Friday, October 30, 2009

Web Page Readibility

by Anthony Coundouris

Good web page design does not differ much from print. Consistent branding, clear and readable type and optimum white space still apply.

On screen reading gravity

Heat maps generated from user eye-tracking studies suggest a dominant reading pattern is shaped like a letter 'F'. Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area where the brand sits, forming the F's top bar.

Next, users track down the page and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This forms the F's lower bar.

In other studies, the dominant reading pattern is typified by a letter 'Z'. This is more applicable to pages which do not scroll and have a maximum depth of 500 pixels. These may include a homepage, or an html email.

Like the 'F', the reader begins with a strong horizontal sweep. Where the 'Z' pattern differs is where the eye moves next. It falls to the bottom left, and then tracks right where it comes to rest.

The top right and bottom left are the power spaces. These should be reserved for important images, headlines and branding.


Page alignment

What both patterns suggest is a web page should be branded at the top of the page. Text should range left, ragged right, creating a hard left edge to guide the eye to fall downward.

Centred or right aligned pages should be treated with care. They work against natural readability.


Choosing fonts for web pages

Font sizes pose a major problem for web page design. In print, body copy is still readable at 9pt. On the web, it can be no smaller than 11pt. Content taken from a printed page and placed on a web page will run deeper, because the type has to be larger.

HTML code has some limitations for type. Font types are limited to default PC fonts. In addition, fine typographic controls available in print are not well catered for by HTML. For a long time, designers favoured Flash, as it provided greater typographic control.

However, new versions of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) have provided some answers like space before headlines and leading control.

Unlike print, sans serif fonts are easier to read than serif. Research proves the sans serif is read 11.5% faster than serif. As a rule of thumb, use no more than three fonts on one page. Avoid reversing body copy (white text on a coloured background). Reversed content is easy to read in print, but hard work on screen.


Allocate white space

The tendency is to coat the entire web page with content. The idea being 'more is better'. When it comes to readability, less is better. A page with no white space is congested and confusing. A well-spaced web page 'breathes' and allows the reader to gauge the hierarchy of elements.

White space is no accident. The more white space surrounding elements like logos and headlines, the more attention they are given. For example white space between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increases comprehension by almost 20%. (Lin, 2004)


Layout using grids

The use of the layout grid system allows for flexibility and creativity while maintaining a sense of order uniting all the page elements. Grids are not literally drawn on the page - they are merely a guide. Nor do elements need strictly fit one column.

In the example note how the elements can break out and range across multiple columns to create contract.

A simple page may only require a three or four column grid. A complex page might need nine columns.

The more columns you add, the greater flexibility is in your layout.


Grouping page elements

Web pages need to communicate a sense of order. By grouping major elements together in designated areas your reader can quickly scan the page and be drawn in to read further. Elements in proximity imply a relationship.


Consistency

When engaging with a page long enough, the reader's eye becomes 'trained'. A trained eye which has grown accustomed to the page, can read more. To effectively train the eye, make sure type, grid, and grouping of elements are consistent.


About the Author

Anthony Coundouris is a director and digital consultant for the digital marketing agency Firestarter. Servicing multinationals companies in Singapore and South East Asia, Firestarter provides business leaders avenues to engage and convert prospects using social media marketing. Visit Firestarter to read more articles or contact me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10 Key Reasons to Get Your Own Domain Name

by Amy Armitage

There is a service you may have heard of, TinyURL, that will assign a short little URL when you want to provide a short link instead of a 46-letter one. Now, that can be handy for forwarding links to pages that are deep down in the directory, especially on Twitter or other microblogging tools that only allow a limited number of characters. But some people actually use TinyURLs for their businesses. They also use the free hosting offered by their Internet Service Providers (ISP). Good idea?

Definitely not. From the first you get a URL that reads like random characters, and from your ISP you get one that lets you promote them first. You get few of the benefits of a real domain name. A lot of affiliate marketers use them, because their other choice is something like allnaturalgoo.com/biz/home/8992. None of these gives you a personalized business address that can work in your favor. If you're an affiliate marketer, or starting a new business, and want a fighting chance on the Internet, you need to get your own domain name.

A domain name sets up an address for people to "stop by" and do business, and they are inexpensive, too. There are a lot of reasons to get your own domain name, but here are the Top 10 reasons to get your own domain name, in no particular order.

1. A real web presence

Whether you are doing affiliate marketing, putting up pictures of the kids or starting your own business, your own domain name makes you an equal on the Internet. It is the first important step to building credibility. Of course, you have to have a decent site for people to land on, too.

2. Gives you a promotional focus

When you devise a good domain name, that puts you into business immediately. You can use that domain name as a motivator, something to "pull yourself" into doing business. If you haven't developed other promotional materials or compelling "value propositions" then start promoting your domain name itself until you do.

3. Professionalism

Be honest, now, which link are you more likely to click on:

http://www.spamway.com/distribs/clone44 http://tinyurl.com/sli34cchttp://www.sooperPCdeals.com

The first one is just like thousands of others and gives no sign of being done by a professional business. The second one screams, "I'm an affiliate marketer!" The last one exhibits at least a bit of thinking and personality. For this example, hundreds of thousands of people have clicked on a Power Mall website. It is likely that people will click on the last one because it has clues to what you'll see there and isn't a "cybercipher." You need to present yourself as a real, live business.

4. Flexibility for the future

If you are serious about doing business on the Internet, your own domain name is a first logical step. You will also be able to spin off "subdomains," sort of like divisions of a company, by adding a directory like this: repairs.sooperPCdeals.com. You can maneuver a bit with your own domain name, and not at all with abbreviated URLs.

5. Dead simple (and inexpensive, too)

You can have your own domain name for under $10 per year, sometimes way under. Hosting can also cost you about that much. For $15-20 a year, doesn't it make economic (and every other kind of) sense to put these tools to work for you?

6. Your own, unique e-mail address

Once again, this goes to both credibility and personality. It is far more comforting to a potential customer to see salesmanager@sooperPCdeals.com than some undecipherable abbreviation or an address that promotes AOL.

7. Freedom to expand

With your own domain and website, you can promote and sell whatever you like. Some ISPs' free hosting does not allow shopping carts, and then you will be redirecting people all over cyberspace trying to get a payment. Take people to your own website and forget about all the busy work and jumping through virtual hoops.

8. Capturing information

ISP hosting is limited in many cases, so using your very own auto-responder to collect contact information may not be possible. With your own domain, you have no such limitations.

9. Independence

With your own URL and website, you can change your content at any time, add and remove pages and functionality, add new links or and maintain a single presence through it all.

10. Memory and usability

Look back up at those website names in #3. Which is easiest to recall? Which will look best on a banner or business card? You know the answer.

