TemplateMonster a quick review

To Template or Not?

Choosing whether to use a website template can be a little controversial. Some website designers believe themselves to be purists and think using other peoples templates makes for a bloated website that can be difficult to maintain. Personally, I believe one of the main reasons for the introduction of CSS was to allow artistic people to handle the visual design and for technical people to handle the implementation. Besides, there are templates and there are templates – some look amazing, some look err well not so good.

For the websites are designed I’ve chosen to use templates from http://www.templatemonster.com I am not an affiliate I do love their products. What I particularly like is that after my initial consultation with a client unable to choose a selection of web designs that I think offer a good starting point. This serves two purposes, first the client can visualise what I’m trying to describe and second using a template as a starting point saves a good number of hours which translates into cost savings for the client.

Traditionally this as being any real compromise but having used several of the templates from templatemonster.com I have found them to be of a very good quality and the layout is very meaningful and obvious. Sure there’s always one for improvement and I will write a second blog on one area that I think requires particular attention, namely, handling navigation for flash-based websites for users that don’t have Flash installed.

Most of the templates on offer are around the $64 mark. When you think about the number of images, the basic layout and a starting CSS template; this represents excellent value.  Most of these templates come with a small JavaScript file that handles sizing of boxes and it works very well. There is a very good selection of templates arranged into categories and if I were being picky, I would suggest this is one area where the website could be improved. When I last looked there were over 16,000 templates to choose from and it can be rather tedious scrolling through trying to find a suitable template. However, with so much to choose from you are never short on choice.

Flash templates

These templates offer some nice visual effects and an enhanced user experience without much work required from the web designer. Nearly all of these, use Flash for the site navigation and this could be improved by allowing the page names and the button labels to be controlled via an external XML file rather than requiring a copy of Adobe Flash in order to rename pages. Whilst this is possibly just me being a little picky, I believe, this really would add value to anyone who doesn’t own a copy of Adobe Flash.

Similarly, the templates that I have used have only had a very basic text message for when Flash is not installed. For my sites I have now amended the background CSS to allow the navigation from the non-Flash version of the website to be substituted when Flash is not installed. I’ll be writing another blog post to cover how I did that for anybody that interested.

Seperate Content from Design

Layout.CSS

One thing I particularly like about the templates I have used is that the styles.CSS has been separated from the layout so that pages are laid out in one file and the visual theme is handled in another. Maybe I’m just overly organised but I particularly like this feature. I’m not a big fan of the default page names used (because my work doing a SEO has led me to believe that the page name plays a huge part in improving your Google ranking). The first thing I do is to rename my pages; however this is pretty easy as I use Adobe Dreamweaver and it handles fixing all of my links. However, when using flash-based menus you still need to update the Flash file to point to the new page names, as I said before using an external XML file would make it much easier.

Summary

To wrap up, I really enjoy using the templates from template monster.com and would recommend them to anybody. The quality of the background CSS, the images, the layout and the overall look and feel are always of a high standard. For the price, choice and quality you can’t go wrong.

Pop over and take a look http://www.templatemonster.com

Onlooker hits the web with the help of submit-everywhere.com

This week I did my second marketing push via submit-everywhere.com

I love this company. I believe they are based in Ukraine and basically for a small fee they manage the process of posting software onto the hundreds / thousands of shareware sites, bringing valuable traffic and customers to my site. They have a great system that means that when they finally hit the go button your pad submission file has been thoroughly checked by them in order to maximise the chances of your product being accepted.

Some sited insist that you do a backlink on your site but that’s only fair and of course that is the one task that submit-everywhere cannot do for you. That’s OK though because as you get thousands of emails telling you that your product has been accepted onto a site you are fully motivated to get into it. I have found that literally dozens of the sites were basically the same site with a different name and I guess Google will give these site a very low ranking. After about a dozen I could complete the submission with my eyes closed.

