Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

artist/illustrator/designer/webmaster/copywriter/videographer/optimizer/promoter/ad-man

Web Design Tutorial Resources

Originally, I started making this list as a quick reference page for our Web Design and Development group at Google Groups.  Unfortunately, real life interrupted and I never got this list done.

So instead of posting the incomplete list of web design and development tutorial resources to the group, I thought I’d post the start of it here.  This way, the general public can comment on the resources or even add additional online websites offering tutorial resources.

Note that web design requires more than simply knowing how to code and present information in HTML & CSS.  Usually in any such position, highly proficient graphic design skills are required with demonstrable hands-on knowledge of the Photoshop and Illustrator creativity application suites will also be required.  Further skills such as Flash, javascript, or php & MySQL coding proficiency, or experience in SEO or online marketing may well also considered an huge asset.

The aforementioned reason is why it’s often hard to find just the type of tutorial you might require, everyone wants something different, and most tutorial resources only cover specific skillsets.  One site might be offering HTML tutorials while not offering XHTML tutorials.  Another site might cover the CSS standard to version 2 and completely ignore CSS3, etc…

Therefore, I am trying to build a quick reference table of online web design and development tutorial resources.  I want it for my own reference as much as for anyone else’s.  Technology is always evolving in this industry, so it is great to have reliable up-to-date resources from which to learn and to reference.

The W3C (the WorldWide Web Consortium) is apparently too busy developing standards and defining them with barely understandable legal speak, so do not expect any good tutorials there on the site…

http://www.w3.org/
[The W3C (WorldWide Web Consortium) offers Standards Documentation in Legal Speak]

http://www.whatwg.org/
[The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group is currently working on the future HTML 5 Standard in conjunction with the W3C]

However, If the W3C was surely interested in leading the web technology standards, I think that they would have long ago identified their inability to communicate effectively with the rest of the world as well as addressed this problem with some easier to understand interpretations, examples and tutorials.  I personally take exception to some of the things they do, the way they do them, and the way they refuse to explain their lack of reasoning in doing some of the crazy things they do.

Since they don’t recognize this issue we are left to scavenge the web for decent info and tutorials in order to just have decent results.  And no one place completely covers any one standard, let along the lot of them.  In fact, there is no one decent authority to rely on.  Hence, I complied the following list of web design tutorials.

http://www.opera.com/developer/wsc/
[Free Opera Web Standards Curriculum (HTML/CSS)]

http://developer.yahoo.com/
[Free Yahoo Web Developer Network (HTML/CSS)]

http://www.sitepoint.com/
[Free HTML/CSS Tutorials & Reference Material]

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/category/tutorials/
[Free design tutorials for anything to do with design, all levels]

http://www.quackit.com/
[Free HTML/CSS Tutorials for Beginners]

http://www.tizag.com/
[Free HTML/XHTML/XML/CSS/Javascript/AJAX/VBScript/Perl/PHP/MySQL/ASP/Flash/SEO Tutorials for Beginners]

http://www.how-to-build-websites.com/
[Free HTML/XHTML/CSS/Dreamweaver/PHP/Javascript/Flash/Actionscript/PHP Tutorials for Beginners]

http://www.webmonkey.com/
[Free Web Developer’s Resource with many tutorials, articles and reference materials covering almost any web design subject]

http://www.freewebmasterhelp.com/
[Inexpensive HTML/XHTML/XML/WML/WAP/Javascript/SSI/PHP/MySQL/ASP/Cookies/Flash/FTP/.htaccess/Promotion Tutorials]

http://www.hscripts.com/
[Free HTML/CSS/Javascript/Perl/PHP/MySQL/SEO/Linux/Photoshop Tutorials]

http://htmlite.com/
[Free HTML/XHTML/XML/XSLT/CSS/SSI/Perl/PHP/MySQL/Javascript/FTP/.htaccess Tutorials]

http://www.tutorialtastic.co.uk/
[Free HTML/XHTML/CSS/PHP/MySQL/Javascript/Graphics Tutorials]

http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com/tutorials/index.php3
[Free HTML/SQL/MySQL/Javascript/Flash Tutorials]

http://www.echoecho.com/school.htm
[Free HTML/DHTML/XML/CSS/SSI/Perl/PHP/ASP/Cold-Fusion/Java/Flash/Graphics/Design Tutorials]

http://www.sergey.com/web_course/content.html
[HTML/DHTML/XML/CSS/CGI/Javascript/Java/ASP/HTTPS/SSL Free Web Technologies Overview Course]

