Archive for October 28, 2010

Tips on How to Sell Annuity Payments

October 28, 2010

You make think that people who have won the lottery or who have won a lot of money on a television show are the only people who will get annuity payments on a monthly basis. However, there are a lot of other situations that a person may find themselves in that would result in annuity payments. One of those situations may be when you win a court settlement or maybe when you inherit a lot of money from the death of a family member or if you cash in an insurance policy. There are plenty of situations where you may find yourself in a situation where you are receiving monthly payments from a large cash amount.

If you do find yourself in this situation you may be approached by a company or even think to yourself that you may want to sell your annuity payment. What this means is that a company will buy your annuity payments for a large sum and you will in turn get this large sum in lieu of payments every month. For example, if you won 1 million dollars and you were getting paid that money over thirty years in monthly payments, a company may offer you $750,000 and you can have that money straight away.

In some cases this can be a great situation for people. If you haven’t already realized, if you do decided to sell annuities then your total amount of money that you will get will be less than the total. However, for some people having a large sum of money now out weights what you may lose in the selling process. For example, if the person has a lot of debt or large bills to pay now, they can utilize that money to be free of that debt. Or, if you are wanting to invest your money it is better to have most of it to invest now than try to invest each monthly payment.

Be sure to research selling your annuity pay outs because as you may have guessed, there are some tax implications that can come along with doing this. Also, not every annuity is set up the same so it may be best to have a lawyer or a certified public accountant look at your annuity and discuss with you the implications of selling your annuity payments. Overall, make sure you do your research because you are the only person who is going to look after yourself.
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How to Create a Joomla Membership Site

October 25, 2010

Add Free or Paid Memberships to Joomla 1.5, using freely available components & plugins.

For webmasters on a budget Joomla has already proven a very powerful tool. With easy installation through fantastico, an unofficial estimate of Joomla websites is around 5.000.000.

A quick search using Yahoo of the Joomla footer tag ” Powered by Joomla! valid XHTML and CSS” gives 5,150,000 results proving that Joomla is not only a  free but a reliable & well supported C.M.S script.

Practically any requirement you may have from a content management site, Joomla can provide through numerous free extensions / modules / components, most very similar to the plugins used by WordPress.

Joomla membership sites can be created for free using a combination of these extensions.

But which extensions do you use & how do you configure them to work with payment processors etc. to turn Joomla into a fully functional e-commerce membership site?

To start you need to have an installation of Joomla 1.5, if your web host includes cpanel it is a simple matter of clicking the fantastico logo “smiley face” on cpanel under software / services.

Joomla 1.5 will be listed on the left hand side in Content Management, click the link & follow the on screen installation instructions.

Next download the Account Expiration Control, Component / Module & Plugin’s once downloaded & unzipped the file will include everything you need for your Joomla membership site.

Installing  A.E.C.

In Joomla Admin – Enable Legacy this is located in Extensions / Plugin Mgr

Upload & install A.E.C Component ( Extensions Install / Uninstall)

In Sequence upload & install the plugins – AEC Access, AEC Error, AEC Routing & AEC User

In Plugin Mgr ensure the plugins are lower than Legacy plugin, move using the down arrows.

Enable the plugins

Open AEC control Panel (Components/ AEC Subscription Mgr / AEC Central)

Under Settings / Hacks – Select Hacks & Commit Hacks lower right of screen.

Next download & install Docman ( Extensions / Install )

You now have all the required components installed to run your very first Joomla membership site!
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Using my web design with database solution like Joomla, WordPress. or similar?

October 17, 2010
So I am a web designer, I design web sites in Photoshop and then I create HTML code. I am great with static web sites but I am not very good at web programming (PHP) and I would like to learn it but really cannot find much time for it lately. So my question is is there a way for me to create my own design in Photoshop/Dreamweaver and then use my own design with CMS solutions like WordPress, Joomla etc… The point is I want to create database websites and update them trough CMS but have my own design used and not those templates that you can find on web for Joomla for example. So is this possible and which CMS solution do you recommend: Joomla, WordPress or some other? Thanks
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Picking the Right Content Management System

October 9, 2010

There are dozens if not hundreds of different Content Management Systems (CMS) in existence. Many of these are free to use and are built using Open Source principles; that is, many different developers contributor their time and expertise to the particular project for free and the code is there for all to use. All these CMSs are created using dynamic server-side development languages, with PHP being the most common followed by ASP.NET, Python and Ruby.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to have any working knowledge of these languages in order to use them, although a knowledge of HTML and CSS is very useful if you really want to get to grips with designing and developing your own site that is built with a Content Management System. I create websites for people all the time with different CMSs and I often build them so that the user doesn’t need any knowledge of web design at all in order to update it. Perhaps first it may be worth noting what Content Management Systems you should avoid. PHP-Nuke and many of its forks such as Postnuke were once the most popular CMSs, but today few serious users would go near them as they have lagged behind new innovation for years.

