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101 Ways to Improve Your Web Presence by Marc Sylvester - HTML preview

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101 tips for improving
your web presence!

00001.jpg

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
10 software products that'll make you look awesome! 4
10 tips on enhancing your image 8
10 traffic boosting tips 11
10 marketing ideas 15
10 web design mistakes 18
10 Search Engine Optimization Tips 21
10 important tips to remember 25
10 social network sites you've probably never heard of 28
10 things you can offer for free 32
10 places to find awesome templates for your website 36
1 final tip: 39
About the author... 40

Introduction

Once upon a time, a business would put up a website with its contact information. ...that was the beginning and end of its web presence.

 

Those days are long gone.

Your Web site should serve as your main hub. This is the center of your online universe, your calling card and reference point. Whether you’re running an online business, enjoying a freelancing career or simply striving to be extremely popular in the online community, make your Web site your own personal mainstay.

My name is Marc Sylvester.
I own and operate a small business called Laughingbird Software
(http://www.laughingbirdsoftware.com). I create and market design software for both Mac and Windows users.

For me, a web presence is very important. It should be important to you as well. Its all fine and dandy to have a product or service, but if your internet footprint or your Social Network behaviors lack ...tact, your visitors will easily catch that vibe.

This eBook is a compilation of things I’ve learned over the years. The sections are all collected in chunks of 10 easy to implement tips or websites you should visit. I’ve utilized them all. You should too.

Have fun reading and following the tips suggested in this eBook. Here’s to your good looking success!

 

- Marc

10 software products that'll make you look awe
some!

The right tools can make all the difference...

 

00002.jpgThe Logo Creator

 

http://www.thelogocreator.com

 

The Logo Creator is a tool for both Mac and Windows users that will help you create logos and other graphics that look like a Photoshop guru spent hours laboring over!

 

The Logo Creator makes it really easy. Design images for your newsletters, blogs, social network group ... even school reports!

 

The Web Graphics Creator club

 

http://www.webgraphicscreator.com

The Web Graphics Creator club is a membership site that brings you monthly software products (all relating to design) along with weekly images (like icons, photoObjects and other graphics) along with awesome tips and suggestions on making your small business look its best.

Wordpress

 

http://wordpress.org/

 

WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

 

The Avatar Creator

 

http://www.laughingbirdsoftware.com

 

Create custom characters ...avatars and other graphics for your forum, blog or social network group! Export in various formats; PNG, Jpg and PDF!

 

Joomla

 

http://www.joomla.org/

Joomla is an award-winning content management system (CMS), which enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications. Many aspects, including its ease-ofuse and extensibility, have made Joomla the most popular Web site software available. Best of all, Joomla is an open source solution that is freely available to everyone.

Drupal

 

http://drupal.org/

 

Use Drupal to build everything from personal blogs to enterprise applications.

Thousands of add-on modules and designs let you build any site you can imagine.Drupal is free, flexible, robust and constantly being improved by hundreds of thousands of passionate people from all over the world. Join us!

iLife for Mac OS

 

http://www.apple.com/ilife/

 

iLife is a suite of software applications developed by Apple for organizing, editing, and publishing photos, movies, and music.

 

Animoto

 

http://animoto.com/

 

Turn your photos & videos into pure amazing.

Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. Fast, free and shockingly easy.

Photoshop (Photo elements)

 

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopel/

 

The #1 selling consumer photo-editing software

Simply unlimited! Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 9 photo-editing software delivers powerful options that make it easy to create extraordinary photos, quickly share your memories in Online Albums and unique print creations, and automatically organize and help protect all your photos and video clips.

Loopfuse

 

http://www.loopfuse.com/

 

Over 800 companies have used and experienced the LoopFuse Marketing Automation system to generate demand, increase sales, and improve marketing efficiency.

10 tips on enhancing your image

We should all strive to look our best. Here are some excellent tips and suggestions for improving the look and feel of your web site.

 

00003.jpgBackground color should be easy on the eyes

 

Some colors hurt the eyes and visitors to your site will leave quickly.

 

Colored text should contrast with the background so that it is readable

 

Don't lose sight of the fact that text on a page should be able to be read.

 

Make Your Site Valuable to Your Readers

There aren't any magic pills to create a great Web page that everyone will visit again and again, but if you follow these ten tips your site will be more popular and easier for people to read.

Know your audience, and keep them in mind when you write.

 

If your Web pages are frequented by people with slower modems then designing a page that looks best over a T1 is not a successful strategy.

