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relation of link building and its popularity

Late in November we were at SES in Paris, where we had the opportunity to meet some of the most prominent figures in the French SEO and SEM market. One of the issues that came up in sessions and in conversations was a certain confusion about how to most effectively increase the link-based popularity of a website. As a result we thought it might be helpful to clarify how search engines treat link spamming to increase a site´s popularity.

This confusion lies in the common belief that there are two ways for optimizing the link-based popularity of your website: Either the meritocratic and long-term option of developing natural links or the risky and short-term option of non-earned backlinks via link spamming tactics such as buying links. We've always taken a clear stance with respect to manipulating the PageRank algorithm in our Quality Guidelines. Despite these policies, the strategy of participating in link schemes might have previously paid off. But more recently, Google has tremendously refined its link-weighting algorithms. We have more people working on Google's link-weighting for quality control and to correct issues we find. So nowadays, undermining the PageRank algorithm is likely to result in the loss of the ability of link-selling sites to pass on reputation via links to other sites.

Discounting non-earned links by search engines opened a new and wide field of tactics to build link-based popularity: Classically this involves optimizing your content so that thematically-related or trusted websites link to you by choice. A more recent method is link baiting, which typically takes advantage of Web 2.0 social content websites. One example of this new way of generating links is to submit a handcrafted article to a service such as http://digg.com. Another example is to earn a reputation in a certain field by building an authority through services such as http://answers.yahoo.com. Our general advice is: Always focus on the users and not on search engines when developing your optimization strategy. Ask yourself what creates value for your users. Investing in the quality of your content and thereby earning natural backlinks benefits both the users and drives more qualified traffic to your site.

To sum up, even though improved algorithms have promoted a transition away from paid or exchanged links towards earned organic links, there still seems to be some confusion within the market about what the most effective link strategy is. So when taking advice from your SEO consultant, keep in mind that nowadays search engines reward sweat-of-the-brow work on content that bait natural links given by choice.

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removal request of your url from search engines


As a site owner, you control what content of your site is indexed in search engines. The easiest way to let search engines know what content you don't want indexed is to use a robots.txt file or robots meta tag. But sometimes, you want to remove content that's already been indexed. What's the best way to do that?

As always, the answer begins: it depends on the type of content that you want to remove. Our webmaster help center provides detailed information about each situation. Once we recrawl that page, we'll remove the content from our index automatically. But if you'd like to expedite the removal rather than wait for the next crawl, the way to do that has just gotten easier.

For sites that you've verified ownership for in your webmaster tools account, you'll now see a new option under the Diagnostic tab called URL Removals. To get started, simply click the URL Removals link, then New Removal Request. Choose the option that matches the type of removal you'd like.



Individual URLs
Choose this option if you'd like to remove a URL or image. In order for the URL to be eligible for removal, one of the following must be true:
The URL most return a status code of either 404 or 410.The URL must be blocked by the site's robots.txt file.The URL must be blocked by a robots meta tag.

 
 Once the URL is ready for removal, enter the URL and indicate whether it appears in our web search results or image search results. Then click Add. You can add up to 100 URLs in a single request. Once you've added all the URLs you would like removed, click Submit Removal Request.

A directory
Choose this option if you'd like to remove all files and folders within a directory on your site. For instance, if you request removal of the following:

http://www.example.com/myfolder

this will remove all URLs that begin with that path, such as:

http://www.example.com/myfolder
http://www.example.com/myfolder/page1.html
http://www.example.com/myfolder/images/image.jpg

In order for a directory to be eligible for removal , you must block it using a robots.txt file. For instance, for the example above, http://www.example.com/robots.txt could include the following:

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /myfolder
Your entire site
Choose this option only if you want to remove your entire site from the Google index. This option will remove all subdirectories and files. Do not use this option to remove the non-preferred version of your site's URLs from being indexed. For instance, if you want all of your URLs indexed using the www version, don't use this tool to request removal of the non-www version. Instead, specify the version you want indexed using the Preferred domain tool (and do a 301 redirect to the preferred version, if possible). To use this option, you must block the site using a robots.txt file.

