Monday, January 23, 2017
'via Blog this'
Friday, March 11, 2016
'via Blog this'
Thursday, July 23, 2015
'via Blog this'
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
'via Blog this'
Monday, July 21, 2014
'via Blog this'
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
'via Blog this'
Monday, February 04, 2013
Thursday, September 08, 2011
If you’re interested in learning web design, here’s a handy list of places to start."
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Some solid thinking on Website Planning.
Saturday, June 05, 2010
To create a successful website for yourself, you must first define ’success’. To have a successful website, you must decide how you intend to use it. Below are the most basic purposes a website can be used for."
Good basics on Website Planning.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Couple of tips for Website Planning.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Good thoughts on website planning.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Website planning is an essential step. Whatever tool you use to plan - project planning, mind maps, outlines, brain storming - will work. This is a good overview of using mind maps.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Good solid advice for planning websites.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The website should match the business.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
'You've got to figure out what the role of your website is going to be and build around that. A lot of people just end up with online brochures.'"
It is important to have a plan for your website.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This event is over, but you can still see the recordings of the sessions. Lots of good information.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Excellent approach to website planning.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Some tips on picking a Web Hosting Company.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
This looks like a good option for a green webhosting company.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Website tutorials on YouTube.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Compare content management sites.
Do you need content management for your website?
Good introduction to using wire frames to plan your site.
Card sorting is a way to involve users in grouping information for a Web site.
Participants in a card sorting session are asked to organize the content from your Web site in a way that makes sense to them. Participants review items from your Web site and then group these items into categories. Participants may even help you label these groups."
Another tool for your website planning toolkit.
Monday, January 14, 2008
If this is correct, please be advised. Checking a Domain name on NetworkSolutions causes NetworkSolutions to grab the Domain name so you have to buy from them.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
An excellent discussion of the difference between a shopping cart and a store and the ramifications for SEO.
Monday, June 04, 2007
This is a must read for someone planning a corporate website. Corporate websites are losing credibility because they are full of standard corporate puff.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Web Host Reviews,
Web Host News & Resources
Web Host Reviews
Shared Hosting Reviews
Non-Shared Hosting Reviews
Review a Host"
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Domain by Proxy fixes this issue.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Things learned by someone attending the "Future of Web Apps Conference" in 2006.
A biting list of what makes some web applications bad.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Monday, February 20, 2006
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software"
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
Thursday, September 15, 2005
A wiki view of Web 2.0 companies and where they fit.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
More and more we are starting to see a shift in consumer demand for the increasingly popular website content management system."
Saturday, September 10, 2005
For the sake of this post, I am going to define Web 2.0 as 'the web as a platform'. i.e. Web 1.0 (Today's web) primarily consists of closed APIs and services whose use is defined by the creator. Web 2.0 consists of documented APIs and open services (HTML, RSS, REST, Web Services, etc...), whose use is determined by the users and / or third party developers."
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Questions by Jim Hedger, StepForth News Editor, StepForth Placement Inc.
Interview Conducted August 19, 2005
"1. How would you define usability?
For the end user, usability is the ability to successfully, comfortably and confidently learn or complete a task. For the web site designer or application developer, it's the mechanics of designing and building a web site or Internet-based application so that it can be understood and easy to accomplish any task."
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
"A new report out by a leading Internet research company has revealed that fully 30 percent of American Internet users visited blogs during the first quarter of 2005.
According to the report, Behaviors of the Blogosphere (PDF file), from comScore Networks, almost 50 million--or one in six--Americans spent at least some time on blogs during that time frame. That's a 45 percent rise over the year before."
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
"Microsoft's SharePoint Services is a Web-centric document management technology that Microsoft is leveraging as a collaborative mechanism. But, as this document explains, there is much more to it than that."
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (5 BC-65 AD); Roman philosopher.
Monday, August 01, 2005
"A new federal proposal that would levy stiff taxes on Internet pornographers violates constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, legal scholars say."
Thursday, July 28, 2005
"The average American internet user is not sure what podcasting is, what an RSS feed does, or what the term “phishing” means"
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
"Evolt.org is a world community for web developers, promoting the mutual free exchange of ideas, skills and experiences.
What 'evolt' means: 'evolt' combines the best elements of evolution, revolution, with a bit of voltage thrown in for good measure. 'evolt' embodies our goals and enthusiasm!"
Friday, June 24, 2005
Studies of how people react to online advertisements have identified several design techniques that impact the user experience very negatively."
