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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS - OCTOBER 2000

OCTOBER 2000

  • October 9 - Ask Bob, Lynne's Tips
  • October 16 - Home Town Portals - Mo Money, Mo Money,
  • October 23 - Okay, so Don't Ask, Now this is Feedback!
  • October 30 - Now This is FeedBack, How about another success story, OK,now we're talking to the boss.

October 9, 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:

Ask Bob

Lynne's Tips

ASK BOB

About four years ago I was asked by a top placement client of Magic-city's, who happened to have just started a web marketing newsletter, if I would be willing to contribute some search engine placement tips. Thinking #1, I'd like to help my client, and #2 figuring it wouldn't hurt to get a little more exposure, I agreed. After my first article, my client had several e-mails from readers asking him questions about search engine placement. He forwarded these questions to me, I answered them the best I could and sent them back. He then published those questions and answers in his next issue.

Over the next few weeks, my regular contribution evolved into a weekly "Ask Bob" column. Somehow I had turned into a kind of Dear Abby of search engines. Two things quickly became apparent to me and my client. This was working! He went from a little over 200 subscribers to over 3,000 in about a month. For myself, I noticed a substantial increase in online orders and phone calls from potential clients. Obviously this was a win-win situation.

I had been writing this "Ask Bob" column for about two months when someone contacted me who had read the Web Gold and asked if I would be willing to do the same for her E-zine. Since it had worked out so well with the first one, I readily agreed. Her little internet rag had about 2,500 readers so now I was up to over 5,000 people a week reading my articles. Then another came along with over 20,000 readers. Then another with over 100,000 readers.

This was getting out of hand. While I enjoyed the increased sales, (the phone was ringing off the hook), I found I was getting slammed by all the questions pouring in. I had to make the decision to limit my time in doing this even though I enjoyed it immensely. Not only were my sales going up, I had developed the reputation as a search engine "expert" and I was able to help a lot of people and have a direct impact on the way the net was working, but the fact remained that I was running out of time. I just couldn't do anymore than I was doing and still be able to run my business. So I stopped accepting any more offers to write for newsletters and I started limiting the questions to just one or two a week from each of the publications. Now, I continued to still write a lot of articles for various internet publications, mostly because I enjoyed it but also because I realized the extreme marketing value of having thousands of people reading my articles, but I did limit the "Ask Bob" stuff because that was a weekly thing and just writing articles I could do at my leisure.

I've been doing this "Ask Bob" thing for a long time now and after all this time, I still enjoy a level of respect in this industry that few of my competitors have. It has been the single biggest reason for my search engine placement company's continued growth and success. It has been an excellent source of "free" promotion and no small contribution to my image on the web.

The reason I am telling you this has a direct relation to Searchking and specifically the Portal Partner Press.

For the last few weeks now, I've been mentioning the fact that we are getting very close to making some dramatic changes to the portal program. We are re-vamping the sign up page and the procedures to enable us to be able to offer the plus for free. We have an advertising campaign planned which will involve strictly e-zine and newsletter subscribers with a budget of almost 20% of our monthly gross going to pay for strategically placed ads to targeted audiences. We will change the focus of our program from portal hosting to free web hosting plus. We will push the fact that Searchking is the only free web host in the world offering a web site PLUS a search engine, PLUS a forum, PLUS a classified program, PLUS your own vanity e-mail. That's a lot of features for any web host and we expect to increase our partner base from the hundreds to the thousands in the next few weeks. I'm projecting over 10,000 portal partners by the end of this year.

Now, the purpose of the portal partner press has always been to educate and motivate our partners. In keeping with that objective, I would like to do whatever I can to increase the value of the PPP. One way of doing that is to make the PPP more interactive and the best way I know of doing that is to do the "Ask Bob" thing. Only Bob gets asked enough as it is. I want to use the same concept, only with other partners.

I want to invite some of you to become "portal experts" by doing a weekly column for the PPP. I have room for about three or four of you experts to do a weekly "Ask Me" column covering different topics of interest in regards to the portal program. I would like to see things covered like portal marketing, portal search engine placement, portal software and portal development.

We will start just like I did with the Ask Bob thing. You will write a short article about your chosen topic. We will include a short bio for you and then ask all the partners to submit any question they have. I'll send you the question, you answer it, and we publish it in the next week's issue.

The advantage to me is the increased value of the PPP to our partners and the advantage to you is the exposure and the opportunity to become established as an "expert" on your topic. At the beginning, the extreme value of providing this kind of a service may not be readily apparent to you. We are still small and being a Searchking portal expert may not have a lot of clout right now, BUT, Searchking is in a position to become the world leader in providing portal software. Over the next 12 to 36 months it is very likely that the topic specific portal market will be dominated by Searchking. Once we start seeing numbers of portal partners in the tens of thousands and maybe even in the millions, being a Searchking portal expert may now be quite a financial feather in your cap. I'd like the chance to make you famous.

If you're interested in this deal, just send me a short article on the topic you choose and a bio. After reading them, I'll make my decision and send you an e-mail letting you know if you're the one for that topic. Send the article, or any comments or suggestions you have, to bobking@searchking.com.

Good Luck!

LYNNE'S TIPS

Okay, so how do I make those nifty, teensy graphics?

Graphic file size is something that every webmaster has to deal with on a regular basis. Those of us who create graphics for a living have a whole slew of tools that we can use to optimize graphics for fast download, but not everyone wants, or can afford, the software that we rely on for image optimization. So, if you can't afford, or don't want to buy, things like Photoshop, or CorelDraw / PhotoPaint, how do you go about getting your image files down to a size that won't take a week to download? Fear not, there is a way!

Most of you have at least one image creation program. Maybe you bought FrontPage, and have MS Image Composer. Or you might have Paint Shop Pro. Or you did some hunting around and found one of the free image creation programs that are available for download. Whatever program you have, and whatever optimization tools it has, chances are that the files it creates are not as small as they could be. That's okay, because I'm going to tell you how to get those file sizes down, without losing a whole lot of image quality.

Let's assume that you're working with a photograph that you want to put on your web site. The first thing you'll need to do is take a good close look at that photo, and decide just how much of it you really need. Cropping off exterior, unwanted portions of your photo is the first step in getting the file size under control. (Important note: never work on the original image. Always make a copy, and work from that copy.) Once you've decided that all you really want from this photo is the dog in the Santa hat, and part of the Christmas tree behind him, you can use your cropping tool to cut out everything else. Presto, you've probably just cut your file size in half.

Next, we're going to take a look at the image resolution. Odds are that it's at either 150 or 300 dpi (dots per inch), which is great for printing, but BAD for web graphics. Since all monitors display at 72 dpi, we can safely change the image resolution to match, as long as we can select a "resample" or "maintain image size" option to go with the resolution change. Presto again! Your file size is probably less than half what it was before the resolution change.

