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This article was prepared for the April 10, 2002 edition of
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Making Your Site Visible on the ‘Net
There’s a lot going on below the surface of those
pages of search engine results. Everyone is talking about how amazing
Google is. The search engine with the plain white home page, adorned
only by the multi-colored letters of its name, is just so intuitive.
It is so very good at returning just the information searchers seek
that it is easy to see it — and its competitors — as unpaid
servants, sort of silent personal librarians.
and development company, reveals, however, that many of the most
search engines have just begun an intricate advertising dance.
flat or multi-layer fees, or inviting companies to bid for placement,
the search engines are quickly changing the face of Internet
and presenting a new, and potentially powerful, marketing tool.
"Google started offering pay-for-click just last month," says
Hutchins. Yahoo! recently changed its pricing structure, and GoTo
has morphed into Overture, a search engine that has lined up such
an impressive array of partners that it has become an important
"This is the time to get in," Hutchins advises. Not too many
companies know about the new opportunities to buy good search engine
placement. It is now possible to come out near the top of a search
engine page for just a modest investment. As the word spreads, it
will be more difficult to buy these results — and more expensive.
Hutchins offers advice on getting in on the ground floor when he
Wednesday, April 17, at 8:15 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce of the
Princeton Area. Cost: $21. Call 609-520-1776.
A graduate of Princeton High School, Hutchins earned a bachelor’s
in forestry from the University of Vermont (Class of 1991). He used
the Internet extensively in his class work in the late-1980s before
browsers made the exercise easy. In forestry, he says, it’s all about
measurements and forecasting "how to reap the highest gain over
multiple objectives over time." He found the Internet the ideal
way to run these forecasts, and turned to the medium again after he
graduated and was putting out a forestry newsletter. The first website
he built was for Inforest, his newsletter. After a lack of demand
shut the newsletter down, he kept the name and started a website
Inforest has three employees and a client roster that includes McGraw
Hill, the New Jersey Press Association, Princeton University’s
engineering department, Columbia University, and the Philadelphia
Flower Show, along with "smaller, but established, companies that
are working on developing a web presence."
Part of the service Hutchins provides to his web development clients
is making sure that their websites come up high on a list of search
engine results. Lately, companies with established websites have been
coming to him for help in achieving these results. Figuring out the
intricacies of search engine placement is a growing part of his
He explains that there are two ways to propel a website listing to
the top of the pile. One is to meticulously craft the site so that
its design, its links, and the key words it uses — particularly
on its home page — are picked up by search engines. "This
takes time," says Hutchins. It will be about six months before
the work bears fruit. The second way is to pay for placement. This,
he says, is the wave of the future, and is well worth the money.
"Why wait the six months?" he asks. For something like $100
it is possible to buy placement that will deliver highly targeted
prospects to a website. On Yahoo!, it takes a check for $299 once
a year to get the process rolling. The fee used to be $200 for life,
says Hutchins. There are a number of grandfathered companies that
will never have to pay Yahoo! another nickel, but he thinks that even
the current rate may soon sound cheap.
Companies seeking good placement need to do more than write checks,
though. They stack up according to the descriptions they submit. So,
while the search engine’s Web-crawling bots evaluate an entire website
for unpaid placement, it uses just the descriptions to determine
of paid listings. This makes it imperative, Hutchins says, that the
description be rich in the key words that will earn its site a spot
near the top of a Yahoo! search page.
On Google, the process is more complicated. There, companies bid for
position. The range of bids is now something like 50 cents to $3.
In a complicated system, the price of the bid is not the only factor
that determines where Google places a listing. Listings are weighted
according to the number of hits they receive. Where they show up is
a combination of the amount they pay, and their effectiveness.
paid for through the auction system appear along the right-hand side
of the search results page.
There is another option on Google. Websites can pay by impression
rather than by click-through. Sites that choose this option are
in a tinted box at the top of the search page.
Overture uses an auction system, too, but it works differently than
Google’s. Bids start at five cents per click-through. Websites bid
what they want, and can go in and change their bids at any time.
Google, you can set up a campaign and forget it," says Hutchins.
"With Overture, you have to check on it every day." This is
so because a bid of, say 15 cents, that won a regional garden center
top position on a Monday, might be buried by six other,
garden centers by Tuesday.
