Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some Dirty Little Secrets of Shared Web Hosting

by E. S. Lorence

Let me begin by saying that this is not a pitch for any webhosting company. Yes I own websites and yes they're hosted in a decent place, but that is not my focus here. After reading all the articles and ads about how great this and that hosting company is, how much they offer and how cheap, I thought it was time to take the first step and launch a website.

Everybody seemed to say "Look for the most bandwidth and the most disk-space for the least money". Did you know that in reality, those numbers are almost meaningless? Here are just a few of the real numbers you should know about. Let's start with all the hype about Terabytes of disk space, and now the reality: "Inodes" will determine exactly how much space you can really use.

Since a complete description of this term will fill several articles, in a nutshell, Inodes keep track of each and every file in your web-space. Every email, image, script, and file. I nodes are a "resource" and a resource you will find is strictly limited. I have found the average Inode limit on shared hosting to be around 50,000. That means the total file limit on many shared hosting accounts, including all emails and images will be 50,000, how many emails are in your spam folder? Read more about Inodes at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inode

Host unlimited sites? Let's take a closer look...

Scripts are the software that power many modern websites. Unlike "old school" static html pages, scripts "run" or operate on your server in order to generate the pages that create your website. Some such scripts are Wordpress, and B2 Evolution. PHP is one of many script programming languages.

Processes:

Every time a script executes on your server such as to serve a webpage or send an email that is 1 process. My host starts warning at about 10 processes, which is close to the limit on many shared hosts. The process will usually only last a millisecond, but if you expect to have any real traffic, you will find that multiple independent sites will start pushing the processor limit. As an example, some simple and popular Wordpress plug-in's will start to hog your resources in no time if left unchecked. And you can forget about SEO scripts, sitemap builders, P2P, Gaming Servers, etc.

Shared Hosting and the "root" directory:

These hosting plans will usually provide only one root directory for all of the domains and sites you plan to build. You will also be allowed one "primary domain". All other domains will have to be "parked" or added on to the primary domain. Without getting too technical, let's just say that some website scripts don't "play" well with others. And many just don't like being installed in subdirectories!

Multiple scripts generating multiple websites can cause major headaches to the unseasoned newbie, not to mention the server resources expended by poorly written or installed scripts trying to figure out where they are and how to run.

How's your memory?

1 to 4 gigs on many modern servers, but that number is meaningless for you. Remember, you may be sharing that server with hundreds of other websites. Memory limits will become a problem when running a popular photo gallery, forum, or streaming audio/video.

10 Terabytes of bandwidth monthly? You will never get close. Unless you're streaming video, most web hosts will not allow you to operate any kind of bandwidth intensive site on eight or ten dollars per month, period.

"My" SQL, not really...

Modern "dynamic" web sites such as Wordpress use a "database" to store and retrieve information, such as the text in this article. While your images and program files may be stored in your 1000 gig' root directory, the data, text, settings, etc will be stored on a completely separate database server. This server has limits too, sometimes as little as 25 Megabytes. A large popular forum or directory with thousands of pages can burn through that in no time.

Database Connections:

Every time a visitor loads your webpage, a connection is made to the database server. Many hosts will limit this to around 25-50 simultaneous connections. Since these connections last only milliseconds, enough to load the page, well designed scripts and websites can accommodate hundreds of visitors an day while staying below these limits. However, if you ever intend to build traffic in the thousands an hour range, or run several moderate traffic sites, to avoid the dreaded "Database Error- Unable to connect" page, be prepared to upgrade your account.

Email limits:

The fight against spam has led to some Draconian rules and limitations in sending email, including limits of as little as 25 emails sent an hour. Shared hosts are routinely "Blacklisted" for real or perceived "spamming" and this is usually due to only one of those many hundred of server "neighbors" engaging in illegal or unethical behavior. Through no fault of your own, you may find all of your emails being "bounced" with no clue as to why. Have a big list? Use an auto responder service!

Some other important questions to consider:

Is "Mod-Rewrite" Enabled? (Necessary for many scripts to function correctly) Is "CPanel" provided? Are regular server backups generated? How much to restore your site from a backup? Is "Server to Server" transfer supported? (If you ever move to another server) Allowed to edit .htaccess? Allowed access to php.ini? (Though uncommon with shared packages) Do the research before you dive in since these are terms you should become familiar with as an aspiring webmaster.

The bottom line is that it really does cost money to make money. If you plan to own and operate any kind of popular income generating website, plan for a dedicated or Virtual Private Server package to avoid the dreaded shared hosting banishment!

To your Web Site Success!

About the Author

E. S. Lorence is a free lance writer, author, and Internet entrepreneur based in Alpharetta, GA. Join him at his marketing and motivational home at- Wealth Method
Read more articles here: Thought Search Articles

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Auto Responders are Ideal Promotional Tools

by Caleb Anderson

Auto Responders are e-mail components that allow individuals to request the details about your products, company information and services. The tools direct details to the requester in retort to a blank e-mail that they send to your e-mail address.

Auto responders are ideal promotional tools and essential if you have an online marketing venture. Few people call them as autobot, eMailer or mailbot. Whatever name you use to address them, they automatically reply to the incoming messages without any human intervention.

Auto responders save time and you can use them for several purposes. They work 24/7, provided you use good quality, reliable suppliers. Therefore, if you want to increase the traffic flow to your web sites, auto responders are the best bet.

Most people use auto responders to take down information of online visitors. For instance, when individuals arrive at an auto responder installed site, the web page opens and displays a pop-up message asking individuals to fill their names or e-mail ids in that web page. The auto responder stores these e-mail ids.

Later, the software automatically sends mails to those individuals giving information about a product or service. The purpose is to track potential customers. Even if 2 out of 10 people respond to e-mails daily and buy the products, it proves beneficial for your business.

Types of Auto Responders:

Auto responder services:

The first type includes auto responder services. These are web site based services allowing Internet marketers to send series of mails to an online visitor, who had requested your product information through a web based page present on your site or some other web site. This site is the one to which you have given permission to direct online visitors to your web site. In the latter case, service providers offer HTML code to other sites that link auto responders of your web site.

The advantage of this type is that, you can easily set it up. Apart from this, they are reliable and host free, which means you do not have to access or assort the information of visitors. Instead, the tools do this job for you.

Auto responders programs (scripts):

You can also choose to buy auto responder programs or scripts. Programmers write these programs in perl and the programs require CGI access code to your server. There are several types of such potential and affordable programs available in the market. If you choose to support several web sites, then the suppliers offer you the programs at a very less cost. However, you need to pay additional fee if you use such programs on numerous computers at a given time.

Such auto responders offer high flexibility and can send numerous e-mails to different consumers at the same time.

