7 Key Points to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

7 Key Points to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

by: Kyle Dusang

With literally thousands of web hosting companies in the industry all vieing for your business, carefully consider these key points to ensure you make the most well informed decision possible.
1. Server Space
First, think about how much space your site will take up on a server. Unless you are planning on running a software repository or an image gallery, the files that make up your website will probably only use between 1 and 5 megabytes of disk space. Many companies will offer several hundreds of megabytes of webspace for a very reasonable price in attempt to out perform their competitors, but ask yourself กDo I really need that much space?ก. Though itกs true that you should allow your site กroom to growก, don’t opt for what seems like a great deal on a massively sized account if youกll never use all of the space offered. Chances are youกll find an even better deal on an amount of space more suitable for your site size.
2. Data Transfer Allowance
This decision should be based on the same principal as above. Though you may be convinced that your site will be the next Amazon or Yahoo and receive a gazillion visitors a day, you really shouldn’t need an extremely high data transfer allowance unless, as stated above, you’re running a software download site or a large image gallery. Even heavily trafficked normal HTML sites usually only use a few gigabytes per month in bandwidth allowance. Don’t go overboard just because it seems like an awesome deal. You may also want to be wary of companies who offer กunlimitedก data transfer as there are usually some fineprint stipulations that make this claim not entirely true. Be sure to read their terms and conditions very carefully before opting for this type of account. A five or ten gigabyte bandwidth allowance is usually plenty enough for a small to medium sized business or personal site.
3. Technical Support
A very important point to consider when choosing a web host is the types of technical support offered by the company and how easy they are to contact when you need them. Ideally, a company should offer 24/7 tollfree telephone support and email. I have seen companies that do not even offer a telephone number on their website. You should look for a company that is very easily accessible in your time of need. Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of working on your site and needing an important piece of information to finish the job and not being able to contact your hosting company to find it out.
4. CGIBin Access
No matter what type of site you are planning on running, chances are you will eventually need to install some type of CGI script. Whether it be a mailing list management script, contact form processor, or maybe even a fancy credit card processing script, your hosting account will need to allow you to install and run them. This requires access to a special folder on your server called กCGIBinก. Some hosting accounts will only allow you to use กpreinstalledก scripts as a security measure. These are scripts that the owners of the company have installed and configured so that they know that they will work properly and not adversely affect their serverกs performance. That may be all you need, but if you have the knowledge, itกs always nice to have the ability to install your own scripts and configure them to suit your individual needs. You should also be sure that the account you choose supports the language in which your scripts are written, such as PHP, Perl, etc.
5. UpTime Guarantee
Another very important issue in determining the value of a hosting company is how often and for how long their servers กgo downก. No matter how good a deal you get on server space or bandwidht allowance, or how wonderfully the companyกs tech support takes care of you, your site can’t receive visitors or produce revenue if the machine on which it is hosted is not up and running. Naturally you want a company who can guarantee the highest uptime percentage possible. Servers are taken down briefly from time to time for maintenance or upgrading, so no company can ensure 100% uptime, but you want your site to be hosted on dependable, well managed machines that are not constantly having problems which require them to be down for long periods of time.
6. Email Accounts
Again, like data transfer allowance and server space, some companies will offer you loads more email accounts than you will ever use. Some offer hundreds or even unlimited email accounts as a selling point. This is an important factor if you are Bill Gates and have thousands of employees, each who need their own email box, but not such a big deal if you’re just one person or a small company. You should be okay with 10 or 15.
7. Reputation
This is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing a web host. Do your homework. Pay attention to any negative feedback you may hear or read about a particular hosting company. There are several sites arount the Web that feature discussion forums that allow people to discuss and critique various hosting companies. Ask specific questions about any company you might be interested in using to see if anyone else has had any negative experiences with them. As a beginning webmaster, I had initially contracted the services of a particular web hosting company to host my first site, who promised very good, dependable service for a very cheap price. Then one day, for no apparent reason, decided to delete my entire site without warning or explanation. Only then did I visit some hosting forums and find that many others had similar negative experiences with that company. Don’t make the same mistake I did, find out for sure from the start that your hosting company is not going to let you down.

About The Author

Author: Kyle Dusang

Webmaster of http://www.verybesthosting.com

Looking for a web host? Compare plans, features, and pricing from several of the Webกs most reputable hosting companies all in one place at eryBestHosting.com.

kyle@verybesthosting.com

This article was posted on July 28, 2004

by Kyle Dusang

A Crash Course on Graphic Philosophy 101

A Crash Course on Graphic Philosophy 101

by: Lala C. Ballatan

Novice and professional graphic designers, we are aware that you know the basic principles of graphic philosophy. But then, as workers of art – though digital and graphic art already borders in commercial arts, there’s no harm in continuously improving our craft through constant study and practice, is there? Really great graphic designers I know have come to their status because of painstaking application and study of their past works.

