Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend - I just learned that the flu is not only a winter phenomena, and spent the last 4 days miserably sick, but boy, am I ever rested and ready for my favorite month of the year now!
This month's edition has an article about whether your site is right for a discussion forum, new Happy Client case studies and a tip on a really nifty way to make sure that your email address isn't harvested by spammers on your web site. Enjoy!
Turn Your Site into a Community with Forums
What brings people to your web site? Probably a search, or a referral from someone, or a bit of networking you have done. It is pretty much left to chance. But there is another way to bring people to your site on a regular basis - turn your web site into a community! One of the best ways to do this is to offer your visitors a discussion forum.
Although there are many listless and dead forums scattered across the web, the potential for community building with a forum is still tremendous if you have a unique subject or spin to put on a community, choose the right forum application, and have the time to invest in launching it. Once your community is established and vibrant, you will find you have an involved and enthusiastic audience who trusts and relies on you for information. This new article looks at what is involved, and how you can turn your site into community!
Read on to learn more about discussion forums...
This month we've got a happy client from outerspace...
First up is a design-only project for German aerospace contractor Infoterra. We created the collage and web interface for a site they were building, announcing the TerraSAR-X satellite being launched in 2005.
... and innerspace! I'm very happy to show you the site I designed for Scottish psychotherapist Maria Doherty, and Chrysalis Transformations. I created a photo collage and a new navigation, and helped to restructure the information that Maria had written.
Says Maria "She is that rarest of creatures, a technical expert with an artist's eye who speaks in a language that the non-technical can understand."
Wow! Thanks, Maria.
Check out the case studies for both sites:
Is spam a bee in your bonnet?
Sorry, I couldn't resist the goofy headline :) Seriously though, one of the main ways that spammers get their mitts on your email address is through the use of "spam spiders" that crawl the web looking for email links they can harvest and compile to sell to the bad guys.
There is one way you can avoid this happening, if it isn't already too late (once they've got you... it's hard to ever salvage the address). You can encode your email address on the web site so that the spiders can't harvest it. HiveMail Encoder is a free online service which takes your address, encrypts it into a lonnnng string of code, which equals your email address. You copy that code, replace the email code in the HTML with it, and although the address won't appear in your editor, it will appear normally on the web to your users. And the spam spiders will come along, not see the usual "mailto:[email protected]" link and pass on by. The advanced version, also free, can encode email links with styles, too. Definitely worth a look!
HiveWare Enkoder Form
It's now official
SOHO It Goes! takes Visa and Mastercard
SOHO It Goes! is now officially set up to process credit cards. I've tried other solutions (like PayPal) but had enough complaints about the process that I decided it was unacceptable. Now, my clients can simply provide credit information to me by phone, and I can process it in moments through a virtual terminal. Even better, the payment is in my account within 2-3 days. This allows everyone who knows they need professionally designed marketing materials and web sites to spread the payments out on a credit card and get down to business. It will also open the door for faster turnaround on rush projects that come up occasionally.
I've used it three times already, and hope to review the card processor I'm using for this newsletter when I have more experience with it under my belt. So far, I'm very impressed with the service!
Til Next Time...
Next month I should have at least two, maybe three new projects to show you, a new article to share which will be published in the Business Journal, and of course, something new just for my Increase Your Reach subscribers.
Official Mumbo Jumbo
© 2004 All Rights Reserved - This newsletter is intended
to be read and passed around by entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations
interested in electronic communication, design and technology. Please
don't reproduce this document or its contents without full credit
to Eileen Parzek, SOHO It Goes!