Beautiful Vancouver

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The Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge
At the Capilano Suspension Bridge
At the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Shannon Falls
Shannon Falls
Me @ Shannon Falls
Me @ Shannon Falls
On the way to Whistler
On the way to Whistler
At Whistler
At Whistler
Breathtaking View @ Whistler
Breathtaking View @ Whistler

Making the Most of your Website

“If you build it, they will come”….or not….

Often, people are under the mistaken impression that if they build a website, they’ll suddenly get a bunch of people visiting their site wanting whatever they have on offer. Unfortunately, we’re not living in a crazy movie-like world and it takes a lot more work than that. It’s important to have a well designed site – that will help with search engine ranking and any web designer worth their weight will know all the most effective way of optimising your site for SEO (Search Engine Ranking) but there’s only so far that will go.

Below are some tips I hope you will find helpful and while predominantly aimed at businesses, the general principle applies to all websites.

Let People Know!

When you have invested in a website, you need to make sure that it reaches the widest possible viewing population. In addition to having your website listed in all the major search engines, you need to consider the following:

Add your website address to:

  • Business Cards
  • Letterheads
  • Brochures
  • Invoices
  • Yellow Pages Advertisements
  • Newspaper Advertisements
  • Radio Advertisements
  • TV Advertisements
  • Signage On Your Vehicles
  • General Signage
  • Outgoing Emails
  • Online Business/Community Listings
  • Related Websites (banner advertisements may work well)
  • Phone on-hold messages & answering machines
  • Links on other relevant websites

Whenever people see your business name they should see your website address as well.

You may also consider offering periodic special offers to members of the community who visit your website.

Keep it Up to Date

Aside from a professional look, the thing that contributes most to making a successful website is keeping the information fresh. You should think about updating your website at least once a month with any new information available. Stale information won’t bring people back to your site and it won’t bring search engine spiders either.

Some Tips on Avoiding Spam

Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid spam completely, but there are some steps you can take to help reduce the amount of spam you’re likely to receive.

Anchor Web Design employ a number of methods when designing websites that will make it harder for spambots (automatic programs that will scan websites for email addresses) to harvest your email address from your website, but there are also some things you can do to help cut down on spam.

Don’t publicise your email address. Obviously, sometimes this is unavoidable, if you didn’t publicise your address people you want to contact you would not be able to, but avoid publicising your email address unless it is necessary.

Don’t sign up for internet “freebies”. This includes things like greeting cards. Sending people online greeting cards (particularly the free ones) may get your email address on spam lists and the address of the person you’re sending the card to as well. Don’t be tricked into thinking you can win things (like an iPod) by submitting your email address to a website.

Don’t use your “real” email address in online registration forms, message boards, chat rooms, instant message services like MSN or Yahoo Messenger etc. You can create and use a free email service like Hotmail or Gmail for this purpose – this will help to keep any spam generated through these avenues away from your primary email address. Free email addresses are disposable and you can just sign up for a new one if you get fed up.

Try to use an “unguessable” name when creating a new email address. Words like admin@ or info@ or common first names are very easy for spammers to guess. Spammers purchase lists of registered domain names and will then send out hundreds of emails using guessed names for these domains. The harder your email name is to guess, the better chance you have of avoiding this type of spamming method.

Never click on “remove me from this list” or “unsubscribe” options in spam emails. Typically all this will do is confirm that they have a valid email address to continue spamming and sell to other spammers.

Never follow website links in spam messages. This includes emails from “banks”, “ebay”, “paypal” etc. There are many scams going around that will LOOK like they’re from a bank etc, but are actually just copies of the real thing that are designed to harvest not just your email address but sensitive information like account numbers and passwords. If you get emails from services like those listed above, the first thing to check is if they’ve used your full name, your bank etc will ALWAYS personalise their emails, they will never write to “dear customer” etc.

Stay away from Network Solutions – seriously!

Most people working on websites on at least a semi-regular basis will be aware that if you’re thinking about registering a shiny new domain name, you need to be careful not to talk to people about it openly or you risk someone running off and registering it ahead of you – then offering to sell it for lots of money.

I’ve always been careful in this respect, and have heard that there are domain registrars out there that you need to be careful about – some of them will steal domain names right out from under you if you search for one and don’t register it immediately but I’d never heard any specific companies mentioned, until recently.

I decided to put this one to the test myself – I went to Network Solutions and searched for a nice catchy domain “networksolutionsscam.com” and then didn’t register it… checked it a short time later I did a whois on the domain and surprise surprise – it’s now registered by Network Solutions.

The moral of the story – steer clear of this particular company at all costs & if you’re thinking about registering a domain? Don’t go searching for it and then waiting till later – you need to go ahead and get it right away unless you don’t mind losing it altogether.