Friday, May 30, 2008

Less Is More In Web Page Design

by Akhil Shahani

How many times have you come across sites that are so cluttered with information and graphics that you feel completely lost? Isn't there a problem of plenty with animated graphics, pop ups, revolving text, blinking images and so on? It typically leaves you confused and irritated, doesn't it?

The mantra for an attractive web page design is simplicity. Keeping it simple and clean with the minimum of graphics but adequate yet concise information is half the battle won. Zero in on what it is you want the visitor to do; do you want her to purchase a product from you, read information or gain knowledge - and design your site accordingly.

To design a site that will attract viewers, you have to know the factors that affect a web page layout. Once you understand these issues, you are well on your way to creating an eye-catching site. We've researched and put together the 5 necessary elements that go towards making an attractive design. So, go ahead and start designing your website with these basics in mind.

Screen Resolution - Use a screen resolution of 800x600 pixels when designing your web page and use percentages to specify the width and length of your page. It will then resize to the particular resolution your visitor is using.

Graphics - Avoid cluttering up your page with too many graphics. Remember, the more images you have, the more time it takes for downloading. Strike a good balance between graphics and text.

Color - Since the web is a visual medium, color plays an important role in how viewers perceive it. Have you ever gone to a site that had a dark background and darker text? I bet you didn't stay long enough to try and figure out the content! Always use a light background with dark text. If you are ever in doubt, use black on white.

White Space - This is the empty space used to separate various elements and draw attention to the content. If the page is too cluttered with information and graphics, it will annoy the viewer. Try to make the page look clean and simple; it must be both legible and navigable. The proper use of white space is one of the critical elements that distinguish a professional design from an amateurish one.

Links - Where do you want the visitor to go? Don't leave them hanging mid-way with nowhere to go. The key to good web page design is to make all the information on your site easily accessible. Will one click take you back to the homepage? Do not have multi layers within your site - the viewer may simply lose interest and move on.

Well, we've given you the 5 elements essential for a good web layout. Here are some more guidelines for you to make your website attractive to your intended audience:

o Plan the design of your site before you start building it. All the content, graphics and links must be carefully thought out during this phase.

o Ultimately, it is the content that your viewer is interested in. So, design your website with the content in the forefront. Avoid any type of web page design that overpowers the information; please, please resist the urge to go wild!

o A white background reflects a professional, businesslike attitude while a black one evokes an air of creativity and mystery. What do you want to be?

o Choose a design scheme that is appropriate for the message you're trying to convey. A design that is good for a corporate site is usually wrong for an entertainment website.

o Weird fonts, bizarre punctuation or bright colors can distract the visitor from your message. Good design is never in-your-face. Rather, it simply creates a sense of visual pleasure for visitors to enjoy.

An effective web page design simply presents your message in an attractive way. Keep the purpose of your website firmly in mind at all times and resist the temptation to indulge in fancy design gimmicks. A simple and attractive layout of your web pages will ensure that your visitor will have an enjoyable experience and want to return.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Akhil Shahani, a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed. If you like to work smart, check out http://www.SmartEntrepreneur.net . It's full of articles and resources to help you start and grow your business successfully. Please visit us & download our special "Freebie of The Month" http://www.smartentrepreneur.net/freebie-of-the-month.html

Thursday, May 29, 2008

3 Ways to Make Money From Cafepress

by Jinger Jarrett

Cafe Press, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked sites on the internet for making money. Currently, with a catalog of over 20 million products, they pretty much offer something for everyone who wants unique gifts as well as books, CDs and more.

What Cafe Press allows you to do is to set up stores, for free, and create your own books, CDs, tshirts and tons of other novelty items.

In fact, you can create an entire business around Cafe Press. There are three different ways you can create a business with Cafe Press:

1. Create your own designs.

With the free version of the Cafe Press store, you can offer 50 different products from one design in one store. You can set up as many free stores as you like, and offer as many different designs as you like. You can also offer a newsletter.

With the premium shop, you can not only offer as many custom designs as you like, you can also completely customize your store. You can add scripts to your site displaying special offers and coupons.

Whether you create a free store or a premium store, you can also get paid for referring other shopkeepers, allowing you to earn additional streams of income.

2. Become an affiliate.

If designing your own creations isn't for you, you can still earn money from Cafe Press through the Cafe Press affiliate programs. It's one of the most lucrative affiliate programs on the internet for physical products, currently paying 15 percent.

There are several ways you can get started with the Cafe Press affiliate program.

If you host your own Wordpress blog, you can download the plugin from Presto Gifto and display Cafe Press designs that are topically related to your blog.

If you don't have a blog, Presto Gifto still offers options for you, allowing you to add PHP or Javascript to your website, making it easy to integrate Cafe Press into your site.

Other blogging options, like Geeklog, have their own plugins you can use to integrate Cafe Press into their content management systems.

You can also find scripts to create custom stores. These scripts are quite inexpensive and allow you to build custom sites with Cafe Press products of your choice so you can create completely unique sites on any topic you want.

3. Create Your Own Merchandising.

Merchandising is about adding to your current product line. Although it is similar to creating your own Cafe Press shop, it's not the same thing.

Merchandising is about taking your business to the next level by adding your own custom designs related to your current product offerings. This allows you to easily create upsells and crossells for your business.

You can use your website, a blog, or integrate one of the many Cafe Press store scripts into your current business.

If you want to start a business, or you're looking for a way to increase your current business, Cafe Press is one of the easiest ways to get started.

About the Author

Like these tips? Then subscribe to my blog, Internet Marketing for Free: http://www.askjinger.com You'll find plenty of information on how to market your business online. Visit my Cafe Press store at http://cafepress.notpctshirts.com

Jinger Jarrett is a fulltime freelance writer and internet marketer. She is also the author of the book: "Internet Marketing for Free: The GUIDE," available on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

10 Things To Think About When Selecting A Web Designer

by Daniel Lundh

1. Look at the detail of the web design company's own website. This is almost always a good indication of the level of detail your new website will have. See if you can find any areas that have added level of detail, such as images with added effects. This could be rounded corners, gradient effects, colour fading etc. No matter if you do not want those design elements on your own website, it gives you information about the designers and their eye for detail and quality.

2. Know what you want. Even if you don't know the technical aspects or terms of web design, you should have a fairly good idea of what you want the end result to look like. If you leave vital parts of your website design and functionality to the web designer, you are likely to pay more than you have to. If you don't know what kind of features you could ask for, look around online at some larger websites. If you are selling products, you could try and look at ebay.com or amazon.com for some design ideas. If it works for them, it most likely will work for you.

3. Ask if a detailed quote is available. Just as with other areas of business where you have little or no idea how things are done or how long they take, it is important to get a breakdown of services that you are paying for. Are they only giving you a total price for the web services you have been discussing over the phone or email? If so, they are not giving you information that you can use to compare other web design companies with. You should ask what their hourly rate is which can help you figure out from the total cost how long it is going to take to design the website!

4. What level of support is available during and after building your website? It is very important to know how many changes you can make to your website while it is being built that are not going to cost you extra. Is the web design company giving you an option to view work in progress? How about if you change your mind on a design aspect after the website has been designed? These things need to be part of your contract before you agree to have work done. You don't want a surprise invoice for "additional requested web design work" to land in your inbox. Always be clear on what is going to be charged for and what is part of the web design package.

5. What do other clients think about the web designer? If you want to get an honest and unbiased opinion about this, there is no better way than going straight to the source! Find a previous client's contact information and send a quick email asking if it is possible to have them share some of this information with you.

