SEO Articles & Newsletters
Articles on SEO, internet marketing, and other related areas for Search Engine Positioning.

So you've optimised your website, done the keyword research, got the backlinks and everything is ethical. You're sitting proudly on the first page of the search results. Or you've set up a pay per click campaign, bid on your keywords, created some ads and performance tracking is in place. Again, you're at the top of the pile. Either way, you're visible and people are visiting your website. But visitors aren't converting into leads, prospects or customers. What's going wrong? Well your website may be visible, but is it connecting?


Having attracted visitors to your website through prominent search engine placements, it is vital not to lose them by failing to connect. Different visitors will have different priorities and levels of satisfaction. In order to reach and retain as many as possible and to maximise the chances of conversion, you should consider your site's usability and accessibility.


Web usability


Usability is all about providing your visitors with an effective, efficient and satisfying experience. It's common knowledge that visitors tend to glance at, and scan, pages rather than study them in any great detail. If the message and options are not clear, they may leave. If they don't leave, the chances are that they will click on the first link that seems to be most relevant - it may not be the right one. Repeat the process a few times and soon a visitor can be lost, confused and frustrated. Either way the result is the same - missed opportunity and little likelihood of a return visit.


The more self-evident your pages are, the greater the chance of converting the visitor into a prospect or customer.


12 simple tips for a more usable website


1. On the home page make it clear what the site is all about.

2. Make the purpose of each page obvious.

3. User hierarchical headings to give clear structure to the copy.

4. Make the navigation and links obvious.

5. Use clear unambiguous wording.

6. Make the options and next steps obvious.

7. Remove any wording or imagery that is unnecessary, confusing or distracting.

8. Use consistent conventions throughout.

9. Include site search and a site map.

10. Make information such as contact details, pricing and delivery charges clearly accessible.

11. Make the pages printable by including a cascading style sheet for printing.

12. Don't allow careless errors to make your site look unprofessional.


Browsers create their own set of problems


One more tip - just because your website works fine in your browser of choice, do not assume that it will work equally well in all browsers. In fact it is not even safe to assume that it will work equally well in different versions of the same browser. Web designers who have had to cope with the incompatibilities of IE5, IE6 and now IE7 will no doubt testify to this point. It is vital to be sure that your website works on all the popular browsers. As well as IE and Firefox, don't forget Netscape and Opera on Windows and Safari on the Mac. And just to muddy the waters a bit further, Apple have recently announced Safari for Windows.


So now your website is usable, but is it usable by everybody? For some, usability is just a small obstacle when compared to the barrier of accessibility.


Web accessibility


All businesses in virtually all countries have a legal obligation to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities, otherwise they are discriminating. Given that something like 15% of the population have some sort of disability, that's a sizeable market proportion. If you're not reaching them, your competitors probably are.


One of the many myths surrounding web accessibility is that blind people are the only ones who need to be catered for. Whilst blind people and their use of assistive technologies to read web pages are an obvious and important example, consider also people with other visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological impairments.


How does a colour-blind person cope with page colours?


How does someone with a mobility impairment manage without being able to use a mouse?


How does a deaf person gain access to auditory content?


How does someone with attention deficit disorder make sense of the pages?


Web pages should be accessible to all of them. And it's not just disabled people who will benefit. Older people, people with low literacy levels, people who are not fluent in the website language, people with low bandwidth connections, people using older technologies and people with short-term injuries and illnesses will also benefit.

9 tips for a more accessible website


1. Provide all images with an alternative text description. If the image does not convey any information, provide null (blank) text rather than no alternative text at all.


2. Provide transcripts of audio content.


3. Ensure that the contrast between text foreground and background colours is sufficiently strong.


4. Do not use colour alone to convey information. There should also be some other form of visual indicator such as additional characters, images or font changes.


5. Place column headings in the first row of a table and place row headings in the first column. If headings are ambiguous, use the HTML scope attribute to clarify.


6. Never use the HTML blink and marquee elements. For animated GIFs or other moving objects, the flicker frequency must be less than 2 Hz or greater than 55 Hz. But better to have no moving content at all.


7. Link text should clearly state the purpose and destination of the link. Phrases like Click Here may mean nothing to someone listening to a screen reader.


8. Provide an option to skip navigation on all pages. This will save screen reader users from having to repetitiously listen to the same navigation, and keyboard users from having to repetitiously tab through every item. Use hierarchical headers to provide the same benefit and to enable navigation through copy.


9. On forms, always associate prompts with controls so that each control is adequately described. Use the HTML fieldset and legend tags to give structure to complex forms.


The importance of web standards


Usable, accessible web pages can only be achieved through strict compliance with the standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium. They provide a platform for consistency, compatibility, stability, flexibility and extensibility. Implementing standards throughout a website's design will address many usability and accessibility issues by default.


Last and certainly not least


Usability and accessibility alone will not suddenly convert all your visitors into customers. Content is vital to a website's delivery capability. But at least those visitors may now stick around long enough to look at the content.


About the Author: Eugene Mulligan is a search engine marketing consultant based in Somerset, UK. Operating through his company, Egn Webcraft (http://www.egnwebcraft.co.uk), he provides search engine optimisation, pay per click management and web development services to organisations seeking to improve their website's visibility and capability

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The Impact of SEO Web Design on Search Engines

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

SEO web design is a concept which emphasizes great architectural design principles based on how the search engines determine relevance and site information. The design should be able to give out the information that the user is seeking and at the same time be easily navigable. This is part of search engine optimization because the SEO web design should also be able to satisfy robotic crawlers and spiders in their quest for information regarding the website and other data.


SEO Web Design and Site Optimization


Search engine optimization is more than just a trend nowadays. It is used and applied by almost all sites on the internet that aim to make money and reach online popularity. Among the many strategies of optimizing a web site, SEO web design is one of the topmost priorities.


The impact of the design of the site on search engine robotic crawlers or spiders can help raise the ranking of the site. This is where SEO web design comes in. There are many ways to make the web site more attractive to robotic visitors and human visitors alike. Actually, spiders and crawlers from search engines do not mind the overall aesthetic value of the site. All these robotic crawlers need is the information it can get from the site. The tricky part is how to put relevant information in the site in order for the crawlers to properly index the site due to its relevance. SEO companies who specialize in optimizing web sites must also know how to put a site in front of others in order to bring it to the attention of the Internet users. The search optimizers who will handle your site must be able to know the right strategies to place the web site ahead of others in its field through accepted methods of optimization.


SEO web design is a competitive area where web designers, or what I prefer to call website architects, work hard to come up with ideas and designs that are aesthetically appealing and relevant at the same time. There has to be consideration for ease of getting around the website, being appealing to a wide range of visitors and finding the right place for the website. Making a basic, visually appealing site is easy with the many technological advances available today, but the problem with these advances is that they are sometimes quite tricky to use thus making your website difficult to navigate. SEO web design should be easy to use and friendly to both human and robotic browsers.


Easy navigational access can be done by making the pages of the site easy to navigate to and having easy to understand and use button or labels to click on. The pictures and images on your SEO web design should be just the right size and scale to enable users to see them promptly after clicking instead of taking a very long time to download. Waiting for images and other graphics to load can be off-putting for most visitors and will eventually lead them to another site which is more optimized and easy to view. Even spiders and crawlers will give up on a site which is not easy to navigate and get into.


The overall appeal of the SEO web design should not only be focused mainly on the niche that it is targeted to but also for Internet users who might have stumbled onto the site. SEO web design should have a universal appeal even for the most specialized type of sites on the Internet. Some webmasters or website owners could opt for specialized SEO web designs and these can also be done with the targeted audience in mind. It will also benefit the site if it is indexed as it should be. You might want to have a specific SEO web design which is built around the entire concept of your site and this can add to the ranking if you are quite specific with what you aim to sell or market. If you are marketing a specific product or information, SEO experts can focus on this product or information and build the SEO web design around it.


