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Volume 1 Issue 25 9-30-06

For those who would like to read this in HTML format, this issue of Boomer eZine is posted on the Boomer eZine website at http://www.boomer-ezine.com/V1I25_093006.htm and on the Boomer eZine Blog at http://boomer-ezine.blogspot.com.  

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Table of Contents for this issue.....

1.    Authors Comments

2.    Producing Videos

3.    Effective Navigation on Your Website

4.    Using Bookmarks for Site Navigation

Author's Comments

 

Linda and I drove to San Antonio last weekend to attend Justin’s 30th birthday party.  Susanna, our daughter, drove down from Austin to attend.  Unfortunately, Travis, our older son, could not get down from Dallas .  When you have two sons over 30, you know that you are an older Boomer.  We all had a great time.

 

Click to see a picture of John and Justin at the party.

 

http://www.boomer-ezine.com/images/Justin30_John.JPG

 

Producing Videos

 

In many of our past articles on Boomer eZine, we have verbally described how to accomplish a particular job on the Internet, but trying to draw a word picture is challenging and I am certain that sometimes it is difficult for you to understand, no matter how hard we try to make it plain and simple.

 

We have decided to learn how to create videos to show what is happening on the screen as we explain it so we can use these to help online entrepreneurs learn helpful information about the Net.

 

If you will remember back to the article in http://www.boomer-ezine.com/V1I22_090806.htm, we discussed how to set up a customized Google search on your website.  We decided that this would be a good topic to use for our first video.

 

When we started creating this issue, John thought that he could finish the video by the weekend, but according to Murphy’s law “everything takes longer than you expect” so it is not ready to release yet.  In order to work on his day job and get some sleep, the video will be finished next week.

 

So far, we are very impressed with what we have learned about making videos.  We think this has great potential for Boomer eZine.

 

The software that we are using is Camtasia Studio by TechSmith.  The website for it is http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp.  This is a very powerful piece of software for about $300.  The good news is that you can download it and use it free for 30 days.  There are no limitations on what you produce during the trial period.  The videos are fully functional and do not have any watermarks (small transparent symbol or logo) on them to show that they were produced during the trial.

 

If you want to experiment with Camtasia, I recommend that you download it and try it.  Videos are becoming very popular on the Internet, and “how to” videos are selling well on eBay.

 

Camtasia is a fairly complex program. It has some extensive help support in it to assist you.  However, John, who will be the “Camtasia wizard”, decided to learn it in a compressed time frame so we purchased a tutorial package, “Mastering Camtasia Studio”, by Chris Austin, a Camtasia expert.

 

Chris’ course is broken down into very logical steps and if you follow it through, you will understand all the features of Camtasia in no time at all.  You will learn more than you really need to know to produce a standard video, but as with so many software packages, if you plow through it yourself, you will miss some of the tricks that make it much easier to use.  If you teach yourself, a few months from now, you will discover a key short cut to a function within Camtasia and kick yourself for not discovering it sooner.

 

Check out how Chris can help you at http://www.masteringcamtasia.com/cmd.php?af=490492. He offers a free five day mini course that I took before we purchased “Mastering Camtasia”.  This free class is very helpful in orienting you on Camtasia. It will help you decide if Camtasia is what you need to enhance your products and sales effort.

 

We highly recommend that you consider using video in your future plans if you are going to sell on the Internet.  Camtasia is for producing videos that show the screen of your computer.  There are many other editing programs for editing video from a Camcorder.  We will leave this topic for a future article.

 

Effective Navigation on Your Website  

Site Navigation is a very important consideration of your website.  Your site should be designed so that the newest newbie can thread through your site without getting lost. It is the road map of your site so that your reader knows how to effectively navigate through it.  

We had a good laugh the other day while researching this topic.  We read that you need to design your navigation so even your grandmother or grandfather can find their way through it.  The laugh is that we Boomers are those grandmothers and grandfathers so the site must be REALLY easy to navigate.  

What caused us to focus on this subject came from working with the Retirement Jobs Online website.  When we started the site and it was only a few pages, we designed the navigation so the reader was lead on the course that we wanted them to follow.  However, as the site grew, we realized that some readers would be more focused in one area than in another.  The reader might not want to follow the dictated course so we needed to make it easy for her/him to pick and choose.  

The original page navigation pattern was a circular pattern where the reader would follow the links from one page to the next until he/she arrived back at the starting page.  This works as long as there is never a break, but we all know that somewhere in your surfing, you have to get up and tend to something or you go off on a tangent to another page.  When want to you return, it is sometimes hard to determine exactly where you were.  If the reader has to follow several page links back to the continuation point, frustration sets in and the reader is gone.  

