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08.03.01: Barry Eisenberg isn't really digressing from the focus of his Clickz column on converting web site users when he suggests we ask: "What does my e-tailing business model deliver that my customers can't live without?" Well, ask yourself.
11.21.01: Search engine optimization expert, Paul J. Bruemmer shows how making your site accessible makes its usable and search engine friendly. Indee, many commentators have equated Section 508 standards accessibility standards with imperatives of good Web design. Make your site accessible, you will make it usable and search engine friendly at the same time.
What are the experts saying about your product? Consumersearch (named PC World best consumer advice site for 2001) reviews and rates product reviews by experts to allow its visitors true insight into products/services they are looking to purchase. It would pay to watch this site for adverse comment about your product.
07.17.01: Nua Internet Survey reports a Cyber Dialogue study that finds reasons to reconsider a Spanish language version of your Web site. Would your target audience thank you for letting them interact with you online in their first language?
Find out about accessibility requirements for US government Web sites that guarantee access to disabled people here. Then think about barriers to access your site puts up.
Charles L. Mauro isn't too sure. They are definitely high and sometimes overpriced and damning the hard work of the web development team isn't exactly a good way to promote user-friendly design. Guru's have value, though. Be careful how and where you put your usability guru to work.
The WAI is a government and industry supported body concerne with accessibility issues. To quote from their "About Us" information:

"The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) commitment to lead the Web to its full potential includes promoting a high degree of usability for people with disabilities.

WAI, in coordination with organizations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work: technology, guidelines, tools, education and outreach, and research and development.",10475,2781418,00.html
07.10.01: Some day soon allowing people with disabilities access to your Web site may not be just desirable but also required by law. This ZDnet story considers the issues and identifies useful accessibility related resources. It is not hard to make your Web site accessible. Read this article for the lowdown on making your Web site accessible to people with disabilities.,10475,2798041-2,00.html
07.25.01: A new law reinforces the need for accessibility. But with or without the law making your Web site as accessible as possible makes good business sense. This ZDNet story and interview will put you in the picture...

Community & Community Content
08.14.01: Ecommerce Times' Charles Keating Chisholm takes a quick look at the history of "community" sites as shut down and another bunch of dotcommers joined the job hunters. He opines that the future of community sites is in targeting influential niche groups. His definition of community elements is narrow and traditional (there is more to community than chat and forums) but the article should get you thinking about niches community content could appeal to. Could you site be a meeting place for your target audience?
06.27.02: The Ecommerce Times discovers that sites that offer people the chance to get together see results in revenues. Community building functionality builds credibility for those who offer it to their site visitors. But make sure you are reponsive to your community's needs.
08.10.01: Martha Stewart Living Omnemedia made the decision to add community features to pay by nurturing partnerships and the community itself. They built the community. They are coming at a rate of 100,000 a month. And, more important, they (i.e. community members) not only come to interact and chat they come to spend. Community provided content can be the most "sticky." Does your Web site provide scope for building a community?
01.04.02: Let your customers give feedback on your products. They'll pay you back by buying more of those same products, according to this report on research by McKinsey & Co and Jupiter Media Metrix.