Cached copies

Choose this option to remove cached copies of pages in our index. You have two options for making pages eligible for cache removal.

Using a meta noarchive tag and requesting expedited removal
If you don't want the page cached at all, you can add a meta noarchive tag to the page and then request expedited cache removal using this tool. By requesting removal using this tool, we'll remove the cached copy right away, and by adding the meta noarchive tag, we will never include the cached version. (If you change your mind later, you can remove the meta noarchive tag. )

Changing the page content
If you want to remove the cached version of a page because it contained content that you've removed and don't want indexed, you can request the cache removal here. We'll check to see that the content on the live page is different from the cached version and if so, we'll remove the cached version. We'll automatically make the latest cached version of the page available again after six months (and at that point, we likely will have recrawled the page and the cached version will reflect the latest content) or, if you see that we've recrawled the page sooner than that, you can request that we reinclude the cached version sooner using this tool.

Checking the status of removal requests
Removal requests show as pending until they have been processed, at which point, the status changes to either Denied or Removed. Generally, a request is denied if it doesn't meet the eligibility criteria for removal.


To reinclude content
If a request is successful, it appears in the Removed Content tab and you can reinclude it any time simply by removing the robots.txt or robots meta tag block and clicking Reinclude. Otherwise, we'll exclude the content for six months. After that six month period, if the content is still blocked or returns at 404 or 410 status message and we've recrawled the page, it won't be reincluded in our index. However, if the page is available to our crawlers after this six month period, we'll once again include it in our index.

Requesting removal of content you don't own

But what if you want to request removal of content that's located on a site that you don't own? It's just gotten easier to do that as well. Our new Webpage removal request tool steps through the process for each type of removal request.

 Since Google indexes the web and doesn't control the content on web pages, we generally can't remove results from our index unless the webmaster has blocked or modified the content or removed the page. If you would like content removed, you can work with the site owner to do so, and then use this tool to expedite the removal from our search results.

If you have found search results that contain specific types of personal information, you can request removal even if you've been unable to work with the site owner. For this type of removal, provide your email address so we can work with you directly.
 
If you have found search results that shouldn't be returned with SafeSearch enabled, you can let us know using this tool as well.

You can check on the status of pending requests, and as with the version available in webmaster tools, the status will change to Removed or Denied once it's been processed. Generally, the request is denied if it doesn't meet the eligibility criteria. For requests that involve personal information, you won't see the status available here, but will instead receive an email with more information about next steps.

What about the existing URL removal tool?
If you've made previous requests with this tool, you can still log in to check on the status of those requests. However, make any new requests with this new and improved version of the tool.

Next alternative is to Bing

Have you been itching to try out Bing? Looking longingly at the screenshots around the Web wondering how those lucky few got early access? Wondering who you have to know to get an invite code to check out all your favorite queries?
How about the next best thing? Head over to the BehindBing site at http://www.discoverbing.com/behindbing/ and get all the cool-kids info to help you get ready for Bing's public launch. You can see some behind-the-scenes videos (shot with soft lighting so you know they are serious) featuring some of our engineers, way too much Stefan, live Twitter and Blog feeds so you can see what the world is saying about us (that sounds so narcissistic) and most importantly for some — the Product Guide. It has a bunch of great info on all the features, how to use them once Bing is alive for all, screenshots, and screencasts featuring...yes...more Stefan. It's like I'm a video virus. Get it here!
Enjoy!
Stefan Weitz,
Director,
Bing

What makes a search engine “semantic”? -Dr. Tomasz Imielinski

Recently I took part in a panel discussion at SemTech 2009 on the timely topic of “semanticity” of search engines. In the last few years, many "semantic” search engines have been launched, and the term “semantic” has become open to broad interpretation and use due to the lack of defined industry metrics. It’s a question I’m often asked at conferences: “What qualifies a search engine as semantic?” Is the use of some Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies sufficient to award such a definition? When can a user say that the search box really understands his or her queries in the same way another human would?
In a new paper entitled, “If You Ask Nicely I Will Answer – Semantic Search and Today’s Search,” which I’ve co-authored with Alessio Signorini, we propose a family of metrics to evaluate the semantical invariance of search engines, and we report experimental results for well-known search engines. I will present and discuss this paper at the IEEE Conference on Semantic Computing (ICSC 2009) this fall in Berkeley.
Here is an abstract of our conclusions, and let me start with an example from our IEEE paper:

Imagine a four-year-old as a human search engine…
Let’s suppose that search engines had the intelligence of a four-year-old child. If that is the case, one could just imagine the following dialogue taking place:
 
User: How is the weather in Hawaii at this time?
Engine: I do not know.
User: What is the weather in Hawaii islands right now?
Engine: I don’t know!
User: OK, “current weather in Hawaii”
Engine:  How many times will you ask the same question?  I told you already, I have no idea!!
Even though that human search engine is entirely clueless about the status of the weather in Hawaii, it is nevertheless semantic: it knows that it does not know. But it does understand that the user keeps asking the same query, although differently phrased.
Humans recognize quickly that two questions can really be simply a different phrasing of the same one. Yet search engines most often don’t understand this.  And until they do, they cannot properly be called semantic.  So, “Top 10 songs”, and then, “Top ten songs” bring different – albeit still relevant – results. But they should not…
It’s not the technology you use, but the effect which you achieve…
How invariant search engine results are under rephrasing (paraphrasing, extra hints, etc.) is, to us, a reflection of how semantic the search engine is.  
It is largely irrelevant how semantic invariance is achieved (i.e. which search technology is used: NLP, statistical analysis of query sessions, etc).  What matters is the final effect.  If semantic invariance is poor, users have to work harder… or – in human terms – they must “ask nicely”. But what that tells us is that search engines are not doing the work they should be.  They are not bearing the burden for the searcher – which they should be.  I believe this can be measured – as we propose in our IEEE paper – by massively testing semantic invariance.
To this end, we propose simple metrics based on the entropy of the results that a search engine returns for clusters of semantically equivalent search queries.  We can measure the overlapping of results (are they stable? does a different URL move to the top if you just ‘ask differently’?).  Does an “ORA” (one right answer), such as “who won the Super Bowl in 2006,” become impacted by how you actually phrase the question?
Here are our conclusions, which we provide in more detail in our IEEE paper:
1. First, the invariance of results for general search queries is still poor. Today’s search engines are very sensitive to the way queries are actually phrased. They are all mostly keyword-based, and far away from simulating human query understanding. 
 
2.  Second, search queries with a “One-Right-Answer” for popular subjects (such as the Super Bowl query) appear to be  well served by today’s search engines, which manage to return the correct answers in their result pages with surprising  invariance to the form or manner of the query.  Unfortunately, this is most likely to be a Pyrrhic victory to today’s engines – because this success is most likely a consequence of the massive redundancy of information on the web.  There are multiple pages talking about the same “facts” in different ways. For topics of massive interest (e.g. the World Cup) many people create pages with the same or similar content. The subtle differences on the language and structure used to present this information help search engines to deliver at least one copy of the information through simple keyword matching.
The recent widespread adoption of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques also plays an important role in this challenge. While those techniques are unfortunately often associated with spam, their original intent was legitimate: help search engines to do a better job while indexing and ranking page contents and URLs.
A truly semantic search engine would take care of invariance at the query level, clustering together all its possible rephrases into one unique concept to each answer, and would deal equally well with popular and unpopular topics (from the World Cup to, say, a small local soccer league in Quito, Ecuador).
The data we collected also confirms that the stability of results under rephrasing for general queries is still poor in all the major search engines. Our experiments with simple numeric synonym replacements (e.g. “10” with “ten”), as well as the ones involving the addition of redundant category terms, indicate the heavy reliance on text matching.
The keywords used in the queries, and their position, strongly influence the distribution and the order of the results returned. This is unacceptable in a semantic world of advanced search engines, where the common goal must be to lift from users’ shoulders the burden of “asking in the right way” to get the right answer.
There’s much more on semantic search you’ll be hearing from me and from Ask in the weeks and months to come.  You can pick up a copy of our paper at IEEE to see what else we found… and look for it here too on the Ask Blog.

