Thursday, January 25, 2007

10 Graphic Design Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Designing and developing attractive landing pages, sales pages, squeeze pages, etc. has got to be 1 of the hardest parts of having your online business.

There are so many things to consider like:
  • Should you have a header graphic and if you do, how big should it be?
  • What colors should you use for your backgrounds and text?
  • How big should your images and fonts be?
  • And the list goes on and on.

Wouldn't it be nice if we were all graphic web designers or could afford to hire 1?

Unfortunately we're not so today I am going to do 3 things:

  1. List 10 graphic design mistakes
  2. Give you a Free PDF report that explains them in more detail, shows examples and gives some information on how to fix them.
  3. Throw in a couple of extra tidbits of information.

First the list:

10 Graphic Design Mistakes:

  1. Header image is too large.
  2. Page colors are either too bright or too washed out.
  3. Too many colors on the page.
  4. Too many types of fonts.
  5. A dark background behind the text.
  6. Using too many scripts at the same time causing browsers to sometimes slow down or even freeze.
  7. Not using enough "white space."
  8. Not using a watermarked or patterned background correctly.
  9. Message font size is too small.
  10. Offer is not clearly identified.

Second the Free report:

Inside this report you'll find more information about each of these 10 mistakes, examples showing some very well done sites and recommendations on how these sites could be improved.

Get it here:
(You'll need to unzip the file and use Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report. You can get WinZip FREE and Acrobat Reader FREE if you need them.)

Third - a couple of tidbits of information:

  • On page 5 of the report there is an example of a “rounded corner testimonial/text box." You can grab this picture out of the report for your use by: 1) Putting your cursor over the picture and clicking the left mouse button. 2) Right click to save the image to your clipboard. 3) Open your favorite WYSIWYG web page editor (I use FrontPage). 4) Paste the picture onto a blank page.You'll find that the box can be adjusted to any site you need and you can use an image editor like Irfanview to put your text messages on it and then add it to your site. (Irfanview is listed as a free resource inside the members' area - under Website Help.)
  • There's a recommendation on page 4 to use glassy or gel buttons. Here's where you can make some for free:

Having a good graphic design for your site is important because that's how your page viewer judges your site. You want it to be easy to look at, easy to read, professional looking and effective. And by avoiding the 10 mistakes listed above you'll be 1 step closer to achieving these things.

To Your Success,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

6 Ways To Avoid And Filter Spam

1 of the complaints I hear a lot about is the amount of email people get - especially the unwanted kind.

Well I hate to be the barer of bad news but ...

If you're going to have an online business then receiving a large number of emails daily is 1 of the things you'd better be prepared for.

Signing up for ezines, reports, special deals, free giveaways, traffic exchanges, membership sites, updates, etc bring in a lot of legitimate email. (Not to mention the email you'll get from your subscribers.)

And after you've joined a few lists, had your site up for awhile and kept the same email address for a couple of years you'll also notice a greater number of "not-so-legitimate" email.

And we're not talking about an extra 5 or 10 -
We're talking about "Hundreds" of email messages to your inbox every day.

Now I can tell you that when you're a 1 person business having to clean out the "junk" and wade through the good stuff can really eat up your time. Time you should be using to build and grow your business.

So today I am going to offer you a few suggestions on how to save some time in handling all that incoming email. I don't claim to be an expert at how to receive less "spam" or how to get off of mailing lists or even on how to effectively filter all your incoming email. But since I don't pay for any mail filtering services I've developed a few techniques to help avoid some spam and filter some of it out of my inbox.

6 Ways To Avoid And Filter Spam

  1. Never ever post your email address as a clickable link on your or anyone's web page. Clickable email address are gathered by email harvesters who then sell them to anyone wants them. So unless you're really looking for dates, body part enlargement pills, a loan or cashing in on someone's hidden money in some foreign country I'd recommend you not post your email address as a clickable link. Instead, encrypt your email address. You can find a free tool, SpamStop, inside our members' area to help you.