We’ll review the theoretical concepts of graphics and graphic forms as a foundation on how we have to go about our graphic designs. To begin with, a graphic form is the shape that embodies a certain idea. We can take a tree and use it as an example. How many ways can we depict a tree? We can depict by a photo of a tree, or the silhouette of a tree, or even its outline. By having these forms that represent a tree, we are therefore conveying the idea of a tree.

A word of caution, though, the effectiveness of which the idea is communicated depends upon many levels of context.

The abstraction of an idea into a flat space, to make it a graphic form, is an integral part of Graphic Design. Usually, the goal is to communicate the idea as clearly as possible. So why not depict the apple as close to reality as possible with a photo? This clearly depicts an apple and leaves no room for misinterpretation. So why not use photos of everything?

The idea is usually not as simple as just an apple. The graphic form is merely a component of an entire design. In a design of a poster for example, the existence of multiple forms and large amounts of text can compete with one another for the reader’s attention. To increase readability, graphic forms are usually simplified into basic shapes, and flattened into a limited amount of color. They are made to work with type more harmoniously and further refined to convey the layers of information with clarity.

The concept of contrast also defines the graphic form of an idea. In a field of 10 squares and 1 triangle, the form that will be noticed is the triangle. A design placed on a wall, on a billboard, or on the internet, are usually lost in a field of other designs. In order to help define your idea over the others, forms that contrast those around it are effective. Basic factors such as typeface, color, scale, and form are elements that can easily help get a design noticed.

The representation of an idea goes beyond its place on the page or its place on a wall. There is the larger context to consider the audience. The ability of the audience to interpret your design is based on the ability of the audience to understand the forms in which an idea is embodied. Preferences of form, and the ability to understand form, can change by age group, location, and through time. We all understand the representation of dollars by a symbol: $. Though symbols universally communicate, they are become ordinary by usage. As the audience becomes visually educated and aware of these forms, the visual language of graphic design expands. However, the evolution of forms must also take place in order to keep interest.

In the overall scheme of things, fresh ideas and interesting graphic forms have always been able to attract attention. New ways of representation strike curiosity. But the goal is to communicate and the form is part and parcel of visual communication.

About The Author

Lala C. Ballatan is a 26 yearold Communication Arts graduate, with a major in Journalism. Right after graduating last 1999, she worked for one year as a clerk then became a Research, Publication and Documentation Program Director at a nongovernment organization, which focuses on the rights, interests and welfare of workers for about four years.

Book reading has always been her greatest passion mysteries, horrors, psychothrillers, historical documentaries and classics. She got hooked into it way back when she was but a shy kid.

Her writing prowess began as early as she was 10 years old in girlish diaries. With writing, she felt freedom – to express her viewpoints and assert it, to bring out all concerns imagined and observed, to bear witness.

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

contactus@graphicdesignsunlimited.com

This article was posted on March 29

by Lala C. Ballatan

Keywords are the ขKEYข to a Profitable Web Site

Keywords are the ขKEYข to a Profitable Web Site

by: Gail Kaufman

The only activity that should preface keyword research is the brainstorming you do to come up with list of potential themes for your web site. Think about things that you find interesting, are passionate about or that leverage your skills. Once this is done you are ready to find out which topic on your list will be the most profitable to pursue.

Keyword Research

Keyword Research will reveal answers to 3 critical questions:

1. Is there a demand for what your site offers? If not, you need to keep moving down your list until you find something that people are already looking for.

2. How are people searching for your topic? For example, if your theme is ขJapanese foodข how are people searching for information? Are they typing in ขJapanese recipesข, ขlow sodium miso soupข, ขhistory of Japanese foodข, ขJapanese food in NYCข, etc. This part of the search will allow you to build up good topics for your site pages and provide keywords that you will use to optimize your pages to become a search engine magnet.

3. How many sites will you be competing with – does demand outstrip supply or vice versa? Right now your job is to build huge lists of highdemand, lowcompetition keywords. Be thorough and exhaustive in looking for phrases that people might use to find your site.

You cannot cut corners at this stage of the process or your business will suffer. This can be slow, tedious work but fortunately there are some good tools to help you automate your keyword research and help find the most profitable keywords to build your content around. There are some good free tools to help you make light work of this including Search It! and Overture. More comprehensive tools that provide demand, supply and profitability data that help you find profitable niches include Brainstorm It! from Site Build It! and Wordtracker.

Keyword Optimization

You may have heard the terms ขsearch engine optimization (SEO)ข, ขkeyword optimizationข, ขpage optimizationข, etc. Basically, they all refer to the same thing – making sure your pages have the right amount of keywords, placed correctly, to effectively get your site ขspideredข or found by the search engines, such as Google.

Repeating keywords throughout a site is just as important as choosing the right keywords. If you use the keywords too often the search engines will ignore them; if you don’t use them enough the search engines will not find and index them properly.

The main keyword, in our example ขJapanese foodข, should be used as part of the domain name and in the title tag of the HTML code for the page. It should also be used in the heading of the page where you tell visitors what the page is about. Also, most SEO experts agree that it is best to put your keyword in the first and last sentences of your page.