Another aspect of SEO web design that needs to be considered is what your competition is doing. The saying "know your enemy" is the key here. You do not want to have the same boring marketing strategies as the competition. Why? Because it is a good idea to keep abreast with what they are doing and how well they are doing in this field. There are many site optimization tools that can help analyze and determine what is needed for the site. Hence, in regard to the SEO web design process, content is one of the prime needs and tools of making the site rank high in searches. Finding out or identifying the right keywords to integrate into the site can be crucial in making the site among the top ranking ones. Keyword search tools and having keyword rich content and titles can help to optimize a site efficiently.


SEO web design experts should also bear in mind that there are web strategies that may be unacceptable for search engines. Using these underhand or black hat tricks to perpetuate a site in rank can cause the search engines to ban the site and also the SEO web design company that did the search engine optimization work for it no matter how well the SEO web design is.


About the Author: Moe Tamani is a Marketing expert with a leading SEO Company specializing in Organic SEO.

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Competitive Analysis SEO

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

One of the most telling things you can do in any business is study your competitors. Your competition can reveal weakness in your business and open your eyes to new opportunities in your industry. The same is true in the web world, and with search engine optimization in particular. Why does your competitor consistently rank higher than you for important terms? What programming, content, and link building strategies are they using to help attain those rankings? Answer those questions and you'll be one step closer to out-ranking them and bringing that traffic and those sales to your site.


Who should you study?


A lot of industries will have hundreds of direct competitors, and many more indirect competitors. You can very easily get caught up in "paralysis by analysis" if you try to analyze every possible competitor that you have. The purpose of studying your competition is to better your business, so I prefer to limit my analysis to ten sites or less.


You probably already know a handful of your adversaries. Either they were the incumbent leaders in your industry when you began, or your customers constantly remind you that they have lower prices, or every time you Google a phrase in your industry they come up first in the search results. Those sites are the first ones you should add to your list to research. Fill the rest of the list in by picking sites that consistently rank high for the most searched phrases related to your business. If you haven't already done keyword research, I recommend starting with the SEO Book Keyword Research Tool. Once you understand which terms are searched the most, it will be pretty obvious which sites consistently rank high.


What information should you collect?


There are a plethora of potential metrics that can be used to gauge the competition. The six below can be collected for free in a matter of minutes and do a great job of explaining why a site ranks as well as it does.


Site Age -- the age of a site is generally considered to be one of the top five most influential factors in how high a site ranks. While it's something that is out of your control, sometimes you'll see a site from 1999 consistently outranking a better site from 2006 and it's helpful to understand why. You can see the history of a site using a nifty tool called the Wayback Machine.


Y! Links -- the number of backlinks the domain has in Yahoo. As you probably already know by now, the quantity and quality of links pointing to a site is extremely relevant in determining how high it ranks. Looking at the particular links that your competition has serves as one of the best ways to learn how they market their site. It is also one of the best ways to brainstorm potential link building ideas for your site. For example, if your competitors products are all reviewed on a popular blog in your industry, there's a good chance that same blog would want to review your products as well (giving you free publicity and quality links).


Pages indexed -- this refers to the number of pages listed in a search engines index (also referred to as cached pages). Sites that rank high are generally easy for Google, Yahoo, and MSN to spider and thus have nearly all of their pages included in their indexes. You can check how many pages are indexed by typing in site:www.yoursite.com, or by using a tool like the Indexed Pages tool on SEOmoz. Using sitemaps is a great way to ensure that every page on your site is indexed properly.


Last indexed -- this is the date of the last time Google visited the home page of the site. Ideally your site is indexed every single day, but it usually depends on how frequently you update your content. If you update content regularly, you should be being indexed at least once per week. You can find this date by clicking the "Cached" link next to any Google search result.


Home Page PR -- this refers to Google Page Rank, a 0-10 score that Google gives to assess the value of a web page. It's primarily determined by the quality and quantity of incoming links, and is a quick and dirty way to see how popular a page is. Since it's a universal metric that all webmasters can quickly check, it's often misused to assume how much traffic a site gets or how high it ranks -- neither of which correlate very well with PR. For our purposes though, it's a nice barometer to look at. It can be checked using the Google Toolbar or a site like PRChecker.


Strongest Pages -- SEOmoz has a great strongest pages tool that will list off the most important pages on a domain, based on number of links pointing to it and its current rankings. This gives you an idea of what content on their domain is causing the high rankings. Is it popular articles? Is it product pages? Whatever their strongest pages, you should take note and use those pages as guidelines for potential additions and modifications to your site.


Using the information to your advantage


Pretty quickly you'll start to realize that all of the sites you're analyzing have been around for a few years, are indexed frequently and thoroughly, and have a lot of quality backlinks. So how do you get there? Well there's nothing you can do about site age, but the rest are very much in your control: you can model title tags and page headings after the competition, you can structure your site and internally link the way that they do, you can add sections related to topics that they rank high for, and you can most definitely expand your link building plan by studying what has worked for them. Ultimately, analyzing and understanding your competition will reduce your learning curve and accelerate the growth of your site.


About the Author: Adam McFarland is the co-founder of Faceup-Sites and the author of the Faceup Web Marketing Book: The Perfect Combination of SEO, SEM, and other tactics to maximize results without breaking the bank. Faceup-Sites specializes in helping businesses develop highly customizable sites that are easy to update, visually pleasing, and search engine friendly at a fraction of the cost of what most developers charge.

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Having Trouble Improving Your Google Ranking?

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

Google is by far the most important search engine on the net. To rise to the top of their search engine, you need to improve your link popularity and you need to understand how they measure your link popularity (over 50% of all search engine traffic comes from Google, and if you can rise to the top, you will likely rise to the top of all the other search engines as well).


Link popularity is defined as the number of sites that are linking to your site. Some websites have thousands or even millions of sites linking to them, while others might have only a few. The search engines use the number of inbound links your site has as a measure of how important your site is, which translates into your search engine ranking.


The actual number of links to your site is not the only variable used to calculate your link popularity. The search engines also examine the relevance of the links to the subject matter of your site. For example, if a website that sells vitamins has 4,000 inbound links, but the source of most of the links are websites that have nothing to do with vitamins, then the algorithm that search engines use to determine link popularity will take that into account, and the link popularity score will not be very good.


It is possible for a website with a relatively small number of quality inbound links to be ranked higher than a site with a bunch of irrelevant or insignificant links. If I have a website that offers quotes for auto insurance, and I have 800 quality inbound links, then I might receive a much higher search engine ranking than another mortgage site that has 3,000 links that stem from link farms or Free For All (FFA) pages.


If you try to acquire inbound by using link farms or FFA pages, not only will it hurt your search engine ranking, but you might get permanently removed from the search engine listings. Links farms are sites where you can instantly exchange links with all the sites listed in that directory. FFA pages are pointless link directories. The search engines usually discount any links that come from either of these sources.


Now that we understand what link popularity is and how it works, we need to look specifically at how Google measures it. They use a number of variables in their algorithm to calculate your overall link score. The higher your score, the higher you will be ranked in the search listings.


One factor that Google uses in their algorithm, obviously, is the total number of sites linking to you. The more links you have, the higher your score will be. However, their algorithm is a little more complicated than that, and it is possible for a website with fewer links to be ranked higher than a website that has more links.


The reason for this is because Google also measures the quality of your links. If your website is about vitamins, and the site linking to you is a video game site, then that is not considered a quality link. The link still helps your score, but the link would help your score much more if it were from a website whose subject matter is the same as yours.


Also, Google gives a higher score to a link if it comes from a page that has actual content that relates to your keywords. For example, if your site is about jewelry, and another jewelry website has posted a link to your site on their links page, that link is not as valuable as a link to your site coming from a blog or a message board where a lot of information about jewelry is being written or discussed.


