Monday, August 27, 2007

Get Inbound Links From Your Competitors

by James Charlesworth

A website is a living document that if designed and marketed correctly can bring in more customers than any other marketing vehicle available. One way to market a website is through pay-per-click advertising. This is a surefire way to get traffic from search engines, but it can also be rather expensive depending on the industry. A less expensive, and potentially greater avenue of traffic is through search engine optimization (SEO). Wikipedia defines SEO as the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. One of the main factors SEO focuses on is one way inbound links (hyperlinks on a third party website to your website). The more inbound links you have the better you will rank on search engines like Google. Keep in mind, the quality of those links matter just as much as the number of links themselves. For example, if you are a golf equipment store and have a link from a Realtor, it might even hurt your rankings on the search engines because the content is drastically different. A golf store should try to get links from golf courses, other golf stores, or other related businesses.

Nine out of ten times, the content on a competitors website is similar to yours, which makes it an optimal place for links. Having a link on a competitors website can help boost your rankings greatly. From the search engines prospective, these are more valuable than almost all other inbound links to your website. At the same time, these links can be the hardest to get. For businesses who operate in a small geographical market, this can easily be achieved by trading links with similar businesses outside their local market. This creates two problems. One, for businesses who sell outside of a specific geographic segment, this is not an option. Two, search engines are starting to frown on trading links with other sites and rate those reciprocal links less than a one way link.

In order to garner inbound links from your competitors you must somehow provide valuable information that your competitors can use on their website. A great way to do this is with Google Gadgets. A Google Gadget is a tool that business owners can use to add content to their competitors' websites. For example, our company recently created a Google Gadget that allows other website designers to show off their top search engine rankings on their own website. The catch is that the gadget has a link back to our website. Once created, a great gadget can bring in an exponential amount of inbound links from your competitors, and it requires no further effort from you.

About the Author

James Charlesworth is the co-owner of RascalNet Design, a SEO website design company. Google Gadget design for websites can be found on his SEO-Blog.

Monday, August 20, 2007

How to Improve Your Web Forms

by Jason Smith

As you settle down to create a web form, chances are this is your first attempt - meaning there will be room for improvement. In your experience on the Web, you will have probably come across a poorly designed web form before, but never stopped to think how it became that way. When you start to generate your own, you may soon see how it is easy to fall victim to some of the most common web form blunders. In order to create a web form that is not distracting or difficult to use, try considering the following suggestions:

Avoid Large Drop-Downs

Sprawling drop downs are distracting and annoying, meaning it isn't necessary to list every possibility of a state, country, or other information included the world. The scroll bars of large drop down lists are inconvenient and most people would rather type in the information rather than waste time scanning a long list. It is not uncommon to lose interest or potential clients when filling out web forms because they are too tedious.

Offer Suggestions

A popular way to make life easier for a website user is to assist them in their decision-making regarding usernames, domain names, or passwords. Sometimes, people choose selections that are not available (taken by another user). Instead of alerting them to "please try again," try offering a few suggestions or alternatives for them to consider. For example, when "surfergirl" is taken, make recommendations, such as "beachgirl," "surferlover," "beachbum," or "surfergal" - anything to lend a helping hand.

Help Double Submitters

For some, it is a natural reaction to double-click on buttons, especially the ones marked "submit." Websites that allow this blunder in advance offer a much better reception than those who "punish" users for this mistake. Some sites use Javascript to gray out the submit button once it has been selected the first time, which avoids this common problem in the long run.

Scrap Confusing Formats

With the many different kinds of web forms, one of the most annoying formats deals with the birth date. The "dd/mm/yyyy" format is quite confusing for many and when it isn't entered correctly, the form spits back the information and requests changes. Too many confusing formats in a form will frustrate users.

Limit Display Warnings

The display warnings that appear on a page are quite annoying. These pop-up alert boxes may decorate a computer screen, telling a user they need to fix something in their form. The best way to deal with incorrect form responses is to place the warning within the page and not throw out a distracting pop-up. Sometimes, using the color red (as in a red border) is the best way to call attention to users. Dialog boxes that require an "OK" click wastes time.

International Respect

When creating a web form, know that you will reach a wide range of visitors, who live in many different places about the world. A web form that ignores the rest of the world will only limit the response and communication from worldwide visitors who do not fit into the scope of acceptable cities, states, or zip codes. This is why it is important to leave room for users to designate their country, postal code, or other identifying information.

Short Web Forms

To make a web form more attractive to the public, you should keep the questioning short and sweet. It is suggested to stick with the information required to complete the form, forgoing extra requirements that simply wastes the time of users. Some people ease in "optional" questions in hopes to gain details without using force.

In the end, following these suggestions will find you with less frustrated visitors, who won't mind filling out one of your forms in the future.

About the Author

Exclusive XSitePro Bonus Pack, reviews, tips and videos - visit us today...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Web Site?

by Lauren Hobson

While it's true that "nobody's perfect," I think the same goes for small business web sites as well - no web site is absolutely perfect. Even the best of the best often have room for improvement! But there are some basic web site mistakes that many small companies make that can end up hurting business instead of helping it. Do any of these mistakes show up on your web site?

Not enough content.

Often, small businesses will put minimal information along with their contact information on their web sites and think that's probably good enough. But today's web visitors are looking for something more, and lots of good quality content is a great way to deliver value to your visitors and build credibility for your business.

Old or outdated content.

If you want visitors and search engines to pay attention to your web site, you need to keep adding new content and updating the existing information on your web site regularly. If your site never changes, the search engines will ignore your site, and visitors will not have a reason to come back. It's also unlikely that visitors will recommend your site to their friends and colleagues, too.

Not being search engine friendly.

Speaking of search engines, what happens if a search engine spider visits your site, but can't read your web pages? Nothing happens, and that's a problem. If a search engine spider cannot read your web pages, it just moves on to the next site, and your information is completely ignored. Your web site must be search engine friendly in order to be included in the search engine databases.

Not monitoring your site in the search engines.

Even if your web site is search engine friendly, there are constant changes going on with the search engines and also with your competitors. If you aren't monitoring how your site is performing in the search engines, how will you know if these changes are affecting your rankings or if you are losing traffic? Monitoring your web site means that you can react to changes and take appropriate steps to make sure your site shows up in the search results and that web traffic keeps flowing.

The site is built using Frames or Flash.

Not too many web sites still make this mistake, but there are still some small business web sites out there using one or both of these methods. Sites built with Frames or Flash intro pages cannot easily be read by the search engines, and web visitors typically hate using them as well. These are older web techniques that don't reflect well on your business, they don't perform well in the search engines, and today's web visitors expect better.

