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Virtually shagadellic

Well, the results are in about the new home page design, and all I can say is, "Yeah, baby!" because it was a virtual love-fest. Everybody (except three people) said they love the new home page, which is great... except that it's kind of like when you lose weight, and people say to you, "Oh, you look good now," as if to say how bad you looked before.

I love hearing from you people, I really do. What a nice bunch of people you are. Normally I tend to prefer people as individuals, not as groups, but this is a good group.

OK, so what's next for eFuse.com? Your guess is as good as mine. No, actually, my guess is just a bit better, because I'm the only one who knows the password to the Web server! The home page has changes, thanks to your great suggestions. One change you probably wouldn't notice if I didn't point it out is that I've given the FusePerson a little virtual liposuction under the right arm. I don't really believe in retouching photos--it gives people totally unrealistic expectations. But in this case, call it "artistic license."

I rewrote the intro paragraph (is it better or just different? Only my hairdresser knows for sure). And the most visible change is that there's a bit more room for text on the right side, so I can let you know about important new stuff. The page looked good, but needed to be a little more flexible, and now it is. It's either called "tweaking" or "I'm unable to leave well-enough alone," you take your pick.

One change I do think you'll find useful is that the old sitemap has been replaced by "son of sitemap," which takes the best of the old home page and adds links to every single solitary article on the site (with a short description of each). One of the most vexing things on the web is still good navigation, and while eFuse.com's navigation is clear, and our full-text search helps a lot, I wanted one single place (call it a "table of contents") that contained a list of everything on the site. As eFuse grows, I wanted to make sure it was still easy to browse, and this new page will help (to see it, click on the intro paragraph on the home page, or on the sitemap link on the bottom of every page on the site).

I've also made significant changes to the "Start Here" section by organizing the site's beginning material by eFuse sections, to help introduce and reinforce that concept.

As Martha Stewart loves to say, "It's a good thing" (and her own site, www.marthastewart.com has improved a great deal recently and has lots of useful information, like how to print a fern pattern on a napkin by beating the heck out of it).

There will be more changes (hopefully of the "improvement" variety) to eFuse.com in coming weeks and months. Though I have to say that as the weather finally gets warm here just north of San Francisco, it's pretty hard to work on the web when there's a Miata in the garage (is that a Miata in the garage or are you just happy to see me?).

Oh, behave!

(As my wife used to reply to this statement when she was a child, "But I am being have!)

--Daniel Will-Harris, editor by day, secret agent nights, weekends and alternate Tuesdays

articles

 

Leadership Lessons - Paying Attention To Mother Nature

Anyone who has ever worked with a group of people has come to realize that organizations are not unlike the human body. We hope there's a "brain" in the group, but we know it's inevitable there will be an... no, I won't say it, but you know what I mean. Yet sometimes organizations can be so dysfunctional that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing (and what's more, sometimes we don't want to know :-). Peter Vedro explains how we can use the human body model as a prescription for effectiveness. As Mother Nature demonstrates, "interdependence" is the only answer!

Image Retouching - Look Better Now

No, this article is not going to teach you how to make your grandmother look like Cindy Crawford (though for all you know she might have looked like her at one time--when's the last time you sat down with her and asked her about all the wild things she did when she was younger? Huh? But I digress). But Gary David Bouton IS going to tell you how to make your images look better on the web by learning the basics of contrast, brightness and the so very exciting-sounding "gamma!" (Of course, you could confuse "gamma" with "gramma" but that's another story. I'm afraid this says more about me than about you, but again, I digress).

Sticky Sites - Get Visitors To Come Back Real Soon

Somehow this issue of the FuseLetter has degenerated into the strange nether regions of who knows where, so let's try, just for a moment, to ignore some of the implications of the title of this article and get to the heart of the matter.

A successful site usually involves attracting people not just once, but over and over again (hence, visitors "stick" to the site, don't ask me, I didn't come up with this term). Marcos Sanchez, smart guy and snappy dresser, explains how to make your site more like the web surfer equivalent of a roach motel--site visitors come in, but they don't go out. No, that's not right... what has gotten into me today? Marcos will explain how to get repeat visitors on your site. That's what I meant to say. Where is gramma when you need her?

