The Ed Web Blog

The Ed Web Blog's purpose is to inform you about Ed Web Services. The component used for the blog is EasyBlog by Stack Ideas and is available for your Ed Web Hosted website.

Email Marketing Do's and Don'ts

Now you'll be able to create newsletters that people can't wait to read! Click the image to view the pdf. Brought to you by HubSpot :-) 


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HBA Social Media Seminar

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A big thank you to the Homer Business Association for inviting me to present a seminar on Social Media.  The HBA is a wonderful group of kind people who are the fabric of the Homer business community. Another big thank you to Sylvia Nye for going the extra mile to secure the Living History Center for the venue for the seminar.  The venue there is second to none for a seminar of this type. 

I have posted the content from the presentation here...  The images within the presentation link to the respective websites imbedded in the presentation. Just click on the image on most slides and it will take you to more information on the topic. 


Here are some additional tips for managing your businesses social media presence from Andrea Vahl, one of the web's best trainers on the topic of social media management:

  • Don’t sign up for every social media site all at once.
  • Do one or two things well and then add more.
  • Make sure you know why you are doing it so you keep the big picture in mind.

There are huge benefits to participating in Social Media including:

  • Expanding your Internet presence
  • Growing your e-mail list
  • Connecting with current clients
  • Finding new customers Forming joint ventures
  • Helping your Search Engine Optimization for your website or blog
  • Masterminding new ideas by watching others in your industry
  • Make sure you know why you are on social media and put key measurements in place so that you know when you are successful.

Here at Ed Web Services we can assist you in meeting your businesses social media goals.  From a one to one consult to get you moving toward your goals to comprehensive management of your business social media presence we can tailor a plan that is just right for you. 

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SY 2016 Update

SY 2016 Update
Summary: The past school year has been a busy one here at Ed Web Services.  We have been upping the communication game for our ten Locals with some including  Mailchimp integration to send updates and newsletters. Several sites now include timelines from Facebook and Twitter accounts for both the Locals and NYSUT. Most sites are keeping the money coming in for Member Benefit ads from NYSUT and AFT although more could be getting the AFT money.  Above all keeping our site's software updated to stay ahead of spammers and hackers has occupied many back office hours this year.
Mailchimp has become a new ally in the effort to keep our members informed.  Integrated with Joomla (our core software) we are able to pass our member lists from the site to Mailchimp with very little effort.  Once the list is there we are leveraging the email marketing power of Mailchimp's platform.  The templates as well as the drag and drop editing make it easy to put together a branded newsletter and push it to your members with a few clicks. After the fact tracking is also valuable to keep track of who is and who isn't reading the info that you send.  The local's currently using Mailchimp are using the free package but could up their game with the premium services that Mailchimp has to offer.  
User/member list management on your site, as always, is a critical piece of making Mailchimp work for you to accomplish your communication goals.  There is no more powerful tool for a Local than a finely tuned list of member's non-school email addresses coupled with website content delivered to specific groups using the access control of our Joomla websites. 
Facebook and Twitter feeds have become important pieces of the communication puzzle for the big Unions and Locals alike.  Although the access control is not there for delivery of sensitive info, the newsfeed are a powerful broadcast tool for keeping both members and the school community informed.  Many of the Ed Web sites now contain a newsfeed from the local we have included a NYSUT Facebook and Twitter feed along with the NYSUT RSS article feed on most sites. 
One area that could use improvement is getting reimbursements for the Locals.  Several Locals are getting the $500 NYSUT ad money but only three are receiving the AFT money.  There a few steps to getting set up to get the money and after that, Ed Web Services does the rest.  For both NYSUT and AFT we change the code monthly so that everything is in place for you to get the money.  With both reimbursements combined your $600 Ed Web Services site gets you $750 dollars annually (more for larger locals).  How can you argue with that?  The steps to get both of these payments can be reviewed on the Ed Web Blog
The back office work of site maintenance has kept us on our toes here at Ed Web Services this year.  The relentless persistence of internet spammers and hackers has kept site security at the forefront of our efforts.  There have been no fewer than 5 major software updates to the core software for our sites as well as all of the updates for the corresponding extensions.  All Ed Web sites are up to date.  All of your sites have the latest version of  'Captcha' installed to keep robots from creating accounts.  On our servers security is a priority and we are always keeping careful watch for attempt to compromise our sites. 
Following this update you will see another email sent from Paypal containing your annual invoice from Ed Web Services. You may pay it directly from the email using a credit card or, as always, a paper invoice will follow to your address  on record. 
Thank you for continuing to allow Ed Web Services to be your Local's web provider and thank you for all that you do for your members. 
As you enter the home stretch, enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and as only a Teacher can fully appreciate... I wish you a happy June ?! 
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Joomla! Core Features

Joomla! is one of the world's most popular software packages used to build, organize, manage and publish content for websites, blogs, Intranets and mobile applications. Owing to its scalable MVC architecture its also a great base to build web applications.

