Archive for January, 2007

31Jan

Follwing Part 3 – “Hardwork”, Part 4 is all about Patience. You have to be able to use patience. Sometimes it takes awhile to get your plans in motion. One example is that the search engines usually take one to two months to acknowledge most free submissions of new websites.

If you become anxious and impatient, you will lose focus of goals, tests, past counsel. Instead you should patiently think over the processes you are working in. Consider reading some more articles or tutorials on problems that have evinced.

You may need to go to some forums or seek further counsel and general advice. Successful internet entrepreneurs didn’t make it by accident. Also, don’t be discouraged or fooled by the get rich quick schemes all over the net today. Promises of imediate success just by throwing up a website are virtually nonexistent.

You must exercise the principles of vision, goals, hard work, and above all patience. If you do this, and have some luck, you can measure your success versus time and resources expended via your goals and plans. (“Show me the Money on the Internet – Part 1” appeared in Ezine.com. Parts 2,3 and 4 – “Goalsetting”, “Work” and “Patience” will be discussed here in Web Templates Blog.)

Veritas,
Arthur Browning

29Jan

Websites particularly designed for SEO and the SEO optimization of already established business webpages is booming. This is especially so for businesses that are pushing to do greater volume and/or expand regionally or glogally.

I looked through the website of GSINC and saw an array of these services. I contacted Gareth Davies, owner of GSINC, for an interview.

How did you get into web design? “In my late teens and early twenties I was a songwriter/musician in a number of bands. Some of the music made its way to the music press and national radio stations, but alas the bands never made it big. Through my time promoting the bands throughout the early ˆ“ mid nineties I undertook the design duties for flyers, promo posters and CD covers. In around 1997 we set up our first website which was really a web page.”

“I also studied design, helped out at the local college in the art department for a couple of years and had done some graphics training at college. I also loved photography too so a combination of these skills was a pretty good foundation for web design.”

Do you remember the very first site you designed? “Yeah it would have been the band one but it was really a montage of photos and bio info. In a way it was a bit like a crude MySpace page with no multi-media. Then the first site I can remember after that would have been for an artist and was a flash website. It had 5 minute animated sequences to get to each section it was not very practical as it took about half an hour to navigate around the site but it was certainly an experience and quite different to a lot of other UK sites at the time.”

You now do a lot of SEO – Is this a speciality for you? “Yes for the last 6 years where we have been involved in web design. we also worked in promotion of the sites. Our priorities have moved more towards site promotion as technology has advanced and clients can now get better off the shelf products to build in house. It is not uncommon now for us to design flats, clients can integrate the designs and then we come on board again to promote the site. This works well for the client and ourselves.”

“The new site, www.gsinc.co.uk/ was designed by our team of designers. It was originally created as flat designs, then our CSS expert produced a coded version of the main homepage. The site contains a lot more multimedia than your average SEO firm site as it even includes SEO video tutorials!”

“The site is always changing and we do not stay with a static design we track site activity and our pages will change every time we learn something new so building a website and leaving it online for months, for years is no longer an option.”

What will be the next big development in Web Design? “Difficult one to answer but I suspect we will see a move away from static text driven pages and use more multimedia however I don’t mean lots of animations that serve no purpose but more what we thought would happen in 2000 2001 (but the bandwidth was not there for users). Both technology and connection speed make interactive PC TV style browsing the likely next step for web design.”

“The other industry development we can see happening is that companies will become more niche and specialise more. The days of the one stop shop little web firm that says it can do every design job under the sun will go. People want specialists and I think this is the way commercially things are going. Some firms will just code ECommerce templates, others will just do CSS, others will just do Flat designs and others just the Marketing. This will work better for clients as they get the best people for each part of the job.”

Have you worked with website Templates? “No. Though we have had clients bring them to us where they have bought them and have then wanted to enhance the site. Some of the web templates out there these days are impressive. Our experience is that some clients will never be able to edit them as easily as they would like too and will probably need some professional assistance to get a site finished and looking great.”

