Bear Web Design Blog

Bear Web Design Blog features news, tips and article features related to all aspects of Website Design, Web Development and Website Management.

Additionally we will also have expert commentary by the Bear Web Design Design and Development Team who have produced over 450 custom websites since our inception in 2000.

It is not “Intent” it is “Content” that Google Ranks You On!

As we enter a new year and many of our clients are reviewing their websites and marketing plans for 2012 I have found myself repeating this line above in both client and prospect meetings:

It is not “Intent” it is “Content” that Google Ranks your website on.

This seems to strike a chord and really helps website owners and managers realize that what your business is about only matches up and gets good results with Google Search Engine Rankings when your website has content that supports, explains and elaborates on that. This does not just mean a well written two paragraphs about your business.  (That’s a start).

You really have two types of core content that you should focus on. One is your static content – such as your About Us, Services & Products you provide, Team Members and Business Location (and coverage range) but the other form of content that is really critical is ‘expert’ content that comes in the form of a Blog.

When you think about it you have two distinct visitors coming to your website – the human that will rate their visit to your website based on design and look of the site, navigation and ease to get to important information, the clarification of your expertise and ultimately the action and engagement they participate on your website.

The other visitor is a robot (Search Engines) that reviews your content (and really can’t rank the human elements mentioned about) but can map and record every piece of content you have and ultimately establish what is the specific core content elements to your website and then match them up to Search Engine key phrases and key words (and ultimately prospects searching for services and business on the web).

This year we have introduced a great extension called Easy Blog as a primary content tool to help clients really develop that expert content.  Easy Blog is “easy” to use and has the capability of automatically updating social media (which is an outstanding feature).   And what I really like in this focus is when you blog on your website you are the primary beneficiary (your website gets better SEO rankings, you get more visitors, you prove your expertise).  And being able to update social media directly is incredibly efficient.

We are generally incorporating Easy Blog into new development’s  but are also encouraging all our clients to consider this to be part of their internet marketing focus for 2012. We primarily add a small portion of the blog to the home page (so visitors can immediately start to get a feel for your expertise and personality). Over the last month we have seen clients incorporate individual or team blogs and the best testimony I have received back to date is a client who had a person respond specifically to a blog (that was found on Google) and ultimately became a customer.

Generally it is not a large investment to do this – but it is a definite team effort with both the client and our team. (The client is the expert in their respective fields and getting them to share that expertise in a sustainable blog is the key!).

We will also be shortly announcing our Spring Blogging Class (our very first) so be watching for that as we all work together to bring more successful outcomes to your website.



How do you Select A Web Design Company?

What are the key factors when selecting a web design company?

Peter Beare - CEO BeareWareThis seems like a very broad question. I don’t think it needs to be. Here are some things I would recommend looking for:

1. Does the company have a good website itself? Does their website provide easy access to their portfolio and websites they have developed? Is there plenty of information that is easy to find about their services, their expertise and what they specialize in. As dumb as this seems if the web design company doesn’t have a great website you have to question their ability to produce a great website for you.

2. Does the company provide a strong design portfolio on their website? The best way to really see how good a website design and development company is – is to look at their work. Do they have a good portfolio – do they explain the different industries they develop for and do they identify the features involved with their portfolio. And…. do you like the websites in their portfolio?

3. Does the company offer expertise in multiple disciplines? This should include graphic & web design, web marketing, web development & computer programming, web hosting & management and business development. You should be looking for a company that will collaborate with you from the start of the project thru to web hosting & support.

Does that mean hiring a large company that has a lot of different people who have these skills sets?

Not at all – but you want to make sure you have a full understanding of the team that is going to develop your website and that they have the necessary skills sets.  It generally takes at least two people in my opinion to ensure a great website. You should have a dedicated designer and developer and then at least one other person managing the entire process (Project Manager and Customer Relations). When you take into account how subjective graphic design can be it is always a good idea to have the client, the web designer and the project manager all working together during the design process.

The designer and developers primary job is to produce the best possible design and then successfully develop and implement that website. Their focus should be very specific. A project manager helps keep the development on track – and also looks at areas such as hosting, management, support, training and domain names. You also want this process to be mean and lean – and within your budget and time frames – so look specifically at the team that is going to build your website and make sure they can deliver.

Other key points to consider are:

4. Does the company offer Web Hosting and Management? Beware of companies that sell you on the best website designs – and then look you in the eye and state – “You can host your website anywhere….”. This is a sure sign that this company does not see a role with your company once the website is launched. They don’t see you as a long term relationship – and they are there to basically design and run.

5. Will the company meet or conference call to discuss your business in detail? You really want a web design company that has a collaborative approach to your website – teaming up with you to produce a successful outcome. It is unlikely that filling out a quick application form online and a “we will be back to you shortly with your quote” is going to cut it. Your website is an extension of your business and marketing models and collaboration is required to successfully incorporate that into a website.

6. Will the company provide client referrals for design, development, hosting and management? Speak to the web design company’s new client(s) and discuss the design and development experience. Then contact an existing client to discuss hosting and support experiences. This should give you a good feel for whether the company is right for you.

7. Will the company provide you with a detailed proposal/quote? This should include hourly billing rates, specific breakdowns of the project, timelines for tasks to be completed, and should include domain setup and registration and hosting. The proposal should cover from the start of the project all the way to annual hosting, support and training. 

You seem pretty passionate about this. Care to elaborate?

BeareWare provides fixed pricing on all our proposals and quotes. We are passionate about delivering a client’s website on budget and on time.

I think a web development project can go south before it even gets started pending the proposal and quotes that you have in place. I cannot imagine how many businesses have entered into a web development project and not got fixed costs and guaranteed timelines. Months later and thousands of dollars spent the client still hasn’t actually got the website they want – and worse – the web design  company doesn’t host websites – so now the website’s full responsibility falls back to client.