Making your web site the best it can be is a very effective and affordable marketing option for most small businesses. Of all the other types of advertising and marketing that you do each year, your web site has the potential to be seen by more customers, can continue to promote your company perpetually through links, is always accessible to customers, and can instantly reflect changes and provide fresh information to draw people in. Avoiding basic web site mistakes will help your site perform better, making it a "perfect" marketing strategy for your small business.

About the Author

Lauren Hobson is the Editor of Biz Talk Newsletter and the Five Sparrows Marketing Blog from Five Sparrows, LLC. Read the most recent Five Sparrows articles on small business websites and marketing or subscribe at www.fivesparrows.com/biztalk. Copyright 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

7 Steps to Designing a Website for a Profitable Internet Business

by Matt McWilliam

Step 1: Create The Idea.

Decide what type of business venture you would like to undertake. The internet is a large place, but there is always room for more and competition in some markets is still in its infancy. Many start up internet companies are from people who have an idea. This idea can come from work, family, friends or even to solve a problem in their personal life. If you plan to start an internet business in a new field, it is good to have connections in that specific field. Having connections through family and friends or even your full-time or part-time job can be a significant advantage over the competition.

Step 2: Do The Research.

You will need to do some market research to discover what types of products you will be selling, who you will be selling to, typical and non-typical costs involved and how profitable these products will be for you. You will want to do Keyword Analysis on the major search engines to find out what your target audience is searching for and how they are locating your type of business online. Another thing you might consider is creating a solid business plan. Business plan creation software and guides are all over the internet. Just Google Business Plan Guide. Finding out what your competition is doing is a great way to discover new ideas and plans to being more profitable. You will want to distinguish your new business from the competition so be creative, don't just copy off of what the competition is doing. Once you have a solid plan in place you are ready to move forward to creating the business website, establishing a customer base and then generating revenue.

Step 3: Establish Web Presence.

Now that you have your idea and plan set, it's time to take action. You can start by contacting a shared-space website hosting company to establish web presence. You will also need to purchase your domain name from a registrar like GoDaddy.com or Register.com. Often, hosting companies will allow you one free domain name registration with hosting service activation. Hosting service is typically sold in annual fees of $240.00 to $360.00. Once you have your hosting and domain name registered you can build out the website.

Step 4: Building the Website.

Contacting a local website development company is your next step. Working locally with a website developer allows you to meet the person or people that will be responsible for creating your profitable business for you face-to-face. If you feel that your business idea is going to revolutionize the internet world and put Google or PayPal to shame, then you might consider asking your website development company to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This will ensure that the website company won't steal your idea or share it with any of their other clients. Another good idea is to request a quote before deciding on a website development company. Most will offer this as part of a free consultation to find out your project details. Your website developer will need to know specific things like the goal of your business, types of web pages your site will have, the content that will go on each page and obtain logos, graphics or photos from you.

Step 5: Generating Sales and Customers.

After all this is what you want your website to do right? Unfortunately it isn't easy, don't expect to wake up tomorrow morning with thousands of pending sales and money flowing into your merchant account. This will take time, dedication, the right promotion techniques and a lot of effort on your part. Nowadays creating a static HTML website isn't enough to generate sales and customers through your website. Typical internet browsers are becoming more and more used to shopping carts, interactive guides, live chat support, contact forms and quote request forms. These are all great ideas that once combined will create a very solid and trust worthy online business website. Your website development company will be able to set up all of these features for you. If they can't, find a new website development company fast! If you plan on being more personal with your customers, you might be interested in creating a Blog or Discussion Forum. These are great ways to generate topics and ideas to discuss. This will also develop a loyal community who will continually revisit and shop more on your website.

Step 6: Promotion.

Internet promotion is great because it allows you to target your customers without the large budget requirements such as print or television and radio advertisements. The first and foremost internet promotion is Search Engine Optimization. This is the technique of developing quality, accurate and reliable content on your website. Search Engine Optimization also includes, Title, META and ALT Image tags which Search Engine spiders will index allowing you to place higher the keywords you are targeting. Other forms of internet promotion include affiliate programs which allow you to offer commission based payouts to visitors of your website who refer people to your site, PayPerClick (PPC) campaigns which allow you to place in the top one or two spots on a Search Engine results page for a set bid amount, participating in online forums, communities and discussions related to your business' subject or target audience and writing online articles such as this one which will increase links back to your website.

Step 7: Managing & Maintaining.

Managing your customer base and maintaining your website content is just as important as all of the work you put into it in the beginning. Your website development company will be able to offer you website maintenance and update service based on a set monthly fee. Adding new, fresh content to your website is critical in raising your search engine rankings and getting customers to revisit your site frequently. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is available to help you track customers and maintain a lasting relationship. Most systems are web based and can be integrated into your website for you by your web development company. If you prefer to maintain the content on your website by making the updates yourself instead of paying your website developer to do the work, consider a Content Management System (CMS). Content Management Systems typically cost more to set up, but allow you to avoid the monthly maintenance fees.

About the Author

Copyright 2007 Article Authored by Matt McWilliam.

Matt McWilliam is the successful entrepreneur and owner of MJM Design located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Read more about Matt McWilliam at http://www.MattMcWilliam.com

Visit http://www.ClevelandWebsiteDesign.com for all your website design & development needs.

What's the Latest Craze in Web Designing - Lets Find Out!!

by Robert Martin

So let's find out find out what's the newest thing about Web designing. But before we start lets have a look at the basics in Web designing. As per an old saying Internet users will spend 3-5 seconds at a website before deciding to either stay, or try elsewhere. That's why a professional, attractive look is a must. Attractive look is all about creativity, choosing right color schemes, fonts, images, and buttons. All these when mixed in proper proportion will lead to the birth of a state of art website.


Here comes a problem, that's all the above mentioned techniques require designing and coding knowledge. Unfortunately, designing and coding a great website isn't always easy; it requires a good deal of creativity and knowledge. Web design companies can charge per hour, more than many people make in a day for just this reason.

But there are other options, and this is where website templates and online template tuning or customization comes in. This allows you to take advantage of a team of professionals who have expertise in web designing while paying a fraction of what you would. You will overcome all the technical problems as well as design problems and enjoy the simplicity, comfort and clearness of the production process.

Here's the latest process which comes into picture.

  1. Choose the template which suits your requirement from 12500+ category wise organized templates.
  2. Talk to Manager in 24/7 real-time chat.
  3. Monitor the customization production progress.
  4. Get the work done.

