Become a More Creative Person

Become a More Creative Person

by: Granny’s Mettle

Used to be when we talk about generation gap, it almost always applies to the difference in thinking between the supposedly adult generation and the younger ones. Then, it was easier to understand because our parents used to say that itกs all about difficult teenagers. Period.

However, the principle of generation gap has evolved in a different meaning particularly in the workplace. The trend nowadays is to have a more vibrant and creative staff working for companies. And who best exemplifies creativity and fun? The young, fine arts degree holders, who else.

A person with a fine arts degree used to have trouble in getting himself employed. But now, itกs the companies who are getting as much as they can; recruiting young people with a fine arts background, believing that with creative staff aboard, they become more creative and innovative themselves. Especially that thereกs a growing belief nowadays that to stay ahead, companies should become more inventive, innovative and creative.

Nevertheless, you don’t need to be a fine arts graduate to get inside the best companies. Or you get your own fine arts staff for your own company. You just need to enhance your creativity to get a crack of the business you have chosen. As the author of Vivation said, the idea that a few people are creative and the rest are not is definitely a myth. All we need is to let some of our infinite creative power leak through from the unconscious so we can apply it to our conscious state.

Or, we could always rely on software and programs available in the market to help us produce a creative and innovative environment for our company and business.

There is a barrage of applications from Adobe, Microsoft, and other software developers, to help us create better and vivid media materials that enhance our corporate identity.

At the TypoTechnica 2005 conference, Quark Inc. introduced QuarkXPress 7, an updated version of their page layout program. The program fully supports both Unicode and OpenType. With QuarkXPress7กs support for Unicode, it provides a new feature called Font Fallback that allows users to specify a fall back and alternative fonts when a specified font does not contain a full set of glyphs for nonRoman characters. Furthermore, the program will support a total of around 23 OpenType features, including standard and discretionary ligatures and swashes.

On the other hand, Adobeกs Creative Suite boasts having a complete design environment for print and Web publishing. They add that users will be able to create and publish content for print and the Web faster, more easily, and more affordably. The application has tools for creating artwork, editing images, creating photo compositions, and drawing vector graphics.

Then thereกs Microsoftกs Digital Image Suite 9 and Digital Image Pro 9 that comes with wizards and tutorials that walk you through the process and help you get started right away. The software includes thousands of design templates to help you create projects not only for your business, but also for the home.

There are a lot of ways and means to let our creativity flow. We just have to use our minds to imagine fresh ways or put together already existing ideas and innovate, to make our company click with our target clients. And with new technology to help us, business life is simpler and easier.

About The Author

Grannyกs Mettle is a 30something, professional web content writer. She has created various web content on a diverse range of topics, which includes digital printing topics, medical news, as well as legal issues. Her articles are composed of reviews, suggestions, tips and more for the printing and designing industry.

Her thoughts on writing: กWriting gives me pleasure… pleasure and excitement that you have created something to share with others. And with the wide world of the Internet, it gives me great satisfaction that my articles reach more people in the quickest time you could imagine.ก

On her spare time, she loves to stay at home, reading books on just about any topic she fancies, cooking a great meal, and taking care of her husband and kids.

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

[email protected]

This article was posted on March 07

by Granny’s Mettle

What Are My Chances To Get The First Place In Sear

What Are My Chances To Get The First Place In Search Engine Listings?

by: Oleg Lazarenko

You must have heard the stories how people became rich and famous with their websites. How could they achieve this? Their websites took a first position in search engine listings targeting popular keywords. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! To be honest, chances for a regular small business website to get to the top of the search engine listings are close to zero and each day they become smaller and smaller as a number of new and old websites grows.

Letกs examine the situation from the beginning. Search engines just need your content to deliver it to searchers. If a searcher is happy with the search result from the particular search engine, he will come back and use this search engine again. Do not think that search engines serve to send customers to your website. They DO NOT CARE about your website or your business. All they need is content.

When the search engines first appear in the Internet they needed help to determine what your site is about and how relevant is your website to search queries. People used กKeywordsก metatag in those days. Keywords gave too many opportunities to cheat with search engines results so searchers were not happy with their search queries results. Same thing was with the search engines. Manipulation with a website position in the search engines listings became known as Search Engine Optimization. That was the time when you could actually wake up a rich man after the search engine came to your website, included it into its database and started sending you thousands of customers.

Then came the time of big G (Google) with its concept of website popularity based on two factors: content and links. They introduced the new factor which was called Google PageRank. Now it becomes more and more complicated to get to the top of Google results. You need to bother about your website content, incoming links and outgoing links, IP of your website, number of visitors coming to your website and many other things that are being counted to determine your page position in the Google index. Linking fever came to the webmasters community. New websites (no matter how original their content is) have to wait before they will get enough links to be displayed in search engine results. The more complicated the search engines have become, the more ways of cheating people could think of: invisible text and links, doorway pages, cloaking pages etc.

Surely, you can try one of these methods called กBlack SEOก (search engine optimization) and you may even succeed for a month or two. When a Search Engine catches you, the punishment will be immediate: your website will be banned and no visitors will ever be sent to your website again.

Letกs be honest for small websites and home based businesses starting from scratch chances to get to the top position in search engine are minimal. The WWW is so rich that you probably will not find any competitive areas in search engine listings. Let me give you several suggestions, however, on how you can get started. I would recommend concentrating on one or two main keywords and trying to get the highest position in search engine and not waste efforts trying to cover the whole market. The right keyword can bring you several thousands visitors/customers in a day. Webmasters should concentrate their efforts on developing unique and original content. Search engines like new content and analyze if it is unique. Write articles, reviews, online publications etc. As an example, I can say that as soon as search engines index my recently written article for http://www.metamorphozis.com we get several hundreds visitors to that article from different engines. Exchange links with other websites related to your website. Put your keyword in the link title when you exchanging links.

