The Dead Comic

Dark Side of Technology

The Dead Comic - Dark Side of Technology

Affordable Website Design vs Traditional Agency Methods

affordable web design mississaugaTraditionally build a website has been extremely expensive.

The very first website I had built was in 1998 and it cost me almost $11,000. That was a huge amount then and still is today.

However web design options – particularly those of the affordable nature are quite plentiful. You just need to know what you want.

Thanks to the cheaper and more user friendly software programs that are now available just about anyone in the world can create a web site and have it live in a matter of days or perhaps even hours.

That is not to say that this will be a good or even pretty good web site. Most likely this will be the most basic and low quality of all web sites and nothing that would attract and impress the visitors that you have.

But unfortunately this is so common place that people will take what they can get, hence the reason why so many new web sites are running around the web today.

If your business needs an affordable web design company then you need to be looking in the right places and not always looking at the lowest price to be the marker.

The matter of web design should be looked at from the perspective of retail purchases that you will make. In light, the lowest price is not always the best idea.

Why?

Well the truth is that the lower the price the lower the quality in most cases. While the item may be the same, it will not be made as well as the higher priced models and in truth may cost you more money down the road when you have to spend more money to replace it.

The same goes for the web design services. What could be gained by having a cut rate web site designed when you have to hire someone else at a greatly inflated rate to fix and repair the entire process because of the poor quality? So you can see that it is not always the best idea to go with the cheapest of them all.

In pretty much every case I can think of the absolute cheapest solution will invariably be the one that causes you the most problems. Their customer service may be terrible or it may be nothing more than a scam designed to separate you from your money.

A reputable web design company will not do this. They will provide any necessary information that you require upfront. There will be valuable customer service in place and you will find that the answers that you require are answered quickly and honestly.

If you are looking for a recommendation, I would suggest you check out iConnect Media, a Mississauga web design company. They work with many clients from all over the place (myself included on a few occasions).

The Important Business Lesson Learned From Our Office Renovation

Photo Courtesy of :Handyman Mississauga

Photo Courtesy of: HandymanMississauga.ca

Recently our company office underwent a major reno. It was actually suppose to be rather straightforward and originally we were not planning on hiring a contractor.

However when our CEO looked at the scope of the project, it quickly became clear this would be something we’d need help with.

And luckily we did because in the end if probably saved us $140,000 in time and materials.

We found the our general contractor was an expert at coordinating trades. The project may require carpentry be done, drywall or sheet rock installed, electrical circuitry to be properly tuned, floor covering, and a paint job to go alone with all of that.

And if the renovation involves more than one room (like ours did), you will need a plumber and a demolition man should you need to take out walls or other obstructive structures. At the end of the day, you will have to juggle very many things, along with defining roles and delegating responsibilities to each individual all the while scheduling everyone. These special types of skills require an expert, and that is where your general contractor comes to the rescue.

Paperwork

You cannot just decide to renovate and then start the next day. The design needs to be approved by the town administration, permits need to be applied for and granted, and insurance and workers compensation certificates need to be obtained.

Our general contractor had done this literally a million times. And he had a fantastic personal relationships with people from key departments. That alone was worth it’s weight in gold with how much time it saved. It would have taken us months longer had we tried on our own.

Cost

A general contractor is entrusted with obtaining competitive bids from various sub contractors rendering their services for the project. Additionally, a he or she is supposed to provide feedback on the architectural design and foresee any major changes that could bump up the cost of the overall project.

Field General

A key advantage of having a general contractor is that he or she will be visiting the project sight often and will keep an eye on the progress. They can ascertain the quality of work being carried out by the subcontractors. Plus your general contractor can determine if the project is up to speed and if it is lagging behind in anyway.

In addition, professional contractors take measures to prevent any damages or acts of vandalism. New properties and construction sites, theft, and graffiti is a real concern but a general contractor is supposed to ensure complete safety and security of the project. The general contractor is the eyes and ears of the owner of the property.

Coordination

Probably the greatest advantage of hiring a general contractor is that he knows the roles of each subcontractor and understands how the owner of the property wants the end product to look like. As a result, they are responsible for pulling all the resources together to ensure that the final product meets the expected outcome.

I still think our office would be under construction had we not gone the route we did. It was a learning experience, but more importantly and important business lesson.

3 Important Considerations When Picking a Payment Gateway

As a consumer, when you check out of your local convenience store, you may swipe your credit card through a point-of-sale device and your gas, coffee, and donut are paid. But what if you are the retailer and your business is online?

It’s not like you have a card-swiping device at every customer’s PC!