Now it's time to take a look at how much space you have available on your web page. Let's say the space is about 150 pixels wide, but, whoops, your photo is 235 pixels wide. No problem! Your program should have an image size tool. Go into it, and tell it how wide you need your photo to be, and MAKE SURE you select "maintain aspect ratio". This will tell the program to resize the image proportionally, so that it doesn't get all distorted. And, presto yet again! Your file size just got smaller.

Time to save your work. Since we're working with a photo, we need to save the file as a jpg. Most current image programs will offer you a compression ratio option when saving jpgs. If yours does, "medium" is probably a good choice.

Now, let's check the file size. Hmm, 9k. Not bad, but that will add about 5 seconds to your page download time, at 28.8. You've already done as much optimizing as your graphics program will allow you to do, how on earth are you going to get that file any smaller?

Not to worry. There are several good, online image compressing services available. The best I've found is at www.spinwave.com. They offer visitors the chance to compress individual images online, using their jpg cruncher or gif cruncher programs. You can play around with different compression ratios, and pick the result that you like best. If you want to give the programs a real workout, you can download the free trials, and crunch away to your heart's content. Then, if you REALLY like the programs, you can actually buy them for a very reasonable price (around $50 US).

Hey presto! You've got a nice looking image that's optimized so that it will download quickly, and you haven't had to go out and spend $1000 to do it.

Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, Canada design house. She owns the Graphic Design Portal and Eye on Winnipeg, and writes a variety of articles and newsletters for publication.
You can contact Lynne at lscott@opticalresolution.com

CLOSING

This Bob's for you

Publisher -- Bob Massa

October 16, 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:

Home Town Portals - Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Money

Ask Bob
Ask
Lynne About Portal Design

Ask Andre About Portal Marketing

HOMETOWN PORTALS - MO MONEY, MO MONEY, MO MONEY

About three months ago, I did a series of articles about the advantages and opportunities of bringing the internet to main street by running a hometown portal. I spent a good deal of time sharing some ideas of how I would do it in the hopes of motivating at least a percentage of our partners to focus on this concept. It worked and several of you have started building these hometown portals using some of my ideas and incorporating your own as well. This is wonderful!

A big part of the concept revolved around using web hosting and web site design as a service to offer to your local businesses as a way of generating steady, residual income. Today, I'd like to expound on that concept a little in the hopes of giving all you hometown portal owners a little more incentive to go out there, hit the street and start making that $300,000 a year so I can start bragging about it.

Help Wanted.

Those national and global job directories are absolutely great. For all those people who want to re-locate to exotic locations around the country or around the globe, just go to one of those big job sites, browse the listings, post your resume and with a little luck, you're packing your bags and moving to that hot spot you've always dreamed of and doing it with that dream job to boot. But what about a guy or gal that likes living where they are, in your hometown? Maybe they don't want to move to Malaysia, maybe they just want to find a job. What about the business owner who needs a webmaster but doesn't want to spend the money to find, interview and then re-locate Mohammed from Kuwaiti, he just needs to hire another employee? Where do they go? Well, if you would just offer the service, they could very likely be going to you.

Over the weekend I ran across this little tidbit. OklahomaCityHelpWanted.com. Take a quick look at this site and see if you see the opportunities I see. These folks make a few bucks by hosting and maintaining websites for professional job placement companies. They make money by posting ads from employers looking for help. They offer free resume placement with free updates, BUT, they will also help you prepare your resume for a fee. They also run other kinds of ads, (notice the little box with the poll?). I quickly see another way to make a few bucks by hosting pages for companies and job seekers. You could also tie this in as a freebie for clients whose sites you are already maintaining. Let's assume you have a restaurant for a client. Restaurants are always needing additional staff, so it's pretty likely they would be willing to pay another $20 a month or so for you to maintain a help wanted page for them.

This is a very nice site and there is absolutely nothing on it that your portal could not do. In fact, your portal can do much more. If you look at the site like I did, as a portal owner, you'll see a couple of handy little features that this site does not offer. Like a search engine. They offer a way to search ads all right, but there is no directory on the front page offering categories which you as a portal owner could charge extra for to get top placement, or to hilight certain ads etc. It also doesn't offer any type of vanity e-mail which could be of extreme value to some clients or visitors. Finally, it doesn't offer any type of forum for people to ask questions in and get answers from. All these things YOU can offer.

MO MONEY - MO MONEY - MO MONEY

Real Estate

Here's another little approach to kind of the same thing as the help wanted idea. In every town there are real estate agents. The bigger the town the more real estate agents. While this industry has latched onto the internet in a big way, it certainly does not mean that all agents are web savvy enough to build and maintain their own websites. My guess is their job is to sell real estate and not build web sites. This means there is a lot of opportunity.

By using a portal, why not have yourdomain.com/realestate? You could host pages for different agencies for a monthly fee. For those of you that read my article about using digital cameras to bring life to your hometown site, you could charge the agent for taking digital pictures of the property.

Just by using apartments, residential housing for sale, residential housing for lease, commercial properties, and corporate housing, those alone are enough to build a pretty decent directory. Again, charge realtors for hosting, maintenance, advertising, digital photos, top placement in the search results and anything else you can think of and you have built a pretty good source of steady, residual income. Not to mention the fact that you have incorporated a very valuable resource about your community which only enhances your website and it's value to all visitors. Anyway you look at it, this is a good thing.

One of the great things about this concept is that by using the same old "DON'T SELL ANYTHING - JUST DON'T SAY NO" approach, sales should be as easy as falling off a log. Just walk into any real estate office and ask to speak their webmaster. No matter who they send out to talk to you, just ask permission to link your site to theirs. If they ask you if you could build a website for them, just don't say no! Once you have even one or two of your local realtors, the others can't say no. Once they start calling you, you can just about name your price.

Once again, don't take my word for it, try it for yourself. I can almost guarantee you that if you just pick up the phone, go to your local yellow pages and call 5 realtors, ask for their webmaster then ask permission to link to their site, at least one of them is going to ask what you charge to build a "real estate" site. Do it and then write me with your results and if you can prove I'm wrong, I'll publish your comments and make a public apology. One of my favorite sayings is, "I could be wrong ---- but I'm not!"

MO MONEY MO MONEY MO MONEY!

ASK BOB

Last week I told you all about my experiences with the ASK BOB articles I write and asked if any of you would like to do the same type of thing in the Portal Partner Press. I've had two people respond this last week that I think will be a fine addition to the editorial staff, (loosely translated means people that I can get to do work for free).

