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Why does my
site look different on different computers?
Last month we discussed why fonts can
look different depending how what computer the site is viewed
it. Today, let's look at other ways your site can look different
and how you can control the way your site appears. If you
haven't already done so, take a look at your site in different
browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, AOL) and in
Different browsers will interpret HTML
differently - therefore the look and functionality of your
website will vary. This is not as big of a deal as it once was
but it is still something to be aware of. The trick is to
be sure that either everything works in all browsers or, should
something not work that it just doesn't appear. Therefore
the visitor won't even miss it.
Monitor resolution is something that everyone needs to be
concerned with. Website can look very different depending
on the size of the monitor and resolution it is set at.
Typically, 15 and 17 inch monitors are set for a resolution of
800 x 600 (pixels) while larger monitors are set for 1024 x 768
(pixels) or even 1280 x 768 (pixels). 1024 is the most
popular as of March 2006.
Why is this important? If you
create a website with a title graphic that is 900 pixels wide it
will force the visitor to scroll right to left on a monitor set
at a resolution of 800 x 600.
The only way to ensure that your site will look the same in all
browsers is to create it as a graphic. The problem with this is
that search engines can not index graphics. When they go to a
page that is all graphic, including images and text, the search
engine only sees a blank page. It assumes there is nothing on
the page and deletes it from the database. If you are not sure
if the text on your site is a graphic or readable text, try this
experiment. If you can highlight the text and copy and paste it
into an other program then it is readable text.
A good compromise between ensuing that your site looks good in
different browser and that it is readable to search engines is
to use both readable text and graphics.
does Web site design pricing vary so much?
If you have been looking into having a website
professionally designed, you probably have noticed that the
cost to do so can vary tremendously. You ask "why is it that
I was quoted $3000 to build an online store when my friend's
business has a very nice website that he claims was designed
for only $800?"
To understand the connection between pricing and
functionality, I will attempt to give some of the "behind
the scenes" factors that affect the cost of designing and
hosting a website. As always, the old adage "you get what
you pay for" holds true. However, it is also important to
understand exactly what it is you are paying for.
HTML is the most popular way to create a website.
Though ASP and PHP are becoming more widely used.
Websites are generally either "static", "dynamic", or a
combination. What are the differences? Let's look at
A static site is so named because of the manner in how it is
written. To use an analogy, I am sure that all of you have
some sort of word processing program that you use (a common
one is Microsoft Word). Think about how you create a
document. You open the program, type away, format your
document for the appearance you want, and once you are happy
with it you save your file and close the program. The next
time you open it, it is exactly as it was the last time you
saved it. It has not changed. In order for it to change, you
must go in and manually edit it to reflect your changes and
save it again. This is how a static site works. The pages
are written in HTML and then saved. The only way to make
changes to the content of the site is to manually make them
and save the file again. Static sites can be identified by
looking at the page addresses - they will have an address
ending in the extension ".htm" or ".html" i.e. "http://www.nositeinparticular/contact.htm"
A dynamic site, by comparison, has the ability to "change on
the fly". The most common example is a site which offers
online shopping. You enter the site, browse through and
select products, and check out. As you do this, the site
keeps up by constantly updating the total price of the items
you are purchasing. These pages are written using a
variety of methods which for the most part consist of
retrieving information from a database and writing new
information to that database The most common type of dynamic
sites can be identified by looking at the page addresses -
they will have an address ending in the extension ".asp"
The words "static" and "dynamic", incidentally, have nothing
to do with the appearance of the site. There are some
absolutely gorgeous sites out there which are purely static
in nature, while many dynamic sites look like they were
designed by a 12 year old.
However, a dynamic site has a completely different set of
hosting requirements. This type of site will require a
hosting account that is configured to allow database
connections, which tends to be more expensive than a
standard hosting account. Also, more work goes into the
"programming" of the site. Once built, dynamic sites can be
less expensive to maintain, since the bulk of the updates
can be accomplished by updating the database rather than
manually rewriting the individual pages.
