Sunday, March 16, 2008

Safe Road Poem

Sharing The Road Safely With Commercial Vehicles

Since the 1970s, the number of vehicles on Canada's roads has increased by 80 per cent. Despite this dramatic increase in traffic, the number of road fatalities has been cut by more than half.

While every province and territory is responsible for highway safety by enforcing laws and maintaining highway infrastructure, Transport Canada is improving the safety of our roads by funding upgrades to parts of the national highway system. But better roads are not the only answer to our road safety challenges. Smarter driving is needed to keep our road safety records improving. Awareness of commercial vehicles is an important part of this.

In 1999, crashes involving commercial vehicles resulted in 556 fatalities and 11,591 injuries. According to Transport Canada, drivers of passenger vehicles need to be aware that commercial vehicles often manoeuvre much differently than cars or light trucks.

Learning about how different types of commercial vehicles operate can help drivers to better anticipate the time and distance commercial vehicles require for turning, changing lanes, speeding up, slowing down, and stopping — and this can prevent accidents.

For example, large commercial vehicles — such as tractor trailers — might have two or three times more power than passenger vehicles, but they must also pull thirty to forty times more weight. Commercial vehicles may need to accelerate through as many as ten gears to reach the speed limit, and take more than twice as much time and distance as a car to stop.

Large trucks and buses also make wide turns, and may first have to move in the opposite direction (left for a right-hand turn, right for a left-hand turn) in order to negotiate some corners safely. In addition, these vehicles have large blind spots, and passenger vehicles that get too close to a turning large truck or bus may not be visible.

To make Canadian highways safer, all drivers need to exercise skill, understanding and patience. In addition to encouraging Canadians to learn safer driving habits, Transport Canada, along with the provinces and territories, is funding improvements to those parts of our national highway system that need immediate attention because of growing traffic and increased trade. These improvements, delivered through the $600 million Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP), will result in a safer and more efficient highway system for all Canadians.

For more information on SHIP, and Government of Canada highway improvement programs in your area, visit

News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.

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Maintenance Serenade

Website Maintenance: What does it take to manage your website?

Every action has a beginning phase where you launch your activity, a middle period in which you must sustain and develop it and a conclusion. Many people set up a website enthusiastically but then they find that they don’t have the skills or knowledge to maintain and develop it. So, what are the challenges in this middle phase of a website’s life and how can you meet them?

Updating the site: The beauty of a website is that it is not static like a brochure or printed document. You can change it to reflect new products or new developments in your enterprise. You can launch new campaigns, and at any time you can add more content.

The problem for some companies and individuals is that after they have paid a good amount of money to have their site built, they do not have any personnel who can make changes to the website, such as adding new text or photos etc. One solution to this is to make sure you have a good maintenance plan included in the contract or agreement you make your with your web designer, so that minor changes can be made by your original designer

Another solution, and one that gives you more flexibility, is to train someone in your organization to be able to work with an html editor (like Frontpage, Dreamweaver, or other similar programs). While not everyone has the skills to design a site from scratch, someone who is able to use the normal word processing programs can learn how to modify text and upload files to the server.

Promoting the site: If you just sit on your hands you cannot expect your website to live up to its promise. Many web designers do not have a clue about things like search engine optimization or submission, and the new website owner is left with a nice looking site, but no traffic. Furthermore there are other website related promotional tasks such as reciprocal linking, newsletter editing and mailing list maintenance which do not fall into the duties normally performed by the site’s original designer.

Once again check with your web designer or developer and see if they can perform any of these tasks economically or give you some help. If not, then some of these activities may have to be outsourced. Search engine optimization and submission, and even reciprocal linking, the activity of finding link partners, can be contracted from among the hundreds of companies offering such services.

You or a designated member of your staff can learn some of these tasks by reading online tutorials, e-books and newsletters (like this one!). Though this takes time, again it gives you flexibility and an ability to work at your own pace and within your budget.

Finally if you can’t afford the outside services needed to maintain and develop the site, and if you are not sure how to train yourself or your staff, a third solution exists in the form of Ken Evoy’s Site Build It ( In which powerful hosting, design, maintenance and promotional tools are provided along with step-by-step guidance enabling complete beginners to build, develop and manage effective websites.

Even before you start your website you should be thinking one step ahead, so that you can develop the site intelligently and vigorously, and ultimately be successful in your web project.

Author, Donald Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. Hehas been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently the director of A1-Optimization, a firm providing low cost search engine optimization, submission and web promotion services.

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Redesigned Verse

Why Re-Design?

My site is working fine. The links work. Content is added regularly. We have new features. Why does my company need a re-design?

Those are all great things. Sites should be updated regularly, have new features added, and by far have working links. However, as the site grows it soon outgrows its foundation. Leading to an unorganized use of content, poor usability, and eventually chaos. A re-design is a perfect opportunity to take an inventory and put things back on track. It will also allow for a better user experience.

New Foundation

With any re-design it is a great time to do a little rethinking. Looking at the current site a question needs to be asked. What is it that people want when coming to my site? By understanding what it is people are looking for from your site you will be able to better position that information within the architecture of the entire site.