http://www.jessett.com/
[creating a website: Usability/Graphics/HTML/Dreamweaver/CSS/DHTML/SEO]

http://www.webdesign.org/
[Free HTML/CSS/PHP/ASP/Javascript/Design/Usability/Color/Templates/Photoshop/Fireworks/Gimp/PaintShopPro/CorelDraw/Illustrator/Flash/Swish/3D/SEO Tutorials]

http://www.academictutorials.com/
[Free HTML/DHTML/XHTML/WAP/XML/XSL/XSLT/RSS/DTD/Perl/PHP/Python/ASP/.NET/SQL/Javascript/Java/VBScript/SVG/SMIL/Flash/Photoshop/Gimp/Matlab/Gnuplot/GIF/Graphics/SEO & more Tutorials and Quizes]

http://www.alistapart.com/
[A List Apart is the primary resource for most professional web designers and UI developers. You simply can’t go wrong with the info here, though it often does require a good background in basic HTML/CSS coding to follow.]

http://www.learnable.com/
[Site Point’s paid, but inexpensive, HTML/CSS/Javascript/PHP/MySQL classes]

http://www.lynda.com/
[Lynda.com is a well known and reliable resource for paid design & development classes of all types]

http://iwa-hwg.eclasses.org/
[eClasses.org offers a variety of paid classes and certifications with discounts given to IWA-HWG membership]

Feel free to leave me a comment and add your own suggestions.  As indicated, I was nowhere near done when I started this list and the current list above only represents a small portion of what is currently available.

update May 5th, 2011:
The W3Schools site is full of glaring inaccuracies and no attempt is ever made to correct them despite hand fed the cited inaccuracies and their corrections by reknown industry professionals.  They have been a source of frustration for many professionals.  On top of this they sell HTML/CSS certifications without any authority or accreditation.  Steer clear of this garbage site.  More details can be found at http://w3fools.com/.

Advertisements

November 20, 2009 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Graphic Design, Web Design & Development, Website Optimization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Getting Started on Twitter Info & Tips

I’m sure that you have heard all the buzz on social networking, social media and/or social marketing.  Rest assured that it is a big deal.  This is not all hype.  Social media allows us immediate interaction online, which makes it much more immediately effective and impactful because things do change over time.

For those of you that keep hearing how Twitter is losing visitor traffic to the website and therefore it isn’t important, don’t listen to the naysayers.  That is a bunk statistic because what powers all those Tweets are third party applications and texting from smartphones or PDA devices.  Only recently has Twitter updated the user home page with web 2.0 scripting which allows them to update the user with new Tweet alerts, so no one was really accessing Twitter webpages too much in the first place. Most people are using it from desktop applications on their PC, notebook or netbook, on their smart phone or PDA, and they are using it from all over as they live their day, not just from home.

I can even attest that I have increased sales through Twitter by trying to be helpful, a good resource, and plugging my websites a bit without being spammy.  If you need help with it, just tweet me as @Domainating, or through one of my branded domain names for sale posting account brand names of either @DomainNameGamer or @PremiumBrand.  I am also online there with other accounts, but you might think I am spamming the group if I listed them all (and some of you probably think I am already being too spammy, but I am also trying to elaborate on my point that if you have multiple brands to protect, you should do so).

When “tweeting” on Twitter, remember that you are limited to 140 characters.  All the people (tweople) who follow you will be able to see your tweets (your posts).  It is much like social blogging in 140 character increments.  Anyone searching for posts that use certain keywords can actually see your posts as well.  And you can use this to your advantage by searching for customers looking for recommendations, as well.

Some Simple Tweeting Tips:

Your tweets (posts) can also be seen by even more people when they are retweeted.

As an example, let’s say I saw this tweet from JoeTrippi:

JoeTrippi  Google to improve upon HTTP protocol? Tests show it could speed up page loads by more than 50% http://bit.ly/u6mt9

So maybe I think the Web Design and Development group (WDaDg) members and followers should know this, so I “retweet it” by copying Joe Trippi’s whole post.

Then I start the next post I make with “RT @” – RT means ReTweet, and the @ (at-sign) in front of a username functions as a mention so that they get credit and anyone seeing the retweet can check them out by clicking on the username (and possibly add them as a resource to follow).  so now it looks like this:

RT @JoeTrippi Google to improve upon HTTP protocol? Tests show it could speed up page loads by more than 50% http://bit.ly/u6mt9

…now, everyone following me will see that, as well.  So if you have something significant or valuable to say and do it consistently, you might be followed as a good resource by those who are searching related keywords in posts to follow.

