Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wait Until The Other Doll Pattern Designers See My New Website!

Sometimes you meet someone that is just plain exceptional. A year ago I met someone who is exceptional and her name is "Annie Kelly."

Of course, she's going to be embarrassed by this article and will probably want to strangle me.

That's the risk I'll have to run.

Annie, is always the first person in line to offer to help you with any problem, or anything. She's the first to volunteer, is always eager to help, and never asks for much in return. She always has great advice and is straight-forward, which I appreciate. And, she's always willing to listen.

Annie, like a lot of us - wears many hats. She is first and foremost a mother and a wife. She is also a business woman, programmer, doll maker, doll pattern designer, graphic artist, website designer, webmaster, and a slew of other things. And, like a lot of us, she has many websites.

I am a vendor on her Pattern-Central pattern website and have a shoppe on her FolkArt Square on-line marketplace. And, now I have a website designed by and hosted by her "In A Pickle Web Designs" website.

According to Annie, "Our goal here at In A Pickle Web Designs is to create a website that is fully functional and appealing for you and your customers!" She also offers website hosting at very competitive rates.

Annie also runs a doll pattern website called "Primitive Annies", runs on-line "craft shows", an annual doll challenge for charity, an on-line silent auction website, and a funky graphic design website called "Hokey Pokey Primitives."

Well, I was having a problem with my E-Patterns. I was, as you might say - "in a pickle" and Annie said she thought she could help me.

Well, she and her "In A Pickle Web Designs" and her Pattern-Central website certainly did.

You see, Pattern-Central has been selling e-patterns for a very long time and was recently upgraded to convert those e-patterns to "Instant Download E-Patterns" using a unique and very secure shopping cart feature.

In talking with Annie about my E-Patterns problem she suggested that she could develop a website to help me. I told her that my "ideal" solution would be a "mini" version of her Pattern-Central website that could handle all my "Instant Download E-Patterns." Something that was "me" and "only me." Something that my main website could LINK to for every one of my patterns while remaining transparent to my customers as a separate website.

So, Annie designed my BRAND NEW Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns website to look like a page from my main Linda Walsh Originals website.

Moving from one to the other would be easy for my customers. My customers would be able to order multiple "instant download e-patterns" at the same time through one check-out process and receive one email with all the download links. And, the shopping cart on my new website would not interfere with the shopping cart I was using on my main website. So, I could retain the same primary email address at PayPal.

Plus, my customers could always sign into their new account on my Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns website and download their e-pattern should they have a problem with the download. How great was that?

Also, I could link a particular "instant download e-pattern's" page to my blogs, newsletters, emails, etc.

If all that wasn't enough, my new website also had "mailing list" and "subscriber" capabilities, statistics, customer accounts, product categories, multiple page capabilities, and a whole lot more.

Annie also offers a blog, but I have more than enough of them so I declined that. YIKES!!! The "Blogging Queen" turned down a blog????

And, unlike my main website, which is best viewed in Internet Explorer, my new website has no problem being viewed by other browsers like Firefox. A bonus to boot.

So, my BRAND NEW - Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns website was born. It was designed by Annie and "In A Pickle Web Designs" and is hosted with "In a Pickle Web Designs."

I am thrilled!

Wait until all the other doll pattern designers see my new website!

For sure, I am going to be the envy of all the other doll pattern designers!

That's okay. I don't mind. If they want a website of their very own they can always call Annie at "In A Pickle Web Designs." I know she'd help them out, too.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Banner Rotations For Your Website Or Blog

I belong to several forums and often see the question, "Does anyone know the script I can use to add a banner rotation to my website or blog?"

So, I decided that instead of answering on the forum every time that I would provide the answer here.

There are two basic type of banner rotations, as follows:

1) Banner Rotation That Changes Every Few Seconds
2) Banner Rotation That Changes With Every Page Load

I prefer the banner rotation that changes every few seconds as it provides the opportunity for every banner to be seen by every customer. The banner rotation that changes with every page load only shows one banner per customer.

Also, I am using the 1st code above on my blogs so I know that it works. I haven't used the 2nd code above as of yet so I can't say with any certainty that it will work and , therefore, won't include it in my blog tips until I have used it.

In order to type the code below so that you could see it as text I had to replace several things. So, please be aware that you will need to change these in order for the code to work.