The proposals and quotes don’t have to be pages of agreements to be effective. They must cover all aspects of the web project – hourly billing rate, specific development tasks and the time involved, hosting and domain name setup and training. You want to cover everything and you want have a guaranteed cost on that these tasks. And if things need changing – if the first sample designs don’t meet your expectations – what happens – who pays for extra project work. All these items must be clear before you commence you new website.

8. Do you feel you can communication effectively with the company? This should be established in your inquiry calls, meetings, and proposal/quote process. Your website is such an important part of your business and in many cases it will be part of your daily business operations. In these cases do you feel confident you can pick up the phone for support or for analysis discussions with this company?

9. Can the company identify clear units of measure to track the success of your website? This is an area that is often overlooked. What are the parameters that are most important to the website – is it overall traffic (unique visitors) or is it specifically the e-commerce dollars generated or prospects established. It may be a combination of each – but the measurement of your website should not be based purely on “it looks nice” – it should be based on statistics – so make sure the design company has a strong knowledge of webstats.

10. Does the development include training for your CMS Website? I have seen several web design companies stating “how easy” it is to update you own website content with a CMS system. Of course this statement is generally written by an industry based professional – and although the CMS systems are reasonably straight forward to use – always ask about training – does the design company provide users manuals. Establish whether the web design company has a heart of a teacher in their approach to working with you.

In summary there are some good questions that you can ask when researching a web design and development company. Look for a company that has a long term view to your relationship as this will help guarantee your long term success and satisfaction. Stay clear of the design and run companies and make sure your development has a fixed budget. Ask plenty of questions and make sure you find a company that you feel comfortable communicating with…

Goodluck with your new website!

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare, Webmaste
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here

Peter Beare, BeareWarePeter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included strategic website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still primarily a webmaster. And this is “Interview with a Webmaster.”

Empower Yourself – Learn The Web Jargon

Teaching a Web Content Management class recently I included a “jargon” take home test that was handed to our attendees at the end of the class. I have always been very sensitive to computer jargon since my college days – where I studied computer science.

I actually have always been uncomfortable with using it – in particular when you know the jargon to be confusing to the person that is not an actual computer geek.

Isn’t Web Jargon just a continuation of Computer Jargon?

Definitely a byproduct started by the smartest guys in the room (the computer geek – not the former Enron Directors)… The computer industry is around 30-40 years in age and with technology changing rapidly jargon has always been a big part of its culture. But I must say with the web world (around 10 years old) appears to have taken jargon to a new dimension. And being in complete sync with the web – every new process that is established opens up the door for a new term of jargon. This new jargon will quite often appear in sales and marketing of online products which is really an issue from my point.

So Jargon is Used Deliberately in Online Selling?

I think it is – and it is definitely used to increase sales. Being the sales person responsible for selling web services for BeareWare I am very aware of the confusing aspects that the most computer literate folks have in some of the key areas of web design, web development, domain management, web hosting and web content management. But I have to admit this could not be exemplified more than buying a domain name which on some registrars is at the point of absurd in terms of what you are offered (or asked to buy) – as part of the domain registration process. Quite a lot of the jargon has simply been created to give validity to “questionable add-on” sales products and to cash in on the lack of knowledge of the person making the domain registeration.

Do you Want Fries With That?

I was recently buying domains for a client on a registrar (for this article lets call the registrar Stop Momma). My client maintains a domain account with Stop Mommy and I logged in ready to acquire the new domain names we needed. I was buying 2 groups of domains so I typed in the names of each domain I wanted. All were available except one – which came up with our first piece of jargon – It was a “Premium Domain” that was being sold thru the registrar. So first question – what is a “Premium Domain” name. Interestingly enough each domain was costing $8.90 each but this “Premium Domain” name was selling for $3,195.00. (that’s right – over three thousand dollars).

In this case the phrase “Premium Domain” name is used by all registrars and also domain brokers (companies that broker the sale of domain names). Premium “implies” some significant value in the domain which may OR may not actually be the case. So it was a BIG NO to the Premium Domain. (I had passed the first “JARGON TEST”).

I have to say the screens were so totally confusing (at the very bottom of the screen) is the actual “proceed” to checkout. The main screen is full of options and suggestions (all with cost attached to them). One option asks would you like to make your registration “private”. A private registration is where you get to “hide” the actual owner of the domain name from public view.  For the life of me I do not know why you want to do this – and to be frank I don’t know why ICAAN allows for this. The claim is that the spammers will be able to access your name and e-mail address and will bombard you consistently with spam. From BeareWare’s point of view it simply makes our job harder when a client calls needing help with their domain name (and of course they don’t know who the actual registrant is as their registering is a private registration).

Next at our Stop Momma Registrar we are offered the entire gamut of web services ranging from “Web Hosting” to “Custom Web Design”. Of course the whole purpose for my visit to Stop Momma was to register domain names (and only register domain names) – but you could imagine the small business person at this point in time – do we need private registration – do we need web hosting – (and of course there is reinforcing marketing behind every question – quite often laced with the some fear overtone if you don’t. select the choice).  Already you should be seeing the importance of arming yourself with Jargon knowledge – you will pay for it if you don’t…

So after I get thru the Web Services offers I finish up with a page listing every “similar” domain name on the market that may be available including other extensions such as .net., .org, biz, etc). The funny thing about this offer is the web page states “You have made a premium domain name purchase” – why you should now secure other domain name extensions. This is a classic – I was offered a “premium domain’ for over $3,000.00 in one of the initial sales screens – but now for just $8.90 I own a “premium domain” – and should registered every extension and any remotely similar domain to protect my investment.

