as page navigation only to get displayed on the screen and not in print.

Using CSS gives you the advantage of getting content indexed along with the benefit that content brings. Assuming you are new to CSS, you must understand that many browsers still interpret CSS standards in their own ways. Some of the archaic browsers do not read CSS at all.

While structuring your pages using CSS, you must ensure that that they have the maximum cross browser compatibility and that HTML pages appear acceptable even without CSS.

Web Design Tips For Network Marketers Part 1

Network marketing provides wide opportunities selling at substantial profits. When you plan to use Internet marketing for your MLM business you have to ensure that you come across as a professional. Your website should describe your business and your professionalism perfectly.

Equally important is to ensure that your website is content rich, so that visitors find it quickly in their search engine listing. You get good traffic by ensuring that you use appropriate content and keywords that best describe your business.

A very important aspect of an Internet marketing business is seller’s reliability. Even before you sell or introduce your products, you have to come across as someone trustworthy and reliable. Once people start to place their trust in you, you will be able to put forth your product to them.

They may buy your product, as they feel assured to buy a product that ‘you’ are offering it. It is like personal branding. This is attraction marketing.

Web Design Tips For Network Marketers Part 2

It is very useful to have a sizzle line or a voice mail system for your website. You can put some good short message than can be convincing enough for visitors to get in touch with you about your product. They may even be ready to leave their details with you so that you may contact them later on.

web-marketingBusiness cards, blogs, small ads, and similar communication tools can be of great use for promotional purpose. Blogs with precise content can be good tools to update visitors on your latest products and other information related to network marketing.

Web designers should also remember that the autoresponder tool is extremely important for networking. Regular communication about your business will be helpful as it inclines visitors towards your website.

Focus on what you are selling. If you have multiple products of different categories, create separate pages for different categories. This ensures that customers are not confused about the products that he is looking for. Sometimes even separate websites for separate products can be fruitful.

Web Design Tips For Network Marketers Part 3

When you develop content, make sure that you are clear about what you want to communicate. Similarly, you start with trying to resolve the problem of your visitors. Rather than forcing them to buy anything, you can provide them with additional articles and information about problem resolution. This can go a long way in impressing them and winning their respect. The next time you they visit you site, they will be steered to your website and thus to your product.

internet-marketing-toolsIt is necessary not to overload your website with graphics and Flash or multimedia content. You can make your website contain compressed image files and short videos so that visitors are not put off with slower connection of bulky websites. You never know who your customer may be.

Your website should preferably have a short questionnaire for the visitor to complete. This helps your visitor understand that you are network marketers. This is useful so that you find it easier to resolve their discontent in case they are not interested in buying your product any further.

Last but not the least; you have to ensure that your web content is Search engine optimized. This is because you want prospective customer to find you quickly. Put appropriate keywords so that search engine spiders index you in relevant searches.

You website design has to be like a tailor-made suit to fit you perfectly. Your website should be able to inspire visitor’s confidence towards your network marketed products.

Don’t frustrate your potential customers – Make it easy to buy from your site

Convincing customers to buy from you is a tough task in itself. It is a big put off for a customer if they are actually wanting to buy, but you don’t offer an efficient system to do so.

Unless you have a simple working system that is hassle free, you cannot give your customer a satisfying buying experience. It is important that you develop a website which is easy to use and makes it easy for them to buy from you – without being frustrated.

The basics would be to design your shopping site with a link to your order page from most of the pages on your site. Very basic stuff.

You should offer the customer multiple payment options. This is because not all customers would be convinced about using credit cards only or paying via Paypal. Some may want to pay by check or bank funds transfer.

It is a good idea to offer these different options for payment to your customers. If you do not offer these different options, your website will suffer ‘cart abandonment’.

Also, it is a good idea to create and place a FAQ page on the website, which can provide the customers with easy answers to small problems that they face. You could also place small demos or install live chat options, so that they may get the solution immediately.

These options are not difficult and can be setup very quickly.

 

 

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