The benefits of having your own domain name cannot be overstated. Your domain name is the cornerstone of your Internet enterprise and is your foundation for building a successful online enterprise. Be yourself, take charge-and think up a good one!

About the Author

Amy Armitage is the head of Business Development for Lunarpages. Lunarpages provides quality web hosting from their US-based hosting facility. They offer a wide-range of services from linux virtual private servers and managed solutions to shared and reseller hosting plans.

New Posting Schedule

Reflective of the decrease in decent articles that I'm finding, I will begin posting articles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday rather than every day. I suspect that after the first of the year the quality will increase and I can resume daily posting.

The new posting schedule will go into effect on Monday, November 2.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Create a Dynamic Blog to Boost Your Online Business

by James Trent

Everyone starting out with an online business needs to promote their business just as they would do if it were an offline business. Advertising is important for any successful business. Nobody will purchase your product, if they do not know who you are or what you are selling. Just like the yellow pages has been a standard advertisement tool in the physical domain; a personal blog is a standard advertisement tool in the online world. Blogging can advertise your product not only locally; it can advertise your product to the world. There are however, some great tips to making your blogging marketing approach more effective.

First of all, many places on the net will provide personal blogs, but what you are looking for is a long-term investment, and to do that you would need to set up your blog on your own server.

You are going to have to check out the top search engines, which are specifically looking for new blogs as they are uploaded. These search engines are the vehicles in which your blog will get noticed. Some of the most common search engines for this purpose are: Google, WebCrawler, searchenginewatch.com, technorati, cyberalert.com, yahoo, Icerocket, feedster and more.

Make your blog esthetically pleasing, the black and white print and background does not compel a person to want to buy your product. You need to change the look and make your product stand out. There are many software programs available to help you design a unique and appealing blog. Remember the appearance of your blog will be the first impression you make on the world. Just like how you would not go looking for a job wearing torn dirty jeans, you would not want your very first appearance to the world on the internet to be dull and boring.

You will need to design your blog as unique and specific to your products or services as possible. You want your blog to be remembered and a plain blog is not going to make your blog stand out from any other similar product or service. You need your blog to be remembered. Take the example of television commercials, these marketers use all kinds of different techniques to make their advertisements remembered, they go from jingles to silly ads that make no sense. Even the crazy ads have marketing potential because they have people remembering the product. Of course you will not have the room for crazy ads on your blog unless you are selling a product that is crazy, such as selling your service as a clown. Needless to say, whatever theme you choose it must compel people to come back and of course to buy your product or services.

Once you create your blog it doesn't stop there, you still must continue posting to your blog on a very regular basis. You have to always keep in mind that to make money you need to have visitors continue to come back. People will read your publications and join your blog on a very regular basis. In turn you will want to expand your blogging potential by posting on other people's blogs as well.

In the beginning period blogging will be slow until your build up a clientele and following but once you have, it will be a key part of a winning e-marketing strategy.

About the Author

James B Trent is a mentor and business coach that assists serious entrepreneurs in building a profitable online business with multiple incomes streams. James Trent and his team have assisted hundreds of people in generating huge profits in their first year. For more information and to contact James, visit http://www.thesevenfigurepro.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Guidelines to Secure Your Website and Server from Hackers

by Robin Dale

How to Prevent Your Website from Hackers?

Nowadays, it's really important to keep your website up-to-date, as everyday countless hackers are targeting websites to steal important information from websites and servers. This is a very serious concern, and now I am sharing few guidelines to secure your websites and web servers from being hacked.

Old scripts

Please remember that old installations are an open invitation for hackers. So, if you have installed Joomla or WordPress that you tried out a couple of months ago; please remove it. You should make sure that any script you install on your servers is of the latest version. It takes 5 seconds to hack an old version of Joomla, upload a shell script and have total control over your account.

Passwords

Never use easy to guess passwords or the same password more than once; if someone finds a password of yours they will try it everywhere else until they reach success. If someone finds your webmail password you're pretty much guaranteed they'll try it elsewhere - maybe in cPanel, maybe on your online banking!

Cloak Your Folders

You should keep a blank index.html in all of the folders inside your public_html; this will make sure the contents can't be easily viewed on the internet. CPanel has this function, check out 'Index Manager'. It's always a good idea to keep your files and folders secret.

Password Protect Your Admin Folder

You should password protect the admin folder of any scripts you are using, this provides an extra layer of security and is highly recommended. You can do this in cPanel by clicking the Directory Protection link.

So You Got Hacked?

If you got clicked that something has happened, maybe some spam was sent from your account, or you found you were hosting a phishing site, the first step you need to take is changing your passwords. All of them - cPanel, email, site admin passwords, everything.

Next up, go through your web space and remove all old script installations, remember if you installed plugins in your scripts (modules for Joomla/WordPress etc) they can be hacked too! Make sure they're up-to-date too.

You can check the Error Logs in cPanel for suspicious requests. Generally, a hacker leaves suspicious files around, so look for such files within your public_html folder. Once the files are found, take the details of those files, such as date and time that the file was uploaded, the file name, folder it was in, and inform your web host so they can check through. Then delete the files.

Being hacked can happen to anyone at all, your security will always depend on its weakest point. If you don't keep things up-to-date and secure, your site will be hacked and be used for criminal activity in one way or another - however, now is the perfect time to stop this from happening.

About the Author

Robin Dale is the publisher for Teeky.org, we offer useful & quality articles and news about Search Engine Optimization, Internet Marketing, Dedicated Server Hosting, Windows VPS Hosting UK, Linux VPS Hosting UK, e-commerce hosting, cPanel Hosting, hosting tips & UK Web Hosting.

For More Articles, Visit Us @ Dedicated Server Hosting Blog

Monday, October 26, 2009

How To Find A Reputable Affiliate Program That Works

by Richard Weberg

One of the main reasons affiliate programs and money making systems don't work is they fail to teach you anything about online marketing. Basically they give you a back office with your account information and they give you a couple of splash pages and links then they say, "Here. Go make some money." There home page is always filled full of hype and promises of millions if you only refer 5 people and they refer 5 and so on. The problem with this kind of marketing is once all the people who have huge lists to promote to have joined, all you're left with at the bottom is people who know nothing about online marketing. A few people make a ton of money and the masses are left holding the bag, and then these few people start another sure fire money making system and the process repeats itself.

Not sure you believe me? Just think about all the affiliate programs and money making systems you have been hit with and how fast 90 percent of them have just disappeared. If you don't already have a huge email list to market to, you are wasting your time with these types of money making systems. I don't care what the sales pitch is. Usually the more they tell you how fast you are going to make money, and the millions that are going to come in because this is the best program you will find, the more worthless the affiliate program is! It will be a short-lived hype that will fade like the wind. These affiliate programs and money making systems are not outright scams, they work just like they say, but only for a few and only for a while. They just don't tell you that. Why do you think that the big gurus with the huge lists always are signed up first? They are the only ones who can create the initial momentum for it to work for a while.

