Thursday, February 28, 2008

How To Add A Message Board To Your Website

There are two ways to get a message board on your web site:

1) You can outsource a pre-created board, or
2) You can create a message board from scratch on your own server.

If you decide to choose option #1 and outsource the message board, then that means another site builds and hosts the board on their servers and they give you certain administrative rights (change the border and background colors, etc.)

Advantages of Outsourcing a Message Board:

1) The message board is already created for you

2) It's convenient for people who have web sites hosted at free places like Yahoo/Geocities, etc. because many of these providers don't provide the resources that will allow you to create a message board from scratch

3) You don't have to worry about the files/messages taking up space on your web server

Disadvantages of Outsourcing a Message Board:

1) You may not have as much control over the look and feel of the board

2) If the site that hosts your board goes down for any period of time, so will your message board

3) Some companies may have limits on the amount of traffic and/or content on the board so you may have to delete your messages often (especially if the service is free)

So if outsourcing doesn't appeal to you, you can always build a message board from scratch and house it on your own domain.

Advantages of Creating a Message Board From Scratch:

1) You control more aspects of the board and there is no limit to how you can edit or reconfigure it

2) You will be able to make much of the design match the look and feel of your existing site

3) Never worry about the board being shut down since you own it completely

Disadvantages of Creating a Message Board From Scratch:

1) You will have to manually upload the files to your web server and have a basic understanding of how to change permissions on files since most message boards are built in other languages (cgi, PHP, asp, etc.)

2) You'll generally need to already have your own domain name ( and have it hosted somewhere before you can begin uploading your scripts. You'll also need to make sure your hosting company gives you the right kind of access to host the board.

For example, if the board is written in PHP, then you may have to create a database on your web server. Again, once you find a board you want to use, ask your web hoster if they support it. They'll be able to tell you.

Frankly, I found it quite simple to create a board from scratch once I understood how to upload and change file permissions.

Trust me, you do not have to become a programmer to install a board. I am hardly the technical guru and I picked up on it pretty quickly.

Basically what you'll do is find a message board you like and then download all the necessary files to make the board work. Once you download the files, you'll have to edit a few lines in some of the files and then save them to your web server.

After you're done most boards will have an administrative panel that will allow you to change the colors, options, title, etc.

Most boards provide documentation to help you install and configure.

Where to Find Message Boards

If you've decided to go with option #1 and outsource a message board provider rather than build it on your own, then you'll need to find a "Remotely Hosted" message board provider.

Again, this method is ideal if your web site is hosted at Yahoo/Geocities, Tripod, Webspawner, AOL, or some other free web space provider that does not give you the functionality to create a message board on their server.

Message Board Scripts - To Install on Your Own Domain

The message board scripts below are made to be installed on your own server and it's preferable that you already have your own domain name prior to downloading these scripts. Remember to check with your hoster to ensure that they support the message board script.

After you verify you can use the script, download the necessary files, edit them as instructed and then save them to your site so the board will function.

Website Tonight
This host now provides a pre-created forum with your hosting account. There's no setup involved and you can host it on your own domain! I'd highly recommend switching to this host if you want a forum on your site but don't care to learn how to install scripts, etc. No setup required!

I used this script for my site It's a bit pricey at $160, but well worth the price considering the features you receive. It's also not too difficult to install if you're familiar with FTP-ing files.

This is free and it's VERY easy to setup. All you do is download the files for the board, upload all of them to your web server using an FTP program (or whatever method you use) and change a few permissions to some files.

The site provides you with documentation to help get you started. You'll need to make sure your host supports PHP and you'll also need to create a database (check with web hoster).

WWWBoard Message Board
This forum is free but not nearly as "eye friendly" as the one above. The layout is very simple and messages are listed in one long list. The advantage to this board is that there aren't nearly as many files to upload to your server and it loads quickly.

Remotely Hosted Message Boards - No installation necessary (Free Message Board)
This site offers lots of customizable options and claims you can have an unlimited amount of messages on your board. The forum keeps track of how many members join your board, total posts, and even displays the title of the latest post on the homepage of the board. As an administrator you can edit and delete posts, create and edit categories, and even ban members if necessary. Quite a good deal for a freebie. (Free Message Board)
This is one of the popular message board scripts around. EzBoard has many features of ProBoards (above) along with such features as: a profanity filter, ability to rate users (members), ability to screen posts before they go live, and much more.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Page Rank Predictor

Hi all, today's marketing tip is about Google Page Rank.

I stumbled upon a really cool SEO tool that I wanted to share with everyone. As of today, this website and one other website I own are still waiting to be assigned a Page Rank by Google. For those of you new to SEO or unfamiliar with Page Rank, it is the value that Google assigns to a page based on a variety of factors. This page rank score has a direct impact on your search engine rankings for particular keywords or keyword phrases.

