Owning a Tourism Business is awesome

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 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


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:

Read more on this subject:


13 Aug 2007

10 Rules to Keep Your Website Visitors Engaged

By Deepak Dutta (c) 2007

Do you know that most visitors leave a website within 10 seconds of landing on the home page? And they may nevër return to the same site. To keep your website visitors stay longer, you need to engage them. Follow these 10 simple rules to build a set of core loyal visitors who will return to your site frequently.

1. If you have a brick-and-mortar business and you want an online presence, don't just hand over your printed brochure to the web developer for your site's content.

2. Get good text, picture, and video content related to your products or services and organize them into categories for your website publication. How do you get content? You can ask your kids to write content for you. Today's kids are information savvy and know how to do research on right topics. They can help take pictures and videos of your products and provide narrations. If you cannot leverage your kids talents and you don't have time to develop content, buy them from online sources, like distributors of private label rights to articles and stöck photographs. You need a small content set to launch your web site.

3. Ask your developer for some sample websites he has developed in the past and review them. If you find clutter, music, unprofessional graphics, etc. in those sites, run away from the developer. Tell your web developer to use basic search engine optimization techniques for your web site. Use a developer who uses content management systems (CMS) to develop websites. You or your kids and spouse will be able to maintain and add content regularly to a CMS without much effort.

4. You must have an About US page in your website that explains the expertise of your company and your unique selling proposition. Also, you should provide a telephone number and an e-mail address for contact.

5. Publish a weekly tips section in your website. If you are in a business for a long time, you have a wealth of knowledge about your business, market, and technologies related to your business. Make it a habit of jotting down one tip every day. You will have plenty of tips for your weekly publication.

6. Don't use guest books, testimonials etc. These are so Web 1.0 concepts. Use a forum. Let your customers interact among themselves. Develop a value network. You get into the insights of your customers' minds by reading their posts and your visitors know your products and services by talking to each other. As a result, you will be able to provide improved products and services and ask for a premium price.

7. Promptly answer all your visitors' e-mail. This is one thing you should nevër delay. Use your visitors comments, e-mail, and other form of communications to generate ideas for new articles and tips.

8. Tell your web developer to include an RSS feed on your site and publish filtered news related to the market you serve and emerging technologies in that market. Don't use a weather report. Nobody comes to your site to chëck the weather.

9. Publish a frequently asked questíons page related to your products and services. It helps save your visitors' time and effort when they are looking for information on a particular topic related to your website.

10. Did you know that the average person must be exposed to an offër around seven times before they will make a purchase? Make your website an advertising platform for your most popular items. Advertise them throughout your site but don't use any 'in-your face advertising' techniques. You can use side bars for this type of advertising with interesting anecdotes, pictures, etc. Be creative and use your imagination.

Your website is your publishing medium. It is not your online catalog. You want repeat visitors who spend their time at your site for valuable information. The possibility of visitors turning into a paying customers improves when they stick around your site longer.

About The Author
Dr. Deepak Dutta is the creator of SemanticBay.com - an interactive social network website based on user shared text and picture contents on any topics. His other website ClassifiedsForFree.com - is one of the oldest online classifieds sites.

10 Aug 2007

Why half the SEO 'tricks' are just not 100% viable

I was talking to a dive shop recently who had read an article about Google & SEO. She was confused- very confused. Her site, which had a well-defined theme around diving in Fiji and was organized fairly well, was no where to be found in the search engine's results pages (SERPs). Instead, the top results were clouded with other sites that, although somewhat related to her site's primary keyword, were not solely dedicated t o that topic.

Her real confusion came after she sought the advice of an SEO. This SEO told her that in order to rank well for her targeted keyword, her inbound links had to use that keyword as their anchor text. When she surveyed Google's top 10 results for her keyword, she quickly saw that the sites occupying the top results did not have inbound links that used her targeted keyword (at least as far as she could determine).

Now ask yourself this question: how many articles have you read and how many forum discussions have you seen in which webmasters try their hardest to play the SEO and explain what needs to be done to get a top ranking? Out of all those articles and conversations, how many of them have been right 100% of the time without exception?

It seems that for every claim made by someone who thinks thay know SEO, there are 100 exceptions to the rule.

Webmaster forums and articles are full of people debating countless topics that, in all reality, do not have to be understood in order to obtain a high ranking. It can certainly be useful to know things like the differences between penalties and filters, the meaning of supplemental results, how to get out of the supplemental results, how many times you can 301 redirect Google, etc.