6. Will your site be search engine friendly? Becoming part of major search engines such as Google and Yahoo is the inevitable next step after standard web design work has been completed. When you have a brand new website filled with information about services and products you offer, you want people to find it! Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is usually called, is an art form that takes years to master. It is a constant challenge for the web designer to keep up with ever-changing rules that the search engine companies make for who is more "important" in the search engine rankings.

You should not expect to get this service for free if it is done properly by a knowledgeable person, since it can potentially take more hours to complete than your entire website, and it is an ongoing process. You should be able to settle for a level of search engine optimization that suits your budget and still gives you an increased level of visibility online. Always ask how the search engine process will be carried out since anyone can say they are "optimizing" your website and all they do is adding keyword phrases in a few places.

The most important thing to remember about search engine optimization is that it must be supported by strong research into your specific business niche. If your web designer does not find out exactly what people are searching for when trying to find your type of business, you are just paying for guesswork and are wasting your money.

7. How will you be billed? You want to know how work is being billed, both for web design work that is part of your contract and for extra services or additional hours of work. It is common that a percentage of the total contract is charged up front before web design services have started. It is not recommended without a valid reason to pay more than 50% up front, which is a fair level for both parties. It can be agreed on that additional hours of work are added to the final payment, or invoiced immediately. As long as you feel that your needs and requirements are being satisfied, either way is standard procedure.

8. How much control will you have over content? It is still very common today that all additional work that you want done on the website will be carried out by your web designer. If you want to be able to update content on a regular basis, look for web designers that allow you to log in and update information on your own. This requires your website to be dynamic, using elements of programming code that can separate you from your visitors.

The best type of website for this purpose is a CMS-based website. CMS stands for Content Management System and is a completely different style of web design than a standard static website that only displays the same information every day. If your web designer uses a CMS to design your website, you will be able to have website visitors give comments or write articles directly on your website such as in a blog, or give different people different level of access to content on your website.

This is the direction the Internet is moving today, with so-called "Web 2.0" websites such as YouTube and Facebook popping up everywhere where users can add their own movie clips, images and other information. Of course, your website does not have to have these features to use a CMS, but a content management system allows your website to grow and expand easily for future needs. It is important you try and figure out how you may want to use your website in a few years from now and if you need a CMS or not. This type of design usually comes at a higher initial cost, but will make all changes and additional work on your web site a breeze later on.

9. How is communication between you and the web designer? How fast do you get responses to your emails? Are the responses long or short and do they seem to get shorter for each question you asked? You want to make sure that you can ask "dumb" questions and still receive the highest level of professionalism from the web designer. Is the person you are talking to the same person that will do work on your website? You want to have direct contact with the web designer(s) that are going to work on your website, to avoid miscommunication and "lost-in-translation" scenarios. If you call the web design company, try and get a feel for if they are dedicated to your satisfaction by listening to what you have to say, or if they are constantly doing sales pitches to try and convince you to pay for other services.

10. Ask for a resume. A professional web designer should be willing to give you a resume of his or her previous work and background. Knowing the background of the person or company that you are going to work with (usually over a period of several weeks) gives you a better understanding if you have found a web designer with skills that will suit your needs. What you want to be looking for is someone who truly enjoys his or her line of work and has dedicated his professional life to this field. If a person enjoys doing what he/she is doing, it shows in the detail and quality of the work produced - and eventually in your new website!

About the Author

IT consultant from Sweden, currently living in Australia. Website: cairns web design

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Avoid Multi-Level Marketing Affiliate Programs

by John Hartley

Multi-level marketing is supposedly a way of making money, and it is true that some products are sold offline using multi-level methods. Therefore, there are a lot of multi-level marketing affiliate programs around.

What's wrong with them? For a start, the whole principle of multi-level marketing is that there are many layers, and the people above you in the pyramid each take a cut of what you sell or promote. That is bad news because it means you earn less, and maybe nothing at all. In fact, they used to be called pyramid selling schemes.

Up to 10 layers in some multi-level schemes

These schemes can have ten layers, so until you get ten layers of people beneath you, you will be losing a lot of your income. To give you some idea, a two-level system is used in affiliate marketing by quite a few companies. What this means is that if you recruit someone, and he makes a sale, you get, say 10 per cent of the sale price. If the total commission was 50%, the person in the level below you would get only 40 per cent.

That sort of payout, with just two levels in the scheme, is considered acceptable, but is still frowned upon in some countries. Why? Because the person who loses that 10 per cent does so just because you recruited him, no other reason. Really, for him to get the 10 per cent, he should be doing some of the work. He is supposed to, but generally people above you in multi-level marketing do not do much if anything to help.

You can see that in a ten level system, there is hardly anything left for the people at the bottom. So when you start you are not earning for yourself but for someone else. In other words, by encouraging the people to make sales, you are actually getting them to earn money for you. This is why multi-level marketing affiliate programs are illegal in some countries.

It is also why they are a bad idea. Another reason why they are bad is there is usually a joining fee, which allows you to earn from the system. There may be a free membership as well, but you can't earn from it.

Because there is this fee, people end up trying to recruit people instead of selling products. All this means that multi-level marketing affiliate programs are really bad news, if they go beyond two levels.

Avoid them, and find affiliate products to market directly, and you will be able to earn money online.

About the Author

For FREE reports and the latest reviews of affiliate marketing products and services go to www.reallyusefulmarketing.com - which is run by John Hartley.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tips for Organizing a Family Website

by Marvin Dreyer

These days it is no longer necessary to learn computer code to build your own family website. A myriad of software products allows busy parents to make an original site without any confusing scripts or jargon. Some products are offered via subscription but many entail a one-time purchase and the software can be easily loaded onto your computer. Once you decide which product is right for you, you will need to organize your materials for the site and you may also want to plan a schedule for updates. The following text is filled with tips to help you build your family website.

Before delving into the content of your website, the following software products may be worth checking out as they have solid reputations in their field: WebEasy, Photo.web, Macromedia Homesite 5, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, Microsoft FrontPage or NetObjects Fusion MX. Certainly there are others, but by putting a good amount of time into this purchase, you can find a product that suits your ability and lifestyle. The next step is finding a host for your website. Frequently internet providers (like AOL or Earthlink) offer such services (at minimal or no charge) to their customers), but an internet service provider is a necessity for getting your page on the net.

The content and organization of your webpage can also be adapted to taste, but generally, family websites include some of the following inclusions: family news, achievements, school projects, genealogy research (family trees), photos, artwork, vacations, trips, activities, sports, reunion planning or similar events, calendars, tributes or memorials to other family members, information about pets or hobbies, etc...Some family websites include local information about what is happening in their locale, church, work, etc...

For security reasons, it may be a consideration to check into password protection access for your site (only friends and family may access your page). Another security measure may be simply to eliminate surnames, addresses or anything you do not want the general public to know. For children's websites, the extra security measures are suggested. You can even register your domain name by proxy giving you an extra layer of anonymity that is important in such cases.

When deciding on page layout, try to keep your pages short. The most essential information--your upcoming trip to Catalina Island--should be conveyed near the top. It helps to treat your page like a newspaper. The most important or newsworthy items up front. It's also a good idea to keep the page looking neat and well-organized. A page that is filled up with clutter can be off putting.

Your main page may be similar to an elaborate table of contents. For instance--Katie's wedding (as a headline) and one picture of the lovely bride should be enough to lure your readers into a page specifically about the event. Each subsequent headline may serve as a link to more expanded information: David's Promotion, Lorraine's Prize-Winning Quilt, Our Church Picnic, Snoopy's 1st Day of Obedience Class, Granny's Class Reunion, Rachael's Tennis Season, Luke's Matchbox Car Collection and so on.

