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  Issue 111 : December 3

  Sent to 12,625 Opt-In Subscribers

  Editor: Elena Fawkner
   Publisher: AHBBO Publishing
   Contact By Email


1.     Welcome and Update from Elena
2.     Home-Based Business Idea of the Week - Mystery Shopper
3.     Feature Article - Writing for the Web
4.     Surveys and Trends
6.     Subscription Management
8.     Contact Information

1.     Welcome and Update from Elena

Hello again and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers
who have joined us since the last issue.

This week's feature article is all about writing for the web
... why it's different from other forms of writing, how users
read on the web (believe it or not, that's different too) and
how you can make simple changes to your webpages to
take advantage of these differences.

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this
week's issue. 

Remember, AHBBO is for YOU!  If you have comments or
suggestions for topics you would like to see addressed, or
would just like to share your experiences with other
subscribers, I want to hear from you.  Please send
comments, questions and stories to Contact By Email .


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2.     Home-Based Business Idea of the Week - Mystery Shopper

Be a Mystery Shopper? Who me?

Mystery shoppers are not all that mysterious, but they do have
a cool name. They aren't detectives trying to solve a crime, and
they don't wear obscure clothing and dark glasses. They don't
carry spy equipment and they don't sneak around, like someone
on the prowl. Instead, they walk around like any other "ordinary"
shopper and shop.

Their goal is to shop without being so conspicuous that they are
observed observing the store employees or store itself. They
have a set criteria that must be followed, whether it be checking
out the merchandise, observing the store clerks, tasting the
quality of the food, or experiencing the dreaded "return of an

Mystery Shoppers are often on a deadline. Their job is to enter a
store, restaurant, or other facility, follow their list of criteria and
be out of the store without anyone becoming suspicious of their
purpose. Sometimes they have to arrive at exactly 4 p.m. Other
times, they have a window frame of 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. And other
times, they are given a week in which to complete their

Mystery Shoppers must fill out questionnaires such as:

"How long did it take you to get seated?"
"How long did you wait for your food?"
"Was your food hot when it arrived?"
"When you walked into the store, how were you greeted?"
"Did you find everything easily and if not, when you asked for
help, how were you helped?"
"Give a detailed account of what followed when you asked for
the out of stock item."
"How many customers were in the stores and how were they
being helped?"
"What did the bathrooms look like? Were they properly stocked
and clean?"
"After handing the money to the clerk, what did he or she do
with the money?"
"Were the advertised specials displayed according to the
following standards?"

With so many questions, it can often be difficult to remember
everything. Some Mystery Shoppers have come up with a little
system to help them along the way.

For the rest of this report, visit
http://www.ahbbo.com/mystery.html .


There are many more ideas like this at the AHBBO Home Business
Ideas page at free home based business ideas with more being
added regularly.

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3.     Feature Article:  Writing for the Web

© 2017 Elena Fawkner

When researching this week's article, I went looking for
resources related to "writing for the web".  I found a great
deal of useful information, which I'm going to share with you
in a minute.  But in my travels, I came across this little gem
from the website of a professional writer, no less, trying to
sell me on why I should use his services if I want to make a
good impression on my website visitors:


“Today's readers and Web browsers demand frankness and
verisimilitude, so your written communications require exacting
professional integrity with accurate and adequate research.

"For concrete, colorful and dynamic written material that willfully
attracts customers, Bob Tony* will work with you to develop
unrivaled written communications for your marketing materials,
grants, newsletters, Web site, or other publications and articles.
To ensure your writing tasks with pacesetting presentation and
unparalleled, consistent editorial power, give your deadlines to
Bob Tony*."

* Name changed to protect the ostentatious and largiloquent.

Good grief.  "Verisimilitude"?  I had to look it up.  I'm sure you
all know what it means but in case there's another ignoramus out
there besides me, it means "the quality of appearing to be true or
real".  How ironic.  "Willfully" attracting customers?  And does
that last sentence even make sense?

Consider that a shining example of how it's NOT done (writing for
the web, that is).

Before we get to *how* to write well for the web, a brief pause
to consider *why* it's important to do so at all.  The reason is
that the Internet is an information medium.  As a general rule,
people are looking for information about something when they
come online.  You have to supply some of the information sought
by part of that market (i.e., your target market) if you want your
share of traffic to your website.  You do that by creating quality
content.  In order to create quality content, you need to be able
to write for the web.  Is writing for the web really all that
different from writing generally?  Yes.  And here's why.


The first thing you need to understand is how users read on the
web.  Unlike reading a book, online readers scan, or skim, the
page, looking for particular keywords relevant to the subject
about which they are interested.  They don't start at the top of
the page and work their way down, reading every sentence. 

Some other things you need to know about your typical site
visitor (let's just call him Sam to make it easier):  Sam detests
hyperbole.  Nothing turns him off faster.  So keep the marketing
hype to a minimum and instead make your content objective
and somewhat restrained. 

Sam is also an impatient sod.  He's going to quickly scan the
page (as we've seen) and he's going to rely on your headings
and subheadings to orient himself.  And he doesn't want to have
to hunt for your point.  Give it to him upfront.  Also, because
Sam really hates this, avoid lengthy webpages that make him
have to scroll to keep reading.  And keep the whole thing short
and to the point besides.  If you don't, he's out of there in five
seconds flat.

So, now that we understand a little bit about Sam, what can
we do to capture his attention and keep it long enough to give
him what he wants?


To help Sam scan your text and find what he's looking for quickly,
highlight keywords and phrases (either by bolding, using color, a
different font effect, whatever will catch his attention).  Make
sure you use meaningful subheadings, i.e. ensure your subheading
makes sense without having to read the text below to put it into

Avoid lengthy paragraphs and make sure each paragraph deals
with only one idea.  Instead of long paragraphs, use bulleted lists
containing short, high-impact sentences. 