In trying to make money with affiliate programs and money making systems, I stay away from businesses where their main compensation is based on referring others, I want a real company that has real products: a reputable affiliate program that promotes heavily the resources they have available to you as an affiliate marketer. I don't want to see on their home page promises of riches overnight and how this is the easiest program on the internet. Some of these money making systems actually title their sites with names like "easy affiliate cash", "arm chair millionaire", "lazy mans wealth". Here is a disclaimer from one of sites that offer a matrix like system:

"Disclaimer: This is not a 'get rich quick' scheme. You will have to work to make money. While the average person can easily make $500 to $5,000 a month online, making any amount of money requires specialized knowledge and the appropriate effort."

Notice in the disclaimer it says the average person can easily make $500 to $5000 monthly, but then it goes on to say that making any amount of money requires specialized knowledge and the appropriate effort. Now does having specialized knowledge sound like that would refer to the average person? Notice it says "making ANY amount of money requires specialized knowledge." Does this disclaimer make any sense to you? It doesn't to me. I have learned to stay far away from companies that promote this way.

Some other methods these so called affiliate programs and money making systems use to promote with is a clock on their site with deadlines or how many people you can get in ahead of. My motto is if the company is good today to join, it should still be good next week to join. Right? They also use the word "secret" a lot: secret system, secret product, secret marketing plan. I have news for any of you looking around for a reputable affiliate program: there is no "secret" anything. Only proven marketing methods that work and a honest affiliate program will not make claims of any secret anything. There are many things to look for when trying to find a reputable affiliate program or money making system, and you need to learn to spot the differences so you don't waste your time and money trying to promote some garbage program that will only work for a few people.

I have been marketing online with reputable affiliate programs for over 6 years, and when I first started I fell for the hype of several money making systems that no longer exist today. I lost a lot of money and a lot of time hopping from program to program in search of easy riches. Once I learned there are no easy riches on the internet, I settled down and found some reputable affiliate programs that gave me a wealth of information that has changed my financial situation forever. There are a lot of reputable companies on the internet that can help you in your quest to make an income from home. Take the time to search them out, and you will be on your way to making more money.

About the Author

Internet Marketer, Motivational Speaker, And Nutrition Adviser have been doing business online for over 6 years. I have owned several businesses over the course of 14 years. I Love working from home http://reputableonlinebusiness.blogspot.com/ Home Business Affiliate Programs

Friday, October 23, 2009

Locally Hosted Email Responders

by Otello Zorina

Locally hosted autoresponders are autoresponders that you host through your own web server. Normally, they are either scripts or programs that you need to have installed on your web server. They often require you to have a database, such as SQL 2000 or mySQL. They will also require you to purchase or lease programs or scripts that were written in ASP, Perl, or PHP.

Once the installation has been completed, you'll need a web browser to start using these programs, to set them up, and run your subscriber list. You don't need to be an expert with these programs, although you will need a working knowledge so you can operate them effectively. There are several autoresponders out there, many of which are flexible and offer you powerful features. If you are a webmaster with your own site, a locally hosted email autoresponder is a great investment.

If you are in the internet marketing business and have a large subscriber base, locally hosted email autoresponders are a great choice - especially when you compare them to autoresponders that are remotely hosted. Locally hosted programs will also provide you true flexibility, involving no third parties. You don't have to worry about any company hosting your autoresponder - simply because you will be doing everything yourself.

One of the best things about locally hosted email autoresponders is the fact that you own the program. Once you have purchased the software, you own it for the rest of your life. This way, you don't have to worry about any other charges. You won't have to pay a company to run it, which will save you a lot of money in the long run. There are no monthly charges involved either, which makes locally hosted email responders that much better than remote hosted responders.

Providing the licensing condition allows it, you might be able to run the email responder on multiple sites. Some will let you run multiple copies on several different websites, while others require that you pay a small fee to upgrade first. If you are planning to run multiple copies, you should first find out how many copies or how many websites you are able to use the software with, before you make a purchase. This way you'll be able to determine the true cost of the software and whether or not it is right for you.

Considering the fact that you'll be running locally hosted email responders yourself, you'll have more control than you would with a remote email responder. Locally hosted email responders give you more control over the database, and a better range of customization features. This way, you can set things up to your liking and rest assured that you are in total control.

Some locally hosted email responder programs will allow you to further customize the script to fit your needs. You can do this yourself if you know enough about scripting languages, or simply pay someone to do it for you. If you the program you are using or plan to use allow customization, you can pretty much fine tune it to your liking.

All across the Internet, there are several locally hosted email responders that you can get. Some of the best include Post Master, Send Studio, and Intellisponder Pro. There are other great programs out there, although they will cost you money to use. Once you buy them though, they are yours for as long as you use them. When you consider what's best for your online business - you can't rule out the power and features that a locally hosted email responder will provide you with.

About the Author

I just make some blogs that may be useful for you. That is about the Web Traffic, SEO Optimization, and Home Business Opportunity. If you are interested you can visit my blog and get all the information about the topics. Thank You.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Three Simple Tips for Choosing Profitable Keywords

by Sue Dolan

Why not maximize your website income and the search results for each of your web pages by choosing profitable keywords? Use these three quick and easy steps to build a better, more successful website.

By using these 3 simple sure-fire tips for choosing profitable keywords you will be able to increase not only the traffic to your website but you will find that your income from ads placed on your web pages will improve dramatically.

What self-respecting webmaster doesn't want their site to be found on the first page of Search Engine results? What website owner doesn't want each of their web pages to appear as the first choice of results for their keywords? What eCommerce site doesn't want to earn a gazillion dollars on the Google Ad sense appearing on their web pages?

Why not maximize your income and the search results for each of your web pages by choosing profitable keywords?

Here's how. . .

Tip #1: The first step is to use the theory of supply and demand to your advantage when selecting the keywords for each of your web pages. Basically you want to choose keywords with higher demand and lower supply.

Essentially what this means is that many people use a particular keyword or keyword phrase when performing a search, (the demand) yet there are very few websites that are using that same keyword, (the supply).

Tip #2: Rather than selecting a single keyword, identify a keyword phrase. For example, this article is written using the keyword phrase "choosing profitable keywords" which has a much smaller supply than the single term "keyword". The supply data shows that this keyword phase is much less than the demand. That means that the people using this search term are much more likely to find this article since it will appear on the first page of search results.