As for the body copy, there are some good rulesofthumb that help you achieve the correct กkeyword densityก or keyword repetition. Many experts say you should use the 4% 7% rule (approx. 25 words in a 500 word document). However, don’t use a single keyword over and over or your copy will seem forced. Instead, weave in some variations of the keyword (e.g. plural forms, synonyms) to ensure your content flows well and makes sense! Simply filling up a site with your keywords will not fool the search engines; rather, it may be considered spamming and your site can get banned!

Many people say that content is king, but in fact, it’s content that is keyword rich that is king. It is absolutely critical to find your best keywords and use them in the right way to attract targeted traffic. It takes some time and practice but if you persevere your web site will be built on a strong foundation.

About The Author

Written by Gail Kaufman cofounder of http://www.websitedesigngenius.com

Visit her site for information, free valuable ebooks and practical tips on how to build an affordable and profitable web site with no technical skills.

This article was posted on August 24

by Gail Kaufman

How To Turn Your Newsletter Into a Web Page… In

How To Turn Your Newsletter Into a Web Page… In 45 Seconds!

by: Michael Southon

Do you place backissues of your Newsletter on your website?

There are two good reasons why you should:

(1) It shows potential subscribers that you’re serious about your Newsletter

(2) Newsletters are rich in keywords, so itกs a very good idea to turn backissues of your Newsletter into HTML documents and then submit them to the major Search Engines

Hereกs a little trick that will help you format your Newsletter as an HTML document:

Copy the text of your Newsletter into a text editor such as NOTEPAD.

Then copy the text from NOTEPAD into Microsoft Word. Youกll notice that in your Word document, each line ends with a Paragraph Mark.

Now go to EDIT | REPLACE.

Place your cursor in the first field, where it says กLook Forก.

Now click on กMoreก and then on กSpecialก and select the first item in the list (กParagraph Markก). The symbol for a paragraph mark will now appear in the first field (a hat followed by a กpก).

Now place your cursor in the field below, where it says ‘replace Withก and type . Then click on ‘replace Allก.

Youกll find that every single paragraph mark in your Word document has been replaced with .

Now copy the entire Word document into a new NOTEPAD document and save it, using the file extension .html (Note: NOTEPAD doesn’t offer you the option to save as an HTML document, but don’t worry; just type .html after the name you gave the file, and it will be saved as an HTML document).

Close that html document and then open it again and youกll find that your Newsletter is perfectly formatted, with the exact same line breaks that you had in the email version of your Newsletter.

Using this technique it takes me about 45 seconds to turn a backissue of my Newsletter into an HTML document!

(c) 2000, by Michael Southon

About The Author

Michael Southon has been writing for the Internet for over 3 years. He has shown hundreds of webmasters how to use this simple technique to get massive free publicity and dramatically increase traffic and sales. Click here to find out more: http://www.ezinewriter.com

This article was posted on August 30, 2002

by Michael Southon

7 Reasons Why Using CSS is a Must

7 Reasons Why Using CSS is a Must

by: Michael Turner

CSS is a new option for website designers that have been using HTML and tables for most of their web designing careers. Of course, it is a huge change and requires learning a new language and skill, however most people are saying CSS is worth it and it will give you more control, options, and is easier to edit. Consider the following 7 reasons why using CSS is a must and see if it convinces you to change your method of web design.

Reason #1 Present Data Logically

When you use CSS in the layout of your website you can present your data in a logical way and CSS can then manage how the information appears. This is significantly easier than other methods and is one reason why CSS is a must.

Reason #2 More Options

With CSS you have more options for changing the location of information on your screen. This is important for a variety of reasons, especially if you anticipate the need to change columns or links at some time.

Reason #3 Complements HTML

Another reason CSS is a must is because it complements HTML. HTML and CSS alone both have weaknesses, but when used together your website design will be significantly stronger.

Reason #4 Editing

You can edit your website design if you need to for whatever reason without that much hassle if you are using CSS. All you do is go in and edit the definition. This is a lot easer than searching and replacing of years past.

Reason #5 Faster

When you use CSS your pages not only load faster but they also can be scrolled quicker than ever before. This is a huge deal to most web surfers as well as webmasters because speed is a huge implication in whether someone stays on your page or moves on. CSS increases speed, and as a result is a tool you must learn how to use.

Reason #6 Print

When you use CSS you can also include a printer friendly version of the website that makes it easier to print and can eliminate color, images, and other things that do not print easily.

Reason #7 Control

If you have been working with tables for layouts you are probably tired of the guessing that goes on. However, with CSS you have more control and can issues commands and know exactly where the result will appear, rather than guessing. This is in itself makes CSS a must have.

Now that you have some information on CSS, you are probably interested in knowing more details about how it works and above all how you can learn to use CSS. Fortunately, there is tons of information available online that will provide you with the answers to your many questions on CSS and how it can help you.

About The Author

Michael Turner shows you exactly how to increase web site traffic in his free 7 part miniseries. Grab it today at http://www.powertraffictactics.com/.

info@powertraffictactics.com

This article was posted on August 06

by Michael Turner

Culture and Website Localization

Culture and Website Localization

by: Neil Payne

With the rise in ownership of computers and internet usage growing daily, the internet is fast becoming the primary port of call for information, shopping and services. In addition, those computer and internet users are increasingly from nonEnglish speaking countries. At the end of 2002, it was estimated that 32% of internet users were nonnative English speakers. This figure is constantly rising. In response, businesses have quickly become aware of the benefits of website localization.

Website localization is the process of modifying an existing website to make it accessible, usable and culturally suitable to a target audience. Website localization is a multilayered process needing both programming expertise and linguistic/cultural knowledge. If either is missing, the chances are that a localization project will encounter problems.

In the majority of cases it is the lack of linguistic and cultural input that lets a website localization project down. In order to give an insight into the impact culture has on website localization the following examples depict areas in which a solid understanding of the target culture is necessary.

Language in Website Localization

Translating a website from English into another language is not as simple as it may appear. There are numerous factors that have to be taken into consideration when translating a websites’ content.

Do all the words, phrases, sayings and metaphors translate directly to the target language? Would it be wise to translate the phrase ขeveryman for himselfข in text describing a company or product if this is going to be read by a highly collectivist culture? Does the content of your website use humour and if so will the target culture appreciate or even understand it? Native alternatives should always be sought and used in any website localization.

When translating into another language carefully consider the variants. If it is to be an Arabic website then is aimed at Tunisians or Iraqis, Egyptians or Yemenis? If you are targeting all Arabic speakers then ensure Modern Standard Arabic has been employed by your translator.

One must analyse the style of the language and the target audience. If the audience is foreign business personnel, the vocabulary, grammar and punctuation must reflect this. If the audience is informal or youth orientated then a more relaxed language must used. Just as we in the UK would identify the difference between a site using ‘posh English’ and ‘street English’, other cultures will have the same perceptions of language. Using the wrong language for the wrong reader in your localization project will lead to a misunderstanding of the site or company.

It is essential to assess what information is necessary to carry over into the new site. Do not assume that all information on the English site is automatically transferred over. One must evaluate the target culture and society. Is it a culture that relies on information rich writing to fully understand a concept or product or is a culture that relies more on images or one that needs little text to grasp ideas and concepts? If your English site employs a lot of technical language then consider how best to transfer these concepts without the use of language.

Pictures in Website Localization

Images carry many subtle cultural messages within them. These can speak volumes about your company or product. Pictures or images may have certain negative connotations that may repel viewers. This is now an area that thankfully is receiving attention in website localization.

For example, if a travel site in a Muslim populated country used pictures of scantily clad women in bikinis, disco dancing and beer drinking, the chances are that they would not be very successful.

When including pictures of personnel it is wise to tailor these to what the target audience will look positively upon. A picture of the Director behind a desk in an office will be fine for a seniority respecting society, but for an egalitarian society it is better to show the Director mixing with staff.

It is through pictures that websites can either relate to an audience or repel them.

Symbols in Website Localization

As with pictures, symbols can cause problems in localization. Icons using fingers such as an OK sign or Vsign may mean different things to different cultures. Our Western symbols do not always mean the same abroad. An oft cited example is the representation of the house referring to a home page, or a letterbox to mail. The use of animals in logos can cause embarrassment and further problems. For example, pigs are considered unclean in the Middle East and cows as holy in India.

Colours in Website Localization

Colours are also loaded with cultural meanings that need to be analysed in website localization. Choosing the wrong colour for your logo or background will not always have disastrous consequences, but avoiding them is always advisable.

For example, in Japan white is commonly associated with mourning. In China red is auspicious. In Africa certain colours represent different tribes.

Navigation in Website Localization

It is even the most taken for granted aspects of website layout that must be analysed properly for a successful localization project. In the West we assume that how we present websites is how it naturally should be done. This is far from the truth.

A common problem experienced in localization is the effect on layout through translation. Foreign scripts can make your pages need more room or less room depending on the target language in the localization. Not all languages read from left to right. Arabic is from right to left and both Japanese and Chinese are from top to bottom.

Access to certain pages is also a factor that can be considered as relevant. Highly hierarchical cultures may view a site positively if it is ‘member only’ access, whereas an egalitarian culture may find it disagreeable.

Content in Website Localization

Examining your written content in any localization process in critical to its success. This is not only important for proper transfer of aspects such as dates, currencies, and units of measurement but for the presenting the correct image.

For example, will the site focus on a product or a company? Both bring with them certain considerations dependent on the target culture. If a company is marketing itself in a culture that respects seniority and hierarchy, readers will want to see information on senior members. Along with their titles and rank they will also want to evaluate them through information on their professional qualifications, experience and contacts. These areas in the UK may generally be avoided as in our culture it is bordering on selfindulgence and boasting.

Conclusion

Culture affects everything we do, say, read, hear and think and even websites cannot escape the influence of culture.

The impact of culture on website localization is huge. The above few examples are literally the tip of the iceberg. The number of variables that have to be taken into consideration requires the expertise of both a website designer along with a cross cultural communications consultant. In tandem they can identify the issues that will impact on the successful localization of a site.

