SEO TIPS FOR WEB DESIGNERS
Find the Right Balance in Logo Creation
In a business, logo creation is as crucial as setting up a business plan. It is not as easy as going to a designer and having him create a cool, modern
symbol with a ripped off tagline. Unfortunately, it goes beyond "cool". It goes beyond what you think is the hype. Instead, it requires a deeper
understanding of your business, how it can be best represented, the overall impression it leaves on its viewers and if it is sticky enough to be retained in
the minds of your market.
Your logo's every curve and colour must exist for a reason. All elements should come together to contribute to an overall powerful and clear message
easily conveyed to anyone who sees it.
Let us start with colour. Colours mean something. Some colours make you mad, some make you calm and some make you agitated and so on. Every
colour has a psychological impact on people and a good mastery of such knowledge will prove to be very useful in creating your logo.
Composition of Elements
Selecting the right images shapes for your logo and arranging them also requires a good amount of thought. Overdone logos with a lot of curves and
circles might leave you confused and overwhelmed. At the same time, some are too simple that it leaves you unimpressed with no clear idea what the
business behind that logo wants to say. Investing time and effort on trial-and-error tests on your logo might seem a tedious task, but once overcome, you
will reap the rewards with more response and more results from your viewers.
Getting It All Together
Before we think of what colour or shape, at the base of our minds is what your logo should symbolize. The "what" comes first before the "how". From the
base sketch, to the colours, to the shapes, always check if every addition gives more value to your logo in association with your brand. In addition to the
value of the parts of your logo, another thing you should keep a keen eye out for is the overall balance of your design. You must think about how to
balance your logo design well enough that each stroke is where it should be and everything taken in its totality equates to a clear message so that people
- What your business does and what it believes in
- The products and services you provide
- The advantage of choosing your products and services over others
Going over some popular logos very familiar to us, we notice the use of small fonts, use of the colour red and arches. Let us dissect these elements for
Big companies use small fonts to convey that despite the enormous size and spread of their organization, people from all walks of life, even the less
prestigious, can still make business with them. A small type makes people less daunted and rather more at ease in approaching the company.
The colour red, not only grabs our attention, but it also communicates a sense of professionalism, passion and stability. That's why it's no surprise that
several financial or banking companies make use of this shade like MasterCard, Wells Fargo, and HSBC.
Now let us go to the use of arches. Arches can be used in a variety of ways and in conjunction other elements or letters in your logo. When used
overhead, the arch can represent an umbrella to convey protection. Alternatively, in the same sense, when used under the text, an arch can convey
reliability like a net catches circus acrobats when they fall. With lines arched in different directions, it is very possible that you can communicate a sense
of protection, confidence and trust.
It goes to show that there is no need for too much incorporation of lines and shapes to convey a message to the people. Going overboard with symbols
and colours in a logo can create too many elements that people will only add fuss instead of value.
Double check your designs and before you have your professional colour printing company work on your logo, make sure that you have created it
properly and have thought it out well. You must achieved the proper balance of using symbols that mean something akin to your company and keep them
as simple and neat enough as possible. Balanced and uncluttered, remember that.
Free SEO Tips the Pro's Charge For
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) both the bane and boon of many a person's existence. It's a known fact that the best way to get traffic to your
website is by simply having your site show up in the first page or two of the major search engine's results. Visitors that come in from those search engine
results pages (referred to as SERP) have two main things going for them. They are more likely to buy, and they didn't cost you any money to get there.
Getting your site onto those first two pages can be a struggle, and people are always watching what you are doing and gunning for the top spot. You have
to keep aware of all of the latest tactics and methods and measure yourself against your competitors.
Yes, competitors. Many people aren't aware of the competitive nature of SERPs positioning, but it is. Keep in mind that you are ranked in comparison
with the other sites in the results. If the search engine thinks that your content is more relevant, then you rank higher, if it is determined that your content
is less relevant, then you fall in the results. If they know what they are doing, the other sites showing up for the searches you wish to rank high in are
watching you, and the other sites on the first two pages to see what they are doing, and if they are rising or falling.
So how do you ensure that you can rank well against the other sites out there and rise in the SERPs? Well, for starters, let's assume that there are only
three search engines, because frankly, Google, Yahoo, and MSN (in that order) represent the majority, the vast majority of searches. And Google
represents the vast majority amongst those three. For the purposes of this article we'll focus only on Google. If you do right by them, what you do will be
good for other search engines as well.
Before we go any further it's important that you understand the nature of SEO. It is not an exact science. The exalted minds inside the Googleplex do
not share their secret sauce with the unwashed masses. The reason for this is simple: if they revealed exactly how their logic works, it would be exploited-
-this has happened before. The methods for performing SEO are based upon the trial and error of many, many internet users as they worked out what
works, what doesn't and what will get your site unindexed - or worse: banned.
This is important. There are good and bad ways to optimize your site. The bad ways are called 'Black Hat'. Sure, they may work for awhile, and some
Google can't (or doesn't bother to) pick up automatically. However you can report a site to Google as using Black Hat SEO tactics and Google will remove
that site from the index (meaning it won't show up in search results). Removing a site from the index is usually only done for a certain amount of time and
can be appealable. Banning is far more severe and banned sites are often gone for good with no way to get Google to add it back to their index. Beware
of a lot of things that seem shady. If you think they are shady, chances are that the folks at Google will think so too and if one of those other sites in the
SERPs wants to rise up and they visit your site and see your shady tactics, they won't hesitate to report you.
Yeah, it's a bit unfair, but it's the world we live in. Google's not alone in this--the other search engines will do it too.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's dive into the two ways to optimize your site.
On Page Optimization
This is what most people think of when they think of SEO. In reality it is the less effective of the two methods, though as Google improves its ability to
determine real content from fluff it is getting more valuable. A bit of history first.
Back when people started realizing that they could make or break their business by where they came up in the SERPs, they started adding all sorts of
content to their sites to improve their ranking. The most common of these was the meta keywords. These are words that are placed in the code on a
website that tell the search engines what the site is about. Way back when the 'net was young, the search engines believed these keywords. They don't
anymore. People abused the keywords system by putting their competitors names in them, or by even putting completely bogus words in. A site looking
to sell more jeans would put Britney Spears in their keywords to get people to visit them inadvertently. Needless to say, keywords play very little
importance anymore. I have gotten sites to the #1 position on Google without using keywords at all.
As the search engines got wise to the whole bogus keywords thing, they started looking at all of the content on a website. They can only read text, so
images and animated graphics (like flash) were ignored. People learned tactics to place all sorts of text on their site that was invisible to users, but that
the search engines (looking at the source code) would see. So search engines started to distrust the websites themselves.
You're asking yourself how they can know what a site is about then. They asked themselves the same question and came up with an obvious answer:
they can't. But other humans can. This is called 'Off Page Optimization' and is covered in the second type of optimization.
They never really disregarded the webpage entirely, but they lowered its importance in their overall factoring of a page's importance and relevancy.
However, as their savvy increases and they have more computing power to analyse content, search engines are starting to consider the page's content
as being more and more important. They can often discern the difference between human generated and computer generated text, and can tell if the
content on a page is relevant to a particular topic or not. As they do this more, the page itself will continue to get more important.
There used to be a lot of tactics and tricks to get the search engines to pay more attention to your page, but the number one tip is now this: Write
human readable content (don't try to write it to load it with terms and keywords) that has value and real relevancy. Make sure that you do use the words
and phrases you think people will search for, and do use them more than once, but don't go overboard. Bolding and using larger fonts (and H1 tags) will
help as well, but don't overdo it. If you make your page look too wonky it will not work for the second type of optimization.
Here's a quick rundown of things to make sure you do.
Make sure the page title is descriptive - make it different with each page if you can:
Use the meta description tag and make it good - this is what most search engines show as the blurb about your site on the results page.
Don't worry a lot about your HTML formatting. Search engines are used to reading crappy HTML and they don't care too much.
Make sure you use your keywords in your copy more than once.
Do bold them if it works in your content
If you can make it work, use an H1 or H2 tag. If you are comfortable with CSS you can make the text in them smaller (this is becoming less and less
Make sure to use alt and title tags on images. It lets the search engines know what the image is about and can cause your images to show up on the
Google image search. Use title tags on your links. It will help the search engines know more about the page you are linking to and improve relevancy.
Don't put too many links to other sites. Links out lower your page's importance.
Off Page Optimization
This is also called 'Off Site Optimization' which is a misnomer. Search engines care little about 'websites' and care more about 'web pages'. The reason
for this is that they don't link to a site, they link to a page. So what is this mysterious type of SEO you ask? Well, if you read the on page part above you
will have learned that Google and the other search engines decided that they couldn't trust the page itself too much as too many people put fake content
on a page to generate traffic. So they decided that the best way to know if a page was relevant was to let people do it for them.
How do they make this work? Well, they simply look at who links to you and what their page is about. If your page is about sewing, and another page
that Google knows people like is also about sewing and it links to you, then your page is probably not misrepresenting itself. This is the driving force
behind what is called 'Page Rank'. Page rank is essentially a calculation of the importance of the pages linking to you vs. the relevancy of your content to
those pages. If a page about banking links to a page about peanut butter, then chances are that the search engines won't assign any importance to that
link, but links between pages of similar content have high importance.
There is also a nebulous thing that we know exists, but don't know how to quantify. It is the matter of how much a search engine trusts a site. Sites
with high trust have their outbound links given more importance than sites the search engine does not trust. An easy way to determine if a site is
trustworthy or not is to think about it yourself. The folks at the search engines are humans, they will trust the same sites you do and distrust the same
sites you do (give or take a bit).
Link/Banner farms - sites with nothing but links to various other sites. These used to work, but the search engines wised up and now having a link farm
link to you will hurt, not help.
Sites with a lot of advertising on them - The search engines know that these sites are mostly computer generated and have no valuable content, and
so don't pay any heed to what they link to.
Black Hat Sites - sites that use questionable SEO tactics aren't ones that you want linking to you. Google is suspicious of them, no reason to make it
suspicious of you.
