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Google Analytics and Facebook Tools

July 12, 2010
Lavendar miniature orchid in a clay pot

This list is from Avinash Kaushik of Market Motive’s extraction of the usable part of 3 new Google Analytic tools – along with some other tools that are either free or a very low cost. These links have more features than he uses, so you will have to play around a bit to find the parts you find useful. He says to keep an eye to the future – where it is headed and problems these tools might solve. I have also subscribed to Kaushik’s blog (podcast/video list on page) and a quick video on this Singapore lecture asking us to THINK about what we are tracking, not just count hits. I enjoyed so much of his SEO information. I added Hubspot’s Facebook links in the same list:

  1. Tynt
    • adds a hash tag whenever someone pastes something copied from your website
    • makes URL trackable – helps you track email copy/paste content
    • helps you cater to the popular content copy/pasted
  2. AnalyzeWords
    • emotional/cognitive and complex nuances captured and analyzed better with LIWC
    • analyzes the way one talks and writes as opposed to other tracking methods that just put a positive, neutral or negative assumption to a word it is tracking.
    • twitter sentiment tracker is an example of a bad tracker – but look at AnalyzeWords with tooltips when you hover above the emotional/social/thinking styles presented on the results page – think branding impact and analysis
  3. Statsit
    • I believe this is not free, but this is the place that analyzes the words BEFORE and AFTER a keyword/name/brand to weigh the emotional effect from over 6000 emotional english language words.
    • tag clouds can filter out the analysis to include only one social media type such as twitter
  4. Swix
    • $9/month per website or campaign – helps with content creation, distribution and consumption – your private and public information
    • FANTASTIC dashboard – you check all of the social media icons (called pods) that you want to track, and all of the analysis is presented on one page/dashboard instantly via url entry.
    • you can add your competitors information right next to yours and it will keep public data as well as your private data on this same page
    • you can create different campaigns (gonna cost another $9/month) if you want to have more than one website to work on
    • measure trends and impact of your campaign and increase understanding
  5. Compete
    • For a fee shows traffic data, trends, patterns, keywords for US only.
  6. Quantcast
    • Use the Quantified data only
    • breaks down demographics from website url
  7. Search Engines/trends/keywords
    • Insights for US directly from Google for Google search engine
    • WordTracker worldwide for Yahoo and Bing search engines
  8. Facebook Grader
    • tracking impact
  9. Hubspot’s Facebook for Business kit (Free)

From my current reading suggested by Elaine Rudis-Jackson (XHTML/CSS professor at Cerro Coso College), The Art of SEO I learned that Google doesn’t use a thesaurus to create keyword synonyms. Instead it uses the words found most often in relation to usage – and we can find them by placing the (tilde) ~ operator before the keyword in the search box. It will return the Google indexed synonyms in bold. The other Google operators are listed online, but what a great way to add to keyword importance….use the synonym to keep variety in the content, and keep google counting. I am anxious to play with some of these tools and see if my notes correctly match my expectations.

Poster and Design for local event

July 12, 2010

Recent Design’s

These are the photoshop examples – not yet optimized for print that I created – minor tweaks before they went to print. For example on the poster I decreased the size of the event time to match the smaller font, and leave more room around the design of the poster.  This poster was reproduced in an 11×17 size as well as 8.5 x 11.  I had 3 colorways for this design, a second option that lowered the middle of the 2nd line into the rays and TRIED to add a bit of humor ‘It’s just a WALK in the Park’ …but this is pretty much what was chosen.

Patriotic design for annual Tehachapi Twilight Walk

Poster I designed for Tehachapi's annual event

I made a corresponding design for hand-outs to allow folks to sign up for booths and volunteer work to support the event. I later added the date and time at the top of the final page figuring that it could also be used as an advertisement.

