Liberty Enlightening the World

Liberty Enlightening the World
La Liberté éclairant le monde

Monday, 17 March 2014

Web Design Business

Web Design Business in Australia 

Checklist

  1. Buying a domain name: https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new

                                                       yellowpages.com.au/Accountants

  STARTING A BUSINESS: Why do you need to hire a commercial lawyer?

Aspiring entrepreneurs are often excited with hopeful anticipation of making profits. Many people who enter the business scene place the financial aspect on top of everything else because no one starts a business to lose money! Then again, considering legal formalities is the next best thing.

Commercial lawyers provide expert advice on wide range of legal matters guaranteeing smooth operation for businesses. Their knowledge of commercial law ensures smoothing over employment contract concerns, fraud business transactions, merging companies, expansion, legal paper works and many other legal tasks related to businesses.

Businesses will always need the help of a professional who spent years studying and mastering the judicial system. For any commercial establishment or business, a commercial lawyer will be the main defender when legal dilemmas come your way.

At Business Law Sydney, we can prepare you for a free one-hour consultation with our experienced commercial lawyers to tailor your needs.

When you need to prepare your financial statements, you may want to hire an accountant, a certified public accountant (CPA) or an accounting firm. Your financial professional can also advise you and your company on major financial matters and assist you when you can no longer handle all your accounting needs efficiently. As an added benefit, most accountants keep current with the latest tax laws and practices. They can provide clients with every possible tax break, resulting in greater tax deductions and less money owed to Uncle Sam. Rest easy; let your accountant prepare your personal or corporate tax returns

Decide on your business structure

You need to find out if a company structure best suits your business needs. We recommend that you seek legal or other professional advice about your particular circumstances. At this stage you should also make sure you understand what your legal obligations will be if you become a company officeholder.

When a company is registered under the Corporations Act 2001 ('Act') it is automatically registered as an Australian company. This means that it can conduct business throughout Australia without needing to register in individual State and Territory jurisdictions.

Businesses that are not companies (eg, sole traders and partnerships) are required to register their business name with the appropriate State/Territory authority (you can find a list on the Australian government's business.gov.au website New window). However, this is not necessary if the business is conducted under the name of the person or persons involved; that is, first name and surname, or initials and surname.

Registration or use of a business name:
  • does not create a legal entity (only registering a company creates a legal entity) and
  • does not allow the use of privileges to which a company is entitled, such as a corporate tax rate or limited liability.

A business name has no legal status.

If a company carries on a business in a name that is different to its company name, it must register the business name with the appropriate State/Territory authority.

While the requirement to register business names is not under the Act, business names are still recorded by ASIC's National Names Index, and the register against which proposed new company names are checked includes business names.
source: http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byheadline/starting%20a%20company%20or%20business

Web Design Businesses - Start with a Business Plan


1.     A description of your business
Be as descriptive as you can be. Include who your customers are, what niche (if any) you'll be targeting, who your competition is, and how your business will compete. Include:

·       Clients, both specific and general (ie. Sue's Flower shop and local businesses in my home town)

·       Competition, again, specific and general (ie. Wow'em Web Design and other local designers)

·       Competitive advantage (ie. I have built four local business Web designs and have an in with the chamber of commerce.)

2.     Your business finances
This includes all the costs of your business as well as both how much you need to make to break even and how much you believe you can make. Include:

·       Your target salary

·       Taxes (30-40%, but consult your tax attorney)

·       Business expenses (like rent, utilities, computers and furniture)

·       Billable hours (will you work 40 hours a week, part-time, only on weekends, etc.)

If you divide your total expenses (first three bullets) by your billable hours, you have a baseline hourly rate you should charge. More on setting your rate.

Why You Need a Business Plan

Aside from the issue of people taking your business more seriously, business plans can also help you obtain financing and get additional customers. The plan helps you solidify exactly what you're reaching for with your business and should help show the weak spots and where you'll need help.

If you're using the business plan to obtain funding, you'll need to do a lot of research on your financials. Banks and venture capitalists don't fund "best guesses". But if you're going to start your business out of your living room, then you can be less rigorous. But the more research you spend in determining the financials the more likely your business will be a success.

Sit Down and Do It Now

If you really want to have a business in Web design, then writing a business plan won't hurt you. And it might focus your thoughts on the matter. I had one friend who had been designing Web pages for three years when he wrote up a business plan. He realized from that plan that the reason he wasn't doing as well has he had hoped was because he couldn't charge enough to cover all his expenses as a full-time designer. So, he scaled back his freelance hours to part-time and got a part-time maintenance designer job. He was able to raise his rates because he didn't need the work as badly and was able to go back to full-time freelancing at the new higher rate in only a few months. If he hadn't written out his business plan, he would have just continued to under bid and barely make ends meet. It can work for you too.




·       Copyright:

Legal Advice

We offer a free legal advice service to individual creators (e.g. composers, writers, artists, film makers, and photographers) and people working in arts organisations. We also advise people working in educational institutions, galleries, libraries and museums. We DO NOT advise people in commercial organisations outside the arts.

Before contacting our Legal Advice Service, please browse for the Information Sheet or FAQ that might answer your questions by clicking here.

TO SAVE YOU TIME please note: IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE OUR GUIDELINES (see below), WE WILL BE UNABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH ADVICE. Click here to access our wide range of free information, or see the section below Where Else Can I Get Assistance.

There is no system of registration for copyright protection in Australia. Copyright protection does not depend on publication, a copyright notice, or any other procedure. Copyright protection is free and automatic from the moment your work is on paper, or disk, or otherwise put into “material form”.





Australian copyright law protects many different items, including:

  • Literary works – books, reports and website content
  • Artistic works – paintings, drawings, photos and logos
  • Music
  • Dramatic works – scripts, screenplays and choreography
  • Film; Sound recordings and Broadcast – TV & Radio
  • Published editions – layout & typography, cover design.
Items not protected by copyright include:

  • Ideas
  • Information – generally available
  • Names, titles and slogans

Who owns copyright?

The creator of the material is the first owner of copyright. Copyright lasts for the life of the creator, plus 70 years. The creator of the work may choose to assign or license copyright to someone else. Copyright can also be left in your will to someone else.
If you hire a freelance copywriter to write material for you, by default they own copyright as the creator of the material unless you have a written agreement with them that copyright is transferred to you upon payment at the completion of the project. If the copywriter is employed on a permanent basis (as an employee) then the employer owns copyright. If you hire a casual or contract employee a copyright clause should be included in the employment agreement.
So if you are hiring someone else to write copy for you, you should always have a written agreement as to who owns copyright of the finished work. If this agreement is then infringed you can take legal action.

When do you need permission of the copyright owner?

You need permission of the copyright owner if you wish to use all or any substantial part of work which is copyright. (With or without a copyright notice).
A substantial part is an important, essential or distinctive part of the work. Remember everybody’s view on what is important, essential or distinctive varies.
You need permission of the copyright owner to:

  • Reproduce or copy the work (some exceptions apply to research or personal use)
  • Communicate that work to the public – including fax, email or use on the internet
  • Perform the work in public
  • Adapt, publish, rent or re-broadcast
If you find that you need to use a piece of material and you can’t find the copyright owner there are a number of collecting societies that can help you. The most common society is Copyright Agency Ltd, www.copyright.com.au
You can purchase individual or blanket licenses. These collecting societies are non-profit and have copyright owners as their members.

What can you do if you think someone has infringed on your copyright?


  • Check if it really is an infringement – is it a substantial part of your work or just using the underlying ideas? Ideas are not copyright.
  • Check if there are any outstanding contractual issues between you and them.
  • Contact the person and ask them if they know they have infringed on your copyright. Try to commence informal negotiations where you may ask for a fee or retraction. If you are the creator and first owner of copyright of the work, then you may be able to receive some assistance in this area from the Australian Copyright Council.
  • Letter of demand – see a solicitor to have a letter of demand drafted, from here on in, is where you will begin to spend larger sums of money to fight your case.
  • Court Action – via the Federal Magistrates Court – is your last avenue.
If the shoe is on the other foot and you are contacted by a copyright owner, you need to check if you have infringed on their copyright and find out if they really are the copyright owner. If you receive a letter of demand, contact a solicitor immediately.
Basically to protect yourself from infringing on someone else’s copyright, use your own material or get permission to use material and purchase royalty free images from a reputable image library. Don’t steal someone else’s work… yes it’s a big wide world out there, but at times it can be remarkably small.
More information, fact sheets and books are available from The Australian Copyright Council: www.copyright.org.au






Legislation:

o  


   About occupational health and safety regulation in Australia

















Infrastructure:

§  Rent, electricity and telecommunications.

Software Tools/Hardware Tools:



§  Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection

§  Autodesk

§  Computer, scanner, printer, digital camera, modem and furniture.






Before you get started with your new website or editing your current site, you need to consider which hardware and software tools you may need to support your efforts.
When it comes to hardware needed this can be very simple or reasonably complex depending on your particular needs. Of course, if you plan to create a new website (or even view your new website later) you need a computer. Simple enough, right? Not necessarily. We prefer to work with Apple Macintosh (OSX Leopard on MacBook Pro) as we do a lot of intensive graphics work and have previously invested in Adobe Creative Suite software (Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.). It is just as easy to create your new website using your Windows PC but we would suggest you stay away from using Windows Vista (any version) and migrate to Windows 7 or stick with Windows XP. These operating systems are just much more stable and reliable.
Another consideration for hardware should be some sort of backup hard drive or removable USB memory stick(s). It is important that you back up all of your website data to a removable drive in the event your computer crashes, is broken or is stolen. When you create website files, most of your data will be stored on the website hosting servers but, in many cases, you will have many other "builder files" that usually never make it to the hosting servers. If you lose this data you will be forced to start from scratch in many cases. Another piece of hardware that many forget about is a HD Video Camcorder. If you plan to include video on your site, you should be investing in something half decent; you can normally pick up a good video camera that also captures "still photos" for under $500.00.
When it comes to software needed, this can be somewhat more complicated, again depending on what your website design goals are. At the very least, you will need some sort of text editing software, FTP (file transfer software), graphics creation software and then a variety of other tools as you progress.
Here are some of the most common subjects you should consider when planning the design of your website product.
COMPUTER
Do you currently have a computer that can process large files (i.e. - video files) quickly and efficiently?
WEBSITE SERVER
Are you planning to host your own website portal? If so, do you know what type of hardware and server software you will need?
BACKUP HARD DRIVE or USB STICK
Do you currently have some sort of backup hard drive equipment or plan?
VIDEO CAMERA
Will you be creating custom videos for your website and, if so, do you have a HD video camera ready to go?
MOBILE WEB DEVICES
Are you planning to make your website "mobile web friendly"? If so, do you have an iPhone and an iPad? Android phone? Blackberry device? These will be needed for testing purposes!
WEBSITE CREATION SOFTWARE
Do you have any website creation software (i.e. - Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Front Page) installed, licensed and ready to use?
GRAPHICS EDITING SOFTWARE
Are you planning to create your own website graphics or edit pictures? Do you have the necessary software (i.e. - Adobe Photoshop or Photo Studio)?
DATABASES
Are you planning on creating a database for your website and, if so, do you know which software to use for this purpose?

Woody House
Online Graphics USA and Canada
http://makingyourwebsitework.com


Outsourcing refers to a company that contracts with another company to provide services that might otherwise be performed by in-house employees. Many large companies now outsource jobs such as call center services, e-mail services, and payroll. These jobs are handled by separate companies that specialize in each service, and are often located overseas.

There are many reasons that companies outsource various jobs, but the most prominent advantage seems to be the fact that it often saves money. Many of the companies that provide outsourcing services are able to do the work for considerably less money, as they don't have to provide benefits to their workers and have fewer overhead expenses to worry about.




