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He/she talks: Amazing Footage and Sound of M41 Walker Bulldog Tank Engine Starting Up

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Hello friends. Here is the second free instalment of my book Building Better Business Websites - Strategy 2.: Making the Structure of your Business Website Customer-Friendly PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE :-) Also let me know if you'd like to be added to my book alert circle. Although I’ve mentioned in the previous post [ ] that far too much priority is given to the way #businesswebsites look, and not enough to what they actually do, that doesn’t mean that things like design and structure aren’t incredibly important. For one thing, the layout of your website creates an instant impression, and can make it instantly clear in a customer’s mind whether or not you are on par with others in your industry. Simply put, if your site looks like it was put together in a sloppy way, or built from a widely used template, that’s going to hurt your credibility. And, as we’ll explore in this section, the actual structure of your site — how the pages are arranged and presented — has a direct role in determining how effective it’s going to be at helping you generate new sales opportunities. A site that’s simple, clean, inviting, and easy to use can help funnel visitors from one area or topic to the next. One that’s muddled or confusing can ruin the rest of your online marketing efforts before they even begin. What Makes a Great Business Website Design? In a certain sense, great website design is whatever resonates with your customers. After all, art — even website designs — is always a little bit subjective. But, looking at things in a more practical way, we usually find that there are a few elements that separate effective designs from ones that seem distracting or amateurish. For one thing, white space and organized sections are important, because they naturally draw the eye from one area to another. Additionally, most businesses will want to use conventional color schemes, and ones that fit naturally with their overall marketing tone and personality (something I’ll talk about more in just a bit). The appropriateness of different layouts, fonts, and other details can vary quite a bit from one business or industry to the next. People don’t expect a bank to have the same kind of website as a bakery, for example, but they do expect things to be clear and cohesive. When in doubt, a good way to judge a company’s website layout is by seeing whether it appears to be purposeful and confident. If so, those are things that visitors and potential customers will pick up on. If it isn’t, then changes are probably going to be needed. Let Personas Guide Visual Design In great website design, nothing is random. Rather than looking for color schemes, images, and fonts that “look good,” for example, think back to your marketing personas and let those insights guide the process. Ask yourself what customers would expect to find on your company website based on your industry, the type of site it is, and your own marketing personality [ Not sure what yours is? Check out the communication briefing tool at ]. To illustrate why this should matter, consider two businesses that are both retailers, and are located in the same city, and even have a lot of the same overlapping customers. But, one is a fun, quirky toy store, and the other is an upscale shop selling tailored business suits. Even though their buyer personas might be similar (both companies are selling to young professionals in the neighborhood), their marketing personas are completely different — one wants to emphasize fun, creativity, and good parenting, while the other should project an image of quality, and possibly austerity. These might seem like simple examples, but hopefully they make the point that each one would be likely to choose very different elements to address in their website design. The personas you create for your company and your customers aren’t just the product of an intellectual exercise, but the guiding force that should steer you toward better decisions on website design, content creation, language, as well as the overall feel of your online marketing efforts. Web Development and Custom Programming Is Not Always Required While custom back-end web programming (web development) has come a long way in the past few years, the vast majority of modern business websites don’t require any custom programming at all. What they actually need instead is a good content management system (or CMS, for short). There are several on the market (including WordPress, HubSpot, Shopify and Magento, to name a few of our favorites) that will allow you to enjoy a consistent visual design and navigation structure on your website as you add and remove content. Low cost or free themes for visual design and plugins for functionality make CMS-based sites incredibly versatile for organizing and deploying your content [see some examples of what we've done with our clients at ]. And at the same time, it can eliminate the need for custom programming. Of course, you can style your content with a bit of CSS/HTML knowledge to customize the look. Once you and your creative team find the right CMS for your project, it’s simply a matter of configuring a suitable template with these add-ons to get the functionality you desire. That can save you a lot of money, of course, but it can also make the web development process a lot simpler. Custom applications are like any other piece of software, meaning that they require extensive coding and testing - and time to develop. By choosing a CMS with the right template and functionality, you can take a lot of this risk and stress of web development out of the equation and quickly move the focus to creating great content. Because there are so many good CMS options for virtually any