Preparing Your Site for Search Engine Directory Submission

Successful submission of your site to major internet directories, such as Yahoo, Looksmart, or the Open Directory, require a specialized approach, significantly different from that necessary to success with the standard spider based search engines.

The evaluation of your site by these properties will be done manually, via either paid or volunteer editors, who are charged with the responsibility for ensuring that only sites of the highest quality achieve listings in each of the directories. In this circumstance, overall site quality, in the areas of presentation, content originality, speed of download, and general navigational ease will present themselves as primary in ensuring that a listing is achieved.

Rankings within that environment, once listed, will rely strongly upon only a few basic areas, including given title, description, and the category of listing. As many of these areas are entirely managed by the editor responsible for your selected category, ensuring basic site appeal and value can strongly impact their willingness to use your suggested title, and/or description, thus ensuring a high ranking.

The following outline the basics of ensuring an appealing site prior to submitting:

Rule #1 – Create Appeal

A site that is clearly put together quickly, and unprofessionally, does little to interest an editor who spends his or her day reviewing all manner of properties, including the very best. Take the time to develop your site properly, or utilize a skilled designer if you have not the time, or the interest to do so on your own. As noted elsewhere at Online for Success, keep the navigation intuitive, the pages quick to download, and the content well organized. All of these factors serve to assist in achieving an editor’s approval.

Rule #2 – Don’t Jump Too Quickly

Before submitting your site, ensure that all aspects of its construction are complete. There is little that will turn an editor’s eye elsewhere more quickly than a site with non-functioning links, or “under construction” graphics. If the property is not at a state of perfection, save the submission until you achieve it, as to submit early will surely result in the denial of your listing request, and potential difficulty with re-submitting down the road.

Rule #3 – Follow Their Rules

Each directory property has their own terms of submission, which is generally incorporated into their submission page(s). Take the time to read and understand these rules, as a failure to do so can result in either non-inclusion, or at worst, permanent banning of your property from the directory involved.

Once your site is fully complete, and of absolute value to the editor, and visitors it will achieve, it is imperative to understand the impacts of your submitted title, and description, as well as the category you select for the listing request. All directories follow a similar process, though the actualities of how listed sites are ranked during a search remain largely unknown.

The most important factors to consider when preparing your submission to Yahoo, Looksmart, or the Open Directory include:

Site Title

The title associated with your site is often dictated by the given name of your business. In most cases, directory terms of submission will inform submitters that all business sites must use their given name for listing. This is to help avoid scenarios where all ranking-aware site operators suggest names that begin with “A”, or “123”. As listings are generally alphabetical in the directory area, these issues can have a strong impact on traffic from that location.

It is also best to avoid listings that merely note your URL, such as . The combined format of this title would result in an inability of the search function to discern the keywords within that title, reducing the opportunity for search related success. Obviously, an important feature of your title is these incorporated keywords, which can often be dictated at the moment you select your domain name. Keeping this factor in mind early can be of substantial import at this juncture.

Site Description

As noted earlier, the final site description is always the decision of the editor involved in the evaluation process. It is imperative to recommend a description that will be effective, based upon standard keyword strategies, and satisfactory to the editor’s intent to provide only an accurate outline of your site’s content.

Incorporate carefully placed keywords that relate entirely to your site’s content, in as appealing, and efficient a manner as possible. Avoid suggestions that are mainly hype, as they do little to impress the area editor, and can result in a description entirely generated by them, which may miss the mark you were aiming for entirely.

Take the time to review other site descriptions in your category of interest, following their example to determine what the appropriate number of words, and keyword selections are effective for them. Do a search to see which sites rank highest, and determine the most potent mix of keywords and category to achieve that type of ranking for your internet property.

Due care taken pre-submission will ensure a positive impact on your business via the traffic, and thus sales, that can stem from a solid directory listing on sites such as Yahoo, Looksmart, and the Open Directory. Research thoroughly, implement carefully, and then prepare for your own version of online success.

Ecommerce On Your Site

The challenges of operating an ecommerce based enterprise have become clearly evident during the last few years of internet business closings, and the overall market adjustment that followed. The need to establish sound business practices, and expectations for the internet based operation is as imperative in this venue as in the brick and mortar world.

One area of considerable import in the planning of your new enterprise is the means by which your company will accept payment for your featured product or service. Many methods exist in the online world for accomplishing this task, but few are as widely accepted as payment processing via credit card. This is not to suggest that other options are of no value, as creating a menu of possible payment opportunities will serve to ensure the satisfaction of all potential buyers.

Historically, many online organizations have chosen to retain a level of simplicity on site by offering only the most basic forms of payment processing. Although initially an acceptable means for the relatively low expectations of the internet user of the day, these forms no longer meet the growing need of the internet savvy shopper for quick, efficient location, selection, and payment for online purchases.