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Way to Place a Classified Ad on Craigslist

The Internet has literally revolutionized the way we buy and sell items. Web sites such as Craigslist have become enormously popular in recent years—with over ten million unique visitors every month and ten million new classified advertisements placed every month, it’s ranked in the top ten most popular Web sites in the United States. Placing classified ads on Craigslist is very easy, and completely free. Craigslist has local sites for all U.S. states and a large number of international cities so, no matter where you are, your Craigslist ad has very high potential readership.
Instructions
Step 1 : Navigate to the Craigslist home page and choose a local site to post to—this can be a state, province, city or country (see Resources).

Step 2 : Click the Post to Classifieds link in the top right corner.

Step 3 : Select a category and then a sub-category to post your classified ad.

Step 4 : Write your advertisement using the form provided. Click Continue when you’re finished.

Step 5 : Review your ad and make changes if necessary, then click Continue.

Step 6 : Read the Terms of Service on the next page, click Accept to agree, and then check the information in the confirmation window.

Step 7 : Check your e-mail for a “self-publishing message” from Craigslist. Click the link in the e-mail message to access the publishing form for your ad.

Step 8 : Review your ad one last time then click the Publish button. Your ad will appear on Craigslist within fifteen minutes.


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12 FREE Tools and Resources to Save You Money and Make Your Business MORE Profitable!

When establishing a Web business, you have to be sure that your most important e-business tools are high-quality, dependable products and services.

But if you're like many new online entrepreneurs, you're probably curious about various free tools and resources you may have heard about or discovered yourself when surfing the 'Net for information. And you may be wondering if it's worth your while giving them a try.

My first word of advice on free tools and resources is this: Always be cautious. Free tools can be unreliable or come with hidden "catches," like requirements that you display certain advertisements.

However (now that I've told you the downside), there are a number of very good (and reliable!) tools and resources available on the 'Net that are FREE.

And these can be excellent ways to complement your existing tools at no cost, helping you to make your site stickier and more user-friendly, make your keywords more effective, keep an eye on your competition, find potential business
partners, and more...

Of course, you should still take care in the "free" world, and always be aware of what you may have to give up (like reliability) or give over (like advertising space on your site -- and potential customers).

But the following 12 tools and resources can be effectively used to give your online business that extra edge you need to stay ahead of your competition.

1. Free link partner evaluation tool

http://download.alexa.com

The Alexa toolbar is one of the most useful tools around for businesses on the 'Net. Alexa provides a free, downloadable toolbar that opens in your web browser whenever you're online.

The most useful feature is a "site info" option. When you click on this button, Alexa lays out all the details of the site you're on, including...

The traffic ranking of the site (this is also listed right on the toolbar itself)

A list of related links (two or three of the most popular links also appear on the toolbar)

The number of other sites that link to the site

The contact information of the site owner

All site/user reviews

This is the exact information you need when you're researching high-traffic sites in your industry and considering link partnerships or joint ventures. Use this
information to...

Decide how much you're willing to pay for advertising

Make educated decisions about the worth of a joint venture partner

Determine the credibility and the perceived value of the site

The list of related links -- which also has its own button on the toolbar -- is an excellent way for you to find other popular or similar sites that might be good linking partners or joint venture partners.

Use this list to determine other popular sites that your target market visits -- start by looking at your own site with Alexa's toolbar, and see what related links are suggested!

The toolbar also contains a Google search option, so you can jump directly into a search without having to leave the page you're on.

If you prefer not to download the toolbar, you can still take advantage of these features right from Alexa's site: http://www.alexa.com

2. Free market research tool


http://www.google.com/toolbar

(Make sure to check the "Enable Advanced Features" option when you download it to enable all the options.)

When you're building a successful online business, you'll probably need to spend hours at a time researching your competitors and your target market, and looking for new product ideas.

The good news is that there are some nifty free tools available on the Google Toolbar that can make this whole process faster and a lot more productive:

"Google Groups" search: This is great for product or market research, as you can search for your keywords within the thousands of Google Groups online and find forums relevant to your web site.
By checking these forums regularly, you'll get to know what's important to the people in your target market.
"Search News": This feature lets you find news stories relevant to your web site, e-zine, or blog within news pages indexed by Google. It's great for sparking content ideas or just keeping up with the latest developments in your market or industry.

