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 Adland Digest FREE Edition #519
  Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Information Your Business Needs RIGHT NOW

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Internet and Profit Newbies
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77% Of All Statistics Are Made Up On The Spot...

Welcome back to another week of Adland Digest.  This issue demystifies those pesky stats many of us rookie site owners get in those statistic reports.  Hits, Visitors, Page Views, Lions, Tigers, Bears, Oh my!  It's all so confusing sometimes. 

Fortunately, Scott Buresh, co-founder and principal of Medium Blue Internet Marketing and our guest writer this week unravels the mystery of web statistics in great detail under our Guest Articles section.

Kenneth Sword Jr, the Jedi Master of Blogging imparts a valuable lesson about Reputation and how it affects the readers of our Blogs.  Check it out here.

Finally, Linda Caroll, our Internet Profit and Newbies Advisor gives us a pretty detailed overview on the process of choosing a web host.  If you're thinking of moving from FREE web hosts to a paid solution, take 5 minutes to read this article.  You won't be sorry.

Until next week,

Michael Dela Cruz, Adland Digest Editor

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Internet and Profit Newbies

If you're new to making money on the internet, get to know the Do's and Don'ts of taking the step into the world of generating income online. 

[Linda Caroll's photo]
Linda Caroll
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How To Choose A Web Host

Many people do not understand web host server terminology, and thus are confused about what they need and how to best choose a web host. Often, they end up making a poor choice of web host because of that lack of understanding of web hosting terms. Let's cover a few of the basics.

Should you Choose Windows or Unix Web Hosting?

Many people think they need Windows Hosting because they have windows on their computer. One has nothing to do with the other.

Microsoft has created their own web hosting server software that runs in Windows, called Internet Information Server (IIS). This allows people to create their website using ASP. If your website is developed in ASP, then you need to be on a Microsoft IIS Server.

If you have no clue what ASP is, much less develop your website with it, then you don't need to be on a Microsoft IIS Server.

Personally speaking, I prefer to work on a Unix server. I find it to be a more stable system, with less security breaches than IIS server. If you read the stories in the news about servers getting hacked, "coincidentally" more of them are IIS servers than Unix servers. Additionally, there are a wider variety of plug and play interactive scripts (such as refer a friend, etc) for Unix than there are for IIS.
UNLIMITED!

The one word that is most misleading in the web hosting industry. There is nothing that a web host can offer that is unlimited. It may be only restricted by the limitations of the web host server, but it is not unlimited.

Many web hosts that offer "unlimited" bandwidth will have a clause in the fine print that states your use is unlimited to a point. After that point, you will have additional fees, and usually high ones.

I have also found that many web hosts that offer "unlimited" space or bandwidth oversell their space, crowding the server with far, far too many files, which results in increased downtime and slower web host server performance.

Web Host Server Uptime

Your web host will probably offer some type of uptime guarantee. A web host uptime guarantee of 99% means their web hosting server will be online and functional 99% of the time.

99% uptime sounds pretty good, doesn't it? However, if you do the math, that means the server can be down 87 hours a year, or 7 hours per month. That means your web site can be down and not functioning for 7 hours every month. Still sound okay?

An uptime of 99.9% means your web host would only be down for 8 hours per year.

Size of the Web Host Pipeline

The web host's pipeline refers to the cable that connects their web host server to the Internet, and determines how efficiently information can be passed from the web host server to people trying to view it. Think of it like drinking a milkshake. The bigger the straw, the better the flow. The smaller the straw, the more difficult the flow.

Many web hosts are still using T1 and T3 pipelines. Small town ISPs may even be using a fractal T1, which means only part of a T1. What does that mean? A T1 can carry up to 1.5 mbs (megabits of information per second). A T3 can carry 45 megabits of information per second. The bigger the pipeline, the better the flow of information. So, if you host with a little ISP that uses fractal T1, your web site can load slower because of the limited capacity of the web host's pipeline to the internte.

Larger web hosts, often web hosts that do not offer connectivity (as an ISP does) are now offering connectivity through OC48. What does that mean? Well, by comparison, a T1 is a skinny drinking straw, and the OC48 is a garden hose. Is that important? You bet it is, if you want your website to load quickly.


Linda's clients have been featured in Forbes, People Magazine, Home & Garden TV and more. Visit her website design site at LindaCaroll.com
 

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Web Logs, Blogs and the Art of Blogging

The ongoing growth of Blogs and RSS feeds


Kenneth Sword

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Earning and Protecting Your Reputation

Whether or not your brand is relevant to your content, it will quickly develop one thing for sure: a reputation. Everyone who reads your blog will form an impression, either good or bad. They will like it or not. Surprisingly, that's not the most important issue here, because no reader, not even your most loyal, is going to like or agree with everything you say. The important issue is whether that reader believes your blog to be important. If a reader doesn't find a blog important, he or she will probably not return even if they liked a story or two: there are just too many other blogs to see. If a reader finds your blog insightful, entertaining and relevant, they will return even though they disagree with your commentary or doesn't like your layout. In order to be a serious dominance in your blog business, your blog must exude seriousness. That doesn't mean your subject must be serious, but you must be serious about your subject.

