Friday, March 11, 2005

Small Business Web Site Design - Why separate formatting from content?

Today’s web pages are full of content. What makes the web so appealing is its ability to present content in a rich state combining formatting and graphics with content. Of course, you will come across some sites that will tend to overdo this part. Hopefully, they will learn quick or learn the hard way. But that isn’t the intent of this article. In today’s article I want to focus on why it is important to separate your content from your formatting.

To understand this better, let us take a quick look at how we can actually format a web page with some formatting. Don’t work even though this sounds “technical”, it really isn’t once you understand the concepts.

Let’s assume we want to create a paragraph of text that has the following criteria:

There needs to be a Header so we can identify the paragraph
There have to be a few hyperlinks for redirecting the user to some helpful web sites
The header font needs to be a different color with different font size.

The common way is to insert this formatting right within your text. Like so:

<font face="Arial" color="#336699" size="2">
<span style="line-height:17px;" >
My sample text
<font face="Verdana" color="#000000" size="1">
This is my other sentence within the paragraph

So do you see anything wrong with the above code? Nothing much, right? And to a large extent, you may be right in assuming so.

But consider this scenario. You want to portray a consistent look and feel to your web site by formatting all your headings in one specific color, font and font size. And of course, you would like all your text to be formatted another way. Let’s just keep it this simple and not complicate it by saying you would like to format different types of paragraphs differently.

So how would one generally go about formatting this in some of our favorite HTML editors? Well, simple. You would highlight the text and choose the formatting via the handy buttons, menus and whatever else is available. And how does our leading-edge HTML editor format this text. Yup! You guessed right. It will insert the formatting surrounding your text, as illustrated in the above example.

So now that you learnt how to format your text, you get excited and go about formatting

Now comes the fun part. You (or your boss) suddenly decide you would like to change the formatting just a “little”. Instead of the Arial font for the Headers, you would now like it to be Verdana. And of course, while we are at it, can we change the paragraphs to Times Roman?

Now the realization strikes you. You have to go through every web page on your web site and manually edit these Font tags to reflect the new change? Can you see how tedious this can get when you have a few pages on your web site? What about the situation when you have a dynamic web site that takes it’s values from a database?

This is one of the primary reasons I always recommend separating the formatting from the content. This is easily accomplished with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Among other things, CSS is extremely good for separating formatting from content. Using CSS, whenever we would like to change the formatting, we change it in one place. Yes, you heard that right. One place. And the formatting ripples through the entire site instantly.

Now how good is that?

When you think about it, separating formatting from content seems totally logical. Yes you will see most standard HTML editors may not fully support what is discussed in this article. However, with a little bit of careful planning and some circumvention, we can easily accomplish style in our web page formatting using CSS.

Till next time,

Elvin Picardo
Delivering Net Results to Small Business
Author of numerous articles on web development and Internet Marketing for small business
10723 159th St, Surrey, BC V4N 3J1 Canada
Contact Elvin

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Why Doesn’t My Small Business Web Site Sell?

by: Jeremy Cohen

Many small business owners are disappointed by the ability of their web site to generate new business. Simply having a web site does not guarantee its effectiveness as a marketing tool. If your web site is unable to consistently generate new leads and prospects you may well be disappointed in your investment in your web site.

Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be making one of several common mistakes made by small business owners make when they decide to turn to the web for more business. Here are five common mistakes that can hinder the marketing performance of your web site.

Failure to Measure Traffic
Every so often when I speak with someone who is dismayed at their web site’s ability to generate revenue. I am surprised when they tell me they don’t know how many people visit their site each month, day, hour, etc. Measuring the traffic to and through your web site is critical for understanding the marketing prowess of your web design and the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.

If your web site enjoys lots of traffic, say over 1000 visitors a day, but generates one or two sales a month you can be pretty sure there is a deficiency in your web design. If you are not measuring traffic to your site you do not provide yourself an opportunity to identify and correct the problem by seeking and implementing better marketing design.

