Archive for September, 2006
Internet Marketing is possibly the hottest topic on the planet (no, not outer space, yet!). Know why? BUSINESS! Just ask on any street corner in the world where you can find a good time – and guess what? It comes back every time – “Internet Marketing”! The gurus know this, but what about you? (huh?) Can you make your blog the Good Timer of Internet Marketing? If you read this article I will guarantee you that you will provide a real good time for your readers and begin to master of the mysterious world of Internet Marketing.
Real Good Timer
1. Get a theme and stick with it. This does not mean your skin, it means your subject matter, your content. Something people will want to read about. But, if you don’t stick with it your readers will not have a real good time.
2. Get a routine for writing. Write at the same hours each day; or choose a period that you perform best for that specific task. Writing all your posts in one day might work if you are on a roll, but you risk a bit of flexibilty and responsiveness (You girls know what I’m talking about).
3. Post in short but efficient periods of time. Cut to the chase when writing, and avoid distraction from your principal task.
4. Specialize. You could talk about baseball, antiques, and pregnancy on the same blog but specialization means accuracy and focus on things you know well. So your readers can to.
5. Do not write long posts. Most people want a brief encounter of the specialized kind (yes. . .yes! . . .yes!!!!!!!!).
6. Do not blog the weekend. Look at your website stats. You’ll see that most visits come on week days. It isn’t a good use of your time (and talents).
Well, that wraps up the internet marketing segment of the article for you bloggers. The picture above is just to help you remember what I’m talking about when your mind wanders. Not just pleasant – a real good time.
At the Gates,
The future of link popularity lays in attracting quality, one-way, inbound links. One-way links are text links that point to your website when you don’t have a link pointing back to their website. This kind of link carries the most weight with search engine ranking algorithms. So, how do you get more of these top quality links? (Well, give me a chance to answer!)
Offer Linking Incentives
A good method of attracting inbound links is by offering an affiliate program whereby you share your profits by giving the referring website a commission for sales that they send to your website. You can use affiliate software that is hosted on your server, instead of one of the affiliate network programs. (This assures that your website gets credit for the links.) One webmaster can provide an interesting service to other webmasters in exchange for links.
Be A Hero
The best and most natural way to acquire one-way links is to provide an excellent service that everyone wants and sends to online friends. (This is also the most difficult way to get links.) Free services, super content, hot information topics all attract unsolicited links.
Forums and Message Boards
Active communication in the popular forums or message boards makes contacts and establishes you as an authority (or at least one of the guys). Put your web site URL on your signature, then every post carries a link to your website.
Attach Your URL to Articles
Every time you write and submit an article, announcement or press releases to a niche news websites you must include a text link to your website in the article text, footer or on your name. The publisher may not carry all of your links, but any that they do accept will be a big help. And syndicate your articles; put your website URL in the author’s byline – a very good way to get some links out there.
Pay for Links
Paying for links costs more than most other methods of getting inbound links, but this method is still very solid. You can submit to pay for placement engines, which outsources your link popularity campaign to professionals. You can also use pay per click search engines, also a heavyweight way to get one-way in-bound links.
Acquiring high quality one-way inbound links takes work, but it is worth the effort. Remember: one great link can do wonders for boosting link popularity, page rank, search engine ranking, and ultimately traffic and sales.
Taking Care of Business,
I have been interviewing various webpage designers for some time now. Some of these interviews have been published here in Web Templates Blog. Some of these dialogues are really too short or too limited to be an article-format interview. In addition to the interviews I have emailed many questionnaires to designers, especially their interests and experiences in using a website template as a first step in a design project.
One of the most recent responses I received was from Mamta Shahani of http://www.designdepot.com.sg/. Mamta had written an article on web templates and included a copy of it in the email. I will excerpt some of the article here:
“You want a site but you have a strict budget and timeline to adhere to. This is probably the most compelling time to start a project with a template. The three strengths of using the template approach are:
1. Tight budget
2. Tight timeline
3. Not entirely sure of your needs
One of the most time consuming, and hence expensive portion, of creating a site is the design, look, feel and ethos of the site. Not only does the client need to explain these elements to the designer but the designer actually has to understand this and not go off on a creative tangent. . .”
“The role of the designer has to change. . . Hence the designer plays an integral role in the customization of the site. The more experienced the designer in these issues the better the advise is that the client will receive. . . It is almost impossible to say which kind of template is best to use. It really depends on the clients requirements. Obviously the best templates would be those that are written neatly in easy to edit language. However, one cannot see the source code before the template is purchased. Hence, as a first cut, the template that is the best to use would be one that meets most of the clients needs and requires very little change.”
“The following providers offer quite good value – http://www.websitetemplates.name/ , http://www.templatemonster.com/ , http://www.basictemplates.com/ . . .As designers gain experience in buying templates from vendors they will notice that some contributors write in an easy to edit format so it might be beneficial for the client and the designer to choose more templates from these contributors.”
Thankyou Mamta for your thoughts and experiences. As I mentioned to Mamta, this is good feedback for buyers/designers using webpage templates.
Cruising the World of Templates,
Not everybody wants sound on their webpage or wordpress theme. (No, really, some people don’t!) It can be startling or distracting, maybe just outright irritating if it’s not done well. To use sound in your webpage or wordpress theme you should try to insure a positive audio experience for your visitors:
1. PLEASE have a mute button on every page that uses sound.
2. Do not loop a short sound to run endlessly. (Boooorriiiinngg!!!) If file size is a problem you can use a short background loop, then fade it in and out. Do not mess with your visitors ears. Sometimes it is even better to run the loop a little while and then fade it out, maybe never bringing it back in. Silence can be a good thing(!).
3. The best music is always ambient, or stimulating, or entrancing, or evocative of certain emotions. (Mmmmmmmm!) The music should amplify the experience of the visuals.
4. If your webpage feels better without music, then you have the wrong music. (Come on?!?!) Music is a stimulus, it shouldn’t be an irritant. It will either create a positive or negative impact.
5. DO NOT SHOCK YOUR VISITORS! Music should fade in and then fade out, not blast abruptly. Music can work as a theme song or as a background mood-setter. Sound effects can be added as a mix or as punctuation between music tracks. Allow visitors time to adjust the volume on their speakers.
6. Silence can be wisely used. It can be as dramatic as sound if it is placed carefully.
7. Less is better. Keep it subtle. Don’t hype the music or sound effects in your webpage. Too much sound can make the experience nervewracking or leave a nightmarish feeling with your first and last-time visitors. Effects should seem natural and should fall into spaces that complement the visuals.
8. Fade in or pan your sound from side to side to create subtle changes. You need a balance between familiarity and variety to keep visitors involved. This applies to both audio and visuals.
9. Keep the volume of your soundtrack at half volume. It is better to have visitors turn up the volume than to turn it off.
Soothing the Beast,
Some people want to add a little variety to their webpage or wordpress theme blog. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add a GIF movie. You can find Free GIF movies, or buy them, or make them yourself. There are several easy ways to do this.
I have posted a few example GIFs here. And I will also give a brief tutorial on just one of several ways to make a GIF movie for your webpage, wordpress theme or email.
1) With your Quicktime movie open, and Photoshop open, go through the following steps.
2) Select a movie frame to start on.
3) Hit “Print Screen” on your keyboard.
4) Paste the frame into a photoshop doc the same size as your screen resolution.
5) Advance the quicktime forward a frame (right arrow key).
6) Hit “Print Screen” again and so on until you have as many frames as you like.
7) Once you’ve screen captured and pasted all the frames you’ll have a stack of layers.
8) Use the crop tool from the toolbar to crop the area of the video that you want to appear in your gif.
9) To resize the image Go to IMAGE > IMAGE SIZE and set the size once, it will affect all layers.
10) Save your file and open it in Imageready.
11) With your file open in Imageready, open the animation palette (WINDOW > ANIMATION) and then click the animation options button (a little arrow on the top right of the animation palette) and then select “MAKE FRAMES FROM LAYERS.” You may need to delete the first frame if you have a background frame in there.
12) Open the optimize palette (WINDOW > OPTIMIZE) and make sure your settings are for GIF.
13) Now all you have to do is save it as a gif. Select FILE > SAVE OPTIMIZED AS and save your gif file. Open it to test the animation.
Also, I hope you enjoyed the GIF movie examples.
Movies Are Your Best Entertainment,
The internet is especially interesting for young people. And this is more and more the case as schools, libraries, and game rooms rely on internet related activities to provide learning and recreational opportunities. A good portion of local commercial marketing is now based on the internet and targets the youngsters.
I have recently been working with a client who runs a privately owned petting zoo in Florida. As I looked for good templates – as examples – to help create the website for the zoo I found some super animated templates. These are not only animated in various ways, they have youngster-friendly graphics with great music and sound effects. Some are done with Flash, some with Swish, etc. They all have fun navigation effects.
How good can a website feel to a youngster? Just click each link below the screenshot of the templates to find out. They are all fun – but one word of CAUTION – they all have some impacting music. Not hard rock – well, you’ll hear. (Come on, loosen up you grumpy old person!)
For Pet Shops http://www.templatemonster.com/flash-templates/8231.html
Fun and Games http://www.templatemonster.com/flash-templates/8655.html
I had a lot of fun with this post. Hope you did too.
Tell Mom and Dad!
Web Templates Blog welcomes Brajeshwar Oinam for an interview, the latest in our series of interviews with web designers. Brajeshwar a Team Leader of Developers and Designers for a funded Startup and manages his own company – Oinam Software Pvt. Ltd. I interact with clients and convert their non-technical specifications to technical dialects for our developers and visual interactions of our designers and vice versa. I spend most of my time looking out for new visual design innovations, application logic enhancements.
Brajeshwar dedicated his photoblog to his neice Nishita , done on a WordPress Theme. Here are some of Brajeshwar’s insights:
How did you get into web design? “Honestly, I needed a job and designing was the first thing I know how to do better than programming at that time; somewhere in the year 1999 (fresh out of college).”
Do you remember the very first site you designed? “I think I do, it was the website of my first employer’s magazine. I remember using animated gifs for email icon, home icon, et al. It was fun. Neither the site nor the company exist today.”
Do you have a specialization? “Not particularly, but I am good with Adobe Flash, Flex and its related Applications. I am good with finishing projects, simplying approaches to reach the destination goal, quick to adapt to current changes, trends and apply them appropriately for the benefit of clients and commercial usage of applications/products.”
What kind of art do you like to see in webpages? “Well, I am not that artistic that is why I moved away from design as a professional career. I would like to see Arts-That-Don’t-Hinder-With-Contents-And-Usability, Arts that supplement and co-exist proportionately with contents.”
What will be the next big development in webpage design? “Well, I’m not that influential enough to make such comments or remarks. But I see more cleaner, uncluttered, well calculated designs, pixel perfect designs to be the in-thing coming in.”
Have you ever worked with website templates? “If designing templates for Movable Type and WordPress count, then Yes I have.”
What do you think about Flash technology? “It is great and this is one hot technology that has caught on faster than any technology I guess. The ubiquity of the Flash Player allows magics to be enacted on the web in a flawlessly and easy ways. The power of ActionScript is so vast and effective that amazing Applications/Web Apps can be done with no worry of Platform dependency of browsers or Operating Systems. This is one technology that will definitely continue to live on and conquer greater heights.”
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Flash? “Accordingly to me there are not such advantages or disadvantates but it is the “where” it is used. If used appropriately, Flash is good else abusing it just because one can do it the wrong way. This is a big topic in itself and this can lead to long discussion as happened before at many a times, so I don’t want to repeat it. The doctrine is to use Flash only where it is needed.”
What are your sources of inspiration? “About designs, I like most of the sites showcased on CSS Vault, CSS Beauty, CSS Galleries, StyleBoost, CSS Bloom etc.”
What are your favorite website designs that you did NOT design yourself? “I like MezzoBlue, 456 Bera Street, Veerle and lots of others which I don’t quite remember at this moment.”
What are your interests and dislikes in webpage design? “I don’t really like unnecessary designs that do not serve the purpose of the website, bloated designs that makes no sense. I do like clean, crisp and simpler designs that does what it should do.”
Brjeshwar has designed WordPress themes which are available Free of charge, and he has written a particularly good article I enjoyed reading, “KISS Templates for Moveable Type, TypePad, Livejournal, and WordPress.”
I want to thank Brajeshwar for his perspective and experiences and hope we get to visit with him again.
Back on September 11 I posted an article, “Easy Ways to Make Money Blogging.” I decided to focus a little more on the advertising part of that today. There are several types of advertising that can be used to earn money from your website. If your site has a lot of visitors, it can be very worthwhile to use a balanced advertising plan to ‘monetize’ your website content.
There are three major types of online advertising: Pay-per-impression (CPM), pay-per-click (CPC), and pay-per-action (CPA, CPL, CPS).
Pay-per-impression pays you a set amount for every 1000 times an advertisement is displayed to your website’s visitors. The payout is usually low, but you can be sure of a certain level of return – based on the number of visits your site receives per month. This is also known as CPM (Cost per 1000).
Pay-per-click pays you a set amount each time someone clicks on the advertisement on your site. The payout is higher than pay-per-impression, but you can’t be sure how many visitors will actually click on these advertisements. The more relevant the ads are to the page content, the more likely the visitor is to click on the ad. This is also known as CPC (Cost per click)
Pay-per-action commands the highest payout, but you ONLY get paid if the visitor that you refer goes on to make some pre-defined interaction, such as placing an order on the target website. Unless the ads on your website are very closely related to the content of your website, the chances that this kind of interaction will happen are rather slim, so you would need to have a very high level of traffic to make this type of ad worthwhile. This is also known as CPA (Cost per action), which is further divided into CPL (Cost per lead), and CPS (Cost per sale).
Overall, pay-per-click is probably the easiest way to start earning money from your website quickly. It can’t make you rich, but each type of income helps.
Google Adwords program is a very quick and easy way to earn money by way of content relevant advertising. You just sign up for an adsense account, specify some basic details about your site, and Google will generate some code for you. Simply place the code on your site to start earning money every time someone clicks on the advertisements.
The best thing about adwords is that the advertisements they choose to display are automatically selected to be relevant to the content of the page that they appear on. This makes the ads much more interesting to your website’s visitors. The downside is that the revenue is not very good – generally just one to a few cents per click.
Another good alternative, is to use an advertising agency. The plan is similar to adwords, but you can choose the advertisements from several offered to you, rather than the ads being automatically generated based on the page content. And the pay per click is generally higher than with Google, but the range of ads and their relevance may be somewhat limited, so your CTR (‘click through rate’ – ratio of clicks to visitors) could be lower.
If you can find an affiliate program with a high degree of relevance to your site, this may generate some impressive revenue. For example, if the visitors to your site are interested webpage templates, you might try affiliation with Template Monster(affil). Most affiliate programs have various levels of participation for different website needs. Webhosts may not design themselves, but they may happily receive income from the affiliate ads displayed on their website along with webhosting content.
From Rags to Riches,
Everybody wants ranking in the search engines. Here’s something to consider. Search engine experts often disagree on which factors are most important to Google, Yahoo and MSN.
One big question among them deals with whether the domain name of your website has any bearing on search engine rank and positioning. Are the keywords in your domain good? Yahoo, Google and MSN don’t talk about their search engine algorithms, but some research can help.
We may never find out the formulas that the big search engines use, but when you factor out other variables you can predict with fair certainty that domains containing keywords definitely rank higher in the search engines.
You can do some research on this yourself if you want. Just look at the SERPs, then compare the websites in some of the analysis utilities I have mentioned in the blog recently. Also run them through Yahoo and Google link analyzers. When you start to really compare you will see that keywords in the domain carry some weight. Of course these domain names are hard to get hold of and register.
There is also strong belief that some extensions get preference over others, but this is harder to prove and could be related to the website’s age – having the most common name with the most common extension – because we know that age of the website is another factor that carries weight with search engines. So “clothes.com” will have a higher ranking than “theclothingspecialist.tv”, all things being equal.
Domain name alone cannot push the webpage to #1, but it doesn’t hurt. In fact this parallels my complaint that the conciseness and the specificity of a website is often overlooked by search engines. But, in the most obvious case of Title – conciseness IS recognized. (Let’s hope it’s contagious to the rest of the pages, spiders, and human reviewers)
Bottom Line: Buy the most concise keyword domain name and extension available.
Takin’ It to the Streets,
I found a great place to get free templates online . Well, I am partial to FREE after all. After I looked them over I decided to list the types available and show you one of them. The website is Free Templates Online.
Free Beauty Templates
Free Business Templates
Free Cars Layouts
Free Communications Layouts
Free Computers Templates
Free CSS Templates
Free Education Layouts
Free Family Layouts
Free Fashion Templates
Free Hosting Templates
Free Industrial Layouts
Free Internet Templates
Free Law Templates
Free Medical Templates
Free Portal Layouts
Free Real Estate Templates
Free Software Templates
Free Sport Layouts
Free Wedding Templates
This is Free Webpage Template #12098
Now You Know I Really Care,