So you want to run an awards program?

Written by Richard Lowe

I know you've seen those awards graphics all overrepparttar web. Most web sites win one, two or a dozen awards and display them proudly on their home page untilrepparttar 131965 page loads so slow that no one visits anymore. Finally, they realize this and create a separate awards page, and eventually, if they are anything like me, they have to create an entire awards section!

At some point many of these award winners realize that, hey, they could also give an award themselves! Sometimes they want to give awards out of a desire for more traffic (an awards program does generate more than a few hits), and sometimes they want to reward other sites for their achievements. More often, a webmaster cannot explain why he wants to give awards - he just wants to.

One note of caution: if your goal is traffic and traffic only, then awards are a fine way to get people to your site. However, by far most people who sign up for awards simply go straight to your award application form without looking at anything else. So while it is a way to get people to your site, it really isn't a great way to get qualified visitors who are actually interested in what you have to offer.

A good awards program is a lot of work. Spendrepparttar 131966 time and you will have some great and perhaps unexpected rewards of your own. Please don't just slap together a silly little awards program and expect to get very much from it. And don't go out and get a script to automaterepparttar 131967 whole process. That's not what awards are about.

All right,repparttar 131968 first thing you should do (before you do anything else) is sit down in a comfortable chair with your comfy slippers and a glass of your favorite beverage. Make sure it is quiet and you have some time set aside. Now, think about what you are trying to accomplish.

What is your purpose in creating an awards program? Are you:

- Trying to get traffic - Trying to get other people to link back to you and raise your search engine popularity - Want to give something back torepparttar 131969 internet community - Likerepparttar 131970 idea of helping others improve their web sites - Want to light up someone's life by giving them an award - Like making cute little graphics

What should a beginner do?!

Written by Chuck McCullough

Maybe you have a great idea....maybe you don't.

What you -do- know is that you want a website and you want to make money from it.

But where do you start?

If you are like many (myself included), you feelrepparttar most logical thing to do is to userepparttar 131963 free space you get with your ISP, or one ofrepparttar 131964 many free website communities out there.

It gives yourepparttar 131965 opportunity to learn how to make a website, upload it to a web server, promote it, and learn killer search engine strategies.

Then, when its making you some money, you can get your own domain name and move to a real website hosting company.

Besides if it doesn't work aren't out any money.

You andrepparttar 131966 other umpteen million people with websites on these places are thinkingrepparttar 131967 exact same thing.

Time for a reality check.

You are putting your business inrepparttar 131968 middle of a community of millions. Its future now depends onrepparttar 131969 ability to make money in a situation that can best be compared to buying a lottery ticket every week.

Your chances are aboutrepparttar 131970 same. In fact, to save yourself a bundle of time, effort, and major disappointment you should give up this idea now and buy a lottery ticket every week instead.

I'm sure -some- people have managed to make money from free website hosts, and -some- have done so through legal means.

Butrepparttar 131971 vast majority don't.

There isrepparttar 131972 possibility on some of these sites for you to get your own domain name and point it to your free site.

---Here are a few flaws with this option:

You still will typically have to post their banner rotation atrepparttar 131973 top of your pages, or at least atrepparttar 131974 top ofrepparttar 131975 main page.

Many ofrepparttar 131976 top search engines ban submissions entirely from these communities because ofrepparttar 131977 objectionable content and quality from many ofrepparttar 131978 members' sites.

Even though your visitors can type in and make it to your site, they will typically still seerepparttar 131979 redirect torepparttar 131980 free host inrepparttar 131981 URL portion of their browser.

When you start getting visitors, and better yet, customers... reliability and uptime become a major part of your vocabulary. Even withrepparttar 131982 major companies you will experience some downtime. And believe me its nerve-wracking to sayrepparttar 131983 least. But many ofrepparttar 131984 better ones will have 24/7 technical support to work on these issues and keep them to a minimum.

---End of gloom and doom

The only thing that I like about this approach (it worked for me) is that as you are learning html and graphics design, not many people will really see it :-)

The point I'm trying to make is don't putrepparttar 131985 future of your business onrepparttar 131986 -possibility- that you will make enough money to register your domain name, and moving up to a paid host.

Withrepparttar 131987 masses moving torepparttar 131988 Internet, you have to quickly find a way to put yourself inrepparttar 131989 -smaller- percentage that will actually manage to make money.

---So, what -should- a beginner do?

Personally I likerepparttar 131990 'all or nothing' approach in which you find a good domain name (you better hurry on this one), pay someone to design your site for you (if you don't haverepparttar 131991 skills), and open an account with a reputable hosting company.

You've probably heardrepparttar 131992 old adage "it takes money to make money." This is true in this business as an extent. I say "to an extent" because you don't have to have a million dollar advertising budget to have an Internet presence.

Spend every minute possible finding and utilizing free promotional opportunities. If you can afford it, set aside a specific amount of money and call it your advertising budget.

As you learn these things and start to make progress, you will start to see some income. Be very strict with that money. First, you pay yourself back forrepparttar 131993 registration fees, hosting fees, web design fees, etc.

Get yourself a separate checking account that all business transactions are done from.

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