On the other hand, if your web site generates a small amount of sales and you don’t know that only fifty people are visiting your site each month you deny yourself the ability to realize that you have a fantastic web site and that marketing it better will lead to a significant increase in revenue.

If you are not measuring your web site’s traffic you are missing opportunities to increase your ability to generate sales and be more successful. If you are not currently measuring traffic to and through your site you can move your marketing forward by integrating the tracking service provided by one of the many companies that provide web metrics. Two such providers are and

Poor marketing message
Another reason web sites fail to sell is that they do not do a good job of delivering a compelling marketing message. Without an excellent marketing message you risk losing your visitors to other web sites because it is not immediately clear to them that you can help them with what they seek.

One sign that you may have a less than stellar marketing message is that it does not speak directly to the consumers who become your clients. Your marketing message should identify exactly whom you help. If you help more than one population you can easily cater your marketing message by changing just a word or two. Be sure your marketing message clearly indicates whom you help and you will notice an improvement in you sales success.

Another sign that your marketing message is not hitting a homerun is that it does not clearly demonstrate that you provide what your customers seek. If you sell handbags and your marketing message is “glamour can be yours” then you are missing the boat as this marketing message fails to indicate at all that you sell handbags.

To correct a dysfunctional marketing message make sure it clearly identifies your target market and the results they seek. Once you have a great marketing message you can use it in your web site and your other marketing material.

Don’t See Big Picture
Another common shortcoming of small business web sites is that many fail to realize a fundamental marketing concept: most consumers who make a decision to buy something make the decision to do so after 6 - 8 contacts with some form of marketing for a particular product or service. Failing to realize and act upon this marketing fact will hinder your ability to grow your business.

The purpose of marketing is to establish your business in the marketplace so that consumers think of you when they are ready to act to fill a need or desire. By regularly getting your marketing message in front of your market you can help them associate what you do with what they need. You can also attract more clients by demonstrating your expertise to clients in your marketing material.

How are you going to get your marketing message in front of your market often enough to help them associate your products or services with the problem they need solved or the need they need to fill?

Poor design
Do visitors to your web site do what you want them to do? If they are not it may be the design of your web site that is preventing your visitors from taking the action you want them to take. The design of each of your web pages is instrumental in guiding the actions of your visitors.
So what constitutes good design? Good design stems from the skillful integration of graphical and textual layout, color, shape and choice and flow of content. If your site does not have the content your visitors seek you will strike out each time someone visits your page. If your web pages don’t put what you want your visitors to see immediately in front of them you will miss opportunities to sell.

If your choice of fonts and colors make your pages difficult to read your visitors will likely move along to another web site they can understand more easily.

To identify if your web pages suffer from poor design ask yourself the following questions:
Does my text stand out over my background color?
Does the design of my site focus my visitor’s attention where I want it?
Does my content give my users what they want?
If you answered ‘No’ to any of the questions above you can improve your ability to get your users to do what you want by taking steps to correct anything that may be wrong.

Failure to Focus on Client Needs
When people visit your web site you want them to read through the content of your site. By doing so your visitors develop a sense of how your product or service can help them. If your copy doesn’t focus on your clients’ needs and desires they will be off to another site in a blink.

If your visitors are quickly leaving your web site it may be because your copy does not focus on their needs. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Don’t focus on the process or method you use to do your job
Don’t focus on your existing clients
Don’t focus on your experience
Don’t focus on the quality of your product

By making any of the above mistakes you detract attention from the reasons that are going to help your clients make the decision to buy from you. You may be very proud of your accomplishments, and you should be, but focusing on them does not address your clients' needs. By addressing your clients' needs you will communicate better with them and increase your ability to sell.