Example: <a href=http://www.metamorphozis.com title=กWebsite Templatesก>Website Templates</a>

We use this link to get the better listings for กwebsite templatesก keyword. Just copy it and replace your website domain name with your own and link title to the keyword you would like. Exchange this link with related, popular websites. I would recommend you to create a special page for link exchanges and place links to other websites there.

I hope some my pieces of advice will be helpful to internet business starters.

This article may be reprinted and distributed with no charge until the credit line below remains without changes.

Thanks for reading.

Article source: http://www.metamorphozis.com/tutorials/what_my_chances_to_get_first_place_in_search_engine.shtml

About The Author

Oleg Lazarenko

Production Manager of Metamorphosis Web Design Studio –

Flash templates and Web Templates

http://www.metamorphozis.com

This article was posted on August 17

by Oleg Lazarenko

The Road to Better Results

The Road to Better Results

by: Shawn Campbell

A lot has changed in the way sites are optimized for search engines since last year. For one thing, Google is not the only search engine worth looking into anymore; Yahoo has definitely managed to take away some of Google’s oomph over the past twelve months. Another important change is that the intelligence of the search engine spiders and algorithms has increased dramatically. So without further ado, I will present you with a standard search engine optimizing process.
Keyword Research
Nothing can be done until you know what your target phrases are. Keyword research must be done to find out what people are actually typing into the search engines. For example, do they type in ขmedical insuranceข or ขhealth insuranceข more often? Is it worth targeting the keyword ขdental insuranceข? What do your competitors think its clients type?
Keyword research usually begins by asking the client what they think are good keywords and by looking at your competitor’s Meta tags and text. You then have to brainstorm to find new and related keywords that were not previously thought of. The use of Wordtracker, Overture, and Google AdWords’ estimates is indispensable. If you use the ขKEIข offered at Wordtracker, don’t fall into the trap of giving it too much worth. It is a good tool to help discover keywords that have not been exploited by the competition, but the really important number is the amount of traffic each keyword generates. Finally, create a chart to determine the relationship between keywords used. For example, there is no point promoting dental insurance if your site does not offer it.
Texts
The next step is to write the text. Hire a specialized writer to put the text together. Ideally someone who has been trained in Internet writing, Internet marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO), or get advice from professional SEOs, marketing experts, and usability experts. Work with the client to get a feel for what is needed for the site. Then use all these skill to put together the delicate balance needed between selling to people, selling to search engines, and making the text interesting/useful to read.
Domain Selection
Once the text is written, come up with a catchy domain name for the site. Try to include part of the keyword in the domain, and to think ahead so that the domain can be expanded into the title. Our site www.gloriousbahamas.com is a good example of a domain with a keyword in it that is catchy and clearly stated. The keyword for that site is ขBahamas real estateข, so having part of the keyword in the domain will help in the long run.
Title and Meta Tags
From the domain name, you can then create a title with the full main keyword in it (such as Glorious Bahamas Real Estate). The title is the most important text on the site. The Meta tags include the description tag, and the keyword tag. The description is what the searchers will see in many search engine results, so it must have the keywords in it and, more importantly, it must sell the site. Write a description that is objective, not subjective. Zeal has some good advice for titles and especially description writing at http://zeal.com/guidelines/style/site_titledesc/. The keyword tag is done just in case some engines still use it (though very few still do), so don’t pull your hair out over it. Just list 1015 keyphrases and try not to repeat any single word more than three times.
New Content
Now we come to the meat of today’s search engine optimization. So far, we have not discussed anything new or original. It is the same strategies that have been used since I first got into the business of SEO in 1998. Today, with smarter engines, a site needs to be something that is cared about. A site has to grow, develop, and expand as if it were someone’s baby. Gone are the days when you could build a site, get good listings, and then forget about it as it brought in the traffic and the dough. Take care of your site by adding useful content to it on a regular basis, and then the site will gradually grow from a few pages to dozens of pages. Not only will this make the site seem more alive radiating with the healthy glow of a developing child but it has the added benefit of increasing the amount of content the site contains, and thus increasing the amount of keywords found within it. For example with www.canadahealthinsurance.com we add pages with more details about dental coverage or pages with details about government coverage for each province. Every month there are new pages, so that every time the spider comes back to visit, it spends more time at the site reading new content. This is one half of the key to getting good listings in the search engine results pages (SERP).
Link Campaigns
The second half of the key is getting good sites to link to your site. Going after web sites with related content, sites with good authority in your web site’s field, and sites that are ขpopularข are the priority. Getting only reciprocal links is not the goal, getting the aforementioned sites to link to you because you have good, valuable content is the goal. Sites that do reciprocal linking usually have hundreds of links on their link pages and these will add very little value to your site. Don’t waste your time with reciprocal linking. Only link to a site if doing so will increase the value of your site in the eyes of your clients.
A link campaign is a lot of work, and it involves a lot of frustration and rejection. You have to approach bigger sites and sell the value that linking to your site will bring them. For every 20 sites you approach, you will be lucky to get one to link to you. You have to be persistent, consistent, and determined.
Conclusions
Optimizing a site is no longer something you can do and then forget about. For a site to succeed in the search engines today, it has to constantly be changing and growing either in content or in links, and ideally in both. It has to appear that the site is the life and soul of its creator, and that somebody cares enough about it to pay attention to it. Because after all, if the creator doesn’t care, why should the search engines?

