Archive for July, 2007

31Jul

Designers!  If you have an itch to get some exposure, show off your work, possibly win $5000, and get your design as the website for a scholarship organization – then this might be of interest to you.  CollegeScholarships.org has begun a contest.  You can get further information at their website.

“The Web Design Scholarship Contest
Scholarship Amount – $5,000
Requirements:
U.S. citizen;
Currently attending full-time in post-secondary education; and  If you win, you must be willing to allow us to list your
name, picture, and website on this page.

Why a Web Design Contest?

We are launching a cool new website, New Scholarships.org, and are in need of a fantastic design to replace the current default WordPress look. Since we are already experienced in handing out scholarship awards, this is a fun way for us to receive a great new website design…and a talented student to receive $5000!
How to Submit your New Design:

Simply upload your design to a web server, and put the URL in the ‘Your New Design’ space in the application form below. Please make sure the design is 100% ready to view before you submit your application. This should be a WordPress Template Design.

How the Design Entries are Judged:

We are having a panel of judges who are experts in web design, programming, or other web-specific activities. The judges will have complete control and the final say as to which web design is the winner. The provider of this scholarship, The Daniel Kovach Scholarship Foundation, leaves the decision totally with the independent panel of judges. No bribing allowed! :)

Current Judges:

Paul Stamatiou
David Airey
Steve Smith
Darius A Monsef IV
Bryan Veloso
Darren Rowse
Jonathan Snook
Patrick Haney
Chris Pearson
Ashley Moore
John Rockwell
Andreas Viklund

The Deadline:

You have until midnight PST on Monday, August 13th, 2007 to make a submission.  The winner will be announced on Monday, August 20th, 2007. . . just in time for the fall semester.”

I went to the website of Andreas Viklund, one of the judges listed above, and read the following:

“College Scholarships are launching a new WordPress-based site called New Scholarships and the site needs a new and fresh design. In order to get that, a web design contest is launched where participants can create and submit entries – which need to be in the form of complete WordPress themes. A number of well-known web design profiles (including Paul Stamatiou, Steve Smith, Darius A Monsef IV, Bryan Veloso, Darren Rowse, Jonathan Snook and me!) will review the entries and find the best entry. The winner will recieve a $5.000 scholarship from The Daniel Kovach Scholarship Foundation!”

The Big Bopper of Templates,
Arthur Browning

30Jul

Dance is a very popular recreation. There are always more new small businesses that teach dance, ballet, salsa, and ballroom classes. People of all ages like to dance. If your business can offer classes or is a school of dances, then you know the value of motion in your advertising. A Flash template for your salsa studio or school of dance can make a major impact on new and returning customers.

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Flash Template #15684

Salsa and other Latin dances as well as Disco are still popular. Ballroom dancing has many interested novices who want to improve their skills with dance instruction. If you have a dance instructor who needs more clients at your school of dance classes then you need advertising with a Flash template for motion.

Flash Templates Dance Studios Salsa Classes Ballroom School Small Businesses Popular Dances Instruction Ballet gives you the edge when it comes to new students. Disco and Ballroom will never die. Latin and Salsa are still rapidly growing. Keep your studio classes full of dance students at you school for popular dance and ballet.

You just change the text and pictures to make the Flash template unique to your Dance studio small business. Whether you have instruction in Salsa, Latin, Ballroom, or Ballet your classes should keep the studio full. You can find many Flash and webpage templates here in a wide array of designs.

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Pirouetting With Pleasure,
Arthur Browning

27Jul

Even SEO experts need updates to stay on top of changes in the world of search engine development (duh?!?). But for the rank and file developer or designer there are some very germaine and timely ways to optimize your website for search (Stay with me here!). So – here it is the latest 12 Top Tips for SEO:

1) Frames, Not Good – The debate on whether designing with frames is really stupid or whether its a freakin’ catastrophe continues. But you don’t gotta be a genius to know that if search engines have trouble getting sense from your content to index your pages then its time to smell the coffee. (Wake up stupid!)

2) Flash is Iffy – From an search engines point of view Flash is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing – they cannot index content in a Flash file. So, a big tip here from Mommy Dearest – use it sparingly and with unimportant content!

3) Error Pages – Yes, look over your search engine crawl error reports to find out what exactly is the problem. Checking the error reports can help you find where Googlebot or other crawlers are dropping off of the edge of the Earth, and interestingly, this can help you find a solution to problems.

4) Robots.txt and sitemap files – Yes create and update these files because search engines feel good about your directions, and when they feel good, they help you.