This process is extremely exciting, because it will have many ways of presenting as well as many styles to choose from. Each template can be previewed to notice all of its features. With such a variety available, the customers have the freedom to choose the one they want. This makes the process much simpler, and also makes the job much easier. The idea of using this process is that it reduces the costs of web designing. As many designers would charge thousands of dollars by starting from scratch. Normally a lot of money is associated with the web designing, but when it comes to hiring designers.

People might think that with web templates there is need to worry about the unique look, but it is not a area of concern as every method is designed to be this way. But with such a variety of templates the client will have the opportunity to choose what he wants. The unique thing about designing websites is that one can have a world class design for a very less cost. Moreover the template will be converted to a unique website after online template tuning.

Now the websites designing is all about picking the right web templates, and also apply the required techniques to bring about a website that is attractive to all users. If you want to give simple exercise to your creative juices you can skip template tuning online and just download the template. Currently I have checked this fun filled process at www.webtemplates7.com and I really enjoyed it. Now it's the time for you to have fun.

About the Author

My purpose is Just to spare some Time for Benefit of Community

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Why You Need a Contact Form on Your Website

by Hugh Pate

Many websites fail to give their visitors an easy way to communicate with the website owner. There is a right and a wrong way! Don't fall into the trap of using the "easy" way. Find out how to do it properly. Your website visitors will be happier, and you'll get more valuable feedback and potential sales.


The internet is a great place to promote your business or offers. A major part of achieving credibility for yourself, your business, your offer and your website is to have a simple method for people to contact you.

People want to trust who they are dealing with online, and if they can easily find a way to contact you directly, then they will be more likely to do business with you.

Most websites who adhere to this principle usually have a "Contact Us" or "Email Us" link somewhere on their site. Most often this is a simple email link that triggers the user's email program.

However, using such a method is fraught with problems!

It's easy for webcrawling software to then go through your site, extract your email address and wham - your email address gets sucked into a spammer's database! If you've been receiving a lot of junk email then this is the most likely way that the spammer has obtained your email address.

However, you can easily combat these email parasite programs, AND enhance your website relationship with your prospective customers at the same time - by using a Contact Form on your website!

A Contact Form is a simple website form that allows a prospect or customer to communicate with you directly on your website, without them having to use their email program. They are also much more likely to communicate with you via a simple web form than by email.

The Contact Form also hides your email address from the spammer's email webcrawler software. It does this by the use of a special file (called a php file) that contains your email address. When your prospect/customer fills out contact form on your site, and then hits the submit button, the information on the form is immediately sent to your email address. This is done quickly, safely and out of sight of any spammer's software that may be lurking about.

Here's a typical website contact form:

http://www.netsuccesstools.com/contact.html

A Contact Form like this on your site can also be used for other types of interaction with your site visitors. For example, you can use a form like this to collect customer testimonials, do web surveys, or get feedback on some aspect of your product or site. It's a great way to build a relationship with your site visitors.

Do yourself a big favour and get one of these forms on your website. It looks much more professional than a simple email link.

Setting up one of these contact forms on your site is very simple. The easiest way is to use a Contact Form Wizard. This does it all for you, and creates the form code and necessary php file. You then just copy and paste the form into your webpage, and include the php file in the same folder on your site. If you don't have a Contact Form Wizard, you can search for one online, or see the resource box below.

About the Author

This article was written by Hugh Pate, publisher of the newsletter Net Success Tools. Subscribe at http://www.netsuccesstools.com and receive the Web Tools Power Pack, a collection of essential webmaster tools.

Guide to Pay Per Click Search Engines

by Corey Geer

What is a Pay Per Click Search Engine?

A pay per click search engine is designed for pay for performance advertising. That means that an advertiser pays the search engine owners only for traffic that is delivered to his web site in accordance with key words that the advertiser chooses to bid on. Example: An advertiser has a web site that advertises vacations to Thailand. The advertiser can bid on "vacations to Thailand" as a key word. If he wants to be in the number one position on the search results page he can place a bid that is one cent more than the existing high bid for the key word term "vacations to Thailand". Let's say that the present high bid is $0.20 per click. A bid of $0.21 would than gain the top position for the advertiser.

If his key word was clicked on 10 times in one day he would pay 10 X $0. 21 , or $2.10 for the traffic that was delivered to his web site for that day. The advertiser is paying only for performance. There is no charge for the number of times that the advertisers ad appeared on the search engine web site that day. The charges are based only on the number of times that a visitor clicked on the key word and was delivered to the advertiser's web site. Thus the name "pay per click".

Why Use Pay Per Click Search Engines?

In just a few words it is because the leading Pay per Click Search Engines (PPC) can quickly deliver quality targeted traffic to your web site. Anyone who has build web sites know that building web sites is the easy part. The tough part of the process is in driving enough qualified traffic to the site to make it worth while from a commercial view point. Even if you are successful in building a web site that the search engines love it will take some time, probably two or three months, perhaps longer, for the search engine spiders to find your site and for your site to be listed in the search engine. If you are trying to make money on the Internet that is a long time to go without traffic.

No traffic means no sales and no income. That should not be your objective unless you enjoy building web sites no matter how few people ever visit them.

With pay per click search engine accounts you can almost immediately drive qualified traffic to your web site. If you are serious about building a business on the Internet that is a pretty good reason to use Pay Per Click Search Engines.

Pay Per Click Search Engine Tips

1. Use quality pay per click search engines that already have a high volume of traffic. It doesn't matter how cheap the bid for your key words may be if there is little traffic on the search engine and your key words are never clicked on.

2. Know your market. If you are selling "vacations to Thailand" do some research to find out what words and phases folks who are thinking of traveling to Thailand are actually using in their searches. An excellent tool to assist in this research is Wordtracker . Wordtracker will quickly help you to decide which key words are truly worth bidding on.

3. Quality pay per click search engines will have starting bids from one cent to five cents per key word. It is important to know that about 80% of the traffic for any key word will go to the top three bids. So if you want a lot of traffic to your web site try to position yourself in the top three spots. Just as with real estate location makes all the difference in results.

4. Set up a realistic budget for each search engine. Quality pay per click search engines get a lot of traffic so be prepared for a lot of traffic to your site if you bid on popular key words.

5. Popular key words can be expensive so choose your key words with great care. It is best to stay away from key words that are too general in nature. Thus to continue with the example above bidding on the key word "vacations" would not be wise if you are selling vacations to Thailand. Yes, you would get a ton of traffic but it would be more than likely be too general and you would spend a lot of money for poor results. It is almost always a better strategy to bid on phases instead of one general keyword. Therefore bidding on "vacations to Thailand" would be a far better choice than bidding on "vacations".