What do you think about Flash Technology? “Flash revolutionised web design really. It brought the web to life and opened up many possibilities. As it became more accessible and widely used it inevitably got overused by some folks and its here it got its reputation for being annoying animations but the beauty of flash was its ability to allow great motion graphics and bring TV to the web. In 2007 Flash is very powerful and the flash player has allowed what we thought it could do and is the platform of choice on so many big sites now including Youtube. . .Well from an SEO point of view flash is a bit of a non-starter. It is just not going to cut it. So if high rankings are part of the plan then Flash pages alone are not enough and you have to figure in some static HTML text. Another downside is poor use of the medium there are so many newbies using flash and trying to make everything spin and move on a web page they lose site of functionality. If every copy of flash came with a usability guide written by Jacob Neilsen and you had to read it before you could start building in flash the web might be a better place. . . The advantages are that 95%+ of people can see it. Its fast to download most content and its probably the best streaming media content out there right now so great for streaming websites, audio, video, games and interactive competitions.”

What are your sources of inspiration? “In terms of great web designers I would say:
1. Hillman Curtis (probably my overall favourite – GD)
2. Hi Res! (agency in UK)
3. Joshua Davis
4. Eric Jordan

But design ideas and themes can come from art ˆ“ I have had lots of ideas from artists, visiting galleries, TV/Film trailers,
photography, advertising billboards, product packaging, flyers and sales letters ˆ“ the list is pretty endless.”

Thankyou Gareth for your insights and experiences.

Arthur Browning

25Jan

WordPress Themes and free WordPress hosting make it possible for anybody to write a blog. But bloggers usually want visitors to read the blog as well. If you can’t answer the big “So What?” your readers will evaporate.

Your headline must interest the reader immediately. As much as possible it should cause them to want to ask “So what?”, AND want to read your article to get the answer.

Ideally your headline provides the impetus to read on for the answer to “So What?”. It should also provide an invitation to read on and get the “Know What?”.

I will use this article’s headline as an example – “So What? The Answer is In Your Blog”. It asks a question – THE question, then it alludes to an answer, a solution. Not just in a blog, YOUR blog. – KNOW WHAT? You better read on!

And your WordPress blog post should then succinctly answer that interesting question. It gives the reader a sense of satisfaction and gratitude to you and your blog when you help them to discover and learn.

A Legend In My Own Mind,
Arthur Browning

24Jan

Dogs have a special place as “Man’s Best Friend”. There are a lot of proud dog owners and enthusiasts who want to communicate with other dog lovers about their pets, shows, prizes, breeding, boarding, vet services, and dog related products and services. WordPress provides the free platform – you get FREE hosting for a FREE WordPress Theme.

One beautiful thing about a dog lover’s website is that there are so many interested readers. A premium WordPress Theme can impress them with your pet or business. Inexpensive WordPress Themes make a classy looking statement about your dog’s webpage. Below is just one example of a well-designed WordPress Theme for dog enthusiasts.

wp13404-wp-b.jpg

WordPress Theme #13404 – Dog Weblog from TemplateMonster

This and many other dog-related WordPress Themes can be seen at Template Monster. They range in cost from approximately $45-80. A small price to pay for a professional look with high-quality WordPress function. Make your website “Best of Class”.

The Snoop Dog of Templates, Arthur Browning

23Jan

Yes, I’ve been cruising the web again – always looking for interesting webpages. I was looking for graphic design as incorporated into webpages and found GJ Studios. After looking at GJ’s portfolio I contacted them for information. Laurie March, the Owner and Creative Director consented to interview.

How did you get into web design? “My career in web design happened purely by accident. I was a well known teddy bear artist selling my wares through shows and in stores. I had done a website or two just for fun and I thought that perhaps the internet would be a good way to reach teddy bear collectors and potential customers. I networked with many other teddy bear artists and before I knew it I was designing their websites. Within 11 months I had my first corporate client and had to make the decision of which way to take my career. Here I am – a decade later.”

Do you remember the very first site you designed? “I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a fun site to share all of my favorite internet finds with my friends.”

You are doing a lot of graphic design, is this a specialization for you? “My specialties are graphic design, layout and writing. Currently I am working on several outdoor adventure related sites (http://www.wildernesscleanup.com and http://www.friendsofchiniguchi.com  which aren’t in my portfolio yet. It is a specialization for me because backpacking and canoeing are also my hobbies. I also own http://www.outdooradventurecanada.com.”

Where do you get your art for these webpages? “I create all of my own art except in a few cases. Often clients will already have a logo or photographs and I will work those into the design. Sometimes I will use elements from client provided artwork.”

What will be the next big development in webpage design? “I think that the next big development is actually a return to a more simple style of page. We’ve already watched it happen with Flash intros. For the longest time everyone wanted a little intro movie for their site. I find that people are going back to basics with the style of the sites. I do feel that along with clean, minimalistic design, you will see more interactivity and personalization.”