It’s a great service and I thoroughly recommend them, I have used them twice now and the results have been great and the service even better. My first time around it took a while for me to get my pad file correct but this time I got there in two goes, one of my press releases was a touch too long in their opinion – and that’s another good point. They add real value by helping you get the file right by manually checking it. Some companies I am sure would just take your money and post any old rubbish you give them, I get the feeling these guys really care. Of course it pays because I went back. I am not an affiliate or in any way associated with them, just a happy customer.

Here is a selection of sites that responded really quickly to my listing request submission

Free Software, Shareware and Games Downloads

CuteApps.com – Freeware, shareware and quality commercial software downloads

DownloadCourier.com – Get downloadable software from one place!

Ever forget to attach a file to an email?

I can’t even count how often I do this. So today we’re going to look at new tool from Polychrome. Onlooker is a Microsoft ® Outlook ® add-in that checks your e-mails, think of it as a friend in your outbox. We all know the scenario, we type that e-mail diligently point out why our product or service is better than a competitors and refer to various documents and files that we have attached. The only problem is that we forget to actually attach them.

A friend in your Outbox

Enter Onlooker, and add-in that checks your e-mail when you click send, if you’ve mentioned an attachment, it counts the number of attachments. If you don’t have any attachments it warns you and you have a chance to add the attachment. If you know better because you’re your e-mail is discussing your attachment to your wife or teddy bear or pet dog then you can just ignore the warning. It is REALLY simple to install and use and save a whole heap of embarrassment and wasted time.

Take a look at it in action on YouTube.

There are some cool settings as well. The ability to choose to ignore an image in your signature for example, or to add your own custom search phrase.

The best part is the price, there are other products like this on the market but I haven’t seen one yet that does more for less. Prices start at $9.99 for a single user and just $99 for a company license.

Check the product page for more details or to buy online http://polychromenz.com/products/onlooker/

Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.


Editor's Choice.  Onlooker

geardownload

Best Vista Download

ivertech

Automated ODBC Export

Scheduled ODBC Exporting on Steriods

The Polychrome ODBC Export Tool exports data from any ODBC data source but that’s not all. It does a whole lot more, like emailing the results or calling a command line application and passing the exported data filename. Now you can create CSV extracts from your software and because it can be run from the command line it can be scheduled using the Windows scheduler or if you want more control (like run on last working day of the month) then use our scheduler.

Key features

  • Scheduled export of data using ODBC
  • Export “real world” data scenario, only orders added since last export
  • Run post export process for example transfer via FTP using uFTP tool
  • 2 styles of output
    • Normal exports each row on a new line
    • Header exports one header line followed by multiple detail lines
  • Email extracted data to someone
  • Scheduled export on special accounting days, like last working day of the month, last physical day of the month

The ODBC export tool uses SQL statements saved in a preformatted external XML file. The user interface makes creating these ODBC definitions  easy. The tool will read the data using ODBC and create a CSV file with each column separated with a comma (or your chosen delimiter) and laid out in the order determined by the SQL statement.

See the ODBC Export website http://odbcexport.com/products/automate-odbc-export/

I got a #1 Google Rank in just 30 days

Getting a higher ranking is easy but it takes effort

Ok so you need to check out my other SEO posts for more detail because I do a lot of indepth explanations and some of these posts are very long. The good news is that I am a business software company so I’m not even trying to get your  SEO business or sell an SEO product. I do recommend IBP from iBusinessPromoter and I am an affiliate but I want to be upfront about stuff like that.

I set out with a plan to get a top 10 Google ranking within 90 days. My friends said “yeah right” good luck with that one. Sure it’s possible but you picked a very competitive term “Business Software Solutions” up against the likes of SAP with BIG budgets. They said have a go but don’t be too dissapointed. Well that was just 30 days ago. Now to be fair on Google for pages around the world I am currently ranked 12th.

For New Zealand where most of my customers are I am now in 1st place – look see 1st out of 46,200 – Google me if you want – it jumps around a bit but it should stay up there.

1st place for NZ pages

And for Google.co.nz searching “the web” OK so 12th isn’t first page and the goal for 90 days is 1st page on Google.com but I have 60 days left and 12 out of 114,000,000 is pretty good don’t you think? Also, as at now Google thinks I only have 10 links to me but when it re crawls it will find that I have about 150 so I am expecting a big jump!