There must be a way for you to process that information.

Essentially, that is the job that a payment gateway does for online retailers. Roy Banks, president of Authorize.net, a leader in the payment gateway industry, describes his company’s function as “the digital version of a hardware point of sale terminal.”

What is a Payment Gateway?
Payment gateways allow online merchants such as eStore owners or auction sellers to accept credit card payments on their websites. They authorize the cardholder’s credit—that is, they check to ensure that the customer has enough money on their credit card to cover the charges.

They then place a hold on that amount so the buyer can’t turn around and spend that same money elsewhere before it gets transferred to the retailer’s merchant account. Banks describes this as “the technology…necessary to consummate a payment transaction.”

A Payment Gateway is NOT a Merchant Account.
Many people confuse merchant accounts with payment gateways but they are not the same. Merchant account services act, for the most part, as a liaison between your business bank account and the payment gateway. When a customer orders a product from your online business their card is processed via the payment gateway. The money is then moved over to the merchant account service. The merchant account service then moves those newly captured funds to your business bank account.

3 Tips for choosing a Payment Gateway:

1. Is it PCI-compliant? That means that the company’s security has been audited by a third party and found to be up to industry standards. Since payment gateways store all your customers’ credit card information (sparing you the stress), it also means you can sleep better at night, knowing your customers’ valuable information is safe and sound.

2. Good customer support.

3.Lastly, it is important that the payment gateway you choose be integrated to the third-party solutions you are planning to use. That means things like store front platforms and shopping carts—you want them to be compatible with your gateway.

Payment gateways will not only allow you to collect the monies from your sales, many also offer an array of technical features, some of which will help you avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent orders! In the end, they will make your ecommerce business a less-stressful, more pleasant experience—for both you and your customers.

How to Use Technical Writing In Your Business

Searches in User Documents (manuals, etc.) often fail because the Reader uses different words for a concept than the author uses. Since the Reader’s words usually do not can be found in the document, the document search mechanism cannot discover their whereabouts, leading to frustration. This article describes a User-friendly way of improving searches, and never have to affect the Users’ behavior or the search software.

YOUR READERS’ WORDS

People utilize words they know once they speak, write, or search. It’s folly to try to force people to work with the writer’s terminology; your reader simply might not know the “proper” term. Forced to use unknown words, people will quickly realize the User Document to be arrogant, or at least challenging to use.

For instance, an individual Manual for any word processing program probably will utilize word “formatting” when confronted with character fonts and size, along with page layout. But suppose that your Reader uses the saying “appearance” to consult these topics. How should we receive the search mechanism to supply the right result if your Reader looks for “appearance”?

THE TECHNICAL ANSWER: A THESAURUS SEARCH

The technical solution would be to convert the document search software from being an “exact term” search with a “Thesaurus Search.” In the Thesaurus Search, the User enters anything that he/she knows, and the search returns synonyms or references to the synonyms within the document.

Thus a properly set up Thesaurus Search should return references to “formatting” when the Reader searches for “appearance.” I used a similar technique when I wrote this a long tail pro review. You can watch the video and see the review to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, the Thesaurus Search is rarely available, and creating you might require changes for the existing search program. A low tech solution would be the solution.

THE SHORT ANSWER: SYNONYMS

Just for this technique, you need to put synonyms with the author’s word (“formatting”) about the pages that you would like looking to discover. Such synonyms can sometimes include “appearance,” “design,” and “layout.” It is a simple, effective solution.

You’ll find appropriate synonyms with the thesaurus this is a part of most word processors and also many libraries. Select the synonyms that your Visitors likely to use. “Likely to use” is based on your analysis of your respective Reader.

This leads us to the next question: How would you place the synonyms around the page?

Avoid using HIDDEN TEXT

Technically savvy writers may ask “why not use hidden text for your synonyms?” The power is hidden text won’t “clutter up” the page.

So, if in the areas of the consumer Document where “formatting” is presented, the author squeeze word “appearance” as hidden text (assuming looking utility would find this hidden information), then this following can happen:

1. The various readers searches for “appearance.”

2. The search takes the various readers towards the “formatting” area of the document.

3. The Reader wonders “How did I get here?” The term that he/she wanted (“appearance”) will not show on the page, as it is hidden.

Given that a goal of an User Document is usually to answer the Reader’s questions, then doing anything that causes him/her to ask another question (“How did I purchase here?”) is counter-productive. Hidden synonyms aren’t the very best answer.

