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Archive for the 'Web-design' Category

35 Deadly Website Sins That will Kill Your Business!

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

For example, I’ve been working on some offline promotions and was searching for a simple targeted mailing list. I searched through about twenty sites and not one of those sites were, what I would consider, professional. Their standard blue links were enlarged to about a size 16 font, busy backgrounds, flashing images and very unorganized.

Did I purchase a mailing list from any of those sites? Absolutely not. Why? The way I see it, if those companies don’t take pride in their web sites, chances are, they won’t take pride in their products either. Large linked text and flashing graphics won’t make sales.

Your web site is a direct reflection of you and your business. The appearance of your site is the most important factor in determining your sites value. In other words, if your site doesn’t look professional or pleasing to the eyes at first glance, its perceived value and the value of your products and services will be low.

On the other hand, you may have a great web site, well designed and a quality product or service, but if it takes too long to load, the value will still be perceived as low. Why? Because your potential customer won’t wait. Ultimately costing you business.

Another consideration of great importance is your content. Not just links, but content with value. When someone is surfing the net and they visit your web site, they’re visiting for a reason. Your site has something they want. Whether it is your product, service or information, that’s why they’re there. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll move on to the next site and so on.

If you want your visitors to stay at your site, provide the quality content they’re looking for in a nicely organized fashion. Give them a reason to want to explore your site and to continue to visit your site in the future.

After receiving many questions in regard to web site design, I have devised a list of, what I refer to as, “35 Deadly Web Site Sins.”

- Poor load time
- Poor overall appearance
- Spelling/Grammar
- No contact information
- Poor content
- Poor navigation
- Broken links and graphics
- Poor browser compatibility
- Large slow loading graphics
- Too many graphics
- Pages scrolling to oblivion
- Multiple use of animated graphics
- Animated bullets
- Too many graphic and/or line dividers
- Busy, distracting backgrounds
- Multiple banners and buttons
- Poor use of frames
- Large fonts
- Pop up messages
- Over use of java
- Poor use of tables
- Poor organization
- Different backgrounds on each page
- Over powering music set to autoplay
- Confusing
- Too much advertising
- Large Welcome banners
- Multiple colored text
- Text difficult to read
- No Meta tags
- Multiple use of different fonts
- Under construction signs
- Scrolling text in the status bar
- Large scrolling text across the page
- Poor use of mouse over effects

Take some time to really look at your site. Compare it to sites that you feel look professional. Time your site’s load time — your customers won’t wait. Their time is valuable.

The simple, well designed sites make the sales. If your sales aren’t what you had hoped, take some time to seriously evaluate your site and make some changes before spending your time and money on advertising and marketing. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Mobile Application Development

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

J2ME-based applications are able to take into account the specific characteristics of the devices they inhabit, making them capable of utilizing each device to its full potential. In summation, J2ME is the standard for mobile application development today - with a following of software vendors, consumers, programmers, and marketers. Although programmers aren’t as common as they are for desktop applications, many firms offer great J2ME application development packages. Full-service companies like Red Fly Studios, of Ireland, offer J2ME services at competitive rates.

When coupled with a powerful operating system, J2ME can really begin to reach its full potential. Symbian has been a power-player in the mobile operating system game for some time. Symbian is a software licensing company. Established as a private company in June 1998, Symbian has been around the mobile application development game for some time. Symbian is headquartered in the United Kingdom, but employs over 1000 people in its worldwide offices. During early 2005, 14.5 million phones were manufactured with Symbian operating systems, bringing the worldwide tally to 39 million Symbian-based phones. Symbian refers to itself as “THE Mobile Operating System,” and it’s difficult to argue with numbers like those.

To conclude, mobile application development focuses on two things - a programming language, and an environment for it to manifest itself in. Sun’s Java outreach, J2ME, is a front-runner in the mobile application game. Symbian is the definitive operating system (environment) for mobile applications. When you’re looking for mobile application development, it’s important to consider these two factors and then find the development firm that suits your needs.

6 Easy Ways to Create a Website

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

How? Here it is…

1. Conceptualize an idea. Think what you like your future website to be. What audience will you cater? Everything you do must redound to their fulfillment. They will be visiting to get what they need. Be sure that their needs are answered. That way they will be satisfied and will keep coming for more. Not only that, they can recommend your site to their friends if they find it functional and nice.

