SEO – Building a Successful Website – The Basics


Content on site is a must. The more pages of relevant content your site provides, the more pages the search engines will index. Index pages equal search engine saturation. The more pages of relevant content you provide on your site, the more of an authority you become to the spiders and bots.


This is another important way of getting your site seen. By trading links with other relevant sites, you reinforce your sites content, thus making your site “important”. The more relevant the links you trade with, the more important your site becomes. If you are a gaming site trading links with a pharmaceutical site, you are not going to appear very relevant to the search engines.

As it sounds trading links is a link swap.. you post my link on your site, I’ll post yours on my site. However, there are places you may “purchase” a listing without reciprocation.

Remember, the more friends a person had in high school, the more popular they were. Link exchanges are a similar concept. The more links you have (remember, stay relevant) coming into and going out of your site, the more “popular” your site becomes.

What’s your Niche?

Narrow down your topic. “Computers” gives a Google search result (as of this moment) of 1,720,000,000… the chance of being found in that ocean of results is about a good as finding a penny in the Atlantic ocean. Narrow down your topic, get more specific. A search for laptop computers receives a Google result of 106,000,000 – that’s better, but still an ocean. Get the picture?

Build your keywords around your niche. If you are aiming your site at light weight laptop computers, build your keywords around that… “Computers” as a keyword isn’t going to be very helpful. Get specific.


Writing articles and listing them on free reprint article sites allows for other web publishers to print your article, with your author byline in-tact. Author byline would include a link(s) to your site(s). This gives “links back” to your site.

Become an Authority in your field. 🙂

There are also paid article submission sites. The more you pay, the higher in their site your article is placed.

Remember, basically what you are doing is offering your knowledge and free article for a link or advertising for your site.


A web log (later shorted to just blog) started as an online journal for personal websites, but have begun to infiltrate the online business world. They give a business a quick, easy way to update several times a week, daily, or even several times a day. Search engines like blogs because they are typically updated often. Therefore, they send their spiders to those sites that are most frequently updated.

There are blog directories to which your blog could be listed – free.

Keywords, Site Description, Title

Make sure each page has a relevant page title, relevant keywords and a good over-all description.

Search Engine Smarts

Search engines look for site relevancy. Each page must relate to the site topic/theme. Each individual page must have a specific topic. Where possible, name the page specifically for that topic. If your page is about Light weight Sony laptops, name it accordingly. Ex: Note: Hyphens signify to spiders and bots separate words.

Make use of h1, h2, h3 tags header tags within your content pages. Why? This tells the search engine bots and spiders that this is keyword, a relevant topic.

Use title tags in any links and alt tags in all image tags.

Use CSS to style a page – this reduces clutter within the page code making it cleaner for the spiders and bots to navigate the pertinent information. Too much clutter and the spiders and bots are likely to hit the road.

Frames are NOT search engine friendly. They are difficult for spiders and bots to index, because of the way they are put together. If you want to optimize your site, ditch the frames.

– it’s flashy, visually fun, appealing to some… but it’s a killer in the search engines. Spiders and Bots cannot read flash. If they cannot read your page, how do the index it? Again… when it comes to optimizing your site, if search engines spiders and bots can’t read the file, why bother? Just because it looks good? Sure, ok… but if the search engines can’t or won’t spider your page, and you aren’t in the index, no one knows your site is out there, who is going to see it? You have a great looking site sitting there doing nothing.

Splash page – this is the page you come to that has a cool flash file, cute image, etc and says “Enter” (or similar). Re-read the Flash information and ditch the splash page.

WWW or not?

If you type “” and “” into your browser window, you get the same page right? We see it’s the same page, we know, as site builders they ARE the same page. But search engine bots and spiders DON’T know that. They view with and without www as two different sites.

Why does this matter? If your site is out there on the web with both links, you stand the chance of penalization from certain search engines – they view it as duplicate content. Duplicate content don’t typically get indexed, at least, not very high in the rankings.

The work around on this is a redirect, or an .htaccess mod rewrite. Tell your server to point to one page, either with the www, or without it. Ex, point to and when someone types in (less the www) it will automatically add the www to the link.

Is it absolutely necessary to do this? Maybe, maybe not, maybe one day the search engines will be programmed to view with and without www as the same. Until then, do you want to take a chance the search engines dump all your pages because they can’t figure out which is the original?


How many times have you moved past the first couple of pages when doing a search? Chances are, not very often. Yet, as a site/business owner, it may take forever and a day to get your site to the top 20 in a search engine for any given keyword. Are you ready to get your name out there NOW? Consider advertising on the major search engines. Google has Google Adwords, Yahoo has Yahoo! Search Marketing. Both will get you listing within the first couple pages, depending on your willing bid amount.


Now, you have visitors coming to your site. Is your site sticky enough to keep them coming back?