Setting Up an Auto Responder:

When you set an auto responder on your web site, it generates a code. You have to put this code on the web form of your site. If you are intending to offer free subscription or other offers to attract visitors, you need to place the web form beneath the free offer, so that interested individuals can easily fill their names as well as e-mail ids.

After placing the form, you will have to write a general reply to the subscriber's request and then load it in the auto responder. When someone fills a form on your web site and clicks the submit tab, their detail goes to auto responders, which send your e-mails (product details) to them immediately.

This shows potential consumers that customer service is your priority. Moreover, you can send thousands of e-mails, which otherwise you cannot manage on your own. Thus, auto responders, if used correctly, can become the profit making pulse of your Internet-marketing venture.

About the Author

This article was written for Find This Online an online resource guide that offers a variety of articles written on different subjects. Browse through plenty of useful articles, information, content and resources on the subject. Visit us at Here for more articles on auto responders.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do I Require a Dedicated Server?

by Ricardo d Argence

When you made the decision to start your own website, you faced many different choices. Most likely you were offered many design choices, email addresses, blogging interfaces, and e-commerce choices. Once you have decided on the above, you must decide what type of hosting you desire for your website. The majority of people begin at an elementary level so they don't require a large hosting server. Many people choose to use either basic or deluxe shared hosting.

Shared hosting means that multiple websites are being hosted on a particular single server. Typically the simple and small business owner finds this to be okay, but say your business is gaining momentum, or if your website processes client matters that are top secret. Are you going to be worried if someone hacks into your website that will cause havoc even on your server? Is there a legitimate way to ensure that your server, files and databases are secure from anyone else accessing them? Of course there is. That assurance arrives in the style of a dedicated server.

As opposed to an unsecured shared server, a dedicated server is unique. Shared servers tend to be a popular selection for web hosting companies who set customers up for hosting. Space on the hard drive as well as the monthly bandwidth are "shared" among all of the customers on the server. This system generates a lot of security problems with persons on that particular server. A devoted server is precisely the opposite.

There is nothing on that server but your website and yourself. Having a dedicated server means it is used only by you. A dedicated server would be a good idea if you are running a highly confidential website such as a banking institution, doctor's website, high traffic ecommerce site, and anything with content-sensitive material.

Dedicated servers are popular with financial and medical institutions. Your host company should be able to provide you, at your request, with a dedicated server. But beware, unlike shared hosting, dedicated server hosting can be be expensive, because you have your very own server. No other person or entity will be able to contribute to the cost with you. You can check with your current company to learn dedicated server options that best meet your website needs.

There are many benefits to using a dedicated server. Security is one of the main benefits. You don't have to worry about people hacking your website anymore. The complete server and everything inside is yours. You have maximum storage space, more bandwidth, data transfer, and above all you have your own control panel.

Most control panels use Plesk Cpanel. And with the Cpanel come the many choices in software, for instance: Wordpress, PHPBB, Joomla (CMS), Drupal, Siteframe, phplinks, MySQL databases, phpAdmin, apache, and the list goes on! However, dedicated servers can be very costly. A dedicated server can be cheaper when compared to renting shared space either per month or per year.

Take all these things into consideration and then ponder over them for a while. Before making your choice to switch to a dedicated server or to stay with a shared server, decide whether or not you can risk any compromises in your website's security. If security is not an issue as much as lots of bandwidth, then maybe you could upgrade your shared server. But if you deal with credit cards and other personal information on your site, you should really consider switching to a dedicated server hosting plan.

About the Author

Do you need a dedicated server? Alojate.com is the premier web hosting company in Mexico, offering a range of solutions for all business needs. Servidores dedicados, factura electronica, web hosting & domain registration.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Add Audio to Websites - 5 Important Benefits

by A.Basu

Streaming Audio used to be an expensive option for webmasters that made their sites stand out from the crowd. However, due to rapid improvements in technology, streaming audio costs have significantly reduced due to increased broadband penetration and improved streaming software efficiency.

Audio has always proved itself to be an effective tool for branding purposes and for increasing sales conversions on merchant websites. Due to the lower cost of hosting streaming audio solutions, virtually any webmaster can afford to install and host their own audio streaming script.

The main benefits for webmasters associated with streaming audio are:

1. Product conversion rates are increased

Through effectively using audio buttons on a website, customer interaction increases and improves the odds of converting an undecided customer into a paying customer. The more engaged a person is when shopping on your site, the better their shopping experience and the more likely they are to buy and to recommend your products to their friends.

2. Newsletter Subscriptions can increase

Most webmasters who build up subscriber lists are fully aware of the importance of building quality opt-in subscribers as this increases the chance of future sales of related products and services. Streaming audio clips can be included throughout website content that remind visitors about the site newsletter and the benefits of subscribing to it.

3. Existing inventory of products can be increased

If you currently sell any digital download products such as reports or e-books, it is possible to increase existing inventory through adding an audio version if appropriate. This can be added alongside existing products as a separate product or added to existing product to increase your competitive advantage over rivals.

4. Audio testimonials can add real value

Traditional written customer testimonials can serve a useful purpose in helping to convince potential visitors to your site into buying products. However, audio testimonials can add even more weight as it gives a voice to those satisfied customers.

5. Bounce rates are reduced

Adding audio to your website can help reduce bounce rates of website traffic. This improves the perception of usefulness in the eyes of search engines and can help gain more trust in your domain and therefore help stabilize your search engine ranking. It can also help improve site visitor experience by guiding visitors to useful sections within your website that may not otherwise be obvious from the basic navigation structure of your site.

Overall, if your website can actively engage visitors for longer periods of time, it will add more trust in your product or service. Implementing streaming audio can therefore indirectly increase sales conversions as visitors are also more likely to recommend your website to their friends.

About the Author

Visit easyaudiotools.com to learn how you can easily add audio to websites with simple and easy to use streaming audio software.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Non-Designer's Guideline to Creating Websites

by Michelle Roberts

As you develop and design your website be sure to pay extra attention to every little detail that will help your website to perform as optimally as possible and to serve its purpose. We have created a few guidelines to help you along your way.

Get rid of that splash page

Splash pages are the initial pages you see when you arrive at a website, often used to capture the users attention for a short time often for the purpose of a promotion or just to lead-in to the main site. Although they can be nicely designed images with only a few words such as "click here to enter", the fact is they are just that... a nicely design image. This serves no real purpose to the user or search engines, and as with most things it's all a matter of taste. Don't give your user any reason to click the "back" button! The ideal first page should be a nice summery of your complete website that provides your user with everything they need to know about your site.

Do you need so many banner adverts?

