In recent years, the option of Do It Yourself web design services have become more prevalent. Companies like moonfruit, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and many others have bombarded the market, offering the opportunity for businesses to create their own websites, using their easy to use software, in a short amount of time, for little cost or even no cost at all. Many of these services have spent a lot of money on marketing their services, so you may already be familiar with at least a few of these services. You may already be thinking to yourself, "I need a website for my business, but my budget is limited. Cheap, fast and easy seems like the perfect option for me. And the ads I saw sure made it look like something I could do."
A DIY website builder may be a great solution for you, but in my opinion, in almost all cases, a DIY site is not the best solution for most businesses. Fast cheap and easy enough to do it yourself are great selling points, but when considering a DIY site over hiring a professional designer, there are some important things to consider.
Joomla is a powerful and popular Open Source Content Management System that powers thousands of sites on the world wide web. You yourself may be one of the thousands who chose to power your website with Joomla!. If you are, you may also be using the 1.5 version of Joomla!. In writing this article, I hope to provide the information required for you to make an informed decision as to whether you should upgrade from 1.5 to the newest version (as of the time of this writing), Joomla! 3.3.
Joomla! 1.5 was first introduced January 22 2008. Since that time it went through 26 different builds. The last build, Joomla! 1.5.26 was released March 27 2012. Since that last release, Joomla has gone through 7 different versions. As of October 01 2014, the latest stable build of Joomla! 3.3 (the time of this writing) is Joomla! 3.3.6.
Sites built using Joomla 1.5 are for the most part working perfectly well and will probably still work as they have for a number of years, but as more time goes by, and newer web technologies and standards are being implemented by browsers, it will become more probable that newer browsers will not be able to display Joomla! 1.5 sites as they were originally intended. within 4 to five years I suspect no Joomla! 1.5 site will be viewable in modern browsers for this reason and the latest extensions available for newer versions of Joomla! Will not be available for version 1.5.
At some point in the future you will need to plan on upgrading to a newer version of Joomla! before it is too late. As I said that probably gives you at least 2 years or more, but there are good reasons to consider upgrading to the newest version sooner rather than later:
By Bonnie Chomica, Marketing Done Write
Write like you're having a conversation with your reader and you'll draw them into your message. Use the words 'you' and 'yours' to make your marketing material more personal, and friendly.
Focus on the reader, that one person who is looking at your poster, your website, even your trade show booth.
Use the words you and your and make your products or services more appealing and personal to the reader. They will feel more involved, connected.
This article is, out of necessity, fairly technical, and may be difficult for those who have no familiarity with HTML The source code used to tell browsers how to present web content) to follow. If you fall into the category of being unfamiliar with HTML, don't worry if you do not understand everything in this article. I have attempted to write as basically as possible and include examples where they seemed to be required, in an effort to at least give the layman a basic understanding of the importance of various HTML elements. Even if, as a layman, you are not able to access or edit these elements, having some understanding of their existence and their importance to search engine optimization will give you the ability to communicate effectively with a web professional, who will be able to access and edit those elements for you. It is like car repair. I don't know enough about mechanics or have the experience to do most car repairs, but I can learn enough about mechanics to know what needs to be repaired and communicate effectively with a mechanic. Yes this article contains technical information you may never personally use in a practical way, but just knowing that information will allow you to better optimize your site, even if it is by hiring a pro to do what you now know is required, but are unable to do yourself.
Good structure of the markup code used in a website is very important for insuring good organic search engine optimization, and it is an aspect often overlooked, particularly by DIYers using WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Build It Yourself Drag 'n Drop Web Software that creates a separation between the person designing the site and the source code being generated. Without being able to see the source code and without having experience or knowledge in HTML coding and search engines, it is not immediately obvious to someone when their source code is potentially making it hard for search engines to index their pages properly, and ultimately less likely for users to find their site using search engines.
Written by Bonnie Chomica
Do you like receiving email spam? Of course, not. Then make sure you are not sending spam. The new Canadian Anti Spam Legislation is being approved in July of this year, and you'll want to make sure you comply with the rules, to avoid hefty million dollar fines. I've compiled a list of the basic things you need to know and things you can do right away. Here goes.
The Canadian Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) has been created to regulate certain activities:
For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to focus on emails and their implications. In the legislation, they are referred to as commercial electronic messages, or C.E.M.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
noun: search engine optimization; plural noun: search engine optimizations
1. the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
If you are a business owner with a business website, this article and future articles in the series are ones that you SHOULD read. You may not feel interested in the topic, and you may feel that you are comfortable leaving the technicalities of SEO to your web designer or marketing specialist, but the truth is that if you want to make the most of your business site, you need to be interested, and take an active role in the optimization of your site. You certainly do not need to master all of the technical details, but you should at least have a firm grasp of the basics of SEO. That is the aim of this series. It is not to provide an in depth technical understanding on every aspect, but to provide basic information on the aspects you should understand, which will provide a general understanding.
Unless you shield yourself carefully from any interactions with or about the internet (and the fact that you are reading this internet blog article suggest you are not shielding yourself) you have probably heard of the Heartbleed web security bug. And if you are like most people, you understand that the Heartbleed bug presents a a very real threat to web security, but you are just not very sure about who is actually at risk or what can be done to protect yourself.