Saturday, May 28, 2005
"Make you choice of Website, RSS feed, podcast or blog directly available from within any webpage."
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Saturday, March 26, 2005
WikiWax - your quick index to Wikipedia
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
So, What the Heck Are Web Services?
Good question, and it raises lots of others. Here are some straight answers about this critical new movement in computing
Lots of people would say a new software technology called Web services really caught techdom's attention with a 1999 press conference held in downtown San Francisco by software giant Microsoft. Chairman Bill Gates introduced to the world a concept he called BizTalk, which was formalized five years ago under the name .Net. The new technology, which would eventually be followed by a suite of server software for businesses, was Microsoft's (MSFT ) entrance into the growing business of using the Internet to connect different types of software together, regardless of who wrote the programs.
Monday, January 24, 2005
"Millions of Internet users are hooked on search--but they know little about how a search engine works or how results are presented."
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Monday, October 04, 2004
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Work tracker provides a weekly report of the Top 500 Search Engine Keywords Of The Week.
There is an option to filter the adult words. It is interesting that half of the words in the top 30 are adult theme word including some predictable ones like sex, porn, and nude.
Looking at the list of words gives some idea for the website planner of what the common interests are of the internet community.
Search Engine Guide: Wordtracker: Top 500 Keywords Of The Week keeps a copy of the top 500 for the last several years. This is the sanitized list with all the adult terms filtered.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Syndication, aggregated news, or feeds is a fast growing way to distribute information over the Internet. A recent Nielsen NetRatings report, Top 20 Online Current Events & Global News Destinations, confirmed that Q2 2004 was the first time an aggregated news source, Yahoo! News, was more visited than any individual news publication site such as CNN.com and USAToday.com.
Feed information has periodic updates, either regular or irregular. It can be news, weather, sports scores, software updates, tv shows, or movie reviews. It can be meeting minutes, a quote of the day, journal entries, diary entries, or blog entries. It can be the "what's new" or news releases of a corporation. It can be technical tips, a comic strip, or calendar updates. Anything that has a sequence of entries.
Publishers put all this stuff out onto the Internet in a special format. Consumers read it with special products. Let's see how it works.
Publishers put the stuff out on the Internet in a format called a feed or a channel. Anyone can create a feed on any topic and put it anywhere on the Internet. Lots of publishers create feeds, including the BBC, CNET, and Yahoo. Lots of individuals and small groups also create feeds. This blog creates a feed.
Feeds must be in one of the feed formats. There are various formats, including RSS and Atom.
- Atom is used by Google's Blogger.
- RSS comes in several versions and can mean any of the following
- Rich Site Summary
- Really Simple Syndication
- RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary
Consumers sign on to the feed reader, subscribe to feeds, unsubscribe from feeds, and read feeds. The feed reader delivers each feed to the consumer when it is updated. If the BBC does not publish news to its feed that day, nothing is returned. If Yahoo publishes 12 news items to its feed and the consumer is subscribed, the consumer receives 12 items.
The feed reader gathers up all the feed updates and delivers it to one place. It aggregates all the feeds to which the consumer subscribes.
How does the consumer find the feeds? They are not in any one organized place. Most feed readers maintain a list of popular feeds. There are directories of feeds. There are sites like this blog that point to where you can find its feed. Any valid feed can be subscribed to using the feed reader. Sites that have a feed often use this symbol.
Each website that has a news section could consider creating a feed as part of the website planning. The feed could be anything from company news, to updates on specials, to timely tips for the holidays.
RSS has created some concerns, summed up in this article entitled Don't Believe RSS Hype. One concern from the article is "Many large sites that deliver RSS feeds recently started complaining that they are being hit every hour with a flood of reader requests that is, for all intents and purposes, the same thing as a denial-of-service attack."
Feedster Jobs :: Fresh jobs delivered daily to your aggregator!
Friday, September 17, 2004
To make the Internet work, standards were established like TCP/IP and HTTP. These standards allow networks and computers to communicate, and the end result is browsers delivering a wide range of information to the desktop.
It did not take long to figure out that if you could build a website easily to provide information over the Internet, you could build the same sort of website to provide information over a Company network to everyone in the company. The company network is only accessible to those that work in the company. Now one browser can deliver Internet websites and company only websites.
These websites can provide information about company benefits, company news, and company processes and procedures. These networks are called intranets.