5) Look at Googlebot activity reports – Googlebots tell on you all the time – you might as well look at what they are saying. Like how long it’s taking Googlebot to access your pages. If it is taking search engine crawlers too long time to index your page then they “bug out”.

6) Different Browswers – One of the best ways to see how your site looks to a spider is to look at your pages in a browser with image and JavaScript support disabled. Mozilla’s Firefox browser has a plug-in available called the “Web Developer Toolbar” that adds this functionality and a lot more to the popular standards-compliant browser.

7) HTML Navigation – Make sure your navigation is in HTML, not images. Pictures are worthless for search engine crawlers, but HTML is valuable and makes your links a text for search engines.

8) Check Images – This is another place search engines look (as if you wouldn’t know) but can’t see, they see only see your ALT text, IF you’ve provided it. (Well, DID you?!?! – Well?)

9) Unique Title and Meta description tags – yes, that’s your job. Any webmaster must be aware to use unique tags because duplicate tags for multiple pages don’t allow spiders to differentiate your content. If you run a search on your keywords then look at your competitors’ text that shows in the title bar for that window you can tell right away that this is a key place to include target keywords for your pages. (Get it????)

10) More HTML – Make sure important page elements are HTML – Spiders are looking at source code. Anything like a Flash movie, image, or multimedia component is probably invisible to spiders.

11) Target Keywords – Use the same keywords in your texts as well as tags and titles. You will not get found even for niche keywords unless you use the target keywords in your page content. (Well, I wouldn’t have to mention it if you already had your top 5 ranking, now would I?)

12) 404 error code – You don’t want to create a “custom error page” to replace the 404 error code page. Why? If you generate a custom error page then crawlers can spend time following broken links that they won’t know are broken. A 404 error page is recognized by spiders and they stop following links that generate this page instead of reporting you to Lord Google’s High Executioner.

Well that wraps up today’s attempt to make something out of you and your website. (Smirk!)

Yours Is Not To Reason Why,
Only to Consume and Pay Taxes on Petroleum,
And Then You May Die,
Arthur Browning

25Jul

People are more and more conscious about what they eat every day. The environment is just the tip of the iceberg, there is also the processed food epidemic, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, etc. Shoppers want to feel that their food is a nutritional and natural plus, not an additive toxic liability.

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WordPress Theme #15658

Online herbal and natural foods shops and stores can offer excellent selections of vitamins, herbs, nutritionals in retail or wholesale businesses for the natural food enthusiast. Natural foods are on every street corner and mall – now they are moving to the internet. Any Shop for Herbs and Nutrition Online Stores Herbal and Natural Foods sell Nutritionals Retail or Wholesale Vitamins needs a WordPress theme for a low cost blog or website.

Businesses like online wordpress blogs and websites for retail or wholesale of natural foods, vitamins, nutritionals, herbs and herbal foods can ame profits without major overhead. Large chains for natural foods have their own websites and blogs already, enabling them to make extra profit from vitamins, herbs, nutritionals, nutrition books, and nutrition programs. These businesses may include exercise or athletic features but they can still retail and wholesale from their website by way of a wordpress blog for an online shop or store selling herbal and natural foods as well as vitamins and nutritional supplements or nutrition supplements.

Getting back to Natural Foods,
Arthur “Buckwheat” Browning

24Jul

Businesses always profit with a webpage.  Small businesses just like megacorps must keep the website profitable.  After conducting many surveys and interviews of designers, from beginners to experts to area specialists, I found out why designers can save time and money with webpage templates.

These answers to my questions are focused on when a webpage designer would prefer to use a webpage template in the design of a website. Interestingly the trends in their answers had to major themes and several minor themes.

Cost Savings- Designers’ time can be very expensive so many contain costs by using webpage templates.  Great looking designs ready to use with prices the range from $40-$90 for the web template.

Functionality- Designers like webpage templates that have some predictably quality design features.  Flash designs offer a lot of design in a package that is ready to go.

Exclusivity- Available templates come in such a wide array of styles that elegant designs can be found to maintain your more exclusive look.  You do not have to settle for a standard white or any other pattern for that matter.

Uniquely Personal- Web templates are designed for ease of customization so that you can make them unique by adding your pictures, texts, logos without difficulty. And many of the templates offer several fonts and logos as well as free images to further personalize your unique website.

Time- Your website can be completed and operational in one or two days from idea stage to completion with all customizing work.  Even the beginning designer can handle this quickly.