"Web Directory" search: This option lets you search Google's directory for sites that match your search terms. It's ideal for finding out how many competitors you may have for a new product, and for seeking out potential linking partners.

"Search Froogle": Froogle lets online shoppers search for products and compare prices. It displays pictures, prices, and links to online stores in the results, so you can use it to quickly research how the pricing of your products or services compares with other offerings across the Web.

If you have an idea for a new product, Froogle is a great place to check out your potential competion

Once you get the hang of them, these powerful tools can become a great asset to your business because they can save you hours spent on research -- leaving you more time to concentrate on developing new products, new marketing strategies, and other ways to boost your profits.

3. Free image-reducing tool and free "tool kit" trials


http://www.marketingtips.com/netmechanic

NetMechanic is a "tool kit" resource, offering a number of free trials that are great for easily locating potential problems with your site and repairing them quickly. Address problems such as...

HTML code errors
Browser display problems
Lengthy load times
Broken links
Site downtime
Some of these tools will even give you a free monthly update! However, you'll get a limited version of each tool unless you're willing to pay the fee. But NetMechanic's image-reducing tool, GIFbot, is totally free and is a particularly useful resource.

Using GIFBot is an excellent way to reduce the file size of your images so that your web pages load faster -- and you don't lose those impatient surfers.

Copywriting Techniques - Seven Vital Elements That Will Make Your Salescopy SELL
Blogging for Business - How Make Blogging an Effective Strategy for Your Business
Internet Marketing Strategy - "Make 2006 Your Most Profitable Year EVER with These 'Top 5' Up-to-the-Minute Strategies!"
How to Start with ZERO Visitors, Test Your Web Site to Maximize Sales, and Then Roll Out a Traffic Campaign That Attracts 1,000s of Qualified Buyers
How Responsible Pop-ups Can Boost Your Opt-Ins, Increase Your Sales, and Inform Your Customers!
How to Direct Qualified Buyers STRAIGHT to Your Product or Service by Getting Listed on the Shopping Bot Sites!"
Three Cheap and Effective Ways to Drive Tons of Highly Targeted Traffic to Your Web Site!
Easy Tricks for Simplifying Your Web Site and Turning At Least 60% More Visitors into Sales!
Start Internet Business Idea - Start Your Own Internet Business With These Free Product Ideas, Yours For The Taking!
The Three Common Traits Shared By “Mom & Pop” Web Sites Earning $100,000 to $600,000 A Year
Uncover New Profit Channels for Your Business by conducting an Online Survey
Harness Your Site's Stats to Measure Your Success
Jermaine Internet Marketing Success Story - Internet marketing guru Corey Rudl interviews Jermaine Griggs
How to Start and Promote Virtually Any Business, Product or Service on the Internet?
How to Market Your business Online
Exclusive Case Studies: Three "Regular People" Share Their Secrets to Earning $100,000+ with Their Internet Home Businesses
Exploit one product or idea to its fullest ("banner" example used)
How to use your current customers to skyrocket your profits
Headlines can increase your response by as much as 1700%!
What Marketing Promotions Do I Start First, For The Biggest Profit?
Should I Sell a Product or Service Online?
What Are The 2 Easiest and Hottest Products Online?
Long copy does work on the web -- I'll prove it
Interview with Internet Marketing Success Story: Corey Rudl
How to Spy on Your Competitors - Legally!
How to easily find every site on the web that has a link to your site
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Image files can be reduced by as much as 50% - 85% in many cases, and it's so easy to do that nowadays you'll look totally unprofessional with huge, lagging image files that take forever to load on your site.

4. Free HTML editor and HTML tutorials


http://www.nvu.com

You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on HTML editors and web design software to create your own web site. Nvu is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor that's similar to FrontPage or Dreamweaver -- but completely free to download!