About The Author

Shawn Campbell is an enthusiastic player in the ecommerce marketplace, and cofounded Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc. (http://www.redcarpetweb.com/). He has been researching and developing marketing strategies to achieve more prominent listings in search engine results since 1998. Shawn is one of the earliest pioneers in the search engine optimization field. Contact: [email protected]

[email protected]

This article was posted on July 12, 2004

by Shawn Campbell

10 Web Site Design And Writing NoNoกs

10 Web Site Design And Writing NoNoกs

by: Larry Dotson

1. Don’t load your web site with a lot of high tech clutter. Your visitors may miss your whole sales message.
2. Don’t use unnecessary words or phrases on your site. You only have so much time to get your visitorกs attention and interest; make ever word count.
3. Don’t make the mistake that everyone will totally understand your web site message. Use descriptive words and examples to get your point across.
4. Don’t write your strongest point or benefit only once. You should repeat it at least 3 times because some people may miss it.
5. Don’t push all your words together on your web site. People like to skim; use plenty of headings and sub headings.
6. Don’t use site content your target audience isn’t interested in. If people are coming to your site to find info about fishing don’t include soccer content.
7. Don’t use 50 different content formats all over your web site. Use the same fonts, text sizes, text colors, etc.
8. Don’t use words your web site visitors might not understand. People are not going to stop and look in a dictionary, they will just go to another site.
9. Don’t let selling words and phrases go unnoticed. Highlight important words and phrases with color, bolding, italics, underlining, etc.
10. Don’t forget to use words that create emotion. All people have emotions, people will have more interest when they are emotionally attached.

About The Author

Over 40,000 Free eBooks & Web Books when you visit: http://www.ldpublishing.com As a bonus, Bob Osgoodby publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter visit his web site to subscribe and place a FREE Ad! http://advmarketing.com/business

This article was posted on February 4, 2002

by Larry Dotson

20 Top tips to writing effective surveys

20 Top tips to writing effective surveys

by: Martin Day

Writing surveys is easy; or is it? The truth is that writing surveys is easy but writing effective surveys is more difficult. The following are twenty tips that if followed will help you write more effective surveys.

1. What is the purpose of the survey?

Surveys are conducted for many reasons. By phrasing the questions and structuring the answers surveys can be used in a multitude of ways and for a variety of reasons. When compiling a survey don’t loose sight of its purpose.

2. Title the survey

The survey title is a golden opportunity to instantly summarise a surveys objective and grab the attention of invited respondents. Respondents are going to invest time in completing the survey so make them feel that their investment is worthwhile.

3. Do not make the survey any longer than it needs to be

Every question that is asked should be asked for a reason. Focus on ‘need to know’ questions and minimise ‘nice to know’ information.

4. Use plain English, avoid jargon and acronyms, maintain consistency and don’t ask questions that may result in ambiguous answers

Care must be taken in wording a question. If a question is not clear then there is every chance that respondents may interpret the question differently to that intended by the publisher making any analysis of the data meaningless or at the very least misleading.

5. Avoid long questions

Try to use short sentences wherever possible. Long questions tend to cause respondents discomfort and can lead to a higher level of incidents where respondents abandon a survey.

6. Ask one question at a time

Avoid confusing the respondent with a question like ‘Do you like football and tennis?’

7. Avoid influencing the answer

It is important not to load the question. ‘Should irresponsible shop keepers who sell tobacco to children be prosecuted?’ is unlikely to have any value.

8. Ensure that the answer format used allows the respondent to answer the question being asked

Allow the respondent to answer how they really feel or they may be less inclined to complete the survey. As a last resort consider the benefit of including a ขDon’t knowข, ขCan’t sayข or similar response option.

9. At the same time that you compile the survey consider, when the survey is complete, how the compiled data is going be analysed

If a question is asked that allows a free text open ended response appreciate that such information is likely to be difficult to score and/or summarised. Consider grouping answers. For example ขHow long have you worked here?ข ‘less than 1 year’, ‘between 1 and 3 years’ and ‘more than 3’.

10. Ensure that the questionnaire flows

When asking questions group the questions into clear categories as this makes the task of completing the survey easier for the participants.

11. Target your respondents

In some cases you will want to target a specific group, in others a cross section. If you can’t easily control the respondents consider including questions/answers that will allow you to filter out respondents who don’t fit your target profile.

12. Allow the respondent to expand or make comments

Allowing the respondent to make additional comments will increase their satisfaction level and will also give valuable feedback on the specific questions and/or the survey as a whole. Remember though for a large sample collection it may be difficult to analyse free text open ended responses.

13. If the survey you are conducting is to be confidential ensure that your pledge is upheld

If you have assured the respondents that the survey is confidential ensure that the individual data is not to be shared with anyone and the information is not going to be used for any other purpose. Confidentiality must be maintained at all times and any identifying information destroyed after the survey is complete.

14. Weigh up the benefits of allowing respondents to be anonymous or identifiable

If your respondents are to be anonymous then appreciate that you will be unable to follow up or match ขpreข or ขpostข surveys. However in some cases allowing people to remain anonymous will allow people to respond without possible peer pressure.

15. Give careful consideration to the best response format

It is good practise to maintain a consistency in the format used for responses. Keep in mind that when analysing the data radio buttons are easier to analyse than check boxes that offer the respondent multiple responses. Do not use a check box if a radio response would do.

16. Give the respondent an idea of how much time the survey will take.

Respondent drop out can occur if the survey appears to be a stream of never ending questions. It is good practise to give an indication as to how long the survey is likely to take so the respondents can choose the best time to complete the survey.

17. Inform the respondents of the survey end date

Encourage respondents to complete the survey as soon as possible but advice respondents as to the surveys end date so that they have the opportunity to schedule the necessary time.

18. Pilot the survey

Before publishing a live survey publish a small pilot survey to check for questions that are ambiguous or confusing and to ensure that the survey is aesthetically pleasing.

19. Before publishing the survey proof read the survey several times

Check and check again that the survey is grammatically correct and makes sense. If possible get someone else to proof read the survey before you publish, if no one else is available then take a break before checking again.

20. Remember to say thank you

To complete surveys respondents need to invest their time and should be thanked either in a covering letter, at the end of completing the survey or in a follow up letter. You may even want to consider incentives such as a prize draw or reward.

For more information please visit http://www.SurveyGalaxy.com

About The Author

Martin Day is a Director of Survey Galaxy a website that allows anyone to create and publish online surveys. For more information please visit http://www.SurveyGalaxy.com

[email protected]

This article was posted on September 01, 2004

by Martin Day

ICANN Registrar: Great promotion by isdomains!