What kinds of disciplines are associated with intranets? Because websites are a great place to store, organize and present documents, companies started to put information on intranets that were critical to running a company. Disciplines like knowledge management, portals, and content management are associated with intranets, because intranets provide the structure to share knowledge and content accross an organization.
What about an extranet? Here is a story. A salesman from Acme comes to call, he is asked about an order, he signs on to the Acme intranet to see the status of the order, and he tells the customer the status of the order. It is a critical order, and the customer calls the salesman four times the next day to follow the order on its shipping journey.
Finally the salesman goes to the Acme technical people and pleades for the customers to be able to see the status of their orders. It is done. Now the customer can sign on to the Acme intranet and see the status of their orders without bothering the salesman.
The intranet just crossed company borders; it is now an extranet. Perhaps the next step is to allow the customer to enter orders directly into the Acme extranet system.
What are the disciplines that get associated with extranets? Because extranets facilitate communication between companies, called B2B (Business to Business), extranets encourage systems that follow the supply chain from order to delivery.
Website planning should include considerations about whether this website should be on the Internet, an intranet, or an extranet.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Chat is several people engaged in online communication. Chat is like an online pub, club, conference, classroom, meeting, party line or customer service room.
Chat is a text based conferencing system.
- you pick a name,
- you enter a chat room,
- you join in the chat. Type to talk; read to listen.
Being anonymous is one of the interesting parts of chat. It is supposedly common for assistants to take over for professors in online classroom chats and roommates to take over as students. No one would be the wiser.
It is also an equalizer, for no one can see race, age, physical characteristics, or clothing.
2) The Chat room. A chat system will usually have many "chat rooms". Chat rooms are either public or private. Sample rooms might include the following
- New England or Canada - rooms based on Geography.
- 20ish or 30ish - rooms based on the age of the chatters.
- Computers, Knitting - rooms based on common interest
- Dark Castle - for a fantasy world of Kings, Queens, minstrels, and Wizards.
- Smith Family - private chat room for a family to meet and chat
- Algebra 101 - for a classroom session
- Widget Marketing - for a corporate marketing meeting
- Customer Service - for vendor customer service
3) In all cases, type to talk: read to listen. When you type, the whole room sees what you type. The text automatically scrolls up the page, and one must read quickly in a busy chat room. Some read every word and chat aggressively. Some just read quietly - they are sometimes called lurkers.
Some people as in real life come into the room and are obnoxious. There is usually an option to "ignore" someone completely.
It is very interesting to communicate with just words. There is no body language, no smile, no arched eyebrow, no inflection to help convey meaning, humor, emotions, or sarcasm. To compensate, chatters use emoticons, little symbols to show a smile :-) ... or a frown :-( ...or a wink ;-)... to try and help convey meaning behind the words. A list of emoticons.
Because people can chat in the rooms for a good while, abbreviations are common. There are chat dictionaries on the internet to help decipher terms such as lol and afk.
When website planning, consider a chat room. It is not a good idea to have an empty chat room, but published hours for a chat room for people to come and get information or help could be considered. Help can be provided through a chat room at given hours. Training sessions could be provided. Some vendors provide customer service chat rooms that are open to get help.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Ezines and Blogs are similar in that they both consist of entries done serially.
The difference is in the delivery to the subscriber or reader.
* Ezines are sent to the subscriber's email.
* Blogs, as is, are just updated on the blog web pages. Blog readers would have to go to the web pages to see if there was a new entry to read.
If that were it, ezines would be more attractive, because people are unlikely to continue to go to blog and check for updates.
That is why most blogs have the option to have a feed created using either RSS or Atom. If the blog creates a feed, every time the blog is updated, subscribers can receive the new blog entry. No more going to check for updates.
Feed means that the subscriber must have a product to get the feed, called a news aggregator or feed reader. Some feed readers work as add-on systems to Outlook, and the feeds comes in with the email. Others are standalone products or web based. The real key is that the feed reader goes out and gets the information per the subscriber's setup.
So, the real comparison is "Ezine" vs. "Blog + Feeds".
Ezines use email; Blogs naturally use feeds.
Some subscribers favor feeds. There is far less danger of spam. Subscribers are in control. They can subscribe and unsubscribe to as many feeds as they please. But they must get a feed reader (many are free).
Some subscribers like email. It is familiar. But there is always the problem of spam, and sometimes opting in and out of ezines is cumbersome at best.
For the publisher, blogs are much simpler.
