Archive for June, 2009

Disposable Email Addresses

Tired of all the spam?  One method to avoid the spam is to use a disposable email address in those situations where you have to give it out.  Say you want to sign up to access some forum or blog, and they require an email address so that you can “opt in” to their system. All you need is a throw-away email address to recieve their opt-in email – and you avoid the inevitable spam emails that will follow.

There is a website called 10 Minute Mail where you can get a free email account for just this purpose.  Pretty slick idea.

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Adding “Live Chat” to Your Site

One option available to any website owner is placing ‘live chat’ on their website. I have it on some of my websites, and there are pros and cons to having it:

Pros:

  • It is inexpensive to place on the site – some nice chat software is available for about $20 / month.
  • Very easy to set up – can be up and running in usually under 10 minutes (although you do have to set up how you want it to run, and do some testing / training on it)
  • You can raise your over-all conversion rate by being able to communicate with those people in a hurry, or with those people who want to remain anonymous.
  • The functionality for most of the chat companies is pretty high. The ‘live chat’ emblem on the site will automatically let the site visitor if you are online or not – and if not will send you an email notification someone tried contacting you.
  • An excellent side benefit is that you can get some analytics on your website visitors, like where they are located, what keyword they used to get to your site, what pages they’ve viewed, how many times they’ve visited your site, all in real time. (if you are smart, you are already getting this info with real analytics software)

Cons:

  • You have to have someone available to answer questions.
  • You can annoy your website visitors by being too intrusive – like if you have a pop-up that keeps asking them to chat.

Overall, the pros easily outweigh the cons.  It is just another tool you can use to be more successful.  Sure, having chat doesn’t make sense for every type website – but any website where a ‘conversion’ is important it only makes sense to include chat as an option.

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Color Schemes

When talking about a website design, the color scheme is an important aspect to determine – more important than I think is given credit.  An easy way to get a good color scheme is to simply look at a successful website on the web, and see how they are doing it. Then you just “emulate” what they have done!  LOL

Another way, more personal and fun, is to use a tool like the Color Scheme Designer.  It allows you to set all the different variables, number of colors, the color hues, and much more.  It will even show you the color scheme in a webpage mockup, and then let you export the colors for future reference. Pretty slick, so much so that it is easy to spend an hour or two just playing around.

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Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines

A fair amount of my time is spent dealing with SEO issues, so I thought it would be a good idea to give some details on what you can do to quickly “SEO” your website – to make it search engine friendly.  Listed below are what I consider to be the most important aspect of your on-site SEO efforts. (not to confuse with the off-site tasks needing done) I’ve listed them in order of importance – and yes, they are all important.  I’m assuming you already know what your most important keywords are.

  1. Title meta tag – this is in the source code for your web page, also visible at the very top of your browser window. Each page should have a unique title tag, and it should clearly state what the page is about.  If your web page is about the instructions for using a doohickey, then it should say something like “Doohickey Instructions”.
  2. H1 tag – this is the main tag (or should be) on your website, that usually displays at the top of the page. It should reinforce the main Keyword for the page, maybe even introduce some secondary ones. Like “How to Use and Operate Your Doohickey”
  3. Description meta tag – also in the source code, this is what the search engine is likely to display, if you are lucky enough to get listed in their search results. Keep it short, clear and concise so that people looking at the search results page know to click on your link or not. “Instructions for using a Doohickey – everything you ever might need to know.”
  4. Navigation text – this is the clickable text you use to navigate between the pages of your website. All other pages of your site should have link text saying something like “Doohickey Instructions”.  You don’t want the link to be “click here”.
  5. Link text – similar to the navigation text, this is just all the other links on your site that navigate people around.
  6. Text content – lastly you want the content of your website to be “keyword rich” in that it reinforces the main keywords of the page. Don’t just repeat the same main keyword over and over – you want to create a keyword ‘theme’. Like this; Doohickey instructions, how to use a doohickey, operation of a doohickey, doohickey dos and donts, hints on using a doohickey, etc, etc.

If you do each of the above – you’ve just tackled maybe 90% of what is needed done on a new website.

(Want to see the “source code” for your web page?  Just right click on the page, click ‘View Source’ or ‘View Page Source’)

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