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increasing blog commentsThe number of comments on your blog indicates the level of interaction your blog has with its audience. According to Jakob Nielsen, 90% of online community users are lurkers (read or observe without contributing) with about 9% of users contributing ‘a little’ and 1% contributing actively. 1% of your blog’s users actively engaging with your blog and the rest are occasional contributors.

Do you want to increase the number of comments on your blog? You can increase the participation levels on your blog by following the ways listed below:

Ensure easy comment options: Does your blog require a login to comment? Registration is a hurdle, which users are unwilling to deal with. Yes, it sure does combat spam messages but try to keep your comments section simple and easy to use.

Questions which evoke response: Include specific questions in your blog posts and you are assured higher comments. Try to set a question in the reader’s mind from the first moments of your post itself.

Interact with comments on your blog: If someone leaves a comment on your blog, ensure that you interact with them. It is understandable that this could get harder as your blog grows but try to devote sometime during the day to show your readers that their comments are valued. Over time, you will notice that loyal visitors will answer questions and create a community too!

‘Reward’ Comments: You can choose a host of options to acknowledge the comments on your blog. From a simple ‘good comment’ remark to awarding the best comments on your blog, you can use a number of options. For instance, a Jamaican based resort that regularly updates its blog ran a contest: "Looking to visit Jamaica? Enter to WIN a $100 Visa Cash Card to spend on your trip!!"

Quick tips to increase comments on your blog:

  • Allow users to edit comments
  • Check and delete spam comments regularly
  • Don’t use captchas for comment forms
  • Try not to moderate comments
  • Try not to force registration for comments

copyrightsCopyright is a relevant part of our lives and yet, despite its impact on our lives, people have insufficient knowledge of what copyright is. Following are questions I am often asked by clients developing their website, looking for photos/artwork to use on their materials, or those interested in protecting their business logo.

How can copyright help my business?
If your business creates original works, copyright protection could be an important part of ensuring its success.

There are several benefits of copyright protection on intellectual property. Copyright is a type of intellectual property and like other property rights it can be sold or licensed. It can also be transferred and inherited. This could actually be a source of constant income for you. If your business owns the copyright in a piece of work - be it an advertising jingle, a technical manual, song lyric or a magazine article - you can control how it's used commercially.

For example, you could charge every time someone uses your artwork, plays your jingle on the radio, transfers your manual to the internet, makes copies of your song lyrics or reprints your magazine article.

How do you establish copyright ownership?
Copyright an automatic legal right. Today, copyright protection is secured automatically when a work is created. A work is considered “created” when it is put down on copy or record for the first time. This means that your online content is given copyright protection as soon as you write it. It doesn’t even have to be posted for the world to see, it just has to be in a fixed form (i.e. not memorized in your mind).You can’t apply or register for copyright protection, however, copyright protection can be bought, sold or transferred.

In publishing your website design and content to the Internet, you are exposing your copyrights to the World Wide Web. Once you copyright your website you will have credible third-party substantiation that your work was yours even before you posted it. Should someone steal it, you can file for copyright infringement.

Can I take a photo (or article snippet) from off another website and use it?
Thieving content such as article, blog, photo or music without giving credit to the original author/owner or without written permission is not only unethical, it is also illegal. Don’t put yourself and your site in danger of lawsuits and other problems. As site owners, you have enough issues maintaining and managing your site and converting visitors into customers. Don't publish someone else's content just because you don’t see a copyright notice. Make sure everything on your site is original or appropriately accredited.

Is website content protected in the US or under International Copyright laws?
There is, unfortunately, no such thing as an international copyright that protects your work around the world. Copyright protection depends on the national laws of each particular country. Most countries offer protection to foreign works under various international copyright treaties and conventions, but keep in mind that worldwide protection is not guaranteed.

Why put a copyright notice then?
The primary reason to include a copyright notice is that it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Displaying a copyright notice may also help you if your work is infringed and you file a copyright infringement suit. If a property copyright notice appears on the material that was stolen, the court will not give any consideration to any attempted defence based on innocent infringement.

