How can I get more visitors to my site?

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SynthaSite FAQ

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Posted 12 years ago

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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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You should find as many ways as you can to promote your site! Once your site is published, make sure people know about it. If you have a Facebook profile, be sure to post a link to your site on it. Participate on blogs or forums in your area of interest and mention your site. Add links to other relevant sites or blogs on your site and then ask these sites to link to you by e-mailing them directly or signing their guest books.
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Bengo

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Here are a bunch of ideas, based on my experience with my site, which as of Feb. 20, 2008 is about six weeks old. See it at http://scratchinpost.synthasite.com/ to get the best understanding of my ideas.

1. Most important: Get Google Analytics so you can track your site's traffic development. I check my results first thing every day, and alter emphasis on my promotion strategies based on what I see.
2. Like goes with like. My site is built around a comic strip that features the rare Russian Blue cat among the characters. I wrote to some Russian Blue fancier sites and mentioned the strip. One wrote back immediately and requested a banner ad linking to my strip that he could put on the home page of his site.
3. Like goes with like, part II. I tracked down blogs based on comics and themes raised in my comic. For example, comics featuring all animals are called "furry" comics. Obviously, I want to locate blogs on Russian blue cats, furry comics, cartoon animals, etc. Now, the ultimate would be to get written up by these blogs, but I have to pace myself because we only have two and a half stories posted so far. I start by finding things to comment on in the blogs. I only comment sincerely. If I cannot think of something meaningful to say, I come back another day. When I comment, I always sign my name and include the link to my site.
4. My site is tightly wired to my blog. I can't say to start a blog if you are not eager to blog, but I achieve a lot of cross traffic from blog to site and back. I write about comics and art in my blog, and when I write about someone else's site or blog, a share of them make the gesture of adding me to their blog links list, or even writing about my site. When I write about someone, I always take care to check my facts and keep know-it-all comments to a minimum. Then I invite them to view my post and mention I will adjust any errors.
5. There are over fifty mega-sites dedicated to hosting comics, referring people to comics or discussing comics on the web. I sought out to find them all. No one had a list with more than eight. Eventually I realized I have the most complete list on the web, so I incorporated it into my site and I promote it. I generally avoid hype, but to capture the likeliest search engine entries I call it "The Web's Biggest Web Comics Link, Host and Portal List." Now anyone seeking comics mega-sites to promote their comic is possibly going to find my list and bump into my comic. If they like my comic, they may link to me. I can't say that many sites will come up with a search target they can fold in to draw traffic, but you should be alert to any possibility.
6. I want to know who is on top. I do searches of top ten, top fifty and top 100 lists to see what comics are popular. My finding is that there is only one furry comic on the usual top ten, and it is not "cute" -- the characters look and act like cynical people with bear heads. I find I don't really like most of the top comics, though I find things to respect about most. I also find comics with sexy girls are popular -- something my strip doesn't have. I can interpret these findings a meaning my comic doesn't fit in and won't rise to the top, or that there is ample room for my comic at the top since it doesn't compete in style with other top comics. As it happens, I have fairly deep credentials as a comic critic and historian, and I believe the weaknesses I perceive among most of the top titles are evidence that I can break in -- IF my comic is good. But it won't break in by itself, it has to join the club. As with blogs, I write to authors of comics I admire and encourage their work. The top authors are buried with email and tend not to answer, so I home in on the comics I truly like regardless of their stature. Some of those comics authors are going to be hooked in with the top authors. You can see where I am going: it is called networking. When you do it, I recommend you focus on speaking to colleagues whose work you admire, offer comments that show you have studied and read their work, and don't shove the idea of trading links down their throats on first contact. Remember: it's no good to fake enthusiasm. You'll get a poor reputation.
7. The first thing you see when you visit my comic site http://scratchinpost.synthasite.com/ is the comic. If you scroll down, you will see I am building a high quality links library that will make my site a resource destination. Resource visitors will come away with some comic awareness.
8. Jazzing Google Analytics can help. After you are familiar with it, consider the "goals" section. This is especially important if you have an e-commerce site. An example of a goal might be someone who has a three page catalog of items for sale, a checkout page and a payment page. The goal would be defined as visiting all these pages in order, and leaving with a purchase. For me, the goal is to produce comics that people will read from beginning to end. I want to develop an internet following towards the day when my comics becomes a book or TV show. A goal I set on Google Analytics (GA) is to have visitors read one of my stories from beginning to end. Each time a visitor doe this, GA reports another goal completion. A goal can be a simple as reading what you regard as the three most important pages on the site. My goal is to see that people don't skip around and ignore the comic. If they do, either my other features are out-competing the comic, the comic is not of interest to the visitors I am drawing, or the comic is poor.
9. Earlier I mentioned comics mega-sites. I approached a small one as an experiment and was accepted. Right away I saw on my GA that they were a top referring site to me. I got another story posted on my site and approached several of the bigger sites, which all accepted me. I expected them to boost traffic even more. It turns out the little site is the most productive, probably because of less competition. But, I do need more time to see how the big ones develop.
10. I mentioned my blog. I didn't link it earlier because I didn't want to send you racing to multiple sites only to have the phone ring and you lose the thread. But you should look it over to see how it relates to my site and understand how it works to build traffic. My wife is the artist on our strip, and she has a blog too. She has less times to make entries, but it also drives traffic to us. The fact that there is a pretty picture of her may make up for our lack of sexy girl characters! Here are the links to both:
http://floatinglightbulb.blogspot.com/
http://dogtoysndriedblood.blogspot.com/
Feel free to practice commenting by saying something about a post on my blog. You can say you read this or not. I'll enjoy hearing from you regardless.
11. A more philosophical point. The internet has a large population of people who are suffering from loneliness. If you can develop a sense of community around your site, and always be welcoming without being insipid, that will draw people. Just be careful not to draw people who are lonely because they are flaming jerks.
12. Banner ad trades. This is another form of link trades, except the links are illustrated banners. I just made my very first banner yesterday (see it here, bottom center of screen: http://www.russianblue.org/ ) and it's not very good. It practically disappears into the background colors, and it lacks animation. Plus, I rushed it, so the artistic quality is inferior. I tried using the "make your own banner" sites but didn't like the formulaic results and site's name on my banner. So I went to Yahoo answers and did Googling until I understood how to do it. (Knowing Photoshop was a key part of it.)
13. Looking ahead, I see myself doing outreach to Labrador dog fanciers, since we have one of them prominent in the strip, and French Poodle folks. I'll get on more comics mega-sites and promote my blog so people will develop an interest in me and by extension the comic. I may explore the world of forums. Meanwhile, I will make sure I do at least one traffic-building thing every day because I know this is a long-term project and the more I do now, the more it will pay off in the future.
I'll be back to post new ideas as I learn. Good luck with your site, and you couldn't ask for a better support staff than Synthasite offers.
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Bengo