When you mention other tweople’s usernames using the @ mark, they will see it in a special mentions area.  However, others may not see it if it is the @ sign is the first character of the post.  If you want others to see something, you just have to make sure that another character (other than a space) precedes the @.  Lots of tweople use a simple dot so that a reply to someone by mentioning them in the post where they want others to see might look like:

.@Domainating Thanks for the tip.

If you don’t use the dot or other character to precede the @, others still may be able to see it, so not using the dot or other preceding character does NOT make it a private message.  For instance, it still can be seen in your quick quip next to your picture on any of your follower’s (people following you) following page (the list of people they are following, which is accessible from their profile page) as the last post you made when listed there (there are usually multiple pages, you would only be listed on one of them).

If you want to send a message directly to another person (tweep) privately that only they will see, you can send them a Direct message by using a “D”:

D Domainating, you are ugly and your mom wears army boots!

…only I would see that post (or anyone looking over my shoulder when I was accessing it).

The catch is that you can only D (Direct message) your friends.  That means that in order to D the username you want to, you have to be following him/her/it AND they have to be following you (which is considered a mutual friendship).  Perhaps this is why they made @ kind of private if there are no characters in front of it and the username in a message?

The “#” (aka the number sign, the American pound sign of weight, or at Twitter it is most often called the hash tag) mark helps categorize posts and trends that people can access as a keyword or category, so that people can browse tagged messages according to subject.  So I might post…

ICANN accredidation means nothing because all registrars have to follow ICANN rules, and ICANN does not police registrars. #domain #domains

So now this post has been categorized using the hashmark so that other people looking for posts using the domains and domain keywords can easily find them.  They also speak to the trends of subjects in the social network.

Note that you will find tweople looking for recommendations on a web designer, a CMS, a domain registrar, a smartphone, a wireless service, an antiviri & security suite software package, and more, and Twitter can put you immediately in touch with these people.  Now THAT’s real time (social) marketing.

Twitter can be quite useful.  And you will find that as you establish relationships and have engaging conversations, you will reap the most benefits.

Twitter Tools and Utilities:

There are also several directories that specialize in listing tweople.  The most popular is wefollow and by listing yourself there you can gain a following of others interested in the same subjects.

Klout (http://) is a Twitter analysation tool that you may be interested in.

TweetStats n. an app to graph your Twitter stats (or anyone else’s, incase you want to check them out before you follow them if you are worried).  The graphs are nice, but I like to see the most used words and hash tags.

As noted above, I use a Twitter client (third party software) to monitor my Tweets.  My favorite is an Adobe Air application, @TweetDeck:

TweetDeck “TweetDeck is your personal browser for staying in touch with what’s happening now, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook and more.  TweetDeck shows you everything you want to see at once, so you can stay organised and up to date.” …from the homepage itself.

…hope that helps you get started (if you aren’t already)!

Thanks for reading!

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Computing, Internet, Media, Social Communities, Website Optimization | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Contradiction of Search and the PPC Advertising Business Model

This post is a response to the article “Bing Now a Serious Challenger to Google” by Jeff Bertolucci, PC World

One should probably read this article in order to understand the inspiration for this post, though it isn’t absolutely necessary.  The links in this post open in a new window so that you won’t lose your focus here and can get back to this post easily (aren’t I a nice guy?).

Bing can actually be a boon to website designers & developers & teams of whom work together because unlike Google that does not penalize for poorly coded websites, it was reported that Live dropped pages that were improperly coded.

I have already made the argument that good web coding should be rewarded by the search engines in my blog.  I am not asking for awards from the search engines, but it makes sense to me that since a website represents the actual soul of someone’s marketing message, bad code should indicate a very poor marketing effort while professionally done, tight, clean code should be rewarded as such.  And I also emphasize that reducing the ranking ability of tables based layouts should be the very first consideration in establishing that part (of the formula) in the ranking algorithm.

I twittered this previous post to @mattcutts, who is in charge of Google’s Web Spam Department, twice yesterday and yet never received a response from him.  I suppose he gets a bunch of such posts from many being in his position, but I have also seen him respond to such posts, as well.