How can I find out if my work has been/or is being stolen?
There are many tools to check for copies of your website content on the net. If you come across a site which duplicates your content, you can first contact the person that posted the infromation and ask them to remove it. If they refuse, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement with Google, Yahoo and MSN, as well as having their site removed by their host. You could even file a legal suit. Tools are also available to prove that your content was posted prior to theirs using tools such as WayBackMachine and WhoIs.

What is trademark? What purpose does trademark serve?
A trademark is a symbol, phrase, word, or logo that can identify and distinguish you from any other person or company.

Should I trademark my business name?
If you want to protect your company's name, slogan and logo from being stolen and used by someone else you can get that protection when you trademark a name. If you choose not to trademark a name you risk people misusing your brand name/selling fraud products by copying your name/logo which could land you in a lot of trouble, not to mention the risk of losing everything you’ve worked so hard for.

To protect your trademark rights throughout the entire United States, you must register and trademark a name at the federal level. And, if you do it all by yourself, there's a lengthy process you will have to go through.

Several online companies do everything for you from the beginning through the end. They review your information, do a trademark search, and submit everything for registration to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Have you ever wondered what Google Ads is all about and if you could use it?
Google Ads has turned into a popular option for webmasters and the competition is growing by the day. In fact, it has become difficult to find affordable keywords and the task of writing effective ads which assure positive ROI (return on investment) has also become increasingly difficult.

Google Ads allows you to create and run ads for your online business. You will pay only when people click on your ads. Upon choosing the right keywords, you are assured online exposure to a select audience (who are interested in your business and services). You could also feature on the Google Network, which is the largest advertising network available online. It reaches over 86% of Internet users worldwide. And if you feature on the network, you can be certain that your ads reach your target audience.

Where are the Google Ads displayed?
Google Ads are displayed along the top and right column of search results when someone searches on Google using any of the keywords, which you have used in the your ad. Apart from that, Google's Gmail service, which is part of the content network, also displays Google Ads. They are placed by Google computers through the same automated process that matches relevant Google Ads to web pages and newsletters. If you feel that is not aggressive enough to reach your target, you can select individual websites or other placements in the Google content network where you'd like your ads to appear. If you want to target full-browser mobile devices, you can choose the option which enables your ads to be eligible to show when users perform a Google web search or access our content network from iPhones, T-Mobile, and similar mobile devices. Simply put, Google Ads technology ensures that your ads appear in the most relevant locations across the Web for customers to find you.

However, you should remember that your ad would be matched to pages on the Google content network, through contextual targeting factors.

Steps to write an effective Google Ads campaign:

  • Try to conceptualize and promote ads which attract your target audience.
  • Stay away from high-priced keywords. You might have the top position by shelling out more money, but that doesn't necessarily translate to higher (ROI) earnings.
  • On the other hand, don’t pay too little for your keywords either. Your ad will never be found if you’ve chosen to be featured on the last search results page.
  • Test your ad headline constantly and try to find out, which headline brings you greater conversion.

Take a look at the screen shot of Google Ads for the keyword “Laptop Skins” below:

You will notice that the ads are precise and at the same time, provide sufficient information about the product.

The above screen shot displays Google Ads in a users Gmail inbox. Ads related to the email content information (about Singapore travel and hotels), appear the same location which the email details, are placed in the inbox.

Are you interested in using Google Ads?
To find out more about Google Ads or to begin creating your ads, visit the Google Ads home page.

duplicate contentWhile there is abundance of “how to” resources on SEO for your business website in books, newsletters and blogs, knowing what not to do is equally important. As a business owner, you should be aware that both searchers and search engines love unique, fresh, quality information. Duplicate content has gained a hazardous meaning thanks to new search engine filters.