Promoting the business website


·       Social Media (SMO)


·       Paid Inclusion (PI)

Search Engine Strategies


Perhaps the most important -- and inexpensive -- strategy is to rank high for your preferred keywords on the main search engines in "organic" or "natural" searches (as opposed to paid ads). Search engines send robot "spiders" to index the content of your webpage, so let's begin with steps to prepare your webpages for optimal indexing. The idea here is not to trick the search engines, but to leave them abundant clues as to what your webpage is about. This approach is called "search engine optimization," abbreviated as SEO.

1. Write a Keyword-Rich Page Title. Write a descriptive title for each page -- rich in keywords you want people to find you with -- using 5 to 8 words. Remove as many "filler" words from the title (such as "the," "and," etc.) as possible, while still making it readable. This page title will appear hyperlinked on the search engines when your page is found. Entice searchers to click on the title by making it a bit provocative. Place this at the top of the webpage between the <HEAD></HEAD> tags, in this format: <TITLE>Web Marketing Checklist -- 37  Ways to Promote Your Website</TITLE>. (It also shows on the blue bar at the top of your web browser.)
 

Blue bar at top of web browser containing the Title

Plan to use some descriptive keywords along with your business name on your home page. If you specialize in silver bullets and that's what people will be searching for, don't just use your company name "Acme Ammunition, Inc.," use "Silver and Platinum Bullets -- Acme Ammunition, Inc." The words people are most likely to search on should appear first in the title (called "keyword prominence"). Remember, this title is your identity on the search engines. The more people see that interests them in the blue hyperlinked words on the search engine, the more likely they are to click on the link.

2. Write a Description META Tag. Some search engines include this description below your hyperlinked title in the search results. The description should be a sentence or two describing the content of the webpage, using the main keywords and key phrases on this page. Don't include keywords that don't appear on the webpage. Place the Description META Tag at the top of the webpage, between the <HEAD></HEAD> tags, in this format:

<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Increase visitor hits, attract traffic through submitting URLs, META tags, news releases, banner ads, and reciprocal links.">

 The maximum number of characters should be about 255; just be aware that only the first 60 or so are visible on Google, though more may be indexed.

When I prepare a webpage, I write the article first, then develop a keyword-rich title (#1 above). Then I write a description of the content in that article in a sentence or two, using each of the important keywords and keyphrases included in the article. This goes into the description META tag.

Next, I strip out the common words, leaving just the meaty keywords and phrases and insert those into the keywords META tag. It's no longer used much for ranking, but I'm leaving it in anyway. I think it may have some minor value. So to summarize so far, every webpage in your site should have a distinct title and META description tag. If you implement these two points, you're well on your way to better search engine ranking. But there's more that will help your ranking....

3. Include Your Keywords in Headers (H1, H2, H3). Search engines consider keywords that appear in the page headline and sub heads to be important to the page, so make sure your desired keywords and phrases appear in one or two header tags. Don't expect the search engine to parse your Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to figure out which are the headlines -- it won't. Instead, use keywords in the H1, H2, and H3 tags to provide clues to the search engine. (Note: Some designers no longer use the H1, H2 tags. That's a big mistake. Make sure your designer defines these tags in the CSS rather than creating headline tags with other names.)

4. Position Your Keywords in the First Paragraph of Your Body Text. Search engines expect that your first paragraph will contain the important keywords for the document -- where most people write an introduction to the content of the page. You don't want to just artificially stuff keywords here, however. More is not better. Google might expect a keyword density in the entire body text area of maybe 1.5% to 2% for a word that should rank high, so don't overdo it.

5. Include Descriptive Keywords in the ALT Attribute of Image Tags. This helps your site be more accessible to site-impaired visitors (www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/glance/) and gives additional clues to the search engines. The ALT attributes do help get your images ranked higher for image search (see #12 below).

6. Use Keywords in Hyperlinks. Search engines are looking for clues to the focus of your webpage. When they see words hyperlinked in your body text, they consider these potentially important, so hyperlink your important keywords and keyphrases. To emphasize it even more, the webpage you are linking to could have a page name with the keyword or keyphrase, such as blue-widget.htm -- another clue for the search engine.




7. Make Your Navigation System Search Engine Friendly. You want search engine robots to find all the pages in your site. JavaScript and Flash navigation menus that appear when you hover are great for humans, but search engines don't read JavaScript and Flash very well. Therefore, supplement JavaScript and Flash menus with regular HTML links at the bottom of the page, ensuring that a chain of hyperlinks exists that take a search engine spider from your home page to every page in your site. Don't set up your navigation system using HTML frames (an old, out-dated approach); they can cause severe indexing problems.

Some content management systems and e-commerce catalogs produce dynamic, made-on-the-fly webpages, often recognizable by question marks in the URLs followed by long strings of numbers or letters. Overworked search engines sometimes have trouble parsing long URLs and may stop at the question mark, refusing to go farther. If you find the search engines aren't indexing your interior pages, you might consider URL rewriting, a site map, or commercial solutions.

8. Create a Site Map. A site map page with links to all your pages can help search engines (and visitors) find all your pages, particularly if you have a larger site. You can use a free tools, XML-Sitemaps.com (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/xml-sitemaps.htm) to create XML sitemaps that are used by the major search engines to index your webpages accurately. Upload your sitemap to your website. Then submit your XML sitemap to Google, Yahoo!, and Bing (formerly MSN), following instructions on their sites. By the way,  Google Webmaster Central (www.google.com/webmasters/) has lots of tools to help you get ranked higher. Be sure to set up a free account and explore what they have to offer.

9. Develop Webpages Focused on Each Your Target Keywords. SEO specialists no longer recommend using external doorway or gateway pages, since nearly duplicate webpages might get you penalized. Rather, develop several webpages on your site, each of which is focused on a target keyword or keyphrase for which you would like a high ranking. Let's say you sell teddy bears. Use Google Insights for Search (www.google.com/insights/search/) or the free keyword suggestion tool on Wordtracker (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/wordtracker.htm) to find the related keywords people search on. In this case: write a separate webpage featuring the keyword "teddy bear," "teddy bears," "vermont teddy bears," "vermont bears," "the teddy bears," teddy bears picnic," "teddy bears pictures," etc. You'll write a completely different article on each topic. You can't fully optimize all the webpages in your site, but for each of these focused-content webpages, spend lots of time tweaking to improve its ranking, as described in point #10.

10. Fine-tune with Careful Search Engine Optimization. Now fine-tune your focused-content pages and perhaps your home page, by making a series of minor adjustments to help them rank higher. Software such as WebPosition (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/webposition.htm) allows you to check your current ranking and compare your webpages against your top keyword competitors. I use it regularly. WebPosition's Page Critic tool provides analysis of a search engine's preferred statistics for each part of your webpage, with specific recommendations of what minor changes to make. The best set of SEO tools is Bruce Clay's SEOToolSet (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/clay_seotoolset.htm). If you want more detailed information, consider purchasing my inexpensive book Guide to Search Engine Optimization (www.wilsonweb.com/ebooks/seo.htm). You can find links to many SEO articles (www.wilsonweb.com/seo/) on my site and even more in our Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=mp_Search).




Frankly, this kind of SEO fine-tuning is time-consuming, painstaking work that takes a lot of specialized knowledge. For this reason, many small and large businesses outsource search engine optimization. If you'll explain your needs to me on my online form, I can refer you to appropriate SEO firms that I know and trust (www.wilsonweb.com/recommendations/seo-services.htm).

11. Promote Your Local Business on the Internet. These days many people search for local businesses on the Internet. To make sure they find you, include on every page of your website the street address, zip code, phone number, and the five or 10 other local community place names your business serves. If you can, include place names in the title tag, too. When you seek links to your site (see #15 below), you should request links from local businesses with place names in the communities you serve and complementary businesses in your industry nationwide.

Also create a free listing for your local business on Google Maps Local Business Center (www.google.com/local/add) and Yahoo! Local (listings.local.yahoo.com). That way your business can show up on a map when people do a local search. For more information, see my book How to Promote Your Local Business on the Internet (www.wilsonweb.com/ebooks/local.htm) as well as articles on local marketing (www.wilsonweb.com/local/) on my site and on local business promotion in the Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=mm_Local).

12. Promote Your Video, Images, and Audio Content. Google's "universal search" displays not only webpage content, but also often displays near the top of the page relevant listings for images, videos, local businesses (see #11 above), and audio clips.  Therefore, consider creating such content appropriate to your business and then optimizing it so it can be ranked high enough to help you. For example, if you were to get a top-ranking, informative video on YouTube (www.youtube.com) that mentions your site, it could drive a lot of traffic to your site. For more information, search on "optimizing images" or "optimizing videos."

Linking Strategies


Links to your site from other sites drive additional traffic. But since Google and other major search engines consider the number of incoming links to your website ("link popularity") as an important indicator of relevance, more links will help you rank higher in the search engines. Google has a measure called PageRank that reflects the quantity and quality of incoming links. All links aren't all equal. Links from trusted, popular sites help your site rank higher than links from lower traffic sites. You'll find articles on linking strategies (www.wilsonweb.com/linking/) on our site and in our Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=mp_Linking).

13. Submit Your Site to Key Directories, since a link from a directory will help your ranking -- and get you traffic. A directory is not a search engine. Rather, it is a hierarchical listing of sites sorted according to category and subcategory. Be sure to list your site in the free Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.com), overseen by overworked volunteer editors. But if you don't get listed right away, don't be impatient and resubmit, or you'll go to the end of the queue. A link in this directory will help you a lot.

Yahoo! Directory (dir.yahoo.com) is another important directory. Real humans read submission, so be careful to follow the instruction given. Hint: Use somewhat less than the maximum number of characters allowable, so you don't have wordy text that will tempt the Yahoo! editor to begin chopping. Yahoo! Directory Submit (ecom.yahoo.com/dir/submit/intro/) requires a $299 annual recurring fee to have your site considered for inclusion within seven business days. Other paid business directories that might help are About.com and Business.com.

14. Submit Your Site to Trade Organization Sites and Specialized Directories. Some directories focused on particular industries, such as education or finance. You probably belong to various trade associations that feature member directories. Ask for a link. Even if you have to pay something for a link from the organization, it may help boost your PageRank.

Marginal directories, however, come and go very quickly, making it hard to keep up, so don't try to be exhaustive here. Beware of directories that solicit you for "upgraded listings." Unless a directory is widely used in your field, a premium ad is a waste of money -- but the (free) link itself will help boost your PageRank and hence your search engine ranking.

SubmitWolf (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/submitwolf.htm) is a directory submission tool I've used with good success . You complete a listing form in the software interface. Then they submit your listing to all the appropriate directories they know of, plus links to sites that require manual submission. It's a timesaver and works well. Just be careful to submit only to actual directories, not "linking sites."

15. Request Reciprocal Links. Find websites in your general niche and request a reciprocal link to your site (especially to your free service, if you offer one, see #24 below). Develop an out-of-the way page where you put links to other sites -- so you don't send people out the back door as fast as you bring them in the front door. Your best results will be from sites that generate a similar amount of traffic as your own site. High-traffic site webmasters are too busy to answer your requests for a link and don't have anything to gain. Look for smaller sites that may have linking pages. 

Check out Ken Evoy's free SiteSell Value Exchange (sales.sitesell.com/value-exchange/). It (1) registers your site as willing to exchange links with other sites that have a similar theme/topic content and (2) searches for sites with similar topical content. Additionally, two automated link building software programs stand out -- Zeus (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/zeus.htm) and IBP Link Builder (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/arelis.htm). Both of these search the web for complementary sites, help you maintain a link directory, and manage reciprocal links. However, use these programs to identify the complementary sites, not to send impersonal automated e-mail spam to site owners.

When you locate sites, send a personal e-mail using the contact e-mail on the site or to the administrative contact listed in a Whois Directory (www.networksolutions.com/whois/). If e-mail doesn't get a response, try a phone call. Warning: Only link to complementary sites, no matter how often you are bombarded with requests to exchange links with a mortgage site that has nothing to do with your teddy bear store. One way Google determines what your site is about is who you link to and who links to you. It's not just links, but quality links you seek. Reciprocal linking as hard, tedious work, but it doesn't cost you a dime out of pocket! Keep working at this continuously, a little bit at a time. Patience and persistence will get you some good links, so keep at it.