One guaranteed way to make me avoid a website, is with the overuse of banner adverts. Websites have bombarded us with banner adverts for years. So much so that we have now trained ourselves to ignore them. This is not to say that banner adverts do not work, however less is definitely more and you may find it more valuable to incorporate affiliate and ad links into relevant and interesting content. Try to sell to your users without them even noticing.

Try to use clear and simple navigation

If your users can not find there way around your website, they will become frustrated and leave. Providing a simple and straightforward navigation menu within your website design will help your users to navigate there way around your site with ease. Avoid complicated navigational systems such as multi-tiered drop down menus, and try to tailor your navigation for someone with little experience the Internet.

Give your user a clear indication of where they are

If your users get deeply involved in browsing your website, they may find a part of the site that particularly interests them, they may want to return or share with friends. Make sure that they know where they are and that they can easily return. Web users are fickle and if they become frustrated or lost they will leave. Make sure sections of your websites and clearly named and that you web pages have titles. Consider a breadcrumb navigation, as this will not only help users navigate but will let them know where they are in your site.

Don't use annoying music

If you are anything like me, your speaker volume will probably be turned up from the last video clip you were watching. Imagine the shock of clicking on a website and have the unexpected and often annoying audio loop blasting out loudly. Background music should really be avoided; most users do not like it and will become quite quickly annoyed. If music is necessary and you need to have audio, give the user some easily accessible controls to enable them to alter the volume or stop the music completely.

This now covers the basic guidelines of creating user-friendly and function websites. If you follow these basic rules when designing your website you will be avoiding major mistakes that could hinder your ultimate success.

About the Author

Michelle Roberts, Design2Go

Design2Go.net - Affordable Graphic Design
Design2Go work in partnership with new businesses and SMEs to magnify their potential through effective design.

See our Outstanding Value for Money Design and fixed price design packages.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Websites - The Different Types

by Jason Smith

There are a number of different types of websites today. The website type is based on the content that is presented and the purpose behind the site. There are three main categories for the various types of websites. These types are personal, business and educational. You will find that the majority of sites fall into these categories.

Personal websites

Personal websites can be based off a variety of things. They can be everything from family newsletters to picture sites. They can also be sites that are based on a particular interest. These are called interest sites.

Interest sites are sites that are based on a particular hobby or interest. They are usually run by a single individual and larger sized sites end up being run by other members of the sites. They also usually contain either blogs or forums.

Educational Sites

These are sites that either belong to educational organizations or they are designed to inform individuals of a particular subject matter. There are a number of different formats these types of sites come in but they maintain the basics of informing individuals of a particular topic or they are designed to promote an educational organization or institution.

The type of educational site of course depends on exactly what the purpose of the site is. Some education sites can qualify as personal or qualify as business/commercial sites depending on what the content of the site is. These sites can be either large or small and can be either simple or complex.

Commercial sites

There are a wide variety of commercial and business sites. There are some that are no different than personal sites and others that are large complex sites such as Amazon or eBay. Having an online presence is almost essential for businesses large or small these days.

There are some common elements to business or commercial sites no matter what they are categorized as large, small, or personal styles. These elements include pages for various types of product and may include not just pictures but descriptions as well as a variety of links.

There are also other elements that are necessary for commercial sites. If the site is selling something then it will need to have a shopping cart and security features in order to protect transactions. There are also the commercial sites which merely act as an online presence for service based companies.

Websites no matter what type they are need to be designed in such a way that they are easy to navigate and that it is easy to find the information that is being sought. Payment pages should be secured even if it is a personal based site for a home based business. The other option is to use a payment service such as PayPal and simply include a link through pay pal's services. This makes use of PayPal security freeing you up from having to learn the aspects of coding or finding a template that is designed for secure payment use.

These are all things to consider when building your own websites. What type you are interested in building and what the purpose of the site is are a few questions you should ask before you begin building your website.

About the Author

For more information on building a website and to see what XSitePro Version 2 can do for your business, please visit my website.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Optimizing Web Graphics and Photos

by Michelle Roberts

The average web user will only wait up to 8 seconds for a page to display. With the optimum webpage size being less than 100k, if you're in an industry where images are your business, optimising those images for your website can be crucial.

Optimising web graphics correctly involves finding the right balance between image quality and image size. As each image should certainly be no more than 30k in size, following these three steps will optimise your images and make your page load faster.

Resize the Image.

Using a photo or image editing software package, you can re-size or crop your image or photograph to the correct dimensions that it will need to be for the website space. This is a better method than resizing the image within your html WYSIWYG editor, as despite the change in appearance, the image file size will remain unchanged.

Decrease the number of colours.

Reducing the amount of colours used in an image file will also reduce the file size. Again, within your image editing software, you can reduce the amount of colours that an image is using, ensuring that little necessary detail or quality is lost. For example if you have a black and red logo saved as a .gif file, there should be no significant loss of quality to limit the colours from 256 colours to 4-8 colours which will notably reduce the file size. If your image uses gradients and you are finding that you are getting colour blocks across the gradient areas, simply add some dithering to your optimised file. Dithering will increase the file size so you may have to get the balance between colours and dithering right for optimum size. You should however still find the image size significantly reduced despite the use of dithering.

State the height and width of your image

Whenever you use an image on your website, you should always try to include both the image height and width attributes in your html. This will allow the browser to quickly identify the size of the image, and move on to loading the rest of the page without having to wait for the image to load, thus increasing your load speed.

Choosing the correct file format

An important way to reduce image sizes is to use the appropriate file type suitable for an image. There are two common file types used for websites graphics, Gif and JPEG.

GIFs

Most of your web images should really be saved as a gif file. A general rule of which file type to use, would be that most images except photographs should be a .gif file. This includes, simple line drawings, shapes, small icons, anything that isn't too complex.

GIF files are loss-less compressed image files, which means that the image files can be compressed with no loss of data. However, gif files are limited to 256 colors or less, which is why they are generally not suitable for images. Gif files will also allow you to use transparent backgrounds, so that you can display your images on coloured or pattern backgrounds.

JPEGs

Jpegs should only ever be used for photographs or more complex images that use a large amount of gradients. Image sizes are larger than gif files, however, image size can be compressed by reducing the image quality. You will need to experiment to find the right balance between quality and size. You should try to bring down the image quality as much as is possible before losing too much definition of the image. This will generally be about 50% reduction, although further reductions may be possible if necessary.

Utilising the browser cache

A final way to reduce the speed loading times on your website is to wherever possible, use the same images throughout the site.

A browser's Cache is an area on the local hard drive that stores recently used images. When a browser views a page with image files, the browser will download the file and display that file within your browser. If you move to another page with the same image, the browser is able to identify the image and display it directly from the cache, without having to re-download the image once again. Which means that if you can use common images throughout your website, the loading times will be faster as the images will be ready and available for quick display.