If you are selling vacations to Pattaya Thailand it would be better to bid on "vacations to Pattaya Thailand" than on "vacations to Thailand". The more keywords that you can find that exactly match up with whatever it is that you are selling and that folks will be searching for the more money you will save (less money will get you in the top three spots) and the better your results will be.

Wordtracker is an excellent tool that can find key word phases that are actually being searched for and that you would probably never think of going it alone.

6. Think about using a lot of keywords rather that a common few. The common few will be expensive and will likely deliver to your web site a lot of poorly targeted traffic with poor conversion ratios (traffic to sales). People search for the darnest things and those who actually plan on buying something usually search by using phrases. With some effort you can find phrases that are cheap and that will deliver highly targeted traffic...the kind that converts into sales.

7. No matter how much traffic you drive to a web site if you are marketing sorry products or services or if you have excellent products and services but you have a sorry website you are wasting your time and money. Everything must be right to achieve business success. Make sure that your site is "order taking ready" before you turn on your pay per click traffic.

About the Author

644 EBooks - Marketing - Arts - Autos - SEO - Tools - Traffic - List Building - Society - Shopping - Sports - Self-Improvement and MUCH MUCH MORE! All For only $7 A Book.
http://coreygeer.blogspot.com/

Do You Need a Web Site Monitoring Service?

by Corey Geer

You can do a splendid job obtaining high search engine ranking and an equally fine job marketing your site. However, your hard work will be of little value unless your site and servers are up and fully operational. Unfortunately, items such as software lockups, hardware failures, databases, hackers, viruses, worms, service patches, and Internet connectivity can all play a critical role in your online success. Enter firms that specialize in email, site, and server monitoring.

What exactly is "server, email, and web site monitoring"?

Web site monitoring refers to monitoring the operational status and performance of a web site that uses HTTP and/or HTTPS. Likewise, email monitoring refers to the monitoring, operational status and performance of SMTP servers to insure that mail is flowing correctly and timely. Server monitoring refers to monitoring the operational status and performance of other server services such as FTP. While the difference may seem slight, it is important to note the difference.

How Does Monitoring Work?

Monitoring firms attempt to connect to your site or server service at regular intervals via the Internet. If the monitoring service is unable to connect and verify correct operational status, most firms will retry based on customer defined timeout and retry levels. If operational status still cannot be confirmed, then a customer defined contact list is notified. Upon resumption of service, most monitoring services will notify the contact list again informing them the site or server service is operational.

Determining Operational Status

Some monitoring services simply use ping to see if a server answers and record the response times during the process. Some services use more complex techniques such as checking web page code, database connectivity, keyword verification, and email round robin. The important point to consider is how a monitoring firm determines operational status. A ping request for example may verify the server has power, but does not guarantee a web site or server services is operational.

Most monitoring services provide detailed statistics that can be especially helpful in verifying SLA and QOS agreements are being honored. When reviewing monitoring services, insure that the method used to determine operational status is applicable to your SLA or QOS agreement.

What Changes are Required?

Some monitoring services require that executables be installed on your server. While this practice is not wide spread, it does exist. Most Internet monitoring services can query your site or server service without the need of agents and the associated complexity and maintenance required by installing additional software.

If you need to monitor sites or servers that are behind a firewall, a firewall rule will need to be established. Most monitoring services will provide originating IP information upon request.

Intervals

Web Site Monitoring "interval" is simply the frequency in which a site or server is checked. Most monitoring services offer packages ranging from 2 to 60 minutes. Since monitoring costs are largely based on the monitoring interval, it is important to determine downtime interval is acceptable. If the site or server is mission critical, 2 minute monitoring intervals may be required to avoid revenue loss. On the other hand, a site or server operating a hobby may not require monitoring at all.

Contact List and Methods

Most monitoring firms email a contact list in the event of an issue. There are four important points to consider: (1) your e-mail availability; (2) the number of persons that can be contacted; (3) testing your email devices; and (4) additional costs.

If you carry an email enabled cellular phone, pager, PDA, or other device 24/7 you are in great shape. However, if you check e-mail a few times per day, having your server monitored at 2 minutes intervals makes little sense if the monitoring service uses email notification. Take a realistic assessment of your email availability. My personal solution was to email enable my cellular phone. The email address is not published and the phone is with me 24/7.

Most monitoring firms offer the ability to contact multiple persons. The logic is that someone on the list will be available to react to an issue. While this approach may sound odd, it may make sense to contact your Webmaster, LAN administrator, yourself, or others depending on your staff size, work schedules, and hosting arrangement.

Most monitoring firms offer the ability to send "test" messages to your contact list. This feature is provided to ensure everyone on your contact list is correctly receiving notification messages.

Read the fine print. Some firms have "additional" charges for pager messages and if you exceed a specific number of notifications per month. As everyone involved in technology knows, the unexpected normally happens, and on a daily basis. It is important to understand what you are agreeing to and your level of financial commitment.

Costs

Monitoring costs very greatly depending on the monitoring interval, method used to determine operational status, and services provided. Generally prices range from free to $99.00 per month. Mission critical server packages normally range fall in the $30.00 - $60.00 per monthly range.

Closing

Monitoring firms perform monitoring from outside your organizational IT infrastructure in the same fashion the world accesses your servers. Doing so ensures that your servers are truly available to your visitors and items such as firewall are correctly configured. Depending on your business goals, monitoring can be a valuable resource and play a critical role in your online success.

About the Author

644 EBooks - Marketing - Arts - Autos - SEO - Tools - Traffic - List Building - Society - Shopping - Sports - Self-Improvement and MUCH MUCH MORE! All For only $7 A Book. http://coreygeer.blogspot.com/

Free Web Tools: Analyse and Optimise on the Cheap

by Paul Coupe

Finding out what's going on with you website no longer needs to be a complicated task. With so many quality free tools available, it takes little effort to get your head around site analytics and optimisation.

We can hardly start without first mentioning Google Analytics. This niftiest of tools provides anything from visitor numbers, referral sites, popular entry and exit pages, whist also offering an insight into your pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Well worth a visit to http://bizsolutions.google.com/services/ before doing anything else.

Sticking with Google, the next best thing you can get into are the Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools offer an insight as to how your site is indexed. You can upload your site map and examine lots of facts and figures such as popular search terms that lead visitors to your site as well as learning about where site errors exist. Right after getting sorted with Google Analytics your best bet is to go straight to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

If you are concerned about your page rank it's well worth running a free test with SEOmoz. By visiting http://www.seomoz.org/page-strength and entering your website URL you'll get a report showing ranking statistics with most of the major search engines and ranking sites such as Google, Alexa, Wikipedia etc. For a general SEO health check Sitening provide a speedy analysis of your website structure helping you to tweak a few elements for better performance. Visit: http://www.sitening.com/seo-tools/seo-analyzer/. For a quick check regarding search performance for specific words and terms a trip to www.GoogleRanking.com will provide you with a summary page showing how your site stands up in Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.