THE ELEGANT SOLUTION: “YOU May have heard THIS AS…”

Hiding the synonyms is not a good plan. It’s easier to allow Reader know what are you doing. The best way is to include a distinctive line of text on the page in which the topic appears. This distinct text commences with the idea of, “You may know this as…”

To remain our “formatting” example, our explanatory synonym phrase becomes, “You may know this as appearance, layout, or design.” A search for “appearance” brings the Reader to the “Formatting” section.

Upon seeing the words “You may know this as appearance, layout, or design,” the various readers knows why the search found this location. Looking satisfied people, and failed to add uncertainty for the situation.

HARSH TRUTH

The aim of all good User Documents is to increase the Reader’s knowledge about the product. By using synonyms for “technical” terms, the article author makes all the Reader’s document searches far better, considering that the needed topics will be found using the Reader’s words.

By not hiding the synonyms, people just isn’t confused that explains why he/she reached that place in the document. It feels right a greater experience with the document and the product.

If you found this article useful. Here’s another about building effective relationships.

How to Make a Video Sales Letter

Have you frustrated yourself trying to figure out how to make a video sales letter?

Well, if you have a sharp mind [and even if you don’t], you cannot but notice the rising fortunes of video marketing. Well, video marketing is the next big thing in the world of Internet marketing.

Video marketing entails the use of video for conveying your message to the audience. Most experts believe that videos are more effective when it boils down to establishing an engaging and interactive platform to communicate with the target audience.

If you too are interested in entering into the world of ‘video sales letter’, then it will augur well if you are aware about the various forms of video marketing.

Video advertising is one of the basic forms of video marketing. In case of video advertising, the advertiser makes use of the video that is already being run across TV channels. Usually, the video is edited to shorten the duration. This also makes the video more appealing to the online audience. At times, the video might be stripped of its sound to fasten the downloading speed.

However, this is not the case. One needs to clearly differentiate between a video advert and an advertisement made for the TV. Video made for a TV can never replace video that is required for the Internet. And it will not make a good impression about the company in the eyes of the people since they can quickly make out that the ad has been copied directly from the TV. If this happens then one is likely to lose out on viewers since people will not care to view the ad of the company ever again. Hence the company will loose viewers instead of gaining them. And this will be a very big loss of opportunity.”

The other form of video marketing that has been attracting the attention of business houses and corporate sector happens to be in-text video advertising. In this particular form of video marketing, a video gets uploaded and subsequently played whenever a user scrolls over an underlined text.

Experts state that in-text video advertising is a highly efficient method that can be precisely targeted towards a particular segment of the online audience. This is because a person will be induced to take his mouse over an underlined word only if he can relate with that word. For instance, a young mother might roll her mouse over words like ‘bottle feeder’, ‘baby diapers’, ‘infant care’ etc. This is because as a mother of an infant, she can relate with these words.

In-text video advertising is a user-initiated form of advertising. This means that the video will be played only when the user opts to roll his mouse over a phrase or a word.

Advertisers also have the option of going in for ‘product placement in video’. This form of video marketing is similar to ‘in-film’ advertising wherein the product is placed in the video. For instance, one can notice Omega watches in James Bond movies. ‘Product placement in video’ works on the same line except for the fact that the same is done in the virtual world and through an online medium.

The products are integrated in the online video. At times, the viewers are also allowed to interact with the product in question. This increased interactivity enhances the engagement quotient of the advertisement.

‘Advertiser funded video’ is one more manifestation of video marketing. Well, in this form of video marketing, the advertiser creates the content of the video but the same is run on third-party websites. The video seeks to entertain, inform or educate the viewers as well as to convey the information of the advertiser to the target audience.

One can also directly deliver the video to the consumers via email. This form of video marketing is known as ‘direct video’. However, this is a relatively new form of marketing and is yet to be exploited in a big way. The rise of Web 2.0 has allowed advertisers to deliver videos in HTML [Hyper Text Mark-Up Language] and thus avoid languishing in the receiver’s bulk or spam folder.

Most experts believe that this form of video marketing has a good potential especially considering the fact that an increasing number of surfers are now opting for hi-speed broadband connections instead of the traditional dial-up connections. This is good news for those opting for ‘direct video’ as research has proven that those having broadband connections are more receptive towards video.

The growing popularity of such as YouTube has opened up one more avenues for advertisers, business houses and the corporate sector. One can place videos in social network sites. According to a report that appeared in Reuters, “YouTube, the leader in Internet video search, said on Sunday viewers have are now watching more than 100 million videos per day on its site, marking the surge in demand for its “snack-sized” video fare. YouTube, the leader in Internet video search, said on Sunday viewers have are now watching more than 100 million videos per day on its site, marking the surge in demand for its “snack-sized” video fare.”