Pictures add so much to a website, but place them with care. Your main page may feature a header of the family faces and each item in your "table of contents" may feature a thumbnail or small photo associated with the headline. You want to prepare your photos before uploading them. Many photos need to be resized as they may contain too many pixels for a website. Your software will address this issue. You can add photos via scanner, digital camera or even a disk where photos have been stored.

Besides photographs of people and events consider photographing other items of interest like children's artwork, paintings, your home, your garden, letters, school notes, newspaper clips, event programs, report cards, sentimental items, etc...Many family websites also offer family films or recordings as well. Take time editing your pictures and use only those that truly capture the event or provide a clear shot of the person.

Playing with your photo-editing software is good practice--most pictures require lots of editing before upload. Consider using design features like black and white or sepia tone pictures for old-fashioned charm. Don't forget to add captions for your pictures! Grandma wants to know if that's Bill or Bob under all that hockey gear. Part of the photo-editing process might even entail captions placed within the photograph.

Once you have your items for inclusion, be sure to upload them to their own special niche in the website. Avoid lock blocks of text. Add snazzy headlines and various colors for font. You can add absolutely anything you like to your site, but be sure it is placed in its appropriate space so it may be easily found by your readers. Family websites are celebrations of family life--tailor your site to match your family's collective personality and be sure to give each family member adequate space in your arrangement.

About the Author

Marvin Dreyer is and entrepreneur, author. He has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for over 20 years. He founded Cheap Affordable Web Hosting for your web site hosting and check url to help web owners to check their site for viruses, check broken links and more online.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Secrets to Picking a Company that will Provide You with Long Term Affiliate Revenue

by Glinda McDuffie

With the number of companies currently doing business on the Internet it's inconceivable that all of them are going to last the year, much less long enough to become a major force in the market and provide you with the affiliate revenue you deserve. How do you choose an affiliate program to work with that's going to keep you making money hand over fist for years to come, and what do you do once you find it?

The secret to making affiliate revenue is to choose a company that's stable and that is guaranteed to bring in enough profits to make your affiliate revenue worth the amount of time you're going to put into earning it. With that in mind, look for these things when choosing a company with which to affiliate:

1st: Look for a company that offers something people want to buy. No one is going to make a commission selling products that people don't want-what's ten percent of nothing? In order to make the kind of affiliate revenue that's going to justify the hours you're going to spend formulating your marketing plan and putting it into action you need to pick a company that offers a product that appeals to a wide group of people-and that they're going to be willing to pay for.

2nd: Try to find a company that's already made a place for itself on the market. It's okay to come in and be a part of a company's developmental years, but you want it to be worth it. A quick Google search will make it readily apparent which companies are making a place for themselves on the market and which are just floating along hoping to be discovered. This doesn't mean that you can't make an affiliate revenue off of a company that's still in virtual diapers, it just means you should proceed with caution.

3rd: Choose a company that's willing to pay a sizable commission. These companies are already in the black, and so they're willing to provide more recognition to their affiliates than their counterparts that are just squeaking by. A company that's managed to find its way into the black, particularly if it's just getting started, is a company with the drive and ambition to keep going in a competitive market-and to take you with them.

4th: Work with the big Kahuna, not its offshoots. An affiliate of a major company is going to be more vulnerable (and therefore a less stable source of affiliate income) than its parent company. There are very few affiliate companies that aren't going to be willing to work with an affiliate of their parent company, so you aren't in any way, shape or form limiting yourself by shooting for the source first.

There's really no guarantee that any company you want to affiliate yourself with is going to be a reliable source of affiliate income, but you can cut the risk and your potential losses with a company that's got what it takes to be around for a long, long time.

About the Author

An entrepreneur since opening her first business at age 25, Glinda McDuffie has 29 years experience as a successful business person. Explode your income with connections that count. Discover a revolutionary Global Internet Business that provides it's members Social Networking, Web Services, and Revenue Sharing at: http://gib.succeedwithaffiliatemarketing.com

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top Ten SEO Tips

by Fran

There's one thing that every online business owner has in common: Every entrepreneur wants his or her Web site to rank high in the search engines, particularly Google and Yahoo, arguably the top search engines today. Getting indexed high in the search engines is certainly possible, if you know what you are doing and are willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to build a high ranking Web site.

Search Engine Optimization is perhaps the most important factor in ensuring your Web site is ranked high. Because SEO is so important, you should follow some common and effective tips, such as:

Understand SEO. Before you start trying to optimize your Web and other content for the search engines, ensure you have a solid understanding of SEO. You can learn about the intricacies of SEO by doing online research or even by finding internet marketing or SEO forums and discussion boards where entrepreneurs of all levels often discuss SEO strategies.

Engage in keyword research. Keywords are essential when it comes to the search engines. Make use of the keyword tools available to you - including Word Tracker and Overture - to choose the best keywords for your content.

Don't go overboard with keywords and keyword phrases. If you've ever conducted research online, you likely have come across Web sites and articles that are filled with keywords and keyword phrases - and not much else. Experts recommend having a keyword density of only one to three percent. If you saturate your content with keywords and keyword phrases, ultimately you're going to hurt yourself when it comes to search engine rankings.

Compelling copy sells. People want to read information packed articles, so make sure your content is always valuable, in some way, to your readers. Additionally, make it easy and enjoyable for readers to read your content by writing naturally.

Build links to your Web site. Links - both inbound and outbound - are vitally important to your SEO efforts, so set aside time to build your links by posting comments on related blogs and adding your URL to the comment; by exchanging links with other Webmasters in your niche, and by including your URL in all of the content you submit to article directories.

Create a plethora of content. Don't just write content for your Web site; also create content for article directories, blogs, and Squidoo lenses.

Spice it up. The search engines, particularly Google, do not want to see the same content posted all over the internet, so do your best to avoid using duplicate content. So, if you post an article on your Web site then submit it to article directories, make sure you change the original article by at least 30 percent (some say you should change each article as much as 70 percent) before submitting it to the article directories.

Ensure your keyword or keywords are included in your domain name. Choose an available domain name that includes your main keyword or keywords.

Create a reputation as an expert. The search engines love experts, so it's essential that you establish a reputation as an expert in your particular niche. Establishing expert status is as easy as publishing valuable content and joining in discussions on online forums and adding value to the conversations, for example.

Make the most of SEO tools. There are plenty of SEO tools available to entrepreneurs, and you may want to try some of them. Among the many SEO tools on the market are the Similar Page Checker, Search Engine Spider Simulator, Backlink Summary, and Keyword Density Checker.

About the Author

Having fun on the internet for 5 years and learning a lot. This year is going to my big year making a living on line.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Six Quick Spring Clean-Ups for Your Site

by Heather Jewell


It's time to say goodbye to cabin fever and the winter blues as the weather turns warmer and the days get longer. Each spring we devote time to updating our wardrobe for sunny days and even make room in our busy schedules for a little spring cleaning around the house. We want ourselves and our homes to look their best, so why not take the same approach with our business? The change in seasons is a perfect excuse to pay some attention to your Web site, the online face of your business or organization.

1.) Let's start with the obvious. Check to make sure that all of the links on your Web site work properly; broken links and images that do not display correctly will decrease your credibility with your audience. Also, test any links you may have that take the viewer to another Web site. With domain names changing so frequently, you don't want to lead your audience to a site that has moved. It is also important to make sure that such links will open in a new window (internal to your Web site) so that visitors can look at another site without having to leave yours.