Using this guide to optimise your images for your website, can significantly reduce your html document size, which will increase your page load speed. Beware, it can become addictive, and you can optimise too much. Don't sacrifice quality too much for the sake of speed. Nobody wants to view ugly websites with grainy, pixilated images.

About the Author

Michelle Roberts, Design2Go

Design2Go.net - Affordable Graphic Design
Design2Go work in partnership with new businesses and SMEs to magnify their potential through effective design.

See our Outstanding Value for Money Design and fixed price design packages.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It Makes Sense To Learn PHP If You Own A Website

by Mark Hicks

PHP (an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor) is a free server-side web programming language that is used by millions of websites on the internet. PHP allows websites to be dynamic and provides a host of useful features thus providing website visitors with a better user experience.

Internet users are much more sophisticated that they were years ago and expect to see dynamic features on websites they visit.

Advantages of using PHP

  1. PHP is free of any cost, freely available and most hosts provide PHP as part of the hosting package. If PHP is part of the package, then it is already installed, fully functional and available to be used.
  2. PHP's processing speed is quite impressive and this results in quicker navigation and page load times.
  3. PHP is one of the simplest programming languages to learn and there are numerous helpful sites, forums and tutorials available on the internet.
  4. PHP can be learnt piece by piece or objective specific so that there is no need to master an entire PHP course.
  5. PHP interacts well with servers and databases.
  6. Provided it is done correctly, PHP can provide a great deal of security to your site.

You should learn PHP

Learning PHP is easy and fun and will give you a greater insight and understanding on how websites and the internet work. There's a huge thrill in putting up some code done by yourself and seeing it work in action.

Most website owners leave the programming to an external programmer. Whilst this might make sense, it involves a great deal of unnecessary costs as programmers' fees are usually high and most charge by the hour. If you start learning PHP yourself, you can start doing small scripts or changes yourself and thereby saving some money. As you get more proficient, you can do bigger things with PHP at absolutely zero cost.

Initiating changes and additions are less time consuming and can be done quickly if you program yourself. As the internet and websites are constantly evolving, there will always be a situation where you will need to make some quick changes to your code. Having a programmer do it might create time delays.

PHP allows you to do lots of fun things on your site and it is quite possible to invent a unique site that provides a unique function or service that nobody else has or has thought about. This uniqueness can be your Unique Selling Proposition that can catapult you and your site to great success.

About the Author

Mark Hicks is a passionate PHP programmer who also teaches others how to program with PHP. You are welcome to view his tutorials at: http://www.toknowmore.net/e/1/php/

Monday, July 21, 2008

Briefing your designer

by Michelle Roberts

At the beginning of every design project, it is vital that the designer have a solid understanding of the graphic design projects requirements and to have a good perceptive of what you are looking for. The more information you can provide to the designer, the more likely the success of the design solution.

Who is the design aimed at?

This part of the design brief can have a big influence on the overall style. As a result, it is important that the business owner or the person liaising with the designer has a good understanding of who the design is aimed for. The content and overall message communicated through the design can be lost if this is mistaken. For example a young, grungy effect postcard would not necessarily have the impact required for an older conservative audience.

Here are few key factors in distinguishing your target audience and understanding your customer or clients.

Age
Gender
Geographic location
Economic status
Religion


What are you trying to communicate?

What message are you trying to convey to your customers? This may be something as simple as thanking your customers for their loyalty or letting them know an imminent change of address. Once established it will help the designer develop a concept which is suitable to the message being conveyed and add moods and styles that will enhance and enforce your key message. You can also help your designer by offering some keywords to aid with the design, for example if you have developed a new product, some keywords may be "excitement", "innovative", "forward thinking", "development" or "growth".

Artwork specifications

There may also be some artwork specifications, which will be important to mention or discuss with your designer. These specifications determine in what form the artwork is designed and are often in relation to final printed materials and can effect the time and cost involved in a project. It is therefore important that you are quite clear at the start of the project what will be required as it may lead to extra charges and going over budget if you later change the brief. The artwork specification could be as simple as letting your designer know whether they are designing in full color or black and white.

A few specifications to consider are:

Dimensions or size of the design (i.e. A5)
Number of pages
Black and white, spot or 4-color printing
Folds (i.e. folded business cards)
Is there a set budget for the project?

In some cases, depending on the level of involvement from the designer, it may be necessary to give the designer some budget details. Often if a design agency or designer are involved in a project from concept to final print, they will require this information to determine the scope of the project. Adding any necessary constraints to the project, (such as altering timeframes or design options) to stay within a specified budget.

Often, designers will not need you to disclose a budget as a quote can be provided based on the other information detailed in your brief. A quote will then enable you to decide whether it will fit within the your set budget. Acquiring design and print quotes will also help you establish a budget for a design project, if you have not already done so.

What is the time limit or deadline?

Notify your designer if a design project needs to be complete within a specific timeframe. If the project is for a launch or conference, it will be necessary that the completion of the design and/or final print coincide with this date. It is vital that you provide the designer with all the necessary dates, so that time can be managed effectively to ensure that the final project is completed on time. If there is no set deadline, the designer will usually have their own time frame, however it will be beneficial to both you and the designer if timescales are agreed before the start of a project.

You ideas

Don't be afraid to offer your ideas. As a designer, it is, whenever possible very helpful to get a little creative direction from the client. You know more about your business and industry than the designer. As a result there may be ideas that you have, which the designer may not have considered. Also the designer may create a beautiful piece of artwork, but if it is not to your taste, you won't feel confident using the piece and will therefore inevitably be a waste of money. However, if you can provide the designer with some designs, design elements and examples of your preferred style, this is more unlikely to happen.

Here are a few examples of design cues to provide to the designer.

Colors
Typefaces
Artwork or other Designs
Websites
Certain elements of websites
Design restraints

It is also important to inform your designer of any existing brand, identity information or elements that need to be used. If you have a specific a color scheme, use of typeface, existing logo or other elements, you need to ensure that the designer is able to incorporate these attributes into your design. If you have a corporate identity booklet or previous designs these will aid your designer.

The success or failure of a design solution is largely dependent on the design brief. Providing this information along with ideas to your designer will help the communication and enable the design process to run smoothly with few unexpected surprises.

About the Author

Michelle Roberts, Design2Go

Design2Go.net - Affordable Graphic Design
Design2Go work in partnership with new businesses and SMEs to magnify their potential through effective design.

See our Outstanding Value for Money Design and fixed price design packages.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Importance of your Domain Name

by Carolyn Clayton

Your domain name is what appears in the address bar of an Internet page. Without your domain name no one would be able to easily access your website, which is why your domain name is so important. Your domain name is what brings business to your website and for your website to do the best it can you need a name that is going to entice people to click on your URL link as oppose to your competitors.

