3 Common Mistakes To Avoid On Your Website Homepage

Writing a homepage is one of the first and most important steps in building a website. When writing content for your webpage, you need to keep in mind that you are writing the very first page that your visitors will see. In many ways, your homepage is the “make or break” part of your site. It is the page that can either entice your visitor to explore the rest of your website or it can simply encourage him to click out. Whether you are trying to write a homepage for the first time you are trying to revise your existing content, make sure you avoid these common homepage writing mistakes.

Not doing research about your target audience. When it comes to web writing in general, it’s important to have a clear idea about the type of audience you are writing for. This can be compared to making a speech in public. For your speech to become a success, it needs to be in line with your listeners’ interest and needs. For instance, profound anecdotes about family and parenting might appeal to a group of mothers but not to a group of teenagers. The same concept applies to writing your homepage. An effective homepage immediately grabs the interest of the reader. So before you write, make sure you do some research about your potential visitors.

Putting everything on your homepage. Now that you know how much your homepage can impact the success of your website, it’s natural to feel some pressure when writing for this page. You might even try to squeeze all your selling points into your homepage. This is a common mistake that you should avoid. Your homepage is not the place for you to discuss the history of your business or rave about how neat your product or service is. Save these details for the “About” and “Customer Testimonials” pages. Your goal in writing your homepage is to make a concise but powerful sell. Let your visitors know right away that your website has what they are looking for and they will automatically explore your other pages.

Not updating your homepage. A static homepage is not exactly a major mistake but if you want to stand out from the rest of the competition then you might want to keep your homepage updated. This doesn’t mean that you should rewrite your homepage content every week. Instead, regularly add details to keep your homepage interesting. For instance, you can incorporate a “Tip of the Week”. Or if you have a new press release, you can put a teaser in the homepage that leads to the appropriate link of the press release page. Not only will you keep your regular visitors interested but you can also boost your ranking since search engines love fresh and updated content.

Which Blog Platform to use WordPress or Community Server

A question I get asked on a regular basis from friends, co-workers and readers of my various blogs and websites is what blogging platform should they use, in general I point them in the direction of either WordPress or Community Server and the answer I give them depends very much on what they want to do and their slant in the operating system world.

Below is a brief overview of both WordPress and Community Server with a list of each platforms best features and why you would want to chose one of the other.

WordPress

Many people laugh when I mention a blogging platform other than WordPress, and it is this popularity and hard-core following that makes it arguably the best blogging engine. WordPress has been around for years and as you could imagine is very well developed, with literally hundreds if not thousands of free plug-ins, modules, and themes.

The out of the box theme does look a little dated but what hides within is a highly configurable and flexible.

The Top Features or reasons for choosing WordPress:

· Most popular blogging engine in the world (Excluding provided services such as yahoo, MySpace, Blogger )

· Because of the popularity of WordPress thousands of plug-ins, modules and themes exist that are updated when a new version of WordPress is released

· Lots of users means lots of documentation and support, there are thousands of people that are happy to help you to get your blog up and running or provide advice when something goes wrong and needs to be fixed.

· WordPress is free and runs on with PHP and MySQL which are also free.

· Great for users who are familiar with Linux and PHP

Negatives:

· Runs on PHP which regularly has security issues, which is not an issue if you regularly update your PHP install

· WordPress is only a blogging platform (no forums, photo gallery)

· Harder to be configured to act as a traditional website with articles.

Community Server

Community Server is more than just a blogging platform but in fact a Community Platform with Blogging, forums, and photo galleries. Being a community platform it is designed to host multiple blogs.

Compared to WordPress Community server is a lot younger and does not have anywhere near as many plug-ins, modules and themes, but from my experienced of both Community Server and WordPress community server is easier to theme with its Chameleon Teaming engine.

Top features or reasons for choosing Community Server:

· Runs on IIS, asp dot net and MS SQL so If you’re a Windows person this might be a good reason to choose Community Server

· Community Server is quickly being adopted by big enterprise for their companies internal and external blogging platform, some of the companies that have adopted Community Server include, Microsoft, Intel, Readers Digest, National Geographic, MSNBC Blogs, Mazda, Honda (Internal), Electronic Arts, Visa, MySpace (for their community forums)

· Community Server is more than a Blogging platform, but a community platform, with blogging, forum, and picture gallery options.

