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Archive for July, 2007

I have researched a recent poll taken to find out the top five reasons a person would choose to not return to a website. Here is what I came up with:

1. Excessive Animation
Too much animation or flash objects can distract your visitor from the real “meat and potatoes” of your site and cause them to lose interest very quickly. Try to only use animation where it would add a specific value to the content of your site.

2. Too Many Colors & Fonts
Just because your monitor can display 5 million different colors doesn’t mean that you have to use every single one of them. The same goes for fonts. Try to use just 1 or 2 fonts within your website as well as only a few choices of colors to give your site a recognizable theme or style that looks professional and is easy on the eyes.

3. Poor Design & Maintenance
Be sure to update any links that do not work correctly. Dead links not only make for a poor user experience, but the search engines hate them as well. Also, it’s important to remember that Internet Explorer is not the only browser out there. Be sure that your website is designed to display and function properly with Mozilla, Opera and other popular Internet browsers.

4. Pop-ups
Pop-ups and pop-unders should only be used when you feel it to be absolutely necessary. First of all, many Internet users will be using a pop-up blocker, so chances are your message will not even be seen. Secondly, even if they are blocked, pop-ups and pop-unders are very annoying to visitors and really give a nonprofessional “spammy” appearance. Don’t give something to your visitors that they are not expecting. If you must use pop-ups, only have them execute if the visitor clicks on a link and be sure to make mention that the link will open in a new window.

5. Excessive Advertisements
Everyone wants to make money from their website- and rightfully so. Only, try to find a balance between content and advertising. Nobody wants to visit a website where you have to sift through 5 minutes of ads to find 5 seconds of quality content.

When creating a new website or redesigning an existing site, it may be a good idea to have your friends or family give their honest reviews of your site’s overall look and functionality. Another option is to join a webmasters forum and ask members to visit your site and give their reviews and opinions. This will help you broaden your horizons to design your site to be appealing to people of all different demographics instead of deigning it to be appealing only to you.

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It’s time to pick SiteFever’s Favorite of the Week again, and this time I’ve chosen

I am a frequent visitor to the BlueJar blog, where valuable information is given on subjects such as affiliate marketing, hosting, domains & Internet tutorials. The recent article that caught my eye was The Insiders Guide to Buying Web Hosting: Server Reliability.

The principals given in the article about how to wisely shop for a hosting company are very helpful. I recently had to take some time to shop around for a new hosting company after my bad experience with Hostgator. features a full content RSS feed, which everyone knows I am a fan of. I would recommend everyone stop by to check it out, or check out their MyBlogLog community.

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Today I have been doing a little bit of thinking about Alexa. In my opinion, Alexa ratings can not be held totally accurate or used as a definate basis for correct web statistics on a given website. First of all, have you heard about all the hype of moving your website to a Chinese based web host as a method of improving your rankings? It sounds foolish, but believe it or not I have seen hard evidence of this happening- on multiple occasions! I have not researched the topic enough to find out exactly why this is happening, but it is.

As far as any other methods you can implement to improve your Alexa ratings, you will notice that they all center around promoting Alexa.

For example, your Alexa rank will climb quickly if your website visitors have installed the Alexa toolbar. The more people who visit your site with the Alexa toolbar installed on their browser, the higher you will rank. This is also the reason why “webmaster” based websites tend to rank much higher than, let’s say, a travel site- because statistics show that more of the visitors to a webmaster based website will have the Alexa toolbar installed. Based on this, website owners push for their visitors to install the Alexa toolbar so that when their visitors return to the site, their rank slowly increases.

There are webmaster-based websites with 50 unique visitors per day that rank much higher than websites of different subjects boasting 500 or 1,000 unique visitors per day- all because of the Alexa toolbar.

Now, let me draw your attention to the Alexa redirect. Alexa recommends using their redirect URL when linking to your site in order to increase its Alexa ranking. For example, using would link to my site, after passing through Alexa and helping out my ranking.

Alexa has also distributed information which acknowledges that any site that ranks over 100,000 may not have very accurate statistics due to the small amount of visitors that the site most likely brings in- only I have seen websites with more than 1,000 unique visitors per day which rank over 1,000,000! In other words, it has been confirmed that the website statistics for sites with a 100,000 or less rating will be much more accurate than sites which rate higher than 100,000.

True, I believe that Alexa is a very fine resource to gather some preliminary information about a website, only I do not believe that Alexa should be used as the Bible of website statistics, as many people view it. If you are an advertiser looking for a website to team up with, try to look beyond Alexa when researching a websites value. Check backlinks in major search engines, Google PageRank, content quality and quantity, and number of RSS subscribers if applicable. If you make the mistake of judging a website’s value and popularity based only on Alexa rankings you can easily pass up sites of much greater value to you. Just be sure to do your research and not make any definite decisions based only on numbers from one source.

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Having worked tech support for Dell some years ago, this video brought back some horrific memories of that job. I thought that it was pretty funny, so I decided to share it here.

The funny thing about this video is that I have personally experienced speaking with a person who told me that their “cupholder” broke- referring to their CD-ROM drive. Also, one of the instructors for the training class for Dell tech support actually suggested that we ask to speak to the kids if the adult couldn’t figure out what we were talking about.For some reason, I never get tired of hearing funny tech support stories…

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I’ve been using a program for the past couple of months that I wish I had found years ago.

Pixie is a great free software that uses next to nothing as far as computer resources go, and is a must-have for any graphic artist or web developer.

When you’ve got Pixie open, you can just hold your mouse over the color you want to know the details of and Pixie will spit out the HEX, HTML, RGB, CMYK and HSV values for that color! I use it all the time when I browse the web and find a site with a great color scheme. I’ll open Pixie and use it to tell me what the color values are they’re using on their site. Or, if you have an image that you would like to use, but would like a font to match a particular color within the image, just use Pixie.

I chose Pixie over other similar programs because its free, small and simple. When you’re looking for a program to perform a specific task, sometimes it’s better when it doesn’t come with all kinds of fancy bells and whistles.

If interested you can download Pixie from:

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If you’ve got a landing page that you want to rank well in the search engines, you’ve got to be sure that it is designed with search engines in mind. If you want your landing page campaign to be successful, make sure you follow these five rules:

1. My landing page contains at least 250 words of HTML text.

Search engine spiders are like hungry animals trying to devour their prey. They feed off of HTML. If you want them to think well of you and visit often, you’ve got to feed them what they want. HTML is what they’re looking for so be sure to give it to them.

A page with only 1 or 2 short paragraphs of HTML text or text within graphics will not fare very well if compared to your competition whose page contains hundreds of “juicy” words written in HTML for the search engine spiders to feed off of.

2. The Text on the Page Contains My Target Keywords

All that text on your page will do you no good if you babble on about a red car, but you want your landing page to rank well for the search term “green boat”. If you want to rank well for “green boat” then be sure to talk about a green boat within the text of your landing page.

Your landing page will have much more success if you be sure to use your target keywords as many times as possible while still providing a pleasant reading experience for the visitor.

3. Don’t Forget the Title

You should put just as much emphasis on the title of your page as you put on the body. As with rule #2, be sure that your page title contains some of your target keywords. Also, you may find better results by making your title as specific as possible.

4. Anchor Text for My Links Are Relevant

This is the rule that you have the least control over, but you should do your best to be sure that the anchor text for your links contain your target keywords. Here’s an example:

If you’re target keywords are “green boat”, then you would want your link to look something like this:

<a href=”>Green Boat</a>

This would be a bad example:

<a href=”>Visit My Site!</a>

5. Your Landing Page Is Accessible From Your Homepage

If you’ve got a landing page you want to promote, be sure that it is accessible by following HTML links from your homepage. Some people will make their landing page, but have no way to access it from the homepage of their website. To the search engines, this looks as if the landing page is not very important to you, so the page is not very important to them.

The phrase to understand in what I just said is “HTML links”. I’m not talking about having javascript menus or a menu made up of images or links to the page from a login secured area of your site. I’m talking about good old-fashioned HTML links- food for the search engine spiders.

To sum things up, you’ve got to think HTML, HTML, HTML! Too many websites today are made up of nothing but images, flash & javascript. If you want to do well in organic search engine listings, you’ve got to use HTML.

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If you know the importance of SEO, then you should know the importance of stats tracking- including conversions. But, what exactly is a conversion?

Many people have the misconception that a conversion means a completed sale for a physical product, but that is hardly the case. The truth of the matter is, a conversion is whatever you want it to be. Essentially, it’s when a visitor to your website accomplishes a specific action you want them to take. This can be anything from:

  • Fill out a form
  • Subscribe to a mailing list
  • Register a new membership
  • Drive to your store
  • Read an ad

In my case, I’m managing a fairly new blog. So to me, a conversion would be for someone to subscribe to my full content RSS feed. I feel that if someone thought that my blog was helpful and interesting enough to subscribe to my RSS feed, I had accomplished my goal. So that’s my “conversion”. What’s yours?

Do you spend money on links or ads and work for hours on end trying to improve your search engine rankings? Remember- good ranks do not guarantee conversions! You can spend a million dollars on PPC (pay per click) ads or rank #1 in Google for your favorite keywords, but if you don’t do a good job of accomplishing your goal (conversion), all of your work has just been thrown out of the window!

Also, what you consider a conversion today may not be a conversion tomorrow. Since I want to build up the number of RSS feed subscribers to my blog, that’s my conversion. But when I have 10,000 subscribers, I may want to push for something else. I may decide that I need more of my visitors to make comments on my blog or to Digg my articles. Choosing what you consider a conversion is an ever-evolving process that you must re-evaluate on a frequent basis in order to get the most out of your visitors.

So remember: Before you start your next big SEO or advertising campaign, know what a conversion means to you and be sure to steer your visitors in the direction they need to go in order to accomplish your ultimate goal.

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