Monday, August 29, 2005

How to Make a Website (Minus the Headaches) By Tom Antion

There is nothing wrong with making your own website if you are looking to save some money. Be prepared however, for your finished product to resemble an after school project; cutesy, homemade touches and all. It is pretty hard to make your own website and have it look professional; but, there is an easier way that will leave you with fewer headaches in the long run.
You must first do some web research. Click around and find websites that have the look you are going for. Make some notes and jot down what it is you do and do not want representing you. You should also start thinking of some keywords that will help people find you if they were to type them into a search engine.
After you have a rough idea of what you would like your site to look like, you should contact a professional who will take care of all the hassles that come with making a webpage. I recommend contacting Global Presence in Tucson, Arizona, http://www.saeler.com; they do great work and pay special attention to detail.
Your website will be created so that you can make changes when and if you see fit. To do this, you should purchase a web authoring program, and learn how to properly navigate the system to make revisions on your site. After the site is up, you only need to know how to do 4 things in order to keep your site up to date.
1. Be able to add a new page, complete with all of the navigation buttons from previous pages.
2. Have the ability to add text.
3. Be able to add a graphic.
4. Know how to make a hyperlink.
These are 4 easy steps that will be repeated numerous times throughout your website’s existence.
Not everyone uses the same browser, so your webpage may look very different from one computer to the next. To get a quick look at how your site may appear on other browsers, go to http://www.anybrowser.com/. When choosing a font, use something standard like Times New Roman; one that virtually every computer has. A good resource to help guide you through all of your website problems is Robin Williams’ (no, not that Robin Williams) book, The Non Designers Web Book.
*Remember to keep your site simple, so that customers don’t get confused by all the buttons, and click away.
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Internet Association Of Information Marketers

Tom Antion provides entertaining speeches and educational seminars. He is the ultimate entrepreneur, having owned many businesses BEFORE graduating college. Tom is the author of the best selling presentation skills book "Wake 'em Up Business Presentations" and "Click: The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Marketing." It is important to Tom that his knowledge be not only absorbed, but enjoyed. This is why he delivers his speeches laced with great humor and hysterical jokes. Tom has addressed more than 87 different industries and is thoroughly committed to his client's needs.

Monday, August 15, 2005

What's All This I Hear About Firewalls? By Tom Antion

At this point, if you've got the whole "turning the computer on" thing down; you are ready to learn about firewalls. Whether you use your computer for business or pleasure, it is important to have a firewall. If you use a high speed Internet connection like Cable modem or DSL, you are at a MUCH greater risk for someone to hack into your computer, ultimately giving them free rein to meddle in your files and your life.
A firewall basically limits access to your computer from the Internet; it does not protect your website (that is the responsibility of your webhost.) When you first install a firewall, it will alert you many times about possible threats to your computer. This means that an automated robot or someone who needs a life; is attempting to gain entry onto your computer. Chances are good that big time hackers will not bother with files belonging to someone with a small business, but the 8th grader down the street just might.
Begin by downloading a free firewall; you can visit http://www.firewall.com/ for more information. I got my free firewall at http://www.zonelabs.com, and it provides a decent amount of protection for beginners. As your business grows you will need to upgrade your software. Many sites sell firewalls for a fee, but I think you’ll agree you’d rather pay the cash than lose your hard drive.
Tom Antion provides entertaining speeches and educational seminars. He is the ultimate entrepreneur, having owned many businesses BEFORE graduating college. Tom is the author of the best selling presentation skills book "Wake 'Em Up Business Presentations" and "Click: The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Marketing." It is important to Tom that his knowledge be not only absorbed, but enjoyed. This is why he delivers his speeches laced with great humor and hysterical jokes. Tom has addressed more than 87 different industries and is thoroughly committed to his client's needs.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Merchant Accounts By Tom Antion

To make money at this Internet game you have to have some way to take credit cards. You must have a way to capture a sale immediately when you create the impulse to buy in your customer. You don't even want your prospect to have to get up from their computer. Anything that distracts them could translate into a lost sale.

One of the most important ways to grab the sale NOW is to have your own Visa/MasterCard/AMEX merchant account tied to your shopping system. It used to be really tough to get a merchant account, especially if you work out of your home. Now, you can't turn on your computer without 200 ads hitting you in the face from companies wanting to give you merchant account status. . . .Well “give” is not exactly the right word. . . . It's going to cost you.

If you scroll half way down the page at http://www.KickStartCart.com you’ll find one that is relatively inexpensive and compatible with KickStartCart.

You'll run into all kinds of deals where people will want to lease you card swiping equipment . . . unless you do a ton of back-of-the-room business and have a staff to help you, you will never see a credit card. All the sales are either via Internet or telephone. Sometimes a fax will come in. You simply don't need a card machine. I've actually taken an order on my cell phone while on the plane before we took off. [NOTE: In case you were wondering, I took the order on an airsickness bag.] J

Get firm numbers on up front fees, monthly fees, credit card percentages, and per transaction costs. While you're at it, find out exactly what a transaction is? Does calling for an “authorization only” constitute a transaction? Does doing a return equal a transaction? All these fees add up, but you’ll consider them chump change when you start doing lots of business.

The big three that you need are Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Sometimes you can throw in Discover Card as well if you feel like it. I've never lost a sale that I know of because I only take three credit cards.

One of the places I've heard you can get merchant accounts is at the big warehouse store, Costco. I don't know the details, but apparently if you shop there, they have a program to get you a merchant account. It's certainly worth checking out. Just make sure their “online gateway” is compatible with http://www.KickStartCart.com . You should always choose your shopping system first because it will be the most important part of your system when it comes to selling more and automating your business. You then find a merchant account that’s compatible. Don’t do it the other way around just to save a nickel or two on your merchant account. If you do, you’ll pay for it dearly when the free shopping cart they give you is a piece of junk.

You must sign up with American Express directly. You can do it on line at http://www.americanexpress.com/homepage/merchant.shtml

Assistance on securing merchant accounts
http://www.KickStartCart.com (scroll half way down the page)
http://www.acceptcreditcards.com

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Link Considerations By Tom Antion

Since everything you do on your website eats up a little or a lot of your time, it makes sense to evaluate the potential payback from your efforts. You want to get the most bang for your buck. Here are some things to consider when working with links:

Will the link be permanent? A permanent link will be far more valuable in the long run for both potential clickthroughs and link popularity evaluations. The exception would be a prominent short-term link to a high traffic site like CNN that could send tens of thousands of visitors to your site. Don't waste your time on Free-For-All Link deals. These are places where anyone can place a link. Search engines look unfavorably on them.

A few links from really high traffic sites will most likely produce more for you than lots of links from no traffic sites.

When granting an outbound link you will get more mileage out of the link if it goes to a specific related site. Outbound links to unrelated sites could hurt your overall ranking. But if it's an unrelated site that is giving you a reciprocal link, it is still very valuable to you. You will not be penalized because it is unrelated.

link to your site with related text located near the link will get more clickthroughs than a link by itself.

link buried among many others will not get many click throughs, but will still be valuable for link popularity reasons. Don't turn such a link down, but try to negotiate for a top or exclusive position in your category.

A Links in articles about the same topic get lots of attention and a good click through rate.

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