Black is Back!
by Bob Nunn
I guess I should comment about the rash of dot.com failures. I can't think of a one I am going to miss, but I do feel for the folks who got the pink slips. Can you think of a single one that had any really cool features that you really aren't going to be able to live without? I suppose the honeymoon is over. You didn't used to have to show a profit if you were showing growth.
I had a guy tell me once he was going broke. His income from software sales was in excess of $30,000 a month. While you do have to have some customer service, and you need a development team to keep updating the product, and you have to advertise, you can make money. What he needed was a new plan. It wasn't pleasant since he had to move out of plush offices and lay off a good bit of the staff, but the business is still operational and making money 3 years later. His volume is much lower now but his profit margin is up. Trading margin for growth is a choice all business owners are faced with, but you best keep it in the black. It definitely is a balancing act. It seems no one has a sense of humor now when it comes to red ink. Keep that overhead low and put it in the black and keep it there.
Top Free or Low Cost Web Marketing Tips
I thought I would update and recap some of the top marketing tips from my articles in the past. When reviewing my materials from last year I always manage to find a few things that I need to be doing better at. Perhaps you will find a few as well.
Tip: Search for the top search engine entries in your categories, view their source code and use the meta tags that apply to your site. Update your meta tags to reflect new site additions and resubmit your site.
Tip: Don't Be A Fish! Services that guarantee you top listing are questionable. Some things are beyond anyone's control when listing with search engines. If you want to pay someone, call me. <http://www.headgap.com/submission.spml>
Tip: Set up an ad for your web site using the free pages. Submit the free page to search engines after adding a unique set of meta tags.
Tip: Use ALT Tags for Graphics! ALT tags on graphics are polite net etiquette and provide another opportunity to add keywords that get your site picked up by the robots.
Tip: List your site with Web Logs - a web log is a list of links, collected by individuals usually, frequently oriented by subject. A good example of a Memphis oriented web log is <http://portalmemphis.com>. A home decor oriented web log is <http://home-dec.com>
Tip: Guest Books, Newsgroups and Conferences - Another way to get traffic to your site is by signing guestbooks, posting in appropriate newsgroups and other web conferences. The trick is to have everyone in your company or organization add tag lines to their signatures that advertise your site. Put your url on all business cards and forms.
Tip: Give them something of interest to do. Information is what the net is all about. Pick content that compliments what you are doing and make it easy to read and navigate. Add a list of complimentary site links. Become a resource (build really good META tags on this material and get it listed). Include fun stuff. See <http://headgap.com/webcontent.spml> for ideas
Tip: - Fun Stuff and other Cool Things - Ever seen the Cave of Magic, Magic 8 Ball, Mad Cow Test, or Madam Zelda? Try <http://headgap.com/fortune.spml>
Tip: Important stuff up top. Make sure the important information on your page fits on a 640x480 screen without scrolling down. If the Iraqi's would have hidden on the bottom of our web pages we would have lost the Gulf war.
Tip: Your site is outdated! Let your visitors see new material each time they stop by to visit.
Tip: USE A SPELL CHECKER. Proofread as well. Make the extra effort to get it right and make it easy to read. Replace all 3 or more syllable words with 2 or less.
Tip: - Be human! Think of ways to personalize and humanize your content. Get yourselves a spokesperson or make one up. Have contact information (including address and phone number) where your mother can find it. Repeat important info.
Tip: E-Newsletter- Your site should have a place for visitors to sign up for an E-Newsletter.
Tip: Coupon Sites and Affiliate Programs - Amazon put Affiliate programs on the map. It's a great way to increase your exposure. Top affiliate program list <http://www.monies.com/>
Tip: Be nice to modem users. If you view any of your pages and you can't hold your breath in the time it takes to load on a 28.8 modem connection, the page is too big. 30-70k is tops for a web page and all its graphics. Eliminate Java whenever possible. By all means give people an option to avoid your Flash entry page (only your internal people think it's cool). Don't you hate waiting for the script or flash to load?
Tip: Give them a way to send what they find to their friends. Spread the word through your visitors. Let them send the URL and a short message, or send the article or item they are currently viewing.
Tip: Be nice to AOL users, Mac users, people with really old machines, and all the other people who are a little "different" on this net thing. Take time to view your site on multiple machines and monitor sizes. Make sure your site is friendly to a broad user base. View your site with an AOL browser and see what it looks like on Web TV.
Tip: Don't be too slick. Too much is not a good thing. Have your mother navigate your site and keep your mouth shut long enough to watch and learn.
Bob Nunn - owner, Operator Headgap Systems
http://MemphisApplecore.com - Apple User Group
http://PortalMemphis.com - Memphis Best Web Sites