With more than 3 percent of the Web running on Joomla! and a CMS market share of more than 9 percent, Joomla! powers the web presence of hundreds of thousands of small businesses, governments, non-profits and large organizations worldwide like Citibank, eBay, Harvard University, Ikea, McDonald's and Sony.

As an award winning CMS led by an international community of more than a half million active contributors, helping the most inexperienced user to seasoned web developer make their digital visions a reality.

Here are some of the Joomla! features you will love.

Joomla Multilingual


Joomla! is the most popular and widely supported open source multilingual CMS platform in the world, offering more than 64 languages. Webmasters and content creators can create websites to be presented in multiple languages, without ever needing to step outside of the options available in the Joomla! core software. This is a big step forward and represents a set of capabilities that can make websites much more accessible, reaching out to a much larger audience.

Well supported

Well Supported

Our worldwide, enthusiastic community is filled with individuals, and teams of world class developers and business consultants who actively help at no cost in the forums.

There are thousands of professional Joomla! service providers throughout the world who can help build, maintain and market your Joomla! projects. The Joomla! community has a vetted directory of just some of these providers at the Joomla! Resources Directory.

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Easy Upgrades

One of the big challenges with any software is keeping it up to date. Fortunately, Joomla! has a "One Click Version Update" feature to make this process super easy for users of any skill level.
The built-in updater also has an automated checker which notifies you if anything needs updating; this includes notifications of the core software and Joomla! extension that utilise this feature. Keeping your site up to date is the single best thing you can do to secure your web assets and Joomla! gives you the tools to do this with little effort.

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Integrated Help System

Joomla! has an in-app contextual help system to help every level of user to operate their Joomla. Most pages have a help button in the top right, helping you fully understand all options on that page. There is also a glossary explaining the terms in plain English, a version checker makes sure you're using the latest version, a system information tool helps you troubleshoot. If all else fails, links to a wealth of online resources for additional help and support are available, such as Joomla! Documentation and User Forum.

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Media Manager

The Media Manager is the tool for easily uploading, organizing and managing your media files and folders. You can even handle more types of files, thanks to the configurable MIME settings. The Media Manager is integrated into the Article Editor so you can access images and all other media files for easy usage and enhancement of your written content.

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Banner Management

With the banner manager you have the possibility to easily add advertising and monetize your website. The tool allows you to create clients and campaigns, to add as many banners as you need, even custom codes, to set impression numbers, track the clicks and much more...

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Contact Management

Not enough with just one contact form on your site? The contacts component allows you to add several contacts, departments and categories, and extend the basic contact information with miscellaneous information and an image. Easily set up a contact form for each contact you create and allow access to the public or just to some registered users, or create a listing of these contacts.

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Content Management

Joomla! is a Content management system at heart and has some seriously great features that make organising and managing your content a breeze. Content creation is made very easy by the inbuilt WYSIWYG editor and allows you to edit content without any knowledge of code. After you created your content you'll find a lot of possibilities to show it on the frontend. Next to different layouts, you're able to use several pre installed modules to show the most popular articles, latest items, related articles and more.

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Nested categorization

When you are managing content, organisation is a key requirement. Being able to create categories with nesting and no limits on depth is a great plus in helping manage large websites.

Joomla Tag Icon


When categorisation is not enough to structure your content, it's time to look at a flat organisation structure which is best served by tagging. What's more, tagging in Joomla! also supports nesting, so limits are just not there! 
Start tagging.

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Frontend Editing

Editing content should be easy and fast. You are reading through your site's content and see a change you need to make. No need to login to the administrative section any more for simple edits of content and modules. 
Simply click and edit from the frontend.

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Content Versioning

You will never again lose a previous important version of your article and other changes on your site. You are now able to track exactly who made what changes, when, and, if a version note was entered, why the item got edited. Then if needed you can revert to any previous version.