At a time where the internet is entering more and more houses it is crucial that companies involved in the internationalization of their business consider website localization and take care to use effective cross cultural analysis.

About The Author

Neil Payne is Director of London based cross cultural communications consultancy Kwintessential.

If you wish to use this article elsewhere please contact me,
npayne@kwintessential.co.uk

http://www.kwintessential.co.uk

This article was posted on August 12, 2004

by Neil Payne

Tips to Protect Your Downloads or Products

Tips to Protect Your Downloads or Products

by: Radhika Venkata

1. Upload robots.txt file in to your root directory and include the folder name where you set your downloads.

More information on how to set robots.txt: http://www.webmasterscentral.com/wp/se/robotstxt.shtml

2. Set the permission of the download folder to 711 OR upload an index file to that folder. This makes that folder web inaccessible.

For example create a folder named ‘testก. Usually by default it will be chmoded to 755 or 777. Put some files like test.htm, test1.htm.

Now you type the URL of the folder yourdomain.com/test/

What will you see? You will see the folder /test with its files in it. Now upload an index file or chmod the folder to 711. Now access the URL. You will see index file or permission denied error.

3. Name the download folders something like กCDf54eSก. Not like กdownloadsก or กproductsก etc.

4. If your customer downloads your product once and don’t need or don’t have to access to your folder then you can set his access to expire for certain days.

For this you need a cgi script that controls your members access based on days, ip address or number of accesses. http://www.scripts4webmasters.com/ipppro/index.html This script also protects your thankyou.html pages and expires them after certain time.

5. If you have a membership site and you need to stop password abuse or sharing you can use scripts like:

http://www.scripts4webmasters.com/macpro.shtml

http://www.monstersubmit.com/sentry/

6. Protect your download links: Like if you keep …domain.com/downloads/product.zip, everybody knows the download URL. You can use cgi scripts that discloses the download path. http://www.cgiscripting.com/downloader.shtml

7. If you use If you are selling ebooks, you can use password protection to your ebooks. Once your ebook is protected, after your buyer downloads it, you can send it to him to open the ebook.

Some ebook compilers with this password protection features:

http://www.ebookeditpro.com/

http://www.ebookcreator.com/

About The Author

Radhika Venkata Subscribe to กEbookBiz Magazineก which is completely focused on ebook business and Internet Marketing. Receive FREE Ebooks with Resale rights every month!

http://www.ebooksworld.com/freetosell.shtml

Webmaster Resources: List Your product, ezine or web site free! http://www.webmasterscentral.com/

This article was posted on November 14, 2003

by Radhika Venkata

PIM Team Case Study: Creating Text Effects With PH

PIM Team Case Study: Creating Text Effects With PHP and GD

by: Bobby Handzhiev

See how you can create graphic effects on text with PHP and GD drop shadows, arcs, fonts and colors.

Problem

Atec Signs and Sraphics Inc. launched a web site with the idea to sell decals online. To achieve better customers ineterest the website had to integrate online decal builder. The company is offering also decals for vehicles which brought some specific requirements to the builder like having the decal text turning arround 4 types of arcs.

Goals

Provide users with preview area

Allow visitors to choose font and color

Allow adding drop shadow and selecting drop shadow color

Allow turning the text into arcs

Real Time calculating

Solution

Because of the need for increasing customers interest we had to think about not for perfect math formulas when showing the graphs in the preview area, but for the people who will look at them.

As we will reaveal below, there were few problems going arround human appreceptions for something กperfectly smoothก and the matchematical perfect figures.

Methodology

We were going to extensively use PHP GD library for the text effects. It provided easy changing of fonts and colors, adding drop shawdows and rotating the texts.

We had also to create color palletes which to appear when user click and disappear when color is selected (You can personally try the decals creating here). Using hidden layers and javascript was supposed to do the work.

The main problem in this site was to create 4 types of arcs so when the user selects one of them the text is created arround imaginary arc (like in the vector graphical softwares). We were going to study Bezieกs formulas and create these arcs with its help.

Implementation

PIM Team Bulgaria had the task to build the full functional online decals builder with the following features:

Decal background

Some users were supposed to have their decals placed on colored background. We had to allow the preview area to be painted in a selected background. First we created the image in temp folder:

// the name of destination image

$dest=กdecals/ก.time().ก.jpgก;

//the background

imagefilledrectangle ( $im, 0, 0, 590, 60, $colors[$_POST[กbcolorsก]]);

$colors array contains the available color which are stored by the administrator in the database.

Thus, when the visitor selects a background it is passed as parametter to imagefilledrectangle function.

Font selection

Users should be able to select fonts for their future decals. Knowing that we can’t consider all the fonts will be available on all visitorกs computers we had to upload them on the web server directory.

We allowed the admin to manage the fonts, adding their names and uploading files in admin area.

The fonts in the select box came from the database. Selected font was passed in the call to imagettftext funtion which is drawing on the previously created image.

Color Selections

The color selections had to be a palettes which appear when user clicks and disappear when color is selected. The palette had to look as a table with colors and these colors are also defined in the

admin area so they had to come dynamicly. We had to seed a static javascript function with dynamic content.