need and website type, it would be very unusual if you couldn’t find one that can easily handle your needs. Save a bit of time and money by finding the one that best fits what you want your business website to be. How Clear Navigation Pulls Different Parts of a Site Together Usability, which started out as a buzzword in the web design in-dustry years ago, has become one of the standards by which we judge every site. Part of that is because digital are getting better and more efficient, but another reason is that the web (and individual websites) is getting bigger all the time. That makes it important to present the content on your site in a way that’s easier for visitors to search and use. The larger concept of usability really comes down to a couple key details: How easy is it for someone to find information on your site, and do they have to do a lot of digging or clicking to get from one area to the next? The answers to these questions are generally influenced not just by your layout, and the links available on each page, but by your overall site map. Ideally, you never want to have important content that’s more than a couple of layers “deep” into your site. Additionally, it helps if you have commonsense categories, a search optimization plan in mind, and a process for testing links to make sure that they are always valid. If usability is an afterthought in your web design, that’s going to be a tough challenge to overcome. Today’s internet users and searchers have too many options and are much too savvy to spend a moment being frustrated. If they can’t find what they want or need quickly, you can bet they’ll take their attention elsewhere. Why Canonical Structures Make the Most Sense As a general rule, I try not to fill our company blogs, or my e-books, with technical details that the average business person wouldn’t understand – as those things tend to change from one time period to another, and are usually secondary to the most important points. But, this is one of those exceptions to the rule, because maintaining a canonical site structure almost always makes the most sense. If you aren’t familiar with that word, it has to do with the way pages are organized and saved on your site, especially in WordPress or other content management systems. With a canonical file system, new pages are labeled with words, rather than dates or numbers. (They also help the search engines know which page is an original in the case of syndication or repurposed content.) That’s crucial because it makes the pages easier for Google and the other search engines to scan and catalog them by topic (and, for people to remember them). So, if you want to have customers coming to you rather than being forced to guess what your pages are, which is one of the keys to the long-term profitability of your site, this is one of those best practices that you can’t afford to have your company, or your design team, ignore. Don’t Make Fast and Sudden Changes With Your Web Structure Given what I’ve just said about canonical structures, you might be tempted to jump into your website’s control panel and start making immediate changes. That could end up being a huge and irreversible mistake. It isn’t unusual for us to come across a website that has been “redesigned” by the wrong firm. Often, designers and developers (and clients!) are in such a rush to get the new site up and running that they simply delete old pages or restructure them without adding any 301 redirects (a 301 redirect connects one page to another). This sends a signal to Google that you are not taking care of your site, making it less interesting for Google to index. Yes, that's right, Google may stop coming by (and listing your site) over time if it is poorly built with errors. In addition, there could be numerous links (both from inside and outside the website) pointing at the old content that are now broken. Added together, these poorly implemented changes mean that you could lose existing search traffic, and referrals from other sites, in an instant. At +KAYAK Online Marketing, one of the first things we do when we even have a sense that we might be working with a new

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Register | Manage Account Home Opportunities By Industry By Country Market Research Trade Events Trade Leads Free Trade Agreements Solutions International Sales & Marketing International Financing International Logistics Licenses & Regulations Trade Data & Analysis Trade Problems Locations Domestic Offices International Offices FAQ Blog Connect Home > Forms Print Website Feedback (OMB No.: 0690-0030 Expire: 04/30/2014) *First Name: *Last Name: *Email: Phone: State: Zip Code: In an effort to serve you better, we did like to know how helpful our website and other channels were in providing the answers you were looking for. If there is any way we can make it better for you, please let us know. Website 1. What types(s) of information were you looking for when visiting Export.Gov: 2. Please provide additional details regarding the information you were looking for: 3. Were you able to find the information you were looking for? Yes No Partially 4. How would you rate the overall usability of Export.Gov? Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent 5. If you used the search feature, how useful was it for finding what you were looking for? Did you get the results you were expecting? 6. How would you change or improve the site? What enhancements would make it more useful? Personalized Information Community Trade Statistics Market Research targeted to my products/countries of interest Other: eMail Updates 7. Did you know that you could sign up for e-mail updates from Yes No 8. Have you signed up for any of our e-mail updates? Yes No 9. How would you rate the overall usefulness of our email-updates? Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent 10. How could we make our e-mail updates more useful to you? Twitter( 11. Did you know that we are on Twitter? Yes No 12. Did you follow us on Twitter? Yes No 13. How would you rate the overall usefulness of our Twitter page? Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent 14. How could we make our tweets more useful to you? Facebook( 15. Did you know that we are on Facebook? Yes No 16. Did you follow us on Facebook? Yes No 17. How would you rate the overall usefulness of our Facebook page? Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent 18. How could we make our Facebook page more useful to you? Are there any other social media site you would like to see us communicating through? *In the box below, please enter the text (security code) just as it appears in the image below, or if you cannot see the image you may play the security code sound file. Why do we do this? We do this because it is possible for search engines and other tools to submit this form, either accidentally or on purpose, which can cause unnecessary e-mail traffic. �� Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are voluntary. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB control number. Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Reports Clearance Officer, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, Room 4001, 14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20230. Print | Last Updated: 6/11/12 3:23 PM Home Opportunities By Industry By Country Market Research Trade Events Trade Leads Free Trade Agreements Solutions International Sales & Marketing International Financing International Logistics Licenses & Regulations Trade Data & Analysis Trade Problems Locations Domestic Offices International Offices FAQ Blog Connect Submit Feedback | Contact Us | Social Media | Privacy Policy | FOIA | Disclaimer | About Us | | Site Map | Download Adobe PDF Reader

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How Craigslist Works, originally a San Francisco community electronic newsletter, is now one of the most visited English language Web sites, with local classifieds for more than 450 cities worldwide. The site's main function is to host classified ads that cover practically every category you can think of, including housing, job postings, items for sale, services and personals. There's also a forums section that allows users to discuss topics on everything from gardening to the Linux operating system. Craigslist's founder Craig Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster aim to provide users with a helpful, noncommercial way to connect with other people in their communities Posting for most classifieds categories on craigslist is free, and it's also free to browse and respond to ads. The Web site doesn't have any flashy animation or graphics -- its value comes from its utilitarian design and the contributions of its users. If all you want to do is browse the site, you can just visit and click away. The site has a range of broad categories, and each category has several subcategories, making it easy to navigate to the appropriate section quickly. For example, the "for sale" category features subcategories like computer, books, electronics, sporting, motorcycles and collectibles, among others. Most ads include the member's e-mail address. Craigslist offers a function that masks e-mail so that members don't have to worry about their address being openly available. All transactions are between the person who posted the ad and the person responding to it. Craigslist's employees don't get involved in any transactions or discussions unless someone reports a problem. If you want to participate in forum discussions or post your own classifieds, you need to create a craigslist account. The only thing you need to become a member is a valid e-mail address. The signup process is short and painless -- after entering your e-mail and filling in a verification word (which helps prevent programs called bots from creating accounts to post ads automatically), you'll receive an e-mail that includes a link you'll need to click on to verify your account and log in. Once you've done that, you've officially joined the craigslist community. Craigslist users act like the site's watchdogs by monitoring the content that gets posted. Users flag posts to draw attention to those that are particularly interesting and those that detract from the site. The tags that can be applied to posts are best of craigslist (a funny or effective post), miscategorized (a post placed in the wrong section of the site), spam/overpost (a generic post or one that has been posted multiple times) and prohibited (a post that directly violates the site's terms of use). In this article, we'll look at craigslist's impact on the Internet, the corporate structure of the company and some of the controversies involving the Web site. In the next section, we'll learn about craigslist's presence on the Web. THE COMMUNITY AND GIGS CATEGORIES The Community category on craigslist functions like a community center's bulletin board. It includes subsections for local news, politics, announcements, volunteer opportunities, rideshare programs and other local events and activities. The Gigs category is for short-term work assignments rather than permanent jobs. The Craigslist Network Each craigslist site focuses on a specific community. Originally, craigslist only listed classifieds and announcements within San Francisco. As the service grew in popularity, expanding well beyond founder Craig Newmark's original concept, craigslist added other cities to its network. The first city to join the network was Boston in 2000. A couple of months later, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, D.C. followed suit. Today, more than 450 cities have a craigslist community site. Because community members largely moderate the sites, craigslist employees can focus their attention on coordinating transactions for job and housing