16. Write Articles for Others to Use in Websites and Newsletters. You can dramatically increase your visibility when you write articles in your area of expertise and distribute them to editors as free content for their e-mail newsletters or their websites. Just ask that a link to your website and a one-line description of what you offer be included with the article. This is an effective "viral" approach that can produce hundreds of links to your site over time. You'll find lots of information on how to do this from the most popular article marketing site, EzineArticles.com. When you create a free membership account, they begin sending you instructions and ideas each week.

17. Issue News Releases. Find newsworthy events and send news releases to print and Web periodicals in your industry. The links to your site in online news databases may remain for several months and will temporarily improve traffic to your site and increase link popularity. Use a online news release service such as PR Web (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/prweb.htm). Placing your website URL in online copies of your press release may increase link popularity temporarily. More information on public relations strategies is available in our Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=mp_PR).

Two additional linking strategies, discussed below, are to ask visitors to bookmark your webpage (#20) and to develop a free service (#23), which will greatly stimulate links to your site.

Social Media


Our next type of website promotion comes from the mushrooming field of social media, in which people are encouraged to interact with each other, and respond to each other's blog postings and comments. You should be aware of four types of social media: (1) blogs, (2) social networking sites, (3) social bookmarking sites, and (4) forums. Don't be upset if the distinctions between types of social media tend to blur. Social media help promote your site by sending direct traffic, producing links to your site, and generating awareness. The subject is too diverse to go into detail here. You can learn more in our social media articles (www.wilsonweb.com/newmedia/) and in the Social Networking section of the Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=mm_SocialNetwork).

18. Begin a Business Blog. Want links to your site? Begin a business blog on your website, hosted on your own domain. If you offer excellent content and regular industry comment, people are likely to link to it, increasing your site's PageRank. Consistency and having something to say are key. Learn more in the business blogs section of our Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=ms_Blogs). If you have a blog on a third-party blog site, occasionally find reasons to talk about and link to your own domain.

19. Become Part of a Social Media Community. Some of the best online communities for business include Facebook (www.facebook.com), LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), and Twitter (www.twitter.com). In addition, you may want to participate in a social bookmarking community in which members share with each other information about websites, articles, or news items that they like (or don't like). These include Digg (www.digg.com), Delicious (www.delicious.com), StumbleUpon (www.stumbleupon.com), and Google Bookmarks (www.google.com/bookmarks/). Search engine spiders troll these sites looking for links to something new and relevant. You can usually place a link to your website in your profile, but the biggest gain comes when other people mention you (which generates traffic to your site), link to you (which increases your PageRank and brings traffic), or bookmark you (which increases your PageRank and brings traffic, see #21 below).

One important reminder, don't join a community to spam them or talk incessantly about your business. Like any community you must listen, comment, and make a genuine contribution for the good of others. Don't hog the conversation. Otherwise, your self-serving links and comments will hurt your reputation. By the way, to get started, why don't you visit my social media pages and become a Facebook fan (www.facebook.com/pages/Web-Marketing-Today/85187746383) or a Twitter follower (www.twitter.com/ralphwilson) -- please! Thank you!


20. Promote Your Site in Online Forums and Discussion Lists -- "old school" social media. The Internet offers thousands of very targeted e-mail based discussion lists, online forums, and groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Use Google Groups (groups.google.com) to find appropriate groups. Search online for blogs or other forums.

Don't bother with groups consisting of pure spam. Instead, find groups where a serious dialog is taking place. Don't use aggressive marketing and overtly plug your product or service. Rather, add to the discussion in a helpful way and let the "signature" at the end of your e-mail message do your marketing for you. People will gradually get to know and trust you, visit your site, and do business with you.

21. Ask Visitors to Bookmark Your Site. It seems simple, but ask visitors to bookmark your site or save it in their Favorites list. I use a widget called AddThis (www.addthis.com). When you put the AddThis JavaScript on your webpage, it automatically determines the title and URL of that page. When visitors click the button on your page, they are automatically taken to a page that allows them to choose which bookmarking service they prefer, and then pre-populates the appropriate form with the title and URL of your webpage. I use AddThis throughout my website, as well as in my newsletters. If you have good content that people want to bookmark, this can generate hundreds of links to your site and significantly raise your rankings.

While you're at it, would you be so kind as to bookmark this page using the button below? Thank you!



Traditional Strategies


Just because "old media" strategies aren't on the Internet doesn't mean they aren't effective. A mixed media approach can be very effective.

22. Include Your URL on Stationery, Cards, and Literature. Make sure that all business cards, stationery, brochures, and literature contain your company's URL. And see that your printer gets the URL syntax correct. In print, I recommend leaving off the http:// part and including only the www.domain.com portion.

23. Promote using traditional media. Don't discontinue print advertising that you've found effective. But be sure to include your URL in any display or classified ads you purchase in trade journals, newspapers, yellow pages, etc. View your website as an information adjunct to the ad. Use a two-step approach: (1) capture readers' attention with the ad, (2) 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 narrowly-targeted 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. TV can be used to promote websites, especially in a local market.

24. Develop a Free Service. It's boring to invite people, "Come to our site and learn about our business." It's quite another to say "Use the free kitchen remodeling calculator available exclusively on our site." Make no mistake, it's expensive in time and energy to develop free resources, such as our Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/research/), but it is very rewarding in increased traffic to your site -- and a motivation to link to the site! Make sure that your free service is closely related to what you are selling so the visitors you attract will be good prospects for your business. Give visitors multiple opportunities and links to cross over to the sales portion of your site.

E-Mail Strategies


Don't neglect e-mail as an important way to bring people to your website. Just don't spam, that is, don't send bulk unsolicited e-mails without permission to people with whom you have no relationship. Many countries have anti-spam laws.

You can find lots of details and tips on e-mail marketing in my book The E-Mail Marketing Handbook (www.wilsonweb.com/ebooks/handbook.htm). I'll mention just a few important elements here. You can learn more from our articles on e-mail marketing (www.wilsonweb.com/email/) as well as the e-mail section of the Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=me_Email-Gen).

25. Install a "Signature" in your E-Mail Program to help potential customers get in touch with you. Most e-mail programs allow you to designate a "signature" to appear at the end of each message you send. Limit it to 6 to 8 lines: Company name, address, phone number, URL, e-mail address, and a one-phrase description of your unique business offering. Look for examples on e-mail messages sent to you.

26. Publish an E-Mail Newsletter. While it requires a commitment of time, creating a monthly e-mail publication is one of the most important promotion techniques. It could be a newsletter ("ezine"), list of tips, industry updates, or new product information -- whatever you believe your customers will appreciate. This is a great way to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness, and build future business. It also helps you collect e-mail addresses from those who visit your site, but aren't yet ready to make a purchase. You distribute your newsletter inexpensively using e-mail marketing services such as: iContact (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/icontact.htm), Constant Contact (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/constantcontact.htm), and AWeber (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/aweber.htm). If you have a very small list, some of these services let you use their services free until you grow larger. Blogs are very popular, but don't really replace e-mail newsletters. You have to go to a blog to read it, while an e-mail newsletter appears in your inbox asking to be read.

If you haven't already, would you please sign up for my free newsletter, Web Marketing Today (www.wilsonweb.com). It is published weekly and will keep you up-to-date in the fields of Internet marketing and e-commerce. Thank you!


27. Aggressively Ask for E-Mail Sign-ups. If you want to get subscribers to your e-mail newsletter, you'll need to work hard at it. Include a subscription form on every page of your website. Promote sign-ups through free whitepapers, e-books, or other products. If you have a local business, ask customers to sign up for your e-mail list to get "special Internet only offers." Also ask other businesspeople when they give you a business card if you can send them your e-mail newsletter. While only the e-mail address itself is necessary, I always ask for a first name also, so I can personalize the newsletter and the e-mail subject line with the recipient's name.
28. Send Transactional and Reminder E-Mails. A transactional e-mail is sent to an existing customer to initiate, remind, confirm, or thank the person. Be creative. If you keep careful records, you can send e-mails to customers on their birthday to remind them to return to your site. Subscription confirmation e-mails can also mention several popular products. You might remind customers that it has been three months since their last order and ask if it's time for a refill. Thank you for your purchase e-mails can offer a coupon to bring your customer back for a future sale. Use your imagination, but don't pester your customers. You're there to serve them, not the other way around.
29. Send Offers to Your Visitors and Customers. Your own list of customers and site visitors who have given you permission to contact them will be your most productive list. Send special offers, coupon specials, product updates, etc. They often initiate another visit to your site. If you have a regular newsletter, you can include many of these in your regular e-mailing.
30. Exchange E-Mail Mentions with Complementary Businesses. You might consider exchanging e-mail newsletter mentions with complementary businesses to reach new audiences. Just be sure that your partners are careful where they get their mailing list so you don't get in trouble with the anti-spam laws in your country.
I'll mention renting e-mail lists in #37 below under Paid Advertising approaches.

Miscellaneous Strategies

Here are a couple of strategies that don't fit elsewhere.
31. Announce a Contest. People like getting something free. If you publicize a contest or drawing available on your site, you'll generate more traffic than normal. Make sure your sweepstakes rules are legal in all states and countries you are targeting. Prizes should be designed to attract individuals who fit a demographic profile describing your best customers. See articles on contests and incentives in our Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=ma_Incentives).
32. Devise Viral Marketing Promotion Techniques. So-called viral marketing uses existing communication networks to spread the word exponentially. Word-of-mouth, PR, creating "buzz," and network marketing are offline models. Promotion strategy #16 above, "Write Articles for Others to Use for Website and Newsletter Content," is a kind of viral approach.
The key to the best viral marketing, however, is create something that generates buzz and is so cute / fascinating / fun / bizarre that it gets passed by viewers to their friends via e-mail and social networks -- thousands of times -- so that it propels more and more people to your website, and, hopefully, helps enhance your brand, produce sales, and ultimately boost profits. Internet marketers often seek to launch viral campaigns on Digg (www.digg.com) or YouTube (www.youtube.com). Digg is a social bookmarking site with such power, that if enough people "Digg" you, you appear on the Digg front page and receive a huge number of visitors in a few hours. If your video goes viral on YouTube, you could get tens of thousands of visits to the site you promote in the video. However, viral marketing is difficult to do well. If you want to pursue this, I suggest you read MarketingSherpa's How to Viral Market toolkit (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/sherpa_viral.htm). You can find articles on viral marketing in the Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=mm_Viral).

