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Newsletter No.16


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                             Free Pint
              "Helping you make the most of the Web"
                    http://www.freepint.co.uk/
ISSN 1460-7239                                       11 June 1998 #16
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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
            "Web Site Marketing - How do they do that?"
                        by Steve Cartwright

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
                 "How to run a survey on the Net"
                          by William Hann

                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

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        NETNAMES - THE WORLD'S PREMIER DOMAIN NAME REGISTRY

From one-off individual registrations, to global packages, NetNames
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free email and web forwarding, and free transfer to your Service
Provider. Call +44 171 291 3900 (UK FREEPHONE 0800 269049),
email sales@netnames.co.uk or check out http://www.netnames.com

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                             EDITORIAL

I love digital publishing ... where else can I immediately contact
9000 people and tell them I've just spent two days with my wife
helping her give birth to our first baby, a gorgeous daughter
called "Imogen". She weighs 8.5 pounds and says "Hi" to you all!

We have another feature packed issue of Free Pint for you. We start
with a tips article giving you some of the (sometimes surreptitious)
secrets of how Webmasters promote their Web sites.  This is followed
by an in-depth look at how to run a survey or poll on the Internet.

As always, we desperately need your help in promoting Free Pint.
Please forward this email to colleagues or friends, and tell them
they can subscribe for free by visiting the Web site or simply
emailing subs@freepint.co.uk. I'd also love to hear what you think
of Free Pint so why not send me a quick note with your feedback.

May I now invite you to read on and enjoy your sixteenth Free Pint!

Kind regards,
William Hann
Managing Editor
william@freepint.co.uk
http://www.freepint.co.uk/

PS: Free Pint looks best in a fixed width font like Courier, and
is easier to read and use if you print it out first. Reserve your
free copy of Free Pint by emailing subs@freepint.co.uk or visit
http://www.freepint.co.uk/ where you will also find past issues,
advertising & author details, and of course the Free Pint Forum.

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                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
            "Web Site Marketing - How do they do that?"
                        by Steve Cartwright

Attracting visitors to your website is the ultimate goal of every
site owner out there - millions of websites all fighting for the same
visitors.  Many websites fail to attract visitors, not because of the
site's content, but because the site owners have failed to promote
the site. We often refer to the Internet as being similar to a vast
library with millions upon millions of books (websites) - now imagine
trying to find one book that was not indexed (search engines) or
promoted (search engines and links) at all, that's exactly what many
website owners do.

So how do website owners market their Web site?  Why do some
websites appear higher up in lists of search engine results lists?
Follow my "Ten Golden Rules" and you'll learn the basics of how
Webmasters promote their websites. An understanding of how they do it
may make it easier for you to understand the workings of search
engines and the like.

Step One - Webmasters must always remember that a little patience now
can pay off a hundred fold later on.  They will have to live with
mistakes for a long time, with some databases they enter information
into seeming to rarely get updated. Practising a little patience
always pays off.

Step Two - Webmasters go out and explore the Internet, they learn
about their competitors, how to use search engines, plan their
website link strategies (perhaps giving reciprocal links, etc.) and
more than anything else they practice grovelling, begging and
generally being nice ... by helping others they ultimately help
themselves.

Step Three - When Webmasters think they have an understanding of the
Internet the next thing is to review their own website. Does it have
meta-tags?  are all the keywords correct?  have they put up any
mirror pages?  does the site have a title?  and so on. Only when they
are completely satisfied with their website do they begin.

Step Four - It's now time for them to gather the basic information
required together into a promotional survival kit (PSK). No two kits
are ever truly the same as no two websites are ever the same. This is
what we recommend as a basic survival kit: -

- One 400 x 40 static banner (not animated) as used by many banner
exchange programs.

- One small logo to represent their website. It should be designed
with care and a little time spent on it. It should be legible and
meaningful.

- One large logo of any reasonable size, designed with care.

- A list of all website pages with their URLs and page titles which
they wish to have indexed by the major search engines.

