Wizard Creek Consulting.

Website Planning

Tips on creating a great website plan
"If you don't know where you're going, you could end up someplace else." Yogi Berra

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Interesting Facts

Sunday, May 19, 2019

9 Smart Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

9 Smart Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Plagiarism

A well-researched article is not just about collecting information and arranging them in order of sequence. 


Thursday, August 02, 2018

15 Step Website Check List

Whether you’re redesigning your existing website or creating a new website from scratch, there are certain elements of website design that are crucial for the perfect website. It’s easy to feel lost in this situation, and sometimes even impossible to start!
That’s why we’ve created a 15-point checklist for you to create the best website possible.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Website Planning: The Ultimate Guide

Website Planning: The Ultimate Guide: "A simple learn-by-doing, step-by-step guide how to plan for your website before you actually start building it."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, April 29, 2017

How the Internet Works (Animated Guide) - The Connection

How the Internet Works (Animated Guide) - The Connection: "Did you know that the internet and the Web are actually two different things? Although the Web is part of your everyday life, there is a lot about how it actually works that might be a mystery to you."

'via Blog this'

Monday, January 23, 2017

Convert Visitors With These Landing Page Inspirations | Toptal

Convert Visitors With These Landing Page Inspirations | Toptal: "Converting visitors into leads is easier said than done."

'via Blog this'

Friday, March 11, 2016

6 Fundamental Stages of Website Design - SiteProNews

6 Fundamental Stages of Website Design - SiteProNews: "6 Fundamental Stages of Website Design

'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How Much Does a Website Cost?

How Much Does a Website Cost?: "What are all the hidden costs to starting a website, and how much can you expect to pay for each?"

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Where is the Internet? at WhoIsHostingThis.com

Where is the Internet? at WhoIsHostingThis.com: "Billions of people around the world use the Internet every day, but it’s likely few outside of the IT industry could give a definitive answer to the question, “Where is the Internet?” It’s a query that many may never even enter the consideration of most Internet users, beyond researching a hosting provider or vague notions of “cyberspace” or memories of AOL floppies from the ’90s."

'via Blog this'

Monday, July 21, 2014

Here Are The Top 50 Desktop Sites In The U.S. | WebProNews

Here Are The Top 50 Desktop Sites In The U.S. | WebProNews: "comScore just released its Media Metrix monthly ranking of the top 50 web properties (desktop) in the United States. The top five consist of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, and AOL, followed by Amazon, MODE Media (formerly Glam Media), Turner Digital, Apple, and CBS."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Here’s Mary Meeker’s Big Deck On Key Internet Trends | TechCrunch

Here’s Mary Meeker’s Big Deck On Key Internet Trends | TechCrunch: "Mary Meeker, a partner at VC firm KPCB and one of the legendary observers of the Internet industry, is presenting her annual outlook on the industry this morning at Code Conference put on by Re/code."

'via Blog this'

Monday, February 04, 2013

Introducing Strategic Web Design

Introducing Strategic Web Design: "I guess it’s like my grand unifying theory… something that brings together everything I’ve been doing in SEO, in conversion, usability, persuasion, and graphic design."

Good information.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

10 Recommended Resources for Learning Web Design

"A lot of people want to learn web design, but where do you start? It’s great if you’ve got the motivation to trawl the web for free videos, tutorials and articles, but we don’t all have that level of confidence. Sometimes you need a helping hand, or you’re just not a self-learner.

If you’re interested in learning web design, here’s a handy list of places to start."

Good resources.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Planning a Website and What to Expect

"A successful project begins with careful planning. No matter what the size of the task at hand ..., ample thought needs to be given to the task as a whole before the work begins. This is especially true for website development. Planning the strategy for the site and how the website fits into the larger vision of the project beyond the scope of the online presence is an absolutely essential phase for both the website developer and the client."

Some solid thinking on Website Planning.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Guide To Website Planning | Your Articles

"Everyone wants to have a successful website. Successful entrepreneurship often depends on building an effective website, especially for those with a strictly online business.

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

Planning a successful website | Sites That Sell

"I believe that success is in the plan. In everything I do, I always make a plan and then work out the plan. A while ago I stumbled on some great information and tips to help you on planning a website project…"

Couple of tips for Website Planning.