One is Lynne Scott who you all should know by now as our resident portal design expert. Lynne is going to be absolutely excellent for answering any kind of design questions. Not only does she have the experience to know how to build great looking portals, she knows how to build them so they can make you money! I encourage any one that asks her a question to pay very close attention to her answers. She is the kind of person who can make all the difference in the world when it comes to making the site look and perform at it's best. She is the kind of person you could expect to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars just for consulting, but because you're a portal partner, you can pick her brain for free.

The other person is Andre Foisy. He is going to answer any of your portal marketing questions. Having a website is one thing, making it sell is another. Andre has been involved in several aspects of net marketing for several years now and knows where to get the answers to questions regarding marketing.

Each of these folks have contributed articles for your enjoyment today and as a way of introducing the new ASK LYNNE ABOUT PORTAL DESIGN and ASK ANDRE ABOUT PORTAL MARKETING FEATURES, we will be running as regular additions to the Portal Partner Press. Simply send any question you have of Lynne or Andre to bobking@searchking.com. I'll forward them to the right person and then publish the answers to your questions in next week's edition.

ASK LYNNE ABOUT PORTAL DESIGN

My Plugins are Bouncing All Over the Place

No, the server isn't on drugs. No, there's probably nothing wrong with your html. This one happens because of differences in the way browsers render code. Plugin elements that are perfectly centered in Internet Explorer show up left justified in Netscape Navigator. That's because most versions of NN don't recognize paragraph alignment for comment tags.

If you're using a wysiwyg editor, you probably just clicked on the center button, then added in your plugin code. The result is usually something that looks like this:



Works great in IE, but in NN the search box will show up left aligned, even if you add in a closing paragraph tag. Not to worry, it can be fixed.

Open your page in Notepad, and find the plugin. Then delete the

< p align="center" >
and add
< center >
On the line following the plugin, add
< /center >
You should now have this:

< center >
< ! -- PLUGIN:SEARCH -- >
< /center >
Check it out. Your search box should now be beautifully centered in both IE and NN!

A word of caution here. Some newer html validators will tell you that the center /center notation is obsolete, and that you should use p align="center". While, strictly speaking, this may be true, you'll never get those plugins to line up properly, in all browsers, using the p align= method. In this case, newer does not equal better.

Just a note, this will be the last "Lynne's Tips" article that I write for the PPP. Starting next week, this column will become "Ask Lynne", and I'll try to answer your design related questions. So, if you have any burning questions, be sure to send them to the email addy Bob set up for this, and I'll try to answer as many of them as I can!

Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, Canada design house. She owns the Graphic Design Portal and Eye on Winnipeg, and writes a variety of articles and newsletters for publication.

You can contact Lynne at lscott@opticalresolution.com
ASK ANDRE ABOUT PORTAL MARKETING
THE POWER OF GIVING.
If You can't Give It... You Can't Sell It!
©2000 - Andre Foisy

A few years ago I was working as an account manager for a very big computer applications training school. The main part of the task was to find people, the ones in charge of the computer training department, from different organizations, and GIVE them, totally FREE, the computer training application course of their choice.

We Were Giving Away FREE Computer Training Courses!

Hey, doesn't this remind you of something? FREE Stuff!

Why in the world are we doing that? You may ask...

The reason we were giving away free courses was to DRAW IN the ones who had the everyday difficult task of computer training and user support in their organization. We wanted them to come in so we could show them the quality of our installations, classrooms and latest technology equipment. We wanted to give them the opportunity to try out our high tech training classes. We knew that once they experienced the quality of our classes they would buy more course packages to train their own employees.

If you can't give it... You Can't Sell It!

In order to succeed in business, especially online, you have to make sales presentations.

A Lot Of Presentations!

In order to make sales presentations from your Web site, you have to DRAW people IN to your Web Site. You must give them a reason to visit your site so you can give them a presentation on your products/services as in an Infomercial. Yes, think of your Web site as an Infomercial and build it as is. Why? Simple... have you ever watched an Infomercial on TV? Do you think they would do more and more of these if they weren't making tons of money? That could be another subject but, just remember that for 30 minutes all they do in their presentation is express benefits, Benefits and BENEFITS.

To DRAW people IN to your Web site you must absolutely GIVE them a REASON (people are always asking "What's in it for me?") to visit your Web site. The easiest and most simple way to DRAW people IN to your Web site is by GIVING them something of real VALUE for FREE.

Find something that your target market might be interested in and try to provide it for FREE. This should be something that you don't have to spend money to provide. For example, let's say you have an online computer/software store, you could easily draw in a lot of people to you Web site by promoting everywhere that you are offering FREE answers on computer or software technical questions.

Advertising:

FREE Answers To Your Technical, Hardware and Software Questions! Click Here --&qt; [.]

Visit our Hardware and Software Computer Online Store! Click Here --> [.]

Quite frankly!
Where would you go if you'd need information and/or help and you'd have to choose between the two above ads?

Of course, the first place! The reason is simple, people are not naturally going online to buy their computer stuff. They are going online, first for their entertainment, and second to get information. All studies are showing that people are going online, at first, for those two main reasons.

If you were offering free answers to computer problems, they would go to your site even if they don't need computer stuff right now... because they deal every day with computer hardware and software problems. They don't need or want to know that it's a computer store that's offering the service (yes, people are selfish, aren't you?), all they want to know is that if they have problems, you guys can help them, and for FREE.

If you see an ad about online computer stuff and you don't need any right now... you won't pay a visit to this site. But, if you've just found a place where you can get FREE help on your everyday computer problems... not only will you probably take a peak at the site but you will probably bookmark it and come back often for your little technical needs.

See my point? This is a "valuable service" that people can use for FREE provided by your online computer store. It's up to YOU then - while your visitors are using your FREE service and browsing your site - to make your sales presentations. Now, guess where our new FRIENDS are going to buy their next computer stuff? That's right! Especially if you have good quality products/services... at the right price!

Now you see, with this example, that the computer store has found a way to DRAW people IN to their Web site. Their Online Store in fact. They have been able to GIVE their target market something of VALUE for FREE. Now they are qualified to sell them something. They have such a good presentation and VALUE that they don't even need to really SELL anything... People are more than HAPPY TO BUY from them because they provide such a great service.

Internet Culture is what it is! If you can GIVE me something of real VALUE for FREE... I might be interested in doing business with you. "Please educate me... I don't know about everything yet!" We are all looking for free stuff because we are used to that. In the beginning everything was FREE on the Internet. Free, Interesting and FUN, with GOOD VALUE.

Education is probably the hottest product that you can sell online and the most beautiful part is that you can acquire it and provide it, both for FREE.

These principles are applicable to any kind of business that you would like to drive online. Whether you want to promote online stores, MLMs, associate/affiliate or reseller programs, your home-based business or your big corporation. To Win Online, you must provide Netizens with FREE and VALUABLE services and/or information and/or products.

