Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Create a Work at Home Business Plan

Create a Business Plan that includes --

1. Product Description - create a product description in terms of the benefits your product will bring to customers. Phrase it this way

"I help people...make lots of money online." (online marketing)
"I help profitable, fulfilling home businesses." (mentoring)
"I help people...become safe drivers." (traffic school)

2. Target Market for your product(s)
- Who do you want to reach, and how can you reach them?

3. Sales Goals
- Month by month projections - Where you intend to be each month?

4. Marketing Plan - How you intend to reach your target market?
- Create a small marketing budget and then find someone to help you create an effective marketing strategy.

Now keep your Business Plan handy and refer to it often. It should be the map that guides your business towards eventual success.

- Small Business Online Promotion

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Free Real Estate Articles

This is a brand new site - Free Real Estate Articles - especially for real estate marketers - real estate agents, webmasters, and anyone involved in real estate marketing of any kind. Articles include information for sellers -- getting your house ready to sell, what to focus on, what are the most important things to do before listing your house, how to choose a real estate agent, etc.

Also a growing list of FSBO (For Sale By Owner) articles.

Real Estate agents, check out Real Estate Webs. Your own sub-domain optimized just for your specific area, with built in lead generating tools.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Link Exchange Blues

Over the past couple of years I have said some pretty disparaging things about the practice of exchanging links. Not only is it extremely inefficient, but more and more people seem to think that Google has started to penalize sites for having too many reciprocal links.

Still I get hundreds of link exchange requests every week. The vast majority are from relatively new sites with little traffic and little relevance to mine.

Good sites do not waste time exchanging links. There are much better ways to get links.

See my linking course for more ideas.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Display Graphics - Trade Show Graphics

Here's a great source for display graphics and trade show graphics including trade show displays, popup displays, banner stands, vinyl banners.

For business resources, check out Business Resources.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Google Retake

One of my clients facing the spectre of plummeting Google rankings emailed me today to say "it looks like everything is going back to exactly how it was before the shake up!"

This client was panicking because it looked like her primary keyword was going to move from #4 to about #98 in google searches. She thought for sure whe was going to have to lay people off if this really happened.

Her panic was brought on by the "insider information" contained on Matt Cutt's blog in which he confirmed that the rankings on one obscure Google data center ( foreshadowed what would be propagated over the entire network in two or three weeks. Two days ago her site was at 98. But now it has mysteriously climbed back up to #9.

Everybody has an opinion about Google. Especially SEO gurus and even Google "insiders". But can we really trust what any of them say?

I don't think so.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Google Updates Very Inconsistent

A client pointed out that Matt Cutts blog shares information about upcoming Google updates before they actually hit the main Google indexes. According to Cutts (who is a Google insider and PR guy) one particular Google data center shows the results that are probably going to be dispersed over the entire network within the next couple of weeks. This data center is at

If you want to be depressed, have a look.

Google is in the midst of making changes and in particular is after spammers. The concensus from the comments at the blog address above is that many legitimate sites are being penalized in this exercise. Google is also having a difficult time with "relevance".

In some cases that I have checked, Google's tendency to favour bigger "institutional" sites is even more pronounced than it has been in the past. Of course this is offset by the inclusion of completely irrelevant (or marginally relevant) sites, as well as out and out spammers (corroborated by numerous comments in the post above).

Many webmasters and SEO types are shocked at the way sites, and categories of sites, have dropped from their previously held top ranking. As one very unhappy SEO guy says, if a site drops from high ranking to virtually off the map, what does that say for Google's previous ranking results? Not much.

Too much respect

Personally I think we have much too much respect for Google. If they were the new Microsoft many hard core SEO types would think they have good reason to hate them. But they are not the new Microsoft. Unlike Microsoft Google is a one trick pony. Making all their money off of other people's content and selling ads. This is their only source of revenue -- other than the money poured into the company by money grubbing investors.

What I dislike most about Google is the moralistic tone. Not only are they out to make lots of money, but they are "doing good" at every turn. I doubt they are even aware how hypocritical this is.

True believers rarely are.

More competition required

Google has too large a share of the search market. It is much too easy for them to screw small web entrepreneurs with their constant tinkering and experimentation. This tinkering would not be so bad if the others -- in particular, Yahoo and MSN -- had a larger share of searches. But the last year has actually seen an increase in Google's market share. Not driven by good results as much as by momentum and hype.

This is bad for all of us involved in the web. More of us need to shed the Google habit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Power Listings adds 2 new sites

Two more hosts for Power Listings have been added. - Call the world for FREE! - Free advice on how to reduce your business phone and fax call charges, make free and inexpensive international calls. - CCTV DVR Surveillance Alarms Systems - Security Guards BodyGuards Private Investigators NY, LI, NJ, CT

Monday, October 24, 2005

Get Home Equity Loans information

Check out this Home Equity Loan Consumer Guide and directory. Ust this directory to quickly find the Equity Loan that can offer significantly better interest rates than other forms of loans. You might even find some Home Equity Loans even have tax deductible interest payments.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mesothelioma Information

Go to mesothelioma advice for information on mesothelioma - the causes of mesothelioma, symptoms of mesothelioma, and more.

This website has a very extensive collection of meothelioma articles and reports.

A recent article on mesothelioma called "Mesothelioma - Catch it Early to Avoid Big Trouble", outlines how a large percentage of those diagnosed with mesothelioma die within the first year.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

100 Links for hosting Power Listings

If you would like 100 free links, here's a pretty easy way to get them.

Host "Power Listings" on your site. Power Listings consists of a number of blog feeds that run on a series of pre-programmed pages. All you have to do is create a folder on your website, and put about 15 small files into it. Then create a link from your home page (and a few other places in your site), and we're good to go.

100 free links which we normally charge $149 for.

Your site must have an indexed home page to qualify.

Here's what Power Listings look like.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Power Listings new name for Linknet Blog Posts

Linknet Power Listings is the new name for one of our most powerful products. Power Listings gives you two new listings a month in the most relevant Promo Blog (we have Promo Blogs for different categories). Your listing runs on at least 20 websites with a live link. Your link will be on at least 20 sites -- and as many as 40.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Search Engine Advertising - What Works Best?

In a recent article (Sept 30/05) in WebProNews, Jim Hedger summarizes a number of studies that look at which listings searchers are more likely to click onto: "organic" (free) or paid (ppc/Adwords).

His conclusions boil down to this:

1. Searchers tend to trust organic (free) listings more than paid ones -- one study suggested a ratio of 6:1 in favour of free listings.

2. Being at the top of the search page is extremely important. Positions 1 and 2 get about 2/3 of the clicks; positions 9 and 10 get only about 1/10 of the clicks.

3. Site descriptions that show up in free searches are often what determines which listing gets the click. "Search users are reading before clicking."

For two programs that are aimed specifically at influencing search engine rankings see:

Article Promotions - Original articles written about your service, with links to your site, and then published on multiple websites.

Power Listings - Your site featured in search engine friendly listings and published on multiple sites.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Invoice Factoring - Business Capital from Your Receivables

You can get the capital you need for your business by using Invoice Factoring. Invoice Factoring is the easiest way to get you the capital you need very quickly. Universal Funding Corporation provides industry specific factoring to a variety of industries.

Invoice Factoring involves selling the interest in your accounts receivables or invoices to a factor at a small discount. Also called, "accounts receivable financing".

Universal Funding Invoice Factoring is competitive with banks, and much faster for offering capital for a variety of industries. This solution makes solid business sense.

Invoice Factoring provides financing for hundreds of thousands of businesses each year from multi-million dollar to smaller companies. All companies can factor their invoices.

Universal Funding is a premier Invoice Factoring Company and we are extremely easy to work with. We have a very high approval rating for our customers. Nearly every business that submits an application with us is almost instantly approved. Add to that our extremely low cost and no contracts or minimums. Give us a call today to see how easy Receivable Factoring can be.