Also, they give an even higher score to a link if it contains anchor text that matches one of the keywords that describes your site. For example, if I have a site that sells lawnmowers, and a blog about lawnmowers has posted a link to my site, it helps my score even more if the link text (also known as anchor text) is LAWNMOWERS. To learn more about anchor text, go to a search engine and look up ANCHOR TEXT and you will be able to learn about it.


Another factor used by Google to score your link popularity is the diversity of keywords contained on sites linking to you. For example, if you have a site that sells handbags, and all the links to your site are from other sites that contain nothing but the keyword HANDBAGS, Google considers that to be abnormal. To get a higher score, you need to have links coming from sites that contain a variety of keywords related to handbags, such as BUY HANDBAGS, LEATHER HANDBAGS, etc.


It is difficult to increase your link popularity, but now that you understand how your score is calculated, you can devise a plan to improve your score. You might want to consider posting to forums and blogs that contain information that is related to your site, and when you post, include a link to your site.


About the Author: Jim Pretin is the owner of http://www.forms4free.com, a service that helps programmers make an HTML form.

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Why Keywords Are Vital To An Seo Campaign?

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the optimization of a web page in order that it ranks higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) for specific keywords or keyword phrases. The pages that rank higher typically gain the greater amount of search engine traffic compared to pages ranked lower for the same keyword.


The majority of web users click on one of the top 5 results on the first page when they complete a search. As such, the ultimate goal of any SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) is to gain one of these coveted top spots, with the number one ranking being the primary objective.


Targeting Keywords


However, a top position for any keyword won't suffice. In order to increase your ROI, it is vital to ensure that you target the most appropriate keywords for your pages, and for your business. While generic, or very general topic keywords, may have the highest number of searches conducted in a month they are also the most competitive and typically least productive.


Competitive Keywords


The more competitive a keyword the more pages that you need to compete with in order to benefit from an SEO campaign. Many of the pages that appear at the top of the list will also be well optimized and have a powerful link profile, making it difficult to rank highly.


Improved Conversions With Targeted Keywords


General topic based keywords have also proven to have lower conversion rates compared to more specific keywords. Targeted keywords generate targeted visitors, and targeted visitors are much more likely to be active while on the pages of your website.


How Keyword Research Helps


Keyword research helps you to identify keywords that are relevant, targeted, and preferably less competitive. By finding the right blend of these factors you can minimize the time it takes to rank well, actually increase the number of visitors, and improve your conversion rates. Targeted keyword research leads to better profit opportunities and improved ROI.


Tailoring Your Keyword Research To Your Needs


Every page of a website needs to be treated as an individual project, especially in terms of marketing. Each page will usually attract different visitors in different stages of the purchasing process. Deep product pages will often catch visitors while they are at their most profitable - when they're ready to buy. General pages and even product category pages can be used to attract more general terms, but they should still be properly researched and targeted very precisely to your target market.


Niche Keywords


Niche keywords are often talked about as being the ideal variety of keywords for a page. A niche keyword is a highly targeted, very specific keyword. It is geared towards a corner of the market in which you operate and typically has very few competing pages. Niche keywords don't usually create much in the way of traffic but the traffic that they do create is highly targeted and very active. It attracts excellent conversion rates ensuring that you get a good return on your marketing investment.


Long Tail Keywords


Many web pages will gain visitors from natural keywords within the text. These long tail search terms again produce highly targeted visitors and while each individual term will not produce more than one or possibly two visitors over the space of the month, they do all add up. It is virtually impossible to research long tail keywords because of their infrequency, but by using popular keywords you heighten the chances of seeing more on your website.


Why Keyword Research Is Important


Keyword research is an important aspect of SEO because it helps to identify the terms that surfers use to access sites similar to yours. This, in turn, enables you to optimize the pages of your site and your link profile in order to attract those visitors. By doing so, you may also improve the number of long tail searches that lead to your site, and these product highly targeted visitors for little optimization effort.


About the Author: Omaro Ailoch is a senior software engineer, an entrepreneur and the founder of OC IT Services a highly skilled California based web development, design, and search engine optimization firm.

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How to Get Your Site a Top Ranking in Google

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

It's the new American dream. Your website appears in a top spot on Google for your chosen keyword. Next thing you know, orders start coming in faster than you can handle, and you are rolling in the money. If only it were so easy, right?

Well,

It can be done. I've done it many times in many different industries. There is no secret, but rather, it's just knowing what to do. I've made just about every mistake one can make with a website, but I learned from every setback. If you were only allowed to do one thing to get ranked for your site in Google, without a doubt, all you'd need to do is get links for your site.

Yes, there are many other factors involved in getting your site to a top position. But this is the most powerful way as of this writing to get a top spot in Google. It's not just enough to have links pointing to your site, but you need to have your keyword "anchor linked" to your site. Anchor linking is when you use your keyword phrase as the click-able text for a link. So, instead of saying "Click Here", you would use "Widgets" as the link text.

Now, another point of consideration is determining what keyword/phrase you want to use to get your site found. Most times, people impulsively choose a one word phrase. While this would be a great way to bring traffic to your site, would it bring targeted traffic, with people looking specifically for your product or service? Most times when people type in a one letter keyphrase, they are in the beginning of their search.

They may type in "Shoes", but are really looking for "Running Shoes". So, if you have a top ranking for shoes, do you serve that user's needs? Maybe, but they may also be looking for dress, casual, Women's, Men's, Children's, athletic, girl's, boy's, etc. This is why when you begin to optimize your site, you should focus on more targeted keyword phrases.

Suppose you sell a certain brand name of dress shoes. For this example, we'll call the famous brand XYZ. So, by getting anchor links as "XYZ Dress Shoes", you are already eliminating those users who are looking for another brand or line of shoe. Next, you need to make sure that the page that gets linked contains the on the page content with "XYZ Dress Shoes". If you would link to a page without relevant content, Google would view this link as possible spam, or more appropriately, irrelevant content.

Now, once you have compiled your list of keywords, you need to see which one are searched on the most. The best tool for this is WordTracker, and it is worth the tiny fee you need to pay to have access for one day. There are also free tools online that you can use, but WordTracker will give you the most accurate results.

Once you have run through your list of all your keywords, the obvious choice is to pick the ones with the highest amount of searches (and content relevant to your site!). The next step is to then begin the process of a link campaign. Now, I can already hear you complaining about doing a link exchange. This is only 1/3 of your campaign. The ideal method is to not only engage in a reciprocal link exchange, but to also engage in strategic linking.

Strategic linking is when you get a link to your site without having to return the favor. What's the best way to do this? Write an article just like this one. If I get one website to use this article and have it point to my site, I've just created another link to my site. Pretty easy, eh?

Since you have now engaged in a linking campaign, you should expect to see results in Google in as little as 4 days, and as far as 6 months. All of this is determined by where your links are coming from, and the popularity of the site from which the link came. Next, you need to get as many links as you can pointing to your site with your popular keyword phrase anchor linked to your site.

As I mentioned before, there many other factors that will only enhance your rankings in Google, but the implementation of a link campaign is the strongest method to get your site to a top ranking! -To your online success!

Author: Paul Bliss www.SEOforGoogle.com Read More...

 

How to Create a Google Site Map

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

Officially announced on June 6th, 2005 at Google'e Blog, Google Site Map allows you to submit a listing of all your urls for Google to crawl. There have been many questions concerning the procedure of creating a Google Site Map.

Below is the non-Python way of creating one. (Note: Google has further documentation at their site)

First, create a file named sitemap.xml

Use the following code in any HTML editor:









Here's a breakdown of those properties:

lastmod -

This is the date the document was last modified and uses the following formats:

dd.mm.yyyy

dd.mm.yyyy hh:mm

dd/mm/yyyy

dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm



changefreq -

Tells Google Sitemaps the frequently that content of a particular URL will change.

Your options are "always", "hourly", "daily", "weekly", "monthly", "yearly" or "never". The value "always" should be used to describe documents that change each time they are accessed.