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Syndication and Newsfeed Management

Make sure your visitors stay updated on the new content you're adding, even when they come only once in a while. With Syndication you create a feed that users subscribe to in their favorite RSS reader and so they receive the updates. With newsfeed management, you can integrate RSS feeds to your site. Gather all posts from some of the largest news sites and show them on your site for example.

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Powerful Extensibility

The Joomla! core is just the beginning, the real power is in the way you can customize Joomla. More than 8.000 extensions are available to extend your website and broaden its funcionality. Visit the Joomla! Extensions Directory or use the Joomla! extension finder built right into Joomla! to see thousands of ways to enhance Joomla! to suit your needs.

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Extensive ACL for all your access control needs

ACL stands for Access Control List, it allows you to manage the users of your site, and different groups. When you're managing large content portals or even intranets that means you need extensive control on who can see what and who can edit or manage what. The Joomla! ACL is extremely powerful and can be tweaked via configuration to suit any needs you might have.



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Steps to Making Your Website Happen



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EWS: The School Year in Review, SY2015

EWS: The School Year in Review, SY2015

The Winter of 2015 was a rough one and the Albany politicians seemed to be taking their intensity from Mother Nature's playbook.  As Albany continues its agenda of education privatization, NYSUT has held stood fast to her principals.  The NYSUT local leaders have worked tirelessly to deliver the information to their rank and file and we here at Ed Web Services continue to facilitate that communication.  As the 2015 school year draws to an end allow me to share our achievements. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_service-areax200.png Expanded Service Area: EWS is now working with NYSUT Teacher and Support Related Professionals locals throughout Central New York and The Southern Tier across a 100 mile diagonal from the Oneida Boces Teachers Association to the Horseheads Teachers Association. 

Working With RC 45  EWS is serving as webmaster of as well as assisting in editing and producing the NYSUT RC45 with their 'Spotlight' newsletter. 

Ed Web Service's Website: 2015 marked the debut of a redesigned vital hub for clients.  The site hosts a gallery of Ed Web sites to share design ideas and the 'Ed Web Blog' for informational and instructional articles. Check out

b2ap3_thumbnail_logoletteredx150.pngCreation of "The Union Buzz": In 'Beta' and ready for testing by you. Now that you have your Union website where you want it and you are communicating within your Local, Its time to start communicating between Locals. Imagine negotiating your next contract with information from nearby Locals at your disposal.  Enter "The Union Buzz’",  an exclusive  social network for regional officers/executives to share, discuss, blog, and post . 

Incorporation of Mailchimp for Email Communications: Our Sisters and Brother in the Oneida Boces Teachers Association are now integrating Mailchimp into their site to push their news to their members inboxes. Each email communication is sent to their over 100 site registrants.

Social Feeds: Several of the locals in the EWS family have established Facbook and or Twitter accounts to distribute information to their followers. EWS has incorporated live feeds on their sites that display in real time everytime the site is refreshed. EWS has also added NYSUT United Facebook feed and @NYSUT a Twitter feed to several of the Local's news pages. See the NYSUT Feeds

Southern Tier Technology Conference: Representing The Cortland County Teachers Center, T. Gath of Ed Web Services served on the planning committee for the first Southern Tier ConnectED Conference.  The conference was a huge success attended by hundreds of teachers.  A great conference day had by all. The keynote speech by Dr. Kristen Swanson - How Learning has changed was fantastic.  

Adding AFT Ad Revenue: Two locals got $240 in ad revenue from AFT ads on their home page.  EWS has a relationship with Chistine Teasdale of AFT Member Benfits to assist in getting ads on the sites and securing the annual payments for the locals.  Although EWS cannot receive the payments directly, your Local's Treasurer can and the funds can be used to cover the cost of the website. If your local is not yet getting the ad revenue from AFT is should be.  The following EWS Blog post will explain the steps necessary to get on board: Getting Ad Reimbursement for Your Local's Website .

Well, that is a summary of some of the major achievments for the 2015 school year.  Ed Web Services works tirelessly to keep you website up to date and to keep it working for you. Here at Ed Web Services we take pride in working for you, with you. 