There is a belief held by numerous people that your domain name must be a generic name. What is meant by generic is a website that has a name such as shoes.com for a site that sells shoes; however as a customer wishing to purchase a new pair of shoes you will more than likely have the style or brand of shoes in mind that you are hoping to purchase, meaning when you came to search for it online you wouldn't merely type 'shoes' into a search engine you would type the brand or type of shoe in so a domain name that reflects the brand or type would be more beneficial to your business than a domain name that merely states shoes. The very name that you use to advertise your product is the name that you will want for your domain, because that is the first thing that people will try in their browser. It is also the easiest thing for people to remember.

One other argument that often arises when it comes to your domain name is whether a short or long domain is better for your website. There are arguments for and against both of these a short domain name is easier to remember and to type and is also less susceptible to mistakes; however a short domain name would be hard to remember if it was made up of a sequence of letters or numbers; whereas a long domain name can often be easier for the human memory as you are more likely to remember a long name; however you should avoid extremely long domain names that verge near to the 67 character limit.

As well as the debate over whether your domain name should be short or long there is also the debate of whether you should use a hyphenated name, this is often easily dismissed as hyphenated names are easy to forget when you are typing the name into an address bar, also when people recommend your site to people there is the potential for errors when people will often forget to mention the hyphen. However one good aspect that hyphenated domain names have is that they are easier for search engines to distinguish between keywords.

One common question that many people have about domain names is whether they should get a .com, .co.uk, .net, .org etc. The basic answer to this question is you have to choose the best one based on your business. If you are a local business, which only really caters for the local area, such as a pizza delivery then you will want to have a domain name that reflects this; whereas if you are an international business you would benefit most from having a .com domain name.

About the Author

Helen is the web master of Discount Domains, specialists in all aspects of Domain Names.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Truly Custom Unique Website

by Gene Schwerman

A custom-designed, truly unique website allows the Web surfer that initial positive response, which is required within the first few seconds of viewing a site, in order to keep the viewer interested and then move him into the site to actually view and possibly buy your product. Anything short of unique, interest grabbing, visually stimulating content upon first look at a website, usually does not elicit a second look. I have said it many times in these pages, and admittedly, this has been a theme that I have continued to echo now over a significant amount of time. However, it only ever takes me a few moments of surfing the Internet to revisit this theme in my mind and to motivate me to continue the pilgrimage holding out the holy Grail of the truly custom unique website.

They say the nice thing about advice is that you don't have to take it. Having preached the message for quite some time that a truly unique website is not just helpful on the Internet but is practically the only way to garner enough initial attention from a Web surfer to send them inside your site to view the information you really want them to see, I feel that all I can do is continue to try to get the information out there and hope that some people find it to be good advice. Customizing your website is instrumental in setting your business apart from the competition. It conveys the idea to your customers that you are different and unique. It literally sets you apart in a way that is positive to your viewer and will attract rather than lose the viewers attention. By continually customizing you will even be able to create a certain theme for your business. Over time concentrating on this theme will brand your business. So it is very important in order to separate your business from your competition that you create a truly custom unique website.

You continually hear the phrase dress to impress, when you're going to meet new people you put on your best outfit, so that the initial impression you make will be a good one. This is a procedure that works very well in creating a website, you dress it up in a unique and creative way, in effect you give it its best outfit, and you get that initial impression from people that you are looking for, and that you need. It creates a specific identity to your product line or service. To get people to notice your business as being different and exceptional is a big plus, especially for an online business because the Internet is saturated with new businesses everyday and the competition is fierce. A customer appreciates the kind of appeal branding creates and will linger on a website that offers that rare commodity of creativity and uniqueness in web design.

It is so much more advantageous to use a well-orchestrated custom web design for your online business that it really cannot be overstated. First impression is the best salesperson for any online business and an original, well designed, well-dressed, as it were, website offers that irreplaceable commodity that every business owner strives to achieve for his customers, the feeling of being truly welcome. Your truly unique website will stand out and put you on the "world wide map" for your product or service.

About the Author

Gene Schwerman is the founder and head marketing consultant for Truly Unique - Cheap Website Design. Truly Unique offers a variety of business website design services.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Squeeze Pages And List Building...You Can't Have One Without The Other!

by Mike VanBergen

Every successful online marketer knows the importance of using squeeze pages! Whether you are marketing your own products, services, affiliate programs or an ezine, you need a squeeze page.

Squeeze pages can be used in many different ways.

The main purpose of having a squeeze page is not only to show your prospect the benefits of what you are offering, but to help you build your opt-in list. I'm sure you've heard the saying...the money is in your list!

You build your list by creating an opt-in web-form on your squeeze page or as some call it a landing page asking for their name and email address in return for something of value to them. If your offer is enticing enough they will then enter their information and end up on your sales page. They may not buy right then, but now you have their information where you can follow up with them later, either by direct email from you or through your autoresponder program.

It's a known fact that most customers do not buy the first time, it may take 5, 7 or more contacts from you before they do buy what you're offering. First you need to gain their trust and build confidence with them.

This is the cheapest way to lower your advertising costs! Build a large list of opt-in subscribers/customers who trust you. It's like money in the bank! One can never deny the fact that a squeeze page is very essential and crucial in this business; and that 98% of online marketers are still mastering the art of it using different techniques. Bottom line, list building is the secret to making money repeatedly without spending a single penny on advertising.

Here are a few good reasons why you should be using squeeze pages in your marketing program. 1. You have to focus your attention on building your list instead of trying to make your first sale. As you get used to online marketing and you master the art of it, you will definitely proclaim that wealth is in the list, because if you don't have a list, you don't really have a business.

2. With squeeze pages you have only one target …#34; to capture the information details of your visitor. The squeeze page is different from using a pop-up or normal opt-in form because there is a pre-requisite, you don't allow your visitor access to your website material unless they give you their name and email address including other details should you want more, but 95% of the marketers only ask for first name and email address. This of course depends on what you might need the other info for.

3. Squeeze pages can drive traffic to your site. To drive traffic to your site first you should flatter your visitors with perks and bonuses that are related to your product and their interests. Just make sure that the cost of your giveaways can fit in your budget and they must be a quality, deliverable product or service that your lead can use and benefit from.

4. A squeeze page is more likely to produce a 20% to 40% opt-in rate of the total number of net surfers who visit your site. You must provide a strong and juicy headline and show your visitors what's in it for them to tempt your visitor to leave their name and email address so that they can't wait to get to your website.

5. By creating a squeeze page, you can optimize your email marketing campaign. It has been proven that almost all visitors to your website won't drag out their credit cards on their first visit. You'll be able to follow up with your list of subscribers and gain their confidence in you and trust you. Then you can sell them other products (yours or affiliate) and services. If they trust you, they will be more likely to buy what you recommend.