Shown below is the code for a Banner Rotation That Changes Every 10 Seconds for 2 Banners

<##script type="text/JavaScript"##>
var imgs1 = new Array("http://BANNER1IMAGEURL.jpg",http://BANNER2IMAGEURL.jpg)
var lnks1 = new Array ("http://BANNER1WEBSITEURL",http://BANNER2WEBSITEURL)
var alt1 = new Array("BANNER1ALTTEXT","BANNER2ALTTEXT")
var var currentAd1 = 0
var imgCt1 = 2
function cycle1() {
if (currentAd1 == imgCt1) {
currentAd1 = 0
var banner1 = document.getElementById('adBanner1');
var link1 = document.getElementById('adLink1');
<##a href=http://BANNER1WEBSITEURL id="adLink1" target="_top">
<##img src="http://BANNER1IMAGEURL.jpg" id="adBanner1" border="0" width="468" height="60"><##/a>

There are three key lines of code for your banners. The first holds the URL of your banner image (see BANNER1IMAGEURL above). The second holds your website URL (see BANNER1WEBSITEURL above). The 3rd holds the alternate text for the banner (see BANNER1ALTTEXT above). Each banner URL and alternate text that you include is separated by a comma.

There are also two important variables for the code. The first is the number of banners in the rotations (see 2 above). The second is the time interval (see 10000 above). If you wanted to have 5 banners in the rotation that would change every 2 seconds then you would change the 3 to a 5 and the and the 10000 to 2000.

Then you need to tell the script what the first banner is. So your would replace the BANNER1WEBSITEURL and BANNER1IMAGEURL in the last two lines of code with your own banner 1 information.

I have found that .jpg banners work best for the code. If your last banner is a .gif type banner the code will not work. Banners that have a .gif extension will only work if they are in-between two .jpg banners.

Also, banners all have to be the same width and height (i.e. 468x60 standard size) and that is indicted in the last line image source line of the code as well ( see width="468" height="60" above).

In order to get the code to print as text you also need to delete all of the ##'s and replace the
first line of code between the <>'s that says script type="text/JavaScript" with script language="Javascript". Minus the ##'s here, too.

I hope this helps everyone who would like to add a banner rotation to their website or blog.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Are Blogs Really Helpful? - Column 1

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column First Published in Faithful Friends Online Newsletter 10/1/2006

I get asked all the time - "Would a blog really be helpful to my small business website?

The answer is definitely "YES."

You might be wondering - "How?"

Well, for many reasons. Today, we are going to look at one reason - Search Engines. Future "Tips From The Blogging Queen" columns will look at some of the other reasons.

So, one reason they can be helpful to your small business website is that they can help towards getting your small business website noticed in the search engines.

Let me explain by telling you that I started my main doll pattern website in June of 2005 and my 2nd main handmade dolls & crafts website in May 2006. I started my main blog in June 2005 and have published over 250 articles (i.e. posts) to date. All of my websites and blogs have links to each other.

Well, my main blog has a better Google Page Rank then my two main websites. My main blog has a Google page rank of 4 while my websites are a 3 and a 2, respectively. So, articles published on my blog have better search engine ranking and visibility then my two main websites do.

Does this help me? Absolutely!


Well, let's take a look at Google's own explanation of Page Rank. According to Google PageRank Is Explained As:

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

My main blog is ranked as more "important" than my two main websites and as such makes my other pages (i.e. main websites) more important.

Every time I write an article I make sure that my article mentions "keywords" that I want the search engines to hone in on. Also, every time I write and publish an article for my blog I always add the same information at the bottom of each published post. Published by: MY MAIN WEBSITE NAME with Clickable Link and my main website byline. That way every article that is published has a link back to my main website. A "keyword" within the body of the article to hone in on and a link that the Google search engines can follow, as well as a clickable link that the web searcher can follow.

Since each article published in a blog creates it's own unique url and since I have published over 250 articles on just my main blog alone, that means that I have over 250 unique url's with links back to my main website for the search engines to utilize. More exposure the more likely I will be in the search results.

Will that help my business? I would certainly hope so.

What do all the experts tell you is the most important thing you can do for a business?

It's "Advertise."

Well, every article I post to my blog is FREE advertising for my main website.

So, are blogs really helpful? I would hope you would agree that they are.

Please stay tuned to my next "Tips From The Blogging Queen" column where we'll be looking at other ways that blogs can be helpful to your small business website.

Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved — Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 1 Definition -

BLOGSNOB - A person who refuses to respond to comments on their blog from people outside their circle of friends.

Be sure to tune in to future TFTBQ Columns on "Commenting On Blogs and How That Can Be Helpful To Your Small Business Website!"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What An Ordeal This Has Been!

I'm not one to complain, but I have to tell you that it's been a long two days.

You see, all of a sudden the "Instant Download E-Patterns" that are linked to my PayPal account stopped working properly. This problem was occurring on my Linda Walsh Originals website as well as some of the other websites where I sell some of my patterns.

During some routine maintenance of my Linda Walsh Originals website I decided to check my "Instant Download E-Patterns" to see if they were working. Lo and behold they weren't. YIKES!!!!!!

Through further testing I discovered they weren't working anywhere. YIKES!!!