Utilizing Universal Funding Invoice Factoring services can truly boost your cash flows to a previously unforeseen level. Imagine having all of the money from your Invoices now instead of 30-120 days from now.

Call 1-800-901-2418 for Immediate Assistance

Or fill in our Invoice Factoring Express Approval Form.

You can even Chat with us online.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Writing and Distributing Articles good way to get links

It is a well know fact, but bears repeating, that writing and distributing articles is a good way to get attention to your site, and a good way to get links.

Most people involved in web marketing seem to appreciat this, and I am getting very good response to our new Linknet Article Program.

A couple of days ago I started promoting a Platinum distribution service. There's the basic distribution to 20 sites. Platinum will distribute to a much larger number of top notch sites, and several high subscription distribution lists. See Article Options for more info.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Real Estate Listings introduced at Linknet Blogs

At Linknet we've just introduced a listing service called Hot Real Estate. This is part of the Linknet Promo Blog series which also includes Premium Listings, and will also include World Travels.

Here are the distinctive features of these special Promo Blogs

- Your listing always contains an active link to your website

- Your listing is fine-tuned to have maximum impact on the Search Engines.

- Listing Title and keyword composition are matched to your most important keywords.

- Your listing is refreshed every two weeks. That means you get a new listing every 14 days (at least).

- Listings are syndicated and run on at least 20 high value web pages on at least 20 different sites.

- New hosts for Promo Blog feeds are constantly being added.

Go here for more information on Promo Blog listings

Monday, September 19, 2005

Article About Cancer Fund Raising

Along with the annual Terry Fox Run comes my own questioning of the motives behind the raising of all this money. Terry Fox is a Canadian hero, and it is sacreligious to say anything negative about "cancer research", but I wonder if the Terry Fox legacy is actually being honored at the highest levels.

Read the post in my "Beat Prostate Cancer" blog

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Get Free Links by Hosting Premium Listings from Promo Blog

Webmasters! For a limited time you can get 35 free links when you host Premium Listings from Linknet Promo Blog.

Just add our simple code to a page on your server and you're good to go. Your Free Links are from a minimum of 25 different websites, and include 10 links from PR3 pages.

You also have the opportunity to earn money with Premium Listings Affiliate Program when it is announced.

For more information see Hosting Premium Listings at Promo Blog.

Premium Listings available at

Now you can take advantage of the lowest cost method of creating fresh new links to your site. Premium Listings from Linknet Blogs gives you a fresh new listing every two weeks. Listings get spidered on a daily basis. Your link is also posted on a minimum of 20 web pages and growing.

For more information see Premium Listings at Promo Blog.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Article Publishing Sites

Here is a list of article publishing sites. I use some of these for the Article Promo Program.

The Article Publishing sites list can be found here:

Article Publishing Sites

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Top 10 Must Do List for Online Sales Websites

from Linknet Reprint Articles

Here are the top 10 things you "must do" if you want to create a website that sells products online.

1. Search Engine Optimization — Page Name, Page Title, Metatags
Does your page name include your most important keyword? Is your most important keyword used in your page title, and emphasized in your keyword list and description tag?

2. Search Engine Optimization — Keyword Usage
Do you emphasize your most important keywords throughout the relevant pages?

3. Website Design — Page Organization, Navigation
Have you organized your pages to focus on the most important aspects or categories of your products or services? Are your website navigation links or toolbars easy to understand and easy to use?

4. Website Design — Visual Appeal
Is your website visually appealing, and are the components professional looking?

5. Product Definition — Description
Is your product clearly defined? Is it obvious what you are selling, and how prospective customers can buy it?

6. Product Definition — Features and Benefits
Have you spelled out the features of your product, and how it compares to competitors? Have you told prospective customers "what's in it for me?"

7. Response-Readiness — Call to Action
Do you have a clear "Call to Action", including mechanisms for moving prospects along to the next stage in the ordering process?

8. Response-Readiness — Collecting Leads
Do you have techniques built into your website to get contact information from prospective customers (e.g., autoresponders)?

9. Follow-Up Techniques — Support Material
Do you provide prospective customers with compelling support material and/or testimonials that demonstrate the value of your product?

10. Follow-Up Techniques — Customer Support
Do you have readily-accessible "live" customer support and no-hassle ordering procedures that makes it easy for prospects to move seamlessly from "Yes, I'm interested" to "Here's my payment"?

For more information about website advertising and promotion programs see Linknet Promotion Products.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Be Sure to Choose Online Gambling Sites Carefully

Wherever money passes hands on the web there is usually a scam lurking around the corner. Online gambling has a well-earned reputation for being wide open to abuse.

On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of people are doing online gambling, because it is interesting, challenging, the stakes are generally fairly low, and yes, there are some trustworthy gambling websites out there that are well-designed and fun to use.

When you want information about the top online gambling sites, this online gambling portal is one place to get it.

Soliloquy of Online Casino offers reviews of many major online casinos, and makes recommendations based on security, trustworthiness, ease of use, type of software, level of payout, and much more.

This site also offers the novice online gambler information concerning opening accounts, installing software, depositing funds in your account, retrieving funds, avoiding and deleting spyware, and more.

Visit the best Online Casino Portal on the net.

Monday, August 22, 2005

New Book Examines Mississippi Civil Rights History

Where Rebels Roost - Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited

By M. Susan Klopfer, with Fred J. Klopfer and Barry C. Klopfer

In the hot summer before the cold winter in which our nation entered the war to end all wars, two black males were born. Both were murdered in the Mississippi Delta... Emmett Till died at 14, and Cleve McDowell only lived to be 56.

Some call the modern Civil Rights Movement the second Reconstruction or even the second Civil War. There were familiar themes: mistreatment of blacks, demands for sovereignty or self determination of Mississippi, and the good guys won.

Tribute to Emmett Till

But as freedom volunteers packed up and left the Delta in 1964, brutality and murder continued. Some stories made it into the news and later history books, but too often, critical facts were slanted or incomplete. And too often ften the stories from the rural Delta did not make it out of the region.

The official Movement that took place during the middle years of the 1950s through the 1960s formally began outside of Mississippi when Rosa Parks refused to be seated at the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. But well before her decision in 1955, the anger was already there and it was building. By the mid 1940s Anglo-Saxons throughout the South were finding it harder than ever to protect their over-extended turfs, especially as black soldiers returned home from WWII and Korea with lists of new demands.

Returning veterans like James Meredith, Medgar Evers and Amzie Moore were among many motivated to capture the freedom they had fought for and helped to win.

Where Rebels Roost - Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited offers the newest information on civil rights murders in the Delta from recently opened files from the Sovereignty Commission. Uncivil Rites opens with the introduction of slavery into the Delta and moves through the Civil War, when many African Americans fought for the Union, into Reconstruction followed by years of anguish, as those enslaved seemed to lose everything that was gained. It took the modern Civil Rights movement and even more years to bring the vote to Delta blacks and it was to the credit of the Delta’s civil rights foot soldiers, people like McDowell, Birdia Keglar, Rev. George Lee and others who fought for their freedoms.

Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited; "Where Rebels Roost." New book emphasizes voting rights and newest information on Emmett Till and Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman (Neshoba County); 690 pages, 1200 footnotes; 1000+ names of murdered victims.

Read free chapters. Learn more now about the civil rights movement and voting rights.

Available from The Mississippi Delta Blues and Civil Rights Book Store

Friday, August 12, 2005

Long Term and Short Term Web Traffic

Since we are in the business of generating links for customers, I often get asked if getting links pointing at one's website will result in an immediate traffic boost.