The software allows you to create and manage a professional-looking web site without any knowledge of HTML programming, and includes the following features:

WYSIWYG editing of pages, meaning you can see what your web page will look like as you're creating it

Integrated file management via FTP, so you can upload your pages to your web host

Easy-to-use interface

Free tutorials

If you are interested in learning how to code HTML yourself, here are a couple of excellent tutorial and resource sites where you can learn everything you need to know:

* http://www.davesite.com/webstation/html/

* http://www.echoecho.com

And, for those of you who are a little more technically inclined, you may want to check out some of the many free CGI script resources out there. Two good places to start include...

* http://www.scriptsearch.com

* http://www.cgi-resources.com

5. Free-trial keyword service

http://www.marketingtips.com/wordtracker

Using a service such as Wordtracker allows you to easily discover which keywords are frequently searched by your target market -- but are not being used by your competition.

Wordtracker has compiled a massive database of terms that people search on, so all you have to do is enter your keyword, and Wordtracker tells you how often people are searching that term, how many competing sites are using that particular keyword, and how much they are bidding for the pay-per-click search engines.

A tool like this will help you optimize your search engine ranking by targeting keywords and phrases that are frequently searched by your best potential customers, but that few (if any!) of your competitors are competing under.

Capitalize on the streams of neglected and missed traffic that are passing your competition by -- and even discover misspellings of your keywords that may be drawing traffic!

The free trial version of Wordtracker, however, will only compare your keywords with MSN, while the paid version compiles results from the top search engines, directories, and pay-per-click engines.

If you're happy to limit yourself to MSN, you can use the free trial as many times as you like. Otherwise, the paid version is available for $8.04 per day or $26.81 per week, with monthly and yearly subscriptions available as well.

You might also want to try out Yahoo! Search Marketing's Keyword Popularity and Suggestion tool, available free at:

http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/

Yahoo! Search Marketing's keyword service will give you a list of related searches that include your term and tell you how many times those terms were searched in Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture) in the last month.

This is a good way to find out the popularity of your keyword, but the tool doesn't list bidding amounts. If you're looking for great deals on your keywords, your best bet is to search in both Yahoo! Search Marketing and Wordtracker to gauge popularity, then use Wordtracker to determine your bidding strategy.

6. Free browser compatibility service


http://www.anybrowser.com

The browser compatibility experts, AnyBrowser, offer every tool you'll need to make your site viewable, as the name suggests, in any browser. The most useful tool is the "SiteViewer," which allows you to see your web pages as surfers will see them on multiple browsers.

For example, your site may look different in Netscape Navigator than it does in Internet Explorer -- images may be broken, tables may shift, and so on. With AnyBrowser you can ensure you meet the needs of every browser.

You can also make sure your coding checks out and your links aren't broken, and view an example of how your listing will appear in the search engines (what description will be used, what the title will be, etc.).

AnyBrowser is also a great resource directory, pointing you toward a variety of really useful free tools. It's a great place to find online HTML tutorials, banner exchanges, CGI scripts, and a ton of free resources, including HTML editors, classifieds, fonts, graphics, Java scripts, message boards, and more.

7. Free search tool


http://www.answers.com

1-Click Answers is a downloadable search tool available from the Answers.com search engine. It allows you to search multiple information sources and find instant answers containing concise information on the topic you're searching
for.

After you've downloaded the personal (free) version, you'll have a search bar right on your desktop. When you search on an item, you'll get results from some or all of the following resources, depending on your search term:

Dictionaries
Thesauruses
Atlases
Glossaries
Encyclopedias
... All in just one step! No more messing around with multiple search tools; 1-Click Answers consolidates them in one source to save the precious time of the busy
netrepreneur.

8. Free content


http://www.freesticky.com/stickyweb

This resource is a good place to find free (or cheap) content for your site, so you can keep your site fresh and interesting for your visitors -- and keep them coming back.

Find articles, news briefs, headlines, tickers, tips of the day, and more. The broad variety of topics range from financial advice to hip hop headlines, from travel guides to lottery results. You can also give away free software applications directly from your site, many of which are available for co-branding.

Another good source for articles is www.EZineArticles.com, which offers free content designed for both web sites and e-zines.

