Start Managing Your Website Easily With A Content Management System

Start Managing Your Website Easily With A Content Management System

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Weekly
Source: Flickr


One main advantage of using CMS is one will be able to manage the contents of ones websites without having to deal with complicated technical tasks.
Imagine that you are a very talented writer but you can’t show your writings online just because you don’t have any idea how to write webpages thatconsist of HTML tags.

With CMS, a writer only needs to type her works in an editor as if she does it with a word processor. Then the CMS itself that will show her works online. It is a great time saver for a webmaster to create and maintain her website. The installation process is also very easy since many web hosting services have offered special features such as Fantastico where a user can install a CMS with just a few clicks of mouse. The process is done automatically.

Basically, a web content management system consists of two main parts, a front-end and a back-end. The back-end is a section where you can do many administrative tasks such as inserting and editing articles, giving privileges to some people, managing the look and feel of your website, and so on. The front-end refers to what visitors see. It is the face of your website.

In choosing a CMS, you should know what is the main purpose of using it. There are CMSs which are intended to build portals. Other systems are mainly used to build photo gallery, forum, personal or even corporate websites. Then you need to know what kind of features they have. For example, Drupal, an open source CMS, provides a feature where you can gather fresh contents from other sites by adding the sites’ feeds. You can even filter any items so that you only show the items that contain a specific keyword.

Usually, a CMS also offers additional modules that will enable you to use additional features without having to put your efforts in programming. Just download the module you need and install it in your hosting server.

Don’t forget also to know your own desires and abillities in modifying a CMS. For instance, Mambo should be sufficient for you who don’t want to deal with some PHP coding. Mambo has already provided many modules to accomplish specific tasks. It also offers ready-to-use templates you can choose. On the other hand Typo3 is the right choice for people who need a very robust and flexible system.

It is necessary to know that there are so many commercial and free content management system available. Vignette and FatWire are the example of two commercial systems while PostNuke, Drupal and Mambo.are free to use.

And, of course there are other things you should consider for finding the right CMS. So please do a good and thorough analysis before deciding which system to use. Choosing the right Content Management System from the beginning is very important. Make sure it would best fit your needs.

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Search Engine Friendly Web Design Advice

Search Engine Friendly Web Design Advice

Online marketers understand the importance of getting top search engine rankings in major search engines. Therefore, they spend many time in optimizing website content, seeking inbound links, and optimizing title and Meta Tags. However, many of them ignore the fact that web design structure has a role in search engine optimization (SEO). Sometimes, you cannot just rely on web designers because they could be good at web design but not good at SEO.
This article reveals several important web design elements you must consider:
1. CSS Stylesheet
It is good to use CSS stylesheet to format your web design because it can standardize the appearance of your website. For the sake of convenience, some web designers use internal CSS. It is no good! You should use external CSS stylesheet so that your HTML coding becomes consise. It is an essential SEO practice.
2. Content Management Software (CMS)
If you use CMS to manage your website, make sure your CMS provides these features:
a. Allows you to define different templates for different sections/pages. It gives you flexibility in optimizing website content.
b.
Allows you to define Title and Meta tags for different web pages. Again, it gives you flexibility in optimizing every web page.
c. Allows you to generate static HTML pages instead of dynamic pages. Search engines are not good at reading dynamic web page. Accoding to Google webmaster guideline, Google may not index dynamic URL with more than 2 parameters within the URL.
If your web pages cannot get indexed, you definitely get no rankings no matter how many SEO effort you make.
3. HTML Code Compliance
As a good web design practice, make sure your HTML coding is compliant to some well recognized HTML standards such as W3C standard. Some search engine optimizers reported that non-compliant web design could cause difficulties for search engines
to index and analyze your website. It hinders your website to get top search engine ranking.
4. Use of Graphics
You must optimize the file size of your images. As search engines like to read text, you should consider avoiding the use of graphics near top of your website, whenever it is possible.
5. Multiple-level Navigation Menu
Many websites use multiple-level navigation menu in Javascript. However, the coding usually leaves in the HTML body. This is no good in terms of SEO. I recommend seperate Javascrpt from HTML coding by using external Javascript file.
6. Bad Web Design
To make your web design search engine friendly, you must consider avoiding:
a. Use of frame. Search engines have difficulties to index all your frameset. Even though they can index some frame pages, users would only access to part of your webpages only in case they can find your website from search engines, e.g., only see a left-hand side navigation menu with a blank page on the right-hand side.
b. Re-direct techniques. For some reasons, web designers may make some re-direct pages or adopt Javascript re-direct techniques and re-direct visitors from one page to another content pages. Since search engine spammers usually use this technique, search engines could penalize your website.
7. Flash
Web designers may sell you to build a flash website or make a flash intro page as your home page. Their point is that flash makes your website more appealing and it would improve effectiveness of your website. However, it is not always the case.
Visitors want to find information fast. Flash sometimes could make your website slow and require visitors to install plugins before they can see your website. In terms of SEO, simply speaking, search engines treat flash as a graphic and cannot analyze content inside a flash file. The implication means a flash website is hard to get top search engine ranking.
Conclusion:
For small business to succeed online, you must strike a balance between SEO and fancy web design. A too fancy web design, in many cases, cannot give you any business as no one can find your website from search engines and if it annoys your visitors.