01.22.01: This Barry Eisenberg article should serve as a set of home page imperatives for any ecommerce Web site. Eisenberg offers a succinct guide to what your home page should do and say. How does your home page and site in general stack up?
06.28.01: Clickz' "Writing Online" columnist, Nick Osborne may be stating the obvious but it needs stating. How many Web sites do you visit that leave you wondering, "What are they trying to do here?" Don't forget to "Let them know What Your Site is About."
Susan Solomon suggests you "Set Your Sites on Providing Information" in this column. There is a fine line between engaging your visitors with compelling content and pestering them for a sale. Coax don't bully: customers can run from a bully much more easily on the Internet than in the schoolyard. How do you coax customers without selling to them? You provide them with information they can't resist.
Expert advice on finding the right content management solution and solutions to your content management problems. WebSphere Advisor Magazine talked to people who know and shared their advice. "Content is king" but managed poorly it can be a drawback rather than a drawcard of your Web site.
07.26.01: An important reminder from, Clickz "Writing Online" columnist, Nick Usborne: you must listen to what your customers want but don't be afraid to say something interesting. Attempts to say only what you think your audience wants to hear can very easily produce a very dull Web site. Opinions add personality. Does your Web site have the sort of personality that will make your customers and prospects want to spend time with it?
08.28.01: Clickz' content columnist, Susan Solomon takes a look at some grammar resources available online. Make sure that your grammar is helping your message get through, not undermining your credibility. (I wonder whether any of her links can tell me how to make a word ending in z possessive?)
11.20.01: Clickz content columnist, Susan Solomon repeats the classic call to "Write Smart, Write Simple," and do it with personality and a little flair, when creating content for your site. The call is well worth repeating, if the sites we are assessing are anything to go by. How you deliver content matters. We're not sure that content's rule is undisputed - remember, the mantra "content is king" - but you can't create a compelling web experience without it.
11.19.01: "Godfather of Weblogging," Dave Winer explains the power of personal web publishing to Winer is talking about the "blogging" phenomenon but there are content lessons here. Blogging would not work if people didn't want some personality in their copy and frequent updates; so each visit to a Web site provides a slightly altered experience. Keep your content fresh - particularly on your home page - and keep it personal. Bland corporate communications are too bland and corporate to connect with or influence people.
08.13.01: Crawford Killian, writing teacher and author of Writing for the Web, uses his Content Spotlight column to offer a great primer on using subheadings and other techniques to break up the copy on your page and make it more user-friendly. How much of your message will a scanning visitor to your site pick up?
08.13.01: Barry Zeger called this article for Content Exchange "Web Site Content Writing for Start-Ups: Tips From the Trenches" but it serves just as well as a checklist for your site's content. How does your content stack up against Zeger's content imperatives?
06.15.00: offers a very useful test to put your site's content to. Their "Attention" grabbed, you "Interest" your visitors and instill some "Desire" in them which leads to "Action" and, hopefully, a successful attempt to "Satisfy" them. Well. Has does your site AIDAS? uses case studies to examine the many ways to solve the content management problem. Apparently, Internet content doubles in quantity every 110 days. The, "how do I keep my content fresh?" question isn't likely to go away. And nor is the, "there must be an easier way to organize this!" exclamation.

Cost Effectiveness/Financing
8.23.01: Clickz columnist, Janet Ryan looks at what you should be measuring on your Web site. Ryan's focus is more on monitoring performance and tracking the effects of changes you make on visitor behavior but the implications for cost effectiveness are obvious. You need to know how well you are doing to even begin to make decisions regarding steps to take to improve your Web site's cost effectiveness. Think about what you should be measuring.

Customer Relationship Management
07.30.01: A reminder that you need to convince customers to enter into a relationship with you. It takes more than technology to initiate a relationship. Bad customer experience anecdotes are not hard to find... read the ones in this article and weep if you can imagine these things happening to your customers. Weeping? You need to make some changes.
The US governments consumer information portal offers access to information on consumer rights and the latest consumer related news. You do not want to see negative stories about your company mentioned here.
This consumer resource offers links to a broad range of consumer assistance sites including price comparison sites, discount product leads and watchdog type information. Would a consumer with your product or service in mind pass through this portal without becoming concerned or being putoff entirely?
June, 2001: This Harris Poll investigated influences on consumer trust of a company. It seems that flashy packaging and advertising campaigns are much less important than the customer's interaction with your company. 96% of respondents agreed with the statement: "If a company's customer service department or website is responsive to my questions, I am more likely to trust that company." Are you doing enough to make your customers trust you?
Stephen Shaw asks whether you are really establishing a dialog with your customers. Are you listening to your customers? There are many ways you can give your customers an opportunity to tell you what they think of you...
The Federal Consumer Information Center offers a comprehensive range of consumer rights related information. Be careful that you know what your customers' rights are.,1902,28230,00.html?body_page=1
08.06.01: The Industry Standard takes a long hard look at the state of CRM. Numbers in the article make it clear that The Standard is looking at the large corporate end of the picture but there are lessons here for all scales of business.,10475,2764003,00.html
5.28.01: Chicos used CRM to get close to their customers according to ZDnet. This is not a story about a Web site but you should read it. ZDnet explores the way one retailer's efforts to get to know their customers paid dividends in revenue growth. Is it worth adding features that allow you to gather customer data to your Web site? Read this article and then answer the question.,10475,2781500,00.html
07.26.01: This lengthy ZDnet article by Bob Tedeschi (an ecommerce comlumnist for the NYT) surveys what some big name and lesser name sites are making site usage data. Do you know what your customers do when they visit your site? You should.,10475,2792713,00.html
07.23.01: This ZDnet report summarizes recent studies to suggest that a lot more could be done with the customer data that most Web sites collect.,10475,5093690,00.html
7.5.01: ZDnet reports that women now make up half of North American Web surfers. You need to know what women want in customer service and design. Are you cateing to the fairer sex?,6755,2716002,00.html
05.16.01: PC Magazine compares and contrasts three CRM tools. Which one would best suit your needs?