I finally pay my account at Stop Momma and then end up on an another sales page (that has my payment receipt embedded in it). To honest I am thankful I am finished. Although this is just a small example of the jargon that is used in the web industry – I think the message is clear that may vendors on the web will sell with deliberate jargon to bolster sales – lets face it – isn’t their job as is any business to make money – so the best way to help empower yourself is to spend some time understanding the language…

Here are a few jargon items from BeareWare’s Online Webtips just to get you going:

Primary Website Statistic:
A websites primary statistical measurement is Unique Visitors (not Hits). The number of visitors dictates e-commerce and prospecting results.

Website Hits Terminology:
HITS are the number of graphics loading on any particular webpage. Hits have been used to inflate the perception of website activity. Website hits are irrelivent.

What is a Registrar?
A Registrar is a company that provides domain registration to the general public. They are authorized and governed by ICAAN in performing this role.

Who Governs Registrars?
Registrars are authorized and governed by ICAAN to register domains with the general public. Registrars making money on every domain they register.

What is Search Engine Optimization?
Seach Engine Optimization (SEO) – Is the process of optimizing your position in a search engine based on key words and phrases.

Search Engine Positioning:
Search Engine positioning cannot be guaranteed by anyone. Positioning is based on a set of proprietory parameters set by the Search Engine.

What is Opensource?
Opensource is software developed under a set of principles & practices with source code available to users. * BeareWare uses the opensource product – JOOMLA.

Technique on Website Research!
A great way to research a new website is to look at competitors and industry sites that you find appealing. Be sure to spend some time on each site.

What does URL mean?
URL is the website address of a website – – is BeareWare’s URL

What is a Keyword Domain?
A keyword domain is a domain name that contains a keyword that describes your business, products or services.

What is a Title Tag?
Your title Tag is your websites top line (at the top of your browser). It is beneficial for SEO to have your keywords included in your title tag.

What is a BLOG?
A blog is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other media content.

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here

Peter Beare, BeareWarePeter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.

Great Websites Require Great Team Work!

Over the last year in particular I have really become aware of the important connection between a website owner and their website. The arrival of Content Management Systems have provided website owners with the opportunity to update their websites directly and in my opinion (and most important) allowing the website owner to be an active participant in the process.

And I might add not every website owner understands or view the website from this point of view. At least not initially but make no mistake about your website – it is a part of the team and it is going to play an active role in your company’s success.

In the old days (first generation – or Web 1.0) websites were seen as electronic brochures to a large extent. You were really taking the marketing and sales brochure of your organization and placing it online. Based on past experience and also the process of which websites were primarily managed back then – creating and launching a website was a “one time” event with the website going live and then “great – I don’t have deal with that for another few years”. Further your connection to any updates to that website were thru your webmaster (usually your remote webmaster). Generally to pay a webmaster to update your website was costly – so this reinforced the one time setup process of a website…

Roll forward to Web 2.0 and websites have now become a much more active part of the operations of a company (including the marketing, sales, and operations). The basis of a glorified brochure sitting online is really become a thing of the past and content management systems are becoming the norm. Here is just a few roles websites now play:

1. First impression of your company for a prospective customer (Marketing)
2. Introduction information about your company and key stay (Marketing)
3. Descriptions of Services and Products that your company sells (Marketing)
4. Key Contact Information, Directions to your office – e-mails & phone numbers. (Marketing)
5. Inquiry forms that intice a prospect to send a sales inquiry. (Marketing)

The above items not only play important roles for prospects but also provide existing customers with reference information that may be used to extend or introduce a new relationship. Today websites participate in many operational tasks including:

6. Online Content, blogs, e-NEWS, photos and multimedia (Operational)
7. Online Shops and e-Commerce (Operational)
8. Subscriptions and registration processes (Operational)
9. Customer forms and documents (Operational)
10. And 3rd Party add-on products such as Real Estate IDX.

These items should really highlight the level of activity that a website is capable of and also reinforce the need for your website to be viewed as a key part of your team. And like any other team member the website and its results should be actively included in periodical staff meetings. For every organization to be able to agressively use their website this team member must have other active staff members involved in its use and operations.

This connect of the client to the website is one of the biggest area BeareWare is now working actively with our clients. To view your website as distant object (managed only by your web hosting or management company is generally not a good plan.) No matter how good your web company may be that – they will never understand your business like you do and more to the point they will never drive it. (YOU and YOUR COMPANY WILL ALWAYS DRIVE YOUR WEBSITE)  A good website hosting and management company should be focused on client educational and operational development. The key to a successful website actively requires the website owner to play the game as well!

So take the time to consider your website’s role within your organization. Starting with the education of staff members that learn how to update and manage content. Expand your knowledge of website statistics (so you can track and measure your success) – and make these results a part of your corporate reviews and analsys. Call your website “Wilbur” if you have to – but be sure to create a culture where your website is an absolute part of your team!

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here

Peter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.

How did your website perform this year?

If you were asked today how did your website perform this year could you give an informed, statistical answer? Websites are now a key component of most business and like any other part of your business – understanding how this area performed – and what changes or improvements might be needed should be at least an annual part of business planning.

Peter Beare, BeareWareGranted websites come with lots of statistics and you could actually easily spend hours analyzing these stats. Quite often some of these stats are non meaning or not relevant to a business. But what are the important statistics and what should you focus on? Once you have developed a technique interpreting your website you should be able to review and interpret your website results within 15 minutes.

Web Conversions

Ultimately we want to know how much business was generated or created by the website (known as a web conversion). This is black and white statistic and usually very easy to establish… We had 500 sales on our website this year or we had 250 new inquiries this year or we had 150 subscribers to our listings. These are the end results of your website – but they are best interpreted and achieved through some key web statistics:

Start with the Basics – How many people visited your website?