Many link sellers will say "Absolutely!". But my experience is that the normal type of links we are talking about -- links from low to medium traffic sites -- will generate very little immediate traffic. Acquiring links is a long term strategy. You will eventually gain exposure, and therefore traffic, in at least these two ways:

1. You will get clicks on your links, but only in little dribs and drabs.
2. You will influence the search engines to give you higher ranking for your most important keywords, and therefore will get traffic from free searches.

But these will not happen overnight. They are long term strategies that will take months to have an impact. The truth, however, is that a few months on the internet is nothing.

If you want immediate traffic there is no better way to get it than to run Pay Per Click (PPC)ads. My own experience is that using Google Adwords is the most effective way to advertise in order to get immediate response.

Of course this depends to a large extent on your product. If nobody ever searches for your product even PPC ads will not get traffic to your site because there is simply none (or very little) to get.

On the other hand, PPC ads cost money for every click, so you'd better take advantage of the traffic when you get it. If you do not have a strategy for "converting" traffic to sales, you would be wise to develop one before spending money on getting traffic to your site. Among other things, this means:

1. Fine tuning your product so it appeals to site visitors
2. Develop a landing page that presents a simple, strong, and direct sales message
3. Set up an ordering and payment processing system to make taking orders and receiving payments as brainless as possible.

For more information, see the Linknet Marketing Resource Library.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Will Yahoo! Publisher Network offer competition with Adsense

A recent article by Jim Hedger of Stepforth News outlines Yahoo's new Adsense killer: Yahoo! Publisher Network. According to Hedger, "...Yahoo! has had two long years to study the AdSense model and
appear to have adopted a unique publisher-focused philosophy
offering small and medium sized publishers access to syndicated
Yahoo! products and services in a bid to brand Yahoo! content as
well as Yahoo! generated paid-advertising. In other words,
Yahoo! is not only serving paid-ads to webmasters, it is also
helping them bulk site content with Yahoo! products such as
search, shopping, travel, RSS, user-option personalization
featured, and eventually, Yahoo! syndicated music and video

In other words, this service will go beyond Adsense by offering more than just context-sensitive ads. Yahoo's service will also offer internet publishers other kinds of context sensitive content.

Read the article:


Check out Linknet's newest service: Linknet Columns. This service will give you more than 1000 links from content-rich, relevant pages.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pages Matched to Keywords

One of the most important factors determining the value of inbound links is the "relevance" of the content containing the link. For instance, if your site is about "online shopping", then links from other pages with an online shopping section will generally be considered valuable. At least more valuable than links from pages about, say, horse racing, poker, french cuisine, or, worst of all, a mish mash of unrelated links on a link directory page.

We've recently developed a method of creating pages that focus on very specific keywords. So, for instance, if your site is about "online shopping", we can generate a number of perfectly legitimate and useful pages about "online shopping". This content is not spam, is not stolen from some other site, and it is definitely not the kind of content generated by programs like "Search Engine Cloaker" (pages of mumbo jumbo seeded with target keywords and live links.)

Linknet links work. They help give your site visibility and enhance its importance in the eyes of the search engines. This "relevance factor" is one of the reasons why.

For more information about Linknet, see the Linknet Advertising Network.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Google PR Update Update

There has been a fair bit of gnashing of teeth since Google's most recent PR update last week. I have not been able to assess the "damage" in a very thorough way, but my impression is that things have not changed much with my sites. A few things I've noticed:

1. My first PR5 for
2. One PR4 was demoted to a PR3. This was a site I have been ignoring, so it was probably justified.
3. A couple of other PR3s were promoted to PR4.
4. A number of interior pages were moved down from PR2 to PR1.

Most SEO experts think the recent changes reflect a more rigorous application of new rules. My own impression is that rankings are still pretty inconsistent. I continue to think that PR is less and less important in the overall scheme of things.


My new Linknet Advertising project is scheduled to be released August 1, but more likely will be unveiled around August 15.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Back After Two Weeks Off

Well, I'm back after our golfing and sight-seeing trip to Saskatchwean. Things are certainly different there.

For one thing, there's the weather. Here (in southern Ontario) it has been hot and steamy. In Saskatchewan it was hot and semi-steamy. What they say about it being a "dry hot" / "dry cold" in the west -- well, it is (sort of) true.

Second, there's the landscape. It is not all wheat fields. But the expanse of land under cultivation is truly mind boggling. Miles and miles of canola and wheat fields along the road with nary a house with real people living in it.

Third, also part of the landscape ... they don't have real trees in most of the province. How can Saskatchewaners identify with our "beloved" maple leaf (emblazoned on our national flag). I did not see a single maple tree out there. And very few pine trees. Mostly those fairly unimpressive aspens.

Fourth, the places we stayed didn't have phones -- at least ones that worked -- so I felt almost completely cut off from the real (web) world. I am pretty used to jerry-rigging motel phones to make internet connections, but it's hard when the only one you can find is a pay phone. Actually that is not true. I was able to connect at the the first two places we stayed. One time it was by using the fax line in a little 3 x 8 utility room stuffed with machines and supplies.

Fifth, the golf courses we played were inexpensive and not busy. As soon as I get my golf blog running again I'll write about it.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Online Traffic School - Interactive!


Here is an Interactive! Internet Traffic School that is actually FUN!

Interactive! Internet Traffic Schools

The InterActive! Traffic School program has SOUND, which is not required, however it makes your traffic school experience more enjoyable! The program is also enhanced throughout with ANIMATED CARTOON games and movies.

You MAY do the InterActive! Traffic School program WITHOUT watching the cartoons, however, the cartoons give you a VERY QUICK overview of the review material!

At Interactive! Internet Traffic Schools we have added fantastic new content and InterActive now offers the ONLY 100% INTERACTIVE traffic school program for California on the Internet!

Don't want to spend hours and hours READING?
You ARE in the RIGHT place!

Most online traffic schools are dry reading and testing. InterActive! has become the #1 Internet traffic school for people who want to participate in a program that is unique. InterActive! is an ....EXTREMELY QUICK....EASY......ENTERTAINING....
FUN and CHEAP traffic school online!

The PRICE is GREAT (from just $14.95!) and the PROGRAM is UNLIKE ANY OTHER WEB TRAFFIC SCHOOL. Why settle for less when we offer you a great traffic school for less?

This is the only traffic school online with funny, HIGH QUALITY,
animated CARTOONS and CARTOON GAMES throughout our program.


Out of time? We will process your certificate the same day you complete your traffic school program. If your court requires that your certificate be mailed,we will mail your certificate via regular mail for FREE and we charge only $7.50 for 2-3 day priority mail and just $20 for overnight delivery. (Some online traffic schools have hidden fees for regular mail and charge as much as $35.00 for overnight service!)

For more information visit our Interactive! Traffic School website.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Is it time to get rid of the Page Rank system?

by Rick Hendershot, The Linknet Network

The most widespread and most conventional view of what a "link" is holds that it is a kind of endorsement. This view says if I link to your site I am "recommending" it in some important sense. Google entrenched this idea with the Page Rank system. But the development of link farms, automated link exchanges, and anonymous link "directories" has resulted in a degrading of the practice of linking. What we need is to rethink the concept of the "link". The best way to restore the value of links is to think of them as advertising.

Most web-savvy people quickly learn the importance of inter-linking their sites with others having similar interests and subject matter. Your "inbound" links are one of the most important ways of getting yourself known in your field, at the same time as generating traffic to your website.

When Google burst onto the scene in the late 90s they entrenched the importance of links in the Page Rank system. A page's PR became one of the most important measures of a its value, and is still one of the things that many web promotion people (including me) chase after.

In creating the Page Rank system Google entrenched the idea that a link is a kind of "endorsement". This idea has been kicking around since the beginning of the web. The concept is pretty simple: if I put a link to your site on one of my pages, I am recommending your site -- I am giving you an endorsement. This is why we have "Resource Directory" pages on websites. More or less like the "Recommended Reading" list at the end of a magazine article, a website's "Resource Directory" is, in theory at least, a list of other websites that the webmaster recommends.