We created a PHP cycle which was taking the colors from the database and then creating a string for HTML table. This table is then passed to a javascript function which creates the palletes with the help of hidden layers:

function showTable(table)

{

mouseX = window.event.x + document.body.scrollLeft+25;

if(table==กbackgroundก)

{

var content=กก;

var y=460;

}

if(table==กfontsก)

{

var content=กก;

var y=690;

}

if(table==กshadowsก)

{

var content=กก;

var y=810;

}

document.getElementById(‘tablerก).style.pixelLeft=mouseX;

document.getElementById(‘tablerก).style.pixelTop=y;

document.getElementById(‘tablerก).style.visibility=กvisibleก;

document.getElementById(‘tablerก).innerHTML=content;

}

Of course, once the user select the desired color we had to hide the pallette:

function setColor(elid,color,fromid,shc)

{

document.getElementById(elid).value=color;

document.getElementById(‘tablerก).style.visibility=กhiddenก;

}

Thus we created nice palettes which appear and disappear on a single click and don’t take much space on the screen.

Drop Shawdows

The decals offered has the ability to have a drop shadow added so we had to add this option to the online builder. PHP however didn’t offered a nice function for that. We created a procedure which draws the texts twice once the original 100% saturated text and once the shadow with a percentage of the color and appropriate displacement. Of course the shadow was drawn on the image before the main text.

@imagettftext($img, 20, $gr[$i], $x+$dx, $ys[$i]+$dy, $scolors[$shadowcolor], กfonts/ก.$_POST[กfontsก],$word[$i]);

Arcs

The main problem came when we had to กrotateก the texts thru arcs. First we created perfect Bezie funtion which to draw the curves and adjust the letter above them. But what a surprise the curves looked perfect alone, but when we adjusted the letters above them they seemed rough.

After studying this problem we realised that the rough screen resolution and the disability to antialise the images wouldn’t allow us to create nice arcs. We were standing against insoluble problem.

We decided to create few arcs with a graphical software (CorelDraw) and to see what could be wrong.

We noticed that Corelกs curves were looking great after they are manually adjusted. However you can’t just leave the program to create perfect curves automaticly. A human eye was needed to judge when a curve looks right and when not.

We got a totally different direction. There wasn’t an universal function to help us. The solution we found was to กmanuallyก adjust each letter. We created a procedure with cases which were adjusting each letter on the appropriate place and with appropriate rotation depending on how long was the text. It worked!

We created 2 arrays for each arc type one array with the positions and one array with the rotations.

The rest was simple:

if($arctype)

{

$start=(35$l)/2;

if($start%2) $start+=1;

$gr=array_slice($gr,$start,$l);

$ys=array_slice($ys,$start,$l);

}

if(!$arctype)

{

$ys=array();

$gr=array();

//making the arrays

for($i=0;$i

You can go on the atecกs site and try the arcs we achieved (http://atecsigns.com/decal/step_1.php).

Results

Now Atec Singsกs web builder creates perfect decals with graphs, calculates the price and allows you to add the decals to your shopping cart and chgeckout (the shopping cart software is also created by PIM Team Bulgaria).

The builder allows the visitor to create the desired decals with any color, dropped shadow, background and shape, to preview it and to calculate the cost for different sizes and quantities.

The website and builder were promoted with massive radio advertising company. At that time it was the only decal builder which allowed creating texts arround arcs.

Conclusions

Use GD to create text effects

Do not forget that you can create you own functions for what GD does not offer

Do not always search for math perfect formulas. The graphical effects are intended to the human eye

Load fonts in the server

Use javascript and hidden layers to achieve great flexibility

About The Author

Bobby Handzhiev is a senior developer in PIM Team Bulgaria

http://pimteam.net

admin@pimteam.net

This article was posted on November 02, 2004

by Bobby Handzhiev

web page building for beginners 2

web page building for beginners 2

by: Ted Dupuie

A search engine robot actually reads the wording on your web pages and places a certain amount of importance on what the content says, but not quite like a human does. A human will place the words together in their head and try to decipher the relevancy to them personally and decide within a few seconds whether they will continue reading or click to another site, whereas a robot counts words and places all relevancy in the numbers it finds. It also gives extra credit to the size of the type and title of each page. What a webmaster should consider, is every word connecting to a keyword and not wasting words, for the public and the robots. This can be difficult to do when writing about certain subjects, but not impossible. Take diets for instance. Saquoyah Publishing writes diets and uses www.freediet.biz to promote them, but nobody wants to read pages full of the word diet just bandied around with no oomph in the article that should teach the reader about diets. So a happy medium must be reached to get the website placed high in the search engines database, yet allow the articles to inform the reader of the subject written. Remember, the information super highway is called that for a good reason. Most people just want to learn something about a subject, not necessarily buy something. So if you are selling, the first thing you will want is to get the reader to find the pages you have written, and that means search engine optimization, or SEO as it is called.