About The Author
2004 © Better Marketing Results. All rights reserved.
The author, Jeremy Cohen, helps small business owners and professional service providers attract more clients and be more successful with his coaching marketing service and free marketing guide: Jumpstart Marketing: More Prospects, Clients and Success. Get the FREE guide at:

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Small Business Web Smarts – What is cross-browser viewing?

The Internet changes rapidly. When the web browser was first introduced, you had only one web browser. Today, you not only have different organizations with different browsers but you also have different flavors of the browser.

Do you think your web site looks the same across all browsers? Think again.

The added complexity is that with hardware getting cheaper and cheaper every day, monitors are getting bigger too,. So what does this mean to you? Well, this means that your web site needs to accommodate different resolutions as well.

Most small business owners never even consider this aspect to their web site. This is because most web designers design with one size. This is generally 800 x 600. So how does this affect your web site? If you have a wide screen, your web site will look squished to the top left. The higher the monitor resolution, the smaller your site will look. You will also start seeing a lot of “problems” (for example, graphics that are repeated across your screen and are not meant to be) if you have a wider monitor and are viewing in a resolution higher than 800 x 600.

Sounds bad, eh? Is there anything you can do? Yes, you can. Read on to learn.

For starters, simply knowing about this problem makes you better than 75% of the other businesses that are not aware. Now you can take corrective action with your web designer or web design company.

When you negotiate your contract with a web design company, ensure you let them know you are aware of this problem and tell them you would like your web site to be fluid. What do I mean by this? Well, to state it simply, your web site design and content adjust themselves to your visitors browser and screen resolution. And how is this accomplished? Well, using what is commonly called as “CSS” or Cascading Style Sheets. If you would like to learn more about this interesting technique, contact us and we’ll be glad to provide more details.

The other problem is that most web designers “test” only on their computers. As a result, they generally design in the resolution their monitors are set to; not their target customers. Wouldn’t it be nice to see how your web site would look at different resolutions? Well, I can point you to one web site that will let you type in a web address (URL) and select a particular screen resolution. It will then take your web address and “simulate” the look at the selected resolution. And the magic address is:

Have fun testing your web site.

Till next time,

Elvin Picardo
Delivering Net Results to Small Business
Author of numerous articles on web development and Internet Marketing for small business
10723 159th St, Surrey, BC V4N 3J1 Canada

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Most Beneficial and Most Under-Used Web Site Promotion Tool

by: Richard Brunelle

Of all the methods of Web Site Promotion, the Press Release is by far the most beneficial tool available. It is also one of the least used tools. When thinking of Web Site Promotion, a web site owner or his delegate has to consider what method of promotion will bring the best results. But, a majority of these people fail to recognize the significance of the Press Release.

Press Releases are one of the few documents that can be submitted one time to one location, but be considered for publication in millions of other locations. Press Releases submitted to a quality News Distribution Service are routinely reviewed by a bunch of Journalists. Journalists from all forms of media consider use of Press Releases in their publication. It is probable that a Press Release of significance will get selected by numerous Journalists for inclusion in their publication or media as a Press Release, as well as used for a subsequent news feature. How many times has Google generated a Press Release that creates news features on television, radio, print publications, and all over the Internet? In case you aren’t sure the answer, every time.

Now, most of us will never write a Press Release of such significance as to reach all forms of media like a Google press release, but a simple Press Release from an unknown stands a pretty good chance of getting significant distribution. A Press Release published on the Internet, immediately upon publication generates attention to your business or web site. How? Most of the News Media select Press Releases for inclusion to their Internet news publications. Most of these News Media sites also are Free Content Providers to millions of other web sites by offering free news feed linkage from the News Media site. Not all of the sites using such feeds are going to select the specific feed that carries your Press Release. But, what if only one in ten do? You cannot pay for banner ads or search engine placement that will give you as much promotion in a single day.