Tehachapi Twilight Liberty Walk sign up sheet

Sign up sheet for local event

Upgrading Joomla 1.5.15 to 1.5.17 and newer versions

April 30, 2010

Upgrading Joomla using the C-Panel

Usually Fantastico is ready to upgrade to the newest version of Joomla however, today I completed a 2-step upgrade because I was tired of waiting for Fantastico DeLuxe to present the new upgraded version of Joomla. Normally Joomla has a zip file allowing one upgrade step at a time. You can avoid many errors by progressing one upgrade version at a time, and even then some of the third party modules and components have to be reinstalled to work correctly if you receive errors. Since Joomla 1.5.16 and Joomla 1.5.17 were so closely released the Download page held one zip file containing both upgrades thereby allowing one step to upgrade from Joomla 1.5.15 to the current Joomla 1.5.17. If your Fantastico does not have the easy upgrade, and you do not want to manually upgrade with your FTP transfer (sometimes a slower process), here are the C-panel steps to take:

  1. Check your current version of Joomla from the Administrator Log-In using the Help drop-down menu at the top:

    Find the current Joomla 1.5 version of your website

    Check the current Joomla 1.5 version you are using on your website

  2. Back up your Joomla site before upgrading ESPECIALLY if you are running a live site. SitePoint has a tutorial about this, and I highly recommend Akeeba for backing up your Joomla site.
  3. Download the zip file from Joomla.org to your computer.
    • Do not extract it, just keep it in its zip file format
    • Save this zip file where you can find it later. I keep all my upgrade files together in a Joomla/Upgrades folder on my C drive.
  4. Open up your C-panel and double click on File Manager
  5. Locate the folder containing the Joomla installation. Highlight the joomla folder (I found mine under www/joomla)
  6. Select Upload from the top of the C-Panel

    Picture of the C-Panel top option bar with arrow on Upload button

    Upload Button on C-Panel File Manager

  7. The Browse window will open on a new page to allow you to Upload the zip file from your computer to the folder where your Joomla installation exists (selected from the last step – the path will also show on this Upload page). This Joomla folder might be under /home/user_name/public_html/ but here is a picture of my Joomla folder location. Once a file is entered the Upload will start automatically and a progression bar will follow your upload. You can close this page after the upload is complete. I did not select Overwrite Files because I wanted to save my settings. For this example I have changed my Account Name (found in parenthesis at the top of your C-panel above Preferences in a window Switch Accounts) for user_name.

    Image of the C-Panel upload file page

    The page you get after selecting UPLOAD to Browse your computer for files

  8. At this point you have the zip file you just uploaded in your File Manager inside the Joomla folder. You need to extract the zip file by highlighting the zip file in File Manager, then selecting the Extract button at the top of the page.

    Image of C-Panel showing Extract button and highlighted file to extract

    Highlight and Extract a file you have in your File Manager using C-Panel

  9. Check your site to ensure that you installed the Joomla version correctly. First select Help from the top bar after signing into the Joomla Administrator back end. From the drop down menu under Help select System Info and you should see your current Joomla Version under the System Info tab as shown below:

    Image of Joomla Administrator System Information

    Joomla Administrator showing System Info

  10. Check that any 3rd party modules, components and plug-ins are working correctly. If they are not, re-install them.

I hope this helps, and remember that Joomla.org has a tutorial on Upgrading Joomla 1.5 from an existing 1.5x version which will help you if you need to upload an update without the use of a C-Panel. There is also a free extension available that I have not tried, but many Joomla user’s love to use calledUpdate Manager for Joomla, listed under Core Enhancements>Installers on the Joomla extension page.

Inspirational Finds January

January 5, 2010

Rather than dig through several different articles, I decided to devote this page to some of the articles, software and designs that strike my fancy. Some may look familiar because they are copied from my recent posts.

