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“If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert.” - Australian psychiatrist W. Béran Wolfe

Greetings & Thanks for Visiting!

mike corso - seo - cool site I'm a web viking and digital marketing ninja (SEO, SEM, email, social media, landing page optimization, lead generation, etc. ) responsible for Cool Site of the Day, the Internet's oldest directory (launched in 1994).  I'm also Google Adwords Qualified and am one of only .5% with direct access to Google corporate. One of my goals with Cool Site of the Day is to shine a light on all the cool websites since the beginning of cyber time.

Cool Site of the Day has featured a unique site every day since August of 1994...nearly 9,000 sites!

As for my approach to Internet marketing and SEM, the following quote says it all:

“That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” (Pearson's Law found on Mark Joyner's Simpleology)

More background

In 1993, I was the first person to promote music on the Internet for the major record labels (via bulletin boards and primitive websites!). After 5 years working for the music industry, I bought Cool Site of the Day (1998).
I have been quoted in several online and offline publications including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and am usually available for interviews and speaking engagements.

Sometimes I find time to offer consulting services...

If you do decide to contact me for a consultation, know that we will FOCUS on keyword research and competitor analysis INTENSELY (believe me, it will save you hours/days/months/years of heartbreak). THEN, you will know if your idea has a shot; if not, I will likely redirect you towards a more lucrative path.

How I spend my free time

Other than my business life, I'm also: Hoping our paths cross one way or another, Mike Corso e-mail: mike AT facebook twitter | linkedin
"Mike Corso is incredible. Our heads hurt from the number of good ideas to track down after consulting with him for 30 minutes. Thanks, Mike!" -Jake,
“Thanks for your insight and site evaluation. We have moved from PR3 to PR5 on one of our main landing pages thanks to you. We are on our way up thanks to your professional evaluation and valuable input. We have not implemented all of your suggestions as we have a small staff here. Thanks Again!"  Bruce Richards
“Mike Corso will show you the proper way of doing things. There is no hidden agenda, just pure information and action. You must be sleeping at the wheel if you do not get on board with Mike and his 'Crazy Train'!!” -David A.
"Keep up the good work. You really have a winner of a site, and what a way to help new sites generate the traffic they need when they first launch."  -- John H.
1-914-907-9733 Click here for today's site

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Web Designer to Get Tangible Results

Just found this excellent post over at the Thesis Theme blog (Thesis Theme is the WordPress theme that I use for Cool Site of the Day). For other tips on using WordPress and finding your perfect theme, click on this WordPress link.

Enjoy this–Naomi did an awesome job (pay special attention to #4 — her ‘wireframe’ layout; you’ll see a lot of her ideas implemented on Cool Site of the Day shortly)


Ask Questions To Get Answers

Getting real results from your website can be hard…

Sure, you can hire a great designer, but remember, good design is subjective, whereas design that gets results is all in the numbers.

What kind of numbers? Sales, traffic, and subscribers, or in other words, the building blocks of an online business.

So, how do you know if your designer is qualified to get you business results? Here are 10 questions you can ask before hiring them:

1. Do You Get Business Results for Clients?

If you want to hire a designer that gets business results, look for someone who publishes case studies about how they helped their clients.

For example, if you see something like “The site redesign of client XYX helped them increase their online sales by 24%,” you’re on the right track!

If they don’t publish any case studies, you can ask them directly. If they’re legit, they’ll happily provide examples.

2. How Much Do You Charge for Web Design?

Results-oriented web design takes time and expertise to do right. So if you find that your web design is cheap, it may be safe to assume that your designer will take as many shortcuts as possible.

Note, when you ask your designer for a price quote, ask them to tell you what the quote entails. For example, will you receive a high converting email newsletter subscription box?

3. How Much Time Do You Spend Planning and Researching?

Designing a website for results requires planning and research, so, before your designer gets started, make sure they allot time for a basic analysis of your business, competitors, and market.

How much time should be spent on planning and research? Personally, in my custom web design firm, I slot anywhere between 3 and 10 hours per project. It may seem like a lot of time, but things like content structure and deliver, overal website functionality, and other details must be planned out!