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A new tip: Deep links. Deep links are incoming links to pages other than your home page. Google likes to see these, as they suggest valuable content is contained throughout your site. One example is my Synthasite site Psychedelic Treehouse.com. Contained with that site is an important reference directory, http://psychedelictreehouse.com/Colle... - The Directory of Webcomic Collectives. Some users of my site are particularly interested in that, which is almost a site within a site, and I am starting to discover people linking directly to it. When designing your site, if it is going to have more than 5 - 10 pages, make some of them stand out by designing them as "major section" or chapters within your site. Don't make changes to your site design that will make it seem choppy, but do consider giving it a simple, clear text title in a larger font size to establish it as a section. The content needs to be useful in a stand alone way. For example, if I was doing a fan site about the Russian Blue cat variety, I might come across articles about special health needs of Blues, and assemble them into a section called "Health Needs of Russian Blues." That would be likely to get me some direct, "deep" links.

On a related topic, are you showing the world that you are open to linking and link trades? I recommend the following scheme as a starting point, and you can change it as you see fit:

1. Have a links page, and make it appear in your menu
2. Populate your links page with some sites your readers might like. You can use text links or banner links, but a section for both shows people you are skilled at using both if they want to approach you for a trade.

3. Link texts allow a few words saying why the link is great:
OnlyYellowCatnipPowder.com - Get yellow catnip powder here -- and they also have green.