Ezine subscriptions must be managed by the publisher. Subscription lists must be maintained. Ezines must be done in a way that is not considered spamming. Many ezines are snagged by spam filters. Provisions must be made for subscribers to opt-in and opt-out. Email gets bounced and must be researched. Ezines must be archived somewhere.
Blogs are updated in one place and then the job is done. The new entry is found by the subscriber's feed reader and delivered to the reader. There is no work to do to manage subscription lists - the subscriber turns it off and on. The blog is automatically archived for anyone to visit and read old entries.
The website plan will include evaluating both options.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Publications sent by email to subscribers are called ezines.
Publications sent by email to non-subscribers are called spam.
Why publish an ezine? People publish them for lots of reasons: for vanity, to make money, to sell ads, to inform, and as a way of reminding people on a regular basis to come back to your website. In fact, some ezines refer back to the website with each addition and each article.
What do you need to publish an ezine?
1) Content. Something to put into the ezine - articles, pictures, cartoons, photographs, ads, classifieds. These items can be from various sources
- You can write your own articles
- You can solicit articles. Many writers are looking for places to publish in exchange for readers and a byline.
- There are websites offering free content, so you can publish your ezine and never write a thing. A search on free content will provide enough free content for many ezines.
- If the subscription list is large, perhaps paid ads from businesses wanting to target your readership.
3) The managed list of subscribers. "List management", means
- letting people subscribe (opt-in),
- letting people unsubscribe (opt-out),
- letting people change options like email address or format (text or HTML),
- managing bounced emails, and
- making sure that people are not subscribing with someone else's email.
- Use a paid service. A search on ezine list management will provide options.
- Use a free service which normally includes ads. An example would be Yahoo Groups, where everyone on the group receives the ezine along with Yahoo ads.
- Do it yourself. There are many software packages that do list management.
- Sophisticated systems provide indexes, search, and archive services.
- Other systems provide ways to request a back issues.
- Ezines can be blogged for archive. Some blogs can be updated by email, so adding the blog address to the subscription list puts the ezine on the blog and provides for archive.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Blogs (weB logs) are a specific kind of website. Sometimes a blog is just a part of a website. A blog is a website that has a particular kind of format. The format is usually sequential entries. It is a log, journal, or diary kept on the Internet.
Blogs are becoming popular for several reasons.
- Blogs are free, or very low cost.
- Blogs require very little technical knowledge.
- Blogs are fun.
- Blogs can give some value for Search Engine Optimization for minimal effort.
- Blogs are a very quick way to provide for some group collaboration.
- Blogs can be personal and egotistical, an individual sharing thoughts with the world.
- Blogs can be political, and in fact, political Bloggers were invited to the political conventions of both Democrats and Republicans.
- Blogs can be for groups, with each member recording progress on a project or adventure.
- Blogs can be travel logs, often with pictures.
- Blogs can contain only pictures, sometimes called a photoblog.
- Blogs can be maintained with camera phones, called a moblog (mobile blog).
- Blogs can be informative, containing entries for quotes, tips, recipes, or news.
- Blog directories,
- Blog search engines,
- Blog communities,
- Blog chat rooms,
- Blog templates and
- Blog add-ons.
Blogs entries can be done with a traditional type of text entry, entries can be done with some services by sending an email, and entries can be done with some services when surfing by right clicking information and sending it straight to the blog entry. There are services now that allow audio updates to blogs, and one can phone call the blog and leave a message.
Because blogs are so easy to setup and so easy to maintain, they can be considered in the overall website plan as either a way to satisfy the requirement or provide an adjunct to a more traditional site. Some wags say that Blog stands for Better Listings on Google.
See the The Weblogs Compendium, everything you need to know about weblogs/blogs.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Messages from both parties appear on the screen. The conversation box would look something like this.
- Bob: how r u?
- Sally: fine. u?
- Bob: good.
- Bob: can I come to your office and discuss the project now?
- Sally: in 5 minutes
- Bob: great ... see you then.
The following two studies describe trends in Instant Messaging. Both surveys show IM (Instant Messaging) is growing, used more often by the younger generation, and is moving into the workplace.
America Online | Press Releases
America Online Inc.'s Second Annual Instant Messaging Trends Survey Shows Instant Messaging Has Gone Mainstream.
Pew Internet & American Life Project: Instant Messaging
How Americans use instant messaging.
53 million adults trade instant messages and 24% of them swap IMs more frequently than email. IM also gains a following in U.S. workplaces.
