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Sue Studios Holistic Web Design

bullet point Finding music for your website or podcast
bullet point Survey Solutions
bullet point How Major Search Engines Rank Websites
bullet point Autoresponders
bullet point Website Statistics Software
bullet point How to find backlinks using Google
bullet point Finding Information on large websites without a search box
bullet point Saving Images in Different Formats
bullet point Registering RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Documents
bullet point Formatting Email Marketing Messages
bullet point Choosing Fonts
bullet point Creating PDF Documents
bullet point Don't force users to register until it is absolutely necessary
bullet point Tips on Search Boxes- Don't Hide It!
bullet point What Should You Do If Someone Already Owns the Domain Name You Want?

Finding music for your website or podcast

If you want to put music on your website or podcast, you need to make sure that you have the rights to use the music in this way. You may need to contact the artist or the artist's publishing company for permission.

There are alternatives if permission is not granted:

  • What about a local band? Most unsigned bands will be open to letting you use their music if you mention their name in your podcast or website.

  • Many recording artists have chosen to distribute their work under the Creative Commons license. The Creative Commons is a non-profit organization which offers flexible licensing for artists, musicians, writers, and other members of the professional creative community. They took the concept of "all rights reserved" and developed a framework that lets artists publish works with "some rights reserved." Some artists will let you use their songs free of charge for non-commercial purposes or, under some circumstances, with no restrictions. On the Creativecommons.org website you can browse for audio that you can include in your podcast.

  • There are many works which are in the public domain, meaning that they can be used without legal limitation or licensing. Any work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain unless the original publisher has renewed the copyright.

  • The Internet Archive hosts live audio recordings of trade-friendly bands, especially jazz, folk, and jambands. The artists retain their copyrights, but non-commercial distribution is allowed. It also maintains a library of open source audio files in the public domain.

  • Many people believe that once you've paid for a song by buying a CD or an MP3, you can use it again in a non-commercial capacity and claim " fair use ." Even if you've paid for a file from the iTunes Music Store, you can't redistribute it or circumvent the copy protection and DRM (digital rights management) technologies. Doing so would be a violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and is considered unlawful redistribution under current laws.

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Survey Solutions

If you need feedback on your product or service, a survey might give you some answers and solutions. Zoomerang offers free online surveys. This site also gives lots of tips on creating surveys that count.

www.zoomerang.com

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How Major Search Engines Rank Websites

Here is a link to a document that has attempted to analyze some of the major search engine ranking factors: www.seomoz.org/articles/search-ranking-factors.php.

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Autoresponders

An autoresponder is a special email address: when your customer sends an email to it, any email, it automatically sends an email back to them.

You don't have to have a Web site to use them. For example, you can put the autoresponder email address in your email signature file (the message displayed at the bottom of your outgoing email).

The sender receives your message instantly, with no extra effort on your part. You will also receive a message confirming that someone has used your autoresponder, along with their email address. Note: this is not your invitation to send them Spam. Be respectful.

Ways you can use autoresponders:

  • Offer a coupon, discount or special deal.
  • Provide driving directions. Include a link to a map, hours of operation and contact information to your place of business.
  • Create an autoresponder with your complete contact information and your policies.
  • Write a message with complete descriptions about the items you are selling; include links to more pictures.
  • Let people know you are on vacation or otherwise unavailable, and let them know when you will return.
  • Use an autoresponder to deliver complicated information.
  • Use autoresponders to welcome new subscribers to your newsletter.

Where to get autoresponders

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) may offer them and they're fairly easy to set up. There are also many Web sites that specialize in autoresponders. Most of them have free offers, but you will have to tolerate small advertising messages attached to every message you send. These can be eliminated for a fee.

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Website Statistics Software

The following information about statistics software is from Web-Guide.co.il .

Most web hosting companies offer a statistics program as one of their services. If yours does not, then below are some options for you.

Standard statistics systems

Analog- a basic statistics system, but Web-Guide does not recommend using it.
Webalizer- data along with graphs but missing a lot of information.
Awstats- out of the three standard statistics programs, this one is preferable. Nevertheless, too much information is missing to perform a serious analysis.