But the founders of Google went a step further and formalized the concept of the link as an endorsement. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the idea that a link is an endorsement was based on the citation system used in academic circles. An academic's value as a researcher and writer is (at least informally) based on the number of times he or she is "cited" by other writers and researchers in their own published works.

Linking has been degraded

Most web marketers quickly learn that Google places a high value on inbound links. The knee-jerk reaction of many webmasters is to create a "link directory" and start looking for "link partners". Automation quickly follows, along with submission to hundreds of "directories" that are nothing more than link farms.

Google sends mixed messages about these practices. On the one hand they make a lot of noise about how they will "penalize" webmasters engaging in questionable linking practices.

But in reality, since it is often very difficult to tell the difference between a "valuable resource" and a site filled with spam, we find that directories with no inherent value are given a high Page Rank. Many of these directories are attached to websites having very little legitimate content. These sites feed off the Page Rank of their directories and gain impressive PR of their own.

So Google ends up supporting the spamming practices they claim to be condemning.

Page Rank is like "central planning"

Google's Page Rank system has the same problem that all "planned economies" suffer from. They impose a scheme of evaluation based on some preconceived notion of what is good and bad. Since this system does not reflect what people actually value, it is open to serious abuse, and is unlikely to ever line up with what is happening on the ground.

The alternative to making pre-judgements about the "rank" of web pages is to let people decide for themselves through a process of discovery, trade, and exchange of goods and services which web sites are good and which ones are not worth visiting.

In other words, forget about assigning arbitrary "Page Rank" to web pages and let people decide for themselves whether a web resource is valuable.

Selling Links for their Advertising Value

It is ironic that the king of web advertising -- Google -- does not (seem to) approve of the sale of links. Do they have something against advertising? Obviously not, since, as I've said, they are heavily dependent on Adwords to bring them most of their money.

No, they oppose the selling of links because this practice takes advantage of the artifical evaluation system they use. Having created a "market for Page Rank", Google hypocritically looks down on people who would buy and sell it as a commodity. In other words, we have the classic clash between a "free market" and a "planned economy". The system of evaluation imposed from on high is not consistent with the freedom of real people to try to manipulate it for their advantage.

The solution is the throw out the high and mighty preconceived notion that links are endorsements and are therefore "valuable" in themselves. The most tangible way to make such a statement would be to get rid of Page Rank as a standard of evaluation.*

This would have the immediate effect of eliminating the sale of Page Rank. No more ads saying "Get your link on a PR7 home page." This kind of pitch would immediately become pointless and obsolete.

It would also put an immediate end to most anonymous link exchanges. The practice of piling up thousands of inbound links from sites that nobody ever visits would lose much of its raison d'etre.

Instead, webmasters would focus on the more "traditional" methods of getting links to their sites. The most important would be advertising on other sites likely to generate the kind of traffic you want.

Links as advertising.

This does not mean that all links would be seen as advertising. Endorsements would continue to be valuable. And getting "free" links would continue to be an important source of potential traffic.

The search engines would also continue to value the quantity and quality of the links pointing at your site as an important indicator of its visit-worthiness. But the practice of acquiring links would cease to be focused on building the phony indicator of value called Page Rank. Instead it would be focused on building a network of relationships that brings traffic.

*Many experts claim that Google has already seriously downgraded the importance of Page Rank. If so, why do they keep it in play with the Google toolbar? If Page Rank is not important anymore, why do they give the impression that it is important? Is this nothing more than a manipulative marketing ploy?

Rick Hendershot is a writer and internet publisher. You can increase your visibility on the web by advertising on The Linknet Network.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Online Ticket Sales Ideally Suited to Web


Selling event tickets online is the kind of service the web is ideally suited to provide. With the development of services like Golden Box Seats Ticket Sales one website can be your source for event tickets of all kinds. This kind of service demonstrates the ability of the web to bring together large amounts of data, and present it in a way that is informative, entertaining, and easy to understand.

Whether you want to see the Cubs play in Chicago, a Celine Dion show at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, a Rolling Stones concert in Toronto, or an off-Broadway show in New York, Golden Box Seats can tell you when and where things are happening. Detailed schedules for all sorts of events are available in one location -- sporting events, big name concerts, Broadway shows. Want to see Paul McCartney in Portland? No problem. How about the British Open, or NASCAR at Watkins Glen, or the Dallas Cowboys? It's all there...

Then with a few clicks of the mouse you can reserve your seats without ever leaving the comfort of your office or home.

Buying sports tickets or concert tickets demonstrates the awesome ability of the internet. Sites like pull together large amounts of constantly changing information, present it in an easily understood and easy-to-navigate format, and then make it incredibly easy to make a purchase.

Just a few years ago this kind of "one stop shopping" for event tickets was not even imaginable. As with so many other services, it used to be that buying concert tickets, tickets to a sporting event, or theater tickets was a major ordeal. But sites like have made buying event tickets a breeze.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Create a Clear Product Description

from 10 Things You "Must Do" to have a Website that Sells.

If you want to sell things on the web, then there are several things you must do to make your website ready to sell. Here is the first...

1. Create a Clear Product Description that Emphasizes Benefits

Make sure your product is clearly defined. Make it obvious what you are selling, why prospective customers should be interested in buying it, and how they can buy it? Don't beat around the bush. Be clear and straight to the point.

Describe your product or service from the viewpoint of your customers. Think benefits -- "what's in it for me" -- rather than features. People do care about product features, but only after they can see the benefits and have decided they are interested.

It is a bit surprising how difficult it is for many of us to simply spell out what we do. We think it is clear until we sit down and try to define it. Try it right now. Create a snappy one or two sentence description of your main product or service. Try to make it sound interesting, and try to stay away from cliches like "We create ecommerce websites" or "We sell nutritional supplements".

These stock answers sound fine to someone who knows the jargon. But everyone else is going to have difficulty putting your description in a context that makes sense. You should provide the context -- possibly something like:

"We create websites for companies that want to sell their products on the web"

"We sell nutritional products like vitamins and minerals to people who prefer the convenience and lower price you can get when buying on the web."

Remember: try to think like your prospective customers.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Home Business Opportunities

If you are looking for a very useful home business opportunity site packed with home business opportunities, affiliate programs, and web marketing advice check out Home Business Opportunity Directory.

Another home business opportunity worth looking at is Cesar Crespo's Free Card Business Card Display concept. Learn more at Business Card Displays.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Major Google update underway

According to a report in WebProNews, Google is doing a major backlink and index update over the next few days. Contributing writer Jim Hedger reports in Tasting Bourbon - Major Back-link and Index Update Underway, that serious Google watchers have noticed "a major shift in back-links and in pages indexed starting early this morning (Wednesday)."

This is likely to be the first major update that reflects the algorithm changes suggested in the much discussed patent application released earlier this year. That document suggested Google will be looking much more seriously at linking history and linking patterns in an effort to give greater emphasis to fresh, relevant content, and to foil illegitimate link stuffing techniques.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cory Rudl dies

I received the sad and shocking news a few days ago that Cory Rudl, one of the most influential and most successful internet marketers, died in a car crash on June 2. The crash happened at the California Speedway in Fontana, California, where he and a friend were racing. This is the same track where Greg Moore was killed in 1999.

In spite of the fact he was only 34, Cory Rudl was a pioneer in internet marketing and set the tone for thousands of others to follow. His was one of the first and most successful affiliate programs, and he brought many principles used in direct marketing to the relatively new world of online marketing.

My condolences go out to his friends and family, and especially to his wife of only a few months.