What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content using its general meaning relates to pages with identical or similar content either in the same domain or spread across external web pages throughout the web. The information that is defined as duplicate does not have to be exact and could simply be alike or comparable in nature.
However, search engines don’t quantify their selections on a simple test of duplicate content percentage. Search engines do take into account other factors such as site authority, domain age, link popularity and many more.

Why Duplicate Content Doesn’t Work
As you read above, major search engines reject duplicate content. The reason for this is that search engines want to show the most relevant results. Pages with indistinguishable content confuse them and therefore duplicate content filters had to be put in place.

These filters compare one page against the other. E.g. If a search engine comes across two identical pages they will leave the most trusted one in the primary index and move the other to the supplemental index.

You is most likely to be penalized by copying pages from different domains or if your unique vs. duplicate content ratio is too low.

How you can avoid duplicate content
Don’t copy and paste or paraphrase others content! Many people don’t realize that EVERYTHING that is on the internet is automatically covered by Copyright Laws, whether it displays the copyright symbol or not. It’s not good for your search engine rankings and can possibly end up with a lawsuit against you for copyright infringement. Keep your content unique and your own.

Check to see if someone is stealing your content. There are plenty of free duplicate content tools around, these tools will check for copies of your pages on the net.

If you come across a site which duplicates your content, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement with Google, Yahoo and MSN, as well as having their site removed by their host. You could even file a legal suit. Tools are also available to prove that your content was posted prior to theirs using tools such as WayBackMachine and WhoIs.

If you publish an article on a syndication website and your blog, make sure you include a link back to your own site. This will ensure the syndication page is not ranked above your own.

If you run more than one site and publish your posts on both make sure to tell the search engines which domain you would prefer to be indexed. We suggest redirecting one domain to point to the other and then only update and maintain the one.
If you have exact content on multiple URLs within your site, consider either changing the content or using robots.txt to block the page from being indexed.

If you have several domains with duplicate content targeting different countries you will need to use unique content on each one, otherwise you run the risk of only one site being indexed.

From a business point of view it’s important to drive as much traffic to your site as possible. To make sure this happens its important to understand what duplicate content effects your rankings and how best to avoid it. Create quality pages that add value and reduce the risk of your website being penalized.

email marketing

  1. Be sure to link articles back to your site. This is a BASIC but very important rule. Start your article and include a “read on” link that accurately describes what the article is linking back to. For instance if the article is announcing a sale, introduce the sale in the enewsletter, then say “Find more items on sale here.” This in itself serves several purposes:
    1. It cuts down on the "mile long" scrolling, never-ending email that no one will read. Giving them bite-sized lead-ins to articles will allow them to pick and choose what they want to read. Remember online readers tend to skim for information.
    2. When you review your stats of your email marketing campaigns, you can see precisely which links had the most click throughs and find out what your clients are most interested in.
    3. You are getting them back to your site to make a purchase, browse and see what they are missing!
    4. It significantly helps your SEO by bringing more traffic back to your site.
  2. Send during peak reading times. Send B2B (business to business) emails Tuesday through Thursday just after the start of the work day around 9:30am or just after lunch around 1:30pm. It’s best to avoid sending B2B emails after 4pm or on weekends. B2C (business to consumer) emails are best sent between 5-8pm Tuesday to Thursday or between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.
  3. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. It’s proven that in the English language we recognize shapes of words and can scan quicker when there is differentiation in the word shapes. With all caps, you don’t have that. Besides your readers will think you are yelling at them.
  4. Be consistent with your frequency in sending. Pick a schedule that works for you, whether it’s weekly, monthly or quarterly. Your readers will look for your emails. Just remember not to bombard your readers with too many in a short time. It will lead to many unsubscribes, reports of spam or banning you from the email service or ISP usage.
  5. Make the From Name either your company name or the name of the person at your company and keep it consistent. It may make the difference in whether your reader recognizes the name and opens it or thinks it spam and deletes it.
  6. Don’t use all caps or multiple exclamation marks within your subject line or body. Doing so may trigger spam filters.
  7. Build your list at every possible opportunity. At conferences or events, ask those you speak with if you can add them to your list. Add a “Subscribe” form to every page on your website. If you are in retail, add a point-of-sale sign up form at the checkout.
  8. Include links to other noteworthy pages in a side column “Table of Contents” or “Quick Links” area, to offer more opportunities for viewers to visit your site.
  9. Include a “Forward to a Friend” option in the email. Odds are that if they are interested in your product, they will know others that share the same interests. This is an excellent opportunity for growing your client base.
  10. Send only to those persons who have requested to receive them.