Dragonfly CMS though, one fork from PHP-Nuke, has a band of loyal, dedicated followers – and the same goes for XOOPS. The two most popular CMSs in existence are Drupal and Joomla. It’s hard to know how many websites are built with either Drupal or Joomla, but many hundreds of thousands would be a fair estimate. Both are quite easy to download and install, and if you rent server space that has Fantastico as a feature in the control panel it’s as easy as clicking a few buttons in order to have a full working website up and running. Joomla tends to attract the less experienced website creator as the administrator interface is more user-friendly and there are thousands of free and paid template themes.

In contrast, there are a great deal less ready-built themes for Drupal. The documentation for Joomla is more thorough than the equivalent guides for Drupal, but both have extremely large online communities where you can seek advice. Drupal forums have over 500,000 members, while Joomla has over 250,000 – it’s always best to use the search function first to see if your query has been asked before as 90% of the time you’ll find that it has. The biggest problem for the novice Drupal user is getting to grips with the administration back-end section.

This can be very confusing for those new to Drupal, however this situation should improve by the time Drupal version 7 is released as they are spending a great deal of time and money in fixing the poor usability aspects of the CMS. A recommended book to help you understand Drupal better is Building Powerful and Robust Websites with Drupal 6 by David Mercer (Packt Publishing). This starts at the basics and is easy to for anybody to read and follow. Drupal and Joomla are fine for most small to mid-sized concerns, however for large, popular sites that will see a lot of traffic it may be worth looking at eZ Publish or ExpressionEngine.

Don’t let the name fool you – eZ Publish, from the Norwegian company eZ Systems, is far from easy to learn! The robust CMS, ExpressionEngine, created by EllisLab, has won over a lot of professional web designers in recent years. ExpressionEngine offer a free limited core, with a full paid version if you intend to use it for commercial reasons. eZ publish is free and released under the GPL licence but there is a paid supported version called Publish Premium.

So here are some ideas for picking the right Content Management Systems. Often, website creators find their own personal preference after trying out a number of different CMSs – it’s good to try out as many as you can to see if they fit your needs and requirements.
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Making the Case For a Web Content Management System

October 9, 2010

In the past, web content was created by individual business groups within an organization and passed on to their IT department for placement into their website, where it would sit and grow stale as technology moved on and the organization struggled to keep up with it.  This struggle is compounded by the growing globalization of our economy where the user experience dictates that web site development and sites must be localized and translated as the consumer base expands. When the need for efficient document and content versioning, as well as effective disaster recovery is factored in – then a dynamic web content management system becomes the obvious solution.

While many companies have come to realize the benefits of a content management system, the make versus buy decision can still be a difficult one.  The reality is that a system designed and created by an in-house web development group will take longer to complete, be more difficult to use, and end up providing a very low ROI when compared to an “off the shelf” system that can be installed and ready to use in one month or less. In addition, a WCM vendor will provide training to the IT department and the content owners/managers, as well as provide ongoing product support and updates.

Determining the ROI that can be realized by investing in a web content management system requires taking a closer look at:

1. The current use of your IT resources as content managers and web developers – chances are your company has a team that focuses solely on creating web pages and updating content (or doesn’t have the time and frustrates content owners!).  A web content management system can boost your bottom line by re-deploying existing IT resources to work on higher payback projects, and eliminating the need to hire additional resources for major projects like year-end financial reporting.

2. The amount of time that it takes to develop and integrate effective web tools such as blogs, surveys, forums and wikis. Sure, you could build your own content management system and add in all of the cool new social media type tools. But studies have shown that home grown systems are quickly discarded from lack of use, simply because they usually come with a steep learning curve. The return on investment just isn’t there.

3. Savings realized by enabling the content owner and creator to update and publish their own content.   It just makes financial sense for the marketing department to create and publish their own content, or for your divisions to manage their own intranet sites.  This ensures that content is fresh and “in the moment,” rather than websites which were last updated a year or more ago.

4.The increase in revenue due to integrated globalization capabilities. With so many companies doing business worldwide, web content management systems are designed so that the same pages can display content for different regions. This allows the organization to capitalize on its global reach by attracting and relating to customers in all of the countries where it conducts business.

5. Be “green” AND cost effective – reduce your environmental footprint and save money by decreasing your dependence on paper and shipping. Eliminate paper forms and the manual processing of forms by leveraging web forms and create a collaborative environment among employees, customers and prospects. Rather than making physical copies of a document, store it once electronically and distribute it via the web. Save on printers, consumables, manual labor and shipping expenses.