- A description of their website which should be concise and
attractive to potential visitors; at least two descriptions prepared,
one with no more than say twenty-five words and one with around fifty
words.

- A list of keywords pertaining to their site, arranged in order of
importance (important ones first). When keywords are selected they
should include intentional spelling mistakes - most people are
terrible at spelling.

- Their full contact details (name, company name, email address,
telephone, etc.).

- The category under which they wish their site to be listed in
directories like Yahoo!

- A description of the target audience for the website.

- Lastly, but most importantly, they should find a means of keeping
track of their website promotion efforts. I use a notepad and pencil,
others use a text editor, whatever you feel comfortable with.

Step Five - this is the last chance to check that everything on their
site is just right and make those last minute changes. After this
they often take a break and get to know their family ... it'll be a
while before they see them again.

Step Six - With the site details to hand they will visit all the
major search engines and add the URL to the database, remembering
that each search engine is different. In one to six weeks or so
their site details will start to show up in search results.

Step Seven - Many Webmasters find that most visitors to their site
will not actually come from search engines, they come from links with
other sites. Finding sites that are prepared to link with them is not
as hard as you might think. They often already know who their major
competitors are, and can find out and write down the URLs. They can
then visit a search engine like Infoseek (http://www.infoseek.com/)
and type in "link:http://www.example.com" which will give them a list
of all websites that are indexed as linking to the competitor's site
(example.com). They can then visit each one of these sites and ask
them for a link. A common introductory email often goes along the
lines of:

"Hi,

We have just visited your wonderful site and we liked it so much we
thought we'd ask if you could review our website to see if it
warrants a link from a site as good as yours.

We particularly liked ... [a little praise goes a long way here]

Our site covers ... [here they briefly explain their site with the
twenty-five word description]

Thank you, all help in promoting our site is appreciated.

Sincerely
Name
"Tag line 1"
http://www.example.com/
http://www.example.com/banners.html  [the page with link banners]"


As you can see the email grovels a bit and praises the other
Webmaster - nothing they like better than this.  The email gives good
concise information which doesn't take too long to read, and it gives
a link to the page on the website which contains suitable banners.

Step Eight - Good signature files are essential as you can see in the
example email above. The signature file goes at the end of all emails
they send - not only looking professional but also helping to bring
in visitors.

Step Nine - Webmasters will visit a few newsgroups, reading the
messages for a while before posting any questions/answers so that
they do not get accused of blatant advertising. All postings and
answers are always to relevant newsgroups and are followed with the
signature file. In this way everyone that reads the posting is a
potential visitor.

Step Ten - Start again. Search engines and sites change, and
Webmasters need to constantly promote a website to ensure its
continued success. But a Web site's promotion is never finished ...
and it must of course be supported by offline advertising as well for
credibility.

If you watch out for some of these tricks then next time you will
know when a Webmaster is surreptitiously trying to get you to visit
their site!

Steve

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Steve Cartwright is the general manager of WebSite-Designs, a
specialist website design company situated within the United Kingdom
but employing people from as far away as Australia and America to
ensure all our customers get the website they deserve. A Company
with a global presence offering website design, website promotion,
maintenance contracts, custom designed graphics, and a full range of
Internet services. Visit the site for further details or simply have a look
around and maybe use some of our free resources, free graphics, free
counters and free self-help areas. http://www.website-designs.com

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                       France '98 - World Cup

        Sick of talking about the World Cup all day (or not?)
                     Maybe you need to move jobs

If you work in any sort of information role and fancy a change contact
        Sue Hill Recruitment, 71 Montpelier Rd, London SE15 2HD
Tel 0171 732 6671/Fax 0171 732 6718 jobs@suehill.com www.suehill.com

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   "Advertising messages here are seen by 9000 information workers"
            Full details on the page for Advertisers at:
               http://www.freepint.co.uk/advert.htm
                or call now on +44 (0)1784 455 435

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE
                 "How to run a survey on the Net"
                          by William Hann


Introduction
============

Following the article in the last issue about automating tasks using
"Bots" we were contacted by a number of people who were hoping that
the article would be about the automatic analysis of results drawn
from surveys conducted over the Internet.