Hopefully this article will allow you to better understand what Heartbleed is, who is at risk, and what steps you can take to prevent your security from being compromised.
by Bonnie Chomica
I’m really excited about 2013 as Content Marketing continues to be on the rise. The need to provide quality content to people seeking help and solutions should be every business’s marketing focus.
The old school of trying to rank with keywords and meta tags is clearly going the way of the dodo bird, or Google Pandas and Penguins. Tell stories about how people can get results, and stop just pushing your products.
People are tired of sales pitches. It’s spammy.
Think of things to write that your audience can relate to. Here are 7 things you can think about every day to find cool readable and useful material for your readers.
By Richmond Lauman
Welcome to 2014! To start the year off I have decided to try my hand at prediction. Not the kind that the crystal ball might suggest (I just thought the image looked cool), but rather prediction in the more scientific sense. I am going to try and determine, as accurately as I can, some web design trends for 2014, based on what I have observed through 2013 and popular buzz in the industry. Call it educated guesstimates!
The release of the new Apple iOS7 operating system with its no nonsense flat design seems to have sparked a new design trend where flat design is being used for web design elements and user interfaces in lieu of elements designed using drop shadows, beveling and other adornments that add a 3 dimensional look to web sites. I don't think that this is a trend that all site owners need to follow, but Apple and a growing number of designers are showing us that a site can be beautifully designed without 3 dimensional aspects.
by Richmond Lauman
I have sent similar messages to clients by email in past years, and this year I am posting the warning on my site blog as well. Hopefully the message will be spread to a wider audience and people who did not register their domain name through the Domain Registry of Canada will have a little more opportunity of being informed before they receive the official looking brown envelope in the mail.
By Richmond Lauman
Most of us are familiar with the online scam where a a pop up window appears on your screen telling you that your computer was found to contain a dangerous virus, trojan, malware, etc. The warning looks like it might be legitimate and part of your own system. It tells you that you will need a specific malware removal program or registry cleaning program and will provide a link for you to click. If you click the link you are taken to some web page where you can download and install the program... for a price with your credit card. After installing the program and running it, you soon discover that your system is no longer running worse, you cannot run the antivirus or malware protection programs properly, when you browse the web you are directed to pages you know you did not want to go to and you cannot access any known legitimate online scanning sites. In short, it seems that the program you downloaded and installed was itself malware and not a program for removing it as you were led to believe. Then when you try to contact support for the company that processed your credit card payment, you get stonewalled and run around until you realize, "I have been had! No help or compensation will be coming from this company!".
By Richmond Lauman
No, this article is not an attempt to encourage anyone to become an activist for one cause or another. It is about a different kind of call to action that you may or may not be familiar with and it relates to websites.
Specifically it relates to organizing your site and writing web copy in such a way that it encourages users on your site to take specific actions and makes it as easy as possible for those actions to be taken.
A website can serve a number of functions and when designing and writing copy for your site, it is important to consider what purpose your site will serve. Aside from just informing viewers about product or services and giving contact information, a well thought out site will have specific goals in mind, with design, organization and copy being carefully constructed in order to achieve those goals. The final step that all of these elements lead to is a call to action, where the user finally takes the action which accomplishes your goal. The success of your website can be measured by how often traffic to your site results in that final step being taken.
Written by Bonnie Chomica
At the Coombs Country Fair this weekend, I revisited my childhood memories of the 4H club I had belonged to in Manitoba. I recalled that it was my first foray into personal development, but of course at 10 years old, I didn’t know it at the time.
The 4H Club is a youth group that gives you valuable life skills and experiences based on your interests whether it’s photography, drama, healthy living, or caring for livestock.
Their motto goes like this:
In 4-H, we pledge our Head, Heart, Hands and Health to our club, community and our country. Best of all, we do it by having fun!
Instead of just focusing on selling a product, doesn’t that sound like a mission statement for your business? Give of yourself to contribute to society as a whole, not just to make a buck. And if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?
Through the eyes of exuberant youth, here are some business lessons I learned and some very special people I met at the Fair.
By Richmond Lauman
With the popularity of mobile devices like smart phones and pads, and with these devices being introduced with increasingly better display quality and usability, it is not surprising that more and more internet browsing is being done from mobile devices. According to an article in computer.com from March of 2013, usage share of mobile browsers jumped 26% in three months! These usage statistics are expected to continue to increase as mobile devices continue to improve and more people find it increasingly convenient to use their mobile devices for web browsing.
What does this mean for businesses with websites?
In the past, businesses had only to concern themselves with how their site appeared on standard laptop and computer displays using different browsers. If a business did want to provide an optimum experience for mobile browsers, it was often accomplished by creating a separate site or application specifically for mobile devices and it was not efficient or convenient to attempt an optimum browsing experience for all devices available with varying displays and browsers. This was especially true considering that mobile browser users were not a significant portion of users on the web.
But that is changing. No longer can mobile browser users be considered statistically insignificant. The trends are clear. Their numbers are increasing, and if a website is not offering an optimal viewing experience for as many mobile devices as possible, it is alienating a steadily growing percentage of the market. It will not be long before a very significant number of mobile users will expect websites to offer them an optimal experience. Businesses who are not updating their sites with this in mind are going to be at a disadvantage to businesses that are catering to the mobile browsing market.