My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 2 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Struggling With Web Design?

I love writing content and marketing my website, but I am not too fond of programming and designing. In fact, I came very close to hiring someone to do that for me until I finally found a template online that I liked.

I get a lot of questions about how I designed my website,, and the answer is quite simple.

I already own the web page building software, Microsoft FrontPage. Then I went to a site called and bought one of their FrontPage templates ($20).

It already had all the files that I needed for my site. So all I had to do was download the files, open the template in the software, add my own content and then save it to the web. (I also did some graphic customization in Photoshop).

If you are not into learning how to design I would highly recommend doing something like this. You can get some very nice templates out on the web. Some are free and some may cost you. has some pretty good ones for free but is one of the bests as far as I'm concerned.

Grab a copy of Microsoft FrontPage, and this all makes the process of creating your website much easier.

Don't forget you also need a web host that supports the FrontPage extensions so you can save your work directly to the web from the software. I use Powweb.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Is Your Website Traffic Low?

You can submit to Yahoo, Google, and MSN directly by going to their individual "Add URL" pages, but getting listed is one thing and ranking well is another. Billions of people are listed in the major engines, but few rank high.

If you're not on the first two pages of results, you can pretty much forget about getting much traffic.

First you have to build a lot of content. If your site is only 3 or 4 pages long then you'll want to build up to at least 20 to 25 pages. Next, you also want to get as many inbound links to your site as possible.

For example, a paid listing in Yahoo's directory is an excellent inbound link that may help your site rank higher. It's $299 per year but may be worth it in the long run.

Adding your site to is another way to get a good inbound link. Although lately it's been tougher and tougher to get listed there.

You'll also need to work on link exchange campaigns with webmasters that have sites related to yours. Go to any search engine and find sites that compliment yours and contact the webmaster about a link exchange.

Write articles and submit them to or These sites allow webmasters to display submitted articles on their sites for free.

You are allowed to add a sig file to each article you submit so when people start displaying your content on their sites, your sig file will appear on websites all over the web.

Search engines eventually see this and will start to realize your site is getting several inbound links. This helps with your overall ranking.

I found an excellent free guide that shows you how to build an effective link campaign for your website. It's called Make Your Links Work. The information in this eBook is invaluable!

Friday, May 26, 2006

What Web Hosts Don't Explain

It amazes me that many web hosts don't speak to beginners. They advertise their hosting services using technical words like "bandwidth", "transfers", "gigabytes" and more.

The average first-time website builder is not going to know what is meant by a lot of these terms, and mosts hosts don't bother to explain it. That's always been my pet peeve and I'm willing to bet they lose many potential customers because of it.

Below I've explained, in laymen's terms, many of the features you'll see advertised as part of the web host package.

Web Space - The main feature web hosts promote is the amount of space they offer for your site. It's usually expressed in MBs or GBs. (megabytes or gigabytes). Just for the record there are 1,000 MBs in 1 GB.

The average web site will never use more than 50 MBs, but because of competition, web hosts keep increasing their space and are now offering up to 20,000 MBs (20 GBs) in some cases. I would estimate 90% of webmasters will never need anywhere close to this amount, but it certainly can't hurt to have it.

Like I said, competition is what's driving these hosts to keep increasing the amount and they want people to think they need this much space when they really don't.

However, if the price is low ($7.77/month) like Powweb, then it certainly can't hurt to have more than you need.

Bandwidth/Transfer - This is the amount of data sent from your web host down to your visitor's computer. So every time someone visits a page on your site, they download all the images and text from your host's web server right to their PC. This process happens behind the scenes and most people don't realize it even occurs.

Your web host will generally offer a bandwidth limit (expressed in megabytes or gigabytes per month), and it's important you don't ignore this number. If you go over, you will be charged a certain fee. The more you exceed the limit, the more it will cost you. Each host has it's own rate for overage.

Now I will say, most websites don't even come close to going over the bandwidth alloted, but every now and then this does happen - especially if you have a site with a lot of pictures, video and/or large amounts of traffic.

A good way to determine how much bandwidth you'll need is to use this simple formula:

Visits x Page Views x Average Page Size x 30 days in a month

So if your site gets 2,000 visits per day, 3 page views per visitor and the average page size is 25KB then your bandwidth usage for the month is...

2,000 x 3 x 25KB x 30 = 4,500,000 KB = 4,500 MB = 4.5 GB

So for this site you'd need to make sure your host offers at least 4.5 GB per month. These days that won't be a problem. Powweb, for example offers 400 GB per month and would be plenty of room for most sites.

Beware of the unlimited bandwidth claim! Some hosts will advertise unlimited or unmetered bandwidth as if you have no limit to the amount of traffic you can receive. What that usually means is they don't monitor your traffic up until you reach a certain limit, but once your site exceeds it, they will start monitoring you.

It's never UNLIMITED. That's just a marketing ploy because they realize most people never come close. Trust me. Big brother is always watching and they will charge you if need be.

FrontPage Extensions - Having this feature allows you to create and publish your website using Microsoft FrontPage. This is great if you are a beginner and plan to use an editor to create your pages. I highly recommend it.

FTP Access - FTP stands for "file transfer protocol" and it's the process of transferring files from your local PC to the web server.

So let's say you don't have any web editing software that publishes right to the web like Microsoft FrontPage, you'd create your HTML pages locally on your computer and then use an FTP program to transfer the files to your web server.