Unless you have the zillions budget for advertising on the Net, giving the advantage of the "numbers game" to big corporations, the only way you can drive repeated traffic to your site and succeed online is by giving away something of value to people.

Provide what we are all looking for at first... Entertainment and Information.

As another example, if you sell vitamins on the Net, you're probably as concerned as I am about health issues. Of course the first reason I'm going on the Net is not to buy vitamins... but to find information and be entertained. So don't try to get my attention with ads like this...

We got The best Vitamins on the Net!

or

New Miracle product to give you more power!

or even worse

Make Tons of Money Selling our Vitamins! (Hypy, isn't it?)

I don't care about "best vitamins" or "miracle products", and I don't care about selling it either. There's zillions of "best vitamins" and "miracle products" online and they all want me to sell or buy their products. On the other hand if you provide me valuable information as:

"Instantly! Relieve Stress! Do it yourself. It's easy, fun, and it brings a lot of satisfaction. We have a free educational report waiting just for you right now at: [yourautoresponder] or visit our Web site at: [http://YOUR_URL.com] <-- Click Here:)"

(note: it would be even more powerful if the URL was [http://outofstress.com/do_it_yourself.html], but that would be another subject to discuss... :) )

And of course, if your site provides me with what I'm looking for and "MORE"

... then I'll probably bookmark your site, subscribe to your newsletter, mailing list, BBS, contest... etc... By keeping me running in an informative and valuable content Web site, you'll have plenty of time to make all the products/services sales presentations you want.

Now, becoming not just a regular user, but a friend of yours, you have my confidence, we have networked together, we now know each other, if ever I need what you are selling I will certainly buy it from you.

Don't you think ?

If you can GIVE people something of VALUE for FREE, you can DRAW them IN to your Web site for your presentations... and make a LOT OF SALES!

If you can't give it... You Can't Sell It!

(c)2000 - Andre Foisy - MICMegaComm.com Andre Foisy is building a community of worldwide netizens interested in learning how to properly, ethically and successfully conduct business in the New Economy, with Internet technologies. FREE Internet Business Education and free access to our secret web site! Jump now to MICMegaComm.com!

CLOSING

Well portal kids, that will do it for another week. I want to hear from you. Tell me if what we are sharing with you here is working. Tell me if there is anything more we can do to help you help yourself. Remember, if we're not doing good then tell us, but if we ARE doing good, then tell somebody else!!

This Bob's for you.

Publisher -- Bob Massa

October 23, 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:

Okay, So Don't Ask

Now This Is Feedback!

OKAY, SO DON'T ASK

Two weeks ago, in the October 9th issue of the PPP, I asked for resident experts to offer their services and unique insight into building better portals to all our portal partners in the form of a weekly discussion in the Press. We were very fortunate to have two highly qualified people respond, offering to cover two of the most important aspects of portal building. One was the area of design and the other marketing.

Last week, I published a short article from both of our "experts". These were intended to give you an idea of what quality of support you could expect in the form of answers to your questions.

I was a little disappointed this last week not to receive a single question from any member for either of the two people who have so graciously agreed to help. I realize that it may be from some lack of instructions on my part. Maybe I didn't make it very clear what we were doing and how it was supposed to work.

In this issue, I'm going to attempt to make it as easy and clear as absolutely possible for everyone reading this to "see" the incredible value of the service these fine folks are offering and make it just as easy and clear to "see" how to take advantage of this resource.

The thing is, this program has the potential to make any one of you realize your web dreams. This is by far the most powerful tool I've ever seen on the net. Want to be the next Yahoo? This portal program can do it! No matter what your chosen subject matter is, this portal program at the very least, can build a much better website than the vast majority of your competitors in any field. The problem with anything this powerful is, you have to learn how to use it to it's full advantage. Even the experts will tell you that.

Realizing education being probably the single most important factor in building the best site possible, we have gone to great lengths to make getting that education as easy as we know how. There are so many people involved in this project that see the value of this program and have therefore unselfishly offered their own time to try to help. This ASK LYNNE and ASK ANDRE thing is just another extension of that commitment and to see it go to waste would be a real shame.

When it comes to building a portal, there are no library books to read. There are no seminars to attend. There is no home study course you can buy. The best chance for you to build a better site is to help your fellow partners build a better site. The best chance for any one of us to succeed, is to see all of us succeed. By helping each other and the open exchange of knowledge and ideas, we open more doors together than any one of us could ever hope to have the time to open on our own.

Now, with this ASK thing, we have something that has never before been available on the web. Once again we are making history and blazing a trail for building a better internet. You have only as far away as your fingertips, a resource that is simply not available anywhere else on the face of the planet.

Unless all of you are completely satisfied that you have already built the absolute best site possible, that you have already become aware of and mastered all the incredibly powerful features that the Searchking portal program offers, then some of you MUST have some questions. Those questions can do so much more than simply get you an answer. They get EVERYBODY an answer. The questions you ask are read by others who may be needing the same answers even if they don't yet know they need those answers. Even the "experts" are going to learn from your questions because even they don't have all the answers, but they are the kind of people who will not mislead you. They are the kind of people who will work their tails off to get you the right answers and then share what they learn. Can you all see the power in that?

Of course, if there is just not any need for a service like this, I don't want to waste anyone's time and I will discontinue the ASK series for the Portal Partner Press. I truly hope that is not the case. This is just too good to pass up in my opinion. I honestly hope that you see the wonderful things we are trying to do and take advantage of the resource made available to you.

Now, anyone that has a question about designing or marketing their portal, please send an e-mail to bobking@searchking.com with either ASK LYNNE, (for design questions), or ASK ANDRE, (for marketing questions), in the subject line. I will forward those questions on to Lynne or Andre and publish their answers in the next issue for all to enjoy. So come on kids, here's a great little freebie for you, -- USE IT!

NOW THIS IS FEEDBACK!

This weeks PPP has a theme and that theme is the value of communication. We can all go on our merry way paying little or no attention to the plight of our fellow partners and the world will keep spinning. We can participate or we can ignore, it's our own decision. After all, we are all self-determined human beings and we have the right to decide for ourselves how we want to pursue happiness. So the decision to be an individual or an individual that is part of a group is strictly up to us, BUT, before we decide the cost of communicating is too high a price to pay to justify our time, maybe we should consider the profit from sharing with each other. Instead of looking at how much time it costs us, maybe we should consider how much time it SAVES us.

While I consider myself to be pretty good at figuring things out on my own, the credit for the vast majority of my education goes to others and not to myself. Had it not been for the help, advice and communication of others, I certainly would not have had enough sense to even be writing this to you all now. I believe that we all benefit so much from learning from the experience of others that it is only the foolish man indeed who sees himself as a self-made man. To me, a self-made man is the one who has enough gumption to learn from others. How do we learn from others -- we communicate.