Customer Service (Responsiveness)
08.03.01: Clickz columnist, Phillip Say, hasn't discovered the definitive answer to the "customer support dilemma" but he has some ideas to share. Remember, customer service doesn' begin and end with email and call center response; your web site can offer customer service without any help from your staff if you include the right content and features.
Clickz email columnist, Heidi Anderson, shares one company's experience of a necessary side effect of a growth in customer base: more customer email to deal with. Email marketing doesn't end with your carefully crafted newsletter and periodical offer email. Can you handle the email traffic your email marketing efforts generate?
07.19.01: Paul A Greenberg opines that ecommerce shoppers value simplicity over all else. No startling revelation here but Green has some other "laws" of etailing to share; agree or disagree with him his ideas are thought provoking. Can he be right that e-consumers are not impressed by free giveaways?
08.02.01: Paul A. Greenberg, of The Ecommerce Times, wonders "why ecommerce sites fail to close the sale." Indeed. Why do the majority of people browse online and buy offline? Can you afford for net friendly teens to get their credit cards? People need people and credibility to buy...
08.10.01: Yes they can. It's easy. Improving your Web site can significantly reduce the workload of your customer service representatives, according to this Ecommerce Times story. Is your Web site doing all it can to answer customer questions?

E-bus: Affiliate Marketing
Second installment of Tig Tillinghurst's Affiliate Marketing primer. Discusses outsourcing costs and other related issues.
06.14.01: Clickz columnist and author of Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants, Shawn Collins answers the question "What Is the Best Affiliate Solution?" in this link packed Clickz article. As good a introduction to affiliate marketing options as you are likely to come across.
Another professionally presented affiliate solutions package. We like the clean design. You decide whether they can help you market your site or provide you with a second stream of income.
Commission junction is a big player in the affiliate industry with 1500 merchants signed up. These guys have partnerships with Ebay, the New York Times and Hotjobs among many others. They offer a complete range of affiliate marketing solutions.
Microsoft's answer to the affiliate marketing questions. Become an affiliate or set up your affiliate program.
Competition is fierce in the affiliate world. A categorized program search helps you find the most appropriate affiliate program for you quickly on this site.
Clickz columnist, Tig Tillinghurst offers a primer on affiliate marketing. Worth reading for an insight into how this e-marketing tool is used by big players in ecommerce and how to set up you own programme. (Find the second installment of the primer here and the third installment here.)
Third and final instalment of Tig Tillinghurst's affiliate marketing primer, as seen on Clickz.
This affiliate services provider has an information rich, well laid out site and boasts big name customers. Another easy way to join the affiliate marketing game.
"Pay-for-performance online marketing" provider whose home page could do more to reach out to visitors. Just because they don't communicate the benefits they offer well doesn't mean that you won't find they offer the service you need. offers a comprehensive list of affiliate progams available and great affiliate marketing related content. Beware: an audit of their site might raise questions about ease of navigation. Still, a good place to get the low down on setting up an affilate scheme and participating in one.