Programs are those installed on your personal computer that use the internet server's log: ClickTracks- simulates the surfing process on the site, but is expensive

Web-based Programs

You are required to open an account and to place an HTML section of code in every one of your web pages. When a user visits your site, data about the user is transferred to the system provider and stored there. When you enter your account, you can perform various analyses.

statCounter- nice statistics, free

HitsLink- more advanced statistics including managing advertising campaigns, visit duration on pages and navigation paths, fee required

SiteStats- more advanced statistics including managing advertising campaigns, visit duration on pages and navigation paths, fee required

OpenTracker- most impressive, reasonably priced

Install a statistics program on your site

It's recommended to use the services of an internet developer.

PPhlogger- free, Web Guide likes this one best, especially for small websites. You can receive a free account of the installed system on Web Guide's website. For more details see Statistics for Your Site.

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How to find backlinks using Google

Doing the following will show you pages that link to your site, minus the links on pages on your own site. (You'll also see sites that just mention your site but don't actually link to it.)

Type the following command into the Google search box:

example.com -site:www.example.com -site:example.com

(Remember to type in your actual site, not "example.com".)

BEWARE: A Google backlink check teases us. It does NOT show all the backlinks that Google knows about.

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Finding Information on large websites without a search box

When you go to a website and are looking for something, there is a way to find what you need quickly if it doesn't have it's own search box instead of digging through dozens of menus and links.

Most search engines have a cool little feature that allows you to do a search and restrict it to just one website. Just go to your favorite search engine and type in the search terms, then follow it up with "site:www.sitename.com" (where "sitename" is the name of the site).

For example, say you want to find information on "animal communication" on the Unviersal Healing Network's website. Go to a search engine, like Google, type "animal communication www.universalhealingnetwork.com".

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Saving Images in Different Formats

If you have an image in a TIFF format and want to save it as a JPEG, or maybe you have a BMP and you want to turn it into a GIF, the process is usually very easy.

First, open the original image in your favourite imaging program. Now click on the File Menu, Save As. Most programs will have a drop box full of various formats you can save your file as. Simply pick the one you want - with one exception - GIFs.

GIF files are not the best format for saving actual photographs, but it works great for images like screen shots and drawings. In some programs, you can just directly save as a GIF, in others, you'll need to choose to Export, As GIF. Still others want you to "Save for web" (Photoshop CS, for instance). Regardless, you'll find that many programs just don't have GIF as an option to "Save As", so you may need to hunt around for it a bit (still should be under the File menu).

If your program is really picky, you may even need to convert the image mode to "Index Color" before you can save it. There's usually an option for "Mode" or "Image Mode" under an Image or Edit menu.

Now, if you’re going from a GIF to another format, you may be faced with the reverse problem - you can't directly save the GIF as a JPEG for instance. In this case, going to that Image Mode menu is your solution. Just change from Index Color to RGB and you'll be all set.

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Registering RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Documents

You can create a RSS feed in order to syndicate blog content and gain additional exposure. If you want other websites to publish articles in your blog, create an RSS document and register the document with an RSS publisher. A user that can read RSS-distributed content can use the content on a different site.

Syndicated content includes such data as news feeds, events listings, news stories, headlines, project updates, and excerpts from discussion forums or even corporate information.

For more information about the features and benefits of RSS feeds and a brief technical overview, see: www.mnot.net/rss/tutorial/.

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Formatting Email Marketing Messages

When composing an email marketing message, beware. What you see on your screen may not be what the recipient will see on his or her screen. Factors that can cause problems are word wrap, font, automated formatting and HTML tags.

1. Word wrap
Wrap your own lines at some reasonable length, perhaps 60 or 65 characters. Place a hard return at the end of each line.

2. Font
There are 2 types of fonts: proportional and fixed-pitch. With a fixed-pitch font, such as Courier, every character has the same width. With a proportional font, such as Times New Roman, the width of characters can vary. So a sentence typed in Courier will usually come out longer than one typed in Times New Roman. Generally, you're safest if you compose in a fixed font. When creating tables or other graphics, stick to simple designs that will render properly in any font

3. Automated formatting and HTML tags
A message composed in a word processing program will contain numerous hidden formatting codes, which can show up in odd ways if you merely paste the message into an email window and send it. For example, you can end up with an annoying "=20" at the end of each line. Likewise, if you try to send out your message in HTML, many recipients will see all the HTML tags (if their email options are set to receive text emails only), making the message hard to read.

