Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

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

The 2014 Cyber Land Rush

Land Rush on New Domain Extensions – 2014

It’s a new age for a new land rush, as ICANN has authorized a long list of new global domain name extensions for public consumption.

Recently, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), has released a whole bunch of new gTLD (global Top Level Domain) extensions to the general public.  Most of these have been out for a little while, but I have been so busy that I didn’t have time to post.  There will be a whole bunch more to follow these, as well.  So we still are just around almost halfway through the release of this new variety of extensions.

Obviously some great names are gone.  Lots of domainers often automate the task of registering the names they want.  I personally think that some domainers (who are much better off than I) go a bit overboard because they can afford to.  You aren’t going to sell domains on a regular basis unless you have a large stock of generic names, though.

Still, I believe that the .com extension will win out as the best domain name extension to have in the US simply for a long time yet, because people here aren’t used to using anything else.  As United States citizens, we don’t even bother to register .US versions of our own beloved brands much of the time.  To me, that is a huge oversight.

But I did manage to grab a few myself, including…

There are some good ones out there, I’m planning on getting more, but I am actually scrambling to protect my current brands.  The new domains are a bit more expensive, so we have to be selective.  But this land rush seems to be

The new list of extensions supposedly allows everyone a chance of getting a good domain name.  It would be just too hard for all the domainers to snap every good name up, but be sure that most of the generics are gone.  That’s just a fact of life in this day and age.

Some of the generic names just aren’t even available.  As I mention above, site.domains isn’t available to anyone, even though I have personally created the Site Domains Trademark and built a great brand behind it.  What is crazy to me is that everyone in the domainer community shunned me for grabbing sitedomains.com, saying that it wasn’t very good, catchy or short enough.  But now I supposedly can’t register the .domains version and capitalize on my investment?

So, the rules are a little different with this new flood of gTLD (global Top Level Domain) extensions.  The real benefactor in the short run, is ICANN, who is cashing in on already established brands while we little guys try to protect our brands.  After all, it only takes a nut to grab an extension and deface the brand in order to build any notoriety and ill-will directed squarely at the brand.

The new list of available extensions is actually quite long and adding them all to the drop down extensions menu would make that search utility less effective.  So the best thing to do is, in the registration search field, enter the domain name, a dot (period) and then extension that you wanted to check.  It is probably a the easiest to do it, and more self explanatory, from the shop.domainhostmaster.com subdomain of Domain Hostmaster, though.

I’ll be adding info on the new extensions into the http://www.domainhostmaster.com section soon, under a new gTLD  directory (www.domainhostmaster.com/new-gtld/) as soon as possible (I have been working a great deal, lately).

Here is the current list of the new extensions ready for registration at Domain Hostmaster

New Extensions List

.camera
.media
.photos
.photography
.pictures
.exposed
.graphics
.gallery
.webcam
.productions
.lighting

.exchange
.trade
.bargains
.cheap

.computer
.support
.systems
.domains
.directory
.club
.bar
.pub
.social
.buzz
.email
.zone
.cool
.dating
.singles

.bike
.watch
.diamonds
.glass
.parts
.toys

.works
.agency
.company
.associates
.partners
.enterprises
.industries
.international
.foundation
.holdings
.ventures
.capital
.estate
.land
.lease
.house
.condos
.villas
.farm
.properties
.management
.careers
.marketing
.consulting
.guru
.expert
.engineering
.services
.solutions
.technology
.equipment
.supply
.supplies
.tools

.training
.education
.academy
.university
.institute
.community
.center
.town
.events
.tips
.reviews
.report
.today
.wiki

.holiday
.vacations
.voyage
.cruises
.flights

.glass
.coffee
.vision
.solar
.democrat
.catering
.cleaning
.florist
.ninja
.camp
.rest
.fish
.recipes
.rentals
.clothing
.kitchen
.plumbing
.contractors
.construction
.builders
.limo
.cab
.shoes
.dance
.cards
.bid
.ink
.uno
.gripe
.xyz
.futbol
.maison
.tienda
.viajes
.immobilien
.kaufen
.reisen
.moda

I’ll follow-up later, I am still very busy.  But there will be many more added soon, ICANN has a lot of new ones coming.

Remember that if you decide to do business with me at Domain Hostmaster, it will be highly appreciated!   😉   Plus, we quite honestly do offer the best prices around, the best management control panels, the best servers and network operations center available (on several continents), and the best support staff in the industry.

