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Ecommerce / Web Marketing Ezine
April 27 2002

View the TTB Ezine Archive

April 27 2002

Contents

1. Site and Internet News

*Virus jamboree - it's not over yet!
*TTB's getting noticed..
*TTB's classifieds are still free!
* Review - FREE, high quality web site traffic reporting service

2. Full Article - The gentle art of making enemies

Many articles are available from our site, free for reproduction on your web site or ezine. Subjects covered include Web Design, Ecommerce, Internet Promotion and Marketing, Security and of a general cyberspace related theme. The free reproduction article index can be viewed at:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ articles/articlemain.htm 

Don't forget to check out the other great resources on TTB! We're adding new tools and tutorials on a weekly basis! Have you tried out the online Flash and DHTML generator as yet? Find it here:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ generators/codegenerators.htm 

Please forward this newsletter on to those who you feel may be interested in the subjects discussed. Unsubscribe details at the end of the newsletter.

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Site and Internet news

Welcome to all the new subscribers of our ezine! I hope you find this publication to be useful and I look forward to your feedback so we can continue improving it.

TTB's getting noticed....

Last fortnight I mentioned that Google had refreshed it's database. Google is still in the midst of its "dance" and page rankings are all over the place, but it appears that we've scored pretty well again. TTB is now averaging 2800-3000 visitors a day and 10 000 page views a day. Even our web hosting service is scratching their heads trying to figure out how we've achieved such rapid in growth in such a short time!

The secret? Well, most of the strategies we use are published on the site in our articles section - most ;0). Thanks to all of you for your continued support of our little spot on the Internet.

Our forum is still pretty much deserted, very little activity. Don't be shy, post your questions, feedback and views - let's get this community going. Judging by the amount of emails I receive, there are plenty of you requiring assistance or able to share some specialised knowledge!

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi 

One of reasons that the discussion board is still pretty quiet is that it has not been listed on the search engines as yet. I've adjusted the coding so that it won't be listed as part of some research. Watch this space......

Virus Jamboree - it's not over yet

Last fortnight I wrote about Inoculate winding up it's free virus updates and a great alternative anti-virus scanner called AVG, available from:

http://www.grisoft.com 

During the last week especially, AVG has definitely been put through its paces. The Klez virus has been running rampant and we have been hit with it a number of times. We aren't sure whether it's a coincidence or if someone is targeting us, but we have been receiving multiple viruses over the last 7 days. One one particular day, we received a dozen messages containing viruses, including:

KLEZ
Nimda
Magistr
Sircam
Snow White
Funlove
Elkern
Exception

We are happy to report that AVG in combination with our firewall software has intercepted all of the virus emails - nearly 60 such messages in the last 7 days.

Please, if you do not have virus protection - download some today. Even if you do have an anti-virus program, ensure you have the latest virus signature files downloaded. Most of the more modern viruses propagate by sending themselves to every one in your address book, without your knowledge. By not updating or having proper anti-virus software, you not only endanger your own systems, but all those whom you communicate with via email.

Another strategy to decrease the likelihood of infecting other systems (This is for Windows users) is to create a fake contact in your Outlook/Outlook Express address book named !0000 and set the email address to Unauthorised_mailing. As the !0000 entry will sit at the top of the contacts list and has no email address, if a virus tries to email itself out to everyone in your address book, it should hit the fake contact first. This should interrupt the mailing and you'll receive an error message generated by your email program alerting you to the compromise. Please note that this strategy will not work on all viruses and is just an easy to implement added protection. Nothing beats a properly configured virus scanner and appropriate caution when handling email. 

If you wanted to be extra secure, have nothing in your address book and store all email addresses in a password protected spreadsheet.

TTB Classifieds are still free!

Buy, Sell and Trade web development services, ecommerce tools, software, web sites and domain names! Also includes new and used Cell Phones and accessories! 

Advertise your products/services for free! Taming the Beast classifieds generates thousands of page views a week!

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ cgi-bin/classifieds/index.cgi 

Review - FREE web site traffic monitoring service

There are hundreds of free web site traffic monitoring services around, promising a lot but delivering little. Most have a number of restrictions, which are only lifted when you take out their "premium" (paid) versions - we've reviewed at least 50 of these free services and found one that is really impressive.  Learn more:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ misc/free-traffic-monitoring.htm 

2. Full Article - The gentle art of making enemies.

There's a lot of competition for web site visitors. We "small-time" web masters don' have the advertising budgets of the multi-nationals to increase web site traffic. The more ethical amongst us don't utilise gutter level tactics in order to get people to our sites. 

Every web site visitor, just like a "real-world" shopper, is a privilege and they need to be treated well to ensure that they return. Return visits to an e-commerce based site greatly increases the chance of sales. Web site visitors do not have a tendency to purchase goods and services online on their first visit to a site.

First (Page) Impressions Count

It very difficult to judge the impact of a web site on a first-time visitor. In the 'real-world' of commerce, we are able to observe people's reactions as they walk into a store. If a potential customer walks into our store, takes a few steps inside, screams, turns and runs we take notice! If a hundred potential customers repeat this behaviour - we take action, discover and rectify the cause of the problem. In our virtual stores and online destinations, we don't have this privileged information - we can only guess until an irate visitor sends us an email or an associate points out problems on our pages.

But there are some tried and true strategies that will prevent you from increasing web site traffic!

Banner Shooting Galleries

One of the best ways of turning people away from your web site is "Banner Overload".

Banner advertising is a way to raise revenue from your site, but can also be very distracting. Originally on Taming the Beast.net, I refused to have banner advertising. But as the costs of hosting increased due to rapidly increasing web site traffic we found it necessary to subsidise this expense through banner ads.

One of the problems of banner ads is that they distract from YOU, from what your site is about. Remember that the whole purpose of banner advertising is to encourage people to click on the ad. If visitors click on the ad BEFORE they read your page, you may never see them again. To combat this, you may choose to put the banner ad further down the page. A word of caution - if you are a part of a banner advertising network, read the terms and conditions carefully as some networks demand that the banners are displayed above the first "fold" (screen) of your pages.

If you already engage in the use of animations on your pages, banner advertising can create confusion as many ads contain animated elements. Too many moving elements will make your pages look like a shooting gallery.

Some banners can really slow down your page loading. It's not unusual for a banner ad to be 15kb +. This adds up to 5 seconds on the full download time of your page for someone on a slow (28.8k) modem connection. Not all of the world has ADSL or cable connections yet. In Australia, basic ADSL and cable is still very expensive, service providers charge exorbitant rates for excess and coverage is still fairly limited. As of April, 2002, only 5 percent of households have broadband access. Many other countries are in the same boat at this point in time. I am sure that visitors to your site do not want to spend their time (and money) on downloading media-rich advertising.

If you do decide to use banner ads, examine your options carefully. Choose ads that look good, but are economical on bandwidth. Some advertising network agencies give you a great deal of control over the ads in their inventory which will be displayed on your site. For more information on selecting the best banner networks:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ articles2/best-banner-networks.htm 

Text Links are King

Instead of banners, you could experiment with text links. Most affiliate/merchant programs offer these. A text link, along with a thoughtful description of the product can make your visitor's site experience more pleasant and not induce shell (sell) shock. And because you have gone to the trouble of describing the product/service, it makes it a more personal and therefore attractive offer. If you are advertising quality services, the use of descriptive text links will also build your credibility. Added to this, text links with description also act as content - and content is what search engine spiders love!

Further info:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ articles/affiliatemarketingaffiliateprogram.htm 

If you must use a number of banners, try static ones that fit in with the tone and theme of your site..... consistency is the key. Something that looks out of place will have no place. 

Multiple Pop-ups do not equal multiple dollars

Another excellent way to drive visitors away from your site are multiple pop-ups. Many site owners use these to "push" in-house offers to clients or to advertise another site. Pop-ups pay out a great deal more than banner ads, so the temptation is "hmmm... if I can make x dollars by implementing one pop up, then I can make xxx dollars with 10!". This is definitely not the case. As part of most ad agencies terms and conditions, a pop-up has to fully load before it is considered a payable "view". Internet surfers are quite accustomed to closing pop-ups before they fully load - so nothing is gained. Not only have you distracted the visitor, you've also probably annoyed them and made nothing out of it - it's a lose-lose situation. Pop-ups do have their place, but should be implemented with the utmost caution. If you are looking for a way to gain more income through advertising, consider using (one) pop-under instead. For further notes on this subject, view:

http://www.tamingthebeast.net/ articles2/pop-under-ads.htm 

If you provide free resources to your visitors, then there is nothing wrong with using advertising to repay some of your efforts or cover the costs of your web site hosting. But remember that your visitors are like gold, rare and valuable. Treat them as such - while you won't get rich quick, you will reap the benefits in the years to come.


Michael Bloch 
Taming the Beast.net
http://www.tamingthebeast.net 
Tutorials, web content and tools, software and community.
Web Marketing, eCommerce & Development solutions. 
____________________________

Copyright information.... This article is free for reproduction but must be reproduced in its entirety & this copyright statement must be included. Visit http://www.tamingthebeast.net to view great articles, tutorials and tools for site owners, web developers and Internet marketers! Subscribe for free to our popular ecommerce/web design ezine!


That's all for this Taming the Beast update! We are very open to feedback, so please don't hesitate in contacting us.

Regards from Australia

Michael Bloch & Katherine Tyndale
Taming the Beast - Established 1995
michael@tamingthebeast.net  
kathy@tamingthebeast.net 
Tutorials, web content and tools, software and community
Marketing, eCommerce and Web Development Services

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