Web Jive - The Buzz on Web Development

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Worst Domain Names of the Web

After coming across many different sites with postings on the worst domains of the web, I’ve decided to compile my own list. These are all legitimate websites. The sad part is that most of these are unintentionally inappropriate. Let me know if I’ve missed any good ones. Enjoy!

www.BillGotHard.comBill Gothard Dedicated to helping youth and families make wise decisions Sorry Bill, but you’ll be staying away from my family and youth.

www.BlindSexPress.comBlinds Express The best prices in blinds Is this similar to the Bench Press?

www.BsOfElPaso.comBusiness Services of El Paso I’m glad somebody has finally owned up to the BS.

www.ChoosesPain.comChoose Spain Owner Holiday Rentals I’m guessing the other choices were pretty bad…

www.CummingFirst.comCumming First United Methodist Church God can’t be too happy about how this turned out.

www.DaleShitChinStation.comDale’s Hitchin’ Station False advertising…Dale does not have a butt chin.

www.DicksOnWeb.comDickson Chart Recorders I’m going to keep quite on this one.

www.DieselShitMen.comDiesel’s Hitmen I guess that’s what happens when you eat piece’s of sh** for breakfast.

www.ForDowners.orgFord Owner’s Association This is place to be if you want all your hopes and dreams crushed.

www.GotAHoe.com - Go Tahoe Online Is this a question or a statement?

www.IPAnywhere.comIP Anywhere Essential Tool for PCAnywhere I think you should keep this to yourself…

www.LaidAHo.comLA Weight Loss Center in Idaho This is just wrong.

www.MoFo.comMorrison & Foerster Legal Services Let’s get those mofo’s on the phone.

www.MolestaionNativeNursery.comMole Station Native Nursery Michael Jackson has given his full endorsement of the Nursery.

www.MomSexChange.comParked by GQ Domains I need to go call my Mom---Er---Dad---ahhh….

www.Mp3Shits.comMp3s Hits These must happen after mass consumption

www.ProgrammerStools.orgProgrammers Tools Can you vote on your favorites?

www.SpeedoFart.comSpeed of Art Bona Fide Art Direction The old fat guy at the beach did one these the other day.

www.TeacherStalk.comTeachers Talk Education Now Stalker of the Week goes to Jane from Ms.Wilson’s 5th grade homeroom.

www.TheRapistFinder.comTherapist Finder It’s your life…Treat It Well. I hope nobody is this deperate.

www.ViagraFix.comVia Grafix The new way to learn This is just plain stupidity…

www.WhorePresents.comWho Represents? Find an Agent Gifting others is an act of kindness.

www.PenisLand.netPen Island Custom Pens This one is way too easy…I’ll let you comment on it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pop-up Banner Ads – Do’s & Don’ts

The web is filled with annoyances and right at the top of list stands the infamous pop-up banner ad. Just recently I received a request from a client who wanted a banner ad on their website so they could display a “special offer” for their customers. To the client, this seemed like a brilliant idea… There are many uses for the pop-up, but I have yet to find any blogs that define best practices. Based on my own experiences, I’ve compiled my own ethical standards for using the pop-up. Nowadays, the web is crawling with spyware, adware, and malicious material, which has led to a highly skeptical audience of web users. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across whose pc’s are loaded with virus’s and malicious advertising material. These people don’t even want to deal with their own computers because it’s so saturated with junk. A lot of this junk contains malicious advertising software that will constantly throw pop-ups on their screen until they are blue in the face. It seems like the only solution is to give-in and buy the TV being advertised. What's more frustrating is that the sucess rate for pop-up banner ads is between 2-5%, which isn't bad. The tradeoff is that you'll see the exit rates for the page go up. Trust me, I can assure that you’ll see an increase. Bottom line here is that the users are crying for help and the browsers (IE, Firefox, Opera) are beginning to answer. Today, every browser is coming with a built-in pop-up blocker. Based on usage statistics, that means that 70-80% of users are currently using browsers with built-in pop-up blockers. With that said, in order to have a pop-up achieve its true potential, you are going to need to stop tricking your users and simply tell them that they should have pop-ups enabled. The absolute worst way of displaying pop-ups is on entry pages. Remember, you have only 10-20 seconds to prove to that user that they should stay at your website. Why even take that risk? For me, when I hear the “click” of the pop-up blocker on an entry page of a website, I immediately leave. Seriously people, what does that say about the rest of your website? Users (as a whole) have developed a negative connotation of pop-up’s, which means you need to be ethical and smart if you choose to use them and if you want to keep the user’s trust. If you have an unsure feeling about a pop-up then you probably shouldn’t use it. Then ask yourself, do you want to have to deal with this when you search the web? Don't forget that you have an alternative solution to use a link with a target=_blank, which will open to a new window. It’s as simply as that. Do - Open a link to a new window - it won't get blocked example - Make the user aware that you will be using a pop-up! - When the user clicks a link. - 2nd Tier (and beyond) web pages on your website. - Display pop-ups with a purpose: - PDF, word/excel docs - Help windows - Other files - Displaying pictures. - Surveys (sometimes) - Addition forms that require additional space. Don't - Use (Avoid for Body Onload) window.open(theURL,winName,features); - Use pop-up’s on entry pages! - Use more than one pop-up at a time. - Display cheesy ads. A majority of users frown upon this. - Display random sign-ups for newsletters. Although I love reading Sitepoint articles, some authors are notorious for doing this. Place the sign-up in the page, you'll get a better response anyway. Useful Articles/Resources - Create Dynamic Pop-ups in XHTML 1.0 Strict Pages by Michael Rainey - Practical Web Design - Pop-ups: Malign or Maligned? by Mike Tuck - Pop-up Blocking Stats by Matt Mickiewicz - To Pop, or Not to Pop by Chris Beasley - Accessible Popup Links by Caio Chassot Stop tha' Pop!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Web Marketing – Part 1: The Web Marketer