The value "never" should be used to describe archived URLs.



priority -

The priority of a particular URL relative to other pages on your site. You may select between 0.0 and 1.0, where 0.0 identifies the lowest priority page(s) on your website and 1.0 identifies the highest priority page(s) on your website. Add as many pages as there are in your website.

Google Sitemap supports up to 50,000 pages per XML file. Once you've completed all of those steps, you'll need to submit your site map page.

Submit to: (requires gmail account)

https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/login

[If you don't have a gmail account send an email requesting a gmail account and I'll give them out until I run out of invites. (ts@seoforgoogle.com)] -To your online success!

Author: Paul Bliss http://www.seoforgoogle.com/ Read More...

 

Your Business Needs Craigslist

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

There may be specific instances when Craigslist might not be the best choice for a marketing campaign, yet there are times when your business can't afford to overlook Craigslist for its advertising. In this article you will see two likely situations where your business should seriously consider marketing on Craigslist, failing to do this could be detrimental to your business. This would include emerging startup companies that lack a substantial marketing budget as well as existing businesses whose competitors advertise prominently on Craigslist.

Marketing On Craigslist For The Emerging Startup Company

An emerging startup company often has to do a lot of work if they wish to start competing with already existing companies that are thriving. Companies like this often have an established client base along with substantial budgets for luring in new customers. Another stumbling block startups often face is customer loyalty. To break customer loyalty a new company has to either have higher quality offerings, comparable offerings at a better price or a memorable ad campaign that appeals to consumers.

Of course, newer companies hardly ever have a marketing budget large enough to develop a full-scale ad campaign. This is where Craigslist is a virtual necessity. A smaller company is able to focus more resources on creating fine-tuned ad copy without having to spend large sums of monetary resources in the running of these ads in other print or air media.Even though there is much that is appealing about free advertising, this advertising needs to be as sophisticated as if you were placing it somewhere that you would have to pay for it. Keeping this rule in mind will aid your business in developing and keeping a professional image. It will also help your business in enticing potential customers to give whatever you offer a chance.

Keeping Your Competition From Dominating The Market

The other situation where your business needs to seriously consider advertising with Craigslist is when you find direct competitors taking advantage of the marketing possibilities on Craigslist. It's important to do this because if you don't, in effect, you are handing your competition all of its customers it is getting from Craigslist.

Let's say you have a dog grooming business in Phoenix, Arizona. If a lot of people in Phoenix are using their local Craigslist page to locate dog groomers, you are sure to miss out on many of these potential clients. After all, these people are likely to choose someone advertising through Craigslist for any of their dog grooming needs. However, if you placed a well-written ad in the appropriate category on Craigslist you would likely gain some of the available market share.

There is an exception to placing ads where your competitors are currently advertising. That is if the local market is saturated with competitors. Look at the above sample business of dog grooming in Phoenix. If there were only a few competitors on Craigslist it would be a smart choice to place an ad of your own. On the other hand, if there were hundreds of other dog groomers marketing on the Phoenix Craigslist site, then your ad would not stand out. And your advertising would be better served elsewhere. It is a good habit to check Craigslist from time to time because the number of competitors could decline. At that time it would be acceptable to place an ad.


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Web Design - Simple Mistakes and Golden Rules

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

Good web design is something that can be achieved relatively easily by sticking to a small set of guiding principles and avoiding some very common mistakes.

Truly excellent web design skills are born out of years of experience, dedication and plenty of hard-learned mistakes. Fortunately, being truly excellent at web design is not a pre-requisite for building a fantastic website and the lessons learned from those mistakes can be passed on without the hardship.

This article contains some of the principles which I have learned the hard way and the easy way. Each principle is fairly obvious but so many designers ignore them for one reason or another and the consequence is a hard-to-use, poor looking site that is difficult to manage and fails to make the top 1000 in Google. If your website adheres to the principles below it will almost certainly be much healthier, and you and your visitors will reap the benefits.

1. Keep Everything Obvious - Don't Make Me Think
The book entitled Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug is one of the best selling books on the subject of web design and usability. Personally, I think thinking is a good thing but at the same time I don't want to be struggling to figure out how to submit a web form!

Visitors to a website expect certain conventions, breaking these is a great way of losing visitors. People expect to find the navigation at the top of a page or on the left hand side. Logos are mostly found on the top left. Much research has been conducted into how people view and use web pages. The good news is that you do not to know all of this; instead look at how larger companies such as eBay, Amazon, Google, Microsoft structure their pages and the language they use, then emulate them.

2. Limit Colours
A website using too many colours at a time can be overwhelming to many users and can make a website look cheap and tacky. Any users with colour blindness or contrast perception difficulties may even be unable to use the site.

Limiting a palette to 2 or 3 colours will nearly always lead to a slicker looking design and has the added bonus of simplifying your design choices, reducing design time.
Software like Color Wheel Pro can greatly simplify the creation of a pallet by showing which colours sit well together. If you really do not have the eye for design then software like this provides the perfect way of escaping monotone or badly combined colour schemes.
If your site uses blue and yellow together or red and green then it may present problems to anyone suffering with colour blindness. Vischeck.com provide free software that can simulate different types of colour blindness.

3. Be Careful With Fonts
The set of fonts available to all visitors of a website is relatively limited. Add to that the possibility of a user having a visual impairment then the options become even smaller. It is advisable to stick to fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Courier, Times, Geneva and Georgia. They may not be very interesting but your content should be more interesting than your font and if it can't be read, what is the point of having a site?

Black text on a white background is far easier for the majority of people to read than white text on a black background. If you have large amounts of text then a white or pale background is far more user friendly. Always ensure that there is a good contrast between any text and its background. Blue text on a blue background is okay as long as the difference in shade is significant.

Verdana is often cited as being the easiest to read on the screen. Georgia is probably the best option for a serif font.

4. Plan for Change
If you fix the height of your page to 600 pixels will you still be able to add additional menu items without completely redesigning your page?

The ability to add or remove content from a website is fundamental to the ongoing success of it. Having to rewrite the entire web page or website each time you want to make a small change is sure fire way to kill your interest in your own site and will negatively impact your overall design and usability.

Getting a good idea of how your website is likely to grow will clarify how best to structure your layout. For example, a horizontal navigation is often more restrictive than a side navigation unless you use drop down menus; if your navigation is likely to grow and you hate drop down menus then your design choice has been 99% made for you!
Understanding how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), avoiding unconventional layouts and complicated backgrounds will all help enormously.

5. Be Consistent
Again, don't make your visitors think! About how to use your site at least. If your navigation is at the top on your homepage, it should be at the top on all other pages too. If your links are coloured red ensure the the same convention is used on all sections.
By using CSS correctly you can make most of this happen automatically leaving you free to concentrate on the content.

6. Keep it Relevant
A picture is better than a thousand words but if the picture you took on holiday is not relevant to your Used Car Sales website then you should really replace it with something which reflects the content or mood of the page; a photo of a car perhaps!
If you can take something off of your web page without it adversely affecting the message, appearance or legality of your website you should do it without hesitation.

Avoid the need to add images, Flash animations or adverts just because you have space. This wastes bandwidth and obscures the intentions of your website. If you absolutely must fill the space, then exercise your imagination to find something as relevant as possible.
Keeping your content focused will ultimately help your search-engine rankings.

7. Become a CSS Expert
Cascading Style Sheets should be any web designer's best friend. CSS makes it is possible to separate the appearance and layout of your page from the content. This has huge benefits when it comes to updating and maintaining your site, making your site accessible and making your site easy for search engines to read.
CSS at a first glance is very straightforward but is definitely worth investing in one or more books. Two great books are: CSS the Missing Manual by David McFarland and Bulletproof Web Design by Dan Cederholm.

8. Avoid Complexity
Using standard layouts for your web page will save you development time and make your site easier to use. Pushing the boundaries nearly always leads to quirky behaviour, cross-browser problems, confused site visitors and maintenance headaches. Unless you really do like a challenge then avoid complexity wherever possible.