Thanks so much.   Have fun domaining!

Advertisements

August 9, 2014 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Business, Domain Names, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Web Page Titles/Names

If you are using one of the latest browsers on your PC, or browse the web on a mobile device, it is very likely that you don’t even see the name of the page your current browser window is displaying.

Why?

Web page titles and even their filenames are important assists in helping your site’s web pages search. By providing a unique title and name that reflects the content found on that particular document, you are providing more meta data to the search engines. If your title/name meta data are accurate for each page, this optimizes search. And we optimize the ability for searching the page, we optimize search for the entire website.

I would think that by optimizing search, the search engines might even be more likely to rank your site’s page higher in the search results. This is the general idea behind Search Engine Optimization (SEO), providing optimized data to enhance your listing’s rankings in the search engine results (often referred to as SERP for your ‘Search Engine Ranking Position’ or ‘Search Engine Results Positioning’).

Yet as I surf the web, it seems to me that more and more I am running across pages that are completely untitled, or all the pages in a website share the company name, or are simply titled and named inappropriately (home, page 1, page 2, page 3…). I have even seen many that are labelled “Untitled”, which seems to be the default name that WYSIWYG web page editors use.

But if you look at how we use the web nowadays, it doesn’t seem unrealistic that this is so unimportant to so many. People in the know understand fully how important these names and titles can be when it comes to optimizing search, because these particular fields, even the filename, are concise representations of what might be found on that page, and therefore, words that appear there, as well as are repeated elsewhere throughout the description, headings, content and image descriptions (maybe even in the image file names), are given more importance in search.

Because the title and name of a page usually use concise wording, even most of the very basic search algorithms place even more importance on the few words found here. And when there are fewer words used, their importance is greater for each word there, because importance is less spread-out when they are concise, as opposed to a certain importance spread between more of them.

That, by the way, is how some SEO professionals think, and I completely disagree, that using more key search words is good.  It is much better to be concise and concentrate on the keywords and terms that are your focus.  These can be underlined with synonyms and such in the content, but to stuff keywords in a title or filename, even in a description or keywords list (within meta tags) is just not a good idea.  But that is a different subject, overusing names and titles.  I just want to encourage their practical use, and even all of the major search engines like to see this, too.  It’s called paying attention to the details.

Of course, any modern advanced search technology uses much more refined algorithms, but it always starts right there, with each page’s own name and title. Why do so many overlook them and their importance to search?

My answer is that the new modern web browsers are making it less important.

When I am browsing the web on my PC these days, I am in productivity/creativity mode, and I usually only have a single web browser window open. But that one browser window is full of tabs showing all sorts of different webpages for all the different online projects I am working on.

Often, I have a tab open for the font creation tool I am currently utilizing. Another for each of my different hosting accounts I manage. Another for my WordPress blog, one tab for Blogger and yet another for Tumblr. I usually always have my Twitter and Facebook accounts readily available, as well.

On top of that I will have the websites open that I am working on, and the next ones I want to touch-up, as well. Because we can do that with modern browsers on a fairly recent machine that has some processing power and enough memory.

So, what do I see as the title of each page in these tabbed windows? Well, since the current open tab is not enhanced above the individual tabs (as it should be) in Chrome or FireFox, I see:

[In] [In] [W] [S-] [Pr] [H] [H] [Sh] [D] [g] [W] [Bl] [T]…

Browser Tabs (Screen grab)

Reduced size screen snapshot of my browser tabs. Chrome shows a letter, maybe 2. FireFox shows a word, maybe 2 short ones. But both are ignoring the current active title, as well as all the others.

It is the modern web browser that is masking how important those Titles are!

If the title of the page isn’t even displayed in the current active browser window, this is a huge burden in educating users the importance of the proper use of the HTML title tag. Especially when Google is declaring that what is the most important thing to it is that their search results are reflecting what the visitor actually sees and is presented with upon arrival to that document.

Isn’t Google itself devaluating these titles in Chrome?

Interestingly enough, your PC or Mac web browser’s address bar is still there by default and yet most users and even many webmasters are ignoring its importance. Site administrators, owners and webmasters ignore it with non-related domain name choices and even more poorly thought-out directory organization and file naming conventions.