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Getting Ad Reimbursement for Your Local's Website


Both NYSUT and AFT offer reimbursement programs for advertising on your website. Your Ed Web Services contract leverages these offers and sets up the opportunity for your local to completely cover the costs of your website development, service and support using these reimbursements. Here is the information for each organization to get set up:

NYSUT Member Benefits: (annual reimbursement $500)

Follow this link that explains the reimbursement program:

Here is the content of the email release of the ads sent by NYSUT Member Benefits with directions for reimbursement:

Hello Editors,

Attached please find the ad you can use in your newsletters. There is a color PDF, a black & white PDF, a JPEG file and the cover memo. Please use whichever version works best for you. 

You can also find the ads posted on the NYSUT website, in the Leader Access area. You will need to establish an account and log on to the site to access the ads.

To receive the $100 reimbursement from Member Benefits, newsletter editors must:

• Print the entire ad in either your newsletter that gets distributed to NYSUT members.
• Submit a copy of your newsletter to Member Benefits. Please include the name and address of the person that should receive the check and the complete name of your local (many locals have similar abbreviations).
• Send your submission to: Newsletter Program, NYSUT Member Benefits, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110-2455.

Your newsletter qualifies whether it is a printed or electronic publication.

❗️Electronic newsletters can be submitted to Member Benefits via email to Tammy Ross at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Have a great day!

Kathy Hans
NYSUT Member Benefits Trust
Phone: (518) 213-6000 ext. 1241
Fax: (518) 213-6413



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Using A Facebook Page to Promote Your Business or Organization

Using A Facebook Page to Promote Your  Business or Organization

Your Facebook page is a critical piece of marketing your business or organization.  It may currently be the most important piece.  Your Page is an extension of your business. It’s an easy way to share updates and more with the people who matter most. It’s ready to help you engage your customers on desktop and on mobile.  Here is a link to Facebook's guide to Page Fundamentals .

Here is a helpful graphic produced by Hubspot  that summarizes Do's and Don't for managing your page:



Another great blog for ideas about marketing is "The Vertical Response Blog " You can even download a free copy of their E-Book entitled "How to Attract Customers with Facebook ". 



There is no doubt that a Facebook page is critical to your business or organization.  Use the information presented in this blog to assure that you are leveraging the Power of The Page in every way that you can. 


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Your Site: Traffic, Customers and Sales

Your Site: Traffic, Customers and Sales

Weather you are a for profit business, a non-profit or a philosophical cause , your website's purpose is to generate "sales". Sales to you may be realized as new site registrations for your non-profit site or actual sales if you run an commerce site.   Sales are generated on the web based on this workflow:  Traffic converts to Customers who then covert to Sales. Let's take a look at some of the ways that you can keep these conversions moving in the right direction. 

Driving traffic to your site.  Your Ed Web Services website should be the hub of your web marketing, and social media, email, QR Codes, etc., are spokes that should drive traffic to the hub. Today, Facebook is the most effective means of driving traffic to your website. People who 'Like' your Facebook page have already indicated to you that they are interested in becoming your customer or sharing what you have to offer with their friends so that their friends can enjoy what you have to offer.  Use your Facebook page to direct people to your website by posting links to landing pages within your site that contain a 'call to action'.  When traffic is directed to a call to action and execute that action by giving you their contact info, they are now considered a customer. If the call to action involves a business transaction like a purchase or subscription the conversion is complete. Site traffic => Customer => Sales. 

Here is an image that illustrates the concept of using social media to drive traffic to your site. This particular images is from a blog from the Wine industry. 




Now that you have gotten the traffic to your site, it's time for the 'Call to Action'. According to Wikipedia,

“A call to action, or CTA, is a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it and continue down a conversion funnel.” 

(Excerpted from a blog on  ) Click, read, buy. Three actions you want your social media fans and followers to take. But they’ll never know how to react if you don’t ask. Incorporating an effective call to action that meshes tone, voice, content and strategy can make the difference between a post that flops and one that soars. Check out these strategies. Read about ways to create a COA by clicking the image:


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5 Questions Your Home Page Must Answer

When it comes to the anatomy of the website, the home page is arguably the most important part. It’s the first thing people see when they arrive on your site, so making a great first impression is paramount. In order to make sure you do just that, we decided to break it down by asking the hard questions.

Does your home page give the right answers? Time to find out:

Who Are You?

When eyes land on your website’s home page, the answer to this question should ring loud and clear. If you have a website for your business, your logo should be the first thing they see, or at the very least second. The same goes if you have an online portfolio or are using the site to promote your services. Be sure to answer this from the get-go so that there’s never room for any confusion. For tips on creating a fantastic logo, check out this blog post.

Who Are You?