Directories - There are two types of directories. Automatic and Human verified. Google knows which are which and if your site is listed on a human
verified directory (meaning that someone looked at your site and verified that your description and content match the category you chose to have it listed
in) then it knows that your content is relevant to the description you gave. Find the directories for your market (just Google things like sewing Boston
directory or whatever your niche/market is and you'll find some to list in.
News Sites - Many news sites allow you to post comments on them. Don't spam, but find some relevant articles to your site and post a few comments. Its
not advised that you place your link right in the article (unless you think it applies) but rather have your link in your profile.
Sites with high page rank - This is key. There is little point having sites with no page rank link to your site with no page rank. You want sites with high
page rank linking to you. Install the Google toolbar and select yes when it asks if you want to view page rank. This will let you know how other sites rank
and help you determine where to try to get links.
There are a lot of other tips and helpful bits of information out there and I'll be posting a few more specialized articles about them. While there is a lot of
bogus software and eBooks out there that will literally tell you no more than what you have read above, there are some that will help you carry out the
suggestions above. They'll suggest directories, give you reports on how well you rank against your competitors and many other things. Most you can do
on your own, but they take time. Good SEO software should mainly remove the tedious, manual tasks involved in SEO and help you focus on more
important things like niche research and adding actual, valuable content to your site.
What Does Your Website Content Say About You?
As much time as business website owners put into finding a good web designer, it's amazing how little time gets spent in actually creating the website
content - also known as the sales copy. This is the content that will help the customer make a decision whether to take action - or leave.
It's one of the most important keys of any successful website, and yet it's often ignored or patched together at the last minute and rushed off to the web
designer to add to the site. Unfortunately, this can leave a lasting impression on that company's target audience.
Look over your website's front page copy - as this is where most of your visitors will ultimately end up. See if any of the following mistakes appear in
your site. You may be surprised at what you learn!
* Welcome to XYZ Company Website - This was the most common headline for sites established back in the mid 90's, when just having a website
showed that you were "ahead of the technology curve". These days, customers can use the web to comparison shop and do research - much of this
research is aimed at which company to do business with.
That said, your very first headline should be one that draws them in and perks up their interest in what you have to offer. A good example is the headline
of this article. You were curious enough to click and find out what your website content says about you. Having "Welcome to Our Company" on your front
page signifies that your company is "behind the times" and gives the visitor no information to go on about why they should buy from you.
* My, I and We - It's great that you want to tell customers what your company does. Unfortunately, they don't really care. They want to know what you can
do for them, instead. Rather than focusing on what you can do for them, tailor your website content to emphasize the benefits to the reader.
You can do this as simply as writing sentences that start with things such as "You will learn...", or "You will find that..." and then ending them with a benefit
to the customer, such as "how to improve your marriage in less than a week", or "you have a brighter, whiter smile".
Your readers will almost automatically imagine themselves better off as a result of your product or service - and this kind of "written visualization" will help
them see that your offer is the logical choice to get the desired result.
* Lack of a Compelling Headline - This ties into point #1 - but a compelling, action-oriented headline gives your customer the impulse to read further.
That doesn't mean you should take your headline to the extreme and dress it up with bright red text, heaps of exclamation marks and CAPITAL
LETTERS. Those are major copywriting "turn-offs" for a professional business and they show that you're unenthusiastic or bored with the product.
You know your product is the best - so why not share that enthusiasm with your reader? What is it that you enjoy or admire about the product? What can
it do for the customer? Say it up front in your headline. That's what urges them to keep reading more.
* Lots of Tech Specs - It's great that your product is powered by an X250Q fusion engine and 220ZX turbines. Unless your end user is intimately familiar
with those products and specs - they'll simply leave...confused. And they probably won't come back.
On the other hand, if you tell them that 1. They'll never have to buy gasoline again and 2. They get the kind of hauling and drive power they need to move
those heavy loads - NOW you've got their attention! When you write your website content, after everything you believe is a benefit to the consumer, ask
yourself, "So what?" Eventually it will boil down to the core reason why the customer needs it - and that's the gold you're looking for!
When you keep these copywriting suggestions in mind, you not only help make your website content stronger and more compelling for your reader,
but you also instantly improve your product or service's credibility in their eyes. Give these tips a try and watch your conversions go up! All the best!
Beginners Affiliate Marketing - Learn The Basics
There are many steps to take when you are trying to make money online through affiliate programs. The most tedious and most important step will
always be the marketing aspect. Beginners affiliate marketing should begin with knowledge. Read everything that you can to find out the different paths
that are available.
As an affiliate, there will be millions of products and services to choose from. You should always choose a product that is in a similar niche to that of your
A website that is based on technology should not have ads and affiliate programs about curtains and bedding. You can choose to display shoe ads if
your website is about shoes, or you can select products that will go well with that topic such as clothing and accessories.
Whatever you choose as an affiliate program, always try to start with a product that you have used. As an affiliate marketer, you are recommending
these products to your visitors, and they will not be pleased to find out that the product is subpar after they have purchased it.
You want to suggest a product that you know and love. By telling your website visitors about the honest experience that you have had with a product, the
more they will grow to trust your word. Always be honest with your customers. As large as the internet is, it is still small enough and a few bad reviews
about you and your website, can travel quickly and destroy your reputation before it has even begun.
A great way to receive and keep new visitors, is with a free offer. When free products are available, other websites will at times link to that web page
so that they can tell their own visitors about the great deal. This helps you to get back links as well as new visitors who may decide to check out your
website. This can help you to gain new visitors as well as repeat customers.
A well made site can become self sustaining in a short amount of time. This means that you will be able to simply add new content, done by yourself or
through a freelancer, while you do other tasks, such as setting up more affiliate websites. You should always keep an eye on all of your web pages, to
update and to make sure that there are no problems with your site or server.
While you are still learning, it is best to start with one affiliate program before moving to others. Trying to do, too much too soon can be a recipe for
disaster. Put all of your efforts and concentration into making your first affiliate program a success.
Once you have learned how to put your skills into effect, your beginners affiliate marketing techniques can move on to new websites, blogs and affiliate
With the knowledge that you have gained through your first website, you can begin to apply the same techniques to duplicate your previous success.
However, you should always remember to check back with websites, eBooks and blogs, so that you are kept up to date on the new affiliate marketing
techniques that are available.
Local Search Engine Optimization - Revisited
Roughly a year ago, local search engine optimization was all the rage - the new frontier in search engine marketing. For a while, it seemed that
everyone was interested in the local search angle - even multi-national companies. However, for many companies selling products or services to the
entire United States, or even globally, it seemed like a non-starter. Companies that counted on people looking for certain products or services that did not
require close proximity to the company's location were unaffected. As far as local search engine optimization goes, things have changed a bit since then -
at least for some.
Some time ago, Google introduced a "geographic box" at the top of its search results. This is tied in to its mapping feature, and, when it was first
introduced, the engine would display three results at the top of its search results whenever somebody entered a geographic modifier into the search box
("Atlanta widgets," for example). The Google algorithm then has the intelligence to determine whether the query calls for results that are primarily local in
Since that initial trial, Google has obviously found that its users appreciate the feature. The engine now displays ten local search results at the top of the
listings for certain queries, provided that they have a geographic modifier attached. For example, if you type in "Atlanta gyms" in Google, you will see ten
results alongside a map that shows the location of ten gyms in Atlanta.
It should be noted that you will not see local search results for all queries that contain a local modifier. In certain instances, it almost seems as if Google
somehow "knows" when a geographic modifier really means that you only offer services in a particular area. Yeah, those guys are pretty good.
There are many resources on the Internet to turn to if you are looking for local search engine optimization for your regional website. However, many
companies have client bases that cater primarily to a national or international field. Can they benefit from local search?
Yes, they can - in two ways (with a caveat for the first).
First, many customers prefer to deal with people that are local, even if the business is national, or even global. A businessperson that is looking for, say,
marketing consulting, may be inclined to work with someone with an address in close proximity found through local search. It just feels more comfortable -
if something goes wrong, he or she can request a meeting, rather than calling an 800 number.
Here's the caveat - you may not want people showing up at your doorstep. Some companies invite people to show up at the headquarters and voice
concerns or sing praises, but others would prefer to keep things at a distance. This is not a value judgment by any means. With many companies that
deal with thousands, or even millions, of customers, it would be impossible to service every complaint with a human smile.
The second way, which seems more customer friendly (but actually isn't), applies when a large company has many locations. This doesn't mean that
your company has "walk-in" locations that are open to the public. If you have locations in many cities, each serving a different function, you can still
benefit from local search engine optimization.
Say, for example, you are headquartered in Toledo. You have distribution centres in several cities across the United States. Each of your physical
locations is eligible to show up in local search results on Google, provided that you supply the engine with the proper information.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, not all searches with regional modifiers attached will bring up regional results. But based on recent happenings, it's a
good idea to make your regional presence known and consider the effects of local search engine optimization. After the years of talk about it, local search
might finally turn out to be something that most companies can take advantage of.
Using Social Media To Drive Traffic
SMO, or Social Media Optimization, helps build website traffic by using social media based websites. The dawning of web 2.0 has seen many different
social media websites crop up in an equally large number of different guises. Content sharing, social bookmarking, and collaborative websites form the
basis of this initiative and it is these types of website that you need to use in order to leverage the power of the social web.
SMO As Guerrilla Marketing
The nature of Social Media Optimization is such that it could be considered form of guerrilla marketing. Website owners and blog owners have the choice
of either investing money or their own skills and time in order to generate traffic from social sites. As long as your efforts are directed appropriately, the
more work you put in the more reward you will reap.
SMO As A Link Building Technique
Social optimization also has a happy side effect - it helps to build your link profile so you will usually gain search engine traffic in the long term. Becoming
a part of an online community is essential to your social optimization and this, in turn, will naturally provide links to your website. The links will usually be
from relevant pages based on a similar topic to that of your own page. The more popular social sites are also given a lot of weight by certain search
Optimize Your Existing Site
Create genuinely interesting, intriguing, or informative pages. Includes images, links, video, and collaborative tools so that visitors really get involved
when they do visit your site. SMO is basically digital word-of-mouth and if your website doesn't offer some kind of appealing experience to your visitors,
then it simply won't attract the positive word-of-mouth that you want.
