Seek And Find
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Want more visitors to your Web site? Then register it with search engines. Search engines are databases used to find Web sites. Users key in words describing what they're looking for, such as "construction equipment" or "Cleveland, Ohio, restaurants." The search engine lists sites matching the descriptions. The trick is to make sure your Web site appears at the top of the list.
A search engine finds Web sites by comparing the searcher's descriptor words with keywords inside Web page headers. (These headers are hidden from view when you look at the site.)
Careful selection of keywords is instrumental in getting the most from search engines. Use the name of your product or service (furniture, accountants), the name of your industry (real estate, manufacturing) and, if appropriate, your geographical location.
Also use relevant modifiers, such as "cleaning" or "housekeeping" if you sell cleaning supplies or "surfing" if you sell surf gear. Always use plurals; that way, a searcher can find your site whether he or she keys in the singular or plural form of the word.
Registering your Web site with search engines is simple and usually free. Just visit the search engine site and click on the button that says something like "submit URL" or "add URL." The screen will show a form to fill in. Within a few weeks, your Web site will be visited, either in person or automatically, to ensure it's appropriate for that search engine; if it is, your site will be listed.
Popular search engines include Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com), Alta Vista (http://www.altavista.digital.com), InfoSeek (http://www.infoseek.com), Excite (http://www.excite.com) and Webcrawler (http://www.webcrawler.com). You can find hundreds of others by visiting the above and keying in "World Wide Web search engines." Or use industry-specific descriptors to find search engines serving your industry.
Donna Chambers is a freelance business writer and small-business owner. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A digital camera--which records images on a floppy disk so they can be manipulated with computer programs--may not seem like a piece of equipment your business needs. But at Johnson's Heating and Supplies Inc., a heating and air conditioning installation and service company in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, you'd be surprised how many different ways the company uses its Sony Mavica FD 7 (which retails for about $699).
"Investing in the digital camera was a wise decision for us," says the company's president, Bruce A. Johnson. "We enjoy outstanding quality images straight off the disk, not to mention the convenience of instant results--no waiting for film processing."
Marketing director Leslie Kaye Jones takes photos of the company's products for use in sales presentations. She also uses the camera to design ads for the local newspaper, the company's Web site and its quarterly newsletter. "It's convenient to be able to use the camera for a specific shot without worrying about photo quality that may be lost when scanning [a regular photo into the computer]," says Jones.
Johnson's trucks all sport the same lettering, thanks to the digital camera. "We took photos of the vehicles to give the truck lettering company," says Jones, "so they can reproduce the same [font] on our new trucks."
The Big Picture
If you're constantly scrolling through documents or struggling to design a page that you can see only a portion of, consider upgrading to a larger monitor.
Standard 15-inch and 17-inch monitors (measured diagonally from corner to corner of the screen) show only a portion of your document page. To see a full page, you'll need a 19- or 21-inch monitor, ranging in price from $600 to $2,000 (standard monitors typically cost $199 to $600).
You'll benefit from a larger monitor if you do lots of graphic design or computer-aided drafting. Heavy-duty Web users also find the larger size eliminates a lot of scrolling through Web pages.
Johnson's Heating and Supplies Inc., (724) 423-1111, http://www.norvelt.com