Put On A Happy Face - Behind Our Home Page Redesign

If you were around two weeks ago (well, you must have been around two weeks ago otherwise you'd be too young to type, so let me rephrase that to, "If you visited two weeks ago," there, that's better), then you saw the unveiling of the new eFuse home page. If you're interested in the "why" and "how" behind the page, you are surely breathless with anticipation about getting the chance to read my article that explains (in perhaps a tad too much detail) about why I did what I did, and how I did what I did, and how you can do it, too. (Once again I must apologize if you read that sentence and took it the wrong way, any misunderstanding was only vaguely intentional).

 

TIP: BOOKMARKING FRAMED PAGES

I don't know if I've told you this before, but I think frames on the web are like Dr. Evil. OK, maybe not evil, maybe just really inconvenient and poorly implemented, but "evil" sounds so much more dramatic.

Anyway, if you're visiting a site and you want to bookmark a page on a site that uses frames, the best way to do it is to right click (or, on the Mac, hold the house button down for about two seconds). You'll see a pop-up menu where you can choose "Create Bookmark" or "Add to Favorites." This will add just the page you clicked on, not the entire "frameset."

The lesson you can learn as a web builder is that 1) frames are inconvenient. Most people won't end up bookmarking the page they wanted, and 2) your content pages always need some kind of navigation that can take the visitor to your home page, or the section containing the page. Why? Because if people do bookmark the page correctly, they'll just see that page, not the frame with your navigation. Many people don't know how to edit a URL in order to visit the home page of a site, so adding even a single link that says "return to home" will let them visit the rest of your site.

Count Me Out

I often get e-mails from people asking how to add a counter to their site. To these people I always end up saying, "But why would you want a counter on your site?" I mean it. Why would you want other people to see how many visitors your page has received (or not received). I don't get it. If the number is low, it's just kind of sad. If the number is high then you should be beyond trying to impress people with your site's traffic. What's more, this is valuable information that you should keep to yourself! If you are using it because you somehow want to monitor traffic yourself, then I suggest you 1) find an ISP who will keep real server logs, even if costs you $20-30 a month), or 2) use a service like http://www.hitbox.com which keeps track of this info but doesn't plaster it all over your own page. Hitbox's downside is that it still makes your traffic figures public if people know where to look, but at least it takes some effort on their part, and HitBox does give you an impressive array of traffic reports.

Learn Fusion, Person To Person

We all know that NetObjects Fusion is the fastest, easiest way to build a web site, don't we? (And if we don't, then we're missing something). And the fastest, easiest way to learn NetObjects Fusion (besides reading eFuse, of course, and taking our Tewtorials), is to take authorized Fusion 4.0 Classes. To see where classes are held, click here.

If you're looking for even more advanced and personalized service, take a look at NetObjects Professional Services. They give you access to NetObjects' expertise and knowledge and provide the best solutions delivered on time and on budget. To learn more, click here.

Netobjects launches new resources and services site for small businesses!

"NetObjects On-line Resources and Services" is a new web site created to help you maximize your presence on the Web! NetObjects joined forces with a variety of Web service providers in order to offer a comprehensive selection of resources that will help you plan, build, enhance, promote and profit from your Web site.

Growing your business on-line requires more than just powerful software. Click here to find many useful ways to enhance your web site.

A final thought

My wife and I were driving home from San Francisco the other day and there in the car behind us was George Lucas. I say this not to brag, but because it's kind of odd to see him driving around like a normal person.

As he turned off to Skywalker Ranch, we turned around and waved and he waved back, and it just reminded me that no matter who we are, what we do, or how much technology we have, we're still all people and it's nice to wave once in a while. So consider yourself waved to :)

Daniel Will-Harris

 

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The SchoomozeLetter is ©1998-2005, Daniel Will-Harris, all rights reserved. If you'd like to use any article on the web or in print, please ask for permission. If you're an agent or publisher looking to publish these pieces, just drop me a note.