Web Design Inspiration

  1. Technology changes – article – Five Technologies shaping the Web in 2010
  2. 7 Must-See Web Design – Video’s and Presentations
  3. Adding Depth – Six fundamental ways to add depth to your website

Resources

  1. JQuery – Spice up your Website 10 Resources such as style switcher
  2. UI – YUI Library Yahoo User Interface “Library is a set of utilities and controls, written with JavaScript and CSS, for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML and AJAX. YUI is available under a BSD license and is free for all uses.”
  3. Color Schemes Colour Lovers – Everything to help color coordination plus a forum or 2 or 3….
  4. Christmas PhotoShop Brushes plus Designs
  5. Christmas Wallpapers Desktop Christmas and Winter designs
  6. HTML 5 – Visual Cheat Sheet
  7. Social Media – Google Wave article
  8. Flash – Interesting Video tutorial for making SEF URL’s and also enabling the Back/Forward buttons on a Flash site. This tutorial is from gotoandlearn.com and uses an opensource download SWFAddress for deep linking Flash and Ajax.
  9. IA and UI Web Design article restating what I learned in class, but I need to remind myself of these points:

Here’s the model of 4 things you need to do to have a successful site:

  1. Help me find your site.
  2. Get my attention, and affirm I’m in the right place.
  3. Convince me to keep reading, watching, or listening, until I’ve had my positive needs affirmed and my doubts resolved.
  4. Ask me to take some action.

Work from the top of this list downwards. Test the top things, and make sure you’re in the right area of the map, before you move down to refine and to polish your graphics and other details.

  1. Message – what core proposition does your audience respond best to? Is it obvious when you arrive what kind of site/page you’re on?
  2. Calls to Action – if you don’t ask, how can you get? Make sure your have strong, clear calls to action that lets your audience know exactly what you want them to do next.
  3. Headings – if all the body text and small detail were removed, how would the page read? At a high level, does the page make sense and encourage me to keep reading?
  4. Affirmations and Objections – what positive content can you add, or what objections can you resolve, to make your audience comfortable enough to take the next step?
  5. Plug Leaks – are you squeezing your visitors through the door you want them to use (which achieves your goal), or are you offering them lots of alternative places to go (which don’t)?
  6. Layout – is the page simple and clear, or cluttered?

January 2010 Design Challenge

January 1, 2010

Well, here is my attempt to keep my New Year’s Resolution to challenge myself to design something for 15-30 minutes a day. Look! There are places to fill in the future….hope that keeps me working!

  1. Today I had the idea to recreate a feeling, ‘Peaceful’ and place it in a banner format. I used the long neglected pen tool and lots of fun layers in PhotoShop. I had the drawing and colors done in 15 minutes, but played for another 20 minutes with the sunrays until I noticed that they could be rain! Wow – I hadn’t intended a storm, but there ya go! The storm clouds, mountains and all need work – I am just excited I started something new!
    Drawing of grass, water and mountains with storm cloud and rain

    Storms a-brewin'

  2. I had an impression to do a puffy cloud word hope as if the clouds were pulling away from a blowing bubble hoop….INSTEAD I got a flower power owl face….started with a pen vector drawing then transformed shapes in PS CS3.
    The word HOPE using cloud outlines and wings

    Hope with wings turns into an owl


    decorative word hope using drawn cloud and flowers

    Hope ends in E

  3. I had big plans to animate a caption, and it took me more than 30 minutes to review a Flash video, and then play with 2 of 6 letters I intended to use. Well…I need to pick up the pace, and this is part of my practice. I intended to give these a metallic look, but will have to go through my tutorials and review them. This is as far as I got. I plan on doing more with this soon – making more of an anchor inside the outlined letter U and a bow-tie in the letter S. I also wanted to note my background was from a wonderful site of free personal and commercial use Webtreats – PhotoShop overlays.
    U.S.

    The U.S. part of a caption designing in PhotoShop CS3 with pen tool

  4. The Web Design Challenge Forum has been a great source of encouragement and ideas! Also, I noticed my blog analytics have increased with folks jumping to this site! What a bonus! One of the artists asked if I had considered trying to distort pink bows for the Breast Cancer site I am going to start this year. I never thought of it before (Thank you jhoodfysh!) but started playing with it here for todays 30 minute creative moment.
    The word HOPE spelled with pink bows

    Hope Bows

  5. Lesson – stop while you are ahead, divert to something else and return to this idea when you have more enthusiasm! This was more play like yesterdays attempt, but didn’t really pan out as well. I have a better idea for this word, but thought I would see if I could carry yesterday’s theme over…..and it didn’t turn out as well. This is an overlay teal color using dissolve and about 60 percent opacity over a layer of black for the background. Letters are distorted pink bows from the Photoshop CS3 shapes directory.
    The word FAITH spelled out with pink ribbons

    Stop while you are ahead, and have faith that something better will work in the end.