Another crucial point is to use the "inverted pyramid" principle. 
This just means that you state your conclusion or most important
information up front, and then use the rest of the body of your
text to elaborate and explain.  Kind of like a newspaper story.

And because Sam hates to scroll, break your text into logical
stand-alone sub-parts of no longer than a single page (or
screen) and then link (with a meaningfully-worded link) to the
next section which starts on a new page.


Make sure your writing is not woolly.  You need to write with the
precision of a surgeon wielding a scalpel.  No superfluous words
allowed.  Write for effect, by all means, but get to the point and
fast!  In other words, be succinct.


Nothing gets that mouse finger itchier than the perception that
the author of the work lacks credibility.  The top three culprits
are hyperbole (avoid marketing hype at all costs and go for
restrained objectivity instead), typos and grammatical errors. 

Sam likes to think you've done your homework too so make sure
you include links to reputable sources elsewhere on the web (but
not too many or you risk losing him for good). 


One of the major differences in writing for the web compared to
other forms of writing is the inherently impersonal nature of the
medium.  Instead of holding a comfortably reassuring book in
his hands, or getting black smudge on his fingers from the
newspaper, Sam's only contact with you is your words on a
computer screen.  You need to overcome the impersonal nature
of the medium if you expect to reach Sam with your words.  It
is for this reason that "write as you speak" is so much the norm
on the Internet. 

Be informal and conversational in your writing (note, this is NOT
a license to churn out shoddy, unprofessional work- writing
conversationally and informally is every bit as demanding as
writing formally, if not more so) and be personal while you're at
it (use "you" and "your" a lot).  Most importantly, allow your
personality to come through.  You need to connect with Sam
before he will invest in you so make sure you reach him with
your writing.


Finally, just because it's less comfortable to read from a computer
screen than a book or newspaper doesn't mean you can't make it
less uncomfortable.  Choose the font you use with care.  Times is
a common default font for a lot of web pages but it doesn't
“pixellate" well.  Better choices are Arial or Verdana.

Consider your choice of color and contrast carefully too.  A dark
font on a light background is best for lengthy reading sessions but
a light font on a dark background can be effective if used

So there you have it.  Some relatively quick and easy steps
you can take today to make it more likely Sam will get your
message.  And come back for more.



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4.     Surveys and Trends

© Ryanna's Hope


=> Top Expected Retail Sellers: Toys & Children's Clothes:
In an October poll of 1,000 consumers, here's what added up
according to America Research: More shoppers (41.3%, up
from 25.4%) plan to give gift certificates this Christmas and
31.4% plan to give cash versus 23.4% last Christmas—the
reason cited was the promise of bigger savings during after-
Christmas sales for the recipients.

=> On-line shopping will increase from 14.4% to 18.4% with
families expecting to spend $246.15 in 2001, compared to
$200.32 last season.

=> Less shopping will be done at enclosed malls this year with
30.6% saying less and only 17.7% saying more, a ratio of 2 to
1 on the negative side. A year ago, 22.1% said less and 18.1
said more which had a very narrow range. Additionally 21.2 %
say they will avoid malls if possible due to the recent Anthrax

=> Retailers need to be aware that 61.9% of Americans intend
to shop at stores giving a portion of their profits to victims of
the September 11th attacks.

=> Over half of the consumers surveyed said they will be looking
for "Made in America" products this Christmas.

=> Consumers expect to complete their holiday shopping much
earlier this year with 60% intending to finish by December 15th,
compared to 47.3% last year.

=> 20.5% say they will be going to fewer Christmas parties this


Marketers who want to capitalize on the future of the Internet
must take advantage of the more than 65 million youths between
the ages of 5 and 17 with Internet access at home and their $60
billion in disposable income, according to Datamonitor.

Several challenges await marketers looking to reach the online
youth market. To attract and retain this demanding audience, Web
sites must be designed around the specific characteristics of
their target audience: Boys seek novelty and entertainment, while
girls enjoy fulfilling goals and prefer to feel part of a
community. Teens are rarely impressed by generic teen-oriented
Web sites, preferring to find sites that support their interests.
A considerable proportion of today's youths already have access
to the Internet, either at home or through school computers. In
addition to the 65.3 million with Internet access at home,
Datamonitor found 54.1 million youths with access to the Internet
at school. The potential for marketing online to the 5 to 17-
year-old set becomes even more apparent when it is considered
that they currently spend 5 billion hours online annually.
(source: cyberatlas)


1. Give-aways offering such things as CD's or posters of popular
bands 50.1 (in percentages)

2. Use of brand names 49.2

3. Use of popular musical groups that appeal to teens 37.6

4. Use of upbeat lyrics in a commercial's music 34.8

5. Promotional events offering reduced priced 32.4


The five top uses of the Web by senior citizens are: using e-
mail, looking up hobby information, seeking financial
information, reading the news and checking weather reports.

Wired seniors look much like the early Internet population. About
60 percent are men, and wired seniors are more likely than their
offline peers to be married, highly educated and enjoying
relatively high retirement incomes.

"Wired seniors may be small in number, but they make up for that
by their enthusiasm for doing things online," said Susannah Fox,
director of research for the Pew Internet & American Life
Project. "More than any other age group, wired seniors see the
Internet as a way to keep in touch with family members."

Only 15% of Americans 65 and over are on the Internet. (source:
Pew Internet)



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6.     Subscription Management


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8.     Contact Information

Elena Fawkner, Editor
A Home-Based Business Online
Contact By Email

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Copyright 1998-2017, AHBBO.com. All rights are reserved. Thursday, 02-Dec-2021 12:37:02 CST

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