2. Find a host. Having a host is not that expensive. In fact you can get one at $70 for two years. However, if you don want to spend a single penny, there are lots of sites that are hosting for free. The only consideration is that their banner must be placed in your site. That for one is a great deal, isn’t it?

3. Start with your first page. Do the layout and design your first page. It will be easier and better if you have basic knowledge in HTML. Though there are hundreds of What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editors, but you will create a better site using HTML. There are tutorial sections available online. Take advantage on them and apply your knowledge to the web design you are creating.

4. Edit your page. Observe the loading and the navigation. Are they doing well? How about the web design, is it pleasing to the eyes? Are the fonts readable? Is the content helpful? Are there errors in spelling and grammar? Better check all these little details. They may be tiny details but they make up the whole website. Be careful in dealing with them. If there is a need to redo the page do it. It will be disastrous if you are displaying a total trash.

5. Do the rest of the pages. The goal is to attract visitors, keep them and to gain more.

Edit, proofread and edit more. It pays off to have everything in order. Never sacrifice the quality of your website. It is your frontline. It is the one capable of attracting visitors that makes your business sell.

6. Submit the pages to your host. After you are done with the pages and the editing, you can submit them to your host. Wait for it to be shown in the net. Do not forget to update the pages regularly. You have to be updated in order not to lose your target market. Otherwise, they will look for a better site that can satisfy their needs. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

You may not realize it but your site is already done. Easy as your ABC’s!

A Designer’s Hint

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

Designing is as easy as following a rhythm of a, b, c. It is simple but of course like any other tasks persistence, hard work and interest are required to attain a goal of good quality work.

Designing is just like a cocktail of creative skills and technical prowess that many people just got hooked with it. Mere love for it may start as a hobby and avenue to boost out interest but later on you will just see that it can be a very good income generating skill that you will just love it even more.

Listed below are helpful tips that can go as a rule of thumb or may be taken with a pinch of salt but generally obliging.

Picture says it all. Many users would download pictures from time to time to be used badly or just leisurely. But as many people would use dial-up connection they find it hard to download images and illustrations that would enhance the things that they need. To speed up uploading photos just have its size in 30k, and do not forget to add an Alternate Text for each image that you use for navigation. Though modern browsers offer users a choice to turn off images this gives an idea of how troublesome the unwanted images could be.

Have you heard of Mystery Meat Navigation? That means that unless your mouse moves over an image you have no idea where that link might take you. Another important thing to be given attention with is that whenever your whole page is within a Table, you must split it up and let the one below while the other one is responsible for the display of the page and the link.

Avoid using browser-specific functions because if a certain feature is supported by one browser, it will not be supported by the other one. Where you must such these features, it should not hamper the display of the page in the other browser which does not support its functions.

Keep in mind that in creating a new browser window it should be open in the same window by default. However there can be more links that is very convenient to be opened and browsed.

Come on, think of it. Write for all browsers, all resolutions and all color-depths. If you would show people the recommended pages that look like with their own browser and their own resolution that makes them comfortable and with a better response.

Article Submissions Your Key to Traffic Success!

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

But what if there was a way to grow organic link backs for a minimal cost to you, the webmaster? Relevant link backs are showing to be the new holy grail in a time where search engines are devaluing purchased links and links of a general nature. But how does one gain these relevant link backs?

Two options: you can either approach websites within your niche and ask for a link to your site to be placed on theirs, or you can have them come to you, without requiring any kind of reciprocal link. One way links are much more powerful than reciprocal links.

Of course you would rather have webmasters come to you. Time is money! To effectuate this, use a good article submission program that allows your article (which contains a bio box with your link back- very important!) to be submitted to general and specific knowledge website article database directories. The reason being is that webmasters who are looking for new content to add to their websites go to these article directories and use new content submitted by people like yourself.

This is why it would benefit you to submit unique articles to article directories to be picked up by webmasters within your niche. When they add your article to their site, with bio box in tact, you gain the benefit of having your website link on their webpage. Thus, the organic link back is born!

Best MovableType Plugins

Friday, April 14th, 2006

First off Movabletype is server based blog software. In fact, I would say it is hands down easily the best blog software available today - for a few different reasons:

Maximum SEO potential – My entries normally appear well ranked in Google 48 hours after posting them.
Movabletype can be configured to spit raw .html or non dynamic pages.
There is a free non-commercial version, although I recommend buying a license if you use it even casually.
Install, usage, and maintenance are all very well documented and easy for even a novice user.
The application itself is extremely portable: mySQL, Postgres, Berkley DB (file system).
Automatically generated RSS compliant feeds aka ’spider food’.
Most of the hot chicks I see blogging are using MovableType or Typepad.
Movabletype’s plugin system is very advanced and the community is always pumping out new plugins and widgets for MT based bloggers.