I hear it all the time – its stuns me that very good business people and business make these statements – “Our website had millions of hits last year” – giving the impression that “millions of people” visited their website further implying the website produced millions of dollars…

Folks the most important statistic and the primary statistic is a unique visitor (A person that visits your website). A hit is not in anyway related to a person or unique visitor – as described above it is an ignorant (or inflated) confusing statement about a websites performance…

For the record here is the definition of a hit:

A “hit” is a retrieval of any item, like a page or a graphic, from a Website. For example, when a visitor looks at one web page with six graphics this will produce seven hits, one for the page itself and six for the graphics. And a graphic can be photos, logos, graphical buttons, even a tiny arrow or other icon.

So a visitor coming to your website can (and usually does) generates hundreds of hits. But they are still only one visitor – capable of one business transaction (usually)…

OK – We Measure our website by Unique Visitors – What is next?

Visits – How many times did a person visit your website?

The next area to focus on is what that visitor did when they visited your website. First – how many times did they visit the website? This stat is known as “Visits” – a website may have 1000 visitors that visit 3000 times. (which means on average each visitor came to the website 3 times…

Pages Views – How many pages were viewed (read)

The next stat we look at is how many pages were viewed (In essence what pages are being read by our visitors).  This is a critical stat for any website that sells advertising as this usually indicates how many ads were viewed.

Visits Duration – How long was a visitor on our website?

This is a great stat for understanding web visitor’s behavior and it really makes you focus on how quickly you can have your visitors “converted” into a desired outcome. This statistic is an absolute eye-opener about the general behavior of visitors to your site. If your website’s current information (its “content”) is not up-to-date, or it is difficult for a visitor to find that information on your site quickly, chances are the visitor will quickly leave your website.

Frequently Viewed Pages:

This statistic tells you what specific pages are being viewed by visitors to your website. It also tells you the amount of times a particular page is visited, so you can establish what your key pages are on your  site, as well as what pages you have that people are not visiting (and appropriately analyze why). Obviously, you want your conversion pages (ones that lead to conversion-specific actions) to be way up there on visitation.

Referring Search Engines (Prospects):

Search engines are a great opportunity for getting new visitors to your website. There are many things that can be done to ensure that you have a prominent listing on a search engine – but knowing which search engines are producing the most referrals can help with your search engine strategy. Search engines have robots that search the Internet continuously and establish key phrases and words that describe and are found on your site. This is how the search engine establishes an index on your website. The stronger your key words and phrases (in essence your content) – the higher your rankings on search engines.

Referring Website (Referrals):

Referring websites are what I consider “word of mouth” online.  This is the stat that shows you which specific website the visitor found out about you on (and actually took the link on that site to get to you). Online advertising is the primary method that sends visitors to other websites, but key links are also a good way to get additional traffic. This is a great statistic to use to monitor how well your outside advertising or link exchanges are working, for instance, and may help in your future marketing decisions. 

Key Phrases & Key Words:

Being listed on a search engine is not enough to ensure that people will find you through key phrases and word searches. Your website will also need “meta tags” which are tags that the web robots will look for that index content on your site. Having key words in your title line of each page can significantly help you Search Engine positioning.

Knowing what these key words and phrases are will help you continue to develop your content (key words and key phrases) on your website.
Become Expert in Understanding your Website – It’s Your Business!

As can be seen by statistics explanations I have listed here, developing your statistical understanding of your website will take some dedicated time and effort. If you have a good web company that works with you on hosting, support and management – they should be your key contact in terms of reviewing these statistics periodically. But the rewards in this area can be tremendous – today and in the future.
Statistics reinforce your investment in your website, identify results, and give you a clear path to adjustments for future results. They also are extremely valuable when developing a new website – by knowing what the results are from your existing site, you will be much more in tune with the changes and improvements you will need in a new site.

Take the time to understand your website statistics. It will be time well-invested! 

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here 

Peter Beare, BeareWarePeter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.

Snapnames – A Handy Domain Tool

In the domain world (the world that is constantly changing) – there are some tools that can help you keep ahead of the game. In particular there is a website called “” that provides several domain services but none greater than being able to place a backorder on an existing (and taken) domain name…

So What’s The Catch – How Much Does This Cost?

Well I would be the first to skeptical about a domain name service so I appreciate your question.  But as is with every other aspect of the web that we have come to work with  we gain our overall knowledge by using these products – not by theory or academics. We have used for over 2 years – and to date we have acquired 4 domain names. I have to say it is a buzz when we receive an e-mail stating a domain name has been acquired…

How Exactly Do you Acquire a Domain Name?

OK – we are interested in acquiring a domain name that is important to us or our clients. It is usually a domain name that is rather the primary domain required by a client or it is a very good secondary domain name. The domain name is being held by an owner out their in the “Interland” (Internet Land). I have several options on how to approach acquiring the domain name – one being to contact owner and ask if the owners is interested in selling the domain name.

The general problem I have with contacting owners is their inability to quantify the value of their domain name (quite often a name they are not using or have not intention of using). As soon as you inform them you are interested the price they name is usually not justifiable – (nor quantifiable). It is usually a “pie in the sky” request for a large amount of money that generally should never actually be transacted.

So You Would Never Buy A Domain Name Directly?

Well yes I would and I have – but in general you are really rolling the die out their. You need to really know what you are doing – you must understand the real value of the domain name (to you and to the seller – which quite often are not the same).  Recently I acquired a fabulous domain name for a client – the absolute premier domain name for their business name (and a name that is used all over the country and every state) and we purchased the domain for $385.00 which was a tremendous deal.