Many standard layouts are freely available online with much of the boring, repetitive work already done for you.

The principles above all border on common sense and are well known to most people, yet so many sites continue to deviate away from them and suffer as a consequence. Following these principles will help you keep away from trouble, although it still doesn't guarantee it!

About the Author: Paul has worked as a programmer and in Web Design for over 15 years.
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New Website? It's Time To Think Links

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

New Website? It's Time To Think Links
By Matt Jackson (c) 2007


Link building has long been the staple dietary topic for SEO and
Internet marketing experts, but with good reason. This is hardly
ground breaking news but having a powerful link profile will
help you to rank well in the search engines. Having an
especially powerful link profile will also drive traffic
directly to your website.

As the webmaster of a new site, there are several things you
must do. First, you need to create a genuinely useful website
filled with equally useful and informative content. You need to
ready yourself to add fresh content on a frequent basis, in
order to retain existing site visitors and to attract the search
engine spiders. You also need to start building links – a good
link profile takes time to develop so it is essential that you
start as soon as possible. Below are some of the more and less
effective methods of building quality inbound links to your new
website.

Create Quality Content

OK, we've already mentioned this in passing, but it's
important. Linkable content will get linked to (eventually). You
may not have the traffic base to command links organically in
this way yet, but you will do soon. Unique, informative, and
even controversial content will ultimately see other sites
willing to link to your own.

Video marketing has become especially popular because of its
viral nature. You can create a good video clip, embed it into
a page of your site and include "email to a friend" links. Also
ensure that it is well branded so that everybody knows where the
video first came from.

Free Directory Submissions

You should submit your site to a lot of web directories over
time. If your domain is brand new then you should attempt to
limit the amount of submissions you make in the first month.
Google is believed to penalize sites that build too many links
too quickly in this way. However, free directories can take
days, weeks, or even months before they get round to accepting
your submission so do start early.

As well as general category directories for your search engine
link profile, you should research industry specific directories.
These will also help your search engine ranking, but they can
drive excellent levels of targeted traffic to your site.
Consider paying some of the bigger and more influential
directories for an annual submission.

Paid Directory Submissions

Free directories typically only allow you to link to the main
page of your website, but most also allow you to choose the
title of your link. This gives you the opportunity to build your
links according to your keywords, which is an essential
component of link building for search engine rankings. Paid
directories, on the other hand, also usually allow deep linking
to individual pages of your website.

Consider paying for one or two annual subscriptions to the
better directories. Yahoo is perhaps the most expensive at $299
per annum but it commands a lot of respect and a lot of traffic.
Business.com isn't much cheaper ($199) but is almost on an equal
footing. Less expensive directories include Best Of The Web
(http://www.botw.org) and Uncover The Net
(http://www.uncoverthenet.com).

Join Forums And Post Relevant Comments

Forums are, in reality, becoming less popular. The advent of the
oft discussed web 2.0 means that the forum is seen as something
of a dying trend. However, a lot of people do still use them and
they do offer the opportunity to garner your website with some
traffic and provide you with signature links.

Join forums that are relevant to your industry, create a
signature link using your more important keywords and then
browse. Find topics that genuinely interest you, or areas where
you can offer assistance. Post comments, without linking to your
site, and rely on your signature link to do the rest. If you
provide genuine, helpful information then you may find that you
pick up some very interested leads along the way.

Request Links

You don't get anything if you don't ask. Find relevant websites,
though not in direct competition to your own site, and request a
link. Point out a particularly useful section of your website
content that is easily linkable and offer the HTML code to
provide a link.

This isn't, in all honesty, the best way to spend your linking
time. It can take many attempts with various websites before you
get an acceptance and a link to your site. Webmasters will
usually link to sites they have genuinely found themselves, or
else sell their advertising spaces. Alternatively, they may only
link to other sites within their own network.

Tagging And Social Bookmarking

So, you've read all about social bookmarking and tagging, but
don't know how it can help your site? Well, the principle is
fairly simple – join the social bookmarking sites, create a list
of useful sites including one or two of your own, and then
publish them. Some search engines are known to be particularly
fond of using links found in this way. Also, if your list is
genuinely useful then you should find some traffic diverts to
your own site as a result.

Blog Commenting

Find blogs that are relevant to your industry and your site and
sign up. Most blogs provide the opportunity to link to your site
via your name so pick a name that includes relevant keywords.
Like forums, only post relevant content and comments. Answers
like "me too" do not count. If you don't have something
valuable to add, then don't add anything, and move on to the
next link building venture, please!

Article Syndication

Write articles, or have them written for you, and submit them to
syndication websites. GoArticles (http://www.goarticles.com/)
and EzineArticles (http://www.ezinearticles.com/) are among the
more popular syndication sites and the article pages typically
rank well. You have the opportunity to include two biographical
links with most article directories, and these should point to
the relevant pages on your site and include keywords as the
anchor text.

Article syndication is a very good method of building links, but
only if you can create article content that is appealing to
visitors and to webmasters. However, one good article could
generate many links and hundreds or even thousands of visitors
to your website.

Offer Content To Other Sites

This is similar, although more specific, than article
syndication. Contact webmasters of websites that operate in the
same industry as you. Offer unique content in exchange for a
link or links to your website. Again, if you can write well,
then you shouldn't find it too difficult to find an avenue for
publication of your work.

A lot of sites actively look for submissions in this way, so
keep an eye out when you are next browsing the web.

Press Release Submissions

Press releases have been around a long time, and are still going
fairly strong online. Again, press releases offer the
opportunity to drive interested traffic to your website and some
PR wires allow authors to include links to their website. PRLeap
(http://www.prleap.com/) and PRWeb (http://www.prweb.com/) are
among two of the more popular and beneficial sites to submit
your PR to.

Reciprocal Links

I find myself sitting on the fence when it comes to reciprocal
links. Once upon a time, a reciprocal link campaign was the most
popular way of building links. You exchange links with another
website and you both benefit. They do still have their place, if
you can negotiate a well placed link on a relevant website with
a lot of traffic. However, in terms of SEO, reciprocal links are
known to have been devalued by the search engines. Consider
every reciprocal link opportunity based on its own merit and, in
most cases, ignoring the search engine optimization
possibilities.

Don't Spam Blogs And Forums

Above, we have detailed a couple of link building methods that
include posting on forums and blogs. Please, don't spam. Spam
is the scourge of the online world and something that every site
owner could do without. Spamming will make you unpopular, may
get your site delisted, and it sure won't make you any friends.

Don't Use FFA Link Farms

A FFA (Free For All) website enables any website owner to place
their link on a web page. Don't do it. Search engines despise
this practice and you will not gain any benefit in any way from
the use of this kind of site.

Avoid Any Dubious Link Building Practice

If you see a link building opportunity that looks dodgy, ignore
it. At best you will waste your time, but at worst your site
could be penalized and you may never be able to recover. If it
looks too good to be true... you know the rest.


WebWiseWords offers an article writing
(http://www.webwisewords.com/default2.asp?active_page_id=340)
and submission service as well as various other forms of website
content (http://www.webwisewords.com) writing and creation.
Visit us today for help in creating compelling content and
marketing your website.
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“Pay-Per Click” Ad Campaign: Earn More by Spending Less
What is “Pay-Per Click”?

“Pay-Per Click”, is an easy to understand advertising strategy. There are around 300 million searches at major search engines everyday. This causes 80% of internet traffic. Placing your websites on these search engines is very important in reaching as many potential customers as possible. But in order to be seen and clicked most frequently, your website should be viewed at the top most of the search list. Most people only reach up to the third page of a search engine so the lower your rank, the lesser the chance you will be clicked. In “Pay-Per Click” advertising, you pay to be always visible on the internet. You select keywords or key phrases about your website, and the highest bidder ranks the best. There is no upfront cost. You only pay after a visitor clicks your link. This is why it is called “Pay-Per Click”.

