Tag Archives: web design

Firefox to implement calc() in CSS3

I’ve just read last week that Firefox would implement calc() in their new version of Firefox. It’s not out in any publicly released version yet but it is coming as they talked about it on their developers blog.

Why should you care?

Ever had an element that needed to have a percentage width with padding? Up until now, because of the way the box model works in modern browsers, you had to wrap the content in a container to which you’d apply the padding. That’s because when you define padding to an element the value is added to the width, which is the proper way of doing it.

Now the thing is that percentage width don’t mix well with fixed padding values, that where calc() comes into play.

Lets say you have a box with the following css rules:

#box {
padding: 20px;
width: 60%;
}

If that box is in a container 1000 pixels wide, the box would be 640 pixels wide total, that’s not what you want, that’s not 60% wide! You coud use calc() to achieve the desired result:

#box {
width: -moz-calc(60% - 40px);
}

You can even be wild and do basic calculations in there:

#box {
width: -moz-calc(60% - 2 * 20px);
}

Taking it further

What would be even cooler is if you could get the actual padding values as a variable in calc(). Something like:

#box {
width: -moz-calc(60% - (padding-left + padding-right));
}

This way you could even forget about updating your width value when you play with your padding.

Oh well, one day maybe, now let’s just see if other browser vendors implement something of the like. Let’s not forget this is not part of the W3C CSS3 specs.

Is it a feature you were waiting for?

Using Anchor Text Effeciently

One of the most underused things by Newbies in regards to linking is “Anchor Text”. This is the visible text showing in a link.

The prime mistake Newbies make is to put their website name into the Anchor Text. Unless your website contains your keywords this is a waste of a perfectly good link. Remember that Google puts a very big importance on those Anchor texts and they should always use your keywords.

The second mistake is trying to put every single keyword into your anchor text and give that to everyone. There are two mistakes with this technique.
1.) Google assigns weight to each word in anchor text so if there are a lot of filler words (common in long sentences), they will “dilute” your target words

2.) You should vary your text throughout your links. That is, change it every 20 or so. This just makes sense. If your links were placed naturally, there would never be 300 links all with the EXACT same anchor text.

So with all that in mind here is an example:

You sell Blue Widgets in England and want to rank first for “Cheap Blue Widgets in England”
Your anchor text could be varied between the following:
Cheap Widgets
Blue Widgets
Widgets in England
Cheap Blue Widgets

Hopefully this helps you start an effective campaign.

Why Google Indexing Requires A Complex Blend Of Skills

If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Getting a company’s name and products, or services, onto the first page of a genuine Google search isn’t a trivial piece of work. In fact, there are four distinct skills that a search engine optimizer needs to possess. Most people possess one or maybe two of these skills, very rarely do people posses all four. In truth, to get to all four, people who are good at two of these need to actively develop the other skills. Now, if you are running your own business, do you really have the time to do this? Is this the best use of your time?

Specifically the four skills needed for SEO work are:
Web Design – producing a visually attractive page
HTML coding – developing Search Engine friendly coding that sits behind the web design
Copy writing – producing the actual readable text on the page
Marketing – what are the actual searches that are being used, what key words actually get more business for your company?

Many website designers produce more and more eye-catching designs with animations and clever rollover buttons hoping to entice the people onto their sites. This is the first big mistake; using designs like these will actually decrease your chances of a high Google rating. Yes, that’s right; all that money you have paid for the website design could be wasted because no-one will ever find your site.

The reason for this is that before you get people to your site you need to get the spider bots to like your site. Spider bots are pieces of software used by the search engine companies to trawl the Internet looking at all the websites, and then having reviewed the sites, they use complex algorithms to rank the sites. Some of the complex techniques used by web designers cannot be trawled by spider bots. They come to your site, look at the HTML code and exit stage right, without even bothering to rank your site. So, you will not be found on any meaningful search.

I am amazed how many times I look at websites and I immediately know they are a waste of money. The trouble is that both the web designers and the company that paid the money really do not want to know this. In fact, I have stopped playing the messenger of bad news (too many shootings!); I now work round the problem. So, optimizing a website to be Google friendly is often a compromise between a visually attractive site and an easy to find site.

The second skill is that of optimizing the actual HTML code to be spider bot friendly. I put this as different to the web design because you really do need to be “down and dirty” in the code rather than using an editor like dreamweaver, which is OK for website design. This skill takes lots of time and experience to develop, and just when you think you have cracked it, the search engine companies change the algorithms used to calculate how high your site will appear in the search results.