  2. When you identify an email message as spam don't click any of the links it contains - not even the unsubscribe link! While a lot of spam does not contain an unsubscribe link, much of it does appear to have 1. The problems with clicking the links are: 1) It may or may not unsubscribe you from that list (since they sent you unsolicited email you can't trust them to unsubscribe you) and 2) It validates your email address as a good address and puts you on a more expensive list to be sold. So instead of getting less unwanted email you'll probably start getting more.

  3. When you create your contact information for your site use something other than "admin" or "webmaster" as your name in your email address. Because these names are commonly used many lists are created by gathering domain names and then attaching "admin@" or "webmaster@".

  4. Most web hosts allow you multiple inboxes and have 1 already set up for your use. The 1 that's already created is your default inbox and will receive all the email sent to your domain - no matter what name is used. If your site allows you to have more than 1 inbox create another inbox for your contact information email address. Then all your legitimate email will go to that inbox. When you check your default email inbox you may find that your site is receiving a lot of unwanted messages you'll have to delete it but you don't need to read it.

  5. Try using the built in spam filters for the mail service you're using. Recently I switched to Outlook 2003 and it has many new features to block junk e-mail (spam). The most notable feature is Microsoft's Junk E-Mail Filter. There are 5 key features in Outlook® 2003 to help you combat spam:

    * Junk E-Mail Filter
    * Safe Senders List
    * Safe Recipients Lists
    * Blocked Senders List
    * AutoUpdate

    I keep my filter set to low so the messages identified as Junk will be saved in the Junk Folder. That way I can save the legitimate ones before I delete the rest. And every time I identify a valid email I add it to the "Safe Senders List." While this filter is not 100% effective it does identify between 95% - 98% of the junk and move it out of my inbox. For directions on how to use Outlook 2003 go to
    (Yahoo and other mail services also provide spam filters. Try turning it on for a week and see if it will work for you.)

  6. Whether or not you use the spam filter provided by the mail program you're using you will still want to set up some personal mail rules for directing certain messages to specified folders. Since I get a lot of unwanted email to my web site's default email inbox I've set up a rule to send it all to my deleted email folder. To do this I have it catch all email to my site "" and then defined the exceptions (the valid email names I don't want deleted). And of course you can set up rules to send mail from specific senders to a special folder rather than have them deleted. (You'll still have to add these senders to your "Save Senders List" because the junk/spam filters usually run before your rules.)

    You can watch this video to see the easy way to set up rules in Outlook. ( You may have to click the Play button twice to get it to start.)

While the above suggestions will keep most of you unwanted email from getting to your inbox, some will still make it through. Also you will still have to clean out your Junk or Bulk folders. So here are a couple of shortcuts on how to delete email quickly.

2 Shortcuts for Deleting Email (Outlook)

  1. If you have a lot of unwanted messages grouped together then you can delete them all at once by:

    * Click on the 1st message to be deleted
    * Hold the Shift key down and
    * Click the last message to be deleted

    All the messages - 1st, last and all those in between should be highlighted so when you click the delete button they will all be gone.

  2. If your unwanted email is scattered throughout your inbox you can use the Ctrl key.

    * Click on the 1st message to be deleted
    * Hold down the Ctrl key and
    * Click on each of the messages you want deleted

    All the messages you have clicked on should now be highlighted and you can delete them all by clicking the delete button.

Yahoo and other email services usually have you check a box to mark messages you want deleted. Look around and somewhere they usually provide a place where you can "check all." If most of your messages are to be deleted then "check all" and uncheck those you don't want deleted before you click the delete button.

When you're first starting you may not be getting much email and be tempted to look at some of the unsolicited email. But after you've been doing business online for awhile you'll discover that not only do you not have time to look at it but that it also steals much of your precious online time. So take some steps to avoid getting spam and learn to use your email program. You'll be glad you did.

To Your Success,