The seller was a very decent business group and also a web design & hosting company and they were simply holding the domain without any real ability or plans to use the domain. All the same our client was very fortunate to acquire the name. At the same time when you can register a domain for a year with a discount domain company for as little as $8.00 it is easy to see how someone could site on a domain name perpetually with very little invested.

But Let Me Tell You a Great Snapnames Story…

Over the last 10 years (really from 1997-2007) I was actively involved in promoting Australia with an annual event called the Australian Festival. I am now since retired from this very challenging role (and a recovering Festival Director) but over the course of many years running the festival and promoting the event primarily thru the web we acquired a very good portfolio of Australian related domain names.

Last year we decided to start listing Australian Festivals that were now operating all over the world. When we started running the Australian Festival in Nashville in 1997 – I don’t honestly think there was an Australian Festival operating outside of Australia. Now it has been established as a solid business and cultural vehicle to promote global trade and friendship. I searched for the domain name – – and found that it was “For Sale by Owner”. It had no website and was “treading water” online picking up the occasional table scraps from Google Ads but basically just treading water.

I contacted the owner and requested a cost on what they were selling the domain name for. I waited a few days then received a cheery e-mail requesting $10,000.00 for the domain name. There was some “sales dribble” attached to the e-mail – which I don’t recall the exact wording but the seller had recognized I was involved in the Australian Festival and I assume he must have thought his ship had sailed in…. (It hadn’t!)…

Register Domain With Snap Names (and lets see what happens)…

Usually I will do a “Who Is” to establish the owner of the domain name (and more importantly the expiration date). This expiration date quite often helps you establish the possibilities of the site becoming available. You never know on a domain name – the owner has moved on – the web dude no longer is in business – lots of funny things can happen when the domain is up for renewal…

So realizing was not worth $10,000.00 and if it was we certainly weren’t in a position to buy it so I decided I would add it to snap names as a backorder. The domain registration was just renewed for a year – buy either way I could at least be ready if the domain name becomes available. The preset initial bid price was setup at $59.00. This means that is people from other services start bidding on the domain in the event it becomes available then this would be your starting bid. BUT if you are the only bidder – and the domain name becomes available – then it is YOURS BABY!

And Wouldn’t You Know It – Around a Year Later…

Sure enough just working away – another interesting day at BeareWare (every day is interesting) and I received a notification from Snapnames that the domain name – has been acquired.  For a grand total cost of $59.00. I must say that this was an e-mail that made me smile. Not sure what happened to my “mate” who wanted $10,000.00 for the domain name – but most likely he had some “bigger” investments to take care.

Domain Expiration – A little more to it…

And just to make sure I am presenting this snapnames option to you clearly – when a domain expires – it does not become immediately available on the open market (or whatever market “SnapNames” works with.) When a domain expires it is in expiration mode for approximately 15-30 dates. There is actually no guarantee to this time frame and each Registrar can set their standards on this time frame. This period is considered a “renewal period” – which means that no one else can buy the domain during this phase. The owner can renew the domain – sometime with a penalty fee from the registrar.

If not renewed the domain name then goes into “Deletion Mode”- which is when the registrar has now flagged the domain name for deletion – which will ultimately release the name back to “open market’. The owner of the domain still has the potential during this phase to renew the domain – but will most likely be charged “hefty” fees by the registrar (approximately $100.00 and up). Once the deletion mode is complete – the domain name is back in the open market.

I don’t know at what point Snapnames has access to the domain name in this process but it appears that they have the ability to purchase this name well before the name becomes available for any purchase again. And remember snapnames may not be the only organization chasing the domain name. But I dare say the method of waiting until the name becomes available again on your favorite registrar search is probably not going to get you in the front running to acquire it…

SO – if you have a domain name that you are interested in acquiring – and don’t have a the budget to pay the big bucks for it initially (or have tried that route unsuccessfully) then consider adding a back order to snapnames. It may take a year or it may actually never become available but based on what we have seen with the “wild and unpredictable” management of domain names you might just be pleasantly surprised…

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here

Peter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.

Analysis & Communication

Analysis & Communication – A Key Ingredient in Designing A Great Website

Of all the areas of web design and development that I enjoy the most – our Web Design meetings really rank highly for the part they play in ensuring a great website result for the client.

Peter Beare, BeareWare

The key to those meetings is analysis before hand (usually the sales process and preparation for the design meeting) and then great open communication with your client during the design meeting.

Surely Your Web Designer’s Skills Would be More Important?

Without a doubt you have to have a great web designer to produce great websites. No questions about that at all. But a great Web Designer is not only great by their graphic abilities – they are great in their ability to understand their client’s needs and requirements and to create a design that is results oriented.

There are many great web designers out there who can create the most eye catching web designs. But not all of those designs actually work for their clients. It the site looks good that will at least pass the first test of new visitor – the test of whether they like the website or not. But as soon as they start to look for the specific action items and areas of interest this may soon change from “Liking The Site” to “Leaving The Site”. As my dear mother in Australia used to say “Peter – Looks Aren’t Everything” – in my case and the case of a successful website she again would be right. (p.s. I do have a great personality!!!!)

Good Web Design Planning Starts with Analysis

We had two web design meetings planned for Monday (yesterday). In order to ensure myself and our Design Director Vicki Payne were ready for those meetings we spent around 1-2 hours preparing for each meeting. During the sales cycle we really focus on the business and marketing models of the clients, the desired results they want from the website, and their time line (and budget) in which they want their new website up and running. In the design meeting we really start to home in on the look!