This is no place for even the most enthusiastic amateur. Results need to be constantly monitored, pieces of code added or removed, and a check kept on what the competition are doing. Many people who design their own website feel they will get searched because it looks good, and totally miss out this step. Without a strong technical understanding of how spider bots work, you will always struggle to get your company on the first results page in Google.

Thirdly, I suggested that copy writing is a skill in its own right. This is the writing of the actual text that people coming to your site will read. The Google bot and other spider bots like Inktomi, love text – but only when written well in proper English. Some people try to stuff their site with keywords, while others put white writing on white space (so spider bots can see it but humans cannot).

Spider bots are very sophisticated and not only will not fall for these tricks, they may actively penalize your site – in Google terms, this is sand boxing. Google takes new sites and “naughty” sites and effectively sin-bins them for 3-6 months, you can still be found but not until results page 14 – really useful! As well as good English, the spider bots are also reading the HTML code, so the copy writer also needs an appreciation of the interplay between the two. My recommendation for anyone copy writing their own site is to write normal, well-constructed English sentences that can be read by machine and human alike.

The final skill is marketing, after all this is what we are doing – marketing you site and hence company and products/services on the Web. The key here is to set the site up to be accessible to the searches that will provide most business to you. I have seen many sites that can be found as you key in the company name. Others that can be found by keying in “Accountant Manchester North-West England”, which is great, except no-one ever actually does that search. So the marketing skill requires knowledge of a company’s business, what they are really trying to sell and an understanding of what actual searches may provide dividends.

I hope you will see that professional Search Engine Optimization companies need more than a bit of web design to improve your business. Make sure anyone you choose for SEO work can cover all the bases.

A Review on “Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS”

If you want to produce outstanding and award-winning movies instantly, you can count on Adobe Photoshop CS software and its integrated web production application software. Photographers, graphic artists, web designers, and video professionals can take advantage of its indispensable features such as new design possibilities, improved file management, a more intuitive way to create for the web, and support for 16-bit images, digital camera raw data and non-square pixels. With it, you can truly create the highest quality results more efficiently than ever before. Truly, Adobe Photoshop CS is destined to become important.

According to the article “Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS” by Michael Ninness which was posted at http://movielibrary.lynda.com, the book is a series of movie-based tutorials designed to help Photoshop users to become faster and more productive. Although the tutorials are grouped by topic, each movie is packed with time saving tips and shortcuts and can be viewed independently. The included topics are palette shortcuts, screen mode shortcuts, navigation shortcuts, selection shortcuts, type shortcuts, dialog box shortcuts, file browser shortcuts, view shortcuts, layer shortcuts, and image adjustment shortcuts.

Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS brings with it many new things. I absolutely don’t agree with those people who say that it is difficult to learn Photoshop CS when in fact, it isn’t! Tutorials, such as Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS, can help you in the learning process. Those of you who are not afraid of experimentation especially in movie making, this is the perfect time for you to enjoy this great field and become a movie making savvy person. All you need to learn, especially if you’re learning on your own, are the desire and passion to improve your digital images, the flair to experiment, and excellent tutorials to guide you along the process.

You’ll truly enjoy using Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS because there are endless possibilities to create anything that you desire. Of course, you have to be familiar and must be fairly advanced with the Photoshop CS program – this is a big thing. And, I can only assure you of one thing – Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS is worth every penny that you’ll spend for it. I must say that it’s one tutorial that’s worth buying.

Truly, it’s hard to believe that Adobe keeps on producing these kinds of stuff to help its avid users in the completion of their art projects. Now, creating films is very much simple through Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS. Everything about these tutorials is a plus. Definitely! With it, you can totally do loads of other things and you’ll surely love Power Shortcuts for Adobe Photoshop CS. Congratulations and more power to Michael Ninness!

How Not To Get Web Design Work

I get the occasional web design lead from my website. I wanted to find a company I could pass these onto. So I put an ad on a freelance site. It specified the programming qualifications needed, stated that the successful candidate should have good English, and was for companies only.

The replies I got were enlightening. So much so, I made a list of things applicants did wrong. Here it is.

I should point out I was initially prepared to give everyone a fair go. After the first twenty-odd emails, my attitude changed. I was looking for reasons to delete applicants. I only needed one successful one; with 100 replies it was getting to be a headache, so I decided a brutal approach was needed.

1. Failed to read the spec.

Many applicants couldn’t write properly in the English language. Many were individuals only. Result: instant deletion.

2. Failed to address the spec’s criteria.

Applicants bragged about how great they were. Many copy-and-pasted standard marketing guff about ‘solutions’ and ‘partnerships’ into their emails.

