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Vacuuming
doesn't have to suck

I like to vacuum. Most men do, if they'll admit to it. There are two reasons why: the first, and most important, is that it involves a machine with an engine. The second is that men are visually motivated animals, as can be readily seen by the magazines we read. Vacuuming is a highly visual pursuit with the kind of instant gratification we men go for.

I mention this because life is really about how you package and sell things and ideas. Men normally don't confess to liking vacuums, but if someone would just package vacuums correctly, they'd be as macho as sports cars and BBQ grills.

If I were the CEO of a vacuum cleaner company I would revolutionize male-pattern-vacuuming by introducing the "riding vacuum." Like the popular "riding lawnmower" this would turn the vacuuming into a vehicle, thereby ensuring its popularity with men.

I'm sure they'd be *so* popular that men wouldn't even allow their female mates to touch the vacuum. "Honey, it's a sophisticated piece of machinery, better leave it to me." Following that success, I'd introduce the riding washer/dryer.

In the mean time, we v-men will have to content ourselves with the biggest, heaviest, loudest silver, red, or black vacuums we can find, with the magic word "turbo" in the name.

I also recommend the bag-less "cyclone" models. First of all, "cyclone" just sounds macho—it makes me imagine those flying cows in the movie Twister. Next, as a man, I can say that while men might change the oil in a vacuum cleaner (if that was possible), we will *never* change a bag because that smacks of housework. Also, these bag-free models have big clear windows that show us how much stuff we've collected and we find this almost embarrassingly exciting. What can I say, it's a primal thing.

Now, I tend to go overboard with these things, but it works for me, and might work for you. My black v-machine (sounds way cooler, doesn't it) has a racing stripe, and a large silver number on it. Mine is #12, for the amps in the motor. "Amps" sounds manly, doesn't it? No? Say it with a sneer and it will.

Next, I recommend getting one of those Tyvek jumpsuits (it's what Fed Ex envelopes are made of). I got mine at the hardware store and it's supposed to be for painting, but if you stick on a few sponsor logos, like Valvoline, Pennzoil, and Rogaine, it becomes a cool (and machine washable) racing suit.

Of course, since you're operating heavy equipment, you should consider protective eye wear to complete the effect. Avoid *tinted* goggles, however, as this can lead to collisions and broken lamps.

One tip for the ladies: Whatever you do, never point out something a man missed. You might think you are helping him, but he will inevitably look at it as criticism, get mad, and very well may never use the v-machine again. I'm *not* kidding here.

Guys: Once your V's tricked out, if you start to get bored with flat surfaces, try going off-road—tackle the stairs, that's a real challenge. And get yourself a stop watch so you can have time trials and compete to break your own world's record.

There's a whole untapped market here! I could sell instructions and cones for setting up indoor courses. I could sell small colored pieces of fabric that racers have to suck up to prove they followed the Phase II house-to-house course (complete with a triathalonic outdoor run segment). Then I can charge people for memberships, so they can set up their stats online, and challenge other v-racers to competitions, where the winners get listed as top seeds and losers are known as "suckers."

I can see this going national, then international, with sponsors such as Fantom, Dyson, Hoover, Eureka, Dirt Devil and Viagra. Next come the V-Games. Then all remains is turning it into an Olympic eligible sport!

You laugh now—but just wait 'till you are watching the Survivors challenge where they have to vacuum up Roo doo  and the winner gets our new V-Pro model with a built in tent!

It's all how you market it. You can make what you do into a chore people want to avoid, or a game people look forward to. And now if you have a great idea it's even easy to get started, with resources like www.Paypal.com for accepting credit cards and www.CafePress.com to sell items with your genius logo on them.

There are lots of opportunities people haven't thought of yet. And lots of ways to freshen up and expand on things that seem old and tired. This applies to your site, too, and how you present your products or services. You can make it all corporate and dull and boring. Or you can present it in an *appealing* way that interests people.

Gentlemen, start your vacuums.

dwh sig

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A page title to remember:
A must for marketing your web site

It's one thing to have a "brilliant" idea (like the V-Games). It's another to get people to know about it. Search engines are a key way people get to your site, and while you've probably seen those e-mails that promise to put your site "in the top ten of major search engines for just $99." Well, if you believe those, I have a large orange bridge across San Francisco Bay I'd like to sell you. (If you want to spend money on search engines, see "buy your way into search engines," below.)

Getting good placement in search engines can be a complicated thing, but there's one simple thing you can do to greatly help your chances of being found—make sure your page titles are descriptive.

Not only are page titles an important part of what search engines look for, they become the words that are saved when people add your site to their favorites or bookmarks.

I keep running across web pages with titles like "Home" and "Welcome" or short, meaningless titles like company names. If people don't know what your company name does, they won't find you from the title when they're looking for "Pauline the Pet Psychic" or whatever else they're searching for.

Adding page titles:

First—try to keep your page title under 25 words, so that it's not truncated by search engines.

To add page titles in NetObjects Fusion 4: Go to PageView. Choose Edit/Custom Names. Type the title in the box that not surprisingly says "Page Title."

In NetObjects Fusion 5 or MX: Or—Go to SITE VIEW. Single click on the page icon. Enter the page title in the Properties Palette (again not surprisingly) where it says "Page Title."  (If the properties palette isn't visible, press F3.)