The Better Business Bureau site offers consumer guidance and a complaints interface but also offers businesses guidance and the chance to join the bureau, if they satisfy the requirements. Membership makes securing your customers' trust easier and, as such, is valuable asset for your company. Does your company satisfy the membership criteria?
This unrivaled source of ecommerce know how is invaluable to anyone interested in make their Web venture a commercial success. Industry participants share their trials, tribulations and tips with readers. Some of the content may be more appropriate for those of you who have a large budget to play with but their is value in them thar columns for all of us. Read the columns and think about how the technique or experience discussed relates back to your e-business challenges.
11.21.01: The Ecommerce Times take a look at what etailers are offering customers to persuade them buying online is still a good idea in an economic downturn. Many are betting on the removal of shipping charges to convert reluctant spenders into seasonal e-shoppers. But the most siginificant change is a move to mirror offline retailers and offer credit terms. Bottomline: you have to work harder to win scarcer consumer dollars. offers a list off 25 business books, published in 2001, that had something worthwhile to say about doing business in the new millennium.
The Global Entrepeneurship Institute offers a quick survey of business books, including ebusiness ones, and links into Amazon to buy them. A look at this page's title will suggest that search engine visibility is not part of global entrepenership but the list does offer quick access to useful books.
06.11.01: Research firm, Jupiter Media Metrix announces that shipping charges are a significant factor in whether customers complete online purchases or not. Shipping charges cause 63% of shoppers to abandon purchases. While 45% of etailers report losing money on shipping charges. Have you sorted out your shipping charges?,10385,6006111,00.html
Best Practices: ZDnet and, customer experience consultancy, Creative Good team up to provide a great resource for anyone looking to build their ebusiness. Learn from the experience of others via Creative Good's research. Free downloads that are actually worth having.,10475,2711707,00.html
05/21/01: ZDnet shares the results of PC Magazine's look at "data mining." Collecting customer data is important. Finding out what the information tells you and what to do about those messages could be the ticket to ecommerce success.,10475,2761970,00.html
05/21/01: ZDnet asks what is causing e-business managers to lose sleep in a changed e-business environment. Their concerns point to the main challenges facing any ecommerce Web site.,10475,2761970-6,00.html
05/21/01:ZDnet not only talked to e-business managers they also sorted the results of their survey into top ten lists. Read them and think. Do they reflect your experience?,10475,2767093,00.html
06.12.01: ZDnet reports, catalog company, Lands End is doing "very well thank you" out of its Web presence, as are many other catalog businesses. They come to the etail party with their distribution systems in place, afterall. Is there a lesson for your business in the online success of catalog companies?

E-business: Email Marketing
05.21.01: Yes the email subject line matters... a lot. Some useful tip for putting together an email that your prospects are likely to open. Remember, getting recipients to open your email is the first very important battle a successful email campaign needs to win. Our email inboxes are bulging. Does your email look worth opening?
06.27.01: A good overview/primer on the issues you need to consider when putting together a email newsletter for your site. We'd add making sure the initiative is sustainable; don't start out promising the earth and fail to deliver even a backyard full of dirt.
07.26.01: Email is a great marketing tool because it lets you sell to the people who matter more than disinterested prospects. Email marketing lets you keep in touch with those people who have already shown enough interest to give you their email address. Some of the work is already done with email message recipients. Are you making the most of the possibilities of email marketing?
Clickz contributor, Debbie Weill is beginning to regret signing up for all those email newsletters. [Tell me about it! Ed.] "Email Bloopers" reminds us that email marketing is getting harder not easier as more and more people adopt the technique. Think carefully about how you put your email campaign together. How you present and describe your offer has never mattered more.
06.13.01: Debbie Weil from Clickz isn't willing to call an email newsletter a "killer ap" - just a little too 1999 for her. But she is willing to suggest that offering a newsletter is a "no brainer" and make some suggestions as to content. It makes sense to stay in contact with your customers. Are you?
02.07.01: Clickz columnist, Barry Eisenberg talks "permission marketing," opt-in and opt-out, double opt-in, etc. While double opt-in is rapidly becoming an industry standard for email marketing, Barry is not so sure it is necessary or desirable. Are you making sure that all your e-marketing efforts are based around customer permission?
7.11.01: Clickz columnist, Brady Brewer offers some key questions to ask when formulating an email marketing strategy. Think about who, when, what and why carefully before launching your campaign.
Clickz email columnist, Heidi Anderson, shares one company's experience of a necessary side effect of a growth in customer base: more customer email to deal with. Email marketing doesn't end with your carefully crafted newsletter and periodical offer email. Can you handle the email traffic your email marketing efforts generate?
07.27.01: A reminder to those who are considering sending unsolicited email. Don't do it! If you do not have explicit permission to bug prospective customers in the privacy of their inboxes, you need to respect that privacy. You could end up with the market cred of a used car salesman, if you don't.

Ebusiness Advertising
08.09.01: Emarketer analyst, Jonathan Jackson summarizes current thinking on rich media advertising in the wake of new guidelines by the ?Internet Advertising Bureau. There are questions over consumer reaction but the creative possibilities are exiting. What are your advertising options?
07.16.01: Nua Internet Surveys reports an Engage survey that found that people exposed to your banner may not click through but they are much more likely to buy from you soon after seeing your banner. Results also favored square pop ups and tower banners over more traditional banners.,10475,2798833,00.html
07.30.01: Zdnet reports on Jupiter Media Metrix's investigation into pop under ads. Seems most people simply ignore them... Can't deny that they have turned X-10 into a recognisable brand, though. The question about the annoyance factor remains.,10475,5094873,00.html
07.30.01: ZDnet surveys the debate on the Pop Under question, as Yahoo "tests" the new phenomenon in Web advertising. X-10 has had success with pop unders on the New York Times benefiting from very small conversion rate on huge impression numbers. But will there be a user backlash?