How many times have you been to a site you liked, wanted to browse more… so you bookmark it, never to return again. Life is busy, we forget. And you lost a visitor and potential customer.

Offer a free newsletter subscription. Entice visitors to join by offering free tips, valuable information, free products, etc. Once a week, or every other week, send out a newsletter to encourage and pull those subscribers to your site. They may turn from a newsletter subscriber to a customer.

Judi Cox is a work at home mom living in the Ohio Valley with her husband and 4 children. Judi’s interests include working websites (two of her websites and She enjoys gardening for fun and for the birds, playing with the kids, reading, website design and promotion.

June contest almost over!

I have over 16 winning scratch-off tickets to give to one lucky newsletter subscriber. These cards are so cute! I even though about keeping a few for myself! Lucky for me though, a few of the contributors sent an extra card, just for me!

This contest has been going on all month and I have yet to send out even 1 newsletter… so don’t fear that you’ll subscribe and then be inundated with mail from MommaMuse – it won’t happen! And of course, your privacy is always a priority with us. Any concerns, please read our privacy policy.

Read our Contest information:
Scratch-off Ticket Contest – June

See Contest Contributors

Disclaimer: “Winning” in reference to the scratch-off tickets means that there are no “sorry, this isn’t a winning ticket”. The winning prize(s) is/are unknown to us (Judi & and we are in no way held liable for any prizes claimed or unclaimed. This is strictly for fun, and used as a promotional tool for the work-at-home business we are promoting.

Zen Cart Blank Custom Sidebox

I spent hours the past two days trying to find a way to create a custom sidebox for a friends new zen cart install. She wanted a place to add static buttons, that didn’t rotate. She also wanted more than one button displayed in the box.

After hours and hours, I found a mod that would work with just a few minor adjustments. Here is what I came up with:

Download Customizable Blank Sidebox – a Zen Cart mod.

Requires edits to 3 files:

> includes/modules/sideboxes/blank_sidebox_defines.php
In this file you can change the 2 instances that blank_sidebox appears – only change those words, writing the new wording exactly as it was written in the file (i.e. if it’s lower case, write it lower case, if it’s uppercase, write it uppercase). And change the header to whatever you want.

> includes/languages/english/extra_definitions/blank_sidebox.php
In this file, there are 6 places to chane the blank_sidebox text – remember, write it exactly as it was written originally.

> includes/templates/templates_default/sideboxes/tpl_blank_sidebox.php
In this file, change the blank_sidebox text once.
Add your information (i.e. links, buttons, images, text, etc) to the table.

Save each file, upload to the appropriate folders and activate it in the admin control panel under Tools > Layout Boxes Controller.

Questions? Leave a comment.

outdoor mister room

Originally uploaded by madaise.

A few summers ago, I bought a professional mister kit from one of the big box hardware stores. Finally, this summer, we bought an extension kit, some pvc pipe and put together a portable, boxed room to attach it to.

Once hooked up, turned on low, for minimal water pressure… the mister sprays a fine mist. It cools the temperature down several degrees (not scientifically tested by us, but hearsay, though, in use, we agree!). It feels great!

When the wind blows, it blows the mist several feet away from the pvc structure – up to 10 feet or more!

Original professional mister kit came with maybe 10 feet of tubing, 5 mister components, including an end piece, and a hose attachment, for about $45. We ordered an extension kit on ebay for about $30. Pvc is cheap and we invest maybe $15-20 in our set-up (though we want something to secure the legs better, as it’s a tad flimsy and easily moved). Easy to take appart to store for winter too. In all, a good investment.

Bernie – Chocolate Labrador

Originally uploaded by madaise.

Meet Bernie.

She’s a pretty, young (keyword: young – she’s still learning her manners) chocolate lab. She’s under a year old and more than a handful. Thankfully, not *my* handful, as she belongs to my father-in-law.

If we could just talk him into some dog obedience classes to learn the better way to dog train.. She would really benefit (as would he!).

She’s a good girl despite her puppy behavior.. she’s just so big and pushy, it is intimidating to Tege and Ry who Bee-line it to the house whenever she’s here. Heck, even Bean usually goes into hiding before too long. 🙂 Another year or two and they’ll all be great friends.

Happy Birthday Tege

Originally uploaded by madaise.

Tege turned 5 on 6/6/06..

Here, he and Ry check out the birthday cake, specifically the candles. We sang a quick round of the Happy Birthday song and let the boys (Ry got to help) blow out the candles.

Then, we had to relight the candles half a dozen times so Ry could blow them out again and again…

Our annual “celebrate birthdays” cookout is this weekend and a cold (just a little chilly) front has rolled through brining with it some rainy weather. Drat. Thankfully, we have some nice canopies and should be able to keep dry.