4. At the bottom of the page, make and post your own banners in the popular sizes (button, half banner, banner, leaderboard, square, skyscraper - you can see the names and sizes of these in the blue boxes on this page: http://www.projectwonderful.com/adsea... ).

5. Have a navigation button called CONTACT that says how to contact you. Email is best. Most people stopping by to swap links won't be bothered with shout boxes and forums. Google "email obfuscators" if you want to protect your email from spammers. Get a free, second address from Yahoo or somewhere if you are concerned about your primary address being used by site visitors.

Another point I have to share today is: whatever category your site is in, make sure to track down the bloggers for that category and open communication with them. Start by commenting on posts they make that interest you, and put your URL with your signature. Right above your URL -- the line directly above it -- put a simple phrase stating what your site is about. That tells Google more about the link.

Eventually, as you build bonds will bloggers, they may link or write about your site, or review it or interview you.

Admittedly, if your site is a fun site scattered across multiple personal interests -- WoW gaming, Green Day and fashion, for example -- it will be more difficult to build mutual relationships with bloggers. Sites with a clearly defined purpose are easier to promote.

(Note: if my mention of Russian Blues led someone here by accident, go to RussianBlue.org )
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Guido Graphics

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Hi Bengo, Awesome article! I just started trying to figure out GA and several issues were made clear in your tips. I also tried the ranking tool on forsite, and I have a few questions on it, If you wouldn't mind...It's telling me that there is a problem with www.guidogarphics.synthasite.com vs. guidogarphics.synthasite.com and also, I have made changes to my meta tags and keywords, but when I re-ran the test, the changes didn't apply or change the results. also what's a font tag? If you can help decipher some of this for me, let me know. (I can e-mail the report if needed) Please look at my site and tell me what you think in general, and if you have a few minutes next week, use the e-mail link to contact me with your opinion. I would greatly appreciate any help you can provide... you seem to understand this information quite well. Thanks. http://www.guidographics.synthasite.com
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Bengo

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"Font tag" refers, I believe, to the obsolete HTML tag . It was a way of identifying what font to present but has been replaced by newer methods in HTML4 and beyond... I don't know what you mean by forsite.... One thing I can tell you from experience is when you have long URLs you have to be on guard for typos. You have miss-typed yours above and maybe that is the source of problems in other areas.... As for testing, I have mostly just used Google Webmaster Tools, so I can't be much help without some clarification.....As for your site, I'd consider pruning out the two or three least interesting logos, like Jacob Maxwell. My high school art teacher taught me to always take out the worst as I add new and I believe in that. The screen time for each logo feels 20% too long to me but please allow for the fact that I am old-fashioned and don't really like video. An optimizing consultant -- something I play at -- would tell you that video will cause click-aways. And it will. Some viewers may see it as added sophistication, however.... I just helped my sister build a e-commerce site for her boss and I read up on what the experts are saying, but that doesn't mean they are 100% right....I would make the bulleted list items on the home page into links. They draw the eye more than the tabs and there is no harm in doubling them up...You might consider a STOP option for those who want to exit a video stream; it could link to the home page. Or you could offer a choice between video and thumbnails. Just an idea... Your image of the water and sky is beautiful and perhaps highly personal to you but it doesn't present your work. I thought of these two sites as examples of something you might do to get a wider array of your portfolio on display fast: http://comicofthemonth.com/YaBB.pl and
http://www.arustylife.com/?p=1212
Do you see how they have made collages for borders showing other work? Usually when people attempt this they get too many clashing colors as I'm sure you know, but with Photoshop you can wash the colors out or take them into greyscale.... One thing I am wondering about is if you want to stick to video whether you should consider having two side by side with the first one presenting a new image while the second is the middle of its presentation time.... Next come the more complex issue, which you didn't ask, but it comes up with all small ecommerce sites. If you want people to hire you you need to give them reasons that others can't match, especially if you try AdSense. For my sister's boxx, a jeweler, we decided to emphasize his long experience and central Manhattan location. Google competitors and see what they are doing, and use Compete.com to learn how much traffic they are getting. Compare your site to those who are successful. Keep in mind, though, that a site can generate lots of hits with ads and still land very little business, so try to spot the ones that look truly successful versus just "busy." Price is usually the biggest competitive point, and the phoniest, so figure out how you offer value. Whether it's the latest equipment, the personal touch, low overhead, whatever.... You also have to start looking for people who might link to you, or, second choice, do a link exchange. They should be in your field. Keep your eyes peeled as you study your competitors.....There are two ways to use a web site like yours: as primary contact or supplemental contact. Think about the issues which cause walk-ins and cold callers to hesitate on committing and answer those issues on your site. Then refer those people to your site with your business card or magnet or phone directory ad. That's secondary use and it makes the site valuable while you develop an internet presence....Glad you liked what I wrote above. I'm learning all the time and always am happy to share. Hope this wasn't too repetitive. Bengo LilNyet.com
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Guido Graphics

