Quick Tips To Get You Through Your Newbie Webmaster Days

Are you tired of the kids asking the neighbors for dinner because you are stuck online all day?

Is your spouse wondering whether you are going to marry the computer?

Do you only eat what can fit on the side of the desk next to the mouse??

No one said that starting out online was easy. Especially for those who stay at home. Some days you don’t think that you will ever figure out how to handle life online and offline?

You are not alone. We all wish there were more hours available every day to finish everything, but since it doesn’t work that way, you have to come up with some tips to help you manage those first months of being a webmaster and publisher.

Quick Tips

Stop Getting Caught Up In Your Email And Finish Your Work. Yes the emails look interesting, but what about your work? What pays you more, your work or reading emails?

Think, And I Mean This, Think Before You Pull Out Your Credit Card.

If it seems like that money is just burning a hole in your pocket, resist the urge to spend on things you don’t need. Do you need that expensive list host when your list is small?

Do you need that expensive software when you can find the same quality in a free version?

Do you need to buy all the ebooks out there? What about saving your money for promoting your products or services, or your monthly hosting fees?

Organize Yourself

Is your work in the same pile as your children’s toys? Make a space in your home for your office. Even if you can’t dedicate an entire room to your office, clear off a section of a room for your office, and make sure everyone else in the household knows this.

Is This Your Day??

6 am

Wake up, Get the kids ready for school

6:15 am

Of course you turn on the computer ( if you ever turned it off from the night before!)

6:30 am

It dawns on you. Just how many affiliate programs did I sign up for yesterday? I don’t even remember the product I am supposed to be selling but I remember the 50% commission, so hey why not??

7 am

Kids are at school, spouse is on their way to work and you are in front of the computer ready to work. You start checking your email and then…

9 am

You are still caught up in your email. You don’t even remember what you were supposed to do in the first place. Hey isn’t it time to eat. Now what do I eat??

The Webmaster’s Breakfast

( Anything that can fit on the side of the desk next to the mouse!)

Coffee ( a must)

Water or Juice ( while you are waiting for your coffee to cool)

Bagels, Pop Tarts, Toast, a Sandwich Anything that is bite sized and can be held without a fork!

Don’t worry, all experienced webmasters know how to juggle plates of food on their laps while typing away. Give it a few months, it’ll come to you.

The Webmasters Lunch

The same thing you had for breakfast, just reheated and you are now on your fifth cup of coffee.

By the time you have eaten, your ISP is down. You and the ten million other customers who share the same dial up number are out of luck for the next two hours.

Okay your ISP is back up. Now in the mean time did you do any work? You don’t have to be connected to the Internet to do everything.

Well you better do something before your children get home and tell you the one phrase you hope you never have to hear especially when you are on a deadline

“So Mommy / Daddy, what does this button do..??”

Crash. Your computer is down for the rest of the day…

SO WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED TODAY???

Write down your daily goals.

Answer emails from customers.

Processing sales accordingly.

Update at least one page on your site.

Gather some new and interesting information for your ezine.

Jot down some ideas for an article.

Set some ground rules in your home and your business so everyone fully understands what you are trying to accomplish and that there are no hidden surprises.

The list goes on and on.

The fact is that it doesn’t get any easier, but it is up to you to decide what battles you want to tackle every day.

There is more time wasted thinking about your goals than the time you spend achieving them.

In the long run, you will see that computer errors and household errors are a part of life but also an excuse to not finish what you started.

Just a quick reminder to let you know you are not alone.

But you may realize that the only person stopping you from your goals is YOU.

Earn Your Associate’s Degree in Information Systems and Technology

Students who are interested in computers and information systems should pursue a college education in information systems and technology. This training degree program usually consists of specialized computer courses and information classes. By pursuing this education training program, students are well prepared for a career in a corporate environment.

The computer and Internet have undoubtedly changed the world and how its inhabitants communicate with one another. People are able to broadcast their personal lives, look up information, play video games with users on another continent, e-mail their friends and relatives, send photos, network with business associates and publish blogs at a rapid rate. With the Internet changing at such a quick pace, new technology, computer processes and software is continually required to maintain the safety, efficiency and proper usage of computer technology and the Internet.