SEO’ing Movabletype takes some tinkering but the rewards are well worth the pain. Here are a couple of my recent rankings for some rather competitive keywords: Sendstudio Review, Aweber Review. Keep in mind this blog is only 3 months old, and I do virtually nothing to promote it..

Right then. I am focusing on my last point and will outline in my opinion the best Movabletype plugins, why I think they are useful, and if needed a small blurb of code to help you along. As of version 3.2, Movabletype comes installed by default with the following plugins: NoFollow, and the 3 Spam Lookup plugs. These guys are fairly self explanatory and well documented in the MT manual pages.

Now for my own personal must have list:

Dashify

Dashify is based on dirify. What it does is allow for some handy parsing of pretty much any text you want on your blog, for adding your own useful characters. Here is an example to illustrate:

Hover over the title or look at the page title of this entry you are reading and you will see how well my pages are optimized for search: best-movabletype-plugins.html is a much better filename than 289374.html or even best_movabletype_plugins.html - as of this writing Google sees the hyphen as a space but not the underscore. Here is my dashify code for my Individual archive under Settings –> Publishing:%C.htmlSimple, yet effective.

MTPaginate

Movabletype is not all that scalable right out of the box. In fact, not at all really. If you bust your ass filling your weblog with content, before you know it your category pages are reduced to bandwidth hogging scroll sessions. MTPaginate does what the name says, it paginates any entry or category listing you like into user friendly navigable areas: 1 |2 | 3 or Previous | Next, etc. I would speculate that Stepen Riya’s MTPaginate will eventually be built into MT by default before too long. Here is a code snippet from my own category pages on this site. The tags are covered in full on Stepen’s website, but this will give you an idea.

<MTPaginate>
<!–The next line is what generates the "page navigation" –>
<MTPaginateIfMultiplePages>
><MTPaginateIfPreviousPage_>
<a href="<$MTPaginatePreviousPageLink$>">Previous Page</a> | </MTPaginateIfPreviousPage_><MTPaginateIfNextPage_> | <a href="<$MTPaginateNextPageLink$>">Next Page</a>
</MTPaginateIfNextPage_></p>
</MTPaginateIfMultiplePages>
<!– This part determines how many posts will go on the page, I set it to 5 –>
<MTPaginateContent max_sections="5">
<MTEntries>
<–! All your MTEntries stuff goes here –>
</MTEntries>
<– This next line sets the pagination break (in most cases just after your EntryExcerpt or Entry tag –>
<$MTPaginateSectionBreak$>
</MTEntries>
</MTPaginateContent>
</MTPaginate>

Typepad Users: I notice Emily Robbins rants up Typepad’s lack of pagination on a recent blog entry. She raises some very valid points with the MT support staff. Again I think this will be addressed by Sixapart quite soon.

MT Blogroll

Movalog has too many good plugins to cover here but their Blogroll has long been a favorite of the majority of MT users. A blogroll is an essential tool for building links with other same themed sites as your own. MT Blogroll keeps track of a link’s URL, name, description, relationship, category and more.

MT InlineEditor

Another Movalog plugin Inline Editor allows you to edit your comments and entries via cool Ajax code. Ajax is that nifty new technology that allows you to talk back to the webserver without reloading the page. Catching typos is no longer a 4 click solution.

MT-Textile

This is Brad Choate’s well known plugin for performing various text formatting functions. Mt-Textile integrates the Perl Text::Textile module with Movable Type.

BigPAPI

BigPapi by Kevin Shay is an extension to the MovableType API allowing users to modify MT’s own interface - the screens you see when using Movable Type to manage your content. If you are wanting to tinker with MT’s control panel, this is worth a look. There is also an growing list of some very useful plugins that rely on the BigPAPI architecture. From the developer:

The BigPAPI plugin doesn’t actually do all that much. It simply overrides a couple of subroutines in the MT::App module that are called whenever a page of the MT CMS is about to be displayed. Before going ahead and building the page, it runs some callbacks. So your plugin simply needs to install appropriately named callbacks for a particular CMS page (or all pages), and you’ll have the opportunity to tinker with the contents of the page before it’s displayed to the user.

