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I Wrote an e-Book!

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Cool Stuff, Ideas, Interesting | 0 comments

For those who don’t follow my business blog, yes, I finally finished an e-book (with another on the way!).

Currently, the book is available as a downloadable pdf or you can buy the book for Kindle. I’m working on formatting for Nook right now.

The books is geared toward:

  • New Site Owners
  • Current Site Owners
  • Small Business Owners
  • Big Businesses
  • Non-Profits
  • Individuals
  • Web Designers
  • Web Developers

Yes, even web designers and developers can benefit from several of the chapters in this book. Many focus so much on their speciality, they don’t know as much about law or site promotion as they should or would like to know.

Here are a few choice excerpts I posted to my business blog.

Website Wonder Made Easy: Websites Unwoven

A Guide to creating a PROFESSIONAL website, in Plain English

First, a freebie. The first chapter in the book addresses what the book is and is not. It also has a whole section on terminology. Which, is in the book, and in the book there is a link to this page, where you can access all the web design dictionary for free. Ta da! Bookmark the page for future reference.

Chapter 2 discusses Your site and the Law. Here is just a little bit from the site:

Fair Use Myth

Once presented with this information, a lot of people come back with “but this qualifies under fair use!” Nope, it doesn’t. The vast majority of people have an inaccurate understanding of what “fair use” is and is not. So let’s clear that up for you.

Myth 1: It’s for a personal site.

Reality: It doesn’t matter if you are making money off of the intellectual property or not; you must gain permission to use it first.

Myth 2: It’s for an educational site.

Reality: See answer to Myth #1. It doesn’t matter if you are making money off of the intellectual property or not; you must gain permission to use it first.

Myth 3: I found it on the Internet.

Reality: The Internet is not a playground of freebies.

Myth 4: It’s old and the copyright expired.

Reality: Maybe. Copyright laws, depending on the country (and remember, not every website is made for and by the country you live in), can last up to 70 years. Additionally, copyrights can be renewed. This is often done by the estate of an artist long after their death.

Myth 5: I changed it 10% or more.

Reality: Even if you changed the original, it is still not “fair use;” and no matter how much you change the original work, that doesn’t suddenly turn that product into “fair use” for you to use.


Chapter 3:  Setting Realistic Expectations

Most people step into their first website with very unrealistic ideas. The average person tends to mis-estimate:

  • the amount of time and money involved in having a professional make a site for them;
  • the amount of time needed to learn to do it themselves;
  • the amount of time they have available to assist their website creator in making a website for them;
  • how quickly they’ll see a return on their investment;
  • how quickly they’ll see their site listed in a search engine; and
  • what a realistic search engine ranking is for their site based on the time and money they have put into the site.
  • So let’s get you moving with some realistic expectations on what you can expect while creating a site and after it is built.

This chapter goes on to address the realities of getting a website made, and what you can expect in the process. This chapter also busts a lot of myths about making websites, how fast you can make money, promoting your site, and more.


Chapter 4: Make a Plan

Before you have a website, you need a plan. Just diving in is a good way to end up with something that is not worth the time and money you invested. Whether you go the DIY route or hire someone to make the site, have a plan.

In case you missed it in Chapter 1, remember this:

Things You MUST HAVE to Have a Website

  • Domain
  • Web Host
  • Web Pages

These are not optional.

We’ll get to how to choose those later.

This chapter provides a list of questions to ask yourself. Questions that never occur to most people, when starting out on a new web design project. Then there are TWO website checklists:

  • one for a brochure website (no online sales)
  • and one for an e-commerce website.

Chapter 5: Buying Services to Get Your Site Started

How to Choose a Domain Name

Choose your domain name carefully. It will follow you forever.

Look for one that has your business name or product/services you sell. Keep it as short as possible. A short domain name is memorable, and easier to read and say. But don’t make it so short that the domain name appears unrelated to your business either.

A good domain name may help with SEO. But don’t choose your domain name just for SEO purposes either. Domain names aren’t the biggest factor in search engine rankings.

Get variations on your domain name. This includes anything that is similarly spelled or people may mistype. For example, my husband bought the following domains, in addition to his domain weaselpants.com:

  • weaselpantsproductions.com
  • weaselpants.com
  • wesellpants.com
  • weselpants.com
  • weaslepants.com

Most people buy TLDs (Top Level Domains), which are those ending in .com, .net, and .org.