Preparing for our Design Meeting

To prepare for design meeting my primary responsibility is to prepare an agenda for the meeting that ensures when we leave that meeting our Design Director has direction and clarity as to the design the client is seeking (the “look and feel” of the website). Note here that I do not state that our Design Director has the direction “SHE thinks will work for the client”. Our job is produce the look and feel that the client desires and to ensure that design is also the functional design the client needs to be successful. We are leads in this process but the process is on behalf of a client and the results are fully focused on our clients.

Wouldn’t The Designer Know Best when it comes to Web Designs?

At BeareWare we have one of the best web designers in the area. She has been produced over 100 great web designs over the last 3 years. I cannot speak highly enough of her. But I also know some other great graphic designers in this area that simply don’t produce good looking websites at all. They are generally the wrong look (or quite often have to much graphics) which leads to major functional issues. It is clearly not only the skill of the graphic designer that producers a great website. It is the analysis, direction, business and marketing models of the client that really help establish a great design.

I am sure many a client have ended up with what they thought was a great looking website that 6 months down the track was deemed as non functional. (or basically not working for them). If you have ever been involved in a web design project and you have been told “Don’t worry – our designer knows exactly what you need” – you probably need to REALLY WORRY! Without a strong analysis of your business how on earth can that designer really know what your business is about and what specific outcomes you are looking for with your website.

Analysis – Starts in The Sales Cycle

It is impossible for me to produce a proposal for a client without having the entire web project understood. The only way to understand a website development project is to have a full analysis of the business and marketing models of the client. There is no other way to do this but to ask questions and do research. Research on the client’s existing site and also similar sites in their industry. So when we have produced a proposal we have a complete timeline and pathway to designing our client’s new website. We understand the client’s business models and we understand the outcomes the client is looking for.

Design Meetings Focus On details

So when we commence our design meeting we are really focusing our design on the details with a primary focus on the look and feel of the website. We must leave this design meeting with clear direction. To help show the techniques we use in our design meetings here is our standard agenda we use to help us really focus in on the details (with some comments to explain each area)…

Website Design Meeting – Monday September 8, 2008

Client Attendees: Client Rep1, Client Rep2, Client Rep3.
BeareWare – Vicki Payne, Design & Development Director, Peter Beare

We always have myself (Sales and Project Lead) and our Design Director at a design meeting. We encourage our clients to include not only their marketing and IT folks but also any “power users” that are usually most grounded in client’s functional use of their website.

Introduction – Specific Aim of Meeting – Identifying Look & Feel of Website(s)

The meeting is specifically to establish direction for designing the look and feel of the website. Though many items may be discussed the bottom line success of this meeting is based on our design director being able to produce design samples one the meeting is complete.

Client’s Mission Statement – Primary Business & Marketing Models
(Slogans – Logos – Demographic Identification and Customer Review)

Here we are really looking at the client’s business & marketing models – and revisiting this with them which has been first discussed in our sales cycle. We ask the client to expand on their marketing models, slogans, logos, and also really identify specifically the demographic they are chasing (prospects) as well the demographic they are serving (clients). This is absolutely critical. You cannot make assumptions on demographics nor can you “cater” to everyone and be very successful. You must focus on the primary market that your business will come from.

Design Discussion – Website Look – Site Functionality – Web Site Areas
** Color, Images (Photos), Logos, Font Style, Menus (Module & Functions), Graphic Techniques, 3rd Party Software **

Here we look at the actual website itself and establish what specific areas, modules and functions will be a part of the website. We look at the actual designs that we (or the client) has identified that they like – and we thoroughly review those websites. Here we are looking for feed back from the client on what they like (or don’t like). We encourage our clients to expand on all areas that we are reviewing and discussing. We also identify features of the site that are important to the client. (this could be graphic design, functions or even 3rd party software). At this point we are fully fledged design team (BeareWare and the Client) and communication is an absolute the key to our success!

Here are some points that are covered in this design discussion:

  • Review Website Areas – WLM outline magazine (website) areas.
  • Website Look – (Starting samples attached) – Sample Website 1, Sample Website 2, Sample Website 3, Sample Website 4
  • Discuss each site – any other examples?
  • Additional Components & Modules – Online Shop, Calendar, Photo Album, Events Calendar, e-NEWS, Advertising?
  • Other design considerations?

Additional Questions – Next Step(s)

At this point we have really established all the necessary information and samples for our design director to be able to produce design samples for our client. We do not actually start building the website until the client has signed off on the design those this process. Vicki actually designs a graphic image (3-5 .jpg format samples) that are the exact replica and size of a normal website.  This saves time and money in deciding the final design. To design the site (and their change the design look would be inefficient and costly).

Once the client has selected the final design we are ready to move forward with the actual web development. To a very large extent the success of the website has already been established and don’t be mistaken, it has been establish with analysis, communication, and of course a great web designer!

Designing a Great Looking Website

Have you ever visited a website that, the minute it opened, you said “Wow!” or “I like this site!”?  I actually do this every time I visit a good looking website.

Have you ever visited a website that, the minute it opened, you said “Wow!” or “I like this site!”?  I actually do this every time I visit a good looking website. My reaction is immediate and it sets the tone for my visit. I actually say it out loud every time – “What a great site”.  And don’t be mistaken – this reaction is the first qualifier in terms of the website achieving its missions and purposes…

But you’re a Geek – do “Normal” people react this way?

Yes, they do! Thye may not react verbally like I do – or they might not tell their design colleagues about the site like I do – but they do get the “Warm and Fuzzies” – which is exactly the first reaction you are seeking. Most general statistics indicate that you have between 0-30 seconds for a visit to look at your site and to start drilling into a particular area of your site (or leave).

In that very short period of time an opinion is formed and that opinion is final. The actual decision of whether you like the look of the site is actually a 3 second process. If I don’t like the look of a site – I may see if their content is strong and I have easy access to information or service I am looking for. I don’t the give the site very much time to get me to where I want to go!