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Thanks for taking the time to write that up! You are very kind. It will take me some time tommorow to sort through it all, but I'm sure I will be able to make some improvements based on your suggestions. I've always been into print & signage, and this is my first attempt at web design as a media. Without synthasite, there's no way I'd have gotten this far. The reference to forsite is a site by Boomer. Check it out, it's way cool - http://forsite.synthasite.com/ The link for that rating program is there. Also... the main issue I have with my site name (other then typing to fast, and using only 2 fingers) is the "www" part. I can google both ways, with or without www, and get different results for each. Granted I'm pleased with having 5 or more top listings, but I need to somehow combine the 2, so GA can get accurate info. Is a "redirect" what I need to do? (I see that most of the directorys I'm posting to don't allow "redirects") any thoughts on that?
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Bengo

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Bengo again -- notice how even my icon here ties in to the title and logo of my blog. It's all in the details!
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Bengo

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In my haste, I left something out. One reason for commenting on blogs and web sites and including your name and link is so that people will click on it. Another important reason is that search engines will rank you higher the more they see you have a presence. I don't know the formulas they use, but I suspect a link to you in a post talking about your site is of more value than a link on a links list, which is of more value than a link on a comment. If anyone knows more about this, speak up.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Official Response
Hi Bengo

Thanks for this FANTASTIC article on how to promote your site. I hope SynthaSite users, or anyone who publishes on the web will read it. You have given us a great real world case study of how search engines work. The reason engines like Google give such useful and accurate results is that their formula allows the best sites to rise to the top. This way when you and I "google" we find what we are looking for. The flip-side is that when you publish a site or blog you cannot expect to immediately find your site on the first (or even second, third or twentieth!) page of a Google search. You need to demonstrate that you are an authority in your space, in much the same way that Bengo has done. Your case study relates to comic artists and animal lovers, (of which I am one, therefore although I don't read comics that frequently you have told me why I should read yours!) However, the same principles work equally well for any subject matter. It's all about finding your niche and becoming an authority in your space. Add value to your visitors by having great content, and then network like crazy and the good traffic will come.

And take note, people, by publishing this super cool article on our forum, Bengo has added quite a few inbound links to his site and blog. More power to him!! You are all welcome to do the same by jumping in on this topic, or any other topic related to creating websites. Tell us what you are doing with your site and include a link!

To learn more about how you too can own the web, visit: http://www.synthasite.com: WEBSITES FOR EVERYONE!!!

Happy site building,
Monique
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Bengo

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If you use a blog to promote your site, here is a tool that reports who is linking to your blog, and how heavy your blog traffic is (1 is low, 10 is very high). You can try it on your site instantly at this link: http://www.prsitecheck.com/index.php?...

Then, if you like it, you can install it on your site. Contact me for tips on how to install it and keep it almost hidden from visitors.
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Bengo

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Here is a new tip I learned for those who choose to use Google Analytics. Be sure to use the filter section to prevent your own visits to your site from being counted with other traffic.

The instructions regarding how to obtain and enter your IP address are not well composed. Get your IP here:http://whatismyipaddress.com/ It will quickly appear in the top center of your screen in black without your doing anything.