However, the issue does not stop there. Because screen space is so important on smart phones and handheld devices, the page title doesn’t appear unless we are switching between different page views. In fact, the web browser’s address bar disappears as soon as we scroll down the page a little. That said, as soon as we start scrolling up, it will reappear, reaffirming its importance to navigation. But I honestly don’t think that anyone understands that importance, because I find myself frustrated not having a gadget that represents the browser bar there for me to tap and access.

My differences in UI (user interface) design vary greatly from the mobile plaftform, though. I believe in visual clues that allow navigation. Unfortunately, the mobile UI is very unfriendly in this respect. So although you do have elderly people adopting smart phones, I find them even more frustrated with the expected UI experience because they are expecting a GUI and not the touch motion technology that mobile users have to learn.

Nevertheless, despite the challenges of humans interacting with mobile device interfaces, it remains clear that Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s FireFox are abandoning the display of the all important web page title unless you actually look for it. So now is it becoming just meta data?

I have to ask myself why, and I really do think that they too, are sick of seeing unused or inappropriate HTML document titles. Since the webmastering public at large doesn’t use the title tags correctly, why should they even display them, I suppose?

But doesn’t this start down a new slippery slope where we don’t even worry about our page titles because they are so out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind?

Or are they actually going to give SEO professionals a reason to stick around because as always, all they have ever done is tackle the obvious that a newbie webmaster or newbie web designer without a clue would miss?

Nevertheless, despite their somewhat inappropriate disappearing act from the full view of the global world wide web community, web page titles and names do have a proven impact on assisting search. So it is then obvious that these things really do require your attention when designing a website, setting up a new page, posting a new blog entry, etc…

Just remember that each name and title reinforces the key search words/terms, advertising copy and even the brands themselves that are represented on these pages and it all makes common sense, doesn’t it?

In example…   If you are creating a page about the different kinds of rodent traps, you might want to name your web page HTML file as “rodent-traps.html” and title it “Rodent Traps for the Home”.  Then, on that page you would discuss the different kind of traps available for different kinds of rodents.  Use head tags to identify different kinds of content.  Then, you will link to pages about particular traps or brands… so maybe you have another page discussing Rat Traps at “rat-traps.html” and it may discuss the differences between poison traps, concussion traps and sticky traps, then each of those may point to reviews on particular brands of traps at other pages showcasing those brands or products.

I can go into more detail, but to me this is all common sense.  Of course, I am a well educated web designer, as well as an artist.  I’m supposed to understand this stuff.  But not all webmasters do, and so that’s why I want to reintroduce some of these common sense practices to the world, because when a page title or name disappears, we think about these little beginning design touches a lot less, and yet they are very important to the grand scheme of search.

I don’t preach Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I preach search optimization (which has a better effect on SERP because you eliminate the worry).

August 2, 2014 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Business, Computing, Devices, Domain Names, Google, Internet, Search, Smart Devices, The Human Condition, User Interface eXperience, Web Design & Development, Website Optimization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Customize your FireFox browser experience with a Persona!

These days we all like to customize our stuff so that it reflects our own personality.  New industries have sprung out of the desire for custom vinyl car, phone and laptop wraps.  And of course we can do the same thing with our FireFox browser now, using Personas, which act like little FireFox browser themes.

We all have to think about how we want to promote our businesses online.  SEO doesn’t work unless there is some sort of promotion program in place.  The more creative ideas always seem to win out over just submitting your website to the directories.

People who make good videos tend to get lots of viewers.  I keep wanting to make my own tutorials but the screen recording and presentation software has always been out of my budget (let me know if you have something free/share-ware that works).

But I finally decided to take a look at how I can get my work out there.  Because I have so many domains, I have been making lots of logos for my minisites & blogs.  But I have always been trying to find a way to share my graphic design skills.

I had been so busy that I hadn’t noticed it.  But every time FireFox updated to a new version it was always inviting me to try out the new personas.  To tell you the truth, I don’t like a lot going on in my browser.  I don’t want it to clash with other websites or be too busy.  I’ve even stopped using the Google Toolbar because it refused to share the same line with any other toolbar and pushed the content down and closed my visible window on the cyberworld.

But as a graphic designer my curiosity has finally gotten the better of me and I was quite amazed what I found there.  Many were just plain awesome because they invoke loyalty to a brand such as the Vikings, the Twins or the Yankees… I even have a couple Superman themes for FireFox, now.

