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Posts Tagged ‘tutorials

Learning is a life long event – and there’s no better way to learn than in a classroom of new students. I mean learn from the students. Collaborative learning is so inspiring – and nothing lends itself more to it than a topic like web design. Here is what I learned from the students in my Web Design for Business class at Kendal College‘s Creative Arts Centre.

Passion

The students arrived at the first class nine weeks ago with limited exposure to websites and design. But, they had a passion for a topic. Whether it was a business, a service for a client group, a past time, or a promoting themselves to find work – they all embraced the task with passion. It showed in the final results.

Panache

Despite a steep learning curve – image creation, HTML, SEO, and an unknown template, social media sites – they were confident that this was the right media for their message. They tried new things, shared ideas with each other, and when it came to evaluating each other’s sites, they provided helpful ideas – most which were acted upon immediately. It takes a confident person to critique another’s work, and a confident person to receive and accept it.

Perseverance

But, most impressive was their perseverance. They stuck with it. Overcame technical difficulties. Tried different ways until they found the best one for them – and their audience.

Have you got the 3 P’s to build your own website? Of course you do. But, it’s always more fun in a group. If there isn’t a class available, ask your local college to put one on. Or, form a Jelly and work together in your own group. There’s nothing that can make you feel prouder than having your own website – and with all the free platforms out there – WordPress, Blogspot, Weebly – there’s no need to delay any longer. A little passion, panache and perseverance and you’ll be live in no time!

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SEO is a love-hate thing. It reminds me of doing those tedious jobs – the dreaded ‘to-do’ list. You need to first decide between basic SEO, Social Media optimisation (SMO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – as Paul Goodwin, Marketing, Kendal College, outlines so succinctly. Yes, there’s some work to do. But, it is such a great feeling to do it, checking off each item, and watching your hard work translate into site visitors and greater SEO results. Where do you start?

Keywords

Search engine site spiders want to build a web of information and are hungry for keywords. The keywords you choose in your site descriptions will be the link between searches and site visitations. Google Analytics will show you what search terms your site visitors are using to find you. To refine your keyword selection for SEO, go to Google Insights to find out how many people are using which words in their searches. This data will help you select the keywords that will work best for your site in your title, meta description and meta keywords tags on your web site and pages.

Tools

Sign your site up to Google Webmaster Tools. You need a Google account, and will need to paste some code into your page: both to verify the site is yours and create the link to Google. The next step is creating a Site Map. Search for a site that will generate one automatically, like XML Sitemaps, and paste code into your site. Now you are plugged into a key search engine, and are feeding the spider some appetising links to help build your visitor numbers.

Results

Most blog and website provides offer an analytics or stats reporting facility. Google Analytics will work for any registered site. It doesn’t matter which one, or combination, you use – but it is important to track developments, trends and know what information your visitors find most useful. The days of bragging about how many visitors you have are gone: qualitative data like which pages they visit, and how long they stay, are more important. Get into a routine of doing a monthly check and compare with previous month and previous year to see how you are doing, and more importantly what you can do to improve.

If you want a more detailed instruction, visit Zemalf’s Antti Kokkonen Blog tutorials on everything from Keyword Research, to writing SEO friendly blog posts, to his recipe for getting your Blog Indexed By Google in Less Than 6 Hours. With these guides, you have no excuse to postpone this bit of website housekeeping any longer. And, if you have already done it, perhaps it’s time to give it another go.

So, put some good music on, get your resources ready, and dive in. With a few keystrokes your sight can float to the top of search engine lists and stay there.

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With all the great content management systems built into blog and web platforms, who needs HTML code? We all do. It’s like having an SLR camera. Yes, everyone has gone digital. But, many are going back to digital/manual models for control. That’s what HTML code, that backbone of all sites, is all about – control.

If you never studied it, here are three top sites to help you – or refresh your memory if it’s been a while.

HTML Goodies:This is a detailed, step-by-step guide with more than just HTML. If it’s been a while since you’ve put in a list, an image, or an email link, this is the place to go for a quick refresher.

W3C – Intro to HTML: Dave Raggett’s lesson in using HTML code to build pages is excellent. And as it comes from the ultimate guide to accessible websites, the World Wide Web Consortium on standards, you get two for the price of one.

HTML Code Tutorial: This site breaks using HTML code down into bite-sized pieces. It has tutorials, a forum and a quick list. Very helpful.

A little bit of knowledge, can go a long way.


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