Everyday millions of people around the world click on Pay-Per Click Advertising Campaign. With the booming internet industry and the ever growing online business, an ad of virtually anybody on the planet can be seen on the internet anywhere in the world.

The “Pay-Per Click” advertising campaign is the premier growth area in online marketing. Last year, an estimated $741.2 million was spent on “Pay-Per Click” advertising. The usual search engine optimization can take weeks or even months to produce results. “Pay-Per Click” advertising can attract customers at an instant. Why? Because, this cutting edge ad campaign can be placed on any website and can be viewed by potential online customers, anywhere, anytime and all the time. The only challenge is placing the ads on proper websites that will attract possible customers for a specific product or services.

“Pay-Per Click” advertising campaign attracts the right consumers at the shortest possible time. This is the most cost effective way of marketing products or services. You can also monitor the customers who visit your site, what they are looking for and what they are buying. With the right creativity on using the right search-phrases, we can direct the right people who are willing to do business with us.

“Pay-Per Click” advertising can easily be managed 24 hours per day and 7 days a week through the internet. This allows you improve the campaign strategy by effectively responding to the activities of both customers and competitors.
So what are you waiting for? “Pay-Per Click” now and let your business take the fast route to success.

Author:
Website Traffic and Internet Advertising category. Read More...

 

Free Website Promotion… Why Not?

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

Free Website Promotion… Why Not?

Can you ever avail of free website promotion? Is that even feasible?
Of course yes! Nowadays, your baby website can amass huge traffic in no time thanks to free website promotion.

How does this free website promotion go anyway? What are things to be done?
1. Enlist your website.
Look for the hottest Internet directories and enlist your site there. This is the easiest and most effective free website promotion tactic. Start with this step and the rest of the good things will follow.
Just don’t forget to prep your website and make it all spruced up for a higher chance to get accepted in your directory of choice.

2. Know your forums.
One reason why forums are created is for free website promotion for everyone. Log in, post actively, let them know about your site in every post and you attract instant visitors right there.

3. Write a press release.
Release your writing prowess and start up a press release that advertises your site! This is a free website promotion tactic that you can do anytime. Type a brief paragraph or two and email it to your friends, colleagues, internet e-zines, newspapers and other media and massive traffic will come to you pronto!

4. Be friendly online.
Free website promotion means you need to be friendly to other webmasters. Why, you ask? So they can link you immediately! Establish contacts and never tire of link requests and exchanges.

5. Write an article.
Say, your website is about your travel agency. Write an article about the perks of traveling or the hottest travel spots in the world. On the concluding paragraph, mention your website in passing. This article works as an advertorial and doubles as a free website promotion approach.

6. Just let the whole world know about your site.
What is free website promotion without the word of mouth? Insert your website, its URL and features in daily conversations and let the good news spread from one mouth to another!

7. Make a banner ad.
Make a banner ad for your site and ask another webmaster to do the same for his site. Then swap!

8. Take up a free website promotion course online.
Yes, there are free website promotion tutorials. But don’t you know that you can actually take a free website promotion course that can help you out further? Part of the free website promotion program is signing up for newsletters.

When you make a website, you need not pay anything to promote it. You just read it — there is such a thing as free website promotion!

Author:
Website Traffic and Internet Marketing and Internet Advertising . Read More...

 

Recruiting Excellent Job Candidates

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

Recruiting Excellent Job Candidates: Six Easy Search Tips to Get the Cream of the Crop
An independent recruiter, recruiting agency or executive search firm is charged with tracking down excellent potential candidates for available job positions. Despite the fact that there are innumerable people seeking positions of employment in the 21st century, it often seems to a typical recruiting agency that qualified men and women are few and far between.

Here are six easy tips that recruiting services, staffing firms, or executive search firms should keep in mind when on the hunt for outstanding potential job candidates in the 21st century.

These tips are equally applicable to companies undertaking their own search without the help of recruiting agency services. Indeed, the headaches associated with finding qualified personnel is magnified for a company undertaking its own recruitment efforts.

1. Post an Ad on an Industry-specific Job Board. Oftentimes, a recruiter will take a scattershot approach to finding candidates that are worthy of consideration for an available position. They broadcast far and wide the fact that a certain position is open and available, in big city newspapers and on major Internet job boards.

If a recruiting agency were more thoughtful about its recruitment efforts, it would realize the benefits of positing an announcement of an available position on an industry-specific Internet job board. By posting in a selective and admittedly limited manner, recruiters and staffing firms would be reaching out precisely to the pool of people most likely to be qualified for an open position.

One excellent tool for finding industry-specific job boards can be accessed at:

http://www.onlinerecruitersdirectory.com/jobboard.php

2. Use Recruiters that Specialize in a Given Field As with advertising, choosing an effective recruiter might be just a matter of targeting, particularly for a managerial or executive position. These positions can be very hard for in-house personnel directors and human resource managers. While these people do have responsibility for hiring, the search for a new employee with skills beyond the norm for their company can best be targeted by a professional executive head hunter.

The same can be said for specialized fields, such as accounting or information systems. In-house human resources staff might know all about pharmaceutical skill-sets required for a multitude of research and administration positions, but they might rarely have to deal with hiring staff to track money or to keep the computers functioning. That’s when recruiting agency services specializing in IT or in accounting can come in handy.

3. Develop an In-House Referral Program. In many instances, exiting staff members can help speed up the search for quality job candidates. Employees often have contacts elsewhere within the industry, some of which may be looking for a change of employment.

By cultivating this internal resource, a personnel director can develop a wealth of ready information about prospective employees who might well serve the organization as valued employees.

4. Search Resumes Posted on Job Boards In addition to advertising on an industry specific job board, a diligent personnel director or recruiting agency will want to take the time to search and consider resumes that have been posted on job boards.

Often, a person pounding the pavement looking for employment may not have the time to take in and review all of the various available positions that have been posted on a every job board. This is even more true if a given prospect is a highly sought-after candidate, who might be still busy in a current position of responsibility.

5 .Use a Directory of Recruiters. Because there are so many different type of recruiters in business in the 21st century it can often be difficult for in-house human resources staff to pinpoint the recruiter that will be best able to meet the needs of a given employee recruitment campaign. But there are resources available, such as directories of recruiters.

One such directory is:http://www.onlinerecruitersdirectory.com

By using a professional directory, in-house human resources staff will be able to identify the most appropriate resources for their company and for the recruiting task at hand. Even staffing firms can benefit from such a recruiters directory to seek help in a specialized field they don’t often work with.

6. Don’t Rush the Process. Finally, while it is an overused saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” In the same vein, 99 times out of 100 there is no need to rush the process of seeking, identifying and hiring a new employee, particularly an executive level employee.

A personnel director should take his or her time to identify, screen, interview and hire the best candidate. Throughout this process, a human resources manager or specialist will rely on the services and support tools identified in this article.

By using these tips, in the long run the best possible candidate for a given position will end up being hired, and the company will benefit from the best possible employees.

About the author:
David Leonhardt is a freelance writer:
http://www.seo-writer.net/
He wrote this article for the Online Recruiters Directory:
http://www.onlinerecruitersdirectory.com/about.php Read More...

 

47 Simple Ways to Build Trust
in Your Website or Blog
By Miles Galliford (c) 2007


If your website does not create a sense of trust in your
visitors, all your efforts will be in vain. Your online
business will never succeed. That's the bad news. The good
news is that it is very easy to create and build trust in
your online visitors. Below, I have listed all the
techniques used by the hundreds of websites I have helped
launch. If you have additional techniques, please add them
to the list.

As the old saying goes, you have only one chance to make a
first impression. Building trust cannot be achieved by one
single action. Trust is achieved by hundreds of little
things you do throughout your website that, when taken
together, give readers a sense of honesty, legitimacy and
stability.

The other bit of good news is that few website owners focus
on building trust in the minds of their visitors. If you do
it well, it can become a real and sustainable competitive
advantage.