Press Releases are one of the few documents that get published in other media that immediately attract attention to your business or web site. Newspapers, Newsletters, Magazines, and a large amount of company bulletin boards frequently pick up and publish Press Releases from News Distribution Services. If your Press Release is picked up for publication, the first day of its release will probably be the strongest in the print media. However, newsletters and magazines usually are not a daily or weekly publication. So it’s possible that two weeks or a month after its release, your Press Release will get another strong viewing.

Press Releases are one of the few documents that get published to numerous locations without much effort. One single Press Release, submitted to a quality News Distribution Service is considered for publication in millions of media publications, read by tens of million readers. So, even if only one of these publications picks up and publishes your Press Release . . . Do the math!

A Press Release is the best method of increasing Search Engine Ranking by linkage. Once a Press Release is published by any of the News Media, it is archived in a searchable database. This placement of your link into a high ranking, high traffic media site is priceless. Test this for yourself if you wish. Simply prepare and distribute a press release. Within two to five days, do a search for your web site. If your Press Release was accepted and published, you will find a number of links from the media that published your Press Release back to your web site. And, what if one of those media sites just happen to be Google or Time Magazine? We can wish and dream, can’t we?

What do you have to do to get your Press Release published? There are only two rules to successful Press Release distribution and publication. 1. WRITE WELL. And 2. SUBMIT IT WELL. There are no Editors that like poorly written anything. Poorly worded or full of grammatical errors gets one thing, the trash. And, regardless of many peoples opinion, the News Distribution Service utilized is very important. You can submit a press release about Jimmy Johnson getting caught eating boogers and subsequently getting promoted from the Mailroom to Building Maintenance, as long as you follow the proceeding rules.

To write a Press Release well, you have to understand the use of a Press Release. A press Release is not a Sales Brochure. A Press Release is not for telling stories about your weird Uncle Alfred. A press Release is to tell the world some newsworthy event has or will occur. And believe it or not, your web site or business probably has such newsworthy events happening all the time. Once you have ascertained that you have such an event to tell the world about, you have to write your article properly. Not only do most places you can submit your Press Release to require it be in a certain format, but they also expect it to read a certain way.

A Press Release should start strong with an informative title, followed by an equally strong first paragraph. The first paragraph should contain answers to Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Subsequent paragraphs should be used for interview quotes and or supportive content. Having done that, there is one more important element to a proper Press Release. There is no such thing as an anonymous Press Release. Press Releases contain all the specifics relative to the person making the Press Release. There are some Editors and Journalists that actually want to discuss the Press Release content, and your Press Release will not see the first glimpse of publication if they are unable to contact you.

This article has not prepared you for writing and distributing your Press Release properly. Doing so is not my intent. The sole intent of this article has been to raise your awareness regarding the value of Press Releases. I recommend that you consult a professional, read a book on the topic, or find a friend that works in Public Relations to help you for best promotion of your company or web site using Press Releases. But, if you are willing to put forth the effort, you will find the Press Release one of the strongest promotional tools available to you in any media.

About The Author
(C)2005-Richard Brunelle-All Rights Reserved
This article may be reprinted freely in its entirety, including my reference box.
Richard Brunelle is CC&BW for datajam’s Internet at He has been providing technical support services, building web sites, and writing informative articles since 1996.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Give Your Web Site a Small Business Marketing Tune Up

by: Jeremy Cohen

Your web site is like your car. Both are significant investments that require the right features and regular and proper maintenance to ensure maximal satisfaction and performance.

Your car is a finely tuned machine. You bought it not only to get you from point A to point B but also perhaps to have some fun and look good as you go. If you purchased your car new its engine had no wear. To keep it running like the day you bought it you maintain it regularly: you change the oil every 3000 miles, you inspect its belts and hoses, you check its fluids and rotate its tires (or at least you should). Without such attention the money you spent on your car will eventually seem like a mistake as it sits idly in your garage because it won’t start.