All of a sudden they're not working anywhere. YIKES!!!!! What's up with that?

So, I started wracking my brain trying to figure out why it wouldn't work. Through trial and error with buying my own patterns on various websites I pinned it down to a problem just with the "Instant Download E-Patterns" and PayPal.

You see, the link to download Instant E-Patterns is triggered once payment has been made to PayPal. My downloads weren't getting triggered and were in a PayPal page loop.

In other words, they weren't going anywhere but back to the beginning of the PayPal cycle. A loop that went nowhere but back to the beginning. YIKES!!!!!!!

So, I decided to call PayPal for help. I talked to a rep who filed a support ticket. He was very nice and said, "Hmmmmmm sounds familiar, but I don't know what the problem is. There is no known resolution posted that I can see. I'll have to take it to the engineers. It might take a week to get it resolved but I'll get back to you within 48 hours to let you know."

He tested my website and said - you're right - you're in a loop. He then asked me to email the link code that I was using for the "Buy Now" Instant Download E-Patterns that I was using which I did. After that I got a confirmation email from him telling me what my support ticket number was blah, blah, blah..., that I could watch the progress by going to such and such support area, and they would get back to me within one business day.

Well, if you're a reader of my Linda's Blog you know that I love research and can probably gather that I'm not one to sit idly buy waiting for someone to come up with a solution. I decided to do my own investigating.

Through many hours and two days of investigating I finally discovered that one of my PayPal accounts was working and would trigger the download and the other wasn't. So, I decided to do a split screen comparison line by line and category by category. I, of course, thought my two accounts were set-up the same. Au Contraire!!!!!!

Guess again. They weren't.

On one of my accounts I had previously been using the PayPal Virtual Terminal which features "Risk Controls." But, I had removed it the first part of this year. After clicking through all the menu's I found a setting deep within the Risk Controls that was creating the problem. There is a box in the "Payment Receiving Preferences" to indicate whether or not PayPal should "Allow my Risk Controls to override the following preferences." It was not checked so I thought it wasn't on. Au Contraire!!!!!!

It might have looked like it had no bearing on it, BUT IT DID!

Through further research into the "Risk Controls" settings I determined that there was an indicator that was on that was causing the problem. I changed the setting, then I bought another pattern from myself and it worked fine.

I tested a few more links, blogs, and websites and they all worked fine. OH MY GOODNESS - IT'S WORKING NOW!!!!!!

I almost fell off my chair. IT'S WORKING!!!!! IT'S WORKING!!!!!

You must be thinking, "What's wrong with you that something like that could make you so elated?" Well, if you've ever felt the frustration of working on the computer and having something suddenly stop working out of the blue and you have no idea why - you'll understand.

Now, I want you to know that I haven't changed a thing on the "Risk Controls" on my account at PayPal since I removed the Virtual Terminal at the beginning of the year. Plus, since then I've sold "Instant Download E-Patterns" on my both my website and other websites where I sell patterns. They have all processed just fine.

Then, BOOM!!!!!! All of a sudden they just stop working??????

That tells me that somebody at PayPal changed something somewhere along the way and my downloads just stopped working.

So, yesterday afternoon at 4:00 P.M. I was elated to say the least as I had solved the fiasco. I still hadn't heard from PayPal, but THE GOOD NEWS was I didn't need then anymore as I had solved the problem.

I decided to have dinner and when I came up to check my email later on I found an email from PayPal that was sent at 5:11 P.M. The email basically said that the engineers had told the rep that I should check my "RISK Controls" settings!!!!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

They said the error like the loop I described was probably caused by the "Risk Controls." NO KIDDING!!!!! LOLOLOLOLOL

I had a good laugh and patted myself on the back for finding the solution. PayPal had been true to their word and did get back to me within one business day and, had I not already found the solution, would have provided me with it.

So, why an I telling you this story? Because I know there are a lot of pattern designers who sell "Instant Download E-Patterns" and other businesses selling e-products. If you use PayPal you might want to fully test ordering one of your own e-products to make sure it's still working and goes through the whole complete process.

Prior to this debacle, I deemed everything to be okay with my upload after getting the first "Enter Payment Information" PayPal screen. As this fiasco proved, that's not the criteria to use any more. I got the first and second PayPal screens but the "Risk Controls" prevented it from going further which caused the loop back to the first PayPal screen again. So, in the future I will have to completely test the whole process and actually buy one of my own patterns.

So, if your customers are suddenly not getting their e-product instant downloads or getting a PayPal loop your might want to check your PayPal settings.

For my customers who may or may not have had a problem buying my "Instant Download E-Patterns" I sincerely apologize.

It's always FUN AND GAMES in cyberland. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL Now I can laugh about it. LOLOLOLOLOLOL