2.) The next step in spring cleaning your Web site is to make sure that it has the right feel. Does your business have a professional reputation while your Web site has tacky scrolling marquees and flashing images? Because your Web site is the online storefront of your company, it needs to have a similar personality as your business. One easy step to helping align your Web site and your organization is to use the same colors on your site as you do in your company logo and other marketing materials. If your business's colors are navy and gold, why use red and black on your Web site? Incorporating your company's logo, using the same colors, and eliminating effects such as scrolling marquees and flashing images are a few simple ways to ensure that your online storefront provides the most accurate depiction of your company.

3.) Similarly, it is also necessary for your online content to have the right tone. If your business's mission is to sell insurance, for example, you don't want to describe your premier insurance policy as "awesome"or "neat." While that type of wording has a home on a personal Web site, it has no place on the site of a professional business or organization. Try using adjectives that are friendly, yet more professional. Incorporating a friendly tone into the content of your site will help to earn the trust of your audience, especially when your goal is to convert them to buyers. While using such a personal tone will make a connection with your audience, it's important to achieve a balance between professional and childish language; using language that is inappropriate will cost you a lack of trust and credibility. Examples are expressions like "looking to" or incorrect grammar, such as ending a sentence with a preposition, or the improper use of "I" and "me".

4.) The next step in spring cleaning your Web site is to make sure that the content is written with the audience in mind. Do viewers have to read through long paragraphs or is the content broken into small, manageable chunks? By dividing the content into shorter segments, you'll help your audience find the information they need quickly. One technique that is helpful is the use of bulleted lists. It allows you to provide information in an easy-to-read format and enables viewers to quickly search for the desired information.

5.) Next check the content to make sure it's fresh. Does the site include news releases or other content that is more than a year old? By the way, it's okay to have these older press releases up there, but they should go in the archived press releases section after about 6 months, depending on the number of press releases issued at your particular firm. Has the calendar of events been recently updated? Viewers will associate such stale content with an unprofessional company. Another great idea is to consider turning these sections into RSS reader. sections. It will help keep interested parties up-to-date through an

6.) Before folding up your reading glasses and calling it a day, there's one final step in preparing your Web site for spring. Read through each page on your site, looking for spelling and grammatical mistakes. What viewer will believe the information presented or be encouraged to purchase one of your products if your Web site is filled with misspelled words? With so many other Web sites only a click away, you need to make your site the one your audience wants to visit and bookmark for future reference. After you have read through the site, ask a few co-workers to check for misspellings as well; it often helps to have those not directly involved with writing the content to proof read it for you.

After you've checked off the above steps, your site is ready for spring! Don't let your attention for your Web site fade as the year goes on; make the changing of each season a reminder to update your site and ensure that it is the best online representation of your company.

About the Author

Heather Jewell is the Manager of Planning and Administration of NuRelm. NuRelm is a Web software and services firm that focuses on helping non-technical professionals utilize on the Web to build business. For more information, please visit www.NuRelm.com.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why You Can't Earn A Good Income With Affiliate Marketing?

by Scott Bamboo


Clickbank is the best affiliate resources for anyone who wants to sell digital products. But not all affiliates who sell Clickbank products will become a successful affiliate; in fact many affiliates who hope to earn commission with affiliate marketing failed to earn the luxury income that they are dreaming for. If there are affiliates who success with those affiliate programs such as Clickbank, then definitely there is nothing wrong with the affiliate program itself, then why you can't generate a good income stream like other affiliates who are able to do so?

Here are a few reasons of failure:

1. Wrong Expectation

No doubt affiliate business is the simplest online business that you can get started easily. What you need to do is sign up a free Clickbank account and generate the affiliate link that contains your affiliate ID (Clickbank affiliate link is known as hop link), you can start affiliate marketing by promoting the Clickbank products with your affiliate link either with or without the need to have your own website. Many new affiliates think that easy to get started means easy to get successful as well and they hope to see their sales skyrocket by simply put up a simple website or directly promote the products through Pay-per-click campaigns without the study of the effectiveness of their campaigns.

2. No Effective Marketing Plan

Like every other business, to be successful in affiliate marketing, your need to put in NOT just efforts and time, but ALSO put in place an effective marketing plan on how to promote your selected affiliate products. If you are new to affiliate marketing, and think that learning from zero can be very time consuming, then following the blueprint of affiliate marketing gurus can be the shortest path to success.

There are many e-books published by super affiliates and internet marketing gurus that you can use as guides and reference to help you come out with an effective marketing plan and marketing campaigns which will deliver positive results. You can copy their blueprint step by step so that you can avoid the mistakes made you most affiliates who failed in the business.

3. Simply Give Up Too Early

Many affiliates hope to start their affiliate business today and be successful by tomorrow or in the short period of time. When they did not see the result, they simply quit. In fact, affiliate marketing is not a get quick scheme that will enable you to earn fast money. You need to put in time and efforts to make it success. But, comparatively to other traditional businesses, you can success in online business in shorter time if you are using the right techniques and tools. You can see result in 6 to 12 months time, but there are people take years to achieve their success. It really depends on how much efforts you have put in, the marketing strategies and the niche markets you are targeting.

4. Promote Too Many Products

This is the common mistake make by new affiliates. Although there any many products for you to choose in Clickbank, it's not wisely to promote too many products without considering your marketing budget. If you are new and do not have websites that drive generic search traffic, you probably will use Pay-per-click services as your marketing engine. It the traffic you generate from these pay-per-click campaigns does not convert well, you will lose money. In order to maximize the potential earnings of the traffic you generated, you should only select those affiliate products that are able to convert well.

Summary

Affiliate marketing is the simplest business models that enable you earn money online. The business model has been proven to be a successful model that benefits both merchants and affiliates. If you can't earn a good income from affiliate marketing, the fault is probably at your side.

About the Author

Scott Bamboo is an author who writes on online business related topics. To find affiliate marketing tips, visit http://www.onlinebusinessrevenue.info "Clickbank Stampede

Friday, May 16, 2008

Securing Ownership Rights In Your Web Site

by Jon Fischer

You have expended considerable time and resources to have your web site developed. You web site is the heart of your online business. But are you sure that you actually own it?

You may be surprised to learn that the firm that did the development work for you may actually be the copyright owner of your web site. If you retained an independent development company or individual to create your site, ownership of your site may be at risk unless you properly contracted with the developer to assign the copyright to you. In short, you may have paid a lot of money to have your site developed, only to find in the end that the developer, and not you, is the copyright owner. If you are in charge of having the web site developed within your company and ownership of the web site later becomes an issue, this may be very difficult to explain to your manager or the board of directors.

Copyright Laws Specify Who Is The Author

The two legal factors involved will be the United States Copyright Act and the contract that you may or may not have entered with the developer. It is fairly clear under the Copyright Act that the developer would be considered to be the "author" of the web site if the developer was an independent contractor and not a bona fide employee. It is the "author" of the work that has the rights that the copyright act provides.

Works Made For Hire

For a website developed in house by an employee, the company would be considered the owner of the copyright. This is because works created by employees are considered to be "works for hire." With a "work for hire," the employer has the right to copyright the work and to assert all of the rights of a copyright owner.

There are cases where an independent contractor can be considered to have made a "work for hire" that vests rights in the company that contracted for the work, but the conditions for this would be very difficult to meet in the case of a web site developed by an outside firm or individual. There are 3 requirements in order for a work created by an independent contractor to be considered a "work for hire."

The first requirement is that the work be specially ordered or commissioned by you. In most cases, this test will be met if you have contracted the web developer to create your web site from scratch and not based upon a site that the developer has previously created.

The second test is more difficult to meet. The work has to fit within one of the narrow statutory categories which will rarely apply in the case of outsourced web development work. The third requirement is a written agreement that includes a clear agreement between the parties that the work would be considered to be a work made for hire. This requires very specific wording.