If you love working with computers, the World Wide Web, new technology and enjoy troubleshooting, then a college Associate’s Degree in Information Systems and Technology may be the right career choice for you. This college education program provides the basic career training foundation that gives students career flexibility in selecting a technology or computer-related occupation. After graduation, students can go on to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree or delve immediately into the working world.

Information technology students should be able to quickly identify problems that may interfere with a computer’s basic operations, love to troubleshoot, problem solve, enjoy working with other team members and possess a thorough understanding of the basic operations of technology. Acquiring an Associate’s Degree will only take a student two years. During this time, students will learn by engaging in many hands-on training courses and computer classes.

The curriculum educates students in the fields of data storage, programming practices, development cycle, technology applications in business strategy and ethical and legal technology issues. Students will be able to locate information resources and evaluate them for relevance and credibility. An Associate’s Degree in information technology will give students a thorough comprehension of all cyber-related
processes.

Information systems management courses are designed to help students develop the ability to manage and organize the vast information resources of an organization. These classes give students a thorough and in-depth understanding of management standards and the fundamentals of information and technology systems. With this diverse education, students are able to become an integral part of many different corporate environments. Students who wish to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Information Systems can expect to:

  • Learn the basics and fundamentals of computers and the Internet
  • Become familiar with potential threats, viruses, malware and other hazardous elements that may cause damage to a computer
  • Work firsthand with experts in the information advancement and computer technology industries, participate in classroom discussion that allow you to ask questions and test your own theories
  • Experiment with new technology and software programs that are currently available on the market
  • Learn about information and data storage, retrieval, manipulation and other data processes
  • Learn about business settings and how technology relates to the corporate world and its everyday operations, experience how technology benefits a business environment in many different contexts

Web Design Experts – Best Qualities of a Web Designer to Search For in Website Construction

Introduction

An imminent characteristic of trade in a particular market is the mushrooming of supplier of the products. The business of professional web design had been crowded with professionals. In order to enjoy much of the services rendered by the web design ‘gurus’ you have to identify a combination of factors that make the web designer to outweigh the others. These are called web brands as their services are unique.¬†They are often more placed in a competitive edge than their counterparts because of their qualities. A web design buyer should keenly look for the below qualities from the web experts.

Creativity in image presentation

A web design brand should be able to display ideal web creativity. The images should ‘catch the eye’ of the audience. The image should be of the correct size to capture the attention of the web user. The ‘guru’ should be able to create pages that have images, texts and pictures but they can load easily. An uncreative web design will produce a flat, tasteless, unattractive presentation to the readers. Skillful image handling techniques are important for the designers to place the text and images in strategic locations that best portray the intended information.

Marketing gimmicks

One of the brand qualities of a professional designer should be the ability to present the marketing skills to win the confidence of the buyer and influence his buying decision. A designer who is creative but misses out buying and selling skills fails to meet the expertise requirement of the web designer who is a multi-talented person. The designer should apply the concept of branding to bring out unique features of the web page.

Search engine software application

A web design expert should also posses the programming skills. This is the area where computer human interaction is displayed. The designer should be able to create interactive programs that are easy to use and are accustomed for a larger audience.

Writing skills and copy write techniques

Authorship skills are an ideal quality for a web designer. Besides coming up with readable, clear, simple and legal text contents, the designer should also have image sourcing and application that is classical, communicative, confined with the set standards and design policy as well as web content regulations.

As a buyer you must shop around to see which web designer possesses at least all of the mentions professional qualities. The result will be a quality web site that draws traffic allover.

Tainers Kiamba is an hotelier in East Africa. Through out his life he has developed an interest in writing. The author has been writing as a second party. It is time now the author would like to share his ideas and skills directly with the publishers world wide. The sky is the limit as the enthusiasm is high and quality will be the main objective to settle at. The author will employ writing skills, managerial experience and research interests to give the publisher that touch of work they would want to have.