IM might be a tool for communicating while building a website, but not a tool for the website.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Yahoo Directory vs. Google Search
- Two students started a directory while at Stanford and then started the company Yahoo!
- Two students studied search and search engines while at Stanford and then left to start Google.
- Directories point to websites.
- Search engines point to web pages.
- Directories are lists of web sites, many times created manually by hundreds of editors.
- Search engines use programs called spiders to roam the Internet saving vast indexes to individual web pages.
- Directories would be the table of contents that pointed to chapters - websites and
- Search Engines would be the book index that points to specific pages - webpages.
- Directories would be the card catalogue and point to books - websites
- Search engines would be .... well, there is nothing comparable unless all the indexes to all the books were gathered into one huge index that pointed to book pages - webpages.
The Search paradigm points us to specific pages on the website that contains the exact terms we seek. See When Search Engines Become Answer Engines by Jakob Nielsen for one view of this paradigm.
There is a fascinating quote from the creators of the Open Directory Project. They started the project to build a better directory than Yahoo, and after hundreds of hours and thousands of websites, and comparisons between the directories of Yahoo and the Open Directory Project, they concluded that "Google Won", because by then, search had become the dominant way to find information on the Internet.
Search means that each website can have multiple points of entry. Each page can be an entry page. No longer do we consider the website as an organic entity, because visitors will jump into a site looking for something specific, find the reference, and then leave without ever seeing the home page.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Directories are usually organized into a hierarchy of categories.
The easiest way to understand a directory is to visit one or two.
Two of the biggest directories are
David Filo and Jerry Yang were students at Stanford University. They started to keep track of their favorite sites on the Internet until they were spending more and more time keeping track of all the good sites they found. Eventually they had to break the sites up into categories, then subcategories. They named their directory of websites Yahoo!, which is an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle".
Their list of interesting and useful websites began to draw visitors and word spread throughout the internet. After the number of visitors topped one hundred thousand, they took their idea to the venture capitalists and created the company Yahoo!.
There are now thousands of Internet Directories. There are general purpose directories and special purpose directories. There are directories for business, real estate, art, sports, and photography. There are directories of directories.
Webmasters usually like to be listed in directories. It potentially brings more visitors to the website. How does a webmaster get listed in a directory? For most directories, it requires submitting a website for consideration.
Some directories charge to be listed. Some directories require that they get a link back to be listed. Some directories require other considerations, like becoming an editor for a time. Many directories welcome submissions from sites that fit their charter.
Each directory has rules and procedures for submissions. Webmasters wanting to be listed should follow the guidelines carefully. Most directories will only list a website once. Many websites are listed in multiple directories.
Directories have fallen out of favor as Search becomes more pervasive, but directories can still offer an excellent way for the web surfer to find relevant sites.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
"The Internet Without Search is Like a Cruise Missile Without a Guidance System." Former Lycos CEO.Search is now the number two activity on the internet. Email is number one.
About 114.5 million Americans, or 39 percent of the population, now use search engines, according to Nielsen NetRatings. Also, businesses spent an estimated $2 billion last year on search-related advertising and some analysts expect the market to triple during the next three years.
The top 10 searches in any given week usually include such names as Yahoo and eBay. It is assumed that instead of typing in www.yahoo.com, it is easier to type in yahoo in the search engine toolbar. And if you type yahoo into the search engine toolbar and hit "I'm feeling lucky", you can go to www.yahoo.com with the fewest amount of keystrokes.
The use of favorites and bookmarks has declined, because it is so easy to find a site using search.
Search was always a popular way to find information on the internet, but the advent of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Teoma that return the list of webpages with the most significant ones first, made searching much more effective. There appears to be five major search engines in use today:
- Yahoo (Altavista /AlltheWeb /Inktomi)
- Looksmart (Wisenut)
- AskJeeves (Teoma)
Internet search is so pervasive, that considering how search engines will find a site should be considered in the planning.
Monday, August 23, 2004
- The Business or Organization
- The Internet and the World Wide Web
- The Customer
What is the Internet?
A network is a group of computers connected together. An internet is a network of networks. It is a group of networks connected together. The world's largest internet is what we normally think of and it is capitalized ... it is the Internet.
What is the World Wide Web?
There are many parts to the Internet, one of the most well known is the World Wide Web. It is the collection of web sites on the Internet. Our websites are a part of the World Wide Web which is a part of the Internet.