Google position 12

Read the 90 day project blog because it steps through week by week and sometimes day by day what I actually did
So much of the content on the web stops short of this vital info or they charge a furtune to still tell you nothing much other than what you have got wrong. I know that at the end of the day they are running a business and I feel for them because they would give away info to their competitors but I believe that if you are open then people see “you” as the expert and trusted advisor and want “your” help first.
Then read my review of IBP – it’s fair to say that I worked really hard on this but I could not have done it without this software.
I’m just new to the web as a business and I had a real baptism of fire, the self doubt, the – “hello is this thing on” I mean someone is reading this right? Well my web stats seems to be saying YES so thanks for coming by and please add some feedback – good or bad.

My number 1 tip for getting a high Google Ranking

Well I’m not putting that out in the public domain but if you email me I promise I will reply with the answer – no strings I just want to know if anyone is reading this. This week I stumbled upon one change to my site that made a dramatic change to my page ranking. SO much so that when I carried out the change on my other web site www.odbcexport.com it instantly jumped to position #8 on Google.com for the search term ODBC Export which is kind of useful and for me it’s kind of a big deal.
Update
It’s now August 4th and I’m still Ranked #1 of 73,600 in NZ for Business Software Solutions and now for the world I am Ranked #5 of 112,000,000

PowerSlave in the press

Great to see that PowerSlave is making it’s way in to the press all over the world!

Press box

http://www.technospot.net/blogs/guide-to-save-laptop-battery-life-tools-part-3/

I nice mention on technospot.net from Ashish Mohta who is a Microsoft MVP. Great to see this starting to go viral. Thanks Ashish.

PowerSlave on the web

Places you can find PowerSlave

Ivertech Software Central – Provides free service to developers to submit and promote software and public users to search, purchase, and review software.

PowerSlave a Power Savings assistant download

CuteApps.com – Freeware, shareware and quality commercial software downloads
File Parade: Freeware and Trialware Downloads

shareware plaza

www.markdown.me – free directory of free and shareware software, scripts, desktop applications, games, screensavers

myzips.com – PowerSlave a Power Savings assistant

DownloadCourier.com – Get downloadable software from one place!

get-software.com – Get-Software – download good freeware, shareware and commercial software programs

lenodown.com – Free Software Downloads

hodownload.com – Free Software Downloads

Free Software, Shareware and Games Downloads

Freeware Shareware Center

newfreedownloads.com – Free Software Downloads

Popular Discount software – Popular Discount software, buy cheap software with coupon codes.

SharewareABC.com

———————————
ProgramsHome.com A directory of free and shareware software,instant messaging software,computer software,dvd software,cheap software,chat software,webcam software

soft14.com – get free, shareware and quality commercial software about Utilities and Hardware System Utilities

Free Software Downloads

Software Downloads Center

Windows Vista Files - Best Vista software downloads

DownloadDaily.com – Freeware and shareware downloads

PowerSlave a Power Savings assistant received 100% CLEAN award on DownloadRoute.com

Praise for PowerSlave

This week we hit the big red button and PowerSlave went out to the masses. I used a software submission company to submit the software to about 1000 shareware websites and on day one I got about 350 emails back from the publishers. The reaction was awesome with lots accepting my software immediately and some awards…

The downloads are rising as people start to understand how PowerSlave is a tool that can save you money on your power bill. The best part is that it’s FREE for personal use and for businesses it’s only $7 per user with bulk discounts available.

Read all about how you can save power and money here http://polychromenz.com/products/powerslave/


Editor's Choice.  PowerSlave a Power Savings assistant


PowerSlave a Power Savings assistant: 5 Star Award at kingdownloads.com !

Visit FileBuzz

Visit ivertech

Visit geardownload

5 Star Rating

Vista power settings

How to Adjust Power Settings in a Windows Vista Laptop

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

In Windows Vista, laptop owners can now choose and even make power plans to their preference. Depending on whether you have to make the most of the laptop or you want a short session to watch videos or photos, choosing a power plan for your laptop is a useful tool to know.