With link popularity being one of the major drivers of traffic a visit to http://www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/free-marketing-tools.html will provide you with a quick way to check popularity with Google, Yahoo and MSN. As well as several other useful tools there is the search ranking check you can run against any search term. The result will give you your current standings with 9 of the most popular search engines giving you details of where particular pages rank for specific key words / terms.

If you've ever wondered just how a search engine actually sees you site it could be worth running your URL through a spider simulator. The Summit spider simulator provides a visual display which can be a little tricky to interpret but with a little knowledge can offer some assistance in streamlining your pages for better indexing. See http://tools.summitmedia.co.uk/spider/

We all know that web surfers are impatient and when it comes to waiting for slow pages to load there can be no better way to send your surfer running to competitor sites. So with speed in mind it could be worth running your pages through SelfSEO's speed checker. Giving you options to add multiple domains or multiple pages it's easy to see if your site measures up to competitors. Point your browser to http://www.selfseo.com/website_speed_test.php and off you go. If speed does appear to be an issue then at least you'll know about it and can begin cleaning up your source code and optimising a few graphics here and there.

Right there alongside speed is always the dreaded dead link. Having your visitors hit a dead link suggests your side is not being very well maintained. But you've guessed it....the W3 link checker will rip through your site and report back all those lovely oversights. Go to http://validator.w3.org/checklink and give it a whirl.

This article is free to republish provided the resource information remains intact

About the Author

Paul Coupe is lead designer / developer with Zoom Online.

Zoom Online - Providing total online solutions. Contact: paul@zoom-online.co.uk

4 Tips on Picking Your First Affiliate Product

by Lee Torres

Many beginning marketer's are in a rush to get into the online marketing game, so they can start cashing checks as soon as possible. This enthusiasm is great, but it has to be combined with some careful planning.

SIMPLE TRUTH: The first product is the most important and also the most difficult of all the products to introduce

Online marketing is all about building relationships. Without this, your list will not be responsive. The first product is part of the relationship building process.

Take these things to heart because they'll guide you to success with your first product.

1. You're not going to make a killing on the first product, you trying mainly to break even. That's right, you read correctly. If you make profit off your first product, you're doing extremely well. Your profit comes from your 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on. But without the 1st, there is no 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Work hard on the 1st, but expecting to at least break even will put you in the right mindset.

2. Make sure your first product is of good quality. Don't just pick anything because you think it might make for some good cash in your pocket. Make sure it's a good product because you're setting the table for what can be expected of you. If your first product stinks, they'll assume your next few will also.

3. Make sure your first product isn't too expensive. Since this is an introductory product, you don't want to introduce something that is a huge investment!

4. Giving them a reason to buy from you sweetens the deal. This is where bonuses come from. Find quality products, e-books, and special reports, whatever. Make sure it's of good value to them and it works along side the first product. Search on the internet and you'll easily find products and bonuses to give out.

If you're marketing an e-book about improving your golf swing, don't include a bonus on how to make a feature film on a shoe string budget! It should work hand in hand.

If you can't find these products, you can always create your own bonus products. Creating an e-book or special report using the pdf format requires only time and patience.

There are several free pdf makers online, so you won't have trouble doing a search for them. The problem with them is that they often have trouble handling website links. If you're going to have links in your pdf, you'll need something that can handle it. If you have Adobe Distiller 5.0 and above, this won't be a problem for you, you can use that program.

Here is a site run by adobe, where you can create a pdf online.

http://createpdf.adobe.com/

A final idea for finding bonus products is to approach another online entrepreneur and work out a joint venture deal, where you two share interests and products. Make sure you have the joint venture idea planned out and then propose it. This makes it easier for the deal to happen, because then they simply only have to say yes.

To your success!

About the Author

Lee Torres is an online publisher and knowledgeable source on creating a profitable online business. Visit: The Online Marketing Success Journal. Its loaded with online marketing tips and advice. Download your complimentary FREE e-book on building a profitable opt-in list .

Saturday, August 4, 2007

20 Tips for Artists for a Good Website

by Isabelle Garbani

Designing a good website seems to require an endless checklist of chores: organize and select the materials, photograph the artwork, write a bio, an artist statement and an updated resume. You need to decide how to display the materials, what color scheme will look best with your art, what fonts will compliment your work... and more!

Don't give up! I have compiled 20 important points that Artists should keep in mind when designing their website. Keep these guidelines as checkpoints during your site creation, or to check and improve an existing site.

1. Keep it simple. Don't try and put every piece of information about your career or display every single piece of artwork you ever created. Choose relevant information that will keep the site simple and elegant. Try and include materials that reinforce your site's purpose (is it to sell work? Attract new collectors? Or present a portfolio to galleries?).

2. Keep your file size low. People viewing your site don't necessarily have a high speed connection to the internet, so be aware that too many images or too many large files can slow a site down significantly. Remember that a lot of people will not wait for a site to download! Keep your jpgs at 72 dpi, and try not to have images over 540 pixels in any direction. You can also try and minimize the number of large files (music and video are typically very large) in any one page.

3. Keep your navigation simple. Do not try and have too many categories or too many layers in your navigation system. Keep the placement of the navigation buttons consistent: if you choose to have your links on the left side, keep them there throughout the site and don't scramble the order of your buttons from page to page!

4. Have your own domain name. If your aim is to impress galleries and collectors, make sure they know you take your art seriously: your own domain name looks more professional, can be easier to remember, and can be more search-engine friendly! Registering a domain has become quite affordable: typically between $10 and $15 a year with hosting costs between $5 and $15 a month.

5. No under construction page. If you are not done building a page, don't link it to your site. People's time is precious: don't waste it by announcing a category... then have that category be blank!

6. Prominent contact info. Your site is a marketing tool: you can get potential collectors and galleries to discover your work. Make sure they know how to reach you when they fall in love with your art!

7. Label all artwork. Images on the internet give no sense of scale or medium; it is therefore extremely important to label each piece of artwork with dimensions and materials used to make the work. Labeling your pieces with their price can be valuable if your aim is to sell online.

8. Include a brief Art statement and resume. Keep in mind that text is difficult to read on the screen. As an artist, you must include an art statement and resume (people want to know about you), but keep both brief. A few paragraphs for an art statement, and 1 to 2 typed pages for a resume. If you must have a complete resume, give the viewer the option to print the document as a pdf.

9. Keep your text simple. Sans serif fonts such as Arial are easier to read on the screen. Don't overuse bold and italics which make text harder to read and can get confusing.

