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Web Conferencing Solutions Are for Small Businesses, Too

Despite or maybe in spite of the global economic crisis businesses are networking globally. Gone are the days when web conferencing was seen as being just for the big boys. These days any company, even small solo operations can utilize the benefits of web conferencing.

Some small businesses may worry about having to pay huge monthly fees or set-up costs for web conferencing services. These days nothing could be further from the truth. Any business can find affordable web conferencing and remote support to help them become more efficient. Best of all the current technology enables interactivity between attendees.

No company seeking to maximize profits and minimize cost while growing should ignore the power of web meetings. Web conferencing services by RHUB are geared towards assisting businesses of all sizes succeed and take advantage of online communication.

This online meeting service is also suited for small businesses because there is no software to download and configure. Systems that do not require download are generally easier and quicker to use. In fact, such systems can be set up for anyone as opposed to just IT specialists.

Some factors that should pay a part in selecting a web conference system to go with are:

  • A pricing structure that meets your needs and budget. With the variety of systems available today for remote meetings, the buyer can afford to be choosy.
  • A platform specific to the needs of your company.
  • Ability to run on all platforms, especially PCs and Macs.

In addition to meetings, web conferences can be used by small businesses for presentations and teaching purposes. Some small business owners may worry about online security. This is especially so as many small businesses cannot afford an IT department. Fortunately RHUB is an on-premise appliance allowing you to put it behind your firewall for maximum security, therefore remote support and remote access are extremely secure as well.

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How to Conduct a Web Conference

Conducting an online meeting can reduce expenses, boost employee productivity, and improve the level of communication between participants. Having said that, like any business gathering, its effectiveness is largely dependent upon its execution. There are several aspects that can increase the likelihood that your online meeting will yield the results you want. In this article, we’ll provide an overview regarding how to conduct a successful web conference.

Start On Time

Beginning late is a common mistake and it’s even made by experienced facilitators. Often, the reason it happens is not because the facilitator is running behind schedule. Instead, he or she waits for late participants to arrive before starting. The problem is that the people who logged into your web conference at the scheduled time are penalized by having to wait for others. Start on time and let the late parties catch up on their own.

Choose A Person To Manage Questions

If your online meeting is small (for example, less that seven people), you can probably field questions simply by opening the call to the floor. However, doing that with larger groups can quickly become unmanageable. If you plan to have more than ten people participating, select somebody to whom others can direct questions. That person can manage their priority and let you field them at your pace. Not only is that easier to manage, but you’ll be able to stay on track without getting distracted.

Consider A Second Screen

If you’re planning to share applications so other attendees can see your screen, consider using an extra monitor to log into the meeting as a normal participant. Sometimes, you might think other people are able to view your screen flawlessly when they’re actually observing something different. The second screen will allow you to monitor what they’re seeing. If you need to make technical changes on your end, you can do so quickly without wasting a significant amount of time.

Conserve Performance Capacity

As the presenter, it’s possible to reduce your web conference’s performance if you have several applications running at once. Before your meeting begins, close other software you won’t need during your presentation. That will prevent them from creating a lag.

Close Your Instant Messaging Client

There are few things that are more distracting when presenting a web conference than a pop-up instant messaging client. Now, consider how distracting it can be for your meeting’s participants. Make sure you disable the software before your conference begins.

Web conferencing can be a great way to bring a large group of people together for a common project. Not only can they be organized quickly, but they won’t take people away from the office. Use the guidelines above to make sure your next online meeting is a roaring success.

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Top 3 Myths About Becoming a Web Content Producer

The Truth About a Hot Work-At-Home Career


It’s finally here. After years and years of online work-from-home scams, there is finally a legitimate online job opportunity. Websites must have content in order to draw customers if they are going to compete in the worlds of search engine giants like Google or Yahoo, but most webmasters are not qualified to do the writing for these articles (or they simply don’t have the time). They might have a general idea about what kind of content will drive customers to their websites, but they need professionals to word these articles in a way that will make them rank highly in search results. That’s where web content producers come in. They write quality articles for specific sites that are key word dense without compromising the quality of the information. Sounds simple, right? Not quite. Just like any legitimate career field, web content production is becoming a competitive market. Before you quit your day job to pursue this vocation, make sure that you aren’t guilty of naively believing the following untruths.

Myth #1: “Web content producers work whenever and wherever they want.” What so many freelance writing hopefuls don’t understand about writing for websites is that they will have strict deadlines to meet. Webmasters do not assign work and allow you to complete it at your convenience. In fact, deadlines for web content production are often even more harsh than print deadlines. While you will have a bit more flexibility, you can still bet on working eight hours a day, at least, in your home office.

