Friday, August 30, 2013

New E-commerce Site Launched

King's Trail Leather is an online shop for custom handmade leather moccasins. The artisan that makes these diverse styles has been working is this trade for decades and can be found periodically stitching away at the crafts festival presented at Silver Dollar City.

King's Trail Leather offers an array of designs and different styles for men, women, and even kids. Each pair of quality leather moccasins is made by hand and you'll find boots, shoes, and knee highs as well as a variety of hides including suede. Be sure to check them out and browse around.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Is Real Estate Really Picking Up?

Every so often I hear reports on the news of the real estate industry improving. Then I see news articles and information about how interest rates are going up. Those factors make me wonder just how much of an increase in real estate activity there is. And then the next thing you know, there are new real estate firms being started.

That last factor is what made me really start thinking that there might be some truth in what everybody is saying about the real estate industry. Not long ago I was approached by a friend of mine that was looking for someone to build them a web site for real estate. She said that she was starting her own real estate firm and would need somewhere on the Internet to show her listings. I thought  to myself, "is there really that much activity in the real estate industry?" It turns out that there actually is a lot of activity going in the Branson real estate market. I would never have noticed it if I had not taken on my friend's project since it has been a few years since I built a web site for a REALTOR®. But now that I have had to keep up with the market better because of having worked on a Branson real estate site, I see the trends more clearly.

With all the real estate activity in the Branson area, it means that the potential is there for more homes to go on the market. If you have been thinking about selling your property now might be the time to do it according to some experts. However, keep from making any of these home selling mistakes when you go to sell.

So, my unprofessional opinion is yes, it is picking up. That is just what I have concluded from my perspective. But what do I know, I am not a real estate market expert. I am a web developer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Which Software is Good for Creating a Logo for a Website?

That was the question that Nikos Panagiotopoulos posed to a group of designers on LinkedIn. Nikos received a number of replies that simply stated the answer to his question in the form of a software suite. That discussion is what prompted me to write this post.

From my perspective, the answer is, "Nearly any of the design software can be good for designing a logo for a website". Now, to some people, that response might sound like a way to sidestep the answer. Let me explain why I feel like that reply is a good one.

Factor 1 - The Cost of the Software

 I do not know Mr. Panagiotopoulos personally, but many people looking for something "good" consider the monetary cost of the item when they begin looking at a product. Software can be very expensive or very cost effective. If this factor is weighted more heavily by the one posing the question, then open source software will likely be more appealing to him. If not, then one of the following bits of information may need to be considered.

Factor 2 - The Learning Curve

All software brings a learning curve for the new user. Often times this can be compounded when the individual is trying to learn multiple things at once. If the individual is an artist and is familiar techniques and principles in design, then all that is needed is for the person to discover how to carry out those tasks in the new software.

Occasionally though, very smart individuals may feel that the idea they have in their mind is relatively easy to create but find out that trying to learn design and software at the same time is not going to be very efficient. As a solution, the individual begins trying to find help using the software and realizes that in addition to having an intuitive user interface, having good documentation and support alleviates this challenge somewhat. These features are often times of a higher quality for the more expensive software bundles than they are for the lower cost, open source packages.

So it is easy to see then, that the first two factors can work against each other when trying to decide on design software. This is what brings us to the third aspect of choosing a design software package - the purpose of obtaining the software.

Factor 3 - The Software's Purpose

This aspect of the consideration really has multiple facets itself. The first of these is 'Will the image be used only for the web, or will there be print ready artwork created as well?' This is important because different types of images work better for each of these mediums of delivery. Additionally, there can be some hurdles if the incorrect software is used for specific graphics.

Another aspect of the software's purpose to keep in mind is the amount of work for which it will be used. The first project's requiring only a few features to complete does not necessarily mean that you do not need the additional features offered by the software. Having the ability to create other graphics and design elements can be very handy. What that means is that the software's purpose is often times the best place to begin when deciding on a design software package or bundle.

So, Nikos' question cannot really be answered the same way for everyone because circumstances will affect the decision. These are not the only factors to consider, but they are among the most important to think about.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What Value Does Good Content Carry?

That is really a good question, because if a webmaster does not understand the value, then what will motivate her to create good content.

Is Your Content Worth Link To?

Perhaps you have heard that question before. Then again, maybe you haven't ever thought about it. The truth is there is no shortcut to creating good quality content for your web site. Sure, there are ways to get quick links back to a site and picking a few of those up here and there isn't bad, but using those methods exclusively can be a problem. I posted on Active Rain just a bit ago to try to explain and demonstrate the benefits of good content that gets links. At the end of the blog post, I give a couple of examples of good content (in my opinion).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sneaky Link Builders

I Found Your Web Site

That's what the subject line said in the email that one of customers got. The author of the email said they had checked out the site and that they wanted to talk about linking to each other. So, I decided to go see what the site was all about to see if it was worth linking to. I like to consider options reasonably.  Here is what I found.

I followed the link to the 'page' that the person cited in the email and what do you know, it went to a legitimate page on the site. However, the page took a while to load, which makes me think that the page was not really a unique page that exists but is one that is used to produce a generic page with filled in parameters that could be used for baiting someone into linking to the site, after which they make a legitimate page.

The other thing I noticed is that while the page is there when you follow the link, there is no way to click to it on the web site. It isn't included in any navigation, or used in any page copy that I could find on the site by browsing.

What that means is, I don't see how the link the author of the site is offering can benefit my customer. I cannot see how a search engine will find the page since there isn't a link to it on the site. So the link they say they have 'given' is really not valuable at all.