Now, this past week I got an e-mail from one of our oldest (in terms of being a partner longest. I don't think anyone is older than me.), portal partners. This is a partner that read my article in the PPP and took it to heart. He actually got off his butt and applied some of the concepts that I had proposed. However, just listening is not communicating. That is just listening. Listening and then responding is communicating and that is just what this person has done.

This is absolutely wonderful! This gives us all a chance to see more than one side of a conversation. It gives us the opportunity to put our heads together and figure out a solution to specific problems. It makes us creative. It makes us smart and it makes us more successful! Here is the letter.

Bob,
Well, you asked!!

About three months ago, I did a series of articles about the advantages and opportunities of bringing the internet to main street by running a hometown portal...

.."DON'T SELL ANYTHING - JUST DON'T SAY NO" approach, sales should be as easy as falling off a log....

...Do it and then write me with your results and if you can prove I'm wrong, I'll publish your comments and make a public apology....

I don't want you to make a public apology because it's probably me that's got it wrong. And I promise not to use the line -- but my area is different! We've already discussed that. But further guidance would be appreciated. (And it might make a good topic for PPP.)

Here's the story --

I have created a hometown portal - fm1960.searchking.com. Being a suburban area of the fourth largest city in the US, perhaps we get more telemarketing calls than most, more solicitors and salesmen walking from business to business trying to part business owners from their money. Your idea of 'Don't sell - just don't say No!' seemed to be just the ticket for here.

I went from business to business asking for permission to link to their website. I have a young lady working this with me, but as she was having no success, I thought I ought to get out there and see firsthand what she was facing.

The response was mostly 'Huh?' which quickly turned to the stock reply 'Not interested.' Clearly they weren't getting it, and I was not getting the opportunity to explain it. Several people who did understand what I was asking said they couldn't give me permission to put their company in my directory and the person I needed to speak with wasn't there and would I come back?! I decided to change my approach to the following--

I went breezing in, with 'Do you guys have a website?' If the answer was Yes, I said 'Great! What's the URL - the web address? 'Cos I'd like to put you in my directory.' Mostly, they didn't know what the address was and there was never anyone available to tell us. When they had the URL to hand I took it and went my way, but it became clear that most did not have a website and had said Yes to my question because they thought I wanted to sell them one and saying they already had one would get rid of me quicker. But now they were embarrassed and wanted me to leave before I discovered the lie.

So I changed that approach to walking smartly through the door with a demeanor that suggested I was in a hurry and wanted to leave as quickly as they wanted me to. My line was 'I just stopped in to get one of your business cards, please.' Every time they reached for a business card without hesitation. (What are business cards for, after all, but to give away to people?) Whether they asked the reason or not, I produced one of my cards and explained that I was building an internet directory for this area and was going to put their website in it. (Not 'May I?' - I was going to!) They did have a website, didn't they? I looked for the URL on their business card and if there was one there, or they could give me one, I thanked them and left. One more entry into the database.

But if they did not have a website, I acted all disappointed for them - 'Oh dear. If you don't have a website, then I can't put you in my directory and I can't send you any new customers, can I?' Pause. Isn't this where they are supposed to say, How can I get a website? Well, someone forget to give them the script, because no-one has said that so far.

I filled the pregnant pause with, 'Have you thought about getting a website?' Only 2 so far have said 'Yes they had thought about it.' Again, pause. Here would do just as well for them to say, 'How can I get one?' or 'How much would one cost?' Nothing!

At this point, I was unable to play the 'Don't sell-just don't say No' game any further as we stood staring at one another in perfect silence. I put on my salesman's hat and started to sell, but they had only *thought* about it (if they truly had) and certainly weren't ready for a sales pitch.

As I analyze the forgoing, it seems to me that we have been taking the right road, bringing our prospect along with us, but the prospect just hasn't been inclined to play the game. Perhaps 'sales-wariness' has taught them that 'How can I get one?' or 'How much would one cost?' is the death-knell of sales-resistance.

Whatever the cause, we have not sold a single webpage, hosting contract, advertising space, sponsorship or anything else (but we do have a nice website, if I say so myself, with about 120 entries in the directory!)

All advice gratefully received.

Frederick

Frederick Pearce fpearce@earthlink.net Houston, Texas
The Business Start Page: bspage.com
--where entrepreneurs start each business day---
SMALL BIZ SEARCH: smallbiz.searchking.com

Okay, first off, don't take this as a failure. As you said yourself, you have a nice website and that alone is going to bring you paying customers at some point.

Secondly, just as I said, I have published the letter for all to read and I am also publicly saying, "I'm sorry". I apologize to anyone who took my advice and had to spend their time without getting results. I do apologize.

Now, this is going to get us somewhere. This is so very cool! WE WILL get the answer to this. Is there a chance that we're all wrong? That the internet is not an important part of any business. Is the net just for some people and not all people? Is there a chance that whoever is not on the net now just doesn't need to be?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Maybe they aren't jumping up and down to pay us to build them a web presence, but it is NOT because there is not value to them being on the web. It is simply the fact that they don't see the value in it yet.

So, do we give up and starve? Do we accept defeat and walk away thinking there's no opportunity in this web thingee? Or do we accept that it is US doing something wrong and then get to work figuring out what it is we're doing wrong?

I've spent about 25 years in sales. About 10 of those years in outside sales doing exactly what you described above. Walking in and grabbing the first person that showed their face and then setting about making a living at getting that person to do what I needed them to do to make me a living. I know exactly what is wrong Fred and I'll tell you now.

You're thinking like a salesman and acting like something else.

The "just don't say no" article was written with a specific purpose and a specific target audience in mind. Throughout my life, most of the people I have met consider themselves NOT a salesman. We've all heard people say things like, "oh I can't sell, I'm not a salesman" or "I could never sell anything". Well that old cliche about there being two kinds of people in the world, the ones that think they can and the ones that think they can't and they're both right, has been taken to heart by me as a truism ever since I was a very young man. That article was written to motivate and educate those people because whether we know it or not, we are all salesmen. The man who makes a living building furniture actually makes his living by SELLING furniture and not just making it. The lawyer wins cases by selling the jury to his way of thinking. Even when we go to work, we are selling ourselves to our boss. We sell ourselves at the very least everyday to our spouses, our friends, our customers and just about everybody we meet. If that were not true, the make-up business wouldn't sell billions of dollars a year in products. There wouldn't be upscale clothing stores, beauty shops, barber shops, saunas, spas and so on. Those are all businesses built on the premise of selling tools so we can sell ourselves.

Back in the early eighties, I was working for a company called New Antiques. We sold antique reproductions in solid oak. As a store manager, I had a standing ad for salesmen yet, 8 out of 10 people who came in looking for a job were wanting the warehouse position. A job that paid only a few cents over minimum wage. The effect of this was that I had 5 delivery drivers/warehousemen and only myself and two other sales staff. On Saturdays we would get swamped and it was hard to serve everyone so I got the bright idea of telling my warehouse staff to not sell anything, just show the customers what we had and then write down the item description and bring it to me and I would do the selling. Well guess what, sales went through the roof! Those warehouse guys sold their tails off as long as they didn't have to deal with the fact they were salesmen. I learned that it was much easier to change my procedures than to change their perceptions. That was what I was doing with the article about don't sell anything, just don't say no. I was trying to show that there was a way to believe you were NOT selling and yet still get customers and income.

My intention was to take the feedback I got from those people and develop a series of articles that would over time, make the entire process very easy to understand and more importantly, very effective. I was also planning on using the feedback to start going into more depth about sales approaches as well. The problem was that until now I got no feedback. Now that I have that feedback, I'd like to start that process now.

As I said, you're problem is that you are thinking like a salesman and acting like something else. You were laboring under the misconception that the article I wrote was intended to present you with an opportunity to "trick" people into buying from you. Don't feel bad, most people think that all salesmen have some magic bag of tricks waiting to pull on the next sucker, which is why people are leery of salesman and why some people think they could never do it when they do it everyday. Actually, that sounds a little too negative. I think it's a much better situation if you were thinking I was giving you a way to break down their skepticism and get them to open up to you. That is why I owe you an apology. I should have made myself more clear whether I got feedback or not.

The trick to sales is honesty. If you think like a salesman, then by God, sell them!

Ok, before any kind of deal can be made between any two or more people, there has to be three elements present. Affinity, reality and communication. This is like three sides of a triangle. You can't have one without the other two. Affinity is simply that emotional feeling that you get when you like someone or are attracted to them for some reason. You understand them and see them as having things about them that is similar to you. Reality is simply the agreement that things are what they are. That blue is blue and that hot is hot. Communication is simply the art of getting your ideas and feelings across to the other person and then being able to understand them when they do the same with you.

Let me give you an example. If you walk into a store with a pig under your arm and the first person you see you ask, "how do you like my rose?", you will not have affinity, or reality. The person looks at your pig and thinks you're a nut because they don't see a rose. There is no communication because there is no affinity or reality. Perhaps where you come from a pig is called a rose and if you had the opportunity to communicate, you could possibly explain that to the person, that would be communicating. Once they understood that, they could see there was a reason for the misunderstanding, that would be reality and once there was reality and communication, now they don't see you as a nut but as a person and there is the affinity.

When you walked into the store thinking like a salesman but acting like a web developer, you might as well have had a pig under your arm. They didn't trust you, (affinity), they didn't understand you, (reality), and they didn't want to open up to you, (communicating). So now let's explore some ways of getting that affinity, reality, communication thing going.

You are a salesman Fred. You've been in business for quite some time and you know what you want from your prospective client. You want their business. Tell them that! That at least forms reality. Now the challenge is communication.

We first have to realize that most likely the person you first deal with is not the person that makes the decision to buy something. The person you are talking to is very likely an under-paid, over-worked employee whose main job is to keep the person who writes the checks from dealing with people he doesn't want to deal with. This is the first person you need to establish some kind of affinity with. They are expecting you to say something like, "may I speak to the boss?" This is just as bad as a retailer saying, "may I help you". It's the kiss of death.

If it were me and my objective was to establish some kind of affinity, I would say something like, "you look like you could use a raise and I'm here to ask you to help me get you that raise. I'm building a web site about my hometown and I need to represent this business to make the best web page I can. We're already getting hundreds of people a day coming to the page and seeing your neighbors and competitors and I can send those customer to this store just as easy. This internet thing is getting big. More customers means more money and when the boss sees that you were a big part in getting that extra money, that raise shouldn't be far behind". "All I want is your permission to link to your website and if you don't have one, I'll build one for you for free! Think we could talk your boss into some free advertising on the internet?"

If you'll notice in the little presentation above, I covered all the three bases. I communicated in a way that we could both share reality with the statement about the internet getting big. Even if she is not a net savvy person, she watches TV, she reads the paper and she can easily identify with that statement. I formed an affinity very quickly by sympathizing with HER situation by talking about her raise. Finally, I asked for her help. The way I presented this limits her options to the point that I can assume her reaction is going to fall into three basic categories. She is either going to be hostile, she is going to be guarded or she is going to be receptive. Of course there could be other things that she would do but these are going to cover the options of the vast majority of people. Now, all I have to do is plan what I am going to do for each of those scenarios. If she furrows her brow, crosses her arms and frowns, she is communicating hostility. If she stands an inordinate distance from me with her arms crossed, she is telling me she is not sold, she is guarded. If she is leaning in towards me, smiling and looking at my eyes as I speak, she is communicating an affinity. She likes me and she likes what I'm saying.

Once we determine which reaction she is going to take, we have several choices of which direction we are going to take. This is my point. We can take this entire process and develop it into a presentation that will work most of the time with most of the people, but only if we share the results of our experiments. I'm really very good at this kind of thing because I've done it so many times with so many things. We can work this down to a science if we just talk about it.

Now, next week I will start going into a little more depth about how to move this process to the next step and that is how to get to the right person who can make a decision and then use their decision to help us achieve our own goals. Even if they just take the free webpage, (which the kind of page I'm thinking of, you may be overcharging for if it's free), we will still make a customer of this person because we will have started educating the person to the value of our service which is the key to this. Educating the person to the value of the service. If they understand what it's worth to them, you have a customer.

I realize that all this affinity stuff may sound a little mystical. It's really just a matter of terminology. It is nothing more than the process of talking to people and listening to people so that you can put their needs and desires above your own. You can't address their needs and desires if you can't communicate to the point that you know what those desires are. Again, the key is honesty. Don't try to look for an easy way or look for some kind of trick. Just be who you are and if who you are is a salesman, be proud of that and be the best salesman you can be. If you are not a salesman but are a web developer, then be that. By being that, you are going to be doing and saying things a lot different but it will still get you customers if you just tell them what you want and when they ask if they can have that too, don't say no.

Like I said, next issue, I'll address what happens if we get thrown out or if we get to talk to the boss. I'll take the viewpoint of the salesman and we will start developing a presentation that includes the basic elements of a sale which are simply explaining Feature, Benefit and Action and overcoming Objections, but of course there is no need to go into that until you are talking to the person who writes the checks.

The single most important factor to keep in mind through this week is DON'T GIVE UP! If you keep at it maybe you will fail, but if you give up, it is certain that you will fail! This can be done and you have too much invested already to quit. You are already way ahead of the game.

One final thing Fred, those 120 links you have already, PUT OUT A NEWSLETTER! Start sending something at least once a month to those people focusing on what the internet is doing for them and what you are doing for them. Be sure to include your name, url and phone number in every issue. This keeps your name in front of them and makes it easy to get a hold of you. Try to give them things in your newsletter that improves their site or shows them how to use their site better. Trust me, some of them will have questions and who do you think they will look to for answers?

For all of you. Send me your letters!! Communicate with me. Tell me what's going on out there. If you will give me a little, I promise to give back a lot!

This Bob's for you.

Publisher -- Bob Massa

October 30, 2000

IN THIS ISSUE:

Now This Is Feedback!

How About Another Success Story?

Ok, Now We're Talking to the Boss

Ask Lynne

NOW THIS IS FEEDBACK!

WOW! This week we've had a terrific response. We've had so many "ASK LYNNE and ANDRE" questions that I can't run them all in one issue, so I'll be posting the one I got from Lynne this week and then publish the others in upcoming issues.

I didn't get an answer from Andre this week. It may be just be the fact that it's a new process and it will take a little schedule juggling for us both to get it down to a simple procedure. Since I didn't get his answer this week, of course I can't run it. I plan on running it in the next issue but if for some reason we can't get things worked out, I'll be looking for a portal partner to take over the resident marketing expert position.

Even without Andre's contribution, we have plenty of useful content for this issue. In fact, maybe the MOST useful content in the form of feedback from a portal partner we've ever had. While I want to thank all the people who sent in questions and feedback this week, (that feedback from all the partners is going to prove to be VERY valuable to us all), I got the letter I've been waiting several months for! The letter from a portal partner who told me about his experience with using the ideas we've discussed, putting his own brand of creativity to compliment it and making a SUCCESS! I think you are going to enjoy reading this letter as much as anything you've ever read before in any marketing newsletter you have ever seen. It is absolutely wonderful. I hope you find it as exciting as I did.

Here's the letter:

Great News From a Portal Partner!
Hi Bob,
I'd like to share with you and the other portal partners some feedback about my recent success with my portal. I read the feedback in last weeks PPP about the challenges in trying to create income with the town portals. I too have had the same difficulties over the past year until three weeks ago. In the last three weeks I have made over $2000 from a system I developed and I expect to bring in over $5000 in November!

How do I do it? Here's how:
First, trying to "sell" a business listing or a web page can be difficult because it is an intangible item (like selling insurance). It is more of an educational process since many businesses do not know why they should be online. However, approaching them first with a tangible item that they know and understand works far better. Combine that with a non-selling approach and I am amazed at the number of businesses (even large franchises) that are eager to hear what I have to say.

Basically, I tell them that what I am doing is helping local *non-competing* businesses to work together to send each other new customers. I am simply coordinating their efforts and helping them share the costs amongst each other. Each business participates by handing out a coupon sheet to their customers over a one month period. The coupon sheet has one special offer from each of the 10 participating businesses.

Included within the coupon sheet is a method for building an email mailing list of their customers that they can use to send weekly or monthly notices of specials, promotions, discounts and new products or services at virtually no cost. The way that I do this is by including a link to my website where their customers can sign up for a free draw (tons of free advertising for my site).

Here are the details:

  • 10 non-competing local businesses work together to send each other customers through a flyer.
  • Each flyer contains 10 individual coupons for a special offer from each of the participants.
  • Each participating business hands these flyers to their customers after their purchase.
  • The flyer has a second function of sending customers to our web site where customers can subscribe to their weekly/monthly updates newsletter. They offer a free prize in a monthly draw as an incentive for customers to subscribe.
  • Visitors to this site will enter their name and email address to enter the draw.
  • This list (*that belongs to them only*) will be given to them after the program is over (one month).

Now they have an email mailing list that they can send email to weekly or monthly with special offers or just updates on upcoming new products or services.

Part two of the program is optional but extremely powerful. Once they have an email mailing list, you can arrange joint venture programs between them and other non-competing local businesses to make special offers to each other's lists - and you take a percentage for setting it up!

I charge them only $197, which is far less than they would pay if they printed and distributed 10,000 flyers themselves.

After one week I had one customer who called and said she had already recovered her investment. What a great testimonial!

If any town portal partner has any questions about my system they can reach me at jim@higherawareness.com

Regards,
Jim MacDonald
Edmonton, AB

PS: persistence combined with creativity does work!

How about a big hand for Jim. I am very proud and I hope to be just as proud of many more of you very soon. What you do with your time and your portal is your business of course, but if you don't take advantage of this opportunity and pick this man's brain and use what he has to say to motivate and inspire you, I think you're nuts! This is not an ad. This is not spam. This is not reading some "insider's secrets" or all the rest of the net crap that we all get subjected to. This is real! This is honest and this is true. This is such an exceptional opportunity for all of us, I truly hope you see it and gain from it.

GOOD JOB JIM!!!

HOW ABOUT ANOTHER SUCCESS STORY?

Wait, wait. I'm not done bragging yet. Remember an article I ran a few weeks back about a program called E-Womp? One partner that I know of decided to take a look and sent me a letter this past week telling me his story.

eWOMP stuff...
Hi Bob,
I very much like your newsletter and I wanted to compliment you for a great idea you gave us a few weeks ago: eWOMP. eWOMP's fully-hosted, turnkey customer acquisition solution, deployable in minutes, helps you create, execute and intelligently manage your Word-of-Mouth PlatformT. No other marketing product, tool or service is more compelling or cost-effective. And best of all, eWOMP's technology is available for free at www.ewomp.com!

We implemented it after I read your newsletter and here is what we have learned so far. eWOMP's proprietary technology coupled with its extensive expertise gives our business a platform that will:

  • Dramatically lower the cost of acquiring each new customer.
  • Extend the reach, length and stickiness of our marketing campaigns.
  • Deploy targeted incentives to boost click-through and conversion rates.
  • Create a better and more manageable experience for our users.
  • Increase our customer loyalty and lifetime value.

We are so happy with the concept that we are looking to expand the program to a complete, coordinated lead referral program. Stay Tuned!!

Best regards, Daniel Prins

PS if you want to learn more about eWOMP contact Jordan Wallach at jordan@ewomp.com or call (877) 463-9667, ext. 30

OK, NOW WE'RE TALKING TO THE BOSS

As I promised last week, we will continue our discussion on how to make customers out of your business contacts. Ok, now that we have established communication, reality and affinity with the person at the counter, (or the first person you talk to when you walk in), there are basically three things they can do or say.

#1. We're not interested! If they said this, obviously you did NOT establish any kind of affinity. The best thing to do is not waste your time or theirs. Thank them and leave. Once you leave though, stop for a few minutes and reflect on what happened. You're a decent person. There is absolutely no reason for someone to not like you unless you communicated something they could not establish a reality with. In other words, you did or said something that "put them off". Try to remember what it was and then --- don't do or say that again.

#2. He's not in. This is not a failure or a rejection. If you have established an affinity with this person, there is no reason to assume they would lie to you. If they tell you they're not in, then very likely they're not in.

The thing to do here is use that relationship you've built with the person. You can logically assume that the owner of this business has a great deal of faith and trust in this person. After all they trust this person to make the first impression. It is also logical to assume that this person has some degree of influence over the person you need to speak to. The person that makes the decisions. Use that influence. It is very likely that this person is going to mention you to their boss when they return. You want them speaking of you and your business in a positive light.

When the person you need to speak to is not in, this just means that it's time to prepare. Get the information you need to be able to intelligently present your business. When is the best time to catch them? Do they have a website already? Have they ever talked about the web before? If so, what did they say? Is it a man or a woman? How long have they been in business? What is the phone number and what is the e-mail, (very important getting the e-mail). Tell this person how much you want to see them get that raise, thank them for all their help and let them know you'll be back.

#3. Yeah, let me tell him you're here. Bingo! Once you're in there, again you have to establish those three things. Communication, reality and affinity. The fastest and easiest way to do this is by telling the truth.

There are as many ways of doing this as there are people, so it's up to you to develop a presentation that you're comfortable with, but I will give you an example of what I would say and again, if you just do that word for word and then let me know what happens, you'll be bringing in those sales -- Guaranteed!

I would say, (after being introduced by the friend I had just made): I'm developing an internet website about local businesses and I would very much like to list your business as well. I know how busy you must be and I don't want to waste your time so I'll just ask you one question. Would you allow me to list your business in my web site if I can show you how it will improve your image within the community, bring in new customers and make you more money without it costing you a dime?

You've communicated your intent. You've talked about things he understands, things like being busy and improving his image, that's establishing reality. You've done that by being honest, open and sympathetic to his situation. He should like that -- affinity. Now he's likely to say one of two things:

#1 I'm not interested. (see above #1)

#2. So how are you going to show me all that? Bingo! You're 90% of the way home to making this person your customer.

I'll finish this little series up next week so this issue won't be so long.

And last but certainly not least: ASK LYNNE

Thanks to Frank for submitting the following questions:

1.When designing a page does the desktop size I'm currently using decide the size the page will be formatted into?

2.How often do you resend your pages to all the major search engines? Is it only when you create a new page or is it on a prearranged schedule?

1. Generally speaking, web pages size according to the resolution the visitor's monitor is set at, unless the designer specifies that the page should be a certain size. Your desktop formatting should not affect the way your site visitors see your website, unless you specify a particular pixel width for tables, and set all of your content into those tables.

Since monitor resolution can vary from 640 x 480 pixels up to 1600 x 1200 pixels, or higher, most designers will set tables for a percentage of screen width so that they can automatically resize to fit the visitor's browser window. Sometimes inexperienced webmasters make the mistake of placing graphics wider than the narrowest estimated screen size into their tables, and this can cause an unwanted horizontal scroll at low resolutions. For example, if you have a table divided into 2 columns and place a 250 pixel wide graphic in one column, and a standard 468 x 60 banner in the other, your page will have a horizontal scroll at 640 x 480 resolution (250 + 468 = 718 pixels wide).

It is important to remember that the 640 pixel screen width is for the entire screen, not just the web page. Browser scroll bars and extra doodads take up some of that space, so it's safest to make certain that the tables you create don't have to expand to more than 600 pixels wide. To do this, just set your table and cell widths to a percentage value, and make certain that the graphics placed in various columns of a single table don't total more than 600 pixels wide. This will allow your pages to resize according to whatever resolution your visitors have their monitors set at, and prevent the dreaded horizontal scroll.

2. Arrgghhh! Search engine submission! I would gladly defer to Bob on this one, but he sent it to me, so I'll take a shot at it. Personally, I use the submit and ignore method. That is, I submit a site, check to make certain that it's listed, and then ignore it until after I make some significant change to the content, or until I discover that it has somehow disappeared from a particular engine.

I should probably note that I don't rely on the SE's for a major portion of my traffic. Graphic design keywords return anywhere from 250,000 to millions of pages on the major SE's, and getting high rankings for them is next to impossible. Relying on SE's to send a steady flow of traffic in such a competitive area would be business suicide. The majority of the traffic to my main site comes from link partnerships, awards links, and my portals, with a significant portion coming from various directories. I find that getting listed in the dmoz.org directory is the most effective way to generate traffic from a wide variety of SE's, meta-searches, and other directories.

I should also note that I refuse to pay places like Yahoo and LookSmart for the privilege of having an unidentified editor take a 30 second look at my site and then send me a rejection letter (there are, after all, millions of graphic design sites already listed in these places. Why would they want to add another one?). If I'm going to pay for a listing, it's at goto.com, where I know that the money is actually generating targeted traffic.

Others will disagree with me, and their methods work for them. Many people submit and resubmit their sites on a regular schedule, hoping to improve their rankings for particular keywords. Others submit, tweak their pages and submit again, in a never ending cycle. Of course, with more and more SE's charging for submissions, this practice may soon come to an end. Even AltaVista is starting to recommend that webmasters use the LookSmart express submit (for $199 US) to improve their chances of getting listed. Given the fact that it's getting harder and harder to find the free URL submit at AV, I'm expecting it to disappear altogether in the near future. Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, Canada design house. She owns the Graphic Design Portal and Eye on Winnipeg, and writes a variety of articles and newsletters for publication.
You can contact Lynne at lscott@opticalresolution.com

CLOSING

Well portal kids, that's it for another week. I want to tell you all again how much I appreciate your feedback. It is truly a wonderful, wonderful thing. I never intended for the PPP to be a vehicle for me talking to you. If you just want to read some so-called expert telling you what to do, there are literally thousands of e-zines and newsletters you can find besides this one that will do just that. I wanted the Portal Partner Press to be different, unique, valuable and truly interactive and that can not happen without you and your input. The difference between most newsletters and mine is that most publishers think the newsletter belongs to them. I believe this newsletter belongs to YOU. Use it!

For all our American partners, have a safe and happy Halloween and for the rest of our partners around the globe --- BOO!

This Bob's for you.

Publisher -- Bob Massa
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January 2000 | February 2000 | March 2000 | April 2000 | May 2000 | June 2000
July 2000 | August 2000 | September 2000 | October 2000 | November 2000 | December 2000
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PORTAL PARTNER PRESS 2000

 


 

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