September 27, 2001

Welcome to Issue 001 for the new Fortress E-Newsletter!

This newsletter is an evolution from our joint IMPACT! publication that was created in association with Liz Roberts Design. We've decided to break the IMPACT! publication into two unique newsletters.

The change of format allows us to provide updates on a different schedule from Liz Roberts Design and gives us more room for the content we want to add without making a combined newsletter a ridiculous length.

Our IMPACT! newsletter subscription list will remain intact, and you will be able to receive both the Fortress Newsletter and the Liz Roberts Design Newsletter with your single sign-up. Back issues of the respective newsletters will be available on the company websites.


In This Issue

Feature Article
Build it Right (pt 1)

Internet News
The Worm is here.

Web Spotlight
A look at Apex

Fortress Services

View back issues of this newsletter at ------------

Building it Right Part 1

In the few short years the the Web has been a common tool, it has gone partly from an art to a science. It is now a place where stats are monitored and information is categorized. The Internet is creating impressive job titles like Webmaster, Information Architect, Content Manager, Online Marketer and E-Commerce Entrepeneur. So what do these 'experts' know about creating websites that you don't? Well other than the actual programming and design, there are 10 basic rules that they know... and that you need to. Whether designing yourself or talking with your hired guns, always keep the following in mind:

1) Make your first page count
Your first page is the first impression you give to your visitors. Like we covered last issue, this is the chance you have to either win over or turn off a potential client. Do it right and you inspire confidence, interest, and credibility. Do it wrong and you've just wasted all your efforts and money. Make sure you can design well, or hire someone who can. Nothing kills a site like a bad design.

2) Know your audience
Every Web site need a clear objective, which means knowing your target audience. Determine the age, level of expertise, professionalism and purpose of your visitor. Your layout and content must reflect this target group. Don't put silly jokes and cartoons on a site aimed at business professionals. Don't use corporate language and layouts on a site aimed at young mothers and children. Know how your target group acts, works, plays, and surfs. Do the research or you chance wasting your efforts.

3) Interact with people
The Web is designed for interaction and a great many sites completely ignore this fact. How many websites have you seen that are just basic company brochures put online? It's amazing how often we are asked for a simple transfer of a flyer onto the Web. While it may be cost-effective, it's certainly not going to generate results from the savy Web user. Allow your visitor to participate in your site. Interaction can include a simple fill-in form, an electronic newsletter signup, a message board, live chat room, comment forms, online poll or usable calculator. Get your audience involved in your site and odds are they will come back.

4) Don't let them get lost
Navigation tools don't need to be wildly original or funky, they just have to be crisp, attractive, and understandable. If your visitor has to ask, "How do I get there from here?" you have lost half the battle of a succesful Web site. Keep your menus short and clean and keep them on every page via the use of frames, tables or drop-down menus. If you have a lot of content add a local website search engine. If they can't find it... they'll try somewhere else.

5) Keep it simple
The medium is not the message. The content is the message. A website with lots of interesting elements and all sorts of wild and crazy stuff may wow... but don't let it overwhelm. Keep a balance between the design and the content. Remember that ultimately your visitors are here not to see your flash introduction, but to find out about your business or your services. If you have a strong professional and attractive design then you can let your content do the rest.

Next month we will cover items 6 - 10 and tie it all together.

The Nimda Worm is Here!

A new worm, officially called W32/Nimda@MM, is circulating on the Internet and affecting large numbers of people using Windows operating systems. Microsoft is working with the anti-virus community and other security experts to thoroughly investigate the worm. If you haven't already installed the appropriate updates and/or patches, your computer can become infected. A large number of web servers and personal computer have been affected all across North America, including a number of our own.

It attempts to spread via three different means:

Infected machines attempt to spread the infection to other users by sending copies of the worm via email. Simply opening the email itself would be sufficient to infect the machine it would not be necessary to open an attachment.

Web servers:
Infected machines attempt to pass the infection to web servers by either locating an already compromised server, or by exploiting a known security vulnerability in Internet Information Server. Once infected, a web server will attempt to infect the machines of any users that visit it. This means that visiting any infected web site (and you won't know till you get there) will infect your machine.

File shares:
Infected machines will search for systems that have been configured to allow anyone to add files to them and, upon finding such a machine, will insert infected files onto it. By default, Windows systems only allow the authorized user of the system to access the files on it. However, if the worm finds a system that has been configured to allow other users to create files on it, it adds files that spread the infection. Anyone using a Local Area Network should be aware that file sharing will almost certainly ensure every computer on the network being infected.

Prevention and Cure

Microsoft has a number of patches and fixes on their website.( Download and install the appropriate one for your version of Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Windows.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you get a good version of Norton Anti-Virus or some other reliable virus protection software. Prevention is much better than needing a cure!

A Look at Apex Communications

Apex Communciations is a company that will most likely not need a lot of introduction to those of us in the B.C. Lower Mainland. We've seen their wild vehicles all over the roads.

Determined to not be just another cellular and security store, Apex uses unique images and marketing approaches to get noticed, and incorporates great service with great prices to turn new clients into life-long clients.

At Fortress we went for a brighter approach to their site design than what they had on most of their marketing materials. We used the orange as a more 'funky' colour on headings and highlights. The site features such things as:

  • Unique image headers and photos for each page
  • Streaming Video
  • Complete web site search engine
  • Information and pricing request forms
  • Large product database with printable feature sheets
  • Regular contests and product specials pages
  • Full statistics and tracking package for visitor monitoring

Visit the Apex Communications Web Site at

Boost business with an E-Newsletter

An electronic newsletter is a perfect way to keep in touch with clients and prospects in the information age. Instead of, or in addition to, getting your newsletter in their postal mailbox your newsletter comes into their e-mail inbox. (just like this one did)

Electronic newsletters come with their own database management system for managing your mailing lists. Your website contains a simple signup box for clients and prospects. All a visitor to your site has to do is input their e-mail address and they are added the mailing list automatically. Sending newsletters is as simple as sending an e-mail.

Dynamic e-mails get read. The rest get trashed.

The power of an electronic newsletter comes from its very low production costs as there is no printing house to pay. It's the perfect way to reach a large audience of people on a limited budget. Because of its dynamic and graphical design, the electronic newsletter is read by your clients... instead of just being instantly deleted.

How Cost Effective?

Our design team can create an electronic newsletter that works with an existing or new site design, or stands alone entirely. Costs to design an newsletter is very reasonable and a low monthly cost for the database and updates means that you'll be eager and able to send out regular newsletters.

Let us go over the entire process with you and provide you with a firm quote based on your electronic newsletter needs.

A full demonstration of the power and function of an e-newsletter is available upon request.

(C) 2001 - Fortress Web Design
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