Steps

Default Power Plans

  1. Decide what you are going to be using your laptop for. If you’re always in reach of a plug-in unit for the AC cable, then maybe this isn’t for you. But for notebook users with so much to do on a limited battery life, or gamers on an extended amount of time, power options are recommended.
  2. Select Start>Control Panel.
  3. Click Mobile PC, or Change battery settings, the sub-heading (skip to Step 5).
  4. Select Power Options.
  5. Review the range of available plans displayed in the window with their corresponding stats judged on Battery life and Performance.
  6. Decide which option is best for you:
    • For people on the go (i.e. frequent business trips), Power saver would be the best plan for you, as it saves energy by reducing your computer’s performance where possible.
    • For people who are not worried about setting a power plan, or who have convenient access to an AC cable in most situations (i.e. at home), choose a Balanced plan which balances performance with energy consumption on available hard ware.
    • Or if you’re going to be running applications which use high-end graphics or speed, choose the High performance power option which favors performance where necessary, but may use more energy.
  7. Choose your preferred power plan by simply clicking on the bullet point corresponding to a plan.

Custom Power Plans

  1. Start from Step 5 in the Default Power Plans section of this article. Select Create a power plan from the left pane of the window.
  2. Choose out of BalancedPower saver, or High performance which is closest to what you would like, and name the plan you are about to create (default is My Custom Plan 1). Now you can adjust the settings judged by On battery and Plugged in in order to suit your preferences:
    • How long it will take for the display to turn off
    • How long it will take for the computer to sleep
    • How bright the screen will be
  3. Click Create to make the power plan.

Tips

  • See Save Power on a Laptop for more information on how to get the most out of a laptop running on battery alone.
  • If you’ve opted to display your battery info in the system tray, you can edit your power options from there. See which power plan you’ve got running quickly by floating your mouse pointer over the power icon.
  • Clicking on the actual icon will bring up a quick menu with a set of radio buttons, and you can hover over each one to see the ToolTip describing what they entail. Change your power options on the fly if you’re frequently docking and undocking your laptop.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Adjust Power Settings in a Windows Vista Laptop. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Website SEO – My 90day Project

The Experiment

In case you didn’t read my previous blog, my plan was to try and get ranked in the top ten for Google.com for the term “Business Software Solutions” in 90 days. If you skip to the bottom you’ll see that I made it but here’s the time line.

My IBP Software SEO Scorecard Timeline

Nothing done – new site, installed WordPress and that’s about it

June 5 2009 = 30% – first run, site is live but that’s about all

  • choose my keywords Business Software Solutions – (hey why not put it on this page, it’s legit right?)
  • Added heaps more content,. 5 large blogs, new product page, added keywords to existing site and description to home page that was missing
  • I have created a free piece of software and submitted it to www.tucows.combut I am waiting for them to publish it and don’t have a backlink yet.
  • Added a paid advertisement with www.finda.co.nz which is a New Zealand business directory that includes www.ubd.co.nz – These sites rank very well in NZ and allow me cheap access to local, potential customers.
  • Submitted my site to www.Google.com and www.bing.com and www.yahoo.com and paid for annual site search option with yahoo.com
  • created an account with www.cnet.com and I am now able to upload my application to upload.com – they check your entries so it takes a few days.

June 13 2009 = 35% – a nice jump for week one but I did do alot of the ground work this next week will be tougher but then Google will start ranking me and I should see some progress without doing too much – pretty please Mr Google

OK so a couple more days and still not seeing any global links form the search engines and I am getting pretty disappointed so I start looking more closely at what else I can improve.

I notice that I don’t have my keywords in any body test on my home page. Hmmm, so I figure that’s OK I can just create a new post and it will show there but the way my theme works it doesn’t so I start looking at my theme options and one in particular is widgets, I hadn’t played with these until now but they killed birds with one stone. I turn on the tag cloud in the spot where I have a place holder for advertisements that I am not using.

