Of the millions of webmasters on the internet, there will be very few (if any) who have not made major mistakes on their march to the top. Learning by your mistakes is a great way to gain experience, and while you would not go out of your way to make mistakes (or errors of judgement), if it costs you money once, you can be sure that you will not do it again!

So what are the benefits of making mistakes?

While it may seem a little strange to think making mistakes may benefit you, it really can help in the long run. Here are a few things to consider when pondering why you do not want to make the same mistake again :-

· Pride! We all have pride in our work, and we all want to succeed in the best way possible, but it is not always that easy. While you should not take mistakes personally, you should learn for them and ensure there is less chance of the same mistake happening time and time again.

· Money. If your online business is your livelihood, the last thing you want to do is put that in jeopardy. Look at your mistakes, how they happened, and how you can correct them.

· Competition. The competition to succeed online has never been more intense and it will only get harder. Being able to push your site to the top of the tree can make you feel very proud – a feeling that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Contrary to what many people tell you, the best way to learn is by your mistakes (so long as you don’t make too many!), because there is no better feeling than being in the same situation again and managing to turn it around to your benefit. You can read all of the books in the world,, talk to the best people in the business, but until you actually get out there you will not know what it feels like.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because as long as you learn from them, the process will be worthwhile in the end.

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There are thousands of sites on the internet which do not quite get finished or need that last little touch to make it a success. Where can you go for that last bit of help, that advice from someone who knows?

In general you really have two main options about where to go for advice :-

· the professionals, who will charge you.
· one of the many webmaster forums on the internet where advice is often free.

Surely for that last touch it would make sense to ask fellow webmasters, and ask them what they think of your idea, your site and how you should finish off your idea. Well, if you want to open yourself right up, and give someone your idea before it is even finished then the “free” option may be the one for you!

However, if you are looking to protect your idea and hit the market with it when you are finished, then you need to look down the professional route. True, it will cost you money, and potentially a large amount depending on what you are after, but it is most definitely worth it.

Imagine you have been working on your site for months, and just about got there when you hit a PHP snag or the alignment of the site is not quite right in Firefox and you need advice. You post your site URL, your ideas and your problem for all of the world to see, and check out for themselves. Bang, next day a site along the exact lines to yours is launched and you have been beaten to the punch, the market is slipping away from you. Think it does n’t happen?

It is common knowledge that many online business people scour the webmaster forums for new ideas, new options and a look at what might be the next popular area. They will check your post, ask you a few questions, but ultimately they will not help you.

If your site is popular you will soon make your money back and more, but if it fails then it will soon die, but at least give it the chance to survive, and play your cards very close to your chest until launch.

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While very often the design of a website and the actual hosting deal take precedent over many other issues, it is also vital that you ensure your site has great navigation and a site map. These are vital parts of any site, and something you will ignore at your peril!

You may wish to consider the following elements of site maps and navigational issues :-

Site Maps

While we have covered site maps before on this blog, their importance should not be forgotten, both for search engines and for your users. The main use of a site map is for the search engines, and it allows you to control which areas of the site they will look at, and which areas you want them to ignore.

The search engine industry is becoming more and more competitive, and the more help you are able to give them, the more chance of being indexed quickly, and indexed with the pages you want to show. Every day you are not on the search engines is a day missed, revenue down the drain, and customers lost. A simple site map can make a real difference.

Navigation

How many times have you been on a website and looking for a specific area, only to find that it is buried deep in sub section after sub section? Did you hang around? I did n’t.

As a general rule of navigation, you should be able to reach any page on your website in two clicks, any more and you risk losing the reader, losing that sale and reducing your exposure. Side bar menus are very important, and they can and do offer a useful quick route to any page. By structuring your pages correctly, and taking time to ensure everything is in order, you can hit the two click measurement for any site.

Conclusion

Many people seem to put far too much emphasis on the high profile areas of a website, the design, the cheap web hosting and the layout. While these are vital areas, navigation and site maps are equally as important, and should not be ignored. It is very often the simple things which will be the difference between a successful site, and a mediocre one – you have been warned!

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