10. Avoid underlined text. Underlined text is usually reserved to indicate a link: avoid using underlined text that is not a link to prevent confusion and frustration.

11. Keep your color scheme subdued. Don't blind your viewers! Avoid a bright yellow background with red text!!! Bright colors can be difficult to look at on a screen, especially for text. Keep your color scheme with low saturation colors.

12. Avoid background images. Background images can slow the site down, and unless properly done, will tile and look unprofessional. Background images also tend to make text harder to read.

13. Avoid background music. Although it can be tempting to have music on a site, I have to recommend against it for several reasons: your viewers might not share your taste in music, music files are large and therefore slow to download, and finally, even if your viewers like your music, it may get annoying to hear the same song every visit.

14. No cutesy mouse animation. This one is fairly obvious: it will annoy a large majority of internet users. Your goal is to make people like your site: don't alienate them with annoying gimmicks!

15. Don't disable back button. Some sites try and keep their audience captive by disabling the back button. It's obnoxious! Don't do it!

16. Refrain from using frames and flash. Both of these methods of coding tend to be unfriendly to search-engines, so use them sparingly and embed them with good old fashioned html.

17. Make sure your site is compatible in all browsers. There are no enforceable rules for website coding, only general accepted guidelines, so browsers tend to display the same code in slightly different ways. Therefore it's important to try and look at your site on several different browsers and screens to ensure that your site looks good for most users. 18. Check that all your links work. It's not only annoying to the user, but you may also run the risk of losing your site's ranking with search engines, or worse, not being indexed at all!

19. Open all external links in new window. It's nice to give extra information to your viewers by providing useful links, but make sure your own site stays on their screen by opening all external links in a new browser window.

20. Keep an honest relation with your gallery. Galleries cannot prevent you from selling work on the internet. However, you need to keep a good working relationship with your gallery. Make sure you both understand who gets or doesn't get a commission through internet sales. For example, if your gallery sells work on their site, or you sell work on your site that's currently in their space, they should get the commission.

About the Author

I started Website for Artists in May of 2006. From 1995 to 2002, I worked as a commercial digital Artist for many software companies in the Boston area, such as Papyrus Design Group, Turbine Entertainment, and Looking Glass. I basically made race cars and monsters for computer game companies for seven years!

Different Types of Web Hosting

by Roger Theron

The key responsibilities of a web hosting company are to provide server space, web services and maintenance of servers which host websites owned or controlled by individuals and companies. Most web hosting companies offer shared hosting and dedicated hosting, which are explained in detail below.

Shared Hosting

Another name for shared hosting is virtual hosting or mass hosting. It works as follows: your content and applications are placed on a server which is shared with other customers who also use that web host. The equipment and server are owned and managed by the web host provider, with technicians on hand to monitor and manage the servers. Companies opt to go the shared hosting route because it is much cheaper and it works well. In other words it's affordable and efficient. It may be worth your while to ask about shared hosting management tools which will allow you to use shared hosting, but still get the benefits of a dedicated server (described below), It is important to review the control panel which the hosting company provides you.

Although popular, shared hosting has its restrictions. It limits you from using some scripting languages and applications, although you are often allowed to customise and add features such as a shopping cart or an online catalogue.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is a much more sophisticated type of web hosting. This type of hosting allows you to rent an entire server yourself and have access to all its resources to host one or more websites. With dedicated hosting there is no transfer of assets or personnel to the web host. Either you or your web host owns the equipment. This is decided on a number of factors, differing from company to company. The web host typically does not take responsibility for anything other than the hosting operations. Business processes, strategic direction and debugging applications, for example, have to be managed by the customer.

Dedicated hosting is specialised and the customer gets dedicated hosting benefits such as secure, high quality physical infrastructure and high speed internet connectivity. Hosting packages are often customised to fit the needs of the customer with regards to bandwidth, memory and storage space needed. Because you "own" an entire server and are not sharing with another company, it allows for CPU-intensive applications to operate smoothly and prevents your website performance from being disrupted by others.

This makes a dedicated hosting plan the ideal package for companies with larger, high-traffic websites and gives them total control over the hosting environment.

Root Server Hosting

Another name for Root Server hosting is Semi-managed hosting. This is a form of dedicated hosting which allows you control over your server by access to the root, while providing various benefits, such as reliable infrastructure, security and maintenance of hardware. Root Server hosting gives redundant (uninterrupted) internet connectivity and flexibility for you to choose operations systems and hardware specifications most suitable for your needs.

Since a Root Server is a semi managed server, the hosting provider will manage the installation and hardware, but you, the client, manage all other aspects of it, including backups and software upgrades. As the client you will also have root access or administrator access, enabling you to do virtually anything on that server.

A Root Server is a very versatile server, where you can do whatever you wish, including hosting your own web server or mail server. Root Server hosting is intended for people who need more flexibility and customisation than a managed Dedicated server.

Reseller Hosting

This type of hosting is ideal for entrepreneurs and businesses who wish to host on behalf of their own customers. Reselling web hosting services means that you can take out a contract with a web hosting provider and then sell their services on under your own brand. Web hosting companies do this because they are able to sell more of their dedicated hosting space this way. The customer pays a set fee for the use of services from the web host, which they can then resell under their own brand. Different hosting companies offer different contracts and agreements.

About the Author

Hetzner is a South African web hosting company that takes pride in exceptional customer service. Consistently delivering the best service and web hosting packages, Hetzner has grown to become the largest specialised web hosting company in South Africa.

Top 10 Tips to Guaranteed Targeted Traffic

by Lewis Low

Increasing targeted traffic to your website is one of the easiest ways to boost your online productivity. Here are the top 10 effective strategies that will help you accomplish that:

1. Optimize Your Website

While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a full-time career option, you can either hire an expert to do this or follow the suggestions below and get the ball rolling yourself -

a) Select Your Keywords Wisely - Keywords are the phrases people use to search and come to your website, thereafter, hire your services or buy your products. The trick is to find keywords that are highly relevant to what you offer and popular enough that your target audience will use in search engines, but not so competitive that you can't rank well using them. (Tip: GoodKeywords.com provides a free keyword tool to help you get started. Find your 'magic' keywords and use them to build your website content!)

b) Create Your Meta Tags - One of the methods search engines use to evaluate and read your website is known as 'Meta tags.' Make sure you include your keywords, website title and description in meta tags in the source code of each of your web pages.

c) Create an SEO Friendly Website - Avoid bandwidth-hogging flash animations, fancy graphics or "alt" tags in HTML for pictures. Not only will this slow down your website's loading speed, search engines bots will also find it difficult to read, index, and rank your web pages.

d) Get Links to Your Sites - Create a 'Links' or 'Resources' page and add links to good, relevant websites. This makes search engines think that your site provides valuable information and it should, therefore, appear high in search engine results.