Internet surveys can range from a simple one question poll on a
homepage through to a full blown questionnaire delivered by email.
However little is known about the effective way to present such
surveys and so this article will bring together our experience and
that of colleagues to give some handy guidelines in running an
effective survey online.

Web Based Survey
================

The most common type of survey is a Web based one which is presented
on a Web page (or over a series of pages) and where respondents enter
their responses into a form created with HTML.

You can design the form yourself (preferably using an HTML editor) or
use a program like InfoPoll Designer (http://www.infopoll.com/) to
help you.  InfoPoll, for instance, gives the form additional
functionality by adding client-side JavaScript verification of a
field's response.  For example, when designing the form you can state
that a field should contain a numeric response and if the respondent
enters an alphabetic one then they will see a JavaScript error
message in a pop up window.

The simplest way to capture the completed form is to use a form
handler CGI script.  Such a script is usually made available by
your Web site host, even if you aren't able to run your own scripts,
and the script will often display a "Thank you" page upon submission.
We use this process when someone subscribes to Free Pint on our Web
site homepage. Our preference is the sophisticated form handler
script from Matt Wright's book "CGI/Perl Cookbook"
(http://www.cgi-perl.com/), which sends an email containing the
respondent's email address to the list manager software whilst
simultaneously emailing us with details of the person's occupation,
country and how they heard about us. We track with a simple paper
based system to keep a tally of responses. After submitting their
subscription request the person is shown an automatic and personalised
Web page which uses the name they entered on the form, and shows
whether they subscribed or unsubscribed, for instance "Thank you
William Hann for subscribing".

You can also get the form handler script to log the responses in a
directory on your Web site for backup or some other reason. Some
Web sites choose to deliver the form using a "mailto:" HTML function
but beware as this isn't supported by a number of browsers, can be
switched off by the user, and doesn't display a "Thank you" message
page following submission of the form.

If you are expecting a large number of responses then data collation
and analysis are made much simpler if you are able to run your own
CGI scripts on your Web site. There are many scripts which can be
found on the Web which you can download, modify and run on your own
server. Many of the scripts have "lite" versions which are free, but
you will have to pay a few hundred dollars for the fully functional
and flexible scripts. The first place I look for downloadable scripts
(including demos) is the CGI-Resources Web site at:

www.cgi-resources.com/Programs_and_Scripts/Perl/Survey_and_Voting/

Survey and polling scripts will allow you to use many different
question devices.  Common ones include multiple choice, vote on a
scale (e.g. 1-10) or free text vote (e.g. "Please enter the URL
of your favourite site").  The script should then collate the
responses and generally make the results dynamically available on
another page. This page is often shown to the respondent as soon as
they have completed the questionnaire with their quantitative
responses incorporated into charts, graphs or percentages.  Obviously
with qualitative free text answers (like the "favourite site" example
above) the list of answers can become very long.

To stop the same person responding more than once, some scripts make
a note of the respondent's IP address and then won't allow them to
respond again within a certain time frame or until another person has
responded.  For instance, on the Free Pint site a few months back we
had a question asking which country a subscriber was based in. The
results (including percentages) were shown immediately after response
and the IP address was noted to stop duplicate voting.
Other more advanced scripts use cookies to control duplication, with
some requiring a person to register and then emailing them a username
and password which they then use to access the Web page containing
the survey.

If you are unable to run CGI scripts on your site then you could
consider having the script hosted remotely.  There are a number of
Web sites which offer this functionality (often for free or minimal
cost) and you can find a list on the CGI-Resources page at:

http://www.cgi-resources.com/Programs_and_Scripts/Remotely_Hosted/Sur
vey_and_Voting/

Other sites like PollNow (http://www.pollnow.com/) offer remote
hosting with a Wizard to hand-hold you through creating your survey.
Bear in mind though that anything which is hosted remotely will mean
that the host can easily access all your data and the site can crash
or cease trading without notice or come-back.

