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A Tiny Change To Multiply Sales

Aug 17, 2007
There is a secret to making your website more accessible to anybody who tries to access it while at the same time increasing signups for newsletters, ezines, ecourses, opt-in, sales, or whatever else you're trying to get in front of more people. When I first learned the technique I thought it was too technical, but it is actually extremely easy.

I'm talking about using the error pages that come up when somebody doesn't enter the URL correctly, or for some other reason is taken to an error message. Perhaps you've already noticed how major sites have personalized error notification pages and wondered, "Wow, how do they do that?" A lot of websites that know how to do this correctly still don't even know how to make money doing it.

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty how-to segment to make this work wonders. What you need to do is create an ".htaccess" file and upload it to the server where your site is hosted. If you have no idea how to upload a file to your hosting service, most providers have how-to sections on that or you can download SmartFTP for free which has easy to follow video tutorials. Open the notepad on your computer since we'll be creating a new simple text file that will make miracles happen.

All you need to do in this text file is add a few lines that will tell your server to redirect visitors to the page of your choice instead of the typical error message. Let's just focus on three of the most common errors so you'll get the hang of this. On the first line of the text file type "ErrorDocument 403 put-URL-here" and of course change the text that says "put-URL-here" with the complete URL of your choice. Then, instead of visitors getting the typical white text page that says Error403 they'll see the website you inserted!

This gets pretty exciting, especially if your site gets lots of traffic. Before I implemented this tactic my site got about one thousand error messages in a single month, and I'm sure most of those visitors were lost to me forever. Next line in the text file should say "ErrorDocument 400 put-URL-here" and the line after that should say "ErrorDocument 404 put-URL-here". Your file should now be properly prepared to redirect visitors to the page of your choice when a server error occurs.

Now we need to make your document functional. In Notepad you can go ahead and save it as htaccess.txt for now. Now log in to your server and upload the file to your site's root directory (that's the main one where all the main pages are). Don't put it into the subdirectories.

Once you're online with your server's interface and you've uploaded the text file, use the server's interface to rename the document, and instead of being "htaccess.txt" you should rename it ".htaccess" with no file name extension. Don't forget to include the period at the beginning of the name of the file or else this won't work for you. You're all set!

To test that you've gotten the settings right, type your main domain name into your browser then backslash anything you want. For example, yoursite dot com slash blahblahblah and instead of getting the typical Error404 message you should see the URL you put into the .htaccess file you just uploaded. If this didn't work for you, review the steps. If you still have trouble, contact your server's support line and they should be able to guide you to making it work.

Many hosting providers have forms on their interface that allow you to do this very simply by filling in the blanks, but the system I've outlined here for you today will work universally. Enjoy the bigger profits!
About the Author
Tyler Ellison is a successful entrepreneur who teaches automated marketing strategies at his site and encourages others to join the community at Little Guy Co-Op.
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