WYSIWYG Editors

Welcome to the wonderful world of WYSIWYG (‘what you see is what you get,’ pronounced wizeewig) html editors. They let you put up pages quickly. In fact, after you have set up the style of the pages you want to use, they can be as fast as a blog post. You can type or paste in the text that you want to use and the editor will work out the code for it.

I prefer working with pure code in simple text editors, but do appreciate and make use of Expression Web (a part of Expression Studio).

A quality product at el cheapo prices

Expression Studio 4 Web Professional used to sell for over $300 for each of its 3 parts. I had to check today to update this page and found it is now under $100. That’s a very pleasant surprise.

I do make good use of Expression Web. The capability I appreciate most is its emphasis on valid code. That is a nice new direction for Microsoft.

If there is a problem with a page, one of the first things I do is run the code through a validator. With the w3.org online validator, error reporting is sometimes complex and doesn’t point to just where the problem is. A single error might get a dozen comments. Often none of them will point to the exact problem. There will be comments like “this error might be produced by an unescaped ampersand somewhere on the page or it might be something else…” Have you ever been frustrated by that sort of stuff?

With Expression Web, if you type in anything invalid, there is a small warning triangle at the bottom of the window. Each invalid part of the code gets a light yellow highlight. On hover, a simple comment appears about why it is a problem. Once you see exactly where the problem is, most of your troubles are over.

Another use for EW that I am happy about, is code optimization. It does that better than any online optimizer I have used. Optimizing css is not a problem, but with html it can get tricky. I once had vertical Amazon ads that displayed as horizontal ads of a different size after optimizing. Did that ever mess up the layout.

The ad used a script, and after a couple of pages like that, I quit optimizing the script part of pages. I would only optimize the rest of the page. When I optimized a page using EW, to my surprise, all the white space was stripped out except for the scripts. They were left intact. The people that put EW together are at least as smart as I am. smile

And finally, one of the serious problems putting web pages together is that they will often look different in different browsers, even if the code is valid. Different browsers just do things differently. EW has a “Super Preview” program that is great. If you ever have to beat a site into shape for IE 6, this is the perfect tool. It shows the page you want in 2 browsers side by side. You can select Firefox or any Internet Explorer from 6 up.

You just paste the file path into it and it opens the page into the 2 selected browsers. This works better than any of the online “browser shots” sites I have used.

It was IE 6 that inspired the recipe for the web developer’s cocktail. Pour 4 oz of brandy into a blender. (Adjust as needed.) Add an aspirin and a Tylenol. (Adjust as needed.) Blend, relax, and recover. smile

And finally, one of the strongest advantages of EW. If you have a large site, the navigation and the file paths can get complex. Every site I have has been growing. I keep finding more ideas to add to them. There are folders within folders.

Suppose you have an images folder and you want to add a second folder called graphics. You move your smilie collection to the graphics folder. Now you will have to adjust the file path on every page that calls for a smilie. On a large site, that will take a lot of time.

If you open Expression Web, and do it there, it will change all the file paths to point to the new folder. It will basically become a content management system for the site.

I’ve been embarrassed by wrong file paths, and appreciate that part of EW.

RAP Beats ClickBank

The Rapid Action Profits program is gaining momentum rapidly. It has so many advantages over CB that it is the focus of my efforts now.

CB certainly does have advantages too. They are much better known and might have a thousand times more products. I am there often enough looking for something good to promote and just bought one yesterday, Paul Walker’s Affiliate Cash Ultimatum. It is impressive.

It’s just that I go to RAP first looking for products because of the simple pay arrangement.

There are a lot of requirements before you can collect your first pay with CB. You can skip them all with RAP systems.

The RAP site for instant affiliate payments. The RAP software for vendors.
My first experience with a RAP product was the one on the Website Flopping page. The page includes a few details about the first money coming in with it. It was just a simple PayPal email saying that money had been added to my account. You don’t even have to check your affiliate accounts to see if you have sales.

Just the waiting time until pay day can be a pain in the neck with most affiliate systems, not just ClickBank. In addition CB has requirements like 5 different credit cards must be used before you get your first check. There are also other requirements, like purchases must be from different areas etc. I have seen post after post in forums with people complaining about these first pay day requirements.

It’s fine if you have a huge site with massive traffic. It might take a very short time to meet them. If you are just starting out things might be different. They certainly were for me. Happily that has turned around and RAP products were the first to start making money for me.

Another little problem with CB is that if you don’t make a sale for awhile, the account is charged $1 periodically for inactivity. (sigh) Combine this with most products taking a lot of traffic to make a sale and you have a recipe to drain a small account.

I’m not even saying this is bad. A lot of businesses including most banks will charge you to keep an account open. It’s just a hit to start out finances, and to wimpy little sites like most of mine.

With RAP there is just no possibility of charges like that. That kind of bureaucracy takes a hit in the head and doesn’t get a chance to mess with your money.

The Tedious Details

I should mention a couple negatives that I know about. Some of the products pay 100% commission. The vendor uses this to get a lot of them out and to expose his affiliate links in the ebook. Or he might make money from up sells once the first product introduces him and his program.

A small disadvantage happens to the affiliate when the commission is less than 100%. As an example, when the commission is 50%, the first affiliate sale will be credited to the vendor’s account. The next one will be to the affiliate’s PayPal. It will alternate like this to keep the split at approximately 50%. However if the affiliate never sells another, their commission will be 0%. They will never get the sale that goes into their account.

Another more significant disadvantage right now is that they don’t have nearly as many products to promote as CB. Their products are growing rapidly though, and for the first time I wouldn’t be surprised to see a company overtake CB. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if CB gets clobbered.

Web Work and Computers

They go together. As I got into them I picked up a few bits of information that might be interesting to other people. Personally I don’t really like blogs so thought I’d do something like one, but with an html site. Whenever I do have the time and I have been reminded of something worth posting, I will put up a page, hopefully once a week.

Eyestrain

If you do wind up in front of the computer for hours at a time, one thing that has helped me is adjusting the monitor brightness as low as it will go. You do want your monitor to be about as bright as the background lighting, or you will have a bright spot in your field of vision and that is hard on my eyes.

Most people are a bit enthusiastic about the brightness they set their TV or monitors to. They seem to think more is good that way and it is like trying to read something typed on a lampshade instead of just normal daylight on a page. Also the color is richer and looks better when it isn’t washed out by light. My experience and opinions of course, yours might vary.

I keep the brightness on my monitor set to 0%. It isn’t actually 0% because when I was turning it down, from 40% down the brightness didn’t decrease at all, but I would personally like it a bit lower. That has been a serious help for eyestrain. I don’t expect to buy another monitor for years but if I do I will want to try out the model first and see how dim I can set it.

The Discovery Channel had a show about “things your mother told you that aren’t true.” One was that dim light can hurt your eyes. The DC’s comment was “dim light can’t hurt your eyes any more than it can hurt a camera.” But I’ve noticed since I was a teenager that reading with bright light is hard on mine.