I recommend using WSFTP. It's free and pretty easy to use. You can learn more about how to use it here.

SSL Certificate - SSL stands for "secure socket layer". Basically you'll want this if you plan collecting sensitive data from your visitor (address, credit card info, etc.) Unless your host is free, almost all of them offer some kind of secure method of transmitting data.

Now that you understand more about various web host features, you can make the right decision about choosing the best host for your website. View my web hosting options page.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Easy Money For Any Website

I really try to stray away from using phrases like "easy money", but I can't help it when I'm referring to Google's affiliate program called Adsense. I hope you'll forgive me. :)

It really is one of the easiest ways to earn money with your website...especially if you already get decent amounts of traffic (at least 300 visitors per day).

If you are a webmaster and haven't joined, you're missing out on a great income stream for your website. Not only is the program free to join, but it requires no additional work on your part except for pasting the ad code into your site. It doesn't get easier than this.

Learn more about Google's Adsense program.

Cool Web Design Software

If you're looking for some web editing software but don't want to pay a lot for it, I would highly recommend that you download the free trial of CoffeeCup. I like the fact that the trial version is not limited. You can use all the features and functions of the software for 45 days. That's plenty of time to see if this is the right web design editor for you.

I love the DHTML menu generator. I have never coded DHTML from scratch in my life (and never plan on it), but the CoffeeCup menu makes it super easy to build a fly-out menu in seconds. You can customize the colors, size and font of this menu and it can be as detailed or simple as you'd like.

CoffeeCup also has a built-in FTP feature which means you can publish your site right to your web server directly from the software.

I bought the full version after my trial was up. I like being able to upgrade to their latest version at no extra cost. Plus, you get access to tons of images and even more templates.

You won't find a better deal for $50. HomeSite and Dreamweaver aren't nearly as easy to use and they cost hundreds of dollars more.

Download a free trial of CoffeeCup here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

How to Shorten Affiliate URLs

Affiliate URLs can be long and complicated to type. I've discovered a neat little trick that can shorten them.

1) Create a new directory (folder) on your web server.
2) Create a new page and name it index.html (save it inside the new folder).
3) Paste the following code into the index.html file and save it. Be sure to add your affiliate URL where it says url=



<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;




4) That's it! Now when you go to it will redirect to your affiliate link.

When you post affiliate links in your signature file, emails, forums, etc. you won't have to worry about it wrapping. Not to mention it just looks better having a shorter, concise URL.

Is Google Mad At You?

It amazes me how many times I still see webmasters trying to trick the search engines by using really tiny text or changing the color of the text to match the background. That is so 1998 and will probably get you banned from Google and other popular engines.

Search engine optimization has changed. It's not so much about what's in your meta tags as it is who is linking to you. Google especially is looking to see what quality sites have a link pointing back to your site.

It checks to see if you are listed in prominent directories like Yahoo, DMOZ, Joeant, Gimpsy, etc? How many pages are on your site? Do you steal content or are you original? (Yes, Google can spot duplicate content.) How often is content updated? Is your site flooded with affiliate links and no real content?

Learn more about how Google is cracking down on "worthless" websites and how to keep from being on the blacklist.

Create a Favicon for Your Site

Ever notice that little icon next to some websites after you bookmark them? These are called favicons and you can make them pretty easily if you have a graphic program (I prefer Photoshop).

If you don't have any graphic programs there are several sites that offer free favicon generators.

Here's a favicon creation tutorial and links to sites that allow you to generate them on the fly.

Seach Engine for Your Website

I've been analyzing my site's search logs and noticed a lot of people want to learn how to create a search engine so visitors can search their site. I wrote a quick "how to" article yesterday for those of you who want to learn how.

Learn how to add a search engine to your site.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hex Color Scheme Generator

If you're trying to come up with a color scheme for your website's design then I have the tool for you. It's a hex color generator that suggests complimentary colors that blend well together.

So if you want violet (hex color #990099) to be your primary website color, this generator will give you three other colors that will compliment it. It will help give your website a cohesive look.

Try out the color scheme generator here.

A Web Host "Choose It" Tool

If you're new to website creation, choosing a web host may be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different hosts offering so many different things at various prices. I realize it can be difficult or confusing to decide what's best for you.

I am so excited to announce a new tool that will actually help you select the right web host for your site. You control the results by giving a priority number to various web hosting features that you need (price, page builder, amount of space, etc.).

Try Choose It now!

Website Design for Beginners

If you need help creating a design for your website and are not interested in learning HTML, CSS, DHTML, etc. I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Microsoft FrontPage and using it to build your site.

Then go to a template website like and purchase one of their ready-made FrontPage templates. All you do is copy the files to a folder on your site and edit them inside the software.

That's what I did to build my site,

Some design experts will tell you not to use FrontPage and use HomeSite or Dreamweaver instead. Years ago when FrontPage added a lot of extraneous HTML code I would agree. But the product has come a long way and it's much easier to use, and it's less expensive than other web editing tools.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Free Blog With Every Domain

Domain registrars are getting more generous as time goes on. It used to be that you didn't receive anything extra when you bought a domain name. Now times are changing.

If you are looking to create your own website, start by registering your domain name with If you do, you'll receive a free blog, free domain forwarding, a free starting page and a free email address.

Blogging is an excellent traffic builder because it's like creating another website that can act as a vote for your existing site. Search engines like to see links pointing to your site so once your blog has been created, be sure to link it to your main homepage.