Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

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

Had to rant…

I just had to rant, I am getting sick and tired of the pathetic state of our industry…

http://blog.abitofallright.com/2011/03/illogical-web-standards.html

If anyone wants to take the reigns and contact me about revamping our current web standards, and has the muscle to make it actually work this time, please contact me immediately.

This is no joke.  Our industry is crap and I am ashamed of it.  We appear to be engineering in nonsense just to secure our positions as online media experts, and that is just plain wrong.  The reason that business needs to hire web designers is not because they can’t do these things themselves, it’s because they simply don’t have the time to dedicate to the project.

I want to change how websites are designed and developed.  I want to make it easier, more logical, easy.  And it is such a simple thing to do, but it requires someone with push.  The push I don’t have, and very few do.

It is long past time.  Things are getting worse and they are already bad… really bad.

Advertisements

March 12, 2011 Posted by | Internet, Web Design & Development | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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/.

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

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