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The advertising
industry is on
the verge of
being shattered
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
Michael Strangelove

Advertising is
one of the minor
arts, so don't
be intimidated
by it. Try
not to lose
your sense of
Keep it fun.
Robert Bly

is more
it seems.
John Gall

The System
is its own
John Gall

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser


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© 1995. 1996. 1997 by IBN



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April 17, 1998

Good Site Design Practices

In a newsgroup to which we subscribe,, we came across these principles of good site design, thoughtfully compiled by Tobias C. Brown, with assistance from Alan J. Flavell, Sue Jordon, and Susan Lesch.

"1. Write for multiple Web browsers to provide easy access to the widest possible audience.

The World Wide Web is a multi-platform, non-browser specific medium. It should not matter whether people browse your web pages using Netscape Navigator 4.02, AOL Browser 3.0, Lynx 2.7, or NetPhonic's Web-On-Call.

Each browser ought to render your informational web pages without problems. If a Web page is designed properly, blind individuals using text-to-voice or Braille web browsers can easily access and review your work.

2. Condense textual content to fit the time and attention constraints of today's busy Web users. Take a look at Thoughts on Web Style,

3. Use small (byte-wise) graphics so graphics load more quickly in graphics-capable browsers.

It is not advisable to use GIFs for everything. It's of the first importance to make the right choice between JPEG and a palette-based format. Avoid blindly choosing GIF and then trying to rescue yourself from the resulting problems.

JPEG image compression Frequently Asked Questions

4. When using graphics, provide textual alternatives for image disabled or text-only web browsers and indexing agents.

Use of ALT texts in IMGs .

5. Run Web pages through a validator to test their compliance with HTML standards.

Modify pages until they validate, because compliant pages have a better chance of being rendered by various Web browsers, as the writer intends.

However, if you intend something that is impractical with HTML, it will be no less impractical for being syntactically valid.

Work with the strengths of HTML rather than trying to batter it into a WYSIWYG page design system.

Kinder-Gentler Validation

WebTechs Validation

What You See Is Not What Others Get on the Web

6. Run pages through Lynx View or Lynx-me or, best of all, view them using a browser like Lynx, to see how the "text-only" world sees your documents. Make documents Lynx-friendly.

7. Spell check your documents.

8. Establish a routine to help you locate and fix broken internal and external Web site links.

Doctor HTML

8. If your web site URL or eMail address will change occasionally, consider using a service that provides eMail forwarding and URL redirection.

9. Submit your Web site address to an appropriate newsgroup for a critical peer review.

10. Promote your Web site by adding your URL to search engines and directories. To ensure that people can easily find your Web site, it may be necessary to modify your pages to take best advantage of current search technologies."

Thank you Tobias et al.

April 16, 1998

What's that Tag?

HTML is in a constant state of flux, with new browser-specific tags being devised with each reiteration of the two major browsers.

In general, it's a hassle keeping up with them all.

No more. The latest version of Ron Woodall's excellent HTML Compendium has just been posted (dated February 1, 1998).

This resource lists pretty much every tag ever devised and provides indicators of which versions of which browsers support it.

The site itself is well-designed, offering the user a variety of mirrors depending on their geographical location, and, more importantly, a choice of framed or non-framed versions.

Bookmark this site and return regularly for updates!

--John Blower

April 15, 1998

The WebLinks Company

Our recent article, Cunning Stunts, prompted this mail from Hilory Wagner of The WebLinks Company:

"You do have a point, it can take hours, even days, to cultivate linking relationships. This takes time that most companies just don't have.

Interesting idea to look at who links to competitors. But then, once you find those linkers, don't you still need to construct those flattering notes?

My point here is not to criticize, but to alert you to my business, The WebLinks Company, which takes on the tasks that companies and web developers don't have time for. We do the searching, the contacting, and the follow-up for a very reasonable fee..."

We duly trotted off to the WebLinks site, and found a clean, pleasantly-designed site, with plenty of information and articles about the importance of inbound links to the success of your site.

We can find no argument with the site's linking philosophy:


It's about forging partnerships.
It's about enriching your content.
It's about increasing credibility.
It's about reaching your target market.
It's about being found."

No prices at the site, and we would certainly recommend that Hilory acquire a domain name, rather than being ghetto-ized on AOL...

--John Blower

April 14, 1998


Travelers to Starbucksland will be familiar with the somewhat unusual nomenclature the company employs for the sizes of its brews.

Nothing so simple as "small", "medium" and "large". No. "Small" has no designation; "medium" becomes "grande"; and "large" transmorgifies itself into "venti".

"Venti"? Well, apparently it's Italian for "twenty", and refers to the number of ounces of liquid one purchases...

So what? Well, it seems to us that Starbucks is missing out on a great opportunity to build their brand on the Web.

During the course of our travels, we frequently find ourselves longing for a decent cup of coffee. And at Starbucks - just like at MacDonald's - you know exactly what you are going to get no matter where you are.