Reliance On Work for Hire Status Is Not Enough

One common mistake is to assume that simply placing "work for hire" language in the contract will preserve the copyright in the party contracting for the work. This language alone is not enough. All three requirements must be met and in the usual web development relationship these conditions do not exist. So many people believe that they have the copyright to their work because they used a "work for hire" clause in their contract only to find out later that this clause does not protect their copyright.

Uncertain Ownership Can Devastate Your Business

It is no surprise that this issue of copyright ownership can have devastating impacts on your business. Without properly addressing the issue, the developer and not you would not have the right to file for copyright protection. These rights include the right to control derivative works (modifications) and the right to control publication of the work (posting on the Internet) among other rights.

Practical Solutions To Uncertain Ownership

These potential problems are best solved at the time you enter the contract with the web developer. Most developer provided contracts will be relatively silent on these issues. Silence actually benefits the developer who would usually then be the author of the work under Copyright Laws. This does not benefit the client though.

So what should the client do about this potential problem? Ideally, the original agreement with the developer should require that the developer assign all copyrights in the work to you. The contract should contain language making this assignment and it is also a good idea to require in the contract that the developer provide you with a stand-alone assignment of copyright in a form that is satisfactory to you.

From the developer's standpoint, web developers often use templates of work that they have done for other clients when taking on new project. You can always satisfy the developer's concerns by licensing back to the developer certain portions of the work that would permit the developer to use the basic structure of your project as a template for a subsequent project. In doing this, you may be able to negotiate on the pricing aspects of the project and it could work to your benefit. Just be careful not to give too much back to the developer so that the developer can just change the logo and some colors and use your unique layout for another client. You might also consider prohibiting the developer from using your template in connection with a business that competes or otherwise is in a position to take business away from you.

The last alternative that can be used is to have the development company retain the copyright and license the use of the content to the client. This is clearly not the preferred course for the client, but is a method often proposed as a compromise by the developer.

Regardless of the method that you use, be certain that when you pay for development work that you are contractually given the right to use, and preferable exclusively control the content that you have developed.

About the Author

Jon Fischer is the owner of the following Legal and Business Sites.
http://www.weblawresources.com
http://www.automated-incorporating.com - Incorporation and Bylaws

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Benefits of Using Membership Software

by James Kronefield

In order to successfully run a great membership site, you will need some type of membership software. A software that is going to allow you to be up to date with your memberships, a software that can help you bring in more members from other software packages, a software that is going to have a built-in content management system, and a whole lot of other key features. Being able to successfully find a good membership software program is going to help you out in the end with your membership website. You will then be well on your way to making a great membership website.

A big question that often comes up when talking about a membership script website is: Do they actually bring in money? I would honestly have to say, with taking a look at the many different types of membership websites that are out there, that they do. Think about it, you have membership websites that have let's say around 25-30 people, each paying maybe around $30 a month to you for your information. I'd say that's bringing in money. Some membership websites can easily bring in a few hundred to a few thousand extra dollars each and every month. Some can even bring in around $50,000. Not too shabby, don't you think?

One of the biggest steps you may come across when you are looking at membership software is being able to choose the proper one for you and what you are looking at selling or offering. Another big thing to remember when dealing with these types of websites is that you need to be able to offer your members something new and fresh, something they do not often see on the internet or information or articles that are not on the internet.

What's great about a lot of these membership script websites is that they can easily be used for users to find reviews, their test scores or even test results and they can also be used as a meeting place for members as well. If you are thinking about building a membership website, always remember that there are things that need to be done before hand before you have it fully up and running. However once you have it up and running, as long as you can offer something different for your members, then you should see that extra cash each and every month.

About the Author

Do you know what "Membership software" means? If you are running online business you'll need to know. Learn more about it at http://www.easymemberpro.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Christian WebHosting for Ministry

by David Butler

Looking for Christian Web Hosting for for church or particular ministry? As a Christian minister, it seemed only natural for me to try Christian Web Hosting. How exactly are we defining this? In a nutshell it simply refers a Christian owned web hosting provider. Sounds good right? Well actually my experience as a webmaster reveals that for the most part, using a one negatively effected the quality of my website as well my pocketbook. Ouch!

In our humble view you are better off going with a large affordable company with a long track record rather than a Christian Web Hosting service. Why? Let's get into a few of the top reasons why this may not be such a good idea for your ministry.

* Most are Simply Not Christian

* These Services Have Higher Prices Than the Most Popular Web Hosting Companies

* The Vast Majority of Have Hidden Costs or Offer Sub-Par Features compared to the Major Web Hosting Providers

* Generally Christian Web Hosting Has Poor Tech Support

* The Top Cheap Web Hosting Providers Have Greater and Better Selections of Christian Web Designs and Christians Templates

However, most of the problems with this kind of hosting stems from the fact that:

1. They are simply too small to adequately service their clients

2. They by and large use reseller hosting. In other words they purchase servers from other large secular web hosts and slap their own name on them.

However, in order to turn a profit these Christian Web Hosting services have to charge more than the original web hosting company would. Some offer free web hosting but free web hosting comes with a terrible price, and in our view is not worth it.

Additionally, important features like bandwidth and storage space are severely limited because they simply don't have large servers as those web hosting companies servicing 100,000s of webmasters. If you do want extra features, there will be additional costs that the Christian Web Host will pass along to you.

Finally, remember it's likely that the Christian Web Hosting firm is a reseller which means if something goes wrong with your Christian site, they are serving only as a "middleman" between you and the parent web hosting company. This often translates into a longer waiting period to get your site up and running smoothly again.

Overall, the question begs itself. Why deal with a second rate company if you can can get better and cheaper web hosting else where, with better features, a better uptime ratio and a larger variety of templates?

I know some Christians may still wish to use a Christian Web Hosting company. If you do use one we suggest the following:

1. Speak to the head of the company regarding their Christian faith and how their business vision fits in with God's plan for their lives

2. Research whether or not they actually owns their own servers. When you do this, make sure you also find the physical location of the Christian Web Hosting servers.

3. Carefully read the Terms of Service (TOS) of the Christian Web Hosting company to make sure you will not have to incur any additional hidden fees for simple features that should come free.

About the Author

David Butler, the author of this article, is a Christian businessman, and has several web hosting sites, Affordable Web Hosting 4U, HostGator Reviews and Bluehost Reviews.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playing with design - seriously fun ways to seriously improve your graphic design skills

by Mike Brennan

Good design isn't easy, and yet increasingly, it's a skill we're all meant to have. From creating a Powerpoint presentation or simple flyer to designing a cool-looking web page, design is something that most of us are involved in; either at work, at home, for business or pleasure.

The problem though, is that while it's relatively simple to produce our own materials - the software is getting easier and the sheer range of options wider - no one ever thought to teach us exactly how to design well.

And despite what many believe, good design is about much more than good looks alone. It's about conveying messages; reinforcing a brand; it's about functionality, form and fitness for purpose.

Like anything, there are rules and guidelines to help make great design happen, and I'll be taking a look at some of these in later articles. But first, we're going to play with a few ideas; quite literally play, in fact, because after all, learning is always easier when it's fun.

Don't think for a moment you're being short-changed, however. The following activities are carefully designed with a very specific purpose in mind: to really start you thinking about graphic design in a particular way. The right way.

Activity 1 - working with type; making type work

I'm going to start by giving you a list of words. We'll be using these for all the activities, so if there are any you really hate, go ahead and choose another. Remember, though that one aspect of design is the ability to take on any project and make it great - not just the stuff you prefer to work with.

The words are:

friendly - powerful - elegant - frosty - trustworthy - romantic

Got those? Frosty isn't quite like the others, but it's there for a reason; a bit of a wild card to get you really thinking about the projects.