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Sydney Website Design and Search Engine Optimisation SEO Australia

Sydney Website Design and Search Engine Optimisation SEO Australia


The website design should be consistent with the content offered by the
site and should be able to please the target population looking for
such content.
Web site design, should be such that it renders the site
almost maintainance free, by using a Content Management System CMS.

A website should also be user-friendly, with the most basic
navigational concepts instilled and an interface that keeps bringing its users
back for more. Thus web design plays a very heavy hand in retaining the
web traffic. SEO and search engines will ensure that it is found. It
should be eye pleasing and should be consistent throughout the web site.

The whole idea of web design, caters around the presentation of the
content posted on the web page, this should be kept in mind during the
design phases, so that the content is stark and completely readable
without any hindrances. Web design definitely affects the online business and
visitor retention a lot, no body wants to visit a website again which
is poorly design and not worth visiting.

Web designing forms an important part in the process of web promoting
or web hosting as well. Be it be any part of the world, web designing
has to follow certain codes of principles and the elements have to be
there. The elements are the most important parts of the design as they are
considered to be the building blocks. The more powerful web pages can
be produced from these elements as they are what your pages are. Let’s
now see what some of the important elements are shape, texture, color,
lines and line works. Special care must be taken in planning and
organizing the elements.
Search engine optimization requires a lot of hard work and dedication;
if you are a technical person with good information technology skills
you will find it easier to learn the techniques.

Well the Search engine optimisation was developed to increase traffic
generated by a website. The Sites are built to be viewed by people
surfing the internet and search engines are crucial in helping webmasters
achieve this goal, so their power should be taken very seriously.

Search engine optimisation can be performed on virtually any websites
and is one of the most powerful ways of advertising for any business
wanting to secure a stable online presence.

Search engine optimisation requires many hours of research before the
process actually begins. SEO tools are a great time saver, often
offering information and data in seconds as opposed to hours of manually
checking for specific SEO related information.
Search engine optimization website marketing provides continual growth
in websites visitors without the need for a regular increase in budget.

Let’s now talk about the web 2.0 technology. Web 2.0 design means
unprecedented on-line visitor participation, interest, and buy-in. In
layman’s language it can be called perceived second generation of the
internet, where all the online communities and social networking websites play
a very important role. In other words we can also see it as the
maturing of the web from its raw technology format into more of a
sophisticated user friendly medium. It also tends to take on the new aesthetics
driven largely by the CSS implementation in the sites as well as maturing
of the content and copy presentation.
Remember, if it makes sense to you it makes sense to them. We can see
very often how people drift away by creating a web site that targets
search engines and not actual visitors. Having a search engine friendly
web site will aid in your optimization efforts without a doubt. So you
should always make sure and Take care of your housekeeping before
inviting people over and you’ll have a site that attracts everyone.

