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Web Design and Marketing Strategies

How to enhance your Internet presence!


Edward B. Toupin
ESBN: 48884-001107-173840-57
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Published in 2001 by Edward B. Toupin, Las Vegas, NV, United States.
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The Internet is a great source of information and a great place to bring people together. Also,
the Internet provides a means of leveling the playing field by allowing small businesses to
compete with larger corporations on even ground! Through proper marketing, you can achieve
a level of exposure similar to that of many of the larger Web sites. Success is not based so
much on the product as it is in the way that the product is marketed!
A very important point to remember is that cyberspace is extremely volatile and the rules are
always changing. To become a successful Internet marketer you'll need to stay informed of new
developments and take advantage of new marketing methods as they become available. This
e-guide will give you a starting point in your marketing ventures, but it's up to you to fine-tune

your skills and maintain your position within the changing global environment.
There are many e-books and reports available that provide detailed information on a few
aspects of marketing. This premise of this e-guide is to provide you with a laundry list of
information that can help you properly market your goods and services to the global
community. Many of the methods presented have helped in the success of other Web sites.
What is an e-guide?
An e-guide is a presentation that provides a foundation of knowledge and
references for additional learning for the reader. The premise of an e-guide is
to present enough information to the reader so that they feel comfortable with
examining more, in-depth topics referenced within the content of the e-guide.
The purpose of this e-guide is not to make you an expert. Instead, the
information presented will make you knowledgeable enough to become an
expert. The e-guide presents various aspects of Web design and marketing as
well as references that you can use to obtain a better understanding of each
topic.
You're probably aware that there are many
different methods and opinions on Internet
marketing. The advantage to having
different avenues is that you can choose
which methods are best suited for your
business. The problem is that it's difficult to
elegantly mesh the best marketing
schemes together to make a great
marketing campaign!
In this e-guide, we'll be examining many of
the aspects of Internet marketing available
today. To understand the concepts
presented, you should have a basic
understanding of Web page creation and
researching on the Internet. You can find
out more in Web Site Development: A-to-Z
for Beginners.
Additionally, you should have the need to
answer one important question:
How can I make the available marketing
methods work together
for the best possible results?
The premise of this e-guide is to answer
that question! The pages of this e-guide will
provide you with information based on
actual experiences. This information
provides an overview of some unique

tactics for Internet marketing as well as


how these tactics work together to create
an Internet Marketing Plan.
This first few chapters provide a basic
overview of marketing on the Internet. Pay
attention to the topics presented since they
will be the foundation for the remainder of
the e-guide. Once we get past the basics,
the following chapters cover Web site
marketing and some of the important
elements that make a Web site marketable
and visible to the global community!
Marketing is not just advertising, but is a whole
approach to providing a positive image for a
product or service. For conventional marketing,
many organizations hire entire companies to
provide a professional presentation for goods and
services in both print and electronic form. On the
Internet, marketing takes on a different approach
and it can be managed with fewer resources.
To approach marketing, you must understand
some of the basic reasons for marketing. The most
important reason is that you want to attract people
to a particular location. Once they're at the
location, you want to entice them to purchase a
product or service.

Many Internet marketing


campaigns involve
attracting a Web surfer to
a specific location in the
global community. The
primary element of the
attraction is a sales pitch
for a product or service.
This method has proven to
be successful in
conventional marketing
methods, however, you
must take on a new view
of marketing when
presenting to our global
community!
To make the change from
conventional to electronic

marketing, you must


understand some of the
basic elements of this new
approach. The following
items, covered throughout
this e-guide, contain the
primary elements of a
successful campaign:

Do What
Works ... Use
Good Judgement
If you find a
successful method
or devise a new
approach to
marketing, make it
work for you!
However, you
must ensure that
your approach is
acceptable within
the ever-changing
expectations of the
global community.
If you use an
approach that
brings in 50% of
your target market
and makes the
other 50% angry,
then you must
change your
tactics!
Reputations are
made and broken
overnight on the
Internet and one
improper posting
can cost you your
business, not to
mention your
Internet
connection.

Information is
King
A majority of the
Web users today
surf for information
and entertainment.
If you provide a
presence that is

solely oriented
toward the sale of
a product, then
you'll probably
miss out on some
of your potential
clientele. You want
to provide
information,
interactivity, and
links to create a
Web site that will
attract a wide
range people.
Tailored
Marketing
Many
organizations that
provide Web
development and
promotional
services for Webbased businesses
provide oversimplistic services
for the client.
Developing a site
and promoting it to
a few hundred
engines will not
create a
successful
presence. You
must research,
design, and create
a tailor-made
marketing plan for
your business and
your product or
service.
Promotional
Techniques are
Ever-Changing
It's impossible to
say which
techniques will
provide the
highest return. The
best way to start a
campaign is to
devise a marketing
plan for your target
audience and
adjust it based on

your analysis.
Monitoring hit logs,
search engines,
list sites,
newsgroups, and
e-mail will assist
you in better
tuning your
marketing efforts.
A Positive Image
Don't jump in,
build a Web site,
and promote it all
over the world!
Remember that
you're not only
trying to attract
clientele, but
you're also trying
to create a positive
image for yourself
and your business.
Unconventional
Methods and
Risks
Don't be afraid to
take risks and
develop
unconventional
methods for
marketing and
promotion. One of
the fastest ways to
attract clientele is
to be unique!
However, be
careful that you
don't perform any
unethical activities
(e.g., spamming).
Be unique, but
work within the
boundaries of the
global community.
Conventional
Marketing
One element of
marketing, that
many on-line
businesses
eliminate, is that of
conventional
marketing.
Internet-based

marketing is
phenomenal,
however, as long
as printed material
exists, it's
essential that you
take advantage of
the medium!
Remember that
probably not
everyone in your
market has
accepted the
Internet and some
people still rely on
printed material for
most of their
information.
Rapid
Communications
Information does
travel quickly on
the Internet! The
major benefit is
that your clients
can now contact
you immediately
via e-mail. The
problem, for most,
is that your clients
know that their email is in your
mailbox within a
second or two.
As part of the
marketing plan,
you must establish
some type of
procedure for
managing e-mail.
This procedure
should include a
preformatted reply
message that your
clients receive
almost
immediately. The
procedure should
also take into
account some sort
of a follow-up
mechanism to
keep in touch with

them while you


service their
request.
Always check your email and reply or handle
the e-mail
as required. Never allow
your e-mail to sit for
more than
24 hours without a reply!

The World Wide


Web is World
Wide
You are no longer
working only with
people in your
local community.
By stepping into
the World Wide
Web, you've
stepped into the
international
community. Many
users that visit
your site won't
have the same
cultural, social, or
linguistic
background as
those in your local
community. You
can't stress ethnic,
cultural, or other
discriminatory
elements in your
marketing or you'll
drive off many of
your clients!

Content and
Functionality
There are
thousands of sites
on the Internet that
simply present a
lot of graphics, but
no real content. To
attract users to
your site, ensure
that your content
represents your
product or service

appropriately.
Additionally,
ensure that your
page loads fast
enough to keep
your visitor's
attention.
The idea of
providing
maximum content
differs from
traditional
marketing efforts.
Traditionally, we
wanted to capture
someone's
attention with
some type of flash
or gimmick. On the
World Wide Web,
you want to attract
attention, but you
also want visitors
to stay on your site
for a while, learn
about your
business, and
return at a later
date.
Keep in mind is
that no one likes to
read the same
newspaper every
single day. People
like variety and
they like to keep
up to date with
news and trends.
It's essential that
you devise some
set of procedures
that provide for
changes in your
Web pages on a
regular basis to
keep people
coming back for
more!
Just because your site is available on
the Internet doesn't mean that anyone
will visit! How are you going to bring

people to your site? The answer is--promotion! Promotion is a very


important process that is directly
related to the success of your Web site.
As with anything, if no one knows about
your site, then no one will visit!
It's essential to stay on top of the
promotion of your site. The more
people see and hear of your business,
the more visitors you'll attract. The
other side of the process, monitoring,
allows you to determine just how
successful you are and how to adjust
your plans to make your efforts even
more successful! The following
information provides a general
overview of the important items
involved in promoting and monitoring
your site for a successful marketing
plan:

Conventional Marketing
In addition to registering the
Web site on hundreds of
directories and engines, also
advertise in the newspapers as
well as place your URL and email address on business
cards, advertisements, and
brochures.

Research
Any business using the Internet
can gather a great deal of
information about its position in
the market as well as
information about a
competitor's market position
and plans. An Internet marketer
should constantly check the
competitions' Web sites to find
out their next move and review
their current projects. Research
can uncover some excellent
opportunities that are available
any place on the globe!

The Plan in Review


The entire marketing process
can uncover some outstanding
opportunities in the global
community! You must create

and adjust your plans


continually to account for
changes in technology,
business, and global
expectations. By creating and
following a detailed marketing
plan you'll not only succeed in
your business, but you'll also
provide a professional image to
the global community!
Regardless of your marketing plan or medium, it's
essential that you monitor your progress. By
monitoring your progress, and adjusting your plan
accordingly, you can increase sales, decrease
expenses, and better target your market.
One point that I always raise with my clients is that
you have to know how well your marketing is
working. When you pay attention to the results of
your marketing, you can better understand how the
market is moving and how to best present yourself
and your company.
If you haphazardly advertise on every promotional
site and engine in the world, every month, without
knowing the results, you're wasting your time! If you
focus your attention down to only those sites that
provide the greatest response, you can save time
and money!

Monitoring Your Progress


For the most part, it's difficult to know
where someone heard about your site.
There are numerous scripts and applets out
there that you can embed into your Web
pages to capture information on each
visitor. Additionally, there are scripts that
can tell you the URL of the referring page.
The problem is that, unless you want to
learn, you need to have some background
in JavaScript, Perl, or Java to properly
implement these tools. You can find out
more in Web Site Development: A-to-Z for
Beginners.
One way to overcome this problem is to
have your visitors fill out some type of form
when placing an order or filling out a
guestbook. At the bottom of that form, have
them enter the name of the site where they
heard about you and your business. This is
a good way to collect qualified marketing

information---especially if it comes from


active clients!
Another method of determining your
marketing image is to use an application
called WebPosition. WebPosition will allow
you to determine your position in the
numerous search engines on the Internet.
With this application you can better adjust
your marketing approach and modify your
pages to raise your position toward the top!

Adjusting Your Marketing


At the end of the month, go through the
information and determine which Internet
resources produced most of the hits to your
site. At this point, you can determine which
sites to focus your marketing towards,
which sites need adjusting, and on which
sites to minimize marketing.
Additionally, as you promote your site, keep
track of which advertisements or
information went to which site. This type of
record keeping will let you know which
advertisements generate the most results
and will allow you to better enhance your
marketing. Focusing on the advertisement
that pulls the most hits will increase your
traffic considerably!
In the instance that your search engine
position is not where you would like it to be,
go back to your pages and modify them to
better position your page toward the top of
the engine lists!
Through proper marketing and tracking
your progress, you have the opportunity to
increase your site traffic considerably. Just
remember to plan out your campaign and
use the information provided. With a little bit
of work---you'll do great!

Before you can actually start a business on the Internet, you


have to have a product. Many individuals or businesses simply
move their physical storefront to the Web and use their existing
products. Others want a business, but don't have a product.
What can you do?
There are many ways either to acquire a new product or to
enhance your existing product marketing to bring in more

people. One of the most popular methods of marketing is to


sell information products. Information brokering is a key
element of marketing on the Web. Additionally, you can give
away free information products to augment your current
marketing strategies for an existing product. Another
outstanding mechanism for marketing and selling on the Web
is to work with the numerous Business-to-Business (B2B)
vendors available today.
There are numerous ways to bring in potential customers, but
the most effective way is to provide a mechanism that changes
on a regular basis (e.g., information, games, etc.) to keep them
coming back for more.
Many new online business owners start their career by selling a service or
some type of information. Services are fantastic, especially those that
involve some level of entertainment. Information is great, but it can't be
get rich reports or work at home schemes. If you want to sell information,
sell something substantial that involves an ultimate product or service.
There are thousands of information-producing Web sites out there today.
You can visit places like IceMall and download hundreds of reports
discussing various businesses and topics. You can also start your own
publishing company by purchasing the rights to various reports and resell
them yourself. This is good and it works! However, think hard about the
fact that you're falling in-line with thousands of other sites---the
competition is fierce.
To attract attention, you need to wrap the information around a product or
service. For instance, one of my clients started a real estate service. That
was great! However, what would make that real estate service unique?
Information, entertainment, a community approach wrapped around the
listings and services she offered to her clients. Articles, live chats, and
message boards allowed people to use information to make their real
estate purchase more pleasant and informative. Additionally, as she wrote
more information products herself, she became the expert because she
let people know what she could do for her clients as well as what she
knew about the industry.
Once you determine the core product, develop a plan to generate articles
and reports about the product. Such articles and reports would consist of
how-to information and details or reviews about the product. Additionally,
write articles covering various aspects of your experience or knowledge
about the product or service. Such articles would consist of operating
instructions, benefits, or just an overview of what the product or service
can do for someone else.
Distribute the articles through various free-content services. Such
services take your articles and distribute them to various Webmasters or
editors that use the content on their sites. In return for using your articles,
the Webmaster posts your byline and contact information so that readers
can contact you for more information. Additionally, you can post your own

articles on your site or create an e-zine to distribute through various opt-in


lists. Once you've acquired enough articles, generate an e-guide for sale
on your site!
The primary advantage to using B2B services available on the Web is that you can
create a new business in a matter of minutes and provide additional income streams.
B2B businesses provide various levels of integration with partners on the Web,
however, the actual model will vary according to your needs. For this discussion,
however, we will focus on the catalogue-hub.
The catalogue-hub provides you with a way to market products and services provided
by an intermediary or a manufacturer. The catalogue hub is the last step of a product
as it goes to market---it's the marketing site and e-commerce site from which products
are purchased. For you, this means that you can create a new business based on the
offerings of other companies on the Web. You can provide these services under your
name and market the products to the consumer.
Catalogue-hubs can provide a way to market various industries, or various vendors
within an industry. Using these various industries, you can either enhance your
existing business or create a new business from the ground-up. For instance, if your
product or service involves some aspect of the automotive industry---selling rebuilt
carburetors. You can use the B2B services of other automotive manufacturers to
provide additional products for your business.
A market-specific hub ties together numerous industries to meet the needs of a
consumer in one place. With a market-specific hub, your focus is on the market and
you take advantage of several industries to meet the market demand. For instance,
with your automotive business, you can provide goods and services for various
aspects of the automotive market. You can provide access to air fresheners, stereos,
seats, ignition systems, tires, hitches, and various other components all from different
manufacturing industries.

An industry-specific hub ties in various components of one industry into one site. With
this approach, you are providing access to various vendors or manufacturers within a
specific industry. For instance, with the automotive business, you can set up a section
of your site for four-wheel vehicles and market various off-road items from several
vendors all within the same arena of the industry.