Myth #2: “Web content producers can find work everywhere.” There are two ugly lies wrapped up into one big myth here. The first is that you will always have work available, and the second is that that work will always pay your bills. Sure, there are millions of potential clients out there, but many sites are non-profit or are strictly in existence for the purpose of leisure. In other words, not everyone is trying to make a profit from their site. Secondly, even if you do find a great deal of work, you can expect to have to write revisions constantly. Webmasters have very specific needs, and if you cannot get it right the first time, you will eventually lose money. For example, if you end up spending two hours on an article that you are only making $10 on because the first draft was rejected, you are not even making minimum wage. You have to be willing to work through these rough patches, and if your bank account will not allow you to do so, you’ll be in a sad predicament while trying to build your business.

Myth #3: “Anyone can write web content.” Well, sure, anyone can technically write down their thoughts and place them onto a blog or their personal website. Not everyone’s work is payable, however. While you may have a good general knowledge on several specialized topics, that is no guarantee that you can transform that knowledge into interesting reading material. Web surfers must be almost instantly captivated by an article upon seeing it or they will quickly go on, meaning that you must know how to write in a manner that will intrigue them. That being said, not even a good writing ability is a promise for a successful future in web content production. Web writers are everywhere, and the market is tough. Today, only those with literature/journalism degrees and/or prior writing or publishing experience are getting the jobs. You will need to create a professional resume and market yourself, just as you would with any desk job. If you don’t have the background experience, you won’t get the assignment. It’s that simple.

The Internet is seeing a new revolution. While the nineties saw an explosion of worthless and poorly written work, now readers are more savvy and want to peruse the content of only those writers who are professionally qualified. It’s not easy to feign this qualification, either. Even if you do pull it off, you will still need marketing skills and a considerable amount of time to devote to the profession if you wish to pursue it full time. Approach web content production as you would any business, however, and you stand a chance at making a name for yourself among potential clients. Start slow, gain experience with non-paying work, build your resume, and be ready to work long hours. If you can discipline yourself to do so, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be running your own successful web content production business in a reasonable amount of time. Now get to writing.

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Elements of Website Customer Experience

Understanding the Steps Your Online Customers Take


Meet the elements of user experience. When I first began my schooling, I remember waiting patiently for my books to arrive so that I could dive right in and get a head start. But, my first shipment of books puzzled me….The Elements of User Experience? I thought to myself…..now why do I have a book like this, I’m supposed to be learning HTML and CSS and all the other useful things a person needs to know to build a website. But, what I didn’t realize is that if you don’t understand a user’s experience on the web, you can’t build an effective website. So, I’m going to share with you five elements of user experience. These are the “stages” or steps that customers go through when they land on your site.

The Surface Plane: This is what your users see….web pages made up of text and images, all performing some certain task or function. The surface plane includes your logo, backgrounds, navigation buttons, etc.

The Skeleton Plane: Beneath outward appearances lies the skeleton of the site, the “bones”, if you will, behind all the pretty stuff. These elements are arranged for maximum efficiency, so that visitors can easily recall where your shopping cart button is, eliminating the stress of wanting to make a purchase, but not knowing how to go about it. Shopping carts the web over end up being filled, then left to desertion and more times than not, it’s because the process was to time-consuming or, very simply….the visitor couldn’t find their way back to the cart to checkout. Sad, but very true.

The Structure Plane: Think of the structure as something like a family tree, complete with branches and parent entities. The structure makes up your navigational system and the hierarchical order in which pages appear. if your visitor comes to a page, it is the structure’s responsibility as to how they got there and where they can go next.

The Scope Plane: Where the structure defines the ways in which the features and functions of the site fit together, the Scope is what those features and functions are. If you have a site that requires or offers a login feature so that addresses can be saved for future visits, it would be included in the Scope of your site.

The Strategy Plane: This is where we get down to fundamentals. What do we want out of the site? What will our users want out of the site? In the case of e-commerce, the strategy could be very simple, we want to sell our products and users want to buy them. Figuring out how to please both sides of the spectrum is the strategy behind building the site. We want a stress-free, easy-to-navigate system that will make it not only possible for purchases and surfing, but enjoyable for our users. That, then leads us to figuring out the strategy for which to incorporate our features and functions into an enjoyable site.

Understanding these planes can go a long way in improving site rankings and sales. These elements provide a conceptual framework for discussing user experience problems and the tools we can utilize to solve them.