  6. Today I only had 15 minutes, and was able to use PhotoShop CS3 shapes and a gradient background to dash this one out. Of course, I started thinking about having these notes spill out of the top of the ribbon hoop…..like bubbles, or like a rainbow spilling notes out from the loop opening down onto the scale background….so this was no where near my idea. It was, however something I never thought about until I started playing around.
    Heal Me, Lord text written on music notes next to a pink breast cancer ribbon

    Heal me quickly

  7. Another 30 minute project where I learned that time could have been saved if I had all of my images in one folder instead of scattered – even though I had made a concerted effort to keep them together – the one I wanted to use is still alluding me, so these two were trials. The font is a bit hard to read, and I don’t like giving too much opacity fade to the glorious fabric colors behind the font, so hours were spent instead of minutes, and I am still not satisfied!
    Logo attempt for one of my clients

    5 Hearts Quilts with Flippit

  8. Quilt Fabric logo with 5 hearts

    5 Hearts logo with flannel

  9. I spent some time reviewing ideas for logos, and many tutorials such as this one creating a helicopter logo using a hummingbird where step by step thoughts and research were revealed. To simplify a concept is not the easiest thing to do. I wanted to portray a mirror since this is a beauty salon logo, but didn’t want too feminine of a look…hence the frame outline, but that might be too much to expect of a logo, and more to expect of a banner. I doubt the bevel will look that great on a logo – probably simplifying it further to just include a color would be best, but I still liked the look. I only spent 30 minutes with this after spending days marveling at how other folks simplify a concept. This is a wonderful challenge!
    Peaceful Image Salon

    Simplest logo

  10. Peaceful Image Salon

    Logo with Mirror outline

  11. I worked on this idea trying to display a mirror….I received some great input to soften the blue so it would be easier on the eyes…..tomorrow! For now, I played with background textures and the mirror. I am not sure I like the slant to the mirror, because I feel that every font should slant the same direction. I played with a large first letter, and settled on these two ideas.
    Peaceful Image Salon with scissors

    X Marks the spot

  12. Peaceful Image Salon

    Stars, but does the word Image stand out as part of the shop name?

  13. Today I just had to play, and even though there are some odd background figures leftover from the beginning, the outcome of playing with a font called florilia – using the letter A (doubled, reversing one on top of the other then duplicating, offsetting into a zig zag – oh yes, then flipping 90 degrees for the other side) was fun. Also used a PhotoShop Brush I obtained – a beautiful bamboo and orchid frame from Lileya of DeviantArt that I added 8 layers of different opacity and colors to. The needlework font is called Home Sweet Home all in PhotoShop. I came across a tutorial Lileya suggested that turns photos into PhotoShop Brushes from Scully7491 – PS Brush tutorial on DeviantArt.
    YOU in needlework font framed with bamboo, orchid and zig zag

    YOU Sampler

2010 Challenges

December 29, 2009

Contests

I know that there are more contests out there that will help me showcase skills, but I found this daily challenge from About.com interesting. It only asks that I spend a small part of each day trying a new design or logo. This is inspired by an article from Smashing Magazine Design Something Every Day. I have found that designing quickly and accurately are my weakest points – but what I love to do the most. I think this will get the ball rolling for me, I hope! I plan on listing more challenges and contest here as they crop up.

Inspirational Websites

Right now I am totally jazzed that I got the cutest, smallest little notebook Aspire One for Christmas! Now I can take this with me to client’s businesses and show them website designs without using their business computers. I am also jazzed that I have a program to ‘burn’ labels and images on my DVD’s – such a neat tool to look professional!

