The Mender

Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter
Issue 18
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Advice and techniques for the marketing and promotion of your web site plus breaking Search Engine Optimization News and valuable resources for the serious on-line marketer.

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Welcome to "The Mender" Issue 18

WHAT'S NEW AT METAMEND

NEW TECHNOLOGY PARTNER - SUN MICROSYSTEMS
Since its inception in 1982, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) has been a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software, and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to take their businesses to the nth. degree. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries around the world and on the World Wide Web. Metamend is very proud to have the new designation of being a Sun Microsystems "Strategic Developer."

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NEW TECHNOLOGY PARTNER - QUANTIFIED SOLUTIONS INC. - URCHIN
We are very happy to announce the signing of a reciprocal product agreement with Quantified Solutions of San Diego CA. Quantified's flagship product is Urchin, which provides users with complete, intuitive and easy-to-read reports and statistics indispensable to anyone interested in the design, marketing or hosting of a web site. Urchin's extensive list of features, scalability, running speed,and price have combined to make it the most popular web visitor-reporting package on the market. Metamend clients will soon have preferred access to one of the worlds best statistics programs.

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NEW CHANNEL PARTNER - IP APPLICATIONS
IP Applications is a leading wholesale Internet application services provider. Their outsourced solutions include core Internet services and provisioning of any IP-based applications - all supported through carrier class network operation centers. IP Applications'Web-based iTAPP and iCURO software provide access to real-time account management, provisioning, monitoring, billing, and extensive QoS monitoring. Welcome aboard IP Applications.

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NEW SERVICE ENHANCEMENT - HANDS ON CONSULTING
Metamend is now offering hands on consulting services. We'll analyze your site for you and provide a detailed report of exactly what your site needs to be 100% optimized and help you reach those goals. We don't just talk about it. We also make the improvements for you. Hands on consulting rates are a reasonable $125.00/per hour. Need some ALT tags inserted? Need those titles tweaked? Need to find out how to improve your site's visibility? Give us a call toll free at 1.866.381.6382



ADMINISTRATOR'S CORNER - YEAR IN REVIEW
by: Richard Zwicky

Well, we're at the end of another year, and I thought it may be a good time for a bit of end-of-year data.

According to Jupiter Matrix *Link No Longer Valid, for the period ending October, 2001, these were the most heavily visited web sites:
  1. MSN-Microsoft Sites
  2. AOL Time Warner Network
  3. Yahoo!
  4. X10.COM
  5. LYCOS SITES
I looked at this data, and the first thing I did was throw out X10.com - Their ads appear as pop-up windows everywhere I go on the net, which leads to data skewing when counting how many people visited the site. I count a visitor as someone who actually looks at the content of the site, not sees and closes a pop-up window.

In fact if you go through the data at length you will discover that the search engines, by popularity based on usage, are now ordered as follows:
  1. Yahoo
  2. MSN
  3. AOL
  4. Lycos
  5. Google
  6. Netscape Search
  7. Excite
  8. Ask Jeeves
  9. iWon
  10. NBCi
  11. Overture (GoTo)
  12. LookSmart
Of course, ones like DMOZ and Northern Light appear nowhere, and yet their data is heavily mined by the above engines for their results. Interestingly Google, which ranks 5th, also powers much of Yahoo!'s search results.

Whenever I look at web stats around the size or popularity of the internet, I am reminded of one important bit of information. I referred to this information recently while attending a Trade Mission that included the Prime Minister of Canada.

I mentioned that when he was elected Prime Minister (1993) there were less than a dozen addresses on the internet which ended in .com. When Bill Clinton was inaugurated in January 1993 there were 8 .com's. The most recent stats I have seen show that there are currently 23,105,903 .com's; 6,700 edu's; 1,251 .gov's; 4,344,275 .net's; and 2,835,439 .org's.

By the time you read this hundreds of new one will exist. This means there are now over 30 million domains, not including international domains, such as .ca, .uk, .de, etc..., nor subdomans (www.yoursite.myhosting.com), tilde sites, and all the other variations.

When you add it all up, it's estimated there are more pages on the net today than people on the planet! The point of the reference to 8 1/2 years ago was simple. Even those of us that are living the industry are rushing to keep up.

At this time of the year, when most of us are rushing around thinking about Christmas; about getting a few well needed days off, about a party, about what to get someone, or about how to make budget, also take time to reflect and plan out the new year.

As always, a long term strategy is what will make your web site, and business successful. At the speed of which technology changes, short term adjustments are constantly necessary, these include looking for new tools to improve your overall performance, and efficiency.

As we close this year I would like to take the time and thank all of you, who have participated with us this past year. Some of you are clients, some are business partners, some are alliance partners and some are subscribers. Each one of you have added something to the mix and helped us improve our service and our solution. Again this month we are announcing some new and important relationships. Through these types of alliances we are building a strong business and a strong community. Today our community is the world.

While reflecting on next year's plans, I'll be looking for ways to make these relationships and partnerships stronger still. We look forward to dealing with every one of you for years to come.

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ARE YOU AN ONLINE SANTA?
by: Robert McCourty

I have a feeling this will be a special Christmas for many people. World events of late have us doing a lot more self-actualization and reviewing priorities like never before. Staying close to home, hunkered down, wrapping ourselves around our families and our friends. The psychologists call it "Cocooning," I think a lot of people will be in a cocoon this holiday season.

How about you? Are you planning on spending more or less money this Christmas than previous years? If the answer is less, you are not alone. Retail sales are predicted to be low. Air travel will be less then usual. Overall consumer spending will more than likely decrease from previous years.

One area of sales which may increase however, is online sales. When people cocoon they tend to spend more time surfing the net.

Here are a few marketing tips to help you increase sales during this season.

*Your web site should have the ability to process credit cards or electronic transactions and to give instant receipts. There are many third party transaction sites which can offer this service. PayPal seems to be a good one. It allows you to send and receive money online.

*Offer some form of guaranteed delivery time for Christmas shoppers. No one wants to buy a present and have it arrive late. Put some delivery guidelines on your site explaining your Xmas delivery cutoff point. Don't make promises you can't keep. Most last minute shoppers will be willing to pay a premium to get their purchase delivered on time, but be sure you can make it so.

*Incentive packages will be popular items this year. Buy one-get one free coupons or other such offers can often be great sales triggering mechanisms. The more perceived value the incentive offers to the customer the better. Perceived value increases sales. Look at Air Miles or similar campaigns. They work.

*Gift certificates can be offered online. Easily ordered and paid for online, then sent via Email, printed out by the customer and given as gifts, can be a good sales booster. Make certain to keep track of them by using a numbering system to avoid confusion when they start being redeemed.

*A toll free telephone number will also encourage interested shoppers to call you for more information, so make your phone number prominent on every page. Some people are still not comfortable providing credit card numbers via the Internet but have no problem giving it to you over the phone. Provide this comfort zone for possible customers and ensure the purchase can be authorized before shipping product. Send receipts via email. Having your phone number in plain view for a customer, wherever they happen to be on your site also encourages impulse purchases.

Take the time to tweak your web site to reflect some of the above tips and you'll stand a much better chance of being an online Santa this year.

May you all have a happy and healthy holiday season. See you next year.

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WEBMASTER'S CORNER - Search and Re-Space
by: Todd Hooge

Back in the day, messy coding was a good form of job security for programmers, because the only person able to decipher your code was you. Not anymore. Messy code = inefficient = missed deadlines. Dot com's and Web Development firms have to complete projects on time now, and that means problem resolution has to be faster than ever.

As a Web Developer, one of the most amiable things you can do for your fellow coders is to format your code in a presentable way, so finding errors, making additions, or basic editing is as easy as possible for them. Spacing is the single most important aspect of any kind of formatting. Done properly, it tends to lead the eye in some kind of predetermined sequence, like colors in a painting or an advertisement which draws your attention to key elements. Below is an example of how I like to format table tags, which can be extremely hard to correct if the formatting is not consistent:

<table width="180" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2">
<tr>
 <td>
 <table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4">
 <tr>
  <td>This is a nested table.</td>
 </tr>
 </table>
 </td>
</tr>
</table>

Here is an example of the same code, but unformatted:

<table width="180" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2"><tr>
<td><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="0"
cellpadding="4"><tr><td>This is a nested table.</td></tr></table></td>
</tr>
</table>

As you can see, it takes much longer to find where the nested table starts and where is ends.

But what is coding without a little personalization? Answer: boring. The long-term effects of sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end can be enough to put most people into a permanent state of social hypnosis. The answer is to keep it clean, but be sure to "make it your own." Sometimes adding space is the key, sometimes taking it away is better. It's ultimately up to you.

So be sure to have a good look through your code and make certain it is consistent and easy to read, so others can share in the development of your ideas. In the end, it will decrease the time it takes to complete a project and increase the likelihood of you sticking around.



Search Engine News

FAST Search Engine Shifts into High Gear
AllTheWeb.com search has snuck up on all of the major search engines with new features, speed and customization capabilities, and is now a viable challenger to pack-leader Google.

AOL-TW, AT&T Broadband Talks Get Serious

IEEE Next-generation 802.11 Standard - 802.11g has been approved.

AOL-TW, AT&T Broadband Talks Get Serious

Alexa Toolbar
Version 6.0 of the Alexa Toolbar is a free download, available for users running Internet Explorer versions 5+.

Yahoo's days as a profitable portal are over - ZDNet *Link No Longer Valid

New Search Engines

The Wayback Machine: A Web Archives Search Engine
Contains over 100 terabytes and 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present.

DolphinSearch
DolphinSearch's patented search engine technology enables computers to analyze and process unstructured information with what the company claims to be human-like understanding.

Gripe.com *Link No Longer Valid
Gripe has aggregated thousands of Usenet newsgroups into a handful of simple, categories. Search results are quality-sorted, and articles below a certain quality threshold disappear from view.

Singingfish
Singingfish is a multimedia search engine enables access to a wide range of streaming Internet content, including music, news, movies, sports, TV, radio, finance and live events.

TechNewsWorld
Real time technology news headlines from around the world, updated every three minutes.

Thanks to Danny Sullivan, Chris Sherman and the INT Media Group at internet.com for some of the above headlines.



Metamend Client of the Month

Neuhaus Chocolates

Belgian confectioner still making chocolates in the traditional Belgian manner, dating back to 1857. Neuhaus creations, known for their rich, subtle flavors, creamy texture, no preservatives and unique shape are flown directly from Brussels to the USA to ensure their trademark freshness. The perfect gift. Order Online.


Metamend: Innovative web site optimization and marketing service which automatically corrects keywords and meta tags increasing web site relevance and popularity within search engines.


Want some free advertising for your web site? This space [              ] free to all Metamend clients. Just ask. We'll be happy to include you in a future issue. Let the promotion begin.

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Todd Hooge
Director of Operations
Metamend Automated Website Promotion
Toll Free: 1-877-307-2701