What kind of templates have you designed? “I’ve designed templates for customers who needed graphics and simple html that they could work with easily. I’ve also designed graphics/layouts for other designers to use. I only design exclusive templates which can be used in many ways.”

What do you think about Flash technology? “Flash as a medium is interesting, creative and allows for more flexibility. I enjoy sites that combine flash with other technologies.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Flash?
“I find that flash is not very search engine friendly and that editing the site later on requires a little more effort than a standard HTML based project.”

What are your sources of inspiration? “Clients are my main source of inspiration. Sometimes it is their personality and other times it is what they are trying to acheive that inspires. Mother Nature is my second source. Color is everywhere in the natural world and you can see beautiful combinations everywhere you look.”

What are your favorite website designs that you did NOT design yourself? “Now that is a tough one. I really like http://www.blackfeather.com, http://www.guelphflowers.com/flowercare.html and http://www.macrophotography.com.”

What was the toughest project or customer situation you’ve encountered? “The toughest customer situation I’ve encountered was telling a client that the entire site was lost because our business and home burned to the ground two days before the launch of his huge online store. We had a meeting scheduled for 1 pm and everything was lost that morning. I was so frazzled at almost losing our lives that I forgot to call and cancel the meeting and he showed up to a smouldering pile of ashes. He was great about it. Everything worked out in the end, the insurance company covered his losses and I still do work for him.”

What are your interests and dislikes in webpage design? “My interests in webpage design are purely graphical. I love to see a site where a designer has broken out of the traditional mold. I dislike cookie cutter sites that have nothing interesting to offer the eye. I dislike overly cluttered sites and overuse of animation.”

Thankyou Laurie for the viewpoints and the beautiful graphic layouts.

The Maestro of Web Templates,
Arthur Browning

22Jan

Indexing has been changing as search algorithms have evolved. Presently, if you enter a search query into Google search you see the websites that are displayed are somewhat optimized to an exact word or phrase. As a continual effort to “improve”(?) search Google has employed a form of “latent” semantics into their indexing algorithm – and it’s called LSI.

What is LSI? It’s another form of indexing that supposedly moves Google search closer to “human” search parameters. It will assist in finding websites that are based on the theme of the site instead of whether or not the exact word or phrase is repeated on the page.

Search engines may further adopt Latent Semantic Indexing to prevent a rigid response that values keyword-loading as opposed to assessing meaningful content.

LSI seems to have had some effect. Some websites that had impressive links based on a keyword have seen their pages drop in the rankings. Other pages with more variance in their inbound links have moved up in the ranks.

SEO must respond to LSI with better content and quality inbound links. SEO can no longer depend on keyword density and placement or link-farming.

Content For LSI is better if naturally written and worded. LSI supposedly moves closer to assaying “natural instinct” of the writer of content. Using different tenses, plural and singular forms, as well as synonyms may well be rewarded.

Your link profile should no longer needs thousands of links with the same anchor text. Now you can look for relevant and similar terms and improve your link profile by gaining links using these as your anchor text.

What this offers searchers? LSI offers some advantages over earlier form of indexing. In example, LSI will recognize that the word “pickle” in “dill pickle” is not related to searches for terms like “metallic pickle process” and is instead related to food. LSI will supposedly give more accurate results as well as a broader range of pages on a particular topic.

Google has been pushing many changes in search engine function and latent semantic indexing is one of the latest. Yahoo and MSN may adopt LSI over time. This effects your website’s success in SEO. With natural content including keywords and keyword alternatives, and a link profile that is diversified for a number of related keywords then your rank may begin to improve.

Search for Tomorrow,
Arthur Browning

19Jan

Travel agents can offer great travel packages nowdays. Most of them have a website, but do they have a Flash Template
website. If not it may be time to upgrade – or put together a new website if you’re just starting out.

The Flash Template below is one of 43 excellent and varied template designs is Flash – each a complete package.

fl13529-b.jpg

Flash Template #13529 from TemplateMonster

Next time you take a trip make sure you book a great tour with a Flash Template travel agent.

Around the World and In Your Face,
Arthur Browning

18Jan

5 Blog Essentials for Your WordPress Theme:

1) HTML basic code for occasional punctuation, bold, breaks, etc.

2) Notepad for copy-and-paste – so you don’t dump your work.

