Greg Magnus

AIM Custom Media Websites Blogs Glen Allen, VA 23059

Month: October 2006

Intro to Using AJAX

SitePoint has released a detailed 17-minute video tutorial titled, “An Introduction to AJAX.” Produced by SitePoint Technical Director Kevin Yank, the tutorial discusses the origins of AJAX and provides real world AJAX examples.An Introduction to AJAX

“What’s AJAX, really?” you ask.
You’ve come to the right place.

The video is professionally produced, very informative for those new to AJAX, and well worth your time. SitePoint published a series of video tutorials, three of which are free including the AJAX intro above.

SitePoint has also produced a comprehensive report called The State Of Web Development 2006/2007, based on the web developer survey they ran earlier in the year. The complete report can be purchased or you can just download the free preview of the report, which contains numerous graphs produced from the survey data.

eoecho briefly discussed the “The State of Web Development” report earlier this month in this post.

[tags] Intro to AJAX, SitePoint tutorial, Web Development Report, SitePoint,, eoecho [/tags]

Mastering Website and Blog Content, Resources

For the majority of websites, you'd swear the content evolved from a pool of mud. So how do you become a supreme content guru? What resources are available for writers, PR professionals and marketing managers? What do the experts recommend? And, what are the benefits? It is well known that quality content delivers a significant return on investment (ROI), so where should you focus? Content can be considered in two categories: primary and secondary. Primary Content Vehicles

  1. Blogs: Without question, blogs are one of the best methods for adding frequent and fresh content to your website. Setting up a blog is relatively easy. Managing the content and marketing the blog is hard work that requires a talented blogger and management resources. A comprehensive management plan, which clearly outlines your goals, objectives, and available resources (labor), is highly recommended.
  2. Press Releases: Studies prove well designed and managed PR campaigns are very cost-effective, especially for those using Internet marketing channels. Our previous post here provides additional info.
  3. Articles: The frequent publication of articles has always been an effective means of promoting yourself, your company's services, and now your website. Articles published online should be less than 800-1,000 words. If you think your article needs to be longer, it doesn't – write two articles (i.e., Part I & II). One of many article publishing website services is
  4. Testimonials: Almost any testimonial is good, but testimonials that define the issue faced by your customer followed by how your service or product solved that problem are excellent.

Secondary Content Vehicles

  1. Expert Q & A Section: You know the questions, the answers are valuable content for several reasons: they attract new prospects, help your existing customers, and convey the message that your company employs the experts your customer seeks to fulfill their needs. Here's a sample Expert Q & A page for AVONEX (MS therapy).
  2. Product & Service Reviews: Using reviews works best when you add customer-to-customer content and/or quote customer feedback. Does anyone really care what the company's marketing department thinks about the product? was one of the first to include customer generated product reviews on their web pages – the rest is history.
  3. FAQs: Pay attention to the questions your customers are asking and provide the answers. Avoid the mundane as well as complex issues. FAQs should be short and sweet. Reserve the more complex issues for your Expert Q & A section.

Creating quality content is hard work. First and foremost, you need a keen understanding of your target audience. What do they need to know and what do they want to know? How can they benefit from the content you are providing? Consider the following:

  • Know your target audience, get customer feedback, conduct surveys. A free and easy site to use for basic surveys is
  • Segment your prospect lists and customer databases, prepare content for each target segment and avoid generalizing to be all things to everybody
  • Write multiple versions of your press releases highlighting different keywords in the title and body content; the customer controls the search and different people use different search terms to find the same solutions

All content you add to your website should be focused on increasing your reputation in your field. Time is required to establish a reputation, be patient and persistent. Once you establish a reputation for providing quality content, others will syndicate your work and your business will grow rapidly. Additional Resources TechCrunch, written by Michael Arrington is a classic example demonstrating the power of quality content, read Blogging for Dollars. Why Quality Content is Key for Search Engines is a special report from the Search Engine Strategies conference, Feb 28 – March 3, 2005, New York, NY. Gerry McGovern is a proponent of website content. He has written several books such as Content Critical and The Caring Economy. Visit netconcepts – Stephen Spencer Interview with Gerry McGovern for more. There are numerous other resources. Do you have one you recommend? If so, please leave a comment and we'll share it with our readers. Thanks!

The Role of a Chief Learning Officer

The first official use of the term ‘Chief Learning Officer’ in reference to a position was in 1993.  Ever since then, the CLO role has been creeping into the corporate landscape and org chart.

In an ideal setting, a CLO aligns all of the learning and development activities of the organization with the organization’s strategic goals.  It’s not about getting people to attend classes or view eLearning – it’s getting the workforce the knowledge, skills and mindsets that they need to perform and this is usually not done in a classroom or in front of a computer.

Learning professionals often talk about getting “a seat at the table” or ongoing access to those running the company so that learning and development can complement the strategic plan.  A CLO can provide this access by establishing a senior-level role dedicated to the learning and development of the organization’s entire value-chain. 

As of a few months ago, only 5% of the Fortune 500 had appointed a CLO.  It will take executives witnessing the power of effective learning and development before we start to see the number of CLOs begin to rise.  As learning and development moves away from the more formal, traditional training and towards learning and development that is ingrained into the workflow of everyday life I am confident this will happen.  At many companies it already is.

CLOs are business people that also understand how people learn and develop.  They can speak to a CFO as easily as they can to a facilitator.  CLOs are responsible for the business of learning and development and they manage learning and development expenditures as any other business manager would – as investments that must make a return.

Movie Download Services Reviewed

Tired of waiting in lines at the video store? OK, who does that anymore anyway?

