Welcome to Blog-World Watch

Welcome to my newest blog for McCord Web Design. In this blog I will be checking out the implementation settings and custom domain settings for the new Blogger.com.

This blog is set up using the new widget templates for Blogger and is also using the custom domain setting.

I am not sure how this will work for search engines, but I’ll soon find out. Keep you posted!


My Contact Form: Online Form Processing Made Simple

We’ve run into this problem occasionally – where a client’s web host does not have a cgi-bin installed, the host does not supply preferred scripts for contact form processing, or the scripts that we have in our library will not work. No longer does a site owner have to live with just an email link as a contact option on their website now there’s My Contact Form.

My Contact Form is an online script processing service that allows any website on any server, using any platform to easily and seamlessly integrate code into their web pages and use My Contact Form’s server to process a contact form script. No longer will you need to pay $150 to $250 to a programmer to try to troubleshoot your server settings to get a contact form to process.

We have now used My Contact Form on three client websites and have found the service to be cost effective, easy to use, easy to implement, and very reliable. We recommend the unbranded premium version with no advertising links or pop-up. There is a free version available, but why irritate readers when the premium level is so cheap? For $24.99 per year, $14.99 per year if we set it up for you if we are your webmaster or web designer, and you are up and running. My Contact Form allows you to have an unlimited number of forms and with the upgraded version that we use for our clients and up to 5,000 forms submitted per month per account. Plus you can start with their templates or use their online wizard to design free form contact forms.

The final form that you create generates its own HTML code which even the inexperienced user can install in the code of any web page using FrontPage or other HTML editor. Experienced users, such as myself, can easily restyle the appearance of the form and form elements for a totally custom look. When we integrate the form into your website, they appear totally seamless. We have our client forms set up to email an auto-responder confirmation record to the person who has completed the form and then email the completed form using the processing script to the account owner.

You’ll never lose a prospect’s information again with My Contact Form, as the premium level, which we recommend, also stores a copy of all form submissions online within your account. You’ll be assured that you’ll receive all your contacts and that one does not end up in your bulk folder unknown to you with their online form filing system.


Faceoff: Facebook Versus MySpace, Which is Best?

I’ve wondered what all the buzz was about on Facebook and MySpace and decided to check each one out in-depth and report back to you what I’ve found. First the similarities:

Both are social networking sites
Both allow you to find and interact with others based on user profiles
Both allow you to enter only the information that you desire in your profile

That is about where the similarities end. Both are unique and different and have different uses. Take a moment and read more to see what I like best about each service.

Facebook: For the Professional Working Crowd

I found that just about all you can customize is your information and your photo. You can enter as much or as little information as you want. Personally, I found Facebook to be rather difficult to use. It is not intuitive. I was able to add myself to one group and was able to add my region preference to see what was going on in the Washington DC area. But I found the nagging search boxes to upload your address book or to search for new contacts irritating. I simply did not like being brow beaten into sharing names and addresses. Don’t worry, I didn’t upload my address book. I know that my clients value their privacy.

What I did find useful was the feature to link up with co-workers in your office by entering your work address and seeing who else in your company was listed on Facebook. That could be really great if you just started working in a new position or had recently moved to a new branch office.

How would I recommend using Facebook?

If you’re a college graduate looking for your first job, I would recommend signing up for Facebook. Use a professional photo, only put corporate information on the page, and post your resume. Working professionals use Facebook, so cater to that crowd in your information. Use Facebook as your online resume. You can point others to it and hopefully even the search engines will pick up your page.

It appears that the Facebook crowd is older and more professional in nature and so the more serious professional who is looking for real business networking opportunities will most likely prefer Facebook; dry as the interface is.

MySpace: Social Networking For Everyone That’s Just Plain Fun

You know I just have to say it, MySpace is fun. Clearly this is just one of the reasons why it is so popular with high schoolers, new bands, established musicians, Seniors, and I hope in the future more people just like me.

Here’s a link to my MySpace page. My son who is an avid MySpace user helped me to set up my page initially. He had it done in under one hour. I love the ability to add different backgrounds and add music. There are tons of free widgets that you can add to your page, all without knowing any HTML or programming – just cut and paste. You can share videos, pictures, create slide shows, add interactive features, and much more.

As I use MySpace, and ask others what they like about the service, it is clear to me that it is fun, interactive, easy to use, and allows you to meet people all around the world who have similar interests. Kind of like “Pen Pals on steroids!” I do have to say that you can spend hours in setting it up and managing your site, if you wanted to, but you’ll have fun doing it.

I found it incredible interesting to see the diversity of music, people, and groups using MySpace. Believe me, it’s not just kids using it, there are professionals using MySpace too. If you’re in a band and you’re not on MySpace yet, you’re clearly missing the boat. The music industry and budding musicians have embraced MySpace as a way to get their music top exposure for free.
Teens, college students, professionals, and yes, even grandparents, and Seniors can have fun on MySpace.