ICANN Registrar: Great promotion by isdomains!

by: Hans Peter Oswald

ICANN accredited registar Secura is announcing today, that the company offers isdomains to persons and companies outside from Iceland.
The isdomains, which are the domains from Iceland, belong to the domains, which become more and more attractive.
The isdomains are specially interesting, because in English, กisก has a meaning. You could make a combination with files, which form sentences like http://www.tommy.is/at/home or http://www.tommy.is/superman.
ICANN accredited registrar Secura can register an isdomain at once, if the domain name is available.
Only companies from Iceland can register isdomains. A company from Iceland acts as trustee and is registering the domain for the customer. The company from Iceland confirms, that you have all rights at these isdomains.
HansPeter Oswald

https://www.domainregistry.de/isdomain.html

About The Author

CEO

ICANN accredited Registrar Secura

https://www.domainregistry.de/isdomain.html

[email protected]

This article was posted on July 24, 2004

by Hans Peter Oswald

HTACCESS Wrappers with PHP

HTACCESS Wrappers with PHP

by: Robert Plank

HTACCESS is a remarkable tool you can use for password protection, error handling (like custom 404 pages), or HTTP redirects. It can also be used to transform whole folders in seconds: adding headers to all your HTML documents, watermarking all your images, and more.

A wrapper is like a middleman. Using htaccess you can tell your web server to กforwardก certain files to PHP scripts of yours. When a visitor tries to load an image in their browser, you could activate a script that adds a watermark to the image. When an HTML page is loaded you could query an IPtocountry database and have your HTML pages translated into the native language of your visitorกs countryoforigin.

Every file in a folder, or all files of a certain type in a folder, can be instructed to go through a PHP script.

TORTILLA WRAP

Pretend you host several affiliate sites, or a fullblown hosting service like Geocities. Most sites running on free hosting services have some kind of advertisement the owners use to generate revenue. These aren’t applied voluntarily by the users of these services. The ads don’t even show up on their source files, just when displayed on the web.

Itกs possible to replicate this feature using less than 10 lines of PHP and htaccess code. To start off, make a folder on your web host called กheaderก. Create a new text file and enter the following:

AddHandler headered .htm

AddHandler headered .html

Action headered /header/header.php

This designates files with the extension ก.htmก and ก.htmlก to a type called กheaderedก. The name กheaderedก can really be anything, itกs just a way of labeling a group of files. The last line there tells the web server that if any of the file types in the group called กheaderedก are called, we should instead execute the script ก/header/header.phpก. This is the relative path, so if your URL is http://your.host, this will run http://your.host/header/header.php.

Thatกs all youกve got to do for the htaccess file. Save that as กhtaccess.txtก weกll get back to it later.

For the actual wrapper, create a new text file with the standard tags, then assign your header and footer file names to variables called $header and $footer.

$header = กheader.htmlก;

$footer = กfooter.htmlก;

Redirecting a user to our script doesn’t pass its contents to it, just the filename. If you call phpinfo() in your script and scroll to the bottom you can see all the server variables which give us the name. The element ‘reQUEST_URIก in $_SERVER gives us the relative path (/header/sample.html), but we want the full system path since we’re going to be reading the actual file (/home/username/wwwroot/your.host/header/sample.html), which is กPATH_TRANSLATEDก.

$file = $_SERVER[กPATH_TRANSLATEDก];

The name of the file that just tried to be shown is now stored in the variable $file. Three simple things are left: output the header, output the actual file, then output the footer.

readfile($header);

readfile($file);

readfile($footer);

Thatกs it. Hereกs the entire header.php file:

All that, in just nine lines of code. Download it here: http://www.jumpx.com/tutorials/wrapper/header.zip

That contains the htaccess file and PHP wrapper script, along with a sample header, footer, and a test page. Upload all five files to your web host, chmod htaccess.txt to 0755 then rename it to ก.htaccessก. It might disappear from your directory listing which is okay, it should still be there.

Load, in your browser, the copy of sample.html residing on your web server. The text ‘this is my headerก should appear at the top while ‘this is my footerก should show on the bottom. If you open up the actual file called sample.html, youกll see that these actually aren’t there. Theyกve been added in by the script all HTML files in the folder กheaderก must now pass through.

This is how wrappers work. Certain things, like adding custom headers and footers are done กon the flyก without modifying your original file. Youกll get the same effect if you create other HTML files and upload them to this folder.

Files without ก.htmlก or ก.htmก extensions, such as text files or images, won’t show these headers or footers. This is a good thing because text files aren’t part of the presentation on a web site and adding extra text to images will corrupt them. It affects all HTML files within your /headers folder, and none of the files outside of it.

If you wanted, you could add or remove any file extensions you want, just by adding or taking away those กAddHandlerก lines.

To get everything back to normal, either delete your .htaccess file or upload a blank .htaccess file in that folder, and all will be well again.

SHRINKWRAP

The same basic formula can be applied again for other uses HTTP compression, for example. This was an idea that used to be impractical because computers ran at slower speeds, and is now obsolete because of broadband technologies (DSL and cable).

It works like this: when an HTML page is loaded, the web server instead gives the visitor a zipped or compressed version of that page. The visitor downloads that file, which of course takes up less space than the real thing and downloads in less time, then unzips it and displays the original page.

In this age of lighting fast DSL lines, thereกs almost no noticeable difference. However, if you have a site that hosts large files whose audience is mostly dialup users, it might be something to look into.

Make a new folder called กcompressก. Create your htaccess file again, just as before, but set the extensions to include .htm, .html, and .txt. (The group name, folder name, and script name have nothing to do with one another, you can name any of these whatever you like I just like things to match.)