But we have to be careful. While this may be interesting and useful to an extent, a little SEO knowledge is a dangerous thing because...
A Little SEO Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing
I really have no idea if the SEO who advised the woman in my example above is a good SEO or not. I was not involved in the conversation- all I heard was what the woman told me she knew. In all honesty, I do not blame the SEO so much as I blame the woman for her confusion. Trying to explain in a few emails or in one conversation what needs to be done with a site to move it up the rankings is unfair. But this example illustrates a point which we can see time and time again among webmasters. A lot of people say they know SEO because they have had some success with it or they have studied it to some extent. But the truth is, there are really only a handful of people who really Having just a little SEO knowledge is truly a dangerous thing. Webmasters who think they know SEO adjust their websites to make them more search engine friendly. When their site is eventually filtered out of the results, or drastically underperforms in the results, they have problems realizing that what they thought they knew to be true about SEO could in fact be wrong. The only natural conclusion is that they have done too good of a job optimizing their sites (every hear of 'over-optimizing'?). Then again, it could be that they know just enough about SEO to be dangerous. know what they are talking about.

Understanding SEO is Complicated

The reason a little SEO knowledge is so dangerous is that people use the knowledge that they do have in the wrong way. In our example above, this woman heard that in order to rank well for a particular keyword, she needed inbound links that used her goal keywords in their anchor text. She took that to mean that this was all she needed to do to rank well- thus ignoring the dozens of other factors that affect her ranking. What she was told did not seem to match up with the results that she saw. The results that she saw were the result of a very complicated algorithm that was weighing dozens of factors. One of those factors was certainly the keywords used in the anchor text of inbound links to the high ranking sites. But any good SEO will tell you that this is not the only Consider this: we all know that a chocolate cake contains flour and chocolate. But if we combine just those two ingredients, will we have a cake? Of course not- there are other factors which build the cake into what it is. We can even know all the individual ingredients of cake- but if we put them together in the wrong proportions, we'll end up with a horrible cake. The same is true with SEO. If we really want to understand SEO, then we need to know how all the pieces work together, what factors are more important, and what factors we should focus on with our sites. Real SEO's spend countless hours figuring out all the ingredients that go into a website's ranking. They learn how to apply each piece of the algorithm in the correct way. Most SEO's, however, do not spend the time it takes to get to this level of knowledge. These are the self-proclaimed SEO's who only know some of the ingredients, have theories about some of the other ingredients, and are still working on just what temperature you need to bake your site at in order to get the right result. These self-proclaimed SEO's need to stop telling people what the recipe is for search engine success- they are simply giving people an incomplete recipe. factor in ranking well.

Understanding SEO is Complicated, but Practicing it is Simple

As complicated as SEO is, practicing it is refreshingly simple. Continuing our example of baking a cake (are you hungry yet?), SEO does come in a box along with instructions. We just need to put the elements together, put it in the oven, and wait for it to bake. At the heart of SEO is one common desire among search engines: to return relevant results of trustworthy websites. Your job is to simply create that website. The basic elements of SEO are well known and have been written about before. A good website will be well planned, focus on a particular theme, have a clearly defined navigation, be accessible to more than just advanced modern browsers, have great content, have great content over time, and will get links from other sites that recognize its quality. You, as a website owner, really do not have to concern yourself with the various penalties/filters or supplemental results. As a website owner, you just need to create a technically sound website and work on building relevant, one-way links. So if you have been asking yourself (or others) "How can I get my site to rank first for _______", try changing the question to "How can I build a great website that others will recognize as being good which deals with ______". A Good SEO Is Invaluable- But Success Can Be Had Flying Solo There is absolutely no substitute for a good SEO who really knows what they are talking about. These are the 'master bakers' in the world of search engine optimization. If you want to have a great cake, you would probably consider hiring a master baker.

But for most of us, we have to settle for the simplified approach to SEO. You can achieve search engine successes by simply approaching your website with the correct mentality.

Simply build your site with an emphasis on quality, a centralized theme, and solid usability.
That is the simplest way to SEO success. There are no 'short cuts' or 'tricks' to guarantee top 10 SERP's!

