Inner Light Spectrum

Importance of Photos in Print and Digital Media

As cheesey as the line is ‘A picture can say a thousand words’ that line is true. A well taken, cropped, and digitized photo can provide more information and insight into a product or service than an entire written page of inforamtion can provide by itself.  Figures point that in print media only 5% of readers may notice an article title, but almost 100% or readers see and look at photos. The combonationation of good writing and great photos can help draw people to read what you are advertising. In the eDirectory system the showcase business listing allows for the listing owner to upload multiple photos into the listing photo gallery along with a large displayed logo image. These images that are uploaded into the photo gallery can help to highlight the products and services the listing is avertising to potential clients and site visitors.

On the market today there are may high quality photo editing software programs that allow a user to transform a well taken picture into an eye catching picture. Toptenreviews.com lists the following as the top ten free or paid for photo editing software programs:

  1. Adobe Photoshop Elements
  2. Corel Pain Shop Pro Photo
  3. Serif PhotoPlus
  4. Ulead PhotoImpact
  5. ACDSee Photo Editor
  6. PhotoSuite
  7. FotoFinish
  8. Photo Explosion
  9. PhotoImpressions
  10. PhotoStudio

Each of these programs will allow one to improve thier already taken photos and then resave the changes so they can be easily uploaded into the eDirectory photo gallery system. The eDirectory photo gallery systme requries that the photo be saved into either .gif or .jpg format, which can easly be accomplished in any of the above 10 photo editing programs.

Purple Haze

Achieving Clarity in your Website Content

The content within a website is the number one tool that is used to help bring people back to your site in the future. Keeping this content as informative, yet as concise as possible, is not an easy task. Yet if this is achieved you may come to find that the vast majority of the visitors to your site are returning visitors because they have come to discover that they will consistently find clear and quality information on your site.

There are several things to remember when working to make the information on your site as clear and concise as possible:

  1. Keep your content focused on your target audience
  2. Use simple words and phrases
  3. Think about proper word choice when explaining things to your audience
  4. Express Ideas and concepts with the most simple language

One tool that many professional writers employ, that is important for web writers as well, is keep your sentences short. The average sentence falls between 15 and 20 words. When sentences begin to reach the 30 to 35 word mark they begin to feel like a run-on sentences, and the focus of the audience can be lost. When editing your website content, you should look for the same key points as those editing print media. When writing a sentence be cognizant of works such as ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘who’. These words can tell the editor that the sentences could possibly be broken into two separate sentences and can help with clarity.

One of the last things one can do to help make sure their content is clear and concise, is have a 3rd party review the work. The 3rd party can consist of a professional editing company to your next door neighbor or friend. It is always import to have a fresh set of eyes review your content as they can provide quality feedback and information that could be helpful to a first time or returning viewer to your site.

Down

Over the past 12 months many companies and industries have felt the effects of down-turn in the United States economy and our path towards the current economic recession. Large corporations such as Circuit City and Linens and Things have closed their doors and held large sales to sell any remaining products. As many of the larger business begin to close their doors it can open up many opportunities for smaller new companies and entrepreneurs to setup shop and try to make their way in to a unique niche market.

Despite the recession, there are always opportunities to generate a small second income with a minimal investment and a good deal of effort. The online directory market is still popular because companies need to be found by potential customers who are willing to spend a little money to gain products and services and keep the economy turning. People are still spending money, and it can take a directory of businesses to help people find and be found.

With the eDirectory platform you can create an online networking community where businesses and consumers can come together. One of the most beneficial aspects of the eDirectory software during the current state of the economy is the low startup costs and how your directory will come pre-populated with information of your choice. The eDirectory startup platform offers 3 packages the basic, eCommerse, and Owned License. The basic package can be up and running for less than $1500 and includes the leased license, hosting, portal package, full day on-site training, as well as 1000 business listings to get you started.

This starter package is ample to get you started on making a bit of secondary income during times of economic depression. From there it takes a bit of patience and a lot of hard work to get your directory out to the public and make the public aware of the new products that you are offering to them.