Our wrapper script for this should be called กcompress.phpก. Thatกs what Iกm naming mine. This means the htaccess file you have should look as follows:

AddHandler compress .html

AddHandler compress .htm

AddHandler compress .txt

Action compress /compress/compress.php

If our wrapper were simply going to pass through the file (in other words, just read its contents into a variable and display it), our handler script would look like this:

กGIFT WRAPPINGก YOUR OUTPUT

To make the HTTP compression work, we use two functions: ob_start() and ob_gzhandler(). Output buffering functions are strange. Any time you try to display something, you can have PHP save up everything you’re trying to output. At the very end itกs all dumped into a function of your choosing where the text can be changed or transformed before itกs output.

There is a builtin PHP function called ob_gzhandler() which takes one parameter (a string of text), compresses the data according to the gzip standard and does all the header trickery thatกs needed to tell the userกs browser that we are transmitting data that needs to be decompressed once itกs downloaded. When this line is used:

ob_start(กob_gzhandlerก);

It tells PHP: everything displayed afterwards has to go through the function ob_gzhandler() first. Put that at the top of our script and hereกs what weกve got:

Save that as compress.php. Upload both files, chmod htaccess.txt to 0755 and rename to .htaccess and you’re done. Thatกs all you need for it to work, and you can just as easily apply HTTP compression to any script by just adding that line.

To try this puppy out, I got on a dialup connection and put a copy of ‘the Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire Volume 1ก on my web host, a 900 page book, about 1.6 megabytes in size. Without HTTP compression it took 5 and a half minutes to download. With the compression, only 2 minutes. Internet Explorer told me the download was going at 20 KB per second, impossible with a dialup connection… but since the file was zipped, I really was downloading 20 KB a second (once the data was decompressed on my end) over a 5 KB per second connection.

Though HTTP compression will work on sounds, video, and images, the space you save is negligible, usually only a few bytes. These sorts of media are already heavily compressed so zipping makes almost no difference. This is why weกve told htaccess to only use compression on text and HTML, because itกs with human languages like English where a lot of repetition occurs, which means more information can be compressed.

Not all browsers support HTTP compression, but ob_gzhandler() figures out if a browser can support HTTP compression. If the browser doesn’t, the original file is displayed, no harm done.

You can get a copy of this sample script at: http://www.jumpx.com/tutorials/wrapper/compress.zip

Both of these scripts Iกve created for you will work only on static files, files that actually exist such as images or HTML files. If you tried to apply these wrappers asis to PHP scripts, Perl scripts or even HTML pages that use SSI. If your whole site is run by a single script itกs a better idea to hardcode these things right in, anyway.

THE BEST THING SINCE BUBBLE WRAP

This last demonstration of an htaccess wrapper is something that I think most people with content sites have a use for. On the Internet, people steal stuff. Theft of HTML source code is a nuisance, sure, but the lifting of images is more common. Someone likes a logo on your page, or an ebook cover, or a picture of a physical product you’re selling, and it becomes theirs to use.

A practical way to keep this from happening is to add a watermark to all your images, which is your logo or name on a corner somewhere, forcing anyone who takes your graphic to either unwillingly give you credit, or chop off a part of that picture.

Lucky for us, PHP has a set of functions to handle images, and in version 4.3 and above, itกs included by default. Wrappers come in handy here because you might have an entire site full of images and would rather not spend three weeks watermarking tons of images by hand. Maybe you just don’t want to have to juggle two sets of images, one watermarked and one normal.

Download this script from: http://www.jumpx.com/tutorials/wrapper/watermark.zip

The only files you need to worry about in that zip are htaccess.txt and wrapper.php. Upload them to a folder called กwatermarkก, chmod htaccess.txt to 0755 and rename to ก.htaccessก.

The file wrapper.php remain as is. Iกve put comments in the file regarding most of what it does, so if you’re curious go ahead and take a peek.

What the script does is this: It figures out the original image that was supposed to be called. Then it loads the watermark, which Iกve set in wrapper.php to be กwatermark.pngก which is just a PNG image containing the text ‘tHIS IS WATER MARKEDก. The watermark is placed on top of the original, in the lower right corner, and output in the same format (i.e., JPEG) as the original.

You can tell the difference by looking at these two images:

http://www.jumpx.com/tutorials/wrapper/thomas.jpg

http://www.jumpx.com/tutorials/wrapper/thomaswatermarked.jpg

Iกve included several types of images (GIFs, JPGs, and PNGs) in the zip file for you to test out. Once youกve got everything setup, upload those images and see how they look with the watermark.

This script will work with GIFs, JPEGs, and PNGs. Due to a patent issue (which expires worldwide in July 2004) GIFs can only be read, and not output. To make up for this, any of your GIFs will be output as PNGs, which should still work.

THE WRAPUP

If you think about it, a watermark script like this could also be used for a number of things. For example, if you decide to run an image hosting service like AuctionWatch does for eBay users, you could watermark your siteกs URL to the bottom. Your users get a free service and everyone else sees a possible place to get free image hosting, thereกs some nice viral promotion right there.

You could also adapt the script to check the HTTP referer (in the variable $_SERVER[กHTTP_REFERERก]) to see if the image was called offsite. If it was, the script would put the watermark on there but if you called it from a page on your own site, the image would be shown without one.

Even I have put wrappers to good use. Last year I wrote a product for Teresa King called Codewarden, which uses htaccess wrappers to display all the files of a directory in an encoded JavaScript string in an effort to hide HTML source.

About The Author

Robert Plank is the creator of Lightning Track, Redirect Pro, Rotatorblaze, and other useful tools.

Want to pick up more programming skills? Then purchase the ebook กSimple PHPก at http://www.simplephp.com

You may reprint this article in full in your newsletter or web site.

This article was posted on January 25, 2004

by Robert Plank

The Miraculous Conversion

The Miraculous Conversion

by: Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.

http://www.ideavirus.com

The recent bloodbath among online content peddlers and digital media proselytisers can be traced to two deadly sins. The first was to assume that traffic equals sales. In other words, that a miraculous conversion will spontaneously occur among the hordes of visitors to a web site. It was taken as an article of faith that a certain percentage of this mass will inevitably and nigh hypnotically reach for their bulging pocketbooks and purchase content, however packaged. Moreover, ad revenues (more reasonably) were assumed to be closely correlated with กeyeballsก. This myth led to an obsession with counters, page hits, impressions, unique visitors, statistics and demographics.