For political and technology blogs, that would mean timely and accurate postings. Rumors must be noted as such. Opinions must be noted as such. In fact, you can be a partisan. Your theme may be a very partisan view of something but you've got to be fair to your readers, who will form an opinion about your subject based on what you say. If your blog is about taxes, be sure your information is valid through the IRS. If your blog is about Motorcross Biking, entries of your grandma's chicken noodle soup will lose readers. If your blog is a news or reference blog, you have got to be thorough. Once your reputation is established, readers will come to your blog to see what you have to say because they will expect you to know more than them. If you miss the big story or are shown by later events to be completely off-the-wall when you said you were certain, they may not return.

Reputation is everything, so as you build your blog business, remember what you want a reputation for and consistently strive to earn it.

 

Kenneth R Sword Jr
Co-CEO - Bizzy Blogz

http://www.bizzyblogz.com

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Special Guest Articles

These professional articles written by industry leaders.  Adlandpro.com has a free article library you can learn from here.

 

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Your Web Traffic and Your Bottom Line
By Scott Buresh


Most companies that have websites have access to traffic statistics, usually provided by their web host. Those that don't look at these files (or use a bargain basement web hosting company that doesn't provide them) don't know what they are missing- there is a wealth of information to be found, and reacting to this information can have a positive impact on a company's bottom line. What follows are some of the most basic stats that are typically available, followed by brief suggestions on how to use the information.

The Myth of "Hits"

Most web surfers have come across sites that boast about "20,000 hits per day" or something similar. But what does this mean? To an internet marketer, unfortunately, not much. "Hits" actually refers to the number of requests for information the web server receives. To use an oversimplified example, if your company homepage has 20 separate graphics on it, each visitor to that page will account for 20 hits. If you were boasting of 20,000 hits per day, you would really only be talking about 1000 visitors. Obviously, this statistic is not a fair indication of actual site visitors, and shouldn't be figured into your traffic analysis.

Average Visitors (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)

This is the true measure of website activity. Of course, more traffic is desirable in most circumstances (provided it is at least somewhat targeted). Without access to this data and the ability to look at visitor history, it is impossible to tell if your traffic building initiatives, whether online or offline, are working. It should be noted that the more your traffic increases, the more accurate the rest of your data becomes. This is simply because trends in a larger sample are more telling than trends in a smaller sample where a small number of atypical users can skew the results.

Average Time Spent On Site and Average Page Views Per Visitor

This data can be very useful in determining how your site is connecting with visitors. If the average time that people spend on the site is small (for example less than a minute), or the average visitor only visits one or two pages, it may indicate some sort of problem. Perhaps your site is attracting the wrong traffic, with visitors abandoning the site quickly when they realize it isn't what they were seeking. Perhaps visitors are confused by the navigation and decide to look elsewhere. Maybe your site, even though you love it, gives off an inexplicable bad vibe. Whatever the case, an awareness of the time people spend on your site and the number of pages they view can bring a potential problem to your attention, and help you gauge how effective your solution is.

Most/Least Requested Pages

This information is helpful in determining the "hot" and "cold" areas of your website. If you notice that a page that you think is important is not getting any attention, perhaps the link to this page should be made more prominent or enticing. On the other hand, if there are areas of the site that you deem less important that are attracting a great deal of your traffic, you can shift some of your sales/marketing focus to those pages. Whatever you find in these stats, you can bet that it will give you valuable insight into the interests and motivations of your visitors.

Top Exit Pages

There are probably certain pages of your site where you don't mind visitors leaving (after all, they can't stay forever). A confirmation page after they fill out a request for more information might be one example of a reasonable exit point. A contact page that tells visitors how to get in touch with your company might also be acceptable. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to assume that each of your visitors is going to find exactly what they are looking for on your company site, so it is normal to see a wide range of exit pages. However, if a high percentage of visitors are leaving on any particular page, it bears some close scrutiny. Sometimes minor modifications in content can have a positive impact on visitor retention.

Top Search Phrases

This data can be very useful in understanding what type of traffic is coming to your site. If you see relevant phrases that bring you consistent traffic, you can assume that you are getting some targeted traffic. On the other hand, if there are predominant phrases people are using to find your site that are unrelated to your business, you know that at least some of your traffic is of a lesser quality. In addition, if you notice that people find your site by typing in the name of your company, you should be pleased to know that you have achieved some level of brand awareness. By examining the search phrases that your visitors are using, you gain a better understanding of your visitor.

Conclusion

Some people are intimidated by these reports (mostly because of the sheer volume of data available), but they shouldn't be. While there are many highly specialized statistics that can be used for more in-depth analysis of site traffic, the above areas alone can provide invaluable information on site visitors and website performance. Remember- this data is available for a reason. It's up to your company to use it!

About the Author

Scott Buresh is co-founder and principal of Medium Blue Internet Marketing (www.mediumblue.com). For monthly tips on how to get the most out of your internet presence, sign up for the Medium Blue Internet Marketing Newsletter at http://www.mediumblue.com/newsletters.
 

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