Paid Advertising Strategies

None of the approaches described above is "free," since each takes time and energy. But if you want to grow your business more rapidly, there comes a point when you need to pay for increased traffic. Advertising is sold in one of three ways: (1) traditional CPM (cost per thousand views), (2) pay per click (PPC), and (3) pay per action (PPA) or cost per action (CPA) approaches. Examples of the latter are affiliate program and lead generation programs. Banner ads get such a low click-through rate (0.2%) that I don't recommend paying much for them. Banner ads typically cost about 50¢ to $1 per thousand page views, except on targeted sites.  Do some small tests first to determine response. Then calculate your return on investment (ROI) before spending large amounts. Here are some methods to explore:
33. Advertise in an E-Mail Newsletter. Some of the best buys are small text ads in e-mail newsletters targeted at audiences likely to be interested in your products or services. Many small publishers aren't sophisticated about advertising and offer very attractive rates.
More effective (and more expensive) is to send out an appropriate solo e-mail to the targeted list's subscribers. These often get a good response.
34. Begin an Affiliate Program. Essentially, a retailer's affiliate program is a CPA program that pays a commission to other site owners whose links to the retailer's products result in an actual sale. The goal is to build a network of affiliates who have a financial stake in promoting your site. If you're a merchant, you need to (1) determine the commission you are willing to pay (consider it your advertising cost), (2) select a company to set up the technical details of your program, and (3) promote your program to get the right kind of affiliates who will link to your site. Software and service companies are available to facilitate the process. The problem is getting enough affiliates who will actually work hard to promote your products or services. These "super affiliates" will probably consist of only 1% to 3% of your total number of affiliates. You can learn more by reading articles about affiliate program marketing in the Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=em_Associate).
35. Purchase Pay Per Click (PPC) ads with Google AdWords (adwords.google.com/select/), Yahoo! Search Marketing (www.wilsonweb.com/afd/overture.htm), or Microsoft AdCenter (adcenter.microsoft.com). This strategy is way down the list, but it is vitally important. Most Internet businesses will want to explore using Google AdWords to drive targeted traffic to their websites.
These PPC ads appear on the search engine results page, typically both above and to the right of the organic or natural search engine results. Since they are keyword-driven, they can be quite relevant to what a searcher is trying to find. Your ranking in this list of paid text ads is determined by (1) how much you have bid for a particular search word compared to other businesses, (2) the click-through rate on your ad, and (3) your Quality Score, which reflects the relevancy and quality of your ad and the landing page it points to.
PPC ads can be a cost-effective way to get targeted traffic, since you only pay when someone actually clicks on the link. But I strongly recommend that you study this carefully and expect a learning curve before you invest large sums of money in PPC advertising. Read Andrew Goodman's book Winning Results with Google AdWords (Second Edition, McGraw-Hill, Dec 2008, ISBN 0071496564). You can find articles on Paid Search on our site (www.wilsonweb.com/paid-search/) and in the PPC advertising section of the Research Room (www.wilsonweb.com/search/cat.php?querytype=category&subcat=mp_PPC).
36. List Your Products with Shopping Comparison Bots and Auction Sites. If you're an online merchant, you'll want to consider this. Shopping bots compare your products and prices to others. Some work on a PPC (Pay Per Click) basis, others on a CPA (Cost Per Action) basis, perhaps with a listing fee. Bots to consider include mySimon (www.mysimon.com), BizRate (www.bizrate.com/), PriceGrabber (www.pricegrabber.com/), and Shopping.com (www.shopping.com). Shopping sites that include comparison features include: eBay (www.ebay.com), Yahoo! Shopping (shopping.yahoo.com), and Amazon Marketplace (www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=1161232). You pay to acquire first-time customers, but hopefully you can sell to them a second, third, and fourth time, later on.
37. Rent targeted, commercial e-mail lists. The last website promotion technique I'll mention is renting targeted e-mail lists. We abhor "spam," bulk untargeted, unsolicited e-mail, and you'll pay a very stiff price in a ruined reputation and cancelled services if you yield to temptation here. But the direct marketing industry has developed targeted e-mail lists you can rent -- lists consisting of people who have agreed to receive commercial e-mail messages. These lists cost $40 to $400 per thousand or 4¢ to 40¢ per name. Do a smaller test first to determine the quality of the list. Your best bet is to find an e-mail list broker (www.google.com/search?&q=e-mail+list+broker) to help you with this project. You'll save money and get experienced help for no additional cost. Realize, however, that due to the high cost of renting lists, many businesses won't generate enough businesses to justify the cost. Run the numbers before you invest.
Whew! That's it. We certainly haven't exhausted ways to promote your site, but these will get you started. To effectively market your site, you need to spend time adapting these strategies to your own market and capacity. Right now, why don't you make an appointment to go over this checklist with someone in your organization? Make this Checklist jump-start for your new Internet marketing strategy.
If you've read through this entire article without subscribing to my free Web Marketing Today e-mail newsletter (www.wilsonweb.com), here's your last chance. It's your best source to keep up with ways to enhance your Internet marketing. Subscribe today.
Handling Clients:
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely-implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.[1] Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments
·       Keep the Lines of Communication Open.
·       Newsletters
·       Email Campaigns
·       Phone Calls
·       Commenting on Blogs
·       Social Networks
·       Direct Contact
 Techniques for managing multiple projects
Here are some of the techniques to try when managing multiple projects:
  • Time management: Many times project managers who are overloaded seem to be constantly fighting one crisis after the other. It just doesn’t seem to stop. You need to quickly determine what to do when and how much time you have. You cannot micromanage every single task as a program manager, and you’ll have to start focusing on managing your time among all your projects.
  • Checklist for managing multiple projects: You should create a portfolio checklist for managing multiple projects. You could use a life-cycle checklist to help (e.g., Have I received all the specs? Have I involved QA on each project team?).
  • Prioritization of projects: You need to determine which projects are more important than the others. When faced with multiple projects, it’s important to decide what to do and in which order it gets done. It’s no use simply selecting any project you like and paying attention to that project alone. Careful analysis is needed to ensure that each project meets your company’s strategic objectives and that you are aware of target dates.
  • Categorize your work: This strategy reduces complexity. You have to make progress on all fronts when managing multiple projects. Don’t leave one until next week and expect results. Check the progress of each project on a daily basis.
  • Sequence work tasks: Ensure that for every project the tasks have been properly sequenced and that they make sense. I have seen managers run from project to project, grabbing at straws. It’s imperative that each project be clearly broken down into manageable tasks and that they be correctly sequenced.
  • Create a dashboard: Use a digital dashboard to effectively capture and report on all the projects within your portfolio.
“How Much Money Do You Need To Get Your Business Going?”
This depends on the type of business you're going to get into. All things being equal, it is possible to get a rough idea of how much funds you'll need in order to get your business off the ground. To get an estimate of how much money you'll need for your business, you'll have to consider a few key factors.
What kind of product do you have?
Are you going to produce a product or offer a service. Generally, a service business will require less cash because it will require less capital costs such as material and equipment costs. High capital businesses such as manufacturing will generally require more cash because it will need to factor in costs of goods such as raw materials, equipment needed and expenses incurred.
A service business will require less cash than a capital intensive operation and therefore a lower small business start up loan.
Equity
Do you have the necessary personal equity to put into the business. I'm not going to lie to you. Know one is going to put up a dime unless you have a certain amount of personal equity into the business, generally cash equity . This figure is around 25 to 50 percent of the total estimated cost of the project, possibly higher.
The amount of equity required is also influenced by other credit factors, such as management experience and adequacy of collateral. Remember, your equity is going to be very important in terms of how much financing you can leverage as a small business start up loan.
If you don't have a dime to your name and your looking to start up a business, you might want to put your idea on hold until you can save enough money to leverage enough debt to get your business going.
Labor
Who's going to be working? Do you intend to do most of the work or are you going to hire outside help. Generally, you will want to contribute your own time to the business as the main source of labor. This is one way to control labor costs. Later, when your business starts to take off, you can hire additional help in order to meet demand.
Can you sustain a living?
I'd say 90 to 95% of all businesses don't see a dime of profit for the first six months of operation (sometimes even longer). It is necessary to estimate how much personal expenses you are going to incur for the first six months of operation and plan how much you need to meet these expenses.
“Estimating Expenses”
The following list is a general list that most businesses will incur. Beside each one, take an estimate of how much each will cost. Remember that your business might have more or less expenses.
• Lease/rent
• Leasehold improvements
• Maintenance
• Office equipment
• Office supplies
• Utilities (phone, electricity, heat, water)
• Business licenses
• Book Keeping
• Labor
• Advertising/marketing
• Warehouse or factory space rental
• Machinery and equipment rental
• Raw materials

Total
Once you have estimated the amount expenses for your business, you will need to break down the figure into financing portions. For example, if you have a total estimated project cost of $50,000, how are you going to break this figure down into financing.

Let's say you have 25% of the $50,000 in equity ($12,500), that leaves $37,500 that still needs to be financed. Almost all businesses will need some form of outside financing.
I strongly suggest you do a month by month cash flow for the first year. If you don't know how to do a cash flow statement, try working with your banker, accountant or click here . By doing a cash flow statement, you will realistically estimate the amount of cash you need to sustain your business.
Types of financing
There are basically two types of financing, debt and equity. Deciding on which route to take will depend on the following components:
-How much control of the business do you want to give up
-How much of a small business start up loan are you comfortable with as compared to equity (called leverage)
What is debt financing?
Debt is basically a legal promise to pay someone back a certain amount of dollars plus interest. In exchange for having lent you the money, an investor will want to be paid interest. The main advantage of debt is that you still have control of your business. The downside is the obligation to make the monthly payments to the lender no matter what.
What is equity financing
An equity investor will add capital into your business for a percentage of ownership. Equity financing involves no direct obligation to repay any funds. It does, however, involve selling a partial interest in your company.
The main advantage of equity financing is that you don't have the monthly payment obligations. The downside is that you lose a certain amount of ownership of your company.
"Sources Of Financing"
The following list are examples of possible sources of financing.
Personal savings
Personal savings are probably the number one financing source that most businesses take when starting a new business. The great thing about personal equity is that you don't have to pay anyone back and you still maintain 100% control of the business.
Most lenders for small business start up loans require that a reasonable percentage of your own funds be invested in your business, as an indication that you will work hard to make the business a success. As stated earlier, know one is going to lend you a dime unless you have some personal equity in the business.
Friends and family
Friends and family can be an important source of financing for your business. The number one advantage to this type of financing is that your friends and family will be a lot more understanding of you than someone who doesn't know you.
The greatest disadvantage is that it can put your relationship at risk if things get shaky or if there is a misunderstanding. It's important to keep the arrangement formal. This way it's more professional and it will help keep the misunderstandings down to a minimum.
The investment can take the form of a direct loan or an equity investment. It will depend on how well they know you.
“Places to look”
Banks
Banks can be a little tricky when you are trying to attain a small business loan. Each bank operates differently and policies will differ. Banks may be one of the first sources that come to mind when you begin searching for a small business start up loan. The great thing about banks is that they have money available to lend.
However, it may be difficult for a new business to get a loan from a bank since lenders usually prefer to lend to established businesses. Of course, not all banks look at it this way.
I suggest you approach your bank and get to know the commercial banker. From a banking stand point, it gives them more confidence when they are dealing with someone they know.
Remember, you need equity to leverage a small business loan. The equity can be in the form of cash, investments, and tangible collateral such as vehicles, land and buildings. If you don't have a dime to your name and you don't own anything, it's going to be very difficult to get a loan.
Also remember you need a good credit rating. If you don't have a clean record, banks simply won't take you seriously. I'll describe the credit process in more detail below.
Insurance Companies
Certain insurance companies will invest a portion of their unused income into small business start up loans. If you borrow from an insurance company, you can expect terms and interest rates similar to those available from a commercial bank.