But later I made a few of my own.  The first few have finally been approved at:

http://www.getpersonas.com/en-US/gallery/Designer/SymbioticDesign

Some of these are actually quite busy for a texture pattern, but I’m learning and they still seem to work well for some people with less going on than I have.  Some could actually be modified further if someone wanted to.  And I usually added credit for my business or a website in somewhere (usually on the bottom footer image) with a blatant plug for my website.

I’m still experimenting with stuff and a whole bunch of others are pending, but it’s just a good idea I thought I might share.  It might go somewhere, it might not, but the idea of having a technically sophisticated user (I think most FireFox users are well up on things) that might see my creativity and check out my websites (I am promoting quite a few of them in different patterns), sounded like a good idea and a real win-win if my graphic eye is attracting them to my services.

Thought you might like the idea.

I know there are some “Personas” that I made that maybe I shouldn’t have uploaded, but everyone likes something different and as indicated, I have  just started toying around with this.  I think I have a few better ones that I expect to be approved soon and I am even going to be tapping other parts of my hard drive (some of my folders seem to be growing spiderwebs but have images I know would work well).

Here are some examples of FireFox Personas that I thought worked well:

Brushed Recessed Metal

Brushed Recessed Metal Persona Preview Image

Brushed Recessed Metal Persona by Symbiotic Design (Preview Image)

Space Craft Panels Persona

Space Craft Panels Persona

Space Craft Panels Persona by Symbiotic Design (Preview Image)

Knurled Persona

Knurled FireFox Persona

Knurled FireFox Persona by Symbiotic Design (Previe Image)

Alien Ribs

Alien Ribs Persona

Alien Ribs Persona by Symbiotic Design (Preview Image)

Blue Angels 1 through 6

Blue Angels 1 through 6 Persona

Blue Angels 1 through 6 Persona by Symbiotic Design (Preview Image)

Wavy Grill

Wavy Grill Persona for ForeFox

Wavy Grill Persona by Symbiotic Design

It’s easy enough to use another designer’s Persona or with very little work you can make your own.  Although it is free, it helps get the word out about your sites and stuff, if you decide to try to make your own to promote yourself or your business.

I’m sure there are other such avenues, if you do something similar, post it here (or in a new thread).

As another designer pointed out, we do have to be careful about what images we use.  I made all my designs, or used photography that I had taken.  Be sure that you have the rights to use anything that you might come up with in your own Personas.  If it’s Copyright at all, make sure it’s your Copyright!  😉

July 28, 2010 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Computing, Graphic Design, Internet, Media, Social Communities, social media | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sick & Tired of Facebook SPAM

I am really starting to get tired of all the spam… “So-and-so” posted “something” on your wall, but when you look at it, you are sent to an application that is supposed to quiz you and has nothing to do with anyone, writing on my wall, a photo of me that someone commented on, a picture of me within a photo, a nquestion about me, or anything.  Spam is what made me walk away from Yahoo, they did not take my privacy seriously.  Google has, and although I don’t like their monopolistic corporate greed attitude, I am still there because they are seemingly serious about protecting my account.

This is the same reason that people left MySpace and strolled over to Facebook.  We were sick of all the spam.  But if Facebook is just going to become another damn haven for spammers, you can count me out.

Facebook, get your head out of your butt right now.  Or I will be gone.

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Media, Product Design, Social Communities, social media, The Human Condition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Posted my Logo Designs to Facebook

I’ve posted quite a few of my logo designs to Facebook.  As I am looking for a decent career somewhere, I am hoping that my talents with logos (which I absolutely love doing) might help win the right company over.

The link to my Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/symbioticdesign

You do not have to be my friend to see my the ‘photo’ album: Logos by DP at the next link:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=23644&id=1628191759&l=c081e8a41a

Enjoy!
(If not, comment me with your criticism)
-Doug

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Graphic Design, Logo Design | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Career Search

Trying to find a good job is in itself a full-time job.  And now I am starting to get pretty discouraged.  Although I am still working on my own projects, these self-employment web design projects are now becoming few and far between as less work is coming in.

It is actually a pretty bad, huge mistake to make on the behalf of business, not to advertise or not to hire.  It is now, when the advertising rates are lower, and the job market is full of great talent, that companies need to continue advertising and hiring the cream of the crop people it needs not only to survive, but to grow in the face of difficult times.