posts, helping members troubleshoot problems and responding to reports of abuse or illegal behavior. Without communal moderation, the craigslist staff would be severely overworked. According to craigslist's fact sheet, every month craigslist has: more than 25 million new classified ads more than 1.5 million job postings more than 75 million user postings in the forums section more than 10 million new photos uploaded (users can include pictures in their advertisements as long as the photos don't violate craigslist's terms of use) more than 30 million user visits, most of which are from the United States more than 8 billion page views, putting craigslist in the top 10 English-language sites The executive team at craigslist maintains that the reason for the site's success is the user community. The team believes that craigslist gives users a place to communicate and help one another, fostering community spirit. The site's emphasis on community reflects its founder's and CEO's values -- Craig Newmark and Jim Buckmaster try to avoid commercialism and corporate culture in their company Craigslist communities appeal to a broad range of users. The simple, organized layout and helpful search engine makes navigation easy. Craigslist members range from teenagers to senior citizens. They post on the forums, shop online, trade tips and make new friends. While the site itself may not be the most visually interesting Internet destination, there's no denying its effectiveness. Users often report that it's easy to find what they are searching for within a few minutes of logging on to the site. In the next section, we'll examine how the corporate structure at craigslist sets the tone for the entire site. Craigslist Financials Craigslist started as a pet project but blossomed into a full-fledged company. In 1999, craigslist incorporated as a for-profit organization. The company also purchased the domain to prevent anyone from buying it and misleading craigslist members. Each year since then, craigslist has expanded to cover more cities and communities, becoming a powerful financial force in the process. Craig Newmark and Jim Buckmaster aren't your typical corporate bigwigs. Even though Newmark is the founder and chairman of craigslist, he states his title as customer service representative. Buckmaster is not only the CEO but also a lead developer for the site. He helped design the homepage, Web architecture, forums, community moderation system, personals category and search engine. Newmark and Buckmaster strive to keep craigslist a service-based company focused on online communities. They have refused offers to sell the company for a huge profit. Many of their decisions fly in the face of traditional business strategies, but Newmark has said that keeping the communal culture of craigslist intact is more important than making enormous profits Even the site's offices are unusual for an Internet company -- instead of a flashy office in a building made of glass and steel, craigslist's headquarters are in an old Victorian storefront in San Francisco The site earns revenue by setting fees for job postings in a few cities and for apartment listings in New York City. The job posting fee in Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, D.C. is $25, while the fee in San Francisco is $75. The fee authorizes the user to post a job in one category -- if the user wishes to post the same job in multiple categories, he or she must pay a fee for each one. The apartment listing fee in New York City is $10 per brokered apartment rental ad. Job and housing ads in other cities are free. The site generates enough revenue to support its entire staff of 25 people. The company doesn't publicly release its financial results, but estimations range in the millions of dollars -- $7 million for 2003 and more than $20 million in 2005 Apart from paid classifieds in the aforementioned cities, craigslist features no advertising at all. It doesn't sell advertising space for banner ads, pop-up ads or any other kind of web advertising. Newmark says he doesn't intend to use any kind of web advertising on craigslist in the future Though craigslist's corporate philosophy focuses on making a positive impact in the community, not everyone using the site shares that point of view. Some craigslist members use the site to take advantage of other people. In the next section, we'll look at some of the controversy surrounding craigslist. Craigslist Controversy One of the biggest challenges for the craigslist community is weeding out scam artists. The site has a section describing common scam tactics and what users should do if they come across them. Scams might involve fake money orders or checks, bait-and-switch schemes (in which you think you're getting one thing but end up with another), phishing schemes designed to obtain personal information, identity theft schemes and other unethical and illegal activities. One scam that has popped up in several craigslist communities involves a buyer overpaying for an item. In this scam, an innocent seller advertises an item on craigslist for a given amount -- say $1,500. An interested buyer contacts the seller and says he'll send a check for the item, but when the check arrives, it's written for a much larger amount. When the seller contacts the buyer to inform him of the difference, the buyer apologizes and explains that he wrote the wrong amount after confusing it with another purchase. He tells the seller to deposit the check and wire him the difference. What the seller doesn't know is that the check is a fake, so he cashes it and wires the difference to the buyer. Once the bank researches the check and discovers it's a fake, the seller is held responsible. The scam artist has his money, and the innocent seller takes the blame. Police scan craigslist for ads soliciting illegal goods or services.

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