Web Design and Development – The Mile-High View

With the pace of change on the Web, it can be hard to remember that very few people actually keep up with the flood of new technologies, frameworks, and acronyms. Unless you are designing for web-related companies, it’s very likely that your clients will have no idea what “building a web site” actually entails, or what happens after you’re done designing. In this article, I hope to give you a very high-level overview of the Web that you can point a client to, so that they can understand what goes into a web site besides Photoshop or Flash.

Let’s start with a bit of history. Before any of this Web malarkey came about, you had computer networks. That is to say, people connected individual mainframes (because personal computers didn’t exist yet) with cables so they could talk to each other. PC’s came along, and offices started connecting a building’s PCs together so they could talk. Then something really revolutionary happened: people connected one office network with another. Lo and behold, the basis of the Internet as we know it was born.

At its heart, the Internet is a network of networks. In most cases, that smaller network is the 1-4 computers you have in your household, which connect to the larger “Internet” network through your router or cable modem or what have you. There is no “center” of the Internet, no overarching computer directing everything; it’s just millions of small networks like the one in your house or office connecting with one another. There are systems set up to make it so that if your computer says “Connect me with computer XYZ,” it can find a way to make that connection, but those systems (think TCP/IP, routing, etc.) are too complicated to talk about here.

So the Internet existed, but the Web as we know it did not. The Internet in those days was good for only a few things: email, bulletin boards, and Usenet, among others. Then along came Tim Berners-Lee with his description of a new acronym: HTML. HyperText Markup Language allowed the first web designers (geeky scientists) to create the first web pages. Think of HTML like formatting in Microsoft Word; the words you write are all there, but Word / HTML let you give them some extra meaning. HTML allowed page creators to define their text as paragraphs, bulleted lists, numbered lists, tables of data, and more. Most importantly, HTML allowed page creators to link one page to another – the “HyperText” part of the name – so that related documents could be found quickly and easily.

As I mentioned before, the first users of HTML were geeky scientists. HTML let them format their research papers, and link their papers to the papers they cited. That was about it; plain HTML doesn’t have any real ability to “style” a page outside of identifying what’s a paragraph and what is something more specialized. So the Web was a sea of text, without even a single image in sight.

A few years later, competing ideas about how to give pages some style were merged into a single system, CSS. “Cascading Style Sheets” let page creators make their pages prettier by defining how the “elements” of HTML (lists, paragraphs, etc.) should be displayed. The page creator could now say that all text in paragraphs should be red, that lists should be bulleted with little squares instead of circles, and to say how tall or wide a certain piece of content should be on the screen. Browser makers had added this functionality into their programs (like Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer) for a while by this point, but CSS did something radical: it separated the content to be displayed from the rules about how to display it. Using CSS, a designer could write two style sheets that made very different looks out of a single HTML page, without making any changes to the HTML.

And yet, despite the promise of CSS, it started out poorly implemented in many browsers, so that what looked fine in, say, Internet Explorer 3 was completely broken in Netscape Navigator 4. So, instead of CSS, many designers (since it was now actually possible to “design” a page!) opted to use HTML’s table ability to lay out all their content. The idea was to use a website like an Excel spreadsheet – make the columns and rows whatever width and height you need, and then fill in each “cell” of the table with an image, or some text, until you get what you want. This led to some nice-looking designs, but completely and totally broke the original ideas of HTML. In a table-based design, the HTML doesn’t have any meaning at all; everything is just a table cell. If the designer you are talking with keeps telling you that “table-based design” is a bad thing, that’s why. Using HTML together with CSS makes a site that loads faster and that actually has some meaning to machines (like Google!), instead of a giant spreadsheet. After all, would you ever try to make artwork or write an article in Excel?

So, we’ve got networks, HTML pages, and CSS stylesheets. How do they all fit together?

If someone wants a site, they first buy a domain name. Buying a domain name gives you the right to assign the name to a particular computer anywhere in the world, of your own choosing. A system called DNS (“Domain Name System”) informs all of the world’s connected networks of where you pointed that name, so that when someone’s computer says “Anyone know how to get to myfavoritesite.com?”, DNS can say “Sure, it’s at computer XYZ over there.”

