Helpful FAQ Pages

With popular businesses and organizations, chances are they have a website. Some of them such as Etsy, Hulu, YouTube, and Delicious are mainly web-based with the activity from consumers. On these pages a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) page is in order. Not everyone is completely web-savvy and may need some assistance.

Jake from spyrestudios.com says, “Support pages are a commonly accepted trait amongst webmasters. Once your website grows to support a large enough userbase you simply have to offer some type of knowledgebase.”

If a person is resorting to a FAQ page, they’re probably feeling frustrated enough. How these businesses and organizations decide to curate their FAQ pages hopefully doesn’t add to the noise when searching for answers. Etsy’s FAQ page did just that as I clicked on various questions. The categories are nicely organized, drop-down menus. But after clicking on one, several possible questions appear. Going back to the FAQ page my place was lost, and the result? More frustration. Some of the question’s were so simple they could have been mentioned in other answers. For example, under “Open a Shop” the question “Who can be a seller?” has a two-sentence answer; “Anyone can be a seller. You must be at least 18 years of age to sell on Etsy”. This could be placed under “How do I set up my shop?” because if you’re not of age (or planning to lie about it to start an account) then one should stop their quest. However, Etsy’s Help page seemed a lot better. There isn’t much, but it was better than viewing a ton of questions in drop-down menus. Other business’ also take on a category set-up for FAQ pages like Hulu and definitely execute it much better than Etsy. On Hulu, there’s no losing your place and any questions about the topic are right there. If by chance questions could not be answered a “Contact Us” link at the bottom is there for any user’s convenience. Some take a different approach having it conversational like Campfire while others may have a mixture. Both Delicious and YouTube are great examples of this. They were my favorites because it isn’t overwhelming with redundant questions and the answers are simple and effective. So next time you’re on a website and have a question or two, look for a “FAQ” or a “Help” page. If the answers you seek cannot be found there, “Contact Us”.

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States Seceding? Will They Succeed?!

In recent events with President Obama winning his re-election, citizens from of our states were not too happy about his victory. According to the Chicago Tribune, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee have all filed petitions and qualify for a response.

“The Texas petition says the United States is suffering from economic troubles stemming from the federal government’s failure to reform spending. It also complains of alleged rights abuses committed by agencies like the Transportation Security Administration.

“Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union,” it said.”

Texas has done it before. Who says that they won’t be successful if they give it another go? Regardless of possibilities we should learn from our history and remember should the states be successful, there probably isn’t a  light at the end of the tunnel they’re looking for. This could, and most likely is a jab at the White House to communicate, “The hope and change discussed in a campaign four years ago needs to come in effect now. Or else.”

Hope Still Exists For The Victims of Hurricane Sandy

According to The Star Ledger, states such as New Jersey and New York took a hard hit from hurricane Sandy. While many have lost precious possessions Governor Chris Christie still has hope for everyone.

“Rebuilding will be the next phase of the recovery,” Christie said. “It will be the longest phase of the recovery. But I’m confident we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to rebuild together.”

This isn’t going to be easy for those over on the east coast, but with hope and a lot of hard work anything is possible. Slowly but steadily they are regaining power for homes and businesses. Resources such as gas are being rationed out and power to schools are a priority. If interested in donating to help the cause, take a look at  Charity Navigator’s website before picking one to give to.

Live Updates on the Election 2012

For this past election, The Guardian has a page where one could watch updates in different medias such as newspaper websites and tweets as the polls closed and states lit up with which ever color they turned to be. These updates can be viewed and still appear to be occuring. The Guardian has also posted their take on Obama’s victory and the Republicans loss.  “Action on the deficit will require a “grand bargain” with Congress and that means the Republican party, which retained control of the House of Representatives, though Democrats remain in charge in the Senate.” Within these next four years, there may not be a whole lot accomplished because of how control in Congress is split between parties.

The Purpose of Linking

What is the purpose of linking for bloggers, newspapers, etc? Jay Rosen discusses the Washington Post taking on a new media in the hopes of increasing their number of readers and gain extra profit from advertising for others. He then discusses a rule of theirs; “You don’t send people away from your domain”. Because of that rule, it does not match the ethic of the web; connecting people to knowledge where ever it is.

In Jeff Jarvis’ article New rule: Cover what you do best. Link to the rest, he discusses newspapers and their websites. “In the rearchitecture of news, what needs to happen is that people are driven to the best coverage, not the 87th version of the same coverage.” If we cannot offer better information on a topic someone else has already covered, then we can present it effectively by way of linking.

With good curating and reliable links, bloggers can keep their audiences coming back.

How To Prepare For Retirement

In my previous post I discussed a few ways that one may be able to apply to their own lifestyle. Hopefully, those ideas and tips will lead a person to a result of keeping some of a well earned paycheck in their pocket. Retirement is something that most of us do not give much thought to. Instead of being reliant on social security when we’re older and/or unable to work, having substantial funds of our own would be a much better option. Especially when none of us know whether the system will be there for future generations! On the Osun Defender’s website, they share some do’s and don’ts when it comes to setting aside money for retirement. On About.com, Melissa Phipps, a guide for the website shares six different types of retirement plans that one should know about. Most know about 401(k) plans, but there are others such as IRA accounts. If a person were to build up enough that they are considering investment, a few things such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds could be a good option. What about people in their 20’s or a little bit older? Have they have fallen behind in saving for retirement already? According to Walter Updegrave, who writes for CNN’s website, there’s no need to worry. If one is still unsure about where to start, check out these ten tips on the United States Department of Labor’s website.

