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Hall Of Fame8 Corners of ECommerce
industry is on
the verge of
into a thousand
fragments due to
the knowledge explosion
and the proliferation
of new technologies.
There are no
more grand theories
that hold sway
over the entire
It's better to
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Buckets o' Blood
I have associated "branding" with the current rage amongst those of the younger persuasion for "scarification" as a form of self-expression.
That was until I found Charles Sayer's excellent Who's Marketing Online? site. In which you can find a useful aide-memoire on the importance of product/service branding.
There's loads of other useful stuff at this ste, including an Idea Archive, which covers Online Business Management, Content Strategies, Site Design, Site Maintenance, Building Site Traffic and Visitor Relations; a Resources page (which pretty much covers everything); and Today's Resource.
Charles has an intriguing and engaging writing style.
Attached to the site is what is described as "the sort of business publication you might expect Rupert Murdoch to come up with" - Totally Unfounded.
Totally Unfounded is a hoot, and is well worth an hour or so of aimless clicking and pointing.
You'll enjoy this site. I guarantee it... --John Blower
Index Your Site...
As your site grows in content and complexity, the need for an easy-to-use site navigation system becomes paramount.
Some users may be interested in searching for something they know exists in the site. Others may want a quick and compact visual overview of the site. Others may want the same overview, but for various reasons prefer text to images.
Site indexes are similar to the manually-created indexes found at the backs of books: alphabetical lists of terms. Site indexes have more entries than you might find on a table of contents; they are fairly "flat"; that is, they have one or a few levels of depth instead of showing a site's full hierarchy.
Site indexes are useful in that they aren't constrained by the site's hierarchy, as are tables of contents and site maps.
Hierarchies are a great way to indicate prominence: more important information usually merits a more visible, higher-level position in the hierarchy.
Site indexes take the opposite approach: They flatten the hierarchy, and display the major information components in the site all together, regardless of whether the site's hierarchy would normally accord them main page prominence or "buried" status.
Site indexes support users who know what they're looking for in a site. In that respect, they can be a means for users to cut through the "well-trodden paths" which may have evolved over the life of the site.
Creating a site index is an art, not a science. Try to balance providing a sufficiently useful index with overwhelming the user with its lengthiness. And remember that, like any system of site navigation, it will require ongoing maintenance. --John Blower
Links and Traffic
We have long been advocates of establishing reciprocal links with other sites as a means of bringing traffic to your site.
The trick is to negotiate complementary links - ones to your strategic partners, customers, vendors or providers of information relevant to your sphere of activity.
It is a source of amazement to us that anyone in their right mind could be opposed to such an arrangement. But apparently they are. Opponents believe that, if you have a heavily trafficked site, then a reciprocal link with a less well traveled pathway somehow puts you at a disadvantage, as traffic is predominantly in one direction.
Maybe so. But, in the fast moving world of the Web, today's unpopular site is tomorrow's winner.
And what goes around, comes around…
Just pick the sites with which you would like to reciprocate with discretion. For example, if you are a recruiter looking to find candidates for a high-level, high-tech position, a reciprocal link with the National Enquirer site will hardly generate the kind of traffic you need or want. But a link to and from the Wall Street Journal certainly will.
And when you've negotiated a series of inbound links, how do you measure their effectiveness - or even the effectiveness of your site as a whole?
At least, not with any degree of acceptable accuracy.
So approach with caution any site which claims to have "X,000,000" visitors/month, year, week etc. At best, such estimates are simply that - estimates.
At worst, they're designed to support - rather than illuminate - an argument which is designed to part your money from your wallet.
Proceed with caution. Site traffic auditing is unrefined and simplistic.
And who audits the auditors? --John Blower
The View from Above
Search Engines perform a monumental task extraordinarily well on the whole. The sheer volume of data they index is astonishing - some estimates put the number of discrete pages at around 100 million.
They fall down, however, when you're not quite sure exactly what it is that you're looking for.
For example, if you are searching for information about a particular individual's work, the major search engines may not yet have indexed the documents you want, or they may be buried very deep in a huge site.
Indeed, as the Web continues to expand at a seemingly unstoppable rate, we have to ask ourselves whether the capacity of search engines is reaching its limit.
There's also the point that "searching" by viewing a succession of pages induces a linear view of the Web. It's a bit like going into a huge building with an uncountable number of rooms and opening each door to see what's in each room.
Perhaps a more realistic and useful way of viewing sites (and, by implication, the Web as a whole) is from "above". In our example above, this would be like having a floor plan of the building, with each room labeled with a fairly self-explanatory tag - or filename.
We recently discovered FlashSite, which bills itself as a means of downloading sites for your offline viewing pleasure.
Actually, we found it a great tool for mapping sites and getting the "view from above". After a few test runs, we began to notice similarities in the structure of sites, and started to notice files buried away in the bowels of sites which would be almost impossible to find through conventional means.
Perhaps the future of searching and finding lies in conducting a broad sweep with a search engine, and then spidering a site to find out what's really there… --John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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