Add new pages, if necessary, so that you can include more information. However, don't just add pages for the sake of it - ensure that each page really
does have something unique to offer. A website still needs to be well structured.
Get A Blog
Add a blog. Every website has potential blog posts in it so find yours and start blogging regularly. Blog posts tend to attract links from other blog posts and
those in turn will spread the word of your website. The more popular your blog becomes, the more value it is perceived to offer and the more visitors you
will continue to get.
Be active in those blogs that are within your industry and use your link where permitted and relevant. Don't spam because that will lose you more friends
than it will make but if you offer relevant information and a forum or blog allows you to link to it, then offer an insightful comment and provide a link.
Being active is a vital part to your whole SMO campaign. Simply registering with social bookmarking sites and content sharing sites is not enough. You
need to be involved, post regularly, and generally become a part of the community. If you don't have the time or the inclination to do this then find
somebody else to do it instead.
Some Social Sites To Join
You really do reap what you sow in terms of SMO. Determine the sites that are most suitable to your website, join them, and become an active member.
Choose some broad topic sites as well as some that are specific to those interested in the industry in which you operate or topic that you cover. Look at
social news submission sites, content sharing sites, bookmarking, and networking sites and try to get a broad coverage of all of them. Here are just a few
of the sites you should seriously consider using:
Social News/Media Sharing Websites
* Reddit - Reddit is a very popular social news website that boasts a lot of subscribers and covers a wide range of topics.
* Digg - Initially, Digg was reserved to technology and related topics but is now a broad topic news site that again has a lot of subscribers and regular
* Newsvine - Not as popular as the two above but offering a slightly more formal tone to its content. Again, a good range of topics are covered.
Social Networking Sites
* MySpace - It may be largely riddled with spam but there are still too many genuine users for you to ignore MySpace. You don't have to be an unsigned
band to take advantage either.
* Facebook - Has caused quite a stir and offers users the chance to create and distribute their own applications as well as content. Another very popular
* LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a social networking site dedicated to professionals and businesses. It can really help to build a huge network of partners,
customers, and other useful contacts in a business network.
Social Bookmarking Websites
* del.icio.us - Register, store bookmarks that you find useful, and include a bookmark to your own website and use a public profile.
* Stumble Upon - Same again. Alternatively you can add a Stumble icon to each of your pages, blog posts, and other media and let your readers do the
walking for you.
Buttons For Your Pages
Many social websites offer a button that your readers or visitors can use to automatically add a page. Bookmarking and content sharing sites, in
particular, have these buttons and if you've ever read a website or an article site then you will have seen the Digg This and Stumble buttons at the bottom
of each entry. Users registered with these sites can click the button and quickly add your page. The most popular websites are usually displayed on the
high traffic home pages delivering yet more visitors to your site.
The Social Internet has opened up a whole new avenue for promoting your business, but it needs to be done properly and carefully. Simply tagging,
bookmarking, and sharing every page you have regardless of its quality will not bring you the desired results. You may find that it does you more harm
than good in the long run.
Determining How Long Your Traffic Stays
How long your traffic stays on your website is an indication of how interesting you have made your website.
It is always good to check the number of visitors coming to your site and how long they have stayed. How do you check this? You will check this by
your log files. This is done by your c-panel or a similar place depending on what your host has set up for you. Here you can view the different stats about
They will show you:
* Monthly stats-how many visitors came to your site during one month. These will be divided into unique and general (repeat visitors).
* Weekly stats- how many visitors came in 1 week, again they will be divided into unique and general
* Daily stats
* Hourly stats
Most visited pages: These let you know how many visitors have come to certain pages during 1 month. This is where it gets interesting, as you will be
able to tell which pages are attracting the most visitors.
The amount of time visitors have spent on your website: This is a good estimate of the quality of your site. Obviously the longer your visitors stay the
more chances there are of them buying.
Once you know which pages are attracting visitors you can then work on getting all your pages sticky and compel surfers to visit them.
Google also tracks how long visitors are spending at your site. Again it is a quality check as far as they are concerned. When Google bots bring
information back to the Database about a website being visited and people are staying longer, they can naturally assume the standard of that website is
High standard and quality means Google customers (your visitors) are being serviced well and that makes Google happy. This will earn you a higher
Encourage a longer stay:
So we can naturally assume that the longer your visitors stay the better it is. Now how to encourage them to stay? Have you ever read a book that you
just could not put down? Well you website must have that same effect on your visitors. They will not want to leave until they have devoured every word of
your pre selling content. They should be in the mood to either sign up for your free newsletter and become your leads or go on to your sales page and
buy your products or services.
Making them stay: Make your site an irresistible, sticky website that draws your visitor in and compels them to stay. Here are some ways:
* Interesting informative content
* Stories, anecdotes, and news about your industry
* Quizzes relating to your industry-the answers will be found on one of your important pages
* Good user friendly navigation
* Humorous jokes, quotes and stories related to your industry-these are often shared among friends and associates (viral marketing).
So try some of these ways to make your visitor want to stay at your site. Use all the resources you have and write that good informative content to pre
sell your visitors. Provide them good products and services and see your visitors convert to your loyal customers because you have made your website
irresistible to them.
Email Marketing Success - Optimization Techniques
It's a common trend that internet marketers do whatever they can do to get the e-mail address of the people visiting their site. Online, you have a really
small window of opportunity to convert a visitor into a client and if they're not ready to buy whatever they're browsing on your site, it's a good idea to at
least find out who they are so that you can try a different sales approach on them on another day. Just because they're not interested in what you're
selling today doesn't mean you can't find something else to tickle their fancy.
There are many ways to do this such as:
- Offer a free report with information they'll find valuable
- Ask them to opt in to your newsletter or subscribe to your website for update
- Intrigue them with entry into a free draw for a prize.
Once someone has signed up for something you've got a valuable e-mail address that you can use to build your list of potential customers. Once you
have that e-mail address, you want to be very careful with it because otherwise it won't do much for you.
How do you stay out of the spam filter?
It's a good idea to have someone confirm before you give away anything. Many will put in a fake e-mail address just to get something for free. You can
require them to confirm by receiving an e-mail from you and clicking a confirmation link. Remind them to check their junk folder and if they mark your
message as not being Spam, their email software could then automatically white list you so that you don't land in the spam folder in future. By requesting
a confirmation, you also ensure that you are getting a real e-mail address.
Auto responder software is a good investment for anyone marketing online. Buying into a package AutoResponsePlus or something similar will help
you easily manage your mailing lists. The thing is, once you have a mailing list in place and a plan that includes auto responders, you need to work on
your email content and deliverability.
Each communication you make in future with prospective client should do two things:
1) The e-mail needs to offer them something valuable otherwise they'll unsubscribe. Give information or tips or helpful information that will have that
person anxious to open future emails from you.
2) You need a call to action line at the end which will entice them to do something you want after they close the email. This could be to visit your website
with a handy link, sign up for another service, refer their friends to you or even offer a purchase link so they can buy what you're selling.
Deliverability is definitely a key factor. You want to know that your e-mails reach their recipient's email box so here are a few things you can do to
increase the likelihood of your target audience actually opening your e-mail. People are fed up with Spam and using all sorts of programs and techniques
to ensure they're not having to sift through spam to get to the important e-mails.
People make use of domain keys and SPF records so that they aren't getting phishing e-mails by those posing as their bank or PayPal.
People use spam filters and this helps them build the trust in their incoming messages. Once you make it past that filter, you're set.
By getting yourself white listed, you can increase the likelihood of being delivered to an e-mail inbox instead of a Spam folder and by buying an auto
responder product that's hosted on your own server, you can more easily get past Spam filters because if you've done your bit to get white listed, you'll be
trusted by your recipient's e-mail server which will increase the chances of your brilliant and persuasive copy being taken seriously.
Video Marketing for Small Businesses
Technology has created video marketing opportunities - cable TV, email marketing, websites and video - for small businesses to be on an even playing
field with large companies. From extremely inexpensive video streaming in an email to the full-production TV ad with hired actors, even small companies
and home-based businesses can include video advertising in their budget.
You might be asking why you should consider it at all when your current advertising is working just fine. Aside from the fact that adding another strategy
to your marketing plan is a good idea, videos are very personal. Who better to discuss your service or product than you? It brings a familiarity to you and
your company, which allows the prospect to feel like they already know you. If the message is directed to your current customer base, seeing and hearing
you gives the feeling that you are presenting your message directly to them.
There are professional videos and way too often, not so professional videos. Most of us cringe when we hear a car salesman screaming about a
wonderful deal waiting for you if you'll come down RIGHT NOW! Or the windows and siding guy who squawks about the fantastic savings if you call within
the next 30 minutes (but the ad runs all day long). These are stereotypes of TV advertising available for the small business owner. But it doesn't have to
be that way!
Cable TV ads can be very cost effective because you can be specific where your ad dollars will be spent. The cable company has demographic statistics
so you can learn what programs are viewed most frequently by your target market then select where (as specific as the postal codes) and when you want
your ads to run. The variety of shows cable companies have in their line up provides a fantastic choice for the advertiser. In addition, they can also slot
your ad in during the Big 3 networks' shows as well.
Videos aren't only just for cable TV. There are many companies that create videos which can be linked to websites, newsletters, social networking sites
and email signature lines. They serve many purposes from advertising to introducing a new product or service to just send a keeping-in-touch message to
current clients. These videos are also used for on-line training and even instructions to learn how to use a new networking website
www.OneDegreeConnected.com. Some are scripted, while others are produced to simulate a talk show format. Compare cost as well as professionalism.
This form of advertising can be extremely high-quality or can be an embarrassment to your company's image. Get referrals! View some of the finished
productions of each company you are considering before signing any contract.
You can even create your own video while sitting in your office. Do you have a video camera or a video cam connected to your computer? You're all set
to create your own video stream to be placed in emails or on your website. A word of caution is to make sure it's not too long. Keep it less than 90
seconds and you'll usually keep the viewer's interest.