Judging by the Cover

The old adage "Never judge a book by its cover" doesn't apply to your website. Users to your site make quick and often harsh judgment calls within seconds of viewing your homepage. By making outstanding first impression with a crisp, clean, professional look the user gets a sense of trust from the company behind the site.

Follow the Leader

Your site could have the exact information a specific user is looking for. However, if it takes too long for them to locate it chances are they will go somewhere else to find the information. By making your site as user friendly as possible you will be able to guide the user to specific areas of content. Bringing content that is hidden under multiple clicks to the forefront makes it easy for a user to locate. As well as, leads the user to other areas of your site that they might not have known about.

New Experience

New features can dramatically improve the user experience. Online calendars that allow a user to register for events are a perfect example of how a simple feature increases the value of a site. No longer does the user have to call or mail in an RSVP card. As such, the company doesn't need a person to answer the phone for every registration.

Cheapest Employee

Your website could be your cheapest employee. It has already been mentioned that your site could make your day-to-day tasks a think of the past. By adding features to your site that help educate your user base, ehhance marketing efforts, as well as, develope a sense of who your users are you are in reality making your site work harder for you. The simple fact is that you have a site. Why not make it work harder and do more for you and your company? An offshoot of adding features like this is that your users have more interaction with your site and your company.

Your Future Customers

The whole goal of a re-design is to create a better experience for your users. There are many approaches to attain such a goal. Maybe it is a new look, a revised navigation scheme, or a complete overhaul. Whatever the outcome, your site should reflect the company behind the site and insure a sense of trust with you future customers.

Contact SFD today to schedule a FREE consultation on your current website. And get ideas on who you can make your website work harder for you.

The talent behind Small Farm Design's creative endeavors is Craig Kistler. An award-winning designer with years of experience in graphic design, print advertising, illustration, identities, and web design:

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SEO Opus

Key Facts you should know about Web Site design and Search Engine Optimization

1. Web site File Structure / File Naming

* Most search engines do not recognize beyond two directory levels.
* Make sure to name your files and directories with keywords.
* Don’t separate keywords using the underscore instead use hyphens.
* File names should be not too long.

2. Load Time

* If a page doesn't load in 8 seconds, Web site will lose 1/3 of the visitors.
* Images and Graphics -Image optimization will help to improve the load time. Images can be optimized using the “GIFBOT” image optimization tool (

3. Browser Compatibility / Screen Resolutions

* Make sure the all the web pages are compatible with the latest versions of Internet explore and Netscape. (Eg: IE 4.0 and above, Netscape 4.7 and above)
* Screen resolution is very important. Compatibility in 800 and 1024 resolution is a must.

4. Site Map

* A very important page on a web site.
Search Engine spider’s prefers Site maps.
* Name the Site Map page-using hyphen (site-map.html).
* Make sure the site map has links to every page of the web site.
* Use key words on the anchor.
* Try to describe the links with two or three lines.
* Give a link o the site map from all the pages of the site.
* Keep the site map simple with no or few images.

5. HTML Validation

* Make sure the coding is done according to the W3C standards. (
* Search engines are constantly rewarding web sites that utilize clean and validated HTML.
* Validate the HTML coding using the “CSE HTML Validator” before the site goes live. (

6. Custom 404 Error Page

* Through the custom 404 error page, make it easy for the users to find where they want to go.
* Use HTML links and include a search box.
* For information on how to create custom 404 pages for every type of server, visit the 404 Research Lab ( The site also features many examples of custom 404 pages.

7. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

* Cascading Style allows Webmasters to control Web page design parameters, such as margins, font/typeface appearance, link appearance, colors, and placement.
* CSS decreases download time. Style sheets alone don’t matter to the search engines.

8. Using JavaScript / Frames / Flash

* JavaScript - JavaScript is not search engine friendly and not important to the engines, so move it to a separate .js file.
* Frames – Try to avoid using frames. In a situation of using frame make sure to use the Tag. Frames must be navigational within the frames. Include an option to use the site with or without frames. And, use JavaScript to keep frames intact.
* Flash – Search Engine spiders cant read the flash (Except Anyway Flash can be used for demos and presentations.
* Layers – It is recommended not use layers.

9. Font Styles and Colors

* Font Styles – It is important to use the font styles compatible with the browsers.
* Colors – Web Safe Colors A few years ago, when most computers supported only 256 different colors, a list of 216 Web Safe Colors was suggested as a Web standard. The reason for this was that Microsoft and Mac operating system used 40 different "reserved" fixed system colors (about 20 each).

For more information Please visit

10.Title / Meta Key Words / ALT tags
* Title / Meta Key Words – Title and Meta key words play an important role search engine optimization.
* ALT Tags – It is important to have an Alt tag to each and every image.

Author, Rajitha Dahanayake, is the Senior eMarketing Analyst of Reservations Gateway Inc. He has over 3 years experience in search engine optimization and Web Marketing:

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