6. With a good squeeze page program you can do split-testing with your headlines, offers and products to find out what is the most effective to bring in customers. If you do split test, then you can logically make more with the same amount of traffic and the same product. What you have to do is to continuously keep testing and to continuously run two versions so that you keep making your site better and better. With the right squeeze page program, it will automatically do the testing for you or there are several tracking products on the market that you can purchase.

7. As with most websites you can add video, images, audio and other media at the push of a button. Again, this will depending on what you use to make squeeze pages as to whether you can add media. It's been proven that by adding media to your squeeze page, you will get better conversions. I hope by now you can see the importance of squeeze pages in your internet business. They're simple, easy to make with the right program and they will help you build your list and achieve your peak in online marketing.

About the Author

"Discover How You Can Easily And Quickly Build A Huge Optin List With Squeeze Pages!"

Watch This Video To See How -->> Your Squeeze Page

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What Makes a Premium WordPress Theme Premium?

by Marlon Burrows

WordPress has become a hugely popular open source blogging and publishing platform. The abundance of free themes and plugins as well as its ease-of-use have contributed to the attraction and popularity for using WordPress. While there are some great free themes for WordPress, many only offer basic functionality and simplistic designs.

Since late 2007 however an increasing number of WordPress theme developers have been offering premium WordPress themes - themes which are offered for a fixed price. These premium WordPress themes are usually sold for between $50 to $250. Originally only a small number of talented and well-known WordPress theme designers created paid premium WordPress themes which were well designed, highly functional, top-quality themes that transformed a WordPress installation from a simple blog into a powerful content management system. However as the premium WordPress theme business concept spread, more and more WordPress theme designers have hopped on the bandwagon trying to cash on the new trend filling up their portfolio with premium (paid) wordpress themes.

However with greater variety and numbers of paid premium WordPress themes also comes varying levels of quality. So what specifically makes a premium WordPress theme premium? Some characteristics that should set a premium wordpress theme apart from a free theme are listed below:

Quality and Unique Design - Premium WordPress themes should be just that - Premium. They should look better and be of a much higher quality and unique design than compared to those available for free.

Features - While all themes are different, in general premium WordPress themes should have more "Features" than their free counterparts. What that means depends on the theme in question. However some features may include: "Featured Posts" areas, Multiple layout options for the home page, drop down menus, multiple customs templates for pages, custom field options, print style sheets etc.

Customization Options and Flexibility - People want options, so Premium WordPress themes should be customisable. Buying a premium theme will set you apart from the crowd significantly, but since other people will still be using the same theme, premium themes should be able to be easily customized further, whether it be for the layout, colours, images, or all of the above.

Live Preview or Demo - There should be a live demo or preview of the theme so you can test it and check it out before buying. If there is no live preview or demo that should be a warning sign. You should ask why don't they want you to test the theme first? All reputable premium theme sellers will have a live demo full of content for you to test. Explore the live demo thoroughly, testing all pages to see that the theme works properly and there are no errors or mistakes.

Full Support - If you're buying a premium WordPress theme it should also come with a certain degree of support from the designer. The level of support can vary however and will range from personalised individual support from the designer, to the provision of forums or blog comment sections for asking questions and obtaining support from the designer and other people who have purchased the theme.

Supporting Documentation - Premium WordPress themes should come with an instruction manual or document. This should explain how to upload and install the theme and how to manage any of the options that are built into the theme.

Free Updates - Wordpress is continually being updated and improved and a premium WordPress theme developer should be offering you free updates of the theme when required.

Well Coded and Error Free - There should be no coding errors, misspellings, X images, etc in a premium WordPress theme. The theme has cross browser compatible and been tested to work properly on all the major browsers, plus the theme should have clean and valid code and adhere to strict XHTML and CSS standards.

About the Author

A comprehensive showcase of premium WordPress themes can be found at Premium WordPress

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Google Thinks Of Your Site?

by Titus Hoskins

How Google views your site does matter if you want to succeed online because Google has become the dominant search engine on the web. It now has over 60% of the U.S. search engine market. In other countries around the world that percentage rises to 80% or more. In addition, the Google Brand Name has solidly permeated the popular psyche and any top rankings within Google will bring much weight and prestige along with all that traffic.

If you're a webmaster, you will already know how vital Google is to the success of your site, especially if you rely upon organic keyword rankings for your traffic. This free organic traffic from Google is highly desired by webmasters because it is extremely targeted and delivers high conversion rates.

In trying to reach the highest rankings possible, I (like most webmasters) have to be constantly aware of what Google thinks of my site and content. As a webmaster and marketer I have always geared my online marketing towards Google. I have spent years building my keyword rankings within Google; if you take out the fact that it has nearly driven me insane, it has mostly been a positive experience.

This experience has also shown me it is indeed important for anyone to know how Google views and rates your site or content. The more knowledge you have, the better able you will be to tackle any obstacles and challenges that will come your way.


SERPs Is The Only Opinion That Counts

And like most webmasters, I try to find out as much about Google as is humanly possible, but Google doesn't give up its secrets easily. In fact, many webmasters would argue the only true opinion Google has of your site is shown in their SERPs - if your keywords/pages are ranked in the number one spots in Google's "Search Engine Results Pages" then Google must think your site or content deserves to be there.

However, there are other ways of finding out how Google is viewing your content. Below are several Google webmaster tools and things you can do to discover just how Google views your site or pages. They will give you a better picture of what Google thinks about your site.


Checking Your Content/Keywords In Google

One handy tool that will show you what Google thinks your pages consist of is located here:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Just type in your URL and tick off website content and you will get a listing of the major keywords Google has for your content. If your targeted keyword or keywords are not listed, then you have to do some re-writing.


Checking Your Backlinks In Google

If you want to find out how many backlinks your site has in Google, just open up Google Search and type in:

link:yourURL

and it will show you the number of backlinks you have.

Since Google doesn't give you all your existing backlinks, many webmaster also use Yahoo! to find a more exact number of links your site has on the web.

Just open Yahoo! and type in: linkdomain:yourURL

Now whether Google is using or considering all these backlinks is the big question? Finding the exact number of backlinks you have in Google has always been a problem because Google is not giving you the exact number or at least this is the general opinion of most SEO experts.

Another way I monitor my links in Google is to place quotation marks around my site name or my name "bizwaremagic" or "titus hoskins" and do a search in Google. This gives me the pages containing references to me or my site. This is usually 50,000 to 100,000 pages, I have also noticed my online income usually correlates as this number goes up or down.