Video has created the opportunity for business owners to star in their own commercials. Consider the scenarios mentioned earlier of what video
advertising could - but shouldn't - be. Luckily, these are the exception and not the rule; most ads are professional from writing the ad copy to the
production. Of course, it's important to remember that the familiar saying "junk in, junk out" holds true for video more than any other media. You're dealing
with three methods of presenting the message: content, visual and audio.
Therefore, if you choose to take part in your videos, it's best to receive some coaching prior to production. Accent On Business
(http://www.accentonbusiness.net), known throughout the United States, will help you with voice and presentation skills. Public speakers, politicians,
sports figures, CEOs and others consult with a professional voice and speech coach; so should you. You will have total control over what needs to be
said, but they will help you say it with the professionalism that will provide the image you want to present.
New technology has made video marketing very affordable even for the smallest budget. There are a variety of opportunities and one will certainly fit
your budget. Consider video in your next marketing plan. You'll find a new media that will present your company with a fresh message and make it
Top 20 Contributing Factors For Google SEO
Websites are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways of advertising. Whether it be a business, its product or service or something completely
different, everyone of all ages are turning to the web as a method of getting their message out there. With the popularity of this marketing medium
increasing and the number of websites always growing, it is obvious that everyone wants to appear at the top of Google's search engine rankings.
Achieving such a task is never an easy feat, however with a bit of perseverance, one can definitely increase their chances of reaching that glorious first
Given that there is a heap of websites out there who are on the first page, what is their secret? It is a little industry term called "SEO" and it stands for
Search Engine Optimisation. SEO basically consists of the customisation of your website, its content and its internal and external links to assist in the
overall indexing and ranking of your website in popular search engines. There are many contributing factors that are used in determining a website's
ranking and every search engine is different. This makes trying to optimise your site for Google, Yahoo, Live and the many others quite a pain staking
As most of us are aware, Google is currently the most popular search engine for the majority of Internet users. As such, it is only normal that we'd want
to focus our sights on achieving a higher ranking within Google first with a hope that the rest will follow. To do this, we must start a journey that could
potentially take months before we start seeing any real change, however we have to start somewhere.
Our journey begins by defining some of the key contributing factors that Google uses to determine a website and webpage's ranking within its results.
These factors range from keyword use to manipulating internal and external links and the list goes on. To get you started, we have listed the top twenty
factors that you should focus on in order to help get your website that little bit closer to the top of the search engine results listing.
Keyword Use Factors
The following components relate to the use of the user's search query terms in determining the rank of a particular page.
1. Keyword Use in Title Tag - Placing the targeted search term or phrase in the title tag of the web page's HTML header.
2. Keyword Use in Body Text - Using the targeted search term in the visible, HTML text of the page.
3. Relationship of Body Text Content to Keywords - Topical relevance of text on the page compared to targeted keywords.
4. Keyword Use in H1 Tag - Creating an H1 tag with the targeted search term/phrase.
5. Keyword Use in Domain Name & Page URL - Including the targeted term/phrase in the registered domain name, i.e. keyword.com plus target terms in
the webpage URL, i.e. seomoz.org/keyword-phrase.
The following elements comprise how the Google interprets specific data about a webpage independent of keywords.
6. Link Popularity within the Site's Internal Link Structure - Refers to the number and importance of internal links pointing to the target page 7.
Quality/Relevance of Links to External Sites/Pages - Do links on the page point to high quality, topically-related pages? 8. Age of Document - Older pages
may be perceived as more authoritative while newer pages may be more temporally relevant 9. Amount of Indexable Text Content - Refers to the literal
quantity of visible HTML text on a page 10. Quality of the Document Content (as measured algorithmically) - Assuming search engines can use text,
visual or other analysis methods to determine the validity and value of content, this metric would provide some level of rating.
The factors below contribute to Google's rankings based on the site/domain on which a page resides.
11. Global Link Popularity of Site - The overall link weight/authority as measured by links from any and all sites across the web (both link quality and
quantity) 12. Age of Site - Not the date of original registration of the domain, but rather the launch of indexable content seen by the search engines (note
that this can change if a domain switches ownership) 13. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site - The subject-specific relationship between the
sites/pages linking to the target page and the target keyword 14. Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community - The link weight/authority of the target
website amongst its topical peers in the online world 15. Rate of New Inbound Links to Site - The frequency and timing of external sites linking in to the
Inbound Link Attribute
These pieces affect Google's weighting of links from external websites pointing to a page and ultimately will assist in the ranking of that page.
16. Anchor Text of Inbound Link.
17. Global Link Popularity of Linking Site.
18. Topical Relationship of Linking Page.
19. Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community - The link weight/authority of the target website amongst its topical peers in the online world.
20. Age of Link.
Negative Crawling/Ranking Attributes
There are also some points we should make before you start getting your hands dirty. With any type of SEO marketing, there are some things that can
actually have a negative impact on your ranking. These following components may negatively affect a spider's ability to crawl a page or its rankings at
* Server is Often Inaccessible to Bots.
* Content Very Similar or Duplicate of Existing Content in the Index.
* External Links to Low Quality/Spam Sites.
* Duplicate Title/Meta Tags on Many Pages.
* Overuse of Targeted Keywords (Stuffing/Spamming).
It's now time to get busy! Start prioritising your tasks, modifying your content and building your internal and external links to meet some of the above
guidelines. Keep in mind that improving indexing is mostly a technical task, improving ranking is mostly a business/marketing strategy, what might work
now may not work in the future and finally, it takes time. Loads of time. Still, with a bit of trial and error and a good dose of persistence, you can achieve
the search engine ranking you're after.
Test Your Way To Greater Conversions and Internet Success!
Testing your website pages, especially landing pages, squeeze pages and sales pages is one of the most profitable things you can do to tweak your
pages and gain higher conversions. On top of that, you can learn more about copywriting though split tests and other means of testing your web pages
than any other way.
Back in the days of mail order marketing, testing sales letters and catalogues gathered more real information about new concepts and ideas than through
most other methods of research at that time. In these days of the internet, the bell even rings louder.
You can test whole concepts of your pages to find out what emotional triggers and core desires your market truly respond to. Simply test two or three
versions of your sales page that each focus on a separate theme or slant on the product or service. The page that pulls the most conversions will give you
the answers you are looking for.
In this day of fierce online competition, testing is something you should, no MUST do to gain the highest conversions from your website and pages. If
you're not actively testing your pages, your competition will soon pass you by.
What Exactly Should You Be Testing?
The simple answer is: Everything! Everything on your pages and in your sales message is a contributing factor to your conversion rate. This includes your
headline, opening paragraphs, body copy, your offer, post scripts, background colour, font, font colours, images and every imaginable component of your
page in between.
Volumes of information have been written about what to test and how to test your web pages. This work is extensive, so when you begin to test, I suggest
you concentrate your first efforts on the three areas that have been shown to have the most impact on your sales page, the headline, the first three (or
four) opening paragraphs, and your offer.
In this article, I will focus on Headlines as they are the critical element of your page.
Headline changes can have the most impact on your conversion rate and response of these three components. 75 - 80% of your visitors will never read
past the headline. It doesn't matter how wonderful you have written your sales page, if the headline doesn't work correctly and do its job of getting people
to read on, your page will be a failure.
In order for your headline to be effective, you have to discover the biggest core desires within your market to feed. The best headline test are based
around the different core desires and motivating reasons why people would be interested in your product or service.
Testing different headlines around different concepts will tell you which one is more appealing to your market audience. Once you have the key
concepts and desires tested and you have discovered which one works best, you then go to work tweaking your headline in more alluring and persuasive
Split testing is generally used to test headlines. In the beginning, you will probably want to use simple A/B split testing but if you are dealing with high
volume traffic and high price sales, you may want to consider speeding up the process with multi-variate testing. You can find out more about these tests
by going to: What Is Split Testing?.
What Type of Headline Format Do You Test?
There are some classic headline formats that have been shown to be effective over time that you can begin with. There's the "If/Then" headline, "Amazing
Secrets of ..." headline, the "Who Else Wants to ..." headline, and of course the classic "How to ..." headline.
Test as many headlines as you can think up for your web page. In fact, you should never stop testing different headlines on your page. A simple 10%
increase in your conversions could result in hundreds to tens of thousands of dollar or more. Testing your headlines could bring an increase of 50%,
100%, or even 200% or more in the response your web page brings.
The next time that you feel that your landing page, sales page or squeeze page should be converting better, think about testing the component of your
page to increase the effectiveness and response that it should be eliciting.
Continue reading more about this fascinating arena of online marketing by going to: Testing Your Web Pages.
Website Optimisation Techniques
As well as link building and on-page optimisation, there are some other very important SEO factors which can help your website index and rank in
search engine listings. The following techniques are grouped into the category named 'website optimisation' and should not be overlooked when
preparing an SEO campaign.
Domain Age and Expiration Date
Google and other search engines include many factors within their ranking system. One of these factors is trust rank. Owning a domain that has history
improves the trust rank as does registering the domain for a long period of time.
Again trust rank comes into play here. If your website has been archived in the search engine results for a long period then it will help improve rankings
and indexing of webpage’s created in comparison with a fairly new website with no history.
When creating a website, it is important to provide a well structured navigation, not just for users but also to allow search engine bots to follow links and
index webpage’s within your website. Structuring your navigation correctly can help all you webpage’s be indexed and should help the flow of Google's
Page Rank spread through out the website.
As with structured navigation, the importance of valid HTML to search engine bots is to allow all webpage’s within your website to be indexed within the
search engine listings. Validating your HTML will ensure that the bots do not hit any 'brick walls' within the code that prevent them from reading the rest of
To further help the indexing of your webpage’s and to even out the flow of Google's Page Rank, it is useful to include links within the content text of your
webpage’s. Wikipedia is a perfect example of how this should be done.
URL Structure Including keywords in your website's URLs will help you rank for those terms. If your website uses dynamic URLs created through
variables then think about rewriting them. Separate keywords using a minus character (e.g. search-phrase.html) and try and keep the important keywords
as close to the beginning of the URL as possible.