Facts That Matter
The ZDnet Research Center offers a broad range of secialized knowledge in the form of "White Papers." The e-business section is always worth searching for answers for your e-business questions. Once you know the state of the art and the current response to it, you can look to provide your customers with something totally new and different.
The, Boston Based, Aberdeen Group researches and consults on opportunities in technology related markets. Their site offers free research on a broad range of ecommerce related topics to registered users.
11.21.01: reports on studies showing that the majority of Web shoppers are satisfied by their shopping experiences. But... only 2% of respondents to one survey reported an experience free of frustrations. Read and gain insight into what your customers want more of and what will turn them off making their purchase.
A big name in ecommerce related research, Forrester don't give too much away, in terms of research results, but it is worth registering as a guest to have a look at what is available free. Have a look around the site for insight from leading researchers.
Jupiter Media Metrix is perhaps the premier provider of analysis and statistics that measures and identifies trends in the online world. Check out their press releases for the state of ebusiness play.
The product of a merger between two big players in the world of statistics and analysis, NielsenNetratings knows what is going on online. Check out their site for the big picture of internet trends.
06.20.01: UK Consumer Association subsidiary Which? conducts an annual survey of British experience, attitudes toward and usage of the Internet. You should be very familiar with the results of their latest study, if your primary target market is in Britain. This is a very good overview of the UK online market for anyone looking to market to it - the Web may be global but attitudes to it are local. Make the most of this superior free resource.

General Web Development
It is 1999 and a group of presenters at a Web business related conference share pet web site peeves over lunch... The result is a 12 item list of things your Web site should not do. co-founder, Stephan Spencer was particularly vocal that lunch time, it seems...
This site offers a number of tools, some of which are free, for improving your Web site. Check your code and your images or get some help with improving your Web site's visibility or, maybe, sign up for a site monitoring tool. This site is a good place to start your serach for the tools you need to fine tune your Web presence.
The run down on everything from design and development to strategy... Well, that's how they pitch it. A lot of the content is aimed at the tech savvy amongst us - you know, the designers and developers that seem to talk a tech dialect of English. But there are information gems here for those of us who are more interested in what the technology can do rather than how it does it.
This 1998 ZDnet article links into a number of other articles by well known industry figures and offers a good list of bad Web site building practices to be avoided. They were bad in 1998; they should be avoided at all costs in 2001. Is your Web site guilty of these crimes?
1998: ZDNet puts together a list of 5 Web site follies and readers add their own follies to the list. It is surprising how many Web sites are still guilty of these design stupidities. Is your site innocent?

06.18.01: The Ecommerce Times' Keith Regan reports that consumers are not willing to read lengthy privacy policies. Don't let that fool you into not bothering to have one, though. He also reports that privacy remains a key concern for Internet users. Make sure your customers can trust you. Consider making elements of your policy unavoidable.
The Direct Marketing Association offers a very useful tool that will help you create an appropriate privacy statement for your Web site. Fill out the form on this page (you may need a little help from your developers to answer some of the questions about how your site treats visitor information) and modify the form generated to suit your site.,10475,2766214,00.html
Lawyer, Ari Kaplan, points out some things to consider before linking to another site's content to enhance your own content. It is probably not a good idea to frame someone else's content in your own site. If you simply promote another site's content by bringing it to your audience's attention, they are unlikely to complain - web logs are founded on this assumption. Heed Kaplan's words and proceed with caution.

Product Content
This price comparison site lets consumers find the product they want at the cheapest price without having to visit any number of etailers. It will let you find out what your competitors are selling your product for. What else are they are offering your target market? Is your pricing strategy competitive?

Public Relations
Search engine, Google acquired the archives of Usenet from in February, 2001 and now offers easier access to the ongoing conversations. (Usenet was one of the first mediums through which the Internet allowed people to exchange ideas.) A search for your company/brand name will give you an insight into how people perceive your brand. Monitor Usenet here to identify and respond to bad publicity and PR problems.,7558,545786,00.html
9.3.01: The Media section of The Guardian newspaper explores ways to protect your brand from the multiple abuse opportunities that the Internet offers unscrupulous competitors. Gone are the days when a junior employee at a PR agency maintaining a file of newspaper clips mentioning your company was all you needed to keep track of your brand's image. offers a uselful press release template and much more besides. Looking to do your own Web site publicity? You will learn a lot from this site.