How can a website know what each user wants?

The purpose of your website should clearly identify your target demographics. The key word here is target. Designing a website that caters to “everyone” is not necessarily a good design concept. You want to specifically focus on the people your business wants to do business with – potential customers and existing clients. You want to be specific.

Websites emulate your business (or they should) – so ask yourself what is the target demographic that your business is pursuing. You generally will set up your website to pursue that same target type.

So Let’s Talk About the Design

Our first role as a design company is to establish the purpose of a client’s website and then focus on the two key areas identified above (Establishing Prospects & Selling and Serving Existing Clients). The home page is very much about selling (and linking quickly and easily to important sales info and client tools).

Our primary focus is about the new visitor coming to the site. We want our new visitor to like our look (a la, “Hey, I like this website”…). When a client or repeat visitor comes back to the site, the navigation of the site is really the most important thing. Once a client or visitor starts using a specific area of your site, they are really focused on performance and how the site serves them. The selling focus of the home page has less impact and tends to reinforce brand.

Now let’s find some designs that we like!

Once we have established the mission of the site and have a good understanding of the client’s business model, we start looking for industry (or similar) sites that our client likes or has identified as effective. This is challenging, as sometimes you will spend quite a bit of time finding that look. But it is a tremendous method in terms of design starting point and reference. If a web designer simply creates design samples without some diligent research up front they can easily end up with “I Don’t Like it” from the client – or worse, the client accepts the design and later down the track realizes the design does not reflect their company and is not satisfactory.

When we designed a website for my brother (Tim Beare of Beare Tennis) – our Design Director Vicki Payne designed samples for the final site look. At this stage we had not started developing the website. We must finalize the design “look” before we commence the website development. In web design, cost is based on time and materials (systems) – so building a website to show a client before they have approved a final design is costly and VERY VERY inefficient.

Designer Notes Help Clarify Design

In our design with Beare Tennis Services, here were the design notes we had established before we commenced developing the design:

Beare Tennis Services wants to create an online website that would assist in their marketing efforts and help attract new pupils for both private and group lessons. A main content aim of the website was to also clarify information that is quite often asked in a phone call inquiry in reference to lessons. The design samples should include some great action shots of proprietor Tim Beare teaching at the Knoxfield Tennis Club.

Adding to the design should be the cute Beare logo (which was first designed for Beare Tennis Services in 1988). Then key information should include lesson formats, prices, direction, and FAQ combining to provide both marketing and sales with good detailed information to help the decision-making of a prospect lesson. Random tennis tips will help provide some good learning information while showcasing Tim’s expertise.

And Now For The Design Samples…

Now that we have established the purpose of the website, the outcomes that the client is looking for with their website, and the website designs that client (or BeareWare) has identified as good designs and industry related we are ready to design samples for a final design selection…

Vicki has designed 7 sample designs for Tim to review and pick a final design from. Here is the index that we used with Tim for review each design. Click on the designs to see the actual full design. Vicki’s samples are to scale with our standard website size so the client can see exactly what their site will look….

In this particular case Tim decided to select design number three. In some cases a client may at this point pick features from several of the designs, in which case Vicki will then produce one more final design for final approval. It is impossible not to brag about our Vicki, our Design and Development Director, as she is so extremely talented and it really shows in this process. When you are creating sample designs you must understand the limitations and parameters of the actual Web Content Management System. You want to design a great looking site but it must function well.  Vicki is simply outstanding at this process. And the results are always very happy clients….

Once the design has been selected then our client’s Web Content Management System is installed, the graphic templates are designed and then the website is developed. The client is completely aware of the site look and from this point we really focus on the client’s web content. (Next week’s blog)

The end result of this process – A Great Looking Website!

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here

Peter Beare - BeareWarePeter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.

Online Advertising – It Works!

Been thinking about Web Adverting? My company BeareWare has become very active in the online advertising market over the last 12 months.

Online Advertising – It Works….

It has been both exciting and eye opening. Like most things good solid product and marketing plans must be the backbone of a successful advertising campaign. But there is no doubt that online advertising is a medium that cannot be ignored…

So How Does Online Advertising Work?

Very good question – there is quite a few types of online advertising now available. Search engine advertising (GOOGLE, YAHOO, MSN). You would have undoubtedly seen Ads By Google (Google Adwords) on many websites you have visited. Over the last 12 months Google Ads have been found on major websites such as and which really shows that google advertising can place you on many good websites.vThis form of advertising is called Pay Per Click (PPC).

Generally google looks for websites that have a similar area of interest (that matches the advertising demographic). When a person sees a Google ad and then clicks on the ad the advertiser pays for that “Click Thru”. Generally the Click Thru goes to the advertiser’s website. Google ads have generally been text based but you are now starting to see image based ads which are actually charged to the advertiser as an impression (OR should be – versus a click thru as they provide a much higher level of branding). With Google Advertising your ad will appear on any website that matches the demographic (that google advertising system selects). This is both good and bad as you may end up on sites that are not a good match that may send very unqualified visitors to your site.

There is also specific website advertising (or affiliate advertising) where you can select a specific site (or multiple sites) that have a very specialized demographic. The form of advertising is called CPM (which stands for pay per 1000 impressions). Just to make sure you understand what an impression is – it is an advertisement being displayed on a web page you are visiting.  This form of advertising is specifically focused on the demographic of the website that is displaying the ads. This advertising in my opinion is the most likely model to work long term in the online advertising arena.  Quite often you have specific areas of the site that you can choose to be on – (Home Page or Secondary Pages). The key is that you are marketing to a specific demographic and you are looking for a specific advertising outcome…

You Should Have a Specific Advertising Outcome?