Sign up for eMail Marketing for FREE for 60 days, and we'll put a FREE "Subscribe" form on your website to start gathering your visitors email addresses!

inbound marketing

I often notice a good deal of my clients don’t understand the difference between “advertising” and “marketing.” Most of them just follow what others are doing by advertising their business in the same places as their competition, using outbound marketing - newspapers, TV, radio and magazines as means to find customers.

What businesses really need to understand is that when you only advertise your business – rather than advertise and effectively market to them – you’re not connecting with your customer. Traditional outbound marketing techniques are losing their effectiveness as the internet continues to evolve. Rather than relying on outbound marketing to the masses that people find annoying (think of the radio ads that repeat their phone number 3+ times!) or don’t use anymore (newspapers are a perfect example), turn to inbound marketing to draw your target audience in to your business.

What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a mixture of blogging, social media and SEO that pull potential users in to your information. When used correctly they can strengthen brands, assemble a community of users and put a product, service or company right in front of potential customers when they are looking to buy.

Today’s consumer hits the Internet searching for information on the product or service they want. Inbound marketing will put your business in front of the customer at the moment they are looking for your type of products/services. This happens at a local level too; don’t think your local market is not searching Google for your type of products or services, because they are.

How inbound marketing works
In the first step in SEO, we do research on your product/service type online. Among other things, we look at what your competitor is doing and what keywords they are using. This gives us a fair idea of how to connect with your perfect customer.

We then promote your blog and product/services for your company; that will help you figure in the top search engine rankings. Customers can find you via those items that you are writing about in your blogs. Think of your blog as an additional means of advertising your product/service. A recent study by Hubspot concluded that company blogs had 55% more visitors and 97% more inbound links. With statistics like this, it's easy to see why blogging is becoming a mainstream practice for businesses.

Social media is a crucial element in any inbound marketing solution. By social media, I mean using social networking sites and tools like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, Webinars, social bookmarking, etc. Utilizing these will help you connect directly with users and customers. These tools can be monitored regularly, looking for conversations people are having about your type of products and services.

Inbound marketing is much more then getting to the top of any search engine. It’s time to start thinking how you will market your business, not just advertise it. With good inbound marketing, you will find more ideal customers calling, with less effort on your part.

blog6If you run your own business, or planning to start one, you would know the amount of effort and money that goes into marketing your websites & blogs. If you want your business to gain more prominence and wider recognition, you need to blog! Blogging is the best marketing tool you can and should be using to drive business to your business. If you don’t have a blog, please take notice of this list and carefully consider if you should be or shouldn’t be blogging as part of your marketing efforts.

Business blogs provide your small business with a chance to share your expertise and knowledge with a larger audience. Blogging is changing the way we communicate with our target market, clients/customers and fellow business owners. Blogs provide a way for you to speak directly, openly and honestly with your customer.

Easy Web Publishing Solution: Blog software is easy to use. Simply write your thoughts, link to resources, and publish to your blog, all at the push of a few buttons. If you’re using TypePad Blogger.com or Wordpress, you are in luck. Blogging communities have developed some of the best tools, plugins, tutorials and software for small business & home business owners to get started. These tools are highly essential because they dramatically increase your website’s content, traffic & sales!