If you can buy the .com version of your name, I also recommend getting the .net too. You may also want the .co version as well. Some people get the .org just to cover their bases (although technically, this is generally reserved for non-profits, but some like to cover their bases to prevent confusion). Getting all domains with the most commonly used extensions means that in the future, if you have a competitor with a similar name, you are less likely to be confused with them. That said, sometimes your only option is to get a domain name similar to another one that exists because you can’t get the one you really want. In that case, take it. It’s better than nothing, and you may be able to either buy the other domain from the owner, or they may let the domain expire one day and you can buy it then. Personally, I’ve done both.

PRO TIP: If your domain involves a word that is often misspelled, get the misspelled version too. You can set that up with your web host to redirect to your primary website. This way, if someone misspells the address, they’ll still find you. This is why my husband also got weselpants.com when he purchased weaselpants.com.

And this is just the first page or two of the book. There’s a lot more in this chapter to set you on the right path to creating a quality website, and how to get all the services you need.


Chapter 6: Styling Your Content

This chapter tells you simple tips to make your site and newsletters look professional, instead of amateurish. Topics include:

  • How to use bullets
  • Color contrast for easier reading
  • Font choice
  • Font size
  • Font style
  • Font combinations

The chapter gives visual examples of good and bad text. And has visual demonstrations of how to properly combine fonts so they look professional.


Chapter 7 is about Getting the Site Made

This chapter covers a variety of topics, such as:

  • Doing it Yourself
  • How to Find a Web Designer/Developer
  • How to Choose a Web Designer/Developer
  • How to Work with a Web Designer/Developer

You get a lot of detail on all of those subjects, so you have a better experience in finding the right professional, and in understanding how to work with them. And there are tips for those with the time and tech savvy (and no budget) to try the DIY approach. The book also addresses what mid-size to larger businesses need to look for when hiring for in-house professionals.

 Chapter 8: What To Do When Things Go Wrong

It’s uncomfortable and  something no one wants to think about. But these things happen. I see them all the time (which is sometimes how I end up with new customers; they need help).

The chapter covers:

  • Web Designer Vanishes
  • Can’t Access Domain Registrar and/or Web Host
  • I Don’t Have the Email Address I Used to Sign Up for a Domain and/or Web Host
  • Project Taking Too Long
  • Web Designer/Dev Uses Stolen Material to Create Your Website
  • My Site Is Not Working!
  • My Site Visitors are Complaining About My Site
  • Someone Stole My Stuff!

The last chapter covers website promotion. Everything from search engine marketing to social media. That’s a lot of ground to cover; I address best practices for SEO and the most popular social networks, and if you, your business, or non-profit should or should not use certain types of social media.

Like what you see? The book is available as a a downloadable PDF on this site. It is also available for Kindle on Amazon. Later: it will be available for Nook through Barnes and Noble.

Can’t wait for Nook,  Smashwords or Goodreads?

order now

 

So President Obama is Getting Sued by the GOP – Time for a History Lesson

Posted by on Nov 22, 2014 in Angry Political Crap, Interesting, Social Commentary | 2 comments

House Republicans filed a lawsuit accusing President Barack Obama of overstepping his executive authority when implementing his signature health care law.

“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. “If this president can get away with making his own laws, future presidents will have the ability to as well. The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action.”
Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/house-gop-file-lawsuit-against-obama-n253456

I say: time after time, the House has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and get any REAL work done on the issues we care about. They tried and failed 44 times to repeal the ACA. What’s the definition of insanity? And why were so many of these slackers re-hired this election, instead of FIRED?

Obama told them to work out a law. The House chose to play The Game of Politics instead. So the President took action.

Here’s a chart, showing the recent history of presidents signing executive orders.

Chart of Presidential Executive Orders

LEARN MORE:
U.S. National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/disposition.html
and
UC Santa Barbara, University of California: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php to see how far back in history these records go. George Washington signed 8 Executive Orders during his own time in office.

This is lawsuit is political posturing, and the GOP continuing to waste our tax dollars as they continue in their role of the Do Nothing Congress. They KNOW this lawsuit will fail. This is merely political pandering to the base that elected them.

