Nonprofit Website Contest

• Cast your vote in the "Post A Comment" box near the bottom of the page.

• Be sure to add your name as it appears in your facebook account when you vote.

You can put your name in the "Post A Comment" box or use the drop down menu and select Name/URL. The URL is not required.

• You may vote only once.

Thank you for participating!

Participating Organizations:

  • Christian Fellowship Mission
  • Community Coalition on Homelessness
  • Junior League of Manatee County
  • Meals on Wheels of Sarasota
  • Occupational Center of Union County
  • Sarasota Family YMCA

Bye Bye Internet Explorer 6

The technology that builds the web has been continuing to advance but as it does the browsers that we use to experience the web have to be updated as well. With that in mind it's always a good idea to update your browser to the latest version available so that it properly displays web pages for you.

According to studies, there are many people who don't upgrade their browsers to the latest versions and this causes issues for web designers. Designers then either have to create "hacks" to satisfy old browsers or they can't always use the latest technology in making web pages for fear that it will "break" on an old browser.

The most used old browser is Internet Explorer 6. Designers have been waiting several years for it to go away. Now many web citizens are making a stand to kill IE 6 according to a CNN article. Even Microsoft, the creator of IE 6, has been encouraging people to upgrade to their latest browser, version 8. As a designer I'm glad to see the momentum growing to kill IE 6. I think it will free up designers to continue to push the envelope with cutting edge technology and design resulting in an ever improving internet experience.

Website vs Yellow Pages Advertising

Your advertising dollars are important to the life of your business. That's why you need to make advertising decisions that will give you the most for your money. The Internet offers a unique marketing opportunity that has several benefits over traditional Yellow Page advertising. Let's take a look at four of those advantages.

1. It's Less Expensive

I recently spoke with two of my clients and found out that both of them were paying in excess of $20,000 per year to advertise in the Yellow Pages without getting any results. One of them was also stuck paying overage charges on pay-per-click campaigns with Google that they were not able to manage themselves.

Compare that with the average price range of a website from Noble Webworks. You can be in a custom designed website, pulling potential customers from Google for a one time fee in the average price range from $2000 to $4000. The price comparison is not even close and that leads me to the second advantage.

2. Take Advantage of the Trend to the Internet

Over the past several years Internet search engine use has been constantly and exponentially growing for people hunting for local services. This trend will only continue to grow because of the ease of use and availability of the Internet on computers, phones and other hand held devices. This means that fewer and fewer people are using the Yellow Pages to find local businesses and that number is declining more each year.

3. You Can Capture the Audience

The Yellow Pages offer a web listing for its' customers in addition to it's printed book. The downside to their website is that you will be listed along with your competition with nothing to differentiate your business from the rest.

With a well positioned website on the search engines you can monopolize the attention of the web visitor when they click on your link. Your branding and marketing messages will be instantly in their view without any competitors getting in the way. This will greatly increase your ability to turn a visitor into a customer.

4. Instant Flexibility

With a website you can change the marketing message, your products or services, contact information, photos or just about anything on your site almost instantly. Your site will be able to change with your business throughout the year. As you have the need to adjust to market conditions, your customers or your competition your site will be able to adjust right along with you. That's something a printed ad cannot do.

In comparing a well built website from Noble Webworks to advertising with the Yellow Pages there really is no comparison. You can spend less, get better results, and have a marketing tool that changes as quickly as you need it to. Contact us to see how we can improve your advertising investment and benefit your business.

Communicating Your Web Site Design Ideas

Many of our clients want to have input on the way their custom designed or re-designed web site will look and we encourage that participation and input from our clients. We know that you are the expert on your business and you usually have a pretty good idea about what your target audience is looking for.

We encourage our clients to do a couple of basic things to help them communicate their ideas with us. The first thing to do is find web sites that contain elements that you think will help communicate clearly with your web visitors. Then take note of those sites and indicate the specific elements about the site that are appealing to you. Maybe you like a horizontal navigation bar, or a particular color scheme, or a layout that features 3 boxes with photos in each. Whatever the case may be, those notes can go a long way in indicating to a designer what you are looking for.

The second thing that will help to communicate with your web designer is to plan out your content pages. How many pages do you want on your site, what is the purpose for each page and what do you want to title the links to those pages. Your navigation plays a big role in the design of your site and if you have a clear idea of what you want it will help your designer create a layout and design that custom fit your needs and the needs of your visitors.