The Internet is rapidly changing, and we need to sit down and review what is current on the internet so we can plan for the web site. Some of the topics to consider.
- Internet Search
- Search vs. Directories
- Blogs and Blogging
- Web Site Hosting
- Internet Service Providers
- Domain Names
- Broadband Statistics
For detailed information on the Internet, see How the Internet Works
If you have broadband or patience, see Warriors of the Net, a delightful movie about how the Internet Works.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
The business plan. The business plan should be complete - including the marketing plan.
The business name. The name of the business should have been selected and registered.
The business logo. The business logo should have been designed and available in a graphics format.
The business elevator speech. The business elevator speech should have been prepared. It is perfectly acceptable to have more than one elevator speech for different circumstances.
The business tag line. The business tag line will be used on the web and it is another step in focusing the business.
The business card. The business card format and graphics should be available for the website planning.
Business collateral like brochures, fliers, published articles, and speeches should be available for use in the website plan. All material should be available in digital format.
It is a great time to review all the business material and validate all the information in the business material.
Saturday, August 21, 2004
The Marketing Plan can be based on the 4 p's of marketing, originally described by E. Jerome McCarthy. A successful marketing plan would provide for the following marketing mix.
- Product - the product or the service the business produces.
- Price - the price for the product or service, and the pricing strategy. Some common pricing strategies include
- "every day low price"
- "it costs more but its worth it."
- "guaranteed low price"
- "every day low price"
- Place - where are the products and services distributed. Does the business provide a local service like dog walking or is it international like Amazon.
- Promotion - how are the products and services promoted. What mix of advertising, public relations, word-of-mouth, or search engine optimization is used to promote the products and services.
Today, some marketers add some more P's to the mix.
- People - the mix should include the people that make and market the products or services.
- Process - Define the marketing process, and then continually improve the process.
Friday, August 20, 2004
In the movie The Karate Kid, the martial arts master tells the karate kid to "focus". Businesses need to focus.
Focus on specific services or products. In a business strategy meeting, a young entrepreneur was once asked the focus of his business. His answer was AFAB. AFAB stood for "anything for a buck". The company is no longer in business.
Focus on a specific market. One marketing adage says, "If everyone is your market, then no one is your market."
Do you think there is a mass market anymore? Does proctor and gamble mass market Tide, one of the biggest brands of all time. They do not. Read this piece on the disintegration of the mass market and the need to target market - The Vanishing Mass Market.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
- 65 percent do not shop on a poorly designed site - even that of a favorite brand.
- 30 percent cease offline purchases from a favorite brand if their online experience is poor.
- 30 percent of consumers reported that web site design is more important than a great product.
- Only 4 percent will shop on a poorly designed web site - and that's when the price is rock-bottom.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Translated and edited by Tania Bayard.
It is also sound advice for getting website help.
" ... when you have to deal with these people .... always bargain with them before they start the work, so there won't be any argument afterward. What usually happens, though, is that they don't want to bargain but are ready to forge ahead with the job without coming to an agreement. They say so sweetly: "Sir, it is nothing, it is not necessary; you will pay me well, and I will be satisfied with whatever you decide." ... when the job is done they will say: "Sir, there was more work than I thought. There was this and that to do, and a lot of running around." And they will not agree to the payment and will shout ugly and mean words. Therefore, tell Master .. not to put them to work, or let anyone else put them to work, without bargaining first."
"Because of this, it is better to dicker with them evenly and plainly beforehand to avoid any dispute."
"I earnestly beg you, if the work or the business requires it, have inquiries made about how those you want to employ conduct and have conducted themselves toward others. Also, have nothing to do with people who talk back or are arrogant, haughty, mocking, or insolent no matter what benefit or advantage you see in them or how good a bargain they would make with you. Send them away from you and your work graciously and calmly. For if they begin, you will not escape without slander or strife."
"Because of this, have your people hire ... helpers who are peaceful and good natured, and pay them more ..."
Have inquiries made about how those you want to employ conduct and have conducted themselves toward others. Also, have nothing to do with people who talk back or are arrogant, haughty, mocking or insolent -- no matter what benefit or advantage you see in them or how good a bargain they would make with you. Send them away from you and your work graciously and calmly. For if they begin you will not escape without slander or strife. Because of this, have . . . helpers who are peaceful and good natured, and pay them more."