Watch that you don't just load up your site with a lot of stuff that you think is interesting. The material you provide has to be relevant to your business and your
customer base.

Also be aware that the sponsorship information that is usually included can pull your readers' attention away from your purpose -- and, most importantly, the sponsors' links can draw traffic away from your site.

It is always a good idea to have quality content on your site, but use discretion and make sure it's worth the risk involved.

9. Free e-mail campaign ROI calculator


http://www.marketingtoday.com/tools/roi_calculator.htm

A very cool tool... Marketing Today's ROI calculator is an easy-to-use little device that allows you to accurately estimate what kind of return on investment you can expect from your upcoming direct mail or e-mail campaigns and promotions.

The most accurate way to operate this tool is to use the response rate you received from your previous mailings to calculate your ROI for future mailings.

All you have to do is enter the numbers: the number of mailings you'll be doing, your total costs, the response rate you expect, the conversion rate you expect, and how much you expect each buyer to spend (i.e., the cost of your product or service).

Hint: If you do not have previous response rates and conversion rates to base your figures on, you should estimate much lower than you think necessary. If you guess too low, you'll just end up with more profits; guess too high, however, and you'll be making a costly mistake.

The ROI calculator is a simple tool that acts as an excellent reality check when you're determining your marketing costs.

10. Free web design tool


http://www.colormatch.dk

Most Internet entrepreneurs have very little, if any, web design knowledge. However, this doesn't have to be a barrier to creating a professional-looking web site.

One of the hardest tasks for someone with no design experience is choosing the color scheme for your site. Well, this easy-to-use free tool allows you to create a complete color scheme at the click of the button.

It also gives you the HTML codes for the colors you choose (every web color has a code, e.g., black is #000000) -- so you can use them on your site and not have to worry if that pink really does match that orange.

11. Free site search tools


http://sitelevel.whatuseek.com

SiteLevel can set you up with effective, free search tools for your web site. If your site is more than a couple of pages and doesn't have a good internal search tool, you're probably losing many a frustrated visitor.

While appeasing your visitors, a site-level search engine also enables you to find out what your users want and need.

SiteLevel's search tools allow you to track what your visitors are searching for and see what they are finding or not finding, so you can adapt to their agendas and increase visitor satisfaction -- and the stickiness of your site.

SiteLevel also lets you customize your own search results page to make it suit the look and feel of your web site.

The basic (free) version has more than enough "oomph" for the average small-business web site, allowing you to index up to 1,000 pages and incorporate a variety of search strategies.

12. More free marketing tools


http://www.thefreesite.com

You got it... The Free Site is free stuff! And lots of it!

Not everything on this site is e-business related, but you can find plenty that is. Probably the most useful section for e-businesses is the "webmaster" section at:

http://thefreesite.com/Webmaster_Freebies/

Here you'll find the "Internet Seer" site monitoring tool that provides downtime alerts so you don't lose valuable customers. You'll also find...

* Tools to help you check your keywords and your link popularity

* Suggested methods of winning awards for your site

* Scripts, banners, and polls

* Guestbooks, message boards, and more...

The Free Site also lists free technical support and online tutorials, free personal management tools, plenty of Java script resources, free fonts, clipart, graphics, icons, and buttons, plus much, much more.

Again, be wary of freebies that ask for advertising space in return... but you might want to bookmark this page!

Final thoughts


One of the great advantages of starting an online business, as opposed to taking the more traditional "bricks and mortar" approach, is that costs are SO much lower. Hosting fees are your main overhead, but these are nowhere near the rent you'd pay for office space for an offline business.

And when it comes to creating and building your web site -- as well as marketing it -- you can further reduce your costs by making use of some great free tools and resources.

The tools I've recommended are personal favorites, and I know you'll find them incredibly useful. But when you're choosing free services or software, always proceed with caution and stay in control with each decision you make. Find out
whether any advertising will be included and whether you will be bound by any restrictions or obligations. "Free" can sometimes mean only that there's no charge -- not no consequences.

Submission list of Google network

The collection of google sites and the submission for url has been created according to the different countries, where you will be able to submit your sites to Google Network manually and increase your visitors and pagerank of your page.