Matt Cutts has previously indicated that he believed that since the browser may not have had any issues with the underlying code, even if the code was poorly done, no web page was ever penalized for having poor coding practices.  However, this seems to ignore the fact that the worldwide web has become a commercial entity, and that any individual website presence represents the full resources which have been brought to bear for online marketing as a public and professional presence on behalf of a company or person.  Even if a free personal homepage, a web page exists to promote something, even if it is just information.  The sharing of it also helps promote that page’s authority and therefore its presence (possibly indirectly, but usually not).

Let’s face it, the internet is no longer free or even publicly available to all.  It is a goldmine and a company that can leverage itself as an effective online resource can prosper if marketed smart and promoted effectively.

The key here then, is the fact that Google is ignoring the commercialization of the worldwide web (aka: the w3) despite its monopolistic dominance of the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising industry.  This means that a company has no influence based on merit and drives the need for recognition through advertising in order to be noticed.

This same monopolistic attitude is seen in Matt Cutt’s attitude towards paid links.  Even though a paid link represents a measurable online marketing effort by a company or individual, he frowns on them as a purposeful and deliberate means of influencing the search engines.  But that is a protectionist attitude and monopolistic argument, because it is Google’s own algorithm itself that is tallying up direct links as votes for a website, not the marketer.

And since Matt Cutts has warned us that Google may penalize websites in the future, I will tell you that I have personal knowledge of and experienced the fact that Google is now, already started penalizing websites that display suspected paid links.  This is now a known fact based on the performance of a number of my websites which are utilizing free web hosting where paid links are employed in order to offset hosting cost, and also proven by the fact that you can report paid links to Google (as proof, simply check out Google’s “Webmaster Tools” which expedites such reporting by offering a very prominent link to do so).  My web traffic is now negligible and the PR (PR stands for Google’s “PageRank” system or ranking a site from 1-10) is non-existent at almost all these sites.  Although all of these sites are new, they had been previously gaining traffic and growing in unique visits.  A few had a PR of 2 or 3 and most of the rest were at a PR of at l.  There were a few PR 0 sites too, but now most are not even acknowledged by Google’s PR system.  They are all CSS design based WordPress sites.  They all include unique content.

In effect, as a monopoly, Google is trying to funnel any and all advertising sales through it’s own PPC (or Pay-Per-Click, as in paid advertisements) marketing program.  Most people I speak to that are marketing their business themselves and are aware of Google’s “Do not buy links” policy are actually afraid to advertise anywhere else.

The stunning idiotic result from an otherwise very smart and successful internet marketing entity known as Google is that no one there sees this contradicting business model as pure monopolistic. This is a business model which is excessively slanted in its own favor and the end result is highly unbalanced and completely unfair, especially to individuals, professionals, small to medium businesses and any business that is starting up.  Because Google sells links and tells everyone not to buy links.

In other words, Google’s business model suggests that only corporations should consider playing because demonstrated effort and merit through efficient and clean professional code which it spiders on a regular basis has nothing to say or add to a company’s online marketing effort.  And this is completely opposite of how Google should monitor marketing and effective online presence building.

Furthermore, instead of simply influencing marketing channels, Google is using protectionism in order to dominate advertising via its monopolistic presence.  The end result is a message which tells every webmaster and online marketer, “Play it our way and play with us or die.”

Nothing is more contradictory than Google’s advertisement and PPC marketing model if it is actually a serious search engine.  And we all know it is the largest.  But it is now ignoring the webmaster’s efforts in clean and efficient CSS structured and styled, properly coded (X)HTML web pages.

Quite simply, the PPC advertising model is extremely flawed because it relies on a corporation’s ability to play by pouring in gobs of money to secure the top positions with the top bids.  Even though there is a little wiggle room allowed for effective advertising copy (monitored through click-throughs), the end result is that in order to secure the top ads, the price of the advertised product has to support the bid, which makes end-sold products and/or services inherently higher.

One can argue that Frugal is a great alternative to advertising, but Frugal, which promotes low prices and coupons, is not even close to effectively marketed anywhere on the web but at Google.  With Google AdWords, you have the ability to build a woldwide presence instantly for a product, service and/or brand through Google’s content network, and each ad placement is in direct competition with the crux of web content found on each individual page, so users/readers/viewers have already demonstrate an active interested in that type of service/product/brand.  Google offers no such alternative with Frugal, nor does it effectively promote Frugal because it is not in the interest of its business model.  Google only uses Frugal in order to offer an argument against clear protectionist intent and related issues.

