A clean and welcoming look and feel is a good start. A half-decent logo is a nice plus. Make it fast and easy to navigate. Then get out of your own way and let your words do the talking.
Geez, I've really got to leave. My wife is conceiving a baby tonight, and I wanted to be there. (Actually I stole that from a guy who got off a speeding ticket with that line!).
QUESTION: "Can I follow this approach on a free Web hosting service?"
ANSWER: Absolutely. But remember that success is much more than just putting up a site. Free sites have two huge strikes against them... they're treated with disdain by both the visitor and the engines.
Let's talk about humans first...
When I notice that a site's URL is at a free hosting service, I don't bother clicking to visit. If I have a special reason, I might go -- but I arrive at a free site with doubts. Most folks harbor the same kind of bias.
And what about the engines?...
Free sites don't get treated with much respect by the Search Engine spiders, and Below zero respect by the directories like Yahoo!.
Here's what Danny Sullivan, the most well-known Search Engine guru on the Net, had to say about free hosts, in a past issue of the "Search Engine Update"...
... get your own site, under your own domain, rather than doing it within Tripod.com or any place offering "free" home pages. Sites offering free home pages are often looked upon with suspicion by search engines, because search engine spammers also make use of them. It's like sharing a house with bad roommates. Move out, get your own house, and you'll probably do better with search engines.
Even on the Net, there's no such thing as truly free. Think about it... a company has to make money to survive. One way or another, hidden or not, it costs you. But the low credibility of free sites costs you way, way too much...
Your time. If engines don't spider you, or if customers don't respect it, or if advertising lures your customers away and hurts the sales-effectiveness of your site...
You're wasting your time. And that's way more valuable than $20 per month to host your own site. You must, must put a value on your time if you want to succeed. All successful people will tell you that time is their most precious commodity.
A non-free site with your own domain is a prerequisite to build credibility with your readers and with the Search Engines. So find a good Web hosting service and put up a real site. For the $20 or so per month, it's worth it.
Even better, I feel, is Site Build It! Why? Because it delivers a solid, simple approach one that removes all the complexity and technology away from view.
Site Build It!'s through-the-browser SiteBuilder makes it so easy to build a site. It removes all the technical difficulties. You end up with a site that is a powerful traffic-builder and customer-converter.
Low cost, but since it's a totally normal site, it has all the credibility of an expensive, ISP-based site. Create as many pages as you like, no HTML or FTP knowledge is necessary!
The SiteBuilder includes...
• Page Creation and Editing -- flexible, yet easy to use
• Analyze-It! - takes the guesswork out of tweaking or improving a page in order to rank higher with Search Engine
• Look and Feel Selector (including logo creator) -- choose from a wide variety of styles, then create your logo or... create your own custom look!
• Link Library -- store any link to any affiliate program, and use it at "the drop of a pull-down"
• Graphic Library -- upload your own images for use on your Web pages
• Tracker Library -- create and store special tracking links for your off-site promotions (more on this in DAY 10)
• Site Navigation Options -- modifiable per your desire
• Online help -- shows you exactly, step by step, how to build a site that delivers great content and that ranks high with the Search Engines!
But Site Build It! goes way beyond the call of duty. Its InfoCenter provides...
• Traffic Stats -- automated and easy-to-interpret "need to know" data about your visitors
• Click IN Tracker -- with breakdown stats that allow you to track the effectiveness of special promotions
• Click Through Tracker -- with breakdown stats that allow you to track all your outgoing links (Click analysis service alone costs over $19 per month elsewhere.)
• Automatic Search Engine Submission -- happens whenever you build or edit a page, or if the Search Engines have not visited within a reasonable time. Submissions are done exactly as if they were done by your own hand. They are performed exactly the way each engine likes to receive them... not too often, not too many, etc. (Some submission services cost $10 per month.)
• Search Engine & Keyword Reports -- when your pages were last submitted, spidered, and listed - including how well they rank. (Reports like this can cost you $20 per month elsewhere.)
• Directory HQ -- all you need for getting listed in the major directories.
• Pay-per-click HQ -- all you need for winning the pay-per-click wars.
And of course, the Site Build It! Manager tool makes the MASTER KEYWORD LIST child's play. It even does the DEMAND, SUPPLY and BREAKOUT windows for you automatically, turning hours of work into minutes, as it builds and researches your MASTER KEYWORD LIST. (This service would cost you $18 per month, significantly more for extra domains, elsewhere, for less functionality.)
And there's more and more ways to build traffic -- e-commerce capability, affiliate program-builder, ability to do mailouts - all are coming in the very near future! For more information about Site Build It!...
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Struggling to Optimize Your Site for the Search Engines? Uncover What You Need to Know to Perform Basic SEO on Your Site, and Help Get it Listed in the Powerful Search Engines. Are YOU Ready to Climb Your Way Up The Search Engine Rankings and Start Getting the FREE Traffic You're Looking For? Hundreds of places claim they can give you top rankings, but wouldn't you rather just learn how to do it on your own so you can repeat the process on any future site you build?