To accommodate the current realities, credit card acceptance is a virtual must, regardless of the nature of your enterprise. The growing popularity of this medium has resulted in a flourish of enterprising minds releasing softwares and services to enable the ecommerce oriented business starting up on the web.

There are a variety of processes involved in each ecommerce transaction at your property. Some providers offer services which manage all of these steps, while other services offer only specific portions of the process, for organizations that manage some aspects on their own servers, or wish to provide only partially automated services. Some of the aspects of an ecommerce ready web site include:

* Shopping Cart – the means by which a client indicates an interest in purchasing a specific item, and records and submits personal and financial information relative. The “buy” and “checkout” buttons seen on all ecommerce sites are part of their shopping cart system.
* Merchant Account – a necessity for credit card acceptance by all businesses, online or off. An agreement between the business operator, and the bank responsible for a given credit card, to provide funds to the merchant via the customer’s account, less fees outlined in the agreement. There also exist services that allow you to utilize their merchant accounts established with the bank, for an additional fee.
* Gateway Account – an aspect of “real-time” credit card processing, which means that the purchase is reviewed, and approved or rejected automatically, before the customer is advised that their order is complete. Non “real time” systems require that the operator manually process each order via either an online form, or terminal located at the place of business.
* Security Certificate – a digital tool incorporated into all sites providing “secure shopping” environments. The certificate indicates to both the transaction processor, and to the customer, that the site accepting the financial data from the client is known, and trusted. The digital certificate must be purchased, and installed on the server where the shopping cart system is located.

Prior to finalizing your organization’s ecommerce direction, it is imperative that you understand the role of each process, and the costs involved with the various services. It is also important to recognize the technical strengths and/or weaknesses of your design group, most especially if it is to be an owner developed property. Many of the software and security aspects of ecommerce applications must be carefully managed to ensure overall integrity of your system – an absolute necessity in today’s online shopping market. If a comfort level with these applications is not available within your organization, then consideration should be given to either selection of a simplified service, or the outsourcing of the project to someone experienced in such areas of development.

In the end, the learning curve associated with offering an ecommerce ready site to your clientelle is unquestionably worthwhile. The future of online shopping indicates trends of substantial growth for some time to come. Placing your site on the technological forefront of this movement today helps to ensure your online success for many years to come.

Domain Selection – .Com vs .Org, .Net, .Biz & More

The level of competition in domain name selection has grown fierce as interest in the internet has exploded. Single name intuitive domains are being valued, and purchased for figures in the millions of dollars. It has even become difficult to find multiple word domains that meet the phrase popularity criteria.

In reaction to the short supply, many creative organizations have developed new domain locations designed to allow internet focused companies and individuals to register names and phrases of value to them. Development in this field is both a factor of need, and potential profit for the organizations who control the locations.

Some of the most recent additions to this ever-growing list include:

* .biz
* .home
* .info

Without a doubt, there will be many more to come as demand creates potential for even higher earnings for both the registrars and sales agents for these locations. When considering an alternative location for your online venture, keep the following in mind:

Dot Com is King

Though the prevalence of alternatives to a .com location are increasing daily, the power of a .com domain continues to be unrivaled for its acceptance by consumers and search engines alike. The .com name generates a virtual sense of legitimacy, as the domain where it all began. Even old timers like .net, and .org have yet to obtain the general appeal of a .com name.

Without a doubt, everything has its time, and its place. Newcomers like .biz or .info may play a significant role in coming years, and they do allow businesses the flexibility to choose a far more intuitive location name than that which is available in the .com world. But with a limited appeal, and limited search engine recognition, one should likely consider them for additional location registrations, versus the cornerstone location for a new online venture.

My Own Dot Com

Rule number one when selecting your .com name is simply this – take your time! Getting this step right the first time can save you countless hours and headaches down the road. Some recommended steps are:

1. Do the research. Find out what your potential customers are looking for on the net. What keywords and phrases are they looking for? Try visiting for help with this step. Goto provides a popular search tool that allows you to enter keywords and phrases, and view the number of searches done on that, and other related terms for a one month period. This can give you a very good idea of what your keyword focus should be.

2. Search the domain registry. Once you’ve narrowed down to a few specific terms and phrases, search the domain registry to check on what’s available in that area. Be creative, always keeping your potential client’s habits in mind. Online for Success provides a domain search area to get you started, located here.

3. Still having trouble finding a suitable name? Why not register with an organization that tracks about to expire domain names? Should a domain not be renewed in an area of relevance to your business, they will inform you of its availability. One never knows – perhaps luck will be on your side, and online success just around the bend!