"I advise that you always remember to tell your people that they must have peaceful folk work for them, and always bargain ahead of time, and do the accounts and pay often, without allowing long credit to build up either by tally or on paper. Although tally or account books are better than always relying on memory, for the creditors always imagine more and the debtors less, and from this are born disputes, grudges, and foul reproaches. Have your good creditors paid willingly and often what they are owed, and be kind to them so they don't change toward you, for it is not always possible to get truly peaceable people again."
"Be aware that of those ... who are out of work, there are many who come forward, present themselves, and urgently seek masters and mistresses. Don't take any of these without first knowing where they lived before. Send some of your own people there to ask about their character - whether they talk or drink too much, how long they were there, what work they did and know how to do, whether they have lodgings or acquaintances in the town, what country and people they come from, how long they were there, and why they left. Through their past work you will find out what confidence or trust you may have in their future work."
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
If you get on an elevator with someone and they ask you "What is your business?", can you describe it accurately by the time you get to your destination. You have 16 seconds.
If you cannot, you should develop and practice your elevator speech. This process helps you define exactly the focus of your business.
- Weak: I design and build websites.
- Better: I help businesses develop their online presence.
- Strong: I help small businesses make money on the Internet.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Every business should have a business plan. It is the firm's resume. It informs clients, customers, suppliers, vendors, and financial institutions about the business.
There is a wealth of information about Business Plans and how to put them together. There are websites, consultants, books, software and articles on how to write a Business Plan.
The Business plan is the plan on how the business is to work. The Business Plan should answer the following questions.
- What services or products does the business provide?
- Who are the potential customers and why will they purchase it from you?
- How will you reach your potential customers?
- Where will you get the financial resources to start and run your business?
The Business Plan is the foundation for the website plan. If you do not have a Business Plan, you should create one.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
What is the plan for the business.
What is the internet and what do we need to know about it.
Who are the customers for the website. Who are the people that come to the site to read it, interact with it, or purchase things from the website.
A website is created by the enterprise or business, it resides and it is viewed on the internet, and is read by the customer, client, or visitor.
Saturday, August 14, 2004
website or Web site
"A set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.
Usage Note: The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website seems to have progressed as rapidly as the technology itself. The development of website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to evolve into unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email has recently been gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there has been an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout."
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Friday, August 13, 2004
How many websites have been created? What kinds of websites have been created? Which ones need a plan?
- It is estimated that there are now over 100 million websites.
- On the Google website today it states that Google is searching 4,285,199,774 web pages.
The websites fall into all sorts of categories including the following.
- Vanity sites - personal websites of primary interest to one individual.
- Forums - websites where members can post messages and interact informally.
- Content Sites - sites designed to deliver lots of content, like Google news
- Blogs - a Web Log or journal.
- Directories - a website that provides links to other sites, like the Open Directory Project.
- Online Brochures - website which is the equivalent of a print brochure.
- eCommerce sites - designed to sell online, a good example is Amazon.
A good website plan can help any website, but the emphasis here will be on business or organization sites. That includes both profit and non-profit organizations.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Planning is not easy. The process of thinking, analyzing, considering and weighing options is hard work.
Planning is not particularly rewarding for many, because the planning result is intangible. The planning results are the documents, the diagrams, or the drawings. It is not the tangible creation that rewards the senses. We are not so likely to call our family over to see our website plan, but we will certainly be likely to call over our family to see our website.
Planning is difficult when undertaking a project like building a website because there are usually parts of the project we do not know how to do. How are we supposed to plan something when we do not know how to do it? The only real way to figure out all the unknowns is to actually build the website.
Planning cannot anticipate serendipity. It is exciting when creating a web page to discover a technique or a process and then include that technique or process immediately into the website. When you find a script that just does the coolest thing, it is fun to add it immediately to the web site. We sometimes feel guilty that we strayed from the plan, or find the discovery process so exciting we feel we have betrayed the plan.
It is hard to know when the plan is complete. Planning can continue to greater and greater levels of detail. A colleague of mind is fond of saying the planning is done when the planning deadline is reached.
Planning creates anxiety. Projects are judged whether they come in on time and on budget. What does that really mean? It means that they were completed in the time and with the money that was planned. Project Management too often becomes the way we validate how good the plan was.
So why plan? Because creating a website will be much easier and the website will be more effective if we first create a plan. We will anticipate that planning is difficult, that we have to plan things we do not know, that serendipitous things will arise not in the plan, and that the plan will change as we go along. But to create the website we want, we will plan the website first.