It is difficult with a Web based survey to get an idea of the
response rate (i.e. how many people who accessed the survey actually
completed it).  Web page "Hits" and other stats are notoriously
unreliable and un-trusted. One solution would be to have the form
handler script return the IP address of the respondent and you can
then compare this with Web server logs (if you have access to them).
This would of course be very time consuming and there would be
inaccuracies due to dynamic IP addresses.

Some Web surveys have a plain text version available also as you will
often find that people ask you to send them the survey by email. It
is possible to email text files automatically using an auto-responder
or this can be handled on the site by a script.  Alternatively you
could conduct the entire survey by email ...

Email Survey
============

Sending an email survey is totally different from presenting a Web
based one, not least because you generally have to deal with
all responses manually.  Also, with email you have limited layout and
formatting control - long surveys are particularly difficult to
implement because you can't use design, colour and layout to
compensate as you can in Web based surveys.

The email survey will also have to be announced so that email
addresses can collected of the people you're going to send the survey
to. A good way to announce your survey is to participate in
discussion lists and newsgroups. Blatantly plugging the survey may
not be a good idea, but include details in your signature (the few
lines about you at the end of all emails you send). Use a service
like Liszt (http://www.liszt.com/) to identify pertinent lists.

If you have a bunch of responses and you want to attempt automatic
analysis then there are a few packages available for download over
the Net. They are generally a few megabytes in size and do make sure
you have all necessary modules (like Visual Foxpro) to run the
program before wasting time downloading it.

Other Important Factors
=======================

Online surveys take the same amount of effort for question design as
paper-based ones. As with all surveys you need to introduce yourself
and establish your credentials, this being even more important on the
Internet as people are generally more apprehensive in giving out
personal information or opinion to an unseen stranger.

You should try to give an incentive for completing the survey,
perhaps offering to send all respondents an executive summary of the
results. Again, long questionnaires should be broken up into
manageable chunks (e.g. a series of Web pages). This can be achieved
using Cookies in Web based surveys which can identify a returning
respondent. Also, in pull-down lists make sure you have a "null"
value (like "Please select...") so that you will know if a person
didn't select an option.

Lastly, Web and email surveys are quite new and therefore not very
well understood.  We do not know what level of response one should
expect and what can be classed as a "good" response and a
"reasonable" sample. Also, people using the Net are rather prone to
lying or misunderstanding the questions in online forms.  For
instance, a handful of subscribers to Free Pint have listed their
occupations as "drug dealer", "pimp" and "single". You never know ...

Pleasant polling.

William Hann


Useful Links
============

InfoPoll Designer - http://www.infopoll.com/

CGI/Perl Cookbook - http://www.cgi-perl.com/

CGI-Resources - http://www.cgi-resources.com/

PollNow - http://www.pollnow.com/

Liszt - http://www.liszt.com/

Statistical Product & Service Solutions - http://www.systat.com/

Yahoo! Categories
http://www.yahoo.co.uk/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Computers/Softw
are/Surveys_and_Polling/
http://www.yahoo.co.uk/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Scientific/Soft
ware/Data_Collection_and_Analysis/

Autonomy Publishing "Market Research on the Web"
http://www.autonomy.com/market.htm

GVU's WWW User Surveys - http://www.gvu.gatech.edu/user_surveys/

HyperSurvey - http://www.coe.uh.edu/~rmiller/webtmp/hypersurvey/

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William Hann is the founder of the Information Consultancy Willco -
providers of Internet consultancy and training. Full details at
http://www.willco.co.uk/ or email info@willco.co.uk.

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         Visit the Free Pint Web site for all past issues!
                    http://www.freepint.co.uk/

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                              ANAGRAM

                      This issue's anagram of
                         "Willco Free Pint"
                                 is
                       "Nice port - few ill!"