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Free Tools For Your Website

Free Tools For Your Website


It does not have to be expensive to get started with Internet marketing.
There are so many free tools available, including HTML editors, graphics programs, and competition analysis.

Free Blogging Program

Blogs have become very popular, and the most popular blogging platform is WordPress. WordPress is a powerful blogging program that is also a content management system (CMS).

A content management system manages the content on your site. Why is this important? It makes it simple for anyone to set up a site, add content to it, and not worry about it any further. The program manages the content for you, setting it up in archives, categories, and so forth.

There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of free plugins available to make WordPress incredibly powerful and easy to use. One of the best places to find free WordPress plugins is at wp-plugins.net.

There are also thousands of free WordPress templates available. Many of them can be found at the WordPress.org site under Themes. There are themes that are 2 columns, 3 columns, that accept widgets (which make it very easy to modify the sidebars), and themes of every color and design.

Free HTML Editors

The two most popular free HTML editors are NVUdev.com and Notetab Lite (available at Notetab.com). NVU is comparable to Dreamweaver. It might not be as powerful as Dreamweaver, but provides enough power for most of us who just want to create some basic Web sites.

Whether you use NVU, Dreamweaver, or Frontpage, having Notetab Lite on your computer is highly recommended. Many people use it for editing existing HTML files. It is quick and easy, and it is freeware.

Free Graphics Program

Probably the most powerful free graphics program is GIMP. With GIMP you can edit photos and other graphics. Most people will find that GIMP has all the tools they need.

GIMP supports the most popular file formats: GIF, TIFF, PNG, PSD, and JPEG. It works with Windows XP and Vista, Mac, Linus, and Sun. You can check it out at GIMP.org.

Tutorials for HTML, WordPress, NVU, and GIMP

All of these programs have tutorials available. There is also a Dummies book for WordPress if you find it easier to gather information in book format.

Some tutorials can be found at the sites listed above, or you can do a search for “nvu tutorial,” “gimp tutorial,” or “wordpress tutorial.” A popular HTML tutorial can be found at BoogieJack.com. One of the great things about the Web is all of the free tutorials available.

Get Started Today

With these powerful free tools available there is no reason not to get started online today creating Web sites. If you are completely new, try setting up a WordPress blog first. It is easy, it is free, and it is a great way to get started.

The only expense you should have is getting a hosting account and getting a domain name. Both are fairly simple and inexpensive to do. Domain names usually can be had for around $10 and hosting can be bought at places like Go Daddy or Host Gator for about $15 per month or cheaper.

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How to Install and Configure Drupal CMS

How to Install and Configure Drupal CMS

Drupal is a feature rich Content Management System (CMS) which allows webmasters to run dynamic website without PHP knowledge. Publishers can add website content through admin interface. Thanks many modules it is possible to install a lot of additional features like spell check, displaying banners or AdSense ads, chat, mailing list, e-commerce modules etc. Drupal CMS was written in PHP and can be downloaded free of charge. In this article I will explain how to install this script and describe the configuration basics.

Web hosting requirements for Drupal CMS

Before you start the installation process, ensure that your web host offers PHP support, cron jobs and MySQL database. Drupal requires PHP version 4.3.3 or higher (Drupal 4.5 and earlier versions will not run on PHP 5), PHP XML extension and MySQL v3.23.17 or higher. If you are not sure which version of PHP and MySQL your web hosting provider currently uses, contact their help desk and ask them first.

How to install Drupal CMS

First download the latest Drupal release from developers website. Use software such as WinZip or Total Commander to extract downloaded archive to your hard disk. Edit the file called settings.php located in sites/default folder. Set up your website url and basic MySQL database variables like username, password and database server. Use any ftp program to upload extracted files to your web host. In case you have never set up MySQL database, login to the web hosting control panel and create a new one. Now login to your phpMyAdmin and create MySQL tables using the database.mysql file located in “database” folder. Now open your browser and point it to your website. Create a new account — the first account you will create will automatically become the admin account with full admin rights.

