+=+=+=+= SIM's INSIDER REPORT =+=+=+=+
December 17, 2002
SIM's INSIDER REPORT is a free biweekly newsletter dedicated to helping readers succeed online while saving both time and money with cutting-edge tools, tips and strategies for internet marketing, online advertising and website promotion.
IN THIS ISSUE
==> Tip of the Week
==> Tips, Tools & Resources
==> Affiliate Spotlight
==> SIM's Weekly Reports
==> Feedback & Contributions
==> Food for Thought
Well I guess everyone is quite busy preparing for Christmas so I'm going to keep this short.
Merry Christmas to all and a happy new year!
Your comments are always welcome.
SIM'S TIP OF THE WEEK
Do-it-Yourself Websites for Cheapskates and Simpletons
Several years ago, at the beginning of my Internet career, I asked someone if HTML was an abbreviation for Hotmail. Yes, I really was that naive. Since then, I've learned a fair bit about HTML coding. I had to.
As a writer, I needed an online presence for my web content services; and as an ornery, mule-headed, cheapskate writer, I was determined to build it myself in spite of those who said I should leave it to the experts.
This article is about how I learned HTML coding and built a functional, professional-looking site using mostly free/cheap tools and tutorials available on the web. I will not, however, tell you how fast and easy it was. In fact, it took about six months and almost drove me around the twist on several occasions. That's because I was working alone for most of the process and had to learn things the hard way... by trial and error.
I hope to make your job easier by sharing a few tricks I picked up along the way.
GET A GOOD TUTORIAL
The very first thing you need is a good, beginner's tutorial in HTML. Regardless of what sort of design software you end up using some day, it's important to understand the basics of hard coding first.
Once I got the hang of it, thanks to two excellent free tutorials, I decided to code my whole site by hand instead of trying to master an HTML editor like Microsoft Front Page, which would have meant yet another uphill learning curve. (Nothing wrong with design tools or ready-made templates... they just weren't the best solutions for me.)
I recommend either of these simpleton-friendly tutorials:
This is where things get fun. Roam around the web looking for images and buttons and stuff to decorate your site with. Need some graphics but you aren't an artist? Do a search for "free images" or "free buttons". Forgot how to transfer them to your practice site? Go back to the tutorial and refresh your memory. Need a handy list of the most common codes? Web-Source has a comprehensive reference chart here:
Don't be shy about checking out other webmasters' source codes. Click on View/Source and see how they've executed the design tricks you'd like for your own site. Usually the basic elements are easy to duplicate (unless the webmaster has cloaked the source code).
CALL FOR HELP
Really, the best way to master the confusing world of web design is practice, practice, practice. But if you find you've plateaued and aren't making any headway, try to connect with someone who can mentor you through your block. My site was about half done and stick ugly when I was lucky enough to connect with business coach Michael Knowles (http://www.mwknowles.com).
He's the one who tipped me off to the best bargain on the net: GotLogos.com will make you a professional logo based on your specs for $25 and deliver it in three days. If you plan to do business online, a logo is indispensable.
Michael also opened my eyes to the vital importance of search engine optimization. Don't groan, this is a major aspect of web design and you need to know about it if you want people to actually find you on the net. Take some time to visit SEO sites - here are just two among many - and soak up some of their search engine savvy:
Now you've learned how important the right keywords are. But do you know WHAT the right keywords are, the ones that will attract the most visitors to your site?
http://www.WordTracker.com has an unlimited free trial version that will help you find the words used most often by people searching for your type of product or service. This tool was invaluable to me and determined the keywords I wrote into my content, meta tag titles and descriptions.
PAY ME, PLEASE
Last but certainly not least, to allow people to pay me for my words, I use PayPal. It doesn't cost my clients anything to send me money and the fees I pay to receive payment are minimal. As you have already guessed, I like things low-maintenance and cheap, and setting up a credit card account (even with a third-party provider) comes with fees and lots of conditions.
So those are the main resources I used to graduate to Girl Web Designer. No, my site isn't full of high-tech wizardry and complex scripts... that's next year's project... but it works, it informs, it sells and it looks pretty good. See for yourself: http://www.TheWriteContent.com
Finally, don't let anyone tell you that only web designers can make websites. If you're stubborn, thrifty or you just like to do it yourself -- and if all you need is a basic, no frills site -- there's nothing stopping you. And oh-what-a-feeling! when the website you built goes online. I just wish I had known THEN what you know NOW!
. . .
By Heather Reimer © 2002 - About the Author:
Your online business CAN generate more traffic and revenues. For a FREE content analysis of your site, visit: http://www.TheWriteContent.com
TheWriteContent.com delivers action-inspiring web content, sales letters, newsletters, press releases and more. Editing/proofreading also available. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SIM's "Tip of the Week" back issues available at... http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/ezines
TIPS, TOOLS & RESOURCES
Keeping your image sizes small helps your page load faster. This tool compresses your images, and gives you a number of results to choose from. This tool compresses both static and animated banners too. Select either GIF Cruncher or JPEG cruncher depending on the format of your image. http://www.spinwave.com/
Meta Tag Generator
Free offers this Meta Tag Analyzer and Meta Tag Generator as a courtesy to their web visitors. Tags and Titles are the first step to a successful search engine experience. http://www.topseo.com/meta-tag-generator.html
Slow Download Remedy
Are you getting a very slow response when you try to download a page? Or do you experience problems with websites that do not fully download? Here's what to do:
Try clicking Stop on your browser's toolbar, then Refresh or Reload the page. What this combination does for you is force the connection to be re-established and find a new route from your computer to the server. This tactic will often bypass a clogged router and get you a faster connection.
* For more great tips and tools, visit our website:
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* Check out SIM's Top "10" Affiliate Review at
SIM's WEEKLY REPORTS
Pop-Up Windows: A Nuisance or a Gold Mine?
Repetition: The Secret to Visibility and Attention!
Make It Comfortable To Buy
Does Your Website Sell?
FEEDBACK & CONTRIBUTIONS
How To Integrate Keywords Into Your Web Site Copy
If you're reading this and your web site doesn't contain any body text on the home page, give yourself a good smack and go to your room without supper. When you're ready to behave and design your site with the search engines in mind, come back out and read this article.
The simple truth is this: search engines read text and not much else. You absolutely, positively need to use text on the pages of your site that you want indexed and ranked highly. Not graphical text that you created in your fancy design software, but actual, visible body text. Not sure if your site uses graphical or body text? A good rule of thumb that I learnt from search engine guru Danny Sullivan is to try and highlight the text with your mouse. If you can drag your mouse over the text when viewing it in a browser, chances are this is body text and the search engines can read it.
Ok, so you've created your body copy and your site pages are loaded with good old-fashioned text. But your job's not over! Now you need to get targeted. Search engines aren't going to rank your web site about socks highly if your body copy talks about foot sizes. You need to get specific. If you sell socks, then for heaven's sake, make sure your site copy has plenty of references to the word socks! At the risk of sounding like Dr Seuss, if you want to be found for, big socks, small socks, cotton socks and wool socks, then mention them all. Better still, sort your copy into categories based on your products and services. If you sell blue socks AND red socks, then have a page dedicated to each kind. This allows you to target niche keywords within your copy and meet the relevancy guidelines for logical search queries.
It sounds so obvious, but I'm constantly amused by the number of web sites I see selling particular items without once making reference to those items in their body copy. For example, there are thousands of sites on the Internet promoting web site design services right? Next time you see one, take a look at their body copy. You'll be surprised how often you'll see flashy looking sites without a single mention of the phrase "web site design" in their page copy. Instead they'll use fancy all graphic pages or Flash movies. Or if they do use body text, it might include cryptic jargonised language like "Internet Solutions" or "online brand building".
What the heck does this tell a search engine about their business? Absolutely nothing. Are these sites going to be considered a relevant match for search queries about "web site design"? No way! The creators of these sites might think they're being clever, but they are really missing the boat entirely. What's the point of having a web site if you are going to sabotage its ability to be found?
Anyway, back to you and your web site. So now you've added plenty of text to your pages and the copy flows well for the reader. You've researched your keywords and phrases using WordTracker or something similar and now you're faced with the dilemma of integrating the keywords into your carefully written copy. So how do you satisfy the search engine's craving for keywords without interrupting the copy flow for the reader? The answer is: very carefully.
Let's take a look at a practical example. We have a client that specializes in luxury adventure travel. Before I optimized their site, part of the home page copy read like this:
"We specialise in providing vacations for people who want a personal service. We bring to our efforts a fanatical obsession with quality and exclusivity. We also bring a freshness, an outward-going passion for discovery which justifies our growing reputation as one of the world's top travel providers. We can put together packages that include all adventure activities, accommodation, transport and food."
Extensive WordTracker keyword research for the client had determined that the home page should target the following key phrases:
- adventure travelSo taking our original home page text, the challenge was to integrate these keywords carefully and naturally so as not to disturb the logical flow of the copy and lose the interest of the visitor. Here's how I did it:
"We specialise in providing the best adventure vacations for people who want a personal and tailored travel service. We bring to our efforts a fanatical obsession with quality and exclusivity. We also bring a freshness, an outward-going passion for discovery which justifies our growing reputation as one of the world's top overseas adventure travel providers. We can put together luxury travel packages that include all adventure activities, accommodation, transport and food".
Note that the key phrase "overseas adventure travel" accommodates the phrase "adventure travel" too. Voila! The search engines are happy because the site contains text content relevant to related search queries, the client is happy because we were able to integrate the keywords without distracting the visitor and I'm happy because I know the site is going to rank highly for the client's target search terms.
Now go and apply the same principles to your own site...
. . .
Copyright © Kalena Jordan 2002 - About the Author:
Article by Kalena Jordan, CEO of Web Rank. Kalena was one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia & New Zealand and is well known and respected in her field. For more of her articles on search engine ranking and online marketing, please visit http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com
If you have a promotion tip to share (or an affiliate program that would be of interest to the rest of us) or if you have a web design tip, or a specific question, please feel free to post all tips, questions, or answers to posted questions here and I will add your email or URL with it. It's FREE promotion!
Send your tips, questions or answers to:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
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