2. Submit Your Website to Search Engines

Don't wait for search engine robots or spiders to find you. Instead, go ahead and submit your website to major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Dmoz etc. and remember to do this regularly!

3. Use PPC Advertising

The best PPC (Pay-Per-Click) programs are offered by Google and Yahoo respectively, called Adwords and Overture. It's usually pretty tough getting top rankings in the search engines in a short period of time, but it can be very easy to get on the first page of results quickly enough, with a PPC campaign. A PPC campaign can be started with a very small investment and you retain full control over your budget. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad that takes them to your website.

4. Swap Ads with other Ezines

It's a good idea to swap ads or links with other ezine publishers in your niche. These can be real ads, testimonials about your niche, or recommendations within the content of an ezine itself. Also, consider buying some ad space in ezine publications in your niche that have a large circulation. Always run an ad for at least 3 consecutive issues in order to get the best results.

5. Give Away Freebies

Everyone loves freebies and people will even come to your site just to check what you are giving away. So keep in mind to include a free eBook, a time bound discount coupon, a prize for every X-th visitor, etc. on your website. You can also partner with other JV (Joint Venture) sites where you can offer free products and get people to your own website. Make sure you capture your visitor's name and email address using opt-in form so that you could easily follow up with them later. Remember, 'the money is in the size of your list.'

6. Become a Guru

Other than freebies, people love free advice! So find sites where you're allowed to answer questions, and then take some time off to provide detailed answers to each one of them. Become an expert in your niche, and with every answer you give or every solution you provide, don't forget to add your website URL at the end.

7. Participate in Discussion Forums

Participating in forums, blogs, and discussion groups is yet another fantastic idea to drive targeted traffic to your site. Check to see if you can offer any advice or make valuable suggestions in forum threads. Always remember to provide your website URL at the bottom of each post you make. Each forum may have its own set of rules about promoting your website, so make sure you carefully read and follow their terms and conditions to avoid being accused of spamming.

8. Submit Articles

This is actually the most genuine and effective technique to getting targeted traffic to your website. Write articles that come under your niche, embed your website link within, and submit the articles to online article directories. Articles with quality content and information tempt readers to click-thru to your site, in the hope of getting more advice or tips. Once prospects reach your website, they're also exposed to the products and services you offer - which can sometimes result in many sales for you!

9. Write A Press Release

Write a press release about your business and circulate it in the local media, online news sites and RSS. Be careful not to make it sound like an advertisement, though. For more information about press releases promotion, check out http://www.prweb.com/pressreleasetips.php

10. Online Networks

There are many sites today where you can network online. These networks usually have groups which you can belong to and post articles and comments. Some good examples would be adlandpro.com, ryze.com, ecademy.com, directmatches.com and linkedin.com to name a few. They work pretty much the same as discussion forums where you can post your articles, and comments, or discuss general issues with others. Many online networking sites offer you an individual page on the network where you can advertise what you have to offer and include a link to your website.

To conclude, these 10 tips of driving targeted traffic are tried-and-tested, meaning they do work. So put in some hard work and give it time... then watch your traffic grow by leaps and bounds!

About the Author

Lewis Low is the founding editor of OnlineBizPromo.com. For more Practical Online Business Ideas and Work-From-Home Opportunities, visit his Work-At-Home directory at http://www.onlinebizpromo.com.

Seven Reasons for Failing as a New Affiliate Marketer

by Nancy Stetson

When beginning marketing on the internet we are led to believe that promoting affiliate products is a quick and easy start in establishing a foothold in the very competitive internet marketing business. Our mailboxes get flooded with promises of immediate income and long term success. Needless to say not all of them are going to be the magic bullet that is advertised.

It may look easy, especially to someone who has not yet experienced the many ups and downs of any online business. I have 7 possible causes of failures in promoting other peoples' products and suggestions as how to avoid them. No one reason is going to be the downfall to affiliate success but a combination could really hurt.

1. Failure to realize that it takes work. One can't just sign up, get a referral link and post a few ads. Then the sign-ups will swarm in! Many advertisers will promise that with 5-60 minutes of work everything will be on autopilot and that's it. Obviously one has to prepare by studying the product, plan an advertising campaign that will use several methods, (more on that later) and use resources that the site owner may provide.

2. Failure to take time to get to know the product(s). Too often the affiliate will promote a product about which he knows very little. If researched carefully sometimes a product which appears to be good really isn't as cracked up as advertised. If one finds he doesn't like the product after all, he either can't really successfully promote it or if he doesn't like it maybe others don't either. Not that everyone likes a product enough to purchase it, but your percentage of sales may not be that great. And if too many customers turn out to be dissatisfied your reputation could suffer.

3. Failure to adequately research the site, not just the product. Is the site well established or is the owner a successful marketer? A good track record should indicate future success. It can't be said that even an expert can't fail occasionally. He may be promoting a product that just doesn't work out. Also a newcomer could come out with a new product that actually becomes a big hit. So sometimes it doesn't hurt to take a chance.

4.Does the site stress the compensation plan or the product? It's easy to look at those high commissions offered but if the product is not very good what help with it be? So beware. Is the product offered globally? If it isn't it could restrict your market.

5. Failure to estimate true advertising costs. It isn't just the classified ad that may cost you. There are other means of advertisement that can cost money or time, such as using ezines, articles, forums, your own website, etc. One can find many free ways to advertise but there are usually better results when paying. For example using traffic exchanges to help send people to your link or website can be a useful free source but upgrading to the paid versions will definitely help the number of hits you will get.

6. Failure to learn from your upline and established marketers. Many of these offer good advice on the best methods of internet marketing and promotion. A good idea is to take the most relevant advice from each of several so that you don't rely totally on one. Pick what seems to work best for you and gradually you will establish your own promotion strategy.

7. Failure to realize that you will receive many rejections before successes. This can lead to frustration and often premature withdrawal from your beginning online business. Just be sure that you organize your campaigns, keep reevaluating the results and be prepared to make changes. You will gradually begin to gain momentum. You can then work with the programs that are starting to bring you those commissions. I would also suggest that as you start to earn put some of the money back into the business.