· Free edition available for personal use named “Personal Edition”

· Very easy to use and administer

· Community Server was developed with Search Engine Optimization in mind, which means its easier to get your articles higher in Google and other search engines.

· Easy to turn into a traditional website

Negatives:

· The biggest disadvantage with Community Server is the licensing aspect/cost of the technologies it runs on, Windows Server, IIS, MSSQL, but many hosting companies such as GoDaddy offer Community Server with no additional cost.

· Younger product with less plug-ins, modules, and support than WordPress.

I would recommend Community Server if you are a Windows, or Microsoft Technology person with skills in Asp, IIS, MSSQL. I you require more than just a blog, for instance Photo Gallery, and or forums, with its shared, account/membership database. If you are a Linux, PHP, MySQL person and want a very stable well established platform then go for WordPress.

As I have said the best platform depends on what you require and your personal experience with various technologies. Personally I am a Microsoft person so the majority of websites and blogs I develop are with Community Server, yet have developed some sites and blogs with WordPress when there is a feature that is missing in Community Server. I love the fact I have a forums and photo gallery integrated into Community Server, it gives my blogs and websites and additional dimension and find blogs, forums and photo galleries complement each other, allowing a richer website and Community.

I have mentioned about Windows, IIS, ASP, Linux, MySQL, MSSQL knowledge, if you are a person that does not have knowledge don’t be put off either WordPress or Community Server, as there are many website hosting companies that will automate your WordPress or Community Server install, and you will be able to develop a very professional looking blog without this knowledge. This knowledge comes handy for someone like myself who wants to tinker with and perform complex customizations.

Web Services Aimed at the Financial Community

After three years of development, Web services are becoming established as enterprise and extranet middleware, enabling inter-business transactions and information flow by means of open and agreed message standards. Community collaboration can now be achieved without the need for great technical co-operation between competing firms, delivering savings for those that participate.

But overall, Web services and the adoption of the interfaces needed to deliver quantifiable benefits are still at an early stage. Many companies are still looking for bite-size steps that can be taken in the near term that will deliver the measurable benefits required to build a credible business case.

Meeting customer expectations with legacy systems

For many, one of the key areas in which Web services are providing value is in meeting growing customer demand for access to expertise or information via the telephone or Web. Much of the information these customers need is sitting on disparate legacy systems that were never designed to be accessed by customers and have no user-friendly interface. Building ‘point solutions’ that solve each customer requirement individually is expensive and time consuming. By using a Web services-based approach and providing interfaces to legacy systems, designers can build a library of services that can be used in numerous customer-facing applications.

In the retail finance industry, this information can be delivered via a help desk whose agents have access via a portal to what can be literally hundreds of legacy systems. Furthermore, data can also be delivered directly to customers through self-service Web applications that hide the complexity of the legacy systems behind them. This approach to both legacy and new applications is called a service-oriented architecture, as it enables applications to be built into new services relatively quickly without any modifications being made to the original functionality of the application.

Identity checking

Another area of customer service where Web services can help is with identity checking. The revision and tightening of the rules to prevent money laundering have brought with them a major headache for the retail finance industry. The regulations have made opening new accounts something of an obstacle course for customers, who often blame the bank for making this process so difficult. While the reaction of the high-street banks to these regulations has so far been a fairly uniform set of rules for the customer to present certain key documents, there is an obvious opportunity for any bank that substantially improves the experience for their customers. There are clear benefits to be gained from a Web service that can check an individual’s identity by reference to a range of data sources, such as electoral role and electricity supply.