Long way to go to make a point that hasn’t been made yet, isn’t it?  That’s right, I still haven’t gotten to the point, all these facts mere lead-up to the idea that… [deep breath]…  if any decent search engine (with a significant presence) actually allies with the web designer/developer/studio to provide truly relevant results based on the seriousness of a company’s marketing effort by rewarding the effort, consistency and merit of professionalism which is demonstrated in the effectiveness of the code which a bot has to crawl and cache any damn way, I am sure that would go an enormously long way in allowing web design/development professionals the recognition they deserve.

But Google’s contradictory business model turns it all upside down.  It wants to see your links and tallies them to help establish your PageRank and this same tally (not the PageRank, but that link tally) also influences your ranking in the search engine results in some significant way through its algorithym.  It monitors your presence and influence on the web, but it sees paid direct links as spam.  It presently and demonstratedly marks sites with reported paid links as spam and stops sending them traffic through its search resources, even though Google is in the actual business of selling links itself, and just because they are indirect pointers to pages that is so-called different (and yet it is still advertising, still paid links).  In order to play, one has to pay Google, driving up product/service costs because Google’s AdWords model is self-corrupting.  And Google continues to scare us into using their PPC ad services.  People and businesses have been broken or made on their understanding and use of this queer system, both through PPC ads and the actual search results.

Why anyone else wouldn’t take advantage of the inherent corruption and contradiction of Google’s business model is beyond me.  Remember in fact that this is how Google started, promising an alliance with webmasters to produce effective search with relevant results.  This is what drew us all in.  And if webmasters saw a true benefit from providing clean code, they would.  But the fact is that Google only cares about content, not marketing (unless it is its own), not professionalism in presentation in the one way it could absolutely and logically measure it.

So in the end analysis leads to only one conclusion for me, this is an opportunity crying to be taken advantage of.  Bing may not be the one with the balls to do it.  It, after all has been a consistent follower in the business of the internet.  It didn’t even get it, at first, and almost missed the boat completely.  But Bing does represent an expression of a search for new ideas.  And yet, Microsoft has historically not embraced innovation in the same way that IBM snubbed Microsoft’s innovation.  It is old and Microsoft has clearly never lead the industry in any sort of innovation with the internet because it suffers from the same old conservative snobby old boys network attitude that IBM scoffed at.  Microsoft just doesn’t understand the new generation and the digital age.

But, in the same way, Google is doing the exact same thing.  It has forgotten its alliance with webmasters and web professionals.  Google now inhibits business through the same lack of understanding in the unfairness of its business model.

Which actually leaves the door wide open for a new player.  Yahoo is, after all, primarily a portal, is branded as such, and is ever abandoning any of its efforts in search because it refuses to innovate.

Anyone want to start a search engine?  The sky is literally the limit.  It should embrace net socialization, all forms of web media, localization and news.  Without utilizing a business unfriendly contradictory business model. No one does that, and it would be easy to do effectively.  But that’s another post for another time.  😀

By the way, can anyone reach the present that Google left me?  It’s dead-center in the middle of my back. Actually, it’s not that bad.  The percentage of websites I have on free web hosting is not very significant, so the blade is tiny.  But I was one of those webmasters that jumped on the Google bandwagon, so the betrayal does sting.

My code has evolved, but Google refuses to evolve their search and refuses to acknowledge superior design code.  That said, so does every other search engine.  Because they all are on the PPC marketing kick, too.  But Google and I had a thing going.  Actually, we still do, breaking-up is hard to do no matter how much a loved one may abuse you.

You know?

…………………………………
Associated Reference Links:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/181980/bing_now_a_serious_challenger_to_google.html
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Google, Government/Politics, Internet, Media, Sales, Search, Web Design & Development, Website Optimization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Web Design: CSS or Tables Based Layouts?

I’m going to be the odd man out, here.  Most professional web designers can’t stand tables based lay-out techniques and will knock them down with extreme prejudice and fierce abandon.  But if you truly look at the real issue, that at this time and place it really doesn’t seem to matter to anyone but us professional web designers, you might want to re-examine the issue.  There are, after all, exceptions to every rule.

I started in this business as a web designer.  I suppose the only one phrase that describes me now is entrepreneur (and I can’t even spell it without checking an online dictionary).  I now wear so many hats that I realize the differences between extremely closely related positions will vary only on our perception.  In fact that the very same job can be defined in different ways, both advantageously, and hypocritically.