In a nutshell:

  1. Presidential Executive Orders are lawful
  2. Presidential Executive Orders have precedent from the very first President, George Washington.
  3. The GOP knows this is legal
  4. The GOP is pandering to their base
  5. The GOP is WILLFULLY wasting time and our tax dollars
  6. Why is it different when Obama is doing it?

So You’re Sad/Mad Obama is in Office?

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Angry Political Crap, Life, Social Commentary | 0 comments

Welcome to my world.

I’m a Native Texan. But one of the black sheep of the bunch: a liberal Texan.

This means I NEVER get my candidate elected for my state, or within my state.

Any letter, email, or phone call I send to the elected official for my state (House or Senate) is answered with a polite: “piss off, I’ll vote how I want”.

I have zero representation, for me personally, in Congress, or in my state government (Governor, Lt. Governor, district, and more).

So…boo hoo…you got Obama for 8 whole years.

At least you’re not stuck with him for life.

And if you want to tell me to move out of Texas, then think about why you didn’t leave the U.S. when Obama was elected. There’s your answer.

Don’t even go there with me. (I’m a TEXAS woman, seriously, don’t start up with me…you DO NOT want to see me lead off with an “Oh HELL no!”) :-)

Elections come and go. We make do with what we have. And we do our best to make changes, regardless of what we’re stuck with.

Because: ‘Murica!

So You’re Worried About Children and Gun Violence

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Angry Political Crap, mental/emotional health, Social Commentary | 0 comments

You have less to worry about, when it comes to child deaths and guns, than you think

This subject has been bugging me for a long time. So I went to the United States Child Welfare Information Gateway (a Fed site) to get the facts.

Their site led me to a number of other interesting sources, such as the American Human Association and the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect.

I found a LOT of interesting statistics.

Let’s start, with this one: (FYI, click to enlarge any image.)

Child mortality statistics chart

Click to enlarge

Note that gun deaths are WAAAYYY down at the bottom.

Now, let’s get down to the REALLY scary stuff. Like this one:

Child abuse and neglect fatalities chart

Click to enlarge

More children die from physical abuse and neglect, than any other cause. Overwhelmingly so. That is truly horrifying.

Now look at this:

Child Abuse Pie Chart

Click to enlarge

Look how many BABIES are dying to to abuse and neglect. Babies. Toddlers. Children even younger than my 5 year olds. Can you imagine the emotional damage a person must have to go against their own biological wiring (which happens for both men and women) to do this to a child?

For those of you that are not Freakonimics fans, Steven Levitt is a statistical genius, and rather dispassionate when it comes to data. He says: “If you both own a gun and a swimming pool in your backyard, the swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is.”

He also followed that by saying that very few parents are likely to say something along the lines of: “I don’t want my kid going to that house with a swimming pool, rather than, I don’t want my kids going to the house with a gun in it.”
— Levitt, Steven, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/5397-freakonomics-a-rogue-economist-explores-the-hidden-side-of-everything.

Also, I heard it on their podcast. Listen to Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s podcast on the subject of guns, statistics, and solutions here.

So what are our REAL priorities when it comes to protecting children? Gun control? Or mental health and education for parents? A society with safety nets for parents that work non-stop to support their family and then one day just snap and lose it? Or parents who fall asleep, exhausted, while their child wanders off to die?

Really. Let’s focus on what we NEED to change: a fundamental shift in how we view mental illness, and how it is treated. We have children dying from medical conditions too. Some are treatable, but not everyone can afford care. Thankfully, we have a start with Obamacare (ACA). But not everyone can even afford that yet.

We need an economy with a higher minimum wage, and penalties for companies that send their manufacturing overseas. We have a declining middle class due to declining blue-collar, factory jobs. Detroit, the city known for being America’s #1 car manufacturing city, for DECADES, is now almost a ghost town.

While the mass shootings, especially those involving children are tragic, they are in the news because they are RARE events and thus “newsworthy”. This does not mean: panic about your child’s safety. What it means, is that we need to look at ALL the issues, not just the gun safety and control issues.

Is the gun issue a distraction from the REAL issues when it comes to child protection? I think so. What say you?

NOTE: I am a gun owner. I believe in having a federal database and background checks for gun owners. This will not stop those who obtain guns illegally (and in inner-cities, children die daily due to gun deaths, from illegal guns). But it might help prevent some of the mass shootings we’ve witnessed over the past few years. I am a firm believer in SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.