Honourable Mentions…

There are literally hundreds of movabletype plugins and my short list is by no means the same as another users. My list is focused on getting a movabletype publishing platform ready for spidering. Different tasks require different tools. Props to the various authors and contributors and DO support these people with donations or praise, or we will all be stuck coding these tools ourselves ;)

Sixapart’s main movabletype plugin page - Definitely start here. Sixaparts forum is also essential.

Ajaxify - Another great tool from Movalog, Ajaxify is a set of plugins that adds several ajax/javascript widgets into the Movable Type interface. It currently consists of EnhancedEntryEditing - that adds a WYSIWYG editor and resizable textarea controls to the entry screen - and Search Suggestions - that add a “Google Suggest” like feature to the quicksearch box.

The CheckLinks plugin tries to access all the URLs linked to in your entries (or a subset of your entries), and lets you display a list of the ones it can’t successfully access. Another fine StaggerNation.com creative based on BigPAPI extensions.

FormatList v1.0 - Easy Bullet Lists in Entries. I use this personally and I find it a nice keystroke saver.

Better File Uploader - This one relies on BigPAPI and is a sexier interface for uploading files.

Custom Web Design

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Custom websites are among the most important PR instruments used in modern business. Studies show that suppliers, vendors, clients and employees are all more likely to research your company online than through any other medium. Recognizing the value in effective custom web design brings better awareness and professionalism to your organization, using your website and the internet to its full potential.
Your custom website design team needs to create professional, custom websites that impress your visitors, build brand recognition, and sell products and services. Being closely-knit with the design team, in collaboration with you, using a proven strategy to ensure that the final design matches your specific needs and expectations. In addition, the custom web design team should have a grasp of what information your visitors will be coming to your website to view, learn and educate themselves with.
Custom web design is just that, custom to your needs. When looking for a web design firm, they should always be thinking of you and your business. Whether you are selling products online or services to your clientele, your website should reflect that. The internet is a vast and readily used tool, don’t disappoint your visitors, get a custom web site that is designed for you specifically.

The first step to finding the right firm is by discussing your business and its objectives. Once you have a clear vision together of your needs, you need a proposal that includes details about your custom website, marketing plan and pricing. The next step is deciding upon which firm you will choose.
After you sign your contract, the development of your custom website will begin. At this time, it would be a great idea to supply your designers with information for your website (i.e. copy, pictures, products, contact information, etc.). An outline of the pages you would like to include, breaking each section down with what information you would like to have in those sections. The development of your custom website should begin smoothly from here.
Once you are pleased with the final product, your website will officially be launched. Once you are officially “online”, sending out press releases of your new site and its wealth of information is a great idea to bring some traffic to your site.
Custom web design for you and your company is highly important. Just having a templated site that isn’t truly right for your company layout and image is just a waste of time. Websites are an investment, invest wisely in custom web design for better results.

Digital printing it your way

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

One can go about with digital printing on their own as long as they have the right tools and equipments needed. All that needed to know about is how to go about producing the best prints from their digital photos.

Having the highest resolution present in your images will determine its turn out in prints. Oftentimes, the poor quality result of the prints is blamed on the printers being used. No matter how ultra modern your printer might be, it would not produce the perfect result if the photos you have taken are not superior. It all boils down to having the best resolution is having the best prints.

Using the right printer is also a factor. You would want a printer that gives good quality print output. It should have at least four color inks to provide a wide range of color combination in the photos. The printer does not have to be a “photo printer” to give quality result. Any inkjet printer would be able to produce quality prints as well as the other kinds. But if you only want to have the best of the best, photo printers it is. They have more inks and have advanced photo features not all printers have.

After having the quality image you wanted, the next step would be choosing the paper to print it on. Having the right kind of paper is vital to the photo as this is where it will be printed on. The result of the print will depend on the reaction of the ink to the paper it will be printed on. Good results can best be seen on papers especially designed for photographic images. Plain photocopier papers can give good text results but not images. Matte and glossy photo papers can be used for best result if you are after the fine quality photo printing results.

Take all of this and you are guaranteed the best digital prints that look as good as those done in a photo lab. That is, without all the waiting and the hassles encountered. All in the comfort of your own home.

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

dirSpace-Your Web Directory

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

dirSpace is an online reference library that can help you to achieve the kind of success for your website that you want and need. dirSpace is an online library that categorizes websites and businesses by subject and interests, so that people searching online for information, services, or items that your business has to offer can find them with ease. That means that people can find great places to shop, locally or online, information on quality restaurants, the latest news, and articles on everything from home repair to home remedies simply by using dirSpace as a web directory. Categories on dirSpace include Business and Industry, Education, Arts & Humanities, Shopping, and even News and Media. If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in the categories that dirSpace offers, you can type in the subject or words that you want, and the search engine will direct you to the most helpful resources.