                                                [Thank you Charles H]
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                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

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Subject: Dissertation on Free Pint
From: William Hann, Managing Editor
Date: 30 May 1998

In this issue of Free Pint we'd like to introduce Claire Reeves, a
really bright post-graduate student at City University's Department
of Information Science, part of the School of Informatics
(http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/). Claire is doing a case study of Free
Pint for her MSc disseration which is entitled "A case study of the
Internet Newsletter Free Pint: Implications for Commercial Internet
Publishing Strategies".  Here at Free Pint we are all giving Claire
a lot of help and support, and hope some of you will as well, by
participating in her research. The study is likely to involve email
interviews and questionnaires. If you are willing to help, please
contact Claire direct by email to claire@freepint.co.uk.

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Subject: HTML Version of Free Pint
From: Olly Ogg
Date: 30 May 1998

I was just wandering whether you could produce a version of the
newsletter in HTML.  It would make it a lot easier to read - and I
am sure many would want to put fancy adverts on it.

Thanks,
Olly
http://ogg.home.ml.org

Rex Cooke, Free Pint Editor, replies:

What do other readers think?  Would you like to have the option of
having a plain text or HTML version emailed directly to you?  Let
me know by email to rex@freepint.co.uk. Of course, if after
reading the email version you would like a convenient way of
visiting mentioned Web sites then why not visit the Free Pint Web
site where you will find all past issues with hypertext links
activated (http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/issues.htm).

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Subject: Food Resources Article
From: Sue B, Information Officer
Date: 29 May 1998

Thank you for edition #15 of Free Pint. After having just lost my
bookmarks, and spent a great deal of time over the last couple of
days reviewing and categorising various sites, the suggested sites
for the Food industry will come in very handy.

Regards
Sue

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Do you find Free Pint useful? We would love to hear from you.
Send your letters and questions to feedback@freepint.co.uk or email
William Hann directly by email to william@freepint.co.uk. Please
note, if you write to us we will not publish your letter if you do
not wish us to, and cannot guarantee a reply to all letters. Letters
may be edited for content and length, and we will withhold your
contact details if you wish.

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Thank you for reading Free Pint.  We hope you will forward this copy
to colleagues and friends or ask them to visit our Web site.

                      See you in two weeks!

                           Kind regards,
                   William Hann, Managing Editor
                      william@freepint.co.uk
                    http://www.freepint.co.uk/

(c) Willco 1998
http://www.willco.co.uk/

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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

William Hann, Managing Editor
  Email:   william@freepint.co.uk
  Tel:     +44 (0)1784 455 435
  Fax:     +44 (0)1784 455 436

Rex Cooke, Editor
  Email:   rex@freepint.co.uk
  Tel/Fax: +44 (0)171 681 1653

Alison Scammell, Account Director
  Email:   alison@freepint.co.uk
  Tel:     +44 (0)181 460 5850

Address (no stamp needed)
  Willco "Free Pint"
  Freepost SEA3901
  Staines
  Middlesex
  TW18 3BR
  United Kingdom

Web - http://www.freepint.co.uk
Advertising - ads@freepint.co.uk
Subscriptions - subs@freepint.co.uk
Letters & Comments - feedback@freepint.co.uk
Latest Issue Autoresponder - auto@freepint.co.uk

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Free Pint (ISSN 1460-7239) is a free email newsletter for anyone who
uses the Internet to get information for their work in any business
or organisation. The newsletter is written by professionals who share
how they find quality and reliable information on the Internet.

More details about subscribing, contributing or advertising can be
found at http://www.freepint.co.uk/ or call +44 (0)1784 455 435

Please note: The newsletter is published by the information
consultancy Willco (http://www.willco.co.uk/), and the publishers
will NEVER make the subscriber list available to any other company
or organisation.

The opinions, advice, products and services offered herein are the
sole responsibility of the contributors. Whilst all reasonable care
has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the publication, the
publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.

This publication may be freely copied and/or distributed in its
entirety. However, individual sections MAY NOT be copied and/or
distributed without the prior written agreement of the publishers.
All rights reserved.

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