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  1. 1. Recently Kevin Pine shared an argument he useswith clients in his site design business. It goes like this.managed hosting
  2. 2. Picture the greeter in WalMart stores, the one that gives youa warmwelcome, offers you a cart and a flyer announcing specialsfor the daySuppose this person was directed to turn asideevery tenth person who entersthe store, saying, "Sorry, we dontwant your business today " Then asks themto leave If this were repeated throughout all stores, WalMarts bottomlinewould drop One might guess by 10%, the number of peoplebeing turned away But the drop would be considerably more, forcosts of salaries, inventory,general overhead and such wouldremain constant at least in the short termThus the drop mightexceed 20% No successful business is likely to try this"new" technique,for it obviously would lead quickly to bankruptcy Why thendoso many webmasters apply similar methods with such determination? APartial Answer Anyone who has ever created anything, be it a bookcase,anovel, or a website, knows how difficult it is to be objectiveabout the results ofefforts largely driven by our emotions Since we created it, we even embraceflaws we recognize For todo otherwise might mean discarding the result andbeginning anew To succeed, a writer must discover what people want toreadand a pleasing way to present their content That is, they finda way tosatisfy the needs of their customers Else successeludes them The same is soof home builders, musicians, andshopkeepers of all kinds It is also true of
  3. 3. webmasters
  4. 4. The Lack Of A Reality Check If you open a brick & mortar business, upfront costs must be expended And the on going monthly expense beginsimmediately Profits must soon cover, else you go broke Each day you totalyour gross, subtract a percentage for overhead, and quickly determine howmuch you can tuck into your pocket Except that start up costs are minimal,the above appliesequally to an online business However, many choose toignorethese realities They can afford to do so for a considerableperiod of time,because the overhead on a website amounts topocket money Since they donot have to pay the rent or for newinventory, they can avoid facing the realityof impending failurealmost indefinitely Solid Guidelines Are Absent One of theproblems all webmasters face is the lack ofuniform guidelines In opening anoffline business, you haveample resources available that point the way tosuccess Whilemany also apply to an online business, specifics about theWebare lacking Many come to the Web determined to do their own thing atanycost Go for it, if thats your wish But to succeed, reversethe emphasis Dowhat your visitors want in the way they want it done
  5. 5. First Comes A Flawless Site If your website is not closing sales or achievingitspurpose, as in generating leads, then fix it Else pack it in This is the realityof offline marketing lacking on the Web Offline, shutting down will soon beforced upon a failingbusiness Online, valuable time and dollars are wastedinsustaining a site that does not get the job done Since we are not beinghounded by bill collectors, we continue with some vague hope things willsomehow magically turn around If you dont know what needs doing to putyour site on track, get some help Look for forums or newsgroups intositeperformance Swap your time in evaluating the sites of others,for theirs inexamining yours If you can afford it, hire a professional Learn what he or sheknows that will help Then go find another No oneindividual has the whole ofthis game in hand Learn The Rules If youve been online for a time, youalready know somerules You may need to learn more
  6. 6. Use Verdana or Ariel on awhite background, for either is much easier to readon a monitorthan Times Roman Limit main or bounding table widths to600pixels Narrow cells/columns as required so that line lengthsare amaximum of 65 characters These are simple things Whilemany continue todebate them, it is wasted effort While breaking these rules may not turn awayten percent ofyour visitors as our hypothetical WalMart greeter did, why riskit?Why do anything that annoys a visitor, thus encouraging himor her to leave?While its true you can not please everyone, italso makes sense to minimizesite characteristics that may annoy About Branding Of the continuing debatesabout doing business on the Web,the one I ignore completely is the notion ofbranding " , the quicker picker upper " This is branding Chances are youconnect this immediately to Bounty paper towels You may even rememberone of the actresses featured in the TV commercials If I were standing beforea shelf of paper towels, all thingsbeing equal, Id probably reach for Bounty
  7. 7. But when I think ofthe megabucks expended in boosting this name, its difficulttobelieve the manufacturer has recovered costs Theres not muchprofit marginin paper towels Forget It On the Web, branding is often associated with splashor entrypages, those artsy slow-loading presentations within which youmustfind a link to the main site This wont work for a small business You have nochance ofobtaining brand name recognition without a major corporatepresenceand an awesome dollar commitment So forget branding And forget thosesplash pages Are You Turning Away N% Of Your Visitors? The validity ofmany rules can be difficult to demonstrate This is a no-brainer Check the hitson managed hosting your splash page andcompare the count to that of thepage it links to Now tell me you are confident you can succeed inbusinessturning away over ten percent of your potential customers WalMartcouldnt make it happen And neither can you
  8. 8. managed hosting