Here are 47 simple actions you can take to get started.

1. Trust is built by lots of small actions on every page of
your website.

2. Your website design is the first impression. Make sure
it is professional and relevant to the subject matter.

3. Navigation must be intuitive. If visitors can't find
what they are looking for easily, they will question your
competence in providing what they want.

4. Make the website personal by giving it its own tone and
voice. People buy people.

5. Follow the HEART rule of creating online content.
(Reminder: HEART stands for Honest, Exclusive, Accurate,
Relevant and Timely.)

6. Use language that is appropriate to the audience. It
will build empathy.

7. Regularly add new content to your site. It shows that
the business is alive and kicking.

8. Check all links. Doubts will quickly form in your
visitors' minds if links don't work or, worse still, take
them to error pages.

9. Good grammar and spelling matter. Errors give the
impression of sloppiness and carelessness.

10. Never make outrageous and unbelievable claims, like
"Read this blog and you'll be a millionaire by the end of
the week." People are used to scams, get-rich-quick schemes
and rip-offs.

11. Publish REAL testimonials and third-party endorsements.
Try to always use real names and link to websites where
possible. Some sites show images of letters sent by happy
customers.

12. Publish case studies about customers you have helped,
who use your product, etc.

13. Don't put down, curse or insult competitors. It's
unprofessional. It is better to offer an objective
comparison of competitive services or products.

14. Focus on building your long-term reputation, not on
making quick sales.

15. Write articles for humans, not search engines.

16. Make your 'About Us' page personal and comprehensive.
It plays an important part in making visitors feel
comfortable that real people are behind the site.

17. Publish your photo or the photos of the key people
involved with the site. Again, this reinforces the fact
that there are real people behind the screenshots.

18. Clearly identify who is behind the site. Nothing
creates more suspicion than a site that tries to hide the
identity of its publishers.

19. On the 'Contact Us' page, provide an email form, phone
number, fax and address of the company. In Europe, it is a
legal requirement for sites taking money, but even sites
driven by advertising will benefit from openness.

20. Provide a telephone number that people can call and
talk to a person.

21. Provide Web addresses linked to the website domain, not
addresses from free webmail services such as Hotmail and
Gmail.

22. Never lie to make money. The most common way is to
write a glowing report about a product or service to earn
affiliate revenues. It is very short-sighted to lie to
visitors to sell them rubbish. They'll never come back or,
worse still, they'll actively condemn your site on forums
and blogs.

23. Think carefully about reciprocal links. If your site is
about organic food and you have links to Party Poker,
people are going to question your integrity.

24. Think carefully about the adverts you display on your
site. Ensure that they are relevant to your subject and
audience.

25. Be explicit when you are being paid to endorse a
product or service. An advertorial is fine as long as it is
transparent. Paid-to-post is corrupting the Web and will
experience a user backlash. I never read websites that
accept payment for posting.

26. Write and publish your privacy policy. Be clear about
what you will and will not do with any personal data you
collect. State that you adhere to all data protection laws.
Make it easy to read and don't use legal gobbledygook.

27. Write and publish a security policy. State what
measures you take to ensure that all transactions are
secure.

28. Ensure that you have a security and privacy policy
which is linked from the footer on every page. Make the
link more prominent on all the order pages.

29. Clearly publish your guarantee. I would recommend
making it a 100% money-back guarantee if possible.

30. Clearly state your refund and returns policy.

31. Piggyback off reputable brands. If you use PayPal, put
the PayPal logo on your site. If you have a merchant
services account with a major bank like Citibank or HSBC,
put its logo on your site.

32. Use Google search on your site for two reasons. First,
it is a great search solution which will help your visitors
find what they are looking for. Second, having the Google
name on your site instills trust.

33. If there are well-known industry associations for your
subject, join up and put their logos on your site.

34. Have a forum on your site and respond quickly to
questions. Have the attitude that you are happy to help
others without receiving immediate reward. As the old
saying goes, 'Givers always gain.'

35. Allow people to comment on articles. Interactivity and
an exchange of views build community and a sense of
involvement.

36. If people provide constructive criticism or comments in
the forum, don't delete them, but respond with your point
of view.

37. Put photos on the website of the owners, publishers
and/or team. Let visitors know there are real people behind
the business.

38. Put images of the credit cards you accept on every page
of the order process.

39. Use the words 'secure website' whenever you try to get
any information from visitors, including newsletter
sign-ups, forum input and payment.

40. On every page, state, "We take your privacy and
security very seriously." Link the statement to the
security and privacy policy.

41. Remember, reputations take years to build and seconds
to destroy.

42. If you are selling a subscription, offer a low-cost,
entry-level option. This could be a one-day taster, 'a week
before billing starts' or a monthly trial.

43. Use a high level of security when processing credit
cards. Make sure you make your clients aware of all the
steps you are taking.

44. Never send credit card information or personal details
over the Internet unencrypted. Tell your customers that
their data will be encrypted.

45. Only ask for information from customers that you really
need. For example, for an email newsletter sign-up, the
only information you REALLY need is an email address, so
that is all you should ask for

46. If you have pricing on your website, make it
transparent. I recently went to buy a book which was
advertised for $10. When I checked out, they added tax,
post and packaging, and the final bill was $19.50. I didn't
buy it as I felt they had deliberately tried to mislead me.

47. Keep your SSL certificate up to date. Let people know
you are using SSL encryption and who the provider is.

You can never do too much to build trust. Most of it comes
down to common sense and good business practice. To ensure
that you are continually improving your trustworthiness,
every time you go to a website, ask yourself whether you
trust it or not. Then ask yourself why you have formed the
opinion you have. Continually try to learn what makes a
site trustworthy or untrustworthy and implement the
relevant changes to your site.

About The Author:
SubHub provides an all-in-one solution to enable you to rapidly design, build and run your own content website. Publish for profít on the web. Website: SubHub.com SubHub Articles Feed
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Cornerstones of an Effective Website

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

Just about everyone has a website today.
Certainly, if you're in business one way oranother, you have a website. And people have different objectives behind theirsites. Some are content-driven. Others provide an online service and havesophisticated user interfaces. Others still are designed to entertain and amusetheir visitors. But regardless what your website is designed to do, there are a fewprimary objectives you should keep in mind before you start building.
This first website objective is FOCUS.
Your site needs to have a narrow and specificfocus.
Why is this? Because there are literally millions of websites out there andthe visitors you're lucky enough to attract will only take a few seconds to decidewhether they'll stick around or whether they'll simply click the back button andcontinue browsing elsewhere. Within those few seconds, your site needs tocommunicate exactly what it's designed to do so the visitor can decide if it meetshis or her needs or not. One of the best exercises to enhance the focus of your site is to establish a 15 to25-word positioning statement that guides all your development activity goingforward.
Think about it like a mission statement.
It should articulate exactly whatyour website does in just 15 to 25 words. Another way to look at it is to do a Google search for a keyword in your field andsee what comes up in the results page. Under each listing, there's a shortdescription of what that site is all about. As it turns out, the search engines getthat description from the meta tags on those websites but it's exactly the samething.
What do you want YOUR description to say?
Once you've established a positioning statement, you should display it prominentlyon your homepage. It should be one of the first things visitors see when they landon your website. And as I mentioned above, the same statement should be included inyour meta tags as your site description. That way, the search engines know exactlywhat your site is about at the same time. And if your site shows up in a searchresults page, that description will show up as part of your listing.
The second objective is DEPTH.
Again, this objective serves your visitors as well asthe search engines.
Build a massive amount of content all about your narrow businessfocus. That way, if a visitor lands on your website and decides in the first fewseconds that they need what you're providing, they'll go on to find a ton ofresources all about that topic, satisfying their need and establishing trust alongthe way.Depth of content helps your website with the search engines as well. Google usescomplicated algorithms to assess value to different websites and one of the biggestthings they look for is content. If your website has a narrow focus and lots ofcontent about that focus, it will get ranked higher within your area of expertise. Google will consider your site a good resource for people searching for your narrowfocus.
The third objective is to make your site STICKY
This is a relatively new term thatdescribes a website's ability to keep a visitor on the site. A lot of sites do afairly good job of attracting visitors but many of those visitors take one look atthe site and leave within a second or two. As I mentioned earlier, the positioningstatement can do a lot to help someone understand what your site is designed to do. But you need more than that to keep them browsing.The visitor needs to see immediate value when they visit your site. They need to seesomething that will benefit them right away. They need to see something they can useto make their own lives better. This is the foundation behind today's value-firstmarketing moniker. People have been over-marketed and have become skeptical inclever marketing slogans.
They want to see the value. They want proof that you candeliver. They want to sample your product or service before they buy anything. You should spend some time and think about what you can offer your website visitorsas soon as they land on your site. It could be information. It could be a tool orcalculator of some kind. It could be a free subscription. It could be anentertaining video or an interactive game they can play. Whatever it is, you need tocapture your visitor within seconds and guide them to something that will benefitthem.Once they've received one piece of value, give them a second and then a third. Guidethem through a maze of value, encouraging them to continue browsing and discoveringeven more. This is the key to a sticky website and you can get a good idea of yourprogress by measuring your average time on the site through your analytics platform. There are a million different websites out there and they're all designed to achievedifferent objectives. But each one of those websites can be a bit better byincorporating more focus, depth and stickiness. All three improve your website'effectiveness and all three offer benefits with the search engines as well.
About the Author:Tactical Execution with Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a strategic company focused ongrowth marketing and program implementation across business markets. Visit thewebsite for actionable guidance for revenue generation.
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Web Accessibility: What You Should Know