Aggregation and netting

Web services can also help in the area of aggregation and netting – giving the ability to pull together assets and liabilities across lines of business. Previously, solutions would be created that focus on specific product lines, so that customers would receive multiple statements or reports from different parts of the organization. The growing prevalence of Web services capability now allows interfaces to be built for both new and legacy projects. This is leading to the creation of applications and databases that provide a platform built for rapid cross business aggregation. This will enable retail banks to provide customers with a consolidated view of all their dealings with the organization, spanning multiple product lines. Similarly in the wholesale finance industry, there is the potential for new applications that can look across instruments and spot arbitrage or new derivative opportunities.

Top Tips For Pulling Traffic To Your Blog

Usually the big question that lots of people are asking is which are the guaranteed strategies of being successful in earning a revenue while you work online at home? The blogging phenomenon is catching up with nearly with everybody, making it pretty tough for bloggers to accomplish online visibly. This is especially so for bloggers seeking to make a profit blogging. Now with many hundreds of blogs coming up each day, you’ll want to be one step ahead to be certain of receiving an income whilst you work online via blogging.

These are some few good tricks you can easily work with:

* Stir up A Hot Debate:
In your niche there are usually general beliefs or practices, all you have to do is post a blog that critic these ideas. This would end up raising a huge uproar and hot debate and in due course build up interest in your web publication therefore a boost in traffic. In order for this to run appropriately, just be sure to have your fasts right thereby making your case persuading. Be careful, assuming your assertion is not weighty you might find yourself bringing down your online presence.

* Originality and Gossip:

gossipBy nature, we like gossip be it men or women hence, you can possibly utilize this fact to begin a wildfire and so earn money as you work online from home as a result of traffic you will have generated. The purpose here is to become the first one to publish about a matter. Keep yourself updated with the happenings in your industry and instantly you observe something new be the first to post it on your website. Write comments about the most recent news within your market niche before people get to know about them.

* Put your standards high:
Any entry you add on your blogging site should be of superior quality. With this am talking about avoiding grammar and spelling glitches. Start using systems like Microsoft Word to set up your website content and likewise get a good friend to analyze your write ups before you can publish them. Basically, with well crafted blog posts you’re going to expand your online presence and thereby be certain of building a reliable income as you work online at home even while blogging.

Find out more informative and authoritative procedures on proven blogging hints and as a result increasing revenue as you work online from home.

This Is What Slows Your Website Down

Sometimes when you are new to web design, there are some mistakes you make unknowingly. When I started out with designing websites, there were things that I did and my sites were extremely slow when it came to loading the pages. I quickly did some adjusting and learned how to speed my websites up. If you have run into that problem with your website, don’t feel bad, we have all been there. However, there are some things you need to do in order to speed it up. A slow website will definitely cause you to lose visitors.

The first thing you need to do is check your images. Having large images will definitely slow your computer down. So, if you are going to use images, use small images and drop the quality of them. Believe it or not, dropping the quality of an image from 100% to 75% will help a great deal.

You should also use CSS for your images and layout instead of using HTML and tables. Using CSS will definitely speed your website up when it comes to loading. You can use CSS for your background, images, tables, text styles, and more. Just by changing from the tables to CSS will improve your site unbelievably.

Avoid Javascript and too much Flash when you can. Though Java and Flash are cool, they can put a real hurting on the speed of your site loading. I’m not saying don’t use Flash at all, just avoid overloading your site with Flash. Too much Flash will slow it down way too much and it can also become tacky and irritating to the visitor.

Don’t fill your site up with videos and Flash Intros. Some people love to use Flash Intros all over their site and using a large Flash Intro will bring your website almost to a stand still in loading. As far as the videos, if you are going to use videos, embed them into your site and allow the visitor to click Play if they want to watch the video. Having videos set to play automatically will slow the load of the site that as well!

Warning Messages to Illegal Downloaders

In a landmark victory for producers of entertainment media, the Center for Copyright Information (CIS) has announced that most of the major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United States will begin cooperating with the new Copyright Alert System (CAS). Under the new system, ISPs will begin sending notices to customers who have been identified as people downloading files illegally from various sites on the Internet. The Associated Press, via NBC News, says the move is meant to curb copyright infringement, not punish people, while CNET says the new system will work as a graduated response system with warnings graduating to suspensions if customers don’t stop their illicit activities.