A Start to Saving? Make Cuts of Your Own

Saving money by cutting back on a few expenses can be a good start on setting aside funds for future needs. Catie Marie Martin, a college student at Mississippi Statue University brings up nine good tips to save money in college. Tips such as carpooling or brewing your own coffee instead of running through Starbucks can add up in the long run. What about those of us who don’t have the option to walk, ride our bikes, or carpool to where ever we need to go? Nedra Rhone, who writes for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog, shares some tips that may help our vehicles be a little more fuel efficient. Not that these tips will take your car from getting twenty miles per gallon to thirty. But these days any little bit can help. What about costs of energy? Electric and gas bills tend to go up when winter comes around. The staff on infoZine.com bring ten tips that may be of help when that time of year comes around. From time to time, we all have to give our wardrobe an update, whether it’s due to the clothing wearing out or not wanting to look like we’re borrowing clothes from our parents. Josh Venecia on The Towerlight‘s webiste brings some ideas on places to check out and sales to go for when shopping for some new additions to our closets. Another idea that most of us may not think about is our cell phone bill. Do we really need unlimited talk and text? Maybe we just need unlimited on one thing or the other. If a person has such a plan, usually they are able to view how many minutes, texts and data they have actually used for the month. Re-evaluating our needs when it comes the the phones in our pockets could make a difference.  I personally know a few people that have changed their plans due to texting more than talking and they are now paying less than what they started out with. Unhookedcellular.com has a page where they have brought links to different cellular companies together so one can view different plans and phones that may fit their needs better.

Change Of Topic; Saving Money

For my last topic I looked into how internships can be very beneficial, how a person can get the most out of that experience and a few good ways to go about finding one. Now I will be looking into a topic about saving money. These days it seems as if a lot of people in our communities struggle to make ends meet due to money being tied up in expenses such as food, gas, rent, child care and other various bills. I actually work for a local bank and am going to combine my knowledge from there with what I find in my research. The bank I work for has a bunch of programs that one can get themselves set up with, one being “529 College Savings” plan. If someone has a child that they would like to set aside money for, for his/her college education that would be a good way to go about it. Some my have their objections involving expenses such as the ones that I mentioned earlier. But setting aside a few dollars a day, week, or even a month can get things going. Another thing that some do not give much thought to is retirement. No one is getting any younger and I think all of us would like to enjoy at least of few of our final years without having to work. I will be looking into not only things that we can cut back on, but also the best sources and plans that can get us the most for our money when we do save.

Curating

What makes good curating for the web? When we visit websites normally, audiences like to see something inviting and interesting. Good presentation and organization for business and ideas are a neccessity, in most cases. One website that most of us can make an excpetion for is Craigslist.com. I live in the South Bend area, so that is what I will be referring to. The setup is organized but not nessecarily attractive. Maybe if there were pictures of a few items it could be more eye-catching. But simultaneously, millions of people make postings on craigslist and the website’s intentions are to basically be an online classifieds section. So while craigslist may not look very interesting, those who are familiar with the website and its purposes know that it’s not there to dazzel its viewers. Maybe if craigslist invested in hiring people to be “Content Curators” things that are posted could be managed, if a time frame were given to those that made postings. For example, someone trying to sell a car could make a posting, but craigslist could have it set up so that there is a time frame, such as 3-6 months for the post to be in existence. If the item has not been sold, one can simply create the posting again! On FilmSchoolRejects.com, they discuss curating for a different industry. In the interview, around 3:20 there are some very good similarities between curating for the web and film that are discussed! Take the time to listen to the interview for the first five minutes at least! 🙂

Internships Give a Head Start

Jessica Lim from The Sophian, discusses why internships are a must for today’s students.

“Even so, many employers regard internships highly because they help hiring teams evaluate how an individual would fare in the actual workplace, as well as separate those who have experience from those who do not. Competition is steep in the global job market, so obtaining “real world” experience through an internship can allow a student to become a more qualified candidate. Moreover, internships can be beneficial in more than the academic sense—students can also build connections within a career field. Through interning, individuals can establish a professional network that is helpful in today’s job hunt. In addition, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2008 Experiential Education Survey, employers reported hiring 70 percent of their interns.

Although internships are not the only key to securing a career position, in today’s competitive job market, some argue that it is what you know and who you know that often makes the difference, and that internships often address both issues at the same time. As such, the importance of internships may demand considerable attention from the college student.”

I think Jessica has it right because when companies are looking for new employees, they’re going to go for the ones that already have the experience. Internships can also get you a good start on networking with companies and having connections when it comes time to send out your resume. A couple friends of mine would actually fall into that seventy percent of being hired into company that they interned for.

Just as Jessica says, an internship doesn’t mean that anything is going to be guaranteed to you after graduation. But it can give your resume a good boost compared to those that have no experience, and who knows? The company may have a position waiting for you after graduation. Why not take the time to give yourself a better chance at getting hired?