It used to be easy to ignore GoTo, Overture’s predecessor, says
but the newly-renamed search engine has now crafted agreements with
a number of high powered players, including Netscape, AOL, AltaVista,
Lycos, and Yahoo!, the mightiest search engine of all. Overture’s
paid listings appear on all of those websites.
Getting prime placement in search engine results is imperative for
all websites — except, perhaps, those belonging to secret
But that is not all there is to website success. Here are some more
tips from Hutchins.
it all comes down to what the basic function of a website should be
in terms of what you want your users to do," Hutchins says. If
you want them to buy, make it easy. One of his clients,
an E-tailer of sensitive skin products, has just a handful of
but made potential customers use a shopping cart. This element added
5 to 10 steps to the buying process. "We put the order form on
the same page as the catalog, and cut it down to one or two,"
The same principle applies to sites whose purpose is increasing a
company’s contacts. Make it easy for potential clients to get in touch
with you. Many sites direct users to fill in an E-mail form to request
information, but "people don’t like that," Hutchins says.
The big, blank space stops them cold. "They prefer a form,"
he says. "People like to be prompted, to be told what to do."
There is a tendency for website owners to think "`I’m not really
asking that much. Just write an E-mail,’" Hutchins says. But this
approach can be fatal. "The easier you make it," he says.
"The more response you’ll get."
for a website tend to be too high or too low," Hutchins says.
Some new website owners put the things up just because they are
when clients ask for their company’s web address, and they don’t have
one. They tend to expect little or nothing from the website. Others
expect the Internet presence to create a windfall.
A better approach is to consider a website to be a part of a total
marketing plan and to measure how well it is doing in relation to
other tools. It is now possible to determine how many users visit
a site, where they clicked to get there, what they do on the site,
how often they return, and whether they make a purchase or abandon
a full shopping cart.
Use these tools continually to evaluate how the website is doing,
and to guide adjustments. "If you have a new product, but no one
is looking at it," he says, "move it up to where it will get
attention." And if you are paying for a banner ad on another site,
but few visitors are clicking over to you from that site, consider
dropping the ad.
concise, and streamlined. The same qualities that make these websites
easy to navigate secures them high search engine rankings.
for search engines is the same as writing for people," Hutchins
says. Most surfers type in a company name, perhaps Discount Realty,
or the name of a service and some geographical markers, something
like Princeton, New Jersey, real estate. If neither of these search
queries brings up Discount Realty’s site, the company has wasted its
website development dollars, says Hutchins. The best way to avoid
Internet anonymity, he says, is simply to put the company name in
the website’s title line and to add a description of what the company
does. In the case of TaylorsTreasures this meant adding the words
"sensitive skin" to the title line. "
Some search engines go beyond the home page in figuring out what a
website is all about, but many more just stop there. This makes that
page critically important. The key words used on the home page must
reinforce what the company does, and thereby earn the site a higher
search engine ranking.
Paying for placement is one way to get to the top of the pile, but
paid listings often appear off to the side, or in a tint box, while
many surfers look only at listings in the main section of the search
results page. So, even with paid listings becoming more prevalent,
it is important to have a website that will secure high placement
in unpaid listings.
at your website through search engines, others can be brought from
links on other sites. Exchanging links with other sites is an
way to build traffic, Hutchins says. Sites that sell products should
have links from the companies that manufacture those products. Sites
belonging to accountants or architects can have links from their
"I could exchange links with a networking company," Hutchins
says. "We’re in the same industry, but we don’t compete."
Breaking a "real world" taboo, Hutchins says even competitors
may benefit from linking to each other.
Hutchins, must be the guiding principle behind every decision relating
to an Internet presence. "People don’t go on your site to see
that cute animation," he says. "You need to keep in mind what
they’re there for, what you want to get across. It has to be fast,
and it has to be flawless."
The Gift Planning Council of New Jersey — of which
the Princeton Area Planned Giving Council is a part — celebrates
its 10th anniversary this year. The organization was started by a
small group of planned-giving professionals and attorneys and now
has a membership of 157. Members are employed by universities, arts
and social service organizations, hospitals, law firms, and financial
On Thursday, April 18, at 8 a.m. the council holds its seventh annual
Conference on Gift Planning at the Merrill Lynch Conference and
Center. Cost: $225. Call 609-585-6871.
