Why Professionals Still Need Their Own Web Sites

Custom Web SiteYesterday, Darrell wrote that he is discontinuing his personal web site. Yes, designing and maintaining an attractive and effective web site takes time and money, but even in today’s environment where most of us leave our footprints on the web through social networks, Twitter and the like, there are still lots of good reasons for maintaining a professional web site.

A personal site can — and should — be the hub of your other web activities. Your site should have links to the other places where you’re active on the web, and more importantly, those other locations should have links to your professional site. Having your own site gives you flexibility and control that you can’t rely on anywhere else. Twitter limits how much you can write. LinkedIn has a fairly rigid format. Facebook Pages can be fairly flexible, but customizing them requires a fair amount of programming. It’s difficult to use such sites to show off a professional portfolio. And while these sites are free right now, they could charge fees at some future date.

Content is king. Darrell’s right that it takes time and energy to maintain an updated, relevant site. But almost any modern, well-designed site will include some sort of content management system that makes updates easy.

I don’t update my company’s site all that often. And our blog rarely gets a new entry, now that most of my blogging efforts are concentrated here at WWD. But I make a point of announcing when we post new web sites for clients — a process that only takes a couple of minutes. And I’ve put my Twitter and Facebook feeds on the site as well, which I use to share information that I think may be of interest to clients, as well as announcing any technical issues that may affect them.

As a side note, it’s worth remembering that domain names can also be used for email. Professionals should always use email addresses with their own domain names. That way, it’s not necessary to change your email address if you change providers.

These days, hosting and domain registrations are cheap. And if you’re not a designer, and you don’t want to spend money to hire someone like me to produce a custom site, there are lots of “build-it-yourself” options for creating sites. So even in this era of social networks, there’s really no excuse for not having a professional site.

Do you maintain a web site for your professional activities? How often do you update it?

Why I’m Letting My Server Space Subscription Lapse

homepageLately, my inbox has been filling up with notices. Notices about the impending renewal date of my web-based server space, and the domain names attached to said space. Which means, as the emails ominously remind me, that once it lapses, neither I nor anyone else will be able to get at that data. I know I’m meant to be terrified of this possibility, but I just can’t muster an appropriate degree of fear.

I thought about it long and hard, but in then end, there were just too many reasons against keeping my own server space in operation, and too many reasons for storing and publishing my data, portfolio, and contact information elsewhere. Here’s what convinced me to stop the madness and save a little money in the process. Read More about Why I’m Letting My Server Space Subscription Lapse

Layers.com: The Web, Now With Context

layers_logoHave you ever wanted to do more than just send someone a web page, or post a link on Twitter? If I could, I would present every link I ever wanted to share in person, so I could explain to the person I was sharing with exactly what it was I wanted them to see, and why I thought they might enjoy it or find it useful.

You can always provide a covering letter in the body of your email when you send something along, but a recently launched web app provides a tool that’s much more useful in sharing that context along with the web content you choose to share. Layers.com allows you to layer images, text and video on top of any site of your choosing, and then to share your annotated version with whomever you choose. Read More about Layers.com: The Web, Now With Context

FLO TV Launches Watchman Mobile TV Viewing Device

FLOPTVQualcomm’s (s QCOM)FLO TV is launching the properly-named-but-it’s-kind-of-a-boring-moniker FLO TV Personal Television device for those who want to watch television on the go. But do consumers want to carry around another device and pay another subscription to watch TV wherever they are?

The FLO TV Personal Television plays live and time-shifted video content over FLO’s multicast network, and promises no buffering or downloading to watch your shows. The 3.5-inch touch screen allows users to surf through channels with the swipe of a finger.

FLO TV does have a decent lineup of channels including Comedy Central, ESPN, MSNBC and MTV. But the Personal Television will cost $250 and requires an $8.99 per month subscription fee.

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DoNanza: the Online Job Search Revolution?

Finding work on the web isn’t easy. The time I’ve spent looking for work on freelance job sites has always left me fairly underwhelmed.