 

Avoid lots of text.

 

People don't read the Web, they skim it.

 

Check your spelling.

 

Use a spell checker, either in your editor or on-line.

 

Keep links current.

 

Check your links often to make sure they are still valid. Using a link checker speeds up pages with many links.

 

Keep it simple.

Visually, simple is better than complex, especially when images will only be seen a short time. Avoid the complex since it obscures your message rather than clarifies it. Use pictures, illustrations, graphs, etc. to punch up an important point, and to make complex ideas simple.

However, avoid literally mimicking what's said in the text. The graphics must enhance and play on variations of the text to make it more interesting - but never stray from the spirit of the message. At their best, graphics add humor, emotion, reality, believability, and playfulness to help bring about understanding and agreement in viewers.

Keep text simple and readable, without overdoing emphasis. Use changes of size, style, color, and position, including bullets, symbols and other devices to highlight and organize your text in moderation. To avoid distracting the reader, limit the number of fonts to two or three in no more than three or four readable sizes. Keep the background simple, and use contrast to ensure legibility. Contrast is the noticeable difference between things, and can be as simple as bolding or underlining text in some cases. But don't fill every bit of "empty" space, as well-chosen space can serve to "frame" graphic elements you may want to emphasize.

Take one last look.

No matter how careful you are there's always last minute mistakes to catch: misspelled words, misaligned margins, or graphics that still need to be rearranged to lessen distracting "white" or trapped space. Use spell and grammar checkers, then print out sample copies to test overall visual effect until you're satisfied with the results.

Check out your site on different browsers

 

Things will look different on a Mac than a PC. They’ll look different across browers! I highly recommend http://www.browsershots.org

10 traffic boosting tips

Design is important. But, of course, you need people to SEE your stuff! Here are some excellent ways to help bring in some visitors.

 

00004.jpgSocial Networking Profiles and Pages:

This is an excellent way to boost search engine rankings. Facebook fan pages, Twitter followers, MySpace groups and other website groups and pages devoted to your company's website will get your website's name out there and noticed. All strategies used for your website should be utilized for your social networking profiles as well for best results.

Word of mouth

Sometimes, there is nothing like good old fashion word of mouth to attract traffic to your site. I have lost count of the number of times I have had friends tell me about a cool new site that I need to check out. Remember, if you give people a reason to talk about your site, they usually will.

Providing a reason to visit

The Internet is filled with so many sites, you have to give people a reason to visit yours. One way to do that is to give them something useful that they can’t get anywhere else.

About 10 years ago, I was struggling to find work after the dot-com collapse. I knew you could still make money from Web site ads, so I set out to build a Web site that would attract as many visitors as possible. The site was designed to help IT professionals. I wrote about a thousand articles (literally) on every subject I could think of, and I created a chat room to host live discussions with industry experts. Before I eventually retired the site, it was receiving more than 30,000 visitors a day. Keep in mind that I accomplished that with absolutely no advertising budget.

Collect testimonials

As long as you provide an outstanding product or service, most customers are delighted to provide you with their endorsement. Unfortunately, most businesses don't implement an actual procedure to systematically get testimonials.

The natural reluctance to ask for testimonials can easily be overcome by setting up a regimen that consistently asks your customers for their endorsement. You will be amazed at the comments you receive and surprised by some of the criticism. Use this feedback wisely to improve your business.

Community involvement

One of the best ways to attract attention to your site is through community involvement. For instance, last spring my wife and I volunteered to help clean a historical site ahead of its 150th anniversary celebration. By doing so, we were able to have our Web site listed in the program that was passed out during the festivities and we were featured on the foundation’s Web site. On a similar note, I am the half owner of a security consulting firm. A few years ago, we increased our name recognition by sponsoring an ethical hacking conference.

Soliciting reviews

If your Web site is set up to sell a product or service, I highly recommend trying to get it in front of someone who writes reviews on whatever it is you’re selling. About seven years ago, I owned a software company. Every time one of the major IT sites would review my software, there would be a surge in sales. Best of all, online reviews never really go away. You will continue to get business as the result of a good review long after the review is written.

Article marketing:

Many of you consider article marketing like guest blogging but it is not 100% similar to each other. Article marketing is normally understood as the way to broadcast your site and services to the public. Then, you can pay some one to write an article and submit to some sites with author box linking back to your site. This way can surely generate traffic and backlinks to your site too but you need to invest, not time but money!

Offer a newsletter

Why you see most bloggers are using Popup Domination on their site? Just as they are offering you something FREE but in return, you need to provide them your emails and name. These emails (as promised) will not be shared with third parties but it can be used to send newsletters.
This way surely help you generate both traffic and sale. I do not have much experiences in boosting sales with newsletter but frankly many of high profile bloggers have done and it must be effective. You should consider this way too.

Create a blog

Blogs are a good way to direct traffic to your main website. It's easy and free to set up a blog with Blogger.com or Wordpress.com. Again, good content is the key here. By providing useful information, even if it's just a simple review of a product, or the latest film release, or some other popular topic that readers would find interesting, you can attract visitors to your blog and using subtle methods, lead them to your site for more detailed information. A blog is ideal for keeping people up to date on what's new and what's happening on your websites.

Submit your RSS feeds

RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication) are another way to keep people informed of anything new that's been added to your site. For example, readers can be notified as soon as new products are available, or new articles or reviews that have appear on your site. You can find more information about RSS feeds and a simple tutorial on how to use them here.... http://rss.softwaregarden.com/aboutrss.html

10 marketing ideas

If you don ¼t market your services or products, nobody will know they exist. It sounds obvious... but sometimes, we simply forget to promote. Here are some important things that can really help gain some exposure.

00005.jpgProvide an e-newsletter.

Structure a newsletter that will benefit your customers. Include tips, news, events, and special offers that relate to your industry. Also, you might want to include things that pertain to your own company. However, send e-newsletters on a schedule, possibly once a month basis so that you don’t get labeled as spam and lose subscribers.

Network, Network, Network

Did I say network. There is an old marketing saying “It is not who you know, but who knows you.” This is so true. Make sure everyone in your community knows who you are. Go to chamber meetings, join the Rotary, be visible in the local business community. Take every opportunity you can to meet other business owners. And don’t forget to get their business cards so you can enter them into your database.

Publish a “how-to” guide.

 

Research ways to do things better pertaining to your industry or niche and make a “how-to” guide.

 

Provide educational postings on your blog.

If you come across a topic related to your field that is lengthy in information, develop several blog postings on the topic as an educational series. This can drive people back to your blog over and over. Everyone enjoys learning, don’t they?

Use Squidoo to create lenses. (http://www.squidoo.com)

 

You can showcase your know-how and expertise by making lens on a topic of your choice. This will certainly send abundant traffic to your site.

 

Make an eBook.

Take an interesting topic, or several, and turn it into a short eBook. If you have done an educational blog posting in a series format, you can put these together and make an eBook as well.

Make a video.

You don’t have to be a professional to make a short video. For example, Windows movie maker would work great. Get several photographs together and insert into a movie maker program, add some voice-overs with a Sound Recorder Tool and Bam! You have a video to post.

Podcast anyone?

If you have the know-how or the tools to do this, they can be quite interesting and fun. These can include updates from the work office, interesting things about your hometown, or anything related to your industry. Providing interesting content is number one.

Every month, give customers a chance to win a free lunch,

Compliments of your business. Everyone likes a chance to win things. An incentive like a $10 gift card for lunch at a local restaurant might be enough to influence a customer to order from you now, rather than later, or choose your business instead of your competition. You could also consider other offers, like a Starbucks or gas card. You’ll probably want to offer a full tank of gas, though, which would mean upping your price a little—a few gallons doesn’t sound all that appealing.

Give Something Away for Free

 

Prospects love to test drive before they buy. Offer a free, no obligation trial of your services.

10 web design mistakes

Many many site designers and small businesses fall into some of these traps. Pay attention, watch where you step and your web presence will benefit.

 

00006.jpgNo Background Music, Please!

Users don’t want cool, they seek efficiency. And yes, 99 percent don’t care about the music on your website. Some designers make it worse by putting different background music on every web page.

Suggestions:
Don’t use background music, but if you must, create a frame for the code and user controls. That way, the music loops continuously, instead of changing each time a new page is loaded within the website. And the user can stop or pause whenever they wish.

PDF Files for Online Reading

Users hate coming across a PDF file while browsing, because it breaks their flow. Even simple things like printing or saving documents are difficult because standard browser commands don't work. Layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which rarely matches the size of the user's browser window. Bye-bye smooth scrolling. Hello tiny fonts.

Worst of all, PDF is an undifferentiated blob of content that's hard to navigate.

PDF is great for printing and for distributing manuals and other big documents that need to be printed. Reserve it for this purpose and convert any information that needs to be browsed or read on the screen into real web pages.

Duplicate Content

Having a website filled with duplicate content is bad for search engines and bad for customers. People using the internet like websites with lots of new content. Any website you build should have lots of pages and lots of unique content.

Making assumptions about the user experience

Just because you have a 24-inch 1920 ×1080 monitor, it doesn’t follow that all users have the same equipment. It’s even worse in the mobile world — designers and developers rarely think about devices other than their own smartphone.

Not Changing the Color of Visited Links

A good grasp of past navigation helps you understand your current location, since it's the culmination of your journey. Knowing your past and present locations in turn makes it easier to decide where to go next. Links are a key factor in this navigation process. Users can exclude links that proved fruitless in their earlier visits. Conversely, they might revisit links they found helpful in the past.

Most important, knowing which pages they've already visited frees users from unintentionally revisiting the same pages over and over again.
These benefits only accrue under one important assumption: that users can tell the difference between visited and unvisited links because the site shows them in different colors. When visited links don't change color, users exhibit more navigational disorientation in usability testing and unintentionally revisit the same pages repeatedly.

Forgetting about links

 

Links are the foundation of the web. If you’re not differentiating links by color and/or style, you’re causing fundamental problems for your users.

Many usability experts argue that blue underscored text should be used in all situations. I don’t necessarily agree with that restriction but, whatever you do, never, never, never use blue underscored text for something which is not a link!

No thoughts for animation or effects

One of the worst aspects about PhotoShop mock-ups is that they can’t show typical HTML, CSS or JavaScript effects such as rollovers or animation. It’s a good argument for not using a graphics package when presenting your ideas: a working browser prototype will provide more realistic expectations.

Bizarre or inaccessible form controls

 

Form controls are boring. Why don’t we make that text box carat into a carrot?!!

Form controls may not be interesting, but browsers can render them easily and users understand them. There are occasions when your application requires a unique control which isn’t available in standard HTML but, those situations are the exception rather than the norm.

Page titles that have low visibility in search engines

 

Start with the company name or other most relevant few words.

 

Any design that looks like an ad

 

Users will ignore it.

10 Search Engine Optimization Tips

Every business with a Web site should make Search Engine Optimization -- trying to get your site as high up as possible on Google and Bing search-results pages -- a part of their growth strategy.

00007.jpgKeywords

You should be conscious of placing appropriate keywords throughout every aspect of your site: your titles, content, URLs, and image names. Think about your keywords as search terms -- how would someone looking for information on this topic search for it? The title tag and page header are the two most important spots to put keywords, PC World notes.

BEWARE: Putting ridiculous amounts of keywords on your site will get you labeled as a spammer, and search engine spiders are programmed to ignore sites guilty of "keyword-stuffing." Be strategic in your keyword use.

Optimize your images

This doesn’t have to require a large amount of effort, but if you can dedicate some time towards optimizing your images by uniquely naming your photos, adding tags and descriptions this can go a long way towards increasing the traffic driven to your images. I’d also recommend uploading the highest quality images possible, unlike Facebook where a small image is normally fine,

Flickr will provide multiple sizes of your photo – so a high quality image would look better in this case, providing your broadband speed isn’t too slow!

 

Link back to yourself

 

There is probably no more basic strategy for SEO than the integration of internal links into your site -- it is an easy way to boost traffic to individual pages, SEO Consult says.

You should make it standard to link back to your archives frequently when creating new content. MarketingVox advises that you also make the anchor text search-enginefriendly: "The more relevant words point to a page, the more likely that page is to appear in search results when users run a query with those terms."

As with all other SEO approaches, be sure your links are appropriate, and be careful not to cross the line into excessive linking -- you don't want your visitors to get annoyed.

Phrase Elements

Use the semantical tags <STRONG> and <EM> tags for targeted keywords within the visible content of your pages, but sparingly. Those tags are alternatives to the <B> and <I> tags, which can also be used, but are for visual presentation purposes only.

Alt Attributes

 

Resist the temptation to stuff your alt. attributes with keywords. Keyword density is no longer as important as it once was, and doing so could subject you to penalties.

 

Do not use the exact same title tag on every page on your website.

 

Search engine robots might determine that all your pages are the same if all your title tags are the same. If this happens, your pages might not get indexed.

I always use the headline of my pages as the title tag to help the robots know exactly what my page is about. A

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