Experts state that this particular form of advertising has a great scope provided the videos feature original content [that is the ideas for the video are not directly uplifted from the ads that are run on television] and are high on creativity.

And if you do not want your video to get featured in a social networking site, then you can always have them displayed on mobiles. Well, experts state that since the number of mobile users is showing a tremendous increase, one can go in for mobile video marketing.

Most experts state that people are willing to see videos on their mobiles as long as these videos are relevant to their needs and desires. Similarly, viewers also expect something in return from the advertiser after watching his/her advert. Experts also believe that mobile video viewers want an assurance that they can opt-in or opt-out of the video.

According to the Pro Video Blueprint, “there are already many types of mobile video ads available including banner ads, text ads, search ads, short code response numbers in print and TV and ads inserted between levels of a game. Essentially, the choice available to advertisers is as large as that of internet advertising and it is recommended that – in the same way as internet – marketers select only the forms beneficial to their brand and campaign.”

Thus, there are various forms of video marketing. Advertisers, wishing to use this form of Internet marketing, should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each form of video marketing. They should also weigh their intentions and objective campaigns of their online marketing campaign against each form of video marketing and select the one that will help them to gain maximum mileage.

The easiest place to start is to make a video sales letter. You don’t need much equipment.

As Pro Video Blueprint puts it; “online video takes this to the next level by delivering the content we love other portable video players. This leads to accessing video content in entirely new places; living rooms and cinemas are no longer the only place to view video.”

How Technology Impacts Current Design

Just a few years ago, web-based learning through PCs was seen as revolutionary. But what incredible lessons we have learned since then. Companies could put their orientations and ongoing training on line and all employees would get standardized learning.

Soon, with the spread of WiFi, router-based, and satellite wireless networks, people could tap into this type of training while on the run.

A salesperson could get trained in the latest marketing presentation while riding on a plane to her or his next destination. Or a person could get oriented to their new job from home before the first day they work.

Now, web-based training’s have taken another step forward due to the technology involved in internet-enabling devices besides computers. There are some obvious examples of how this might work. For example, your TV may be connected to the internet in a way that allows you to tune in to a training or conference as easy as changing to a specific channel. You could use your DVR and truly get the most out of the conference.

There are also less obvious but still valuable examples of the potential of internet enabled devices. For example, an internet enabled printer could tap into web-based trainings in helping you maximize the quality of photographs before printing them.

You could learn how to crop, sharpen, lighten, etc. your photos by having an online guide that directs real-time information to a nearby computer. That web-based guide, because the device is internet enabled, can actually “know” what you’ve just done and direct you about whether that was correct or not.

If you have an internet-enabled all-in-one device, you could also learn how to scan and fax for maximum results.

There are even some far out, but truly interesting ways this technology could be used. In the kitchen, internet-enabled appliances could actually teach you how to cook as you go, sending information to a nearby monitor about when food is done, or ready for the next step.

An internet enabled coffee maker could use web-based training to help you brew perfect coffee that responds in real time to the fineness of the ground beans, the temperature of the water, or the density of the resulting beverage.

In all of these examples, web based learning would take place in real time, and could lead to new skills being developed. And in each example there is also the potential of tapping into live help. In the first example, someone studying good design principles could catch you up with whatever they’ve missed.

In the internet enabled printer example, live help could assist you when a document presents particular difficulty – the person on the other end could “see” what is going on in real time. In the third example, a cook could teach people how to cook her or his recipes almost like he or she is there – even checking the temperature and other information from their remote location.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of web based learning and internet enabled technology is the ability for people to do things together even when they are far apart.

Literally hundreds of people could be part of a web based conference that helps them learn the latest uses for an internet enabled device. Or, your friend, relative, or teacher who knows how to do something you don’t could provide you with web based learning where they can see and react to your input on an internet-enabled device.

Principles of Good Design

Your website is where your business resides — it’s like the headquarter of an offline company. Hence, it is important to practice good design principles to make sure your site reaches out to the maximum number of visitors and sells to as many people as possible.

Make sure you have clear directions on the navigation of your website. The navigation menu should be uncluttered and concise so that visitors know how to navigate around your website without confusion.

Reduce the number of images on your website. They make your site load very slowly and more often than not they are very unnecessary. If you think any image is essential on your site, make sure you optimize them using image editing programs so that they have a minimum file size.

Keep your text paragraphs at a reasonable length. If a paragraph is too long, you should split it into separate paragraphs so that the text blocks will not be too big. This is important because a block of text that is too large will deter visitors from reading your content.