Tip #3: Use the free version of the Google Adwords Tool to determine the profitability of the keywords you select for the content on your web pages. It is astounding how a simple twist in the order of words or using a plural (or non-plural) version of a two or three keyword phase can change the worth from a meager 5 cents to $10 or far more.

Use these Google Adwords steps to analyze the cost per click for choosing profitable keywords:

  • Generate keyword ideas by selecting the radio button for descriptive words or phrases
  • Add your keyword ideas to the search box (one word or phrase be line)
  • Tick the use synonyms box
  • Enter the code in the box and click the Get keywords button In the drop down box for "Choose columns to display", select "SHOW ALL"
  • Click the column heading for "Estimated Avg CPC" to sort the results list of keywords by profitability


These three quick and easy tips for choosing profitable keywords will provide you with your web pages with much better results ranking with search engines as well as a higher income from the ads displayed on your web pages.

About the Author

Sue has even engaged the services of the most gifted, talented, virtual cyber genius and world renowned Webmaster Extraordinaire, Gnomely, to help guide you build a successful website. Along with the fabulous rambunctious duo, Bits and Bytes, they'll knock your socks off with riveting web site tips, techniques and strategies. Come meet the cyber whiz kids at http://www.web-site-building-tips.com today!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Get Fresh Ideas For Your Web Site Content

by Michael Goudelock

There are so many benefits that any website will gain from having a regular stream of fresh web site content. For one, it will help the site rank well in the search engine results for the keywords that are being targeted for it. This is because the search engine spiders prefer to visit a site more regularly if there are new content published there more often than on other sites.


Another benefit is that the site's visitors will keep on coming back because they know that each visit that they make, they will be treated to a new post or article. But for people to become regular visitors, not only should the articles be new, but above all they should be interesting and worthy enough for readers to spend a couple of minutes of their time to read it.

So where can you get fresh ideas for your web site content? Here are a few suggestions that you might find useful.

1. News portals.

You can get an idea for a new article or content from news agencies or portals. Sometimes a series of related events will happen in your area of specialization. This will help trigger an idea for you for a topic that might be worthy to create a series of content for your site. If not, at least you will get new sources of topics for your articles.

2. From your competitor's websites.

It is not a sin to occasionally spy and imitate what your competitor is doing. But that does not mean that you will follow everything that the other site does. Analyze it properly and just focus on what is working for your competitor's website. Just remember not to do this technique often or you will be branded as just a rip off by your readers.

3. The blogosphere.

Bloggers are always up to date on what is the latest trend. You can track what the bloggers in your area of specialty are talking about and from their posts and conversations you will surely get new tips on what topic you should be dealing with on your site. More often you will be surprised at the level of these bloggers' knowledge and insights about your field or industry.

4. Interview a prominent person.

Are you in the pet care industry? Why not interview a leading veterinarian in your area about something like a recent flea infestation in your state? People love to read interviews about famous people or those of authority especially if they are giving out tips and suggestions on how to do things properly.

5. Conduct a keyword research.

You can also see what is the trend by conducting a keyword research for the keywords that you are targeting. You can easily spot which keywords are currently very popular and from that list you can start to plan the topics for your next set of web site content. Just make sure that there is a considerable amount of searches per month for the keyword from which you will base your new articles.

About the Author

Want quality and unique web site content for a low price? We have the highest quality and lowest rates online! Get 100% unique articles to bring in tons of traffic and boost your websites rankings at http://www.99centarticles.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to Find Reputable Affiliate Tracking Software Programs or Services

by Otello Zorina

When it comes to finding a particular product or service, there are many individuals who start searching online. The internet is a great way to find whatever you are looking for, but there are also a number of disadvantages to doing so. For instance, it is often difficult to determine the quality of a product or service online. If you are a business owner who needs affiliate tracking software for your affiliate program, you will need to find and purchase affiliate tracking software. While you can do this online, there are a number of important factors that you will want to keep in mind.

As previously mentioned, it is often difficult to determine the quality of a particular product or service, including affiliate tracking software, online. This is because it is difficult to tell whether or not an individual or company is being honest with you. This means that although you may find an affiliate tracking software program that claims to be the best, it may not actually be. To determine whether or not the claims of a software seller are legitimate, you will have to do a little bit of research.

The first step in finding a reputable affiliate tracking software program or service is to familiarize yourself with all of your available options. This can easily be done by performing a standard internet search. You may want to perform that search using the words affiliate tracking software. Your search should provide with the names and website addresses of a number of different software services or programs. You will want to quickly examine each of these products and eliminate the ones that do not offer what you need. This should leave you with a smaller list of software programs or services. Those are the software programs and services that you will want to further examine.

You can easily determine whether or not the affiliate tracking software of your choice is reputable or not by finding a product review website. These websites can also be found by performing an internet search. If you have the names of numerous software programs, it is likely that a number of them will be reviewed. You are advised to closely examine those reviews and weed out any that have negative marks or complaints. While most affiliate tracking programs are reviewed, you may find a few that are not. For your own safety, you are advised to treat these programs as if they have a negative review. This is because you will not want to pay for affiliate tracking software if you don't know how well performing it is.

You should also be able to determine whether or not an affiliate tracking software program is reputable by performing a standard internet search on each program. For instance, you will want to perform an internet search with the name of that particular software. It is likely that your search will connect you to web pages in which that affiliate tracking software was discussed. You are advised to read through these discussions to determine if current, or even past, customers were satisfied with what they received.

When searching for reputable affiliate tracking software, it is important to remember that very few products will have a perfect review. There will always be someone who thinks that something should have been different. A few negative comments or reviews does not mean that the affiliate tracking software in question is not reputable. However, you should be leery of software that has a large number of negative reviews or comments. That software may not only be not worth your time, but also not worth your money.

About the Author

I just make some blogs that may be useful for you. That is about the SEO Optimization, Web Traffic and Home Business Opportunity. If you are interested you can visit my blog and get all the information about the topics. It's FREE... Thank You.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How to Make a Website Browser Compatible

by Pavel Riazanov

These days, the market is flooded with various Internet browsers. Each one of them is freely downloadable and targets different audiences. We, as website developers, will surely want each surfer to view any website "the way we see it" - with minimal differences or no difference at all. The key to this lies in proper and correct website development from the very first moment and adhering to a number of important guidelines manifesting themselves throughout the website building process. The vast majority of websites is created with respect to the requirements of the most popular and wide-spread Internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. The question is - how do we attempt to make our website look the same regardless of the browser we use?