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Seven Web Site Benefits

Seven Awesome Web Site Benefits for Small Business Owners


A small business Web site is a simple solution for attracting new business, saving time and leveraging your strengths against competitors. Even if you run a one-person home based business, you need to have a small business Web site. The Web site benefits to your bottom line can be stunning!

Webs Site Benefits 1: Stop Chasing Dead Leads

There’s no sense in wasting time chasing prospects that don’t understand or aren’t aware of the products and services you offer. Use your small business Web site to weed out potential customers that can’t afford or aren’t a good match for your products and services.

Web Site Benefits 2: De-Clutter Your Life

Reduce painful distractions by posting answers to routine customer questions on your small business Web site. Provide commonly requested documents and information online, such as billing policies, driving directions, client intake forms, and more.

Web Site Benefits 3: Fatten Your Wallet

With over one billion people now online, even a small market is enormous online. Use your small business Web site as a marketing tool to find previously untapped sources of new customers. Fine tune your marketing and target specific industries and customer demographics and what your sales blast off!

Web Site Benefits 4: Do More With Less

Use your small business Web site as comprehensive marketing tool at the center of your efforts to attract new customers. Create a massive online network of touch points to funnel potential customers into your Web site for prescreening and converting into sales.

Web Site Benefits 5: Improve Customer Relations

Your small business Web site is a fantastic opportunity to build stronger, tighter customer relationships. Through continual marketing to customers on your Web site and by increasing your availability, your customers will be better educated and feel more connected with you.

Web Site Benefits 6: Fight Off Competitors

Your small business Web site is a fantastic marketing tool to differentiate your products and services from competitors, build your brand and form a positive first impression of your small business. A Web site is a great way to stand out from the crowd, whether your competition is across the street or around the globe.

Web Site Benefits 7: Save Money

Eliminate or reduce expenses from non-billable functions and improve customer support by beefing up your Web site. Post downloadable documents and forms online and enhance customer support with self-help online options, such as frequently asked questions, directions, guides and automated e-mail support. Trim additional expenses by converting brochures, catalogs and more into digital format for your website.

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Managing Web Link Categories in Joomla

If you have created web link categories to place your web links in, this guide will help you with managing your categories. In this guide, you are going to learn how to edit web link categories, reorder web link categories, delete web link categories, and view web link categories. You can get started with this Joomla guide by logging into your administrator panel of Joomla.

Viewing Your Web Link Categories in Joomla

We will begin with viewing the web link categories in Joomla. You will need to know how to view this page before you can do the different tasks below. You can view this page by placing your mouse on the Components menu and then hovering your mouse over the Web Links option in the menu that expands. When the sub-menu opens, you will see the Categories option. Click this option and you will see the page of web link categories you have already created.

Reordering Web Link Categories in Joomla

You can reorder your web link categories. By doing this, you are changing the position of the web link categories. For example, you can take the first web link category and move it to the third place category. To do this, you will need to load the web link categories page. Then you will need to use the arrows in the Order column to move your categories up and down. You can also change the numbers in the boxes to reorder the web link categories.

Editing Web Link Categories in Joomla

To edit a web link category, click the box beside the one you want to edit. Then go to the top of the page and click the Edit button. On the following page, you can change what you need to and click the Save button. You can then edit other web link categories if you want too.

Deleting Web Link Categories in Joomla

Deleting web link categories in Joomla is pretty simple. All you have to do is check the box or boxes next to the web link categories that you want to delete and click the Delete button at the top of your page. Confirm that you want to delete it and it will be deleted.

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TIps on Organizing Text on Your Website

The question of text placement on websites has long been an issue with website designers and copywriters. The trick is to display your text in such a way that everyone can easily read it. In the past, text placement on websites has been hindered by low screen resolutions, making two- and three-column text websites almost impossible. Now, however, two-column text layouts are increasingly common and websites owners have far more functionality as far as text placement options.

One Column vs. Two Columns

The first question you’ll need to answer regarding text placement on websites is the debate between one-column and two-column pages. Studies show that reader comprehension increases with multiple columns, though a single column makes for faster reading. The main benefit of multiple columns on a website is that you can fit more information “above the fold”, which is the newspaper term for the top page of the paper. On a website, “above the fold” means the visible screen before the reader must scroll down. The more information above the fold, the more likely the reader will be to continue.