Next I look at key words in H1 headers and I have a suggestion in my IBP report to add software to at least one H1 tag so I do, Run the report again and BAM!

June 16 2009 = 59% and I haven’t even got links on Google yet! I love IBP so I’m going to head over there now and see if I can get a link to this review….

So this week was a bit busy, well quite busy, well actually I can’t think straight because my head hurts. So I didn’t spend the tim eon this I had planned  that’s OK because I am a realist and because desptie my week I still got stuff done. Plus I really believe that now I won’t see much improvement until Google stats to crawl my pages and others and finds some back links to me. But here is this weeks activity report

Created a pad file for my PowerSlave give away and used a submission program to post it to some 200+ sites. The pad file is basically a common structure fore storing the details like where is the file located, a description, a screen shot etc. Each day I am starting to get confirmations of acceptance as the submissions are check.

So this week was a bit busy, well quite busy, well actually I can’t think straight because my head hurts. So I didn’t spend as much time on SEO as I had planned but that’s OK because I am a realist and because despite my week I still got stuff done. Plus I really believe that now I won’t see much improvement until Google starts to crawl my pages and others and finds some back links to me. But here is this week’s activity report

  1. Created a pad file for my PowerSlave give away and used a submission program to post it to some 200+ sites. The pad file is basically a common structure for storing the details like where is the file located, a description, a screen shot etc. Each day I am starting to get confirmations of acceptance as the submissions are checked.
  2. Added a new product SUN2Outlook that allows people to view their SunAccounts contacts  in an address book panel within Outlook. I still feel that content is king so I am really pushing the content angle.
  3. Added product pages for a suite of integration options I made for Attaché 7 acocunts
  4. Created YouTube videos showing each of my products and made sure the descriptions on the YouTube site link back to my site
  5. This one is AWESOME, I emailed IBP and asked about getting a link to my review. Rather sensibly they said they couldn’t because I was and affiliate. That’s fair enough but they said that they had seen the review because they were using Google Alerts. I didn’t even know about Google Alerts but I’m sold. This has been so useful. It is another FREE Google service that lets you define terms of interest and it will send you a daily digest of new content posted that refers to those terms. ( actually there’s so many options you could do a whole blog on that separately)
  6. So now, everyday I get a summary email from Google listing posts and articles on the web that refer to Power Saving and I scan them for suitable candidates. When I find one I jump to the site and post a feedback comment about how my product is relevant and then link to my site. I reckon I am creating2 good links a day, which doesn’t sound like much but my second biggest competitor only has 300+ links. If I can get 100-200 from software submissions (point 1) then I only need 2-3 months of this alone to catch them up.
  7. Started joining user groups and forums and posting feedback that links to my site effectively direct marketing my products as well as getting links as I always have my site linked in my response.

Despite all of that (WOW I got a lot more done than I thought) I am still at 59% actually it jumps around and some days it says 58%. Still my biggest issue is global link popularity as “none of the analyzed search engines returned a different domain that links to your web site” that message is starting to haunt me already. The thing is that I know that there are dozens already and growing daily but still patience never was my strong spot hmm. So for now that’s me and I guess I will need to stick at it. I just got a message from one of the shareware sites I submitted to offering submission to another 500 so just maybe…

June 23 2009 59% – Still need to get those global links sorted

Quick update – I just noticed that today Google started ranking my pages and on my keywords I am at position 91 out of 119,000,000 – not bad for 2 weeks.

My Google ranking June 24 2009

My Google ranking June 24 2009

Also Bing is now listed in IBP as having 7 links to my site, that’s not enough to affect my IBP score but then it isn’t showing Google links that are listed in Google Webmaster tools – strange

June 24 2009 – IBP = 59% and Google Ranking = 77 of 119,000,000

So curiousity is definately getting the better of me. I have been busy building link and today Google finally found the first 2 – yay! my IBP score just jumped to 64% but U need at least 70 for it to really move. I don’t mind because I know that I porbably have at least 150 now but it links back to me. What is cool is that this little change has also bumped me up to position 77 of 119,000,000 up 14 places since yesterday. So I am steadily climbing and once Google starts finding all of thos links it’s going to really move fast. I think I am on track so far with my 90day target and the best bit, is that this is less work than I expected.