Checking Your Indexed Pages In Google

Obviously, it is very important for you to know what content the search engines have indexed from your site. You can also check to see how your links are displayed and to see if any titles or descriptions are missing from your pages.

You can see how many of your pages are indexed in Google by using the site command.

Just type into Google Search:

site:yourURL

A little while back, having your pages indexed in Google's Supplemental Index caused webmasters much stress as it seemed Google was judging these pages as "second class" pages. Since then, Google no longer uses the Supplementary Label in grading pages but that doesn't mean a supplementary index doesn't exist; just that Google has promised to crawl and consider these pages as well in any search query.


Checking Your Google Cache

You can also check to see the Google Cache of your site by using the cache command. You will also discover when it was last retrieved.

Just type into Google Search:

cache:yourURL


Checking Your PageRank Within Google

Another tricky issue is PageRank. This is supposed to be the heart of Google's ranking system created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin; each link is considered a "vote" for your page and the higher the number of "votes" you have, the higher the PR your page receives. However, again Google is using "smoke and mirrors" to conceal your true PageRank mainly to cut out abuse and manipulation of their results. Some experts say PageRank still counts, other say it doesn't.

You can check your Google PageRank here:

http://www.iwebtool.com/pagerank_checker

From my own experiences, I have received more traffic when my site was at PR4 than I received when it was at PR6. What's important is getting high rankings for your targeted keywords... if you get top spots, it doesn't matter if your main index page (site) is PR4 or PR6, you're still get the same amount of traffic. In other words, don't become too fixated on PageRank because Google in many cases is not letting you see the true PR of a webpage.

I would like to add one point to the whole PageRank issue and that has to do with perception. If you're running an online business then having a PR8 site does matter for it will bring in more business and customers (especially if you're in the SEO industry) mainly because of the "perceived value" of your site or business.


What Google thinks does matter!

In other words, what Google thinks of your site can play a major role in your success. Mainly because, like it or hate it, Google has become the supreme authority on the web and what they say, counts. Therefore, you should always be paying special attention to just what Google is saying about your site and acting upon that knowledge accordingly.

About the Author

The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites. For the latest web marketing tools try: Marketing Tools Everyone is profiting for Google, find out how you can too! Click here: Google Cash File Copyright © 2008 Titus Hoskins. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What are Domain Name Servers?

by Carolyn Clayton

When you open a new Internet page and you type in your website address do you ever wonder what goes on to ensure that you are taken to your desired site? Every time you use the Internet or send an email you are using a domain name to do it and it is through what is known as a domain name server that the domain name and website appears on your screen.

A domain name is the address that people use in order to find you or your company online. It is this domain name that you type into the browser's address bar to take you to a specific website. Domain names are easy for us to remember but they prove hard for a computer to read. A computer cannot read the words of a domain name; they read numbers instead. These numbers are known as an IP address. Computers use these IP addresses to locate a website, for example a website called domain.com would be known as a series of numbers such as 214.182.103.150. So how do these numbers get changed into a domain name to take you to your desired website? Basically every time you type in a domain name you are using what is known as a domain name server (DNS) to translate the websites IP address into a domain name.

A domain name server is a database and is like no other. This is because no other database gets this many requests sent to it and no other has millions of people continually changing it every day; it is aspects such as these that make this database unique.

Most of us are using domain name servers without even realising it, merely by just using a search engine or browsing through sites on the Internet you are sending requests to a domain name server in order for it to translate the IP address into a domain name. Domain name servers, or DNS, are an incredibly important but completely hidden part of the Internet, and many people often find domain name servers very fascinating. The DNS system forms one of the largest and most active distributed databases on the planet. We don't actually realise how much we actually rely on domain name servers as without them the Internet would shut down very quickly.

The task of translating domain names to IP addresses sounds like a relatively simple task but you should remember:

* There are billions of IP addresses currently in use, and most machines have a human-readable name as well

* There are many billions of DNS requests made every day, even a single person can easily make a hundred or more DNS requests a day, and there are hundreds of millions of people and computers using the Internet daily

* Domain names and IP addresses change daily

* New domain names get created daily

* Millions of people do the work to change and add domain names and IP addresses every day

Domain name servers are highly important to the Internet and it serves as a phone book for the Internet.

About the Author

Helen is the web master of Discount Domains, specialists in all aspects of Domain Name Servers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Many Reasons Adsense Sites Don't Make Money

by Manbeer Singh

With the huge success Google's Adsense has been reaping, there are now only a handful of sites you'll see that doesn't feature Adsense on their sites. Everyone is hoping that they could make huge earnings from this pay-per-click affiliate program scheme Google has launched.

While there are many success stories (they are true) of sites that have generated good income from Adsense, there are still some sites that couldn't grasp the real way of making an earning from Adsense.

This is because many people have failed to generate the needed factors to create a successful site that compliments the features Adsense provides. Many webmasters just put up or create mediocre sites and place Adsense on their site and just sits back and waits for the cash to roll in.

If that is the mentality of a site owner, then he won't earn from Adsense. Remember, a mediocre site will also get mediocre earnings.

To finally realize the Adsense dream, a webmaster must produce a site that has the factors and characteristics needed to generate the traffic and clicks it needs to be profitable. There are many things a webmaster needs to do to achieve this and be one of the millions of sites who have successfully done so. But there are so much more things a site owner has failed to do to make their site more Adsense friendly.

Here are five reasons why many Adsense sites don't make money.

1) There are no good keywords on the site.

Many sites have failed to do the very essence of search engine optimization, Good Keywords. The internet has many websites competing for the attention of the "netizens" and many sites contain the same or almost the same subjects, topics or niches. To date, Google is searching at over three billion sites; good keywords can get you a good lead above all the other sites.

It is essential that you research well on finding the good keywords your site can use to generate the traffic and get a high ranking on the search engines results. If many internet users are directed to your site, you get a huge opportunity to get great traffic. With traffic comes the profit.

In making money you must spend some. Invest in a good program that searches good and proper keywords for your site. These keywords that people are looking for changes and varies, a good keyword searcher is an investment that just keeps on giving.

2) The site doesn't provide a good niche.

To get the attention of the people, you must provide a site that can perk up the interest of the people. Adsense works well if you maintain a good number of traffic, you have to keep the people's interest on your site and have a group of people to keep coming back to your site and have them recommend it.

You must also find a niche wherein these groups of people are interested in. Find the right niche and you'll find the right group of people that are willing to spend some money.

3) The site owner doesn't maintain or update their site.

You can only maintain the interest of a person for a short period of time. Many websites have failed to keep up the traffic they generate for their failure to keep their site updated. Immerse yourself in your niche and try to find out what's new and what's hot.