The first and the most remarkable issue is working with tables. Tables are a simple and convenient tool for free content placement, and a creative website developer may reach sophisticated results by building inner tables and wise content arrangement. One of the leading differences between browsers is actually table size default values. Ideally, each cell should have height and width settings. In case these settings have not been defined, a browser may "think" there are no such settings and activate its own default values - and different browsers have different default values. A table with no defined size values will look one way in Internet Explorer, whereas Firefox is based on a different technology and will display the table in a different way, unless you strictly define the table's dimensions. Thus, it is crucial to define the size of the table and its cells. It would be enough to specify values for one cell, which will be valid for the entire row or column. Working in such a way will prevent you from unnecessary errors, because all values are numerical and may be recognized by all existing browsers. Another useful tip is related to table size when a table has a background image. Be sure to fit image size to table size, so that it will not be cropped (if it's larger than the table) or repeated (if it's smaller than the table).

Another outstanding difference is working with spaces, which follows from exactly the same reason. The space character in one browser may be one pixel wide, in another browser - a number of pixels, while in the third one there may be a restriction upon displaying more than one space in a row. Some browsers may even treat a single space as a line break. Besides, a space is not a proper character and one should not move the text by means of multiple space insertion. The rule of thumb is - never use more than one space in a row! For the purpose of moving and pushing text around, use centering and alignment tools, indentation changes or place your content in tables. You may enter the page editor and select the entire content by pressing CTRL+A. Redundant spaces and line breaks will appear as contentless "blocks", colored blue. It is strongly recommended to remove them.

Some browsers are being strict about proper alignment, i.e. if the content is not aligned in a certain direction, it may be displayed in a free manner. For example, if we write, let's say, in Arabic - from right to left - in browser A, we should not expect browser B to display our content in the same way. We shall select the text and align it to the right, thus making certain that any browser in any language and of any configuration will know that our Arabic or Hebrew text must be aligned to the right. This is also true regarding images and other contents.

Advanced users having some expertise in HTML may wish to take a look at the source code and replace certain HTML tags, such as replacing paragraph tags with division tags. There is a well-known lack of coordination between browsers in displaying paragraph tags - Firefox, for example, treats each 'p' tag as a line break, whereas Internet Explorer 7 ignores them. Ironically, Internet Explorer 8 displays them in a similar manner as Firefox.

In terms of site design, there are two major options - design by percents and design by pixels. The latter is relatively simple and allows precise computational website planning. Design by percents will guarantee that your website will look the same regardless of screen resolution, however a thorough examination of coordination between different elements is needed. Web designers mostly use pixels, because this parameter is common for both website building systems and graphic design programs. For instance, it is quite easy to figure out that if the overall width of the website is 800 pixels and the side menu is 200 pixels wide, we are left with 600 pixels of working space. Combining this knowledge with the first tip provided here may lead us to a successful outcome in terms of website building and design.

Specific differences between web browsers:
- In Internet Explorer 8, you may sometimes come across text running over other text. The reason for this is poor treatment of "font" tags in the source code. In case you are facing such a problem, please remove the font setting from design settings and define them by means of style parameter in the CSS language.
- Firefox does not display image ALT tags, whereas other browsers do. The ALT text does exist and is "taken into consideration" by search engines, but not overtly visible when hovering. Internet Explorer 6 does not support transparency in PNG images. In order to fit your website to Explorer 6, try to use images in GIF format instead (or encourage your visitors to upgrade...).
- Internet Explorer 7 ignores 'p' tags, whereas Firefox in all its versions and Explorer 8 display a line break and a space in places where 'p' tags appear. In order to avoid this, replace 'p' tags with 'div' tags.
- In some cases, certain versions of Internet Explorer include the scroll bar in site width and define page center with respect to that. In contrast to that, Mozilla Firefox always excludes the scroll bar when calculating where 'center' is.

A few words on W3 validation:

Recently, the popularity of tests aimed at standardizing sites all over the web up to maximal compatibility has been constantly increasing. W3C is an organization, whose objective is to set a standard, according to which websites will be constructed. This goal, as sacramental as it may be, has not gained substantial support and proper attitude so far. As a result, despite the accepted standards and the testing mechanism, passing this examination has virtually no practical influence on a website, and the website is by no means "harmed" by not passing the test. Moreover, striving to meet the W3C standards requires thorough and meticulous code development according to extremely strict guiding principles, which is utterly not in line with systems designed to facilitate this process. Regarding search engines, no evidence has yet been presented proving there is any direct connection between meeting the W3C standards and search engine ranking (big news sites with thousands of errors are a good piece of evidence). In contrast to that, there are much more important factors, such as keywords and correct text rewriting, that may push you up to the summit of the search results. Thus, a website constructor should better concentrate on the most important and influential factors, which affect website promotion and browser compatibility, out of the list of hundreds less significant ones. Try validating the leading websites on the web, major search engines and news sites, and see the vast amount of errors found by the validator. If they succeed regardless of these 'errors', one must ponder if the test itself is well-constructed...

What is CSS?

CSS is a computer language, which allows creating fixed design settings for a website, thus guaranteeing its invariable appearance. We do not encourage users to work on the source code, since website building systems' main principles are simplicity and maximal user-friendliness. However, if you feel enthusiastic about it, feel free to learn more on the topic on multiple sites available on the web. Here is one of these: http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp

Performing tests

The best way of testing your website is downloading and installing a number of leading web browsers and trying to surf to your site using different configurations, changing resolution and so on. Most web developers simultaneously use Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and others when testing their websites, while constantly changing resolutions and color settings during the practice of fitting the website for any set of settings. Besides, it is recommended to download a free IETester tool, which has been developed for testing websites with different versions of Internet Explorer, which you cannot normally install simultaneously on your computer: http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage

May your website feel comfortable in any corner of the World Wide Web!

About the Author

Pavel Riazanov, MA, is working for a company dealing with website development, design and SEO. http://www.Site123.com




Friday, October 16, 2009

Why Adsense For Content Websites?

by Owen Jones

In order to appreciate why Adsense is essential for your content websites, you must first know how it works. The theory is really simple, if you think about it. The publisher or the webmaster puts a java script into a website. Each time the page is accessed, the java script will pull adverts from the Adsense scheme. The ads that are displayed should therefore be closely related to the subject matter on the web page serving the ad. If a visitor clicks on an advert, the webmaster serving the advert earns a portion of the money that the advertiser is paying the search engine for the click.

The search engine is the one managing all the tracking and payments, providing an easy way for webmasters to exhibit content-sensitive and targeted ads without having the hassle of soliciting advertisers, collecting money, and monitoring the clicks and statistics, which would be a time-consuming task in itself. It appears that there is never a deficiency of advertisers in the scheme, from which the search engine draws the Adsense ads. Furthermore, webmasters don't have to be so concerned about the information the search engines are providing and can be more intent on earning cash from those search engines.