It failed, however, to take into account the dwindling efficacy of what Seth Godin, in his brilliant essay (กUnleashing the IdeaVirusก), calls กInterruption Marketingก ads, banners, spam and fliers. It also ignored, at its peril, the ethos of free content and open source prevalent among the Internet opinion leaders, movers and shapers. These two neglected aspects of Internet hype and culture led to the trouncing of erstwhile promising web media companies while their business models were exposed as wishful thinking.

The second mistake was to exclusively cater to the needs of a highly idiosyncratic group of people (Silicone Valley geeks and nerds). The assumption that the USA (let alone the rest of the world) is Silicone Valley writ large proved to be calamitous to the industry.

In the 1970s and 1980s, evolutionary biologists like Richard Dawkins and Rupert Sheldrake developed models of cultural evolution. Dawkinsก กmemeก is a cultural element (like a behaviour or an idea) passed from one individual to another and from one generation to another not through biological genetic means but by imitation. Sheldrake added the notion of contagion กmorphic resonanceก which causes behaviour patterns to suddenly emerged in whole populations. Physicists talked about sudden กphase transitionsก, the emergent results of a critical mass reached. A latter day thinker, Michael Gladwell, called it the ‘tipping pointก.

Seth Godin invented the concept of an กideavirusก and an attendant marketing terminology. In a nutshell, he says, to use his own summation:

กMarketing by interrupting people isn’t costeffective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing, in large groups and hope that some will send you money. Instead the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.ก

This is sound advice with a shaky conclusion. The conversion from exposure to a marketing message (even from peers within a consumer network) to an actual sale is a convoluted, multilayered, highly complex process. It is not a กblack boxก, better left unattended to. It is the same deadly sin all over again the belief in a miraculous conversion. And it is highly UScentric. People in other parts of the world interact entirely differently.

You can get them to visit and you get them to talk and you can get them to excite others. But to get them to buy is a whole different ballgame. Dot.coms had better begin to study its rules.

About The Author

Sam Vaknin is the author of กMalignant Self Love Narcissism Revisitedก and กAfter the Rain How the West Lost the Eastก. He is a columnist in กCentral Europe Reviewก, United Press International (UPI) and ebookweb.org and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com. Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.

His web site: http://samvak.tripod.com

This article was posted on February 2, 2002

by Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.

Choosing the Right Web Designer

Choosing the Right Web Designer

by: Andy Quick

Introduction

Creating your web site can be a tricky process. Choosing the best web design company for your site is extremely important. Unless you run a webbased business, you probably do not have web design experience within your company. Building your web site will take time and a little homework!

To create a web site for your business, follow these 4 simple steps:

Establish your goals

Determine your budget

Pick a web design company

Pick a web hosting company

Establish Your Goals

Before you begin looking for company to help you design and build your web site, take the time to understand the goals of your web site. This will be extremely important to help set expectations with the web design company you choose.

In order to set your web site goals, ask yourself the following questions:

Why do you want a web site?

Are you selling something?

Do you have a catalog of products that changes on a regular basis?

Who is your target market?

Do you already have a brand?

What is your industry?

Who are your competitors?

Do they already have web sites? If so, what do they look like?

If you’re selling something, will you accept credit cards over the internet?

How soon do you want your web site?

What happens if you never create a web site for your business?

Take the time to answer each of the above questions and if you have time, write the answers down on a sheet of paper. These are the same questions most web design companies will ask you before they begin to create your site. If you have these questions answered up front, you will have some criteria for choosing the right web design company. For example, if you are a real estate agent, and want to publish listings on your web site, you should seek a web design company that knows about the real estate business and has created web pages for other real estate agents.

Determine Your Budget

How much do you want to spend on your web site. Web sites can cost you anywhere from $100 to $100,000 depending upon what you want it to do. Know your spending constraints before you begin negotiating with design companies. Whatever you do, do not tell a web design company what your budget is!! Always get pricing based on your needs, not you budget.

Pick a Web Design Company

Your choice of a web design company is a very important step. Take your time to investigate all of your options. Here are some important items to consider.

Design vs. Build

Depending upon the scope of your web site, you may need to choose two different companies. Building a web site is a highly technical process. Designing a web site is a highly creative process. Many advertising firms specialize in web site design which does not necessarily require any web development skills whatsoever. The process of creating a web site is similar to the process of building a new home. Before you ask a construction company to start building, you first seek out an architect who creates a blueprint of your house taking into account what you want (number of stories, square footage, etc.). Creating a detailed blueprint before construction begins can help you accurately estimate the final price. Without the blueprint, you may end up paying a lot of money for a house that does not fit your needs. Creating a web site is exactly the same except most web site กbuildersก also claim to be กdesignersก. The good news is that you can look at other sites a web design company has created (like looking at other homes that a home builder has made). Make sure you ask the web design company what their process is for designing a web site vs. building a web site. They should understand the difference between these two concepts. If they don’t, they’re probably builder that think they can also architect.

Evaluate Experience

Has the web design company created web sites similar to yours? Do they have relevant industry experience? As with any services company, choosing someone that has relevant experience. If you want to sell products through your web site and accept credit card payments, does the web design company you are considering have experience doing just that?

Review the Portfolio

A well established web design company will have a solid portfolio of web sites that they have created for other clients. Ask for links to other site the design company has created and review each one. Do you like what you see? Do the sites have a style that appeals to you? In addition to reviewing web sites, ask for customer references. Contact their clients and ask them about their experience with the web design company. Were they happy with the results? Did they get what they paid for? How much did they pay? Would they recommend them? How long did it take? What didn’t they like about the company? How responsive was the company when they had questions?