As web designers and developers we look to produce visually stunning websites.  Our approach will vary widely.  Some will approach the problem using color and styled text.  Some may use textures or images to define a look.  Others will use Flash to communicate their message.  Even others will incorporate video, possibly even HD quality produced video shorts or effects.

There is no right answer to this design issue, here.  Each method of approaching the problem can produce great results.  Each method comes with its own burden to accomodate.  For instance, minimalistic text based sites with very little imagery usually do not look spectacular unless they are well styled with CSS.  But just because someone used CSS to style text does not mean the author used a tableless design structured with CSS.

But the end product of our work is not hidden at all, because aside from other design elements (such as text, images, Flash, video and (text/image/flash/video) menus), we are simply presenting content.

All it takes is to glance at the code and the date it was created to understand whether a site is professionally designed, or not.  By that, I mean whether or not the code uses tables for layout, or CSS.

I have not mastered CSS although I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at it.  Hopefully I will continue to get better.  I know I look like a guru to the average web surfer, but I am learning from much smarter people (and they know who they are).  😉

But just because someone needs to create, design and develop a website does not mean they need to use professional design methods.  I do ever so strongly and emphatically encourage using CSS for website design structure, though.

Although I am still not seeing any benefits in my websites which are CSS based over my table based websites in the search engines, I am sure that this will turn around soon.  In fact, I think that any website that is using table based website design will be put into a non-professional, not serious about marketing their message and not serious about their brand presentation category.

That hasn’t happened yet, and I actually fear that the delay in this happening is now long, long overdue.  Ever since IE7 was introduced, IE has been capable of supporting CSS with a few tweaks.

However, not every design requires a professional touch.  Not every website needs a good composition, or even a design theme.

As an example, let’s say I have 500 domain names.  Some are generic names and some are brand names.  I’d like to develop all of them because brand domain names that sit on a parking service receive no clicks, and therefore no PPC revenue and I at least need them to pay for their own registration.  My keyword names might see some clicks, so I am particularly interested in getting the brands going with websites and traffic.

I have some choices, but for examples I will simplify… I can put up a website a day using tables, or I can take a bit of time and do it right and put up a website every two weeks, or possibly something really nice once a month.  So, in the end the decision is simple, will I chose quantity over quality, or vice-versa?

Quite honestly, sometimes the content develops itself before the presentation presents itself.

While I now always use CSS and have fun experimenting with how I might push it (but it never seems to work for me because I expect more than it can deliver), I do understand why some domainers put up a minisite (or two) every day using templates, tables and/or wysiwyg editors.  So because of my position as a domainer, I understand why others do what they do.  But it is my roots as a web designer that I still try to maintain some intellect concerning my website designs, even the ones that are not pretty (and I have quite a few).  At least the underlying code is pretty.  And that is the structure of the website that can easily be styled later.  So I do not fret.

Now, suppose you are not highly educated and fell into the position as a webmaster because you are known to surf the web and download files and fixed someone’s email one time.  You aren’t getting paid for a professional level of work,  and your cheap micro-managing stingy employer who has not one clue is not about to give you a raise or compensate you for HTML classes.  Buying a $50.00 book on HTML & CSS web design might not even seem like a good idea for you because you think you can accomplish everything with a wysiwyg editor.  And really, you only want to keep this job because you don’t want to have to look for another one.  Maybe when the economy turns around, you will.  And they are clueless as to what professional web design is, anyway.  You bet I can understand this type of situation with employers who do not get it.  I have been there, but I just plain know better because I do take pride in my work.

I have spent thousands of dollars on software when working in a $10,000.00/year job, because the employer wouldn’t.  I didn’t buy the software for him/her, I bought it for myself at home.  Then I recommended they buy it only to realize that they would also need to upgrade their computer, as well.  So there are plenty of small businesses using wysiwyg editors or template based design studios simply because they refuse to enter the 21st century and upgrade their equipment every few years.

It is my position that such instances of table based layouts that any search engine runs into absolutely needs to start lowering the rank of such poorly designed web presences.

The trouble is, there may be instances in where an informational website uses a table to display information correctly and appropriately.  And that is the problem, I think, the search engines have not studied how to separate the table layout design from the table layout function.

But, it is still wrong to use tables based layouts unless your informational web site/page requires such a tabled relationship in order to display information.

