Saturday, September 30, 2006

Preparing your site for Internet Explorer 7

Reprinted with permission:

Here's the scenario: one morning you open your email and your inbox is flooded with emails that your site isn't working properly. Maybe your text or images don't look right, or even worse maybe your site isn't properly processing credit card transactions. How could this happen when you didn't change a thing? Well, that morning could be the morning later this year that Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 7.

How are people going to get IE7?

According to Kevin Yank in a recent issue of the SitePoint Tech Times:

"Word on the street is that, upon its release (before year's end), IE7 will be pushed out as a forced update to Windows XP users everywhere, as was done for Service Pack 2. The move to IE7 among the end-user masses will not be a gradual migration, but a sudden and significant shift."

One night Windows XP users
will go to bed using IE6 and the next morning they'll wake up, install a routine update, and just like that they'll be using IE7 to browse the web. That means, that as a site owner, you need to begin preparing immediately for IE7's impending release.

What's different about IE7?

From a user's perspective, improvements include tabbed browsing, better printing, RSS feed integration, more advanced searching, and better security features, as well as a plethora of add-ons to enhance the user experience (similar to Firefox extensions).

However, the most important changes that will have a more direct impact on how your site is loaded and displayed are:

* RSS integration IE7 automatically detects RSS feeds and asks you to subscribe. It also gives you the option to have IE7 auto-check for feed updates (even when it's not running). Is your feed properly recognized by IE7?

* Updated CSS behavior the IE7 team worked very closely with the W3C workgroup to ensure standards compliance. They made over 200 changes from IE6 to become compliant with CSS2.1. Even if your site is standards compliant, it may not be rendered exactly the same as it is in IE6 or Firefox.

* AJAX XMLHTTP Request changes the IE blog states: "to have your cross-browser AJAX work better with IE7, you really should be invoking the native XMLHttpRequest (the cross-browser one) first to see if its available before instantiating the ActiveX control, instead of the other way around."

* Added security features everything from more secure SSL defaults to disabling most Active X controls by default has been changed to help make the user's browsing experience more secure. These changes could drastically change your users browsing and purchasing experience.

You can get full details
on all of the changes by visiting the IE Blog.

What should you do?

The only way to know for sure how your site will work in Internet Explorer 7 is to download it and try. The IE7 team recently released Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1), which can be downloaded on the Internet Explorer web site. I'd recommend downloading IE7 on a computer other than your primary machine (you still want IE6 on your primary machine at least until IE7 is officially launched). RC1 is essentially the final version of how IE7 will display sites when launched, so if your site passes the test now you'll likely be OK when IE7 is released for real.

In testing my sites there were a few instances
where my site worked flawlessly in Firefox and IE6, but had small problems in IE7. The changes I needed to make were minimal, but regardless of how well you code there could still be some potential problems. It's better to find and fix them now than to wake up one morning and have hundreds of customer complaints!


About the Author
: Adam McFarland owns iPrioritize - web based to-do lists that help people and businesses organize their tasks. Email, print, check from your mobile phone, subscribe via RSS, and share with others.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Free Sharepoint Webparts

Here are some links to free sharepoint webparts. I haven't tried these yet - but will use this as a resource as we slowly add parts to our internal sharepoint site. Will update this when I do.
Bob Mixon
M Kruger

Saturday, September 16, 2006

10 No-So-Obvious ways to promote your website

Reprinted with permission.

It is interesting to think that out of the numerous ways in which business owners can advertise their products and services, many of them neglect to place their company's URL in the very advertising they are already paying for.

Sometimes simply placing their website URL in their paid advertising is not that obvious. Here are 10 not-always-so-obvious ways to promote your Web site.

1. Include your URL on business cards, stationery, brochures and other literature. As silly as it may seem, this no-brainer is often overlooked. You'd be amazed how many business owners either forget to place their URL on their business cards or don't think doing so is all that important. Be sure when printing your company's promotional and marketing materials, to leave off the http:// part and include only the portion.