OK. Now I'd like you to open a computer program that lets you work with text. Anything will do, whether it's Word or something snazzier.

Type out the words, and when you're done apply a font to each that, in your opinion, best matches the emotion or feeling the word conveys.

So for example, you'd be looking for a happy, cheerful kind of font for the word 'friendly',

If the whole thing sounds just a little crazy or even childish, don't worry, there's a method in what might seem like madness. So just relax and try to enjoy your font matching exercise. It's probably more of a challenge than you think, and the results might surprise you.

When you've succeeded in making your words actually look more 'frosty', or 'elegant' or 'romantic', I'd like you to take things one small step further.

This time, I'd like you to find a color for each word that seems to reinforce its meaning even more. Finding a 'friendly' kind of color shouldn't be too difficult. But what about a 'trustworthy' one? Or a 'powerful' one? See what you come up with!

In yet another variation, you could even experiment with the point size of your text; or introduce formatting such as italics, caps or bold. Try to decide if that makes a difference to your results.

So what's the outcome?

I'm hoping that, just by working through that simple exercise, something of the truly powerful nature of type started to make itself clear.

Those who are new to design quite often choose fonts on a hunch. Perhaps they do suit a project's mood by giving a sense of elegance or fun, for example. But once you start really thinking about type as a tool that can help you communicate complex visual messages, the likelihood is you'll begin to use it just a little more effectively.

Say it (three times) with color

We're now going to use the same list of words, but this time with a special emphasis on color - three different colors, in fact. The concept we'll be working with often stumps inexperienced designers, but it's a vitally important one. We're talking color schemes.

First though, we'll need plenty of colors to work with. Grab some scissors, dig out some old magazines and prepare to cut out blocks of solid color, roughly the size of a matchbox.

If you can, take your samples from adverts - at least a couple. And don't get rid of your ransacked mags; put them to one side for later use.

I'd like you to find examples of the following principal colors:

red; pink; blue; purple; green; yellow; orange; white; brown; black; gray

Better still, if you can find a few shades of each - lighter and darker blues for example - it'll make the exercise much more rewarding. I know this can take time, but hopefully you'll find the results worthwhile. And since this is actually a three-part activity, you'll be getting plenty of value for your preparation efforts!

Ready?

Take the list of words I gave you earlier, and sorting through your swatches, choose three that seem to 'work' for each word. Pink, for example, might be an obvious choice for 'romantic', but which two additional colors would you choose?

What's more, I'd like you to select three colors that not only accentuate the meaning of the word, but look really good together as well.

To help you make these decisions, it might be an idea to lay the swatches side by side or even slightly overlapping so you can easily imagine all three in a layout. Don't be afraid to experiment - that's partly what this activity is about. Color often defies expectation, and sometimes it's worth NOT following your initial instincts. Could green work as a 'frosty' color, for example? Perhaps, but it really depends on the two you choose to go with it.

Guessing games!

Once you've completed your 'color-word' groups, you might like to have a little fun testing the results.

For each of your groups, select any of the descriptive words in addition to the correct one. So that's two words in total, the right one and a wrong one. Write these onto slips of paper.

The next step is to show someone each of your color groups, together with the pair of words you've chosen. Ask them to guess which of the two you actually had in mind when selecting your colors.

This isn't by any means a 'scientific' test, of course; to start with, correct guesses depend a lot on the word pairs you choose - 'friendly and trustworthy' are probably harder to distinguish apart than 'frosty and romantic'. But even so, I'm betting the results will prove quite interesting!

Even if you're given the wrong answer, ask why the person chose this option. Again, their reasons could be really useful to your greater understanding of color.

Piecing the puzzle together

The final part of this activity is just like working with a jigsaw puzzle - a very unusual jigsaw with a very specific purpose.

What I'd like you to do is grab the magazines you cut your swatches from, and fit as many of the colors as you wish back into their original locations.

Sounds too easy or a little bit strange?

Well, depending on the state you left your magazines in it could be harder than you think! But seriously - the real point of the exercise is to ask yourself the following questions for each piece you fit into place:

What does this color 'do' for the design I took it from? Does it evoke any particular mood or feeling? What other colors did the designer use it with (if any)?

If the swatch was taken from an advertisement, what was the product? Do you see any connection at all between the product and the colors used? Would you have chosen the same colors to advertise this particular product?

I hope, by now, that the point of the activities you've just completed is fairly clear, and that you'll really start to notice the ways in which color works. And even more importantly, the ways it can work for you. Not just as something that looks good on a page, but as yet another way of adding meaning and coherence to your designs.

Picture this

The final activity is a fairly complex one, and you'll probably need a fair amount of time to complete it. But it's a lot of fun as well as a great design exercise - and quite a challenge, too!

This time, you can work by hand or with image editing software such as Photoshop, Fireworks or any equivalent. It's entirely up to you, although if you want to work digitally I'd say you need a good basic knowledge of the software to get the most out of the activity.

We're going to be introducing a new element, an image - although (like it or not) we'll still be using those words, too!

Any image will do: a landscape, person or animal, even an object. The subject itself shouldn't matter in the least, although the image will need to be fairly large so you can work with it easily.

For digital work, I'd choose something that's at least 700 pixels by 500 (at 72 ppi) or an A4 sheet if you're using paper. You'll also need six copies of the image (those working by hand might want to print more just in case they make mistakes).

Again, access and duplicate the image any way you like - find one online, use one of your own shots, print it out or make photocopies.

The next step - which I have a feeling many of you will have guessed already - is to modify each of the images to impart the sense of one of the words. Change the image any way you like, but not beyond recognition, as you'll want your results to look like a series that's obviously based on a single source.

If the idea isn't yet clear, as an example I'll choose the most famous image of all: Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' (some readers will know her as 'La Gioconda', but whatever she's called, she's always lovely).

My next move might wipe away that famous smile, however, because to create a 'frosty' version, I'm going to draw in a couple of icicles hanging from her nose. And after that, I'm planning to replace her healthy glow with a chilly-looking blue tint.

Get the idea? The possibilities really are as limitless as your imagination, so go ahead and let it break loose. But I hope you utilize the insights you've had about color; that if you use text, any fonts are carefully chosen; and of course, that you'll give plenty of thought to any other visual 'clues' you use to represent each of the words.

If you're working digitally, you'll find the exercise a great way to practice your editing and manipulation skills, and you can try introducing selections from other images, too.

And if you're working by hand, go wild; have fun! It's back to those magazines for collage elements, together with pens, crayons, paint and anything else that helps you transform your images into something truly spectacular.

But perhaps the best part of all is something you might not have yet realized. Because this, quite possibly, is your first truly 'professional' design job.

Why? Because I'm asking you to work to a brief. And what's the brief? Quite simply, the requirements generated by the words themselves. It may be a fairly 'open' assignment, but manipulating images to capture the essence of words is a specific instruction all the same.

So congratulations in advance! This activity can lead to a really exciting series of images, which could easily form part of a portfolio, too. In fact, I've frequently used this exercise with highly experienced professionals - just changing the words to make them MUCH tougher to work with. A real challenge, but they loved it. Here's hoping you do, too - and feel a lot more confident with design as a result.

About the Author

Mike Brennan has spent most of his working life involved in both design and copywriting - particularly in the field of advertising and marketing.

He is the publisher of clickspiration.com, an online advertising portal aimed at the needs of affiliate publishers as well as the advertising and creative industries.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Success in Online Home Business

by Kelvin Lee

Starting a home business is the dream of everyone as it can gives us ultimate freedom and the chance to achieve financial success. Although starting a home business can be done with a low startup of less than $100, but most people get out of this business in less than 6 months. This is because people tends to think that they can earn six figure income from the online home business simply by reading some ebooks or listening to some audio programs.

