Those Darn Gifs
Subject Line: The Write Market Release
CONTENTS IN THIS ISSUE:
“Those Darn GIF’s” – Terry Kent
Treasure Books and Gifts
“Money-Time-Promotion” – Renee Kennedy
What’s New at The Write Market
Free Monthly Drawing – sign up today!
Psst – Pass it on!
Welcome to the first issue of our monthly newsletter! The Write Market Release will provide you with articles on web design, graphics, and internet marketing, access to our free monthly drawings and answers to your promotion or design questions. We want you to take part in our newsletter, not just by reading it, but by contributing to it. There are a several ways in which you can do this:
1. Free Monthly Drawing: Each month we will have a drawing for people who subscribe to the newsletter. We will be giving away ads in the newsletter, web pages, logos and other graphics, banners, and anything else that we hope you will find valuable. Each month, there will be a new email address in the newsletter where you will be able to simply send an email to register for the drawing. It’s free – and we DO NOT give out your address to any person or any business. This month, the giveaway is a free ad in the next issue of this newsletter – send an email to: [email protected]
2. Ask Questions: If you have a request for information, anything related to design, graphics, promotion (including search engines), marketing – offline or online, send them to [email protected] We will pick out the best questions each month, publish them in our newsletter, provide an answer to the question, and include your signature file.
3. Submit an Article: If we publish your article in our newsletter you will get two things: exposure to all subscribers to this newsletter including your signature file and a page on our web site in the articles section (http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles/article-index.shtml) with a link to your site and your email address. Send an email to [email protected]; briefly tell us the topic of your article and your contact email address.
4. Your Comments: If you would like to give the newsletter a critique, a compliment, or suggestions for improvement, send an email to [email protected] In conclusion, if you run a small to medium size business or you’re just curious about promotion and design issues, this newsletter is for you! The success of our community depends on your participation, simply reading the newsletter is participation, but we hope that you will take it one step further and become an active member of our community.
Thank you and enjoy!
THOSE DARN GIF’s!
by Terry Kent
Before you even think about saving a .GIF image we need to look at web color briefly. To make color appear consistently, you need to use a web safe palette. Many hear the words “web safe palette”, but what is that exactly?
The 216 color web safe palette is a collection of colors that are supposed to appear virtually the same to all on all platforms. The color that web pages are built from are hexidecimal values. See the article http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles/graphicdesign1.htm for quick explanation of hex values. Also check out http://www.thewritemarket.com/palette.htm This is a 216 Web Safe Color Palette, it will show you the color palette and it’s values.
We have included RGB values as well as the hexidecimal values so you can pick color for your HTML code or pick the RGB equivalent when working in Photoshop or other paint programs.
These 216 colors should appear common to both Mac and Windows 8-bit color system palettes. If you use a color that is not in this palette you run the risk of it not appearing as intended. This is because the system will try to build this “unknown” color and it may cause dithering or a moire pattern.
What to do with that 216 web safe color palette?
http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles/gifsamples.htm This link shows the same graphic saved three different ways out of Adobe Photoshop. Many “paint” programs have similar means of saving files for the web. All flat areas of color were created with colors from the 216 color palette so that they will appear virtually the same on any monitor and platform. Unfortunately the shadows pass out of the standard palette and this is where it becomes important on how you save the file for the web.
Keep in mind though, that while the palette is built to appear consistent across different platforms and different browsers, each individual sets his monitor differently. In true color management circles, the monitor’s controls would be padlocked. However, as it stands now, people may adjust their screens to lighter or darker based on their personal preference, so colors may still appear differently on different monitors. The age of the computer and monitor also play a factor.
Then why bother with a 216 color palette when you could use 256 colors or even thousands? Because that 216 is a base set that is the most balanced across all of the variables mentioned above. It’s the smallest number of common values. Using this base set, you will know that you wont get any “surprise colors” on other people’s systems. (Also remember no matter what color you choose someone, somewhere, won’t like it!)
The methods in which the images in the link http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles/gifsamples.htm were saved, show the differences that occur in non-flat areas or shaded areas. To get the best appearing graphic:
1. Switch the color mode to indexed color.
2. Then use the adaptive palette. Reducing the number of colors as far as possible without sacrificing quality also helps to reduce the file byte size.
3. Using diffusion dither creates soft blends.
4. Then you would export as a .GIF.
The diffusion setting is the key to make the “unkown” colors (the blends and shades) appear soft. The exact color in those blends may not be correct because it falls outside the original 216 color palette (or outside the color gamut), but the dithering will keep it smooth and your flat areas of color will appear consistent.
You will notice the 2nd and 3rd images appear fuzzy in the blended areas. While the flat color stays the same on all three, the quality of the blended parts of the image appear to shift and degrade on the second two. Obviously the first image is the best choice because the quality appears the best.
You have probably seen images on the web that appear rough or splotchy, that tells you an image was probably not saved the best way. If your image has a lot of tonal variation, a photo for example, you may need to save it has a JPEG to get the best quailty. We’ll talk about JPEG images in another article.
TREASURE BOOKS AND GIFTS
Looking for that special gift for Mother or Dad? How about a gift basket; “Just For Her” or the “Golfer’s Delight Basket” for him. A humorous book, “Motherhood isn’t for Wimps”, or “Golfing for the Emotionally Impaired” might work, or an elegant crystal vase. Check out our website at www.treasurebooksandgifts.com for more information.
MONEY – TIME – PROMOTION
By Renee Kennedy
Do you run a small to medium size business? Do you also have a web site that you are trying to promote successfully? Did you get the impression that it was going to be an easy road to success once you set up your web site?