Video Killed the Radio Star

The social media environment is the next wave of effective marketing. Social media is  defined as ‘information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable  publishing technologies that is intended to facilitate communications, influence adn  interaction with peers adn public audiences, typically via the internet and mobile  communications. (Wikipedia, 2009). One of the most popular forms of socail media is making  a video and posting them online.

Almost all internet users have either viewed or posted this form of social media online.  Some of most popular video postings sites on the net today include YouTubeGoogle Video,  Vimeo, and Yahoo Video.  These sites allow users to post videos, some free of charge, as  well as search and view and almost endless variety of videos. One of the nice things many  of these sites allow a video viewer to do is add the video URL or video snippet code to  their own personal site.

The eDirectory software allows many of its members to post videos to thier listings. The  video feature, available via snippet code only, is pre-built into the Showcase business  listings only. Here is an example of what the video snippet code looks like that needs to  be entered into the eDirectory:
[message type="custom"]<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie”  value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/lnRJlY2lKC0&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param  name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess”  value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/lnRJlY2lKC0&hl=en&fs=1″  type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”  width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>[/message]
Adding a video into a listing can be a great took to enhance the users experience while  viewing their listing and information about their company. It allows for the user to gain a  large amount of knowledge about the company in a short period of time and can be created to  be catchy and entertaining as well. A video, accompanied with a strong write-up about the  company can be a great partner in highlighting the visitor about the strenghts of the  company and encourage visitors to contact or continue reading about the company.

Omaha Stylee

I have decided to resurrect an old topic, because it is so important to drawing immediate attention to your directory. Style Customization! Having a unique look and feel to the directory can help separate you from the competition. One of the most important things to supply to the design team when beginning a style customization to the eDirectory is a quality mockup. A mockup is a layout model of what you would like the final look of the site; it provides a visual presentation of the website structure.

When beginning to create a mockup or when you are searching the internet for a premade template it is important to consider the following list of questions:

  1. What is your business area? (Look for a mockup that fits well in your industry)
  2. Which basic modules do you want customized?
  3. Describe the content you want in the following area: Left Column, Right Column, Middle Column
  4. What are the items you want in the top and bottom navigation bar.
  5. What are your color preferences?

When providing a mockup for the application of a design to the eDirectory we look for the following file types:

  • Photoshop (PSD)
  • PNG Files
  • Zip Files containing the .html / .css files

It is best to include a mockup of the Homepage of the Directory; Front, Results and Detail pages for each module you wish to have customized, as well as pages illustrating the layout of the Advertise with Us page and the Contact Us page. To accompany the specified files, it can help to have a detailed word document further outlining what is in the files.

If you are unsure of the final design of your site there are many reference areas you can use to help you come to a conclusion regarding your design. You can do the following:

  1. Create several rough drafts and compile them into a final solution
  2. Review current websites to help you gather ideas for your own
  3. Review and purchase pre-made templates from sites such as Template Monster, Dream Template, or Theme Forest.
  4. Consult a website designer to discuss your needs and design a completely custom template

Designing the look and feel of your site can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of beginning a new online business and directory because it allows your inner creativity to come out. It also helps you to create a look and feel that you think will draw visitors to your site and take you ahead of the competition.

We Don’t Need No Education

Content Management System (CMS): “is a computer application used to create, edit, manage, search and publish various kinds of digital media and electronic text. CMSs are frequently used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing industry-specific documentation such as news articles, operators’ manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures.” (Wikipedia, 2009)

Some of the largest CMS systems available today are included in programs such as Joomla, Word Press, Ektron, Dolphin, and Light CMS etc. eDirectory’s CMS capabilities work in the same manor as these, but specializing in the directory website niche. The major advantage of a CMS though is not only the ease at which you can deploy or manage a website, you must also consider the ROI.  A CMS system such as WordPress, Joomla,eDirectory reduces the time to market, but also reduces the need for staff to update and manage the system.  This in turn lowers your development and maintenance costs creating a much higher ROI on the project.

When beginning the process of building a new website that contains an intricate CMS system it is important to be well versed on the ins and outs of the system and the aspects of the CMS that you can control and how those controls relate to the front of the website. The eDirectory system is built on a highly detailed and well organized CMS system called the sitemgr. This sitemgr area allows the directory owner to manage directory members, directory content, and add or remove any of their own unique content they wish to add into one of the site content areas.