At issue is the practice of people using the Internet to visit file sharing web sites to obtain copies of movies, music or software. Those who create and distribute such media have been fighting for years for a system to be put in place to curb the practice as they say it costs them hundreds of millions of dollars a year collectively.

In the announcement, Jill Lesser, director of the CIS, says that the new program is designed to curb the practice of illegal downloading on the Internet and to promote the practice of purchasing such content from legitimate sources, e.g Wal-Mart, the Apple Store, etc. The AP says that each ISP is responsible for putting in place their own system and then for running it, though each will abide by certain guidelines. All will send a message to an offender (after receiving a report from a media producer of an infraction) letting them know that they have been singled out as participating in an illegal downloading activity and encouraging them to instead purchase what they want from a legitimate source. If the activity continues, the ISP has agreed to slow their connection speed, or at some point, after up to six warnings, suspend their service.

Thus far, none of the big ISP’s Comcast, AT&T, e.g. have announced plans to participate in the CAS, but all have privately assented, CIS says, to participating in the program. Thus, it’s not known at this time how far the ISPs will go in dealing with customers suspected of illegal downloading.

Those opposed to the measure, CNET says, have expressed concerns about people being treated as guilty without the burden of proof. There’s also the issue of how customers may be contacted, or not. Most ISPs provide an email address, but very few customers actually use those accounts, thus, they’d never know they’d been warned, leading to surprise service interruptions.

Our Tips For Starting Your First Blog

Starting your first blog is tough to say the least. I should know because I’m still trying. Yes, you’ve got that right…I’m writing an article on blogging when I have yet to actually blog a thing. Nothing. Not a single word. And while that brands me officially as an uninformed source, it also makes me an authority of sorts in at least one small portion of the blogosphere: reminding all of us first-timers that we don’t know nearly as much as we need to.

So, with that idea in mind, stay with me as I walk you through what I have discovered on my quest to go live my own blog.

You know much less than you think

I’ve gotten a stern education thus far. When I decided I’d like to blog and maybe make a little side income along the way, I figured I’d run to a free blog site, slap it together, and start the process. Fortunately, however, I got linked into some articles by professional bloggers, guys who know the deal. And this was a quick and needed slap in the face. Their advice and knowledge made me stop and take into account my lack of a plan. In short, they made me see that I didn’t know an ounce of what I needed to if I ever wanted to get anywhere.

You have to read, and then you have to read some more

Once I realized just how much of a novice I was, I started to read. I went to blogs, ones considered successful and ones I just stumbled upon, the writers scribing about international business systems and the grandmas journaling about gardening. I looked at everything I could, and I still do. I click on as much as advice as I can, even when it gets repetitious. I read and learn until I know. I bookmark, and I comment. I do this for one simple reason: I want to cut down on the silly mistakes many bloggers make when they first start.

You have to appreciate patience

Throwing a blog up just to get it going is wasteful, both in time and money. I taught myself the value of being patient, waiting until I have the understanding of success before exposing my work only to learn that no one is reading, following, or caring. I know the urge to begin, that feeling when you are motivated and excited to let everyone see what you can do. You have that belief that your blog will draw everyone. But I’ve learned it’s just not that easy. In fact, in most cases, it’s pure fallacy, as most blogs are destined to fail from get-go. So, be patient and plan.

You must have an open mind

I had an idea that I thought was perfect, and I was bent on doing it that way. But, from all I have encountered, stubbornness gets you few followers and even less respect. I found that if I kept an open mind, always re-examining what I thought versus what successful people advise, my original idea became sharper and more defined. Like any writer, I have my convictions, but you have to let people in, accept feedback, and realize that others can and will help.

You need to take the time to get to know yourself

Sounds odd, but you have to come to terms with your voice. Doing so much research and reading, I found myself almost trying to mimic what I saw. That’s alright I guess when it comes to the technical side of blogging, but not when it relates to the actual words. Figure out who you are, what you really want to say, and how it is you want to say it.

In the end, I have learned that blogging is about a pursuit of passion and not a race to publish. You have to prepare and think long before you go live, and you must see all that is around you. That’s what I’m trying to do.