If you wish to target a certain region then there are a few steps you can take to help this process. Firstly you can choose a relevant domain such as a
.co.uk (UK) or .de (Germany) rather than a generic .com domain. Then look at your hosting IP location, search engines can access this information and
will use it to decide your target audience. Finally, Google Webmaster Tools allows you to set a geographic target which is useful if you have a .com
Search engine bots look for site maps when they visit your website. Providing a standard HTML site map will help improve the indexing of your webpage’s
and allow bots to find webpage’s that they might otherwise have missed. You can now also provide and submit an XML site map which all the major
search engines have took on as a standard. Use your robots.txt to tell bots where to find your XML site map and also submit it to Google Webmaster
Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer.
If you are purchasing a domain name for a new website then think about including your main targeted keywords within that domain name. For example if
you are building an online store that sells low price golf clubs in the UK and you buy the domain cheapgolfclubs.co.uk then you are definitely going to
have a lot more of a chance for quickly ranking well for the search term 'cheap golf clubs' in UK search engines than you would with a more generic
domain name. You would also do well for long tail search terms such as 'cheap golf clubs in the UK' and have more chance of ranking for 'golf clubs' in
the long term.
6 Qualities of a Good Domain Name
Choosing a good domain name is crucial to the success or failure of your business. You may wonder how something so small and slight could have an
impact on your business, but the best way to compare this is to think about how important location is to an offline business? If you do not have a good
location, you are likely not going to get many visitors. The same holds true for a good domain name as well.
Here, you will discover the six qualities that a good domain name must have to ensure maximum success.
A good domain name must be memorable. Yes, we have the option of bookmarking a site that we enjoy; however, the hard truth is that many people do
not take advantage of bookmarking. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that your domain name is one that is easy to remember and makes an impact. It
should be easy, memorable, and straight forward.
Avoid complexity and it is usually a good idea to avoid initials in most cases. The only exception to this rule would be if the letters represented the website
name or business and was still easy to remember.
2.) Short and Sweet
Twenty characters is the maximum that you should use for a good domain name, ten is even better. A long and complicated domain name is not going to
help you. Your best bet is to keep it short and sweet. A great domain name is less than ten characters; a good domain name is less than twenty
characters. A bad domain name goes over twenty characters.
3.) Be Choosy On Your Extension
There are several domain extensions available to you such as .com, .net, .org, .tv, .info, .gov and so on. However, some of these work better than others
and are more memorable at the same time. It is important to understand that some extensions also have restrictions such as .gov is reserved specifically
for government websites. The .com domain name extension is the best by far, because it is the most widely used.
The .net extension is the second best, but be prepared most people will type .com before they will .net if they cannot remember which extension you use.
The type of extension you use might also have a bearing on the type of website. Some people have come to expect certain things when a particular
extension. For example, .org is typically used by not-for-profit organization and educational websites. The .info extensions are generally used for
4.) Spelling Means Everything
Having a difficult to spell domain name could cause you some trouble. Again, many do not even make use of bookmarks; therefore, if your domain name
is hard to spell, they may end up at a competitor's website.
A good domain name contains only words that are easy to pronounce, have a good combination of words or letters that are used in every day language,
and does not contain foreign words that may be difficult to non-native speakers.
5.) Tells a Story
A good domain name should be descriptive and tell a story. In other words, when your visitors, customers, or potential customers see your domain name
they should instantly be able to tell what they are going to find. For instance, if it is your business, a business name is good.
6.) Avoid Fancy Symbols
It is never a good idea to use numbers or hyphens within your domain name. Even if your domain name is memorable, many people will not pay attention
to the symbols, which could lead them to someone else's website.
Creating a Corporate Writing Style
Developing a corporate writing style will unify your company's communications and create a unique 'voice' that enhances corporate recognition and
brand awareness. To ensure that your corporate writing style is applied consistently, you need a style-guide.
Writing style refers to the words and expressions - as well as to the spelling, grammar and punctuation - a person uses when writing letters and memos.
Each of us has a personal style of writing which, like our speaking voice, is usually recognizable.
To distinguish itself from its competitors your company also needs its own writing style, one that will make it recognizable and enhance brand
The problem is that corporate communications are written by many people, each with their own personal style. This is especially true where particular
documents, such as newsletters, technical manuals and corporate brochures, websites and webzines, contain contributions from several people.
Thus there is a need to create a company writing style that unifies written communications and reflects corporate identity and image.
If you examine the brochures and websites of major corporations you'll see that the style of writing varies - sometimes subtly but always distinctively -
from one company to the next. You will also notice that the corporate literature of each particular company reflects a unified style, as if it had all been
written by the same person, i.e. the same corporate personality.
The best way to achieve a unified writing style that is stamped with your corporate personality is to create a document called a style-guide.
A style-guide is a booklet that covers word, phrase and sentence usage, and approaches to be taken in structuring particular types of communications,
such as brochures, technical manuals or webzines, as well as common errors in grammar and syntax. It lays down the 'rules' to be followed when writing
A style-guide should provide your corporate communications with a distinct vocabulary and cadence that is appropriate to your business. Obviously a
writing style that is suitable for a financial services company or bank must differ greatly from the style of a fashion house. An appropriate style-guide will
provide your company with the overall tone and word-quality you need to communicate successfully with your target audiences.
When devising a style-guide, an independent consultant is essential to preserve objectivity. Giving the job to an in-house executive may result in writing
style that is contentious because everyone within your company is likely to have views on what is an appropriate and 'correct' style. An external writing
consultant will have the experience needed to devise an appropriate style - it's his main job after all.
The consultant will begin with an examination of your company, its marketing efforts, communication channels and target audiences. He or she will also
peruse the company's marketing communications and other corporate literature. This getting-to-know-you phase must be done thoroughly which can take
Once he understands your company, its communication objectives and typical audiences, the consultant will be in a position to draft a corporate style
manual and agree its content with senior management. To illustrate the value of the proposed writing style, he or she should rewrite some of your recent
corporate literature and show how the proposed style will enhance corporate recognition and branding.
You should always ensure that the final guide is delivered in electronic format so that it may be printed and distributed among your staff without
restriction. Once it has been issued, you will also need to take steps to ensure that the writing 'rules' are followed in all communications with markets and
A well-thought out writing style-guide with clear understandable rules, which are applied consistently to all corporate literature - print and electronic - will
ensure clarity and harmony in your corporate communications and reinforce corporate personality. It's just as important as your logo and visual imagery.
How To Choose A Website Layout
The layout for a website is as important as the content that is chosen for the website itself. This is because the layout decides how easy a website is to
navigate and how easy it is to find things on it.
You have probably noticed yourself that there are layouts which are fast and easy to use and ones that you spend more time looking for what you want
than it takes to obtain the information once you have found it.
Overall people are more likely to visit and return to websites that are easy to use. Also layouts that are easy to use are usually easier to create. There
are a couple of different aspects to a website layout. The first is going to be the design.
How is it set up? Where is everything located? Does it contain everything that you are looking for or that you want to have on your website? Keep in mind
that you can use different layouts for different pages. Just because they belong to the same website does not mean that they are required to be uniform.
Though it does help to maintain a sense of uniformity it is not necessary and many people choose a variety of layouts and templates for their websites
depending on the subject matter. In this way you can think of a website as a scrapbook each page presenting a different theme or event.
The choice of uniformity or choosing a variety of templates and layouts really depends on what you are looking for and how much work you want to put
into the website itself.
You may also want to check to see if the website builder you are using supports multiple layouts. There are some which are single layout based. You
are going to want a layout that is not too busy that it detracts from the purpose of your website which is the content on it.
The layout is also based on what you are presenting. If you are presenting primarily text you are not going to want a layout that is primarily for pictures
and visa versa. You will also want a layout which provides all the link and page option requirements that you need.
Adding additional spaces is not difficult but you can cut work down considerably with the right template. You will also want to make sure that the
background colours are easy on the eyes: bright colours and multiple colours are great. However, if you can not read the text because of the colour or it is
hard on the eyes chances are you will end up losing visitors.
After you have chosen the type of template, the colours and the pattern if necessary, it is important to make sure that everything you need, link and
page buttons, banners and menus are placed in the proper place. There are a number of template options that will allow you to choose the placement of
the various parts. Choose these options next in order to complete the layout for your website.
Some Tips to Improve Slow Website Sales
I've seen it many times. A new entrepreneur is excited because their website just went live after weeks, or even months, of hard work. But the
excitement doesn't last long when they see that they have yet to make a sale. Or maybe they've only made one or two. They're not covering their
expenses, and they're certainly not making enough to live on.
I make sure to tell them not to worry, because it's happened to all of us. Especially with a new website. And there is an answer. Or, I should say, a few
There are some steps you can follow to make sure you are doing everything right to maximize your sales. Look through the list below. If you can say
definitively that you have taken all of these steps, then you should see a big increase in your sales. Here you go:
1. Make sure there is a market for what you're selling
By now, you've probably heard a lot about finding your online niche. If you did your research properly, you should have found a market that has a problem
that you can provide an answer for. That's probably the most important part of your business.
If you haven't done the proper research yet, get started now. Use a keyword tool like Nichebot or Wordtracker to find what people are searching for
online. And visit the forums to see what people are talking about and what problems they need to solve.
Don't skip this step. It's important that internet users are going to want what you're selling or your whole business is lost before it even begins.
2. Make sure that you're selling something that solves their problem
If you've found the right niche, then you should have some idea about what their main problems are. Do some research to find out what they need to
solve that problem, then offer it to them. That's the formula in a nutshell. Don't let your product stray from the main topic. Solve their problem, and you'll
3. Make sure you're getting enough traffic
It's difficult to make a good decision about how effective your sales process is if you haven't had enough traffic to your website yet. I recommend waiting
until you've had at least 1,000 visitors. Anything less and you won't really have enough data to work with. Be patient.
4. Find out where your traffic is coming from
It's important that you are getting targeted visitors to your website. Make sure that if you're using pay-per-click advertising you're bidding only on words
that are right for your market. If you're selling cell phones, you don't want visitors who are searching for land line phones for their office. Remember who
your visitor is.
5. Test different headlines
Your headline is the first thing your visitors see on your site. Make sure it's compelling and gets them to keep reading. How do you do that? Simply by
testing different headlines and seeing which one works best.
