+=+=+=+= INSIDER REPORT =+=+=+=+

ISSN 1710-0747
February 24, 2004
E-Zine #135

SIM's INSIDER REPORT is a free bi-monthly 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.

==> Tip of the Week
==> Online Weekly Reports
==> Tips, Tools & Resources
==> Feedback & Contributions
==> Food for Thought
==> Classifieds
==> Administrivia

SIM's Insider Report free marketing newsletter

First, a warm WELCOME! to all new subscribers!

I was recently invited to evaluate a new piece of website creation software that a friend has been using on his site.

The software is titled Antenna and it does produce some pretty slick looking pages. Web design software has come a long way...

...OR has it?

The problem I have with these pages is that they suffer inherent design shortcomings and demonstrate no marketing consideration. They are far from "search engine sticky" and will never attract much traffic without having to pay for it.

Given that you may be willing to pay for that traffic... will your visitors be moved to act on your offer when they do come or will they simply be dazzled by your stunning looks?

I am devoting this entire issue of the Insider Report to shining some light on proper site design and marketing consideration.

On that note, I have 3 excellent reports by Larisa Thomason to share with you. Larisa is Senior Web Analyst at NetMechanic, Inc.

The reports are titled...
  1. Search Engine Promotion Checklist
  2. Web Site Usability Checklist
  3. Prelaunch Checklist
*see our "Tips, Tools & Resources" section for more info

Stefan Mischook offers us some healthy food for thought with his report titled "The Do's and Don'ts of Web Site Design" which you'll find in our "Feedback & Contributions" section.

And you will not want to miss our featured Tip of the Week titled "Attention Grabbing Web Design Will Kill Your Sale!"

Dan Porteous

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Attention Grabbing Web Design Will Kill Your Sale!

In the off-line marketing world it is all about trying to get the attention of the potential consumer to a commercial message. The primary goal is to get noticed by the public.

And this is true whether it be radio, TV, magazines, newspapers or posters. It all comes down to getting noticed.

On the Web this doesn't work! The reason for this is that on the web, the net surfer is actively searching and looking for information from this gigantic data repository and database that we call the Internet.

They are scanning and reading text on web sites and they are mostly blind to graphics and pictures.

In the off-line world the potential target is mostly passive and experiences ads in a state of relaxation among other stimulations. Here you must scream out your message to market your product or service.
Off-line people are passive!
On the Web people are active!
What does this mean for your web site?

For one thing, when anyone visits your web site, you at that moment already have their full attention. So, there is no need to get visual attention to attract your visitors. They are on your site, already!

But, you normally have their full attention only until they have decided if your site is what they are looking for or not. If your site is not what they are looking for or they don't understand that your site is what they are looking for they quickly leave your site, never to return.

The time between their arrival at your site and their decision to stay or leave is very short. Normally less than 10 seconds!

If you use flash or large graphics, which take too long to load, most people leave without figuring out what your site is about. The attention span on the Net is short!

Web surfers are not looking for graphics. They arrive prepared to read the information you present.

When they arrive you need to keep their attention and inform them about what your site is all about, describing its BENEFITS.

You need to keep their attention, BUT not by an attention grabbing web design! Instead, use attention grabbing TEXT! The most important attention grabbing text is the headline! The headline will break it or make it!

Does this mean that the web design can look sloppy or amateurish? No! It just means that the design of a site should not be made with extensive graphics or flash presentation. This will just confuse and take to long time to download. If you make a clean and easy navigational web site you are much better off!

Yet, what one sees on the Internet is too often sites with advanced web design that leave you wondering what its all about and what its creators are thinking!

If website owners and webmasters concentrated more of their effort on text information and less on design, they would see much better responses from potential customers.

There is no need to hire a web designer and pay them several 1000's of dollars to make a site attractive and to make it commercially viable. In most cases this is contra-productive.

The web designer often will kill your sale by creating attention grabbing web design. Instead, put your effort into the text information on your site!
. . .
Article by Per Strandberg - Copyright 2003
Per Strandberg is a software designer and web site maker!
He has a web site which offer data backup information
at http://www.data-backup-and-storage.com
Visit his site with web traffic generating tips
at http://www.catch-traffic.com

SIM's "Tip of the Week" back issues available at... http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/ezines

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Pleased With Your Google Description?
If not, consider these tips for getting the Google description
that YOU want...

22 Ways to Grow Your Subscriber List
Learn how to effectively grow your subsciber list with these great tips from a marketing industry veteran... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/tips/tipsales.html

Listen for the Sale
As anybody who is a good salesperson can tell you, listening carefully is the best way to get the sale... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/tips/tipbiz.html

Selecting the Perfect Background and Font for Your Website
When selecting a background for your website, make sure you select a background that will compliment your text and design... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/tips/tipdesign.html

I Made a Form. What Do I Do Now?
Get the inside edge on forms and the CGI behind them from veteran William Bontrager, one of the best in the business... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/tips/tipsite.html

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Search Engine Promotion Checklist
Some webmasters think Web promotion is simple: just submit the site to search engines and wait for the customers to visit. But that approach considers promotion at the end of the Web design process, instead where it belongs - at the beginning. A successful search engine promotion strategy begins with your source code... http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol7/promo_no4.htm

Web Site Usability Checklist
Search engine promotion is important: most visitors use a search engine to find your site. But once they arrive, they have to be able to actually use the site and understand the content. Otherwise, your site is a waste of their time... http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol7/design_no4.htm

Prelaunch Checklist
Launching (or re-launching) a Web site can be a complicated process and you shouldn't rush through it. Take your time and find problems before you post your site! Our list of 10 potential problem areas will help you launch your site with confidence... http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol7/beginner_no4.htm


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* For more great tips and tools, visit our website:

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The Do's and Don'ts of Web Site Design

Let's discuss an important point about online content/text versus print. People read text off a computer screen at about 1/4th the speed that they do paper. This important fact tells us that we should keep what we want to say on the web short and sweet. If some of my articles have been too long, I apologize for my flapping mouth and keyboard!

My goal with Killersites.com is to teach how to build great sites while making it as easy as possible for people. I'm trying to do this with "to the point" articles and newsletters. As such I have avoided a diatribe of things like the history of HTML and left out some of the marginal options in web design. Instead I've focused on those things that have come up often in my own experiences over the years.

There are many options available when creating web pages, many good and many bad. The following is a list of some of those options and how I think you should deal with them.

Some things you should do and not do in your web pages:

1. No page counters: Page counters do nothing except make you look like an amateur, mess with your design and tell people information about your site you probably don't want them to know! If you want to know how many people are hitting your site, just ask your host for server stats. Any host worth it's salt should be able to provide you with detailed stats that make page counters look stupid.

2. Forget blinking or flashing text: The only place you see blinking and or flashing text is on the neon signs of naked bars or circa 1995-96 web sites! People don't like them and expect to see naked people inside sites or buildings that have them - enough said.

3. Make your titles on your web page make sense: One of the core attributes of a web page is its title. In between the tags you can specify the page's title as it appears in the browsers top title bar and in the search engine results.

People pay attention to page titles, so you should make sure that they are clear. If you have a page on how to take care of dogs and you happen to have a dog named "Jimmy" don't title your page: "How to look after Jimmy and his furry friends." You should title you page something like: "How to take care of dogs."

4. Don't force people to download a new browser of special plug- in to see your site: Unless you have a site that people are dying to see, why limit your audience because you want to use some special features in a browser or a plug-in like Flash. Today, with proper use of CSS and HTML you can present fantastic looking pages without having to jump through the hoops old timers like me had to when garbage browsers like Netscape 4 were being used in great numbers.

5. Think twice before using framesets: In the olden days you could argue a use for framesets because of HTML's lousy layout capabilities. Today with CSS positioning being well supported by all the major browsers there is no need to use framesets for just about 99.9% of websites. Why don't you want to use framesets you ask? Well beginners tend to have trouble creating and using them properly. Framesets tend to make websites more complicated than they need to be and finally they can cause you all kinds of problems with the search engines.

6. Don't try any stupid cheat tricks in an attempt to fool the search engines: In the past we webmasters developed various nefarious (disreputable) methods in an attempt to get higher rankings in the search engines. Tactics included putting hundreds of key words on the pages as invisible text etc - These tactics may have had some limited success in the past, but those days are long gone. Try to fool Google (the king of search engines) and you and your web site will die a horrible and painful death! I will not describe how to get high rankings now, but keep this in mind: good content honestly presented is the foundation of high rankings and high traffic for your site.

7. Chat rooms: Most people don't give a crap about chat rooms. And worst than having a chat room is an empty chat room! Who wants to hang out at a club that has nobody inside? So unless you have a web site with tens of thousands of visitors a month and is of a subject that might necessitate a chat room, don't do it.

8. Flash intros: I am guilty of this as much as the next guy. A few years back Flash intros where all the rage, not sure if anyone knew why we "needed" them, but as it turns out the "skip intro" button is the 2nd most clicked on the web today. Don't waste your time on Flash intros and in my opinion Flash should be only used in special situations.

9. Under construction pages: Just forget it, if the page is not ready, don't put it up. If you have links that are pointing to the pages, disable them until your page is ready. If your page is truly "under construction" and has content on it that is ready to be seen by your web surfers, just post a "last updated" date and make sure you get the new content in place soon. What ever you do, don't put one of those cheesy "under construction" images on the page.

. . .

Article by Stefan Mischook - Copyright 2003
Stefan Mischook operates http://www.killersites.com, the official website to David Siegels book 'Creating Killer Web Sites'*. In addition to all the books' material, we now have a web site designers forum, newsletter and new articles! Killersites.com is now more than ever, a web designers resource on creating web sites and database driven web applications.

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:

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Words are, of course, the most
powerful drug used by mankind.
startup marketing and website promotion--Rudyard Kipling
startup marketing and website promotion (1865-1936)

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Legal Stuff

We accept no responsibility whatsoever for the content, profitability or legality of any published articles or advertisements contained within SIM's Insider Report.

Although all of the articles have been selected for their content, the publishing of such articles within this newsletter does NOT constitute a recommendation of the products or services mentioned or advertised within those articles.

Be responsible! Always do your own Due Diligence before responding to any offer.

The SIM's INSIDER REPORT is a production of Startup Internet Marketing and is owned by Dan Porteous

ISSN 1710-0739

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