Try talking to your insurance officer about the companies policy on a small business loans. You can also request information booklets from your insurance company.
Leasing Companies
These types of companies will lease or rent businesses various types of equipment. By renting rather than buying the equipment your business will need, you will be able to avoid many capital expenditures associated with the purchase of equipment. Sort of like a small business loan but the company will actually loan you the equipment.
Capital Venture Companies
Capital venture companies are companies that will invest in your company for a percentage of ownership. These companies will invest in your company if they see the possibility of high and quick returns.
In other words, they want to make the highest return in the shortest amount of time possible. These investments are not really loans.
In general, venture capital firms are most interested in investing in new technology and can typically supply large sums of money. It's important to note that venture capitalists are not passive investors. They will want to play a major role in the direction of your company. Can be a quick source of funds in terms of a small business start up loan.
These companies can be found on the internet. Simply type in venture capitalist.com and you will come to a huge database of venture capitalists who might be willing to give you a business plan.
“Types Of Small Business Loans”
Banks and other financial institutions can assist you by providing funds through personal or commercial credit. Examples of personal credit include automobile loans, credit cards, and home mortgages. Commercial credit includes small business start up loans;
Here are some options for a start up loan:
Short-term business loans are one of the most common types of small business start up loans and are usually for less than one year. They can provide interim working capital for a business temporarily in need of cash, and are typically repaid in a lump sum when inventory or accounts receivable are converted into cash.
Intermediate-term small business loans are often used for a business start-up, the purchase of new equipment, expansion, or an increase in working capital. The maturity dates range from one to three years.
Long-term business loans generally are made for major capital improvements, acquiring fixed assets, or business start-ups. The term of the loan runs for periods of three to five years and is usually based in part on the life of the asset financed. Repayment is usually made in monthly or quarterly installments.
A line of credit offers you the ability to borrow money repeatedly, up to your credit limit, without having to reapply. A line of credit is particularly important to businesses that experience seasonal fluctuations. The great thing about this type of credit loan is that you only pay interest on what you take out and not on the whole prinicple like term loans.
The lender generally will perform a review once a year, at which time the borrower is asked to provide updated financial statements.
You might also want to check out the internet. The following company provides small business start up loans and their approval process is super fast:
SmallBusinessLoans.com
SmallBusinessLoans.com has been facilitating small business start up loans on the internet since 1997. During the past 4 years they have handled over $50 billion in loan requests from small business owners across the country who have taken advantage of their premier funding sources and the internet to get the money they need in a quick, efficient and secure manner.
Small Business Loans.com will review your application and will respond to you in 48 hours.
America One Funding
America One Funding provides small business start up loans and personal loans. Their specialty product is an Unsecured Signature Loan that can be used for any purpose, business or personal with no collateral required. Please note that this is only for the residence of the United States.
The Credit Application Process
Applying for credit can be tedious. It calls for more documentation than you might initially have expected and certainly a lot more than when you apply for consumer credit.
For lenders, extending credit to an entrepreneur usually means customizing the small business start up loan to suit the credit needs of that business. So don' be disheartened by the amount of paperwork needed to accompany the application. Instead, be prepared!
Among the best assets you can bring to the lender is a well thought-out and documented business plan. You need to clearly state the purpose of the small business start up loan (will the money be used for temporary working capital, buying equipment, or expanding facilities); the amount of funds needed and for how long; and a repayment schedule. Your business plan should include the following information:
1) business description that tells the nature of the business, describes the product and its market, identifies its customers and competition.
2) personal profile that outlines the background and experience of each of the principals in a resume.
3) proposal that states the type of loan requested and its purpose.
4) business plan that outlines your corporate strategy for the next three to five years; it will aid you and the lender in determining whether the business will generate the cash flow needed to repay the loan.
5) repayment plan that tells how you propose to repay the small business start up loan or outlines a repayment schedule. The lender will be expecting you to repay the borrowed funds from the profits produced by the business. As a contingency, you might need to develop a plan on how you would repay the small business start up loan if the profits alone turned out to be inadequate.
6) supporting documentation will include copies of pertinent papers that support the information contained in your loan proposal-for example, a lease, certificate of incorporation, partnership agreement, letters of reference, contracts, invoices or vendor quotes.
7) collateral that you will use to secure the payment of the small business start up loan. Collateral can include business and personal assets such as inventory, equipment, and accounts receivable or real estate, stocks, bonds, and automobiles.
8) financial statements, both personal and for the business. The business financial statement should be provided for the last three to five years of operation including a year-to-date interim report. It should contain a balance sheet showing business assets and liabilities, and a profit-and-loss statement showing revenues and expenses.
The lender uses this information to calculate a debt-to-worth ratio for the business. Be prepared to provide copies of tax returns for the business for this same period.
The personal financial statement should list your assets and your liabilities. Identify the names in which title to each asset is held and its fair market value. You should be prepared to provide copies of your personal tax returns. You may be asked for a list of credit references. Lenders will check your personal as well as your business credit rating.
Lenders will carefully examine your financial statements and business projections. As a borrower, you must be fully prepared to answer questions about them.
9) personal guarantees of the owners or other principals usually are required, even from an established business.
The lender also may request another party's guarantee such as a cosigner or a surety, or may request a government guarantee from the U.S. Small Business Administration or other government agency.
In addition to the personal guarantee that you give, under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act the lender is allowed to require another person's guarantee should your application fail to meet the lender's standards of creditworthiness.
If all or most of the assets listed on your personal financial statement are owned jointly with your spouse, or with someone else, the lender is likely to require such a guarantee. But the lender may not require that your spouse be the guarantor.
In the case of secured credit, the lender is allowed to obtain a spouse's or other co-owner's signature on certain documents when the applicant offers, as security for the loan, property that the two own jointly.
In this case, the spouse or other co-owner may be asked to sign documents---such as a mortgage or other security agreement that would be necessary under applicable state law to make the property available to satisfy the debt.
Before you approach a lender for a start up loan, you might want to seek the advice of another, more experienced "set of eyes" to review your business plan, particularly if you are a first-time borrower.
By doing so, you'd be getting the loan package in shape to make it easier for the lender to reach a favourable credit decision.
There are some business support groups whose members could counsel you on how your package looks. A qualified counsellor might even discover that you really don't need more money, and instead suggest better inventory control, improved marketing techniques, or other changes that could actually solve your growth problems.
What if I'm not approved for a small business start up loan?
Most lenders, banks especially, are conservative in granting small business start up loans. Given the obligation to their stockholders and depositors, they need to be sure there's a good chance that the loan will be repaid.
If your application for credit is not approved, find out the reasons why. Some of the reasons that lenders often give for denying a small business loan include, for example, insufficient owner's equity in the business; lack of an established earnings record; a history of slow or past-due trade or loan payments; or insufficient collateral.
Finding out the reasons may help you qualify the next time you apply for a business start up loan. The lender will keep you informed about the status of your application.
If you are considered a "small business" (when your business revenues are $1 million or less, or when you are applying to start up a business), a lender has 30 days to let you know, either orally or in writing, whether or not you get the small business start up loan.
The 30-day period begins after the lender has received all of the information needed to evaluate your credit request. If your application is denied, the lender must give you either:
-a written statement of the reasons for denial, or
-a written notice telling you of your right to obtain the reasons in writing. This notice may be given to you during the application process or at the time of the denial.
The lender also will keep for one year the records relating to your application.
Different rules apply for larger businesses (those with more than $1 million in revenues). Within a reasonable period of time after getting all the necessary information on which to base a decision, the lender must decide and let you know whether or not you get the credit.
Then you'll have 60 days in which to ask for a written statement of the reasons why you were denied credit; this is important to remember because the lender need not notify you of this right. The creditor will keep records of your application for a small business start up loan for at least 60 days after telling you of the credit decision.
Professional development:

Summary

Planning is the process of choosing among competing opportunities for communication so that you can set overall goals for a web. You'll need to define your web's intended audience, formulate a statement of your web's purpose, and objective, and gather and maintain domain information to support your web.
As a web planner, you need to anticipate the skills and resources needed for developing, constructing, deploying, and operating the web. For example, if a web's design includes a specification for forms (a feature supported by HTML), you should note that web implementors should have skills in HTML forms as well as CGI (Common Gateway Interface) programming.

Key Planning Practices

·      Spend time to think about a web before implementing one.
·      Plan for and obtain the resources and skills needed for developing your web.
·      Formulate policies about information development, deployment, and presentation to guide developers and users.

Key Planning Resources

·      The Internet Service Providers List: a list of providers for access or Web space leasing.
·      Web Software: a description of products related to deploying a web, including clients, servers, tools, and others.
·      Top 10 Ways to Make Your WWW Service a Flop: good discussions of common errors in web planning and development.

Discussion

Good webs don't always happen by accident. If you are a web developer, spend some time thinking about why you will build it and who will come.
Planning is a crucial aspect of web development because it is when many decisions are made that affect the design, implementation, and later promotion of a web. This chapter surveys issues of web planning, starting from principles based on the Web's media characteristics and user experience. You can plan a web at many phases of web development, including strategic, policy, and systems planning. Specific techniques and instructions for individual web planning are described in this chapter, including strategies to define the web's purpose and objectives, domain and audience information, and web specification and presentation.

Principles of Web Planning

You can apply the Web's media characteristics and qualities to define a focus for web planning. The Web's dynamic characteristic tends to make planning an ongoing, continuous process in which issues of multiple authorship and rapidly changing information relationships come into play.

