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Archive for September, 2006

Stock Data Analysis - Using The Web To Crunch Numbers

September 19th, 2006
Author: Kyle Wukawitz

There are literally hundreds of sites on the internet that provide stock data. Getting information about a current stock you may be interested in or monitoring is not an issue. However, using their software can often prove to be a limiting experience. The user if often conformed to using their analysis tools. Tools, that while useful may not employ the exact strategy you wish to use. One of our client’s, we’ll call him “Dave” was exactly in this delima. He had his own specific formula he wanted to use to weed out bad stocks and trade good ones. With nobody on the internet able to provide the functionally he was looking for, he had us design a program for him.

CGI Pro went on to custom develop a stock data analysis tool for Dave that implemented his specific formulas to calculate which stocks would produce the best results for him. The program is simple - take a snapshot of the current market. Filter it through Dave’s algorythms, then make buying and selling descisions based upon the outcome of the analysis.

The results of Dave’s program speak for themselves. He is currently making a lot of money based upon the power of computers analyzing data in format he saw as valuable. Sure, the other companies online may provide great visual tools, yet how many of them let you flavor the analysis? Most likely - none. You’re often forced lockstep into a predetermined analysis that thousands of other investers and traders are using. How effective is that?

CGI Pro has the ability to create custom stock programs that you can use to pick stocks according to your rules. How often have you read a good book or article about trading and have been unable to employ the techniques mentioned on a large scale? Imagine what a computer can do for you - making literally thousands of calculations a second, crunching the numbers for you more accurately than you ever could by hand. If you are curious about how CGI can deploy your personal stock data analysis tool, please contact us.

10 Design Tips for Improving Your Web Site

September 19th, 2006
Author: Prashanth

1. Keep Your Pages Fast-Loading 

Web users are impatient. Don’t force visitors to wait through JavaScript-enabled introductions or QuickTime movies before they can enter your site. Always provide a “Skip” or “Stop” button when using these elements. 

2. Avoid Dead-End Pages 

Always offer your customers a way out of a page. This could mean including a link to the main page on every page. Users are becoming increasingly accustomed to a navigation bar that links to all the sections of a site, and company logos that act as a navigation link to the home page. You can also offer text links on each page for going to “Top of page” or “Back.” 

3. Facilitate Scanning 

Study after study shows that most people don’t read on the Web. They scan content for information that is relevant. Facilitate this process by breaking up text with headings and subheadings. Use text links that allow readers to jump from section to section. Don’t expect people to scroll to find information on your site. 

4. Avoid Overusing Graphics, Animation, and Multimedia 

If they don’t add functionality, don’t use graphics, animation, movies, sounds, and so on. Only use these features if they enhance your customers’ experience. Product photos are often valuable additions to your site, but you might want to minimize the delays they could cause in load times by using thumbnail (small) images. You can link these thumbnail images to larger, more detailed images for customers who are interested in having a closer look. You can even include technology that allows viewers to zoom in on features or rotate the view of the product. 

Limit the number of images on each page for faster load times. If pages or files will take some time to download, it’s best to forewarn your customers by noting the file size next to the link to them. If anything, users have less patience for state-of-the-art technology these days as the Web becomes dominated by new users, and the upgrade speeds for new browsers and plug-ins decline. 

5. Don’t Assume That Everyone Uses the Same Browser 

Avoid designing for a certain browser or trying to force a certain look. Some Web authors make extensive use of elaborate formatting tricks in a determined effort to coerce a client program into creating a specific visual rendering. These pages look good when viewed with the author’s browser of choice, but look bad in most or all other browsers. 

6. Provide a Text Option 

Browser preferences allow users to turn off graphics if they choose, and those who are using older browsers may not have the ability to view all images. So provide text links or alternative text tags in addition to graphics, including navigational buttons or bars. 

7. Delay Registration 

There are many reasons for asking visitors to register at your Web site, but don’t put your registration form on the first page. Show your content first; demonstrate that registration has its rewards before you ask visitors to spend their time on it. 

8. Make Your Forms Flexible 

Online forms are often necessary and useful for placing an order or setting up accounts. But try to make your forms flexible by limiting the number of required fields. Also, make errors easy to find and correct. If users have incorrectly entered a phone number, they shouldn’t need to complete the entire form again. Just have them correct the portion with the error, which should be highlighted to make the mistake obvious. Include a “Help” link in case customers run into problems while filling out a form. It’s just not worthwhile to people to take time to figure out how to make something work on your site when there are 5 million other sites to visit. 

9. Avoid “Under Construction” Signs 

By definition, Web documents change over time. Either your pages are useful to people (in which case you need not apologize for them) or they’re not — in which case, you aren’t ready to show them to the world and shouldn’t be making them public. 

10. Provide a Clear Path for Customers to Make a Purchase 

Display your products, descriptions, and prices prominently. If you’re going to talk about a product your company sells, explain how to order it. Many Web sites are guilty of not fully disclosing product and pricing information or making it clear how to buy their products. Even if you are not yet prepared to process transactions online, you can let customers know how to buy your products by including a telephone number or retail location where they can complete a purchase, or a date when the product will become available online. 

5 Reasons For Blogging in Business

September 18th, 2006
Author: Kyle

Should you use blogging to promote your internet business? Like anything else, the final answer will depend on a lot of things, but here are 5 reasons why you may want to use blogging as an internet marketing tool.

1. It’s simple. Even people without websites are selling things on the internet. The most common system is to set up a blog, a simple thing to do, on a subject with which you are familiar. Then, you join one or more affiliate programs for products or services related to the subject of your blog.

2. It’s real. Remember that part about creating a blog on a subject you were familiar with and enjoyed? That’s one of the keys to a successful blog. Others with the same interests will come by your blog over and over again to see what you have added.

3. It’s free. Most sites which allow bloggers to set up shop do not charge. Many have an impressive array of tools, templates, and features. In fact, many sites such as myspace.com and directmatches.com include a free blog as a part of their services.

4. It builds respectability. Once again, writing about familiar subjects and demonstrating your genuine interest in the topic creates an aura of respectability to your blog. Additionally, you may begin to become recognized as an “expert” on the subject and may get regular return visitors.

5. It increases market share. You cannot compete with Ford or General Motors - at least not yet. However, if you are providing valid, valuable information on your chosen topic and updating your blog regularly, there is a good chance that you will begin to build a loyal following. One common result of this is that somebody who visited your blog and liked it refers it to someone else.

There are many means of increasing your blog’s value and reach. Most of these are pretty much the same as what you would do to increase the popularity or search engine rank of any other website. However, with blogs, simply providing well presented, regularly updated, valuable content will probably do more than anything else to enhance your blog’s standing.

While you can see the value of blogging to enhance your internet marketing efforts, your blog may wind up being the only internet business you ever really need.