To engage anyone’s interest about a proposal you need to talk less about yourself and more about the benefits to *them* of using you. One of the first things I learnt about applying for jobs is you need to show how you meet the criteria in the job description; see if you can find the employer’s wavelength.

3. Lots of jargon.

You quickly tune this out. Anyone dealing with web companies probably gets a lot of this. Applicants should talk to the client about *the client’s* site and *their* needs, and avoid techno-babble.

Write an application letter. Leave it for a while, then edit it. Brutally. Short punchy sentences, no guff. Talking convincingly about how you can make the client money would be an attention-getter.

4a. ‘Coming soon’ client-listing pages.

You say you’ve done work for lots of clients, then put up a ‘coming soon’ sign on the web page where your client list is supposed to be. Hmmmm.

4b. ‘Under construction’ pages on your company web site.

This looks bad; something you’d see on an amateur’s site. Another reason to bin your application.

4c. Only put up pictures of sites you’ve done, rather than links to the actual sites.

I’d have liked to see some working example sites. Pictures can be faked, and they don’t show background programming.

4e. No mention of your main web site URL.

Let us guess where your own site is (if you have one). It’s more fun! I tried guessing from the email address. After a while I didn’t bother.

4f. No hyperlinks at all.

Just a short email spiel saying “I am great designer, hire me”. Next!

5. Using Yahoo.com or Hotmail.com for your email address.

A pro designer shouldn’t use a freebie email address service. Basic web hosting costs $5 a month these days.

I can conceive that a web designer might use a freebie account for some special purpose, but your own domain name is a basic advert that goes out in each email you send.

6. Bad spelling and grammar.

Western civilization is doomed, if using SMS jargon becomes the standard way to write to people.  🙁 Especially if you’re looking for work where good spelling and grammar are important.

7. Front-loading Flash designs.

I admit it, I don’t like Flash. I especially don’t like it when it loads slowly on my broadband connection. I suppose it might impress an ignorant client, who doesn’t know the economic consequences of having a Flash-heavy site.

8. Don’t phone the employer up.

Unless they say ‘canvassing will disqualify’, ‘phoning the employer is a good idea. Why? Because geeks are famously introverted and tongue-tied, supposedly. So if a web site designer can communicate clearly over the telephone, that, coupled with a good application, puts you streets ahead of the email-only applicant.

No need to jabber. A polite enquiry to establish contact will do. “Just checking you’ve got my CV”, that sort of thing.

9. Keep yourself mysterious.

Emails are impersonal. Anything that can establish you as a human being, a person, a potential ally and friend, is good. It’ll make you more memorable. No need to jump out of a giant cake, ‘though!

However, you have to fulfill all the other criteria as well. However great a guy you are, if you’re a Unix man and they want Windows, forget it.

10. Leaving unclear phone messages.

One chap left a phone message, in which he mentioned his site, twice, but not his ‘phone number. His pronunciation was bad, so I guess I’ll never know how good he was.

11. Too far away.

Most replies were from India, Ukraine, Romania etc. Anyone who was closer to home (the UK) stood out. I mention it simply as a winnowing criterion.

Also, I needed someone who could land contracts from UK residents; good English, written and oral, was important.

12. Give your rates per hour.

Forget that. You’re not a lawyer. Web design jobs can be clearly defined, in terms of time, work and software required. A definite price can be agreed on in advance. It’s called a contract. Otherwise, you leave the client open to escalating bills, and yourself to mission-creep.

13. Delay applying.

The first few applications were more scrutinized. After that, fatigue set in. After one hundred, only an applicant who seems a real prospect would be given more than five seconds’ scrutiny.

Web Hosting Basics

If you have decided you or your company is in need of a website, you will have to purchase web hosting services from a hosting company. There are many different web-hosting companies to choose from, and they can easily be found on the internet. If you do a quick search for them in any search engine, you will find that there are almost too many to count. Choosing the company that is right for you can be a harrowing experience, but there are really only a few basic things to consider.

The first factor to consider when choosing a web hosting company is how much space they will give you for your account. If you merely want a single page on the Internet with little or no graphics, you can get by with purchasing an account with the smallest amount of space available. However, if you are planning to create a full e-commerce site with multiple pages and order forms, you will need to make sure you have enough server space to support your entire operation.

Before you sign your web-hosting contract, you will first have to choose and purchase a domain name. Though many of the names you might want are already taken, you can often find one that suits your needs, especially if you get creative with it. For instance, if your business is called Cards For You and that domain name is already taken, you might consider choosing More Cards For You or Cards For You Today. The possibilities are endless, and with a little thought you will be able to think of a snappy domain name.

