Tightwad Marketing

About me ... and this website

John Kuraoka, a project of www.kuraoka.com


Advertising and
marketing advice

and links

About me ...
and this website


I’ve been an advertising copywriter and creative director for over two decades. I’ve seen good times and I’ve seen bad times - and, I’ve helped companies in dozens of industries market their products and services successfully through both.

Now, you might think all that experience would teach a person all they needed to know about advertising and marketing. Well, I’m still learning - learning new things and discovering old things that are new to me.

Still, I’ve achieved a certain success in my field, thanks to hard work, good luck, brilliant mentors, terrific partners, and wonderful clients. After nearly 30 years in the business, working in advertising and honing my craft, I’ve acquired knowledge that has earned millions of dollars for my clients. Knowledge that has launched brands, increased sales, and grabbed market share. Knowledge that is flat-out worth sharing. And that’s what this website is all about: sharing what I know about advertising and marketing, to help your small business grow into a big business.

And, it’s all free, with no obligation on your part other than to go forth and put into action what I’ve put into words. My hope, is that you will use the information within it to gain success in your business. And, remember: no one succeeds alone. If you wish to repay me, first please do so in kind - by openly sharing with others the hard-won knowledge you have acquired as you go through life.

However, if you’d really like to support the Tightwad Marketing website, well, thank you. I sincerely appreciate it. After you’ve gotten all you can out of the free advertising and marketing advice here, you can click here for a little something-extra only for Tightwad Marketing supporters.

This website is also a living example of Tightwad Marketing principles, even though it doesn’t really sell anything. Oh, I suppose I hope that you’ll heed my advice, become a huge success, and grow big enough (or busy enough) to need my professional services. Until then, let’s see how this website was built and promoted for an overall cost of about $120/yr.

I downloaded a free HTML editor to write this site, but I also could have used Notepad. The neat thing about an HTML editor, is that you can see what all the code looks like to a web browser with the click of a button.

You’ll notice that this site design is bare-bones HTML. That’s mostly because content-based design is part of my personal web philosophy, but it’s also partly because I wanted the freedom to move the site to a different host should that action become necessary. If you use a webhost’s design templates, you won’t be able to move the site - the templates are all copyrighted works.

As events turned out, I did need to move the website. After many years of free (or, "free") hosting as part of my CompuServe ISP, in July 2009 CompuServe shut down its "classic" services, including website hosting. CompuServe was great, while it lasted. I arranged for hosting through a friend and business associate who owns server space with Verio, and I pay the same as I used to pay for CompuServe so the cost is a wash. Only now I get analytics, webmail, and more, not to mention a lot more webspace and bandwidth.

This website, by the way, was only 15 KB in size when I first launched it; it now takes up about just under 1 MB. It is, however, almost entirely text-based. Photographic images that display nicely on the typical monitor (.jpg format) will need about 250 KB or more each (and there are 1,024 KB in 1 MB). Most small graphic images (.gif format) are less than 5 KB, with larger ones coming in at about 20 KB.

Thankfully, I had registered the domain name tightwadmarketing.com through a cheap registrar. The name “tightwadmarketing.com” was shorter and more memorable than the original CompuServe-hosted URL, and I wanted to be able to refer callers to this website over the phone. The cost to register the URL was a small price to pay for clarity and ease in communication.

For many years, I had the domain name forwarded - for free - to the actual webspace provided by CompuServe. This tactic isn’t for everyone, by the way. You can learn more about the pros and cons of domain name forwarding in my article Domain name forwarding: tips and tricks.

After the website was online, I publicized it using a free search engine submission tool. I submitted the site under its actual URL, with Tightwad Marketing as the site title and a carefully crafted website description. A month later, I did the same thing, using a different free search engine submission tool. About two weeks later (six weeks total), this site was showing up in Yahoo and Google ranked #1 for the keyword search “tightwad marketing,” and in the top-ten for the search term “free and cheap marketing.” That’s terrific for a website that was only 15 KB in size at the time. I continue to submit this website to the search engines about once a month, rotating through the various free search engine submission resources reviewed on this site.

I also continue to add fresh content, so the website continues to be ranked highly by those search engines that return impartial (non-paid position) results. Right now, I’m not paying for position on any search engine since that would be contrary to the Tightwad Marketing philosophy as it applies to the Tightwad Marketing website. Remember that this website exists purely as a free service for you, and produces no significant income for me.

That lack of a profit motive has, ironically, hurt this website in search engines that include link popularity in their algorithms. Because I don’t seek reciprocal links, it is impossible to match the link volume of websites that do demand reciprocal links. Targeted, relevant link exchange programs can be valuable promotional tools for small business websites. But, for this website, participating in such programs could compromise – or appear to compromise – the integrity of the information.

For offline marketing, I got 250 free business cards from VistaPrint. The website address on the cards is tightwadmarketing.com for better memorability. I selected a free design, and the slow shipping option (about three weeks). I received the cards in about two weeks. Yes, an ad for VistaPrint is on the back of the card. I recommend that you simply print an additional sales message onto some address labels and put that on the back, providing further information about your business and covering up the VistaPrint logo at the same time. (Can you tell why I’m not a good candidate for an affiliate program, the way I tell you how to circumvent The System?) I leave the cards everywhere I go.

As far as tracking traffic is concerned, I used a free hit counter on the first page of this website. This is just a hit counter, and provides me with no traffic identification or statistics. My new hosting package includes Urchin analytics, which is worth the price of admission right there.

You’ll also notice that I’m taking advantage of the free email address that’s connected to my domain name: . This seems more-professional than a Hotmail or Yahoo email address. You’ll probably not notice that I’m taking advantage of a tight little JavaScript that prevents my email address there from being harvested by spam-bots.

This website has come a long way since its 15KB origins. And, as long as I continue to expand and refine my knowledge, this website will continue to grow as a marketing and advertising resource to help your business. That’s my promise to you, and even though I’m not making a dime off this website, it’s one that you can take to the bank. So, look around the website - it’s here for you. And start finding ways to use Tightwad Marketing in your small business!
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