Your investment in your web site deserves the same care you give your car. While the purpose of your car is to get you from place to place, the purpose of your web site is to help you develop new business and become more successful. It doesn’t matter if your business is retail sales or professional services, your web site is supposed to act as your store front on the Internet. While your web site doesn’t need its oil changed or tires rotated it does require maintenance to ensure it performs as the marketing tool you intended it to be when you paid to have it developed.

Here are five things you can do to tune up or add to the marketing function of your web site.

Fresh content
Fresh content will keep your visitors coming back to your site just like the oil and gas in your car help ensure it starts every time you put the key in the ignition. If you neglect to maintain fresh supplies of either, you’re asking for trouble. Your visitors seek fresh content. Once your visitors realize they’ve gotten all their going to get out of your site they will not return. Add new, relevant and helpful content to your site as often as you can and you will keep your visitors happy and returning.

Your keywords are the words your visitors use when they think about the products or services you provide. They are like the make and model of your car - they are what get noticed. Your visitors use keywords and phrases to perform searches at sites like Google and Yahoo! to find what they need. They recognize and respond to these words when they see them featured in search listings, advertisements and other promotional materials. Make sure you know your keyword phrases and incorporate them into the Title, Meta Tags and copy of your web site.

The advertising copy of your web site can be likened to the amenities of your car. Your car has a stereo, cup holders and convenient storage space to address your wants and needs as you drive. The copy of your web site should do the same thing. To maximize the marketing function of your web site’s copy make sure it focuses on the problems, wants and concerns of your clients. Your visitors will be more likely to identify you as the solution to their problem if you demonstrate to them that you understand their needs.

Require Action
Just like your car requires you to step on the gas to make it go, your web site requires your visitors to take the action you want them to take in order to function as an effective marketing tool. No one has to tell you to step on the gas. Your visitors need to be told what to do. Tell them to “buy now” or “request our catalog”. If you don’t they might ever know that’s what they’re supposed to do.

Get Contact Info
Getting contact information from you visitors is like remembering the keys to your car. If you can’t get into you car and start it, you’re not going anywhere. Likewise, if you don’t learn who your prospects are you can’t continue marketing to them. Most people who visit your web site will not buy from you the first time they stop by. In most cases, it takes between six and eight marketing contacts with a prospect before they choose to purchase something. Your prospects are no different. If you acquire their contact information you will be able to repeatedly market to them.

Take the steps you need to maintain your web site and it will run smoothly and get you where you want to go.

About The Author
Copyright 2005 Jeremy Cohen, Better Marketing Results
The author, Jeremy Cohen, helps small business owners and professional service providers attract more clients and be more successful by helping them deliver a web site that sells and improve their marketing materials to generate more interest in their products and services Get his free marketing guide, Jumpstart Marketing: More Profits, Clients and Success:

Friday, March 04, 2005

How to Select a Web Site Host

by: Mike Snyder

So, you know how to create HTML files (web pages) and want to start a website. You have a domain name but don't know where to store the files (web host). You find countless web hosting companies offering a wide range of products but you can't make heads or tails of all the features to decide which plan is right for you.

Does this sound like you?

If so, this article was written for you. Hopefully after reading it, you will have a better understanding of all the terms associated with web hosting and find a hosting company that is right for your business.

File Storage Space
Usually hosting companies sell different packages centered around storage space. Storage space is specified in kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), or gigabytes (GB); a megabyte is 1000 kilobytes and a gigabyte is 1000 megabytes.

How much storage space do you need? Well, that depends on what you are planning to do with your website. If you have only a few pages of text and little to no graphics or images, a 25 MB should be more than you will ever need. Most hosting packages start at 25 MB of storage space. When comparing web hosting companies for file storage space, be sure to check their terms and conditions to make sure they do not charge another setup fee for upgrading to a packge with more space.

One way to determine the size of your files in Microsoft Windows, right click the Start button and click Explore. Scroll down and select the file(s) or folder(s) you plan on using for your website. Right click on the selected file(s) or folder(s) and click Properties and you will see the size.