It is sad to say that in order to earn a six figure income in this business, you have to at least work hard on it for eight to twelve months. Do not be deceived by those ebooks or audio programs that promises a few thousand dollars income within a short time. There is no shortcut to success and in order to own success, you have to do the following

1) A correct mindset: you have to treat this as a real business which requires advertisement, time and effort to succeed. In this business, you have to focus on bringing traffic to your website through various advertisement method. Note that advertisement does not mean that you have to spend a huge fortune on it as there are several free traffic generation methods which are very effective too. All you have to do is to give your marketing effort some time for it to take effect.

2) Track your Advertisement: it is very important to know which traffic generation method is effective and which is not and the best way to know is through tracking your ads. There are several software available online that allows you to track your advertisements to see whether they are performing or not. Cut those method that do not works and improve those method that works for you.

3) Train your Downline: This is extremely important if you are focusing on online MLM business, you have to develop a strategy which works for you and then train your downline to do the same thing so that they can be as successful as you. In this online mlm business, your downline success will directly determine your success as well and all you have to do is to duplicate your upline and then teach them to your downline.

4) Have Integrity: This is the most fundamental principle in any business you go into. when you have integrity, people will trust you more and thus willing to follow you in whatever you do. However if you have lost the trust of your people, i can tell you this: YOU ARE OUT OF THE BUSINESS ALREADY! Therefore it is very important for you to develop integrity in this business as most people thought that no one can see who they are and what they are doing online. But remember: news do spread especially bad news.

With all these in mind, you can set yourself out for a successful online career.

For more related information, Visit: http://www.YourBossHatesUs.com for more Home Business Tips

About the Author

The Author is a Full Time Internet Marketer after Quitting his day job as an Engineer in a Multinational Company

Friday, May 9, 2008

Understanding the importance of web hosting along with E-Commerce

by Dimitry

A web hosting service can be used for various types of websites. Based on the nature of the website, you must make the right decision to choose the right type of web hosting. If you have an e-commerce related website then in that case you will have to be very cautious by using the right type of web host. This is mainly because e-commerce is a very security conscious based business. It has to be handled with great alertness. E-commerce basically deals with transactions of products or services online. These products are in the form of virtual shop fronts, B2B (business to business), buying and selling etc. Your ecommerce website deals with handling of the money that you earn from products / services that you sell. Hence it is extremely important to have the right web host.

If you are using ecommerce with your website, it means that you can accept money 24/7, even while you are offline. You also are able to provide payment options to customers. It can be in the form of PayPal, credit cards or even allow the customers to purchase online products through the conventional methods of checks too. If you want your money transactions to be safe, you have to go for a dedicated web hosting service. Mostly web hosting services are offered by using a shared server. It means that this server is being shared between you and also other paying customers. This can lead to traffic bottlenecking and other important security issues. Choosing a hosting on a shared server is definitely not a wise idea if your web host has to deal with your money through your website. A dedicated server is always recommended for an e-commerce related website.

In a dedicated server, you will find no other websites sharing the same server as in the case of a shared server. This will eliminate issues of security and you will also have not traffic issues with a dedicated server. You just have to rent your server and this dedicated server will do justice to your online business since the dedicated server will be dedicated to your own online business only. There are many unscrupulous people out there who always try to steal other peoples money through online. So, the only way to safeguard your money businesses and reputation is by relying on a dedicated server. Dedicated servers provide the facility of more storage space, more bandwidth for data transfer and more software and script options.

A dedicated server is beneficial in all ways. However, there is a flip side and it is the cost factor. Yes, a dedicated server is expensive. The main reason behind this is that the server is dedicated completely to your needs. In a shared type of server, the cost can be collectively managed by a group of people who are sharing the server. But in the case of a dedicated server the cost is going to borne by you since the entire server is dedicated just for you. You can yet look out for an economical dedicated server if you want to safe guard your valuable website transactions.

About the Author

Web Hosting Rating - the best web hosting on internet have web hosting reviews and scores of stuff on hosting.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Finding the Proper Niche

by Nicholas

A niche website is a website created on a specific topic. One of the main characteristic of a niche website is that there are few similar websites discussing the same topic (subject). Once you have found a niche you must take advantage right away, because you are already one step ahead other webmasters which are creating websites on general topics. Try to be different. This is a must if you want to be a successful Webmaster. The Internet is full of websites discussing the same topics.

Let's start by giving some examples.

A website discussing the subject "snails" is a niche website. The topic "snails" is a topic discussed on a relatively limited number of websites. Let's take for example the topic "games". This is not a niche topic because if you search the Internet for keyword "games" you will find millions of websites related to this subject. "Games", "music" or "news" aren't niche topics. They are too general. Fewer the search results, better the niche.

Let's go deeper into the problem.

Even if the topic "snails" is a niche, you can take much more advantages from it. For example, the topic "snail recipes" is related to "snails" and has fewer results when searching the Internet. This means that "snail recipes" topic is a better niche than "snails" topic and you can take advantage from it. So a niche topic could be divided into smaller niche topics. But let's take "games" for example. As we have already discussed, this is not a niche topic. But if you go deeper, and think about "snow games" for example, you may have found a niche. It's not the best niche of course, but try to go deeper with your search and find "snow games for children" for example. This is a better niche already.

Do you understand what I mean?

Start thinking from generally to particular. Choose a general topic and start dividing it. Go deeper and deeper and see what you get. Niche topics represent small percents of all Internet topics. But even general topics like "music" and "games" can be divided into niches. Try to find out which are these. Use your imagination. A Webmaster without imagination is not a valuable Webmaster. Imagination is one of the main keys in succeeding online. And you will have to use yours.

There is still a problem: if you choose a topic that has few results when searching the Internet, you must also check for its relevance. Finding a niche topic by the number of search engine results is not enough. The topic itself must have relevance to the people.

Tip: in order to find good niche topics just relax and think about the things you like. Let your mind fly and you will get a good idea for sure. You have to use your imagination, if you want to be a successful Webmaster. If you can't find a good niche today, don't give up and try again tomorrow. Your hard efforts will be rewarded in the end.

About the Author

If you would like to find more about niche websites and how to find the proper niche please visit the author's website at http://niche.installphpscripts.com

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Affiliate Marketing Explained In Layman Terms

by Angela Tay


Are you new to internet marketing? Have you been hearing so much about Affiliate Marketing, but are totally clueless what it is all about? Read this below!

WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?

Affiliate Marketing basically involves a merchant with a product and someone (the affiliate) who acts like a virtual salesperson for the product. The merchant will provide a unique affiliate link and the affiliate will promote this link on the Internet. Every time someone clicks on this link and proceeds to make a purchase of the product, the affiliate who directed the buyer will get a commission out of it.

WHY IS AFFILIATE MARKETING SO POPULAR?

Affiliate marketing programs flourish because of the ingenious win-win relationship between the merchant and the affiliate! Both parties benefit from the program in their own way.

As a merchant, affiliate marketing is a form of advertising that will give the product or service maximum exposure. The more affiliates recruited, the higher the chances of the product being seen by potential customers on the Internet. The merchant also pays the fees of advertising only when the affiliate sends customers to the product which thereafter converts to a sale. Compared to traditional avenues, affiliate programs often stretch their advertising dollars a lot more!