  1. Web Design Blog is offering a premier membership to anyone writing about their site using the term Free Vector Graphics in their article. I have found many beautiful textures, fonts and links by being on their email list and visiting their website. I also think they have a great way of mixing free and paid services, for instance offering product or website reviews for a fee – this increases back links with a substantial review – an ad for $20 – I think that is a pretty creative idea. It makes me happy to know that so many free – usable items are offered, so I don’t feel as if I am constantly facing my billfold while learning how other designers present their expertise.
  2. 7 Must-See Web Design – Video’s and Presentations

Tests

If I can swing it, I would like to sign up for more Lynda.com classes. Even if I cannot, there are several tests I am finding on odesk, Brainbench and different sources. I want to collect them on this page and use them to help keep my php, javascript and other skills sharp.

Resources

I will keep a running tally on the pros/cons of some interesting services I come across in 2010. If there is no review, I haven’t had time to evaluate it yet, but will post as soon as I have some experience with the service or product.

  1. PLAXO
  2. UI – YUI Library Yahoo User Interface “Library is a set of utilities and controls, written with JavaScript and CSS, for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML and AJAX. YUI is available under a BSD license and is free for all uses.”
  3. Social Media – Google Wave article
  4. Flash – Interesting Video tutorial for making SEF URL’s and also enabling the Back/Forward buttons on a Flash site. This tutorial is from gotoandlearn.com and uses an opensource download SWFAddress for deep linking Flash and Ajax.
  5. IA and UI – Web Design article – restating what I learned in class, but I need to remind myself of these points:

Here’s the model of 4 things you need to do to have a successful site:

  1. Help me find your site.

  2. Get my attention, and affirm I’m in the right place.

  3. Convince me to keep reading, watching, or listening, until I’ve had my positive needs affirmed and my doubts resolved.

  4. Ask me to take some action.

Work from the top of this list downwards. Test the top things, and make sure you’re in the right area of the map, before you move down to refine and to polish your graphics and other details.

  1. Message – what core proposition does your audience respond best to? Is it obvious when you arrive what kind of site/page you’re on?
  2. Calls to Action – if you don’t ask, how can you get? Make sure your have strong, clear calls to action that lets your audience know exactly what you want them to do next.
  3. Headings – if all the body text and small detail were removed, how would the page read? At a high level, does the page make sense and encourage me to keep reading?
  4. Affirmations and Objections – what positive content can you add, or what objections can you resolve, to make your audience comfortable enough to take the next step?
  5. Plug Leaks – are you squeezing your visitors through the door you want them to use (which achieves your goal), or are you offering them lots of alternative places to go (which don’t)?
  6. Layout – is the page simple and clear, or cluttered?

Content and Social Media

December 17, 2009

Considerations

I have been working to add more content to the website. I wanted to add some information about the history of the product lines, and especially showcase one line over the others – without being too obvious. I started browsing the internet and found some great YouTube videos to embed under Hair Care Tips. I had 2 different RSS feeds already installed, but this really added something different to the website that I hope the client approves.

Armed with a new idea I started searching Twitter, and found that indeed the main product line had a Twitter account. I was able to embed the changing Twitter conversation on another page – which might be a way to introduce the different angles of marketing available to the client and customers. I personally feel that this brings the big ‘5th Avenue’ market to our little city by letting our customers peek at the conversation. I will add some more instructions for them if they choose to get involved in these discussions.

Now I am getting fearless, and emailed the product line’s web maintenance team about one of their widgets online that allows folks to enter their type of hair or problem, then produces the product line’s answer. I wanted to embed this on my site, and I also wanted to know if I could get history and images from them. They were great! Although they could not work out a way to let me embed the widget, they did tell me of another item that would be available in 2010. They also gave me a user id and password to their entire stock of images, history, information…a TREASURE TROVE! I feel really lucky now, and cannot wait to start working on more content using this information.

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