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Web News & Tips - Issue #299

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Web News & Tips
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Ten Website Mistake to Avoid Like the Plague

Web News

A Step by Step Guide to Getting Started on the Web

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Ten Website Mistake to Avoid Like the Plague

By Suzanne Falter-Barns

1. Don’t use a dark background. Think about the websites you’ve seen that are fun, refreshing, and really draw you in. Ever notice they usually have a white or light background? Aside from the fact that dark or heavily patterned background are somewhat emotionally draining to look at, they’re also hard to read on. And first and foremost, the Web is a written medium. (Yes, you can add audio postcards, etc., to your site, but no site is purely aural.) One of my early webmasters leaned on me hard in a redesign of to lose the pretty salmon pink, patterned background. I thought white would be boring, but I was wrong. He made the site look crisp and refreshing, and best of all it loaded easily and quickly. Now if I click on a site with a brown or black background, I flee immediately. Just don’t want the stress of waiting around for it to load and then trying to read it.

2. Don’t pick hard-to-load graphics. You’ve heard it before. Don’t use little graphics that sing and dance not only because they take longer to load (not everywhere has a high speed connection.) Search engines get confused by them, and could potentially downgrade or even ban you in their rankings. Ultimately, tricky stuff like this does little to enhance your site.

3. Don’t confuse the reader.

Pick one focus and stick with it. Resist the temptation to cram all of your many skills into one small website. Chances are they speak to different audiences, so serve up only focused fare for a singular audience. For example, if you’re a coach who works with the chronically disorganized, plus those who need relationship help, you’ve got the making of two powerful websites, not one.

4. Make sure your site name, URL and ezine name all reflect your focus. If the focus of your site is to help disorganized, menopausal women get a grip, choose a URL that reflects that. Go with ‘’ for instance, instead of a generic life coaching term like ‘’. Again and again I encounter coaches who think they must put all of their myriad products under one generic name that means nothing. No one says you can have several websites that reach several different audiences and sell different products and services. (Remember, however, you’ll have to promote all those sites, so don’t go too crazy.)

5. Make sure your ezine screams ‘BENEFIT’ … and offers a nice goodie up front for sign up.

Nothing worse than a soft, mushy ezine that doesn’t really DO anything for the reader. Using the example above, why not an ezine called ‘Hot Flashes Over 50’? Also bear in mind that your ezine must be more than your collected thoughts. A good ezine delivers useful info to exactly who needs it. And the title reflects that. Pick a title that will do the heavy lifting, and spell out exactly what the benefit is, like ‘Creativity Tips for Busy Women’ instead of ‘Creativity Today’. Finally, always offer a nice giveaway with your ezine sign ups, and promote that goodie right on the sign up box on the home page. It works.

6. Don’t bombard the reader.

Websites that come at the reader with all the offers up front, and then some, lose our interest quickly. Don’t put all of your offers right out there on the home page. Rather, entice us in to spend a little quality time with your free articles, your ezine, your insights. Give me some of what you know for free, in a dignified manner, and I’ll probably be willing to pay for the rest.

7. Don’t use look-alike templates.

Tempting as that site-in-a-box price point is, avoid it studiously. These templates are tired, tired, tired. We seen them A LOT, and they do nothing for your site or your image. Instead, bite the bullet, hire a designer, and fill your site with your own personality. Let us know who you are, exactly. Let us hear your voice and enjoy your sense of humor.

8. Don’t forget your media room.

It’s got to be there if you want to attract any kind of media at all. This includes an electronic press kit, clips of previously printed articles, potential interview questions, bios, resume, downloadable high res photos of you and more. 

9. Do post full contact info on each page.

Somehow this small detail is oft forgotten, but it counts a lot towards building visitor trust. Not only that, there are some people who just visit your site to get your contact info, and simply don’t want to have to dig for it. Many merchant account applications also require this be in place.

10. Don’t blow off the keywords.

When it comes to search engines like Google and Yahoo, keywords are your best friend. Something like 85% of your web traffic will come from these words, so you’ll want to handle them carefully. 

Really experienced Webpreneurs spend days to weeks doing the research to find the right market, and the right keywords to reach that market. It’s not enough anymore to just pick some big, well trafficked phrases or words. You must pick targeted keywords that get some traffic, but not too much (so you can quickly rise in the heap.) And these keywords need to be bits of text you can actively use in your writings, web page content, metatags, etc.. For instance, ‘life coach’ gets thousands of hits per day, but ‘coach training’ gets fewer than 50 according to, one of the industry’s leading keyword tracking tools. Use ‘coach training’ and then make sure to include that keyword effectively throughout your text, and even your URL to get high SE rankings. Ask yourself this: what would YOU type into Google if you were looking for a site like yours?

Author's URL:
Suzanne Falter-Barns is a former media insider who has published articles in Fitness, Self, More, Real Woman, Hers, Woman’s World, Cosmo Girl, The New York Times, as well as a column in New Age Journal. Her websites and books have been featured in The Christian Science Monitor, Self, Woman’s Day, Woman’s World, Time Out New York, i-Village, Cybergrrl, and more than 100 radio and television shows. 

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Web News

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The next generation of TV viewing technologies, including HDTV, Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and interactive program guides, are set to grow modestly according to a flurry of recent research.

Strategy Analytics forecast by 2008, 37 million US households will receive high-definition programming. By the end of this year, they predict over 14 million US households will own some type of HDTV capable hardware, up from only 8.7 million at the end of 2003. Despite the rapid growth curve, the adoption numbers will not, in Strategy's Analytics view, be enough to hit the FCC's goal of a full transition to the new standard within the next five years. 

The march towards a cashless society continues. Non-cash payments of less than $5, often referred to as micropayments, continues to rise.

A study of 1,112 Americans aged 12 and older, conducted by Peppercoin and Ipsos-Reid, found 17 percent of survey respondents saying they'd use a non-cash form of payment (credit, debit or charge card) for purchases under $5. That percentage, according to the pollster, equates to some 37 million Americans.

Google has released a new Desktop Search tool that lets people scan their computers for information in the same way they use Google to search the Web.

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