Is Your Web Site Ugly Enough?
By Ray L. Edwards
What gives a website owner fuzzy feelings inside
is not the same thing that makes the site sell.
In fact, it has been proven and shown over and
over again that UGLY, but functional sites
outsell fancy looking websites designed to win
Think about the most popular e-commerce sites
online: eBay, Amazon, MySpace and Skype, and
you'll see that they are not big on design. But
they are simple, clear and very intuitive for
the visitor to use.
So skip the Flash introductions (or your
visitors will!) and all those slide show
graphics because they are just distracting at
best to what you want to accomplish. When a
prospect comes to your site you don't want to
try and win their attention because you ALREADY
have their attention. Instead you want to GIVE
them attention by making their task easier.
Speaking of tasks, people come to your website
with a certain aim in mind. You have to build a
site that would facilitate the accomplishment of
that aim. So if you are promising a free report
then show them CLEARLY how they can get the
report in the least steps.
One characteristic that marks web surfers is that
they are impatient. If you website doesn't
satisfy the advertised need, then your
competition is just one click away. No driving
required, no walking to the next closest store,
but just one mouse click and they are gone!
Here are some ways in which you can design a
website that's functional:
1. Make your navigation system as intuitive and
consistent throughout the website. Same
placement, color scheme etc.
2. Watch the layout of your text to make the
information readable. Not too many dense
paragraphs and use a lot of white space.
3. Make your headline stand out by using a
larger font and attention-getting color.
4. Guide the user step-by-step in accomplishing
their task. Number these steps if possible. Do
not assume too much. What's obvious to you the
owner of the site may not be obvious to a new
visitor. (Much like your home.)
5. Label action buttons appropriate, such as:
"Click Here To Buy", "Click Here To Subscribe!"
As a copywriter, I've found that 'marked up'
sales letters - yellow highlighting, underlines,
bolding, etc. had a higher response than clean
looking copy. And what people SAY is often the
opposite of what they DO! (Welcome to the human
So in other words, the colleagues who tell you
website looks "pretty" don't buy from such
sites. "Does this site look good?" is a wasted
"Would this site sell?" - that is the question.
Don't be flattered by the friends who tell you,
"WOW, your site looks good!" Aim for the UGLY
site that fattens your bank account.
About the Author
Ray L. Edwards is a published author, a
copywriting coach and internet marketing
consultant. You may
find more information on boosting your online
sales by visiting his site Your
Web Site Conversion.
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Cre8asiteforums Educational Scholarship Fund
Selects Search Engine College
I'm thrilled to announce that Search Engine
College has been chosen by members of
Cre8asiteforums to be one of the five recipients
of the first Cre8asiteforums
Educational Scholarship Fund.
Cre8asite members were asked to take part in a
poll over the past month to vote for the
training institution they would most like to see
allocated $400 US of forums revenue in order to
cover search engine marketing tuition for a
deserved forums member. Search Engine College
came in as 3rd most popular training provider
behind SEMPO and FreshEgg Internships.
It is my great pleasure to announce that the
first recipient of Search Engine College
training for this educational scholarship is
Elizabeth Able from Olympia in Washington.
Elizabeth is a long-time crea8asiteforum member
(nickname = ablereach) and is interested in
accessibility, data analysis, seo and just about
anything in between.
But that's not all folks! We were so impressed
with the educational vision that Cre8asiteforums
came up with that we decided to match their
scholarship fund dollar for dollar so that two
people can participate in our programs. The
second lucky scholarship winner is Miriam Ellis
of Solas Web Design.
Miriam is another long-time cre8asite forums
member (nickname = SEOigloo) and besides helping
answer lots of webmaster questions in the forums
and running her own web design business, she is
also an accomplished artist. Miriam will receive
a $400 credit from Search Engine College towards
any Certification course of her choice in our
Congratulations Elizabeth and Miriam. I hope you
enjoy whichever Search Engine Marketing courses
you choose to take.
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It's hard to believe, but 2007 will be the
sixth year of publication for the Search Light
our very first issue was published in text
format back in July of 2001.
Back then, our business (originally called Web Rank
Ltd) was operating out of a tiny apartment on
Australia's Gold Coast and consisted of one
staff member - me - and a small handful of clients.
Since then we've serviced over 50 SEO clients, our
business name has changed to Jordan Consulting
Group, our services have expanded, my husband
has joined the business full-time and we've
hired more staff and contractors to cope as the
business has grown. 2004 was a huge year, as we
launched an online training institution (Search
Engine College) and had our first
child. I can't believe that both
will be turning three years old this year!
We're still primarily a small boutique business,
but with clients in 14 countries and our
turnover increasing by 50 percent annually, I
feel very proud of what we have achieved since
those early days.
As many of you know, building up a small
business takes blood, sweat and tears. Marketing
a small business via search engines can become
all-consuming and it's a
minefield for beginners. I hope that this
newsletter has shed some light on search engine
issues over the years and I thank those of you
who have stuck with me since the early years and
are still listening!
Just one more thing before I let you get to the
educational stuff. If any of you are coming
along to the
Search Summit Conference in Sydney on March
1 and 2, I'll be speaking about search industry
training on Day One so please stop by and
Enjoy this issue and remember to visit the daily
Search Engine Advice Column to check out
my answers to frequently asked search engine
questions or submit one of your own.
Till next time - wishing you clicks and
|FAQ1: How can I stop link farms from linking to us?|
I'm using Yahoo Site Explorer to check inlinks
to client sites. On one site, I'm noticing
inlinks from PR0 sites that are just listings of
URLs and fake 'directories' that are there to
pick up adsense dollars. They were not submitted
by us or our client. My questions: Is there any
way to remove your site from these types of
pages? Do the owners ever honor any requests? Is
there any way to minimize the impact of inlinks
from sites like these?
Thanks for the caffeine injection! Re your
1) You can try. If you can find a way to contact
them, ask them to remove the link. A good trick
I learned is to look up the domain ownership
details via a WhoIs lookup and cc your email to
the admin, tech and registrant emails. That
shows them that you are serious about your
request and have done your research about them.
Most likely they will ignore your request, but
you never know.
2) I wouldn't worry too much. Google and other
engines are good at filtering out links from low
quality sites and any impact they have on your
site's overall link popularity is minimal.
However, if you find sites are duplicating
chunks of your client's content using site
scraping, that's considered an infringement of
the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and you can
report this to Google via this
Overall, I wouldn't spend too much time
concerned about either issue. As Google say on
their own Webmaster
"Don't fret too much about sites that scrape
(misappropriate and republish) your content.
Though annoying, it's highly unlikely that such
sites can negatively impact your site's presence
|FAQ2: How can I get a top position in Google for my site?|
I am Verma from Mumbai. I submitted my site
several times on GOOGLE. But I don't have any
good results even my site is not listing on top
10 in google. So please can u send me some
comments & Solutions . How can I get my site in
google on top position...Please?
Keyword-stuffed, over-utilized Title Tag
Excessive keyword repetition in META
Duplicate content in the both the Title
Tag and META Description Tag
Incorrect formatting of the Title Tag
Multiple keyword-stuffed comment tags
Multiple, keyword-stuffed nonsense META
tags that are unsupported by any search engines
Use of Flash in your HTML code placed
above important text content
Use of keyword-stuffed tiny text
Hidden 1 x 1 pixel links
Graphic navigation menu instead of
Use of low quality link farms to inflate
Excessive use of flashing titty banners
(ok this is not technically spam, but it should
Tsk Tsk. What a naughty site you have. And I'm
not talking about the fact that it's advertising
an escort service. I'm talking about the obvious
spam techniques and search engine
incompatibilities listed below:
I could go on but I'd have to charge you a
consulting fee. Nearly all these things go
Webmaster Guidelines. Still not sure why
your site isn't ranking? You might also want to
check out this
post for info about recent changes to
Google's algorithm that has affected sites
containing adult content.
|FAQ3: How will search engine ranking be affected if I change domain names?|
As always, I am very much enjoying your
I have a question for you: If I change domain
names and keep the identical website on the new
domain, how will search engine ranking be affected?
If you are moving your site to an entirely new
domain, you've got to be careful that your
search rankings and link popularity aren't
negatively affected. This can occur if you use
the standard 301 "permanently moved" redirects
on your old pages, or worse, use no redirects at
Technically, your new domain is treated as a
brand new site, regardless of whether the
content you use on it has been published on
another domain and therefore, Google will
subject it to the aging
delay for new sites.
To avoid losing all those hard-earned rankings
for the six to nine month Google limbo that is
the aging delay, it's recommended that you use
302 "temporarily moved" redirects on your old
domain pages until your new domain has aged the
required time in Google. You can then safely
switch the redirects to 301's. You can read more
about this method in Scottie Claiborne's
to a New Domain Without Losing Your Google
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