Another and easier solution how to install this PHP script is to sign up for a quality web hosting service which offers pre-installed PHP scripts. Then easily go to your control panel, find the section with pre-installed scripts and select Drupal. The installer will do all the job for you. All you need to do is to choose the script you want to install.

How to configure Drupal CMS

The script was successfully installed and now is the time to do some additional settings. Optionally, you can create in your Drupal installation directory folder where will be stored files such as custom logos and user avatars. Create this subdirectory and set up “read and write” permission. Many Drupal modules have periodic tasks. From this reason you will need to setup cron jobs. Call the cron page by visiting cron.php file in your root directory.

Now browse the admin control panel. Consider to enable some new modules and edit menus. Open “theme manager” to change the theme. Set up welcome message for your users. Modify meta tags for higher search engine placement. Check settings and make sure that everything fits your needs. And if you will need to help with some specific problem visit support forum where you will find thousands of interesting threads. Good luck!

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Best Blogging Software

Best Blogging Software

The blogging platform wars are getting really interesting and much of the discussion I find myself in lately revolves around what is happening with various CMS systems. The market can essentially be defined into 3 major camps: remotely hosted, self hosted, and community based systems. I have used pretty much every blogging platform available and each of them has its ups and downs. In this article I will cover the best options for each area taking into account price, usability, market share and of course SEO potential.
All of these products are either open source, completely free or have a functional free version.
Remotely Hosted Blogging Software
(Note: I cannot really recommend any of these from an SEO stand point as optimizing a domain you do not own or control is obviously not a good marketing plan. )
Blogger
Blogger is completely free and currently owns the majority of the remotely hosted user base, but not by a land slide . Bought out by Google in 1999, Blogger essentially fired up the blogging trend we see today. It is by far the easiest overall solution to use and if you are a novice user looking to throw up some recipes or poetry, this is for you. Blogger is completely free and includes some great features like comments, photo blogging, and a basic community feel with user profiles. Because it is so dumbed down there are some features you may not find with Blogger that are only available through 3rd party add-ons. As a side note Blogger weblogs do quite well in the search engines and this was recently exploited with it being the first choice for spam blogs or splogs. A splog is a weblog used for the sole purpose of gaining inbound links or generating thousands of keyword stuffed pages with Adsense and the like. The recent Google Jagger update cleared a large portion of this up. Free.
Typepad
Released in 2003 Typepad is a product of Sixapart, the makers of Movable Type. it is largely based on MT but there are some major enhancements and differences. Your blog can accomodate one or more photo albums with auto thumbnail generation. You can easily add music, books, and other media to Typelists, which grab a thumbnail from Amazon and other retailers for easily displaying in your sidebar. Typepad is also a great deal more technical than Blogger so a bit of HTML know how is recommended. On that note editing your blog to look the way you want it also quite easy and Typepad blogs are known for being very eye pleasing, intuitive and easy to navigate. In Sixapart’s business model Typepad is aimed at regular home and small business users while Movable Type is targeted at larger businesses or for internal intranets. Price: Basic, $4.95 a month; premium, $8.95 to $14.95 a month.
Xanga
These guys originated back in 1999 as a site for sharing book, music and movie reviews. Although it quickly morphed into a full blown blogging tool Xanga still maintains the ability to run a powerful review site. Xanga pulls data from several retailers like Amazon.com including thumbnails, pricing and a cover. The software also is very usable by novices with a powerful WYSIWYG editor allowing for easy HTML editing, adding smilies, links, and other symbols. By using Blog rings it is also easy to interface with Xanga’s other 3 million users to share interests, ideas, and of course traffic. Xanga comes in a free and $25 flavor.
Mentions: Blogsome, Blogster, MindSay, Multiply,
Self Hosted Blogging Software
WordPress