One of the most important things a new directory owner can do it is to familiarize themselves with the eDirectory CMS system so once the directory is live to the public they will have been able to add unique content in the site content areas. This will also help you server your customer listing requests and questions much quicker as well. One unique thing the CMS system allows you to do is place your own unique content into certain areas within the directory. This unique content can help visitors to your site understand the meaning of you site and the benefits of adding a paid listing. The constant updates will help visitors see new text content as well as see new listings once they are approved by the sitemgr in the CMS system.

Patience

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The vast majority of start-up companies do not make millions of dollars overnight. It can take a bit of time to reach the ultimate profitability goals and margins. A website based off the eDirectory software is no different than a brand new start-up company, it can take time to see monetary results.

There are several things a new directory owner can do to help monetize and grow the site in the early stages of the directory. These include:

1) Have a strong marketing plan
2) Pre-populate your directory with information
3) Continue adding new content and information to your directory

Have a Strong Marketing Plan

Marketing a new product or company to people is not a simple task. It involves lots of planning on who the target market is and how you plan on reaching that target market. A lot of the times, once a target market is identified, to reach that market one must go back to the basics of marketing. Direct mail, door to door, cold calling are all parts of the marketing basics that can help you get your name, products and services out to the target market it which you which to sell to.

Pre-populate your Directory with Information

Having information in your directory before you begin marketing your new products can be an important factor in your early success. It can be difficult for a potential customer to purchase an item within your directory if they come to your directory and only see blank pages. Your directory needs to be populated with listings, events, articles, banners, etc. to help illustrate to potential customers that you have a populated website that could help bring them new business.

One way to help populate your website is by purchasing a database of listings through a 3rd party that relate to your business model. This allows you to, not only, populate your directory but it allows you to market to the businesses you purchased that are already in your target market through one of the basic market tactics.

Continue Adding New Content and Information to your Directory

It is important to keep adding new information and content to your directory. A good method of adding new content to your directory is through a forum or blog or by adding new articles for individuals to read. This new information will not only keep bringing visitors back to your site but it will also help with your SEO rankings, as search engines are constantly looking for new content on websites.

Speak Easy

A well designed website can definitely grab the eye of a visitor and keep them navigating your site for some time; however, to keep a visitor on your site for a good length of time requires strong content.

There are several steps to take in order to keep the content on your site relevant and fresh:

1. Be diligent about content

2. Perform regular updates

3. Create your own unique content

Be Diligent About Content

To create a content-rich website, you need to keep a clear focus. In other words, be disciplined. Creating content for a site is not a simple thing to do; it takes days to weeks of research before you get to the planning and development of content for your site. One way to stay on track is to use your time management skills to develop a schedule for research, writing, editing, and deployment. Be sure to remember that the content on your site is ever changing, so what you write up during the initial phases of your site can be updated in the future.

Perform Regular Content Updates

Content on a website is not a fixed item. The content is always evolving and changing to meet the needs of your customers and the needs of your visitors. A returning visitor to your site is more likely to spend time on your site again if they are reading new information, new articles, etc. One way to keep new and fresh information on your site is by adding a blog or a forum. The blog / forum is constantly updated by those members using those tools and keeps the information fresh for both the visitor and Search Engine Spiders looking through your site.

Create Your Own Content

When using the eDirectory it is important to ensure you have fresh content within your directory. It can be discouraging for a visitor to come to your site looking to purchase a listing when they see an empty directory. Due to the fact that you are selling business listing options it is important to show examples of each business listing option, even if the listing information is false. This will show to visitors and potential visitors what exactly they will receive from their purchase. For example, it is beneficial to have a fully detailed Showcase business listing in the directory which includes photos, Google map, video, slide show, etc. This can provide a great illustration of what the potential purchaser will be getting for the money spent with you.

Large in the Margin

Websites designed for eCommerce use have their own unique look and feel which attracts a visitor to do one thing, and one thing only, on the site – purchase something. The individual whom is designing the website needs to consider several factors of online selling during the design process.