Or: in PAGE VIEW, press F12, then click on the first icon in the properties palette (it has a single page icon), and type your title into the "Page Title" box. That's all, folks.

In plain HTML, add a Title tag to the HEAD area of your HTML (The reason I didn't use greater than and less than symbols is that I've learned it can mess up the text in some e-mail programs—especially AOL).

A page title does several things.

1) It appears on the title bar of your browser. People don't always pay attention to this (you may never have noticed it), but it's there anyway, so no matter how far people scroll, they still see the page title.

2) They are a *vital* element in getting your page found on the web. While there's a lot of talk about Meta Tags, in reality, I find that most search engines treat a page title as the most important "meta" above those other Meta tags. So if your page title is long and specific, it's going to help your search engine ranking. See http://www.efuse.com/Grow/search_site_basics.html

3) Page titles become page bookmarks/favorites. Descriptive titles help people find what they're looking for later—especially if they know how to search their bookmarks.

How do you search favorites? In Netscape, press Control-B to open bookmarks, then Control-F.

In IE it's trickier: Click on Favorites then *right* click on a *folder* and choose open. You can then press BACKSPACE to move up to the top of the favorite's folder, then press Control-F to search from there.

Adding Meta Tags

To add meta tags in NetObjects Fusion, click on the page background (*not* on a graphic or a text box or in the gray MasterBorders—you know you've clicked on the correct place if the properties palette says "Layout Properties) and click on the properties palette's "HTML" button. (You can also right click on the page background, and choose "Layout HTML" there.)

Type the meta tag into the "Between Head Tags" box, like this:

<META Name="description" Content="Put your 25 word company or product description here">

<META Name="keywords" Content="Put your search keywords here">

Once these tags are placed in the document and you submit your site to search engines, robots or spiders will be sent to search your site and record your title and meta tag descriptions.

To read more about Search engines, page title and meta tags, read: http://www.efuse.com/Grow/search_site_basics.html

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See Who Links To You

Want to find out what sites link to yours? Here are two easy ways:

On www.google.com - in the search box, type LINK: followed by your URL, like this link:www.efuse.com — you'll see how many sites link to you, and the sites themselves.

Fast search: My favorite search engine is http://www.alltheweb.com - to find sites that link to yours here, click on the "Advanced search" link (or go directly to: alltheweb's Advanced Search ), then in the boxes below choose: (from the drop down menu) Must Include

then type your web site address

(from the drop down menu) in the link to URL

It's good to use both these sites, because they have different databases. Google found 1,650 sites that linked to eFuse, while AlltheWeb found 2,101.

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The First Place To List Your Site

The Open Directory Project, http://www.dmoz.org has a big goal: to produce the most comprehensive directory of the web, by relying on a vast army of volunteer editors. The links they compile are now used by most major search engines, including All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo as well as countless smaller search engines and sites. Your site has a better chance of a higher rating if it's listed with them. The ODP's data has an open license, which means that anyone can use it (providing they follow the rules).

And—you can become an editor in the largest human-edited directory on the web. Just go to: http://dmoz.org/about.html and read all about it. Just fill out a form with three site recommendation and short descriptions, and wait to be accepted. There's no pay, but you will have the knowledge that you helped contribute to the web, and you'll see a lot of interesting sites on your topic of expertise (a great learning experience).

Once you list your site there, take a look at: http://www.netobjects.com/promote.html which will submit your site to hundreds of search engines, starting at around $59.

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Buy Your Way Into Search Engines

Finally, search engines have created ways for you to pay your way in. http://www.GoTo.com was the first, then http://sponsoredsites.yahoo.com appeared, and now there's Google's "Adwords" system

https://adwords.google.com/AdWords/Welcome.html

Google charges $15, $12, $10 (per thousand ads shown) for positions 1, 2, and 3 respectively, and $8 per thousand for positions 4 through 8. That's reasonable, and can help get your site more search engine attention.

Do Good For Free With Just A Click

NOW is the time to visit these sites, and click to donate for free. Visit their advertisers, too, so they'll keep supporting these good causes.

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One more thing...
The Vacuum I recommend

I once read an interview with Elton John, and he said for fun he liked to "Hoover around" which, in England, was synonymous with "vacuum." Well Elton, Hoover no more. Now www.dyson.com is the best-selling vacuum in England. The man who invented it (and many new fascinating and useful products), is James Dyson. You can read about him at his site http://www.dyson.com/story/story.asp

After reading about him, his struggles (established companies didn't want to license his revolutionary technology) and his inventions—I bought the Fantom Cyclone XT — it isn't turbo, but at least it's "XT," and the only way to get Dyson technology in the US and Canada).

The vacuum is heavy and on the loud side (I use ear plugs, just like on the race course) but it's also fantastically powerful (like the v12 of the vacuum world) and picks up so much dirt, dust and schmutz that it's really fun to use. I highly recommend it (or a Dyson if you live in a country where they're sold). (If you're going to buy a Fantom, get it from http://www.target.com which has the very best prices on them. )

dwh sig

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The SchoomozeLetter is ©1998-2005, Daniel Will-Harris, all rights reserved. If you'd like to use any article on the web or in print, please ask for permission. If you're an agent or publisher looking to publish these pieces, just drop me a note.