6 Aug 2007

Top 10 Tips for Using Web 2.0 to Promote Your Business

By Kevin Stirtz (c) 2007

We hear a lot about "Web 2.0" these days. It sounds neat and it's trendy to talk about blogging and social media. But does it really affect our businesses? Is Web 2.0 just for kids and tech-hipsters or is it something we business owners should use to help promote our businesses?

I can't tell you if Web 2.0 is right for your business, but I can tell you it's something to be aware of. Ignoring it means ignoring a possible tool that could be valuable in helping you get more customers.

So, to help you get started in thinking about Web 2.0 for your business, here are some things for you to consider.

1. Have a plan

Don't dive in just because it's cool or because you read an article about it. Be clear about what you're trying to accomplish, how much you're willing to invest and what time frame you are working on. Like any aspect of your business - plan ahead.

2. Make sure your target audience is online

Web 2.0 tools are fun but useless if the people who see your stuff don't want what you offër. Or if they don't look to the Web for information to help them buy what you sell, then your efforts will be less effective. Like any marketing channel, it only works if your prospective customers are there to see (or hear) your message and they are receptive to it.

3. Create good content

Web 2.0 is the social web, but it's still content-driven. Lousy content leads to lousy marketing, no matter how flashy it is. Make your content relevant, interesting and real. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and answer their questíons with your content.

4. Don't sell

Help, inform, educate but do not sell. Web 2.0 is all about people connecting by helping each other. No salesmen allowed! Think education, not advertising. Deliver useful, nuts and bolts stuff or honest opinions they can believe. That's how you build credibility and trust that lead to new customer relationships.

5. Start with a free hosted blog

Wordpress and Blogger both have very useful and simple blogs you can setup for frëe. Use them to start blogging and get a feel for how it works and how people use Web 2.0. Dip your toe in the water before diving in.

6. Talk to kids

Chat with some kids (ages 8 to 18) and find out how they use the web. They are the trend-setters. What they're doing now, the rest of us will be doing soon. Learn what they do and why. This helps you understand the web from a different perspective.

7. Do it yourself

Web 2.0 is about being real. It's real people connecting with each other. It's okay to hire a pro to advise you. But to keep it genuine, make sure you or your employees create the content and do the work. Otherwise people will know you're faking it.

8. Buy a camcorder and start shooting

Go to Best Buy or Radio Shack and buy an inexpensive camcorder, tripod and lapel microphone. Buy 20-30 tapes too. Then take a weekend and shoot film. Practice, practice, practice. Get comfortable being on camera so you're not nervous or dorky. Then, write a funny or useful how-to sketch and film it. Use Microsoft MovieMaker to edit and then upload to YouTube.com.

9. Buy an inexpensive audio recorder

MusicBarn.com has a package that includes M-Audio's MobilePre USB recording interface. Add a microphone and you have a high quality setup to record podcasts and MP3 audio files whenever you want. Then buy NGWave sound editing software to make it sound professional and you're in business.

10. Surf 'till it Hurts

Surf blogs, YouTube, Google Videos, Del.icio.us, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Technorati and other social media websites. Get a feel for how they work and who goes there. Become part of some social media communities. Make new friends online. Immerse yourself in the Web 2.0 culture so you know how it works and if it might fit your marketing plans.

About The Author
Kevin Stirtz helps businesses get more customers without spending a fortune. He is an author, speaker, consultant and president of EasyFastWebSpace.com, a web hostíng service that helps businesses get on the web easier and faster.

4 Aug 2007

Website Annoyance #9. No Decent Site Search Tool

There is no excuse for this one. If you have a large website with dozens or hundreds of pages, give me an internal search box to find what I need.

We are all getting used to the search being a given feature, in fact Joomla sites come with this as standard.

Google and Yahoo! and many others will give you the tool - free - to put on your site.

Use it.

2 Aug 2007

Website Annoyance #7. Bad Navigation

Web designers and Webmasters prefer dazzle over function. Function is boring. Who wants a simple text link when a pop up Javascript navigation bar impresses the client?

I do. So do the search engines. So do more and more of your web savvy clients.

Every web page needs recognizable, underlined text links on every page, preferably top and bottom.

Don't make me or your possible guests waste time trying to find the web page we are really looking for.

Quick Traffic Building - 3 Top Ways to Traffic Building

Quick Traffic Building - 3 Top Ways to Traffic Building

By James Krawder

"If you'd like to survive the tight competition in the Internet, you must know how to drive traffic to your site. Traffic is everything when it comes to online business. Its what makes your web site popular and generate more profit for you. Thus, traffic building should be your number one priority if you would like to venture in online business. The good news is that, it is not a very complicated process as long as you follow these proven methods:

1. PPC. Pay per click advertising is taking the Internet by storm. Due to its proven power in generating traffic to web sites the faster way, more and more online business are putting their investments in this traffic building technique. This is one paid method that will surely worth every penny you shell out.

2. Article submission. Link building greatly improves your web sites' popularity and search engine ranking. This can be done through submitting quality articles to article submission sites that can grant you one quality inbound link for every submission. It does not cost you anything and it is proven to work!

3. SEO. Search Engine Optimization is one the oldest traffic building techniques that is proven to improve your search engine ranking. It includes the process of optimizing your web site's content, page layout, and structure.

To make sure that you will get the traffic you desire, I strongly suggest you utilize the 3 traffic building methods simultaneously. Most successful web masters have done the same.

Want to learn more about it? Download the free ebook, Steps to Article Marketing Success.

Do you want to learn how to build a massive list fast? Click here: Email List Building

Want to learn more about driving traffic like I do? Download my free traffic guide here: Traffic Generation"

1 Aug 2007

Tim Warren's Ten Commandments of Travel Trade Show Success

Ask yourself these important travel trade show marketing questions.
  1. Are you considering marketing with a trade show?

  2. Have you spent more then $1,000 in travel trade show exhibiting?

  3. You have exhibited less than 5 times?

  4. Did you arrive at the trade show just in time to set up?

  5. Were you under staffed in your booth?

  6. Were your sales results less then you expected

  7. Did you leave the show tired and exhausted?

  8. Are you questioning whether you will ever exhibit again?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you need to read these top 10 strategies to increase your travel trade show marketing success.

No matter if you are a seasoned travel trade show exhibitor or a newcomer, do not consider exhibiting until you read and apply these valuable tips. These quick tips and training resources will save you an aching back, wasted money and increase your tourism sales – guaranteed!


The majority of travel companies and destinations I see exhibiting at travel trade shows do a terrible job. Theses same poor-performing companies then complain to show management that it was managements fault.

Usually these same poor promoters wonder why their sales stink, … and it’s usually not just at the trade shows.

Travel trade show marketing done properly can be not only fun, but highly profitable! There are few tourism marketing venues where you can have lots of personal conversations with qualified prospects – looking for what you are promoting. That is if you follow these tips.

If you choose not to follow these 10 trade show tips and training resources, I’ll bet you answered “yes to at least 6 of the 8 questions above.

Apply these simple, yet critic travel trade show marketing tips and prosper. Also be sure to check out the 1-hour travel trade show audio seminar you can download to advance your knowledge and profits.

Ten Commandments of Travel Trade Show Success

1) Have beginner's mind. Seek out expert advice and information before you exhibit. Take workshops and read all you can on trade show marketing.

2) Establish team-created objectives. Incorporate your most friendly, motivated, and knowledgeable staff. Role-play and practiced boothmanship before show.

3) Pre-show mailings and phone invitations to customers and prospects can triple booth attendance. Multiple personalized letters and postcards promoting special offers redeemable only at your booth works great. Start four - five months before show.

4) Arrive before show. Meet with media, establish sales representation, and network with fellow travel professionals. When the show starts you'll be better prepared and rested then most.

5) Show management is an asset. Work with them on providing value to attendees through your travel presentations, workshops, sport simulator and fascinating attractions.

6) Invest in quality. Use exhibit with easy-to-read graphics and bold benefit-oriented copy. Use "defining statement" headline graphics. (See the guide Tourism Marketing Success for help) Prospect should quickly understand what types of activities you offer, where you go and level of adventure, i.e. soft, moderate, high risk.

7) Smile. Don't pounce on prospects. Establish rapport before qualifying prospects. Ask open-ended questions, "What do you think about foreign travel and river rafting?" Use breath mints.

8) Use brochures as a disengagement tool. Use "no's or not interested" as an opportunity to move on to another prospects who's interested in your type of trip or destination.

9) Take care of yourself. Schedule your staff so that everyone is well rested. Drink plenty of water. Eat well-balanced meals. Avoid alcohol at all times during show. Wear comfortable shoes. Stretch your muscles while checking out other exhibits.

10) Follow-up. Contact key prospects immediately after show with letters, calls and brochures. Multiple mailings and contacts increases chances of sales 65%.

Successful Tourism Trade Show

Exhibiting “Audio-Seminar"

If you do any travel show exhibiting or are considering travel trade show exhibiting, then this 1-hour recorded seminar will help you get more qualified prospects and convert them into paying customers and destination visitors. By investing 1 hour of your time and very little money, you can radically improve your results -- guaranteed!

This fun and interactive, seminar you can be download direct into your computer to re-play as often as you like and share with associates. The seminar also includes guidance and training to help you be more successful before, during, and after the show, as well as articles, tips, and answers to your most frequently asked questions.

More info on Tourism Trade Show Exhibiting Success Downloadable Seminar.

Tim Warren and Adventure Business Consultants, has helped dozen's of travel business just like you create travel trade show and tourism marketing strategies that help you standout from the crowd and get more customers!

Tim specializing in increasing arrivals, reducing expenses, increasing profits and creating effective action plans for tourism professionals. Tim has helped well over 50 tourism companies and agencies promoting tourism through his consulting, trainings, executive coaching and tourism professional development products. His expertise is in sales, marketing, E-marketing, publicity, operations and strategic planning for tourism professionals and the tourism industry.

Website Annoyance #8. No Contact Information

Poor contact information is a close twin of bad navigation. How many sites have you been to where you cannot find a phone number, a street address, or even an email address? Plenty.

I think it's sweet that you put up an email contact form on your site, but I prefer to use my default email compose screen. Every web-based email form is different. I don't want to waste time learning to use your form when my email client works fine.

What are you hiding? Why ARE you making an obstacle for anyone contacting you?

SKYPE! Major business boost and cost savings!

Skype provides a selection of great features for businesses of all sizes, and is an excellent tool for small to medium tourism products in the far flung areas of the world as well as closer to home.

Here are a good list of the features available through Skype. Download it here.

Skype calling Skype calling - Skype -to-Skype calls are absolutely free. By switching your employees to Skype you remove the cost of internal calling. If clients or business contacts are using Skype you can call them for free as well.

SkypeOut SkypeOut - An easy way to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles direct from Skype . See our cheap global rates.

SMS SMS - A quick, easy and cheap way to get in touch with colleagues or clients instantly when they’re not online, unavailable or simply on the move. Save time by sending text messages from your computer instead of your mobile phone.

Business Control Panel Business Control Panel - An online tool allowing you to manage the Skype credits for your company. You can allocate SkypeIn numbers and Skype Credit to colleagues or enable auto top-up.

SkypeIn SkypeIn - If you have an international presence, this is the perfect way to provide a local number for your clients to call you on. SkypeIn works just like an ordinary phone number and you can direct it to your computer or Skype phone.

SkypeMe! button SkypeMe! button - You can provide your customers with the option to click a button and call you for free directly from your website.

Conference calling Conference calling - Set up a conference call in seconds (for free), or easily add new people to an existing call.

Group chats Group chats - A great way to discuss ideas with customers or colleagues, everyone can keep track of the conversation and participate when they are available.

Video calls Video calls - Business communications can be greatly improved by seeing the person you are speaking to. Video calling with Skype is free - all you need is a webcam.

Voicemail Skype Voicemail - Takes your calls when you are not available. You can check them for free wherever you have internet access, anywhere in the world.

View Outlook contacts View Outlook contacts - View and call your Microsoft Outlook® contacts quickly and directly from your Skype contact list.

Shared groups Shared groups - Set up shared groups for teams and easily add new contacts to the group.

Chat history Chat history - A record is kept of all chat messages which can be easily searched at a later date.

Call forwarding Call forwarding - If you are away from your computer, you can set up call forwarding to a landline or mobile phone at standard SkypeOut rates.

Enterprise Compatibility Enterprise Compatibility - IT administrators can control the behaviour of Skype software within their network by disabling various features (for example, file transfer).

Windows Installer Package Windows Installer Package - MSI installer makes it easy to deploy Skype software to multiple computers in your network.

Skype for Business Control Panel

Organise your company's Skype accounts centrally and allocate credit or automatically recharge accounts, and manage invoicing with one simple system.

The Skype for Business Control Panel is a free tool to help business users centrally manage Skype accounts within their company.
  • Web-based tool - quick and easy to sign up
  • Centrally manage your Skype accounts.
  • Allocate credit to employees.
  • Automatically recharge accounts.
  • Print consolidated invoices