I found the following tool which predicts page rank. If you've downloaded the Google Page Rank tool bar and still show your site with a PR zero, then use this tool. It takes a number of factors into consideration to predict future page rank. To get started, click here and page down. Simply enter your URL and click on "Check." Have fun!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Improve the Buying Process for Higher Sales

Today's Marketing Tip: Improving the Online Buying Experience.

I was recently looking to buy tickets for a sporting event online. I knew exactly what event I wanted to attend, where the event was being held, and at what time. When I visited the particular site that listed the event, it didn't provide clear ordering instructions. After studying the site for a few minutes, I found a place to buy tickets. When I clicked to buy the tickets, I was taken to a completely different website.

But wait, this consumer buying experience gets even better. After visiting this website, I had some difficulty finding the tickets I wanted. In fact, after numerous clicks, I did reach a purchase page. However, it offered 3 options and I couldn't tell them apart. Other than the fact that the 3 options had different prices, I honestly didn't know what they meant. So, did I buy? No. I got frustrated and threw in the towel. I guess I'll just watch the event on TV.

I share this story because I'm not unique. Every day millions of consumers navigate away from websites for the very same reason. Many websites do a poor job of simplifying the purchase decision process. The result is often times a frustrated consumer and a lost sale. If you want to succeed online, make it easy for your customers to buy.

Not sure if your site does what it should? Gather a focus group, provide a discount for customer feedback, or test the complete purchase process on your own. Regardless of which method you use, make the purchase process simple and informative - you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Article Marketing Is Your Key To Marketing Success!

The internet stores a massive amount of information and much of that is in text. To find quality content to return for search queries the search engines look for sites with text content and the more the better.

If you have ever wondered why your website is not receiving any traffic, you are probably looking for a way to increase it. Most webmasters on the internet are because they realize that traffic is what will make their site a success.

You should consider taking a two pronged approach to building links. The first method for building links is through submissions of your site to quality webs directories. Every link you get to your site is not only a vote in popularity, but also a doorway for traffic. Every quality link you can get through directory submissions will bring more relevance to your site.

How you can use article marketing.

The first way you can use article marketing is by going to article directories. If you can't write your own unique content (which is preferred) for your site, you can use the content from article directories to place on your site for content as long as you retain the authors resource box. You need the content there for the search engines to spider when they visit through all the linking pathways you created when submitting your site to quality web directories.

As we covered the internet contains a massive amount of information and people search for it every day. The more links you have pointing to your site and the more content you have on it relevant to your sites niche, the better you will rank for search engine queries.

Another way to use article marketing is by writing your own unique articles on topics related to your websites niche and submit them for publication to the best article directories. These articles will create some links to your website to increase its popularity and with each link comes another doorway for traffic to find you.

When you write and publish these articles, you are also letting the public know you have expertise and knowledge on the subject. To get the reader's attention, give them a quality, well written article filled with information.

Build links through quality directory submissions to increase your site's popularity and create doorways to traffic and search engines. Then use article marketing to provide quality on-site content for the search engines to spider when they arrive.

The more quality web directories you submit your site to, the more article content you provide on your site and the more articles you submit for publication on article directories, the more search engines will love your site.

These are some of the key elements to creating traffic and building a successful website. You can have the best website on the internet, but without proper promotion your visitors will never find you. If they do not find you, they cannot use the services that you provide.

Kick Start Your Article Marketing With Article Submission Software - Click here

About the Author: Bruce Swedal - Gain an online presence for your Website by getting listed on The Authority Website Directory. Then make sure to read our latest article Common Warning Signs of a Cheating Spouse

Monday, February 18, 2008

Today's Marketing Tip: PR Checker

How do you know if a link exchange proposal is a good one? In today's marketing tip, we reveal how to differentiate between the "good" link and the "bad" one. Link exchanges can work to your favor when seeking to improve link popularity.

A link exchange is simply the process of placing a link on your website in exchange for another website placing a link to your website's home page or other web page. Often times, those seeking to develop incoming links to their website will send webmasters an email asking for a link exchange. How do you know if the proposal is a good one?

The place to start is with a good PR checker tool like the one available here. Begin by entering the URL of the page where the potential link partner has either placed your link or proposes placing your link. Determine the Google PR of that page. If the page rank value is less than the value of your links page (the location where you plan on placing a link to their site), than the link exchange will NOT benefit you. ALWAYS seek links from sites with an equal or greater Google PR to your own.

By following this link exchange tip, you'll be receiving favorable Google PR - ensuring that the value of the links coming into your website far outweigh the value of outgoing links. This is how to improve your search engine rankings.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thinking About a Survey?

Effective Survey Questions:

When drafting your survey, consider the following in order to create relevant and accurate questions:

Question Intent: Are the questions legible, relevant, painless, etc.?