About the Author

Nancy Stetson. She uses the programs on her website to show the beginner on the internet how one can begin with no experience and little money. Visit her at
http://Homebased-Opportunities.com.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dirty SEO Laundry: The Seven Best Ways to Rip Off SEO Clients

by Mike Tekula

We all know how hard it can be to find a good auto mechanic. We ask our friends - "do you know a good mechanic that I can trust?" The problem is that while most of us need cars to get around only a handful of us know enough about them to do our own repairs. We go to mechanics. They know what's wrong, how to fix it and how long it will take (and therefore the cost). We don't, and some of them, unfortunately, will take advantage of this for their own benefit. The same things go on in internet marketing, and SEO especially.

The truth is that not too many people know about SEO - especially the people most likely to hire an SEO company to improve search visibility for their web site. They're busy running their businesses and living their lives. It's easy for those of us who make a business of SEO to see just how little the average business owner or webmaster knows about the information and techniques involved. Some SEO companies are using this imbalance of knowledge to swindle their clients.

Aside from being dishonest this is not a wise business practice. What happens if any of your clients does their homework and finds out you sold them a contract based on misleading promises or flat-out lies? It certainly won't bode well for your reputation, and you can say goodbye to that client.

I've created the following list in the hope of educating the readers who might be considering hiring an SEO company while perhaps convincing some less-than-honest SEO's to change their ways. If this blows up your spot - well, sorry to rain on your parade, but you'll have to learn how to make money and be honest at the same time.

1) Guarantee X number of page 1 Google rankings by a certain date.

This is probably the most frequently used ploy on the list. It's also one of more obvious empty promises. For one thing, SEO companies are safe to offer this (it's easy to achieve) so long as they can sell their clients on it. The problem is: the number of rankings a site has doesn't mean jack. The point of SEO is increased traffic - not increased rankings. All of the page one rankings in the world mean nothing if they don't refer traffic.

2) Guarantee page visibility on Google page one within X Number of Days.

Similar to the empty guarantee above, this one is a real doozey. It's painlessly easy to achieve, and painful for clients once they realize it. I know of one internet marketing company in particular, who shall remain nameless (for now), who offers this guarantee within a week's time. When asked whether they mean the organic or sponsored section of Google results their reps reply: "page one is page one - what's the difference?" Nice try, guys. Let's hope few people are falling for this one.

3) Pad a contract by pulling the "Google Sandbox" card.

It's generally a safe bet for an SEO company to tell you: "well, your traffic hasn't gone up at all, but your site is brand new. It's still in the Google sandbox." This is a nice way to work in an automatic extension on SEO contracts for new clients. Don't get me wrong: SEO does take time. However, an honest SEO company who knows what they are doing will have a plan of action for the early months to get you some targeted traffic while they build your site's link popularity and the search engines begin to trust your domain.

4) Blame shoddy work on Google trust issues.

I've unfortunately heard this one used on people with my own ears. It went something like this: "well, we've been doing a lot to optimize your site, but nothing we do seems to be pulling up your rankings - which is why we believe your site has lingering trust issues due to previous spamming. Google doesn't trust your site." While there are certainly cases in which this may be true it is usually not the case. It's more likely that the SEO company just hasn't found an in-road to gaining valuable search rankings for your site. It can be tough for certain topics, but a good SEO company will discuss the prospects with you before they get started and be honest about what you can reasonably expect.

5) Sell less-than-savvy clients on "search engine submission."

Anybody moderately familiar with modern search technology knows that major search engines no longer need to be "told" about your web site. Search engine crawlers make their own way around the web, and if your pages are getting link love they'll be found, indexed and, possibly, will start showing up in search results. Dishonest SEO companies will sell their clients on "submitting your site to thousands of English-speaking search engines." Think about it: how many search engines have you heard of? How many have you used? Not too many, right? You're not alone in that - 90% of search traffic goes to Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Not to mention many of those "search engines" are a big source of spam once they get your contact information - which they require to "submit" your site.

That said, there are sitemap submission options with both Google and Yahoo! that allow webmasters to aid crawlers in indexing all of their pages. It won't make an enormous difference in rankings, but it's worth the few minutes it takes to stay on top of these.

6) Sell every client on a "site rebuild."

With the age of the web (if 15 years can be considered "aged") there are plenty of sites that will need, and will get, an overhaul. Many methods used to develop web pages in the early days are now no longer viable, don't compete aesthetically and functionally with the latest sites or are, for a variety of reasons, not SEO-friendly. For this last reason SEO companies often suggest "site rebuilds" to their clients as a preliminary SEO project - they clean up the code, perhaps update the design a bit, improve load times, use links for navigation where there were images and more.

While this work is, in many cases, a very wise first step in tackling SEO concerns for an existing web site it is far from being mandatory. The trouble, once again, is that SEO companies are in the know while most of their clients are not. If your SEO says to you, "your site won't rank well unless we rebuild it" chances are you'll believe it. Prod a bit on this one, though - ask for specific references in terms of how your code will be more optimized for search after the rebuild. Not every site needs to be rebuilt.

7) Run out the clock with ineffective work.

Most SEO companies charge between $100 and $300 per hour for their work. This seems like a lot of money to new clients, but the idea is that most SEO's have so much experience, research, technology and general know-how in their toolboxes that it's worth the cost. The problem is that it can be hard for a client to know whether the SEO company is using their time efficiently. If they take two hours building 50-100 free directory links (which are not the best) the client's money is probably not being well-spent. Do a little research on the current best SEO practices, and ask your SEO company to report on the work they've been doing. If they tell you they spent two hours building links ask for a report on the links they added. Overall, be prepared to question their methods and ask for proof.

A Brief Closing Comment:

I do not intend to make the case that most SEO's and SEO companies are engaged in deceptions like those outlined above. Most, in fact, are quite open and honest about their methods. That said, there are some whose profit motivation clouds their ethical judgment, and honest SEO's should continue to fight the good fight and out these tactics for the benefit of all.

About the Author

Mike Tekula is the founder and Lead Strategist at Tek Web Solutions in New York and specializes in W3C Standards compliance, search engine optimization and generating increased web site traffic.

About this blog

The Cheap Web Hosting Report web site has always had a selection of short articles covering topics like web site design, search engine optimization, advertising, and other things almost any webmaster needs to know. Unfortunately, adding articles to the site manually is just enough work that it does not get done very often. This blog (and others we hope to add on other webmaster related topics in the next few weeks) is our plan for curing this problem.

Google's Blogger system is a lot easier to update than our web site, which should mean we will actually add the good articles we find to it for you to benefit from instead of adding them to a list that we might add to our main site on a "someday" that rarely comes. Blogger is also a great free service, a free is a major plus for a budget-minded web host.


While we often see dozens of new articles on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on article sites every week, most are not with the space they take up on a drive somewhere, let alone anyone's reading time. The few articles we reprint here will those the
Cheap Web Hosting Report staff finds actually interesting and useful. We hope you will as well.