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

Overview



There is a lot of talk these days

with regard to proper development practices and accessible web design. If you don't think any of this applies to you or your website, you probably don't understand exactly what this is all about. Web Accessibility refers to the practice of creating websites that will be useable for people of any ability or disability. Many things come into play when accounting for a person's eye sight, mobility, auditory and logic skills.


Too many web development companies

overlook the importance of coding a website in meaningful HTML. Utilities for blind users, such as text-to-speech software, make use of alternate text for images and properly named links. Another downside to overlooking proper HTML lies with the robots search engines send out to read your website. These computers that browse the internet by themselves can learn a lot more about your website, and get a lot deeper into your site when they aren't confused by poor coding practices.

Many people have difficulty

controlling a mouse with precision, and can become frustrated while attempting to select a small link. Web designers need to allow for enlargeable text sizes and create larger clickable areas whenever possible. Links should always be styled and colored different than body text so that even color blind users can quickly locate the links on any web page. Pages can even be coded in a fashion that allows them to be navigated without a mouse or keyboard should your audience be likely to require this.


No website should ever rely

solely on a video or audio component to convey information. Problems here extend farther than those who are hard of hearing or have poor eyesight. You are relying on certain hardware and or software to be installed on the visitor's computer. If a user has no speakers, or if they are turned off, they could miss your important message or even be annoyed if they were listening to something else. Visitors are valuable and you should never do anything to encourage them to leave your site quickly.


Aside from looking tacky

, flashing effects are to be avoided to ensure those sensitive to seizures are not at risk. Content is both more effective and better understood by those with developmental and learning disabilities when it is written in plain text.



The Web Accessibility Initiative



The WAI started

in 1999 by the World Wide Web Consortium and is viewed as the standard set of guidelines for creating accessible websites. Although there has been some criticism of their guidelines they have been working since 2003 to release the second edition of accessibility standards which will be much more technology-neutral. This will leave more room for interpretation and adaptability.


The guide goes into

great depth on how to create accessible web content and includes a checkpoint summary by topic and priority. They discuss important issues and provide design solutions for a number of scenarios that cause conflicts.


The Future of Accessibility



We are at a point now

where there is no doubt accessibility is important, in fact it is already a legal requirement in certain countries. Try searching Google for anything along the lines of 'web accessibility' and you'll see the vast amounts of information available. There's still a lot of work to be done, but we've come a long way over the last few years.

With more and more websites

being populated with user generated content, a simple set of guidelines for web designers is becoming less useful. It is impossible to monitor this content for accessibility as it is being created at such a rapid rate. We are also seeing new assistive technologies that support elements like JavaScript, PDF's and Flash which will create many new options for websites that remain fully accessible.


About the Author:

Written by Sean Doering, Creative Director of the Toronto web design company LinxSmart. They can be found at http://www.linxsmart.com.

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SEO Or Page Rank –Which Is The More Important?

Posted In: . By dr.emi creative design

SEO Or Page Rank –Which Is The More Important?
By Peter Nisbet (c) 2007

Whether you believe in SEO or Page Rank and wonder which is more important, your thinking is irrelevant. You are wasting your time in wondering what is the correct answer to that question, since even if you knew it, there is little you could do to use that information.
Why do I say that? Because SEO, or search engine optimization, is a way of designing your website, and placing content in it, to satisfy search engine algorithms. Search engines are so sophisticated today that if you achieve that, then you will also satisfy visitors to your website. If you satisfy visitors to your website, then they will stay on the page they landed on and read it. They will then clíck to read other pages on your website and might even make a purchase.

Sure, some will leave right away, but if the search engines feel that your content is good enough for a high placement in their indices for the search term, or keyword, that your visitor used to get to your web page, then it is more likely that you will achieve a relatively high stick rate of people to your site than a lower one.
Now, consider if you thought Google PageRank more important (and PageRank is correct, not Page Rank). You would then spend more of your time trying to get links back to your website than you would properly optimizing your site and filling it with good content. If you were successful in that difficult job, then Google, and possibly other search engines, would líst you a bit higher in their indices, not because their spiders thought your site was relevant to the search term used by the potential visitors, but because other websites thought so.
You will then get visitors to your website, and the page they land on would have to be relevant to the search term they used or they will immediately leave. If it is relevant, they will stay, perhaps visit other web pages and perhaps make a purchase.
So what is the difference? You get basically the same end result. How can you tell which is the more important. There is one simple way to do this, and one that I have used more than once. Design two websites round the same keyword. Make the keyword the name of the website and then apply classical theoretical SEO to one site, including some of the extra special tips that can make the difference between success and failure – in fact that DO make that difference.

Now apply only minimal SEO to the other and make sure you have exactly the same content on each, but rewritten to avoid duplicate content or that would negate the test. However, with the second site, you must generate as many links back to your website as possible, using non-reciprocal links where possible, but reciprocal links where necessary. There are a few ways in which you can generate lots of one-way links to selected pages on your site, and you should make that your home page for the purposes of this test.
Wait 4 weeks then chëck Google, Yahoo and MSN for the position of each of your home pages. You will find that your first website will generally be listed higher for the keyword that both sites are built round. Chëck again about 3 months later, and you will likely find that website 2 will feature higher as the links start to take effect, but then the first site will overtake it as it generates its own links naturally. Basically, what this proves to me is that it is essential to optimize your website for search engines in the classical way, but that for best results you must also have a good level of links back to your website. There are simple, ways to achieve both, but that would be the topic of another article. However, in the end, if you apply both, then you will achieve best results. I know that there are exceptions to this, and I have highlighted them in some of my ebooks, but generally that is the case.
So, the answer to the question: SEO or Page Rank, is that neither is the more important. They are both equally important, but it is possible to do one better than the other and then you would be tempted to say that your way was best. But you would be wrong!

If you did find what was the best, you couldn't use that information since search engines rules are transitory but good honest content and classical SEO have always prevailed, as has a good number of links that others follow to reach your website.

About The AuthorPeter is an expert on audio-visual file formats and codecs and more information on p2p file sharing software can be obtained from his websites LegalAndFree.com and Online-Free-Movies.com where options are presented and the ethics discussed. Read More...

 

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