Your Domain Name - Part I

Your domain name is a valuable asset to your company not only as your address on the internet but also as a search engine booster for the words contained in the name. However this article is not intended as a discussion on how to select a domain name but rather where and how to purchase your domain name.

Where to Purchase Your Domain

There are many domain registrars out there and they range from discount registrars like Godaddy who charges around $7 per year to premium registrars who charge about $30 per year. You can select any registrar you would like when you work with Noble Webworks but we do have a recommendation for you. We have found that directnic.com offers a moderately priced $15 per year registration fee and has a terrific control panel management system. They also offer great support and won't hold you captive if you ever decide to transfer your domain somewhere else.

How to Purchase Your Domain

Just go to directnic.com and you can create a free account. After you create the account, they offer a domain name search feature that will tell you which names are available and which ones are taken. Once you find an available name you like, you will need a credit card to purchase the domain name. Once you purchase the domain you would just provide us with your login info and we can point the name to the appropriate server if you are working and/or hosting with us.

In part II we will plan to discuss registration periods and the renewal process.

Choosing Your Web Site Colors

By Angela Nielsen

[I found this very interesting web site design article on web color and what the colors mean. I think it can play a very important role in choosing the right colors for a business web site.]

Is the choice of colors for your website and print materials more than just a matter of personal preference? Does it really matter what color choices you make? Will your audience really feel differently because of the color combinations? The answer to all these questions is Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Color is considered emotional, because variations evoke different emotions in people. We all know that green is the color of money, but did you also know that green can symbolize greed, envy, and jealousy? The colors you choose will have a direct effect on how the public perceives your company or product. This can be complicated by the fact that our use of color on the web is now limitless: technology allows us to create millions of color combinations. So how do you choose? This brief article will make it simple to understand the basics of choosing colors.

It's important to understand that every color has a positive and negative set of emotions associated with it, what I call the "color meaning". It's this meaning that will affect your customer's emotional response to your company, brand or product. So when choosing color schemes for your website, or any other media type, you need to make sure you're presenting your company or product with a color that will most likely entice the audience to choose your company or product.

Take a quick break, and go look in your lunch room, refrigerator, or kitchen cabinets at the products we purchase from the grocery store. What color do you see the most of? Chances are, you're seeing red, and lots of it. Just glimpsing into my cabinets, now that I know I'm looking for it, I seem to be thrown in to a world of red products. Chef Boyardee, Kellogg's, Lipton, Carnation, Ragu, Aunt Jemima, Nestle, Betty Crocker, Orville Redenbacher's, Heinz, Pam, all of these brands are jumping out at me with red in their labels. Why? Red is a very "hot" color, and very emotional as well. In studies, red actually has a physical effect on people, increasing their heart rate and causing blood pressure to rise. Red grabs our attention, stirs us to action, and thus is a very powerful color for product packaging.

All colors fit into three categories; cool, warm and neutral. While you can select all of your colors from the same category, it is often possible to achieve a more powerful effect by introducing a color from one of the other groups. Let's take a look now at how colors work together, and what each color may mean to the viewer.

Cool Colors Blue, green, purple, turquoise and silver are cool colors. Cool colors tend to have a calming effect on the viewer. Used alone however, these colors can have a cold or impersonal feel, so when choosing cool colors, it may be wise to add a color from another group to avoid this.

Blue Color Meaning. Positive: tranquility, love, loyalty, security, trust, intelligence Negative: coldness, fear, masculinity

Green Color Meaning. Positive: money, growth, fertility, freshness, healing Negative: envy, jealousy, guilt, disorder

Purple Color Meaning. (purple is a combination of blue and red, so it is found in both the warm and cool categories) Positive: royalty, nobility, spirituality, luxury, ambition Negative: mystery, moodiness

Turquoise Color Meaning. Positive: spiritual, healing, protection, sophisticated Negative: envy, femininity

Silver Color Meaning. Positive: glamorous, high tech, graceful, sleek Negative: dreamer, insincere

Warm Colors Red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, and gold are warm colors. Warm colors tend to have an exciting effect on the viewer. However when these colors are used alone they can over-stimulate, generating emotions of anger and violence. When choosing warm tones, adding colors from another group will help to balance this.

