Have you noticed that most writers tend to use a capital "I" when referring to the internet?
When this reverence eventually disappears, and the word more properly joins its lower case friends, such as telephone and business, you'll recognise that this new medium has become part of our everyday lives.
You are invited to a seminar and buffet lunch in Essex, UK
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has launched a major campaign to get the UK online. Under this initiative, Robert Brady, the owner of ed-u.com, has been invited to give a series of talks on e-business, traffic building and best practice.
The feedback from previous talks, where Robert revealed how anyone can also achieve dramatic rises in their web-site's traffic, was excellent:
"It really was an excellent seminar and the most useful I have attended on any Web based subject."
Di Chapman Virtual Office Services
"I highly commend this seminar. It has already proven well worth while"
Elton Hurrell - VB & Web Developer Merricks Solicitors
"That was really fascinating. I've been to many seminars and that was the best I've ever been to."
Nick Briggs Sellandmove.com
"I'm gobsmacked, that was easily the most interesting seminar I've ever been to. I was truly fascinated by your knowledge!"
Ian Vernon Creative Marketing Solutions
So have a morning off and meet the many other people involved in e-business in the Essex area - you will be warmly welcomed.
Please telephone Robert Brady for further details on 01245 465473.
Increase Traffic to your Web-site - Traffic Tips and Secrets...
In my opinion, many web site managers worry unduly about slow loading pages. (Please bear with me; I know this isn't a popular view!) Obviously it would be an ideal world if all pages loaded immediately, but as long as they don't take over 30 seconds to load completely and if visitors find exactly what they are searching for, they are generally happy.
It is important to note that some of the page must be visible within the first few seconds. If none of the page is visible for a full 30 seconds, you will lose visitors.
Alta Vista's view on slow loading pages:
If your pages are stacked with information and of course all your relevant keywords and phrases, then visitors are far more likely to find the page and the information they require.
One of the major search engines, Alta Vista, states that "long pages rich in meaningful text (not randomly generated letters and words)" are valued. If you have filled your page with irrelevant keywords just to attract traffic, you will not only annoy the visitor, but also run the risk that they will complain to the search engine where they found you listed.
ed-u.com's experience of slow loading pages:
The heaviest pages at ed-u.com suffer no traffic penalty as a result of slow loading, in fact some of the most visited pages are the slowest. The extra traffic attracted by the extra keywords outweighs the number of visitors who press the stop or back button. Consider, for instance, how many opportunities exist on this page for people to find it.
To scroll or not to scroll
In an ideal world, all web-pages would have no scroll bars, but the decision has got to be taken between cosmetics and the traffic. There are many webmasters that equate a longer page with a page that attracts more visitors. More text (keyphrases) = more opportunities for people to find you through the search engines.
Many worry though that if the page doesn't look "pretty" then their conversions will suffer. It is a trade off, but consider that if you attract 200 no-cost visitors and convert 10 with an "uglier" site, that is still better than only getting 100 and converting 9 over the same period.
Quick quick...click click slow...
Important exceptions: There are major exceptions to the slow loading rule:
Always make sure that pages that are reviewed by directories (most likely your homepage and main category pages) load fast. Busy directory editors, who have many sites to view, will not wait for a "bells and whistles" site to load.
Pages that deal with the actual customer transaction should be as fast as possible.
Statistics show that visitors will abandon a purchase if the experience is too slow. Also, bear in mind that every extra task you ask them to perform on your transaction page is an opportunity for them to change their minds or more time for their connection to fail.
Top table tip
If you split your page into two, with one HTML table at the top and the other underneath, the top table will load first, giving your visitor something to read while the second table loads out of sight below.
Put your pictures on a diet
It is also important that you minimize on the use of heavy graphics on your pages. Only use small pictures and reduce their "weight" by visiting Netmechanic and using their free web based reduction software.
Does your logo consist of font characters only? Consider using HTML text instead of a heavy graphic. The less weight you use on pictures the more you have available for valuable text.
New technology - Not so Flash?
If you use the most up to date technology to impress your visitors it might have the opposite effect. It may add an unacceptable download time to the page i.e. over 30 seconds. For instance "Macromedia Flash" technology often creates longer loading times and provokes complaints of unusability. Some of your visitors' browsers may not support the new technology and they may be required to download plug-ins, re-start their computer or even have to upgrade their system. This is a major reason why people press the back button on their browser.
A Flash in the Pan?
Recently, when I presented a traffic building seminar, three attendees, who had spent a lot of money on development, asked me to take a look at their sites before they left. All three sites contained Macromedia Flash and asked for software to be installed before we could progress through them. When we said yes, we received "do you trust this site" messages. A large percentage of visitors would of course say no. Most computers nowadays would have the software, but a significant amount wouldn't - including ALL of the computers in the e-Commerce suite that I was using for the seminar!
According to Jupiter Media Metrix, consumers are more likely to revisit web-sites that are more informative than those that offer rich media such as "Flash Animation".
Steve Harrison of Paypermaster.com says "The naive days of allowing graphic artists and "code puppies" who embody not a whit of marketing savvy, nor incorporate any of such into a commercial web site (cool spinning gizmos don't sell diddly), is long past."
Corey Rudl of Marketingtips.com adds "Words sell, not graphics. So if visitors spend the first 10
seconds at your site trying to figure out how to make your
long Flash presentation stop, or waiting for large graphics
to load, you can be sure that they're not going to stick
Of course if the main premise behind your web-site is how it looks and performs within a multimedia environment, then a site filled with such features may indeed do well. It is suggested, at the very least, that a standard HTML homepage with no bells and whistles is created and the visitor then given a link that takes them to the Flash area of the site.
You might also consider creating two full versions of the site; one for your offline advertising where your visitors can be directly steered towards the Flash site, and the other full HTML version that is far more likely to be accepted by the major portals. The respected About.com directory describes Macromedia Flash as "a fancy, flashy, and noisy way to crash your computer, and so much more".
If you do decide to go down the latest technology route, make sure that you test your pages in all browsers. You should also be aware that a Java only site may not achieve a listing in some major directories, including Yahoo. This is because many older web browsers do not support Java and many others have this feature disabled by the user. Directory editors understandably argue that they need as many of their visitors as possible to be able to see the web-sites that they send them to.
If you anticipate a lot of traffic from WAP phones or future generation wireless devices you should reduce the size of your pages dramatically or create a separate dedicated site. You should also keep all the important content to the left hand side of the page to save some visitors (depending on the device that they are using) having to scroll widthways. Check how your HTML web-site will look on a wireless device at Gelon.net.
A word of warning about WAP phones. Many WAP sites are experiencing very little traffic due to the difficulty of use and slow loading times associated with these devices. Even the Scottish education minister, who has responsibility for getting schools online, says that he has only ever managed to connect his WAP phone to the internet by accident - whilst it was in his trouser pocket. All other attempts failed!
Slowly getting faster
By default the slow loading problem will become even less of a problem as connections speed up. Fast broadband connections are already used by over half of the traffic that passes through Yahoo.com, one of the busiest web-sites in the world. You should note however that it is half of the traffic and not half of the visitors, i.e. those with broadband connections typically spend more time on-line and view more pages than those without.
Worldwide residential high-speed connections remain below 5%, but continue to grow steadily. It is envisaged that "always-on" broadband, coupled with faster computers and mobile hand-held devices, will transform the internet into a true mass market medium similar to the telephone and television. This, it is believed, will stimulate explosive growth.
Order the search engines around and tell them where to get off to. Click here to find out how to train a spider to spin its web to your design...
Click here to find out how much free information you should give away on your site and how it affects traffic...
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