Marketing on the Web for indexers: Ten do’s and don’ts to develop an online presence

1. Don’t pay some Web designer a fortune to develop a glitzy site using fancy techniques such as Macromedia Flash and Shockwave. Editors are extremely busy and can’t waste time navigating through many bells and whistles to find out what you are offering. As with the books they edit, clean and clear writing without a lot of unnecessary verbiage is important to them.

2. Do develop your own page by learning a little bit about HTML coding, the system that controls how information appears on a Web page. If you have Microsoft Word you can lay out the basic content in the word processing program and then save it in HTML format. Here is an example of how a simple Web page can be created using nothing but Microsoft Word. Inexpensive Web development programs are available as well.

3. Don’t use unusual background and text colors such as a black background with red text. The hot books on Web programming may recommend this for selling products, but they just make it harder for editors to read.

4. Do capitalize only the first word and proper nouns in your headlines and subheadings. Set headlines in a sans serif font such as Verdana designed for computer displays. Use a serif font such as Times New Roman for text.

5. Don’t use cute logos, sketches, clip art, or fancy fonts that may have display problems—you want to be seen as a professional, right?

6. Do keep your page(s) simple and uncluttered. Avoid trying to cover so much information on a page that the reader is bombarded with many different blocks of type.

7. Don’t inflate your experience beyond what you can actually document. If you have taken a course in indexing, mention this in your résumé. You should include a résumé page because editors are used to seeing this for anyone contacting them for a job. Even it is sparse, create one. Listing your college degrees is important. However, do not include anything you have done that has no relevance to indexing. For example, you may have done outstanding work as a volunteer at the local Humane Society, but unless your work involved indexing, skip it.

8. Do take extraordinary care in checking your writing. Use a spell checker, but do not consider it the last authority. If possible, have your text proofread by another person. Let the page(s) sit for at least twenty-four hours before you review them for the last time.

9. Don’t use your ISP’s free Web page offer. Registering a domain name is inexpensive. Your own business name creates a professional appearance. Most domain name registration/web page hosts permit a free email name of your choosing that can forward to the email account you have with your ISP. Your email account name is the first sign a client gets of how business-like you are. A cute name at AOL may be fine for personal mail. Using your name plus your own domain name sends an important message to clients. For example, [email protected] looks a lot more serious than [email protected]

10. Do triple-check all the links on your pages before uploading to the Web.

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