Red Color Meaning. Positive: love, energy, power, strength, passion, heat Negative: anger, danger, warning, impatience

Pink Color Meaning. Positive: healthy, happy, feminine, compassion, sweet, playful Negative: weakness, femininity, immaturity

Yellow Color Meaning. Positive: bright, energy, sun, creativity, intellect, happy Negative: coward, irresponsible, unstable

Orange Color Meaning. Positive: courage, confidence, warmth, friendliness, success Negative: ignorance, sluggishness, superiority

Purple Color Meaning. (purple is found in both warm and cool colors) Positive: royalty, nobility, spirituality, luxury, ambition Negative: mystery, moodiness

Gold Color Meaning. Positive: wealth, prosperity, valuable, traditional Negative: greed, dreamer

Neutral Colors Brown, tan, ivory, gray, black and white are neutral colors. Neutral colors are a great selection to mix with a cool or warm palette. They are good for backgrounds in a design, and also tend to tone down the use of other more overpowering colors. Black is added to create a darker "shade" of a primary color, while white is added to create a lighter "tint".

Black Color Meaning. Positive: protection, dramatic, serious, classy, formality Negative: secrecy, death, evil, mystery Gray Color Meaning. Positive: security, reliability, intelligence, solid, conservative Negative: gloomy, sad, conservative

Brown Color Meaning. Positive: friendly, earth, outdoors, longevity, conservative Negative: dogmatic, conservative

Tan (beige) Color Meaning. Positive: dependable, flexible, crisp, conservative Negative: dull, boring, conservative

Ivory Color Meaning. Positive: quiet, pleasantness, pureness, warmness Negative: weak, unstable

White Color Meaning. Positive: goodness, innocence, purity, fresh, easy, clean Negative: winter, cold, distant

You may be asking, "What is the right color combination for my business website?" While there is no absolute "right" color for your website, you need to understand your target audience, and consider their response to colors, not your own. If your end goal is for them to choose your company or product, then your color palette must appeal to them. There are overall factors that indicate what your audience may or may not like.

The basic target audience factors to consider are age differences, class differences, gender differences and overall color trends.

Age difference is a key factor that should not be ignored. If children and adolescents are your target audience, then they prefer bright, primary colors like red, blue, green and yellow. However, if your target is older adults, they would prefer more muted or darker colors, along with colors from the neutral color group.

Class difference is another key factor in choosing colors. United States research has shown those in the working class prefer colors they can name like blue, red, green, etc. Those that are more educated tend to prefer more obscure colors like taupe, azure, celadon, salmon, etc.

Gender preference is an obvious factor in choosing your colors. Men tend to prefer cool tones like blues and greens, where women prefer warmer tones, reds and oranges. If you have an audience of both men and women, consider mixing some colors from the warm and cool palettes that would appeal to both men and women.

Last but not least are color trends. By definition, a trend means "current style". Choosing currently popular colors may work well for some types of websites and products, but if you want to present longevity and stability, then popular colors may not be the best direction for you. Instead, you may want to consider more traditional colors that stand up over time.

Choosing color is more than just picking what feels good to you, it is about creating a response from the viewer. By knowing your target audience and the effect that different colors can have, you gain a greater ability to determine what colors will work best for your audience.

One final note on color. Viewers on the web can use different monitors, different browsers, and different operating systems. It is nearly impossible to ensure that your colors come across the same on every computer as well as in print. Don't be overly concerned with the differences on varying computers, but do try to be consistent. Whether you're creating a color palette for your company, a brand identity, or product colors, consistency is key. Use the same colors throughout all your marketing efforts to create familiarity with your company or product. Consistency will help instill trust with your viewer.

About the Author

Angela Nielsen is President of NIC Media Group, an award-winning web development company located in San Diego, California. To find out more about Angela Nielsen, and NIC Media, visit http://www.nicmedia.com or call them direct at 888 NIC Media. Copyright 2005 by Angela Nielsen and NIC Media Group

The Greater Sarasota Chamber Of Commerce

I have just recently signed up my company to be a member of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and it has proven to be a very valuable investment to me already in three ways. The first way is through the great networking opportunities provided by each Chamber meeting. I have made some fruitfull contacts in only two meetings that I have attended so far. Secondly, I was able to take advantage of their Business Academy Training class. It was a very well presented class that I garnered some valuable information from and was able to directly apply to my business. Lastly, it has provided a way for me to plug into my community and to connect with what is happening in the beautiful city of Sarasota.

I would recommend membership to the Sarasota Chamber for any business. It offers many pluses to help make your business successful.