Each vendor maintains differing approaches to payment for sales of their products or
services. You will have to check with the B2B provider for more information.
To enhance the appeal of your product or service, you can provide affiliate links on
your site. Not only do affiliate offerings provide additional information and services to
your clients, but they also offer a way to bring in additional income for you.
Affiliate programs offer a simple, but effective, avenue to developing additional
income streams. You earn commissions by placing banners or text links on your web
pages or ads and articles in newsletters. Classified ads can also be used effectively.
The more traffic you create, the more sales you make. Most charge nothing to
become an Associate, others may have an inexpensive, one time fee. Most furnish
their Associates with a free web page or a customized URL to the primary marketing
site. Additionally, they handle all the ordering and customer service.

Understanding the intricate details of the Internet is not a task that we can complete in this
document. To do so would mean that we would have to write a set of books with each volume
covering a specific aspect of the Internet. We would then have to create a new volume weekly to
keep up with the ever-changing elements of this global environment. For our purposes, we will
discuss the basics of the Internet so that you can have a general understanding to assist you in

the discussions covered throughout this e-guide.

he Internet is a vast network of computers originally created in the 1950's by the US Army. The original
remise of this network, called ARPANet, was to give the military a way to communicate after a
atastrophic enemy attack. The survivability of the ARPANet depended on the fact that information could
e automatically rerouted to any available communications path on the network.

n the 1960's and 1970's, with the help of educational institutions, this network became increasingly
vailable for civilian access and research. During the 1980's, the National Science Foundation created
he NSFnet by linking several high-speed computers together, which took over the Internet from ARPAnet
n 1991.

n 1990 Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at the European Particle Physics Laboratory (CERN) based in
Geneva, developed the hypertext system on which the World Wide Web is based. The simplicity of the
World Wide Web led to an exponential growth in Web use for technical and educational publishing on the
nternet. Thanks to the development of browsers like Viola, Mosaic, Internet Explorer, and Netscape, and
o the multimedia capabilities, the World Wide Web became extremely popular for commercial and
ersonal publishing.

he Internet is composed of numerous smaller networks, each of which maintains its own internal
esources or a subset of that which is seen on the Internet as a whole. The Internet includes other
etworks such as the Online Services (e.g. American On Line, CompuServe, Prodigy, etc.),
orporate networks, and Internet Service Providers (e.g. Mile High Online, Netcom, etc.).

he previous figure is a very basic view of the architecture of the Internet. As you can see,
ompanies, service providers, and online services alike connect to a central communications link
hat allows each of the entities to communicate with one another. As is depicted, that central
ommunications link continues onward allowing thousands of other entities to connect to the
nternet. These connections exist via standard telephone lines, satellite, microwave, fiber, and the

ke providing a basic backbone over which global communications can occur.

Corporate and educational connections to the Internet usually exist through an intermediate
machine called a firewall or proxy server. This server provides connectivity for the internal network
f the institution to the Internet and provides protection for the internal network from intruders on
he Internet. This type of connection allows users of the internal network to use the resources
within the institution (e.g. printers, modems, corporate e-mail, etc.) as well as send and receive email, use the Web, and access resources on the Internet.

Online Services allow users to dial into a central host to gain access to the resources of the
Online Service as well as the Internet. To obtain this type of access you must join one of the many
nline services available today including the more popular services such as America Online,
rodigy, Microsoft Network, and CompuServe. Online services maintain their own internal
esources such as file download areas, chat areas, forums, and related internal services. Access
o the Internet is performed in a similar way to that of the corporate connection.

nternet Service Providers, or ISPs, allow you to gain direct access to the Internet. With an ISP,
ou can dial into a central site, which provides you with a direct interface to the Internet. Unlike
Online Services, you don't have access to forums, chat rooms, and the like within the ISP. Instead,
ou can access the numerous resources including chat, the Web, and online forums directly on
he Internet.

stablishing an Internet Presence


Once a decision is made on establishing an Internet presence, you have to get an account
on the Internet. Such accounts provide you with access to the morass of information
available as well as access to e-mail, a Web site, and the ability to communicate with
others globally.

The first thing that you must do is to locate a means of accessing the Internet.
As we discussed earlier, there are two primary resources available for Internet
access: Online Services and Internet Service Providers.
Some of the best places to look for nation-wide ISPs and online services are
as follows:

ISP.com
EarthLink
Mile High Online
Compuserve
America Online

The software is the driving force behind all of your Internet endeavors. The software required to
provide access to the Internet is as follows:
Web Browser
o Internet Explorer
o Netscape
E-mail Application
o Microsoft Outlook
o Pegasus
o Eudora
Internet Dial-Up Application
o Dialup Networking
o RoadRunner
The Web browser allows you to access the multitude of Web sites located around the world. You
can browser can go to a Web site, view the contents, print information as necessary, and provide
feedback to the sites that they visit.
The e-mail application allows you to send and receive e-mail with other users on the Internet.
This software contains functionality to send and receive documents, images, text, and be able to
store this information locally for later reference.
The Internet dial-up application allows you to dial into the ISP or Online Service and connect to
the Internet. Once dialed into the ISP or Online Service, you can access the Web, e-mail,
videoconference, join forums, and perform research with the available resources.
For additional resources and software, visit Tucows and SoftSeek.
The domain name is that portion of the Web address, or URL, that you find after the www. The
domain name is the crux of Internet success for many organizations on the Internet as it signifies
the function that you and your company perform.
Domain names come in two shapes and sizes: your own top-level domain, or a sub-domain. The
top-level domain is the standard domain you find around the Internet---www.yourname.com. A
sub-domain, or virtual domain, contains a top-level domain name or your ISP's name--www.yourname.webhost.com.
Sub-domains usually indicate that you are getting your hosting service free of charge. The Web
host is making money by either placing ads on your site, or taking a percentage of the actual call
costs from the telephone company. This is fine for a personal home page or a local club or society
page.
If you're running a commercial site, you need to have your own top-level domain name. If you're
using a free hosting site, it doesn't say a great deal to your visitors and potential customers about
the professionalism of your company. Furthermore, some of these free hosting domain names
become rather long and are difficult to remember or to type in the search box without making a
mistake.
Choosing a Domain Name
You are now able to register a name up to 63 characters long and some people
suggest that if you choose a long name packed with keywords it will help your

search engine rankings. While there might be some advantage to gaining a


higher search engine listing, I think that this is outweighed by the disadvantages.
First, as Yahoo or Amazon have proven, a long name with lots of keywords is not
necessary for success. Neither name indicates what the sites do, but they're
probably two of the best known sites on and off the Internet---having a short,
snappy, memorable name is far more important.
If your name is too long, people won'tt remember it and probably won't come
back to your site---visitandbuystufffromouronlineshopnow.com doesn't exactly trip
off the tongue as well as Amazon.com! Also, you'll be amazed at how often you
need to type in your own URL. You might find that your URL is too long---think
about the user!
Unless you have the marketing budget of an Amazon though, it's preferable to
have your domain name related to your business so that people know what your
site is about before visiting it. Decide on several different domain names that
would best suit your company or service. Each name should be less than 16
characters---keep the name short but meaningful.
Dot Com?
Once you've decided on a name, your next task is to establish whether the name
is still available as a com. If it isn't, try org, net, to, tv, etc. To explain what
these letters represent, there are a few global domains, such as com, for
companies, org, for a charity organization, gov, for a government department.
Additionally, there are country domains like co.uk, for the United Kingdom, and
us, for the United States. Originally, each country was supposed to use its
domain name for its own residents, many of the smaller countries are selling the
rights to their domain names.
The point is that you can now get your own domain name registered with any of
these domain endings. And if you are UK based, try all UK domains. However,
despite all the alternatives, I do believe that dot com has become part of the
vocabulary, indicating any kind of Web site, the same way as Hoover has
become the generic noun for all vacuum cleaners. So if you can, try and get a
suitable dot com domain, but, if not, there are plenty of alternatives.
Registering a Domain Name
The registration function is performed through Network Solutions, Inc. Network
Solutions, Inc. is an Internet provider that maintains the listing of every domain
and address assigned on our segment of the Internet. In most cases, you can
have your ISP perform the registration at the time the account is created. There
are also many other sites (e.g., Register.com) that will tell you if your desired
name is available and will register it for you.
It's important that you follow the rules of the road when you travel on the Superhighway. Of
course, blinkers are hard to come by for virtual cycles and most people don't use them
anyway. These rules, however, involve etiquette on the Internet---Netiquette!
In the recent past, the population of people using the Internet had grown up with the
Internet, were technically minded, and understood the nature of the transport and the

protocols. Today, the community of Internet users includes people who are new to the
environment. These Newbies are unfamiliar with the culture and don't need to know about
transport and protocols. To bring these new users into the Internet culture quickly, this
chapter offers a minimum set of behaviors that organizations and individuals may take and
adapt for their own use.

E-mail provides rapid access to millions of potential clients, however, you


must be careful how you use e-mail. Daily, I receive over 200 e-mails. More
than 30% of them are garbage sent by spammers---many of them come from
some Taiwanese-based ISP that I cannot read anyway. To make sure that you
perform properly with your e-mail, below is a list of etiquette items that can
help you determine your best course of action:
Assume that e-mail on the Internet is not secure. Never put in a mail
message anything you wouldn't put on a postcard.
Just as e-mail may not be private, mail and news are subject to
forgery and spoofing of various degrees of detectability. Apply
common sense reality checks before assuming a message is valid.
Never send chain letters via e-mail as they are forbidden on the
Internet. Your network privileges can be revoked. Notify your local
system administrator if you ever receive one.
The cost of delivering an e-mail message is, on the average, paid
about equally by the sender and the recipient. This is unlike other
media such as physical mail, telephone, TV, or radio. Sending
someone mail may also cost them in other specific ways like network
bandwidth, disk space, or CPU usage. This is a fundamental
economic reason why unsolicited e-mail advertising is unwelcome
and is forbidden in many contexts.
Don't send large amounts of unsolicited information to people.
Reasonable expectations for conduct via e-mail depend on your
relationship to a person and the context of the communication. Norms
learned in a particular e-mail environment may not apply in general to
your e-mail communication with people across the Internet. Be careful
with slang or local acronyms.
Rules of common courtesy for interaction with people should be in
force for any situation and on the Internet it's doubly important where,
for example, body language and tone of voice must be inferred.
If you're using corporate e-mail, check with your employer about
ownership of e-mail that you send and receive. Laws about the
ownership of e-mail vary from place to place.
Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. You
should not send flames even if you're provoked. On the other hand,
you shouldn't be surprised if you get flamed and it's prudent not to
respond to flames. Wait overnight to send emotional responses to
messages. If you have really strong feelings about a subject, indicate
it via FLAME ON/OFF enclosures. For example: FLAME ON: This
argument is not worth the bandwidth or effort it
takes to send it. FLAME OFF
Check your e-mail subjects before responding to a message.

Sometimes a person who asks you for help or clarification will send
another message that essentially says never mind. Also make sure
that any message you respond to was directed to you. You might be
cc'd rather than the primary recipient.
Remember that people with whom you communicate are located
across the globe. If you send a message to which you want an
immediate response, the person receiving it might be at home asleep
when it arrives. Give them a chance to wake up, come to work, and
login before assuming the mail didn't arrive or that they don't care.
Verify all addresses before initiating long or personal discourse. It's
also a good practice to include the word Long in the subject header
so the recipient knows the message will take time to read and
respond to.
Remember that the recipient is a human being whose culture,
language, and humor have different points of reference from your
own. Remember that date formats, measurements, and idioms may
not travel well. Be especially careful with sarcasm.
If you think the importance of a message justifies it, immediately reply
briefly to an e-mail message to let the sender know you got it, even if
you'll send a longer reply later.
When replying to a message, include enough original material to be
understood. It's bad form to simply reply to a message by including all
the previous message ... make sure to edit out all the irrelevant
material.
Respect the copyright on material that you reproduce. Almost every
country has copyright laws.
If you're forwarding or re-posting a message you've received, don't
change the wording. If the message was a personal message to you
and you're re-posting to a group, you should ask permission first. You
may shorten the message and quote only relevant parts, but be sure
you give proper attribution.
Many e-mail applications strip header information---including your
return address. To ensure that people know who you are, include a
line or two with contact information in your signature, at the end of
your message.
Be careful when addressing e-mail. There are addresses that may go
to a group, but the address looks like it is just one person. Know to
whom you are sending.
Watch cc's when replying. Don't continue to include people if the
messages have become a two-way conversation.
Use mixed case. UPPER CASE LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING.
Use symbols for emphasis: That *is* what I meant. Use
underscores for underlining: _War and Peace_ is a good book.
Use emoticons to indicate tone of voice, but use them sparingly: :-)
is an example of a smiley. Don't assume that the inclusion of
a smiley will make the recipient happy with what you say or wipe out
an otherwise insulting comment.
Know how large a message you are sending. Including large files
such as Postscript files or programs may make your message so
large that it cannot be delivered or at least consumes excessive
resources. A good rule of thumb would be not to send a file larger
than 100 Kilobytes. Consider file transfer as an alternative, or cutting

the file into smaller chunks and sending each as a separate message.
Limit line length to fewer than 65 characters and end a line with a
carriage return.
Mail should have a subject heading that reflects the content of the
message.
If you include a signature, keep it short. Rule of thumb: no longer than
four lines. Remember that many people pay for connectivity by the
minute, and the longer your message is, the more they pay.

There are two large areas of communication on the Internet that allow many users to
communicate with each other across the globe: USENET and Listservs.
USENET is essentially a huge bulletin board on which you can read and post messages for
access by the millions of people on the Internet. It's dissected into 50,000 +/- categories (i.e.,
newsgroups) with information related to everything from radio and television to chat, computers,
and daily necessities. Listservs are scattered around the globe on independently owned servers.
Users sign up to various listservs to obtain information on a specific topic and can send
information to others who have signed up for the service.
Using the newsgroups and listservs to market your product, services, or Web site is a common
method of hitting millions of people quickly and easily. There are several methods available for
using the various groups for marketing; however, you must be careful not to go overboard and
post to every newsgroup. As with e-mail marketing, posting to multiple newsgroups, especially if
unrelated to your topic, is classified as spamming and it can get you banned and even kicked off
of your ISP!
Many newsgroups and listservs have a policy regarding unsolicited advertisements. In some
cases, if you post an unsolicited advertisement to one of the moderated groups you could get
flamed, e-mail bombed, or kicked off of your ISP. To prevent this type of retaliation from occurring,
pay attention to netiquette guidelines for posting to any newsgroup. These guidelines dictate that
you should only post messages related to a particular newsgroup and only if posting of
advertisements is acceptable.
At the bottom of your postings, you can add a small signature. A signature can be a four-line
advertisement containing your e-mail, URL, and some information on your product or service. It is
considered bad netiquette to make it too long!
The newsgroups are filled with prospects for just about every industry! Every day someone is
posting a request for information on a particular product or service. With that in mind, you can use
the newsgroups to locate potential clientele. You must locate postings related to your product or
service and reply to the originator of the posting before any of your competitors!
Locating prospects is a relatively simple task. The Web-based news servers, Google and
Remarq, provide the search mechanisms that you can use to go out and find those postings
related to your industry or market. Once you find those postings, send a short e-mail with a URL,
a phone number, and an e-mail address. The recipient might return the e-mail and at that point
you have probably made a sale!
One important point to note is that the only people that you should respond to are those
specifically requesting information or assistance. If you send information to those not requesting
information, or just blanket an entire newsgroup, you will be dubbed a spammer!