Friday, October 09, 2009

How to build a business website – Part 2 | Earn Huge Online

"Website Planning. Before starting to build your website you should first develop a plan in line with your online objectives, target audience and resources."

Good thoughts on website planning.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mind Maps – A great approach for planning a website | Stellar Web Works

"The idea behind mind maps is that you start with a central concept, write it down in the middle of a page, then add nodes as you think of different ideas around that concept. This approach can be used for planning a website..."

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

Building your reputation online

"Paragraph upon paragraph of text, large picture files, heavy-handed Flash animations, generic stock-photo images and static content. These are some of the common mistakes businesses make when establishing an online presence."

Good solid advice for planning websites.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Use Webdesign To Make Your Website Look Professional — TheTechEdition

"One of the common mistakes that people make is to put up a website, and then wonder why money is not coming in. Another common mistake is to waste a huge sum of money in advertising before learning the fundamentals of website design and development."

The website should match the business.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Strategic planning is more important than a budget | PerthNow

"'People don't understand the concept of online,'' Mr Bishop said. 'Online opens up a much broader field of customers but it also opens up a much broader field of competitors.

'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

Bring New Life To Your Website - Educational Weekend Webinar Event Aug 21 - 23

"New Life Event - Free Webinar Series"

This event is over, but you can still see the recordings of the sessions. Lots of good information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SiteProNews: The Plan - 4 Steps To A Website Brand

"Let's say you need a website, so you develop a plan, present it to a bunch of website designers, and get quotes or proposals. You're not going to get caught with your pants down like the last time by some nerdy geek, you know the skinny kid with the scraggly beard, whose techno-babble gave you a headache, or the bizarre young lady dressed in gothic chic with the black lipstick and tattoo to match - yikes, no thanks, not this time, this time you got a plan. ... But before we tell you the four steps to creating your very own Website Branding Plan, let's talk about Don LaFontaine."

Excellent approach to website planning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SiteProNews: 10 Vital Tips for Choosing the Right Web Hosting Company

"The Web hosting firm you choose can make or break your small business. Good ones can run things smoothly, are easy to reach, and fix problems efficiently. But bad ones can have more problems than they are worth, be unreachable at critical times, and bring your business to a screeching halt. Finding a good one is crucial to your success."

Some tips on picking a Web Hosting Company.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Good Avocado - Professional Eco-Hosting

"Professional Hosting Scalable cloud hosting solutions Unlimited domains, databases and emails all backed by rock-solid stability and service, combined with a total commitment to sustainability."

This looks like a good option for a green webhosting company.

Friday, June 13, 2008

100 Awesome Webmaster Videos on YouTube - Inside CRM

"While many people see YouTube as a fun and mindless distraction, the fact is that it's really quite useful. The video site is full of educational tools for just about anyone, webmasters included. These 100 videos for webmasters include clips with subjects ranging from SEO (search-engine optimization) to domain buying."

Website tutorials on YouTube.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The CMS Matrix - cmsmatrix.org - The Content Management Comparison Tool

"This site is provided as a community service to everyone interested in looking for a means to manage web site content. Here you can discuss, rate, and compare the various systems available on the market today."

Compare content management sites.

CMS Review - Content Management Systems

"The mission of CMS REVIEW is to give you the resources you need to choose the right content management system for your organization. We manage a network of content management related sites and community mailing lists and we link you to the top CM sites in the world."

Do you need content management for your website?

Wire Frame Your Site [Design Practice]

"We've all heard it time and time again: 'If you fail to plan, you plan to fail'."

Good introduction to using wire frames to plan your site.

Perform Card Sorting - Design | Usability.gov

"What is card sorting?

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

NetworkSolutions Domain Name Scam ~ Scam Busters Blog

"NetworkSolutions, one of the original ICANN registrars, is running a phishing style domain name scam that boggles my mind."

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

Online Business » Building a Website for Your Online Business

"One of the biggest parts of starting an online business is building a website for it. After all, you can’t really even be online without some sort of website. Thus, I am going to cover the basics of building a website in this article."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Shopping Carts vs. Stores

"Do you know the difference between a store and a shopping cart?"

