Monday, November 29, 2010


I love visiting sites that are innovative and magical. Most of these sites use Flash in most, if not all, their magic.

Flash, if not done right, can create many problems for your visitors. Flash programs can be purchased separately for your website from vendors that specialize in Flash. The programming for your specific website can become fairly complicated, adding additional expense to your site.

All visitors may not be able to view your site as designed so back up code for visitors with older browsers or current browsers that don't read the code needs to be included, making this a job not to be recommended for a DIY job.

Another issue to keep in mind when adding Flash to your website is that Flash is not searchable by search engines. Special care should be taken with Search Engine Optimization so that your site gets the recognition it deserves.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Color links

The web is full of wonderful information and tools to help with website decisions. Here are a few links to help with color selections:

  1. Color Schemer
  2. ColorMaker
  3. HTML Color Chart -- gives you a quick reference to color codes
Other useful tools to help with color are Corel's Photoshop Pro and CorelDraw, which has one of the best tools that I have found to help choose the right color group for your site or project. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


Choosing a color scheme for your website can seem like a daunting task. So many to choose from:

Should you go with complementary colors to your product or logo? Should you go with the new celery green or pumpkin orange? Stick to your favorite color? Trust your web designer?

Color on the web is an ever moving target. One of the first things a textbook on web design or coding teaches is that there are web safe colors. These are the colors that are most likely to be produced true by current technology. What this means is that the colors that you agonized over for hours, and that your web designer has coded meticulously for you, can be rendered differently by a web browser. And in a matter of seconds your site goes from deliciously key lime to mucky green slime.

There are so many things that affect how a website is rendered. Sites look different depending on the screen type and resolution of the monitor. Different computers render different looking colors. Browsers affect how color is generated. User settings can make colors lighter, darker, or completely different.

So what can be done to keep that glorious key lime from turning into slime? Your web consultant may have some tricks up her sleeve. There are ways of keeping colors true overall that require a little tweaking to the choice of color and the coding of the site. But keep in mind that the user, your visitor or customer, is always ultimately in control. And that, after all, is what it is all about.      

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top 10 reasons you should hire a Web Consultant

  1. Your web mail has been down; forcing you to post a new email address on your site with apologies to customers for not responding to them for over 10 days.
  2. You've posted your own site but don't have time to test it in major browsers other than the one you are using. You don't know what is meant by resolution.
  3. You've never heard of SEO or site maps.
  4. Your text and pictures are joining each other in the same space and time and that's not exactly the creative image you were going for.
  5. Your page makes high speed Internet feel like a dial up connection.
  6. You haven't had time to update links or post to your blog since 2007.
  7. One of your visitors thought you were an antique dealer because your pictures need updating.
  8. Pictures need to be edited; they're too dark, too fuzzy, or just not that great.
  9. You just don't have the time to do two jobs well.
  10. You want your site to look better than the competition.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The coming of HTML5

The Internet powers that be occasionally update coding.

The next update is just beginning to be seen in the form of HTML5.

Although not currently supported by all the major browsers, browser support is increasing and a major step towards compliance is the release of Internet Explorer 9.

Although older or existing sites should still work well under the new code this may be a good time to get with your web consultant to review your website functionality and discuss what HTML5 can do for you.     

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Websites DIY?

Here are a few ways that you can bring your business to the web:

 Use the tools on the web to do it yourself.
This option is attractive to technically orientated business owners. It certainly is the cheapest alternative and there is some reasonable and even free software available on the web or from hosting providers. This option is good for someone who has a lot of time to learn the ins and outs of website building. You should also purchase a good picture editor and learn how to use it or have someone professionally edit or do your photography. 

Find a friend who will do it free or for nominal fee
Beware of this option. In my marketing rounds I frequently hear of this option being used to the detriment of all. Students and friends move on to other things and are unavailable when things need updating, problems arise, or you need password information.

Hire an cheap online service
Companies like Yahoo have services online that allow you to acquire a website for sometimes 1/2 the cost of a professional. The site will be more generic and you will be required to upload some of the information. In addition there may be additional fees for add ons. Search Engine Optimization may not be included for all search engines. Future support might be spotty at best.

Hire a professional
You may be pleasantly surprised if you have shied away from a website because of cost. A 5-6 page site that provides contact information, service and production info, and a newsletter sign up can be obtained for a nominal fee. Additional fees are required only for more fancier sites with Flash programming or security encrypted sites with shopping carts. And if you require Flash or shopping carts you should hire a professional; these are not options that would be recommended for the DIY. When you go with a professional you will be assured of follow up if problems should arise.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Ten Ways Your Business can use a Blog to Interact with Customers

1) Showcase a new product.

2) Have an online class.

3) Post pictures of customer's using your product or services.

4) Use the blog to post news of sales and post coupons.

5) Have guest experts in your field post to your blog.

6) Spread problem solving solutions.

7) Provide upcoming news about your product or services.

8) Going to a tradeshow? Provide an insiders view.

9) Use the blog as a special club page. 

10) Use it as a forum for answering questions.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Building your Site with a Web Consultant

With so many new faces moving in and out of web consulting how do you pick a web consultant and remain confident that the consultant won't leave you high and dry?

1) Ask for a business history. Even newbies have some kind of history whether it is from a school or previous business experience.

2) Get a written agreement up front.

3) Don't give your own password to your web consultant. If your web consultant sets up your initial site, request your own ID and password and when you receive it change the password immediately. I often hear about password issues. You should have your own log on information separate from anything the web consultant uses.

4) Get estimates and examples of what you can expect before you pay a dime.

5) Do not pay the whole fee up front; and get a delivery completion date in writing. Include in any agreement what will happen if the work isn't completed as agreed.

Following a few simple guidelines will insure that your website project is just what you ordered, completed on time, and that you still hold the keys in the end.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Your Web Consultant

When I'm out talking to people about their websites I often come across business people who aren't happy with their current website and yet have spent thousands of dollars with no satisfaction.

I feel really bad for these bad experiences. Hiring a web consultant should not be a difficult process. Even start up businesses should have some kind of portfolio or sample of what they could do for your business.

Samples should be posted right to the internet and should work as you navigate them. If the web consultant doesn't have good examples then before your business hands over a dime you should ask for a working example, maybe even something worked up specifically for your business.

Building a website is like building a physical building. The final payment shouldn't be paid until you are satisfied. And you should ask for a guarantee up front.