Zoonini Web Services - ZooNews - Issue 2 June 2005

Greetings and welcome to the second issue of ZooNews. Last month's inaugural issue received a plethora of positive feedback. Thank you to all who took the time to write and let me know what you thought.

-- GeekSpeak --

CMS. This techno-acronym stands for content-management system. A CMS gives Web site owners or administrators the ability to update their Web site content by adding, removing, and editing text and sometimes images in designated portions of their site. The main advantage of a CMS is that it keeps the site's design and content separate, so that site owners don't risk damaging their site's layout (aka "breaking the site") when they just want add some new text, photos or artwork. Most CMS's are Web-based, so that changes can be made through any Web browser. A blog (last month's GeekSpeak word of the month) is one type of CMS.

In the next section, I'll discuss an example of how a CMS can be seamlessly integrated into a Web site and what other benefits it brings.

Got a piece of lingo you'd like demystified? Submit it to questions@zoonini.com and we'll try to answer it in an upcoming issue.

-- Liftoff --

A.C. Riley – We recently added some new elements to the site I designed and built for writer and search-engine optimization specialist Charlotte Riley. Charlotte said, "I spoke to Kathryn about my needs and she suggested a content management system (CMS). It would allow me to update my site in three new sections: News, B(abble)log and Arts & Life. It also fulfilled another need – to have a system that is not too technically demanding. With its simple interface, it's easy to use, and I can add new content, edit existing text, and incorporate photographs and images effortlessly, through my Web browser. Lastly, because it was very important for me to keep the overall look and feel of the site, I was glad to find out that the system could be visually integrated, and would not stand out as 'different' from the rest of the site."

Charlotte is particularly pleased that the CMS allows her to easily share success stories with clients, which is "so vital for creating credibility and trust." She explains that the new sections also provide important 'sticky' content, aimed at getting people to return often to read interesting tidbits and factoids, written in Charlotte's fun and quirky style.

"The new sections are a hit, not only with me but, more importantly, with my site visitors. The CMS allows me to keep the content fresh and interesting. An added bonus is that search engines like sites with fresh content, and are likely to crawl my site more frequently now," Charlotte said.

-- Tip for Tat --

Never let the bad guys see it naked! So you've launched your Web site and things are going well. Until the spam starts to arrive, and quickly overwhelms your inbox. What's happening?

  1. Did you leave your email addresses naked on your Web site? Spammers use automated programs to collect unprotected email address throughout the Web. Encoding addresses so they aren't recognizable as email addresses to the spam harvesters is one way of protecting you from this hazard; here's a simple encoder I often use.
  2. Avoid commonly used email addresses like info@yourdomain.com and contact@yourdomain.com – those wily spammers know they are widely used, and send out spam to those addresses at every domain in existence. Use something less easy to guess instead.
  3. Domain registration records are very public – and again, a target of those relentless spammers. Never use an important email address (i.e. one you'd like to keep) when registering a domain – instead set up an email alias (an address that forwards mail to another account) that you can simply change should it start to get a lot of spam. You may also opt for a private domain registration, which costs a bit extra.
  4. If you post messages on any message board, mailing list or newsgroup, be aware that you may be subject to spam. Always safest to use an alias, as suggested above. When the spam starts to come in addressed to a particular alias, you'll know where the address was harvested from and you can change it. If you don't have your own domain name and can't set up aliases, you can use free email accounts (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail) in the same fashion.

Just when you think electronic gadgets have taken over the world, an anti-technology movement has emerged among the ranks of the young and the technologically fed-up. The Hipster PDA is a low-tech, back-to-basics approach to organizing one's life and work – using nothing but a bunch of 3" X 5" index cards and a binder clip. You know times have changed when what was once considered Luddite and passé becomes more trendy than its electronic counterpart.

À la prochaine,

aka Kathryn Presner

©2005 Zoonini Web Services. All rights reserved.
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