An excellent discussion of the difference between a shopping cart and a store and the ramifications for SEO.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Web Strategy by Jeremiah » Web Strategy: How to evolve your irrelevant corporate website

"But we’re tired of the corporate website and all it’s happy marketing speak, stock photos of smart looking dudes or minority women crowded around the computer raving about your product, the positive press release, the happy customer testimonials, the row of executive portraits, the donations your corporate made to disaster relief, the one-sided view never ends."

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 Magazine and Buyer's Guide: Web Host Reviews, Web Host News & Resources

Web Host Magazine and Buyer's Guide:
Web Host Reviews,
Web Host News & Resources

Web Host Reviews
Shared Hosting Reviews
Non-Shared Hosting Reviews
Review a Host"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Domains by Proxy®

"Did you know that for each domain name you register, anyone - anywhere, anytime - can find out your name, home address, phone number and email address?"

Domain by Proxy fixes this issue.

Monday, November 13, 2006

10 Things That Will Make Or Break Your Website

"10 Things That Will Make Or Break Your Website"

Things learned by someone attending the "Future of Web Apps Conference" in 2006.

Why Your Web App Sucks » Wisdump

"The reason it is so hard to make a great web application is because it is so easy to make it suck. "

A biting list of what makes some web applications bad.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Webmaster Radio

Free Internet Radio, just load Webmaster Radio 24/7

Monday, February 20, 2006

Microsoft Office Live

"Create your own professional Web site in minutes! Microsoft Office Live Basics is the perfect way to get started on the Web. It features all the basics you need to create your first Web site, including free hosting, Web site statistics, personalized domain name, and e-mail addresses."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Never Get Involved in a Land War in Asia (or Build a Website for No Reason)

"Throughout all these projects, one thing has remained a constant: those with clear, well-written, strategies ran smoother than those without—and ended up pleasing everyone, including the client."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

O'Reilly: What Is Web 2.0

"What Is Web 2.0

Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software"

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Web2.0 Meme Map

"Result of a "What is Web 2.0?" brainstorming session at FOO Camp 2005."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Web 2.0? Why Should We Care?

"Opinion: AJAX, Ruby on Rails, folksonomies. The newest technologies powering the Internet put the audience first. Welcome to the People-centric Web."

Monday, September 19, 2005

Web 2.0 and Semantic Web: Mars and Venus?

"I once crudely put it like this: Web 2.0 is 'The Web as Platform' and the Semantic Web is 'The Web of Meaning'. The platform could use more meaning, or it could continue to do just fine with the same 'good enough' approach that characterised the evolution of the Web in the 90's."

Thursday, September 15, 2005


"Map of the Web 2.0 World"

A wiki view of Web 2.0 companies and where they fit.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Future Of Web Design Is Content Management!

"Web development has greatly increased in popularity over the last 5 years....

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

Mike Chambers about Flash and Web 2.0

"Web 2.0 is a term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.

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."

Why Web2.0 Matters: Preparing for Glocalization

"Personally, i don't find comfort in any of the business, technological or experiential explanations. Yet, i do believe that a shift is occurring and i find myself emotionally invested in it. So then i had to ask myself: what is Web2.0 and why does it matter? The answer is glocalization."

Can Microsoft Out-Google Google?

"This new development model, frequently referred to as Web 2.0, relies on modern Web standards and the wide adoption of broadband to facilitate almost instantaneous communication between a client and server. AJAX, or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, has taken center stage as the programming language of choice for Web 2.0 applications."

Microsoft targets Google with developer platform

"Microsoft next week will try to gain ground on competitors Google and Yahoo by unveiling a new Web development platform on which developers can add new search, mapping and instant-messaging features to online products from the MSN division."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Newsletters: 15 tips on writing, editing

"A newsletter is the paring knife of communication tools. It seems simple and is easy to take for granted. Handled well, however, it's a highly capable tool."

Friday, August 26, 2005

GoogleOS? YahooOS? MozillaOS? WebOS?