Computer XYZ, meanwhile, is running a program called a Web server. “Server” is a fancy name that scares people, but all it really means is that computer XYZ is sitting around listening to its wire for anyone to say “Hey, I need the stuff for arborwebsolutions.com,” and once it hears that, it will throw that stuff over the wire. This is what people mean when they say you need to buy “Web hosting” – you need to pay a company to run a computer with server software listening for your domain name, and handing out those files when someone asks for them. You could run your own server right in your living room – plenty of geeks do – but that’s generally more responsibility than most people want to take on. Your monthly hosting charge also means that whoever owns the computer is going to fix things when they break, and generally keep an eye on things for you. If they’re a hosting company worth the money you pay them, at least.

(Side note: “Servers” aren’t just for Web sites. There are email servers that sit around listening for people to say “Hey! Get this letter to Jane Doe!”. There are file servers, usually in offices, that sit around waiting for someone to say “I need that presentation file from last week.” Server programs are everywhere, and every time you have a computer interaction with another computer, you’re probably talking to a server.)

Back to the technology. While CSS was taking shape, the Web also saw the rise of CGI, or “Common Gateway Interface,” abilities. (Note that this is not the same CGI as in movie special effects; that’s “Computer Generated Imagery.” There are only so many combinations of three letters out there.) CGI allowed a programmer to write a program that sat on a Web server and did things more complicated than just handing someone an HTML file or a CSS sheet. With CGI, you could fill out a “form” – those collections of text boxes that let you do things like buy a book on Amazon or log in to Facebook – and do something with that information on the server – like telling Joe in inventory to charge your card and mail you a book, or taking you to your home page on Facebook. CGI isn’t a “language” in itself, it’s just a system, and there are dozens of programming languages that can talk CGI.

Hand-in-hand with CGI is the use of databases. Databases let a server hold on to the information you put in those forms, and CGI can either store information into the database or get it back out as needed. So when you make an account at Amazon, they’re holding all of your account info in a database. When you log in, Amazon remembers all sorts of information about you by pulling it out of the database again. Databases let you do more than just accounts, though. If you’ve ever used blogging software like WordPress, Blogger, Joomla!, or any of the dozens of other blog types out there (that includes Facebook status updates or Twitter tweets), you’ve used a database to store your articles. All a blog is doing is storing your articles in the database, and then pulling out the most recent ones whenever someone comes to your website.

So you’ve heard of fancy new tools like PHP, or Ruby on Rails, or Django? They’re basically just variations on the CGI / database idea. Sure, they’re a lot more complicated than that, but it gives you an idea of what your designer / developer is babbling about.

Yep, more or less that’s all there is to the Web. I’ve left out a metric ton of stuff, but I can always come back to that later. So, when you hire a designer to make a site from scratch, here’s what they’re basically doing:

  1. Find an appropriate domain name and buy it (a challenge in its own right), and point it to the hosting server;
  2. Take all of your content (you did give them your content, right?) and mark it up in HTML;
  3. Write CSS stylesheets that turn that content into a nice-looking website;
  4. Figure out any CGI / database things that need to be done, and set them up (usually called “back-end” work).

“That’s so simple!” some clients will say. “I could do that myself!” It’s true! You don’t need a license to be a web designer, and that’s the way it was always intended. But when most people with this mindset start trying to learn HTML and CSS, they end up creating nightmarish pages that put MySpace to shame. Knowing the tools isn’t enough – you also have to know how best to apply them. Owning a hammer isn’t enough to make you a craftsman, and hitting a few nails with it once or twice doesn’t make you a master carpenter.

One final note about Adobe Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is just a program that helps people write HTML and CSS. That’s it – the Web does not require Dreamweaver to operate; you can make an entire website in Notepad if you want, as long as you save the HTML file as “.html” and the CSS file as “.css”. Dreamweaver does make things a bit easier by letting you “preview” your site as you code and type things wherever you want in that preview, but remember the foundations of HTML and CSS – text content on one side, presentation on the other. Dreamweaver has a hard time doing that; the sites it creates using those “visual tools” end up like the spreadsheets I mentioned earlier. Any good designer should be able to make a beautiful site without ever touching Dreamweaver or its ilk. That’s why the design industry generally views Dreamweaver as a crutch for people who don’t yet know what they’re doing.