The Limits of Web Planning: What a Developer Can't Control

When developing a web and making it available to the public to freely browse, you have no control over a range of factors. The first step of the planning process is to recognize these factors and consider how they might limit planning for a particular web. The factors over which a developer has no control include user behavior, browser display, links to the web, and the resources outside the web.
User Behavior
Because the Web is a dynamic, competitive system based on user choices and selectivity, a web developer can't control how users are going to access and use a web's information. The Web's porous quality, in particular, means that users do not need to enter a web from a designated home page; instead, they can enter from any arbitrary page. Although a developer's intent might be to guide users down a series of pages (the wine bottle model), actual use might differ. Access to a web follows more the pincushion model, where users might enter at any given point, and thus a web has no true "top." Users might enter a web at any arbitrary link.
On a larger scale, the entire Web itself, composed of millions of individual webs, resembles a cloud of hypertext (the cloud model shown). Users in the cloud model don't even necessarily experience a single web, but instead move from page to page in Web space, through navigation techniques such as subject, keyword, or space-oriented searching. In particular, when a user enters a web as a result of a spider keyword search, the web pages that match the search pattern might lead a user deep inside what the web developer might consider the introductory or welcome pages of a web.
The Web's porous quality is a consideration during planning as well as in the other processes of development: analysis, design, implementation, and promotion (as described in detail in later chapters). During the planning stage, it is possible to intend to build a web with a different entry pattern than the pincushion model. In fact, it often is possible to shape general user behavior toward a wine bottle model by using navigational cues, web publicity, and other design strategies. During the planning stage, however, the best web developers can do is to identify the general model of user behavior for which they are aiming. Although user behavior can't be controlled, a statement of the planned general user access model can serve as a guide for later processes of web development-particularly design.
Possible planning models for user behavior follow:
Guided. This model guides the user through a sequence of pages, much like the wine bottle model. The designation of a home page tends to support this model, which often starts the user from the "top" of the web. This is a common model for planning the default page of a Web server (the page that comes up when the user requests the URL consisting of the server name only). A guided model for user behavior requires a design of the links of individual pages to support a guided (but not necessarily linear) path. This model also is common for webs that tell a sequential story or explain a series of concepts.
Cued. This model provides the user with many cues for choices of links to follow, with the expectation that the user should be prepared to choose from them with minimal guidance. This model is more common for webs containing complex information that a user might access often, such as reference or database information, or for webs that support users with advanced or prior knowledge of the web's domain information.
Floating. In this model, the user might be presented with only selected cues on each page that relate only to that page's information, as opposed to the navigational cues present in the cued model or the narrative cues of the guided model. A floating model might be most appropriate for entertainment or play webs, where the user is encouraged to explore links in a web from a context not necessarily related to gaining a comprehensive understanding of a topic or looking up information.
Although a developer can't control a user's entry point into a web, an explicit statement of a general user model (guided, cued, or floating) might help designers create a design to support a user's likely path through a web.
It's important to note that being unable to control a user's entry point or path through a web is not necessarily an undesirable feature. In fact, many would say that this porousness is precisely the power of hypertext itself; it allows users to follow links based on their interests or thought processes.
The User's Browser and Display
The client/server organization of the Web allows for a wide variety of browsers to be available to users. A web planner can't know what kind of browsers users will have. Moreover, new browsers are in development, and future browsers are certain to provide more and different features than the ones presently available. Therefore, different users, based on their browser's operation, will experience a web differently but share common navigational needs.
Some users might perceive a web using a text-only browser, whereas others might use the most current graphical browser that supports extensions to HTML. Therefore, in planning a web, developers need to consider what information will be essential so that it's not lost to users who have text-only browsers or browsers that don't support HTML extensions. If developers place important or essential information in a graphics file, for example, some users might never see it, because not all Web browsers support graphics. The choices for planners in addressing user browser display include a series of choices that might limit information available to some users. Planners choose where essential information can be placed:
Text. Places all essential information in text (or in the ALT fields of images in a document) so that a user with any browser can access it.
Graphics. Allows for graphics to play a major role in transmitting important information. In particular, imagemaps might be used extensively for information selection. This choice would make this information unavailable to users with nongraphical browsers.
Forms. Places some important communications functions within forms.
Hypermedia. Places some information in multimedia information, perhaps including movies, sounds, and images.
Virtual Reality (VR). Places some information in VRML constructs.
By explicitly making choices about which level of browser display to support, the web planner sets many decisions for the web specification that guides web designers and implementers. Setting these limits is crucial, particularly when the web's intended audience is known to have only a certain level of capability for accessing the web, or the purpose of the web is to reach a large audience (perhaps to the non-Internet regions of the Matrix through e-mail access).
Because of the diversity of Web browsers, web planners also have to take into consideration how little control over information display they will have. This is a change from traditional desktop publishing, in which every aspect of font style and size, alignment, and other layout features are controlled carefully. HTML, working on a different philosophy for presenting information, is intended as a semantic markup language rather than a page layout language.
Web planners must recognize that the tags in an HTML document define the structures of a document-not necessarily how these structures are displayed. Many browsers render the unordered list differently, however; some use graphical dots, and text browsers may use an * or an o. Indentation and alignment of lists may vary from browser to browser. Even the font size and style of a displayed document often are under a user's control. This issue of rendering relates to the levels of HTML (and extensions to HTML, some of which are browser-specific) a web developer chooses to employ. Part III, "Web Implementation and Tools," covers these levels in detail.
The bottom line is that web planners should avoid trying to micromanage or specify page layout. Although such page layout might be optimized for a particular brand of browser during implementation, users with other browsers might be disappointed with their brand of browser's rendering of the same page.
Links Into and Out of a Web
In a web, many links might be made to resources on the network that are beyond a web developer's control. These resources may move, making the link no longer valid (the link then is said to be stale). Users following a stale link from a document will encounter an error message and not get the information the developer originally had intended for them to access, thus degrading the experience of the users of the web. At the planning stage, a web developer can make some policy statements that address this "links out" issue:
No links out. This is the most stringent option. It states that no links will be made from the web to resources that are not under the direct control of the web developers. The benefit of this policy is that the developers have absolute control over the resources that are the destination points of the links in a web. The problem with this strategy is that the benefit and value of external resources are lost to the users. This policy might work best for webs that contain only information pertaining to a single organization.
Buffer layer. In this option, web planners designate a core group of web pages that are separated from outside links by a layer of local web pages of a minimum depth. The web planners might designate that there will be no outside links closer than three links away from the home page of the web, for example. In this case, the home page constitutes the core set of pages, and there are at least three links between a page within this core set and a link outside the web. Note that a user still can enter the web in the pincushion or cloud model of access to a page that has external links on it. If this web uses a guided model for user access, however, these outside links are placed beyond the user's immediate attention while in the core set of pages. This buffer layer might be the best strategy for web developers who don't want to lose their users too soon to the outside Web.
Centralized out. In this option, the web planners may choose to designate a single page or set of pages to contain all the links outside the web. A common practice for webs is to include a page containing interesting external links of this type, listing Web links to external resources on a single page. The benefit of this strategy is that users can have a good idea when they will be leaving the local web. This helps users who arrived at the web for a specific purpose to avoid getting "thrown out" of the web before finding the information they want.
Free exit. In this option, no restrictions are placed on making links outside the web. This approach allows the particular page developer to determine when outside links should be made. This is the most flexible option, but it might send users out of a web quickly.
When links are made outside a web, other issues come into play: link connections and content reliability. A stale link is one that will not technically resolve to a resource because of a permanent change in that resource's availability. A broken link is a temporary problem with a link, such as when a remote computer host is down for maintenance. Web users realize that stale and broken links are unavoidable aspects of Web navigation. For projects that require flawless access, planners may choose a policy of no external links in a web to avoid these problems.
Not only can a link to an external resource become stale or broken, but the content to which it refers can change in unexpected ways. This can be particularly troubling when a developer links to resources created by people for very informal reasons (for example, a school project or a hobbyist's project). A web developer might have linked to a photograph of a train at a remote site, for example, and perhaps this photograph is key to the web's information content. The hobbyist who made that photograph available is under no obligation to forever offer a picture of a train through that link, unless by an agreement with the web developer. The hobbyist might change the image at that link every month. Next month, the users might retrieve an image of a tree. Thus, link planning and maintenance is an important part of web development, and the planning process involves taking into account which resources always must be stable or readily accessible.
Just as developers can't control which resources exist through the links out of a web, they cannot control the links that are made to their webs. When a web is made publicly available, any link in a web (any URL that refers to an HTML page) can be used in any other work on the Web. (Developers might make statements explicitly forbidding these links, but this kind of restriction rarely is implemented on the Web and might even be considered a breach of Web community tradition.)
Someone linking to a web could misrepresent its purpose or content, perhaps unintentionally. Although a web might be a description of "The XYZ Company's Modem Products," someone at a remote site might identify this web as "instructions for hooking up to a computer bulletin board." Developers can track down references to a web by using a Web spider and often will be able to correspond with anyone who might have misinterpreted the meaning or purpose of their web. Although a benign case of a misunderstanding easily may be fixed, it's not clear whether developers will be able to suppress or stop malicious references or links to their webs. The legal issues involved are not resolved.
A developer might run across someone who describes his or her modem products web as "the lamest modems made" or even maliciously spreads the web's URL among large groups of people, with instructions to "click on this link until the server crashes." The latter case is a bit more clear cut because there are explicit rules of conduct that most users, at least at most sites, must follow, and these usually include rules against intentionally damaging any equipment.
Moreover, the commonly held set of traditions on the Net itself definitely prohibits maliciously crashing a server. Another view, however, is that the user who makes the comment "the lamest modems made," about a web might simply be exercising his or her freedom of speech, and a developer might be able to do nothing about it. In actual practice, a developer will find that links into a web are made in good faith and that any misinterpretations or misunderstandings of a web's purpose can be resolved.

The Opportunities of Web Planning: What a Developer Can Control

Despite the long list of issues outlined in the preceding section over which a web developer has little or no control, there are many issues a web developer can control. In particular, the Web's media qualities give the web planner many opportunities for planning at the strategic (long term), systems (multiple webs), and single-web level. The following list surveys planning issues related to the qualities of the Web. Specific planning techniques to address these issues follow this list.
Multiple user roles. (user as consumer or as consumer/producer) These possibilities open up the potential for interaction among web information providers and users, as well as a participatory form of information dissemination instead of just a one-way broadcast of information. Involving users actively in information creation and dissemination is not done often, and planning for it involves a careful definition of the policy for and purpose of user-provided information.
Porous quality. This quality of the Web works in favor of a web developer who plans information structures that are modular and self-contained, and that contain a sufficient number of navigation and context cues for the user. These kinds of information structures, whether they are individual pages or groups of related pages (a package), can have multiple uses for different places in the same web or for different webs of the same organization. These multiple-use information components reduce production and maintenance costs, because information creation and updates can take place in a single location within a web, and the updates can benefit all the links where this information is referenced. This efficiency is analogous to computer-software modules that can be referenced in different parts of a computer program or even in other computer programs.
Dynamic quality. This quality of the Web works in favor of a web developer who uses key parts of a web to meet the users' time-dependent needs. A news organization creating a web for mass communications can have a page that contains the current headlines, which are updated throughout the day, for example. A user accessing this page can expect to see different contents from day to day and even throughout a single day, or over several hours or minutes. This dynamism works in favor of meeting the needs of the users for current information. In contrast, poor planning for information updates results in out-of-date information on a web, and the dynamic possibilities are lost. The level of dynamism on a web depends on what kind of information a web offers. Stable information might require no updating. Other information might be valid for periods of time-perhaps years or months-and might require only periodic updating. The key is for web planners to identify the updating needs of a web's information (this is covered in more detail later in the section "Domain Information").
Interactive quality. This quality of the Web can engage users and provides a way for web developers to customize information to meet users' needs. Planning for interactivity involves a careful process of audience identification and analysis in which these needs and the mechanisms by which they can be met are defined.
Competitive quality. This quality of the Web requires that planners take a long-term view of any investment in web-delivered information. Planning is essential for information maintenance as much as the technical maintenance of a web. Planning for web promotion must be done so that a web gains the attention of users. Planning must include provisions for surveillance of competitor webs, new presentation technologies, techniques, or styles.

Web-Planning Techniques

Web planning is a dynamic, continuous process that involves a constant balancing of opportunities and resources. Web planning often takes place within a context that is more general than just the concerns about the technical composition of a set of HTML pages. Often, particularly for larger organizations, communication on the Web is part of a strategic effort to reach users, involving many media outlines beside the Web. The following sections outline techniques for planning at different levels, starting from a strategic level (in which the focus is on an organization's needs for communication), a systems level (in which the focus is on the web-delivered portion of an organization's on-line communication techniques), and the web level (in which the focus is on an individual web's audience and purpose).
People Planning
Without a doubt, people are the key to the success of a web site. Because developing a web involves such a diverse range of skills, a talented team of people working together is crucial to success. Although just a few years ago it was not uncommon for a single generalist (a Web master) to be the sole developer of a web, today the trend is for a team approach, in which people with a variety of specializations work together to produce a web. Whereas the attention in web development years ago was on the people with technical talent (the Web server administrators and implementers of HTML), the attention now has shifted to content developers and producers. This isn't too surprising; nearly anyone can learn how to write HTML, but it takes great ability to develop web information well. Eventually, the focus may shift more toward creative information producers-just as in movies and television, talented performers often are at the apex of recognition and reward.
When planning a web, look for people who can perform the roles outlined in the processes:
Planners. Make many choices about a web's elements and strategic growth. The planner is often the administrator or initiator of the web project itself and in many cases may be considered the leader of a web team. Planners should have strong management and people skills as well as a good understand of the Web's technical makeup and possibilities.
Analysts. Perform the critical task of constantly monitoring your web's content and its use by its audience. An analyst needs to play devil's advocate to determine what parts of a web are working to meet the audience's needs and which are not. To do this, an analyst needs to be both confident and diplomatic, with the ability to communicate bad news to other members of the web team. A close match for analysts to be on your team may be people in quality assurance, copy editors of magazines or newspapers, teachers, or researchers in human-computer interaction or computer-mediated communication.
Designers. Create a pleasing look and feel for the Web, going beyond just the appearance of a web in terms of graphical appearance, but including hypertext and hypermedia organization and design. A web designer should have all the technical skill of an implementer, a strong sense of the web's objectives and audience, and a through feel for the World Wide Web and the Internet as a new medium.
Implementers. Create HTML, CGI scripts, or Java applets based on the design and specification of a web. CGI scripts and Java require computer programming and good skills not only in coding but in software engineering techniques. Implementers need to create software that is dependable and maintainable. Look for people who are computer programmers to fill these roles. Many universities teach these skills (unfortunately, many schools teach only web implementation skills), so the pool of potential implementers is great.
Promoters. Work on the public relations, advertising, and marketing issues of a web. To staff your web team, look for people involved in these fields in other media, with the cautionary note that the potential candidates must have a good understanding of the social and some of the technical aspects of Web communication. You don't get this understanding from participating in a proprietary service like America Online. The Web has a unique set of social characteristics that play an important part in promotion.
Innovators. Like web analysts, the web team should never become stagnant or self-satisfied with its work. Instead, it should continue to integrate new techniques and technologies that meet the needs of the web's audience. An innovator also should be concerned about the quality of the web's interface and content and seek to continuously improve it. Good candidates for web innovators include quality-assurance people and technologists who work with cutting-edge innovations.

Administrative Planning

An important part of developing a web involves considering how you want to create your presence on-line. For professional or serious web developers, a dependable, professional presence and a skilled web-development team are crucial for success. In addition to the people, policy, and process planning this chapter outlines, administrative planning should be made for the following:
A stable Web technical presence. This presence should include a domain name (to permit switching of Internet service providers when necessary as well as for identity reasons) and adequate Web server performance.
Improving Web content. When developing a web, you're not just making a home page. Your goal should be to develop sustainable, reliable processes that continuously improve the content of your site. The Web, like life, is always under construction. Your goal is to take steps to the excellence of the content of your construction. Your audience then will begin to rely on you to always do better in the flux of Web communication.