The basic tool for site navigation is having a navigation bar (“nav bar”) on the site. Navigation bars are usually some form of java script.  They are text, buttons, or boxes usually placed on the top or left side of every page.  This allows the reader to quickly link to the main pages of the site.  A feature that is usually incorporated in the nav bar is the nav bar entry for the current page is indicated by a change of color or look to indicate where you are currently located in the site.  

Some HTML editors will build your navigation bar nav bar for you.  When you build a page, you specify if you want the page included on the nav bar and if you want a nav bar on the page.  

Site Build It builds your nav bar for you.  On the form where you build your page, there are options where you specify if you want an entry in the nav bar for that page and if so, what the text on the nav bar entry should say.  

As an aside … if you have a landing page on your site where you want the reader to take only one action (click to buy or click to subscribe) you do not put any external links or a nav bar on that page.  You do not want to give the reader a means of escape except to close the window.  

If you include the nav bar on each page, it gives the reader a uniform way to get from the current page to any other main page with one click which is desirable.  There is a theory in site navigation that a person should be no more than two clicks from any other page.  

There are three basic concepts of site navigation, Hierarchical, Global, Local.  We will not dig any deeper into this subject in this article.  I recommend that you read the following articles for more info on the subject.

 http://www.efuse.com/Design/navigation.html#SiteNavRoadmap.

http://www.smartisans.com/articles/web_navigation.aspx

We converted the navigation in the Retirement Jobs Online site to hierarchical navigation.  This is like a tree where there is a main line of navigation like the trunk of the tree.  The reader can branch out to various topics, but returns to the main trunk to move to the next topic.  

Since Retirement Jobs Online is an educational site, we achieved the control of navigation by creating a Study Guide page.  This page explains to the reader how to use the study guide.  It then provides the reader summary information about each topic and provides a link to detailed information so the reader can drill deeper if he/she has interest in the topic.  To back track from the detailed info back to the Study Guide, the reader is told to use the BACK button on the browser.  An icon is located on each page at the point where the reader is to employ the BACK button.  

Author’ note:  Our research showed that there is not a way to create a text link back to the previous page that will work 100% of the time in all browsers.  The BACK button on the browser is the foolproof method of backtracking.  

In summary, always consider how your reader will navigate your site.  If navigation is easy, your reader will dig deeper and deeper into your site.  If navigation is confusing or difficult, your reader will click away from your site and will not return.  Work to make that navigation easy.

Using Bookmarks for Site Navigation  

Navigation within a large page can be accomplished by specifying bookmarks on the page.  These are locations to which you will link.  

Front Page (my HTML editor) has the tools on the tool bar that make it easy to set a bookmark.  Let’s say we have a large page and down in the middle of the page, you have a heading called “Infopreneur”.  You want to jump to it with a link.  You can do so with some simple HTML code shown in the following example.  

Set the title “Infopreneur” as a bookmark with HTML:  

  <xmp>  <a name="#Bookmark name">Infopreneur</a> </xmp>  

Authors note:  The xmp and /xmp tags tell the browser to accept what it between the tags as text and do not execute it as HTML.  

The HTML “< a name” identifies this as an anchor for a link.  This is the same as the link target.  The bookmark name is preceded by the “#”.  The word “Infopreneur” is what actually shows on the web page.  This is very simple to do if you want to insert a bookmark into your page using HTML.  If you do a link to “#Infopreneut”, the browser will shift the page so the title “Infopreneur” is at the top of the monitor.  This is also used for creating links in a table of contents so the reader can link directly to the topic without having to scroll down and find it.  

One last tip on bookmarks…  You can link to another page and go directly to the bookmarked topic without having to go to the top of the page and make the reader search down for the topic.  Here is a link to Volume 1 Issue 18 of Boomer eZine.  It specifically links to the topic, “Author’s Comments” which is set up as the anchor for the link:  

http://www.boomer-ezine.com/V1I18_081106.htm#Author's%20Comments.  

Note: the “%20” indicates a space.  The reason for this is URL’s cannot have spaces in them so the browser replaces the space with “%20” to keep you from having an invalid link.  The browser knows that when it gets to the page, it is looking for the bookmark, “Author’s Comments”, with a space between the words.  

That wraps up our issue for this week.  Get excited about producing video!  Many entrepreneurs are making a good living producing and selling video on the Net.  

Until next week, stay tuned.  

John and Linda Howe

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