Search engines love blogs. This is an essential key to recognition and blogging. Because a blog is designed to be easily updated, you will update it with relevant content addressing your target market. If you can write an email, you can update and post to a blog. The key is not just content, but NEW Relevant Content. A well-written, routinely updated, keyword-oriented blog can enhance your chances of garnering high rankings on search engine return pages.

Blogging can place you and your blog as the place to go for the information that is needed on the Internet. A blog puts that information in a form and fashion your target can understand and use. Your target market is using the web to search for everything, including the services or products you are offering. Our prospects and our market are demanding more than we can provide in a Yellow Page ad or on a static Web site. You can provide up-to-date, relevant and much needed information with a blog, which your audience/customers and future clients are demanding.

Competitive Differentiation: Because blogs give you the opportunity to tell your story over and over, they help set you apart from the competition. Blogs enable you to articulate your viewpoints, knowledge and expertise on matters pertaining to your industry, thereby positioning you as an expert.

Having a blog puts you in control of your own marketing strategy. Because you are in complete control of your blog, you have the ability experiment as much as you want, without the fear of losing big money as in the case of media campaigns. E.g. you can broadcast your very own radio or TV talk show. With the technology available, you can publish podcast and video podcast as often as you want. You will be able to interact with your target audience and market yourself in a way you could never do with just a normal ad in a news paper /Yellow Page or a static Web site. When it comes to blogging sky really is the limit!

I am always happy to solve your questions about blogging. Both how-to and what it can do for you and your business. Get in touch with me today.

blog-6Blogging well is the bottom line whether you maintain a personal or business blog. However, a well-read business blog that gets quality traffic is a world away from sharing your opinions, reviews, and personal beliefs in your personal blog. Since your business blog is a tool to promote and grow your business, remember that you must always:

  • Maintain a professional tone.
  • Not resort to any kind of arguments, personal or otherwise. Remember, a businessman discusses his view points, doesn’t counter someone else’s.
  • Not resort to the online footprint sharing strategy, the ‘I visit your blog, you visit mine’ kind of a flippant, informal approach. You are here to only promote your trade/business/expertise, so your audience should be aligned to that singular aim.
  • Always emphasize your positive points - don’t give your audience the impression that you’re hiding your negative points.

Once you’ve followed these guidelines, how do you go about getting your business blog noticed by professionals online? Following are ways you can successfully implement to get your blog noticed – thereby growing your business.

  1. Explain your business – In the ‘About’ section of your blog, give a detailed, yet concise analysis of your business – the why, where, how, what and when of it. Give brief mention to how it affects the current trends of the trade you’re in. Quote some of the testimonials you’ve received. Briefly outline your code of ethics. And sum it up why you do what you do.
  2. Employ an always formal, yet dignified and humble tone - Don’t be pompous and self-aggrandizing. But let the world know what you’ve achieved, in a very modest way. Humility while “tooting your own horn” is the trick.
  3. Blogroll your business inspirations – If there are business peers and seniors that you look up to who have their own blog, link them on the side bar. And if you can mention in one or two words how they inspire you, do it.
  4. Debunk popular myths about your business – Since you are in a business of your choice, it’s a foregone conclusion that you’d be an expert on it rather than laymen who claim to know more and spread myths and falsities. Make an effort to demystify some of the more far-reaching ones, so your readers know you’re an authority because of your experience and know-how, and not because of assumptions.
  5. Compare your business to competitors and other international markets – Highlight those features that your competitors and outside markets don’t offer. Compare prices and trade opinions as well as benefits and disadvantages, if any. On either side, that is. Be fair, but if you are on the negative side, let there be a mere mention of it. Promise (and deliver) to iron out those creases.
  6. Reach out to your audience – Showcase their feedback and comments in a blog post, it’ll give them the impetus to spread good words about your business. Let them know that their feedback and time are appreciated. The “Mind your Ps & Qs” way of life works in a business blog as well. Offer discounts, freebies, schwag bags, a referral, etc. in return, but wait for a few months before you do this. Over some months, you’ll also be able to gauge a client’s authenticity. Wait to build a firm online rapport, so that they know your appreciation cannot be taken for granted.
  7. Be funny once a while – A video with your team’s antics as a de-stress mechanism or one of you goofing off on a holiday is a surefire way to make that human connect. This bridges all kinds of gaps and gives your audience some insights into your personal life, and provides a sense of trust in you.
  8. Use SEO and SEM to your advantage – Write your blog posts catering to your search engine referrers. Understand search trends and communicate accordingly on your blog. This is a great way to increase readership of your blog.
  9. Engage in discussions outside of your blog – And then reprint it (after taking necessary permissions, of course) on your blog, so that your readers know you’re serious about your business, and will do whatever it takes to ensure it achieves its potential.
  10. Donate to a good cause – And highlight it on your blog, and let your audience see your altruistic side. This not only wins you their respect, but it has been found that it has a positive domino effect insofar that readers are also motivated to donate their money and time, among other things, to charities and causes that they believe in.