A Capability Maturity Model for the Web

An organization adopting a technology often passes through several stages of interest and involvement. Awareness of a promising technology might cross over to curiosity and testing. This testing then might develop into growing expertise. A wealth of expertise in a technology then might lead to its widespread use in an organization. A model for proceeding through these steps can help an organization understand the key issues and tasks to move from one level to the next.
The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has developed an organizational life-cycle model for the acquisition of software engineering technology for an organization. Called the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) for software, its purpose is to define the characteristics of a mature, capable process for creating software. The framework describes five levels that an organization may traverse in software-engineering practices. These stages proceed from immature, unrepeatable processes to mature, repeatable ones. The five stages follow:
1.   The Initial level. An organization's ineffective planning hobbles good software-engineering practices. Projects typically are planned poorly and their success is unpredictable. Very few stable software processes exist in the organization, and these are attributable to individual rather than organizational capability.
2.   The Repeatable level. An organization establishes policies for software project management and procedures to implement those policies. The key to achieving this level is for the management processes to make successful practices repeatable. A process that is effective is "practiced, documented, enforced, trained, measured, and able to improve" (ftp://ftp.sei.cmu.edu/pub/cmm/ASCII/tr25-overview.ascii).
3.   The Defined level. An organization documents a standard process for developing and maintaining software across the organization. This standard includes an integration of both the management and technical-engineering processes involved. An organization-wide group coordinates software-engineering process activities, and there is organization-wide training so that individuals can fulfill their assigned roles. For each project, the organization's standard software process is tailored to a "coherent, integrated set of well-defined software engineering and management processes" to best meet the needs for that project. Software quality can be tracked because processes are stable and repeatable.
4.   The Managed level. An organization sets quality goals for products and processes, and productivity and quality are measured. The risks for moving into new application domains are predictable. The resulting software products produced are of high quality.
5.   The Optimizing level. The entire organization focuses on continuous process improvement. Innovations are identified and transferred to the whole organization. Defects can be analyzed and processes adjusted to reduce them. Organizations at the optimizing level continuously improve through incremental improvements in existing processes and innovation in technologies and methods.
Mapped to the activities of web development, the CMM described in this list provides a good framework for approaching the Web. Web development shares some characteristics of software engineering (it is created and deployed on computers, for example). Web development, however, involves more skills in information shaping and communication. The preceding CMM is, overall, a good framework for approaching the Web. Web planners can use this CMM for software as a basis for a CMM for web development. This model then can help as a framework for strategic planning in using Web communication:
1.   The Initial level. An organization uses Web communication haphazardly, with no defined processes or standards. Individuals with knowledge of HTML are assigned to develop webs without much thought for communication strategies or process issues. Success is unpredictable or is not evaluated or measured at all. Any beneficial results are attributable to individual effort and talent rather than organizational capability. This is the amateur stage of web development, when knowing HTML is the sole criterion for developing a web.
2.   The Repeatable level. An organization establishes and defines policies and processes for web development. These processes focus on information shaping so that success can be repeated. This involves evaluation of results, documentation of processes, and some training of developers.
3.   The Defined level. An organization documents a standard process for developing and maintaining webs across the organization. This standard includes an integration of both the management and technical processes involved. An organization-wide group coordinates the development process and activities. There is organization-wide training so that individuals can fulfill their roles. For each project, the organization's standard development process is tailored to include a set of web development and management processes to best meet the needs for that project. Web quality can be tracked because processes are stable and repeatable.
4.   The Managed level. An organization sets quality goals for products and processes, and productivity and quality are measured. The risks for moving into new application domains are predictable. The resulting Web products produced are of high quality.
5.   The Optimizing level. The entire organization focuses on continuous process improvement. Innovations are identified and transferred to the whole organization. Defects can be analyzed and processes adjusted to reduce them. Organizations at the optimizing level continuously improve through incremental work on existing processes and innovation in technologies and methods.
A web planner can use this framework to set strategic goals. An organization already might be developing webs at the initial level, where creative individuals drive success. Without strategic plans for moving to the higher levels, however, this organization generally will not be able to predictably repeat successes or continuously improve quality. Although software engineering differs very much from web development, there is a correspondence in the complexity of product, culture of skills, and technical practices and development environments between both disciplines. The CMM for software therefore can guide web developers in attempting to move to higher levels of maturity.

Web Policy Planning

As part of defining policies for web development, planners should begin to address policy and administrative issues that are bound to arise during the course of developing, deploying, and using information on a web or set of organizational webs:
·      Developing information. Policies must be set out to identify the processes, products, and responsibilities for web development. This is an essential framework for ensuring that everything gets done, there is no duplication, and the important definition and standardization take place. Issues outlined previously for user access, information display, and link policy should be identified. A decision about technological change rates for the web should be made-how much and how fast new technology should be introduced to the web.
·      Providing information. Policies must be developed to state the mission or purpose of the web (or larger system of webs) in an organization. This mission statement then can define content and serve as a guideline to determine appropriate content and appropriate allocation of resources. Policies for information providers should be created.
·      When developing a collection of Web-based information on a particular topic area, information provider maintainers should
o  Keep aware of current developments in Internet resources on that topic.
o  Become knowledgeable in the domain area represented by the field of study of the collection. The maintainer also should rely on domain experts to help advise on the significance and value of information sources.
o  Be available and accessible for comments from users and domain experts and for timely maintenance of the collection based on these comments.
o  Provide leadership and vision toward making the collection serve the interests of the users by seeking out user opinions and frequently testing the usability of the information.
o  Ask for and acknowledge the assistance and collaboration of others in shaping the information in the collection.
o  Actively seek and install new resources, links, or information-presentation methods in the collection. Provide periodic publicity and announcements about the collection to appropriate on-line discussion forums and indexes. Seek a replacement when they no longer are able to develop the information in the collection or when they are absent for an extended period.
·      Using information Policies must state how the training needs for web developers as well as local and client users will be addressed. Information policies must state who should be accessing the web(s) of an organization, and how and why they should be doing it, including statements about appropriate use for intended and unintended audiences. Intellectual property, information-dissemination, and copyright policies must be set so that users and developers know the boundaries of information use.