You can do that by rewriting it every now and then and checking your stats, or you can split test your headlines using Google's website optimizer. Website
optimizer is part of your Google adwords account. If you don't have an adwords account, you can get one free at a
6. Make sure your sales copy is effective
The last thing you want to do once you have a visitor reading your sales copy is to distract them with something that isn't leading directly to a sale. In
other words, leave out any links to other websites, forget about adsense and banner ads, and don't start talking about things that don't relate to your
Concentrate on your sales message and proof elements, and dispelling any doubts they may have about giving you their money. This includes using
testimonials if you have them, a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and good strong sales copy that keeps them interested all the way through to your "buy
7. Test different price points
It's hard to know what's the right price for your item right off the bat. You may have it at the price you're willing to pay, but that may not be the price
everyone is willing to pay. A lot of people will expect to buy something in your market within a certain price range. If your price is too high, they'll shop
elsewhere. If your price is too low, yes too low, they might think that what you're offering is of poor quality. You can answer this problem by simply trying
out different prices to see what works best.
8. Make sure your order processing works properly and is easy to use
Test all of the links from your "add to cart" buttons all the way through to your "thank you" page. You can normally run a $0 test before you go live with
most shopping cart and merchant account systems. Obviously, if your ordering system isn't working right, you're not going to see any sales.
Also, make sure that it's easy to use. Get a friend to run through it for you. It may make perfect sense to you, but that doesn't mean that it will for
everyone. Let some other people try it out and see if they get stuck anywhere. Chances are good that if they do, then others will too. If everything isn't as
easy as possible to use, then some people will just leave rather than trying to figure it out.
There you go. Eight steps you can follow with your site to make sure that you are maximizing your sales. Just from my own experience, anytime I was
able to say that I went through all of the steps above completely, I saw significant improvement, and found good success with my website. I believe that
you will, too. Good luck.
What Does Your Web Design Do For You
There are so many websites on the internet nowadays, so if you want a great website that stands out from the crowd, you are going to have to have
brilliant web design incorporated into it.
A website that is badly designed will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. If you want a website that is remembered for the right reasons, you are
going to have to have a design that makes your website unique.
Your web design is the first thing that people notice when they arrive at your website. If you have an untidy website with bad graphics and terrible
navigation, you are going to lose your readers and viewers right from the start. That is why web design is important in the process of creating a successful
website. Whether it is a personal website or one that you intend to use for business purposes, it needs to be well designed and well maintained.
If you can grab the reader's attention by graphics that are relevant and useful, text that is of a very high quality, colours and layouts that are easy on
the eye, then you are half way there! Research has shown that more people buy from websites that are designed professionally and look trustworthy,
rather than quickly made and with badly thought out designs.
So, you can see how important your web design really is now. There are many ways to improve your web design, both for free and by hiring someone
else to do it for you. Which you choose will depend on your budget and your time frame. A busy web designer may not be able to fit you in for months.
How you layout your website is also very important. You may have lots of great content on your website that people would love to read, but what if they
can't find it? If you haven't clearly and easily laid out your website in the web design process, your readers won't be able to find any other pages. This
could be disastrous if you are selling some kind of service or product.
All in all the web design aspect is only a small part of getting your website up and running, however, it is very important. When you are designing your
website, remember to make it easy to navigate, concise and clear.
If you are not familiar with web design and all the aspects that go into creating a website, it may be worth your while looking for a professional web
designer or a pre made template. Web designers come with different price tags all depending on where you get them from and what you need doing.
If you want a relatively simple design you will be looking at a fairly cheap price. If you are looking for a complex website with many features you can
expect to pay a fair amount of money for it. A good designer will include you all throughout the process. You will be able to approve the website as many
times as required.
Ready-made templates are great if you don't have the budget for a professional designer and don't have the time to learn how to create one from
scratch. There are many free ones that you find on the Internet or ones that you can buy for a small amount of money.
Innovative Ways to Market
Marketing is a three-syllable word that seems so simple, yet encompasses so much. Marketing is a multi-faceted approach to promoting a product or
service. Both traditional and unconventional marketing methods have a place in the small business world. Marketing helps small businesses focus on
building their brand and identity.
There are few limitations to marketing options, and the opportunities listed here are just a few that will generally result in a decent ROI (Return On
Investment) for most small businesses. That said, do not be afraid to be creative -- no one knows or understands a small business like its owner, so think
outside of the box and don't be afraid to experiment.
Create continuity between an online website, logos, letterheads, business cards, and packaging. Create an identity that will make your business stand out
from the competition, and leave a good initial impression on potential customers. A professional image associated with your company or product will
remind customers of their past brand experiences, and will reinforce your product line.
Niche publications are journals or magazines that focus on a specific market. If your product or service is appropriate for a specific market, then
advertising in their trade publications will allow you to immediately drill down and target that very specific audience.
Branded giveaways have long been used by marketers to attract potential customers. Products that have a long shelf life will help keep your business in
the forefront of a customer's mind. Weeks, months, and even years after a product is purchased or service is performed, promotional items will remind the
customer of your brand.
Solicit product reviews from reputable industry sources, magazine reviewers, bloggers, or industry journalists. Product reviews lend credibility to a product
In order to help your website's search engine ranking, use keyword advertising. Focused and targeted keyword advertising will drive web traffic that has a
genuine interest in your product or service.
Use online niche directories to promote products or services. Visitors who frequent topical directories have a strong interest and are more likely to
Once known as "word of mouth" marketing, viral marketing has taken on a life of its own. Encourage product buzz, as well as customers referring
Opt-In Email Marketing
Use email as a marketing tool to notify your existing customers about specials, new products or services, or product releases and updates. While some
say email marketing is dead, others say that measured results of email marketing tell a very different story. Opt-in, targeted email marketing works, and
produces results when done correctly.
Partnerships / Strategic Relationships
We see large companies leveraging their assets every day, and small online businesses should too! Whether it be as a partner, an affiliate, or a strategic
relationship, all of these relationships can benefit small businesses. Businesses can use strategic relationships to penetrate niche markets. Affiliates can
expand their reach and tap into the customer bases of similar products. Partners can provide additional value to existing products or services. Determine
what types of relationships could be beneficial to your small business.
Craigslist is likely the best known online classified system. Classified systems increase visibility and are often overlooked by small businesses. Consider
posting classifieds that relate to product or services, and monitor the results.
Sponsorship / Contests
Contests not only encourage customers to have fun, but also generate publicity and draw attention to your company and brand. Sponsor industry events,
run contests, or donate prizes to industry contests in order to increase visibility and generate goodwill.
Communication is critical to all businesses, and small businesses are no exception. Be sure to establish a communication channel with customers and
potential customers. Newsletters are a very popular communication channel for software developers.
RSS is growing in popularity. It is an alternative communication channel that has the benefit of reaching a larger audience through syndication.
Supplement and enhance email and newsletter campaigns by providing an RSS channel for their content.
Forums / Newsgroups
Participation in newsgroups and forums will result in building credibility. Business relationships will often result from online dialogue in industry forums and
newsgroups. Actively participate and always behave in a professional manner.
Forum / Email Signatures
All forum posts and emails you send should contain a "signature" that advertises your business name, tag line, and URL.
Blogging and posting comments on blogs can result in an increase in web links and traffic. Socialization and engaging others with well thought out
comments can establish a business reputation and generate product interest.
YouTube is a boon to business. If you are creative, consider compiling an educational or humorous video. YouTube is a huge distribution channel and
can generate product or industry interest.
The avenue to inexpensive press! Write a press release to promote new products or services and reap the benefits with media attention.
Writing articles can help lend credibility to your product line and improve your business reputation.
Contact local newspapers and pitch a unique story to them. Publicity is free and can generate discussions and interest.
Consider exploring alternative channels for advertising and marketing. Keep in mind that advertising need not be costly; creative marketers can often
find inexpensive avenues that will result in a great return.
Use Regular Text to Improve your SEO without Pay for Click
What triggers popularity with a search engine has always been elusive. You have to change how you market your website and even build it to make
search engines rank it on their top page. For someone new on the scene, it can appear to be a daunting task. Here in this article we will look at the latest
in SEO and SEM by starting with the site itself.
First thing is what not to do. Remember back when websites would have massive keyword lists at the bottom or top of the pages? These words were
paragraphs long and didn't make any sense at all! The human eye knew that it didn't mean anything, but this text was designed for SEO and to trick the
search engines. Sure, it worked for awhile, but now search engines are wise to our tricks. They know these paragraphs are designed only for SEO, which
now will get you penalized.
Create Search Engine-Friendly Content
Simply said, make sure you put a good amount of text on your website talking to your audience, not the search engine. Search Engines can now detect if
a sentence doesn't make sense. For SEO make sure you write text for your site the same way you would speak. The trick is to make sure your keywords
show up in your text about 2% of the time. If you do it too much, the search engine will know what you are up to and begin to penalize you again.
Do not use Flash or text embedded images either. Search engines ignore these things. They are very bad for SEO. For images that you do have on your
sites, attaching alt image tags with a brief sentence that describes the image, using some keywords, will go far to get you points. Also use heading tags
and do not try to hide keywords by making them the same colour as your page. While this used to work for SEO, now it is the fastest way to get sunk to
the bottom of the page. Sure, it might work for a week or two, but after that your ranking will begin to decline.
As you write your content you may notice that the longer your text gets, the harder it is to keep your keywords at the optimal amount. Some will be
higher and others will be lower. Writing more only seems to lower the keywords that are having trouble!
You will want to make sure that your home page text is informative, but concise. Pick the keywords you want to target on your homepage wisely. If you
have other keywords you want to focus on for SEO you may want to consider creating a landing page.
A landing page is in essence like another homepage that funnels traffic into your site. It will provide a fair bit of information with links to your main site.
This way if people search for keywords not targeted on your homepage, they can still find you on the major search engines. Creating multiple landing
pages for different sets of keywords is very hot right now with SEO, and it works. A good landing page doesn't take long to generate as it should be just
one page long and directly link to your site right away.
You will also want to generate a site map.
