Owning a Tourism Business is awesome

31 Dec 2007

Add yourself to Wikipedia Business Pages

Something you will notice if you search for the big corporate brands in Google is that Wikipedia pages for those businesses show up in the top 10 results very often. Most businesses do not know that you can create a Wikipedia page for your own business.

However, these business entries do get deleted sometimes, so try to make yours fairly informative and complete, not just profit driven!

If it offers real information or you are a well known business then it is a lot less likely that one of the editors will delete the business page you've created. Deletions still do happen, but if you can get it to stick it is almost guaranteed to rank on page one in Google for your business's name. This will put more and more of YOUR pages on the Top 10 pushing competing agents and commission earning websites down.

Some Wikipedia pages for the BIG businesses include:

AboutUs.org is similar to Wikipedia, except that its entire focus is for businesses to insert their listings. Creating a page for your business on this site will also tend to rank very well for your business name. And your chances of getting deleted are much lower. A walk in the park compared to Wikipedia, but not as strong...

Google - Flight Status Now On Results Page

Our flight stats search feature can now deliver real time status and info on your flight directly on the search results page.

Just type the name of the airline and flight number ( e.g. American 123, ua226, aa 1018) into the search box, and we'll return the most up to date information from FlightStats.com.

http://www.google.com

28 Dec 2007

Free BlogSpot account and splogs...

Ha, this really is what we're fighting!

Splogger

SPLOGS:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Spam blogs, sometimes referred to by the neologism splogs, are artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites.

24 Dec 2007

Britain's queen takes up YouTube

Britain's queen takes up YouTube - Yahoo! News

LONDON - Britain's 81-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, considered an icon of traditionalism, launched her own special Royal Channel on YouTube Sunday.

The Royal Channel: http://www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel

he queen will use the popular video-sharing Web site to send out her 50th annual televised Christmas message, which she first delivered live to the nation and its colonies on Dec. 25, 1957.

Buckingham Palace also began posting archive and recent footage of the queen and other royals on the channel Sunday, with plans to add new clips regularly.

YouTube, which allows anyone to upload and share video clips, was founded in 2005 and bought by Google last year.

"The queen always keeps abreast with new ways of communicating with people," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "The Christmas message was podcast last year."

The palace said, "She has always been aware of reaching more people and adapting the communication to suit. This will make the Christmas message more accessible to younger people and those in other countries."

The royal page — which bears the scarlet lettered heading "The Royal Channel - The Official Channel of the British Monarchy" — is illustrated with a photograph of Buckingham Palace flanked by the queen's Guards in their tall bearskin hats and red tunics.

Its modern video clips show shots of garden parties, state visits, the queen, the many British prime ministers who have served during her reign and a day in the life of her son, Prince Charles.

The footage of the queen's 1957 Christmas TV broadcast will remind viewers that TV once was as groundbreaking a creation as Internet is today.

"I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct. That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us," the queen said of television at the time.

The Royal Channel also shows excerpts from Lord Wakehurst's film "Long to Reign Over Us," which has never been publicly released. Wakehurst, a member of Parliament who died in 1970, was an avid amateur film maker, charting events such as Queen Elizabeth II's accession and coronation.

The color images convey the historical events from the public's perspective, showing crowds holding street parties and camping out on The Mall — the wide boulevard outside Buckingham Palace — to catch a glimpse of the queen on Coronation Day.

The Royal Channel also includes rarely seen silent news footage of the 1923 wedding of the queen's parents, then known as the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II's annual Christmas speech can once again be downloaded as a podcast from http://www.royal.gov.uk.

It also is being made available on television in high definition for the first time.

The Royal Channel: http://www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel

Network Marketing Scam - How To Tell If It Is A Scam

Network Marketing Scam - How To Tell If It Is A Scam

There are a lot of people who automatically think that network marketing is a scam. This is not true. There are companies out there that are legitimate network marketing companies that are not scams. However, there are also ones that are a network marketing scam. This is why you need to be careful about what you sign up with on the internet. Here are some things that you can look for to find out if it is a network marketing scam or not.

See here for full post: Marketing eBooks

11 Dec 2007

Google says Using ALT attributes in images smartly helps SER's

Using ALT attributes smartly does indeed help search engine results... DUH!



Here's a video blog posts showing the famous Matt Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team, providing some useful tips on how to optimize the images you include on your site, and how simply providing useful, accurate information in your ALT attributes can make your photos and pictures more discoverable on the web. Ms Emmy Cutts also makes an appearance.

10 Dec 2007

The Importance of Profiles on Social Sites

Damn near any popular site which lets you create a user account works, as long as those user accounts are search engine accessible. If you're not sure about this then find some of the other profiles on the site and search Google for the web address where the profile is listed. If the page shows up in Google, then you know Google is indexing the individual profiles from that site.

An Amazon reviewers account is a good example. Make sure your reviewer name is the same as your business name . Since these profiles are subpages of the Amazon-Amazing-Url they rank well, especially for keywords such as business names.

The easiest and best in ,my opinon are the following. And yes I do have a user account on these sites for myself and one for each of my clients (sometimes 2 if they have a couple of niches, e.g. diving and fishing).

Use your business name as the profile name, blog name, or page title, as instructed by the site. For example, if your business name is Adventures Fiji, create pages such as:

http://www.myspace.com/adventuresfiji/
http://www.flickr.com/adventuresfiji/
http://adventuresfiji.wordpress.com/

...and so on and so on....

Creating a Squidoo page about your business can also be very effective. Here's a list of other sites where I have used to create a personal or business profile that will often rank highly in the search engines:

These are some of the best ones, but there are many others. They're all easy ways to get your business name on an authoritative domain where it's likely to rank highly. Adding links and additional content to these pages makes them even more powerful.

1 Dec 2007

ENN: Google plans renewable energy push

Great news that the big IT companies are taking the environment seriously.

Stuart

============

ENN: Google plans renewable energy push

/sci-tech/article/25967

By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc. said on Tuesday the Web services and online advertising group plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in coming years to promote a new push to encourage cheap renewable electricity.

The project, known as Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal, is hiring engineers and targeted investment financing at advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other new technologies, Google said.

Google is, in effect, taking advantage of its growing mountain of cash, global brand recognition and mushrooming market capitalization as a pulpit to campaign for alternative energy. The company's leaders argue that the time is ripe for investments in innovative research to cut energy costs.

Read full article here:

20 Nov 2007

Tourism important for Pacific Islands: Prime Minister Samoa

Tourism has been highlighted as a significant industry by the Prime Minister of Samoa saying it contributes substantially to the economy and foreign exchange inflows to the region, creating employment and large contributions to government revenue.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the area has a comparative advantage in tourism terms because it can compete internationally making it an even more important role to play in achieving economic growth.

A study in 2005 estimated US$1,750 million would be spent by tourists across the 13 Pacific Island member countries, with departure tax alone generating over US$20 million in 2004. In the same year, direct expenditure in Pacific Islands member countries reached US$453 million.

Tourism benefits a diverse range of supportive sectors according to the Prime Minister, with an estimated US$1 million of visitor expenditure generating US$660,000 in local wages and other purchases in the region.

Mr Malielegaoi raised attention to the lack of retention of the tourism dollar within Pacific economies saying the value of tourism is eroded by the leakage of tourism earnings out of the Pacific Islands countries.

He said the level of support for tourism by government bodies has been relatively low, even though benefits have been shown to be significant.

“It is generally accepted that government intervention is necessary if a destination is to be successfully marketed and developed for tourism. Destination marketing is inherently cooperative and no single private sector operator, or group of operators, will be able to market a destination to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. Destinations must compete internationally for the tourism dollar, and competition is fierce,” he said.

Pacific destinations have performed well in developing the Australian and New Zealand markets which provide 50% of visitors to the region”

“There is a significant latent demand however in large markets of North America, North Asia and Europe for the small scale, high value visitor experience in which the Pacific excels. However, destinations competing with the Pacific typically work with much larger government budgets for their international marketing. Investment in regional marketing to open up these opportunities is therefore essential.”

Mr Malielegaoi said the internet was a tool to increase tourism to the islands, but said technology was hampered by its remoteness, lack of capacity and inaccessibility.

Other challenges for the industry as outlined by the Prime Minister included the limited capacity to produce effective statistical data for improved planning and market research to effectively penetrate new emerging markets.

He also said capacity must be developed to ensure national tourism strategies can be integrated into an effective regional strategy.

“This is essential to ensure the sustainable development of the sector is in harmony with the cultural and natural values of the Pacific,” he said.

“Foreign investment is vital if growth is to be secured. The Pacific needs to develop a greater and more holistic approach to attracting tourism investment. A wide variety of issues impact the ability of the region to attract investors, including land and legal issues. Support by governments is essential to help create an investment environment conducive for investors to assist in the expansion of the tourism industry.”

“Tourism can also be a demanding industry for the small/medium-size entrepreneur (SME). All too often the capacity to effectively start small to medium-sized tourism enterprises is lacking within the Pacific, although many potential opportunities abound.”

Mr Malielegaoi said the governments with the support of partners must now reassess and reconsider the current levels of support for tourism with increasing these levels where appropriate"

e-Travel Blackboard: Australia's Number One Industry Newsletter

13 Nov 2007

Fiji Telecom sector now open to all: Govt

Telecom sector now open to all: Govt

Thursday November 08, 2007

Fiji’s telecommunications sector is now deregulated.

Interim Minister for Commerce, Industry, Investment and Communications Taito Waradi confirmed this today.

He said the Telecommunications Bill (that provides for the deregulation of Fiji's monopolised telecom sector) is now in place “as per the Cabinet decision on Tuesday”.

“The 1989 decree is now repealed. This new bill now replaces (the old one) which for the last 18 years locked us into exclusivity. We are now operating in a deregulated environment. There is no more (telecom) monopoly in Fiji,” Waradi said.

Waradi says there are 80 parts to the Act, 79 of which becomes operational immediately.

The first part is the setting up of the Telecom Board Authority of Fiji that will implement the act and regulate the industry, says Waradi.

“It has to be established first and the other parts will be progressively implemented as we go along.”

Waradi said the necessity to promulgate section 1-79 of the bill is now priority as it will engender semblance of transparency, predictability and certainty with regard to fundamental sectoral investment, development, legal and regulatory aspects.

The minister says that everyone will benefit from the deregulation of the industry – from the business community right to the villager in the interior.

“It has been a long road for us – the whole process started some 10 years ago,” he pointed out.

Regarding compensation for the telecommunication operators in exchange for the removal of their exclusive licences, Waradi says that section 80, that deals with the removal of exclusivity would be effected at a later date.

He says mediation talks with the telecom operators are starting next week Friday over three days.

“As the promulgation of the Bill will effectively end the currency of the exclusive privileges granted to TFL and FINTEL, an agreement has been reached between Government and the industry to enter into negotiations on the 7 years remaining of the exclusivity licence.”

Fiji’s telecom market, segregated into international, domestic and mobile, is currently monopolised by Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Ltd.

ATH acting chief executive officer Tomasi Vakatora says he is not aware of the bill being promulgated. He says he reserves his comment and will study the minister’s statement and then give a more informed response.

“But I can confirm that mediation talks start next week. We are now fully prepared for that. We are liaising with all our advisors and we are making all the necessary preparations for that mediation.”

According to Waradi, there is a general agreement that compensation should be non cash. He says that immediately after that the licences will be issued.

Vakatora says he does not know whether there will be any immediate outcome from that mediation process.

“We are going in with a positive mind and we would like to see some resolution so that we can move forward. Until we are engaged in all that then we will find out whether we can move forward.

“But we would like to move forward. There is too much uncertainty that we want to remove.”

Vakatora says they would have wanted the promulgation of the bill to come in after the mediation.

Waradi says the talks will be mediated independently by a World Bank expert and is expected to conclude no later than November 20.

The country's telecom industry is made up primarily of three major monopolies that are all currently protected through exclusivity licences.

Telecom Fiji Ltd has the exclusive licence to provide domestic voice and data services; Vodafone Fiji Ltd is the sole provider of mobile services; and Fiji International Telecommunications Ltd (FINTEL) has the monopoly on the supply of international voice and data services.

Early this year, Waradi had hinted that the telecommunication industry would be deregulated in the third quarter of this year.

Fijilive

7 Nov 2007

Search Engine Saturation Tool

Here's a g reat tip from Jayde Admin.

There's a lot to say for carefully targeted campaigns, but another strategy involves saturation.
After all, in just about any drawing or contest, the person with the most entries has the best shot at winning, and online campaigns can work in a similar fashion.

The Search Engine Saturation Tool will let you know how many pages you (and your competitors) have indexed with the leading search engines. Just input the URLs, and you'll be on your way to understanding the odds and achieving /search engine success.

http://tools.seobook.com/general/sesat/

Sitemaps for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The definitive guide to how to use Google Sitemaps, from the Google Conversion University.

This is the 'manual' way to do this of course. Those of us using dynamic websites have to be a bit more clever, although automatic sitemap generators help. In Joomla! I use Joomap...

Anyway a great article to read to get to understand the importance of Sitemaps within Google!

Stuart



by Shaluinn Fullove

Have you found it difficult to rank favorably for the keywords important to your business? Are all of your web pages visible in the natural search results? Here are five ways Google Sitemaps can help you drive more potential customers to your site and improve the visibility of your content.

Let's start off with a quick look at what Google Sitemaps is – and isn't. Google Sitemaps is a service that allows you to submit ALL of your pages to the Google index. It's particularly useful for making sure that dynamically generated URLs or pages that are not adequately linked to on your site get indexed. By submitting your URLs in a Sitemap, you help Google's web crawler do a more complete and efficient job of crawling your site.

A Sitemap is simply a file with a list of all the URLs you want crawled on your site. You can create it manually or use Google's Sitemap Generator or another third party program.

But, it's important to note that submitting a Sitemap will not guarantee inclusion or influence your PageRank. It should act as a complement to compelling and useful content instead of a replacement of your SEO activities.

Read the full article here:
Conversion University - Sitemaps for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

4 Nov 2007

Search Engine Marketing Outside Your Borders - Language as Marketing Power

SEO Articles - Search Engine Marketing Outside Your Borders - Language as Marketing Power

Search Engine Marketing Outside Your Borders: Language as Marketing Power

by Robert K. McCourty


Should you have a tourism based Internet business such as an Inn or Bed and Breakfast, it's probably a good idea to keep in mind that many of your visitors may be coming from abroad. In fact, a great percentage of tourists visiting your neck of the woods do come from different countries, so it makes good business sense to market your web site accordingly.

Most major search engines have mirrored databases in several languages just for this purpose, but rarely do you find a web site presenting itself in more than one language. In my humble opinion, this is a waste of a truly great online marketing opportunity.

Read the full article here:
SEO Articles - Search Engine Marketing Outside Your Borders - Language as Marketing Power

29 Oct 2007

Video is definitely here!

Well after playing with the video sites for a while now (hasn't everyone?) it';s time I took the punge and started to actually work with some. Here is a first try at embedding some video into Blogger!

Stuart

17 Oct 2007

Great updates at the ATTA World Summit in Whistler

A few of you know that I am currently in Canada after attending The Adventure Travel World Summit in whislter in BC.


Anyway one of the main things that came out of it for me was that VIDEO is neede by all my sites and clients to keep up at the leading edge of SEM. So much so that I spent a few hours chatting with the pros, including Anupam from Mixpo.

His blogs are very informative... And I am quoted...
Stuart


Conversion: Lookers to Bookers

We attended the Adventure Travel World Summit in Whistler last week. This is the premier international event for the adventure travel industry with executive level participation, excellent networking, and just a cool venue (Whistler). It turned out to be everything we expected, and more. The most energizing thing for us was the lively discussion with customers (ranging from tour operators to destination marketing companies to resorts to publishers….), which is refreshing compared to so many other industry events where industry people talk to each other about what customers are asking for and need. But where’s the customer in all that discussion?

.....

A few such businesses we met were the owners of Matava (Fiji), Tui Tai (Fiji), and Roam (Canada). They are all extremely passionate about the Internet as a sales channel, and took the leap of faith early on to move their entire marketing online, and are now extremely knowledgeable and creative to make use of its full potential. In fact Stuart from Matava mentioned “We realized 3 years ago that there was a freight train coming. Brochures, DVDs etc weren’t working. We decided to move 100% online especially as Fiji is so remote. And now our growth is better than ever. This has been fantastic for us. It truly is the world wide web”. Pioneers such as Stuart, Tige and Brian from these 3 companies will continue to push the boundaries with emerging technologies. We have a lot to learn together in this exciting journey.

Anupam Gupta
President

www.Mixpo.com

agupta@mixpo.com | m +1 (425) 829-2991 | f +1 (206) 299-3446

16 Oct 2007

SEO, Accessibility, Usability and Web Standards

So another way of looking at what makes a good website is to describe it in new terms. A good website is:
  • Search engine optimized
  • Accessible
  • Usable
Many of the factors that make a site better at one of these also improve it in another, there is lots of overlap between them. For example, a site that is (x)html semantically structured (the xhtml explains the document, not how it looks) will be easily read in a screen reader by someone who has poor vision. It will also be easily read by a search engine spider. Google is effectively blind in how it reads your website.
Another way of thinking about this is graphically.
A good web site will have lots of overlap. Here we have introduced the idea of a framework of W3C valid code. A site that is validates to the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) web standards has a much better foundation for making it accessible, usable and search engine optimized. Think of these as building codes for your house. A website built with them is stronger and safer. You can check your pages with the W3C's HTML validation service. for free. At its simplest, a site that meets W3C validation uses semantic (x)thml and seperates content from presentation using CSS.

SEO

About half of searches on the web are done with Google. What does it take to get a good SERP with this search engine? Patent #20050071741 or "Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data" (Google) describes over 118 factors that effect a web site's position in search engine's rankings.
Some of the more important on-site factors are:
  • Keywords in title tag, h1/h2 etc tags, alt text, URL and site links
  • High keyword density in body, (content seperated from presentation) preferably near beginning
  • Small Pages <30k
  • Themed pages
  • Efficient internal link structure
The negative on-page factors include:
  • Text presented in graphics
  • Excessive JavaScript
  • Excessive Flash
A well organized usable page that is designed to be accessible will have a better chance of acheiving high SERP. You can find more details about SEO at www.compassdesigns.net/articles/webmarketing/seo-guide.html

Originally published at JoomlaShack:

http://www.joomlashack.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=159&Itemid=1

4 Oct 2007

Search Engine Optimization: Ten Golden Rules For Beginners

By Leo Jackson (c) 2007

The following are the ten simple ways to optimize and increase traffic to your website. The guide is meant for those who intend to or are just starting out in Search Engine Optimization. It shows you all the basic things you need to know and what do to improve your rankings with the search engines and increase traffic to your website. No geek speak. No technical jargons. Just practical, easy to follow tips.

Directory Submission: Submit your site to online web directories. There are several directories you can list your site with. There are free ones as well as paid services. Directory registration can be a time-consuming elbow grease so the temptation is to go for a paid service whereby you pay a company or any other concern to help submit your site to all relevant directories. However you do not really need to shell out to get listed in the right directories with decent traffic and pagerank. The search engines have their own directory services and is a great place to start. Yahoo has its directory service www.dir.yahoo.com. Visit the site and submit your URL and feed in the category that matches the kind of website you run and / or your kind of business. It might take a while but your site will be listed. Getting listed in a directory like that offers all the exposure and presence a major player like Yahoo has to offer. Another directory to aim for is the Open Directory Project (dmoz). It does take some effort to get listed here but given the fact that this directory is highly valued by most of the big search engines, then it must be worth every effort. It can be found at www.dmoz.org.

Search Engine Registration:Register with the search engines. Registering with the search engines is introducing your website to them, inviting them to visit the site and help announce your existence to the world wide web. This can be explained simply without getting into geek mode. Forget about algorithms, spiders, crawlers and all that. In plain terms, the search engines on being registered with, will visit your website and index it. Hopefully they like what they see and they keep coming back and once someone searches for the contents they have found on your site, they point that person towards your site. So a sure way of being noticed by the search engines is simply to register with them. Of course Google should be your number one target here. Other prominent search engines you should register with include Alexa, Entireweb, Scrub The Web, Jayde, Info Tiger, Exactseek, Lookseek and Lifetips.

READ WHOLE ARTICLE HERE:
Search Engine Optimization: Ten Golden Rules For Beginners

Leo Jackson is a London, UK based web entrepreneur and freelance journalist.

27 Sep 2007

PamFax: Sending Faxes via Skype

PamFax: Sending Faxes via Skype

One aspect of the telephony domain that has been absent from the Skype ecosystem has been the ability to fax documents via Skype. Fundamentally, sending a fax is an asynchronous one-way activity that has "ridden" the phone network to transmit a document to a device that is able to decode the fax signal back into a readable paper document. Skype itself has traditionally allowed document exchange via the file transfer feature; however, it does not address the issue of sending a document to a destination without Skype access or sending "executed" documents in legal transactions. Even for those who have a fax machine in their home office, sending a fax while traveling can be a challenging (and usually somewhat expensive) experience.

PamConsult, publishers of the pioneering Skype Extra, Pamela, this week launched a beta version of their forthcoming fax utility, PamFax which will be available as a Skype Extra. PamFax makes faxing a document from any broadband-connected PC a relatively straight forward experience:

  • Designate the document to be sent
  • Enter the recipient information (multiple recipients allowed)
  • Select a cover page
  • Enter the cover page message
  • Select notification methods: Skype Chat, SMS and/or email
  • Pay for the fax
    • Option: Preview the fax

The fax is then sent, followed by receipt of the selected notifications in, say, a Skype Chat window, an email message and/or an SMS message.

During the process:

  • PamFax will only open if you have Skype running on your PC
  • You may designate the document to be sent in multiple ways
    • Browse for the document from the PamFax client
    • Select PamFax as a "SendTo" destination in the Windows Explorer right click menu
    • Select the PamFax button inserted into the MS Word or MS Excel toolbar
  • On the recipient information screen there is an option to view the destination location on Google Maps. Not terribly granular but it provides the location to within, say, a North American area code.
  • Payment is executed via deductions from your Skype Credts
  • When you select the "Pay and Send" button on the "Pay for the Fax" screen, you are sent to the Skype payment page in your web browser where, as would happen with any other e-commerce site, you are presented with an invoice, an option for inserting promotion codes and a "Buy Now" button.
  • If you do not have sufficient Skype Credits, you can navigate to the Skype Credits purchase page (requires your Skype login information) and buy Skype Credits through the same Skype transaction engine used to buy SkypeIn, SkypeOut and Skype Pro services. If linked to PayPal you will also have to login into your PayPal account.

PamFax is accompanied by your own individual PamFax Portal - a web-based utility that logs your faxes, stores your default settings (cover page, sender information, notification settings) and provides a rate table.

Rates vary by destination country and can run from €0.17 per page to most European and North American destinations to €1.28 per page to many Middle Eastern, African and South American countries and €1.59 to unlisted countries (confirm via the rate table). Prior to sending a fax and even approving payment, you are provided with the cost of the fax.

Having been a beta tester there are still a couple of features I would like to see in forthcoming versions:

  • acceptance of fax numbers from Microsoft Outlook
  • adding a fax number to a Skype user profile (which would probably require some coordination with Skype itself).
  • configure PamFax as a Windows printer driver option

In summary, after many years of fighting with WinFax and other PC telephony client installations and configurations, PamFax does provide a simple means to transmit faxes from your PC while on the road or any situation where the clarity and accuracy of document provided by a "direct to fax" process that bypasses scanning "fuzzies" is required.

Interesting to note is that, as for using actual Skype features, PamFax only uses Skype Chat for notifications and the Skype Extras Publishing Studio for both hosting the application, managing the digital rights licensing and providing the e-commerce engine.

Note: according to this FAQ, during the beta phase, PamFax is only available to Skype users outside Canada and USA.

Download PamFax beta

PamFax FAQ's.

17 Sep 2007

New Dive Show Announced for Pacific Northwest

First consumer dive show in the area in the last 25 years to take place in early May, 2008.

Northwest Dive News announces the establishment of a new consumer dive show in the Pacific Northwest. The show held on May 2, 3 & 4 at the new Convention Center in downtown Tacoma Washington. This event will be the first consumer dive show in this area in the last 25 years.

"We are very excited about this event and its beautiful venue," said show coordinator, Rick Stratton. Stratton is owner/publisher of Northwest Dive News and Northeast Dive News magazines. The Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, the newest meeting location in the Pacific Northwest, has a 50,000 sq. ft. column-free exhibit hall. The attractive convention center is centrally located on the I-5 corridor; just 30 minutes south of Seattle.

Consumer dive shows like this one bring attention to our sport and provide access/opportunity for businesses to market their products directly to dive consumers, Stratton said. "Our area is well known for its excellent diving and diving community. We have needed an event like this for a long time."

He continues, "The dive community is a very small one. Every exhibitor is a share holder in the success of this event. We are asking all our exhibitors to market this event to their customers and associate companies."

The Pacific Northwest is well-known for its excellent diving and active diving community. The region has more than 200,000 certified divers; we expect the community to enthusiastically respond during the weekend. Divers will come from as far north as Alaska and as far south as California.

The dive show builds on the success of the NW Treasure Hunt, that has a large following of divers and exhibitors. According to Stratton “ We will build on that success and offer our exhibitors a well organized and well attended event.”

For more information about the NW Dive & Travel Expo held on May 2-4, 2008 in Tacoma, Wash.

Contact NW Dive News Magazine at 360-240-1874 or nwdiver@nwdivenews.com

14 Sep 2007

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

When designing an online campaign, we want the best possible info on keywords and our competitors.

And for those of us who use Google AdWords, there are few better sources of information than the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

Just enter a keyword (or phrase) and choose from four possible data display types; the default mode shows the search volume and the state of the advertising competition.

We know that if we choose wisely from the tool's list, we'll have essentially have a Google-approved campaign.

12 Sep 2007

Windows Live Webmaster Portal Beta

Excellent wee post/articl;e and discussion about this new tool. Definitely a good heads-up for us all out in the boonies to watch out for it:

Windows Live Webmaster Portal Beta

===========================
By: Lee Odden 2007-09-11

Earlier this year I participated in an online focus group where questions were asked about various webmaster and SEO tools. The session was run by a third party and I was able to get them...

...to admit it was for Microsoft. Tonight, like many others that showed interest, I received an invite to register from Nathan Buggia, Sr. Product Manager of the Live Search Webmaster Tools Team.

Similar to Googles Webmaster Tools (Vanessa Fox interview here) and Yahoos Site Explorer tools (Tim Mayer interview here), the services included in this Beta of Microsofts Windows Live Webmaster Portal appear to be split up into three categories:

Troubleshooting
  • Site crawling

  • Site Indexing

  • Robots.txt

  • Sitemaps

Sitemaps

  • Creation

  • Submission (upload, autodiscovery)

  • Ping

Stats

  • Top search terms for your domain

  • Top search terms for other domains

  • Top keywords on your site

  • Inbound links to your site

  • Inbound links to other sites

  • Outbound links from your site

  • Outbound links from other sites

  • Perceived site quality score

  • Number of pages indexed
===================================================

Excellent wee post/article and discussion about this new tool. Definitely a good heads-up for us all out in the boonies to watch out for it:

Windows Live Webmaster Portal Beta

Google Webmaster Central gets a new look

Webmaster Central gets a new look

Google has launched Webmaster Central back in August 2006, with a goal of creating a place for us to learn more about Google's crawling and indexing of websites, and to offer tools for submitting sitemaps and other content.

Google has also been working to roll out exciting new features for Webmaster Tools, like internal/external links data and the Message Center, over the past year.

Anyone who is NOT paying attention to these tools is simply silly. Google are happy to give you all the stats for what they see on your site and it's VITAL that Google ahs a good handle on all your pages.

Read about their new Webmaster Tools features here on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog.

7 Sep 2007

Top 10 Reasons Prospects Leave a Landing Page

(Courtesy Atlas NetConversions)

Landing pages have long been considered an after thought when it comes to an online campaign. Many marketers rely solely on their outbound marketing to drive conversions and neglect the landing page altogether. In other words, many marketers think that the campaign does the bulk of the work and the landing page simply is a conversion receptacle. Not true!

Campaigns are built to drive traffic to the site. Some of that traffic may even be well-qualified depending on creative, placement and messaging. However, your landing page is the critical piece to the overall success of your campaign. Your landing page must convince, engage, and provide enough information to your prospect to stick around and hopefully sign-up or buy what you are selling them.

Atlas NetConversions has been collecting and analyzing the behavior of over 4 million web users on clients’ websites for over 5 years. With all that data, we have a pretty good idea of what works to convert customers and what doesn’t. A la David Letterman, here are Atlas NetConversions’…

Read the full 10 points (whoich are spot on!) here: Travel Team Consulting: Solutions

5 Sep 2007

Tourism Trends : Amazing Online Reservation Statistics

Tourism Trends byPhilip Caines,Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cool blog by Chris in Canada, on the sharp end of online reservations obviously...

Stuart

======================

Amazing Online Reservation Statistics

Recently I found an article that combined a number of interesting statistics relating to online reservations and sales through the Internet for the travel industry. These are really worth looking at:

Forrester Research:

  • In 2007, nearly 40 million U.S. households will book travel online, spending $86 billion Web travelers now make up 79% of the U.S. travel population and 55% of them buy leisure travel online.
  • High-income travelers, households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more a year, account for just 16% of the U.S. online leisure travel population – a market that represents 10.9 million households and spends $60 billion on leisure travel.
Read full post here: Tourism Trends

http://tourismtide.blogspot.com/2007/08/amazing-online-reservation-statistics.html

4 Sep 2007

SiteProNews: 10 Truths About Obtaining Better Google Rankings

10 Truths About Obtaining Better Google Rankings
By Kevin Gallagher (c) 2007

Introduction
I have read hundreds of articles telling me how to get better rankings in Google. Some of this advice was very good and some was not. Here you will find 10 truths about getting better rankings in Google that I personally have found to be true after years of research. So let's cut through the fat and get to the lean meat of the subject.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE....

About The Author
Kevin Gallagher is the managing director of Umbrella a custom website design company in the Scottish Borders providing small business website design, website builder software and affordable company SEO services.

2 Sep 2007

Tips for Earning Money Through Blogging.

From Deborah Ng,

Your Guide to Web Logs.

If your blog's receiving good traffic, you might consider whether or not you'd like to be rewarded for your efforts. Many bloggers have discovered they can earn good money through their blogs. If this interests you, there are several programs available.

1. Content is King

First and foremost, you can encourage millions of people to visit your blog, but the numbers won't mean squat if you don't keep them coming back for more. You'll need to provide useful content. It's not enough to provide the same news as every other blogger in your niche topic. You'll have to come up with something new and unique and provide thought provoking analysis. Your blog has to say something and say it well.

2. Participate in Like-Minded Forums

Even if you're not a joiner, it pays to visit forums so the rest of the people in your niche group know about your blog. If your blog is about knitting, visit some knitting and craft forums. If your blog is about earthworms, visit earthworm, soil and gardening forums. You don't have to post a lot of "hey come visit my blog" type comments, but if you add a link to your blog in your signature, it will appear in every post. This is sure to bring in traffic.

Read the whole article at: http://weblogs.about.com/

29 Aug 2007

Time to Update YourSkype Profile Phone Numbers

Skype 3.5 privacy feature hides phone numbers from all Skype users except your Contacts

If you look at the Release Notes for Skype 3.5 for Windows (scroll down to 13.06.2007, version 3.5.0.107 Beta) you will find a line that reads:

feature: Private Telephone Numbers

Your Skype Profile has the option to include your Mobile, Home and Office phone numbers which become handy when your contacts want/need to call one of these numbers via SkypeOut. We are also starting to see some Skype-associated calling services that link a PSTN phone to Skype such that Skype becomes a "long distance" provider for the PSTN line. Mobivox and MyToGo are two examples of these.

Previous versions of Skype would allow any Skype user worldwide to search for your contact information and find not only your SkypeID but also these three PSTN numbers. Skype 3.5 only exposes these three phone numbers to your authorized Skype Contacts; they are no longer available to any Skype user unless you have accepted the user as one of your Contacts.

Combining these two factors, it becomes more advisable that you include at least your Mobile and Office number in your Skype Profile. (You may still wish to keep your more personal home phone number totally private.) Then your authorized contacts can, with a single click, call these alternative numbers when you are not accessible to a Skype -enabled PC or Skype phone. And it makes services such as Mobivox and MyToGo somewhat more versatile. Makes especially good sense when you are using Skype as a business communications tool.

Simply click on File | Edit your Profile in your Skype client and you can enter (or change) these numbers.

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Skype Journal: Time to Update YourSkype Profile Phone Numbers

28 Aug 2007

Need a US Phone Number? Call 1-800-FREE411 on Skype

Need a US Phone Number? Call 1-800-FREE411 on Skype

One feature not previously discussed when covering the Skype 3.5 for Windows beta release ten days ago is a new twist for obtaining U.S. phone numbers. Skype and Jingle Networks, Inc., operator of the popular (and free) 1-800-FREE411 directory assistance service have announced a strategic partnership whereby the 1-880-FREE411 service is accessible to Skype users via a Skype contact. Just add Free411USA as a Skype contact; the directory assistance call is treated as a free Skype-to-Skype call.

As an ad supported service users must simply listen to a short ad prior to obtaining a phone number in lieu of the $0.75 to $3.00 fee charged typically by the traditional carriers. However, in addition to obtaining a number verbally, the user, provided s/he is using the Skype 3.5 client, will also receive a Skype Chat message containing the number such that it can be called directly via SkypeOut from your 800-FREE411 chat window. As for any SkypeOut call, two clicks, one to select the number in the Chat message and a second to acknowledge that this will be a SkypeOut call. Two aspects to the 800-FREE411 service:

  • 800-FREE411 is, in some sense, also a verbal Yellow Pages; you can call and ask for, say, a pizza parlor in a city you are visiting. 800-FREE411 will not only give you the name of a sponsoring pizza parlor but also you may get some promotional incentive to go to that particular vendor.
  • With 800-FREE411 as a Skype Contact, Skype users from outside the U.S. can call and ask for, say, a hotel in a particular area of Los Angeles; this worldwide user base provides additional value to the advertisers who sponsor 800-FREE411. But keep in mind you are only going to obtain U.S. phone numbers via this service.

The Jingle Networks relationship is the first of a new business service offered by Skype called Commercial Contacts. Companies that want to brand their Skype presence and participation can now register and buy their company name to use as their Skype Contact Name. Currently Skype is in a "beta" phase with this service to iron out the wrinkles. Interested businesses should send an email to businesscontacts@skype.net from which you will receive the following response:

.Many thanks for your interest in our business contacts program.

Skype's business contacts program is currently in beta. We are working with a few selected partners at the moment but keep expanding the list so sign up now. To become a business contact partner, please send us the following information:

1. Name of your business.
2. Type of business.
3. Postal address where your business is registered.
4. Your Skype Name - we'll use this to reach you.

We'll review your application as soon as possible and get back with further information. Due to the high volume of applications it might take a little longer, apologies up front.

Update Aug. 1, 2007: Check out the full instructions for setting up this service.

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Skype Journal: Need a US Phone Number? Call 1-800-FREE411 on Skype

25 Aug 2007

Auction Ads

Just came across this, and signed up. Earned almost immediately (well within 1 day which is a record for me!)

Auction Ads is a program in which I find myself totally surprised.

I don't really have any luck with affiliate ads regardless of how many you see scattered through his blog. I sign up mostly to see how these things work more than 'monetizing' my blog as it's become known.

I started bringing in revenue on the first day! In fact, most days I earn something, even if it's a few cents.

It's pretty simple actually, as are most of these programs.


Install a wee bit of code onto your blog's sidebar to show items up for auction (you can choose how big and how many ads).

When someone clicks and bids on eBay after clicking thru from your site, you earn a percentage/commission.


It's not huge money but every little bit adds up!

Found this little tid-bit from moneymechanics blog called Money Mechanics Blog

http://moneymechanics.blogspot.com/




What makes a good website?

Your website should have a goal. A measure how how "good" the website is how successful it is in meeting that goal. The goal for an e-commerce site will be very different to a fan portal, but nonetheless, "good" websites share some common characteristics. In order to meet your goal:
  • Viewers have to find your site
  • Viewers have to be able to view it easily
  • Viewers have to be able to find what they want
  • Viewers must think your website is credible

There is significant overlap between these characterstics. The things that make a site easy to find are the same ones that make it viewable, navigable and credible. Let's take these characterstics one at a time and see what they mean.

Viewers have to find your site

Most people on the web find a website through a search engine. According to Nielsen//NetRatings over 5 billion searches were carried out in October 2005, almost half of these were using Google. Unfortunately "build it and they will come" is not true on the web. A website with no traffic stands little chance of aceiving its goals. Potentially the most effective way to get traffic is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the strategies involved in increasing a website's search engine ranking (SERP), where it appears in a search engine's results page.

Viewers have to be able to view your site easily

Many things can get in the way of someone trying to view your site for various reasons. Vewiers with vision impariments, whether blind, color blind, old or simply viewing the site on a PDA/mobile phone need well laid out web sites both in terms of organization (semanitc layout) and graphical (white space/typography). Viewers on dial-up or older computers might need sites that use little graphics or Flash. Many users for various reasons will browse your site with JavaScript turned off. All of these groups need a website that is accessible to them, and these viewers, according to some studies, can account for up to 30% of the population on the internet.

Viewers have to be able to find what they want

If a viewer can't find what they are looking for on your website easily, chances are they will leave and go elsewhere. Your website has to be useable. Studies vary in what they say about how long someone will take to figure out your website, but the figure quoted most often is about 8 seconds. More than 83% of Internet users are likely to leave a website if they feel they can't find what they're looking for (source: Arthur Andersen), and 58% of visitors who experience usability problems don't come back (source: Forrester Research).

Viewers must think your website is credible

Once they have found your site, and figured out how to use it, they need to stay on it. "When a site lacks credibility, users are unlikely to remain on the site for long. They wonít buy things, they wonít register, and they wonít return" (Stanford-Makovsky 2002).

What makes a site credible? In the same study Stanford/Makovsky found that the "Design Look" or the site's overall design or look accounted for 46% of a site's credibility. This included layout, typography, white space, images, color schemes, and so on. This was followed by "Information Design/Structure" (28%) or poorly the information fit together, as well as how hard it was to navigate the site to find things of interest.

Many of the factors involved in being credible are the same for being accessible and usable.

Joomlashack are a team of designers, developers and technicians in the Joomla community. We combine expertise in eye-catching graphic layout with modern web design standards built into one of the most powerful open source content management systems in the world.

Our expertise in site and template design is unparalleled. Almost all of our team are former members of various official Joomla Working Groups contributing to the Joomla Project.

20 Aug 2007

Google Opens Click-Fraud Resource Center


Google Opens Click-Fraud Resource Center

By Nicholas Carlson

Google today announced it's created a new Web site to serve as the single source for all click-fraud and ad traffic-quality-related information.

The Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center features an overview of what click fraud is and what Google's doing about it, a Help Center for detailed FAQs and multimedia presentations and a section called "Tech Talk," which features in-depth articles and blog posts written by its engineering team and other experts in the field.

Just over a year and a half ago, Google CEO Eric Schmidt hypothesized that click fraud might not be such a big deal.

"Let's imagine for purposes of argument that click fraud were not policed by Google and it were rampant," Schmidt said at the SIEPR conference at Stanford University in March 2006.

"Eventually the price that the advertiser is willing to pay for the conversion will decline because the advertiser will realize that these are bad clicks.

"In other words, the value of the ad declines. So, over some amount of time, the system is, in fact, self-correcting. In fact, there is a perfect economic solution, which is to let it happen."

Google eventually changed its public stance on click fraud.

Last August, the company, along with Microsoft , Yahoo, Ask.com and LookSmart, formed the Click Measurement Working Group under the aegis of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and in conjunction with the Media Rating Council.

Google's enthusiasm for such a group wasn't surprising. Advertisers sued the search giant and won a $90 million settlement that was approved a week before the formation of the group.

Since then, the company's take on the issue has more or less echoed the language found in the new resource center, where click fraud "refers to clicks generated with malicious or fraudulent intent."

Google said it and fellow members from the Click Measurement Working Group will form a panel at this year's Search Engine Strategies show in San Jose. Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for Google Trust & Safety, will be speaking.

Google Opens Click-Fraud Resource Center

16 Aug 2007

SKYPE: a simple solution for overseas calls

As most of you know I am a great supporter of VoIP, especially the easy to use SKYPE program!

Skype for Business


This can give you an inbound USA, UK or Australia free-call phone number (depending on your target market, regardless where you operate in the world!

This has revolutionized some of my clients in Fiji. Especially given that most developing countries telecom costs are astronomical.



SEO Or PageRank – Which Is The More Important?

By Peter Nisbet (c) 2007

Whether you believe in SEO or PageRank and wonder which is more important, your thinking is irrelevant. You are wasting your time in wondering what is the correct answer to that question, since even if you knew it, there is little you could do to use that information.
Why do I say that? Because SEO, or search engine optimization, is a way of designing your website, and placing content in it, to satisfy search engine algorithms. Search engines are so sophisticated today that if you achieve that, then you will also satisfy visitors to your website. If you satisfy visitors to your website, then they will stay on the page they landed on and read it. They will then click to read other pages on your website and might even make a purchase.

Sure, some will leave right away, but if the search engines feel that your content is good enough for a high placement in their indices for the search term, or keyword, that your visitor used to get to your web page, then it is more likely that you will achieve a relatively high stick rate of people to your site than a lower one.

Now, consider if you thought Google PageRank more important (and PageRank is correct, not Page Rank). You would then spend more of your time trying to get links back to your website than you would properly optimizing your site and filling it with good content. If you were successful in that difficult job, then Google, and possibly other search engines, would list you a bit higher in their indices, not because their spiders thought your site was relevant to the search term used by the potential visitors, but because other websites thought so.

You will then get visitors to your website, and the page they land on would have to be relevant to the search term they used or they will immediately leave. If it is relevant, they will stay, perhaps visit other web pages and perhaps make a purchase.

So what is the difference? You get basically the same end result. How can you tell which is the more important. There is one simple way to do this, and one that I have used more than once. Design two websites round the same keyword. Make the keyword the name of the website and then apply classical theoretical SEO to one site, including some of the extra special tips that can make the difference between success and failure – in fact that DO make that difference.

Now apply only minimal SEO to the other and make sure you have exactly the same content on each, but rewritten to avoid duplicate content or that would negate the test. However, with the second site, you must generate as many links back to your website as possible, using non-reciprocal links where possible, but reciprocal links where necessary. There are a few ways in which you can generate lots of one-way links to selected pages on your site, and you should make that your home page for the purposes of this test.

Wait 4 weeks then check Google, Yahoo and MSN for the position of each of your home pages. You will find that your first website will generally be listed higher for the keyword that both sites are built round.

Check again about 3 months later, and you will likely find that website 2 will feature higher as the links start to take effect, but then the first site will overtake it as it generates its own links naturally.

Basically, what this proves to me is that it is essential to optimize your website for search engines in the classical way, but that for best results you must also have a good level of links back to your website. There are simple, ways to achieve both, but that would be the topic of another article. However, in the end, if you apply both, then you will achieve best results. I know that there are exceptions to this, and I have highlighted them in some of my ebooks, but generally that is the case.

So, the answer to the question: SEO or PageRank, is that neither is the more important. They are both equally important, but it is possible to do one better than the other and then you would be tempted to say that your way was best. But you would be wrong!

If you did find what was the best, you couldn't use that information since search engines rules are transitory but good honest content and classical SEO have always prevailed, as has a good number of links that others follow to reach your website.

About The Author
Peter is an expert on audio-visual file formats and codecs and more information on p2p file sharing software can be obtained from his websites LegalAndFree.com and Online-Free-Movies.com where options are presented and the ethics discussed.

15 Aug 2007

Simple SEO & SEM definitions

Search engine optimization (SEO), a subset of search engine marketing, is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. SEO can also target specialized searches such as image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

SEO is marketing by understanding how search algorithms work and what human visitors might search for, to help match those visitors with sites offering what they are interested in finding. Some SEO efforts may involve optimizing a site's coding, presentation, and structure, without making very noticeable changes to human visitors, such as incorporating a clear hierarchical structure to a site, and avoiding or fixing problems that might keep search engine indexing programs from fully spidering a site. Other, more noticeable efforts, involve including unique content on pages that can be easily indexed and extracted from those pages by search engines while also appealing to human visitors.


The term SEO can also refer to "search engine optimizers," a term adopted by an industry of consultants who carry out optimization projects on behalf of clients, and by employees of site owners who may perform SEO services in-house. Search engine optimizers often offer SEO as a stand-alone service or as a part of a larger marketing campaign. Because effective SEO can require making changes to the source code of a site, it is often very helpful when incorporated into the initial development and design of a site, leading to the use of the term "Search Engine Friendly" to describe designs, menus, content management systems and shopping carts that can be optimized easily and effectively.


We define SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) as follows ...

SEO = Optimizing a Web page for a set of keyword phrases for the organic (free) listings.

SEM = Optimizing a set of keyword phrases for the pay-per-click (paid) listings.

Bounce Rate: Sexiest Web Metric Ever?

Okay I just got asked about the bounce rate on Google Analytics by one of my clients here in Fiji. I started to write an email toi explain, and then stopped and thought "hey there has to be a good explanation of this here somewhere..."

There is, here's the best I found from Avinash Kaushik:

========================================================

Bounce Rate: Sexiest Web Metric Ever?

It is quite likely that the biggest challenge for you is that you are spending tons of time, energy, and budget on web marketing efforts yet conversion rates (or ROI) are stuck in the 2 to 4 percent range, or perhaps a bit higher for your direct marketing efforts. You are trying really hard to figure out how to improve the performance but you are stymied by the fact that there is ton of data and you have no idea where to start. Ms. Bounce Rate to the rescue. Bounce rate is a beautiful way to measure the quality of traffic coming to your website. It is almost instantly accessible in any web analytics tool. It is easy to understand, hard to mis-understand and can be applied to any of your efforts."

Read the whole thing here:

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