The keynote speaker,
City law firm Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin and is past president
of the National Committee on Planned Giving. He speaks on "Ethics
in Gift Planning: When Do We Cross the Line?" His talk looks at
considering more than the results — getting a big gift,
the best deal for clients and charities, and keeping the tax liability
as low as possible. In achieving these results, Blakesley says, there
is a delicate balance between providing a benefit to charity and
personal tax and financial benefits for the donor. He explores at
which point the line into the realm of improper methods to achieve
this result is crossed.
After the keynote speech, there are several workshops in two tracks,
basic and advanced. Among the speakers addressing the advanced track
in the Wealth Management and Planning Group for PNC Advisors, who
speaks on "The IRS & Liquidity: A Charitable Solution to a Taxing
& Keough, who speaks on charitable bequests; and
who poses the question, "Planned Giving Officer or Attorney?"
Among the speakers on the basic track are
president of the Gift Planning Council of New Jersey, who speaks on
"Gift Planning on a Shoestring Budget;"
who provides legal services to the Ocean County Office on Aging, and
speaks on "Smart Financial, Estate, and Gift Planning
consultant for the Merrill Lynch Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit
Management, who examines "The Nuts and Bolts of Charitable Gift
Annuities and Pooled Income Funds."
<d>Ron Shapiro is a baseball attorney and agent,
and an authority on negotiation and conflict resolution. He has
such stars as Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, and Kirby
Puckett. Shapiro is also a corporate trainer, motivational speaker,
and founder of Maryland-based Shapiro Negotiations
In his book, The Power of Nice: How to Negotiate so Everyone Wins
— Especially You, he puts forward the idea that muscling the
rarely results in long-term wins. Shapiro gives a seminar on Thursday,
April 18, at 8:30 a.m. at the Doral Forrestal. Cost: $495. Call
In winning negotiations, says Shapiro, building genuine relationships
are key. He explores the topic in this excerpt from his book:
Every negotiation takes place in an environment. That
doesn’t just mean the physical setting, the conference room, or the
office. It means the feelings, sensitivities, tensions, fears, and
hopes that comprise the atmosphere of the negotiation. They make up
the environment as much, or more so, than the four walls, table, and
chairs. Bonding — finding what you have in common with the other
party, rather than where you’re at odds — can create a more
Just as negotiation is a process, not an event, so is bonding. Bonds
are built. You find a link that leads to conversation, that leads
to another link. Pretty soon, you have a chain that stretches from
one party to the other, like a bridge. The more you travel it, the
more familiar you become. After enough travel, you don’t just have
a bond, you have a shared set of experiences — a relationship.
When you reach an impasse with someone you don’t like or simply don’t
know, you’re more likely to let the impasse stand. When the same
occurs with someone whom you’ve come to know, understand, and even
like, you’re going to look for ways to get past the deadlock. It’s
just human nature. A good negotiating environment can carry you past
bad negotiating moments.
The value of relationships is immeasurable. Ask a manufacturer who’s
been under the gun to deliver and who called on the supplier they
can always count on. Ask the giant developer who gets three bids on
every set of drawings but one bid is always from the builder that
took a chance on his company when it was starting up.
Relationships can accomplish what acquaintances can’t. Relationships
make for not just one deal, but deals that lead to deals, repeated
deals, sub-deals, off-shoot deals, renewing deals. Why make a deal
when you can make several?
style is meet-and-bond. When you encounter the party with whom you’ll
be negotiating, purposely search for things you may have in common,
shared interests. After all, you already have a pretty good idea of
where the two of you will be opposed. Whatever your asking price,
they’re likely to want a lower one. If you want cash terms, chances
are good, they’ll want to stretch out the payments. The deal itself
is bound to be full of push and pull. To minimize animosity and to
appreciate each of your points of view, it helps to see each other
as people, not just positions.