If you’re writing articles for your site or for another online business, you may also want to use this as a way to make sure that the web directory has all the information necessary to make searching easier for potential customers. For instance, the articles or informational material that you write for the site may have a number of keywords that will make it easy to find in the dirSpace directory. And, the directory is edited by humans, so that you and your customers will receive quality results each time you search, whether you’re trying to find a business, information on a specific location, or are doing research.

And, if you do decide to list your business or website with dirSpace, you’ll receive a weblink ‘backlink’ that more people will be exposed to, so customers will be much more likely to visit your site.

Before you decide to have your business or informational website listed with dirSpace, it’s a good idea to try the site out for yourself, in order to see just how easy it is to find facts on whatever subject you’re curious about. That way, you’ll know what sort of words or phrases potential customers and website visitors will be looking for, and you can make sure that the keywords that people will use (if they’re using a search engine to find your online business) are effective. You may also want to check out some of the businesses in the category you’ll be listed in to see where you’ll be ranked and how ‘available’ you’ll be to online searchers. The site even provides a list of recently added sites, so that you can see that no matter how small or how new your website is, having it listed on dirSpace will definitely make it easier to find. You’ll find information on how to submit your site, as well as effective advertising tools at http://www.dirspace.com.

Discount Web Design

Monday, March 6th, 2006

Having a website is a must even for the smallest businesses. A website provides a useful tool for your potential clients to visit to find out more information about your company, your services, and what type of quality you can offer them. More and more customers are shopping online and more large companies are looking for specialized companies and freelancers online to handle many aspects of their business, such as copy writing, programming, and advertisement. It is more crucial these days for those who sell merchandise and services to have an Internet presence for these potential customers and clients to find them.

One discount web design option is to do it yourself by purchasing software, such as Microsoft Front Page, that will help you put together a professional website. This will require that you have some skills in building a website using HTML or some other programming language. If you have limited knowledge in this area, then it may take you some time to learn enough of what is needed to put together a good interactive site that will attract customers to what you have to offer. Even still, the quality may not be as good as what you can get from hiring a real web design professional to do the job.

Many of these programs, including MS Front Page, also have a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) site builder so that users do not have to have any knowledge of HTML or other programming languages. However, the most professional looking and easy to navigate sites are those that were put together using a programming language, rather than a WYSIWYG site builder, because such programs are limited in what they can or cannot do. A poorly put together site can turn customers away before they even have a chance to learn about what you have to offer, because they want to feel as if they are buying from professionals so that they are comfortable handing over their money. On top of everything else, you will also need to make sure that, if you build a site, you know how to make your site search engine friendly and easy to navigate

There are many options available for one to hire a professional web design company. Such a company will most likely deliver a product that is of a high standard and is also comparable to the quality that appears on the websites of large businesses. However, hiring such a company can be very costly. The more references and experience a company has with large-scale businesses, the more they will hike up their prices. This most likely may not be an available option for those who are running a start-up company out of their own pocket. It might be feasible once you have some good profit rolling in but, until then, you may need to choose a different avenue.

Another discount web design option is hiring a freelancer. Although American, British, and Canadian freelancers may only offer you a slight discount when compared to web design companies, especially if they have skills that are just as advanced and refined as the designers who work for big companies, you can also find many freelancers in countries such as India, China, and Pakistan who will do your job at an extremely discounted rate due to the lower cost of living in their part of the world. However, the downside to these designers is that it is often hard to determine if they will deliver the product on time or if there will be any communication problems between you and the designer due to language barriers. This can make getting your site finished a long and frustrating experience.

Basically, a good quality 4-6 page site should only cost you a few hundred pounds or so. Anything more and you are paying for the kind of references and experience the company has, rather than purely the quality of their work. Web designers that have not worked with big name businesses and have not been in the game for 10 years can have the same skills and produce the same quality as someone who has. After all, when you think about it, those large web design companies are probably hiring designers with the same amount of skill and experience as many other individual designers who are charging much less, since they are out on their own and do not have the name of a big company to back them up.

Adrian Lawrence is the webmaster of Discount Domains a leading UK budget web design provider. Please feel free to republish this article provided a working hyperlink remains to our site.



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