Good vs. Bad: Keep questions brief, be objective, be specific, and keep it simple. Avoid leading or double- barreled questions!

Question Types: Consider the types of questions to use and when it is appropriate to use them.

Question Sequence: Use easy opening questions and make the survey flow coherently. Place sensitive questions towards the end!

Keep these in mind before adding a random question to your blog or engaging in a survey effort. Your responses will be much more meaningful!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Use Offline Marketing To Grow Your Online Business

Today's Marketing Tip: Off-line Advertising and Marketing

Knowing how to use off-line advertising in internet marketing can give you a significant advantage over your competitors, since many do not use off-line methods to advertise their products.

Off-line advertising is particularly relevant if you are selling a product, or offering a service, that attract customers locally. For example, you could offer a fitness aid at your local leisure center. Many leisure or fitness centers will allow you to put a free poster offering your product, but even if they charge you for it the price is usually small. Perhaps you have a golf training aid that you can advertise at your local golf club.

Local classified ads are also a good means of getting your product some local publicity. The classified ads pages or even adverts placed on selected pages of your local press, frequently provide you with local orders. The beauty of these is that they are very easy to follow up, either with back-end products or new ones. You need not even restrict yourself to the local press. How often have you seen an internet marketing advert on the national press? They are not uncommon, and although expensive, they must produce a good return.

If you have a niche website, it could be worth your while browsing round your local newsagent and checking out the magazines on display. You know the kind - all these racks upon racks of magazines on every topic you can think of. Have a word with the news vendor and find out some of the more popular magazines that cover your niche. These could be good publications for placing your adverts, especially if they are not too expensive and they have a good circulation.

Poster campaigns can also work well. You can advertise with posters in many shopping malls, and some stores also offer you the opportunity place an A5 poster for only pennies a week. Have your own business cards printed with your internet business contact details, such as website address and email address in addition to your phone number. Put your website address on everything, and have a signature that use on all correspondence. Not just emails and forum postings, but also off-line correspondence such as letters, invoices, receipts and anything else you send to other people.

Another form of offline marketing that most people have never heard of, let alone use, is buzz advertising. This type of advertising has been growing in popularity recently, especially by offline businesses. It is used extensively by some auto companies and by cosmetics companies. Buzz advertising involves getting a verbal buzz going about your website or product. Some companies pay people specifically to verbally promote their products by approaching strangers, striking up conversations and bringing up the product in the conversation.

"Say, have you heard about the latest perfume from ----!" While not yet common it is getting more popular. Of course, the buzz need not be started off by someone you have employed to do it, but you can do it yourself. You can get your family and relatives involved as well. Before you know it, everybody might be talking about your product or your great new website. That's how YouTube and MySpace got so popular.

If you have a van or pick-up get your business name and website address painted on the site. It's easier to get a buzz going if people see your website in their face all the time, on vehicles, on posters, in newspapers and magazines, and even chalked on walls! Well, perhaps not the last one, but that would sure get people noticing your website! Do you get the idea? Get your website name known in every way that you can.

How about a local radio slot, with you explaining the virtues and benefits of your product, service or website? Stress the benefits, and you need not restrict it to local radio. Try for a national radio slot or even TV if your business is sizable enough. There are no restrictions to the advertising methods you can use. Hire a loudspeaker and shout it from the rooftops!

Online advertising methods are very effective in internet marketing, since they can be visible to people all round the world, but if you know how to use off-line advertising it can also work very nicely for you, and bring you a lot of business you would not otherwise have.

About the Author: Andre Sanchez - How to Use Offline Advertising in Internet Marketing was originally published at

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How To Get Your Message Out!

Today's Marketing Tip: Press Release Distribution

Public relations is a great tool for distributing your information. There are a variety of benefits to distributing news about your company, products, or services. These options include distribution of important information that can generate interest in you and your services. Additionally, using a service like PRWeb or PRZoom can help build back links to your website.

The result is a large placement of your content on hundreds of websites and the value of back links. These back-links to your website improve search engine results and build link popularity. Getting press coverage is easier than ever with helpful distribution networks like PRWeb.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Guaranteed Methods For Improving Search Results

Whether you're a small business or major corporation, focusing on improving natural search results on Google, Yahoo!, and MSN is important. Organic search results cost nothing and are chosen 3-to-1 compared to paid placements.

If you're looking to rank on top, for even the most competitive keywords or keyword phrases, I personally recommend the following products. For much less than you'd imagine, you can quickly and easily achieve top placements, resulting in lower online marketing costs (free traffic) and higher revenues. If you haven't acquired these "staples", then click below to learn more.

Improve Search Engine Rankings with the Webmaster's Book of Secrets.