What Do You Do?

It’s best to give people a clear sense of what service you provide or, more simply, what the reason for your website actually is. For example, if you’re a photographer – make it known. The same rule applies no matter what purpose your website serves. Sometimes the best way to go about this is to simply add your title, occupation or business service directly nearby your name or logo to eliminate any doubt.

What Do You Do?

What Information Can I Find Here?

Once you’ve got the first two questions down pat, this is your next stop on the road to home page perfection. Websites come in all different varieties – some choose to keep things ultra simple and information to the bare minimum, while others require a lot of pages and heaps of content. Whatever your site requires, it’s best to put an emphasis on smart navigation so your visitors can easily find the information they may be looking for. Organize your menu so it’s nice and neat and carefully lay out your site’s content to comply with visual hierarchy. Going with a fixed header can be a great way to achieve this.

What Information Can I Find Here?

What Sets You Apart?

Here’s where the word ‘brand’ comes into play. Don’t let it intimidate you – think of it more as a sentiment. What do you want people to associate your business or website with? Set the tone through your site’s design – fonts, colors, icons, and good quality images can move mountains when it comes to telling your story on the web. If you’re intimidated by design and its ever changing trends, just head on over to the Wix Blog’s dedicated web design section.

What Sets You Apart?

What Should I Do Next?

Once your site visitors have digested all that information, you’ll want to guide them to their next destination on your site. Where that next spot is depends on what you’re looking to achieve. But whether you want them to look over your art portfolio, product gallery, or testimonial page you’ll need to use a key web term: a strong CTA. CTA’s, or call to actions, can come in many forms. But whether it’s a button that simply says “Check out my artwork” or an icon with wording that reads “See more”, the point is always to get people clicking through to the next stop on your website’s roadmap.

What Should I Do Next?


Reposted from:

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Dr. Kristen Swanson - How Learning has changed.

Dr. Kristen Swanson - How Learning has changed.

As the keynote speaker at the Southern Tier ConnectED conference on March 12th, 2015 at Chenango Valley HIgh School, Dr. Kristen Swanson delivered a powerful message. Learning has changed and teaching is changing. Here is a summary of her presentation.


Hailing from Pennsylvania and returning to the area to address the conference, her opening anecdote involved a friend who as a fledgling dentist, used you-tube on his first patient as he didn't learn how to 'remove a filling in dental school.


"Job hopping" is the new normal for millennials. The average Millennial only stays in a job for an average of four years.  By 2020 independent freelance will be the majority. is an online crowed sources graphic design site that demonstrates a new business model. Freelancers bid on jobs that customers post and the winner gets the money.


The three things that are changing in todays learning world.


Content: Provide content is no longer the job of the leaner. Determining what content is accurate and relevant is the new job of the learner. Developing this skill is the job of today's educator.


Connections:  Social media is ubiquitous and can and should be leveraged in today's learning environment.


Creativity: Content creation instead of consumption should be the focus of the classroom environment.


If you want success in today's classroom you should focus on the following:  Here are some steps to empower learners in the digital age:


1. Give them the stuff -  the tools (iPads Computers etc) is a good start. But just the first step.

2. Develop relationships for learning. Blogging, posting,Tweeting and following experts are the verbs that empower learning.


3. The person doing the work is doing the learning. Be sure that the person doing the work is the learner and not the teacher.


4. Develop 'Focus Questions' - It's not just the facts. Limitless content is available. Choose the relevant facts needs to be the focus in the classroom.


 We as educators should be about giving kids 'Super Powers' about things that *really* matter both in the classroom and in the world.Here is a list of the Six Super Powers for kids in the classroom:


Questioning - Questions are more important that answers.

Connecting - Thinning of the classroom walls

Curating - how to filter endless content

Gaming - Provides instant feedback. Kids fail often but keep coming back. 

Digital Inking - Training for online literacy and content creation.

Designing - Designing solutions to the problems that are presented.


Authentic literacy has to happen everyday.


How do we know if real learning is going on? What does it look like?


Sandy example. Developing a 'Waffle House Index' paradigm after Sandy with 8th graders was a project that mimicked real world learning to solve a problem in a creative way. This type of learning got the students fired up.


Dr. Swanson concluded with a quote from John Dewey. Dewey said, as he spoke of the 'intellectual revolution', that "Learning has been put into circulation" meaning that  as educators, we no longer own the knowledge. 



For more info about Dr. Swanson:

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