Support- Web templates have an included support and resources package at the time of sale. In addition to images, fonts, etc. for the customizing process a packet of information is included on ways to market your newly acquired website to the World Wide Web. This information is often included in the price.

These are main criteria by which designs base their decisions as to whether or not to use a webpage template on any particular project.

First Interplanetary Website,
Arthur Browning

23Jul

Sports related businesses and fan clubs need a good website. To make the website interesting a well designed Flash Template should do the trick.

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Flash Template #7722

This example has changeable graphics, easily customizable, and a great soundtrack. Sports fans of any football club will enjoy the visit to this site. Football ticket sales, club news and road game trip billboard are just the beginning for a website like this. Jerseys and logo team gear can be sold here too. When the football season starts the fans like to see rosters, injury lists, odds lines, etc. The Flash template for football season fan club ticket sales is a great way to go. There are many beautiful Flash templates available here.

All sports need good websites nowadays, and football fans want a billboard for tailgate parties, road trips, tickets, logo wear and news. So don’t let your team down. Put the website together the right way with a major league Flash template.  I know even private clubs and weekend teams like to publicize their games. Churches, fire departments, school intramural football teams all want more action every season. This is the way to get it. Charity support games, ticket and team wear sales, road trip announcements – all organized for you public to see.

Some fans need a website just to organize television viewing of the college football bowl series and the NFL football playoffs. A Falsh template sports website will keep interest high as well as participation and funding.

Be A Sport,
Arthur Browning

20Jul

Besides a good looking blog – the folks at Design Vitality have provided a big old list/toolbox of resources that looks pretty good. I’m familiar with a few of them.

The Open Source Web Design Toolbox: 100 Tools, Resources, and Template Sources – “The open source model has, over the last 20 years, proven that collaborative development is one of the best ways to incorporate the newest ideas and latest concepts into design. . . which began with programmers, has been so successful that it is currently being applied in government, media, education and private business. But despite these new applications, the unique combination of the open source model with the universalism of web design remains one of the ideal applications of open source. This pervasiveness of the open source spirit in web design now means that you can use open source software to design both graphics and your CSS and HTML, and you can also use the dozens of reliable open source code resources or thousands of templates to base your own designs on. In this article we highlight 100 open source web design tools, resources, and templates.

The Best Directories of Free Open Source Design Templates

There are tons of free design template directories on the net, but sorting through all of them can be a very tedious process. Instead, we suggest that you start with these four, which we consider to be the best free open source design template directories online.”

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Have a good look at the list compiled – I bet you bookmark some of these babies.

Last of the Mohicans,
Arthur Browning

18Jul

It can be difficult to be an expert in SEO because the rules are updated frequently. And the rule book isn’t always made public immediately – in part to test the new rules and in part to measure exploitation by the SEO experts. With the current SEO atmosphere – essentially Google – here art the best 12 Tips for you to remember for the near future.

1) Make sure that you repeat keywords in your page content. webmasters can publish their pages in hopes that they will rank well for competitive keywords within their topic or niche, but without keywords in the texts, body and title, it is not going to happen.

2) Frames are not good. The debate as to whether frames are absolutely terrible for SEO or whether they just are not the best choice. You really don’t want to use frames. Spiders can have trouble getting to your content and indexing the individual pages.

3) Update or create your robots.txt and sitemap files. These files are supported by major search engines and are very useful tools for ensuring that spiders index your site content while avoiding those sections or files that you believe are not important. Sometimes you may see the proper use of these files making a real difference with total crawl failures and a complete indexing of the content pages – this makes them very important to SEO.

4) Check Out Your Googlebot activity reports. These reports tell you how much time it takes Googlebot to get into your pages. If it takes search engine crawlers a long time to index your pages they may take time out and then quit. If the crawlers can’t pull up your pages quickly then visitors are probably getting the same problem too.

5) Check out what your site looks like to browsers without image and JavaScript support. This is a good way to determine how your page looks to a search engine spider. Just disable your image and JavaScript support. The Firefox browser has a plug-in called “Web Developer Toolbar” which makes this functionality. If you can’t make sense of your page with these disabled it means your site is not well optimized for SEO.

6) Make sure your navigation is in HTML, not images. A frequent problem in web designs is the use of images for website navigation. Some companies are not so concerned with SEO but for most companies well optimized pages are necessary.

7) Make sure that all images include the ALT text. This is another very good way to optimize your pages. Search spiders see only your ALT text.

8) Flash must be shown only as needed. From the viewpoint of SEO Flash files are meaningless. Search engines are not able to index text that is in the Flash file. Flash can certainly do a lot for presentation, but use it only for less important content.

