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The Mender

Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter
Issue 10
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Welcome to "The Mender" #10
Advice and techniques for the marketing and promotion of your website plus breaking Search Engine Optimization News and valuable resources for the serious website marketer.


WHAT'S NEW AT METAMEND?

As some of you may be aware Metamend has received a rave review from Dr. Ralph Wilson, of WebMarketing Today. You can read the complete review here. We are very honored to be held in such a favorable light by someone we hold in high regard. Thanks Dr Wilson.

Our New Multi-lingual Thesaurus translation tool is entering the testing phases. You'll be receiving a separate Email soon explaining all about this exciting innovation in SEO and especially how it will set Metamend clients way ahead of the website marketing pack. It's gonna knock yer socks off.

More announcements coming soon. No kidding! We have at least half a dozen announcements and press releases to publish before April 15th. Yes, it's busy around here. Stay Tuned!


BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Retail Road Kill - Five Golden Rules of Online Retailing

Many believe the bubble has burst for the online retailer. Yet rising out of the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix enters the traditional retailer; who has an existing catalogue business they can easily extend to the Internet or may have a very effective supply chain they can leverage onto the Internet without much trouble. Thus, online retailing is far from the funeral pyre. It's actually busy being born. Throughout all the recent stock market turmoil the Net is still experiencing online sales growth. Will it continue? Yes! Will people purchase every single thing from every online merchant? Probably not, but the internet will become a regular venue for the customer and a new opportunity for the retailer. BUT... The following rules should be entrenched within your goals if you plan to enter the murky waters of E-Commerce.

Rule 1 - You don't have to put the whole damn store online
Everyone thinks you need the greatest selection to succeed online. This turns out to be false and just like traditional retail, you have to watch what you put on the shelf, no matter if it's virtual or not.

Rule 2 -Turn your inventory as quick as possible
This is why you wanted to be online in the first place. The more inventory turns, the more sales, but follow the path of least risk; warehousing costs, etc. Don't overstock at the beginning. Watch your trends and your site traffic to gauge inventory control.

Rule 3 - Customers like to know what they are buying
In order to effectively sell certain products online the customer needs to accurately perceive the color, texture, and look of the item. The more accurate you can make these images the better. You're fighting a sensory battle with your potential customers and already have a tactile handicap. They can't touch or smell your products. These qualities are very difficult to show on a computer monitor, so be careful choosing which products to put online. Use only quality images of your products, so the customer gets the best possible "feel" for the product.

Rule 4 - Keep shipping costs to a minimum (and don't blindside your customers with them)
Always work towards keeping your shipping costs to the absolute minimum. Speaking from experience, I once purchased a book from Amazon for $9.95, and the shipping total was $12.00... that sucked! Do you think I'll be ordering anything else for less than 10 bucks from them again? Exactly.

Rule 5 - Use the Internet to get to know your customers better
Traditional retailers have long used gimmicks and promotions to attract retail customers. Loyalty programs and these types of tactics can be deployed every bit as effectively on the web as well. Get to know your customers as much as possible. Start to think like them.


ADMINISTRATOR'S CHALK BOARD

Let's tackle some fundamental questions about search engine optimization and hopefully de-mystify why certain things happen and why search engine marketing encompasses much more than merely submitting your site to the search engines and expecting a good ranking.

Last Things First.
It's a surprise to most people that one of the very -final- steps in the process of search engine optimization and website promotion is the actual submission of the site to the search engines. Most folks want to get their site in there "As soon as possible." In reality, the exact opposite of this philosophy is your best bet. You need to concentrate on building a content-rich, easily indexable, website first.

Many websites had handicaps built into them during the initial design phases, mostly by using non-search engine friendly formats. An example of this would be Flash and dynamically generated sites. Although they may look pretty, search engines do not index them easily. They may try, but they will never be successful. The reason? Flash and dynamic sites are never the same twice. They may look the same to you on your computer, but to a search engine they are different every time they are "spidered." If they constantly change, the search engines cannot effectively get a "grip" on the metatag coding within the pages and may give up trying to index it or even worse, refuse the site entirely. It's one of the core issues that Metamend deals with, and corrects. I-Mall sites are a prime example of a very difficult format to get indexed properly.

One of the most frequently asked questions about search engine optimization is "How long before I can expect to see results?" After a few weeks you may start noticing increases in visitor traffic to your site, but it may take from four to six months for the engines to accurately index your site. Even when you see the first effects, you'll notice your ranking results change from to-week, and sometimes even day to day. This is due, in part to existing indexed competition but also to the idiosyncrasies of search engine result gathering. The results can be pulled from different indexes from one hour to the next, and results can vary from index to index even within the same engine. Why? The reason is simple.

Because the search engines use multiple systems and spiders to index the internet, results are constantly pulled from different indexes. The search engines are desperately trying to keep up with all the new pages, and the internet is so huge, and growing so quickly that even the search engines themselves can never be completely up to date. It can take months for your submission to be properly found at all hours of the day, from all indexes within all the different possible engines. Give it time. Be patient. Plan the lag time into your online business growth plan.

A lot of people ask us: "Can I expect a number one ranking on every search engine, once my site has been optimized?", and we answer them honestly "Well...only if your subject matter is so obscure that no one else in the world is competing with you, yet everyone else in the world is trying to find you!" It's more realistic to expect a steady growth pattern in traffic spanning many months which is mirrored by increased return visits to your site. Once your customers find you, (and that's one of the goals of Metamend), they will spend more time on your site and return to it from time to time. This fact will be reflected in your stats by the relationship between individual page views and unique visitor statistics.

The number of page views in relation to the number of visitors should steadily increase. There are many others ways to bring traffic to your site but Search Engine Optimization is a crucial step in obtaining proper relevant indexing, so make sure your site is ready before engaging those engines. Or better yet, let us do it for you!


TECH TIPS
Software Upgrades?....Don't Neglect Your Hardware?

With all the patches, modules and version add-ons out there, keeping up on your software upgrades can be a full-time job. However we shouldn't forget about the hardware that runs those newly upgraded programs. Software packages are becoming more and more demanding of hardware, pushing it to the limits and in some cases, beyond. Games are the prime example. There's nothing like a good RAM upgrade to really give your system some more kick and with the low cost of RAM these days, ( roughly $70CAD/128MB ) the time is now! If you're running a video card with less than 8MB of on-board memory you should seriously consider an upgrade and if you're a Gamer you definitely will want 16MB or more on your video card, preferably AGP. It doesn't take a lot of money these days to perform one of these little hardware upgrades and the results will amaze and impress you and reduce the stress on your system.


WEBMASTER'S CORNER

Well done! You've put the final touches on your website and now you're looking to spice it up with that extra dimension - Sound! Adding another medium to your website can be an effective way to enhance the "viewer pleasure factor", thereby keeping the visitor longer on your website. You must take into account of course, the final result should "add" to the experience - not take it away.

How would you take it away, you ask? Easy. Pick a really bad song, and have it blast your visitor's ears off the second s/he opens your Home page. I guarantee that most people won't be bookmarking your site if you do that. Alternatively, if you were to pick a song, put it on your website, and then gave the user the "option" of listening, you would be, a) increasing visitor interactivity and, b) adding a new flavour to your site without decreasing functionality.

Personally, I've found the MP3 format (short for Moving Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer 3), great for adding sound to a website. Layer 3 uses perceptual audio coding and psychoacoustic compression to remove all superfluous information. In other words, it removes all of the extra audio information that your ear can't hear anyway, and leaves you with a file 1/12th the size of the original (in most cases). MP3's are also easy to stream to the user, which means they don't have to download the entire file before listening to it. Instead, they can listen to the file as the download is in progress - a big advantage over some other types of multimedia.

So if you're going to try adding sound to your website, make sure of course it is relevant in some way to the theme of your site and is supplied to the visitor in a way that empowers them to make a choice of whether or not to listen. Follow these basic rules of thumb, and you'll increase your site usage.


WEB RESOURCE OF THE MONTH At Your e-Service

At Your e-Service

Are you an Internet company offering a Web-based solution to small and medium business (SMB) or small and home office (SOHO) customers? These folks can help you out.

Like to see your site featured in a future issue of The Mender? Just Ask. Contact us via our Feedback Form.


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

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