Below are a few principals an eCommerce website design should include:

1. Be sure to give the user a pleasant experience when visiting your site and doing online shopping

2. Be sure to provide sufficient contact information, so visitors can contact the site owner with questions or concerns.

3. Make sure the website is easy to use and navigate.

4. Provide many examples of the items that are for sale

The principals of a good eCommerce website design are not new to anyone. Our every day to day experiences shopping either on or off line are still required to follow the same basic principles, however, with online sales it can get a bit trickier because all contact is visual and not verbal.

Be sure to give the user a pleasant experience when visiting your site and doing online shopping

When designing a site be sure it simple for individuals to find the items they want and the checkout process is not overly lengthy. It is important to have all items easily navigated to by one to two clicks of the mouse and plenty of ‘order now’ and ‘checkout’ buttons in front of the user. When users have to click back and forth multiple times to checkout, it can be a frustrating experience.

Be sure to provide sufficient contact information, so visitors can contact the site owner with questions or concerns.

Unlike a regular store, when purchasing items through an online eCommerce platform, it can be difficult to talk to a representative if questions arise. Be sure to make your contact information readily available to anyone who visits your site, either with a dedicated ‘Contact Us’ page or simple contact us text. It is beneficial, but not necessary, to have a contact us form dedicated to contacting the site owner directly.

Make sure the website is easy to use and navigate.

Similar to giving your user a pleasant experience on your site, you need to create a site that is easy to use and navigate. A website can become overbearing when there is a lot of content on the site, tons of pictures, pop-ups, and rollover text. When visitors come to your site to purchase something, they want to see what they are purchasing, and may not be interested in all the other fluff (however cool it may be). One of the best methods to follow is the KISS method: Keep it Short and Simple

 

Provide many examples of the items that are for sale

It is important to provide users to your site live examples of the items in which they are purchasing. The more examples you can have on the site, the more informed of a decision the user will be making on what they are purchasing. This can help alleviate questions and issues in the future that it was not fully understood what was being purchased.

Use of Time

Tips for High Quality Time Management

Setting time aside for those important tasks is never an easy thing to do, especially if you are the procrastinator type.  However, there are many ways for you to turn around your procrastination traits and begin practicing effective Time Management and gaining Time Management skills.

Here are a few tips to improve your time management skills

Before you can dive in and implement new time management strategies into your daily routine, you need to understand a few basics.

You must be cognizant of your goals in both the short term and long term.  This awareness of what your goals are will help you prioritize your day to achieve the daily short term goals and well as make strong headway on reaching those long term goals.  These goals will also help to keep you motivated and make you less distracted away from your daily plans.

Be sure to develop a flexible and open schedule for your self to follow. Ti needs to be flexible and open enough so you can fit your goals within, yet leave some extra time in your schedule in case a distraction has to take you away from your daily activities for a few hours.

A Few times to use your time successfully

1. Have a look back at your old daily habits and see what you can do to improve them. — Once you realize what habits you have formed that are impacting your management of time, you have made the first step in beginning to change them. Old habits die hard, so once you have felt you have begun to overcome one of those habits, be sure to reward yourself.

2. Keep your short and long term goals in sight, literally. — It is easy to lose focus on something when you are not seeing it everyday. Put up reminders around your house or office, even if they are yellow sticky notes, to help you refocus on the task at hand. The more focused you are, the less likely you are to get distracted.

3. Write down a daily list of things to do, and prioritize them once the list is complete. — Keeping a daily to-do list is a great way to see how much and what you are accomplishing on a daily basis. This will also give you an indication of whether or not you are properly allocating to the tasks at hand. At the end of the day a list will help you to remember your goals for the day and give you a visual checklist of what has been completed.

4. Concentrate on one task item from your checklist at a time. — Some people are not natural multi-taskers, so be sure to focus on one of your task list items at a time. Once that is completed, you can move onto the next item. Good time management will afford you the time to work on just one thing rather than 10 at a time.

5. Keep what you are doing fun. –When you are working on a taks that you feel is fun of enjoyable it is much easier to keep moving forward to meet your goals. When you are not doing something you enjoy it can create a lot of stress, and this stress can impact your time management and the completion of both short and long term goals. When you are not stressed, you are more likely to accomplish tasks quicker.