As an affiliate, all you need to do is to promote the unique link for the particular program you join. Your job is to simply find as many prospects as possible and to convince them to purchase the product! There is no need for you to develop your own product and system as there are thousands of affiliate programs to join. If you are very new to internet marketing, this is the easiest way of embarking on your journey of earning money online, agree? You do not have to worry about where to store your products, how to stock your inventory, how to deal with suppliers and how to set up a payment and shipping system at all! Everything is already included in the affiliate program. There is practically no start-up costs, all you have to do is promote and promote!

ARE YOU SUITED TO BE AN AFFILIATE MARKETER?

Do you like to work from home? Or do you prefer the environment of having colleagues at your workplace to talk to? Are you the type who is disciplined enough to work when there are so many distractions at home? Will you end up watching TV, surfing the internet and playing video games for hours instead?

If you think you are suited to work at home, then answer these too.

Are you passionate about Affiliate Marketing in the first place? Do you believe in the system and why it is one of the best ways to make money online? Do you have the patience and persistence to build up your Affiliate Marketing business? Profits may not come immediately for everyone, and just like any business, you may have to mould it as you learn along the way.

Anyone can be a successful affiliate marketer if you have the right learning attitude! As long as you have the determination to pick up the skills and a strong passion for it to work, affiliate marketing will definitely help you realize your dream of working from home. It is proven the most effective way of making money online!

About the Author

Angela is a passionate Affiliate Marketer who works from home and loves to share tips with others!

Besides this article, she also has 30 pages of FREE Affiliate Marketing tips to share at her website http://myfortunekitty.com/freeaffiliatetips!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Image Optimization Will Reducing Load Time

by Colin Stables

Even though more and more Internet users switch to broadband every year, a large portion of the web's population is still running on good old dialup connections. It is therefore unwise to count them out of the equation when you're designing your website, A major consideration we have to make for dialup users is the loading time of your website.

Generally, all the text on your website will be loaded in a very short time even on a dialup connection. The culprit of slow-loading sites is mainly large images on your website, and it is very important to strike a delicate balance between using just enough images to attract your users and not to bog down the overall loading time of your site.

You should also go to a greater length and optimize every image on your site to make sure it loads in the least time possible. What I really mean is to use image editing software to remove unnecessary information on your images, and thereby effectively reducing the file size of your image without affecting its appearance.

If you own Photoshop, it will be obvious to you that when you save an image as a JPEG file, a dialog box appears and lets you choose the "quality" of the JPEG image -- normally a setting of 8 to 10 is good enough as it will preserve the quality of your image while saving it at a small file size. If you do not have Photoshop, there are many free image compressors online that you can download and use to reduce your image's file size.

On the other hand, you can opt to save your images in PNG format to get the best quality at the least file size. You can also save your images in GIF format -- the image editing software clips away all the color information not used in your image, hence giving you the smallest file size possible. However, saving in GIF format will often compromise the appearance of your image.

In Summary:

  1. Cater for old dialup connections.
  2. Strike a balance between text and using just

    enough images.

  3. Optimize all images.
  4. Choose the format carefully
About the Author

ReadyMadeWebsitesToGo are custom made websites complete with editing and marketing software. Our sites are user and search engine friendly for optimum performance!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Php / MySQL Performance Tuning

by Steve Exley

Linux, Apache, PHP and MySQL has fast become the defacto standard in small to medium website development. Ease of use, low start up costs wide availablity of support are all reasons for it's adoption. Almost all Linux distributions come ready to run LAMP based websites with minimum effort out of the box. However these out of the box approaches are designed to deliver working systems regardless of the hardware underneath. These include ancient processors, low memory systems and rely heavily on resouces like the hard disk to guarantee they work.

With a few easy tweaks, it is possible to turbo-boost the PHP and MySQL components of your web server often generating page delivery increases up to 20% and reducing that all important disk load on your server. Whether you run one disk or more, failing hard disks still cause downtime in all but high end systems. If you are on one disk - then I strongly recommend asking your hosting provider about RAID upgrades. Having 2 or more disks not only provides security in the event of disk failure, but can also be another source of performance boost, It's normal to notice a 50% increase in speed reading from disks in servers running RAID compared to single disk systems.

Look at PHP first. Every time a page requests a PHP file, your server will read the file from disk, compile the code and run it. Those first two steps are wasteful, wouldn't it be easier to read the disk and store the compiled code. Then the server would only need to run it for each page request. Most people know that RAM, the memory on your server is faster than the memory on the hard disk, so why not use the RAM! This is exactly how PHP accelerators work. The compiled code can be stored in RAM and used instead of the uncompiled PHP code residing on your hard disk.

There are a number of free PHP accelerators available. APC, eAccelerator and xCache are a few. Zend also produce a paid up version for the over cautious types. I'm not going to discuss the merits/drawbacks of them each, there are other articles that do that. Try a search for 'PHP accelerator comparison' and you should see good results. The amount of RAM used by these tools is small, less than 32Mb on servers with only a few sites. More is required on servers with many websites and this is where a configurable accelerator which lets yous specify which files to cache can be useful. Choose the most common / largest PHP files and cache those.

It's worth noting the Linux systems will use any free memory available to store files too. This works by copying commonly used files unused memory and checking that before reading from the hard disk. It all happens behind the scenes and transparently to the user. Use the command 'free -m' in Linux to see what is going on. If you're using you're 'Swap:' then you need to reduce the services running on your server or ask your hosting provide for a RAM upgrade.

MySQL comes with built in acceleration features. By default these are all tuned right down so MySQL uses the minimum amount of RAM, however if 'free -m' on the Linux command line shows you have free 'Mem:' then some setting changes will offer big performance gains. Before starting out, check your SQL queries though. An efficient MySQL database structure and well designed queries will offer far better performance gains than just increasing the RAM. Learn how to use Indexes, roughly speaking these should be the fields used to JOIN tables and the fields queried with the WHERE statement.

If you think your queries and databases are hot, but you still want more then you need to tune MySQL itself. I'll assume that like most people, you have phpMyAdmin installed. If not then you can find how to find this information manually - but you probably won't be needing to read this article. Go to phpMyAdmin and click the home icon, normal in the top right of the page. Then 'Show MySQL runtime information'. There is a lot of information here, lets go for the low hanging fruit.

Under 'Query Cache', if there are only zeros then your query cache is not even running. Otherwise 'Qcache_free_memory' will give you an idea of your current usage. Next is 'Temporary data' - what is the ratio of 'Created_tmp_disk_tables' to 'Created_tmp_tables'. You want as many temporary tables as possible to exist in 'Created_tmp_tables'. Finally check your 'Key cache'. The ratio of 'Key_read_requests' to 'Key_reads' should be as high as possible, greater than 100:1 on most systems.

These values all tell you how often MySQL is using RAM compared to the hard disk. Remember, RAM is way faster than the hard disk, so you want to use it as much as possible without affecting other systems. The defaults in MySQL are very low and MySQL needs your permission to use more. This is frequently done using the file '/etc/my.cnf'. Some systems may use other locations, but then they would not be using the defaults either. If the file does not exist, then it is safe to create it. You may find some examples in '/usr/share/doc/mysql-server-****'. Backup any files before starting. Add the lines 'key_buffer = 8M','query_cache_size=16M','tmp_table_size=16M'. Issue a /etc/init.d/mysqld restart and see what happens. The server should be working fine. Monitor it for 24 hours and then look at your values in phpMyAdmin again to see if they show and improvement. Use 'free -m' on the Linux command line to ensure you are not using 'Swap:' and tweak the values in /etc/my.cnf until you have a good compromise between performance and memory usage. I've seen much higher values for all the above on modern systems.

About the Author

Steve Exley is Technical Manager at studio-40.com and is tasked with the server maintenance of many commercial business websites. Studio-40 is an established created web design agency in Leicestershire, East Midlands.