WordPress originally began as a mod of an older open source package known as B2. WP is MT’s biggest competition and is often the bain of endless WordPress vs Movabletype style threads around the internet. Although launched just over a year or so ago WP has really taken the blogosphere by storm. And with good reason – WordPress is completely free under GNU licensing and is packed with many featured you will not find anywhere else. It is also much easier to install and get blogging for novice users and has a very large and helpful community. WP runs on PHP/mySQL and is quite scalable judging from some of the very large and trafficked sites I see using it. It also sports utilities to import files from Movable Type, Textpattern, Greymatter, Blogger, and b2. WordPress recently upped the ante when Yahoo recently included them on their hosting packages, in addition to MT. I have to admit I am finding myself more and more digging WP and will likely convert Profitpapers to WP as I get time (it can be a biznitch). WordPress is free.
Movable Type
Aside from maybe Greymatter (the original open source blogging tool), Movabletype dominated the blogging market share in 2002-2004. Released in late 2001, Perl based Movable Type by Sixapart has maintained a large portion of the blogging market share, due mainly to the fact that there is a free version (supporting up to 3 weblogs) and that it is incredibly powerful, intuitive and easy to customize. Template driven Movable Type also sports one of the largest communities of developers and blogging enthusiasts around, meaning lots of support, idea sharing, and of course plugins. Movable Type can be configured to dynamically generate HTML, PHP or any other kind of pages you like, meaning it is incredibly scalable, fast, and loved by spiders. It is perhaps the most well known blogging software for SEO purposes and it what currently powers Profitpapers and several of my other projects. Moveabletype is either Free with 3 authors, 1 weblog, and no support or $69.95 with unlimited weblogs, authors and full support.
Textpattern
Textpattern is the brainchild of Dean Allen and was written to ease publishing of content for those not inclined to learn HTML. Like WP and MT Textpattern runs on PHP and mySQL for easy administration, backups, and power. What really sets textpattern apart from the others is the integration of Textile. Textile is a tool for easily formatting content for those who do not know HTML. WP & MT have modules for textile as well but it is native to the Textpattern system. Another bonus of the app is its superior handling of comment spam due to its smaller market share. On a blogs I maintain running WP and MT I often find myself clearing out spam every day, whereas on some very busy textpattern sites I receive only manual comment spam (not bot driven). TP is open source.
Mentions: Blosxom, LifeType, Serendipity.
Community based Blogging Software
Slash
Waaaaay back in 1997, Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda launched a website known as Chips & Dips, supplied via his student account at Hope College in Michigan. In 1999 Andover.net acquired Slashdot. Shortly after, the underlying code was released as open source software called Slash. Like Movable Type and Greymatter, Slash runs on Perl, but it also has established hooks into MySQL and a very strong track record of scaling to enormous traffic levels. To give you an idea, the term ‘slashdotted’ originated from acquiring a link on this now infamous and very popular tech news website – and consequently watching your servers melt. If you have never messed around with Slash, you really should as it is quite a powerful platform. Slash is open source.
Scoop
Another well known Perl based community blogging software is Scoop. Scoop is the software that powers Kuro5shin, DailyKos and many other busy community weblogs. Scoop took the Slashdot idea and expanded on it, making the discussion rather than the news the focus of the application. Where Slashdot entries tend to have a link with added commentary pointing readers off the site, Scoop points to stories written by members of the community keeping the reader within your own weblog. Scoop is also well known for handling large volumes of traffic and a large very technical community. Scoop is free .
Drupal
Drupal is a well known open source community blogging platform with a very large community of users and developers. Not only is Drupal free but it is damn powerful. Instead of Perl, which is quite hard to decode at times, even if you are a fluent coder, Drupal uses a PHP/mySQL platform. Drupal is also a very community focused application with a built in forum, download area, and hundreds of other home brewed mods and hacks. If you are looking for a lot of functionality give Drupal a check – the project has become quite mature. It is also much easier to use and customize than either Scoop or Slash. Drupal is also another open source project.
Mentions: LiveJournal, PHP Nuke.

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eCommerce – A Plan

eCommerce – A Plan


Source: Flickr


Planning an ecommerce website is like building a house – architecture and budget need to be agreed before the decoration.