Bandwidth is the measure of how much data flows through your site. It is usually expressed in GB transfered per month. If you are expecting a lot of hits (millions of page views) to your site you will need to get the most bandwidth you can afford. For new web sites it may take a while to get up to a significant bandwith. If you find you are approaching the bandwith limit, you can always upgrade to a plan with higher bandwidth. Some plans allow you to increase your monthly bandwidth for an additional monthly charge.

Most hosting plans include a significant number of POP e-mail accounts and unlimited e-mail forwarding.
POP accounts can be accessed with your current e-mail program and some hosts may include a webmail interface for your POP accounts. If you have several people that work for your web site/business and want them to have their own e-mail address, you will need to select a hosting plan with enough POP accounts.
E-mail forwarding is when e-mail that is addressed to your website gets redirected to another e-mail address that you specify. An example of e-mail forwarding: for one of my websites mail addressed to,, and all get redirected to my Gmail address. With e-mail forwarding you can easily track where your e-mails are coming from. Be careful though...the more e-mail addresses you have, the more SPAM you will receive.

Shared vs Dedicated
When comparing hosting plans, you may notice plans for shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Shared hosting simply means that your web site will be hosted with other websites on the same server or machine. Shared hosting is good for the average web site where speed is not a priority.
A dedicated server is just that, a server that is dedicated to your website. The advantages of a dedicated server are speed and control. The disadvantage is cost, you will usually have to pay a much larger monthly fee for having a dedicated hosting plan. If you know nothing about Unix, Linux, or network administration make sure to get a managed dedicated server. The hosting company will take care of all the security and software patches/updates that arise over time.
Make sure to review the hosting company's terms and FAQ concerning their dedicated servers to determine if their service is right for you.

For the companies that do not have 24 hour support, you will have to determine if their phone support hours meet your specific needs. Make sure to note the location of the company and offset the support times for your time zone. If you plan on working on your web site during all hours of the day, make sure to choose a company with 24/7 phone support; otherwise, you will have to wait for them to open before you can get help to solve your problem.

Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is a program, also know as scripts, that can be run on a website to make the site more dynamic. CGI programs can be written in PERL, C, Unix shell, and countless other languages. It is best to select a hosting plan that allows CGI because you will undoubtedly run across an application or game that you want to modify or include on your site.
There are many resources on the web that list free CGI scirpts and countless companies offering CGI scripts for you to buy.

MySQL is used for creating and maintaining web based databases. If you anticipating having some data on your site that your users might want to sort you will probably need to find a web host that supports MySQL. Some hosting companies specify how many databases you can have on your site and charge an additional monthly fee if you want more. You will have to determine how many databases you will need and select the appropriate web hosting plan.

FrontPage is a website creation and management what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) tool developed by Microsoft. The files generated by FrontPage may have extentions asscoiated with them. If you are using FrontPage to develop your site, you will need to make sure that the hosting plan you choose supports FrontPage extentions or your web pages may not display properly, if at all.

Server Operating System (OS)
For most basic websites you will not have worry about which OS your web hosting company is using. Most hosting plans are running on either Unix or Linux. For some unique web site features, you may need a Windows based server.

Setup Fee
Some hosting companies charge a setup fee when your account is created. This is usually a one time fee and may be waived, in some cases, when you pre-pay for your service. Check the hosting company's terms carefully to determine the details of their setup fee.

SPAM Filter
Most hosting plans include some type of SPAM filter for your e-mail accounts. This feature can come in very handy if you are using POP email accounts.

Shopping Cart
Some hosting companies provide shopping cart features as part of their hosting plan. You do not have to worry about this featue if your web site is not selling products. Also, there are many different third party shopping cart applications and CGI scripts available on the web that you may choose to implement on your web site such as the ones found at PayPal.