Advertisers that continue throughout these hard times will be rewarded in the long run because they will have much less of a difficult time establishing brand recognition when compared to the competition that refuses to maintain brand awareness.  Part of that reason is that consumers are more careful and are now establishing lasting business relationships with people they trust.

It is the same reasoning that businesses need to continue hiring the talent required to not only survive this economy, but to grow in spite of it, because the landscape of the internet and successful marketing techniques are changing so quickly that new alliances and innovative approaches have to be developed quickly and effectively with the business community itself.  Sit on your laurels too long and it is highly likely that your company will not survive the current economic devastation we are experiencing.  If GM and Chrsyler did not teach us through their lack of innovation, we have learned absolutely nothing.

I had been able to look pretty optomistic about all of this until now, as I know that I have great talent to offer the right company for the right position.  Unfortunately, I am not getting any favorable replies from anyone, anywhere.

Admittedly, I am located in a bad spot here in South Dakota.  Very few companies here get the new medias.  They are still having trouble accepting television’s role as a marketing tool, much less understanding that every single business and professional require a well branded portfolio that can represent the business in a positive light 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (or 366 days per year on a leap year).

We started out here not simply because I have roots here, but because it is such a great place to raise a family.  However, due to the considerable lack of understanding for the incredible advances in technology and new media, my skills have largely been ignored by the community as a whole.  Plus, it is more of a challenge for me to get the word out about my business when I am working out of a home office.

However, I am still trying to remain positive in my career search despite the frustration I have encountered.  But just like taking my business to the next level by aqcuiring a commercial property, it seems that in order to be noticed by potential employers outside my own area, I really need to personally visit their locations.  This is actually much more difficult than I would have thought.

It takes so long just to establish contact with a potential employee that it is significantly difficult to setup a scheduled appointment with any one of them.  And herein lies the real problem, because I have no problem visiting any location in the pursuit of a career advancement.

While it is true that I will make significantly less than I would be getting as a freelance artist/designer/copywriter/webmaster/seo/promoter/marketer/director on a contract basis, the reason that I am looking to find a decent career in the web design industry and relocate to wherever I am required for such a new position is the very attidude that I am facing because of the ignorance in this area for my industry.

Although getting to a few interviews for my craft is still a vital concern of mine, I have run into an article that was quite eye-opening for me.  In fact I actually started writing this post so that I could mention it. Therefore I should possibly apologize for this post since I am sort of backing into this recommendation, but I found that the Seven Great Questions to Ask at a Job Interview was a great article posted at Lifehack. If you are looking, or thinking of looking for a new position, I highly recommend that you read this article.

Remember, the interview is for you, as well.  Any company would want you to make an informed decision if you are offered the job.  They don’t just want people who can offer winning interviews, they actually require a person that is capable of performing the job and fulfilling its requirements as they see it,  as an educated leader.  But if you don’t know what that position entails, you are probably flunking the interview as yet another amongst the masses of applicants they are getting, anyway.

Though I have had a few interviews, they have not been in my chosen field of web design.  I know HTML, XHTML, CSS, graphic design, branding, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, copy writing, keyword optimization, search availability, website optimization, online marketing, social networks, one way link building, search engine marketing, PPC adverising, as well as traditional marketing and advertising.  I am also gaining knowledge and experience in Flash and have quite a few tricks up my sleeve for other creative solutions to web design issues.  In short, most serious businesses need someone like me directing their creative art department.

I just don’t have the resources to expand my business to the next level with a commercial presence and a complete advertising campaign.  And just like any other advertising business, I would be doomed to failure without a significant advertising campaign.

Which is why I am quite serious about relocating out of this family friendly area back into a metropolis where my talents would be valued and exploited.  I need a steady career that my family can count on guys, and if you are checking out my blog, please consider that I am quite serious about excelling as the web designer everyone would want.

July 10, 2009 Posted by | Brands, Employment, Government/Politics, Graphic Design, Media, The Human Condition, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Autos and Automotive Article Sites

Autos and Automotive Trademark Logo

Autos and Automotive Trademark Logo

I’ve setup a few blog websites to protect one of my brands, Autos and Automotive, which is a Trademark that I’ve been planning on developing for some time. Getting the right products (or services) to base an full-blown e-commerce website on the name has proven difficult, though.  To that note, please get a hold of me if you have a great automotive product for me to promote.  I was looking to establish a full automotive shop presence originally, but have since adjusted my plans.

