Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I had been looking around for new ways to get ideas for designs. I've stumbled across something that suits that purpose perfectly, Taglines.
It accesses Flickr and finds images that are tagged with certain words, and displays them for your viewing pleasure.
Check it out.

What kind of things do you use to get your imagination going?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weboptima: An overview

Monday, August 10, 2009

Intermission: Outdated Content

I was thinking, the internet is really just one big time capsule.
If you look at the information there is to get, so much of it is outdated, it's insane. The only real use anyone would get from that is for a high school assignment on [insert topic here].

To think that I'm going to be a part of adding to the craziness that is the internet kind of makes me cringe for that reason. I mean, I still remember my first webpage. Why is this still up? Why did I even make this? Back in the day, there were loads of pages linking to other sites. Funny thing was, there were link sites, linking to link sites, linking to link sites. Madness. What's even more bizarre is that these sites are still up. The internet is huge! How many of those sites are irrelevant? How would one determine them to be so?

I've lost count of the amount of times where I'd go look something up for creating a website, and find something so old, it's useless. Thing is, to the average beginner, they would not be able to tell the difference between what is useless, and what is not.

We should have an internet clean up committee. Anything older than a certain amount of years, which hasn't been maintained in so long, which also is on a topic which is incorrect or outdated or irrelevant should be destroyed.
Save the web.

I should start a movement.
Or is that out there?

What do you think should be done? Something like this?
How do you think we should clean up the web?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wireframes are your friend

When designing a website, it's very important to think before you leap. Preplanning and testing a site should be a requirement when working on a site in order for it to succeed. Sometimes the graphics and the colour can get in the way. In order to test a site's layout properly and have the person not think about the design aspect while doing so, wireframes should be used. Just planning out the layout of the site, placement of everything, showing where everything will go using nothing but black and white colors, and boxes with text. This article at shows the technique and how this designer goes about it. It's an interesting look into wire frames, and just might help get you started.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blogger template help wanted

While I'm on blogger for this wonderful blog, I'd like to find a template which is more, you know, valid to base my template off of. I made the mistake of altering one of Blogger's templates for this site, and that template was created in 2006 (or something along those lines). Ouch.
So, I need some help.

It's MUCH different than what it was, but since I don't understand much of the xml code in it, and haven't learned how to alter things yet, it's got loads of errors in it, and that makes me sad as I am trying really hard to have a compliant blog.

If anyone could give me a hand on where to find resources on making a blogger template which is recent and such, I'd be very grateful.

Someday, when I finish learning about CMS and such (when are you ever done learning??), I would like to switch to wordpress. I am thinking about moving this blog over on the blogger platform to my site, so that I can do an actual, proper redirect when the time comes, and my search engine stats won't suffer much. I realize they're not that great yet, but I've done an awesome job in 3 months, and while I think I could do it again and it would be great practice, I don't want to lose whoever I've managed to get while I'm here.

So, yes. Send those helpful hints my way, if you can. I'm sure it'll help out other people as well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Avoiding common SEO problems

With SEO, you will make mistakes. It's inevitable. You just have to learn from them, and from other resources. Just use the right keywords the first time, take advantage of alt tags and title tags, and make sure you have proper and clean code.
This article lists the the mistakes you could make and ways to avoid the problems.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Visual Learning - critique

I believe that you learn more through observing other people's work and seeing what you like and what you don't like. I am going to take this time to look at, being sure to look at every detail I possibly can.

First Thought

On first sight, it looks rather clean, professional, functional. You can automatically tell that the site is related to the images as that is the main focus of the page. Seeing as it is Kodak, obviously the relevance is that those images are taken with Kodak products. They worked hard to pick good images that draw the viewer in and hit right at the core in some way.


The primary audience of this site is photographers of all skill level. This site is trying to get new photographers in to buy their products, professional photographers to think of what they could have instead of what they already do, and would-be photographers to actually step in and discover what there is. The business isn't really trying to get big companies to use their site. They want the consumers to come in and buy. If this were a b2b site, they would not make it so personal (eg. giving tips on photography). On some parts, tehy seem to have an identity crisis though, as there are family oriented areas. While that's all fine and dandy, when you have a target market, you should probably stick to it.

Information Architecture/Navigation

The organization of the links on the main page does a great job. It shows exactly what the customer wants to know when it comes to photography, with the more important information at the top. There is a gallery to exhibit their product, a store with a list of products in an order that makes sense and in categories that actually work, a tips and projects center link with useful information in a logical order, and help. Having help on the top is rather logical as if the consumer wants help with something, they want help NOW.

I don't really understand why they have news items in a menu along the bottom. Sure it keeps items out of the way, but it has the look of the menu on the top which makes it seem like there's more to see, when really, there isn't.


I will write something for this when I know what to write. Drawing a blank right now.

Construction and Design

I find the site to be overall well designed. With the main focus of the site being images, the darker background is a great idea. Black is typically used while editing images to get a better sense of colour. It could also represent a dark room, something more traditional when it comes to photography. Everything works well. The fonts aren't too small and actually work well with the site. I don't really like how when you go into the site, the layout changes from area to area. A little change is good to let someone know where they are, and it succeeds with that, but a little too much change and a customer could start to wonder if they've changed sites. The menus change, the colour scheme changes, and the overall visual look is different. It's not to say that it's terribly horrible, but I did find it a little confusing. On some of the pages, there are huge flash movies which take up the entire page. These flash movies all have sound and are visually appealing, but I find it annoying the way they are so huge, and are the main part of the page. As far as SEO goes, those pages wouldn't do very well as flash movies are hard to index content. Also, the flash movies aren't that great. Somewhat tacky, actually. It looks like they were done by an amature and that's not brilliant.