We were more than a mite surprised, then, to discover that, while the domain name is registered to the eponymous company, it doesn't appear to lead to a site.

Here's a perfect opportunity for the company to provide information on Starbucks' locations across the country, providing a great service for the legions of coffee afficionados who travel with laptops and internet access accounts.

We wonder if it's in the works...

--John Blower

April 13, 1998

Offline Promotion

Long time readers of this column will be aware that we set great store in the value of promoting your site offline.

However, a recent article by Charles Sayers in the ClickZ newsletter gave us pause for thought.

In his article, Charles quotes a number of examples which appear to indicate that, for online companies at least, the value of offline promotion is marginal at best, and can be counter-productive at worst.

His conclusions are summed up thusly:

1. We have one story focused entirely on one online company
- highly effective.

2. A link, on a highly trafficked site, focuses on one online story
- highly effective.

3. An online columnist writes consistently about online stuff
- highly effective for both online and offline opportunities.

4. The Wall Street Journal features ClickZ and Microscope in the offline version
- highly ineffective.

Now, one could argue that the traffic counting methodology is not specified and may be flawed. Or that there may not be a causal relationship between the two observed phenomena.

Nonetheless, an example from our own experience - the failure of an expected increase in traffic to materialize from a mention of this site in the offline New York Times - would appear to confirm Charles' hypothesis.

In which case, the moral may be, that for online companies, promotional bucks may be better spent on online promotion...

--John Blower

LinkExchange Member

Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.

Check out the Archives....180 Weeks of Back Issues including:

April 13, 1998
  • Spring Break
  • Coming Of Age
  • Weblinks Co.
April 6, 1998
  • Pragmatists
  • Asps
  • Bad Job Site
  • ClickZ Plus
  • Intellisys
March 30, 1998
  • GIF Wizard
  • Intellectual Property
  • Job Corner
  • Technorealism
  • Surf Incentives
March 23, 1998
  • A Solution?
  • Lost In Space
  • Taxes
  • Guild, Schmild
  • WinJobs
March 16, 1998
  • Local Markets
  • DevShed
  • Hold That Thought
  • Peapod
  • Web Bloat
March 09, 1998
  • Tags
  • Trademark Domain
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Smart Art
March 02, 1998
  • Domain Chaos
  • Cunning Stunts
  • Malls
  • CyberSitter II
Feb 23, 1998
  • The Times
  • Meta Small
  • Correction
  • Flabbergasted
Feb 16, 1998
  • Nobody Told Them
  • The 5 Cs
  • One Seek
  • Take No Prisoners
Feb 09, 1998
  • Martha Stewart
  • Tenagra Awards
  • Interactive Email
  • Zero 1
  • Media-ocrity
Feb 02, 1998
  • Were They Thinking?
  • Great Recruiting Design
  • Link Info
Jan 26, 1998
  • What's In It 4 Me
  • Global Reach
  • Deadly Sites
  • Accomodating Design
Jan 19, 1998
  • It's Local
  • Dodgy Data
  • Luncheon Meat
  • Elementary?
  • Novices
Jan 12, 1998
  • Communities
  • Is It Worth It?
  • Luncheon Meat
  • Web Rings
  • Marketing With Titles
Jan 05, 1998
  • Holiday Greetings
  • Website Garage
  • AArgh!
  • Year End Forecasts
Dec 21, 1997
  • Surveys
  • Communications Arts
  • Daily Brief
  • Click Trade
Dec 14, 1997
  • NPR
  • Whose Eyeballs
  • Cool Tools
  • Hamsters
Dec 07, 1997
  • Color Of Money
  • Resources
  • Search Engine Tuneup
  • Nice Makeover
  • European Design
Nov 30, 1997
  • Site Design
  • Statistics
  • Semi Free
  • Thanksgiving
  • Visitors
Nov 23, 1997
  • Easy Shopping
  • Great Content Wins
  • "Skinny" Graphics
  • Site Design
  • Net Mailer
Nov 16, 1997
  • Another Email Tool
  • Using Print
  • Free Site TuneUp
  • Oh, Dear
Nov 09, 1997
  • OLAF
  • Whose Advantage?
  • Close - No Cigar
  • Curioser and Curioser
  • Is Anybody There?
Nov 02, 1997
  • Narrowcast
  • Chatter
  • SOHO
  • Whose Domain?
  • Hungry in Hungary
October 26, 1997
  • Cheap Is Dear
  • Relationships
  • H=1 W=1
  • Relevant Measurement
  • Breach Of Security
October 19, 1997
  • Java Jangle
  • Clean Your Db
  • Caching In
  • Careful With Those Digits
  • World Wide Local
October 12, 1997
  • Buckets o' Blood
  • Index Your Site
  • Links and Traffic
  • View From Above
Complete Indexed Archives(36 months of marketing and design) Complete Indexed Archives(36 months of marketing and design)

Contacting Us
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All material on this site is © 1995, 1996 by IBN (The Internet Business Network), Mill Valley, CA 94941