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Richard DeHawkinz Wins “Top Builder” at Medieval Hits

June 20th, 2007

At the Medieval Hits traffic exchange, web designer Richard DeHawkinz has won this week’s “top builder” award by donating some new banners to the program for use as additional promotional materials. As part of the prize, he was allowed to post an introductory article about himself and have it displayed on the members login page of Medieval Hits. I have reposted his piece here between the lines; although I have edited it somewhat, the content is still substantially his. DeHawkinz seems to have an affinity for run-on sentences and the original text was poorly formatted (lots of unnatural line breaks and superfluous spacing between words), so I have taken the liberty of tidying it up a bit:


My name is Richard, although I am better known online as DeHawkinz.

I first became involved in Traffic Exchanges in 2003 when I joined an autosurf to increase hits to my personal website. Like many a newcomer to exchanges, I got sucked in and joined every exchange I could find. Soon I had more exchanges than I could possibly surf; it was nothing unusual to have 15 exchanges running at once! However, with time came experience and wisdom. I started to learn which exchanges were useful, which were not, and which were simply badly managed. I reduced the number of exchanges I was using, and started rotating my surfing between exchanges instead of trying to surf them all at once. I also started using more manual surf exchanges. Manual surfing now forms a key part of my surfing strategy- I run only a couple of autosurfs at any one time, and surf no more than five manual exchanges at the same time. This enables me time to look at a page and quickly decide if I want to read more or move on to the next site.

What sort of page makes me stop and read? Put simply, it needs to be an interesting one. What gets my interest? It should be something that is different from the run-of-the-mill affiliate pages you see 90% of the time whilst surfing. It could be a page that gives me an idea as to why I would want to click their link- for a traffic exchange it might be a good surf ratio, or an active membership, or knowledgeable admin. What sort of pages do these tend to be? Put simply, these should be short and concise pages.

Splash Pages

So what is a splash page, and more importantly what makes a good splash page? A splash page is a fast loading web page, one that is small in file size and so appears almost immediately. It should contain enough information to enable the viewer to decide whether to look further or not, without overloading them with information. The idea is to create interest rather than ’sell’ your offering. Your target is a clickthrough, not an immediate sale. Good graphics are important and a humourous or eye-popping headline tends to work well too.

Many exchanges have come to realise the value of splash pages, and have started offering their own to affiliates. However this devalues their ‘uniqueness’, and whilst still better than the standard affiliate page, if you can have an individualised one, so much the better. Making your own splash page is not as daunting a prospect as it once was; there are many online splash builder services and companies.

For those who are not yet confident in building their own splash pages, want more complex pages, or simply are too busy, I offer a cheap solution through HawkinzWeb Designs.

DeHawkinz is also the administrative leader of my team at StartXchange and has been very active and helpful at the forum there. I have considered using his web design services for this blog; I could certainly use a custom Wordpress template to replace this “newbie” default one. However, I am not sure if he has the ability to do this, as it seems that his main focus is on small personal and e-commerce websites.

According to the information on his site, his pricing structure does not seem to accommodate blogs very well. The largest category under his “design products” section is for sites composed of 11 to 25 pages, for which the price would be 100 GBP, or roughly $200. But in the case of WordPress blogs, because a new page is created every time I make another post, most sites of this nature very quickly attain a size of well over 25 pages. For example, this site is already over 100 total pages, and it is not even three months old yet! At the current rate, I will probably have around 400 pages by the end of the first year.

Clearly, Richard’s price structure would not work here, at least not in any reasonable fashion. If we extrapolated his numbers to include the number of pages this blog has, I would wind up paying nearly $1,000 for something that I could have taken care of for much less (or even for free if I go through the hassle of learning how to customize an existing template). Still, I might eventually contact him later just to see if he has any experience in this particular area; perhaps he will amend his pricing page to include sites of more than 25 pages and take blogging sites into account when determining an appropriate price structure.

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