Remember, it is not about establishing a personal identity, but showcasing your business acumen and professional integrity to the online world, while adding a human touch to it. With these simple and easy-to-follow steps, your business blog can be used as the most efficient tool to promote and grow your business in today’s times.

blog5In the last decade, nothing has taken the online world by storm like blogging has. Overnight, people could share opinions, news, information, you name it on a webpage hosted by a blogging site – and it was mostly free. And since we live in a (mostly) democratic world, free speech became the trendiest right of a free people.

In the last couple of years, the phenomenon of blogging has grown by leaps and bounds, and is now considered a worthy equivalent to even journalism, albeit with its own branding – cyber journalism. Blogging has given rise to a new voice, that of the common citizen (or in this case, netizen), and is not only a forum to discuss and connect with people all across the globe, but also as a means to give back to the society we live in. Blogs have been used as places to establish identities, help victims of natural disasters, as a common platform for millions to connect and work towards a single cause and also as a means to make money with online advertisers buying space to showcase their products and concepts on topical blogs. With blogging being seen as an extremely lucrative avenue with great moneymaking potential, how does a blogging novice ensure their blog is read? Here are ten easy steps to get that online readership you want:

  1. Showcase your unique voice – Every person is unique, and his voice is his own. Whilst what you may read/discover on the net can add different flavors to your opinions, ensure you don’t plagiarize/life material off of/pass someone else’s material as your own. Be it quirky, opinionated, highly vociferous or plain ‘taking a stand without hurting anyone’s feelings’ approach, remember – exercise your uniqueness. Establish your own unique net identity.
  2. Let your sense of humor shine through – An old adage says ‘Man grows up the day he has his first laugh at himself.’ Truer words were never spoken. When you’re making your voice public, remember that for everyone who agrees with you, there’ll be ten who don’t. Take every comment/suggestion in your stride. It’s been known to convert die-hard enemies into grudgingly appreciative supporters.
  3. Play with words – Originality is the key. As you write more, you’ll find that you have more to say. And more to share.
    Establish your identity – Add an ‘About Me’ page to your blog, to let the reader know a little something about you. Share only those details that you feel comfortable sharing, but do establish your identity. Also, take a stand. Be counted. Don’t be a mere statistic. Straddling the fence will only get you disregarded. Stand up for what you believe in, while respecting the opposition. Nothing invites readership like a bit of controversy, so be Priscilla of the Desert if you have to.
  4. Stay current – While a bit of nostalgia is good, make an effort to write about and discuss current topics.
    Endorse a cause – Whether it is going green, supporting an NGO that works for children of a lesser God, or even the health benefits of wheatgrass, share what you know and what you wholeheartedly endorse, and why. Add widgets/buttons of your favorite causes to a side panel on your blog.
  5. Be courteous at all times – Welcome every visitor to your blog; attempt to get to know them better. And let them know you appreciate their visits. Offer professional tips to those who ask for it, guide people to the right channels if you can. They’ll appreciate it and spread the word.
  6. Understand your audience – If you’re selling a product, or a concept, make an effort to understand the potential needs of your customer. Offer a value-add to the time and money they spend on your blog – a freebie is always welcome, be it kudos, a thank you note or a small token of appreciation.
  7. Blogroll your favorites – Let the world know who you read, and why you read them. Link them either on your blog or blogroll them in a separate link. You’re helping other bloggers get readership, thereby encouraging your own.
  8. Be a good neighbor – Last but not the least, repay the favor of every visitor with footprints of your own on their blogs. No community is built sitting at home – you need to show people you care about their opinions, too. Go over and say hi as regularly as you can, and yes, read them, too.