4. Do You Create Wire-Frames Before Designing the Website?

Website wireframes are visual representations of where the content on your site will be placed. As you can see below, there aren’t any graphic design elements or content. Instead, there are boxes explaining where certain content will be found.

Example Website Home Page WireframFigure 1. Example Website Home Page Wireframe

Why are wireframes so important?

Well, placement of items on your site has a lot more impact on your results than you may think.

For example, a good results-oriented designer will know that placing your newsletter subscription box high up on the right column will increase your subscription rate better than if it was placed on the bottom.

Now I know that seems like common sense, yet, most designers still place subscription boxes below the fold, as if they were an after thought. With a wireframe, there will be no after thoughts because everything is planned out prior to the web design.

5. Do You Create Easy-to-Use Websites?

A website with lots of personality may look beautiful, but if it causes your visitors to flee in frustration because they can’t find what they need, it’s a complete failure.

However, a good results-oriented designer has a basic understanding of website usability. They know how web visitors navigate websites and cater to them to help you achieve your goals (subscribers, leads, and sales).

Note, while asking your prospective designer this question helps, you should visit their portfolio, too. If their previous work is easy-to-navigate, you should be set!

6. Do You Do Market Research Before Creating Web Designs?

A web design should bring you closer to your customers. To do this effectively, your web designer must understand who they’re building the website for. In the end, you may want your site for you, but if you’re running a business, it’s really for your customers, right?

As a side note, another way to bring you close to your customers is by taking advantage of the nonverbal cues that influence your website visitors. To learn more about that, check out the free report that Derek Halpern wrote here.

7. Do You Do Competitive Research, Too?

This question is important because it helps your designer look outside the box to identify what else is out there. Often, good reuslts don’t come directly from optimizing your site, but by also doing things better than the competition.

8. Do You Offer Conversion and Usability Testing?

If you want your website to live up to all it’s worth, you must optimize your pages for results. However, how do you know if your pages are doing everything they can to generate those results?

You test them. Instead of making a guess, you create two different pages, and pit them against each other. The page that does the best, should be phased in permanently.

How do you do this type of testing? It’s called split A/B or multivariate testing. Results-oriented designers should know all about it, so you should ask them if they offer this as a follow-up service.

9. Do You Analyze My Current Traffic Before Making Design Decisions?

Analyzing a site’s metrics, if done correctly, can help identify the current site’s strengths. For example, what if your blog has great visitor loyalty, but the rest of your site doesn’t? Or, what if one of your pages has a lower bounce rate, can anything be implemented elsewhere on your site?

In summary, by looking at your site’s metrics, designers can arm themselves with information to better equip themselves to make better decisions.

10. How is Your Design Going to Help Me With My Business Goals?

When you decide to lose weight and start a new diet, you have a goal weight in mind, right? A website design project is just like that. You’ll have goals, and you need to ask your designer how they’ll help you achieve them.

Note, before you ask your designer to turn water into gold, you should know that you’re better off setting realistic goals. A results-oriented designer will help you come up with these goals, but if they don’t, here are some goals you should consider:

  • We’d like to increase the overall revenue generated from our website by 20%.
  • We’d like to increase the orders from our PPC campaign to our landing page by 20%.
  • We’d like to get 20% more newsletter subscribers within the next 6 months.
  • We’d like to increase our average order value by 20%.
  • We would like to reduce our bounce rate on page X by 20%.

All this said, sometimes the goals of a new website design or redesign are related to things that can’t be easily measured like increasing awareness of a brand, spreading a message, or increasing authority.

However, if you are looking for measurable return on your investment, finding a designer that can help you get tangible results can be a very wise choice.

About the Author: Naomi spends a disproportionate amount of time wondering about how we can make the web a better place. You can catch her designing custom websites for clients over at Intuitive Designs or helping people improve their online conversion rates over at her own site.

via Thesis Theme blog

Mike Corso

Greetings! I'm a digital marketing specialist and an original Web Viking. I've been running Cool Site of the Day since 1998 and continue to be amazed at what people publish. Have a cool site or app? Click on the 'submit your site' link at top.

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