Now is the winter of our discontent
Vol. 2, No. 38,
Discover new sites and the secrets to web success
Vol. 2, No. 38 October 17, 2001
In This Issue:
1. Web content tip
2. Email tip
3. Reader's Column
4. The Y Files (Q&A)
5. Surf Club - web site reviews
6. Reader's choice
7. Weekly chuckle
How to plan your content, write for online readers
Web Content Workshop
Monday-Tuesday, October 22-23
For details, see www.brizcomm.com.au/workshops
From the editor - Now is the winter of our discontent
Spring has sprung Down Under but business seems to be going into hibernation.
Now is not the time to surrender. We should be sharpening our skills, brainstorming new ideas, forging strategic alliances and reflecting on how far we've already travelled in our brave new economy.
It's time to prepare the beds for planting new seeds. It's just a matter of time before the crop bears fruit.
Customer service has never been more important. Concentrate on building relationships with your clients to ensure you're still around for the harvest.
Brush up on your business skills. Personal hobby sites are often labours of love but, if you run a corporate site or e-newsletter, make sure you're doing it right and have a sound plan.
John Mars, of corporate candy giant Mars, used to spend his way through recessions while others worried about the economy. That's how he grew - doing the opposite to his competitors.
(Mars is one of the largest privately owned companies in the world - M&Ms were packed in World War II GI rations, served at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and launched with 31 shuttle flights as of 1990.)
Cancer survivors need no encouragement to live each day as it comes. What's the alternative - worry yourself into an early grave?
Open that good bottle of wine you've been saving, go see that movie, take that holiday, enrol in that class, buy those expensive Belgian chocolates...let the future take care of itself.
Web content tip
A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) can save your clients - and staff - time and frustration.
Content consultant Amy Gahran shares a few tips on writing FAQs -
Writer Marcia Yudkin reckons her list of FAQs on freelance writing has drawn tonnes of traffic to her site -
Some Hotmail users are having a hard time thanks to new filtering.
To make sure your e-newsletters arrive in your inbox, log into your Hotmail account, go to the "Options" page and select "Mail Handling." Type in the name of the list you want to receive (eg firstname.lastname@example.org)
Windows 2000 users who have installed the Service Pack 2 might face problems sending messages and attachments. Microsoft and Telstra acknowledge the issue and are offering a free patch. Contact tech support at BigPond or Microsoft to order.
Pollyanna tackles the delicate subject of bras this week while Brisbane photographer Carl N Gray - of http://www.carlngray.com.au - reviews the new sci-fi fantasy book "Stone Mage and the Sea".
The Y Files
This week's content-related question is from Brisbane's Michelle Hall, who wins a new novel.
Q: have noticed recently there have been a few roles for "Web Content Co-Ordinators". I have also noticed with some interest that the salaries being offered are average (the highest was $35,000 to $40,000). While an income of $40,000 is really nothing to be sneezed at I think, for the skills required to be a really good Web Content Co-Ordinator, this rate may not be attractive to the people that have these skills. What are your thoughts on the value employers place on these positions and do you see this changing?
A: You're right, Michelle. Pay peanuts, and you'll get monkeys. At least content is now being recognised as having a role. Times are tight in IT land and few people can command the salaries offered before the dot.com bomb. Content makes or breaks a web site or e-newsletter. The smart employers are those who recognise that fact and seek content co-ordinators with experience across content-related fields (eg web writing/editing, information structure and best practices in navigation, usability, accessibility, technology and graphic design). Many people fall into these jobs by default and, without training, the content suffers. We need a benchmark or accreditation for content creators/managers. Stay tuned ;-)
Send your question to email@example.com
I Am Dave
Photographer David Rolfson wanted a lifestyle change so he packed up his tent, camera and Viking helmet to travel and shoot (film) in the wilderness. If you like the outdoors, photography and wacky humour, you'll like this one.
In a net shell: Northern exposure.
Red Hot Jazz
If the names Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong mean anything to you, enter the Red Hot Jazz Archive. Study and enjoy the music of these early "Jazzmen" through this searchable database of pre-1930s jazz bands and musicians. Listen to early jazz sound files, admire the photos, read an essay or view short jazz films.
In a net shell: Jazz jewels.
Guess the TV Show or Movie Name
Think of the name of any movie or TV show and the computer will try to guess which one you have in mind using a series of simple yes/no questions. Amazingly, it works. See how you go.
In a net shell: Spooky.
Dogs in the News
Every dog has its day and, if it's lucky, a world headline or comic in the global online canine newspaper, The Scoop. Follow the links at the top right for sister sites "Cats in the News" and "Pigs in the News".
In a net shell: News hounds.
Go 2 Sleep
Can't sleep for worrying about the state of the world? Visit this site, turn up your speakers and start counting the sheep.
In a net shell: Zzzzzz.
The Writing Parent
Why wait till the kids have left the nest to write? This free e-newsletter features articles by writing parents, markets, tips, contests, forums, story starters, useful sites and advice on how to keep your concentration with children in the home.
In a net shell: Write on.
Brisbane reader Dominic Wyeth wins a copy of "The Diary of an Olympic Cabbie" by Anthony Sharwood -
I'm a bit of a Flash freak - check out this site for an amazing intro.
Send your brief site review to firstname.lastname@example.org
A man's printer type began to grow faint so he called a local repair shop. A friendly staff member said the printer probably only needed cleaning. As the store charged $50 for cleanings, the employee suggested the man might be better off reading the printer's manual and trying the job himself. Pleasantly surprised by the employee's candour, the man asked, "Does your boss know that you discourage business?" The employee replied sheepishly: "Actually, it's my boss's idea. We usually make more money on repairs if we let people try to fix things themselves first."
View your web pages In 14 browser & computer combinations
While close to 70% of web surfers do use some version of Internet Explorer, the remaining 30% (over 17 million potential customers) use another browser such as Netscape, AOL, Opera or WebTV. Don't let browser display problems drive visitors away from your site! Let Browser Photo take snapshots of your pages and show you how they appear in 14 different browser and computer combinations at: