Owning a Tourism Business is awesome

30 Jun 2007


An online business has a greater chance for success if those who buy its products and services recognize its brand. A recognizable brand also makes a business's site more attractive to potential advertisers and partners.

But remember: Recognizable doesn't necessarily mean universally known. It simply means that a business's brand increases its chance to compete successfully for attention and market share in the appropriate space. It doesn't take an expensive global advertising campaign to brand your business. Branding can be accomplished through partnerships, direct marketing, a robust Web site and a modicum of good public relations.

Fundamentally, branding online is pretty similar to branding offline. The palette is different because the medium is reduced to a screen instead of a billboard or a print advertisement, but the opportunity for messaging is the same.

When a brick-and-mortar company takes its business to the Web, an online brand usually serves as an extension of its offline presence. Think of FedEx, AT&T, or CNN. For these companies, their online brands reinforce or influence what people already think about the companies.

On the other hand, think of Amazon or Yahoo. They have developed brands that, for the most part, only exist online. Dot-coms need to carefully execute their brands and remember that there are more restrictions due to the constraints of the Web.

Your logo is a visual cornerstone of a company's brand. Your company's identity is visually expressed through its logo, which, along your company's name, is one of the main things that makes your business memorable. Think of eBay, Google, and Yahoo. Each one of these companies has a distinctive logo that a large percentage of people would be able to describe without seeing.

Your domain name is also an essential part of your branding efforts. Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find available domain names. While a URL certainly has to be unique and easy to remember, it doesn't necessarily have to relate to what you sell in order to be successful. How does the name "Amazon" relate to books and other products? "Google" to a search engine? These are successful names and brands, but it's a stretch to say they have anything to do with the companies' offerings.

Even if your business is an Internet-only venture, that doesn't mean you can't brand offline. You can get offline brand exposure across lots of different media through TV, radio, print advertisements, and public relations efforts. Remember, even for dot-coms, a brand is something that constantly reinforces a business's identity. You probably already strengthen your brand in ways you probably don't even think about -- distributing business cards at trade shows, sending invoices, letters and holiday cards to your clients, wearing your company's logo on a T-shirt, and through a variety of other activities.

AllBusiness.com is an online media and e-commerce company that operates one of the premier business sites on the Web. The site has received critical acclaim from The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business 2.0, Fortune, and other publications. AllBusiness.com helps entrepreneurs, small and growing businesses, consultants and business professionals save time and money by addressing real-world business questions and presenting practical solutions. The site offers resources including how-to articles, business forms, contracts and agreements, expert advice, blogs, business news, business directory listings, product comparisons, business guides, a small business association and more.


28 Jun 2007

Search Engines: how DO you write for them and still be in English?

Much of the time when we take on a new client here at Resort Support, one of our first recommendations is that they increase the unique, keyword-phrase-targeted, text content on their site.

We generally recommend having at least 300 words of content per page, a number that continues to grow as the years go by and the web grows. A few years ago our minimum was 100. However, as competition on the Internet becomes harder, the barrier to entry gets higher in response. Search engines are seeking even more expert content as a more and more important way to determine the most relevant sites for a particular keyword phrase.

Conversely, there is no maximum number of words you can put on any one page so long as you are adding quality content. You'll notice that some pages are over 5000 words! However, before you go after a strategy of building these lengthy pages, remember that you want to build depth of content in your sites. It's not about saying everything you have to say on one page. While it is possible to rank for a one page site, it is very difficult and to just aim for this would be a silly game. It is much easier to establish a site wide theme, supported by serious depth of content and good internal linking.

Pages should be structured to address customer questions or resort operation information as they become relevant. This can seem to be a daunting task for many small resort or dive centre owners, but it's actually quite manageable as long as you start your copy writing project off in the right direction.

Search engines want to be treated like any other visitor to your site, but while they are coming closer to the ability to mimic human judgment, they are not there yet. Search engines can still have trouble trying to accurately define what a page is about if the content is written in anything but a clear and well-defined style.

To understand what you should be writing, you first need to understand a little bit about the history of the search engines. The first search engines were set up for the people who were using the Internet at the time. Because the population of the early Web was largely scientists and educators, the focus of search engines was to bring back pages that fit the thesis, papers and reports model. This model persists today in the way Web pages are written: a title, description and some keywords that help define what the focus of the paper or page is, all concentrated in the meta's and html at the start.

To write effective pages to support your search engine optimization(SEO) goals here are a few guidelines you should keep in mind. Assuming that you have generated a solid keyword list (dealt with else where in my blog), and have assigned the words and phrase to specific pages, your next step should be to brainstorm the best way to represent the keywords and phrases in an informative way.

Brainstorming works best if you throw out all your filters. Don't critique any of your ideas, just write them down. The idea is to get out everything--great ideas and garbage alike. At this stage, no idea is too stupid. You can narrow it down later.

If you are writing content for your own Web site, your first response might be to feel frustrated. What on earth are you going to write about? Everyone knows everything that you could possibly tell them and you're not a writer anyway. But that's just the thing, they don't and you are.

Let's pretend that your business is selling scuba diving in Fiji. Brainstorm everything you can think of that relates to scuba diving in Fiji, even if it's only somewhat related. Once you have all your ideas down, pick a few of the best. For example, you'll want to focus a section of your site on the keyword "scuba diving vacation in Fiji". Everyone, you think, knows about how to find a vacation. It is just a matter of finding the right place and time. You don't need to explain it to your site's visitors. But it's one of your keywords so you sit down and simply write all the obvious information.

You are an expert in your area of tourism. Of course you know how to check the fit of your boots and which styles will work best for which people. It's obvious to you that your jeans should be tucked inside your boots if you're working outside and that you should take certain steps to care for your boots. But for most people, that's not the case. That's why they're coming to your site in the first place. Your expertise is a valuable resource for the development of content. Explaining something that is obvious to you is probably the best way to introduce new customers to your products.

When I write my first draft, I like to keep the keywords that I want to incorporate on the page in mind. I'll tape them to my monitor or put them at the very top of the document. However, I don't worry about densities or forcing them in. If it doesn't sound natural to use the keyword, I don't use it. The first draft is just to get the information out. Use your keywords as a guide for the content.

Once you have a first draft, take a look at the tone of your piece. Are you writing to the right audience? Is your content engaging and informative? Does your content solve a problem or help the customer make a decision? If you're in a highly technical area where your customer isn't likely to know enough to ask intelligent questions, have you educated them enough to feel comfortable?

Revise your draft with these ideas in mind. Knowing your audience means putting in the kinds of words that they will be looking for, the same kinds of words that will help them understand what the best choice of products will be for them.

After your next draft, the best thing to do is ask someone else to read it over for you. The best person for this task is someone who fits the profile of a site visitor. Have them read it to see if it answers their questíons in an easy to understand way. If not, revise the content to meet their understanding.

Sitening, a Nashville SEO and Web design company, is proud to offer our unique SEO Tools. All of our tools are designed to help webmasters, website owners and search engine marketers (SEMs) optimize their websites and develop strategies for improving their search engine results pages (SERPs).


27 Jun 2007

The Forgotten Fundamentals of SEO

Often it is presumed that by simply owning a domain and having a website built and published on the Internet, thousands of people will magically find the website, visit it and buy their products. "If you build it, they will come" should be removed from the vocabulary as soon as possible if you are to adjust attitudes to the underlying search technology. As a businessman in the real World, it is obvious that it would not happen outside of the Internet ether, so what is so different online? Maybe it was the Technology boom 10 years ago that caused a rift in understanding or maybe the buzz that caused the meteoric rise in the stock prices of Tech Companies, I can hear the thoughts of the small businessman, "surely this can be replicated for my business" – in answer I would say, "well, it is unlikely, but you should be able to achieve some results over time".

It is most important when taking on a project like Search Engine Optimization for a website, to know that it is important to be committed for the long haul. It is no small task and sufficient funds need to be allocated to the project. Delivery deadlines need to be correctly scoped against required changes, in order to meet client expectations. The key points of responsibility to the SEO project are in knowing that there are big changes near the start and during setup but the changes do not stop after setup, there are a continuous ongoing refinements to the design and system over time. In this regard I find it important to manage expectations and set realistic long term goals on what a website can be expected to achieve and in what time frames those goals hope to be met.

So what should your goal be when you are delving into SEO for your website? Well, everyone’s goal is exactly the same; improve page rankings, improve page visits and hits and finally gain more sales through the website.

When it comes to SEO and achieving these goals you have to have principles and my main principle is, "Good websites get good ratings and bad websites get bad ratings or none at all." As time goes on with the improvement of search engine technology and the refinement of search engine results this statement becomes truer and truer. I believe in results through "white hat"(reads; "Grey Hat") principles and methodologies.

What are "white hat" principles? I guess I would compare it to doing things the honest way and the right way without risk. So develop a good site, promote good linking, have good informative content and keep working on it and then you are on the road to good rankings through "White Hat" principles.

So, why should you do things the "white hat" way? Well, search engines do have some kind of understanding, an artificial intelligence. They soon catch on to websites spamming or linking to websites with no relevance and bad cross linking. It’s about being smart, in for the long term and wanting your business to grow organically, naturally.

So how do I go about improving my site and making it optimized for search engines naturally? Well, that’s why you’re here! So let’s run through few of the things you should be doing in your websites from a fundamental level.

Domain names:

When choosing a domain name, choose one that is relevant to the product or service you are going to provide and that is as simple as possible. There are considerations of branding and product/service provided that should go into this choice. Involvement of marketing personal and product understanding is required but also consultation with your SEO professional is advantageous. In this step I would say, take some time and choose wisely. Keep it simple and easy to remember, often saying it out loud will make it clear whether it can be understood by a simple man.

It is a strongly held belief by many SEO professionals that buying a domain which is older, and that has been around for a while, means it will not be sand boxed by Google. What’s the sandbox effect? Well, it refers to what Google does to a website or domain that is new or is relatively unknown by Google. In many instances Google’s Sandbox effect relegates the new domain to sub-optimal inclusion in search results. Regardless of the sites optimization it lowers the websites relevance and ranking to the term searched upon. If you can use your old business domain name, then consider this very important.

If, however, you are buying a new domain name then keep it relevant to the product or service being sold or offered on the website. Keep it close, relevant and simple. Relevance is primary.

Location specific domain or international domain ( .com or com.au)? Personally I think dot com’s are better, mainly because they appeal Internationally but if you want to you can keep it location specific and to your region then consider purchasing all similar higher level domains, yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com.au, if you can.

Choosing a Host:

Fast, reliable and gives you all you that you need and want. Preferably gives a unique IP. Again some SEO professionals believe this can also have a detrimental affect in Google rankings but from my experience it sometimes does and it sometimes doesn’t. I have had some sites come in with high PR rankings on shared IP’s and others when I shifted to a new IP the PR of the site jumped, so this is still a bit of a mystery when it comes to Google rankings. I guess a consideration

Traffic considerations:

When choosing your host ensure the plan you are on can be expanded so that any new increases in traffic can be accommodated accordingly.

Site Design:

There are several fundamental things to consider when you are modifying or designing a website.


Flash is has been popular for a few years now and I truly believe it has its place. It is a great way of showing many products or services in a small area, has great visual impact if done properly and can set a good friendly tone to the website visitor. Having said that, I also hate flash; it can be an absolute nightmare when it comes to search engine optimization.

What you should know about flash; it cannot be read by a search engine as the search engine cannot read the text or the images contained within it nor can it interpret what is in the pictures being shown.

When it comes to flash I would suggest, not making your whole website flash. If you are designing a new website and you want to use flash then use it in high impact areas to capture the attention of your intended audience but use it sparingly. It is important to ensure that as much text content(to a maximum discussed in my next book, generally 300-500 characters) is available on the webpage and in simple HTML.


Many older websites were designed with frames. Frames are where the main home page is actually a frameset page that includes several other pages into it. This makes the page hard to index in search engines and should be avoided. While Google do now index framed sites, it is important to note that most of the other top search engines still cannot follow frame links. They only see the frameset page and ignore the rest of the inner frames. This presents an SEO problem to us because it is highly likely those inner pages contain our content keywords.

Nowadays this is not really a huge issue as it is so uncommon for a designer to actually use frames but the easiest way to resolve the issue would be to enforce a no use policy on frames.

Page Layout:

According to research the Googlebot trawls web pages from left to right and top to bottom. So given this little tidbit of information it is clear that you should be putting our most valuable keywords and information on the left and near the top. Of course this is a blanket statement and does not take into account design principles and beautification. Just keep it in mind during design of page layout. Position your move relevant keywords to the left of the page and near the top.

Good HTML Coding:

A lot of HTML generator programs out there bloat HTML to the point it is 3-4 times larger than what it would be if you hand coded it. Keep it simple, use a text editor, edit your HTML the old school way; until there is a HTML generator tool worthy of use. If you can’t code HTML then do a search on the Internet and find a decent, free, e-book and learn how to do it.


This is very popular among many web development professionals for menu’s, popups, scollers etc etc. It would be my suggestion to use simple plain HTML menu’s or as little Javascript as possible in web pages. There are many small JavaScript menu’s out there that are slim on JavaScript code to reduce this issue and make it almost negligible. Don’t over clutter your site with JavaScript as it increases page size, page load times and the search engines won’t understand it.

Image Sizes:

Keep them small and use only what you need to. This is essential for decreasing page loading times and getting information onto the users screen as soon as possible.

Overall page size and loading:

The overall page size is an important factor. It should load quickly and be easily trawled. If you have followed the HTML hand coding, used minimal javascript, used simple table layouts and good image sizing then you should be fine. There is much evidence that supports the fact that Google and probably the other search engines also, do not like to scan huge files, so keeping your overall HTML page size below 25k is my suggestion.

Dynamic URL’s & page/file names:

Dynamic pages are roadblocks to high search engine positioning. Especially those that end in "?" or "&". In a dynamic site, variables are passed to the URL and the page is generated dynamically, often from information stored in a database as is the case with many e-commerce sites. Normal .html pages are static - they are hard-coded, their information does not change, and there are no "?" or "&" characters in the URL.

Pages with dynamic URLs are present in several engines, notably Google and AltaVista, even though publicly AltaVista claims their spider does not crawl dynamic URLs. To a spider a "?" represents a sea of endless possibilities - some pages can automatically generate a potentially massive number of URLs, trapping the spider in a virtually infinite loop.

As a general rule, search engines will not properly index documents that:

• contain a "?" or "&"
• End in the following document types: .cfm, .asp, .shtml, .php, .stm, .jsp, .cgi, .pl
• Could potentially generate a large number of URLs.
To avoid complications, consider creating static pages whenever possible, perhaps using the database to update the pages, not to generate them on the fly.

Slightly Off Topic Thoughts:

The topics covered here are not considered completely SEO topics but in terms of overall objective – increasing sales, this section is very important. Take these things on board, consider them, consult with your designer and marketing team. Make educated and informed choices on these topics when considering your audience and what your website objectives are.

Screen Size:

Over 65% of all screens in the World are set to run at the 1024x768 resolution. Of the remaining percentage, 13% are running at 800x600, 20% running at larger sizes and 2% are unknown. So this affects the way you design. It would be my suggestion to always design for the smallest user to visit your site, but often I find 800x600 restrictive so I tend to design for slightly larger. Not large enough to make an 800x600 user angry but large enough to make it look good on larger screens also. I weigh up my target users, my intended amount of content and find some happy medium. I generally design for 1000x620 as this is the perfect amount of real estate for a 1024x768 user when they have the browser top bar and status bar and Windows taskbar.

colors and themes:

One important aspect of marketing - selling - is the use of color. Meanings are attached to colors in the same way meanings are attached to words.

  • Gold is the color of wealth and prosperity.
  • White is the color of pure innocence and cleanliness.
  • Pink is the color of femininity and softness.
  • Green is the color of natural things and freshness.
  • Red is the color of danger and stress.
  • Blue is the color the calmness, intelligence. The majority of the World selects blue as a favorite color. It often represents "trust"

Use of color to establish an image or a brand is common in the marketing community, yet when you visit the websites of many search engine optimization professional’s, it's obvious that color significance plays no part in their own web optimization. Some of the colors I found on SEO websites:

  • Baby Blue, a color which implies weakness.
  • Red, a color which implies risk, or danger.
  • Orange a color which implies a cheerful "levity". Orange is one of Americans’ least favorite colors.

Although color selection is off topic for SEO I would consider it a very important factor in what SEO is trying to achieve, in the end, for your website – selling more product, creating loyalty to your brand and customer impact. color research is something you should seriously consider. In summary of color choices I would suggest studying and learning more about your customers, researching color choices and their relevance to your underlying products and making informed choices on these in collaboration. If in doubt then I suggest sticking to safe and trusted colors within safe eye pleasing designs.

Gifs for logos & jpgs for pictures:

Ensure you are using gifs for logos and background placements and jpgs for photos on your website. This helps reduce size and improve clarity of the web site overall.


It is vitally important to ensure your web page works in both IE, Firefox and Opera. Testing other browsers is also an advantage but these are the main three in use nowadays (2007). I think quoting stats on the browser breakdown are irrelevant as you need it work in all browsers. W3C cross browser compliance is great for this.

So, this brings us to the end of Volume 1: Fundamentals of SEO Web Design. There are many things to consider when designing a website or modifying a web site to make it more SEO friendly. Clearly I have a few more volumes left in SEO for websites.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An interesting discussion which dissects many of the points made in this article in ongoing in the forums: have a look at what is being said here


26 Jun 2007

10 Ways To Increase Your Targeted Web Site Traffíc

By Titus Hoskins

In order to create a successful website you must have traffic or visitors to your site. Without traffic your perfect site is useless; it might as well not even exist.

Moreover, because traffic is an essential element of any successful site, many novice webmasters make the mistake of believing all traffic is created equal.

Huge mistake.

For if traffíc is King; targeted traffíc is God. All traffíc is good, but there is a great distinction between ordinary traffíc and targeted traffíc. Someone clicking on a link to your site who is looking for the exact information or product you have displayed is said to be a targeted visitor. These are the kinds of visitors or traffíc you must try to obtain in your marketing and link building.


Because targeted traffíc is often the key to building a successful site on the web. Targeted traffíc will greatly íncrease your salës conversions, bring back repeat visitors and help your site gain a prominent online presence.

So here are 10 targeted traffíc building steps you can take:

1. Google Is God!

Only half-kidding but at least where targeted traffíc is concerned, Google is still the all important being you should be worshipping online. Don't ignore the other two major demigods Yahoo! and MSN, but Google will deliver most of your traffíc. Your website stats will point this out to you daily, so you must optimize your site for Google.

As a general rule make your pages Google friendly by only using one topic per page, include your keywords in the title, meta description and url for that page. It would also be helpful to have your main keywords in the first headline on the page and most experienced webmasters try to place their keywords in the first 90 words and in the last 25 words. Sprinkle your keywords and variations throughout the copy but don't keyword sp@m, just let the engines know this is what your page is about.

2. Target The Right Keywords

You must target the right keywords in order to get useful traffíc to your site. You must first chëck the number of searches and amount of competition for your chosen keywords. You can use software like Keyword Elite or sites like www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ which will give you the Overture and WordTracker monthly stats to help you pick the right keywords for your site. Instead of picking highly competitive keywords, take the middle road and milk the 'long tail keywords'!

Most webmasters create a master keyword líst for their site then branch off into sub-categories from this master líst. For example, if you have a site on laptops your sub-keyword categories could be laptop accessories, laptop batteries and so on. Similarly, most webmasters only develop their sites in a simple hierarchy with the homepage as the center with their major keywords as separate pages and then sub-categories branching out from these. Your webpages should not be more than three clicks away from your homepage as this will really displease the search engine gods!

3. Have Relevant Content

Perhaps what will appease the SE gods the most is relevant content. Your content has to be relevant to the topic of your site. Keep everything on topic and within the scope of your site.

Relevant, helpful content will also be the biggest magnet for targeted traffíc. Surfers are usually looking for information, give them what they want and your site will reap the rewards. Original, high quality, relevant content will draw in targeted traffíc to your site so make sure you have some good content to satisfy your visitors and the search engines.

4. Let The Search Engines Find You

Instead of submittíng your site to the search engines, let them find your site. One of the best ways to do this is by placing your links on high traffíc/spidered sites: on online forums matching your site's content, on social networks such as MySpace, YouTube, Squidoo... and on article directories like Ezinearticles, Goarticles, and Ideamarketers. The search engines will follow these links and index your site before you even know it.

5. Use Traffíc Modules

One of the most effective ways to bring in targeted traffíc is to create traffíc modules: whole areas of your site devoted to one sub-topic. For example, if you have a general site on cars, you could develop a whole section on a car-buying guide. Another section could be on car accessories, link all these pages together into a neat traffíc cluster on your site. The search engines will love these closely grouped pages and reward you with lots of targeted traffíc.

6. Use Articles

Don't forget article marketing, just because it has become extremely popular doesn't mean it has become any less effective. Writing short helpful informative articles on your site's topic is still one of the best ways to get targeted traffíc to your site. Place your links with your targeted keyword anchor text in the resource box.

Article marketing is an invaluable source not only of targeted traffic but also one-way links to your site. These links will help increase your rankings, especially in Google which considers each link as a democratic vote for your site and ranks each page with a PageRank PR 0-10.

Articles are also extremely important for pre-selling to your potential customers. These articles warm or soften up your prospective buyers to your salespitch before they even reach your site.

7. Build Opt-in Lists

Most marketers and webmasters use opt-ín lists to bring targeted visitors back to their sites. Instead of just receiving that visitor once, you can get repeat visits by using a simple follow-up system with an autoresponder. Studies have consistently shown it might take 6 or 7 follow-ups before a potential customer buys.

Building a subscríber líst will also be helpful in creating a web community around your site. These community members may become your most targeted of all your visitors. Likewise, you should have a bookmark feature on all your pages, any repeat visitor is a targeted visitor!

8. Have Blogs & RSS Feeds

Make sure you have a blog and RSS feed attached to your site. This will not only bring in targeted traffíc but your visitors can also subscribe to your RSS feed. This will bring targeted visitors back to your site. Use a free site like Google's own www.blogger.com or better yet create your own blog using free software such as WordPress.

9. Use Social Media

Build links and contacts in all the important social media networks such as MySpace, YouTube and Flickr. These social networks are a great source of very targeted traffic.

10. Use Multimedia

Perhaps the biggest opportunity to build targeted traffic is using video and audio media on your site. These will help personalize your message or content and build trust with your visitors. Video clips also have a great viral potential which will bring in traffíc.

Sites such as YouTube, Google Video can help you get your message or content in front of millíons of eyes overnight. Savvy marketers are already exploiting the traffic potential of this new multimedia trend overtaking the web. Why should they have all the fun? You too, can take advantage of these free media sites and pull in targeted traffic to your site.

Of course, there are many more ways of getting targeted traffic to your site. But just using one or two of these techniques should increase your targeted traffic in the coming months. Appease the traffíc gods by putting these steps into practice and see for yourself.

The author is a full-time online marketer. For the latest and most effective web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Tools Or why not try these excellent free training manuals and videos: Free Internet Marketing Courses

Copyright © 2007 Titus Hoskins.

25 Jun 2007

Things To Consider When Evaluating Your Website

You have either put a lot of effort into your website or you have paid someone else a lot of money to put the effort in for you. Either way, whatever the purpose of the website, you want to get the most out of it. The question now becomes, how you can tell if your website is likely to succeed.


The first thing to do is to ask yourself why you have set up the website. Are you trying to sell a product or provide information or something else? What do you want to happen when a visitor lands on your pages? "For a man without a destination no wind is favourable" (An old saying attributed to many). If you do not know exactly what you want to happen, how can you expect the visitors to your website to know and do it? You are the one who ought to have the site set up to direct people to their destination. If you don't know what that is, then all is lost.

Your visitors probably know why they visited your site. You too must know why they came and help them do what they came to do. If your website does not provide what they need they will move on to another one. Just because you are getting all the traffic you could hope for does not mean that your site will succeed.

Your Website's Conversion Rate

You will need to measure your success rate. There are a number of ways to do this. One is the Conversion rate. Simply put, the conversion rate is the rate at which you convert visitors into buyers. Or if you are not selling it is the rate at which you convince people to do whatever it is you need them to do. It could be to sign up for your newsletter of subscribe to something else, etc. If you have one hundred visitors to your website per day and you convert two, your conversion rate is two percent.

It is a reasonably good measure of the quality of your website. If your site is not converting, you will know that you need to make changes to the site. However, it could also mean that you marketing or advertising campaign is sending untargeted traffic to your site. In other words sending visitors who are not in the least bit interested in what you have to offer.

SEO & Traffic Generation

The whole point of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is traffic generation. The idea is that you optimise or fine tune your website so that it gets to the top of the search results when people enter a search term that is contained in your website. You do this to get traffic. If your site is not properly optimised people are unlikely to find it. Unless of course you have found some narrow niche that nobody else has heard of, which will not bring a lot of visitors. SEO involves using the correct keywords in the correct way and arranging the contents and menus in the right way and most important of all is link building.

To rank highly, at the time of writing, the single most important thing to do to rank highly in the search engines is to increase the number of links to your site from quality websites which have content related to the subject of your site.


It may sound obvious to most people but, the content of your website should be based on the subject of your product. For example if your website is set up to sell computers then it should contain articles about computers and computing etc. not gardening articles. If you have articles on unrelated subjects they will only serve to confuse your visitors and undermine your website's and your own credibility as a source of products and information about computers or whatever your website is promoting.

The content should be keyword rich but not saturated or you may show up on spam radar. The content should be broken up into manageable paragraphs and properly laid out with headers for each section, making it easier to read and navigate.


Getting the visitors to your website is only half og th battle. You then must give them what they want. What do they want? Well, the first thing they want is to find their way around your website without pulling their hair out in frustration. These days there is far too much competition on the internet for that to happen. They will move to another website at the first sign of difficulty.

Arrange all the links and buttons in a way that is easy to read and understand. Do not over fill each page. If there is too much choice people do not make a choice they just get confused and... you guessed it. They move to another website.

The first page they land on, usually the index page should be interesting. It should be obvious to them that they have landed on a page with the content they came for and the way to navigate to that content should be very clear. Do not try to give them everything on the front page.

Ease of Use

How easy is it for your visitors to accomplish what they came to do? Do they need to fill out pages of information or can the do their business in a few clicks? If people have to figure out the puzzle that your website is they will move on unless you have something so attractive and necessary that they will stay at all costs. If you have a product like that then you can not charge enough for it.

It is always a good idea to have a professional web designer look over the site and point out any obvious flaws. I say obvious flaws because not all corrections are obvious and are often discovered through trial and error. You should keep tweaking the website in a continuous attempt to improve it. There is always room for improvement. Though it is also said that you should not fix something that works. I think that the best thing is to make gradual changes and if they are not a major improvement, at least they will not be a major disaster.

If you are not confident enough to do the coding and graphics etc. for your own site, there are many professional web designers out there who live for it. So don't let it stop you from getting you name, product or information out there.

24 Jun 2007

Top Ten SEO Joomla Tips

The Top Ten Joomla Search Engine Optimisation tricks you should perform once you have installed Joomla Content Management System! Learn what the Joomla Development Experts do to get Joomla SEO ready!
  1. Install the SEF Patch
  2. Install and configure JoomSEF or other SEF URL transalation component for use with Joomla. JoomSEF Latest Version
  3. Change the title of Joomla to use title alias - helps for Admin purposes
  4. Identify 30-40 keyword phrases using Google Adwords & Yahoo Overture.
  5. Optimise frontpage title for your top 3-5 keyword phrases
  6. Sprinkle these top keywords through meta tags and content on frontpage
  7. divide up the other keywords into 3-4 groups and optimise other pages for these keywords.
  8. Unique page titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, page content.
  9. Divide up the page content with appropriate page headings using H1, H2, H3 etc tags
  10. Use appropriate page names in JoomSEF. ie: website-design.html & website-development.html
From Joomla SEO

White Hat SEO, what exactly is it?

White Hat is an SEO tactic, technique or method which conforms to the search engines' guidelines and involves no deception.

As search engine guidelines for any SE are not written as any series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction.

White Hat SEO is not just about following guidelines, but is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see.

White Hat advice is generally summed up as:
  • creating content for users, not for search engines
  • then make that content easily accessible to their spiders, rather the other way around.
White Hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility, although the two are not identical.

Let me state again the simple rule"
Anyone who tells you otherwise is scamming you!

Google SEO Tactics

Briefly listed below are some of the main ranking factors you should be optimizing your web pages for in your marketing. The majority of these ranking factors will be very familiar to most webmasters who take full advantage of any and every SEO tactic which will give their site an edge over their competition.

Here are some of the main ranking factors to consider:

1. Keywords In Your Title And On Your Page

Place your keyword or keyword phrase in the title of your page and also in your copy. Many webmasters use variations of their keywords on this page and also include it in the H1 headline.

2. Keywords In Your URL

Keep your page on topic and place your keyword in the URL. Use your keyword in the H2, H3... headlines. Place it in the description and meta tags, place it in bold/strong tags, but keep your content readable and useful. Be aware of the text surrounding your keywords, search engines will become more semantic in the coming years so context is important.

3. Create High Quality Relevant Content

Have high quality relevant content on your pages. Your content should be related to the topic of your site and updated regularly depending on the nature of your site.

4. Internal Onsite Linking

Internal linking is important to your overall ranking. Make sure your linking structure is easy for the spiders to crawl. Most suggest a simple hierarchy with links no more than three clicks away from your home/index page.

Creating traffic modes or clusters of related links within a section on your site has proven very effective for many webmasters, including this one. For example, creating a simple online guide on a subject related to your site's topic can prove very beneficial. Keep all the links connected and closely related in subject matter and don't forget to have occasional external 'anchor keyworded links coming to these internal links on your site instead of to your homepage. Deep build your links.

5. Only Linking To High Quality Related Sites

Don't forget to link to high quality PR related sites. Linking to high quality sites shows the search engines your site is very useful to your visitors. Build relationships within communities on the topic of your site. Be extremely careful not to link to bad neighborhoods, link farms and sp@m sites... when in doubt, don't link out!

Unless your site has been around for years and is well established and trusted by Google, this factor will have an adverse effect on your site's overall ranking. Linking only to high quality content sites will give your site an edge over your competition.

6. Global Linking Popularity

One of the major ranking factors is the Global Linking Popularity of your site. You should try to build plenty of inbound links from quality sites. One simple and effective way to do this is through writing articles and submitting them to the online article directories. Only related sites will pick up and display your articles with your anchor text links back to your site. These are often ONE-WAY-LINKS.

But don't just write articles to get links, write quality content that will help the reader first and the links will come naturally. Also remember an article is an extremely good way of pre-selling your products and gaining trust with your potential customers.

7. Anchor Text Is Very Important

Anchor text is an important factor your must not forget to use. Perhaps more importantly these inbound links should be related or relevant to your site's topic, which will play an important role in your rankings. Don't ignore the text surrounding your links and use different anchor text links to avoid keyword spamming.

Keep in mind, as search engines become more semantic, the whole text of your article will probably be considered your anchor text, thus making articles even more important to your rankings.

8. Number And Quality Of Your Inbound Links

Your inbound links should also come from related high Global Link Popular sites. The more links your have from these popular related sites the higher rankings you will get. Many SEO experts suggest you should have a steady stream of new sites (inbound links) added each month to keep your rankings growing. These links will age and increase your rankings after 4 or 5 months. Both quality and quantity is important.

9. Reliable Server And Service

Like any business, Google is only serving up a product (SERPs) to its customers, this service must be continuous and available at all times. Make sure you have a good reliable server because any extended downtime when your site is inaccessible to the Bots may be detrimental to your rankings. If it is down for over 48 hours, you could be dropped from the index. Ouch!

10. Duplicate Content Is A NO NO!

Make certain you don't place duplicate content on your site. This may affect your rankings and get your pages thrown into the supplemental index.

Be careful not to use duplicate title or mega tags on your pages as this will lower and disburse your internal page rankings, resulting in poor optimization.

Your overall SEO strategy should be to provide valuable relevant content and links for your visitors and the search engines. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, be extremely careful who you link out to from your site. Avoid spam sites, link farms or selling links. Although it is a bit outdated, using the Google Toolbar will still give you a general overview of a site's PR or Page Rank.

These are some of the most common and important ranking factors Google uses to rank and display their search engine results. Optimizing your site or keywords for these factors can prove very beneficial and rewarding.

There are many more factors so you should use the link in the resource box below to get all the gory details. For any novice or experienced webmaster it makes for a fascinating read and is extremely helpful in tackling Google's complex ranking system or algorithm. Conquer it and an endless supply of free organic traffíc is yours for the taking.

How to Create Your First Blog

I've been blogging now for about 2 years, and I'm amazed at the amount of traffic that I get from my blog and the number of people who tell me that they first heard about me from my blog instead of my website. The word blog is derived from the term "web log", or an online diary or journal. If the HBO series "Sex and the City" were being filmed today, Carrie Bradshaw would be a blogger as well as a columnist, I think. Why? As she experiences her revelations about life, love, and relationships, she could post them to her blog for the world to see and comment upon.

Blogging has opened website creation to almost everyone, as it takes very little know-how to get a blog up and running. In fact, many service business owners are using a blog platform as their primary website, with some of them creating static pages as you would find on a traditional website, while others are using the platform as a blog and are posting updates regularly.

Why Blog?

There are several advantages to using blogs instead of ezines or traditional websites:

1. Search engines love blogs.

The strategy that seems to be attractive to search engines today is regularly updated content. I can log-in to my blog at the beginning of a day and submit a post. Within 24 hours I'll get a notification from my Google alerts account that Google has indexed that post.

2. Content can be distributed quickly.

If you instruct your visitors to subscribe to your blog via updating services like Bloglines or Feedblitz, they'll be notified within hours of any new posts on your blog.

3. Little web programming knowledge is required.

Once your blog is set up, it's simply a matter of logging into your account, typing the info for you post, adding graphics or photos as needed, and publishing your post to your blog.

4. Reader feedback.

Your readers can give you comments and feedback about your posts almost immediately after you log an entry. Blogs are a great way to engage your audience.

Are ezines and traditional websites dead? No, because people consume information differently. Some are auditory learners and prefer to hear the info (great audience for podcasting, an audio form of blogging), some prefer to receive updates as they are published (blog readers), while others like a stable, stationary medium to which they can refer when they're ready (readers who archive ezines or bookmark web pages).

How do you begin to blog?

Here are 10 simple steps you can follow:

1. Blogging platform.

The easiest way to get started is to use the free service found at Blogger.com or Wordpress.com. The ability to customize your blog is limited with the free services, so I urge my clients to subscribe to Typepad.com, which will host your blog for you on their servers, or purchase a hosting account where Wordpress can be installed. The downloadable version of Wordpress is located at Wordpress.org and is free of charge if you need to install Wordpress yourself on your hosting account. I use Blogger.com for my blog, so many of my examples will relate exclusively to blogs hosted on that platform.

2. Name.

What do you want to call your blog? Blog names tend to be attention-getting and off-beat. However, for service businesses, I encourage my clients to use keywords important to their business when naming their blog. You will also want to acquire the .com version of your blog's name or your blog's name with the word "blog" attach as your blog URL. After you have set up your blog, your blog provider can give you more info about how to map your domain to your blog. (Note: You don't want to simply forward your blog to your domain name, as that impacts the URLs of your individual blog pages).

3. Look and Layout.

  • How many columns do you want to display?
  • Do you want links to static pages?
  • What colors do you want to use?
  • How about a signup box for a free giveaway?
  • Should you use one of the templates provided or have something custom designed?
  • Do you want your blog archives displayed?
  • Do you want to be the only author or do you want to permit others to make posts, as well?
There are many questions you'll be asked in the startup phase about the look of your blog. A Blogger.com blog permits you to change your mind about your layout at a later date. The best way to determine the look of your blog is to look at the layout of other blogs and determine what appeals to you.

4. Widgets.

There are a number of widgets, or add-on programs, that you can incorporate into your blog. Check your blog software's site for more info about what features you'd like add to your blog. At a minimum you'll want to give visitors a couple of ways in which they can receive blog updates through various updaters, or feeder services, as mentioned earlier.


The newest spam making its rounds online is comment spam. Don't these guys have anything better to do? Set your comments to moderated, which means that you have to approve any comments to your blog before the post goes live. You'll save yourself a great many headaches and time by choosing to moderate the comments.

Once you've gotten this far, you should have a basic blog established and are ready to begin to blog.

6. Blog content.

The time has arrived -- your blog is ready to accept posts. What do you write about? You can post content rich articles of interest to your target market, comment on a current event, answer questions from your visitors, present a before and after case study outlining how your business helped someone, etc. Keep your eyes and ears open for information relevant to your audience. I use my blog to bring forth info that doesn't fit well into my newsletter format or something that arises between newsletter issues. I post my ezine content to my blog, as well.

7. Posting frequency.

Blogs are just like gardens -- they need watering regularly and require some care and attention. For maximum effectiveness, you need to post several times a week to your blog. I try and post 6 times per week in my blog -- 3 posts are items I run across or comment upon as noteworthy in the moment, and the latter 3 are the contents of my ezine posted over 2 days. And, respond to reader's comments when they arrive -- blogs provide a great forum for ongoing discussions.

8. Blog traffic.

In the same way that you publicize your website URL on everything that you do, you can similarly publicize your blog. Submitting your blogs to blog directories is another way to get traffic. A very comprehensive list of blog directories, RSS Top 55 has been compiled by Robin Good, http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/. Searching out blogs that appeal to your target market and making comments to those posts will also drive traffic to your blog. Another trick is to post your blog on social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and del.icio.us.

The easy way to do this is with a Bookmark button, see mine below this post offered by AddThis.com. Another simple way is using a consolidator like OnlyWire.com to post to all at once.

9. Measure the results.

Some blog programs have built-in statistics so you can view details of your blog traffic. Some of the feed/updater programs have built-in statistics as well, or you can install a metrics program as an add-on to your blog. Review your statistics regularly to determine how much traffic your blog generates. Otherwise stick to the world leader and standard, Google Analytics.

10. Rinse and repeat.

Don't let the novelty of blogging wear off. Blogging is effective only if you continue your blogging efforts regularly over a long period of time. I know of several individuals who have gotten book deals from their blog and radio and TV interviews as well. Just think -- your blog might be your ticket to fame!

Every service business can benefit from blog technology. Few other marketing strategies provide the quick immediacy that blogging provides.

23 Jun 2007

Investing in PPC or SEO - a Company Decision

Splash Screens

One of my other pet peeves is splash screens. It's an old idea and seemed to make sense at the time, but it puts your customers one more step away from the bookings page.

One of the resort sites I visited lately, I left after 3 minutes, before it had completely loaded. I never did see the first fold.

I really hate to see this, for it is so easy to demonstrate that this kind of page simply will not work. Just compare the hit count on the entry page to that of the page it links to.

It is highly unlikely there will be even half as many hits on the second page. In this particular case, I'm not sure anyone ever has stuck around long enough for the entire page to load

22 Jun 2007

Website Annoyance #3. Dead Links

Nothing pisses me off faster than finding a spot on anchor text link that goes nowhere.

It's like having your mouth water over a menu special, only to have the kitchen say they have run out.

Micro Site

If you're looking for a highly effective method of increasing your Internet sales, then micro-sites may be your answer. Micro-sites are one of the most effective marketing tools online. Not only are they effective, but they're also very inexpensive and easy to create.

The concept is simple. Create a one or two page website that completely focuses on one specific topic, such as weddings, diving or fishing. Everything within this page should have one purpose -- getting your visitors to take action.

This page should be neatly designed in standard HTML with no Flash or fancy plug-ins and very few graphics. There should be no banners or outside links of any kind -- nothing that will distract your visitors' attention.

The sole purpose of a mini-site is to attract highly targeted traffic. The more targeted the better. For example, if you have a website that sells a number of products, a good mini-site will focus on one specific product instead of all of the products. You can create a mini-site for each product you offer.

Designing Your Micro-Site

Each mini-site you create should be optimized for that one specific product. Concentrate on just a few keyword phrases, as this will help you to tighten your targeting. Remember ... the tighter the targeting the better.

* Title: Your "Title" should contain your most important keywords. You've probably heard that before, but I've found a slightly different method for optimizing the title. Since mini-sites focus on just one product, place the "most" important "keyword phrase" first. Not just your most important phrase, but the keyword phrase that you think people will use when they do a search. Instead of capitalizing the first letter, type it in lowercase, as most people type in all lowercase letters when searching. This will assist you in ranking higher in the Search Engines for your targeted audience.

* Description: Your description should focus on one specific product and not generalize. Make sure you include your most important keywords towards the beginning of your description. In addition, make sure your description describes your site in detail. You want your potential visitors to know exactly what you're offering. Your description should be less than 200 characters.

* Keywords: Concentrate on just a few keyword phrases.

* Heading tags: Search Engines pay close attention to the text displayed within the "Heading" tags. Place your most important keyword phrase within a "Heading" tag.

* Graphic Alt tags: Place a readable keyword phrase within your graphic "Alt" tags.

* Text: All of your text should focus on your product. There should be no filler text whatsoever. It should have one specific purpose -- getting your visitor to take action. Make sure you include your keyword phrases throughout your text.

If you'd like to set up your mini-site using tables, try to place your "Heading" text above your "Table" code. If this isn't possible, make sure you include your keyword phrases within your top left "Table cell" to assist you in ranking higher in the Search Engines.

Mini-sites are not limited to just your products. They can also be used with any affiliate programs you may be promoting. You can include extra incentives such as a free bonus for purchasing the product or even your personal recommendation. This is a great way to presell the product.

Hosting Your Mini-Site

Although it is much better to have your own domain name, these sites can be hosted on a free server and still rank high in the Search Engines. Keep in mind, free sites do not build trust and credibility. No matter which option you choose, make sure you place your most important keyword phrase (the keyword phrase that you think people will use when searching) within your web address.

Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Site

Once you have tested the effectiveness of your site and have a good conversion rate, (the number of visitors compared to the number of sales) you can buy targeted traffic. Using efficient PPC campaigns can produce strong results quickly.

So if you really want to increase your sales, create some mini-sites. They are one of the cheapest and easiest profit generators online.

How to Choose a Professional Web site Design Firm

Choosing a professional Web site design firm can be a daunting task. With all of the different companies out there, how do you know what is the best option? The following paragraphs will outline key areas of consideration before choosing a Web site design company.

To begin searching for a Web site design firm, there are several ways to begin the search. The first option is through an internet search by typing in the phrase “website design” and your city or state, i.e., “website design New Jersey”. Many people prefer this method because it enables them to find companies within their geographical area. However, limiting your search to your geographical area is not a necessity because this is a service that can be offered from anywhere around the world.

Another popular and very successful way of finding a web design company is through referral or word of mouth. Nothing is more powerful than knowing someone who has had a positive experience with a particular company and then using that information to conduct additional research to determine if that firm would be able to meet your design needs.

After compiling a list of potential Web site design firms, it is vital to determine the experience of the Web site development team. This one factor will tell you a significant amount about the degree of skill or knowledge that they may hold. However, determining the type of Web site design that they conduct on a regular basis is also important. Do they specialize in e-Commerce web site design services or just regular Web site design and maintenance? This is imperative because they should have a significant amount of experience regarding the type of site you are looking at having created.

An experienced Web site design company may also have examples of Web sites that they have created. By examining past projects you will be able to grasp a better understanding as to the style and variety that they will be able to offer. Do you want a simple, clean layout that is easy to navigate through and professional? Or, do you prefer a site with Flash that offers a more creative or artistic presentation?

Before narrowing down to a specific Web site design company, it is crucial to research the pricing structure to determine if it is competitive with industry standards. Do they charge an hourly rate? Or is it based on a per-project basis? These are important factors to consider, because hourly rates can quickly rise if the estimated completion time is extended.

Once you have a list of Web site design firms that you feel are able to offer the services that you are interested in at a reasonable price, it is important to make sure that they are reputable by seeing if they are listed on the Better Business Bureau or any Web site Design Associations. This will give an idea as to the history that they have within the industry or warn you that it may be a potentially fraudulent organization.

The final area of consideration before choosing a Web site design company is the support that they will be able to offer. This can be determined by several factors which include ease of contacting the design firm and whether they also offer site hosting. The last thing you want to have happen is not being able to have an active working relationship with the Webmaster because he/she is not available during normal business hours. If the company provides Web site design and hosting, they will be able to offer you the added convenience of a suite of solutions that enable your Webmaster to have easier access to make changes to your Web site, and you will experience the benefit of having to work with only one group of people rather than trying to communicate between multiple companies.

By following the key areas of consideration listed above, you will be able to create a systemized method of choosing a Web site design company. In addition, this will eliminate the stress that is often accompanied with making a major decision and enhance your success of finding a professional Web site design firm.

20 Jun 2007

Blog Tip #9: Bold your keywords

This one is a very short easy one that seems to hold some weight. While you have sprinkled your keyword judiciously through out your blog, both heading and body, make sure the keyword is also in bold.

This is fairly obvious from the way I have bolded the keyword in this post huh?

18 Jun 2007

Website Annoyance #2. Extra Software Needed to View Site

Don't blame Canada. Blame Adobe.

Adobe made the Acrobat reader a must for viewing PDF files mainly because:
  • It solved a need. Every page now printed out the same regardless of which printer or operating system was being used. It could even be made interactive for form completion.
  • Adobe gave away millions of the free readers before publishers adopted the new PDF format as a standard for ebooks.
Acrobat users now demand PDF files in most instances where ebooks used to have various formats including "exe". Hackers have made downloading exe files from unknown sources an unsafe activity.

As standard as Acrobat now is, the same is not true for Flash, Shockwave, Deja Vu, and a host of other add-ons with various degrees of support.

I don't need to sit through a 2 meg Flash intro when what I want is information. Apparently, many others agree. You can add Flashblock to your FireFox browser and decide for yourself when to allow the Flash to load.

15 Jun 2007

Dell to offer Ubuntu Linux desktops and laptops

Dell to offer Ubuntu Linux desktops and laptops

By Jack Loftus, News Writer
01 May 2007 | SearchEnterpriseLinux.com

In a joint statement released today, Dell Inc. and Canonical Ltd. announced that Dell will now offer laptops and desktop computers pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux 7.04.

The computers will be sold via Dell's web site, said Canonical's director of operations Jane Silber. 'We have worked with Dell to get Ubuntu fully supported and fully certified on Dell hardware,' she said. 'Ubuntu has the full endorsement of Dell.'

Silber said specifics of the partnership -- including specific hardware configurations and product pricing -- will be available from Dell at a later date. However, Linux desktop news site DesktopLinux.com reported Tuesday that sources said Ubuntu would be released on a Dell e-series 'Essential' Dimension desktop, an XPS desktop, and an e-series Inspiron laptop in late May.

The move was hardly a surprise for Ubuntu supporters and analysts, who have seen the OS thrive over the past few years as a free desktop alternative to Microsoft Windows and even commercial Linux distributions like Red Hat and Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux."

Read full story here: Dell to offer Ubuntu Linux desktops and laptops

Absolute Beginners Guide to Joomla! (updated)

Absolute Beginners Guide to Joomla! (updated)

by AmyStephen

Want more about Joomla! ? There are lots of good videos, guides and tips available. These resources are extremely well written and you are going to be ENTHUSED as you find out how smart you are!

Joomla!Tutorials http://www.joomlatutorials.com/

How to Joomla! http://www.howtojoomla.net/

Compass Design < http://www.compassdesigns.net/tutorials/joomla-tutorials/

The "Official" Joomla! v 1.0.x Guide < http://help.joomla.org/

Joomla! Administrator Guide < http://help.joomla.org/content/section/16/153/

FAQ's. There is already a TON of stuff out there that you WILL find helpful - and people expect you to look there BEFORE posting to the forums! (So, try to do that!)

Joomla! Tools Suite v1.0 & Health, Installation and Security Audit Tool

Joomla! Tools Suite v1.0 & Health, Installation and Security Audit Tool

First release of what I hope is a useful little tool for Pre- and Post- Installation Joomla! v1.0 trouble-shooting. Joomla! Health, Installation and Security Audit (HISA)

Following the success of WebSmurfs' "Joomla! Diagnostic Tool" it got me thinking and I figured that many of the Forum questions come from basic Web-Serving environment questions and many of the issues come from mis-configured PHP instances, therefore maybe some basic Post- (and Pre-) Installation tools might help.

Hence, HISA was kind of born (well with my coding capabilities, more like threw itself on the keyboard and committed hari-kari!) A very simple hack of the Web-Installer (index.php, the nice bits of code are original core team, the nasty bits are mine. Hope you guys don't mind me butchering your code!) to provide a self-contained, all-in-one tool script providing the following functionality;

* Pre-Installation Environment Audit
* Existing Installation Enviromment Audit
* Minimal Environmental Security Auditing

Normal Web-Installer checks are performed including additional basic Host, Web-Server, PHP, MySQL and Joomla! environmental information is displayed.

Joomla! Tools Suite v1.0 & Health, Installation and Security Audit Tool

I used it and it's a walk in the park and highlights everything you WILL forget without using it!

Cory Webb's How to Joomla! - Joomla! Jargon

Cory Webb's How to Joomla! - Joomla! Jargon

Okay, so I just stared using Joomla! and am up to my eyeballs in it, AND LOVING IT!

Couldn't recommend it enough, I appear to be deserting Microsoft (which really has been the no-brainer solution I have always recommended for my clients), and heading into the Open Source no-man's land.

Anyway, this page is great to explain the simple anatomy of the Joomla! framework, if you are using Joomla! for the first time, it's a great place to start for a 'feeling' about all those words...

Cory Webb's How to Joomla! - Joomla! Jargon

14 Jun 2007

Top 10 Ways to Annoy (& Lose!) Your Website Visitors

All of us have our pet peeves when it comes to surfing the net for information. I am going to post about what I reckon are my Top 10. Let's start with my #1!

Website Annoyance #1: Pop Ups

Pop ups come in many flavors: entry pop ups, exit pop ups, pop-unders, delayed, small, big, multiple, flying, scrolling, always on top, browser stopping, surf interrupting, must be cleared to move on, and the ever popular porn and pharms.

Except for an occasional squeeze page to get a free ebook or report, web surfers HATE pop ups.

So why do they continue to litter the Internet landscape? Simple. They must work for someone. I have yet to find a client with a tourism product who uses such aggressive methods to good effect...

Avoid potential ranking loss from duplicate content

An easy step that can help avoid potential ranking loss from duplicate content reprimands is to make sure there aren’t four or five different URLs navigating to the same page. Google views these two domains below as separate entities and if the content is exact, they can take punitive measures against the offending site.


To address potential duplicate content penalties, manipulate your.htaccess file and redirect secondary domains to the preferred listing. This means every time a web user enters the mysite.com address without the preferred prefix, they are redirected to the correct domain.

Add the following code to your .htaccess file (change the "mysite" to your domain):

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mysite.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.mysite.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]

13 Jun 2007

Starbucks straight to your door, even in Fiji!

Okay for those of you who REALLY know me, you'll appreciate the significance of this! We can now get Starbucks Coffee delivered!


AND it's discounted/cheaper than buying from the stores most of time!


11 Jun 2007

Google AdWords Landing Pages - how to build a page that won’t get banned

There has been a bit of chat on various forums over the last couple of days about Google AdWords tweaking its landing page algorithm, see here and here.

So with that in mind I thought I would publish a guide on how to create a landing page that will comply with Google’s guidelines. I’ve been marketing online using landing pages and Google AdWords for around 6 years now. Over that time I’ve seen many developments and changes and have been in constant touch with various members of the AdWords team directly. Below are the results of my experiences. They may work for you and they may not, but if you follow them, you should be able to market effectively using landing pages.

First things first though, experience tells me that landing pages are no longer an effective way of marketing on AdWords. So why am I writing this then? I hear you ask. Well, traditional landing pages that contain a few links, a paragraph or 2 of pre-sell text/product reviews are dead and buried. Don’t even try it, Google will catch up with you eventually and raise your bids to silly prices. Take this example of one of my old landing pages, Google banned this about 18 months ago.

If Google thinks the only reason your landing page exists is to funnel users to another site then its a landing page, and they will penalise you accordingly.

Landing pages now have to be incorporated into a fully functioning web site with lots of original content. So yes, you can still market with landing pages but the landing pages must be within the context of a full site. Here’s the rules as I see them:

Your landing page website should contain the following pages as standard:

1. Sitemap - this should be accessible from all pages of your site.
2. Privacy Policy - lots of resources on the web to create one of these, just Google “privacy policy”. If you are in the UK then consider applying for the Data Protection Act. It only costs around £35.
3. Terms and Conditions - as above, here is a good resource.
4. Contact Us - with full physical postal address and telephone number.
5. About Us - description of what the purpose of the website is and the business operating it, i.e. you.

OK now that you have these basic pages, consider adding these pages too:

1. News - add a page where you regularly update with newsworthy stories related to the niche you are promoting.
2. Blog - like a news page but you can also add editorial comments here and opinions.
3. How To or What Is Guide - pages/pages with detailed unique content describing the product/service you are promoting and how they work. I.e. if you have a coupon site then add some pages describing what coupons are and how they work, an idiots guide really.
4. FAQ’s - think of every question related to the product/service you are promoting then list them and answer them here.
5. Glossary - every industry has its own terminology, create an A-Z of industry specific jargon here and define it.
6. Deals/Offer pages - again everyone has specific deals and offers, so list the ones relevant to your product/service on their own page.
7. Individual product/pages - likewise the chances are that your product/service will have different components. I.e. a certain brand of credit card will have a gold card, platinum card, reward card etc. So build pages for each product containing very detailed information, more so that you would find on a traditional landing page.
8. Submit your review - offer your users the opportunity to submit their own product/reviews. Not only does this create stickiness but it gives you free content.

So, you now have the structure of what the site should look like. Now for the landing page, first thing to do is to look at the AdWords guidelines for landing pages, it contains some good advice:

Link to the page on your site that provides the most useful and accurate information about the product or service in your ad.
If your site displays advertising, distinguish sponsored links from the rest of your site content.
Try to provide information without requiring users to register. Or, provide a preview of what users will get by registering.
In general, build pages that provide substantial and useful information to the end-user. If your landing page consists of mostly ads or general search results (such as a directory or catalog page), you should provide as much information as you can beyond what your ad describes. For example, if your ad mentions <’Free travel information,’ your landing page should feature free travel information (versus links to other sites that do).
You should have unique content (should not be similar or nearly identical in appearance to another site). For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

So, if you follow my suggestions above and Google’s own advice then you should have the perfect landing page website. As long as you have all of this structure in place then the actual landing page itself shouldn’t present a problem, here’s how to structure it:

1. Create unique product/service reviews for whatever you are promoting. Do not just cut and paste text straight from the merchants site.
2. Include some users reviews on the page too, as well as your own.
3. List some comparable products/services from competitors.
4. List some special offers, unique discount codes on this page. This is perceived as extra value to the visitor.
5. Add some links to other products/services that are related but not the same as you are promoting. So lets say you are promoting Plasma TV’s. Add some links to DVD players, specialist cables, remote controls etc.

Thats it really, as I have said there is no magic formula and the landing page doesn’t have to be that complex. It simply must contain original content and be of value to the visitor. So a landing page with the above 5 elements that is presented within a full site of other original content will withstand the Google AdWords algorithm. Noy only that but you will have actually built a decent quality website that you can maintain and build up with content for years to come. You never know, it could even end up being indexed well with the natural serps so you don’t even have to rely on AdWords for traffic!

Almost forgot, with regard to affiliate links and masking them, my advice is to always mask them. The main reason for this is to avoid certain anti-virus software which has been known to make them invisible. I don’t think it has a major effect on the AdWords algorithm but I would say to mask them, just in case.

Below is a screen shot of my broadband providers site. Despite not containing all of the elements I mentioned above it has been passed by Google and meets all of their landing page guidelines.