SEO should be a major consideration as the page is written, and a concentration on keywords should be the main concern of the page writer. Take diets as an example of page writing. The word Diet or Diets should be placed in the title of each page on the website if at all reasonable, and each page should utilize those words as many times as possible without deterring hopeful customers. The title of the page is the most noticeable attraction to your website from the searcher’s perspective, and the few words you have to say everything about your site. Free diet is a two word search that will get you over twenty five million pages on Google or Yahoo, and the competition is fierce. Just the word free will get you over a half billion pages and the competition is downright crazy. So stick with keywords that you can compete in, and use those words wisely as you write your pages.

Simple, free, healthy diet are the four keywords that describe the title of my index page, and they are the best way to describe what I hope the searchers will be looking for, as well as what I have to offer. This is the most optimistic I can be when writing my title to help people learn about diets and to help my website get a good placement with search engines. Also, a four word phrase has less competition than a two word phrase. So make sure your title is something that the searcher is looking for as well as something you provide or you will never get customer satisfaction, and maybe never get customers.

The contents of the page can be categorized into sections to help keep your keywords alive without pushing them on the reader. For instance, free diets, beer diets, funny diet jokes, potato soup diet, pineapple diets, Beverly Hillbilly Diet foods, and many other strange things can be written without being insensitive to the reader, if they are titles of some of your other pages or just paragraphs on each topic. The contents close to the top of your page should also be the same words you have in the contents meta tag that the robots will copy to be placed under your title in a web search. In this way, the reader will also get a fair chance at what you really have to say on your site and can make a better judgment call on whether to open your index page or some other. This is how you select customers instead of wasting everyone’s time. This article can be copied and reprinted anywhere as long as it is intact and includes the author’s bio.

About The Author

Ted Dupuie owns a home based publishing company that only publishes his work, which includes diets, an investment strategy, and 8 websites, plus a family newsletter. He is also a writing critic with top ten placement on Google and Yahoo!

www.saquoyah.com www.homewriters.com www.freediet.biz

This article can be copied and reprinted anywhere as long as it is intact with the author’s bio.

This article was posted on August 21, 2004

by Ted Dupuie

Why Optimize Your Site For Search Engines?

Why Optimize Your Site For Search Engines?

by: John Metzler

Sometimes a search engine optimization company will miss that glaring question posed by potential clients and assume the benefits of search engine optimization are obvious to everyone. While shelling out a couple thousand on an SEO campaign is common sense to some, others may find it hard to part with the cash unless they know it is an investment in their business that is sure to bring a good return.

Search engines account for a huge portion of traffic to web sites. Data varies depending on what sources you read, but the bottom line is that search engines are used millions of times each day by consumers searching for goods and services. And having your business displayed at the top of search results is essential if you want to do any business from the major search engines. Nine in every ten users will find what they’re looking for in the top 10 results and won’t go to page 2.

Itกs obvious that people can make a lot of money from online sales, but how you advertise your products has a large bearing on what kind of profit you make. If you buy advertising space on Google AdWords or other services that charge per click, you may only shell out 10 cents for every visitor to your site But what if it takes 100 clicks to make one sale? If your products only sell for $10 a piece, then there is no profit being made. Payperclick (PPC) campaigns will also never stop costing you money. Search Engine Optimization, on the other hand, can be very affordable over months and years.

Many SEO and Internet Marketing companies will say that ongoing maintenance is needed to reach and keep top search engine rankings. While this is true, be careful how the company says they do it. There is an affordable way and then thereกs a way to pad the pockets of the กexperts.ก For more on this issue, read my other article entitled กWhat Constitutes a Complete and Effective SEO Campaign?ก In short, the affordable way will involve an intense content optimization followed by work to raise link popularity. This link popularity development should be the bulk of any ongoing maintenance. A couple times a year keyword research should be done again and the content should be looked at. Search trends can sometimes fluctuate so you want to make sure your content is still aimed at the right audience.

What is affordable and what isn’t varies greatly from company to company, industry to industry. In the bed and breakfast industry, $30 per month may be enough to keep a top 5 ranking on Google if the market is not very competitive. A web site competing for a top spot in a database administration field may be looking at several hundred a week if not more. The bottom line is, if you pick the right Search Engine Optimization company, your return on investment from an SEO campaign can be over 1000%.

While there are other ways to advertise a web site (No, search engine optimization is not the beall and endall of online advertising) very few can match the wide targeted audience and affordability that search engines provide.

About The Author

John Metzler is the cocreator of Abalone Designs, Inc. www.abalone.ca, a Search Engine Optimization company in Vancouver, Canada. He has been involved in web design and web marketing since 1999 and has helped turn Abalone Designs into one of the top SEO companies in the world.

john@abalone.ca

This article was posted on February 09

by John Metzler

How To Turn Leads Into Sales With Autoresponders

How To Turn Leads Into Sales With Autoresponders

by: Chad Cook

It is an established fact that autoresponders can boost sales. Customers tend to buy, and buy more, from people they are familiar with. But as the web is a faceless arena, how do you create familiarity then? The answer is an autoresponders. After a customer has answered to your advert or notice on the web, you can create a situation of familiarity automatically with auto responders to convert that initial response to a sale. After all that’s what businesses exist to do.