Let me set things straight!
It’s not an easy road. If you have money – you can promote successfully, no problem. In case you haven’t heard, AltaVista is now going to open bidding on #1 and #2 ranks for any keywords which generate over 100,000 queries per month. Bidding starts at .25 per word. Goto.com has a bidding system in place, as well. Yahoo is now charging $199 for their Express Business service. Yahoo will review your site in seven days for this charge – but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be listed.
I see a trend that set off alarm bells in my head. These two search engines (pardon me Yahoo – I know you’re a directory) are the biggest ones out there, AltaVista in terms of the size of it’s database and Yahoo in terms of a traffic generator. What’s to stop Hotbot, Excite, Lycos, and other biggies from following in their footsteps? If you’ve spent time trying to optimize your pages for search engines, then this news is a little shocking. Why should we continue to optimize when search engines are just going to start charging for ranks?
Let’s analyze the situation carefully. Currently, only AltaVista and Goto are charging for ranks, Yahoo is charging for a site review. Goto.com only costs $25 to get started and you only pay for actual click thrus to your site. At worst, you will lose $25 with Goto. AltaVista will be more expensive but they are only charging for the #1 and #2 positions, that still leaves eight more positions. Also, think about these things:
If you’ve ever tried to get ranks in search engines, you know how hard it can be and how time consuming. Paying for ranks would save you a great amount of time. Paying for ranks would give you targeted keywords. (You could choose keywords appropriate to your target market.) If the other engines do follow suit – there will be price wars for cheapest rates – since it’s done on a bidding system – the possibility to get in at reasonable rates would increase. Regardless, this one situation – search engines charging for ranks – should fly a red flag in your mind. Search engines are unpredictable. Whether they are charging for ranks, or changing their algorithms, they are and always have been unpredictable.
Therefore, we cannot rely on search engines as our only way to promote our websites. There are so many other ways that you can promote your site. Unfortunately, these other ways all take time. Most small businesses, are not going to have a lot of money to put out to pay for ranks in search engines or other forms of paid for advertising on the internet. If you don’t have the money to put into your web site promotion – you are going to need time. And time, after all, is money.
The good news is that if you organize your time, you can create, maintain and run a website that is an effective method of advertising for your business. Effectiveness must be determined by the owner of the business. Terry and I believe our web site is effective – we continue to set and achieve goals. Our goals may be little ones compared to a larger company, but we set them based on our time and money.
Here’s an example: producing this newsletter was a huge goal for our company. First we asked ourselves some questions: Do we have the time to commit to this endeavor? How often can we get a quality newsletter out to subscribers? Is the time that we are going to commit to this worth what we will receive from it? What do we expect to receive from the newsletter?
The next thing we had to do is organize our time to fit in the production of a newsletter. We each had to set aside a few hours a week to research for our articles, to write our articles and to administer functions like the free drawing, and answering any questions or suggestions that may come in. We organized our time by giving a little less of it to some of our other promotion strategies.
Here is a list of what you need to do in order to organize your time and promote your site:
1. Research internet promotion strategies. Do a search for promotion tutorials, internet promotion, internet marketing strategies, anything like that. Or check out http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles-links.shtml This page has links to many web sites which offer promotion resources.
2. Prioritize the strategies based on projected results and time involved which you have determined from your research. For instance, search engine ranks can garner a lot of traffic; however, optimizing pages for search engines can take up an enormous amount of time.
3. Based on your priorities, choose the strategies that you will employ.
4. Allot time each week to each strategy that you have chosen – perhaps pick a specific time each week to devote to a specific strategy.
5. If you have more than one employee – delegate strategies to your employees.
6. Set goals for each of your strategies. What results do I want to get out of this strategy? How can I best achieve those results with this strategy? For instance, “I will optimize one web page for Excite for one keyword phrase, with the goal of increasing my unique site visitors by 15 per month.” Goals may be as specific as this one, or they may be more general. Just keep in mind that you are employing the strategy for a reason.
7. Keep records. Write down everything that is going on during the implementation of the strategy – anything that will help you analyze the effectiveness of the strategy.
8. Analyze the strategy several times after implementing it – is the strategy performing, does the time involved outweigh the results, does the strategy achieve the goals we set for it.
9. Re-prioritize every month.
In conclusion, in order to promote successfully, you need either money or time. If you don’t have money then you need to structure your time. Research, prioritize, set goals, keep records, continually analyze your situtation, and do not rely on one strategy to do all the promotion for your site.
WHAT’S NEW AT THE WRITE MARKET
1. Yes, we’ve changed the buttons again! We’ve also changed the navigation system slightly. We now have a “Webmasters Only” section: http://www.thewritemarket.com/webmasters.shtml All new information on how to promote your site will be included in this section. Our articles section is growing, so we now have separate pages for
useful links: http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles-links.shtml and
article index: http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles/index.shtml
2. If you were looking carefully – you will notice that we’ve changed most of our pages to .shtml extentions – why did we do that? We did that so that we could track our visitors with WebLog. It’s a great program that produces readable reports, unlike those nasty access-logs that we were grappling with before. If you’re interested, in this program, you can download a free trial version at: http://www.monocle-solutions.com/cgi-bin/download.cgi?ID=9001
3. We have added a survey to the site and we’d appreciate it if you took a moment to fill it out. We are researching a new avenue for web development for small businesses. http://www.thewritemarket.com/survey.shtml
FREE MONTHLY DRAWING
In case you forgot, sign up for the free monthly drawing for a 5 line ad in this newsletter send an email to [email protected]
PSSST – PASS IT ON
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Copyright 1999 The Write Market