12 Quick Tips For Beginning WebmastersWritten by Dan B. Cauthron
Starting off on right foot with any new business is not just important, it's imperative. This is especially true on Internet, where first impressions are made in a matter of seconds, and can make or break potential for success.
A sales focused website functions simply as a retail cyber-store. With that in mind, it's just as important that visitors be welcomed and feel comfortable while browsing a website, as they would be made to feel in a shop on Main Street.
Here are a few quick tips that will help to gain your cyber-visitor's interest, and keep her browsing for awhile.
1. Capture visitors attention immediately with a bold headline or a thought provoking question. You have about 10 seconds to convince a first time visitor that it might be worth her time to browse your site further.
2. Keep slow loading graphics, animations, and flash presentations to a minimum. Most visitors will not wait long before clicking off to another site.
3. Avoid loud or overbearing color schemes. What may look great on your living room walls might be difficult to view and read on-screen. Background colors should be pale or white, with dark or black font for maximum readability.
4. Compose your primary message to focus on visitor's interests, needs and desires, and how you and your site can fulfill those. Few people will be interested in your accomplishments or how great you think your business is. Save that for 'about us' page.
5. Inject a conversational style into message that your website conveys, avoiding dry corporate syntax or technical jargon. A site that portrays a personality and casual human element will be much more attractive to repeat visitors.
6. Proofread carefully for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This is imperative to presenting a professional image of you and your business. It is recommended that proofreading be done by someone other than yourself, and who has not previously read script.
The Meta Search Engines: A Web Searcher's Best FriendsWritten by Daniel Bazac
I know what you're thinking: Google gives you such accurate results that you don't need any other search tool. Well, let's see about that. You might - or might not - know that no major search engine indexes ALL existing Web pages. OpenFind states that it indexes 3.5 billion Web pages, Google claims 2.4 billion, AlltheWeb - 2.1 billion, Inktomi - a little more than 2 billion, WiseNut - 1.5 billion and AltaVista - 1 billion Web pages. The truth is, nobody knows how wide Web is. Some say 5 billion pages, some 8 billion, some even more. Anyway, what's definite is that major search engines (SEs) index only a fraction of "publicly indexable Web". Moreover, every SE indexes different Web pages, which means if you use only one SE you will miss relevant results that can be found in other search engines. One way to more effectively search Web is to use a meta search engine.
What Is A Meta Search Engine? A meta search engine (also know as multi-threaded engine) is a search tool that sends your query simultaneously to several search engines (SEs), Web directories (WDs) and sometimes to so-called Invisible (Deep) Web, a collection of online information not indexed by traditional search engines. After collecting results, meta search engine (MSE) will remove duplicate links and, according to its algorithm, combine/rank results into a single merged list. An important note: Unlike individual search engines and directories, meta search engines 1. Do not have their own databases and 2. Do not accept URL submissions. Pros and Cons of Meta Search Engines Pros: MSEs save searchers a considerable amount of time by sparing them trouble of running a query in each search engine. The results - most of time - are extremely relevant. MSEs can be used by Webmasters to find their site's presence, rankings and link popularity in major SEs. Cons: Because some SEs or WDs do not support advanced searching techniques such as quotation marks to enclose phrases or Boolean operators, no (or irrelevant) results from those SEs will appear in MSEs results list when those techniques are used. MSEs Come In Four Flavors: 1. Real MSEs- which aggregate/rank results in one page 2. Pseudo MSEs type I- which exclusively group results by search engine 3. Pseudo MSEs type II- which open a separate browser window for each search engine used and 4. Search Utilities, software search tools.
The following provides detailed information on each of four MSE types, along with my ranking: 1. Real MSEs These real MSEs simultaneously search major search engines, aggregate results, eliminate duplicates and return most relevant matches, according to engine's algorithm. Following is a list of a few meta search engines that you might find useful. It's by no means complete, but it might help you find what you need. (The criteria I used to determine best MSEs were: amount and relevance of results, capability to handle advanced searches, ability to enable users to customize searches, speed of their searches and others.)
ez2www [ ez2www.com ] Searches best SEs - AlltheWeb, Google, AltaVista, Teoma, Wisenut - and directories - Yahoo! and Open Directory. Through its "Advanced Search" function it also searches a small part of Invisible (Deep) Web. It also searches news, newsgroups, MP3, images and many, many more. Provides excellent results in a very neat interface. Created in September 2000 by French search engine developer Holomedia. THE best! Vivísimo [ vivisimo.com ] Uses clustering technology, meaning matches are organized in folders. Don't like frames? Just modify size of both upper and left frames. This MSE was created by researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University. Advanced searching options available: exact phrase, Boolean operators, fields searching (domain, host, title, URL, etc.) and more. A jewel for serious searcher. Query Server [ www.queryserver.com/web.htm ] Searches an impressive list of 11 SEs - everything important except Google. But don't worry: Query Server searches Yahoo!, Netscape and AOL, all partially powered by Google. This is another example of clustering technology. Highly customizable metasearch tool. You can modify appearance of results page, selecting search engines, amount of results, their timeout, etc. It supports quotation marks to enclose phrases, Boolean syntax and parentheses. Very professional. Infonetware [ www.infonetware.com ] Searches Web and provides relevant results, organized in topics, in a very clean interface. This MSE is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and is a very good tool.
Metaseek [ www.pcdigest.net/metasearch/en/main.shtml ] Excellent MSE from Ukraine. Searches major international and local search engines. Besides Web you can search images, MP3, FTP files, news and more. You can use "Phrase" (""), "natural language" processing, Boolean logic and field searching (by URL, title, site/domain or link). Very nice. IBoogie [ iboogie.com ] Uses a minimalist design. This MSE performs intelligent clustering of results. It searches Web, Invisible (Deep) Web, images, video and audio files. Vinden.NL [ www.vinden.nl ] Searches best providing very good results in a clean interface. This MSE comes from Netherlands. Search Online [ www.searchonline.info ] Uses an excellent selection of search engines and directories. This MSE provides relevant results in a relatively crowded interface. For each result you can see search engine where hit was found, and its ranking. Meta Bear [ www.metabear.com ] Provides relevant results from both international and Russian sites. Be sure you type query in Search The World box. Web Scout [ www.webscout.com ] Searches Web, news, newsgroups, auctions, MP3 files and jobs. This Australian MSE utilizes major SEs - except Google - and provides relevant matches in a clean results list. argosa:de [ www.argosa.de ] Searches 17 international and local SEs. I suggest you avoid checking boxes of Acoon, Abacho, GoClick and ah_ha.com search engines, because they give many irrelevant hits. This is Germany's first MSE, and provides excellent results organized by relevance, source (quelle) or title. Experts Avenue [ www.expertsavenue.com ] Searches different search engines simultaneously for Web pages, auctions, jobs and forums and provides very relevant results in a neat interface. Enables online language translation of Web pages. Click on "Translate" and you will be brought to AltaVista's Babelfish translation service, powered by SYSTRAN. InfoGrid [ www.infogrid.com ] Provides excellent results in an easy to read layout, despite a very confusing Home Page crowded and with frames. This MSE searches "big ones" including Google, AlltheWeb, Yahoo! and Open Directory. It also searches newswires, auctions, discussion forums, MP3, FTP files and more. To avoid frames in results list select option "Open in Current Window". Suchspider.de [ www.suchspider.de/meta-suchmaschinen ] Searches a whopping 100 (!) international SEs and WDs. Google, AlltheWeb, Open Directory, you name it. You can sort results by relevance, source or - much better - grouped by domain name. This "Meta-Suchmachine" is based in Germany.