A site map, in case you're new to this internet thing, is a page from your site that is strictly text links of your site. It is like a table of contents in a book that
shows all the links that are presented on your site. Search Engines eat this up, especially the big ones. Each time you make a site map change, you can
ping these search engines to re-index. That will keep your rankings fresh.
Speaking of keeping it fresh, that is another thing that is great for SEO. Make sure to update your website once a week. The changes don't have to be
big. They could be very small like changing the homepage text or posting comments on your services page. Any change will be considered as keeping
your site fresh which search engines love. One of the worst things you can do for SEO is to have a stale website. No one likes outdated information and
neither do search engines.
Italics - When you should use them
The purpose of italic typefaces is to aid comprehension by separating off certain words and phrases from their surrounding text. But when exactly should
you use italics?
The basic purpose in typesetting a story or article for a book, newspaper or periodical, for print or online, is to enhance understanding of the text and
thereby make the reading an easy, pleasant experience.
Roman type is the straightforward, upright type we read everyday in our newspapers, magazines and books, and on our monitors.
Italic is the 'handwriting' equivalent of whatever roman font we are reading. It has a sloping cursive quality that reminds us of the manual writing we
learned in primary school.
Bold type is roman or italic font that has been emphasized by thickening and making it darker than the surrounding text.
The question is: when should we use which version of a particular typeface - roman, italic, or bold? The answer must focus on the reader's needs and
the reading experience.
It is obvious that for most copy the roman version of the chosen font should be used. This is because, having an upright face, it is the easiest to read and
it is what readers expect.
Because the bold version of a font makes text stand out strongly, it is used for highlighting important words, phrases and sections. Thus headlines,
decks and subheads set in bold will, along with pull-quotes and other tricks of the typesetter's art, provide the casual scanner with clues as to what your
article or story is all about. The judicious use of bold in this way will induce him or her to read the main story.
Bold however is too strong to be used, except very occasionally, within body text. To set off words from surrounding text is the main function of italics.
So when should you use italics exactly? Here's a sort of check-list, a mixture of accepted practice and my personal opinion.
Most of these when-to-use-italics rules apply equally to words in body copy, head-lines and captions, and whether you are typesetting books, articles,
stories or web-pages.
 The names of ships and aircraft; e.g.: The Caribbean Cruiser sank yesterday. This is the oldest when-to-use-italics rule. It allows the reader to quickly
grasp what is being referred to in the message.
 The titles of poems; e.g.: As You Go Dancing by James Stewart is famous among the literati of the Arabian Gulf. This is another very traditional use of
italics that enables quick reader-uptake.
 Foreign words; e.g.: We turned left and found ourselves in a cul-de-sac. Another very traditional use of italics that makes for quicker reading.
 The titles of books, newspapers, articles and stories occurring within a sentence without further explanation; e.g.: The Saturday edition of the Limerick
Leader was always on the streets by Friday afternoon.
However titles that appear within larger works are not italicized but are set off in quotation marks; e.g.: 'An Irishman's Diary' in the Irish Times is
 Latin phrases used to classify living things; e.g.: Many people wonder why mankind is referred to as homo sapiens. Another use of italics that has
been around ab aeterno.
 Where a word is used as an example rather than for its meaning; e.g.: The word Kennedy is a proper noun. This is neater than setting the noun within
single quotes as in: The word 'Kennedy' is a proper noun.
 For introducing new terms; e.g.: In Freudian psychology reference is made to the ego, the super-ego, and the id. This is a neat solution to highlighting
words that will probably be explained later.
 For the subjects of definitions; e.g.: An odd number is any number that cannot be divided by two. This is useful for the reader as, should he or she
wish to refer back to the definition later, a word in italics among a sea of roman letters is easy to find.
 For mathematical symbols: e.g.: The standard acceleration of gravity g is 9.81183 metres per second per second. The symbol does not need to be
surrounded by commas or single quotes which would be required if it were set in roman type.
 For emphasis; e.g.: Janice wasn't the only girl at the party. The use of italics for emphasis is less intrusive than bold and more subtly suggestive.
 To indicate a character's internal reflections in stories; e.g.: This just does not seem right, Janice thought. However many writers prefer other ways of
expressing inner thoughts.
 Using a letter or number as a noun; e.g.: He was vexed because they had left out the d in his name. However many writers would prefer to put a
letter or number used in this way between quotes: e.g.; He was vexed because they had left out the 'd' in his name.
That's about it for the when-to-use italics rules. Except, what should you do if you need to use italics within italics?
If some word or phrase that should be italicised is already within a run of italics, the trick is to switch back to roman type for that word or phrase; e.g.: I'm
in a really weird situation, Janice thought.
This italics-within-italics solution works best when italics are used to highlight internal reflections; e.g.: Why can't we just look up Wikipedia for the
answer? he wondered to himself.
Of course, you don't have to follow these when-to-use-italics rules. However most of them are in current use because they do aid reader comprehension.
Indeed, most of us have an instinct as to when the use of italics is appropriate. Perhaps you can devise better rules of your own. If so, let me know.
Ten SEO Mistakes Made on Database Driven Websites
Search engine friendly websites is one of those often heard phrases, both from web site development companies and from their clients. Everyone
knows that this is important to have, and yet it is one of the things that is actually often overlooked.
Search engine optimisation companies actually spend a lot of their time analysing a website and removing barriers to the search engines ranking a site
highly. At the web development level, it is possible to build a site that is perfectly search engine friendly. One of the hardest types of sites to get right
though are database driven websites. Listed below are ten of the most common issues that are created, often unknowingly, in the development process
of a dynamically generated web site.
1. Pages with duplicate content - not enough differential areas within the pages, so that only small areas of the page change from page to page. It is
essential that enough of the page text changes for the search engines to see an appreciable difference between one page and the next.
2. Pages with duplicate page titles - the page title is a great indicator to the search engines of the primary content of the page. Whilst this is often
unique on sites such as e-commerce websites, it is often overlooked in other sites, particularly where small areas of the site are generated from a
database, such as news pages.
3. Pages with duplicate meta descriptions - again, this is easy to overlook and set a global or category level meta description. These give the search
engines a reason to penalise your site for not giving them enough information, and again, creating a unique meta description for every page is an
essential SEO task.
4. Using auto-generation of pages as a shortcut instead of creating good content. This is linked quite closely to point 1, where it is possible to create
pages that have only a tiny percentage difference between them. Databases are fantastic ways of storing information, but you still need to put the work in
to fill them with content. Unique information about the subject of the page will immensely help both the long tail and the ability of the search engines to
determine that a page is valuable.
more common that is generally realised. For instance .NET creates post back links by default instead of proper links - potentially making huge sections of
a site unreachable. Likewise, it is easy to hide lovely content rich areas of your site behind a drop down selector in a form that means certain areas of the
site are not visible.
6. Too many query strings - this is a common bugbear of the professional SEO, where complicated database selections create deep levels of pages,
but with seven or eight &id= type strings. Additionally, some bad development methodology can leave pages with null query strings that appear in every
URL but don't do anything. The answer to this is generally URL rewrites, creating much more search engine friendly and user-friendly URLs!
7. Putting query strings in different orders when accessed through different places - this can create duplicate content issues, which can cause major
8. Not using user language to generate automated pages - if you are going to create a database driven website that uses words in the query strings (or
better in rewritten URLs) make sure that you use words that will help you with SEO - if you sell widgets, make sure you are using the word widgets
somewhere in the URL instead of just product= or id= - keyword research can assist with this.
9. Not allowing the meta data and title to be edited easily after the site build. It is possible to hardcode the generation of meta information into a
database that doesn't allow it to be edited later. Creating a mechanism for modifying this information initially helps everyone at a later stage when the
information needs changing without shoehorning it into an already developed structure.
10. Creating keyword stuffed pages by using auto-generation. Once upon a time, search engines quite liked pages with high densities of your
keywords, but now these are likely to get you marked down rather than up. So be aware when creating pages that long pages with lots of your products
on can create too high a density. For instance listing blue widgets, light blue widgets, navy blue widgets, sky blue widgets is going to create a page with a
very dense page for the phrase "blue widgets".
These are just 10 of the most common potential optimisation pitfalls when creating dynamic websites. There are many more facets to producing a great
database driven site, including user friendliness, speed, performance and security, but they all add together to make the best solution to your needs.
The Effectiveness of an Empty Space
There are so many facets of ad design that get hammered home in article after article. Everyone is telling you how to maximize your headline's impact
and how to make your font stand out amid a sea of marketing.
So much time is spent on what should go into your ad that we sometimes neglect one of the most important and eye catching elements, the empty
This is really one of the simplest, but easiest to mess up, factors of your print design. Have you ever listened to a song like the Who's "Wont Get
Fooled Again" or similar songs that build up to a crescendo then suddenly have a break in the music before kicking the guitars back into overdrive? That
empty space in the music is powerful.
It can give you goose bumps and it can make a whole room feel electric. When the music starts again and breaks that moment of silence, the notes
sound louder and more powerful as a result. This isn't a trick that is reserved only for musicians. The same principle applies to ad design (or any sort of
design, for that matter).
What you should be shooting for is to draw attention to the important parts of your ad: the message, the offer or the image. People at times and it is an
easy trap to fall into, make the mistake of simply enlarging the item they are trying to bring focus to. Granted, disproportionately large text can stand out,
but it also has the effect of making an ad seem lop sided or amateur.
The eye needs to be drawn to your focus, though, and the most effective and most professional looking way to do this is through the use of space. Don't
clutter your ad with unnecessary text and images, especially around the main areas, since they can detract from the central focus.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that if there's a big empty space in your ad that you have to fill it with something. Just include the pieces that are
necessary to effectively convey your idea or message. If you just have too much information that has to be conveyed about your product, you should save
it for a brochure or catalogue instead of jumbling it all together in your advertisement.
There are no hard and fast rules dictating how much or how little space you should have in your ad, but a good rule of thumb is to leave at least one
fourth of ad space empty.
The same applies to the images you use in your ad. When taking photos keep it clean and free of distracting clutter. Use a background that will
accentuate your product and make it stand out. For example, using an image of your product against the back drop of your office's out of date plaid
wallpaper, is going to be distracting.