Bonding is finding links between two parties. The link may be
social, business, political, or recreational. It’s anything you and
the other person share, from the most common such as both having young
children, to the most specific, such as being collectors of vintage
French wines. The bonds you discover may have to do with the deal
directly, indirectly, or seemingly, not at all. Both of you may have
been charged by your respective CEOs to come back with deals that
will impress the board of directors, not cost much, have low risk,
and high return — all goals in which you can sympathize with each
other’s pressures. The bond may appear to have nothing to do with
the deal and yet everything to do with getting it done. Perhaps you
both do have young children and you’ve both promised your families
a vacation if you can get the deal done by spring break. In either
case, if you don’t bond, you’ll never know.
other side, look back at the research you did on them. Chances are,
within that data are clues about the background, interests, and habits
of the person or people you’re facing. Chances are, you have something
you meet in the other side’s office, look at what’s on the desk,
and walls: vacation pictures, inspirational quotations, those
pencil holders made by a kid in arts and crafts, running shoes tucked
under a credenza, a paperweight made from a sailboat pulley, college
degrees, honorary certificates, fraternity mugs, celebrity photos,
family pictures, a doubles team trophy.
the difference between "Hello, here are my five key issues. What
are yours?" and "Hi. Judging by your tan line that ends where
a glove would go, I’d say you’re a golfer. Me, too."
Use the cues and clues you observe to start the conversation that
"I have a pencil holder like that only mine is in green and orange
yarn. How old is your artist?"
"What island are you on in this photo? I’m looking for a getaway
bond, it’s likely to build on itself. Ask about a vacation, a child,
a college, or a hobby, and you’ll get a response. You’re asking them
to tell you about something they like. If you have similar interests,
you two may not be arch rivals after all. You may be two people who
could be friends and happen to have a job to do. You now have
negotiators need but rarely recognize, empathy.
It’s easier for strangers to practice win-lose negotiation. Once
bonded, you have a better chance to achieve WIN-win results. Here’s
a bond I built at the 11th hour, just in time to turn the deal around.
to get multimillion dollar funding for a biotech project. We had found
our investor. We had a commitment for the money. We had gotten to
the last step, drafting of the contract. At that point, the chairman
of the board of the investing company told me to deal directly with
their lawyer. "You’re a lawyer. He’s a lawyer. You two get it
It sounded good to me. After all, the hard part was done. We had the
funding committed. Then I got the first draft of the contract. It
was 95 pages. I got on the phone with the lawyer. We talked about
the preambles for almost three hours. That was not the first real
page of substance, just the "whereas" clauses that precede
the substance. He was rock-hard, immovable, and anything but human.
Three hours later, I knew his position. He knew ours. We had gotten
I hung up and sat there thinking. I have to find a way to bond with
this guy. If there’s a way. There’s bound to be a way. Maybe not this
time. Everybody has something. Maybe not this guy.
We had another telephone call scheduled for the next day. Instead,
I got up early and drove two hours to Philadelphia to meet with him
face to face. I figured, if we’re going to bond, we’re going to do
it in person.
I walked into his office and it was as if the connection between us
jumped off his wall. There was a framed diploma from a small, Eastern
college. It just so happened to be the same small, Eastern college
from which I had graduated. I said, "You went to Haverford?"
He said, "Yes, I did. Where did you go to school?" I said,
"Haverford." There we were, two Haverford grads. We’d had
nothing in common the day before and today we had four years in
We finished the negotiation in less than a week. Bonding didn’t change
the basic issues. It changed the tone with which we approached the
active, they weaken. Often people do a great job of bonding right
up to the time they close the deal. Once the deal is done and the
check has cleared, many people forget the power of bonding. Several
years later, when it’s time to renew the contract, the customer can’t
tell the incumbent vendor from the rest of the competition. Bonding
was allowed to disintegrate — relationship was not established.
Even long-term relationships need to rebond from time to time.
"It’s not the sale, it’s the relationship that counts." We
make it a practice to keep track of the people with whom we negotiate
during the times when we aren’t negotiating. A phone call to say,
hello. A holiday card. A congratulations on a promotion. There are
countless, simple and sincere ways to bond once the relationship has
When negotiations break down, or appear that they might, look for
opportunities to rebond. Get away from the negotiation table. Bring
in new parties, spouses, other partners, people who share personal
interests, not just business interests. Of course, the best approach
is to keep bonds active and they will always be strong when you need
Mercer County Community College may now transfer the
maximum number of credits to pursue a degree at the University of
Phoenix, which has extensive online enrollment. Online or in its 110
campuses or learning centers, Phoenix has more than 110,000 students
in undergraduate or graduate programs in business, management,
education, and nursing. Students must be working adults at least 23
years old, and the average age is 34.
When second-year Mercer students pre-apply to a baccalaureate program
at Phoenix University, they can tap its online library and proficiency
assessment system. They will also be eligible for scholarships. Call
609-586-4800 or visit www.phoenix.edu.
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