The safest technique is to follow up the initial enquiry or interest with enticing messages. Customers usually need more information or confidence to buy.

In this regards, you will have to put your autoresponders to work.

This is how it goes:

You set up autorespnders to send three presell messages to the prospective customer who has expressed interest in your product. In the initial followup letter, you don’t need to say much else the interest will wane right away. Customers rarely tolerate hard sales approach.

Rather be brief and emphasize the importance, uniqueness or cost effectiveness of your product or service. Remember that, this letter is supposed to encourage the reader to buy without going much into service or product specifications.

On the second day, the autoresponders will have to send a second letter. This one should be explanatory and particularly – particularly – mention why the customer needs to buy and the benefits he will derive from such a purchase. Make sure you have stated the price, quantity, terms of shipping, taxes and after sales support in clear, common English language. Avoid technical jargons which may need a lot of interpretations. You want your clients to buy quickly and not refer to encyclopedias before understanding terms you have used.

The third letter from the autoresponders can be sent about a week or later from the date the second one was sent. In this letter, you suggest to the reader that perhaps he was unable to respond due to busy schedule, meetings, etc. The purpose of tgis letter is to rekindle his interest or remind him of your offer. Now, do not repeat the same things you said in your previous letter. Rather take a different perspective to present your product or service.

If the third letter from the autoresponders fails to yield any response, then stretch the timing of the next letter to a month. If the reader sees your letter regularly and one day decides to purchase the product, you will be the first he turns to as he would have by now accumulated a lot of info about the product to make a decision. Perhaps more importantly, you would have created the familiarity needed by people to build trust and confidence.

It may have to be understood that not all autoresponders can accomplish the task we have enumerated above. The functions we have alluded to in the article can best be handled by a professional auto responder such as the ones found at http://www.aceresponse.com/ These are high grade autoresponders with excellent facilities for designing the letters, setting the timing and even performing other auto pilot duties.

So that is how autoresponders can do the job of a salesman for you – all at the click of a mouse. You don’t need extensive knowledge to be able to put this sales generating method into practice. Neither do you need to know about html. You simple knowledge about websites and email is all you need to get the power out of this tool.

Article was written by Chad Cook

About The Author

Chad Cook has been doing email marketing since 2000. You can learn more about his autoresponder Tips & Tricks at: http://www.aceresponse.com/AutoResponder_Tips.pdf

For more of Chadกs Internet marketing tips, tools, news, articles, and resources, visit: http://www.aceresponse.com/

articles@ultrawebfusion.com

This article was posted on August 08

by Chad Cook

Hey, Client, This Is Me! Sell With Your Writing Vo

Hey, Client, This Is Me! Sell With Your Writing Voice.

by: Cathy Goodwin

In a crowded market, clients will be seeking personality as they read what youกve written theyกll click right past pages that feel กbeen there, read that.ก They’re looking for a voice that says, กHey, client, this is me!ก

They want to know not just what you deliver but how. Will you be funny or serious? A perky cheerleader or a sardonic commentator? Will your view of life be based on กbelieve and it happensก or กwhat you see is what you get?ก

Here are some tips to add your own voice to your writing.

1. Write from the heart.

Too excited, passionate or angry to sit still? Best time to connect with your voice. Grab a pencil and scribble ideas as you jump around the room.

2. Say something new.

After forty articles on time management, your readers know about cutting projects into manageable chunks and setting priorities. Ho hum. Try กbetter than zeroก or ‘turn your life into a time warp.ก

3. Tape yourself talking to a good friend about a product.

Do your words sound different when you speak than when you write? Transcribe the tape into an article for easy reading.

4. Picture your ideal client (you do have one, don’t you?). Imagine that she is gushing about your service to a friend highly recommending you. What words does she use to describe your services? What emotions come through?

5. Cut. Then cut again. When you have to trim your piece to meet a word count requirement, notice that you’re left with the most essential words all yours.

6. Write fast. Get the words down before your inner critic has a chance to participate. Edit later.

7. Reveal yourself: family, mistakes, secret dreams. When you feel just a bit embarrassed, or feel your private persona has become more public, youกve probably just touched your audienceกs heart.

8. Be concrete not abstract.

As writing guru Natalie Goldberg would say, กItกs a geranium, not a flower.ก

9. If youกve had voice training, be especially alert to creating the bland and the blah.

Julia Roberts could hold an audience while she reads the telephone directory. Your copy has to stand alone, without dramatic oratory. Exercise 3 may not work for you.

10. Don’t be afraid to break the rules: use slang and contractions. And itกs okay to begin a sentence with กandก or กbut.ก

Just tread carefully on the rules of grammar and spelling. กYour about to head off for you’re great adventureก can be a credibilitybuster.

About The Author

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, editor, and consultant. She helps clients who want to use writing to sell and sell what they write.

Visit http://www.makewritingpay.com.

cathy@makewritingpay.com

This article was posted on December 31, 2003

by Cathy Goodwin