So static sites tend to be easier to set up and cost less
initially, while dynamic sites tend to be more expensive
initially but can save money in the long run. You need to
determine what is important to you and plan accordingly. I
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an Email Marketing Campaign!
We will get results from your website!
Balloons Over Letchworth, in Castile, New York,
offers spectacular hot air balloon rides over Letchworth
State Park, the Grand Canyon of the East. The flights
allow riders to soar about the earth peacefully while
enjoying the beauty of the countryside and waterfalls in
Letchworth State Park.
become the owner of Balloons Over Letchworth in 1993,
they were flying about 300 passengers a year. In 2001 he
flew 650 passengers. Since 1994 their Christmas gift
certificate sales have increased by 227%!
are many reasons for the growth we have had, but I'd
have to say that the website is a big one. I get people
from all over the world for balloon rides now. Many have
told me that they would have never visited or heard of
Letchworth State Park if they hadn't found my website!
One lady flew from Arkansas last year just to fly in the
balloon. She checked out all the balloon ride websites
and liked mine the best. She had never even been to New
York State!" Sean Quigley
would like to personally thank Sean for trusting
Virtualtech with his website. See, Sean was
Virtualtech's very first client when we started in 1997.
He has remained an active advocate of Virtualtech and
has sent several clients our way. Thank you, Sean!
"Link Popularity" is an
important step in increasing your sites ranking on
search engines. Basically, Link Popularity is a ranking
criteria that some search engines use when listing
sites. They look at both the number of sites that are
linked to your site and the importance and relevance of
Finding Your Site's Link
I like to use http://www.linkpopularity.com, because it
gives me results for Yahoo, MSN and Google.
After checking your Link
Popularity, check out your competitions. How does
your Link Popularity stack up with theirs?
How do search engines use
Link Popularity? There are three factors search
engines use when determining a sites ranking.
Number of Links - Search engines will just count
the number of relevant links to your site and then list
those with more links higher.
Relevancy of Links - Relevant links are links
that are helpful and important to your visitors. For
example, let's say your business is ABC Bridal. Links
from florists, caterers, limo services, and travel
agents are all relevant links. However, a link from a
hardware store is not.
Link Text - The text that is used in the link is
a factor. That is one reason why a graphic links are not
a good idea. Not only do you not have any text, but the
search engine can not see the graphic and does not know
the link is there. You should be providing the specific
text you want used. Going back to ABC Bridal: a link
using abcbridal.com would be ok seeing that bridal is
used. However, a link that reads Wedding Dresses for
Brides would be better as it contains three keywords.
Ways to increase your
- Get listed on as
many search engines and Internet Directories as you
can. Some will be free, others will charge a
- Start a
Pay-per-Click program on Yahoo and/or Google
- Submit your site to
industry related sites and also professional
- Create an Affiliate
Program. Not only will other people be selling your
product, but having them all link back to your site
will help with the total link count.
- Contact other
websites that cater to the same type of client that
you do. Again, going back to ABC Bridal; a florist,
photographer, or limo service cater to the same type
of client but are not competition to each other.
- Write and submit
articles to online newsletters and include a link to
Ways not to
increase your link popularity.
pages are perfect if you want to fill your email
box with junk mail or if you want to get banned
from search engines. Search engines will see you
have lots of links that have nothing to do with
your content, and assume you are spamming them,
which they do not like.
- Joining link
exchange programs is also not a good idea. These
programs are created for the sole purpose of
linking to other sites to try and fool search
engines. Having links to other sites scattered
all over your website will give your site a less
professional look and less credibility. If you
do join a link exchange program do the
- Only join
ones that allow you to control the links
that are added to your site.
- Create a
separate page on your site called "links".
This will at least allow the look of your
site to stay intact.
- Be prepared
to be removed or banned from the search