Let’s face it, most designs will not look like:

<html>
<head>
</head>
<body>
<table>
 <tr>
 <td colspan="2"><img src="/logo.gif" /><h1>Heading</h1></td>
 </tr>
 <tr>
 <td>Menu Links</td>
 <td><p>Content here and lots of it.</p></td>
 </tr>
 <tr>
 <td colspan="2"><p>Footer Info</p></td>
 </tr>
</table>
<p align="center">Copyright Info</p>
</body>
</html>

This code looks too easy for any thing (bot or algorithm) to recognize, so I do feel that the search engines are failing professional designers.  And I cannot understand why.

Is it in fact that the search engines suck so badly by not prioritizing effective professional design principles and ignoring the “love, care and pride” that goes into a standards compatible website that has actually screwed-up our economy? By allowing substandard design to go completely unnoticed and professionally designed cross-browser compatible superior website design coded with love, care and affection for the visual arts to be completely unrecognized and the achievement ignored?

Clearly, this is where the search engines can and should make a difference.  Most tables based websites are crap or spam.

I know the search engine cannot understand visual impact, stunning graphics, effective presentation or even creative branding.  And yet, by simple logic I know that they can easily understand code and code patterns to reveal the fact that some websites are simply better put together than others.

Right now, it just doesn’t matter how you design a website unless you take any sort of pride in your work.  But it better, and soon.  Because there really ought to be a huge penalty for neglecting simple web design principles.  And for the search engines to deny our professionalism to our work is for them to disregard their own lack of professionalism.  They are simply producing web spam themselves by ignoring these problems and featuring ugly, poorly coded crap sites over clean coded masterpeices.

So I wonder, has Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft (Bing) let us down?  I think they have, immensely.  They simply are not acting like web professionals themselves because they are not recognizing good technique.

The whole point is, it should matter.  CSS structured websites are far superior to tables based websites.  CSS uses less resources and memory, loads quicker, and is more efficient in both user-end functionality as well as design management for the coder.  It truly is a sin to use tables based websites in a professional environment.

Heck, tables based websites are also good indicators of web spam.  That’s all there is to it.

Use CSS structured layout designs, folks.  If you don’t know how, learn.  Become a professional or die.  And hurry-up Google, Yahoo & MSN, start killing off some of the non-professional designers.  The sooner, the better.

If you think that tables based web design is OK, I have one last argument for you.  Grab a Droid or other Android based phone/pda device and load your tables based websites into it.  More than likley, any tables based website will look like crap. The Android OS and its default browser were developed more recently and do not have the backward compatibility for tables based layout display.  This is actually a plus, as it is disseminating tabular data.  Search engines can actually utilize tabular data more effectively if it treats it as such.  This allows search functionality more sense in the search results if the description can be placed for a product at a specific price.

So using tables is truly improper now that we do not need it for layout.  At one point we did.  That point is long in the past, now.

These same tables based websites actually pretend to look OK on the iPhone MOST of the time, but will also have display issues when loading the presentation some times.  And if you want to be taken as a web design professional, don’t you want to avoid looking like crap, ever?

November 11, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Google, Graphic Design, Internet, Search, Web Design & Development, Website Optimization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Soo-Foo.com Sold

I finally received my $600.0o check from Network Solutions’ Certified Offer Service for the sale of Soo-Foo.com, yesterday.  I had been awaiting this payment for quite some time and the whole transaction was mired with delays.  I am certainly glad to have finally received this payment, although I now know to charge more per sale if I ever get a an offer through this service ever again.  Although NetSol offered me $600.00 and paid me exactly $600.00 for Soo-Foo.com, this sale was well over a month in the making and once the transfer of the domain name had been completed and verified, it still took over 10 days for them to process the payment, issue a check and for me to receive it.  Heck, I had it transferred over to NetSol within 5 days.

The main problem is that NetSol only looks after itself, not its customers.  They use every trick in the book in order to screw their clients.  Once the transfer is complete and verified, the payment is authorized for processing.  Except even then, once the transfer has been completed and verified by Friday, the payment isn’t actually issued until the checks are printed the following week, on Thursday.  Talk about a racket, NetSol has purposely structured everything in order to give everyone else the shaft.  Obviously no one gets their check until next week, so NetSol is sitting on this payment an unusually long time before the funds are ever deducted from their bank account.

Every other domain name broker or sales service is paying the seller immediately upon a successful transfer verification through PayPal or the user’s set payment method.  That means that I would be paid on the very same day, anywhere else.  It just shows what an evil attitude NetSol uses in conducting business.  They really have no sense of fairplay at all.