The domain names I have activated are:

I had eventually expected to setup an automotive classifieds website on these domain names that I have reserved to protect my Trademarked name, Autos and Automotive.  There I would allow anyone to post their car/truck/cycle for sale and promote some high performance and economic fuel efficient products.

Although I have enough of a small collection of cars and trucks for sale within my own family to start such an endeavour,  it always takes a considerable investment of time and resources to establish such a serious site, keep it secure, administrate and promote it.

Therefore, I had anticipated partnering up with some interested automotive advertisers in advance in order to support the considerable time investment I would have to make in designing, hosting, administering and promoting the website just to get started.

Unfortunately, as I have so many projects going on, it seems that I cannot take the time to develop the professional business presence that I am interested in, at the moment.  I’m afraid I would have to hire an employee or two and that just isn’t a possibility as I am still working out out of my home office.

So, in the interest of getting some automotive traffic which I could build on in the future, I have configured these domains to show auto and automotive related articles through SEOParking.com.  SEOParking uses WordPress to post publicly reprintable articles from its database.   I have used this service before with great results on several other of my domains.

SEO Parking is a little spammy, as they will post their own links on your domain.  However, they have promissed to allow parkers to subscribe to the service through a premium channel so that those interested in paying the hosting fee will not show the SEOParking links.  That is why I am, for the first time, actually recomending this service.  I look quite forward to getting some of those spammy links off of my website.

One word of caution about SEOParking is that if they should fail to provide the premium service I will definitely have to move all of my domain names away from them and do the same type of thing on my own.  But the staff at SEO Parking has been great with support so far and they have not broken any of their promises, either.  So I am actually quite confident that this service will work out well for me in the long run.

I was a little disappointed when the strange links started showing up on some of my domains at the beginning of the month, but obviously they have to make some money somehow.  However, I originally thought that they were looking to expand their distribution network for their articles database and I was simply fortunate enough to find them.

I just hope they don’t price themselves out of the market.  I can afterall, get full featured multiple domain web hosting (with my own free WordPress) through any one of my web hosting solutions such as Domain Hostmaster, HD Web Hosting, Apache Website Host, Site Host Pros or F1 Hosting Networks for way less than $9.00/month.  Not to mention that the competition won’t be much more than $10.00/month for nearly as good of a feature set.

I kind of wonder if anyone hasn’t developed an add-on module for WordPress so that we can do all this ourselves, already.   Shout at me if you have ever seen an automatic article poster that will post so many articles per day/week/month based on a set of keyword phrases.  I’d love to know about it, it would save me that monthly fee at SEOparking.com.  😉

But at least the Autos and Automotive Trademark is up, active and protected again.  I really do have some interesting plans for the brand once this economy turns around.

Yes, I am a domainer, but I have very special interest in this name (and the domains I am using to protect that name).  If all goes well, this will be one of those domains that I have the opportunity to develop myself, not simply sell for a small profit.  Because despite the troubles of our auto makers, this really is a time when the automotive industry is retooling for the new challenges ahead.   It was their lack of vision and their inability to embrace new technology that has grounded them in the past and hung them out to dry.  If they understand that, and learn something from that lesson, they may well make it.

Exactly who will make it in the auto industry is unclear.  I would bet on Tesla, if I could.

Unfortunately, I have been squashed by the corrupted powers that be as well, as no one is really actively developing or reinventing brands, (re)designing their websites, advertising, or marketing like they should.    That is a real big problem for a web designer, which is what I am.   And the real problem is that now is the time to advertise.  Now is the time to hire while you have a large pool of talent from which to choose the cream of the crop.  And the people who cannot will not recover as quickly when the economy does start turning around.  It is a shame.

Maybe once this depression is over, I will be able to develop Autos & Automotive.  I certainly hope so.

Autos & Automotive Trademark Logo

Autos & Automotive Trademark Logo

You might be able to tell from this second banner that I have decided to protect both versions of the name… Autos and Automotive as well as Autos & Automotive.  It’s kind of the same princible as grabbing a few versions of the domain name so that no one else can try to steal the brand away and declare its theirs.  Afterall, I don’t want to lose them and we do want to be ready for anything in the way of future trends, branding and marketing.

June 29, 2009 Posted by | Automotive, Brands, Domain Names, Government/Politics, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment