The Mender

Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter
Issue 3
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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"
Each month we feature tips, tricks and techniques for improving the marketing and promotion of your website, plus breaking news at Metamend and valuable resources for the serious web marketer.

Website Marketer Tips - Location! Location! Location!

In the old days of retail, this was the moniker of a successful retail business. In the past, if you had a good location in an area where people could easily purchase your goods and services your chances of survival were good. In today's Internet world location is irrelevant. We must completely change the way we attract and keep customers. There are a billion web sites currently on the Internet, so the First step is helping your customers find you.

How is this accomplished? History shows us that people with like interests hang out together and spend time communicating about their passions, car clubs, bowling clubs, golf clubs, etc., etc. The Internet allows people with like interests to hang our worldwide and share their passions. Discussion groups, news groups, and portals are all the rage. Buyers for your products and services are already there. Shouldn't you "hang out" there too?

Spending money on a fancy web site design, may make you feel good but without customers showing up at the door the chances of survival are low. Budget for a good marketing service to get your site into the search engines, then make yourself visible at locations where folks are discussing your type of product or service. Your customers are waiting for you. "Be the hunter not the hunted."

Administrator's Chalk Board

The number of web pages on the Internet is closing in on 1 billion. It's easy to point to industry research showing that retaining web site visitors may be the primary challenge for anyone wanting to succeed in the Internet marketplace.

Getting customers to your site is indeed half the battle, but retaining traffic is what really counts. Customer retention is synonymous with success. While this may sound simple, many companies do not spend any time or effort on this concept. Stores in traditional shopping malls constantly offer sales, discounts, coupons, or helpful information to entice that important return visit. Most websites fail to meet the needs of their visitors or offer any incentive to return. Does your site give the user what they really want? How about your competitor's site?

What to do? Most people connect to the web at an average connection speed of 33k. Think of them when you plan your site. Compress the graphics you use into faster loading sizes. People don't want to wait around for your page to load. Most graphics can be under 4k in size. To further improve download speeds, use text as opposed to graphics wherever possible. The largest text loads faster than the smallest graphic.

Some useful tools for attracting return visitors are dynamic news, weather and stock tickers. These simple, (usually free) tools add ever-changing content without increasing any real maintenance requirements at your end. People like to see things changing.

In summary; minimize the download speeds for your page and add interesting content to your site. Give your visitors a reason to come back. Do it and you're on the road to retaining those valuable clients. Oh yeah...Don't forget those coupons!

Webmaster's Corner - Enter the Validator

Well, you've just put the finishing touches on your website, you have checked and double-checked and checked some more. You are now ready to upload those pages. But.... Have you considered running your code through an HTML validator first? That's right - a validator. What is a validator? Simply put, an HTML validator will run through your code, returning a list of errors on your pages - if you have them. Some of them are embedded into a piece of software, like Allaire's Cold Fusion Studio, which I highly recommend as your primary HTML editor - but that's another article.

Why are these tools so handy? Because they not only tell you what the obvious errors are, but will also alert you to 'potential' problems your pages may encounter when viewed by different and/or older browsers. On it's own this can be a very daunting and time consuming task. To alleviate this unnecessary yet redundant stress, please consider the following link. It will tell you everything you need to know (and maybe didn't want to know) about your HTML code.

Programmer's Snippet Each issue our Techs offer tidbits for the technically inclined

This month we discuss: Server Side Includes (SSI) Ever wonder how to make website maintenance an easy, less time consuming task? Well, perhaps one of the best ways is to implement Server Side Includes (SSI) on all your HTML pages. The use of SSI will minimize your coding time by sharing code between multiple HTML files. Moreover, all changes to the included file will take effect immediately for all HTML pages which include that file.

The most common use of SSI is for headers and footers of HTML pages. The reason for this is because these two elements of a website are generally the same on every page regardless of the content for that page. Consequently, if a change is to be made to the mailing address of the company it is changed once in the include file and that's it! The change is instantly carried across the entire website. This may not seem so beneficial if you have a small site with less than 20 pages, but imagine your website has 100's or 1000's of pages (like many sites do) it would take hours to complete a simple address change on every page...SSI makes it easy.

As websites become more complex in structure and greater in size, it is important to use techniques which ease the workload for maintenance and guarantee consistency across the entire site. By using SSI in your website, you will have more time to develop and implement new features and content rather than spending your time changing addresses.

Web Resource of the Month

Each issue we feature a website having true merit for the web marketer. If you have a suggestion for a future W.R.O.T.M or something you would like to see in a future issue of The Mender, simply fill out our Feedback Form.

This month's featured site:
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/

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Best Regards from the Staff at Metamend.


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


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Todd Hooge
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