Note also that Network Solutions uses the very same contract for every single one of its customers.  The same contract covers domain name sales of any type, and is extended to be overly and dramatically long to cover the specifics of each and every domain name extension, and all other legal speak, as well.  It also covers its web hosting, design services, along with anything and everything else it could ever thing of selling or taking commissions on.  The contract itself is a breach of contract by its very design as a way to buck the first law of business, because it fails to constitute any attempt to do business fairly by any stretch of the imagination.  NetSol’s conglomerated contract is unrealistic to any consumer, or anyone else that NetSol does business with, and is purposely meant to create confusion and make the reader give-up on making sense of the crap.

Obviously, NetSol hasn’t changed.  It’s this crappy “holier-than-thou” corporate law attitude with virtually no support  and complete lack of social responsibility that made me become my own domain name registrar at Domain Hostmaster.  Unlike NetSol, we take pride in delivering extremely low prices and offering full customer tech support on any issue.  But NetSol continues doing whatever they want on the mere basis that they control the registry, which of course is their primary business (and probably why NetSol so flagrantly abuses its human customer relationships).

I am sure that the buyer was happy, as whoever it was messed-up in the first attempt to purchase the domain at the agreed upon price after the first month was up and hadn’t sent the required FAX that NetSol’s Certified Offer Service was looking for, and I did not quibble about the price once they re-initiated a contract for sale after the previous offer and contract had expired.

I have made a mistake, though.  I deleted the sales listing for Soo-Foo.com from my Sedo account.  I should have just set it as ‘not for sale’ because the new owner still hasn’t changed the name servers for the domain.  That means that any PPC funds the domain produces using the old name servers set for Sedo will be lost to me since I can not add the domain name again as I won’t be able to be verified as the owner.

The new owner might be able to recover those funds if he/she signs-up at Sedo, though.  But probably won’t if he/she/they wouldn’t even bother trying to purchase the name through Sedo, originally.  Or maybe the buyer hasn’t actually taken possession of the name yet and it is still sitting in NetSol’s escrow account.  That would figure.

Despite NetSol’s attempt to treat anyone as badly as possible in order to leverage all advantages to itself, the sale of Soo-Foo.com did go through and I am happy with the outcome.  But I am not happy with the process as noted above, but that isn’t even the full story.  After acknowledging the successful transfer of the domain name to their transfer holding account in one email, the Certified Offer Service sent another email indicating that the transfer was unsuccessful and the sale was stopped.  This was obviously a hick-up in their system programming, but it is truly an enormous problem.  Why the heck can’t this giant corporate player get simple domain name transfer monitoring programmed correctly?

To top that off, upon receiving the first email saying that the transfer to their specified holding account was verified early in the day on Friday, that second email indicating that the transfer had failed and therefore the sale halted came late in the day on Friday and I did not see it until after the close of business.  Of course I wrote back, strongly objecting to their apparent failure to fulfill their contract of sale and threatening legal action if they did not complete the transaction.  And of course, since it was the weekend I did not expect a reply until the next week.  But I didn’t even get that reply on the following Monday.  It was late on Tuesday before I heard an apology for their mistake.  I can’t believe how unprofessional they are.

Thank God I have setup Domain Hostmaster, because as a Domainer I require great honest support available 24/7 at the kinds of competitive prices that anyone can afford along with all those free extras I include in every package.  And yes, I am my own best customer.  😉

By the way, what does “Soo-Foo” mean, you may ask?  That is the nickname for the city of Sioux Falls (pronounced Soo Fahls), where I live.  So I did have some designs on that domain name, myself.  Luckily, I have a couple of other options for local area branding solutions that are still in my possession.  😀

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Domain Names, Internet, Sales | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Widget Droid

I registered the domain name WidgetDroid.com yesterday.  I think that Android 2 is a big hit and it just needs some decent devices to take advantage of it. Verizon has already announced that they will be releasing the Droid to the public on Friday, which appears to be a very highly capable smart phone/device.

I didn’t register WidgetAndroid.com for 2 reasons: widgetandroid.com looks more like Widget And Roid than Widget Android, and because Google has declared the Android name as a Trademark and seem to want to protect that name.

But I want to get an Android powered smart phone someday, when I can afford it, and I think this domain will be a good one for recommending and selling widget downloads for the Android operated devices that will be coming out, now.

Wish me luck!  😉

-Doug

November 4, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Computing, Devices, Domain Names, Google, Internet, Sales | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment