Pros and Cons of Flash-based Sites

Flash-based sites have been a craze since the past few years, and as Macromedia compiles more and more great features into Flash, we can only predict there will be more and more flash sites around the Internet. However, Flash based sites have been disputed to be bloated and unnecessary. Where exactly do we draw the line? Here’s a simple breakdown.

The good:

Interactivity

Flash’s Actionscript opens up a vast field of possibilities. Programmers and designers have used Flash to create interactve features ranging from very lively feedback forms to attractive Flash-based games. This whole new level of interactivity will always leave visitors coming back for more.

A standardized site

With Flash, you do not have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. No more woes over how a certain css code displays differently in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. When you position your site elements in Flash, they will always appear as they are as long as the user has Flash Player installed.

Better expression through animation

In Flash, one can make use of its animating features to convey a message in a much more efficient and effective way. Flash is a lightweight option for animation because it is vector based (and hence smaller file sizes) as opposed to real “movie files” that are raster based and hence much larger in size.

The bad and the ugly:

The Flash player

People have to download the Flash player in advance before they can view Flash movies, so by using Flash your visitor range will decrease considerably because not everyone will be willing to download the Flash player just to view your site. You’ll also have to put in additional work in redirecting the user to the Flash download page if he or she doesn’t have the player installed.

Site optimization

If your content was presented in Flash, most search engines wouldn’t be able to index your content. Hence, you will not be able to rank well in search engines and there will be less traffic heading to your site.

Loading time

Users have to wait longer than usual to load Flash content compared to regular text and images, and some visitors might just lose their patience and click the Back button. The longer your Flash takes to load, the more you risk losing visitors.

The best way to go is to use Flash only when you absolutely need the interactivity and motion that comes with it. Otherwise, use a mixture of Flash and HTML or use pure text if your site is purely to present simple textual and graphical information.

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5 Important Rules in Website Design

When it comes to your website, extra attention should be paid to every minute detail to make sure it performs optimally to serve its purpose. Here are seven important rules of thumb to observe to make sure your website performs well.

1) Do not use splash pages

Splash pages are the first pages you see when you arrive at a website. They normally have a very beautiful image with words like “welcome” or “click here to enter”. In fact, they are just that — pretty vases with no real purpose. Do not let your visitors have a reason to click on the “back” button! Give them the value of your site up front without the splash page.

2) Do not use excessive banner advertisements

Even the least net savvy people have trained themselves to ignore banner advertisements so you will be wasting valuable website real estate. Instead, provide more valueable content and weave relevant affiliate links into your content, and let your visitors feel that they want to buy instead of being pushed to buy.

3) Have a simple and clear navigation

You have to provide a simple and very straightforward navigation menu so that even a young child will know how to use it. Stay away from complicated Flash based menus or multi-tiered dropdown menus. If your visitors don’t know how to navigate, they will leave your site.

4) Have a clear indication of where the user is

When visitors are deeply engrossed in browsing your site, you will want to make sure they know which part of the site they are in at that moment. That way, they will be able to browse relevant information or navigate to any section of the site easily. Don’t confuse your visitors because confusion means “abandon ship”!

5) Avoid using audio on your site

If your visitor is going to stay a long time at your site, reading your content, you will want to make sure they’re not annoyed by some audio looping on and on on your website. If you insist on adding audio, make sure they have some control over it — volume or muting controls would work fine.

Don't Get Caught With Google Adsense Click Fraud

Many web site owners are getting their Google Adsense account terminated when they have done nothing wrong to deserve the punishment. Considering the money that they are getting from Adsense, they would certainly want to get back into it.

Considering the money to be made with Adsense, it is no wonder that they would want to get back into it.

It is that same consideration why the Google Adsense click fraud is thought of and why many people are getting into it.

Click fraud is the act of clicking on ads for the purpose of costing the advertiser money. It is simply the same as paying out cash for false leads. Many people website owners are aware of this fraud and are sharing the same sentiment that this is the one big problem that Adsense is facing.

How do you prevent being involved in this fraud?

Majority of web hosts are offering access logs. Once this is offered to you, it is necessary that you hand it over to Google as well. This allows them to look for any suspicious activity on your site. Problems like this are very serious and giving it to them is saying that you would want to help them in any way you can in solving the problem.

It can also help if you have a click monitoring software. If you do not have one yet, you should try and get one. There is absolutely no major factor preventing you from having one because most of this software is free.

As usual, all the information you have received should be turned over to Google. This is showing Google that you too are fighting against click frauds and is in no way a part of it.

Study your server logs and watch for any activity that seems suspicious. Report anything that you may find odd, may it big or small thing.

You may want to consider disabling ads for your own IP address and local geographic area. This will certainly prevent accidents and will not make Google mistake another user as you. You can do through a htaccess file. This will avoid Google mistaking as clicking on your own ads and be kicked out because of it.

Keep your Adsense off on pop ups and pop unders. Your ads should not be displayed on content sites that promote illegal activity or tampering of the legal rights of other people or business. Included in this are the content that is considered adult and gambling ones. If you think that you may be breaking this rule, immediately remove your content or Adsense from the web page.

Be truthful and confess up to Google about times when you might have clicked on your own as, whether accidentally or intentionally. Or the times when you have done something that is against the Terms of Service that they are implementing. Be honest about anything that you may have done that is wrong. Confessing is way better than Google learning about it eventually. It would mean eventual termination and no getting back what you have worked so hard for.

Do not tell your family or friends about Adsense on your website. Chances are they may start clicking on them to help you make money without you knowing it. They may be doing more harm to you than help by trying it in the first place.

If ever someone you know chanced upon your Adsense, make sure they understand that they cannot click on your ads under any circumstances. It would be wise to brief them on important things about Adsense and what not to do with them.

Most pay per click networks have different measures in hand to protect website owners against click frauds. Other search engines can track more than 50 data points, IP address, browser’s information, user’s session info and pattern recognition. They also have “systems” available that detects fraud. Not to mention the specialized teams monitoring how things are going and helping advertisers stop click frauds.

Google offers suggestion on how to avoid click fraud. Using “negative keywords” can be used to keep your Adsense showing on products and services that are in no way related to yours. Adding tracking URLs to your links so you can track the traffic coming from Google.

Do not be caught in the Google click fraud. Be aware and be wary.

5 Magnets Guaranteed to Draw New Customers to Your Business

Before you can sell your products and services, you must first attract prospects and customers to your business.
Only then can you begin to educate them about the benefits you have to offer them.
While most of your competitors will take the quick and easy road by using ineffective ‘One-Step’ marketing that just promotes their products and services to disinterested people, you can focus your marketing resources on the Two-Step approach that will catapult you ahead of your competition overnight.

Step One: Attract interested prospects to your business.
Step Two: Convert a percentage of those prospects into paying customers.
Why do you need to take two steps to maximize your sales?
Imagine 10,000 people at a huge festival.
Now picture a tent with a large sign above the entrance that says . . .  ‘FREE COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS.’
Picture another tent with a sign that says . . . ‘FREE WORKSHOP: HOW TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS!’
And another that says . . . ‘FREE PRESENTATION: RELIEVING BACK PAIN.’

What kind of people do you think will enter the ‘Cooking Demonstration’ tent? People who are interested in cooking, of course. The very people who also have a higher than average interest in buying cooking accessories.

Who would enter the ‘How to Start a Business’ tent? How about people who have some interest in starting their own business? These are perfect prospects for products and services geared to new entrepreneurs.

And who would enter the ‘Relieving Back Pain’ tent? People who have back pain!

Within each of those tents are targeted prospects who are potential customers for products and services related to each of those Free Informational presentations.
The vendors putting on each of those ‘Prospect Generating Presentations,’ are focusing their time and efforts only on people who have a genuine interest in the types of products and services they are offering.
One-Steppers would have just wandered around the festival among the 10,000 visitors yelling, ‘Pots and Pans for Sale! — Only $399!’
Or, ‘Buy Our Business Start-up Book — Only $24.99!!’
Or, ‘Sign up for our Back Pain Treatments! Only $35 a Session!’

What a waste. No one is going to buy anything from the One-Steppers haphazardly promoting their products and services. No one knows them, likes them, or trusts them.
And, more importantly, most of the people hearing their spiel, have absolutely no interest in what they are selling.
But within each tent, a certain percentage of prospects are going to buy what each vendor offers them.
Why? Because these Two-Steppers know how to use marketing magnets to attract just the kinds of prospective customers they want. And during the presentations, the prospects will have the opportunity to get to know, like and trust the presenters.

The offer of free information related to your product or service — information about the problem your product or service solves — is a powerful magnet, that most people can’t resist.
In addition to a free workshop or presentation, here are 5 more magnets that you can use in your business to attract interested prospective customers.

1) FREE TIPS BOOKLET: Create a simple booklet filled with tips related to your product or service. For instance, if you are a beauty consultant, create a Beauty Tips booklet.

2) FREE NEWSLETTER: Create a free newsletter that shares tips and information related to your service — like the one you are reading right now. We have attracted over 60,000 prospects to sign up for our newsletters for our two Web sites, and each time we send one out, we receive thousands of dollars in sales. You could do the same.

3) FREE REPORT: Create a free report on an important aspect of the problem your product or service solves.

4) FREE INFO-PAK: Compile a report and tips into a free Info-Pak of information that will appeal to prospects for your product or service.

5) FREE INFORMATIONAL WEB SITE: A Web site can be an ideal resource for your prospects and customers. You can provide information about your company, your products and services, or even better, lots of free information related to your product or service that your prospects would find appealing.

This is exactly what thousands of business owners are doing. Both of our Web sites — Give to Get Marketing and Get Organized Now! are jam-packed with tons of helpful information to attract people who want this kind of information.

Why do we provide all of this valuable information for free? Because our Web sites are like those tents we told you about earlier. They serve as irresistible magnets that attract thousands of people who are perfect prospects for the products we sell.
Does it work? You bet it does! This is a perfect example of the Give to Get philosophy in action. We attract hundreds of thousands of interested prospects to our business each year – of which many thousands become loyal customers.
Use the power of marketing magnets and you’ll reap tremendous rewards — both professional and financial.
Give a lot to your prospects and your customers, and you will get a lot in return.

 

(c) Copyright 2002 – Joe Gracia – Give to Get Marketing

Preparing for Your Future Online

When pursuing your online opportunities, developing your business plans, setting up your online stores, websites, blogs, and Preparing for Your Future Online, do you have a short term view, a long term view or both?  What is your “Success Strategy”?  Are you doing what everyone else is doing or anticipating where the internet is taking us?  Are you Preparing for Your Future Online…  the Key to Success Online?

When considering things like:

  • The newest news:  Google Print (WebProNews.com Insiders Report)
  • The rumors invading the world of Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) regarding Google possibly changing their affiliate policy.  Everyone’s worried about it, but if they were set up properly they wouldn’t have to (keep reading this article).
  • Google’s ever changing landscapes the average SEO battles to stay on top of.  The efforts to try and anticipate updates and algorithms…  making things more complex than they need to be.
  • The expansion of the internet (InternetWorldStats.com)
  • The efforts to understand PageRank (PR) when the PR of today won’t be here tomorrow.
  • People trying to figure out how to write good sales copy…  but trying to boil it down to one formula when there isn’t one.
  • Debate over how to approach the design of websites and everyone arguing about which method is the best when they don’t take the whole picture into account (The Market; The Future)
  • The revving up of RSS as a way to provide more content on your website
  • Blogs affecting the offline world including politics (CBSNews.com Story)
  • The explosion and importance of forums.  It seems everyone is starting a forum.
  • And a million other things changing and influencing the way we do things now…

Everyone is scrambling to try and figure out the right “Success Strategy” and what direction to take with their business, websites and marketing.  We are all looking for the Key to Success.  But there is no right way…

You see not only is the internet vast and changing and developing rapidly, but everyone’s products and services can be and should be approached differently.  Markets very and situations demand different strategies.  But most importantly, will the things you’re doing today work in 1 year, 5 years or 10 years?

Are We Planning for the Future?

Many of us listen to what’s happening now, but what about 5 years from now?  Who is going to be still in business 10 years from now?  What works now will be obsolete.  Will you be left behind or be riding the wave as it grows?

Those who are prepared to adapt and have built a digital infrastructure for their business that anticipates the future will survive.  You can’t be static.  You can’t invest a lot of time and money into something inflexible that may be replaced by another technology next year.  We must understand what’s happening and what to anticipate.  You have to understand the big picture to make the right choices about your business online.

You can use many of the methods today and do very well short term, but you must have an exit plan.  You must move as the internet moves.  An important Success Strategy is having an exit plan.  This plan might be deciding that you will pursue an opportunity for 2 years, and then you will sell that business and have another one waiting in the wings.  It’s an important Key to Success Online if you want a long term presence.

The Internet’s Reflection

The internet in the future will be a reflection of the off-line world.  It isn’t yet, but it’s coming…  Why do I think that?  I believe that because the structure of the offline world has been developing for thousands of years and it works.  It’s in a continuous state of change, but the basic structure is in place.

To draw a comparison:

 

OFFLINE: If you want free information, where do you go offline?  The library…
ONLINE: Eventually you will find that same information available online.  Some of it is, but it will get better as you can see by Google’s activities.
   
OFFLINE: If you want a new book, magazine or other fresh information, where do you go?  The bookstore…
ONLINE: You already have bookstores online.
   
OFFLINE: If you want information about fishing, where do you go?  The library…
ONLINE: Eventually the online library.
   
OFFLINE: What if you want to buy a fishing rod?  You go to a fishing store…
ONLINE: You go to a fishing store.
   

How about Music, Electronics, or Office Supplies?  You can find them all online and offline.

Many people are worried about a move like “Google Print”.  A deal involving the libraries of five of the world’s most important academic institutions including:  The full libraries of Michigan and Stanford universities, as well as archives at Harvard, Oxford and the New York Public Library.  Why are you worried?  You didn’t anticipate this?  Never get too used to your environment, especially online.  Even offline markets change, products develop, and the technology improves… so will the internet except it will be magnified.

I believe the internet has several dimensions:  Leisure, Educational, Consumer, and Business to name a few.  All of these will develop side by side eventually catching up with the offline world and then pushing forward and getting better into the future.  The Key to Success Online is to understand how it’s all coming together and building your business to join that movement.

We must all understand that we just invented the wheel… so much more is to come.  The offline world and the online world will become seamless in years to come. It will be exciting to watch and be a part of.  Your Success Strategy should integrate the wheels of change.

So you must stop thinking in one dimension.  You must look beyond the present and understand how the changes might effect you.   You can’t fight the changes, but you can anticipate them.

What Exactly Do We Need to Worry About?

Some of you won’t have to worry about your products.  For instance if you sell jewelry, chances are people will still want jewelry in 10, 20 or 30 years.  But you do have to be flexible enough to move with the webs development.

Others of you will have to prepare a contingency plan.  You will have to decide how long your product will work for you and have another one ready to launch to take its place.  This is especially important for those involved with digital products.  Better yet, you should have multiple products and streams of income to roll with the changes.  If one drops off it won’t matter.  You’ll have others in place and another one ready to launch.

Too many of us think we only need to find one opportunity when in reality we must find one and look for another.  And again the best way to provide security is to have multiple product lines or sources of income.  We must not only work hard to develop the business your in, but prepare for the day that business might not be profitable…  the Key to Success is to anticipate that change.

 The Speed of Change and the Importance of Education

There is a difference online as far as the speed that business changes.  Things can change overnight.  Google only has to change one little thing in their algorithm to put someone out of business or launch someone else into success.

If you choose to pursue online opportunity, you must understand that your environment is in a constant state of change.  Just like anyone involved with technology, you will have to always be educating yourself.  Continuous education will help you be prepared and ride out the storms to come.  Education must become a routine.  It is another important Success Strategy.

Conclusion

There is a lot of opportunity online.  The Key to Success is understanding how the game is played.  You must have the future in mind.  Without a plan and a focus on the future you will find failure much sooner than later.  With a plan for the future and your eye on the future you will anticipate the failures, expect them, adapt and survive.

There is not one opportunity that is going to make you rich and let you sit back, relax and just collect your money.  There is the exception to that rule…  You could get lucky, but it’s unlikely.  You’re probably going to have to work hard, plan smart, and keep your eye on the ball.  And don’t worry about “Google Print”.  It was going to happen anyway…  Google is just poised to do it faster and better than the rest.

The Road to Success is Built on Persistence

Are you persistent?  You better be.  It’s the only way you will find your way to the top.  Anyone you see succeeding online (or offline for that matter) is there only because they kept on keeping on.

The most successful people in the world have tripped and fallen on many occasions.  Millionaires are born out of trial and error.  Persistence has no guaranteed time line.  It assumes its own course.  There are no rules or statistics that can predict the results of any venture… but through persistence we can tilt the odds in our favor.

The internet is filled with promises of quick riches.  Somewhere along the line society has convinced us that you can become rich overnight; we fall for this over and over again.  You can become an overnight success, but you probably won’t.  You will more likely become successful with a long term, persistent effort.  These quick rich promises are simply empty.  The only ones getting rich are the ones making these promises… you won’t.

I say this again and again to my partners online.  This is a business.  Unfortunately many people that come online to seek their fortunes don’t have a business background and are easily lured into a scam or scheme.  They don’t know what to look for and can’t recognize the signs of unrealistic promises.

The first thing a person needs to do if they decide to pursue something online is to do their homework.  Know your playing field (World Wide Web), no the rules of the game, and become familiar with the other players.  Their motives are not always just.  The internet is laced with fraudulent activities, scam artists and bad business practices. 

There are legitimate businesses and opportunities online.  The internet is growing at an unbelievable pace.  Millions of people are online everyday looking for goods and services.  There is room for you.  But you must find the right opportunity and find your niche.

Develop a plan based on thorough research.  Develop a business plan.  It doesn’t have to be complex, but lay out the foundation first.  The stronger your foundation, the better your chances are of building a solid business structure.  Check out an e-Book called “The Business Plan Workbook” (Click Here).  It will take you step by step through the process of developing a business plan.

Once you’ve built your foundation and created a business plan, you are now better prepared to go out and find real opportunity.  You should have a better understanding for how the online game works.

After you’ve found your opportunity and designed a plan to capture it, you must employ persistent.  But remember, you can only be persistent if your cause is right and just.  If you are trying to pursue a scam or bad idea, you can be the most persistent person in the world and you will never achieve anything.

So find your opportunity.  Research and develop it.  And then pursue it.

Pursue it with persistence.  You are going to fall once and a while.  You may even lose money before you make money.  Calculate your tolerance for risk!  It might take time before you start making any real money depending on the venture.  It all depends on your skills, your background, and the opportunity.  But you can succeed with persistence.

Persistence is a very important key to online success.

Good Luck in All Your Endeavors!

Planning Your Way to Success

Whether you are a small company or a large corporation one of the primary keys to success lies in preparing and following a good marketing plan. You can have the most awesome product or service to offer but without a plan in place, you may flounder for direction and waste a lot of time and energy as a result.

Consider that your marketing plan, which is separate and apart from a business plan, is an essential element to the success of your company.
The plan should contain data and specifics pertaining to your company’s goals, the product or service you’re offering, how you intend to market it and a means for measuring your success.

Generally, larger companies create plans that are extremely comprehensive in size and nature while smaller companies will do just as well with a smaller strategy. It’s a good idea to refer to your plan regularly so that you can track your company’s progress.

WHAT A MARKETING PLAN SHOULD INCLUDE:

1. Creating an Objective

As a strong proponent for creating an objective or purpose regarding any endeavor, I recommend starting with a clear objective for your marketing plan.

Although it may mean spending a bit of time in contemplation, it’s best to be certain as to the overall purpose and objective of your company. Take some time to focus on what you really want to achieve.

As an example, when I first began my consulting business, I thought long and hard as to what I intended. More than anything else, I wanted to share my skill in a positive and meaningful way that would help other people succeed.

Focusing on what I felt about my expertise, I knew that I enthusiastically enjoyed the challenge of creating material that is powerful, well written and simple to read.

I also relished in the idea of empowering other people, so with those thoughts in mind I created an intention that aligned with my purpose. It is as follows:

“My intention as a Writer/Consultant is to fully succeed at providing my clients with high quality written material that uniquely reflects their objectives by helping them stand apart from the crowd!”

That intention has taken me far on the road I contemplated many years ago and has never changed.

2. Targeting Your Audience

Included in your marketing plan should be the strategies you intend to apply for specifically reaching your targeted market.

Pay special attention as to which audience you are trying to reach. Are there particular trends in your industry? Are you aware of your competition? Are layoffs affecting your particular arena and if so is it to your benefit or detriment? Have you researched the need for your product?

In other words, consider how the economy may affect people either negatively or positively when they consider purchasing your product or service?

The economy does not necessarily influence some industries, but because it does influence many markets, you may want to narrow your focus.

3. Your Strategy

Include in your plan effective marketing strategies. Think about some of the largest companies in the world that are constantly brainstorming in an effort to keep the public’s attention.
Notice how we are collectively bombarded with new commercials and announcements daily, in an attempt to make sure we never forget certain products or services.

I don’t necessarily recommend that you do the same, but it does hold some weight. If you’re aren’t promoting yourself in some way, it’s easy to forget your company.

Of course while most of us cannot compete with huge companies, there are many ways to promote your business without it costing a lot of money. It simply requires a bit of thought and creativity.

4. Setting Time and Accomplishment Goals

Generally your plan should cover a period of from six months to a year.

Check the plan you’ve prepared on a monthly basis as a measure for meeting your goals and objectives. Ask yourself periodically if you’ve taken all the steps that you planned? Are you within your schedule? Are you attracting the clientele you had hoped? Are you making good contacts that return or send referrals? Are you building rapport with customers? Does the plan need some rearranging or rethinking?

If you find that you’re on target keep the plan as it is. But if you obviously see that something isn’t working, rethink your marketing strategies.

Primarily you want the world to beat a path to your door so keeping a good marketing plan updated and refined is crucial to the success of your business. Having a roadmap to success will both keep you on track and help to maximize your outcomes.

Since marketing is a process that never ends, have a few ideas already in place as to how you may reach your target audience.
While you may hope for the day when you can sit back reaping the benefits of your efforts, you can never stop marketing. The challenge of determining various methods and tactics that will get you noticed is a constant, but it can be fun.
Based upon my experience, when I find that one avenue isn’t bearing fruit, I simply recognize it as an opportunity to explore other avenues.
For me, that primarily means getting back to basics. So I write a new article, send out a press release, begin an e-mail campaign or simply get quiet for a few days until I’m inspired. But I always have something in my plan that keeps me motivated.
I suggest not putting all your eggs into one basket because if the well runs dry, you’re left with nothing.
I also suggest staying open to new ideas. Very often we become set in our ways and feel afraid to veer in a new direction. You may not have considered a particular avenue until someone suggests it, so don’t say no until you’ve given it some thought.

Copyright 2002, 2003 Charlene Rashkow