About The Author
You may reprint this article (can be found at ) in any form but all links to in the credits, title, body, and this footer must not be altered.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

5 illustrious strategies to explode your web site traffic

by: Benjamin Scott

Are you spending hundreds of dollars on advertising campaigns, only to find out that you have earned a very small profit or none at all? Here are 5 illustrious strategies that will help you explode and create viral traffic to your web site.

1.Reciprocal Links – Think of reciprocal linking as a mini joint venture. Go to any major search engine and search for sites that are related or similar to yours. The majority of web masters that exchange links with other web sites have a links page. Look for the links page and see if they provide instructions on how you should link to their web site. Contact the web master and inform him/her that you have linked to their web site and request that they link to your web site in return. Remember to provide the web master with the page that you have placed their link on. Always make sure that you provide the web master with your web site url,title and description so that he/she can link to your web site in return.

If you keep contacting other web sites on a consistent basis,at least 10% of the web masters that you contact will exchange links with you. You will receive traffic from your link partners and also from the search engines. Link popularity is a major part of the search engines algorithm. Remember to only contact web masters with related web sites that have a links page. Contacting unrelated web sites can result in spam complaints.

2.Writing Articles – This strategy creates viral traffic from all different angles. The key here is to provide a resource box at the end of your article with a link to your web site. Once you write your article you will need to submit it to the many different announcement lists on the internet. There are companies that will charge you a small fee to submit your articles for you, or you can submit them on your own for free. Once you submit your articles the potential for hundreds of visitors begins. Ezine publishers can send your article to thousands of readers and other publishers will place your article on their web sites.

If you have a good resource biography at the end of your article hundreds of people may visit your web site. Your rankings will start to rise on the search engines due to high link popularity, creating another source of traffic.

3.Affiliate Programs – This is probably the most rewarding strategy to create viral traffic to your web site. The idea here is to recruit an unlimited number of affiliates that are willing to sell your products for a commission. You never lose money with this strategy because you only pay your affiliates when they make a sale. This strategy will also increase your link popularity since many of the affiliates will send traffic to your web site by linking directly to it. If you do your research you will find companies that can setup an affiliate program for you. Another option is to purchase software that allows you to setup your affiliate program.

4.Free Services – Providing free services is a strategy that yahoo and microsoft have been using for years. The idea here is to provide a free version of a service and a paid version. If someone upgrades to the paid version of your service they should be able to benefit from extra features. This strategy can easily explode the traffic to your web site if you provide a useful service. Visitors will refer others to visit your web site creating a never ending flow of traffic.

5.Manual traffic exchanges – A traffic exchange allows you to visit other web sites in exchange for visitors to your own web site. Many traffic exchanges have a referral system in place. If you refer someone to join the traffic exchange, you receive a percentage of visits to your web site any time your referrals surf the exchange. The key here is to do your research and look for a traffic exchange that has a good anti-cheating system. A good anti-cheating system will ensure that only real visitors are looking at your web site.

These are 5 illustrious strategies that can explode your web site traffic. Implement some or all of these strategies into your marketing plan and you will create a never ending source of viral traffic to your web site.

Copyright 2004 Benjamin Scott
About The Author
Benjamin Scott's passion consist of affiliate marketing. He enjoys reading and writing articles that are internet related. His main focus consist of searching the world wide web to find genuine and quality programs that teach individuals how to conduct business online. An example of these quality programs can be found at

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Dynamic Web Sites – What are they?

When web sites first became popular (many moons ago), it was exciting to just see a web page of me and my dog/cat/kid etc.etc. You know what I mean.

Pages that don’t change on a web site are generally called as static pages. The opposite of static pages are dynamic. These pages typically come from a database and are created/populated depending on user preferences or user queries.

Why have a dynamic web site, you may ask?

Well, for starters, take a step aside and think about your house. Imagine if you lived in this house for quite a while with the same color on the walls, the same furniture, the same curtains etc. You get the drift? Yes, living in a place that doesn’t change isn’t really exciting. In my place, for example, we are always trying on different shades of color on the walls to see what would look good. We also rearrange the furniture and then move it around based on feedback from our friends / family.

