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Bryan Hall by Bryan Hall

How many email messages slip by you without your reply? How often does someone send even the most simple little question or thought or kind word, and you feel "sooo overwhelmed" by everything else going on in your life that you don't answer?

Let me tell you something point-blank & up-front:

If you answered either of those questions with even a quiet, "Maybe once or twice", or, "It depends on how busy I am," then it's time to get off your high horse and come back to reality a bit. Period.

You wouldn't run a business with a million dollar storefront and not answer a potential (or existing) customer's questions, would you? If someone walked up to you in that store & said, "Great work", you wouldn't stare at them blankly & walk away, would you? What's the difference between this scenario & the one you are a part of every day with your website?

I'll make no new friends with this article, I'll venture. But it's time someone stands up & says it - there aren't any decent reasons for you not to send a reply to any email where a reply is fitting. And should a reply be requested yet you don't answer, I wonder possibly WHY you make yourself available via e-mail to begin with!

I highly doubt that anyone ever wrote a course about being successful on the internet & said, "If you don't have time, or if you think you're too good, then just don't answer whatever emails you choose." Very doubtful, and a very unprofessional, uncaring approach to doing any sort of business on the Web.

It has to be one of the Internet's Top 10 Most Rude Acts Imaginable to receive a message via email, a method by which you have made yourself available, yet to not answer or reply if requested (or if appropriate). It's not only a question anymore of "netiquette", as the word has been coined. It's more a matter these days of being human, in essence, and treating people right. If you can't find it in yourself to treat people right, your successes won't amount to much in the long run. Write that down and post it on your monitor, and just put it to the test if you don't believe me.

You have a website. You make yourself accessible via email. You should follow through with the inherent factor that by making yourself available in this way, you have an "obligation" to reply. And if you think you don't then maybe you shouldn't make yourself accessible in that method. Best wishes to you in success, then.

Most people don't want your excuses for not answering their questions for 5 days, or not at all.

A hosting company I was considering had been readily available for my questions & concerns. (This is a recent true-to-life example here, folks.) Once my money had been received, they weren't anywhere to be found. Not a phone call or an email or even a letter from my attorney could get a reaction from this company. Their lack of support caused me to move my site elsewhere (& trust me, that's not a minor move at around 15 megs worth of space for my site).

As I write this article, I still haven't heard from that other company, and I have yet to receive my money back as guaranteed. They haven't answered an email -- if they had to start with, my site may be on their servers. Of course, to them, it's no big loss; in fact, one of their excuses in hesitating to file the transfer template with the InterNIC was that they were installing new $25,000 servers in an upgrading process. Too bad their customers don't come before the bragging rights to how much their servers cost. They could have paid them off with new business, rather than being in a possible bankruptcy situation.

Don't worry, though, friends - I found a GREAT hosting company! If I send them an email, they reply -- and I don't mean with an autoresponder; I'm talking about a live support person (usually my good friend Andy Angrick). When I send a message to my main webmastering resource ("guru") and fantastic graphics designer at Cyberdec, she replies promptly - sometimes instantly, online, via ICQ! It isn't that I owe these folks anything or that they owe me; it's a matter of a common bond and desire to be decent people as well as professional, up-standing businessfolk.

You would think someone like Jon Bauer, Editor for InternetDay, is an extremely busy person. I'm sure he is. But, like these other examples, he replies to his emails - and is a very personable, caring individual as well. Take examples like Jon, or Karl Moore of IT Gossip or Darren Flood of sitezero.com - all very busy people with major traffic and business going on around them constantly; all of them never too busy to answer an email.

Many of you will say I'm being overdramatic about this. But, let me tell you - if you wish to make good contacts, lasting relationships, and return visitors - as well as achieve great word of mouth advertising from those who are in contact with you - then you'd better take the time.

You'd be strongly advised by those of us who know from experience: Answer your emails!

Article by Bryan Hall, "webmaster", for JB Hall Worldwide.
JB Hall Worldwide specializes in consulting and resources, as well as affiliations with most top names/brands on the Internet today. FREE ezine, InSites News & Updates (& More!) is a great shortcut to updates & free stuff - subscribe today. *Exclusive resellers of JAnimation [Java animation] software - free download on site.*

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