06.14.01: The Ecommerce Times reports a Jupiter Media Metix study that shows that although credit card fraud rates are higher online than off, consumers think the problem is a lot worse than it actually is. Regardless, this perception demands that any ebusiness venture be very careful to cover the security bases. And - just as important - explain how they did it to anxious customers. Do your customers have good reasons to trust you with their financial information?
08.20.01: Tim McDonald asks the question and offers insight in answering it. The short answer is: "no." The wolf at the door always seems to find a way to be strong enough to break in. The only answer is eternal vigilance and constant hole patching.
A useful list of internet security information links maintained by the Library of Congress.
08.27.01: MSNBC reports on a Visa initiative to add password protection to credit cards for online purchases. The article reports that major etailers may be offering cardholders password protected transactions as early as the holiday season.
08.27.01: This Newsfactor story suggests that the best way to fight computer virus' and worms could be with good virus' and worms, which spread repairs as fast as their evil cousins spread damage. There are risks involved but the most scary thing here is how sure the experts are that a truly deadly virus could cause huge damage.
Verisign represents the standard in internet security. This is where you obtain Verisign Certification for your site but also a good source of security related information. If you intend to conduct business online you should be familiar with the Verisign name and what it stands for.
The Verisign site offers a range of free guides and trials. Most relate to security aspects of doing business online but others relate to more general ecommerce issues. See if they offer what you need to know.

Technical Reliability & Performance
06.27.02: Considering switching to Linux? You should be according to this Newsfactor report... "more cost effective operations... worth the effort..." Hmmm...
06.05.00: "Eight seconds isn't fast enough anymore, when it comes to downloading pages." If the old standard, of download time, eight seconds was being called a "ridiculous notion in June 2000, you can bet that your pages should load in a lot less than eight seconds now. A good overview of the download issue explaining reasons why download speed REALLY matters.
This hokey but information rich site, maintained by Rick Hower, offers introductions and links to software testing tools. The technologically illiterate amongst us [the writer puts up his hand] may find this useful for understanding what the tech guys are talking about.

The Word on the Web
The news from the valley where it all happens in IT. To quote their "About" page: "the inside scoop on the people and companies shaping the new economy." Good background reading supported by the San Jose Mercury News. The "scoop" is presented in refreshingly jargon light language and a user-friendly context. These guys don't assume you know who they are or that you know a lot of what they know.
CNet: "the global source of information and commerce services for the technology industry." More than a news site, CNet also offers reviews of all sorts of things you might want to buy online. Product and service reviews and price comparisons for everything from video cameras to Application Service providers.
"The E-Commerce Times is a free online publication, with daily news and feature articles for entrepreneurs and companies doing business on the Internet." You decide how good they are at doing their job.
We quote from this tech magazine's media kit: "InformationWeek is dedicated to delivering the most comprehensive and useful information across a complete media platform - print, online, research, events - to help business technology professionals make critical decisions." They seem to be doing a pretty good job. Looking for a software application or business tool that suits your business' needs? Check out what InformationWeek has to say.
The run-down on developments in Web related technology and the e-business world, in general. You will appeciate the presence of an international news section, if you live beyond the bounds of the US of A. This site offers an overview of the ever-changing medium. It is good to know the context for your business' online success; indeed knowing that context is key to your success.
Information technology related news from the Washington Post.
Premier technology related magazine, Wired Magazine's web presence offers an overview of the wired world and everything that impacts upon it. Informed opinion on the technology, politics, business and culture sides of the Internet and technology in general.
"At ZDnet our mission is to be a premier "full service" destination for people looking to buy, use, and learn more about technology." You be the judge whether this award winning site is achieving its goal. Good daily newsletter keeps you in the technological and e-business loop.