"That's it. Aside from the browser and the Web server, applications will be written for the WebOS and won't be specific to Windows, OS X, or Linux. This is also completely feasible, I think, for organizations like Google, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft, or the Mozilla Foundation to make happen (more on this below)."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Answers to Usability Questions

Interview with Kimberley Krause Berg, one of the leading usability experts in the United States.
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."

Planning Your Website

Great Website Planning Outline.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Really, Really, Really Good Introduction to XML

"In this chapter, we'll cover the basics of XML — essentially, most of the information you'll need to know to get a handle on this exciting technology. "

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What's the Problem?

"One of the biggest problems in delivering a website, and yet probably the least talked and written about, is how to decide, specify, and communicate just what, exactly, is it that we’re going to build, and why. What problem are we solving? Who needs it? What’s this site for, anyway?"

Monday, August 22, 2005

Browsers: Passing The Acid2 Test

"There are only three browsers today that have actually passed WaSP's notoriously difficult browser test--Safari, iCab and Konqueror--but most of the others are getting close...'"

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

One in six Americans visiting blogs

One in six Americans visiting blogs | CNET News.com:

"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

10 things you should know about Microsoft's SharePoint Services

10 things you should know about Microsoft's SharePoint Services - TechRepublic:

"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

Planning Quote

"If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favorable to him."
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (5 BC-65 AD); Roman philosopher.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Senators seek Web porn tax

Senators seek Web porn tax | CNET News.com:

"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

Report: Public Awareness of Internet Terms

Pew Internet & American Life Project Report: Tech terms:

"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 : Workers of the Web, Evolt!

evolt.org : Workers of the Web, Evolt!:

"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

Most Hated Advertising Techniques (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Most Hated Advertising Techniques (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox):

Studies of how people react to online advertisements have identified several design techniques that impact the user experience very negatively."

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bitty Browser: Introduction

Bitty Browser: Introduction

"Make you choice of Website, RSS feed, podcast or blog directly available from within any webpage."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Google Press Center: Factory Tour

Google Press Center: Factory Tour

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Search Wikipedia -- using LookAhead from SurfWax

Search Wikipedia -- using LookAhead from SurfWax

WikiWax - your quick index to Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

So, What the Heck Are Web Services?

So, What the Heck Are Web Services?

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

Study: Net users confused about search | CNET News.com

Study: Net users confused about search | CNET News.com:

"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

Semantic Web Taking Hold

Semantic Web Taking Hold

Monday, October 04, 2004

Information Hunters

The behaviour of human beings when searching for information intensively resembles that of the hunter-gatherers of our past and that of the foraging of animals. Information Visualisation tries to take advantage of this finding.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Website Planning - most popular keywords

What do google, ebay, yahoo, paris hilton, health, and mapquest have in common? They are in the top twenty keywords entered into search engines over the last 2 months.

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

Website Planning - feeds & syndication

"It is clear that the aggregated news model is rapidly becoming the preferred method of online consumer news consumption," said Jim Pitkow, chief executive officer and president of Moreover Technologies.

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.
Consumers who want to read these feeds must first acquire a product or service called a feed reader, a news aggregator, or a news reader. These products come in various flavors. Some run under Outlook, some are stand-alone products, and some are online services that you access through your browser.

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."

Interesting Feeds:
Feedster Jobs :: Fresh jobs delivered daily to your aggregator!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Website Planning - intranets and extranets

What is an intranet? And what is an extranet?

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

Website Planning - Internet Chat

Internet chat is a popular way to communicate over the Internet.

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.
1) Picking a name. When you "say" something in a chat room, your name precedes it. Names can be as straightforward as John or Jane, or more descriptive like truck-driver, hacker, or looking-4-love. Sometimes there is a profile associated with the name to help identify the chatters. But, of course, there is nothing to prevent anyone from creating a false persona. It is not uncommon for a male to assume a female persona, or a female to assume a male persona. The name "Teenage-girl" could really be a mischievous grandfather.

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

Public Rooms
Private Rooms
One can enter and leave a chat room at will. Some "roam" from one chat room to another.

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

Website Planning - ezines vs. blogs

What are the benefits of using ezines vs. blogs?

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

Website Planning - ezines

Did you ever want to publish a newspaper, a magazine, or a newsletter? Anyone can online. Electronic publications sent by way of email are called ezines (EE-zeens), which is short for either electronic magazine or electronic fanzine.