You can often purchase a domain name through your web hosting company, or you can purchase it through a private domain name retailer. These companies are very easy to find. Often times, if you type the domain name you want into a search engine, a domain name seller will pop up if the name is not already taken. You can purchase a domain name for a year at a time, or for several years, depending on how much you want to invest at the get-go.

Once you have a domain name, you will of course have to create a website to put on the Internet. There are many do-it-yourself web design programs that are fairly user friendly. Software like FrontPage makes web design a cut and paste, fill in the blank soft of affair. However, if you would like a more professional look, you can use programs like Dreamweaver or Image Ready to make your sites. There are always freelance web designers looking for work who are ready to take on your cause if you are not savvy enough to do it yourself.

Web hosting companies give passwords to allow you access your space on their servers. You can upload files and pages using their own interface programs, or you can utilize the upload tools built in to your web design program. Once you upload a page, it is important to make sure it looks correct on a variety of different web browsers. Because each browser interprets information differently, you may run into trouble if you build a site while only previewing it in Internet Explorer. There are often compatibility issues between Safari and Mozilla browsers that distort site tables and images.

However, once you work out the kinks and create an excellent site, all you have to do is pay your web hosting bills, and your site will be available for the whole world to see. Web hosting companies usually offer options regarding payment plans. You can pay for a year at a time, or you can monthly or quarterly to maintain your place on the World Wide Web.

Web Hosting & Web Development: Unravel the Technobabble and Create a Great Site

If you’ve ever browsed the World Wide Web and wondered how you could stake your claim on the Internet, like the millions of others that have done so already, then web hosting can provide you with the services to do just that. The Internet is a great way of sharing information and it is possible for you to take a portion of the web and make it your own. This article introduces the term “web hosting” and provides some useful tips for web development once you’ve obtained some web space.

What is the World Wide Web?
The “World Wide Web” is the network of computers from all over the world that communicate with each other using the HTTP protocol, a language that allows the transmission of web documents. Be careful as this term is not synonymous with the “Internet” because it is defined as a network of networks, where the computers communicate with protocols other than HTTP. The web is what you see on your Internet browser, the web pages complete with graphics, sound and other information. All this has got to come from somewhere, and this is where web hosting comes in.

Web Hosting
The information that you see from your web browser is contained in web pages. These web pages are kept on computers called web servers. Web hosting is about the storage of the web pages so that people can access them. It is possible to host your own websites yourself but the reasons stopping most people doing this is that there are issues to consider with having the right hardware and software to successfully host your web pages. Your web pages will take a certain amount of space, users will need to download each page to view them and your Internet connection needs to be fast to offer good performance to your viewers. Using specialized companies that offer web hosting capabilities on their web servers will take most of these worries away from you but you will need to choose wisely and weigh up the costs and your needs. In addition to having access to a web server, you will also need to register a domain name (for a cost) that uniquely identifies your website.

What Web Hosting Can Do For You
The most basic service that web hosting offers is that it exposes your web pages for others to see. The other services are: email capabilities that allow for email to be received and sent from your server; database capabilities that allow for large amounts of information to be updated and accessed on the web; and dynamic content which allows for users to interact with the web pages you’ve made.

Website Development
Poorly designed websites will most likely turn away users and harm the credibility of the information it contains. Thought should be put in on the way it looks and the way you intend your users to interact with the content. It is also recommended for more complex websites, a structured development process should be followed. Here is a guide to the logical steps of web development:
· Requirements Analysis: What is the purpose of the website? What content should it contain?
· Design: How should the pages be linked? What structure should they take? How should the pages interact with the user?
· Implementation: This step is the actual coding of the websites in accordance to the previous websites.
· Testing: Does the website do what it should?
· Maintenance: Is the information on the website up-to-date?

Some useful hints for web development below are taken from software quality aspects but they apply to the development of websites as well. They are described in terms of web development:

Reliability: Is the website reliable? Do faults allow for the system to continue running?
Robustness: How does the website respond to incorrect input?
Performance: How fast does the web page respond to user’s actions? Is it efficient in processing requests and inputs?
Usability: Is the website easy to navigate and understand?
Maintainability: Is the website easy to change? Can new functionality be added?
Portability: What software requirements does the website require? Will this limit the amount of potential users?
Understandability: How well do you understand the website you’ve developed?

When designing your website, keep these quality aspects in mind as they will help you develop pages worth visiting. How to choose the way to host your website is half of the problem, the other half is to create a website that people would want to visit and come back to. Knowledge of producing a good design can help you get the most out of your creations.

Start Your Internet Business With Some Basic Computer Skills

With the Autopilot Profits System, you will learn how to grow from idea to profit in a very short period of time on the Internet. It is a complete, step-by-step tutorial that comes in both PDF and video form. What makes this Internet marketing tutorial package different is that it eliminates the fluff, and delivers only the essential information needed so that you can make money online quickly and easily.