Line Lengths

Another issue regarding text placement on websites is line length. Again, shorter line lengths make for better comprehension, but readers can read faster with longer line lengths. Obviously, a website with one column will have longer lines than one with multiple columns, so you’ll have to decide which is more important. Further, you have to remember that with higher screen resolutions, you can have wider website pages, which allows for more space above the fold.

The optimum number of characters per line for a website is between forty-five and sixty-five, though this also depends on the size of your text. You don’t want to overwhelm your reader with words, but you likewise don’t want to offer insufficient information to engage the reader’s interest.

Paging

Paging should also be considered when it comes to text placement on websites. Studies show that comprehension is higher and readers tend to stay longer when they have to “page” for information rather than scroll. In other words, if your website consists of one long page, readers are more likely to go somewhere else than if you were to divide that information into several pages.

In fact, some web design experts advise business owners to keep their entire website “above the fold”. This allows the reader to glance at the site and will ensure that he or she will not move on and miss important information below the fold. Obviously, this won’t work for all websites, but if you are having trouble keeping the attention of your readers, you might consider a different design.

Text Justification

Another issue regarding text placement on websites is the justification of the text. We can all agree that justifying both ends of text makes it look neater, but studies show that both comprehension and speed dwindles when text is fully justified. It is much better to left-justify or center your text on the page. You can bookend the other edge of your text with pictures or a navigation bar if the jagged edge bothers you.

Text placement on websites is not a science, but it is something to consider. You don’t want to spend $2,000 on a website only to find that it brings you neither readers nor customers. To experiment, you might want to use different text placement strategies on different pages to see which ones are more successful.

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How to Write Web Content

Let’s face it, good writing is good writing. The Web word for writing may be content, but words are still words. You can get as hip as you want about properly formatted Web content, but if your writing is bad, it’s still bad.

Whether you’re writing a novel, a magazine article, or some punchy Web content, your best writing will come from the heart. Web savvy readers will see through contrived prose and thinly veiled marketing schemes faster than you can say search engine optimization.

On the Web, intelligent readers will be in the front door and out the back in less than four seconds if they sense lack of content, disorganization, poor writing mechanics, or the smell of a scam.

So here’s the deal. The Web is all cool, but when it comes to good writing, tradition still matters. Even though your content will be short, informative, and edgy, you’ll still need the ever important lead, body, and conclusion. We’ll get to the specifics of Web content formatting in a moment, but bear with me, this is important.

First, know your audience. You’re writing for them, not to them. Do your demographic homework and give readers the kind of information they’re looking for. Remember, it’s about them, not you.

Next, do your research. People come to the Web for news, information, and entertainment. Use the best possible sources and know your topic.

Start the writing process with a simple outline. It may look something like this:

Compelling Lead

Main Idea

Benefits

Tips

Resources

Dramatic Conclusion

Then, write to your outline, but don’t let it dictate the final outcome. Your outline is your guide. Change it if you need to. Bag it and start over if you must. You can adjust it as you go, but don’t fly off the handle and hyperlink all over space. Stay on the good road. Be logical.

Trust the writing process. Write with attitude. Get your ideas down quickly as you follow the outline. Be conversational. Don’t stop to revise or edit. Write a lot. Let it flow. Cut the dribble later.

Write a second draft. Here’s where you look to see if your piece says what you want it to say. Pick up the glaring errors in logic and unity. Cut irrelevance and redundancy without mercy. Revise for clarity. Do a third draft if you need to.

Finally, edit for GUM (grammar, usage, and mechanics). It matters – a lot.

Now let’s talk about the three main parts of your piece (lead, body, and conclusion). In case you’re wondering, I’ll keep it short and to the point.

Leads are often as far as readers get, so make yours count. How many times have you seen the opening of an article followed by a link that says “Read more….”? If your lead isn’t working, that’s where you’ll lose your readers. Hook them hard and early with the central idea of your piece.

You can use at least seven kinds of leads:

Summary

Anecdote

Descriptive

Unbelievable

Direct Address

Question

Quotation

The body of your piece needs to be concise (that’s different than brief). Brief may not say enough. Concise tells it all using the least amount of words. Use your body to deliver the information you promised in the lead. Don’t lose your train of thought or you’ll lose your reader. Your readers are there for a purpose. Don’t let them down.

You can use a narrative style or a topical (thematic) approach in the body. A narrative is good for writing about a personal experience or for a personality profile. Use the topical method for just about everything else including: informational, descriptive, or how-to pieces. The topical approach lends itself nicely to secondary topics indicated by sub-heads, bullets, or numbers. More about that in a minute.