These are tried and tested methods to ensure a growing readership of your blog, recommended by successful bloggers themselves. Add a stats counter to your blog, follow these steps and keep a track of the traffic. Within a couple of months, you’ll see a noticeable difference, of the good kind. Happy blogging!

popular-cmsCMS stands for Content Management System, which means it’s an application that YOU control, edit, and manage the content of your website through a login in the back end admin. There are several Open Source (free) CMS applications out there. Here’s a listing of the top 4:

  1. WordPress is probably the most recognized and used. Originally designed for blogging, it’s evolved into a flexible CMS with optional plugins.
  2. Joomla is an award-winning CMS with thousands of extensions readily available
  3. Mambo can handle simple to complex site development
  4. Drupal

Each CMS has its own unique features and options for customization based on what the user needs for their site. Following, are some benefits of using a Joomla CMS, however many of the aforementioned CMS’s also have similar features.

Just Starting Out?
Probably the best part of having a CMS is that you can grow your website as your business grows. If you can only afford a few pages to be developed right now, that’s no problem! You can always add to it yourself or have your webmaster add extensions later on when you are more established.

What’s Included
Besides basic items that you need to run the CMS, you’ll also have some other cool features built in. These vary based on the CMS you choose, but Joomla "out of the package" includes:

  • Poll – take an online poll right on your site and view the stats
  • Banner Manager – manage banner ads and view hit stats
  • Who’s Online - you can see how many visitors and registered users are online at any given moment
  • Search – internal search tool for visitors to location information contained within your site
  • Contact – a simple contact form
  • Links – a link manager to categorize links you recommend
  • RSS Feed – syndicate your own site feed allowing others to subscribe or display others RSS feeds on your site

Probably the biggest advantage to using a CMS is the ease in updating your own site. Businesses are no longer at the mercy of their webmasters schedule and don’t have to pay each time they need something changed. Add pages, menu items, articles, components, a store – basically whatever you need in a matter of minutes.

There are thousands of Extensions available for Joomla. Many free, but some of the more complex are either donation or relatively affordable. Extensions can range from interactive event calendars, forums, online chat, to ecommerce solutions. Just click install, and configure away!

Joomla uses PHP programming language along with XHTML, JavaScript and CSS. This means that these sites “out of the box” will pass W3C Validation and CSS Validation standards. Benefits to following and having a web compliant site include:

  • Increased compatibility with browsers (no labels on your site like: “Best viewed using Internet Explorer”)
  • Ease in maintaining site thereby reducing future maintenance costs
  • Consistency in colors, fonts and overall look and feel of site
  • Accessibility broadens your audience by not excluding anyone
  • Forward browser compatibility – designed for new browsers, not old/unused ones

There are thousands of templates available; free, pay per use and template clubs. With Joomla’s simple UI, “test driving” a new look can be done in under a minute with a few simple clicks.

Tells how many times your articles have been hit so you can customize your message pertaining to what your visitors are most interested in.

User Interface

The Joomla User Interface is comparable to Microsoft Word. It’s built around a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) technology, so basically you can input the text and photos, arrange it and see how it will look live - no writing code or webmaster expertise required!

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