Autopilot Profits System shows you the workings of three different internet marketing models: resale marketing, affiliate marketing and promoting your very own product or service. Most of the information is focused on affiliate marketing, since this offers the quickest way to make money from home, but the principles are applicable to all internet marketing.

The best thing is that you don’t need to spend hours trying to design a new and stunning website. With a site-builder program from the web hosting company and a little bit of knowledge and creativity you can build a reliable and efficient site that will serve the purpose of acting as a starting point for the buyers or for getting leads to potential customers.

Another good thing about affiliate marketing is that there is little or no start up costs – so you can experiment with different products and settle on one which performs well for you – or you can take the DIY route and create your own product to sell. Either way, the Autopilot Profits system will have you making money almost immediately.

In affiliate marketing, you won’t have to hire a staff, stock or inventory merchandise or any other traditional responsibilities associated with selling a product. You don’t even need your own idea. You just need to contact a merchant, join their affiliate program and begin marketing their products. Using the Autopilot Profits system, you can start an online business and grow it rapidly with the greatest of ease.

Autopilot Profits is a model for a turnkey, plug and play business which will let you start making money automatically and immediately. It’s easy to follow and suitable even for those who have no familiarity with doing business on the internet as well as those who are old hands at online marketing.

Since this system provides you only the most essential data, cutting out all that is vague or redundant, it does not confuse the first-timers. The action plan is easy to follow and guaranteed to put you in profit mode and expand your business. The video tutorial will provide systematic learning that’s fast and uncomplicated.

It’s easy, uncomplicated and straightforward. When you decide to start a small business at home, that’s online, you will want Autopilot Profits System as the first thing you use to learn how to do it effectively and correctly. It will virtually take you to profit mode on an automatic basis.

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Profitable Website: A Key Ingredient List

Whether you’ve been an internet entrepreneur for quite some time or are just getting into the world of online business there are a few things that every business website must have to both attract and keep customers.

A Memorable Customer Experience

A fantastic customer experience is paramount to a great and profitable website. How do you create that fantastic experience? First and foremost, in order to make a decision to buy anything, your customers need to be able to find what theyre looking for quickly and easily. Make sure all your information is right up front and easy to find.

FAQ pages, for example, are a great resource for all those common questions. Shipping charges and easy to find product descriptions are also a must.

A sense of community is also a vital ingredient for a fantastic customer experience. This can be created with, a frequent buyer program, superior customer service and even your about us page can help foster a connection.

Article Management And CMS

For business owners, in order to provide your customers and visitors with a fabulous experience a CMS, content management system or article management system will make providing valuable content quick and easy.

A CMS enables the user to manage the creation, modification, and removal of content from a Web site without needing the expertise of a Webmaster. This means you dont need to know any programming language to create your website. You can create, schedule, edit and remove pages without spending hours modifying HTML.

Simple Checkout

The checkout process is where many businesses stumble. Customers demand, and deserve, a simple and very secure system and many shopping carts just dont measure up. Items are dropped, customers are asked to jump through too many hoops, and quite often all of the information they need, like shipping charges, isnt apparent until they hit the pay now button.

A good shopping cart system is imperative for a valuable customer experience and itll make your life easier too with simple reporting procedures and readily accessible sales information and a reasonable pricetag.

Easy Navigation

Include a search function on your site and give your visitors and customers the ability to instantly find exactly what they need. For example, a pet store owner with this search feature on their website makes it easy for a prospect to find that dog coat theyre looking for. Forcing them to search throughout pages of items is a sure way to detract from their shopping experience.

Offering your visitors a search tool tells them you respect their time and value their business and the keyword information the tool provides gives you valuable insight.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When building a profitable online business SEO plays a very important role in driving website traffic and sales. A key feature for a website builder is an easy SEO system which makes linking, content, and keyword tagging including meta and alt tags a straightforward process.

If your website builder also comes with a sitemap feature each time you update your website content, the search engines are automatically notified, saving you tons of time and ensuring your website is getting noticed by the search engines and potential visitors.

Branding

In the competitive world of online business, your branding strategy can certainly help set you apart from your competition. While a logo is important, think about the Nike swish or the colorful eBay lettering, for a small business owner your personality is a large part of your brand. Your personality can be reflected in the content and design on your website.

Creating a great and profitable website starts with a website builder that provides the tools necessary to create a powerful customer experience. Choose your builder wisely, look for one that is easy to use and provides the tools you need to create the business you desire.

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