This independent site offers consumers the chance to compare online stores based on ratings by customers of those stores. Because the rating are self selecting there may be a bias in the results - there are few startlingly bad results. It will do your business no harm to look good here.
11.13.01: Clickz columnist, Barry Eisenberg asks the obvious question: "How Will they Buy It if They Can't Find It?" And then goes on to explore navigation options. He makes the all important point that information architecture and navigation needs to reflect your audience's likely needs. You won't find a better introduction to crucial issues in structuring you content and creating an intuitive navigation scheme.
You don't have to be a client of, consultancy, Creative Good to benefit from their reserch. Their site is a great source of useful information that will help you avoid the many mistakes others make in developing a compelling customer experience.
08.03.01: The Ecommerce Times reports that Lands' End is taking steps so that people can find what they want when they use the Lands' End site's search engine. That is not the only thing Lands' End offers site visitors to make sure they find and order what they actually need. Think of the cost of dealing with customer returns (shipping, customer service rep time, warehouse staff time, customer dissatisfaction) and you'll find that making sure your Web site offers customers effective help is worth the effort. And don't think a no returns policy is an option... your customers have to many options.
10.31.01: The Ecommerce Times reports a Gartner study that find that consumers are more concerned about convenience than price when shopping online. Analysts suggest, your competitors are probably offering a similar price. But you can stand out from the crowd by creating a fast and easy buying process. Don't go increasing your prices on the strength of this one study, which is contradicted by others. But take steps to make it easy to buy from you. And watch your conversion rate improve.
A free resource with associated newsletter "monitoring the online customer experience" maintained by, Creative Good director, Mark Hurst. Hurst's comments are often insightful and the free whitepapers offer valuable information. Worth checking out every now and again.
In this lengthy article for Internetworld, usability guru, Jakob Nielsen joins Marie Tahir to suggest the importance of looking the big picture when making your site usable. What do you want people to do on your site? How do they perform that task elsewhere? What is important to users in the process? How was and is the job done traditionally i.e. offline? You need to watch your prospects do the things you want them to do whether it is buy a book or a house or order groceries. Are you offering your visitors a process that anticipates and meets their expectations?
I quote: 'This site is dedicated to increasing awareness of the benefits derived from the use of "user-centered" development methods in the creation of advanced technological solutions to complex social and business problems. The primary focus of our editorial content is on screen-based products and services.' It's about usability and it's for executives, basically: it's a great place to keep in touch with usability issues.
The Web home of usability guru Jakob Nielson, this site offers a information and insight. Nielson values simplicity over all else and his Web site is very faithful to the tenets of his Web design philosophy. Check out his reasons for not using graphics for a quick view of why Mr Nielson is not a fan of graphic rich Web sites. Show or recommend this site to designer friends who think Flash is the essence of the Web's cutting edge and watch them bristle.
This one man guide to all things usability related on the Web doesn't miss much. Check by John S. Rhodes' simple but effective site every now and again to make sure you are in the know about usability.

Web Design
Chief Experience Officer and Clickz columnist, Sean Carton hits the Web design nail on the head. Designing your Web site should be about "experience design" not "graphic identity." Huh? Create an experience not a presentation. Read this article and add the sites he suggests to your bookmarks or favorites. We did.
The American Institute of Graphic Artist's take on experience design. Visit this site to learn how to talk to the long haired, pierced guy who is doing your site's graphics. Has to be said that we are not sure that this flash based site (you will need Flash 4 to view it) is a good example of a user-friendly Web experience.
11.13.01: Clickz columnist, Barry Eisenberg asks the obvious question: "How Will they Buy It if They Can't Find It?" And then goes on to explore navigation options. He makes the all important point that information architecture and navigation needs to reflect your audience's likely needs. You won't find a better introduction to crucial issues in structuring you content and creating an intuitive navigation scheme.
09.01.01: The Future Now's Grokdotcom Newsletter takes a look at what eye tracking studies reveal about people look at a web page. Read this article; you may need to reconsider how you lay out your web pages.
"The Top Ten Reasons Visitors Leave Your Site" This article is designed to sell you Netmechanic tools and doesn't present any evidence of a statistical basis for their "Top Ten," but it may offer an insight into where you are going wrong.
This interesting article - from The MicroComputer Trainer Newsletter - suggests that you may need to do more than change the language you present your site in, if you want to appeal to some audiences. Different cultures may look at a web page very differently.
The web's version of the Oscars or Emmys mixs judging of entrants by experts and people's choice awards. Definitely worth spending some time checking out the winner in your site's category...
06.27.02: Psychologist, Ann Ellis explains why color choices are important in web design on Don't let the quasi-academic style of the article blind you to its important insights. This is stuff you should know about...
The amazing thing about this article, from 1998, is how little it has dated. People, including us, will tell you that the Web is an ever changing business environment that requires an ever evolving Internet presence. But a sin is a sin and you can bet that if it was a sin in 1998, it is a sin deadly enough to kill your online business now.,10475,2782892-6,00.html
7.11.01: Do you know what colors will appeal to your target audience. Web site color choices should not be personal or based on a hunch. Take some time to get your color scheme right; it matters.