Return to GA Filters, read the directions and proceed. Enter each number of your IP address and if I understand it correctly, it wants you to make sure you have the slash and dot after each separate number in your IP. The slash is not the regular backslash, so many keyboard users will want to cut and paste from the specimen that appears in the field on Google Analytics.
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southpoint shore

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I was wondering how GA distinguished between me & "real visitors". This explains it. Glad I happened across your comment! It was very helpful. I wasn't sure if there was a function in Synthasite or GA. I just didn't know where to find the "filter". Thanks

Southpoint Shore
http://southpointshore.synthasite.com
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Bengo

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I have published an article of possible interest on my blog. It's about ways to use Google Analytics "Goals" for sites other than e-commerce sites. I thought it might be of interest to anyone following this thread. The link is:

http://floatinglightbulb.blogspot.com...

Bengo
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Official Response
One of our users has started this thread:

http://getsatisfaction.com/SynthaSite...

Anyone looking to attract some traffic should hurry on over and post a link to their site! Create an inbound link and get some attention from other SynthaSite users who would love to see your site!!

It doesn't get any easier than this, folks!
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clouda9

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Wow! This was such a great read and I learned a lot. Interesting site Bengo, I'll be visiting your blog to post a comment. I headed over to Google analytics and applied the filter...woot!
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Kershnee

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Clouda9 is correct, you can learn a lot from other user's posts in this forum. Thanks to all for their contributions.

Regards,
Kershnee
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Bengo

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I'm sorry that one entry is poorly formatted. Some kind of error on my part. When I've time I'll tidy it up.
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Bronson

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Bengo can I advertise on your sites free because honestly none of the ad places people suggest work (free ones) and I have been searching for about 5 hours straight!
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Bengo would only consider giving you advertising space on his site if your content is related to his. Tell us more about what your site is about and we will see if we can help.
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Bengo

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If your advertising budget is zero, I suggest you find sites similar to your own, and write to them proposing link exchanges. If your site is new, the majority will decline, but don't take it personally.

Another tip: include your link with every post so that we can view your site and possibly offer other suggestions.

Here is a link to an article I wrote about linking that may be helpful:

http://psychedelictreehouse.com/Promo...

The article is intended for webcomics authors, but most of it would apply to any site.

I'm trying to build up my paid ad portfolio but if you are new there are many steps you can take to improve your site's visibility at no cost. But you have to read up, and give your site time, and keep improving the content.

Bengo
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Good tips, Bengo. Thank you!
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nmobile10

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fly4world.com
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Ophilian

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Visionary artwork site NEW!! tell me what you think synthasite users. www.justinmitchellarts.synthasite.com
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Ruth

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Your site is very well put together! And the artwork amazing. Great job!
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Bengo

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Justin, very slick. I have been working lately in the area of web text optimization, and I suggest you break down the sentences at the top of p 1, about the art. You have some hefty words and concepts there and if you can make it less cumbersome it will keep people from skipping it. Also, on your links page, why show the URL when you can write the destination name and make it a link? Perhaps that's your preference, which is fine. It's my job to root out the unintentional and suggest options. But tonight, I am just a fellow Synthasite user, offering thoughts per your request. Best, Bengo
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Ophilian

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thanks for the help guys!!!! I was sure that i could link text somehow, but i couldn't figure it out. So i wrote URLS for now. In time i will get it all down again. I will try editing my page 1 paragraph also. Thanks for everything. BENGO and RUTH
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Ruth

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You are welcome. :)
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Ophilian

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New sketch of Heath Ledger as Joker added to site. been wanting to do this sketch for a while. It's at www.justinmitchellarts.synthasite.com Tell me what you think so far guys. Is there any way i can add a comments column to my site??
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Marije, Official Rep

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Hi Ophilian - see this post on comments: http://getsatisfaction.com/SynthaSite...
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Jenny

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It great to se everyones sites.

Here is mine www.rentinreykjavik.com

This is my first and I was surprised how easy it was and FUN
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Hi Jenny! What a beautiful website! I love the way you have customized the style with a unique banner image on each page. Your apartments and Reykjavik look lovely. I have always wanted to visit Iceland. The Blue Lagoon looks magical! Great job on your website. I am glad you had fun doing it!
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halo3gaurdian

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here is my site http://justformyspace.synthasite.com/ i made it about 3 weeks ago please tell me some advice and if i should change something... i think i messed up on the contact me page but idk this is my first website i think i did great and im not finished yet ... please comment!
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Guido Graphics

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Nice template choice. Looks good. You have some grammatical errors...