9) Each page should have its own < title > and meta description tag. Optimize < title > tags – very important. Webmasters may not understand that when they use duplicate < title > tags for multiple pages it neutralizes targeted search traffic. Run a search on one of your competitive keywords at Google. When you click the first few links you will see what text appears in the title bar. This is a crucial place to include keywords for your pages.

10) Important page elements should be in HTML. Spiders are basically looking for your source code – not Flash, images or other media. Use clean, standards compliant, fully optimized HTML source code.

11) Make sure that your server returns a 404 error code for any unfound pages. Broken links pointing to these pages must be avoided. Don’t create a custom error page to replace this page – crawlers can waste time looking at broken links. The 404 error page is well recognized and spiders know to stop following any link that generates this page.

12) Do not spiders walk into infinite loops. Webmasters use scripting languages, such as PERL, PHP and ASP to add interactive functionality to their web pages, but unless they use robots.txt files or use other preventive measures the search engine crawlers may go into what are called “infinite loops”. Spiders recognize “infinite loops” – they just stop indexing pages at any site flagged for this error.

Also you can read these other enticing articles.

http://www.webtemplatesblog.com/archives/2007/06/19/

http://www.webtemplatesblog.com/archives/2007/06/18/

http://www.webtemplatesblog.com/archives/2007/05/21/

http://www.webtemplatesblog.com/archives/2007/03/07/

http://www.webtemplatesblog.com/archives/2007/02/08/


Do not be an Internet Litterbug,
Arthur Browning

17Jul

Blogs can help your image online, help sell your artwork, provide a forum for showing and discussing your work, support of your other art websites.  WordPress Themes make your blog more attractive and arts-related.  This is why so many artists use WordPress Themes and WordPress platform free of charge for their art.

To make your blog more unique and related to art topics you can choose from many low cost WordPress Themes.  The excellent example below is just one of the many WordPress themes available to artists for very little money.  You can choose from numerous WordPress Themes in this arts selection.

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WordPress Theme #15448
If you are an artist you profit in many ways from a WordPress Theme blog for an online art presence.  Searching for any form of art or artist you can check to see how many artists have websites or blogs, quite often both website and blog.  These artists know the above reasons to use the internet wisely for online art display and artist blog.

Making Every Day Big Time,
Arthur Browning

16Jul

Website Designs for any small business provides a major facet of the small business advertising program – so it needs some real consideration. Good design will keep a customer on the website and coming back.

Launching a website for any small business is worthy of a little research before the task begins. You need to know exactly who the target audience is, who comprises that audience, what they have to do with your purpose.

Choosing a web designer is one of the most important decisions. Do not automatically look for who has the cheapest offers. You need a website that conveys a professional and interesting image. You should begin by deciding what features and services you will need on your website. Try to know what your website will need if you must change it, or your business expands, or how you might want to update it periodically.

Choose your domain carefully. Your name should be as short and relevant to your business as possible. Don’t take the name lightly, every word on your website will be important and every letter in your name will be even more important. When you decide on your name, based on your business name and keywords that you want to use for your target audience’s searches, then you should register it.

Web hosting is a major consideration, again you cannot chose an ISP by cost alone. You can get hosting at costs ranging from FREE, at WordPress, Yahoo! Geocities, Register.com and many others, to very expensive – with more bells and whistles than any website can operate. It is better to research prices and services of established and reputable hosting services.

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Flash Template #14573 

The text content of your website deserves attention. It is the words that people read to get your message. It sells your product or service. The keywords used in your name, titles, tags and texts are all necessary to bring your website up high on search engine results pages. Use each keyword about five times in the texts of any page to be searched.

Your webpage ideally works at any screen display resolution, from 800×600 to 1280×1024 and beyond. The most widely used screen size is 1024 x 768. But the general guideline is to optimize to your target audience’s most common resolution, so the size will change in the future. It usually safer to keep your web site at less than 750 pixels wide because you don’t want to alienate your visitors by making them scroll to see the whole page. Make sure that that your web pages show up the same in all web browsers.

It’s good to place web graphics in context with the information being presented. If you have product descriptions on your web site, then you should have the related graphic depiction next to them. Avoid using graphics that have no relation to your text. Overusing graphics will only make the site look amateur. Make sure if you use web graphics as links that they work at all times. There is nothing worse than clicking on a graphic that does not work.

Web design is important to your business. So always remember to create a site that is appealing and easy to navigate. Your website is an investment, so make your you get optimal return.

Small Business Futurist
Arthur Browning

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