Make sure your website complies to web standards at www.w3.org and make sure they are cross-browser compatible. If your website looks great in Internet Explorer but breaks horribly in Firefox and Opera, you will lose out on a lot of prospective visitors.

Avoid using scripting languages on your site unless it is absolutely necessary. Use scripting languages to handle or manipulate data, not to create visual effects on your website. Heavy scripts will slow down the loading time of your site and even crash some browsers. Also, scripts are not supported across all browsers, so some visitors might miss important information because of that.

Don’t forget to use CSS for page styling because they save a lot of work by styling all elements on your website in one go. Follow these web design tips and you’ll start seeing results almost immediately.

Hit a Home Run With Business Web Content Development

Your small business website can be your gateway to a world of opportunities – ones that you would never have if all you just depended on for business was your regular storefront. Selling online or even using your website to generate leads for your storefront business, you will find that persuasive and interesting web content development is very important.

A good small business website needs to do two things – it needs to have good, informative articles and other content that serious buyers trying to understand their purchase would like to fill up on, and the content should be of interest to the search engines – optimized, as it were, for the way search engines deal with websites.

You can’t drop the ball on either kind of interest. A good website needs to have something for both audiences – man and machine. These small business of web content development tips should be of help.

Business website owners dealing with all the smoke and mirrors of search engine optimization, often forget that they are optimizing their website in the hopes that they’ll actually get people to visit. They drop the ball on what happens when people actually visit. You can’t keep creating content for the search engines. You have to create them in a way that people would find useful and interesting, and you need to sprinkle it with a little magic to make sure is that the search engines take notice of you as well.

Certainly, you do need to do a bit of research into the kind of keywords potential clients are likely to use. You find out what exactly those people who are looking for when they search with those keywords. Then, you’ll get pretty good idea what kind of articles and videos you need to create to appeal to those needs.

Basically, you want to get to be known as an authority in the thing that your business deals in. This can be such an important source of business goodwill. When your clients trust you as an authoritative source of information, they are likely to also trust you as a great source of products and services.

You could also dig into your own experience in your area of business to try to find out what it is that most people want to know about before they make a purchase. You could volunteer the information.

You could publish a few research articles and white papers on your website, of course. But you have to understand that most people find these kinds of literature incredibly dull. You never want to give anyone an excuse to think this way. Whenever there’s an interesting research paper that you feel you should publish for how relevant it is, do be also sure to publish a layman’s manual alongside of it – that you’ve written. You don’t ever want to give your visitors a reason to think that your website is not a place for usable information.

The latest Panda update to Google’s algorithm is pretty big one. Basically, they’re doing everything in their power at Google to seek and destroy websites that do not deliver interesting and usable content. It’s all about quality and timeliness how. Choose quality over quantity, and you can’t go wrong.

Do You Worry About Video Search Engine Optimization

Often, to many website owners who don’t really understand how marketing on the Internet works, a video marketing undertaking appears very simple. They just shoot a video, put it on YouTube, and that’s it. What else is there to do, they think. Well, they haven’t done video search engine optimization for one thing.

When you don’t do this, you really miss out on a number of very effective ways in which you can exploit the video you just made. There are all kinds of video search engine optimization methods that you can make use of to really put your new video on YouTube or any other service, out there. This will get many people coming in, they will possibly visit your website as well, and so on. It can be a major source of traffic to your website if you do it right.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you want your new video to do well with the search engines, you have to offer viewers something that’s worth seeing. No matter how much do video search engine optimization you do, if it isn’t something that has mass appeal, people who discover it through the search engines won’t pass it on to their friends. That kind of word-of-mouth is what really gets you traffic.

Here’s a little tip – search engines and computers and all those things just don’t understand pictures or video. As far as they’re concerned, these are just blank windows. If you want to optimize your video for the search engines, you will have to find ways to put descriptive keywords into the video or the page that carries the video. Whatever kind of searches you may hope to see your videos come up on top of the search engines for, you have to put those words into your video.

It’s simple enough – you just have to to put a few subtitles in, think of the right kind of category listing, keyword tags, title tags and so on. The more words you have on your video for the page that carries it, the better your chances of having your video appear in all the right places and all the right searches.

Here’s another little tip – why just put your video on YouTube? It isn’t the the only game in town, you know. There’s DailyMotion, Vimeo Google Video and so much more. Yes, it’ll be a little extra effort. But you will see better returns on your investment this way.

Most people don’t know this, but YouTube has an analytics tool, just the way, Google does. Make sure that you take a good look at all the information and all the suggestions you get there.