Monday, May 30, 2005

PR is back - Everything is OK again

Well, right on cue, the little green Page Rank indicator started to work again sometime late this afternoon. So that should put an end to current speculation about the death of Page Rank.

By the way, I used this opportunity to find and post a couple articles about PR and its relation to SEO. You can find them here:

Introducing PageRank - shattering the myth, by Dave Collins


TrustRank, by Aaron Wall.

Page Rank is Down and Everybody is Speculating

Google's Page Rank system has been non-operational now for about three days and the internet is abuzz with speculation about what it could mean. If you don't know what I mean, I am referring to the little green bar in the Google toolbar that supposedly ranks web pages according to their importance or "relevance" or some other mysterious criteria that only Google knows for sure.

In fact, much of the Page Rank system has been based on the quantity and quality of inbound links pointing at specific pages. This system was the inspiration for much that was novel about Google when it burst on the scene about seven years ago. But since then it has become the feature of Google that has been most open to abuse. Among other things, it has set the tone for many thousands of websites that are little more than "directories" of links. It has also been the source of much "link exchange" activity -- a counter-intuitive exercise that occupies so much of the time of those of us involved in web promotion.

The reaction to the current PR outage has been mixed. Some have predicted that Google is moving holus bolus to another system such as TrustRank. Others think it is just a Google glitch.

My own feeling is that this is too big to be a glitch. Google has a plan. They are making changes. They have clearly said that the evaluation of links is going to undergo change, and possibly this is a way of shocking the troops into realizing that the changes are coming sooner rather than later.

Whether this is a permanent change or not, it is clear that the free-for-all that has been happening on the linkage front is going to change. The significance of garbage links will inevitably be diminished (as it should be), and the ability of content-less sites to score big PR numbers by simply hooking up with other (possibly equally content-less) sites also will (and should be) diminished.

On the other hand, Page Rank serves a potentially useful purpose. There is something to be said for having an "objective" measure of the quality of websites. As it stands now, there is no way of knowing whether a particular site is of any value or not. Yese there is Alexa, but that is equally open to abuse. The fact that the current Page Rank system is flawed, is not sufficient reason to jettison the entire concept. Nor is it sufficient reason, in my estimation, to move completely towards a system like TrustRank that favours long established sites over newer, possibly better ones.

Friday, May 27, 2005

What's the Big Hurry?

Quite often I get asked what the magic solution is for getting better Google ranking. Sometimes the questions sound fairly naive, something like this:

"I have recently established site XYZ and would like to rank much higher in Google, Yahoo and MSN. Can you tell me how to do this without spending a lot of money? Also I would like to have significantly better rankings within 1 or 2 months."

No seasoned internet marketer would ever ask a question like this. Experienced marketers know that predicting search engine rankings is always a hit or miss affair. SEO practitioners who "guarantee" high search engine rankings are making misleading claims, intended only to sell their services.

Imagine how many sites within any competitive area are going after those "top 10" rankings. Many of your competitors have been around for a few years, so they have an established site with lots of valuable content, steady traffic, and thousands of sites linking into them. How can you expect just to throw up a site and within a month or two walk away with a "top 10" position?

This is only possible within a narrowly defined, highly specialized niche. Say for instance you are going to hold a Wazooski family reunion next year, and want to use the internet to promote it. Chances are a few well placed announcements scattered around 20 or 30 article sites, directories and blogs will generate enough search engine activity to get you good positioning in the search engines. Within a month or two you should get the number one spot for "Wazooski family reunion", within the top 10 for "Wazooski", and possibly even an honourable mention further down the list for "family reunion". Using a blog or two will often speed this process up considerably.

The reason is pretty obvious: there is not a lot of competition for "Wazooski family reunion". In fact you may be the only one competing for that term. All you really need to do is get your site or your announcements spidered and the chances are pretty good that you will get a high ranking almost immediately.

But try this with a more competitive term and you are talking a completely different game. Considering that most competitive terms have thousands of sites chasing after that illusive "top 10" ranking, you will be lucky to even get on the radar screen. And trying to do it within a month or two is almost completely unrealistic.


Many blog posts and RSS feeds get spidered daily. You can place a listing in our blog "Business Webs" which is syndicated on a growing number of sites. For more information see Business Webs advertising.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Importance of History to Google

The Google patent application submitted in March, 2005 has generated a good deal of debate among search engine optimization experts. The patent document contains many general suggestions about the direction Google wants to move their search criteria and ranking techniques in the near future.

The document points out two areas in particular in which "there remains a need to improve the quality of results generated by search engines." (0009) These two areas are

(a) artificially inflated rank due to spamming techniques, and
(b) stale documents that rank higher than fresh ones, and therefore "degrade the search results".

These two points reveal the primary purpose of the proposals made in the March/05 patent application. In general, that purpose is to improve the quality of search engine results. The specific measures proposed in the application are meant to address the two points previously mentioned: spam which skews results inappropriately, and document staleness which results in old documents being ranked higher than newer ones.

History is more important than ever

This means Google either already gives, or intends to give the "history" of documents more significance. And not just the date when the document is created, or most recently changed. They also propose tracking the pattern of the changes in content, changes in anchor text of links, changes in numbers and quality of inbound links, changes in quality and number of outbound links, changes in other pages within the same associated group of documents.

On top of that, they propose tracking user habits and patterns over time. How users got to the page in question, how long they stayed there, how many times the particular page was clicked on when it was presented in a search...a very impressive (bewildering?) array of factors.

In fact this is an ingenious attempt to solve the "spam" and "staleness" problems at the same time. The major assumption seems to be that up-to-date "relevant" content -- the kind the search engines are supposed to be giving us -- will be regularly updated, will be inter-connected by an ever-increasing (and regularly changing) group of inbound links. In other words, links will come and go, changes will happen gradually, and "spikes" in either traffic or increased link activity will be sure signs of spamming activity.


Whether all of these measures will ever be implemented or not is almost irrelevant. The future has been defined, and it is up to creators of websites and online marketers to make the most of it. The most important conclusions we can take from the patent application is that the history of our pages matters. More specifically,

-- Rapid and wholesale changes in content will be looked upon with suspicion
-- Rapid increases in numbers of inbound and outbound links will trigger red flags
-- Changes in anchor text that alter or remove its relationship to on-page content will be suspect
-- Lack of regular and steady (but not radical) changes will get your pages labelled "stale"
-- Links that were valuable last year (or month?) will not be as valuable this year (or month) because they are becoming "stale".

In other words, keep adding content, keep upgrading your pages, keep improving and adding new ones, continue to get new links, and freshen up your old ones if you can. But don't do any of it too quickly.

Think of this "history" component as a method of measuring change. It may seem unreasonably vague, but in the new world order, change has three speeds: Too Slow, Too Fast, and Just Right.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Business Card Displays Business Opportunity

Freecard business card displays present an interesting and exciting small business opportunity. The business card dispensers are placed in high traffic areas where potential customers of your advertisers are likely to see the business cards on display.

You (the Freecard "Associate") then sell business card slots to local merchants or services. There are 16 compartments in each display. When a prospective customer is interested in one of the products or services advertised, she just takes one of the full color business cards.

For more information, go to Freecard Business Card Display Opportunity

Give Google What it Wants

Recent developments on the Google front have gotten web marketers and SEO specialists talking even more than usual. What they're talking about is the changing Search Engine Optimization landscape. Some of the traditional assumptions about what gets good Google ranking have been challenged by things Google has said over the last few months -- especially by the filing of their most recent patent.

A number of sensible suggestions have emerged about good SEO practice. I will comment on a number of them in the next few posts.

1. Don't add links too quickly or all from one or two sources -- Google wants a "natural" linking pattern.

This is not a new suggestion, but Google seems to be prepared to penalize sites which engage in blatant link buying. Clearly this is targeted at services that sell links by the hundreds (or thousands). So one month a site has no links, and the next month it has 2,000 or 20,000 links from one or two "name" sites. Obviously these links have happened because of link buying.

I don't believe Google is trying to discourage all link buying, since, after all, links are just a form of advertising, and Google cannot discourage buying advertising without being blatantly inconsistent. Google itself is one of the primary sources of purchased web advertising.

What they are trying to do is safeguard the integrity of their search results by discouraging the practice of buying large chunks of links to dramatically influence Page Rank and Search Engine positioning. They want Page Rank and SE positioning to be a result of website quality and relevance. And virtually all SEO experts have maintained that quality and relevance come fairly gradually as a site grows and its content develops. So the "natural" development of links would be more or less in lock step with the development of content.

This means that link programs like our own Linknet Advertising packages are not the sort of thing Google is discouraging.

Why? Because...

1. No current Linknet package gives you more than 100 links at a time. We encourage you to add links from a variety of sources, Linknet being only one. We also encourage you to come back a month or two down the road and add some more links. In other words, add links gradually over the course of four or five months until you have a few thousand.

2. Virtually all Linknet packages include links from a wide range of websites. We have 30 or so sites of our own. All of them contain content-rich pages, and we try to put your links on content-rich pages that match the target site's content as closely as possible. We also work with a number of 3rd party partners where we place your links. Typically a package of 100 links from Linknet will be spread over about 60 different websites or blogs.

3. Linknet packages usually include posts on blogs like this one, and short articles on article sites like So, again, your links are "embedded" in content-rich articles or posts that cannot be construed as "spam" in any sense.

If you would like further information about Linknet link opportunities, visit the Linknet website.

By the way, we have just developed a package that gives you links on PR2, PR3, and PR4 pages. They are available in batches of 10, will remain in place for one year, and are very reasonably priced. Get more information

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Monday, May 09, 2005

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Blog helps Bloggers make money

Problogger is a blog by Darren Rowse dedicated to expounding on tips and techniques to make blogs more effective sources of revenue. Subject areas include blog design, search engine optimization of blogs, blog promotion (getting your blog more exposure), blog advertising, affiliate programs, using Adsense effectively, writing content in order to generate traffic and revenue.

The Problogger site includes interviews, case studies, blog tools, and income streams. This is a very active and much read blog.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Selling Local Services on the Web

Say you want to open a store to sell widgets, and pretend you have a choice. You can either open a bricks and mortar retail store on Main Street, or you can open a web store and ship widgets from your garage.

Some of the differences seem obvious. At first blush, it would seem that your bricks and mortar store would probably cater to a local market with walk-in traffic, whereas your web store would focus on a broader, non-local market.

In turn, this would have an influence on how you define your service. Perhaps your physical store would focus on low prices and speedy installation, whereas your cyber-store would carve out a relatively narrow niche catering to a specialty market.

What this clearly suggests is that you do NOT try to reach local markets online. You use more traditional marketing strategies. This gets us thinking in terms of these two alternative models:

Bricks and Mortar Store
Local Market
Products have local appeal
Delivery is either manageable because customers pick up goods, or because they are close enough to deliver goods to

Online Store
Non-local market
Products tend to be more specialized
catering to a "niche" market spread out geographically.
Goods are either digital or can be delivered economically "at a distance".

Clearly, a web store selling to a non-local market will have to address various shipping issues. For instance, selling fast food to a non-local market looks like a non-starter. You can't ship pizzas more than about 15 or 20 minutes from their point of origin. Or trying to sell bulky or very fragile items "at a distance" would result in excessive cost and/or damage.

You need a product that will ship without too much trouble or cost, and one that doesn't have to be shipped inside a restrictive time frame (like pizzas or fried chicken). The ultimate is the digital item that can be downloaded. But things like books, CDs, bottles of pills, clothing, jewelry, computer parts, electronic components, etc., etc. all qualify as well.

Online Stores and Local Markets

Might it be possible to have an online store catering primarily to a local market? In other words, can we reach local markets online?

I think we have trouble with this concept because of promotional or marketing considerations. We assume that either there are not enough local prospects to build a viable business, or promotional efforts can't be adequately focused on a local market without the use of other very expensive advertising media (traditional media).

But why is this? Why couldn't we open a pizza restaurant, or chain of pizza restaurants and build our marketing and communication systems (promotion, order taking, payment taking) and reach our local markets online. In other words, instead of people looking up phone numbers in the "yellow pages", they would go to a local online source (search engine, online mall or community directory) find their restaurant of choice, order via email or web-based forms, make their payment online, etc.

In fact, this model doesn't even require online ordering. In my world, a store would be reaching its local markets online as long as it has a web site that generates leads and inquiries, and that serves as the focal point for its product information. Take your pizza restaurant, for instance. Imagine that it generates its leads from a search engine, online mall or directory, and it has no yellow pages ad(s) at all. People look up the website, find what they want, and then call a local number to place their order. That would clearly be an online store — a store reaching local markets online.

The local web store model

With the current state of the web, the online pizza restaurant is an unlikely candidate for success. The fact is, there are very few reliable, up-to-date online directories you can trust — especially at the local level. This is compounded by the tendency for web businesses to pop up as experiments and quickly fade away. Yesterday's community web directory is full of businesses that no longer exist.

In the world of traditional media, this problem is overcome by the relatively steep entry costs, and the relatively long lead times — you don't buy a yellow pages ad unless you have something worth selling, have a few dollars to invest in it, and are likely to be around in six months when it eventually gets printed in the book. None of these things apply to websites -- you can have a website up almost over night for almost no cost at all.

Local services which might work online

But there may be other services which have a better chance of online success — services which don't require instant "findability", which would not require up-to-the-minute directories or listings, but rather could survive off of something more "traditional" like good search engine ranking.

Let's say, for instance, you are interested in finding a real estate agent in your local community, or a dentist, or a swimming pool maintenance company. Being able to find local suppliers like this online would be a tremendous advantage. You do a search for "Dentists Cambridge", and up pops a list of websites for dentists in Cambridge.

Of course the yellow pages people want you to think they will continue to be the definitive source for this kind of information. That's why we have "". But in fact they have a built-in reason NOT to supply information of this sort online — because it cuts into their lucrative printed book advertising. As with so many older technologies, you cannot rely on the providers of those older technologies to provide you with more efficient, less costly alternatives, because that would cut into their real business.

In fact they usually put up these services to slow down the development of alternatives and keep their old businesses alive longer. The less efficient the alternatives are, the better they do with their "must have" print ads, and clunky old environmentally unfriendly 20 pound books.


Online business ideas that do not conform to the web-store-catering-to-non-local-market model seem likely to have serious problems. But for some types of business, the model of the "local web store" may already be feasible. It depends on many things, including the development of comprehensive and up-to-date locally-oriented business directories.

Once we have better online search and online local directory services, and once web use among both local consumers and local businesses reaches a specific critical mass, the range of local businesses able to use the web profitably will increase greatly.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Thoughts on Pay Per Click Advertising

If you are considering doing Pay Per Click advertising (Google Adwords, Overture, etc.), there are two contrasting opinions expressed in two recently published articles.

In the first one, published by Lawrence Deon ("Surviving Google's Aging Delay") and referenced at e_Marketing, Lawrence suggests that search engine marketing practices that worked in the past (most notably, aggressive link trading and link buying) are no longer working quite as they were. Google seems to be delaying the results of aggressive linking, and therefore, you cannot count on SEO to get you short term traffic. The only way is with PPC. He says, "If you purchase non-directory links, reallocate that budget to Adwords advertising."

I am interpreting this as a general comment on SE marketing, not just link buying/trading. The very clear suggestion is that you will not get the same short term traffic from SEO and linking strategies, and therefore you should resort to PPC.

Contrast this with this article written by Cari Haus who points out that PPC is very hard to monitor and can very quickly drain away your promotion budget if you are not careful.

My own experience is that PPC is very powerful if you meet these conditions:

1. You must very clearly define your product in terms of the most critical key words, and target your ads to these keywords.
2. Your landing page must be geared to generating responses and sales.
3. You must have a very simple method of generating responses on your landing page.
4. Your product must be very competitive - the kind of thing potential buyers will buy NOW.

If you are trying to generate long term exposure, or build a web presence, PPC can be a very expensive way to do it.

My most successful PPC campaigns have been for:

Vinyl Banners, PopUp Trade Show Displays, and 25 Free Links. Notice how all three of these products and their corresponding landing pages meet the above criteria.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Paypal Features Outlined in Article

There is a very good article published at Trade Show Tips in which author Merle of MC Promotions outlines many of the features and advantages for small entrepreneurs of using PayPal.

If you have considered using PayPal as an alternative to getting a merchant account, or if you have held off on getting into online sales because of a lack of a merchant account, you really should read this article.

Bottom line: you don't need a merchant account to do online sales.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Creating a Basic Website Template

What is a web "template"?

As I understand this term, it is a design format which you can apply to all (or most) of the pages in a web site. Using a "template" system like this has two major advantages. First,it allows you to make your most important design decisions at the beginning, and then just focus on content. And second, it allows you to quickly create new pages based on your standard design.

The disadvantage is that many template-based websites look homogenized and lacking in unique character. Designers who sell templates tend to use the same formats over and over again, insert the same generic images, use the same techniques.

Just as important, I have never found one that I consider ready-to-go right out of the box. They always need modification, and often modifying a professionally prepared template is difficult because the designer will have used techniques you may not fully understand or are specific to the tools he or she used to create it.

So I prefer not to think of templates as the kind of thing you buy from an online template store. Rather I prefer to think of them as simply a basic page format that can be used over and over again. The best template is therefore one that uses "standard" techniques that can be modified without the use of specialized tools or programs (like Front Page or Dreamweaver).

Creating a Basic Template

If you are not familiar with web design, try working with a "bare bones" template to begin with. There are two ways you can go. You can work with basic html and tables, or you can create your basic template with CSS. I recommend you begin with CSS -- especially if you have not yet become used to constructing web pages with tables.

CSS stands for "Cascading Style Sheets", but at the beginning it is not important to understand what that means. What is important is to understand that CSS allows you to create a set of formatting parameters in a "style sheet" (a seperate file) which you then can very easily apply to your individual pages. In other words, you seperate the "style" from the "content".

A simple style sheet can contain just three or four design elements. Here is an example which you are free to copy (right click and "Save target as" to a location on your hard drive)


This template contains a definition for the body text, a header component (with a background image), a "navbar", and a definition for two headline styles, h1 and h2.

Now that you have a style sheet you can begin building your web site by creating a basic home page. Here is an example which embeds the style sheet referred to in the previous paragraph. You can get the html code by just opening the page in a browser window, looking at the "Source" code, and saving the resulting file on your hard drive as, for instance, "sample-1.html".

Now you should have two files in the same location on your hard drive -- "sample-1.css" and "sample-1.html". You can get the image file by just right clicking on the image in the sample page and saving it to the same location on your hard drive.

Your second step will be to create the pages referenced in the "navbar", so make sure you think of names for these pages before proceeding (e.g., howitworks.html, products.html, about.html, sitemap.html, contact.html). Then build your hyperlinks into the navbar. (Look at the code of the sample file to see how it is done.)

Once you have your basic home page with links, this then becomes your template. Just save it as "howitworks.html", "products.html", etc., and make the changes to the specific pages.

The result (once you upload it all to your host server) will be a basic, functional website containing a number of properly interlinked pages. It will also be search engine friendly because the design is not cluttered with scripts, and the most important elements are clearly laid out at the top of the page.

For more web design, SEO, blogging, and marketing tips see the Linknet Marketing Resource Library.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

If Google Delays Why be Conservative?

In the face of claims that Google has started delaying the impact of aggressive linking policies some SEO "experts" have concluded a more conservative linking policy is in order.

This does not make sense.

If you have to wait 6 to 8 months before links get their due (still a debatable conclusion) why does this lead to a "go slow" approach to acquiring links?

It doesn't.

Read more at e_Marketing

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Does Blogger Suck or Is it Just Me?

I just spent about an hour composing a masterpiece about Google link filters and the program screwed it up when I went to save it. This is not the first time this has happened. And it is not the only problem I have found with blogger.

So in the future I will post my substantive entries over at one of my other blogs, such as e_Marketing, and just post references here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Is Page Rank Overrated?

More and more web experts and SEO practitioners seem to think Google's Page Rank is becoming less important in the overall search engine scheme of things. The new rallying cry is "relevance". Create relevant content, get relevant inbound links, link to relevant sites in your area of expertise.

The simple fact is no one (including, I suspect, Google) knows exactly what relationship the Page Rank of a given page has to its likelihood of scoring well in specific searches. People ("experts" and otherwise) talk as though they know, but unless they are talking from actual experience they are just blowing different colours of smoke.

For instance, I recently had someone tell me they had heard that two domains placed on the same server, sharing the same ip address "will not get the credit of two sites but something between 1 and 2". This sounds marginally plausible until you think about it for a minute or two. Whether or not it is true, the bigger question remains the same: namely, "what good are these "credits" anyway?" What are they supposed to do for you?

Well, two things, I suppose:

1. Improve your Page Rank (or potential Page Rank), and
2. Improve your SE rankings for your most important keywords.

But both of these things beg the more fundamental question about traffic generation. Namely,

"What does any of this have to do with generating traffic or making sales?"

We assume that answer to this question is obvious. Higher PR means more traffic. But this presupposes traffic in itself is good.

It's not, unless you're selling advertising.

Traffic is only good if it is correctly targeted, and if your content can "convert" enough site visitors into readers, buyers, ad clickers, or whatever it is you're trying to get them to do.

I know it is a cliche, but it really does all come back to content. Websites or blogs that are devoid of meaningful and well constructed content turn out to be pointless -- PR or no PR. You may get visitors, but they will not buy anything, or stick around long enough to click on your Google ads.

Carefully crafted content, on the other hand will do well on all counts. The Search Engines will (eventually) start to recognize your greatness. Other webmasters will want to exchange links with you and send traffic your way. And site visitors will appreciate the information you provide and buy your products.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Almost everything about the web has become easier over the last couple of years. It is easier to buy and register a domain. It is easier to build a website. It is easier to fill it with "content".

Generally this has meant the proliferation of garbage sites which are thrown up like the proverbial mud thrown against the wall. Most will just fall to the ground. But maybe some will stick. Not likely, but maybe.

I have especially noticed this in two areas -- link exchange and "content" creation. Virtually anybody can setup an automated link exchange program that will do the work for you. The tedium of trading links -- of actually having to contact people and ask them to look at your site, etc. -- is all but eliminated by link exchange software and automated exchanges.

The fact that most of these exchanges are worthless is only relevant if you actually CARE about the quality of your site. Most garbage sitemasters do not care. They are just throwing mud against the wall. So part of this pointless exercise involves having hundreds of links from other garbage sites.

Same goes for creating content. The garbage sitemaster does not create content. He just copies it from somewhere else. The result is just more garbage.

Surprisingly, one welcome exception to this trend is in the area of blogs. Since a blog requires regular injections of (unique?) content, it is a bit more difficult to automate an effective blog. Garbage sitemasters are lazy and do not think in terms of regular updates. They just want to throw up their site and forget about it. A blog requires regular attention, so garbage sitemasters are not likely to be interested in blogging.

On the other hand, if it is not already available, I'm sure there will soon be automated blogging software. Programs that copy or steal "content" from other sources, rearrange it slightly, and then post it to your very own blog.

Or maybe not. It could be that not enough people are interested in blog-style publishing to make this kind of software worth writing. And the ones who are interested in blogs tend to be self-righteous people like me who think the quality of one's content is important.

We'll see.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Insider's Secrets to Marketing

Here's what Robin Araoz says about Cory Rudl's product "The Insider's Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet -- Version 2004".

"Listen, I'll be the first to admit that I was hesitant when I first decided to buy "The Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet -- Version 2004." But when it arrived on my doorstep (only 3 days later!), I was literally blown away by what I had received."


"Would you like to start a home based Internet business and work from the comfort of your home?

"If you've been searching for information about how to sell products or services online, then you've probably come across Corey Rudl's name at least a few times. And, if you're like me, you've probably wondered what the story is behind his best-selling marketing course.

"Well, here's the truth: This course is the real deal."

For more information, check out Insider's Secrets

Thursday, March 24, 2005

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Monday, March 21, 2005

99% is Not Good Enough

Just about every website hosting company advertises that they provide 99% uptime. Stop and think about that for a minute. That means your site can be down for 15 minutes every day and still (almost) squeak in under the 99% "gurantee".

That's pretty sad, don't you think. I have a friend who works for IBM servicing major accounts and he says if their service goes down for more than a few seconds at any time they scream and holler bloody murder. None of this 99% stuff. Most businesses who operate a critical function cannot afford any down time at all. These guys demand 100% uptime!

Actually I find that most of the hosting companies I have dealt with cannot even make the 99% "guarantee". I currently have reseller accounts with four different hosts, and every one of them seems to be down for some part of the day every day. Of course it is very difficult to put your finger on this. They say they monitor their up time and will blame their problems on intermediate bandwidth providers, your "last mile" connection, or whatever.

The truth is, like the cell phone systems we all put up with, the public ip networks used by most hosts are just barely adequate for the job they are called upon to perform. This is probably because there is not enough at stake to spend the money to make them more reliable. If you want or need something really reliable then you go talk to the IBMs of the world and pay about 30 times as much for the service.

As we speak I am trying to backup one of my sites. It is hosted by one of the (supposely) top ranked hosts in the US. The service has been up and down all morning, I can't access my control panel or support "help desk" to report the problem, and my backup has been sitting there spinning at about 10% complete for the last 15 minutes.

I'm sure glad I have that 99% guarantee.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Content Wars and the Search Engines

Creating "content" for websites can be a challenge. I suspect that usually what happens with website builders (like me) is that we have an idea for a website, we register a domain or five, we throw up a half-baked temporary home page, and then about three months later we might actually get back to trying to make something out of it.

The two minor practical problems that make "instant websites" impossible to achieve are:

1. design
2. content

Both of these things take thought, imagination, and work. You cannot make them happen by snapping your fingers. Unless you have either an instant website machine, or a staff of five or six people, building websites invariably takes time.

This sometimes leads people like me to consider using a content generating program like Search Engine Cloaker or Article Bot. Both of these programs try to kill two birds with one stone. They create as much content as you want by spitting out machine-generated pages. If you want thousands of pages they will give you thousands of pages. At the same time they make your new "content" search engine friendly by building in "relevant" text, keywords, and links.

On the face of it, this seems like serious "cheating". If nothing else it is intended to deceive the Search Engines -- especially Google. Like so many other web marketing techniques, it is another attempt to get "something for nothing" -- ranking for content that really does not deserve it. But there is more to the story.

The morality of website content

This brings me to one of my pet topics: the legitimacy or what I call the "morality" of content. I have argued elsewhere that by setting themselves up as the Content Police the self-righteous people at Google have exposed themselves as hypocrites.

Why? Because on the one hand they proclaim that a website's search ranking must be based on "relevance". And according to their rules this relevance must be earned on the basis of the quality and importance of the site's content -- what we might call "merit". Meanwhile they are prepared to sell ranking to the highest bidder with Adwords (or Overture in the case of Yahoo). There is a pretty serious conflict between Plan A (ranking by merit) and Plan B (ranking by purchase).

This issue should not be oversimplified. Just because Google is willing to sell ranking it does not automatically follow that Plan A (ranking by merit) should be pitched. But it certainly makes one wonder if diligent rule followers are being played for suckers.

The problem is that Google has "moralized" the issue by bringing preconceived notions of Relevance and Importance and the Purpose-of-the-Web to their ranking scheme. In other media we more or less let people decide what they will watch, listen to, or read. We (usually) do not have some self-righteous body pre-determining the Purpose of Television or the Correct Role of Radio. Except in the case of national broadcasters like the BBC or CBC, it is generally assumed that "the market" will determine what thrives and what perishes.

Google's moralizing of the web leads directly to manipulative techniques like "Search Engine Optimization". In what other communication media does such an anal activity exist? Radio, television, magazines, billboards, movies, printed materials...? Not likely.

In our zealous struggle to gain the favour of Google, it is easy to lose site of the fact that Google themselves have turned the normal relationship between content and (mere) indexer of content upside down. Because of the perception that the Search Engines can determine our success or failure, we stop creating our content for people and start making it for Google -- the Great Indexer.

This is the only reason that content generating programs like Search Engine Cloaker and Article Bot exist. Nobody actually wants thousands of pages of "optimized" nonsense, or hundreds of variations of your award winning article.

Only the Search Engines.

So even though they seem to pervert "the purpose of the web", there may be some justification for such programs. Large corporate websites like can spit out virtually limitless amounts of "relevant content", and since the Search Engines have declared that "content is king", these corporate websites will invariably dominate the rankings.

Given this kind of domination-based-on-quantity, the only serious way of combating it is to create quantity of your own. In other words, if you know how to machine-generate content that meets the Google "relevance" criteria, then why should you not just go ahead and do it?

The reason, I humbly suggest, is not that it is evil or contrary to the law of the Great Google God. The reason is that it is stupid and a waste of time. Garbage content can only generate garbage traffic. But chasing after the attention of the Search Engines blinds us to this fact. What is the point of having thousands of pages of garbage content? People come to your site and they find...nothing! Or what is the point of having thousands of links pointing to your site if nobody ever looks at them?

As I have suggested elsewhere, the way out of this pointless quest is to think of content as something worth reading -- in other words, leave it to "the market" to decide what is good or bad and basically forget about trying to please Google.

The other conclusion is that for all its warts and imperfections, the advertising model is a more honest way of determining "merit" than the Google-as-God model. Links should be viewed as methods of impressing the SEs only in the short term. More importantly, they should be seen as advertisements which you buy or trade for.

Questioning the Use of Content by the Search Engines

Another important side issue is the use of other peoples' content by the Search Engines themselves. Both Google and Yahoo have "news" features which it is tempting to think of as real news services. But they are not real news services. The fact is that the SEs -- Google, Yahoo and MSN -- are simply bundling search results as a news service. One might argue -- and I am sure some already have -- that they are simply stealing this content and labelling it as their own.

Of course it is true that web information is public, and that simply putting something on the web makes it susceptible to being viewed and used by others. But it does not follow from this that anybody can just take someone else's content and package it to make money from it -- for instance, by using it as the anchor for Adwords or Overture advertising.

Nor can it be argued that using content in this manner is like someone placing an RSS feed on their website. The fact is that the "syndicator" of the feed gives implicit permission for others to use it by the very act of "syndicating" it. If I "syndicate" my content that means I want others to see my feeds and click on the links that bring them to my website.

No such implicit permission is given when search results include some of my content. The Search Engines just take it and use it -- usually to make money by enveloping it in advertising. But there is something inherently dishonest about packaging other people's content and identifying it as "Yahoo News", "Google News" or "MSN News".

But please don't tell them I said any of this...