The beauty of online advertising is you get to link the ad to any specific page you want to (e.g. a larger more detailed advertisement) and you get to track your responses (click thru results) as well as a pre defined number of impressions visitor seeing the advertising running.

With a well designed graphic ad the advertiser also gets brand building by web visitors seeing your business name (or brand name). Just like any traditional form of advertising you want to set a budget (which would be set on impressions) and then any good advertising program will give you results of click thrus. The good thing about online advertising is you can make adjustments if you are not getting a desired result.

OK sounds good – when do you pay for online advertising?

That is another good question. Generally you are billed for advertising post the advertisements running. With google ads you secure your advertising with a credit card and with specialized sites they will generally have billing cycles (monthly).  Of course the organization selling the advertising will have their own standards (and credit guidelines). The key is that you establish and fully understand the start and finish of the process (which again is page impressions or click thrus) – not actually calendar time.

Should we switch our print (or radio advertising) for Online Ads?

The best thing about online advertising is that is generally in-expensive. For as little as $30 you can increase your advertising reach by advertising online. The most successful programs will generally be a combination of your traditional advertising combined with solid online advertising. Picking the right site to advertising is also a key. Companies that offer multiple forms of media such as Print and Web are becoming powerful combinations to advertise with.

No doubt online advertising is here to say. Consider making it a part of your next advertising campaign.

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here

Peter Beare, BeareWarePeter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.

Googleing Down Under

“Googleing” Down Under…

While the American summer has been fast coming to and end I have been Down Under in Australia celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary.

I am still pinching myself at the thought of two people sharing 50 years together raising 4 children and now 5 grand children. What an amazing feat (and a great reason to return home to Australia for a celebration and short visit).

So while here I have been home in Melbourne (in between some great Fish and Chips, Meat Pies, Aussie Beer and Australian Football) – I have been spending time serving our clients thru the internet and also my brother’s tennis coaching website which has been eye opening in terms of search engine behavior.

So What is Different?

Interestingly the first thing that surprised me was the routing of domain requests to perceived (or controlled) choices in Australia. First scenario was actually being routed from to – which is a World Wide version of CNN. To get the to US based site ( – you select the US News which actually ends up being Wow – this was something I had NO IDEA was happening outside the USA. The reality is that in the US really should be (United States) – but as we have stated in previous blogs the US seems to have been the default country of the web at least for now…

The Web Is Not As It Seems!

I was really surprised by this as it really opened my eyes to companies that are focused on a global market. BeareWare currently has 2 clients that sell product world wide (thru their retail online shops) and then we have several business that sell and promote services in Australia. The basic premise that I discovered by my CNN results was that global companies design sites that really have geographic bounds and demographics. Of course CNN is a major media – but the fact I cannot go directly to really got my attention…

Then To My Surprise I couldn’t Get To

My next surprise which really relates directly to several BeareWare clients was that when I type – I was routed to – (Google Australia). What is Google Australia – generally the Google Search Engine that operates in Australia – or better stated that search engine that serves web users that live in Australia (and are detected to being in Australia thru their IP address).  What is interesting with Google Australia is you have a default choice of “Search Web” or “Pages From Australia”.  At this stage (and this statement is subject to change) I believe “Search Web” will give a global ( result while “Pages from Australia” will list websites that are “hosted” in Australia.

Evidently this appears to be a standard in other countries…

I quickly checked Google Canada and Google United Kingdom and they both offered “Search Web” and “Page from Canada (or UK)” pending which site you are on. The thing that puzzles me is the criteria for “Local Country Page”. As stated above to date I believe the pages list sites hosted within that country – but frankly I don’t get why that would be a relevant criteria for a search (hosting meaning where the physical website is located).

We host my brother Tim’s website – with our host in Chicago yet his target demographic and location is in several suburbs in Melbourne. Of course his site is currently not found “Pages from Australia” which is obviously a concern as one might expect a local Aussie looking for a local tennis pro – would very well pick “Pages from Australia”.  Incidentally Tim’s website has a number one page ranking on “Web Search” on his keyword searches.

So how Does Yahoo and MSN Operate in Australia?

In Australia when you type – and you will be routed to  (actually known as yahoo7). It appears that yahoo7 is actually affiliated with a national television station (Channel 7). It appears that this would provide Yahoo with a news provider (and source) as the search engine focus on delivering news as part of its business model. There is a multiple search  (Web or Local like Google) but you only get the local pages option after you have made your Web search. A very pleasing fact for my brother Tim’s website is a number two listing position (1st page ranking) in both the Web or the Australian Search only.

And to round out the top three search engines – MSN is the only major search engine that does not route to an Australian domain name. ( So of course you get a world wide result on If you chose to search on you also get a world wide result unless you search Australian pages only. Once again my brothers website gets a number two listing position (1st page ranking) – but when you search Australia Pages only (after your initial search) – his site no longer lists. This again leads me to believe Australian pages are actually based on hosting location.

SO Note Well – Selling Online outside of the US requires additional focus

When Targeting a World Wide audience “local pages” of a county should be considered in the website Search Engine Optimization (and SERP) plan. I am currently touching base with some computer guru’s here in Australia to verify that the local pages searches are absolutely based on hosting. Again I really hope that is not the case as websites could be hosted anywhere in the world, in particular with very inexpensive hosts in the United States. It really seems that host should not be relevant search parameter.

I must say I am glad I had this experience while visiting Australia – it really was an eye opener – and really helps build BeareWare’s knowledge in marketing products and services worldwide. Time for some more great Aussie Tucker!

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
Interview with a Webmaster – Full Blog – Click Here

Send us your comments and questions – Click Here

Peter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.


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