Now can you relate the above example to your web site? Imagine having the same look and content month after month? No new data is added, the look isn’t changed. Nothing! What do you think will happen to your once-enthusiastic visitors? Well, that’s what they will be: once-enthusiastic. They won’t come when they realize you’ve got the same old content on the web site. Gone are the days of having static web sites, especially for business.

Dynamic web sites server two purposes. For one, the nature of information changes on your web site so content is generally fresh. This always adds a good flavor to the dynamics of your web site. The second purpose is that your articles generally need to be entered into a web page. This means you need to learn how to create these web pages and post them on your web site. Not all that easy if you’re not into that kind of thing. However, if a simple interface is created that allows you to enter data into a database, then the dynamic application can take care of querying the database, fetching your content, formatting your data and displaying it to the user.

This also has the added benefit in that once this mechanism is created; all you need to be concerned about is the actual content. And you can reuse this mechanism to display dynamic data again and again. Separating content from formatting is one of the smartest ways of building your web pages.

Till next time,

Elvin Picardo
Delivering Net Results to Small Business
Author of numerous articles on web development and Internet Marketing for small business
10723 159th St, Surrey, BC V4N 3J1 Canada

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Top 10 Reasons Your Business Needs a Web Site

by: J. M. Davis

Does every business no matter how large or small need a presence on the Internet? Absolutely, and not just for the traditional reasons, but primarily because your website is an extension of your brick and motor, your home based business, or your business on wheels. Everyone in the business of making money can benefit from letting potential customers know who you are and what you’re all about.

Competition in the new millennium is unyielding. You are a success today and a failure tomorrow. It is your website that will tell customers that you are ready. Ready for what? Whatever changes come your company’s way, you are ready to compete.

Your business needs a website because:

1. You want to offer 24 hour customer service. Your customers will be able to visit your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page and learn immediately your hours of operation, phone and fax number, address, directions and a map if necessary. Remember customers are not mind readers and if you make getting information about your business too difficult they will simply look elsewhere.

2. You want your business to provide more “bang-for-the-buck.” Customers trust business owners that know their craft and are leaders in the industry, even if your business is located in a town with a population of 652. Providing articles, news information about your area of expertise and statistical data on your web site may mean the difference between a customer using your business or not using you.

3. You need a sound way to gather data about your customer’s opinions and needs. You need to know what is on your customers mind so you can provide cutting edge customer service and anticipate their needs.

4. Your website will provide another essential way for your customers to contact you, i.e. email and online forms.

5. Your website will make your company more accessible and demonstrate to your customers that you are willing to move into the world of global exposure.

6. A website presence allows you to tell your company’s story. You can provide testimonials from satisfied customers and acknowledge superior employees.

7. Your website will allow you to recruit employees and publicize the great career/freelance opportunities at your company.

8. Your company website will allow you to have a competitive advantage over those who don’t have a website, while equally competing with those who do.

9. A company website allows you to create an awareness of social issues, acknowledging to customers that you are a sensitive committed humanitarian.

10. Should the business owner decide to sell the business, a company website would definitely be an asset.

About The Author
Jessica M. Davis is a creative dedicated web designer who has worked in the industry for over seven years. Formerly a Web Technology Analyst for a major bank in Michigan, Ms. Davis is a freelance web designer who seeks to give customers relevant web design information so intelligent web development decisions can be made. Ms. Davis firmly believes technology should not be feared and those company’s that will be most successful are the ones willing to use technology and the Internet to provide an efficient online business card with exceptional service delivery.
Jessica M. Davis may be reached at 313.204.0325, (313.259.7424 Fax), at or by mail at J. Davis & Associates Publishing, P. O. Box 44782, Detroit, MI 48244-0782.

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