What I am saying is this:

The amount of effort the author took to set up this 'trick' (for lack of a better word) could have just as easily been used to actually help the site visitors find what they are looking for by creating an actual page for fashion jewelry or something like that and leaving it at that.

But instead, in my opinion it doesn't look beneficial at this point. Why do I say that? Because there is a page, but unless a search engine finds that page, it won't ever generate traffic.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Web Site List by Subject

Grouped List of Web Sites

In another post, I wrote about helping people get more out of their web sites. In that post I mentioned that I felt like helping people find the right sites was important to making those sites successful and decided that I would provide a list of sites with that purpose in mind.So here is my ongoing list:

Tips on Getting Website Traffic

Getting Website Traffic

 That is the recommended search phrase a major search engine suggested when I typed in "getting we..". What that means is that people are searching for that phrase enough that the search engine thought that might be what I wanted. That got me thinking that often times that is what people think will help their web site do well. In reality though, that is not necessarily the case.

Thinking it Through 

In truth, what people often want from their web site is actually one or more of the following.
  • An Income
  • To Help Others
  • A Sense of Accomplishment
Granted, some people want more than one of those items, but truthfully, if you can monetize the site, then the other two become easier. So what people often focus on is making money with their web site.

Now, if a person wants to make money with a web site, ask yourself "should my goal be to simply get traffic?" and you'll more than likely answer with a "no". So what should the objective be if it is not to just get web traffic? Well, many successful web site owners have found that helping people find what they are looking for is what really ends up getting them the most sales in the end. Why is that the case?

Well, if you ponder the behavior and imagine what actually happens during the overall process, you begin to realize that traffic does not equal success. So more is needed.

Actually, what is needed is a different goal. If all web site owners had the goal of helping site visitors find what they are looking for then ultimately every business would be found by the customer that is searching for that respective business.

So, here is my contribution to that outcome: a list of web sites grouped by subject

Web Site Traffic Does Not Equal Success

What Do Web Sites and Cruising Town Have in Common?

Sounds like the beginning to joke right? But they are actually related because they both deal with "traffic" and "making money".

Having a web site that chews up bandwidth might seem like a great accomplishment on the surface, but does cruising the square endlessly ever get you to a destination? You get the idea. Many cars cruising the downtown square causes traffic and may even get people excited, but how do they continue to fuel the cars? Not by cruising more. In fact, that could result in no more cruising period.

Now lets say you are a taxi driver that cruises the square to pick people up and get them to a destination. Aha! Now you can actually make more money the more you cruise town. Provided that there are individuals that want and need your taxi service in that particular spot.

And so it goes with web site traffic unless the "driving" results in payment of some sort, then it is just a waste of fuel.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Goin Western - A Number of Ways to Do It

How Do You Go Western?

That is the question I asked myself when I sat down to write this post and I came up with a few different answers. A few of which I'll list here:

Listen to Some Classic Western Boot Music

The music you choose is a way to 'go western', whether you like the classics or the newer stuff, either way you'll find songs about cowboy boots and pickup trucks like that one on YouTube to put you in a cowboy state of mind. But that is only one activity that will get you 'goin western'.

Wear the Clothing and Accessorize

The other aspect of 'goin western'  I wanted to mention is how ya dress. That's pert near the most important thing a guy or gal can do to catch that train goin west. And finding the best western wear and accessories shops  could take the average person quite a little chunk of time if it weren't for the folks that put together this handy western products and services business directory. After all, who better to round up a list of western stuff than someone that knows about it and enjoys the products and services themselves.

Thanks for readin' and we'll see ya next time pardner!

Cooking With Style

Liven Up Your Cooking

Everyone can cook something, but those that really enjoy cooking, add a little more personality to the 'mix'. For example, perhaps you remember an episode of The Cosby Show where Cliff is trying to teach Theo what cooking is really all about:

Now most of us probably aren't willing to do a somewhat impersonation of Julia Child to add some 'flare' to our cooking procedure, but just about anyone can add a little style with an apron that not only keeps you tidy, but also says a little bit about the cook. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Classified Ads Site For Branson

Get Your Classifieds Ads Account Free

Just wanted to announce the launch of a new web site designed to help individuals sell their stuff without having to pay to have the ad put in the news paper.

What Can I List On the Site?

Well, the short answer to that one is, "You can put just about any reasonable item on it". What ever you might pay to have placed in the newspaper, you might as well have listed on the branson classified ads site that does not cost you money to list your items.

There is not a lot of items currently on the site at present, but new items are being added all the time. Why not create your free account today?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chandelier Earrings?

Although the description may sound odd to some at first, a 'chandelier' earring describes a style of jewelry that has a certain appearance much like the home fixture with the same name.

Now, I am not a fashion expert, so you can imagine that when I heard the term "chandelier earrings" I was curious as to why they are called that. Describing it in words isn't as easy as using a photo, so that is what I'll do:

As you can see from both images, these earrings have a specific quality that is much like a chandelier in your home. The earrings extend horizontally and feature decorative elements that hang down from the earring.

I came to learn these details while designing a web site for a jewelry 'artisan'. I had no idea what a chandelier earring was when I began working on the site, but as I worked with the site owner on developing the presentation of her product, I learned a bit about the craft, the fashion, and skills needed to create attractive earrings and other jewelry.

So I wondered whether these handmade accessories would compare to those you can buy at a large retailer. I looked into comparing them and found a way for me to do it online.

One major retailer sells the following chandelier style earrings on their website:

And, as you can see, they have many nice earrings from which to choose. Interestingly enough, so does the individual that made these chandelier earrings.

You'll find a variety of styles through both retailers. However in one case, you buy directly from an artist  who enjoys jewelry just like you do.