USENET
Because of their size and variety, USENET Newsgroups are hard to nail down to
one definition. For some, they are a way to discuss interests and passions with
thousands of people worldwide. For others, newsgroups are a free and easy way
to electronically publish poems, stories, song lyrics, speeches, opinions, advice,
gossip, rants and raves, computer source code, and many other items of interest.
For still others, they are a great resource for answers to problems and questions,
or to uncover new areas of research or locate prospects. Above all, the
newsgroups represent an interactive, global community!
Newsgroups are categorized into several large trees, each of which is broken
down into more and more topic specific sub-trees. Within each newsgroup are
articles, or postings, which constitute the real content of newsgroups. These
articles look like standard e-mail sent between users, but instead of just being
sent between two people, they are available for reading by everyone on the
Internet.
Depending on your Internet Service Provider, you may not be able to access
every single newsgroup. Usually when a new newsgroup is formed, your ISP has
the option of accepting or rejecting the group. If you need to access a group that
is not offered by your provider, you can configure your newsreader to access one
of the many public access news servers.
There are also two primary Web-based news servers, shown below, that are
available for public use. The advantage to these servers is that you can search
the content of the newsgroups to access only those articles that pertain to your
interests. Additionally, you don't require newsreader software, however, you can
use your standard Web browser to access the newsgroups through these sites:

Google
Remarq

Listservs
A listserv is a system that allows you to create, manage, and control e-mail lists
on a corporate network or on the Internet. These e-mail lists contain e-mail
addresses for numerous individuals interested in a similar topic. A listserv allows
you to send one e-mail to the listserv's address, which replicates the e-mail and
sends it to everyone on the list.
Think about how e-mail users actually use their e-mail. As with real world
distribution lists, e-mail lists can make it possible for people to quickly and easily
exchange information and discuss topics. The e-mail software replaces the
copying machine, with its associated costs, delays, and frustrations.
Because e-mail is delivered in a matter of seconds, e-mail lists can do a lot more
than supplement the traditional paper distribution lists. In some cases, an e-mail
list can replace a conference call. Even when a conference call is more suitable,
the electronic mailing list can prove a powerful tool for the distribution of papers,
figures, and other material needed in preparation for the conference call. Once
the call is over, it can be used to distribute a summary of the discussion and the
decisions that were made. What might have been an exchange of views between

two or three people can now become an ongoing conference on the issue or
problem at hand. Announcement lists and even refereed e-journals can be made
available to your audience, which can be as small as a few people or as large as
the entire Internet community.
One of the primary listservs on the Internet today is Yahoo!Groups. At the listserv
site, you can create groups, join groups, and communicate with millions of people
involved in various interest groups.
Netiquette for Mail Lists and Newgroups
Communicating with many people via one mail message or post is quite
analogous to communicating with one person---with the exception of possibly
offending a great many more people than in one-to-one communication.
Therefore, it's quite important to know as much as you can about the audience of
your message.

Read both mailing lists and newsgroups for one to two months before
you post anything. This helps you to get an understanding of the culture
of the group.
Do not blame the system administrator for the behavior of the system
users.
Consider that a large audience will see your posts. That may include
your current or future boss. Remember that mailing lists and Newsgroups
are frequently archived and your words may be stored for a very long
time in a place to which many people have access.
Assume that individuals speak for themselves, and what they say does
not represent their organization---unless stated explicitly.
Remember that both mail and news take system resources. Pay
attention to any specific rules covering their uses that your organization
may have.
Messages and articles should be brief and to the point. Don't wander offtopic, don't ramble and don't send mail or post messages solely to point
out other people's errors in typing or spelling. These, more than any
other behavior, mark you as an immature beginner.
Subject lines should follow the conventions of the group.
Forgeries and spoofing are not approved behavior.
Advertising is welcomed on some lists and Newsgroups, and abhorred
on others. This is another example of knowing your audience before you
post. Unsolicited advertising that is completely off-topic will guarantee
that you get a lot of hate mail.
If you're sending a reply to a message or a posting be sure you
summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just enough
text of the original to give a context. This will ensure that readers
understand when they start to read your response. Since postings are
proliferated by distribution from one host to another, it's possible to see a
response to a message before seeing the original. Giving context helps
everyone, but don't include the entire original.
Again, have a signature that you attach to your message. This will
guarantee that any peculiarities of mailers or newsreaders that strip
header information will not delete the only reference in the message of
how people may reach you.

Be careful when you reply to messages or postings. Frequently replies


are sent back to the address that originated the post---which, in many
cases, is the address of a list or group. You may accidentally send a
personal response to a great many people, embarrassing all involved. It's
best to type in the address instead of relying on the return address.
Delivery receipts, non-delivery notices, and vacation programs are
neither totally standardized nor totally reliable across the range of
systems connected to Internet mail. They're invasive when sent to
mailing lists, and some people consider delivery receipts an invasion of
privacy.
If you find a personal message has gone to a list or group, send an
apology to the person and to the group.
If you should find yourself in a disagreement with one person, make your
responses to each other via e-mail rather than continue to send
messages to the list or the group. If you're debating a point on which the
group might have some interest, you may summarize for them later.
Don't get involved in flame wars. Neither post nor respond to incendiary
material.
Avoid sending messages or posting articles that are gratuitous replies to
replies.
Be careful with monospacing fonts and diagrams. These will display
differently on different systems, and with different mailers on the same
system.
There are Newsgroups and listservs that discuss topics of wide varieties
of interests. These represent a diversity of lifestyles, religions, and
cultures. Posting articles or sending messages to a group whose point of
view is offensive to you simply to tell them they are offensive is not
acceptable. Sexually and racially harassing messages may also have
legal implications. There is software available to filter items you might
find objectionable.

Lists

Send subscribe and unsubscribe messages to the appropriate address.


Although some mailing list software is smart enough to catch these, not
all can ferret these out. It's your responsibility to learn how the lists work,
and to send the correct mail to the correct place. Although many mailing
lists adhere to the convention of having a -request alias for sending
subscribe and unsubscribe messages, not all do. Be sure you know the
conventions used by the lists to which you subscribe.
Save the subscription messages for any lists that you join. These usually
tell you how to unsubscribe as well.
In general, it's not possible to retrieve messages once you have sent
them. Even your system administrator won't be able to get a message
back once you've sent it. This means you must make sure you really
want the message to go as you have written it.
The auto-reply feature of many mailers is useful for in-house
communication, but quite annoying when sent to entire mailing lists.
Examine Reply-To addresses when replying to messages from lists.
Most auto-replies will go to all members of the list.
Don't send large files to mailing lists when Uniform Resource Locators
(URLs) or pointers to ftp-able versions will do. If you want to send it, be
sure to follow the culture of the group. If you don't know what that is, ask.

Consider unsubscribing or setting a nomail option when you can't check


your mail for an extended period.
When sending a message to more than one mailing list, especially if the
lists are closely related, apologize for cross-posting.
If you ask a question, be sure to post a summary. When doing so, truly
summarize rather than send an accumulation of the messages you
receive.
Some mailing lists are private. Don't send mail to these lists uninvited
and don't report mail from these lists to a wider audience.
If you're caught in an argument, keep the discussion focused on issues
rather than the personalities involved.

USENET

Posting refers to posting a new article to a group, or responding to a post


from someone else. Cross-Posting refers to posting a message to more
than one group. If you introduce cross-posting to a group, or if you direct
Followup-To: in the header of your posting, warn the readers.
Readers will usually assume that the message was posted to a specific
group and that follow-ups will go to that group. Headers change this
behavior.
Read all of a discussion in progress (i.e., a thread) before posting replies.
Avoid posting me too messages, where content is limited to agreement
with previous posts. Content of a follow-up post should exceed quoted
content.
Send mail when an answer to a question is for one person only.
Remember that news has global distribution and the whole world
probably is NOT interested in a personal response. However, don't
hesitate to post when something is of general interest to the Newsgroup
participants.
Check the Distribution section of the header, but don't depend on it.
Due to the complex method by which news is delivered, distribution
headers are unreliable. But, if you're posting something that will be of
interest to a limited number or readers, use a distribution line that
attempts to limit the distribution of your article to those people. For
example, set the distribution to be tx if you are posting an article that will
be of interest only to Texas readers.
If you feel an article is of interest to more than one Newsgroup, crosspost the article rather than individually post it to those groups. In general,
probably only five-to-six groups will have similar enough interests to
warrant this.
Consider using reference sources (i.e., Computer Manuals, Newspapers,
help files) before posting a question. Asking a Newsgroup where
answers are readily available elsewhere generates grumpy RTFM (i.e.,
read the fine manual) messages.
Although there are Newsgroups that welcome advertising, in general it's
considered nothing less than criminal to advertise off-topic products.
Sending an advertisement to each and every group will pretty much
guarantee your loss of connectivity.
If you discover an error in your post, cancel it as soon as possible.
Do not attempt to cancel any articles but your own. Contact your
administrator if you don't know how to cancel your post, or if some other
post, such as a chain letter, needs canceling.

If you've posted something and don't see it immediately, don't assume it's
failed and re-post it.
Some groups permit (and some welcome) posts which in other
circumstances would be considered to be in questionable taste. Still,
there is no guarantee that all people reading the group will appreciate the
material as much as you do. Use the rotate (e.g., Rot13) utility, which
rotates all the characters in your post by 13 positions in the alphabet, to
avoid giving offense.
In groups that discuss movies or books it's considered essential to mark
posts that disclose significant content. Notify the readers in your subject.
You may add blank lines to the beginning of your post to keep content
out of sight, or you may rotate it.
Forging of news articles is generally censured. You can protect yourself
from forgeries by using software that generates a fingerprint (e.g., PGP).
Postings via anonymous servers are accepted in some Newsgroups and
disliked in others. Material that is inappropriate when posted under one's
own name is still inappropriate when posted anonymously.
Expect a slight delay in seeing your post when posting to a moderated
group. The moderator may change your subject line to have your post
conform to a particular thread.

Some final rules to understand for the Web itself:


Remember that all the services belong to someone else. The people who pay the bills get
to make the rules governing usage. Information may be free---or it may not be! Be sure
you check.
If you have problems with any form of information service, start problem solving by
checking locally: file configurations, software setup, network connections, etc. Do this
before assuming the problem is at the provider's end or is the provider's fault.
Although there are naming conventions for file-types used, don't depend on these file
naming conventions to be enforced. For example, a doc file is not always a Word file.
Know how file names work on your own system.
Information services also use conventions, such as www.xyz.com. While it is useful to
know these conventions, again, don't necessarily rely on them.
Be aware of conventions used for providing information during sessions. FTP sites
usually have files named README in a top level directory which have information about
the files available. But, don't assume that these files are necessarily up-to-date or
accurate.
Don't assume that any information you find is up-to-date or accurate. Remember that new
technologies allow just about anyone to be a publisher, but not all people have
discovered the responsibilities that accompany publishing.
Unless you're sure that security and authentication technology are in use, that any
information you submit to a system is being transmitted over the Internet with no
protection from sniffers or forgers.
Since the Internet spans the globe, remember that information services might reflect
culture and life-style markedly different from your own community. Materials you find
offensive may originate in a geography which finds them acceptable. Keep an open mind.
When wanting information from a popular server, use a mirror server that's close if a list is
provided.
Don't use someone else's FTP site to deposit materials you wish other people to pick up.
This is called dumping and isn't generally acceptable behavior.
When you have trouble with a site and ask for help, provide as much information as
possible to help debug the problem.

When bringing up your own information service, such as a homepage, check with your
local system administrator to find what local guidelines are in effect.
Consider spreading out the system load on popular sites by avoiding rush hour and
logging in during off-peak times.

A Web site is an inexpensive and powerful tool for advertising goods and services to a wide range
of clientele abroad. In preparing a Web site, you must think about the image you wish to portray
to the masses. You must consider the diverse nature of the global community as well as how to
obtain their interest and keep that interest from diminishing.
The World Wide Web is an interactive medium, so your presence should be provided in different
levels of interactivity. From your prior experience, conventional marketing involves visuals and
other tools to encourage interactivity. The Internet is a place where information is provided and
retrieved, so a successful Web site will provide the following levels of interactivity with the users:
1. Navigation to the Site
2. Activity within the Site
3. Destinations
4. Information Exchange
The first level of interactivity is navigation to your site. This is a means of presenting information
to search engines, directories, and USENET to notify everyone of the location of your site. You'll
have to devise a short, usually 25 word, description of your site, services, and product to capture
the attention of the users.
The next level of interactivity involves activity on your site. Would you read the newspaper if it had
the same news every single day? Potential customers don't want to read the same Web site day
after day if it doesn't provide new and useful information. You must provide a changing
environment in the Web site to keep the site active and interesting.
The third level of interactivity involves destinations. Potential customers may not want to read a
Web site, but want to be given choices of places to go and different things to see. A Web site that
lets the viewer decide and take action is a much more successful Web site. You should provide a
series of links to other Web sites that compliment and enhance the functionality of the main Web
site.
The final level of interactivity is one of information exchange. A potential visitor should be able to
retrieve information as well as provide feedback, send e-mail, submit an order, and interact with
people from the site, or even other customers. To provide this level of interactivity you should
allow the users to provide feedback! Your users will return if they believe the company behind the
site is interested in their needs.
The Web site should provide people from all over the world with an image of your company. Since
your physical location and size are not known, companies are able to play on level ground and
are equal in the user's mind. Your corporate headquarters is represented by your homepage on
the Web thus giving you a greater ability to compete with larger and more established
competitors. If your page looks professional, functional, and is an attention-getter, then your
company looks good.
Consider how you can add value to the site beyond that of your competitors. For instance, some
sites offer free links to related sites, some have directories of businesses or resources, and some
offer free copies of software. For example, in the case of a real estate site, provide WebMort for
the users. WebMort is an amortization calculator that generates a full schedule of payments,
including the interest and principal split per payment. Additionally, the site provides access to a
lender for online pre-qualifications, or numerous other features that would attract your users.

Architecting the Site


To properly architect a site, determine the best way to present your goods and
service to the global community. This determination is based on the previously
mentioned criteria and by examining the list outlined in the appendix. This list is
an excellent tool to use in determining the best way to develop a site.
The next thing that to do is determine the best means of architecting the Web
site. This is accomplished by reviewing the responses provided from the review
of the list in the appendix and creating a schematic of the proposed site. To give
you a basic idea of how to architect a site, refer to the general schematic and the
various subsections about the illustration that follow.

Home Page
The home page section of the site should consist of numerous pieces of
information about the company, the employees, and the products. This is the
section of the site that must capture the eye of the user immediately to have
them stay and look around the rest of the site.
The main home page should provide the user with:

Monthly editorials.