Two key things, Google Alerts is helping my really build good quality links and IBP software is REALLY steering my in the right direction.

June 26 2009 – IBP = 61%  and Google Ranking = 77 of 119,000,000

Did some more work on the content and keywards in actual body text but also removed some over use of my search term mainly the landing page and my links are starting to kick in but I need to add more “relevant” outbound links as this is well withing my control. I am very happy that within 3 weeks my IBP score is now over the 60% mark especially as IBP only sees 2 links to my site and Iknow that there are actually 122 and more on the way. In my competitionlist links on google I am 9/10 but if it was seeing all of my links I would now be 4/10.

This weeks big effort has really been about using Google Alerts but I am planning a seperate post on that .

June 27 2009 – IBP = 67% and Google ranking 75 of 119,000,000

So I am in New Zealand and when I check saturday morning here it seems like somewhere else in the world Google and Bing have done a bunch of crawls or updates because that’s when my score seems to jump up.

June 30 2009 – IBP = 70% and Google.com 73 of 116,000,000 (should I be worried that google dropped 3,000,000 pages?)

small update because for whatever reason I just tried my local google which being in New Zealand is google.co.nz and I am in position 4

Holy crap I can’t quite believe it!! Position 4 in under 4 weeks I am amazed!!!!

google_nz_june_30_2009

July 3 2009 – IBP = 70% and Google.com 70 of 113,000,000 (another 3,000,000 – what gives Google?)

I just tried changing my preferences and searched only for pages in English and I get position 19 of 113,000,000 not bad for 4 weeks

Stop the press on my local Google.co.nz for pages in New Zealand I am in pole position – roll out the banners yee haw

google.co.nz

In just 4 weeks I got to position #1 for my local search engine

July 10th – IBP = 67% and Google.com needs some explanation

So I noticed some odd behaviour (at least I think it’s odd). I use Vista and IE8 and have my default search provider set as Google.com. If I run Google.com as a site rather than the search bar I get different results and if I run Google.co.nz and search the web its different to google.com – So here are my detailed ranking.

  • Google.com – 11 0f 1040,000,000
  • Google.co.nz – search the web – 9 of 116,000,000
  • Google.co.nz – pages from NZ – 1st of 46,300

Well a very busy week for me as I added a new product Onlooker for Outlook and the PowerSlave links keep pouring in 227 Links to Polychromenz.com now. My IBP score has dropped but that is because I am now also targetting a second search term “Accounting Software“.

So I am VERY happy that I am still moving up the Google.COM rankings especially as I am now 11th for the world and so very nearly in the elusive top ten and still have over 50days left in my challenge.

July 31- IBP 62% – I tweaked things to score higher on another term

In reality I should optimise different pages for each term but I have my reasons

  • Google.com –  – 12 of 121,000,000
  • Google.co.nz search the web – 8 of 121,000,000
  • Google.co.nz – pages from NZ – 1 of 74,300

Not too much happening on the SEO as I focussed on my Onlooker for Outlook it reminds you if you forget to add an attachment in Outlook. I released it onto hundreds of shareware sites and it had 120+ downloads in the first 24 hours.

For reference here are some other terms I am working on

Google.co.nz pages from NZ

  • Accounting Software – 26
  • B2b – 39

August 7 – IBP 62% – still very much focussed on other keywords

Been updating the site alot thispast two weeks whilst developing a new website for a customer at the same time.

Business Software Solutions

Google.co.nz – pages from NZ #1

Google.co.nz – pages from the web  #6 of 107,000,000

Some of the other terms I am targeting

  • google.co.nz pages from NZ
  • Google.co.nz – nz pages
  • Accounting software #27
  • Business Software #10 (I was nowhere 3 weeks ago) IBP 67%
  • B2B #43 up from 77 only 2 weeks ago
  • B2b software #4 from nowhere two weeks ago