If you’re a movie junkie, you’ll want to read TechCrunch’s review of movie download services. Nick Gonzales provides a comprehensive review of Guba, CinemaNow, MovieLink, Amazon Unbox, and iTunes. He also provides a comparison chart for the services reviewed.

[tags] TechCrunch, Movie download, Guba, CinemaNow, MovieLink, Amazon Unbox,, eoecho [/tags]

Using PR to Improve SEO Results

VIRGINIA, | PR News (Oct. 12): The use of PR to improve search engine optimization (SEO) is off the charts according to a recent survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa, Inc. The marketing strategy known as SEO PR – adding hotlinked press releases to search engine news feeds – is not only popular, it works.

PR departments that effectively use press releases are seeing measurable results; however, integration of the PR and Marketing departments coupled with active blogs on company websites may be the key to success. Why?

Historically, the marketing and PR departments are two different animals when using online channels. Marketing is focused on keywords in both the title of the release and the body text, this is not always the case for the PR team when they create the press release.

In addition, to improve SEO results, the marketing department would like to see multiple versions of the same press release launched online. Different people are searching for the same information using different keywords. To attract a larger audience, more than one version is required. More work for the PR staff – not a popular request.

Bloggers are one of the first to pick up PR news, which enhances the number of news services that cover your release. Bloggers are playing a major role with respect to press release distribution. An active company blog with relevant content will improve your marketing exposure.

The “PR” and “Marketing” departments must communicate and cooperate to maximize your return. “This is still an unexplored opportunity for most companies.”, said Anne Holland, President of MarketingSherpa, Inc. during today’s telephone presentation (titled “Top 5 Search Marketing Opportunities for 2007: Real-life data from 3,944 Marketers” (Thursday, October 12). Holland also stated, “The ROI for low-cost press releases is very high and there are numerous studies to prove it.”

There is much work to be done to intergrate corporate websites and blogs with the PR and Marketing departments. Companies that do are able to significantly improve their SEO results and their bottom-line.

Additional Resources

[tags] PR SEO, press release marketing,, eoecho [/tags]

List of Every Website Statistic Publicly Available

If you’re looking for website stats, then this resource is pure gold:

SEOmoz Blog | A List of Every Website Statistic Publicly Available
Admitedly, this is an ambitious list, but it’s also a worthwhile one. Below, I’ve attempted to lay the foundation for every piece of website data available to marketers, researchers and the curious. Competitive analysis experts, welcome to data paradise (visit the link above for the list).

[tags] Marketing stats, website statistics, SEOmoz,, eoecho [/tags]

Popular Firefox Extensions for Web Pros, Developers

Web developers are using a host of Firefox extensions to improve their efficiency. I use the “Web Developer” extension, which has just about everything within one addon.

Here’s a short-list and brief description of popular Firefox extensions:

HTML Validator

This is a Mozilla extension that adds HTML validation inside Firefox and Mozilla. The number of HTML errors on a page are presented in an icon in the status bar when browsing. The details of the errors are seen when viewing the HTML source for the page.


This is a free cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox, which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP servers.

Professor X

Professor X allows you to see inside a page’s header without viewing the sourcecode; it will display the contents of the page’s head element, including Meta, Script and Style content. You can see how a website was constructed without having to go back and forth between the sourcecode and the page in your browser.

IE Tab

This extension embeds Internet Explorer (IE) in a Mozilla/Firefox tab, which allows you to view your work in IE without launching a separate window.


FireBug allows you to explore the far corners of the DOM by keyboard or mouse. You can use the tools to monitor your JavaScript, CSS, HTML and Ajax all in one. The extension includes a debugger, an error console, command line, and a variety of fun inspectors.


Want the look and feel of Dreamweaver in a Firefox extension? This addon allows you to edit your documents right next to your web pages as you surf.

Server Switcher

Server Switcher is a navigational help tool, which allows you to easily switch between sites on your development and live servers.

SEO for Firefox

This tool was designed to add more data to Google and Yahoo! to make it easier to evaluate the value and competitive nature of a market. SEO for Firefox pulls in many useful marketing data points to make it easy get a more holistic view of the competitive landscape of a market right from the search results. In addition to pulling in useful marketing data this tool also provides links to the data sources so you can dig deeper into the data.

Here are a few more that are self-explanatory:

AdSense Preview

Screen Grab

Server Spy

Additional Resources: For a discussion of this list, see this post recently published on

[tags] Firefox addons, Firefox extensions, Web Developer Tools,, eoecho [/tags]

Social Meter – Is Your Site Popular? Enter Your URL and Find Out

So you know your site is popular, but you would like some proof. Social meter scans the major social websites to analyze a webpage’s social popularity. Currently they scan Bloglines,, Digg, Google, Rojo, Shadows,Technorati and Yahoo My Web: social meter

[tags] social meter, popular sites,, eoecho [/tags]

State of the Web Survey Results

What web technologies will be used in 2007? What resources do web developers use to stay current with industry developments?

This past summer, Ektron and SitePoint completed a survey of 5,000 web developers. The survey results were released in a report entitled The State of Web Development 2006/2007. A free 25-page preview report is available from

There are several informative charts in the report. One that caught my eye provided the results to this question, “What resource(s) do you use to keep your skills sharp
and your knowledge timely?”

Sitepoint Survey Graph

Although articles and books ranked highest, social networking tools such as blogs and forums out ranked magazines. As more and more people turn to the web for information the acceptance of social networks as reliable resources will continue to outpace traditional media channels. Marketing managers are wise to take note of this trend and include Web 2.0 channels in their 2007 marketing plans.

For additional information, visit for their post that discusses the report with respect to web development trends and the use of Ajax and Flash.

[tags] web trends,, web 2.0 trends,, eoecho [/tags]

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