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Choosing Fonts

Choosing the right typeface for your website copy is important, since it will affect the way your readers perceive your website (serious and formal, or friendly and casual). Aside from this, there are also important usability (readable, availability) concerns.

Types of fonts:

Serif - have fine cross-lines at the extremities of the letter
Sans serif - don't have serifs

You want to choose font types that:

1. Fit the character of your site
2. Are easy to read on a computer screen
3. Are widely available across many browsers and operating Systems

You can use the more fancier or different fonts for your company name, page title and headings but they will actually be images, not text. For the content of your site, choose from the most common ones:

Arial (Helvetica for Mac users)

Availability: Widely available
Readability On Screen: Not bad but not at small sizes
Character: Streamlined, modern look but plain,boring

Times New Roman (Times for Mac users)

Availability: Widely available
Readability On Screen: Acceptable for font sizes of 12pt
Character: Serious, formal,old fashioned

Verdana

Availability: Widely available
Readability On Screen: Best sans serif font even at small sizes
Character: Modern, friendly,professional

Georgia

Avaliability: Good
Readibility On Screen: Very good, the best serif font for on-line reading
Character: Modern, friendly and professional.

Comic Sans Serif

Avaliability: Good
Readibility On Screen: Very good
Character: Modern, friendly, not appropriate for professional or serious sites

Trebuchet

Avaliability: Good
Readibility On Screen: Good, but difficult to read in small sizes
Character: Modern, friendly, professional

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Creating PDF Documents

PDF (Portable Document Format) was initially created by Adobe and is the standard for online documents, as they can be viewed on a variety of platforms and computers. PDF creation software is available from many companies not just Adobe. If you need to create the odd pdf document, below are a few free options.

1) Adobe:
Look in the left hand column for the button that says "create PDF online." You can create up to five documents free; after that you'll need to pay $9.99 a month or $99.00 per year for unlimited usage.

2) Create Your Own PDF:
Just paste your text into the box and hit the button. Presto, you're done.

3) GoBlc:
Free online conversion service that allows you to upload any document. They do the PDF conversion and email you back with the file.

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Don't force users to register until it is absolutely necessary

On shopping sites: let users purchase without registering.
On content sites: show some content first.
On service sites: give them a sample before making them register.

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Tips on Search Boxes- Don't Hide It!

  • If your site has search, put a search box on every page and in a consistent an easy to find location across your site.
  • Try to include a search box in the page itself, instead of just a text link that takes to a search page.
  • The search box shape is easily recognizable and users will find it much faster than a text link.
  • If the search is limited, let the user know.
  • Don't put two search boxes on a page, even if they search different areas of your site.
  • If you don't want to use a search box in all your pages, use a search box in your homepage and a link to the search page from your interior pages.
  • Try to make the search box wide enough (between 20 and 25 characters) to accommodate longer queries.

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What Should You Do If Someone Already Owns the Domain Name You Want?

  1. Buy the name from them
    A lot depends on why someone registered the name that you want. Speculators, sometimes reserve domain names in order to sell them to the highest bidder. Firms may buy domain names simply because they want to establish legitimate Web sites or online businesses. If someone is using a domain name and doesn't want to sell it, you may have no choice but to choose another name.

  2. Settle on a different name

  3. Court Ruling
    Sometimes courts have ruled that trademark holders can claim certain domain names, regardless of whether someone else bought the name first. If ABC Industries comes across another business that owns abcindustries.com, for example, it might take action to seize control of the name. You may or may not be able to claim a domain name in this manner, depending on the type of name and how the current owner is using it.

If you can't register a coveted .com domain name, look into registering your name with a .net or .org extension, or even register it with a two-letter national extension. For example, you can register a domain with Canada's .ca extension. Keep in mind that there are certain Canadian presence requirements in order to use the .ca extension. For more information, see the Canadian Internet Registration Authority Web site.

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