Expression Web Giveaway – A marketing idea to copy

Sometimes we stumble upon marketing ideas in unexpected places.  Even if they are in no way involved in our own industry, they can be molded and used within our business.  I get lots of marketing emails from lots of people trying to sell me something, but my email yesterday contained one that caught my attention enough to read rather than to just hit the delete key.

Many of us create our own websites using either FrontPage, Dreamweaver, or Expression Web.  Pat Geary and Tina Clarke, owners of the website www.frontpage-to-expression.com , provide a wealth of information for FrontPage users who want to migrate to Expression Web.  If you have any interest in learning how to use Expression Web to create a website, this site is one that you should visit.

But back to this marketing idea. . . the two ladies have created a giveaway with prizes that any user (or potential user) of Expression Web would love to win.  All you have to do is write about the giveaway on Facebook, a blog, etc. and let them know about it.  Some lucky writers will be the lucky winners of the great prizes. 

This is my entry because I would love to win any of the awards but also because I think they provide outstanding information to anyone interested in the program.  I’ve made it a practice to never recommend something that I wouldn’t use myself and this is not an exception.

Now that I’ve encouraged you to enter that giveaway, let me also suggest how you might use a similar idea to market your own business.  People love FREE.  They love the opportunity to win something.  And they rarely hesitate to enter their name in a contest that is giving away something they want.  But what makes this marketing technique different is that you have to tell others about their product if you want to win it.  In other words, you give to receive. 

Some gift basket companies have a monthly drawing for a free gift basket in order to collect email addresses.  Why not make those entering your contest work a little bit for it?  Enter their names in your drawing if they mention your business on Facebook or write something about you in an ezine or newsletter or blog.  That giveaway gift basket (and you could make it even more enticing by adding a few other simple prizes) then provides a return on your investment.  And isn’t this what marketing is all about?

So go check out their giveaway at Expression Web Giveaway and create your own marketing campaign.

Using Microsoft Word to create text for your web pages?

Are you creating text in Microsoft Word and then copying and pasting it into a web page?  If so, don’t.  And here is the reason why.

Microsoft Word creates all sorts of formatting clutter in the source code of your page.  And that is not good.  It’s easy enough to get around the problem.  Some html creating programs have a Word-cleaning tool built in that you can use.  But I’ve found it much easier to just create the text in wordpad and then copy that text onto the webpage.

You want as little formatting clutter as possible in your source code.  This is just one simple way to cut down on it.

Website Pirates Strike Again!!

They’re out there…waiting…and, then they strike!  It’s those website pirates striking again.  I first wrote about them on this blog at Website Pirates.  They had copied my whole website, including my photo and identifying information twice.  Well, they struck again — two more times.  And, I’ve just discovered a fifth crook!

In case you’ve noticed and wondered why my posts have been sparse, the reason is those d*%$ pirates have also stolen my time.  This has happened four different times now, with four different hosting companies.  I suspect the person, who appears to be from China, is responsible for all four raids. 

I’m writing about it to share what to do if this happens to you. There are several different ways to determine if your site has been hijacked.  The website www.copyscape.com  allows you to type in the url for a page on your website and it will show you any sites that have the same page.  Or you can type any unique text from your site into google and see what other sites have the same text.

Then you need to find out who the hosting company is and send that company a letter that meets specific requirements.  This is called a DMCAA letter.  Just google DMCA and you’ll find sample letters.  The hosting company is required to remove the site if it is copied once they receive the DMCA letter.

Three of the hosting companies that I contacted worked with me, even telling me what info I had neglected to include in the DMCA letter.  One, however, dreamhost.com  (located in California) was a different story.  My opinion is that they didn’t want to let go of the money they were receiving from the fraudulent company in China.  They made it extremely difficult to get the site removed–even telling me that just because my copyright info was on the homepage of the site didn’t mean that I owned the copyright on the other pages (even though there is copyright information on each and every page of the site.)  They also told me that I had to hire a copyright lawyer to get the site removed.  Not a good hosting company and not a very ethical one either, in my opinion!

Hopefully, you will never be highjacked by these crooks.  But if you are, there is something you can do about it as long as the hosting company is in the U.S.  If it is in another country, most don’t respect any laws.  And your primary action will need to be contacting google and the other search engines.

SEO Myths

I think you may be surprised by some of the SEO myths reported by our Guest Blogger, Laura Wheeler of Firelight Business Enterprises. REID ON for more from Laura. . .

1. Pages can “leak” pagerank. A misinterpretation of a statement by Google lead to this myth. It was really only perpetuated by people who thought that writing an SEO book was the key to getting rich quick (unfortunately they rarely knew enough about it to get it right!). There were enough of those though, that this myth is regularly ressurected, even though pagerank isn’t that valuable a marker anymore.

2. More content is better. Wrong. More content is just more content. More GOOD content IS better. If it ain’t good, it is just debris.

3. Articles help you promote better. Not unless they are GOOD articles. There are so many bad ones out there that even mediocre articles are a waste of time. They’ve gotta be original, and they’ve gotta be good.

4. Keyword tags matter. Not anymore. Don’t bother with these they’ll just waste your time and risk doing more harm than good.

5. Start with keyword research. Start with COMMON SENSE. That will get you further, with less effort, than any amount of research will. Research is only good AFTER you’ve done everything you can with common sense.

6. You have to be on the first page of Google to get any traffic. Absolutely NOT true! This is so badly misunderstood that even fairly popular SEO “gurus” think it is true, or like to say so because it gets them more money. Fact is, you don’t even have to be on the first 10 pages for your top keywords to get found, and to make a boodle. There are plenty of backdoor tactics that get you traffic without first page placement. This is so important, we’ll explain it all in our next issue.

7. Bold the keywords on your page. No, don’t. Bold the words you want people to pay attention to, and bold the thoughts that are most important. That is how you are SUPPOSED to use bolding.

8. Keyword density matters. No, content matters. Good, understandable text that explains what you are trying to say, and explains it well. Keywords happen naturally from that, without even trying. And the keyword patterns look so natural to a search engine that you never have to calculate the percentages.

9. Search engines don’t read words in domain names unless they are separated by a dash. We’ve proven that in fact, they do! Search engines will interpret words in the domain name, based on the words in the copy. If there are similar words in the domain name, they’ll pick them up and rank you for them whether or not there are dashes to separate them. This isn’t theory, we’ve proven it.

10. Search engines can now read Flash. No, they can’t. Google recently acquired the technology from Adobe to read it, but it has not yet been fully implemented. Further, when they CAN read Flash, they will only be able to read text that was entered into the animation as text, not text that is part of an image. So the ability to read Flash will depend on how the animation is constructed, and the value will vary from site to site. There has also been no word on whether or not they’ll delay reading it to reduce the load on the bots – reading Flash is VERY time intensive for the bots.

11. Search engines index plain HTML sites better than they index dynamic sites. NOT true. As a rule, search engines are just as capable of crawling and indexing a content management or shopping cart system. Years ago there was a difference, but this has not been an issue for many years. This is only an issue with badly coded sites, or with excessive use of Flash.

12. SEO is hard/easy. It isn’t really either. It is more a matter of understanding what really matters. Once you understand that, it takes work to create what matters. But it isn’t really hard to understand what matters – it is people! Help people understand what you have, in a way that appeals to them, and in a way that search engines can read. Everything else is just implementation.

Laura Wheeler and her husband Kevin own Firelight Web Enterprises in Wyoming. We like to feature articles from Laura periodically as we consider her one of the experts that can be trusted.

Go Back In Time – How Has Your Website Evolved?

Have you ever wanted to see what your website looked like a few years ago?  Or how about seeing how your competitor’s website has changed through the years?

You can.  Many people do not realize that many (but not all) websites are archived and can be accessed to see how they looked at various times throughout the year.  Photos that have been removed from the web are frequently not shown but the text is.

Check this out with your own website and see how far you have come since its inception.  Simply go to http://www.archive.org/index.php and type in the url for the site you wish to check.  You’ll be shown the dates that the site was archived.  Click on the date and you’ll see the archived site.