Improve organic search results with SEO Elite.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Autoresponders: Your Key to Improving Conversions

Today's Marketing Tip: The Power of Autoresponders

I've been using auto responders for years to improve my conversion rates. If you're new to auto responders, let me explain how they work. When an individual visits your website and registers for something like a free report, newsletter, etc., they are automatically entered into a touch program (an example of such a form can be found at

The secret of the touch program is the auto responder. Essentially, an auto responder is a tool that fires off a series of canned messages that you create and control. These messages can move prospects through the purchase decision process. Or, messages can cross sell or promote additional products you offer.

I personally use auto responders as a way to offer free trials or information in exchange for a name and email address. The result is a bigger list for promotions purposes - and more revenue. Learn more about auto responders from Aweber Communications.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Website

Search engine optimization is an ongoing process. One of the best strategies for success is to evaluate your site on a regular basis. Consider the following questions and suggestions for improving your site's ranking:
  • Are you sure that your site doesn’t have broken links, and old and slow pages?
  • Are you sure that your site’s home page has a good chance to be found on the key phrase for which you optimized the page?
  • How often do you monitor back links to your site?
  • Do you know if the quality of partners’ links to your site remains the same over time?
  • Do you always recreate site maps and resubmit them to Google, MSN, and Yahoo! after you’ve changed your site substantially?
  • Do you keep a history of your website rankings so you can compare your current ranking results to any day in the past when you ran a ranking check?
These questions, and the answers they provoke, are food for thought. Make sure that your website is optimized and that you're keeping an eye on your competition. Online tools like SEO Elite or WebCEO can help. Click here to learn more.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Make Sure Your Site is Error Free

Today's Marketing Tip: Proofreading

When a colleague of mine noticed a spelling error on my main website,, I couldn't help but wonder if we made additional "typos" on the website. I did a quick Google search and came across a website called, They offer a free trial so I figured, "What the hey... I'll give it a try."

After entering my email address and website URL, I received an email from TextTrust. They listed about 8 - 10 typos on my site. The great part about the listing is that it highlighted the words that were mispelled and quoted the sentence in which they were contained. All I had to do was click on the highlighted (mispelled) word, and it launched the specific page where I could find the error.

Unfortunately the service didn't review my entire site, for that you have to choose a service plan. TextTrust offers two, Express or Pro. The Express service gives you a single report for $199. The Pro service monitors your site on a regular basis for $24.95 per month.

If you have a large site, and have never checked it for errors, I recommend you make the investment. Nothing turns off browsers more than a poorly edited website.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Today's Marketing Tip: Testimonials

Today's marketing tip is about testimonials, a powerful marketing tool. If you're not using testimonials to promote your products or services, then you're missing out. Adding testimonials to your marketing materials or website is easy to do and can result in a significant lift in sales.

When providing testimonials for your product or service, there are a number of fundamental practices you should consider. Presenting your testimonials in the correct manner can optimize your results. Follow these helpful tips when applying testimonials on your website or in your communications.

1. The medium is the message. Depending on your target audience, the medium you choose to display your testimonials can make or break their effectiveness. For example, if you’re trying to reach today’s generation, video may be the most popular technique. With the advent of YouTube and sites that allow users to upload video, the medium has taken on a life of its own.

If you’re promoting your products to teenagers or those in their early twenties, consider testimonials from peers in video format. Hearing key messages from someone in their own cohort using the correct medium, is much more powerful than a generic message from a so called expert.

2. Provide detailed information of the individual leaving the testimonial. Not only do individuals like to hear from others, but they want to know that the testimonial is from a real person who’s just like them. When posting or providing a testimonial, make sure to include the individuals name and some demographic information. This adds to the legitimacy of the testimonial and helps people resonate with their comments.

3. Categorize your testimonials. Having a long list of testimonials that don’t appear to have any particular order is difficult for browsers to navigate. When you are providing your listing, regardless of the format you’re using, make it easy for browsers to select the testimonial that would be most relevant to their needs. Successful websites categorize their testimonials. For example, they can be categorized by type such as ‘customer service’, ‘price’, or ‘quality’. Other classification schemes may include user types such as ‘student’, ‘entry-level’, or ‘professional’. When categorizing your testimonials, consider how your audience is segmented and choose a logical format.

4. Vary your testimonial formats. Experiment with different types of testimonial formats. In addition to basic web posts, you should try adding audio or video and measure the views. By offering multiple formats you are appealing to different styles and therefore maximizing exposure.

5. Update your testimonials on a regular basis. Don’t let your testimonials get stale. Whether you provide a date that the testimonial was submitted, or not, you should strive to add testimonials on a regular basis. Individuals who come back to your website or revisit your promotional materials can benefit from finding new content.

Testimonials are a powerful tool for promoting your products or services. When considering testimonials for your website or marketing materials, be sure to think about your audience and provide a compelling display of customer feedback. Consumers want to hear from others like them. Learn to leverage testimonials and watch your sales start to climb!

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