Faceoff: Facebook vs. MySpace Which is Best?

If you’ve read the article above, you probably already know which direction I’m leaning in, but I’ll tell you straight out, I clearly prefer MySpace over Facebook. Why?

It’s more fun
I love the background and widget customization of MySpace
I like that you can add music and set it to play on page load or as click to play
I didn’t find that the interface nags me to upload my address book
The search box is easy to use to find others who share your interests
I like the friends interface that allows you to easily block someone
I find the control panel fairly intuitive and not terribly difficult to use

I know that college age kids and teens in high school already use MySpace, but why not professionals and why not even Senior citizens?

Personally, I can think of many Seniors that I know who feel isolated and if they would just login and get going with MySpace, I think that they would really have fun. What a super way to connect with older grandkids. Tell them logon to your MySpace site and leave a message on your blog or make sure to add themselves to your friends list. Take time to interact with them online even long distance via the Web in an interface that they are comfortable with and understand already.

For professionals, I think that you should at least have a MySpace site to to your personal name. Let your hair down and say and show who you are while still keeping it professional. But unless you have a lot of free time on your hands, most likely the busy professional will simply be too worn out to enjoy the social networking aspect that MySpace affords.

I see MySpace as a fun tool with really great appeal, but an application for the young, unattached, unencumbered, or active Senior. I personally will be spending my free time working on my business blog or my business newsletter not reviewing my MySpace friends list.

So is there a business application side to MySpace? Yes, to a degree. In less than three days, my own MySpace site appeared in position #8 on Google when I did a search under my own name. It is interesting to me that my Facebook page has not appeared yet in the search engine results, just another reason MySpace wins over Facebook.

Should you have a MySpace site? Possibly, if you are an author, business owner on whose name potential clients may search, or industry celebrity you should at least have a page tied to your name. However, the time investment to maintain the site, unless you are in a band, may simply be too steep. I think that you can get more “bang for your buck” right now with a blog. But, if you are looking for a social networking opportunity, wow, MySpace is where it’s at and great fun on top of that!

If you want to try out MySpace, our team can set up a “simple” MySpace site and even provide online training to get you started for around $80. We’ll install a background, show you how to change it, and show you how to find and add music to your page. Consider it a quick start guide to get your feet wet with MySpace. Contact us today to find out more about setting up your own MySpace site.

Facebook Link:http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543697406
MySpace Link:http://www.myspace.com/mccordweb


Check Out Our MySpace Site

Hey, My Space is not just for kids. Savvy tech entrepreneurs are connecting to each other and prospects using My Space too.

You can click the post title to see our My Space site in process. In the next day or so, I will have the McCord Web My Space guru, that it my 18 year old son, get me fixed up so that the site will look like something.

My Space site’s can be great networking tools and an opportunity to meet others in your field. Working as a small business entrepreneur, sometimes you feel like you are working in a vacuum, but reaching out on the Web to others creates a vibrant community that not only can be a social release, but may bring you new business as well.

So, I’ll keep you posted on my My Space project.


AdWords Trademarks

If you use Google AdWords then you have probably run into this problem. A perceived trademark infringement keeps you from completing your ad. Sometimes you can ask for an exception and sometimes you will still not be able to use a term.

I can understand possibly this situation in some cases in the ad text, but having the word Hot or Home Equity being trademarked terms??? Come on! I ran into both just recently setting up an account. In the home equity situation we were promoting reverse mortgages for a client and so that ad text mentioned use your home equity for cash. No matter what I did, Google would not release those words and so they could not be used in ad text. Here is another situation, a store which stocks and sells Under Armour clothing could not use Under Armour in their ads or any possible misspellings of the words.

So far Google’s rule is restrained to the use of keywords in the ad text in the US but in other countries, you can not even have those words considered infringing in your keyword list. But really consider the word hot. How can this be trademarked?

If you’ve run into something ridiculous in the trademark infringement arena, click comments and let me know, maybe we can all get a chuckle for the day over what Google considers a trademarked term.


Big New Changes For Google AdWords and MSN

Wow this has been a big day for announcements, Google first then MSN.

First Google has announced a new bidding strategy that you can now use instead of max CPC, it is called Preferred Cost per Click. With this new bidding strategy instead of telling Google AdWords what is the maximum you would be willing to pay, now you tell them the average price that you would like to pay or your preferred cost per click. Over the next week or so, this option will be turned on in Google AdWords accounts. I am not sure as to how this will impact performance, but I will certainly be testing it out.

Preferred cost per click bidding will be set at the campaign level so just be aware of that.

Second, Microsoft adCenter has just announced that it is spidering landing pages and assigning a quality score to programs much in the same manner that Google AdWords and Yahoo Sponsored Search Marketing already do. This will help to increase profits for them and improve the ad quality for readers.

So two big changes in the pay for performance arena have happened today!


Savvy Solutions for the Entrepreneur in You