Compare Prices

Pricing for creating a web site can vary. Typically, web design companies will charge one of three ways:

Time and materials: price is variable based on the actual number of hours spent working on your site. For example, a web design company may charge you $75 per hour. If it takes 100 hours to create your web site, your price would end up being $7,500.

Fixed Price: some design companies will charge you a fixed fee based on a fixed set of requirements. If you outline your requirements very carefully, many web design companies will quote you a single price.

Component Pricing: some design companies will charge กby the pageก. By creating a price based on the number of pages, you can control the cost by designing a specific number of pages. Buyer beware: some design companies will charge by the page but will have กspecial pricingก for components such as custom graphics, animated images, and the like.

The most important step in pricing is to make sure the potential design company outline all of the prices associated with the work and puts it all in writing. Never enter into a deal unless all of the costs are well understood up front. Also make sure that you understand what กdoneก means. Try and structure the payments such that a significant portion of the fees (20%) are not due until you กacceptก the final web site. Include the agreedupon dates in your contract and provisions for what will happen if these dates are not met.

Solicit bids from multiple web design companies and compare both the pricing models and the prices themselves.

There are thousands of web designers across the country and they should all fight feverously for your business! Be picky! If a web design company dismisses any of your questions regarding their design process, pricing, or client references, take your business elsewhere!

About The Author

Andy Quick is cofounder of Findmyhosting.com (http://www.findmyhosting.com), a free web hosting directory offering businesses and consumers a hassle free way to find the right hosting plan for their needs. Feel free to contact Andy at [email protected] in case you have any questions or comments regarding this article.

This article was posted on May 2, 2002

by Andy Quick

An Ethical Dilemma? Selling Something That You Ca

An Ethical Dilemma? Selling Something That You Can Get For Free

by: Willie Crawford

At least once a week, I have someone point out to me that a bigname information marketer, software กdeveloper,ก or company, is selling something that is very similar to a product that you can get for free. They see something fundamentally กwrongก with SELLING a product or information that can be obtained for nothing… if you search in the right place. Often, they point this out to me because they just feel the need to protest something they view as somehow กwrong.ก

First of all, if you search long enough and hard enough, you CAN find free software that will do just about anything. Some very intelligent programmers create lots of software, which they happily make opensource, shareware, or freeware. These programmers do this for various reasons that we won’t get into. These programmers will also give or sell you permission to modify their software slightly and put your own label on it. Is that กwrong?ก

There are thousands of documents explaining practically any topic imaginable. The Internet makes it easier to tap into databases and find this information. Some people compile this free information that they find into reports or ebooks and sell it. Is that กwrong?ก

After certain intellectual property has been around long enough, if the copyrights aren’t renewed through various means, it may become กpublic domain.ก That means anyone may then have the right to publish or distribute this material without violating copyrights or intellectual property rights. Is taking an old book that belongs to the public and selling it as your own กwrong?ก

Having been trained as an economist, I try to see things as they are rather than as they should be. In economic terms this is looking at things in a กpositiveก rather than a กnormativeก fashion. It just means looking at things with a scientific rather than a moral or ethical eye. I don’t avoid the moral or ethical issues, but try not to judge others based upon my opinion.

So back to the question… is selling something that you can get for free กwrong?ก Since weกve already said that you can find practically any software or information for free if you search long enough and hard enough, the answer actually lies in why people will pay for the same กstuffก anyway.

Free does NOT mean without cost. When you buy branded software or repackaged information, the marketer is theoretically reducing your risk. The marketer conducted the research, and located a product that met a specific need, and then made the public aware of it. The marketer investigated dozens of pieces of readilyavailable software, perhaps modified it, and then กcertifiedก it as capable of meeting your needs.

Another very big reason that the market is willing to pay for something that can conceivable be obtained for free, is because of the search cost. There is a cost of time, energy, and other resources, in investigating options. The marketer has invested that search cost and charges you for that service. Depending upon how you value your time, you may gladly be willing to pay for something that you could have eventually located for free… and then tested to verify that it was exactly what you needed.

Very often, a creator of intellectual property is not a marketer… and doesn’t understand the finer points of marketing. So a terrific piece of software, a book, or an idea, just…. sits. A marketer with an aboveaverage grasp of human behavior and psychology can step in, ‘repackageก that product, and the market will devour it. Should that product have been allowed to languish rather than some marketer stepping in, fixing the bad marketing, and profiting from it. If the product improved the lives of end users, who would have otherwise never noticed the product, then clearly the marketer is providing real value.

So, where is the dilemma? The dilemma is in the perception that the marketer selling a product that didn’t cost him anything… or very little, is doing something wrong. It is purely a perception. However, whether online or offline, people who locate กstuffก that the market wants, and charge for that กserviceก are clearly serving a need. If they weren’t serving a need, then the market wouldn’t pay for it.

The reality is that people have marketed information since the beginning of commerce. Both online and offline, there are fortunes being made ferreting out information that the market wants, and then providing it. Itกs the PERFECT way to make your online fortune. Provided that the product is of the right quality, it should certainly not be considered a question of ethics. Doctors, lawyers, realtors, teachers, religious leaders… they all charge you for readily available information that they have ‘repackagedก and put their brand, or sealofapproval, on.

When you’re doing research, and you discover a product very similar to one being marketed under a different label, it IS very eye opening. However, it is not generally a matter of ethics (in my opinion). Itกs no different than an offline supermarket selling the identical product sidebyside for two different prices. Often the store brand is made at the same factory, with the same formula, as the name brand product. They are sold sidebyside for different prices. The higher price is justified by the brand identity and กcertificationก that goes along with that.