You have to serve something new to the people or if not, try to keep abreast with the developments of your niche or maybe add some sub-niches on your site that still pertains to your niche to get new traffic and keep the attention of your clients in your site.

4) Some website owners don't provide the full attention to their Adsense sites.

Many people just see their sites as a way to earn some extra money. You have to treat Adsense sites as a full size business to make it big. With the heavy competition you have, a good webmaster should treat their site as if it is their main source of income but still maintain a good schedule of their time.

5) Many webmasters have failed to devout time and research to their Adsense site.

Many elements are needed to build a successful Adsense site. Good keywords and the right niches can roll in the dough, but this takes time and effort. It is imperative to devout a certain amount of time in looking for ways to develop your Adsense site.

The internet is abound of sites that could help your own site. A little time, money and hard work can spell the huge difference between a successful Adsense site and a mediocre one.

About the Author

Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips & hints, Points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques & insights pertaining to Google Adsense, Do please browse for more information at our website :- www.thegooglefund.comwww.google-atm-machine.com www.googleatmcash.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You've Got a Great Idea for a Web Site, but How can you Make It Succeed?

by Charles J. Bonner

Most Web sites and blogs begin with a great idea, but never get off the ground. How do you know whether your great idea can be translated into a great Web site? You must do a little research to make sure you're choosing the right path. This article will show you how begin to develop that great idea into a great, successful Web site.

Your definition of success with your Web site depends on the purpose of your Web site. But whether the purpose is to support an off-line business, to sell your products on-line, to generate passive income from affiliate programs or other advertising, or simply to share your interest in a hobby or profession, your Web site will need appropriate traffic. And in order to draw traffic, you must first think very carefully about what need your Web site addresses. Who will visit your Web site, and why will they choose your Web site out of all the millions of Web sites out there?

You need to define the market or audience you want to address, and you need to assess whether that market is already being addressed.

Assessing the market for your Web site idea is something of a Goldilocks decision:

* Some markets are too small

* Some markets are too big

* Some markets are just right

Obviously, you want that "just right" market, but how do you identify it?

Keyword Research

The main tool is keyword research. Keyword research will tell you two crucial things about the wide world of the Web:

1. What are people looking for?

2. What are people finding?

You need to discover what people are looking for on the Internet that is relevant to your great idea. Sure, you think it's a great idea, but does anybody else? Is there a need for it? Is anybody really looking for whatever it is you intend to offer? Good keyword research can tell you what they're looking for, and what specific terms they are using in their searching.

Once you know what Web surfers are looking for, you need to know what they are finding. The point here is that you need to know how much competition you will be facing.

There are two main things you can do when faced with competition:

1. Out-market the competition.

2. Avoid the competition by choosing a different market (or, preferably, a specialized slice of the market).

Keyword research won't help you much on that first option. Competing in a saturated market will require money, time, and luck. Lots and lots of all three. (Good luck.)

Most of us are richer in great ideas than in greenbacks, so the second option is the only way to go.

Keyword research will help you with this, too. And it will identify both the market and the competition in one operation.

Specialize to Avoid Competition

Let's take a particular example. Suppose you are an expert on tuataras.

(Don't know what a tuatara is? It doesn't matter. It's just an example of a subject somebody might be interested in. I intentionally chose a term with ridiculously low search engine value, so that this article will not "hijack" too much traffic. Apologies to all those seeking information about tuataras. (a) No, I didn't make it up, and (b) if you actually are interested in creating a Web site about tuataras, here's a little free keyword research.)

Preliminary keyword research indicates that there are about 150 searches per month for terms that include the word "tuatara." (That's not good, but let's go with this example.) Further research shows that there are well over 400,000 Web pages out there that have something to do with tuataras. This means that the keyword "tuatara" by itself is not of much value. There is some interest in it on the part of Web surfers, but that interest is being adequately met by nearly half a million Web pages. The "keyword effectiveness index" (KEI *) for the word "tuatara" is an abysmal 0.03 (as of the date of this writing).

(* Side note. "KEI," a numerical value based on popularity and competitiveness of a search term, is the subject of many articles all by itself. Virtually all keyword research tools will report the KEI of each term.)

But what's that on the list? The term "diagram of tuatara" was searched 18 times this month, and there is only one page on the entire Web that matches. This term has a KEI of 169 (as of the date of this writing) which is very good, and by far the highest KEI of any term having to do with tuataras.

So, this can be your specialty. If you can build the greatest Web site in the world relating to diagrams of tuataras, you can compete with that other Web page for all 18 of those users. You can study the competing pages (or page) to make sure that you have the very best tuatara diagram page out there, and that you keep it that way.

I hope you get the idea: Use keyword research to determine whether there really is an interest out there for the Web site you envision, and use it to identify specialized areas of interest that are not overly competitive. And for most areas of interest, you will find more than one search term with a KEI of greater than 100 that you can use to choose your specialty.

When you Must Generalize

But what if you were the poor unfortunate whose passion and expertise really are in a subject like tuataras, for which there is effectively no interest on the Web? You're not going to generate enough revenue to pay your domain hosting fees from 18 visitors per month.

In effect, a situation like this is telling you that your original great idea wasn't so great. But rather than just give up, you can continue your research to find related ideas that might work better.

What you need to do is to generalize a bit. Instead of tuataras, do a little keyword research on "reptiles." (Yes, a tuatara is a reptile.) Here you may find that there is plenty of interest, relevant search terms that are used many thousands of times each month, and you can narrow in again on specialties that are less competitive. Maybe you will find high KEI on search terms related to captive breeding of endangered reptiles, and you can build your Web site around that.

It's not exactly the great idea you started with, but it's close enough to keep your enthusiasm going, and there is a market that you can serve.

Next Steps

Now, take a deep breath, and consider carefully all the powerful things you can do with the results of your keyword research. This will set the direction for how your original great idea for a Web site will become a genuinely successful Web site. This keyword research will give you:

* Ideas for an effective domain name.

* Ideas for effective titles for your Web pages.

* Ideas for effective descriptions of your Web pages.

* Ideas for content of your Web pages, to help you focus your expertise onto the particular specialty you have identified.

* Ideas for articles you can write and publish to help drive traffic to your Web site.

* Keywords you can use in a "Pay Per Click" (PPC) campaign.

Look what happened! Your original great idea has become a whole flock of ideas, just waiting for you to act on them.

All of those things are the subjects of other articles.

The important thing to remember from this article is this: Before you act on your great idea for a Web site, do some research to determine whether other people will think it's a great idea, and refine your idea into something that you can turn into a successful Web site.

About the Author

Charles J. Bonner is the founder and principal project manager of www.FreeLanceSubmit.com. For more tips, techniques, and services for turning your great idea into a successful Web site, visit www.FreeLanceSubmit.com.