Content Quality/Appropriateness of Writing

There isn't much focused writing on parts of the site. The main page has little to no writing, although what little writing they do have is keyword filled. Specific things people would look up in a search engine are used for their menus and that works out really well. Their content is mostly image related, but whatever images there are, are high quality, and really shine. Some of the areas focus on user sharing images. User generated content keeps the site interesting and has people coming back for more. That's great that they managed to fit something into the site that allows the users to interact.

The Big Picture

Overall, I find the website to be okay. They put a lot of thought into the organization of their content, the designs of the site are very professional and tidy, everything is high quality and allows the user to interact and to learn. There is so much knowledge available on the site, and so many reasons to keep coming back for more if you're an avid photographer. While the random layouts on some areas is a little confusing, that doesn't really get too much in the way of the experience. They seem to have an identity crisis, and should probably make up their mind who they are, or have different areas focused to different target markets instead of trying to paste it in there.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Webdesigner's Success Guide - Free E-book!

If you've always wanted to take those web design skills and use them for your own business instead of someone elses, this book may be for you.

Web Designer's Success Guide is the definitive guide to starting your own freelance Web design business. In this book he gives designers step-by-step instructions on how to achieve many skills needed in order to go Freelance.

Take a look! It's an interesting read, and it's free!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

AdWords - A little about CPC

And now I bring to you an experiment in CPC.

Here are the results of looking up my keywords from the previous post with a budget of $20/day targeted at the USA and Canada:

Keywords Estimated Avg. CPC Estimated Ad Positions Estimated Clicks / Day Estimated Cost / Day
internet marketing $5.20 - $6.74 1 - 3 0 - 1 $4 - $6
search engine optimization $7.05 - $9.65 1 - 3 0 - 1 $2 - $3
web site design $4.78 - $6.22 1 - 3 0 - 1 $2 - $3
web traffic $4.76 - $6.05 1 - 3 1 - 2 $6 - $8
website traffic $4.26 - $5.48 1 - 3 0 - 1 $2 - $3

These results make it easy to figure out how much would be spent, and how much of a result I would get for my keywords. Now, say if I wanted to figure out my budget for my ad if I were to get 22 clicks per keyword a month. For that, you would add together each CPC result and multiply the result by the amount of clicks:

5.20 + 7.05 + 4.78 + 4.76 + 4.26 = 26.05 x 22 = $573.10
6.74 + 9.65 + 6.22 + 6.05 + 5.48 = 34.14 x 22 = $751.08

This leads to a budget of $573.10 - $751.08 for 22 days.

Now, people usually would like to get more for less. These results above were without an estimated CPC entered. What would happen if an estimated CPC of $1.50 were put in? As it turns out, the ad position number went up, and there were more estimated clicks.

AdWords ranks each ad based on a combination of the ad's CPC and the ad's click through rate. So, if a business created an irrelevant ad with a high CPC and it doesn't generate clicks, it's slowly moved to the bottom of the batch. This enabled business with a lower CPC to rank higher at less cost. So, the best combination would be a balanced CPC, along with top notch keywords. With the keywords themselves, don't use anything that the competition is using. Try to find the most unique but specific and popular keywords or phrases to gain the attention or the right audience, and get the most possible exposure. With a lot of thought and research, you'll be well on your way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

AdWords - Best Keywords

On this blog, it would be beneficial to see how I'm going with my keyword direction.
So, I've been trying to find the best program or site out there that would help me find my top keywords. The one I've decided to go with is Google AdWords site, chosen because of the options it has available for the user for the low, low price of FREE. There are other options out there, but this will be the one focused on today. I'll be using a couple of articles as guides including this detailed article at Barry Wise to help me with discovering my top 5 keywords.

So. I enter my website into the field allowing Google to pick keywords from my site and let the marbles fly. This is what turns up:

Looking at all the keywords available, I can tell that they are all very popular with AdWords and that it would be next to impossible to pick them just with that. The ones that are somewhat unique don't have enough information available to make any kind of decision on them.
So, looking at the list, I'd be looking for something with a high global search rate, with a search rate of something close to that number to show that it hasn't gone down at all in popularity within the past month.

I'm thinking my best bets are:
  • search engine optimization (823,000 & 823,000) - even
  • website traffic (201,000 & 201,000) - even
  • internet marketing (1,830,000 & 1,500,000) - +330,000
  • web site design (673,000 & 450,000) - +223,000
  • web traffic (301,000 & 201,000) - +100,000
I was tempted to choose website marketing (673,000 & 135,000) over internet marketing at first, but then noticed that internet marketing had far more people searching that term. While website marketing had a better return, I thought the higher search amount and still positive return worth the risk.

I've noticed that there are little to no programs out there with KEI results for keywords. Arguably, KEI results make it easier to find the best results for your site, so it's a little suprising that Google wouldn't provide such an option for anyone using their tool. Then I remembered that they're probably trying to get users to use their products to their benefit, and it would only really benefit Google if users used their paid products to complement the free options. This keyword search has a bigger empasis on AdWords and helping you with that, rather than figuring out what would be best for your site. While that is unforunate, it is still useful for that reason. It was really easy to use and extremely helpful. The ability to download your keywords as a textfile or csv file for other use is great as well. It was a great way to discover that my site is still on track, although if I were doing more with this, I would have picked more than 5 keywords to work with.