As an Internet marketer it is important that issues such as this be studied. Many people who start businesses on the Internet have never run or studied how brick and mortar businesses operate. This article is an attempt to fill in a bit of that missing training… or at a minimum create discussion 🙂

Copyright 2004 Willie Crawford

About The Author

Willie Crawford is a corporate president, published author, seminar speaker and host, teleseminar speaker and host, retired military officer, karate black belt, master network marketing trainer, and lifetime student of marketing. He shows people how to actually generate substantial income online using very simple, easily modeled systems. An example of such a system that you can study and duplicate is at: http://ProfitMagician.com.

This article was posted on December 23, 2004

by Willie Crawford

How to Drive More Targeted Traffic and Sales than

How to Drive More Targeted Traffic and Sales than MiniSites and GatewayPages Combined – Anytime

by: Charles Longsworth

Many top gurus promoted minisites as the cheapest and easiest way to make a profit from an affiliate program.

Nevertheless, in spite of good intentions, it’s well known that truelasting success with the search engines, (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.) is through a ThemeBased Keyword Focused Content site; which beats a minisite and Doorway pages combined, anytime.

That is because a minisite is not a viable concept for the average webmaster or affiliate, selling products of their own or for a merchant partner. Lets look at these concepts.

What is a ThemeBased Keyword Focused Content Site?

What is is a MiniSite? And,

What is a Gateway Page?

A themebased keyword focused content site, is based upon a theme where every page focuses upon a single topic that is related to the theme. For example…

Let us say that your theme is soccer. Then, the themebase related web pages will be about soccer and would include …

MLS Soccer – the soccer professional league in USA

FIFA – the international soccer federation

World Cup – Soccer’s international world tournament

The Euro Cup – European soccer’s tournament

Copa America – Latin America soccer’s tournament

Soccer Mom’s

Soccer Reviews

Soccer Paraphernalia

Etc… Etc.

Each of the above will be a specific topic, and each topical page is a ขKeyword Content Focused Page. A themebased site could grow well over 200 pages, each on a different topic, all related to the site’s central theme (soccer). The sum total of all the information forms the content of your site.

Best of all, a tightly focused themebase site scores well at the search engines for hundreds of soccerrelated keywords that will indefinitely drive unlimited targeted traffic to your theme site, selling unlimited soccer related products.

On the other hand, MiniSites are small Affiliate sites that focus on selling a single product. It could be a short as one or two pages, and as long as 20 pages. It is composed entirely of a powerful sales letter that drives a visitor to a merchant’s site.

Although, a minisite is a well intended concept it’s not a viable alternative for most products.. Here are a few of the drawbacks.

1. Hard to build traffic. Because they don’t do well on the search engines. They aren’t built to rank highly on the search engines, or to draw traffic from the most flexible directories.

2. No Credibility. Does not establish credibility in you or your product. A minisite is a one time straight pitch sales copy; and, no one buys from a straight pitch Web site unless they previously have known, respect, and trust, a wellknown authority related to the site’s product.

3. No Diversification. If your minisite sales copy fails to convert your prospect into a buyer, you’ve most likely lost that visitor for good.

In comparison, the ThemeBased Content Site offers greater opportunities for Affiliate and Webmasters.

1. Traffic

The themebased content site is full of contentrich pages designed to attain a high search engine ranking. On the merits of their valuable content they will draw substantial traffic from the Directories.

2. Credibility:

They are great credibility builders because they’re PREselling rather than hard selling.

3. Diversification

Each page of a themebased site may have from 5 and up to 10 links to merchants partner’s sites for different related products..

Now, let us compare a minisite that is about a certain manufacturer’s soccer balls, versus a themebased content site that is all about soccer.

A visitor to a minisite falls within two categories …

(S)he needs new soccer balls

(S)he doesn’t need new soccer balls

While they may not need new soccer balls, they may need soccer shoes, soccer stockings, a sport’s bag, soccer books, and tapes; maybe even a trip to a soccer camp, or travel arrangements to international soccer events, including hotel and transportation.

Now, suppose your visitor, upon reading your sales pitch for soccer balls says …. ขNo … I’ve just got a new ballข, and then returns to the main page for more articles; do you think that placing the same link to those balls in the next article of your minisite is going to be any more effective? No your visitor still recently bought a new soccer ball.

Nevertheless, because of the great content with incontext links on your themebased site, the prospect may develop an interest on soccer related books, products, or services, etc.

The ThemeBased Sites vs. Gateway Pages

Gateway pages are trick sites used to trick the search engines. Generally, lowvalue pages that score well with the engines but fail to deliver good content. They may get the visitor, but fail to get the click through, the purchase, and the repeat business.

Tricks such as invisible links, lead search engines spiders through a site. Though they initially work, success is of short duration with devastating side effects, such as the visitor disdain, and getting band by the search engines.

A ThemeBased site, on the other hand, will OVERdeliver great content while playing it fair and safe with the search engines by leading their spiders reliably through your site. Their visible links do as good as the Doorway pages hidden links, and will never fade in effectiveness. That is because you are creating real content and not spider bait!

The ThemeBased approach is 100% different. First, you find a theme you know and love, with lots of profitable keywords. Second, research hundreds of profitable keywords (greater demand and less supply) related to your products or services. Third, you build a themebase content site with great content, that ranks high on the search engines, delivers unlimited PREsold targeted traffic, and gets the clickthrough to your selling site, or a merchant’s site.

As you can see…. The themebased content focused site wins over a minisite or gateway pages anytime. The secret of their successful high ranking on the search engines, is that each page is build around a highly profitable keyword content focused page.

The process may seem long, complex and tedious; and, indeed, it could be. Nevertheless, with the right guidance and tools it’s easier than you think. In fact the entire process could be automated.

Copyright 2004 Internet Business Automation

About The Author

Charles Longsworth, Ph.D. An online expert consultant on internet business marketing automation systems that really works. For FREE consultation contact him at http://www.internetbusinessautomation.com/content. Subscribe to ขAutomation Gazetteข his official voice since 2000 at http://www.internetbusinessautomation.com/subscribe. 6 FREE Subscription Bonus when you join.

This article was posted on October 19, 2004

by Charles Longsworth