Web Visibility - Findability search engine oracle, Danny Sullivan, bemoans the spread of paid listings. Take the Star Wars influence speading among Clickz columnists with a grain of virtual salt. But take note of the implicit message that non-paid search engine listings still matter.
07.19.01: Clicz's Adam Posman notes the effectiveness of bidding for keywords as a Web site marketing strategy and reports that voices are being raised about their ethics. Goto has escaped criticism, in this case, because it posts the cost of the ad alongside paid listings. Other search companies who are less clear about the nature of their "sponsored" and "featured" listings are drawing criticism.
Marketleap supports its link popularity checking tool (which checks: Google, AOL Search, MSN Search, FAST/Alltheweb, HotBot, and AltaVista) with background information on the importance of link popularity. Checking link popularity indicates whether you need to work harder on building links. And also helps identifies potential sites that you should build links from.
06.13.01: Clickz columnist, Paul Bruemmer outlines the elements of search engine optimization. Don't miss the links to two earlier articles of his that offer good insight into choosing appropriate keywords. How may SEO bases have you got covered?
Don't be so sure that all the good domain names are gone. This domain name generator operates a comprehensive list of possible domain names available for your chosen keywords. It is well worth spending some time checking out translations and all possible word combinations here - you cannot fail to come away with a long list of possible domain names. You can also register your domain name here but starting at US$35, for a holding page for a year, this is not the most affordable registration service around.
May, 2001: talks to Graig Silverstein, Chief Technical Officer at search engine Google, about how the increasingly popular engine determines the ranking of sites. His message comes in two parts: don't try and fool Google, create good content relevant to searches that you wnat to be found for; and do all you can to make sure key sites are linked to your site. His advice applies across the range of search engines. Read it and think about your site's link popularity and content.
Link popularity matters. Ever more so as Google grows ever more popular. This useful tool from lets you check your link popularity on major search engines.
Sometimes there is a lot in a name. Is your domain name helping people find you and your products and services online? What you call your Web site can be a key factor in making it "findable." Spend some time on this site experimenting with relevant keywords to find the domain name that will make your e-business findable. Register domain names for US$19 and assess the value of a domain name before approaching the owner of the domain name you need. offers a comprehensive range of domain name related services.
06.22.02: Chris Beasley says no to cloaking in this PromotionBase opinion piece. What's "cloaking"? Cloaking, as Mr Beasley makes clear, is serving search engines content specifically designed to impress them and serving your human visitors something entirely different. We second his negative motion: cloaking is neither noble nor advisable.
The home of an email discussion newsletter offering answers to subscribers' questions. It purports to be be about both Search Engine Optimization and writing for the Web but questions more regularly concern SEO issues. You may find the plain english no nonsense answers to subscriber questions a useful insight into making your site more SE friendly. Check out their archives for that question you can't find an answer to.
This issue of, search engine optimization (SEO) newsletter, Rankwrite, offers a quick guide to writing ad copy and ten basics of SEO. Both are worth reading.
This issue of, search engine optimization (SEO) newsletter, Rankwrite offers a quick guide to writing ad copy and ten basics of SEO. Both are worth reading.
Perhaps the preeminent source of SE optimization related information. Editor, Danny Sullivan, knows pretty much all there is to know about making a Web site SE friendly and constantly updates content to reflect changes in the SEO industry. Sign up for the newsletter to be in the SE know.
This list of search engie marketing service providers, put together by the team, lets you search an extensive list of providers by location/service required.
This site is the home of, Webposition Gold developers, FirstPlace Software. Webposition Gold is probably the most well respected Search Engine Optimization tool: it offers the ability to monitor SE rankings and submit pages and helps fine tune page content to suit the ever changing requirements of SE engine algorithms. Download the software for a 40 day free trial version of Web Position Gold. Their monthly newsletter offers a detailed insight into the best way to secure good rankings on SE's and Directories.
This site, which offers free trials and subscriptions (US$5.95 for a day, $19.95 for a week, $39.95 for a month, $99.00 for 3 months and $199.00 for a year), is designed to help you find the right search keywords to focus on in promoting your site. Try the free trial to get an idea of what they offer or sign up for a day for an even better idea. This tool will suggest variations, on the term you use to describe your services, how often they have been used and how many competing sites are using them.
For a web marketer trying to maximize links at the major portals, it's the best of times and the worst of times. Opportunities abound, but it's so confusing you avoid it. More>
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