By the way, did you notice that I just used a sentence fragment? My grammar checker picked up “More about that in a minute”, but I’m choosing to break the rule in favor of flow. Lots of things are OK on the Internet.

And now, the conclusion. (I did it again). Leave your readers with a strong impression. You’re looking for a powerful feeling that sends them away happy to have read your article. You can use a:

Final quote

Summary statement

Play on the lead (which is nice, because it closes the circle)

Here are the keys to good Web content formatting:

Use plenty of white space (Be kind to your reader’s eyes)

Chunk your paragraphs into easily digestible portions (Helps readers to grasp your meaning)

Use bullets and numbering for lists (They make things easy)

Avoid excessive linking (It’s annoying)

Think short – 400 to 1400 words (Everybody’s in a hurry)

Readers scan captions and headlines – use them (Think…. Four seconds and woosh…. They’re gone)

Use sidebars and pull quotes to callout your big ideas and dramatic information (They provide focus)

Embed searchable keywords in your title and body (They work)

If you want to learn more about writing good Web content, visit these sites:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~webteach/articles/text.html

http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/

There you have it. Know your audience and your topic, use an outline, trust the writing process, and most importantly, write from the heart.

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How to Make Your Own Website Using HTML

How to Make Your Own Website Using HTML

There are a couple of basic you should know before beginning your own web site. The first of these is that HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. The second is that to create this code you will need a basic text editor. You will find either notepad or word or both on almost any computer you are on, but I would really recommend that you download notepad++ for free by search notepad++ in with Google. The second thing is that HTML is getting old and XHTML (extensive hypertext markup language) is new. The differences are that in XHTML all tags must be in lowercase and must close. This will make more since to you as we continue.

To start you will need to type the basic start tags of every web page. These tags are . The tags should be place in to html in this order exactly. The first tag is the html tag. This tag is used to let the web browser know that html is the language you are using. All other tags must be placed inside the html tag. The head tag will not appear on the web page when it is displayed in the browser. Instead this tag is used to contain any java script that you may want to learn and incorporate into your web pages later and meta tags which are used to help search engines find your web page. The title tag which must be placed within the head tag is used to tell the browser what to display in the title page when your web page is being displayed. Anything you place in the body tag will be what actually appears in your web page.

There are many tags in html that you can use to do your bidding. Some tags are used for formatting such as the line break tag, or the font tag. Some tags such as the break line tag can be use alone but other have to have attributes but in them. The font tag must include the size, face, or color attribute and a value. To actually turn all this code into a web page you will need to save the file to your desktop as: index.html. Then put any picture on you page on the desktop so the browser can find them. Open your web browser click file, click open, click browse, navigate to the desktop, and open index.html. You will now see your hard work as a web page. To let other people on the internet see your page contact a website like www.godaddy.com to get a domain name and instruction on how to upload your site. For further information on tags and attribute to help build your website please visit www.w3schools.com.

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Web Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Before you can get the most out of your small business internet marketing, you’ll need to be specific. Start by identifying what your goals are. This will be key to getting the right results. Then assess your current web presence. Does your website have good, useful content? Is everything up to date? Once you have a solid presence, you are ready to market your business.

Make regular posts. Regular posting of new articles and information will keep customers coming back to your website. Weekly tips or daily blog posts will give your customer pool a reason to return. This marketing tip is free, unless you choose to hire a professional freelance writer to make the posts for you.

Get analyzed! Don’t guess about how you are doing. This data will track website visitors, where they are from and what they are looking at. Google Analytics is one free service that you can use. Track leads and see where customers are connecting.

Go local. Sign up for local business directories. Do a Yahoo or Google search using the word “local.” From their click on the local directory service that is available in your area. Other good sites to use are YellowPages or Yelp.

Make videos available. Add how-to or informational videos to your site. This service will have customers coming back again and again. Go low budget or hire a professional to film it for you. However, if you choose to go low budget, keep it classy. Like face to face contact, you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression.

Network your business. Get involved in social networking. Use sites like Facebook and MySpace to build your web presence. Launch “Like” campaigns and enlist the help of current “Likers” to build your friend base. Its virtual word of mouth!

Spring for web advertising. Ways to do that? Pay larger companies to link your site to theirs. Enlist the help of Google AdSense and get your small business out into new territory.

Offer web discounts. Drive traffic to your website and away from a brick and mortar store by offering web discounts. Web exclusive deals that offer customers discounts, free shipping, free samples or other perks will garner you lots of attention. However, don’t promote complicated perks programs. Customers want you to keep it simple.