6. Improved workplace flexibility can be achieved by centralizing and securing all your documents in a web environment. This will reduce your travel expenses (“green” again), improve collaboration (productivity) and provide some safe “work from home” capabilities.

7. Intangibles such as enhanced user experience and the ability to gather consumer feedback on the fly via surveys and polls. These are items that cannot be quantified but imagine, being able to poll one’s consumer base quickly and easily and use that feedback before launching a new product!
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Most Useful Joomla Extensions

October 5, 2010

There is such a wide variety of Joomla extensions available today that it is hard to determine and to sort through them all to find the most useful extensions to the core software program. Because of the software being open source, any third party can write an extension to the initial core components. This is why extensions to the Joomla software have flooded the market.

To make your job a little bit easier, we have weeded through the extremely large amount of extensions and narrowed it down into the most useful Joomla extensions that are available for you.

1. mtwMigrator. This is a component for the new v.1.5 version. It allows you to migrate all of your data from the old v.1.0 of the software to the new version. This software has made your job so much easier.

2. JoomlaXplorer. This program is an extension of the core components. It allows you to create new files and folders, upload content, search, move and delete files, downloads files, rename, copy, and so much more. It has definitely extended the Joomla core capabilities.

3 .JXtended Reports. This software will enable you to create and edit reports that pertain to your website. It is front end supported and will help you to keep track of visitor statistics and more.

4 .VirtueMart. This extension will allow you to turn your website into an eCommerce site. It can prove to become very valuable if you are going to operate an online store.

5 .JoomFish-Multilinguel Content Manager. If having control over the translation in your website matters to you, then this is the perfect extensions to you core Joomla software that will enable you to do such.

6. JCE. This is an advanced editor for WYS/WYG for the software program. Features include: plugin support, link and file handling, and more.

7 .Joomla Pack. This is a Joomla back up component. This will help you to create a site back up that can be reinstated on any server that is adaptable to Joomla.

8. Core Design Login Module. This will help your site if you would like to control who has access to the site and who doesn’t. It requires that the user enter a username and password before entering the site. Also has a link that the users will have access to just in case they forget their username and/or password.

There are so many extensions available and depending on what your individual needs are, will determine what extensions you will find extremely useful. It’s hard to determine useful extensions without knowing what each individual person’s needs are. This is just an “in general” list that will help you to get started.

Just remember that before installing absolutely unnecessary components, like the fun modules and plugins, you need to first extend the core components. If you don’t, you could slow your website down to the point that it is unbearable for all who use it. So, choose your extensions in the proper order, then have fun. Your website can prove to be as unique as you are.
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What is a Content Management System?

October 1, 2010

If you are running a website, having a good content management system (CMS) is imperative for your success; however, many companies still are not familiar with this system. Those who have not yet taken the time to implement one may well be selling themselves short by not understand what a content management system is, how it works, and the many benefits it can provide. Here is a closer look at content management to help you better understand this system and why it is so important for you to have one in place.

Understanding the Content Problem

For those who have websites online right now, more likely than not the site has grown steadily over the time it has been live; and while it may be quite useful for those who find it, it is not perfect and may not be easy to navigate. Some of the problems that can crop up include difficulty finding things in the site, problems updating the site, the content is no longer accurate or is out of date, and the appearance may be looking old too.

Another issue can be that you don’t even remember all the pages you have on the site, and you are not sure what material was up before. This can leave you in a tough position that is difficult to get out of, but with a good content management system, you won’t have to worry about this problem anymore.

Content Management System – A Definition

So what exactly is a content management system? Well, this is a system that helps you to create, manage, publish, distribute, and discover your corporate information. It will cover the entire lifecycle of all site pages, giving you tools that allow you to easily create and publish content, and tools that help with archiving content as well.

Tools that come with the content CMS allow you to deal with the site structure, the way your pages appear, and the easy of navigation for those who are using your site. This system is effectively broken down into creation of content, content management, content publishing, and the presentation of content. Each part of the system is important and will help to make your site and business more effective.

Benefits to Your Business

There are many different benefits that you can enjoy when you implement a good content management system for your online business. One benefit is that it will make it faster to get up changes to current content and to put up new pages for the site. Site navigation will get a lot better and the site will be more flexible as well. You’ll be less likely to have information that is duplicated, security will be better, and you’ll have more room to grown. Other great benefits include better consistency, lowered costs for site maintenance, and more.

A good content management system can help you to support your goals for your business, sales can be improved, users will be more satisfied, and you’ll be able to more effectively communicate with your readers. If you don’t yet have a decent CMS, it’s time that you look into implementing one yourself so you can enjoy these important benefits to your business.
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