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
2) The ezine. Someone to put the ezine together either in text or HTML format. Text format is simple and direct; HTML allows the creative design of a website.

3) The managed list of subscribers. "List management", means
There are several ways to do list management.
4) Archive system. Ezines are usually archived so that readers can see back copies.
Ezines should be considered in the website planning as a way of getting people to return to the website.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Website Planning - Blogs or Weblogs

"A Web page containing brief, chronologically arranged items of information". Peter Scott, weblog expert at the University of Saskatchewan Library.

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.
Blogging vendors exist that allow one to create one of the colorful websites called a blog, and then one can immediately start publishing anything one likes to the Internet.
Bloggers have a full range of resources, including
Some blog resources are listed at the end of this particular blog.

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

Website Planning - Instant Messaging

Instant messaging (IM) is a text based tool that allows communication over the Internet using short messages in near synchronicity. It is more like a text based phone call than email. IM products provide functions to maintain buddy lists, notification when buddies are online, and ability to send URLs and photos.

Messages from both parties appear on the screen. The conversation box would look something like this.
IM is more interactive than email; less intrusive than a phone call. I will admit that I have carried on IM conversations with members of my family who are in other rooms in the house.

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

Website Planning - Directories vs. Search

Search and Directories: Compare and Contrast

Yahoo Directory vs. Google Search
Both Search and Directories are ways to find information on the Internet World Wide Web.
If the Internet were a book and the chapters were websites,
If the Internet were a library and the books were websites,
The Directory paradigm points us to websites that then can be explored. It encourages home pages and hierarchical websites.

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

Website Planning - Directories

Directories are websites that contain lists of links to other websites, organized in a hierarchy. Anyone can create a directory. A list of favorites organized into folders is like a personal directory.

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
Here is the story of the Yahoo directory.

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

Website Planning - Internet Search

"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:

Internet search is so pervasive, that considering how search engines will find a site should be considered in the planning.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Website Planning - the Internet

"The Internet is the most important invention in the last 500 years, exceeded in all of human kind only by the wheel and the printing press." London Economist.

To prepare for the website plan, we need to review three things
The website is the intersection of these three entities.

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.

Internet Topics.

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.
These topics are covered in depth on many other places, but we will look at them in reference to getting ready for the website plan.

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

Website Planning - complete the business analysis

The Website plan starts with the business. The following items should be complete and ready when it is time to start the website plan.

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

Website Planning - minding the marketing P's

The Business Plan should include the Marketing Plan.
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.

Today, some marketers add some more P's to the mix.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Website Planning - focus, focus, focus!

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." Bill Cosby

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.

Businesses should focus on specific products and services, the business core competencies. Some businesses have decided to outsource those parts of the business that are not core competencies in order to focus on the core products and services.

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

Website Planning - the value of a good website

A recent nationwide survey of American consumers revealed that far from just providing simple aesthetic value, web site design heavily influences consumer purchase decisions.

Survey conducted by Synovate eNation of Chicago for Genex.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Website Planning - advice on getting website help

"A Medieval Home Companion: Housekeeping in the Fourteenth Century."
Translated and edited by Tania Bayard.

The book was written in the year 1393 as advice to a young bride about household help.
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

Website Planning - the elevator speech

What is your business? What is it you do?

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.
Now examine the 16 second speech. If it says what you do, start again. It should say how you help your clients.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Website Planning - start with the Business Plan

"The business plan is a necessity. If the person who wants to start a small business can't put a business plan together, he or she is in trouble,' says Robert Krummer, Jr., chairman of First Business Bank in Los Angeles.

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.

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

Website Planning - the environment

The website is the intersection of three different entities, the business, the internet, and the reader. The website plan addresses each of these in turn.

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.

Website Environment Posted by Hello

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 Planning - is it Web site or website?

What is the correct word? Is it Web site or website? I agree with the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language and prefer and use website.

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

Website Planning - for what websites?

How many websites have been created? What kinds of websites have been created? Which ones need a plan?

The websites fall into all sorts of categories including the following.

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

Website Planning

"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." Yogi Berra

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.

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