As a web consultant, I frequently cross paths with marketers who believe marketing and web marketing are one in the same. To a certain degree, that's true. Trying to define the differences can be challenging and takes an understanding of both sides. Either way, today I’m going to set the record straight on web marketing. Just 5 years ago the web was simply just another medium for a company to advertise itself with the dependence on web in a very skeptical stage. While just getting over the dot-com bust, most companies were reluctant to invest time or money into their websites – it just wasn’t a safe investment. Dot-coms were dropping like flys. Since that time, the web has vastly changed and people have started to gain their trust back in the web, thus resulting in the emergence of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is marked as the turning point in the web, making it more important than ever before. Web 2.0 signifies new technologies, better security, faster internet connections, stronger web resources, as well as many other things. Web 2.0 has increased the importance in the web thus directly affecting the importance of company websites. With that has come the materialization of Web Marketing. Most people will argue that “marketing is marketing is marketing.” The truth is that Web Marketing is a whole new specialty that formulates into the combination of marketing, technical web knowledge, web best practices, and marketing best practices. Let’s be honest, just like any other profession, web marketers come in all different shapes, sizes, and skill sets. A successful web marketer will contain an understanding of web trends, marketing trends, and, web marketing trends. Let’s examine each… Web Trends and Skills – As you already know, websites are all composed of many different technologies and languages. Having a basic knowledge of the technical makeup of a websites is of great advantage to a web marketer. There’s always a small change or fix that is needed on the website and a web marketer will be required to get their hands dirty in certain situations. A basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is a must, while having a broad idea of server side languages is an added plus. With the knowledge of HTML, keeping the website W3C compliant should be a relevant and frequent task. Basic design skills in Adobe/Macromedia products (ex: Photoshop, Illustrator Dreamweaver, etc.) will play a major part in usability and proper design techniques. The technical abilities will abdicate well in scoping and implementing web strategies. The web marketer must fulfill the communication gap between the techies (developers, or "geeks") and the business users. Marketing Trends and Skills – The marketing aspect of web marketing is fairly straightforward. Employing proper marketing techniques will help a web marketer discover the needs and wants of prospective customers as well as help them satisfy those needs. It’s important for a web marketer to understand their customers and users. Many successful websites put usability and design at the forefront. The web compliments good creativity and frowns upon bad creativity. Implementing positive marketing ethics is important since competition is stiff in the web. Search engines are getting better at catching unethical practices, so consider yourself warned! Web Marketing Trends and Skills – Finally, we come upon the most important piece of being a web marketer – the integration of the web and marketing. A web marketer will need to have a strong mix of creative and technical skills for drafting Web Marketing Strategies, using web technologies, and analyzing internal web trends. Web Marketing Strategies involve a combination of Web Strategy, Web Usability/Design, Marketing Optimization, and continued analysis. While some simply call use the phrases “web strategies” and “web marketing strategies”, marketing is a crucial aspect of these strategies and must not be left unnoticed. Strong skill sets reside in a good understanding of the primary technologies included in email marketing, analytics, SEO, SEM, and strong web content building. There’s a vast array of tools in the world wide web that provide good solutions for these technology needs – a web marketer must be on their toes to provide the best solutions for each specific situation. Strength in knowing how to integrate web tools with each other will provide exemplary company value. Next, analyzing the results of implementations and strategies will provide tangible value for business users. A strong trait in web marketers will reside in their ability to employ web best practices in all web technologies and strategies. This comes with successful experiences as well learning from failed attempts. It's true, finding qualified web marketer’s for companies come few-and-far-between. Since web marketers are still pretty rare, the pay is good and the position stands in growing demand. Time will tell with what web marketing evolves into, but my guess is that it will only become more prevalent as the web moves into its next stage(s). Like the universe, there is still much to discover in the web. The opportunity is yours to discover the depths.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hello World

As a professional web developer and web analyst, I spend hours upon hours on the internet in order to figure out ways to improve and enrich it. I have almost 2 years of professional web development experience under my belt and it's become less of a job and more of a passion. I've had the pleasure to have been involved the development of many websites including www.minco.com, www.lundboats.com, www.lundsmarket.com, www.byerlys.com, www.forthejourney.com. I've worked with ASP.Net (C# and VB.Net) and PHP with past projects. I am at a stage where I am sponge to every piece of information I can get my hands on - I can't get enough information and I'm constantly learning new things. While the web is my specialty, I also have knowledge and interest in other areas of IT. As I start my blog, I will be documenting everything I learn and you are welcome comment and add things. This will act as a resource for myself and you are welcome to use it as a resource as well. Happy Tuesday!