Dress Your Website For Success

" Clothes make the man. " Mark Twain

Fellow readers, I'm going to let you in on a deep, dark, shameful secret …

Once upon a time, I worked as a database manager for an apartment management company. Part of my job was to compile and maintain apartment rental statistics which we published in newsletters and generated out to everyone in our database. (Does anyone remember getting market research reports in the mail?) I had this brilliant idea that perhaps we should put the statistics on our company website, so anyone could view them. Of course, I had absolutely no idea how to do this. Armed with a copy of Microsoft Word, I somehow was able to create and post this hideous monstrosity of a web page.

Here is the first web page I ever created .

Why am I sharing this page with you?

Because in 2006, I am getting search engine optimization inquiries from folks who have websites that don't look much better than my first web page. While I admire the fact that these people recognize the importance of successful SEO in order to drive sales lead generation, (in a nice way) I have to ask them the following:

"Do you really think that all these new prospects will become your clients when your website leaves such a poor first impression?"

So, I recommend to these people that they update their website design prior to concluding SEO. Each industry has different standards for web design. In conjunction with a designer, they should examine the websites of competitors to know what level of site design it will take to make their site comparable to others in their space. It is not necessary to spend extra money to have the most "cutting edge" look. Frequently, getting too ambitious with site design could cause you trouble with search engine optimization (so if you are working with an SEO consultant, make sure you check with him / her before undertaking a website redesign). Your updated site design only needs to be representative of others in your industry and I recommend that you take the money saved on the "frilly design extras" and spend it on SEO … the ROI is much better.

In my industry, the first contact I have with the overwhelming majority of prospects is online. People generally learn about me either through the articles I write or by reading about me on our company website. For the latter group of people, our company drives to present an image as a first-rate provider of sales and marketing services to the B to B marketplace. If our visitors feel comfortable with the look and feel of our website, and are impressed with its content and resources, hopefully they will consider contacting us to discuss their needs.

But what if a disconnect achieved between our website information and the presentation of it? Our service offerings may be just what the prospect is seeking, but some hesitation might arise if we did …

Promote Your Website and Skip the Advertising Costs

OK, so I turn on the evening news only to find out another 2.6 million jobs will be cut by the end of the first quarter of this year. Does not that give you the warm fuzzies inside? More people out of work translates to more people not buying or spending less money. You will either have to cut your own staff for less sales or lower your prices to keep things steady. One other option is to cut your own costs so the sales do not get translated into a profit.

The one area where you probably have a big budget is marketing and advertising, and why not, without it customers will not find your website, right? Wrong! What if I told you that you can still get people to visit your website and eliminate your online advertising costs? Well it is possible and when you are done reading this article you will probably say to yourself why you did not do this sooner.

You can build your website to receive more hits by simply doing a technique called article submitting. This means you will write articles about whatever it is your website does or sells, submit those articles to various article directories such as Ezine or Article Dashboard, apply a resource box at the end of your articles so readers can find your website and repeat the process over and over and over. Really there is no end to this process; it all depends on just how many customers you want to receive.

So let's start with step 1 and that is writing the article. You want to write articles that are educational and informative to the reader. Let's say your store sells sells cameras. You should write articles about how to take good pictures, what makes up a good camera and so on. Your articles should be no less than 400 words, otherwise no one will take it seriously and no longer than 800 words or people will lose interest.

Now that you have your articles written you need to move onto step 2 and add what is called a resource box to the end of it. A resource box is short explanation as to who the author of the article is and how the reader can get in touch with them. For instance a typical resource box would read, "About the author: John Jones is the CEO of digital cameras are us. You can learn more about digital cameras are us by visiting their website at insert the web address here."

As you can see the resource box points the reader directly to your online business. If your article is written well enough they will take you to be a professional and expert at what you do, click your website link in the resource box and hopefully buy something from you. Now how much did you spend so far to get that sale? That's right, nothing!

However you are not done. You have an article and …