Okay, that’s a huge understatement. I dislike having to sign up for different services to access the details of the jobs they’re offering. I loathe having to wade through the reams of alerts I receive from each one. And I can’t be bothered trying to remember which ones require me to buy a subscription in order to pitch for jobs, and which ones don’t, as well as all the other little nuances of each service.

The question is, will DoNanza change all that? Is it the online job search revolution we’ve all been waiting for?

10 Father’s Day Apps for Your #1 Dad

With Father’s Day just around the corner (Sunday, to be exact), we here at TheAppleBlog thought what better gift to get that special father in your life than a thoughtful yet handy iPhone (s aapl) or iPod touch application.

Feeling the cash crunch around this particular time? Not to worry, most of the applications mentioned here are free or just a couple bucks. A nice print-out of your gift tucked or wrapped nicely in a festive Father’s Day envelope will more than likely communicate your genuine appreciation for your dad. So since all dads are obviously not the same, breeze through our list and find our top picks for your kind of dad.

The Stay at Home Dad

appicon_ihandyleveliHandy Level (Free)
For the Stay-at-Home Handy Dad — utility belts and their attachments are so passé! Consider surprising your stay-at-home Dad this Father’s Day with gadgets that reside in his iPhone.

iHandy Level is a free application brought to you by iHandySoft Inc. This stunning application exploits the iPhone’s Accelerometer and Proximity sensor to bring your stay-at-home Handy Dad a truly unique handyman experience. From balancing and centering picture frames on the wall, to leveling a floor tile — this is definitely one unique application that no handy dad should be without!

If you’re feeling extra generous this Father’s Day, you may consider the iHandy Carpenter which includes five handyman tools in one for the ridiculous price of $1.99! Read More about 10 Father’s Day Apps for Your #1 Dad

LaunchSplash: Don’t Let “Under Construction” Lose You Business

launchsplashThis isn’t so much a full web app review as it is an announcement to heighten people’s awareness of a big no-no in web work. It’s not as much of a problem as it used to be, since I think people are getting better at avoiding this particular pitfall, but nothing annoys me (and clients) more than visiting a site and finding nothing but an “Under Construction” or “The site is currently being redesigned” page. In all likelihood, unless the page being visited is for a hotly anticipated new product from a major company, your visitor will never come back.

There’s one sure way to stay out of trouble, and that’s to wait to launch your web site until you actually have some content in a presentable form to show people. If, for whatever reason, you can’t wait that long (maybe your client wants to build the sort of anticipation normally reserved for companies like Capcom and Apple (s aapl), for instance), then your placeholder should be functional rather than static. That’s where LaunchSplash comes in. Read More about LaunchSplash: Don’t Let “Under Construction” Lose You Business

Apple Promotes QuickPWN Briefly, Changes Mind

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Maybe it’s a shot across the bow of AT&T (s att), sort of like all the buzz about Verizon-specific Apple (s aapl) devices, but if so, it’s not a very subtle one, and it contradicts all Apple policy on the matter to date.

I’m talking about a brief appearance (caught by Gizmodo, among others) on Apple’s own web site of a promotional reference to QuickPWN, which iPhone and iPod Touch owners will recognize as the hacking software that allows users to jailbreak their Apple handheld devices quickly and easily, without having to get very deep into the programming or code side of things. Apple, of course, disapproves, and generally tries to counter jailbreaking with each new firmware release. Read More about Apple Promotes QuickPWN Briefly, Changes Mind

Thanks to Our NewTeeVee Sponsors!

We’d like to thank this month’s NewTeeVee sponsors:

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Qapacity: Find and Provide Services Through Networking

qlogo-bigA little while ago, I reviewed the service offered by GigPark, which was essentially a referrals network to help people find and share service providers. Qapacity is a new tool that works along the same lines, although it goes about it in a completely different way. Qapacity seems more geared towards attracting service providers themselves, but it still has a lot to offer those looking to shop, not sell, too.

If you’re looking for another venue for promoting your services or investigating service providers to partner with, Qapacity is definitely worth checking out.

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