AN AGREED REQUIREMENTS SPECIFICATION MUST BE DRAWN UP AS THE FIRST STAGE BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE IS DONE – ANY OTHER APPROACH WILL ONLY LEAD TO CONFUSION AND WORSE.

Once an AGREED REQUIREMENTS SPECIFICATION has been agreed then solutions need to be evaluated and costed against that specification are:

– Project management
– Hardware
Web design and software
– Site marketing
– Project management:

All aspects of the project need to be managed. Decide who is going to do it and properly plan the requirements, activities, outcomes, milestones and timings.

Hardware:

Your choices here are a managed service or your own server. The security and disaster recovery aspect that is achieved by hosting with a major provider is very important. Only go with your own server if you have the experience and facilities.

Design and Software:

Site design

Develop site templates and test them with real people. They have to be easy to use and navigate. Don’t let “design” drive the site; let ease of use and sales drive the “design”. Think how the customer thinks.

Software

At least 5 solutions need to be considered.

– Updating
– Shopping cart
– Forum
– Email
– Statistics

Updating

There are 2 realistic routes here. Either an online or an offline, PC based content management system (CMS). The online CMS can be either an Open Source CMS (Open Source means any application that has been made available, generally free, to developers to view and modify freely. Examples of Open Source applications are MySQL and PHP) or commercial.

There are pros and cons to both routes. An online system is available to anyone with relevant security clearance anywhere any time. A PC based system is, obviously, limited to the PCs running the licenses. An example of a PC based system is Macromedia Contribute which integrates with Dreamweaver. There are a whole range of online Commercial and Open Source options such as SuiteWise™, Drupal, Joomla, and Website Baker etc. However, even this is complicated by the fact that some of the shopping cart solutions also contain CMS that may be sufficient for many companies’ requirements.

Shopping cart and CRM

There are also 2 realistic routes for the shopping cart – Open Source or commercial.

There are excellent Open Source shopping carts such as OSCommerce and Zen, but also excellent commercial solutions such as Actinic and Customer Focus Quick Order Portal (which comes with a complete CMS).

There are other factors to consider with the shopping cart:

– Does it have its own or does it easily integrate with your exiting stock control systems?

– Does it integrate easily with accounting systems (e.g. Sage, QuickBooks)?

– Does it have or integrate easily with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that may be proposed in future?

Forum

Many CMS have good integrated forums but if they do not our recommendation would be to use a good Open Source package such as PunBB or phpBB. They are free, robust and easy to integrate and customise into any site.

Email

Most CMS, shopping carts and forums have email solutions. However, some solutions are very basic. If the chosen shopping cart solution that best meets the ecommerce and other requirements does not have an effective integrated email solution and if the same be true of the CMS and forum solutions then stand alone Open Source applications such as PHPlist are one alternative solution and the other is an online solution such as Constant Contact or many others.

Statistics

This is arguably the most important part of the package. If you do not know how visitors to your website and in the shop are behaving, what turns them on and what turns them off then it is far, far harder to improve sales and site profitability. Commercial applications such as WebTrends and ClickTracks need to be evaluated for best fit.

SITE MARKETING

There are 4 major areas to consider here.

– Offline marketing – e.g. in-store. What works most cost effectively to drive traffic and orders via the web from non-web activities.

– Site optimisation – how to make sure technical structure, copy, content, back-links and a range of other factors are initially and remain optimised so that as many high search engine placements on relevant searches are obtained.

– Pay per click and other online marketing – how to get traffic from advertising against key words and phrases used in search engines and from adverts on other sites.

– Email – how to grow the email list and use it to grow profitable sales.

In summary:

– Manage the project
– Think how the customer thinks
– Get excellent software to make finding product and price easy
– Make terms clear and payment simple
– Ensure you are in stock and and have achievable delivery timescales
– Make sure you have a good CRM system and clear communications – mail, phone, emai
– Market the site appropriately
– Know what’s going on – use your stats to test, track and try

Cost ………… well how long is a pice of string, but you could be up and running for far less than the cost of new premises!!!

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