The first reason why Adsense is indispensable for content sites is because it already has learned a lot about the wishes of publishers and webmasters. Its continuous advancement means the emergence of a more complex system that permits full advertisement customization. Webmasters are given the opportunity to pick from a number of different types of text advertisement formats to better match their website and fit their webpage design.

The diverse types of formatting allow the site owner the prospect of more clicks-through from visitors who may or may not be conscious of what they are clicking on. This way the people behind Adsense, Google, will get their advertisements read and make sales in the process.

The second reason is the ability of the Adsense publishers to track not only how their websites are doing, but also the earnings based on the webmaster-defined channels. Recent improvements in search engine technology gives webmasters the ability to monitor how their ads are performing using customizable reports that have the capacity to count page impressions, clicks and click-through rates. In this manner, webmasters and publishers can follow individual advert formats, colors and pages within a website. Trends are also easily noticed.

You can assess the efficiency of the changes you have made quickly by use of these reports. That means you can sort out the contents that surfers are making the most clicks on. Ever-changing needs can be met while generating cash for the webmasters and publishers. The more flexible schemes are also allowing webmasters to group web pages by URL, domain, ad sort or category, which will provide them an accurate insight on which pages, ads and domains are performing the best.

The last and final explanation is that advertisers have realized the benefits associated with having Google adverts served on targeted websites. This increases the likelihood that a web surfer will have an interest in their products or services. All because of the content and its constant upkeep

Adsense is all about specific subject matter, the more targeted your subject matter is, the more targeted the search engines' adverts will be. There are some web masters and publishers who are focused more on their site contents and how best to maintain them than the cash that the adverts will generate for them.

There was a time when people were not yet aware of the money to be achieved from adverts. The cash generated only came into existence when the webmasters and publishers realized how they could make Adsense be the generator of ads and sales. In those days, content was the most important factor. It still is. With the allure of money, of course.

About the Author

Owen Jones, the author of this article writes on several subjects, but is currently involved with Electronic Bug Killer devices. If you would like to know more, please go to our website at electronic insect killer

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Permission Marketing: Why You Need to Build an Opt-in List for your Online Business

by Angela Kaeli

The Opt-in mailing list is a form of highly targeted permission marketing that has grown in popularity since the internet has created a fast and low-cost means of delivery. With the implementation of automated systems, a small business can create an opt-in list without hiring employees. It is a highly effective, tailored means of creating a bond of trust with your customer base and cultivating a legion of return-business

The term permission marketing (sometimes called "invitation marketing") refers to different types of marketing whereby the seller obtains permission from the prospective customer to send him further correspondence. This material can involve polls for more highly tailored marketing of products and services. The quality of information conveyed to the prospective customer is generally very high. Providing the prospective customer with value forges a bond of trust, thus leading to a high conversion rate.

What is an opt-in list?

The opt-in list is simply a database of names and email addresses of people who have visited your website or who have made a purchase from you. This list allows you to send updates, emails or promotions to those who are subscribed.

It is like an ordinary membership or mailing list for a brick and mortar business, except that it is created on-line. The old-fashioned form of this kind of advertising is known as direct mail marketing. The major difference is that you no longer need to fold papers, staple them, stuff envelopes or lick postage stamps because the delivery is done through an automated e-mail service.

Why Should You Build an Opt-in List?

Building an Opt-In List is a way of building a relationship with prospective customers. Most buyers don't make a purchase right away. The majority have to have time to make a decision and they have to trust you before they make the purchase. They have short memories and need to be reminded that your company exists. Keeping them on a mailing list keeps them thinking about your company.

Consider this fact: In order to succeed in business, you must use every resource available to you. It is important in any of your on-line marketing endeavors that you think in terms of (1) automation and (2) scale.

Every member of the on-line community is a potential customer. Now, one of the best marketing tools that you can use in your online business is a permission marketing via an opt-in mailing a list because it allows you to market cheaply on a very large scale.

Any visitor that will come to your web site is a potential customer and represents likely return-business. Using an opt-in mailing list ensures that you can maintain on-going contact with customers. You can keep them alerted to new products and services that you offer. A person who buys from you once is a good prospective customer for the future because you have already built a relationship of trust.

Building your first opt-in mailing list for your business will not be an easy task. It requires a long-term, on-going commitment. Do not let that fact deter you, however, because the results will be well-worth the investment of time and effort.

About the Author

Angela Kaelin is the author of "Writer's Fast Track to Cash: Build a Writing Empire that Pays You." Learn how to make money at home as a modern freelance writer and internet publisher - fast and on a shoe-string budget. Please, visit: http://www.writersfasttrack.com/buildwritingempire.html and http://www.writersfasttrack.com/

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Article Marketing 101: Do You Know What The Leaders In Your Niche Write?

by Lisa Angelettie

If you are designing or revitalizing an article marketing plan that will be a part of your overall marketing strategy, make sure that you have considered who your competition is and what they have written when planning your content.

Do you know who the specialists in your niche are, and do you know what your competition writes on the web?

I'm not asking because I want you to obsess about it. I'm asking to teach you an article marketing 101 basic truth -- You can truly penetrate your market if you create content around and on topics that your competition hasn't covered or covered well. And believe me -- there are plenty of questions that your prospects have that your competitors haven't answered via articles.

What this means essentially is that when people search for the keywords in the article that you write, they will find you naturally in the search engines because others in your niche haven't written on that topic or optimized it the way that "real" people are going to search for it on the web.

This will dramatically affect your marketing. You will create more visibility in your market. Competitors and potential prospects will begin to pay attention and know who you are.

You will create more traffic to your site because you now will have some articles on the web with less competition then maybe more of your "general topic" articles. This traffic will be qualified and will more than likely be more willing to opt-in to your list - then a typical website cruiser.

So this is what you need to do in order to successfully do a little competitor stalking and figure out where you can jump in and fill an information void...

1. Sign up for your competitor's newsletters and whatever other free goodies they may have. Be sure to use an alias -- because there is nothing more annoying than when I see that a competitor has signed up for my info with no intentions of ever doing business with me. Blah!

2. Investigate your competition and their profile over at Alexa.com. While this isn't necessarily an absolute accurate look at stats (only computers with the alexa browser toolbar installed are tracked), it does give you a gage of traffic and importance.

3. Google their name and any variations of it. Or better yet, add their name as one of your "google alerts", and you will be able to see on a daily basis what blogs, sites, etc. have picked up their content and/or have written something about them. This will give you a fantastic idea of how often they are writing articles.

4. Follow your competitors on Twitter. Watch what kind of content they are twittering about and how often their tweets are "retweeted". This will also give you a great idea of how often they are writing content. Consistent article production on your part and inconsistency on theirs is another way to quickly move past your competition.