2. Don't neglect e-mail and e-mail newsletters as a way to bring visitors to your Web site. Utilize the signature file option (company name, address, phone number, URL, e-mail address) in your e-mail program. Many business owners sign their e-mails with just their first name, nothing more. Moreover, many business owners still send and receive business-related e-mails using a free e-mail account or their ISP's email, like Hotmail, Yahoo, or Ameritech, rather than using their corporate e-mail account - another free Web site promotion tool.

While it's a big commitment in time, publishing a weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter is one of the very best ways to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness, and build future business. Don't forget to place your URL in each newsletter you send out.

3. Take a moment to use your traditional means of advertising to add your URL. Be sure to include your URL in any display or classified ads you purchase in trade journals, newspapers, magazines and more. View your Web site as an information adjunct to the ad - to capture the readers' attention with the ad, and then refer them to a URL where they can obtain more information and perhaps place an order. Look carefully at small display or classified ads in the back of magazines or trade periodicals. Sometimes these ads are more targeted, more effective, and less expensive than online advertising. Consider other traditional media to drive people to your site, such as direct mail, classifieds, post cards, etc.

4. Become an online expert in your field. Use your expertise to become an expert in your field and promote your Web site for free. Sign up for Yahoo Answers ( or Google Answers ( and answer questions asked by online visitors. You will have the opportunity to write your company's URL in your profile. This is a great way to gain additional Internet exposure as well.

5. Issue press releases. When your business has a newsworthy event, send press releases to print and online periodicals. Use these opportunities to mention your company's URL near the bottom of each news release. There are many online PR Websites, including, and others you may use to promote something exciting happening within your company.

6. Promote your site in mailing lists and news groups. The Internet offers hundreds of targeted e-mail based discussion lists, chat rooms and news groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Spend at least one hour each week searching for groups where a conversation is taking place. Do not use aggressive marketing and overly plug your company, even if you see some people doing so. Instead, add to the discussion in a helpful way and let the signature at the end of your e-mail or post message do the marketing for you. People will gradually get to know and trust you, visit your Web site, and do business with you.

7. Ask visitors to bookmark your site. It seems so simple, but make sure you ask visitors to bookmark your Web site. Use a text link or graphic on the homepage of your Web site.

8. Place URL in any yellow book advertising you already do. I once knew of a company who was spending $90,000 in yellow page advertising, across numerous books in the area, and included front yellow book cover ads as well as full-page, full-color ads throughout the yellow pages. Not once did they mention their Web site, which has been on the Net for many years. The company surprisingly saw no value to it.

Whether placing full-page ads in your local yellow pages, or only paying for a bold listing in the white and business yellow pages of your local directory, consider leaving open one line for your company's Web site address. Because you are already paying for the directory advertising, this is one particular place you definitely do not want to overlook.

9. Write articles for use in newsletters and other Web sites. You can dramatically increase your Internet visibility when you write expert articles about your field and distribute them as free content for other article directories, e-mail newsletters and other related Web sites. At the bottom of each article written, request a link back to your Web site and a one-line description of what you offer. This is an effective viral marketing approach.

10. Devise other viral marketing techniques. Viral marketing uses the communication networks of your site visitors and current customers to spread the word about your Web site exponentially. Some examples include word-of-mouth, public relations, referrals, blogs, creating "buzz", and other forms of network marketing.

About the Author: Wendy Suto is a certified SEO and president of Search Circus, Inc., an ethical SEO firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. The company offers organic optimization, link building, corporate blogs, and article submission solutions. She also holds SEO training classes throughout Cleveland, Ohio.

Top 10 things every website should have

Reprinted with permission.

While almost anyone can have a web site these days it’s much harder to have a good website. From design aspects to readable content many sites fall flat. Below I’ve arranged a Top 10 list, because everyone loves a Top 10!

1. Detailed About Us page.

2. Contact Us page

3. Add News, Press Releases, a Blog, and/or Article Pages

4. Relevant Page Title

5. Relevant Page Name

6. Good Grammar, Correct Spelling, Sentence Structure

7. Professional Design, Colors, and Images

8. Make Sure ALL Links Work

9. Analyze Log Files

10. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificates

Kristen Owen, optimized copywriter, author and creator of ContentWorth, has worked in SEM and SEO for years. SEM and optimized copywriting services information at ContentWorth. You can contact her directly at