3) Flash Drive for portability of files.

4) StatCounter or SiteMeter to find out what posts hit the spot.

5) Gmail – the best. Your emails are saved as conversations, like message strings. And the most unique feature is Gmail Chat. You can instant message with other Gmail users right in Gmail.

You can use a WordpPress Theme on a WordPress platform blog, and with these tools you can speak to the world – loud and clear.

WordPress Wizard,
Arthur Browning

17Jan
Comments Off

Interview: MARC TRACY

Used in the right way a Flash Intro or Flash Template can make a great impression.  Finding Flash applications that are fast-loading and don’t stop your SEO is the biggie.

I recently visited the Smarter Systems website of Marc Tracy and saw some great client sites I asked Marc for an interview.

How did you get into web design?  “Website Design was a natural progression for me. Initially in 1991, I was building Network Computers for my clients, then my varied clientele were asking for websites for their businesses and as I have an artistic flair I found it quite simple to create a unique web presence for each.”

Do you remember the very first site you designed?  “Yes indeed, My first website was for Hanwells Car Centre in London. Hanwells sell pre-owned Bentley and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. They were unhappy with the service they were getting from the company they were with and asked me to construct a comprehensive web site for them.  Initially their business was concentrated on the west of London area, but after 5 Years Hanwells now have an enviable worldwide reputation as the largest retailer of these luxury vehicles They now sell Bentley and Rolls Royce Automobiles to all corners of planet.

“You are doing a lot of Flash Animations, is this a specialization for you?  “Yes, I love the ability of expression that Flash allows me, I am incredibly passionate about my work and I find that small Flash movies enhance the pages I create, giving the end user a unique experience that holds their attention long enough for my clients message to really hit home.”

Where do you get your art for these webpages?  “Mostly the artwork for our pages come directly from the clients themselves. Some I create myself, Some is sourced from Libraries and rarely, some is outsourced. We have to evaluate each project on it’s own merits and always keep an open mind with regard to creating imagery worthy of the clients particular product or service. We never forget that the client has a choice of web designer.”

What will be the next big development in webpage design?  “Who knows! Personally I believe we will have more interactive websites. In my world the client is always King and the end user benefits from the fruit of our labors. I am always excited by the possibility of a challenge.”

Have you ever worked with website templates?  “Yes indeed, We started creating Website Templates some years ago, mainly for Car Showrooms these have received great exposure and form a substantial part of our business portfolio.”

What website template providers have you tried?  “We have found over a period of time that for various reasons, we and our clientele were not satisfied with the majority of templates on offer and always preferred to create our own.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Flash?  “We have found that Flash is an amazing tool but feel that it is better utilized in small quantities as with many of our websites.”

What are your sources of inspiration?  “Our Clients… always.”

What are your favorite website designs that you did NOT design yourself?  “http://www.jacquielawson.com   This is a remarkable website the quality of the work is truly exceptional http://www.bentleymotors.com  This is a very Classy Website http://www.sanibel-resort.com   This is a well constructed website. I spent my 5th anniversary here and it certainly lives up to the website, or vice-versa.”

What was the toughest project or customer situation you’ve encountered?  “This is a really difficult question for me to answer. I’ve never come across a situation that presented a really overwhelming problem. In tough situations I go back to the client with my team and we work through the specifics until a solution presents itself. Which it always does.”

What are your interests and dislikes in webpage design?
“Broken Links and Bad Navigation are possibly the worst elements of website design and yet there are so many websites that are not properly maintained, resulting in the end user giving up on the site and moving swiftly along to another website. At SMARTERsystems we pride ourselves on the maintenance of our websites at all times.”

Thankyou Marc for the info and fine examples.

Dreaming the Future,
Arthur Browning

16Jan

Still photography will always be big, altthough it may gain some digital tweaks like 3D appearance etc.  Movies and holograms have their place but a good two dimensional image is the staple for the foreseeable future.

Flash Technology offers an interesting balance for the world of the still photograph.  A Flash website gives a photographer’s online studio/portfolio a third dimension  and a soundtrack.  This dramatizes the overall presentation, and if done right makes the photos stronger.

Flash templates are a coherent package for the webpage, designed for motion and a soundtrack.  The Flash template below is one example of the many that are available for under $80.

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Flash Template # 13418 TemplateMonster

Next time you want to show off your portfolio, think about a Flash Template website – big effect, small price.

Mr. Image Conscious,
Arthur Browning


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