System Planning

Strategic and policy planning can guide web planners in creating a framework for increasing quality on a web. The next step is to plan organization-wide strategies for on-line (and off-line) communication. This work involves media definition, integration, and differentiation at the level of several webs or communication channels (the systems level).
Communication on the Web involves mediated communication, and the Web has particular characteristics and qualities as a medium. Therefore, the first step in web systems planning is to explore how the Web can play a role in an organization's communications needs. This process of definition can start with an inventory of the arsenal of communications methods that an organization already may be using. An organization already might advertise its products in print, television, radio, and structures (such as billboards), for example. The organization also might sponsor events or make donations to worthy causes for the good will and publicity that may result (for example, sponsorship of public television broadcasting). The Web does not need to replicate or replace all of these existing communications methods; instead, it should enhance, supplement, or replace only some of them. Sponsoring worthy events or resource lists on the Web is possible, for example, as well as many forms of advertising in Web-based magazines.
Another example of communication replacement is in-house communication. Local webs might be constructed to supplement or replace existing forms of intra-organizational communication. Organizational webs might facilitate extra-organizational communication. The Web offers international or global organizations an effective way to communicate worldwide.
After a role is defined for what communication tasks an organizational web or set of webs might fill, the next step in web systems design is integrating the web or webs into the existing organizational communication infrastructure. An organization already might have an Internet domain name with an e-mail address, or it might have on-line communication systems in place, such as Gopher or an FTP site. An organization web can be integrated with these existing Internet information systems. Users accessing the FTP or Gopher sites might be referred to the organizational webs as sources of further information. The organizational webs may draw on the Gopher or FTP sites for content. If no existing on-line communications system exists, a set of webs must integrate with lines of communication in place. A paper-based catalog can be translated to a web, for example. Customer service representatives might attend to Internet e-mail questions as well as phone-in questions. The key is that a plan for web systems integration links the elements in web development to existing organizational communication flows.
After definition and integration, the next step is differentiation. A system of webs might, at first, simply replicate or supplement other activities. These webs must provide value over these other forms, however, or an organization should discontinue the web activity. This is a process of differentiation, in which communication tasks are best left to the media that most satisfactorily serve those tasks. Instead of promoting a system of webs as the solution to all of an organization's needs, only those communication tasks that seem best suited to the web should be planned or continued.
Web Element Planning
After strategic and systems planning, a developer comes down to the very specific task of planning a web. The planning techniques described here address particular aspects of each of the web-development elements: audience information, purpose statement, objective statement, domain information, web specification, and web presentation.
Audience Information
Creating effective communications, particularly mediated communications, requires that developers plan what they want to communicate to whom. Information about the target audience for information is crucial for creating successful communication. In fact, many would consider information about an audience to be a valuable resource. Knowing the audience is key because audience information, like the purpose statement, helps shape the whole information content of a web as well as its look and feel. If developers do not have a specific audience in mind for the web, a specific audience will use the web, and that audience's experience of it might be positive or negative as a direct result of the choices the developers make about the web's presentation. A web influenced by accurate information about its intended and actual audience should have a higher probability of successfully communicating its intended message and information.
Excellent planning for audience information involves two steps: defining the audience and then defining the information that it is important to know about that audience:
·      Define the target audience. A developer should write a statement describing the target audience for the web. A developer might want to reach "scholars who are interested in botany," for example. Although this statement is simple, it serves as a valuable guide for developing many of the other elements in web development. A plan to reach the audience defined as "everyone interested in science" is a very broad one. Although a web might be created successfully that reaches such an audience, it might be an unrealistic audience planned for a new web or for developers without the expertise or resources to support it. One technique for helping to define an audience is to generate a cluster diagram.
A web developer might be interested in reaching just professors at universities who are professional botanists, for example, or any professional botanist or teacher of botany at any level. After making the cluster diagram, the planner can shade in the sets of people in the intended audience. Ovals in the cluster diagram represent the audiences and their relationships (such as overlapping or inclusion). The cluster diagram also shows related audiences as a way of explicitly identifying audiences that the developer might not want to reach.
The developer might not plan to reach grade school and high school students, but might include them in the diagram in order to show their relationship to members of the target audience. Many scholars might teach younger students, for example. As such, some of the target audience (botany scholars) might have an interest in gathering and developing material for younger audiences or in issues involved in teaching. This clustering process can continue until the planner zeroes in on what the specific audience wants. The diagram might prompt considerations about exactly what audiences should be reached. Perhaps only professional botanists who also are botany professors are the target audience, for example. Note that a web may target multiple and overlapping audiences rather than just a single group.
·      Define critical information about the audience. The definition of critical information depends largely on the purpose statement for the web. If the web intends to reach scientists interested in botany, what characteristics of these scientists are important? Educational level? Area of specialization? Personal characteristics such as age, height, and weight? For some purposes and some audiences, different information is important. Weight and height information might be important only if the web attempts to sell the scientists clothing or equipment for their research that depends on their body characteristics, for example. Otherwise, such information might be totally irrelevant.
The key is to identify the relevant information about the audience in the planning stage based on an initial statement of purpose. In later stages, this list of key characteristics can be refined and then can serve as a basis for gathering audience information and analysis.
Because the planning process itself is incremental and continuous, the developer might not yet know exactly what information about the audience is important. The cluster diagram can generate possible characteristics of that audience as a starting point for later refinement. Based on the audience defined in the cluster diagram, a developer can generate lists of that audience's characteristics, concerns, and activities.
Botany scholars-characteristics:
o  highly educated, interested in biological, environmental processes
o  skilled in critical thinking
o  Botany scholars-concerns:
o  funding for projects
o  publishing findings
o  getting the right equipment
o  teaching
o  valid research methodologies
o  reading related publications
o  Botany scholars-activities:
o  attending conventions
o  conducting research
o  communicating with the public
o  teaching
o  gathering samples
o  serving in industry roles
Some items listed might fall into several categories; notice that "teaching" showed up both as a concern and an activity in this list. The next section shows how planning for the purpose statement helps trim down this list of possible audience information to the most relevant items, which then can serve as the database of audience information a developer will be concerned about collecting and maintaining.
Purpose Statement
The statement of purpose serves as the driving theme throughout web development. The purpose helps a developer choose what information about the audience to gather and maintain, and it influences the form of the web's presentation. Not having a succinct purpose statement for why a web is operating makes it very hard for web designers to choose among techniques to present information. Without a statement of purpose, web analysts have no basis for evaluating whether the web is operating effectively. Moreover, a web without a clear purpose often conveys a cloudy message to the user; the user will wonder, "What is this for?" and have no clue as to an answer.
To define a web's purpose, a developer needs to make a statement about what the web should do with regard to the following elements:
·      The subject area. What area of knowledge serves as the context for what the web conveys? This area of knowledge does not have to be a traditional Library of Congress subject classification (such as Botany or Biology). It might be "information about the odd-bearing division of XYZ Industries."
·      The audience. The purpose statement contains the audience identification within it. This audience identification is a part of the purpose statement because so much of the "What is this supposed to do?" question about a web revolves around the specific audience mentioned in the purpose statement of the web.
·      The level of detail at which information is presented. The purpose might be, "To provide a comprehensive overview of botany for botany scholars," or it might be more specific, such as "To present basic reference material about botany for botany scholars." This level of detail influences how much domain information needs to be gathered and maintained.
·      The user's expected benefit or response. What will users of the web gain from it? The purpose statement might include the phrase "in order to keep current in the field of botany," "in order to keep up with current developments," or some combination of these kinds of statements.
Planning the purpose statement forces the web planner to make many decisions about the message the web will convey. A well-formed purpose statement serves as a touchstone for all the other web-development processes and elements. Indeed, the purpose statement itself might play a very important role as one of the first pieces of information about the web presented to users.
Here are some sample purpose statements that contain many of the points outlined in the preceding list. Notice that the more complete the statement of purpose, the easier it is for a user to answer the question, "What is this for?" when encountering the web.
"This information server (ftp.arpa.mil) provides selected information about the activities and programs of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). It initially contains information provided by the Computing Systems Technology Office (CSTO) and associated information about the High Performance Computing and Communications Program. Additional capabilities will be added incrementally to provide additional information." -from the ARPA home page (http://ftp.arpa.mil/)
"The purpose of this center is to serve the needs of researchers, students, teachers, and practitioners interested in computer-mediated communication (CMC). This center helps people share resources, make contacts, collaborate, and learn about developments and events." -from the Computer-Mediated Communication Studies Center (http://www.december.com/cmc/study/center.html)
"The purpose of this server is to provide access to a wide range of information from and about Japan, with the goal of creating deeper understanding about Japanese society, politics, industry, and, most importantly, the Japanese people." -from the Center for Global Communications home page (http://www.glocom.ac.jp/index.html)
Objective Statement
After a web developer plans for the purpose of the web, who the audience is, and what the developers need to know about the audience, the next step is to combine all this information to arrive at a specific statement of web objectives. As such, an objective statement is much more specific and lengthy than a purpose statement. An objective statement makes clear the specific outcomes and information that will implement the stated purpose of the web. The objective statement therefore expands on the general descriptions given in the purpose statement. An important difference exists, however: Although the purpose statement might stay the same, the objective statement might change as new information about the domain or audience becomes available.
A phrase in the purpose statement such as "to provide access to a wide range of information from and about Japan" (Center for Global Communications home page, http://www.glocom.ac.jp/index.html) could be implemented with a variety of specific objectives. The objectives could include showing Japanese cultural information, geographical and climate information, and selections of on-line Japanese publications. Whereas the purpose statement says, "here is what we are going to do," the objective statement says, "here is the information that will do it."
Unlike the purpose statement, the objective statement does not necessarily need to be written on the web's home page. Instead, an objective statement is behind-the-scenes information that guides the development of other elements in web development. From the statement of purpose given for the Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) Studies Center, for example, the statement "help people share resources" can be used to generate a set of specific objectives:
·      Purpose: Help people share resources
·      Objective: Provide a list of resources with links to the following: major on-line collections of CMC-related material, bibliographies, academic and research centers related to CMC, and on-line journals
Over time, this objective statement might change by expanding to include links to other kinds of forums for subjects related to CMC. Also, changes in the objective statement might require that features are removed from the web. Planning the objective statements gives a developer a head start on another web-development element: domain information.
Domain Information
Domain information refers to information and knowledge about the subject area of the web, including both on-line and off-line sources of information. Domain information includes not only information that will be presented to users of the web, but also all information and knowledge the developers of the web need to know in order to do a good job. Therefore, the collection of domain information serves as an "information store" from which both the developers and users of the web will draw. The purpose of the web itself might be to provide an interface to this information store, or it might be that this information store is only incidental to the purpose of the web, playing a supporting role as background information for the developers. In either case, planning for domain information is essential. Steps for planning for domain information follow:
The planner should define what domain information is necessary for the developers to know and what information will be provided to users. Are there specialized databases to which developers or users must gain access? Is there an existing store of on-line material that will serve as a basis for user information? What kind of background in the discipline do developers of the web have to appreciate and understand in order to effectively make choices about information content and organization? What other material might be needed, either by the users of the web or by the developers?
Plan for the acquisition of domain information. After the information store is defined, how can it be obtained? Is a large collection of information files easily accessible? Or is there a paper-based information source that the web developers should read or a course they should take before trying to build the web? Developers working on creating a web about botany should have some appreciation for the topics and subdivisions of the field in order to make judgments about how information should be presented, for example.
Plan for updating and maintaining the information. It's not enough to define and acquire a database. If it is time-dependent information, when will it lose its usefulness? How will it be updated? Who will update the information? What will be the costs of this updating and maintenance? The degree of attention paid to domain information acquisition and maintenance varies a great deal according to the purpose of the web itself. A web that purports to be an interface to current satellite imagery of the Earth's clouds, for example, must necessarily have constantly updated domain information. In contrast, a web for information about British literature might require updates as new knowledge is formed, but not on an hourly or minute-by-minute basis.
Web Specification
The web specification is a refinement of the objective statement in more specific terms, adding a layer of constraints or other requirements. These requirements might restrict or further describe in detail what the web will offer and how it will be presented. The web specification, for example, takes the objective statement "to provide links to bibliographies in the field" and makes it specific with a list of the URLs that will be provided. The specification statement also can characterize limitations on the information and its presentation, such as "no more than 10 bibliographies will be listed on the resources page; if more are required, a separate bibliographies page will be made."
The specification acts as a guidebook for the designers and implementers who will create the actual files of the web itself. The specification should completely identify all resources (for example, links; web components such as forms or graphical imagemaps; or other resources, such as sound, image, movie, or text files) that should (or can) be used on the web. The web specification also should identify any restrictions based on choices or policies discussed previously, such as for an intended model for user traversal, link policy, and the presentation of essential information.
Similar to how the objective statement can change while accomplishing the same purpose, the specification statement might change while accomplishing the same objective. (The URL to a resource required by an objective statement might change, for example.)
The major issue when planning for the specification is for the web planner to make sure that the people developing the web have the tools, training, and time necessary to develop the web according to specifications. One part of the specification could state that a customer can order a product by using the forms feature of HTML, for example. In such a case, the planning process must identify the capability to build these forms as a skill web implementers must have.
The web specification also can exclude specific items based on information policy decisions. The specification might state that the forms feature of HTML is not to be used (because some Web browsers do not support forms), for example, or that no graphics are to be used. The specification therefore acts as a list of building blocks and tolerance limits that can satisfy the objective statement for the web.
Web Presentation
Although the audience definition, purpose and objective statements, and domain information are most closely associated with the planning process of developing a web, the development of a web's presentation also must be planned. The web's presentation is the whole look and feel of the web, along with its actual implementation. Web designers planning for the web's presentation rely heavily on the web-specification statement as a basis for making choices. Planning for web presentation involves verifying that resources that comprise the Web are and will be available to support the files on the server. Therefore, the person planning for the web's presentation must work closely with the web server administrator (sometimes called the Web master), whose duties include allocating space or setting any special file or directory permissions so that the web presentation can be implemented.
Web planners also anticipate needs for the web's presentation by doing the following:
·      Generating a set of possibilities for web presentation based on current or possible specifications. These possibilities might include sample HTML pages or, if the specifications allow, graphical imagemaps or forms to help the user interact with the information.
·      Planning the work schedule necessary to implement the web according to specifications, including how much time it will take to implement and test web pages, verify links, and implement changes based on new specifications.
·      Creating and maintaining a pool of generic web components (for example, common web page layouts or forms to serve as templates for web implementation).
·      Creating a mock-up of the web based on an initial specification. This mock-up could be created quickly from generic web components and offer a rapid prototype to be used in the other web-development processes.
Although the implementers working on the web's presentation are the ones to actually write HTML files, the implementers aren't the "authors" of the web itself. As demonstrated in this chapter and the rest of the chapters in this part, many processes are involved in developing a web. Whether one individual is involved or a whole team, all developers take part in creating an effective web.

Wrap-up

Web development planning depends on your understanding of the characteristics and qualities of the Web as a medium for communication and your ability to make choices among the many possibilities for expressing information on the Web.
There are limits to what you can and cannot control in web planning and development. You can't control user behavior, browser type, or links in and out of your web. You can plan for people; administrative issues; and a model for increasing your information's quality, policy, and web elements.

How Social Media Networking Has Changed the Way We Communicate Forever

Just a few short decades ago, the Internet was just a budding idea that the general public didn't really understand. Today, that's certainly no longer the case. Everyone and everything seems to have a website, and web designers are in high demand across the country. The Internet is almost a necessity if you want to stay up to date on the world around you; it has truly changed the way we think, eat, and sleep.
The Internet changed the world simply because it was the first method of instant communication globally. Today, two of the websites that reign supreme are Google and Yahoo!, which are both search engine services that expanded to include other services (such as email, video sharing, and so forth) as well. It makes sense that these search engine services are the most popular websites" without them, users can't find the information they need online.
There are trillions upon trillions of documents, pictures, videos, and other files uploaded from around the world to help people connect to one another. Google and Yahoo! are gateways to the Internet so to speak, and without them, your user experience would be highly limited. A website designer today has to not only make a pretty site, but also one that attracts search engines.
As the Internet has evolved, users began to realize that this was an interactive experience. Web 2.0, as it has been coined, is the idea that users contribute to information on the Internet to create an ever-changing forum for both learning and entertainment. Some websites, such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Friendster give users a specific place to meet new people by uploading profiles. Other sites, like YouTube and Flickr, give users a way to share media with one another.
Still other sites, like Twitter, Digg, Del.icio.us, and StumbleUpon, give users a way to quickly recommend and promote things they've found user online. In the past, when you read a magazine or newspaper article, you could discuss it with your friends at best, but today, you can actually participate when you read an Internet article by leaving a comment, allowing you to join into the conversation with others who have read it, add to the article with further information, and even interact with the author of the piece. A good web designer makes a website very Web 2.0 accessible, so that users can promote it, driving even more traffic to certain pages.
The Internet has even changed how we can do business. Along with being a wealth of information about products in the form of user-posted reviews, you can buy things online, which is an even faster version of purchasing than using catalog and telephone order. As the Internet's technology improved, companies began to look to hire a website designer that could integrate a shopping cart system. There are few items you can't buy online today.
People buy everything from movies to cars on the Internet. You can even sell things online, using sites like eBay or Amazon. One thing is very clear" the Internet isn't done evolving. Businesses, organizations and individuals can all benefit from having websites, and the right web designer can ensure that your website is ready to take on all the World Wide Web has to offer.
Jermaine Lindsey is a Lead Programmer for a Houston web design firm. With over 10 years experience as a website designer he provides support to all of our clients. If you need a website design or just looking for tips visit our website.

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