Also - by using these techniques you can check on how popular your own content is and the best way to distribute it. I personally was able to see through adding an alert on my name (girlshrink) which national publications were mentioning me, and what article directories I was actually getting traffic from or republished.

About the Author

Ready to use article marketing to explode your traffic and establish authority in your niche? Then I invite you to grab my free article marketing success kit at: http://articlemarketingsuccesskit.com .

Lisa Angelettie is an article marketing specialist, published author, and internet junkie!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to look for a cheap SSL Certificates

by shammy

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol that protects your Web site and makes it easy for customers to transaction with you. SSL provides security and an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser to make sure that all data transmitted are private. Many consumers recognize the "golden padlock" which shows that they are viewing a secure web page.

SSL certificates can provide you with non-forgeable proof of your website's identity, and customer trust in the integrity and security of your online business. Customers are aware of the advantages of SSL security and will often not purchase online from non-secure stores. All major online businesses use SSL security to encourage customers to buy online.

Security for your website

There are several SSL certificate vendor that offers cheap SSL certificates, the good thing of having one is that you will gain your customer's trust and attract more buyers without hesitation of giving their personal information on your website for their payment process.

You can find cheap SSL certificates that cost $12, mostly it varies from $12 to as much $1,000 or more. Why does it have a big difference? The main reasons are some certificate authorities have been around longer than others, so you are sure that their certificates are worth it, because it is already working in older browsers. Some certificates are directly signed by a trusted certificate, while others are chained from another intermediate certificate. This is not really a problem, as long as the company selling the chained certificate really does own the root certificate. Chained certificates are usually cheapest SSL certificate. Different certificates give different levels of assurance to your website visitors about whom you are. This not really a major issue for more sites, because website visitors are generally happy as soon they see the lock icon in the lower left corner to the browser window. A few certificate authorities claim to provide enhanced security to customers with very old computers.

Different type of SSL certificate you should buy are:

* If your website is intended to sell products to the public, and you have no special interest in serving users with very old computers, you can get by just fine with a chained, domain-only certificate from a newer certificate authority.

* If your website are selling products to the public and have a much larger audience than the webmasters in the first group, then the thought of a "small number" of users who ca not use newer certificates will be setting off alarm bells for you.

* If your website offers financial services, or requires especially private information from users, such as social security numbers and tax identity number. Mostly users on such websites more likely to check the detailed certificate information.

Demand for reliable online security is increasing. Despite on increasing online sales, still many consumers continue to believe that shopping online is less safe than doing the old-fashioned shopping on stores. The key to establishing a successful online business or a website is to build customer trust. Only when potential customers trust that their private information and personal data is safe with your business, will they consider making purchases on the Internet.

About the Author

To know more about cheap ssl certificates, Firm Monster is the right place to visit. It offers info about cheap ssl certificate that will help your business grow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who Can Benefit from Affiliate Tracking Software

by Otello Zorina

When it comes to affiliate programs and affiliate tracking software, a large amount of focus is placed on business owners. This is because business owners are the ones who decide to start an affiliate program and use an affiliate tracking service. While business owners may be able to benefit the most from affiliate programs and affiliate tracking software, they are not the only ones who can. In fact, affiliate programs and tracking software not only benefit business owners, but affiliates as well.

An affiliate is a term that is used to describe webmasters, web publishers, and website owners. When they enter into an affiliate program, they are often referred to as an affiliate. The job of an affiliate, when it comes to affiliate programs, is to help increase the revenue of one of their partner sites. This is done by placing advertisements, such as banners or links, on their website. Each time those advertisements are used to generate a sale; the affiliate will be compensated for their work. This compensation is often a percentage of each earned sale.

An affiliate will benefit from participating in an affiliate program because they have the ability to earn money. In fact, that is how many webmasters, web publishers, and website owners make most of their money, by participating in an affiliate program. Unfortunately, an affiliate program cannot successfully operate without affiliate tracking software, so, in a way, this means that affiliates will also benefit from the use of this important software. Without affiliate tracking software, it would be difficult or impossible for each business owner to know where their sales came from. Without known this proper information, affiliates would not be compensated for their work.

As previously mentioned, a business owner, otherwise known as a merchant, can also benefit from the development of an affiliate program and affiliate tracking software. Perhaps, the greatest benefit comes from the development of an affiliate program. Affiliate programs are designed to help increase business sales. By partnering with a website owner, webmaster, or web publisher that has an online website, that is in one way or another related to yours, you may notice a steady increase in your online website's traffic. If your website sells merchandise or services, you may also notice an increase in your sales.

Affiliate tracking software is important for business owners because it allows them to successfully operate an affiliate program. With affiliate programs, you need to be able to know when one of your affiliates helped to generate a sale. It is also important to know which affiliate that was and how much the sale was worth. This information is important because it will make sure that you properly compensate all of your affiliates. Without an affiliate tracking software program you would be unable to do this. If you tried without software, it is possible that you would reward the wrong affiliate or not even reward one at all. This is the quickest way to spend your affiliate program downhill; therefore, affiliate tracking is extremely important, if not necessary.

As you can easily see, affiliate programs and affiliate tracking software do not just benefit one type of individual; they benefit a number of them. Whether you are a business owner, looking to increase your sales, or a website owner, webmaster, or web publisher, looking to make extra money, you can thank affiliate tracking software for giving you the opportunity to do so.

About the Author

I just make some blogs that may be useful for you. That is about the Web Traffic, SEO Optimization, and Home Business Opportunity. If you are interested you can visit my blog and get all the information about the topics. It's FREE... Thank You.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Choosing an E-Commerce Solution: 10 Things to Keep in Mind

by Collyn Floyd

Do you have a website with e-commerce capabilities (i.e., one that takes online sales) and want it to generate high amounts of traffic and revenue? If e-commerce is the lifeblood of your website, you need to treat it as such, and more than likely that means forgetting about cutting costs with a "canned" e-commerce solution.

If you've done any research on e-commerce products, you've surely noticed the vast array of products, features, and prices. We've put together a list of considerations to help you make sense of it all and select an e-commerce product that's appropriate for your needs. So before you put just any e-commerce application on your website, we recommend that you consider the following: Budget

E-commerce solutions come with a variety of different bells and whistles - and corresponding price tags - from dirt cheap to put-a-second-mortgage-on-the-house expensive. Of course, it's always tempting to go with the least expensive option, and in rare cases that might be all your website needs. But you want to make sure that you're not getting a product that's too basic or inflexible for your website's needs. Make a list of all the features you need now as well as into the future and make sure the e-commerce solution you're considering can accommodate those needs. Integration

Pre-packaged e-commerce solutions often fail when it comes to integrating with databases and systems already in operation. With a customizable e-commerce application, this isn't an issue. Make sure it can tie into any legacy networks or systems or integrate into your QuickBooks or other accounting software. Flexibility

Flexibility is absolutely key when selecting an e-commerce product. That's because you'll want a product that can grow and adapt along with your business. Don't just think about your business needs today, but try to anticipate what they might be down the road. Will your e-commerce solution still work if you need increased functionality? What if you want to add on more features or tie in to a database?