Hello and welcome to justformyspace. Here you can get FREE myspace backgrounds. If you want to see the backgrounds and their codes, click on the backgrounds tab. Compare this to what you have. Also you have 2 different type faces in the same paragraph. Using bold & italic in the same font is o.k. but mixing fonts is odd.

You posted in an unrelated thread... check out clouda9's "shout out" thread. The link is directly under the original post for this thread.
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Graham

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Hi, just introducing myself (Graham), brilliant discussions here. I am a newbee and thrilled to have created my own website. Please visit it and give me as much feedback as possible. I will appreciate it. www.plumbfixit.synthasite.com
Thanks.
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Ant oil

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You have a very nice easy to follow site.I am a newbee too, and would like to introduce my site, I will be waiting for feedback
www.antoil.synthasite.com
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Ant oil

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Dear Graham,
I made some changes to the site. let me what you think.
www.antoil.synthasite.com
Thank you for your time,
Ant Oil
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Ruth

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You have a great looking site Graham. The style you have chosen suits your content perfectly. It's easy to navigate and the graphics are simple but effective.

I think you've done a wonderful job.
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Ant oil

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Dear Ruth,
Thank you for your feedback, Please share my site with friends and family.

Ant Cream
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bramwell

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Dear,

how to get website traffic http://www.netswitch.com.au/ to this site
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Bengo

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@Graham, @Antoil,

Hi, Graham, Good business concept. If you can communicate to customers all the maintenance points in a home where an annual check-up can save big money, that might make a great page 2.

Some feel ads on a business site like yours diminish the professionalism. Something to consider. Make sure you learn how to optimize your site for search on an on-going basis.

Hi, Antoil,

Wow, what a nifty product. Points for stating the purpose clearly in the first sentence. Do fix the typo in the second sentence though.

To help people while they are in "Wow! This could help me!" mode, you might consider something like an "Order Below" message up top. Small purchases like this are often impulsive and people should learn quickly on your site that it's EASY.

Bengo
LilNyet.com
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Ant oil

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Thanx for the feedback,and the great advice. I fixed the typo"I think" . visit the site again and tell me what you think. Happy to hear from you.
www.antoil.synthaoil.com
Ant oil
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Ant oil

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Dear Bengo,
I made some changes to the site. let me what you think.
www.antoil.synthasite.com

Thank you for your time,
Ant Oil
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Bengo

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I personally like a slighty larger font size, but am probably not in the majority.

May I suggest you study up on ProjectWonderful.com as a possible advertising destination that is quite affordable? I use it myself.
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Bengo

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Can I just say first, that to me, building a site involves hundreds if not thousands or reviews and rewrites, and I know if can sound nitpicking to comment on small details? I don't mean to interfere, just suggest!

Good.

I see you already made an order button. Good on ya. I wonder about the color match with the rest of the site. My skills are weak at color matching, so my wife helps me. This means that if even I notice it, it might be distracting. Maybe yellow on dark gray? I'd say medium attention-getting. You don't want to beat the visitor over the head or they will leave.

Also, you picked up extra indents in the first pages. If you have trouble fixing that, try Undo Formatting for those two lines, then fixing and reformatting, or splice in a copy of a lower line to set the format and edit it to replace the missing parts.

Right - it's Remove Formatting on SynthaSite. The button is close the the right end on the toolbar, which appears when you select some text.
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Ant oil

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Thanks a lot. that was really helpful.
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Ant oil

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Dear All,
I made some changes to the site. let me what you think.

Thank you for your time,
Ant Oil
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lisa

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Can anyone come review my site and let me know what you think. I have had this site for almost a year or longer and made changes throughout. It is about helping others that are leaders into a home business that is affordable for only those that have certain qualities. The site is at www.GoGreenAndProfit.com
I would like to find more traffic coming to my site and would like suggestions and ideas
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KanThaiDecor

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I don't see a links page for exchanging links....This would help you.In fact I have a green site also and would exchange with you.
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Ant oil

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Opps, Sorry I thought that I added my site for everyone to review and add their comment.
please visit :
www.antoil.synthasite.com

Looking forward to hearing from all,
Thanx