A What's New section outlining what has changed or been added to the
site.
A Spotlight outlining events within the company, outstanding
achievements and new information.
A Community Spotlight outlining events within the industry or local
community.
A Corporate Exchange section providing information from the corporate
office available to the public.
Links to other areas of the site.

There are numerous ways to generate the home page dynamically, including Perl
scripts that can be found at CGI Resources. One thing to keep in mind, however,
is that: fancy is good, but obnoxious is bad! The Web site should be unique
without over-burdening the end-user or potential client. The presentation should
maintain an uncluttered and professional view with easy navigation.
Area Information
The area information pages of this real estate site should provide general
scenery and information about the surrounding areas. This information should
consist of images, census information, projections, cost of living, city planning,
and related topics. As the site grows, this section can take on additional pages
subsidized by the area businesses to eventually create a Town Mall on the
Internet.
Listing Pages
The listing pages should be categorized by the type of property (e.g. commercial,
residential, land, etc.) and accessible from the home page. The pages should
consist of one page per property with each page containing the following:

General overview of the property.


Description of the property.
A slideshow consisting of up to 10 images or floor plan presentation of
each property.
An e-mail link directly back to the agent listing the property.
A link to the listing agent's page.

A searchable database is an excellent choice for providing access to a group of


pages that display products and product information. In some cases, you can
generate static pages and have them indexed by a small search engine. In other
cases, you might want to create a template and have the pages generated
dynamically.
Information
The information section of the site should consist of general information
regarding real estate as well as articles and news. In addition, a data entry form
in this section can provide a means for users to enter information and submit it to
the company for referrals, relocation, home searches, and related information.
Utilities

The utilities section can contain various applications or information for the user--anything that brings in the users. As noted earlier, this section can provide the
WebAmort application to generate amortization schedules.
Links
The links section is very important in that the site can be cross-linked with
hundreds of other sites around the world. This cross-linking operation (a.k.a.,
reciprocal linking) allows sites to promote one another, at no cost, by providing a
link from each site back to the original site.
Additionally, the site can sport numerous banners provided by several banneradvertising firms. These banners are rotating graphical advertisements that
depict the company being advertised.
Finally, the links can provide information for users on aspects in the local
community. Such links could include local businesses, the Chamber of
Commerce, and city life sites.

The ease of use of a site is one of the major elements that continues to bring users back to a
Web site. If the site is difficult to navigate then a user will become frustrated and never return,
however, if you keep the site simple and familiar, then users will return often. The general
functionality of the site should be based on a simple point-and-click approach to navigation. The
user will simply see a graphical menu depicting each section of the site and by clicking on any
representative graphic, the user will be transferred to that section of the site.
An interactive site allows users to provide feedback to the site administrators as well as to the
individuals on the site. This interactivity for a real estate site can be provided in several different
ways:

Several forms that allow the user to enter information about themselves to provide
feedback on the site, request information from the individuals on the site, interactively
chat with individuals on the site, and e-mail individuals on the site.
Audio files containing the voices of individuals on the site outlining qualifications, land in
the area, virtual walkthroughs of properties, and related activities.
Slide shows which allow the user to view up to 10 images in sequence allowing 30
seconds per image for viewing.
Panoramic images of each room in the property or movies that discuss the various
features of the property.

All sites maintain some type of theme to capture the attention of the users. For this real estate
site, several themes could provide a greater attraction for the users:
MyOwn Community
MyOwn Town Hall
MyOwn Internet Mall
MyOwn Mountain Mall

Each of these themes represent the community for the realtor and provide a means for the local
community to have a voice in the global community. These suggested themes are provided to
allow you the opportunity to determine how you can represent your business on the Internet.
In many cases taking an organizational role in a Web site as opposed to the front runner of a Web
site such as this provides you with a much larger market appeal. Essentially, instead of focusing
on the real estate market alone it is much more appealing to a larger crowd if you appeal to real
estate, and skiing, and fitness, and food, and activities in the general community and surrounding
areas.

Promotional content is the invisible content available in the various recesses of a Web page. This
type of content is used by search engines and directories to properly categorize your site and its
various pages during indexing.

An excellent method of providing relevant keywords for search engines is in the title of your Web
pages. The title is the text that appears in the window border at the top of your browser when you
access a Web page. In the title, you can use keywords or relevant phrases to present your page's
purpose to the surfer.
The reason that the title is so important is that it's the first thing a search engine displays as a
result of a search. This makes it imperative that the title contains something readable and
descriptive. Don't place a bunch of redundant terms in your title---make sure that the title can be
read as a sentence. If the reader can't understand the meaning of the title, then chances are they
will not visit your site.
Once you create your page title, place it once within the header of the page using the
<title></title> tags. Many marketers will place their title as many as five to ten times within
the header of their page! This is good in that your relevance increases from the number of
keywords present. This repetitive approach is, however, poor netiquette and is usually not
acceptable by most search engines.

Meta Tags are information fields located in the header of a Web page. These tags provide a
means of storing information about your browser, keywords, site description, and authoring
information. You can add additional custom Meta Tags as required, however, the basic tags
provide search engines with the information that they need to properly index your site.
There are two main Meta Tags recognized by the search engines: description and keywords.
The description tag contains a short description of your page while the keywords tag
contains the keyword list that you created for your page. These two Meta Tags are used by
search engines to index your site and are critical elements of every Web page. When your site is
indexed, users can enter search topics into the search engine to locate your site based on these
two tags.
The Meta Tags should look like this in your Web page:
<meta name="description" content="Information.">
<meta name="keywords" content="Key,words,go,here">

Importance of Meta Tag Content


You have to devise a content scheme that targets numerous types of search
engines. The reason is that different search engines will index your site in
different ways depending on the content. For instance, the following list provides
information on the different ways that search engines can index your site:

Some search engines look for an agreement between the description,


keyword, title, and body.
Some search engines use only the information located in the first line of
the body of the page.
Some search engines use a combination of the Meta Tags and the body
content to weight your page based upon consistency.

Obviously, you would want to maintain a consistent content and style throughout
your page. It's important, however, to learn how the different types of search
engines work to take advantage of the mechanisms and to have your page
properly positioned in the lists.
Once you've developed the keywords for your site, you'll find that you still have over a
dozen or so discarded phrases and words that are relevant to your page. One problem, in
this situation, is that your Meta Tags are probably filled to the maximum 255 character limit
and that the first line of your page body is a graphic and contains no pertinent text.
Additionally, pushing any of these additional phrases and words can get you rejected from
several search engines for keyword stuffing.
These types of dilemmas are quite common for many Web developers, but the solution is
quite simple. The most commonly used method of providing space for additional keywords
and a keyword rich first line of text is to use a hidden form field. This form field is setup in a
manner identical to every other form field (e.g. input fields, radio buttons, check boxes,
etc.), however, it cannot be seen on the page by a surfer.
The hidden form fields go in the body of the Web page and look like the following:
<input type="hidden" value="Keyword,list,here">
Many search engines will recognize hidden form fields and use this information to index
your site in the same manner as they would standard text in the body of your page. There
are search engines that ignore such fields, however, it's important to create pages that are
acceptable across all search engines.
As mentioned, hidden form fields can be used as the first line of text in your Web page and
should reside in your page before anything else. The reason for this placement is that most
search engines will only use the first 2,048 characters in a document. With hidden form
fields you can still get those extra keywords into your document without forfeiting space
and layout.
Keywords are one of the more important elements of a Web page since they describe the page to
which they belong. The keywords that you select for your page must be relevant to the page as
well as frequently used within the page.

The use of relevant keywords in a page provides a better position in a search engine for your
target market. For instance, if your site is specific to a new piece of financial software, it's
important to stress the keywords that best describe the general and specific characteristics of the
software. If someone does a search for automobile in a search engine and your site appears, it's
certain that you will get a few visitors. The problem is that these visitors will do you no good since
they are interested in another topic.
Obviously, if you are selling some product that is important to a wide range of markets, then
nearly any choice of keywords would be relevant to your site. The point is that you want to make
sure that you are bringing in only those surfers that are interested in what your site has to offer. In
this way, you are maximizing your marketing effort.
The following rules may not make sense immediately, however, by following these rules you are
sure to increase your search engine position as well as the number of hits your site receives.
Plural Form of Keywords
When a surfer performs a search in a search engine, it's highly unlikely they will
enter a search term that perfectly matches the keywords you selected for your
page. In some cases, the surfer will enter the singular form of a keyword and in
others they may enter the plural form. It is essential to capture both forms of a
keyword to maximize your exposure.
Since search engines use substring searches to locate entries in their database,
plural forms of keywords are recommended. For instance, if a surfer enters boat
as a search string, the search engine will look for boat, boats, and boating in
all of the entries in its database. The exception to this rule is for those keywords
that end in a y or where the plural form is considerably different then its singular
form.
Repeat Important Keywords
In the days of old, we could repeat a keyword numerous times to increase the
relevancy of a site in a search engine. This repetition allowed sites to be placed
higher in the search engine's list so that the surfer would see that site first. Today,
many search engines filter out those sites that repeat keywords too many times.
It's best to repeat the most important keywords no more than twice so that you
increase your relevancy and are not eliminated from any search engines.
Diversify Keyword Meanings
Assume that every surfer has a different vocabulary. Some surfers will say book,
others may say publication, while still others may say document. Each of
those words refers to the same thing, however, unless your keywords are
properly selected, you may only get one-third of the hits that you should.
When devising your keyword scheme, take into account the different forms of a
given keyword. You'll want to create the keywords important to your site in such a
way that, regardless of the search terms used by a surfer, your site will appear in
the results list.
Keyword Variations

As with plurals, consider the fact that users will not enter the keywords into a
search engine the same way every time. This is an important point that you must
take this into account when considering your keyword selections. For instance,
some users may enter real time software, while others may enter realtime software, and still others may enter realtime software. Think about
the variations to your keywords to ensure the capture of as many surfers as
possible.
Also consider various common misspellings of keywords. I know many intelligent
individuals who tend to misspell certain words because of the phonetic spelling of
the word. For instance, consider eves and eaves. Eves is the plural of eve, or
evening. Eaves are the edge of a roof overhanging a wall. If a surfer consistently
misspells such a word and you happen to sell plant hangers for hanging under
eaves, then you might lose some of your potential clients. Think about some of
the more common keyword misspellings and you'll increase your visibility
whether the surfer spells the word correctly or not.
Keyword Combinations and Phrases
One limitation that many search engines have is in the length of a keyword list.
Some sites will only take the first 255 characters of a keyword list, while others
will accept a nearly unlimited list of keywords. The problem, however, is that you
must target the 255 character limitation to be accepted by as many search
engines as possible.
One method to accommodate the keyword list limitation is to use phrases that
best describe the page or site. For instance, I could use ebook marketing as a
phrase that could be found with several combinations of search topics in a
search engine. Another method is to ensure that the most relevant keywords are
located at the front of the keyword list. Proper keyword positioning will ensure
that, even with a 255-character limitation, the most important keywords are
accepted.
Keyword Selection
Remember that your objective is to attract as many relevant visits to your site as
possible. With that in mind you will have to select keywords that are commonly
used by surfers and that are relevant to your site.
You can easily attract visitors by entering such keywords as naked women,
adult, sex, etc. into your keyword list. Since these are some of the most
searched-for keywords, I can guarantee that your site will get hits. The problem is
that so many Web sites use this keyword strategy that it's highly unlikely that
your page will ever be seen by surfers interested in your product or service.
Additionally, do you think that someone searching for pornography is going to
spend very much time on your page? The problem here is that you will be
attracting people who will not provide a relevant hit to your site. This tactic wastes
bandwidth, time, and money. Additionally, you'll inadvertently be classified as a
porno site. Unless you want to be a porno site, don't have your site categorized in
that manner.
The actual selection of keywords is extremely important. Do not waste your time
using keywords to attract everyone to your site, but focus on the ones that are

relevant to your page, product, or service. Not only will a careful approach to
keyword selection attract qualified surfers, but you'll also gain respect from the
global community for using an ethical approach to your marketing.
Developing Keyword Lists
Now, using the information we've just reviewed, let's look at creating a keyword
list for a page. This is actually a more difficult task then creating the page itself
since you must determine the best keywords that describe your page. To begin
this task, let's ask ourselves a question:
How would people begin to search for a site like mine?
Right away your mind races to come up with about three-dozen keywords to
place in a keyword list. Don't be in a hurry! Many of the keywords that you think
are relevant may turn out to be useless. Think about how you perform searches
for certain information and apply that experience to the selection of keywords for
your page. You'll find that the time taken to create a good keyword list will be
most beneficial.
The best way to weed out useless keywords is to use the steps outlined in the
following list. These steps are proven and have worked on a couple of sites I
have marketed:

Create an exhaustive list of words that describe your site.


Go back through the list and cross out the words that are the least
descriptive or most redundant.
Create plural versions of many of the words without altering their form.
Consider and note misspelling variations.
Combine words into phases.
Ensure that there are no duplicate phrases or phrases with words
duplicated in other phrases.
Review each phrase to see if there are any other words or phrases that
can be used in conjunction to diversify the list.
Create a comma-delimited list of all phrases and left-over words.
Move the most important phrases and words to the front of the list in
order of relevance.
Duplicate the four more important words and phrases twice and try to
limit the list to 255 characters.
Ask an associate to review the words and phrases then edit the list so
that you can see how other people see your site.
Perform searches, using your keywords, to locate other relevant sites.
Go to these sites to see how they created their keyword list.

When you surf the Web, occasionally you'll encounter a page that's incredibly lengthy, but the
only visible content is located at the top of the page. If you view the page's source, you'll find
thousands of words literally stuffed at the bottom, or top, of the page. This technique of stuffing
hidden keywords into a page is known as keyword stuffing.
In the section covering keywords, you found that some search engines impose a limitation on the
number of keywords you can use. To remedy this situation, marketers came up with the idea of

putting the keywords directly in the page in such as way as not to interfere with the page's
presentation to the users.
The application of keyword stuffing is quite simple. You merely type text into the body of your
page. This text contains keywords and phrases that describe your page. Once the information is
entered to your satisfaction, change the color of the text to that of the page's background. In this
manner, the keywords are not visible to the Web surfer, however, they are visible in the page's
body to the search engines.
Some search engines will penalize you for using keyword stuffing, however, there's a solution to
this problem. Change the shade of the text just slightly from that of the background so that the
keywords are barely visible. The user won't notice the difference, but the search engines will see
the text as being a different shade. This difference in shade fools the search engine into thinking
that the stuffed keywords are actually parts of the page's body.
The upside to keyword stuffing is that you'll have thousands of keywords on which search
engines can index your page. The more keywords, the higher the relevance of your site and,
therefore, your page will reside higher in a search engine's list.
The downside is that these thousands of keywords take up space. As more and more people use
keyword stuffing they'll put more relevant keywords in their pages to get higher in a search
engine's list. As these Web site marketers add keywords, you must also add keywords to stay at
the top creating a vicious and resource-consuming circle.
To summarize this section and provide some solid pointers, the following lists the top 20 things to
do with promotion content to ensure that your pages get to the top of the search engines:

1. Use Keywords in Filenames


This is one of the simplest and most effective solutions to making Web site more intuitive
within all search engines. Rename your directories and files to identify the content. For
instance, if your site is about music, instead of using
http://www.domain.com/mystuff/file5.htm, change it to
http://www.domain.com/music/compactdisc.htm.

2. Image "alt="

3.

4.

5.
6.

Spiders look at the alternate image text while indexing a site. It's important that all images
have some type of text that describes your page's main idea. Don't spam your page using
this technique and don't expect a graphics only page to rate high because of alt tags.
Passwords, Java, and Image Maps
Robots have difficulty with JavaScript, passwords, and image maps. The description
appearing in some search engines will be the first 200 words after the <body> tag. If you
have JavaScript in the first 200 words, the search engine will get garbage. Also, many
search engines have difficulty with CGI, so avoid navigation bars at the top of a page.
Frame-Based Designs
Some search engines don't understand frames. It's important to use a <noframes> tag
to encapsulate a short, 200 word, description of the site. If possible, provide a leader, or
splash, page without frames for search engines to use.
User-Oriented Keywords
A novice user will not use the same words as a professional user. It's important to use
words for all experience levels.
Keyword Location
Pages with keywords in the title are assumed to be more relevant than others. Search
engines will also check if the keywords appear near to the top, such as a headline.

7. Optimal Keyword

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.
14.

15.

16.

17.

Research to determine the best keywords for your keywords Meta Tag. Make a list of
keywords, search in the engines and see what keywords are used by your competitors.
Choose the better keywords and build a separate page for each group.
Keyword Titles
If a keyword is in your title, you will be on the top of the search. Build a separate page for
each keyword, fill the page with keyword-rich relative titles, tags and content. The current
recommendation is to use your exact page title in an <H3> tag as well as in your first
paragraph.
Character and Word Counts
Limit Meta Tag character counts to 1,000 each to comply with search engines limits that
vary between 255 and greater. Make sure that the relevant keywords are within the first
255 characters. Also limit the description tag to 255 characters
Don't Repeat Keywords
Limit keyword repetition to between three and seven within the tags. Many search
engines classify over-repetition as a spam and will either reject the page or place it lower
in the list.
Robotic Submissions
Many search engines can detect if you submit a lot of pages, all-at-once, for the same
site. If you use a submission spider or robot, also invest your time in a little manual
submission. Manually submit your page to Infoseek first---they usually index within a few
minutes. Search using your keywords and phrases to see how you rank. Make
adjustments before submitting to other search engines. Note that you can only submit the
same URL once within a 24 hour period---make your adjustments then re-submit 24
hours later.
Link Popularity
Some search engines such as Webcrawler, Lycos, Hotbot, and Excite rate the relevancy
by link popularity. For instance, if many others sites and engines link to you, you'll be on
the top. For such relevancy sites, negotiate link exchanges and submit your page to as
many places as possible. It's also advantageous to start building connections with other
like-minded marketers.
Keywords in Title
Many marketers and administrators recommend using your exact page title with an <H3>
tag.
Descriptive Paragraph
The first few sentences of your page must sell your service. You may achieve a Top-10
ranking, but if the description that search engines extract from the top of the page or your
tags sound uninviting, people will pass you by as they read other more interesting
descriptions.
Comment Tags
Spiders look at comments and index them. Delete or modify comments that weaken your
page's main idea and delete comments from banner exchanges. Do not use comment
tags to spam your keywords as search engines will ignore and, in some cases, ban your
page.
Robots Meta Tag
This tag indicates to visiting robots if a document may be indexed, or used to harvest
more links. Use the following as an example: <META NAME="robots"
CONTENT="all">
.
Revisit
Notify the engines to come visit your page later using <META NAME="revisit"
CONTENT="7 days"> . Use this tag only until your search engine rating is acceptable.

18. Repeat the Title Tag


19.

20.

Some sites in the top 10 repeat the <title> tag two or more times. Repeat only once
because search engine algorithms are getting better at filtering out such tactics.
More on Keywords
Once you've completed your keyword list, use the plurals too. If any keywords are
routinely misspelled, include the incorrect version in your keyword list. Many search
engines don't look at the plurals, none the less, some do. Be careful to stay within the
repeat limits---even with plurals.
Examine Other Sites
Go to a search engine and search for various keywords and terms associated with your
site or industry. Examine the code of the top sites and see what other sites do to obtain
high rankings.

The major attraction for a Web surfer is the content that a Web site presents. You can have 100
pages with beautiful graphics, but if your site doesn't present informative content or some method
of presenting information, then it's useless.
If you're trying to sell, for instance, real estate on the Web, then your Web site will present your
listings. If your only content is the listings, then you'll probably only get the occasional surfer
interested in a home in the area. Within about six months your site will probably have a hit count
of 20 and, out of frustration, you'll take the site off of the Web.
To properly promote items on the Web, provide something of interest to a wide range of people.
For instance, with the real estate site, you could promote the local government sites, travel spots,
schools, churches, and related information. Perhaps you could setup a town hall that shows the
entire area in which you work along with your listings and the services you provide.
The following list contains several approaches that you could use to add content to your site. For
best results, use the information as presented and modify it to suit your business based on your
experiences:

Curiosity
The larger the site, the more encouragement a surfer will have to return. Make it
impossible to see everything on your site in one visit. You want to make sure the data is
not confusing, however, the visitor needs to feel as if, when they return, there will be
something waiting for them right around the corner.

Frequent Updates
The site should provide some items that change with every visit. You could cover daily
events associated with your industry or community.
Useful
Link the site to existing databases, Internet guides, search tools, or a collection of files
and images. It's best to acquire links that are relative to your business. The idea is that it
should be more convenient for a surfer to come to your site for information than to go
elsewhere.
Unique
The site can provide an Ask the Expert feature or perhaps first-person coverage of
industry-related events. Basically, you should use some feature to uniquely identify the
site.

Remember that content is what will keep people coming back to your Web site. If you are having
trouble thinking of unique and attractive content, then surf around to your competitors' sites and
see how they are managing their content.

A Web page is an Internet document that can be accessed by Internet users with an HTML
browser (such as Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer). You open the page by providing the
browser with a unique address, or Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Web pages commonly
provide text, pictures or other graphics, and links to other pages. Newer technology also allows
Web pages to provide three-dimensional images, animated images, and sound.
HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, is a language that uses text and a defined set of
commands, or tags (e.g., <b></b>) to create most of what you see on a Web page. The tags
serve two distinct functions: they either tell the text how to display (e.g., bold, italic) or make the
text act as a command to insert a link, picture, or sound onto your page.
The best way to learn about Web development is to read and examine the source of other pages
on the Web. Using your favorite browser, find your favorite page. Look for the Source or View |
Source command on the browser's menu. This command will show you a window with all of the
HTML used to create that page. By looking it over, you'll be surprised at the relatively few
commands it took to assemble the page.
The easiest way to create a Web page is with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)
editor, which operates much like a word processor. These packages can generate your HTML for
you, and, in some cases, help you assemble your page from start to finish. These programs are
especially useful for those who don't have the time or the inclination to learn the details of HTML,
but you should at least have a basic knowledge of HTML before using them. You can also learn
more from Web Site Development: A-to-Z for Beginners.
HTML files are plain ASCII text files that can be created with any text editor. Every HTML
document does require certain tags to work within a browser. All of the basic tags work in pairs--whatever tag you use must have a matching end tag in order for the browser to mark the
beginning or end of a style or command. The only difference between the beginning and ending
tag in the pair is that the slash (i.e., "/") must be used with the second, or closing tag. All tags
must be surrounded by brackets (i.e., "<", ">"), but are not case-sensitive---typing in HtmL will be
read by the computer the same as HTML. For a basic HTML document, you need only the tags
that are contained in the following:
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Make Your Own Web Page</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<H1>This is a heading in my page!</H1>
<P>See how easy it is to make your own Web page.</P>
<P>Follow the guidelines, and you'll be on the Internet in
no time!</P>
</BODY>
</HTML>
In this example:

<HTML> indicates that this is a piece of HTML code.


<HEAD> is the first distinct part of your document. It contains the title and various Meta
Tags.
<TITLE> provides a title in the header for your document. It will be displayed by a
browser when the page is loaded.
<BODY> is the second and most distinct part of the document. It contains all of the body
content.

<H1> marks the size of this piece of content. For more information, refer to Web Site
Development: A-to-Z for Beginners.
<P> marks the start of a new paragraph.

Writing applications for your Web site is an excellent way to add interactivity to your pages.
The problem is that you have to have some level of experience as a developer to develop
these applications. For the non-developer, many professionals have provided free, or lowcost, applications that you can download and use on your site. You still, however, must
have experience handling such applications.
For instance, I have chosen to develop all of my interactive applications in Perl. Many
other developers are against Perl/CGI development as Java has provided an entirely
different world for development. Perl provides a way to support a lot of database and text
processing capabilities on the Web server thus eliminating any long downloads or
extensive processor requirements on the end-user's machine. Additionally, with the millions
of users on the Internet, there will be compatibility problems between the different
browsers as well as the different versions of each browser. To alleviate compatibility
issues, Perl runs on the server and not on the end-user's machine.
You can read more about various applications and alternatives in Web Site Development:
A-to-Z for Beginners.
All pictures must be converted to one of several digital formats, so you'll need a scanner and
software (e.g., Adobe PhotoShop) to manipulate the picture into the form you wish to display it in.
Pictures can be saved in a variety of styles. The GIF format is the most commonly recognized by
various browsers and is most commonly used. The JPEG format is also fairly common---it creates
better quality photos, especially with scans.
To display your images on a Web page, you must use certain HTML tags to reference the picture
files that, like your HTML files, have been uploaded to a server. Where and how you place the
tags determines how the images will be viewed by a particular user. The following is the most
common tag used to place a picture on a Web page:
<IMG SRC="picture.gif">
IMG SRC is the tag that codes a picture placement while "picture.gif" is the name of the
GIF file that corresponds to the picture in question. This filename will change based on the picture
you're using.
Animations and videos are excellent additions to an interactive Web site, however, make sure
that they don't take away from the site by taking an extreme amount of time to download. I use
very little animation and few videos. Many of my videos are streaming type of videos to alleviate
the need to wait until the entire video downloads.
Clear, concise, usable content is the key. People rarely read Web pages word by word---they
scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. To understand how to create usable
pages, the following subsections provide a few rules to follow when creating content.
Content

In print, documents form a whole and the user is focused on the entire set of information. On the
Web, you need to split each document into multiple hyperlinked pages since users are not willing
to read long pages.

Since users can enter a site at any page, make every page independent and explain its
topic without assumptions about the previous page being seen by the user. Link to
background or explanatory information to help users who do not have the necessary
knowledge to understand or use the page.

Reduce the word count for online versions of a given topic to about half of that used
when writing for print. Users tend to find it painful to read too much text on screens, and
they read slower from screens than from paper.
Users don't like to scroll through a lot of text, so put the most important information at the
top.
Web users are impatient and critical. They haven't chosen your site because you're great,
but because they have something they need to do. Write in the news you can use style to
allow users to quickly find the information they want.
Credibility is important on the Web where users connect to unknown servers at remote
locations. You have to work to earn the user's trust, which is rapidly lost if you use
exaggerated claims or overly boastful language---avoid market-oriented style in favor of a
more objective style.
A few hyperlinks to other sites with supporting information increase the credibility of your
pages. If at all possible, link quotes from magazine reviews and other articles to the
source.
The Web is an informal and immediate medium, compared to print, so users appreciate a
somewhat informal writing style and small amounts of humor.
Do not use clever or cute headings since users rely on scanning to pick up the meaning
of the text.
Limit the use of metaphors, particularly in headings---users might take you literally.
Use simple sentence structures as convoluted writing and complex words are harder to
understand online.
Puns do not work for international users---find some other way to be humorous.
Add bylines and other ways of communicating some of your personality. Note that this
also increases credibility.
The Web is a fluid medium. Update pages as time goes by to reflect all changes.
Statistics, numbers, and examples all need to be recent or credibility suffers.

Scannability
A vast majority of Web users do not read word-by-word---they scan pages. Design your Web
document to be scannable:

To make keywords stand out, use highlighting---highlight about three times as many
words as you would when writing for print.

Use the <STRONG> tag rather than the <EM> tag for keyword highlighting. Since
<STRONG> is usually rendered as boldface, this is typically the best way to highlight
words.
Colored text or colored backgrounds can also be used for highlighting, but don't use blue
for words as that color is reserved for hyperlinks.
The hyperlinks also stand out by virtue of being colored, so they should be written to do
double duty as highlighted keywords.

Highlight only key information-carrying words. Avoid highlighting entire sentences or long
phrases since a scanning eye can only pick up two or three words at a time.
Highlight words that differentiate your page from other pages and words that symbolize
what a given paragraph is about.
The <EM> tag is usually rendered as italics and can be used to make figure captions or
emphasized sentences or phrases stand out. Do not use it for large blocks of text, since
italic typefaces are slower to read online.
Bulleted and numbered lists slow down the scanning eye and can draw attention to
important points.
Each paragraph should contain one main idea---use a second paragraph for a second
idea, since users tend to skip any second point as they scan over the paragraph.
Start the page with the conclusion as well as a short summary of the remaining contents.

If you're going to open an online business, you have to accept credit cards. You can still accept
checks by mail if you want to cut costs, however, you can increase your sales considerably by
accepting credit cards. Users can provide a credit card online the minute they get the urge to
purchase your product or service. Using a credit card is easier, faster, more convenient, and safer
than mailing a check or a money order. People will hand out their credit card much quicker than
they will write a check and mail it off. This takes too much time and effort on their part. Make it
easy for them and you'll see a huge difference in your sales.
Before we get too far into this section, let me explain the elements of merchant accounts.
Essentially, it is a relationship you have with a bank. This bank usually goes through a processing
company that will do the transactions for you. When this bank gives you an account, they're
allowing you to charge a customer's credit card and for them to deposit the money into your
account. They're trusting you to give good orders and for you to uphold your promises to your
customers. This means delivering the products or services they purchased from you in the
manner you both agreed on.
The first thing that you have to do is select a merchant provider. There are several paths to take
for this decision including determining whether you'll own your own merchant account or allow a
third party to handle your account.
Merchant Account
There are two primary approaches to obtaining your own merchant account. The
first is to go to your local bank and setup a merchant account. The second is to
find an online processing company that will set up an account for you at their
bank.
Visit a customer service representative at your local bank to see if they will allow
you to open a merchant account. Many local banks won't give you an account if
your business isn't well established, has small gross income, or if you're online.
Many of the small, local banks are not equipped for today's online businesses.
The process might be much more difficult and take longer to complete, but I
suggest performing this process for the experience and the knowledge earned.
Also, if you can obtain a local merchant account, you can contact them directly if
there are problems or if you should have any questions.
For the second option, you have to go online to locate a processing company.
Ensure that the company is setup for charging, depositing, refunds, etc.
Additionally, ensure that they can transfer the funds within 24 hours into your
account. Some processing companies hold your money for 90 days for refund
purposes, where, in some cases, you must front some money to handle refunds.

Make sure that their services meet the promises of the vast majority of
processors and that they meet your requirements.
Merchant Provider
There are many online companies that allow you to accept credit cards, but they
are the ones that own the merchant account and are doing the charging. It's a
service that allows you to accept credit cards and leave the charging to another
company to handle.
The start up costs for going this route are much cheaper and the sales fees are
usually less. This approach eliminates the monthly fees and sales fees that build
up from owning your own merchant account. This approach is very easy to setup
and very easy to use. In most cases, your funds are transferred to your account
immediately. Some of the more popular merchant providers are listed in the
appendix.
Order Processing
Order processing involves the acceptance of funds and the fulfillment of the
order. This operation can be performed automatically or manually, depending on
the product or service purchased.
Many companies provide rapid order processing for real-time orders. For
instance, in selling e-guides, I want my customers to have immediate access to
their product. When a user places their order and enters their credit card
information, they have immediate access to a password that unlocks the
remainder of their e-guide. Users enjoy this type of order handling because they
receive instant gratification for their purchase. In some cases, you have to ship
some item to the customer. If this is the case, you'll want to process the order
and submit some type of shipping receipt to the customer.
If you have your own merchant account, you will have to acquire a real-time
processing package. A large number of companies use Authorize.Net as their
real-time processing provider. This is not the only program that is used by
merchant providers and many companies have their own unique program to work
with their own systems and network. To have real time processing enabled on
your Web site, you're looking at a price range of $500 - $1,200. There are a few
companies that charge close to $600, but the majority of them charge closer to
$900 for the service.
The majority of all online users used to be afraid to purchase something online because they felt
it was unsafe. Over the past few years, this has changed. But there are still many people not too
comfortable about buying online. I wouldn't suggest for anyone to purchase anything on an
unsecure form. A secure form gives the customer security and protection from anyone that is
trying to steal their information.
The industry standard is SSL (Secure Socket Layer), which is a secure Web protocol that uses
encryption technology to keep your customer's information safe from their browser to your
servers. To help ease these people's worries and to keep your customers information safe, you
have to offer a secure order form. Most online users won't order on a nonsecure form and if your
business doesn't offer a secure order form, you are losing orders.

If your Web hosting provider doesn't offer SSL, or charges a huge fee for it, I suggest finding
another provider that will give you this feature for free, or charges less. Most providers offer this
feature in their packages for about $25 a month.
Plain Online Order Forms
This is a basic order form that you can create on your Web site with HTML. You
need to have it setup to send you the order by e-mail if you are using a terminal
or software. If you are going to use a real-time processing service, then you will
need to talk to your merchant provider and find out what HTML is required in your
order form to work with their service. This method is more for companies selling a
few products or services.
Shopping Cart
This is intended more for businesses that have numerous products or services.
This will allow your customers to shop through your Web site and put whatever
products or services they want into their shopping cart. The cart will add
everything together and allow them to place an order for all of the items they
wanted. You need to talk to your Web hosting and merchant provider to see how
to get the shopping cart up to work with your providers' real-time processing
service. Also, talk to your Web hosting provider and see what kind of shopping
cart is included with their service.
CGI Scripts
If you offer access to a private Web site, sell computer software or something
that can be delivered by e-mail, then this could be your perfect solution. You can
have an online order form setup to use real-time processing and use a script that
will not only do the transaction and charging, but will process the order for you.
Here is a way you can have your Web site setup to do the whole ordering
process for you automatically:

1. Customer places their order on your Web site.


2. Customer's credit card information is verified and processed.
3. Customer's money is deposited into your bank account.
4. Customer's order information is stored in your database.
5. Customer's membership account is created immediately.
6. A receipt and welcome message is e-mailed to the customer.
7. A confirmation of the order is emailed to you.
You don't want to have customers complaining that they never ordered anything from you. There
are many things you can do to prevent this---or keep it to a bare minimum. You also don't want to
receive too many charge backs because your merchant provider might drop you. Listed below are
some tips that can help you prevent this from happening to you:

Require a real e-mail address from the customer and not one from the free Web-based email account providers (e.g., Hotmail). They are too easy to get and they aren't entirely
traceable. Only accept an e-mail address from the customer's own domain or from their
ISP---they are traceable. If they aren't able to do this, offer to take the order over the
telephone.

Send the welcome message to the person by e-mail. This way, you know that they are
giving a real e-mail address. Or better yet, make them confirm the order from the e-mail
address that they provided.
Place anti-fraud buttons and notices on your Web site and let people know that you'll take
serious action on fraudulent orders. This will usually scare most of the fraudulent surfers
away.
If they use their own domain name as their e-mail address, see if the domain records
match up with the information they provided in the order. You can find some Internet tools
at my site or use Network Solutions to find any domain name records.

Once you become established, the primary way to stay successful on the Web is to monitor the
success, or failure, of your competition. The objective is to find out what they are doing and how
you can either enhance on their success or avoid their failures.
I usually go out monthly and visit my competitors' sites to see how they have enhanced their
presence. I never go to see what I can steal as copyright infringement carries a stiff penalty. I go
to see what unique ideas they came up with and I try to beat them in whatever way possible.
Now, take into consideration that you don't want to do battle with your competitors on every front.
I'm sure that you already have a plan that identifies your direction. If you're selling books online
and your fiercest competitor decides to open their doors for lingerie---think before you make a
move. Even though sexy underwear sales might be a good gimmick, it probably isn't where you
want to go. But, this alone is an advantage in that your competitor is now changing their focus
and you just might have a chance to jump in and steal the book market from them.

Go out and perform vanity searches. A vanity search is one where you go out and search
for you. Visit the larger search engines and search for your keywords, your name, and
your product industry and category. This type of searching will not only tell you where you
rank, but it will also give you an idea of the other sites that you are competing against.
Here is where you can play detective.
Visit those sites that appear to compete, but are listed higher in the results list than you.
See what they have to offer and view their main page's source. This will give you an idea
of how they are succeeding in beating you in the list.
Of course, you could steal their Meta Tags and just paste them into your page, however,
they will do you very little good. If you go back and read the chapter covering promotional
content, you'll see that some search engines only use the Meta Tags and others use the
page content and the tags. You might succeed in boosting your ranking on a few sites, but
you'll fall to the bottom on others.
Analyze your competitors' sites and determine what combination of content and keywords
got them in the higher position. Take the time and rework your keywords to accommodate
the promotion and you will raise your position considerably.
The newsgroups and discussion groups are excellent places to search for
competitors. In some cases you might find discussions on your competition
covering areas of the market not disclosed on their site. You might also hear

of items that your competitors' customers are concerned about with regard to
a product or service.
Go out and find the information necessary to make your online business a
success. Finding the information necessary to become a success is much
easier on the Internet!

Marketing on the Internet is not the traditional in-your-face-advertising, but takes on a reactive
stance from your users. Users should be attracted to your site by the information and services
useful to them. One important marketing strategy is to offer quality support and expertise. Doing
so proves your command of the industry and will improve your business and credibility.
Additionally, online marketing is different from offline marketing because the Internet involves
one-on-one promotion as opposed to mass media promotion.
Using the information presented in all previous chapters, this chapter discusses a proven set of
steps for marketing your site and monitoring your position. The first section starts by discussing
the basic questions to ask yourself, based on a real estate site. The remaining sections detail
how to achieve the desired goals established by the answers to those questions. For additional
detail, a sample marketing plan is available in the appendix.

Before defining the details of an Internet Marketing Plan, several goals must be established.
These goals are generally the standard marketing goals as defined for a business with a few
additional enhancements to take into account the World Wide Web.
The following questions are based on a real estate site I developed and marketed. These
questions, and the associated answers, provide the foundation required for the establishment of
the marketing goals. Try to answer them according to your objectives with your Web site.
What are your goals and expectations with the Web site?

Provide a global real estate service for clients on the Internet.


Provide a global referral service for peers on the Internet.

Provide a professional corporate presentation on the Internet.

Provide a professional community presentation on the Internet.

Increase the number of transactions currently experienced through online marketing


efforts.

Who is your target audience for the Web site?

Investors interested in high-dollar homes, properties, commercial in the Central Rocky


Mountain Region.

Residential buyers interested in homes in the Central Rocky Mountain Region.

Commercial buyers interested in businesses in the Central Rocky Mountain Region.

Developers interested in land in the Central Rocky Mountain Region.

Local buyers interested in properties located elsewhere.

Local investors interested in investments located elsewhere.

Local sellers interested in marketing to a larger audience.

Peers interested in referrals.

What kind of information do you want to present to the target audience on the site?

Land, residential, commercial, and bed & breakfasts listings.


Buyers interested in investments abroad.

Sellers interested in relocation.

Referrals for peers abroad.

What kind of service/product do you want to sell on the site?

Land, residential, commercial, and transactions

Information does travel quickly on the Internet. The benefits are obvious in that your clients can
now contact you immediately via e-mail and they know that their e-mail is in your mailbox within a
second or two. A disaster can occur when you do not provide some type of a reply within at least
24 hours. Since information is moving faster, clients expect more, therefore, it's a good idea to
reply with some sort of preformatted Hello message just to let them know you received their email. This will not only save their nerves but it will also save any possible deal you could work
with them.
As part of the marketing plan you must provide some type of procedure to use when you start
receiving e-mail from clients or potential clients. This procedure should consist of a preformatted
reply message that your clients receive almost immediately, or when you check your e-mail. Then
devise some sort of a follow-up mechanism to keep in touch with them while you service their
request. The following is an important function required to maintain a professional image in the
Internet:
Daily

Check e-mail.
Send pre-formatted message to acknowledge receipt.

Work on e-mail content.

Reply via e-mail or call e-mail originator directly.

Always check your e-mail and reply or handle the e-mail as required. Never let e-mail sit for more
than 24 hours without a reply or the opportunity and the originator's patience will be non-existent.
You are no longer only dealing with people in your local community. You have just stepped into
the international community. Many of the users that will visit your site won't have the same
cultural, social, or linguistic background as those in your local community. You can't stress any
ethnic, cultural, or other discriminatory elements in your site or e-mail or you'll drive off many of
your clients.
Many sites are specific to cultures, races, religions, and related ethnocentric elements, which
allows them to provide a specific target for their sites. In a general purpose commercial site,
ethnocentricity is not appealing to the masses which could cause a loss of business and a
possible lawsuit.
For instance, with the real estate site, when you are specifying the cost of a property make sure
you identify the currency (e.g. US$300,000). If you post any information for the public make sure
you cater to the worldwide audience and not just a specific area. If you speak multiple languages,
you might use that talent to communicate with your clientele in a foreign land.
The one point to be made in this section is that of respecting your target audience. Make sure
that you know your target audience and adjust your marketing plan accordingly.
There are thousands of sites on the Internet that simply exist with no real content---a lot of
graphics and images, but no real information. To attract users to your site, make sure that the
content of your site expresses your product or service appropriately and that it doesn't take too
long to access your page.
The idea of providing maximum content significantly differs from traditional marketing effort where
you're trying to attract the attention of your customer. On the Web, you want the user stay on your
site for a while, learn about your business, and return at a later date. Essentially, you must first
sell the site!
First and foremost, inform the user of your site and update the information regularly. You always
want your users to come back to your site for more and new information that can help them:
Weekly

Perform modifications as necessary to enhance the site.


Collect images and information on new product information and add to site.

Collect information on existing products and update on site.

Monthly

Collect articles and update the site.


Collect manager editorial and update main page.

Change the What's New section of the site accordingly.

Just because your site is established on the Internet doesn't mean that anyone will visit.
How are you going to bring people to your site? The answer is - promotion! Promotion is a

very important process related to the success of your site. As with anything, if no one
knows about your site then no one will visit.
The optimal promotion plan for your site could be:
Initially

Register e-mail addresses.


Submit URL to search engines.

Announce site in newsgroups.

Keep track of what information was posted when and where.

Daily

Participate in discussion groups.


Keep track of what information was presented and to whom.

Weekly

Post new advertisements to appropriate newsgroups.


Post important information or press releases to forums.

Submit URL to free list sites.

Post information in free online classifieds.

Keep track of what information was posted when and where.

Monthly

Post select articles and product information to newsgroups.


Post important corporate information to newsgroups.

Resubmit URL to search engines and directories.

Keep track of what information was posted when and where.

You're probably aware of the importance of monitoring your advertising efforts. This monitoring
process allows you to determine just how successful you are and how to adjust to make your
efforts more successful. The following information provides a plan on how to monitor your Internet
activities and adjust to become more successful:
Daily

Examine feedback from users and determine their problems with the site.

Determine which search engine, directory, or other list the user noticed the site and make
a note to repost on that site.

Weekly

Check page hit count to determine popular areas of the site.


Check referral logs to see where users are coming from to visit your site.

Enhance the popular pages to refer to other areas of the site.

Monthly

Review information collected that month and refine plans accordingly.


Change main site page.

Add or change site features.

One of the points that many Web site owners forget is that many people still read written
documents such as newspapers and bulk mail. In addition to registering the Web site on
hundreds of directories and engines on the Internet, you must also advertise in the newspapers
as well as place your URL and e-mail address on business cards, advertisements, and brochures.
Newspapers

Place e-mail address in all ads.


If funds and space permit place URL.

Press release.

Brochures

Always place e-mail address as well as URL.

Business Cards

Always place e-mail address as well as URL.

Anyone using the Internet can gather a great deal of information about its position in the market.
Additionally, you can gather information about your competitors' market position and plans. An
Internet marketer should check the home pages of its competitors to find out their next move and
review their current projects. Additionally, the Internet is full of deals and transactions. Research
can uncover some excellent opportunities that are available any place on the globe.
A preferred plan for performing research on the Internet is as follows:
Daily

Review newsgroups for deals and leads.


Examine all discussion group messages for deals and leads.

Review a few industry related sites for information on deals and competition.

Review competitors' sites for information and leads.

Weekly

Perform a creative exhaustive search on all new products and services in your industry.

Monthly

Review research information and refine accordingly.

There are thousands of different search engines on the Internet today. With that many different
engines you can easily expect some minor differences in the way each site indexes pages.
Determining the differences between each engine is not an easy task. One problem that you will
encounter is that the administrators of the different search engines do not advertise their indexing
rules to provide a mechanism that supports equal billing for everyone. In this way, no one site will
hit the top of the engine through page and content trickery.
The most reliable method for determining an engine's indexing rules is to monitor your site's
progress on every engine that has indexed your site. This approach will allow you to determine
your position in the engines as well as how to determine the best ways to raise your ranking
within the engines' lists.
Another method, used quite frequently, is to enter keywords into the different engines and see
where your site is located in the resulting lists. If you are not near the top, pay a visit to those
sites that are placed higher in the list. Try to determine what these high-ranking sites have in
common and take a look at the source for those pages. In the page source, see what their Meta
Tags and titles look like and see what type of text is placed at the beginning of the pages' bodies.
As discussed in Monitoring Your Competition, this activity alone will give you an idea of the type
of content management that will get you to the top of the lists.

The problem that you may encounter at this point is the problem of consistency. I realize that we
have all been taught to try to remain consistent in everything. The problem with search engines is
that consistency can keep you from reaching your maximum marketing potential. Regarding your
pages, modifying your pages to suit the indexing scheme of one engine might cause your pages
to be eliminated from another engine. The solution to this problem is the creation of multiple main
pages into your Web site.
When you must satisfy the requirements of multiple search engines to reach the top of the list,
you can create one page per target search engine. In doing so you can modify each page to
accommodate the indexing needs of each engine.
The best way to determine the optimal content of each page is to perform the following steps.
These steps will ensure that you get the most out of every search engine as well as end up at, or
near, the top of the lists:

Create a copy of your main Web site page and name it something that represents the
engine you are targeting (e.g., alta_index.html).

Go to the target search engine and search for a few of the keywords that are specific to
your page.
Go to the sites listed in the top five and review the source for those pages. Try to
determine common characteristics, Meta Tags, title, and body content that gets them to
the top of the lists.
Modify your page to match the characteristics of those pages that reside at the top of the
engine's resulting list.
Submit your newly modified page's URL to the target engine.
Create another copy of your main page and perform the same operations for another
target engine.

Multiple Target Groups


Another way of promoting a page is through the use of target groups. This
approach requires the creation of one page per engine, per set of keywords. In
this manner you are targeting certain groups through the use of specialized
keywords and you are also satisfying the needs of each target search engine
For instance, assume that you might have a product that accountants, small
businesses, and mechanics might find of interest. You obviously can't place all of
the keywords associated with those diverse groups into one page, so create one
page for each group. Each of those pages would contain the body content and
Meta Tag content specific to those groups.
The next step of this process is to take each of those group pages and create
additional pages for each target search engine. This approach will create quite a
few pages on your site, however, you are sure to attract a much larger audience
from all of your targeted groups.
The first step to take to promote your site is to review your site and create descriptive keywords
(e.g. real estate, property, land, residential, relocation, sell, buy). With those keywords, you go to
a search engine such as Yahoo! and enter the keywords, your URL, a description of your site,
your e-mail address, and the categories to which your site applies. The Yahoo! search engine will
then index your site into its database.
To locate your newly indexed Web site, a user will go to Yahoo! and enter a search keyword. If
the keyword, or phrase, that they enter matches your site's information, your URL and description
will appear to the user in a list of Web sites that match the user's query. At that point, the user can
click on your link and be instantly transferred to your site.
Submission Engines and Software
The one problem that you have already deduced is that Yahoo! is just one of
several thousand search engines and directories on the Internet. It could take
weeks to go to each engine and manually add your site information! How can you
quickly, inexpensively, and effectively add your site's information to all of the
search engines? The solution is to use a Web-based promotion service or one of
the many pieces of submission software available.
Web-based promotion sites allow you to submit your site to hundreds of engines
with just a few clicks. Some sites perform this function for a fee while others do it
for free. The fee-based sites are great if you have the money to put into the
promotion. Free sites, however, perform a similar function and they allow you to

maintain control over the operation as well as inform you of which sites accepted
your submission.
One of the popular submission engines is Broadcaster. This site allows you to
enter all of your site information and select the appropriate categories from easyto-use Web pages. Once you've entered all of the information, you simply select
the Submit button and wait. In a day or two, you'll receive a confirmation report
of your submission.
If you prefer to use submission applications from your host machine, there are
numerous applications available to do the job. These applications, called
submission spiders, store information about your Web site in a small database on
your local machine. When you select to promote your site, you simply load the
appropriate information from the database then select Submit. All submissions to
several hundred engines and directories are handled automatically.
Once your pages are submitted to a search engine it will probably be a while
before they are indexed. Some engines immediately post submissions while
others may take up to a month.
Reciprocal Links
Reciprocal links allow you to cross-link your site with other related, yet noncompeting, Web sites around the globe. The premise of reciprocal links is to
provide free advertising links from your site to hundreds of other informative
sites. In response to your link, the Webmasters of the linked sites should provide
a link back to your site. You can increase your marketing success on the Web
tremendously by linking your site with a non-competing site whose product or
service appeals to the same target market.
In addition to complimentary sites, you can also link to sites that would provide a
value to your users. Such sites might include search engines, Web cameras,
currency exchange calculators, and online magazines. You can surf the Web for
hours looking for excellent sites, but it's to your advantage to locate those that
can really add value to your site and provide information to your users.
If your URL, content, or keywords change, you'll need to resubmit. Some search engines
have dead link forms for you to fill out. Others will drop the old URL from its records the
next time it tries to visit your site at the old address and is unable to find it. If the content of
your site changes so extensively that the abstract no longer adequately describes your
site, resubmit. These changes, however, will be taken into account when the indexing
agent next visits your site to refresh its information.

When considering how many pages of your site to promote, it's important to remember directories
generally accept one listing per company---this is usually your home page. Search engines index
multiple pages within a site, but you can't control which pages they index unless you submit the
individual pages' URLs.
The critical pages to submit are your major topic pages, pages with unique content, or pages that
describe a specific product or service. For example, a sports store will have separate pages on
basketball, baseball, and football which should all be submitted. Another benefit to submitting
multiple pages in this example is that the basketball page will appear higher in a search for
basketball than the home page. These pages should also include descriptive title tags and Meta
Tags. For site visitors to easily navigate your site, these major topic pages should provide clear
links to other topic pages and your home page.
Do you recall driving down a city street and seeing clowns holding signs, car washes, or even
small events in a new business' parking lot? The idea behind these unique events was to attract
visitors to the business. This approach to marketing not only draws people to the storefront, but
also leaves an impression in their mind!
In our global community, unique methods of marketing and advertising work just as well as they
do in our local communities. One of the best ways to attract people to a Web presence is to offer
some type of interactive game, contest, or related attraction. For instance, offer one of your
products as a prize in an online essay contest, allow users to bid on products in an on-line
auction, or even provide some type of weekly drawing to give away one of your products. If you
have any doubts about this approach, search the Web for auctions and contests and see just how
many businesses have incorporated some type of unique attraction into their marketing.
Since one of the objectives of marketing is to draw people to a presence, unique attractions will
definitely do the trick. Contests and related interactive attractions usually draw those people who
like a challenge and those people who like free products. In either case, you obtain the exposure
required to propagate your image around the Internet.
One of the hidden objectives of a contest is to gather demographic information about the market
and those individuals in that market. To gather this information you could have a small form on
your Web site that asks the participant to enter information such as their name, address, and
products of interest before entering your online contest. You can place a small checkbox that
allows the participant to select whether or not they want to receive a weekly newsletter about your
business. This approach will allow you to gather a vast mailing list of visitors interested in your
business and is much more ethical and beneficial to an Internet business than standard
spamming. Your clients can voluntarily subscribe and unsubscribe from your mailing list at their
leisure, therefore creating a solid base of satisfied and potential clients.
There are many potential Web site developers out there, however, very few have the ability to
develop applications to enhance the sites. It's essential, however, that a site be able to provide
some level of interactivity to support the demands of users.
For those of you unable to develop applications, don't fret, there is a solution. You can integrate
remotely hosted applications into your site. A remotely hosted application is one that resides and
executes on a remote site, however, it appears to run from your own site. With remotely hosted
scripts, you can add interactivity to you site without a lot of work.
There are numerous remote hosting sites available on the Internet today. Some provide a
plethora of tools, while others focus on a strict market. Some of the more popular remote hosting
sites are listed below:

ToolZone
SiteGadgets
CGI Resources

If you desire to develop your own applications or manage your own scripts, my personal
suggestion is that you start with Perl. Perl is a programming language that is used primarily for
text processing and reporting. Because of its flexible nature, it has become a standard for CGI
development.
Yes, I know that hundreds of developers scream about the fact that CGI programming is outdated
because of Java. Perhaps this is so. However, one of the advantages to using Perl is that it is a
server-side implementation. This eliminates the problems associated with browser versioning---if
your Perl code works under Netscape, it will work under IE. You do, however, still have to pay
attention to HTML issues:

CGI Resources

Attractions provide a way of drawing traffic to your site. The various attractions listed below
provide a general idea as to what's available. Of course, you don't have to use all of these
items on your site. It's a good idea, however, to determine which ones would benefit your
market and use them to enhance your site---making it sticky.
Chat Rooms and Forums
A big attraction for most sites is an active chat room. The hardest part of
hosting a chat room is not the configuration of the service itself, but the
participation of members. When starting your chat room, if members are
not staying to talk, others will see an empty room and move on. It is very
important to only provide a chat room once your Web site has a lot of
traffic.
Forums allow users to post queries and follow discussion threads. Such
discussion boards allow users to exchange information and stay on the
site to view other bits of information in which they are interested.
Free Links and Classifieds
Classified ads allow your users to post items for sale, business
opportunities, and other such items of interest for free. This type of
attraction brings a multitude of users to the site.
Links allows your users to add their site URL to your site. Search engines,
or links, not only bring in people interested in promoting their site, but also
those interested in locating sites of interest.
Horoscopes
Even if you don't believe that the stars direct your life and the events
around you, it's hard to not want to see what they have in store for you.
This can be an important part of your service when designed well.

Horoscopes can bring in hundreds of people simply out of curiosity.


Awards
One very ingenious way of attracting people to your site and of inducing
reciprocal linking is with awards. If you win any awards for your site,
people will visit your site from a link placed at the site that provided the
award. If you decide to issue awards to different sites yourself, then you
will have a reciprocal link with those sites that you have awarded. In either
case your site will get a bit of notoriety not to mention an increase in traffic.
Polls and Contests
Interaction is an important part of a Web site. Providing polls and contests
can bring in people who are interested in trivia, competition, or just
participating in an event.
Knowledgebase or FAQs
Knowledgebases and FAQs are important for many companies in that they
not only provide a mechanism for demonstrating knowledge in a particular
area, but they can also provide a base for answering questions about your
product or service. In some cases, questions posed by existing users or
clients can provide a better explanation of your company than an
expensive brochure.
WebZines
WebZines allow you to provide a location for articles and changing
content. Free content is an excellent way to fill the need of the WebZine as
well as articles that you write yourself.
E-Cards
Free e-cards are simple to implement and bring in numerous individuals
interested in sending simple greetings to their friends. You also have a
chance to post your company logo on the card to advertise your wares
Now ... you are ready to promote your site! There are numerous ways to
promote your site, and continue promoting the site. This chapter brings
us to the end of the journey and shows you how to actually get your
site's URL registered and to keep people coming back for more.

Submission spiders are excellent products to use for posting your site to
numerous search engines and directories. Many of these applications are
created this program to give you the capability to promote your Web site on
hundreds of Internet search engines, automatically. This approach to
promotion reduces the amount of time you would otherwise spend manually
promoting your site.
The downside to using submission spiders is that some engines do not accept
spider submissions. In fact, some engines will actually lower your position if
they detect the use of a spider. In most cases, especially for the larger search
engines, it's a good idea to manually submit your site's URL to ensure the
highest possible position.

In e-mail terms, unsolicited e-mail, or junk e-mail, is known as an Unsolicited Commercial E-mail
(UCE) or spam. If you decide to blast e-mail to thousands, or any number, of unsuspecting
individuals, you're performing the act of spamming. Many individuals around the globe are highly
offended by spamming. Additionally, spamming wastes valuable resource and usually costs the
recipient money. Spamming can cost you your reputation, your e-mail account, land your name in
a blacklist, and sometimes cost you a lawsuit !
A good alternative to spamming is subscription-based mailing lists. A subscription-based mailing
list is one that contains the names of individuals interested in your product or service. These
individuals subscribed to your list through either e-mail or through a form that they fill out on your
site. As you acquire names and e-mail addresses, you place them into a database to manage
your distribution lists.
Another method for using mailing lists is through a direct e-mail service. These services have
already collected thousands of names and e-mail addresses from people interested in a particular
topic. By subscribing to one or more direct e-mail organizations you can use their lists to send out
your advertisements.
With a subscription-based mailing list you can blast e-mail containing newsletters,
advertisements, and related information to the subscribers. This is perfectly legal and ethical as
long as you stay with the original premise of your mailing list objectives and do not abuse the
privilege.
A press release is a short yet commanding write-up outlining a promotion or a noteworthy
event. The idea behind a press release is that it be short, concise, and provide enough
information to the reader that they become interested in the topic, product, or service.
A press release such as the following is of no benefit to the audience or to the author.
Press Release

I just put up a Web site at http://www.mysite.com.


Come and visit it. Neat stuff!
What exactly is being presented and why would I want to visit the new site?
To properly prepare a press release for acceptance in a publication or on the Web, the
content of the release must meet two important criteria:

Informative
A press release should contain information that is unique and informative to the
audience. Such information could include a new product that you offer, new
services, events at your Web site, and related topics. Simply advertising a Web
site is not acceptable to most editors and your release could be excluded from the
publication. Always check with the editors of your target publications for the types
of press releases that they find of interest!

Concise
There are two ways of writing in use today---flowery leisure writing and concise
technical writing. Many editors won't look at any article or press release that has
the content of a book. You want to write in a concise manner that presents your
point quickly without any ancillary lingo.

Basically, the first paragraph should contain the important information while the following
paragraphs contain supporting details. Write up to three paragraphs, each not exceeding
four to five sentences.
Additionally, focus on the 5W's of writing: who, what, when, where, and why. You might
implement this approach by creating a short outline answering each of the 5W's, then
writing one sentence for each. This approach will keep your release short and to the point.
With those important elements of writing a press release in mind, let's examine a sample
press release. You can use this format if desired and it's a good idea to stick with this
layout in all of your releases. Additionally, visit some of your competitor's sites as well as
the newspaper to review existing press releases.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Jim J. James
2121 West Bommer Court
Las Vegas, NV 89135
Ph: 555.555.5555
E-mail: james@fakedomain.com
New ET Web Site!
Las Vegas, NV- 20 March, 2000 -- New Web portal for
essential/kenetic tremor sufferers!
The site provides access to thousands of valuable
resources on the Internet to inform you of solutions
and medication for Kenetic Tremors. Started by Dr.

Shake, a clinical researcher involved with hundreds of


ET sufferers. FREE evaluation questionnaire!
For more information contact Jim James at 555.555.5555
or visit http://www.etshakes.com/.
This sample release was short, concise, and presented all of the required information in
the first paragraph. If you must use additional paragraphs, make sure that the information
is placed in order of descending importance.
Once the release is completed, you'll need to submit it to one or more news agencies that
can print your information. To locate qualified media contacts, look for media that will be
interested in your information. Send e-mail to a point of contact and request guidelines for
submission to their publication. If you present yourself in a professional manner, they'll
provide you with a qualified contact for your press release. Try to locate as many contacts
as possible and send them your release, but make sure that you don't waste your time
sending it to people that will not be interested. It will take some time to build a database of
reliable contacts, however, once you have acquired good contacts, additional releases will
be quite simple.
Another method of submitting a press release is through a submission service. Such
services already have contacts with agencies around the globe. The problem is that some
of these services will take you for your money if you're not careful. If you do select to use
such a service, check them out before sending any money.
One very important element of maintaining a Web presence is that of providing variety and
information to the surfer. It's essential to provide links to other Web sites that compliment your
own site as well as provide assistance and information to your visitors. The advantage to having
multiple out-bound links from your site is that you can also have the same number of in-bound
links from other sites. This approach to site promotion is called reciprocal linking and is essential
to the success of every Web site.
It's important to be placed in all of the major directories and search engines, but you must also
locate those Web sites around the globe that can provide complimentary services to your product,
service, and site. From what I've seen, well-placed links from related sites will always generate
more traffic than search engines and directories alone.
Locating Complimentary Sites
The best way to locate complimentary sites is to simply search for competitive
sites involved in your product or service. Visit each one of your competitor's sites
and see what types of reciprocal links are maintained. Make note of the sites that
your competitors link to and visit the linked sites as well.
Another way to locate complimentary sites is to locate those sites that provide
some type of service to your potential clientele in support of your product or
service. For instance, if you're running a real estate company, you could provide
reciprocal links with your state government, the local airport, as well as some of
the local restaurants and pubs. In this way, surfers looking for local dining
establishments will see your link and be able to easily access area real estate on
your site!

Most of us have always wondered what sites on the net have established links to
us. Where are we getting some of our traffic from? There are many Web sites
that will link to you without even letting you know. I know you might find this hard
to believe, but many site owners who find your site interesting may link to it from
their site under a resources or other related links Web page.
What about those people with whom you have exchanged links? Are those links
still active, or have they been removed? Alta Vista has a feature that will show
you every page they have on file that has a link to your Web site. Go to the main
page and type in your URL in the form link:www.123.com/abc. Within a
couple of seconds, it will bring up the results of the sites that are linked to you.
Acquiring a Reciprocal Link
Once you find the sites that you wish to link to, you must get a reciprocal link
from the Webmaster of the site. In some cases this is an easy task, however,
many Webmasters do not understand the benefit to reciprocal links and will deny
the privilege. In other cases, you won't be able to acquire a reciprocal link
because the target site only links with specific Web sites in a given industry.
If the Webmaster does grant you a reciprocal link, they'll post your URL with a
description on their site. In return, you must post their URL and a description of
their site on your site. As a rule of thumb, post their link within a day or two of the
other site's acceptance or you'll lose your reciprocal link.
Posting Reciprocal Links
The best way to post your reciprocal links is to create a separate Web page that
contains multiple categories. This new page should be accessible by a link from
your home page. Within each category place the new links in their appropriate
category so that visitors can easily access the sites to which you link.
Once your visitors come to your site, they'll probably wander off to your reciprocal
links. Don't be concerned about losing surfers in this manner because it was your
site that they came to in the first place. The one thing to keep in mind is that other
surfers are coming to your site through some reciprocal link as well.
The idea is to attract people to your site and increase your traffic. Reciprocal
linking will provide you with far more traffic than you'll be losing if you solicit as
many complimentary links as possible.
In addition to standard promotion schemes, there are numerous other ways available to promote
your Web site. Many of the resources to be mentioned require interaction with other individuals
via newsgroups, forums, and interactive sessions; however, proper promotion can increase traffic
as well as provide a professional image for your business.
Forums
To add variety and interactive information exchange to your site, you could join
existing forums. A forum is a way for individuals to network with others on a
focused topic as well as provide a way to gain visibility for your company and
your Web site.

Usenet Newsgroups
Newsgroups are an excellent way to gain visibility. The best way to gain
experience is to locate newsgroups that might be of interest to your company.
Once you've located the relevant newsgroups, find the FAQs for those
newsgroups and review them for content. This review process will not only inform
you about the newsgroups, but it will also tell you whether or not advertisements
are allowed.
Signature Files
Signature files are short blocks of text located at the bottom of your e-mail. This
text can include your company name, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, fax
numbers, URL, and a short explanation of your products and services.
Autoresponders
An autoresponder is a mechanism that provides automatic replies to e-mail
requests. Such automated replies can contain information for your products and
services as well as general information about you and your company.
E-mail
Your e-mail address is one of the more important, uniquely-identifying items that
you have available. It is important to determine and register your e-mail address
on numerous sites around the Internet including Yahoo! and Bigfoot. In a manner
similar to that of your Web site, people can locate your e-mail address by a
keyword to contact you about your business and services.
Submission of your URL and e-mail address using different methods can easily
increase your visibility on the Internet. It is imperative to devise a plan that takes
into account submission as a major part of your marketing campaign.

Educational Links
A Handy Guide
Atlas to the Web
Cyber Atlas
Netiquette Guidelines
PBS
Spamming Articles

http://www.ahandyguide.com/
http://www.rhythm.com/~bpowell/Atlas/toc.htm
http://www.december.com/Web/text/index.html
http://www.pbs.org/uti/guide/netiquette.html
http://www.pbs.org/uti/
http://kryten.eng.monash.edu.au/articles/

Marketing Links
Mail List Vendor
Media Online
Newslinks
PR on the Net
Press Release Service
Telemarketing Info
Free Banners

http://www.reply.net/
http://www.Webcom.com/leavitt/medialist.html
http://www.pipeline.com/~sheffner/Newslinks.html
http://www.successful.com/report.html
http://www.xpresspress.com/
http://www.consumer-info.org/
http://www.free-banners.com/fb-submit.htm

Advertising Discussion
Internet Advertising
Internet Commerce
Internet Marketing
LinkExchange
List of Free Ad Sites
PostMaster Direct
Copywriter

http://www.o-a.com/
http://admedia.org/internet/
http://www.commerce.net/
http://stoogenet.com/
http://www.linkexchange.com/
http://www.wilmos.com/adlst2.htm
http://www.postmasterdirect.com
http://www.copywriter.com/lists/

General Links
Emoticons
List Etiquette

http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/7373/smiley.htm
http://list-etiquette.com/

Business-To-Business
B2BToday

http://www.b2btoday.com/

Merchant Processors
Authenticate.net
Authorize.Net
AntiFraud

http://www.authenticate.net/
http://www.authorizenet.com/
http://www.antifraud.com

Merchant Providers
Paypal
Clickbank
CCBill
iBill

http://www.paypal.com
http://www.clickbank.com
http://www.ccbill.com
http://www.ibill.com

AltaVista
Yahoo
Dejanews
Reference
Bigfoot
Four-11
PAML
Freenewsgroups.com
Free Public News
Servers
Yahoo! Groups

http://www.altavista.com/
http://www.yahoo.com/
http://www.dejanews.com/
http://www.reference.com/
http://www.bigfoot.com/
http://www.four-11.com/
http://www.neosoft.com/internet/paml/
http://www.freenewsgroups.com/listing.html
http://proxies.hotmail.ru/news.htm
http://www.yahoogroups.com

Visit Tucows for information on thousands of Internet tools!

E-mail
Eudora
Pegasus

http://www.qualcomm.com/
http://www.pegasus.com/

Browsers
Netscape
Microsoft Explorer

http://www.netscape.com/
http://www.microsoft.com/

Video
CUSEEME
Connectix
QuickCam

http://www.cuseeme.com/
http://www.connectix.com/
http://www.quickcam.com/

Searching/Researching
Copernic
Web, E-mail, News
Ferret

http://www.copernic.com/

Faxaway

http://www.faxaway.com/

http://www.ferretsoft.com/

Fax

News
FreeAgent
Outlook Express

http://www.freeagent.com/
http://www.microsoft.com/outlook

Virtual Officing
Hotoffice

http://www.hotoffice.com/

Promotion
AddWeb
Broadcaster
Hurricane WebPromo
Promotional Spider
Shareit
Submission Wizard

http://www.cyberspacehq.com/addweb
http://www.broadcaster.co.uk/
http://www.theoffice.net/webpromo
http://wg.rnet.com/nort/spider
http://www.msw.com.au/
http://www.submissions.com/

SubmitWolf Pro
WebPosition
Promotion Spider Pro
Promotion Spider
Submit-It

http://www.msw.com.au/swolf
http://www.webposition.com/
http://beherenow.com/spider
http://www3.digitalriver.com/
http://free.submit-it.com/

Affiliates
LinkExchange
ClickBank

http://www.linkexchange.com/
http://www.clickbank.com/

CGI Scripts
CGI Resources

http://www.cgi-resources.com/

The following presents a basic plan (i.e., checklist) for the creation and marketing of
a Web site. To help you get started in marketing your presence on the Internet, take
this plan and modify it to suit your needs based on the information presented in this
e-guide.
Phase 1: Planning
_____ Get on the Web, surf around and see what is out there.
_____ Plan how your Web site should reflect your company image.
_____ Create a budget for site creation, server set up cost, monthly
fees and updates.
_____ Determine if you want to set up your own Web server or rent
space and services.
_____ Gather all of your company's promotional materials,
preferably on disk.
_____ Gather all your company logos and photos, preferably the
originals.
_____ Shop around and secure a Web site designer.
Phase 2: Assembly
_____ Meet and discuss in detail with the designer what the Web
site should look like.
_____ Determine who will be your Internet service provider.
_____ Start the domain name registration process
(www.yourcompany.com) .
_____ Use storyboards and thumbnails to generate an interaction
model for the site.
_____ Write the copy for the Web site including headlines and page
titles.
_____ Proceed with any video or photo shoots of your products or
your plant in action.
_____ Draw, scan or digitize all the photos and artwork for the Web
site.

_____ Assemble Web pages, art, copy, forms, backgrounds and


multimedia elements.
_____ Proof the site, take a detailed look on-line and in hard copy.
_____ Get some friends to look at the site and offer feedback.
_____ Proof changes, make any changes to the design or correct
any mistakes.
_____ Take delivery of the final Web site.
Phase 3: Implementation
_____ Set up your in-house server or secure space from your
Internet provider.
_____ Send or upload (via ftp) your Web site to your Web server.
_____ Get a cgi script from your service provider for each form used
in the Web site.
_____ Configure any e-mail addresses or ftp servers (if required).
_____ Test all links, internal, external, e-mail, etc.
_____ Web site passes final in-house inspection.
_____ Get some friends to look at the site, test the links and e-mail.
_____ Wait for confirmation of your domain name.
Phase 4: Promotion
_____ Announce your Web site to on-line directories and search
engines.
_____ Print your Web site address on your business cards and all
correspondence.
_____ Call your family and friends and tell them your Web site is
on-line.
_____ Tell your customers how to do business with you on-line.
_____ E-mail your prospects; make three key points and ask a
question so they reply.
_____ Direct mail your customers; encourage them to use the site
and offer feedback.
_____ Take out an ad in a trade magazine or local paper
announcing your site.
_____ Link to other relevant Web sites, e-mail them asking to link
back to your site.
_____ Update the information in the Web site on a regular basis.
_____ Check your links, internal, external, e-mail, and forms on a
regular basis.

ActiveX: A type of application developed to provide functionality to a Web


page.
Bandwidth: Expressed in terms of connection speeds like: dedicated or
leased 28.8, 56K, 128K ISDN, Fractional T1, T1, T3, fiber optic. These all
describe the service provider's connection to the Internet. 28.8 is the
slowest and fiber optic is the fastest. A hybrid is the cable modem which can
download as fast or faster than T1 but send to the Internet barely faster than
14.4. Bandwidth is shared or divided by users connected at any particular
moment in time. For example, an uncompressed 128K line can serve two

users at 64K, 4.5 users at 28.8, and 9 users at 14.4. As you can see, the
more users requesting information simultaneously, the slower the server and
drawing speed of the Web pages. Be sure to ask your prospective Internet
service provider their connection speed to the Internet.
Browser: An application for viewing pages on the Internet's world wide
Web. Examples are Internet Explorer and Netscape.
Business Plan: The document you create when you take an idea and work
through all the factors that will have an impact on the successful startup,
operation, and management of a business.
Cable Modem: A technology where the cable company will provide Internet
access to the home for around $100 set up and $40 a month. Information is
received very quickly but sending back is slow. For example, a 1 MB
QuickTime movie that currently takes 5 minutes to download at 28.8 would
(in theory) download in less than 10 seconds via cable modem. I say in
theory because once bandwidth to the home increases, the 28.8 modems
are no longer the bottleneck or slowest link in the chain. The speed of the
server or its connection to the Internet becomes the bottleneck. The faster
the server's connection speed to the Internet (bandwidth), the faster the
cable modems will be able to perform.
CGI or cgi script: Usually means programming a small application that
allows a Web page to access a database, process a form, process an image
map etc. A common application for a cgi script might be when a user clicks
the send button on an order form. The script formats the incoming
information from the order form and e-mails it to your e-mail address.
Usually written in Perl.
Domain Name: Every computer connected to the Internet, including the one
hosting your Web site must have a unique number (known as Internet
Protocol or IP address) that looks something like this 145.33.95.88. The
domain name is a text based alias (www.yourcompany.com) that acts as a
link to your unique IP address.
Emoticons: Facial expressions applied to e-mail messages for emotion.
Ethernet, 10 base T, 100 base T: Describe the service provider's internal
network. 100 base T lets computers talk to each other faster than 10 base T.
If your provider has several servers all connected to a main server, it's best
to have them connected to the main server at the highest possible speed.
Flames: Heated, usually derogatory, messages. A harsh or grossly negative
reply to a query or comment.
FTP: A protocol for transferring files over the Internet, also the name of a
program.
FTP Server: An Internet server that acts as a storage area for files that are
transferred via ftp. The server can be set up to offer either public or private
access.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): Provides the language that formats
Web pages so they are understandable by Web browsers.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): The mechanism by which Web
pages, graphics, and applications are transferred from a Web server to a
Web browser.
Intranet: An in-house corporate network protected from the Internet, but
usually connected to the Internet. Provides similar resources for the users
as the Internet.
Java / JavaScript: A programming language geared towards providing
enhanced support for interactive Web pages.

Links: A hypertext connection between Web pages that, when clicked on,
will take you to the linked page.
Mission Statement: Defines the action you plan to take to reach your
Vision.
Plug-Ins: Allows third parties to expand the capability or functionality of an
application such as an Internet Web browser. There are all types that allow
various audio, video and multimedia elements in a Web page. Most Web
designers stick with plug-ins that have been developed for many different
types of computers and operating systems, thereby not limiting their
audience to one computer type.
POP: Post Office Protocol used to provide a means of downloading e-mail
from a mail server.
QuickTime Technology: Allows digitized video or scripted animations to be
played on desktop computers.
Search Engine / Directory: A central database used to index the Web sites
currently available on the Internet.
Signature: A line or two of contact information at the end of your e-mails.
SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol used to provide a means of sending
mail to other on the Internet.
SPAM / UCE: An unsolicited advertisement sent out as bulk e-mail to many
e-mail recipients simultaneously.
Sticky: A sticky site is one that attracts users and keeps them there.
URL: Uniform Resource Locator. This is the address people use to locate
your Web site (e.g., http://www.domain.com).
Usenet Newsgroups: Provides a means of group interaction and
discussion on the Internet.
World Wide Web: The Web is an interconnection of computers with groups
of pages or Web sites accessed over the Internet. Anyone with access to
the Internet can look at these pages with the help of browser software.
World Wide Web Server: A computer connected to the Internet that is
specifically set up to serve pages (your Web site) to the world wide Web.