Some of the cheaper e-commerce solutions are merely pre-packaged products that have no ability to be customized or expanded. And while it's always possible to change e-commerce products down the road, but that can be terribly expensive and time-consuming. User-friendliness

Ever found yourself using a shopping cart that made you work or guess at the checkout process? Chances are that both diminished your trust in the website and made you to buy the product from another website. An intuitive shopping cart and checkout process helps ensure your customers stay on your site and complete the transaction. Appearance

Along with user-friendliness comes appearance. A big part of your shopping cart's appeal is having an aesthetically pleasing, professional look. Make sure your shopping cart reassures customers that your website is legitimate and the transaction will be smooth. After all, they'll be entering their credit card numbers and other private data; a sloppy appearance can drive your customers straight to your competitors' website. Customer Service/Support

Does the e-commerce solution you're considering have customer service for you? Be sure to find out what level of support your e-commerce provider offers. Are they there 24/7 or just during regular business hours? Do they have a live person you can talk to or will you be referred to online FAQs? What kind of product updates do they offer and how often? If you have technical questions, can they assist you with those as well?

It's important to know going in what level of service you'll have, otherwise you could be looking at headaches and frustration down the road. Coupon/Promotion Management

Does your website offer discount coupons or let users pay by gift certificate? Or would you like to offer these features in the future? This may seem like a given, but often less expensive e-commerce solutions don't allow these basic options. Make sure your e-commerce solution gives you the ability to add/edit coupons, discount codes or other promotions, as well as sell and process gift certificates. SEO Friendly Content Management

This one's a biggie, but then again we're an SEO firm (as well as a web development firm) so we're sensitive to these things. We know first-hand the value of having your site perform well in the search engines, so if you're doing any kind of web marketing, you need to make sure that search engines can index the product pages of your website.

Your e-commerce solution should allow you to create short, clear URLs; search engines don't like the long, messy URLs that most e-commerce applications generate and are at times unable to index them. Besides being search engine friendly, short URLs are more user friendly and easier to remember and share. Your e-commerce application should also allow you to optimize each product page, including page titles, alt-text and meta-data. Conversion Tracking

Again, our biases as an SEO firm come through: it's essential that you be able to track conversion information based on search engine traffic and keywords. Do you want to know what search engine is sending you the most traffic? And what keywords are resulting in sales? A good e-commerce solution should also provide partial form conversion tracking, in other words, the ability to capture information from abandoned forms. Security

Online security breaches and identify theft can cause major damage to your customers' credit and your reputation. Your customers trust you to keep their credit card and other personal information secure, so when selecting an e-commerce product, be sure to find out what security procedures the vendor has in place and how often they update/review security information. Be sure to ask if they've had any security breaches in the past. In Summary

It's hard to overstate the importance of selecting the right e-commerce solution for your website. It's where you actually make the sale and collect payment information, so it needs to be user-friendly, search engine-friendly, reliable, flexible and secure. Without those things, you could be looking at all sorts of issues for your business and customers.

We'll leave you with this advice: Do your research up front, ask to take the product for a "test drive" to make sure it accommodates your needs, and don't skimp on features or price. You'll have confidence that you're investing in a flexible, customizable e-commerce system for the long haul. You won't be sorry.

About the Author

Collyn Floyd is a marketing and public relations specialist with The Karcher Group, a web development and search engine marketing firm based in North Canton, OH. She is passionate about helping The Karcher Group's clients achieve greater online traffic, leads and sales through search engine optimization and marketing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Kind Of Meta Data Matters For SEO?

by Chris Gill

Search engine optimization (SEO) contains dozens of techniques and no small amount of controversy when it comes to which of these techniques are the most effective. The legitimate SEO community agrees that quality content, back links to the target site and optimization for well-researched keywords (phrases used in search engines) are critical components. Meta Data (information that is not visible on the web page itself, but within its coding) is the subject of some debate from SEO professionals. Some Meta Data is known to improve SEO, but in other cases, the evidence is weak - and the wrong technique may actually damage a site's rank on Google, Yahoo! or Bing. So when and how does Meta Data matter? The development team at SEO firm GILL Media had the following to say about Meta Data in SEO:

Page Title: Strong

Page titles are the most visible Meta information fields in a web page. Search engines usually harvest a page's title for its link in a search engine results page (SERP). The consensus remains that this is one of the strongest on-page SEO factors. That means webmasters should always include related keywords in their page titles, but need to remember that the title is visible in SERPs. A title that looks awkward due to keyword stuffing may not garner as many organic (human-decided) clicks as one with fewer keywords that conveys information to the user. Furthermore, remember that Google displays roughly 70 characters from a page title, making longer examples look awkward.

Image Alt Tags: Medium

One of the cardinal sins of SEO friendly web design is to forget that images are not machine-readable. In other words, your big banner naming your site and what it's all about looks great to humans, but all a search engine spider sees is the image reference tag. Alt tags are designed to deal with this issue by adding a Meta tag telling spiders (and users who hover over the picture) what the image is all about. Designers should always fill in image tags with topical, SEO friendly titles, but avoid stuffing keywords in alt tags or using them in a deceptive fashion. For example, if alt tags are inconsistent with the site's content, that may serve as a red flag to search engines. This is critical for image heavy sites, but less so for text-dominant sites. When it doubt, it's always a better idea to provide information in visible text than Meta Data.

Meta Descriptions: Medium

A Meta Description is a short sentence that describes the page, but isn't visible on the page itself. This is weaker than it used to be because too many SEO firms "gamed the system" by stuffing the Meta description with keywords. It may still have some weight with search engine spiders but nowadays the Meta Description is important to human readers. Many search engines import the description to the SERP, so searchers will have a chance to read it as a summary of the page's content. Therefore, it's your goal to not only include keywords in a natural fashion, but make the description appealing to a typical reader to increase organic clicks.

Meta Keyword Tags: Weak

Google representatives have publicly said that the separate Meta Keywords field now has little to no weight on SERPs, and it's likely that other search engines have largely followed suit. Nevertheless, you should still fill these out in the interest of completeness. Meta keywords may still be used by certain small scale search engines, and might serve as "tie breakers" when it's time to rank two sites with an otherwise very close claim to the same position. Avoid using too many keywords here.

About the Author

GILL Media is a leading provider of economical search engine optimization and affordable web design for small, medium and large businesses.