Space can make your ad design sleek and professional in appearance and that is what will make an impression on consumers. Sometimes, it is not
what you do with the space you are given, it is what you do not do that counts.
Search Engine Ranking: How to Improve your Search Engine Position
Your search engine ranking depends on a number of factors: assuming you get listed in the first place. If you have managed to get that listing then you
can improve your search engine position by means of links back to your website and also by improving your content.
Significant improvements, however, will likely involve radical restructuring of your website, and would have been better thought out before building your
Many so-called SEO experts will attempt to make sure that all your meta tags are in place, even though they have little bearing any more on your search
engine rank, be that on Google, Yahoo, MSN or Ask.
They might even have a look at your internal linking, but once you have built your website it is too late for that. Your internal linking strategy should have
been formulated prior to constructing your website. There are ways to design a site to be search engine friendly, and I use them all the time.
The very first two websites I tried these techniques on each reached page #1 on Google for their main keyword within less than a month. They were
listed within two days due to other techniques I use, but their high listings were due to the site design. I then designed a third, and true to form, it reached
You want that success as well, and it is not difficult to achieve. However, it involves starting from the bottom up, although there is a lot that you can do
with your existing website apart from just playing around with meta tags. I am not suggesting that you shouldn't make sure that you have meta
descriptions and a title tag in your html, but they are nothing like as significant as the changes I make to my websites to improve their search engine
ranking. Not even close!
There are a number of changes you can make to improve your search engine position, ranging from your internal linking to the way you lead the spiders
around your site.
Just ask yourself one simple question: what determines your search engine rank on Google? How does Google calculate your search engine position?
That's the first thing you have to learn if you want to improve yours. You have to know your enemy to beat him.
It's not only links, as many would have you believe, or I would never have achieved a Page 1 position so quickly. In fact of my two main websites, one is
at ~1 and the other at #2 for their main keyword: the titles of their first page. I achieved that by using a silo structure in my website design, but not only
that. Many people use silos without achieving high search engine ranking.
I added a little more, and made sure that the search engine spiders moved from one section of my home page to another, exactly as I wanted them to,
before leaving for the next page at exactly the point I wanted it to.
It's not difficult, and you can do it too. In fact anybody can get a top search engine ranking, or improve their search engine position (everybody can't be
top!), with just a little thought, and by using a couple of simple rules when designing their web pages.
One of these is by using a silo structure, and the other is by careful use of their html, and of their internal links.
32 Most Important SEO Tips
Following these simple tips will definitely boost your traffic and search engine rankings for free.
1. Make sure your site is not under construction, incomplete, with little or no unique content.
2. When your site is ready, submit it to Google, Yahoo, MSN and ASK.com. Consider also submitting to other search engine but most of them are
powered by these four leading search engines. Submit also your site to reputable high PR web directories, open directories, yellow pages and social
bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us, furl, etc.
3. Submit your sitemap to Google, Yahoo, MSN and ASK.com (sitemap for search engines usually in XML format)
4. Offer sitemap to your site visitors for easy page navigation. (sitemap for visitors in HTML format)
5. Create unique and rich content sites. Avoid duplicate content. Do not create multiple pages, sub-domains, domains, mirror sites or sites with different
domain names but same content.
6. Check your keywords and make sure they are relevant and actually are contained in your site. Avoid keywords stuffing.
7. Use text instead of images in your content, links and important subjects.
8. Make your TITLE and ALT tags descriptive, simple and keyword rich. Avoid irrelevant and repeated keywords.
9. Title tag should be 60-80 characters maximum length.
10. Meta tag description should be 160-180 characters including spaces. (about 25-30 words)
11. Meta Tag keywords must be 15-20 words maximum.
12. Optimize Pages with Headings (H1, H2, H3..) containing your site's primary keywords.
13. Validate your CSS and HTML. Check for errors and broken links.
14. If your site contains dynamic pages(i.e., the URL contains a "?" character), make sure you use SEO friendly URLs. Search engines' spiders having
difficulty indexing dynamic pages.
15. Maximum links per page must be fewer than 100. Avoid the risk of being flagged as link farm by search engines.
16. Use Lynx as text browser to check your site. (http://lynx.isc.org/)
17. Allow search bots (good ones) to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site. Using these techniques may
result in incomplete indexing of your site.
18. Check your web server/host if it supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header. It tells search engines whether your content has changed since last
crawled your site. It will save you bandwidth, resources and avoid server overload.
19. Use Robots.txt file to manage and control search engine spiders in indexing your site. You can allow and disallow spiders and choose directories you
want to be crawled and indexed. But with bad bots or spam bots you need to modify your HTACCESS file to properly and effectively manage bots or
spiders. Visit http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/faq.html to learn more about Robots.txt file.
20. Do not attempt to present different content to search engines than what you show to your site visitors.
21. Avoid dirty tricks and exploiting loop holes to improve search engines ranking.
22. Avoid links to bad neighbourhood such as web spammers, link farms, phishing, hacker, crack, gambling, porn and scam sites. Linking to them will
greatly affects your search engine rankings.
23. Do not attempt to join in link schemes, excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging and link exchange web rings.
24. Do not use unauthorized programs or online tools to submit your site, check page rankings and other automated queries. Avoid the risk of being
flagged as spam.
25. Do not use hidden text and links. Show to search engines what you show to your visitors. It will greatly affect your site's reputation.
26. Do not attempt to create pages that contains phishing, scam, viruses, Trojans, backdoors, spyware, adware and other malicious programs.
27. Make your site useful and informative.
28. Improve your link building. Link to high PR websites. Quality of relevant links are far more important than quantity. Links will greatly improve your site's
visibility, popularity and rankings. Search engines consider links as votes to your site.
29. Check your page link structure. Every page should be reachable by a single static text link.
30. Be extra careful in purchasing SEO services. Some uses illegal and questionable ways to improve rankings.
31. Do not buy or sell links.
32. Do not create sites that contains purely affiliate links and no valuable content that are useful to the users.
I hope these tips will add more popularity and visibility to your site. Enjoy!
Smart Search Engine Marketing - Some Guidelines
Search Engine Marketing, whether it's paid or organic, is a science.
While it is true that you can put together an ad on Google or Yahoo!, pick a few keywords that describe your business, then bid on them and be up and
running with a Pay Per Click campaign in a few minutes, the actual process requires considerably more thought. Here are a few key points to consider:
What is the goal of your ad? If you are an e-commerce merchant selling mainline products, you probably want to generate a sale. If you are operating a
decorating business, your goal more likely is to generate a lead for follow-up. That goal will shape how you structure your campaign.
What kind of landing page do you want the user to click through to? Is it a specific product page with all the information necessary to complete the order
or do you want your customer to land on your home page in order to get more information about your company? You may want your ad to be product
specific or have a more general message.
Is there a special "deal" that you can offer in your ad? Phrases like "free shipping", "save 10% now" or "sale ends tomorrow" create a sense of
immediacy that can increase the likelihood someone will click on your ad.
You don't have to have the top ad listing in order to be successful. While being #1 likely will bring you more clicks, you don't want to overpay for them.
Typically, as long as your ad appears in the first five positions, and has a compelling offer, you will get your share of clicks.
The keywords you select for your ad are critical. In fact, the difference between a cost-effective campaign and one that just costs you money often are
the keywords you select.
Try to avoid buying general terms, unless your site has a very, very broad selection of product. The keyword "cars" might bring anyone who is looking for
anything having to do with a car - that probably doesn't do you much good if you are selling radiator hoses.
Stick to words and phrases that relate as specifically as possible to what you are selling. A good rule of thumb is that the more general a keyword is, the
more expensive it is.
The page customers land on when they click on your ad should contain similar words to those used in the ad. Reinforcing the ad message is
important for two reasons: first, it tells people they are "at the right place" and second it will help your Quality Score on Google and Quality Index on
Google in particular attaches great importance to the relevance of your landing page and you may be able to secure a higher ad position with a lower bid
than other advertisers.
Monitor your campaign regularly. This is particularly important at the outset when you are establishing what works and what doesn't. Pay per click
advertising isn't day trading - you don't have to be glued to the monitor but you don't want hours to go by without seeing if your clicks are converting into
your desired result of sales or leads.
A large search agency might suggest that you need 1,000 or more clicks to determine if your campaign is working. As a start-up or small business, you
(or your agency) should be able to draw conclusion with far less clicks than that.
SEO Changes - Are Your Sales Dropping as Your SEO Rankings Soar
Let's look back at a bit of history with search:
Traditionally, SEO was all about gaining higher rankings for the most important keyword phrases. That was early in the game and back then, some
people believed that was ALL you needed. After all if you show up number one for the best keywords then you must become a winner. But then as search
engine marketing evolved, people learned that it was not enough just to have top rankings for the right key phrases, but we learned the importance of
being able to provide content that compelled the visitor to take action. No one benefits if they click on your number 1 page and just leave again by clicking
the back button.
More and more search engines began to reward Webmasters who created in depth, high quality content that served a useful purpose and actually
satisfied the reason why the searchers initiated the search in the first place. It still amazes me when I hear people trying to decipher some kind of secret
coding when Matt Cutts talks. "Hmmm, I wonder what Matt really means when he talks about quality content," they puzzle. He is simply telling you the
truth. Google can recognize the context of a message through Artificial Intelligence. Write content that is written well for a human reader and you will be
rewarded with some relevancy.
Let's not forget the advent of the Pay Per Click process which was a pretty big trend when it was first introduced at the time too. I remember some
people saying that they would never do Pay Per Click, but it evolved into what it has become today. A well accepted form of paid advertising.
Your job as an SEO professional is to keep up to date in an ever changing environment and keep yourself apprised of current and future trends. You want
to keep yourself aware of what is coming next because that way, you'll always be able to assist your customers with up to date skills and advantages
regardless of the changing search landscapes.
This time around, we examine a few of the challenges that SEOs will face in the future with the growing popularity of personalization of search.
Personalization is the option that people can toggle on to improve their search results based on their personal interests. With personalization turned on,
the search engine can gather information about the history of your searches and as the time you use it increases, it can actually become accustomed to
your searching habits so as to present information that is more important or more interesting to you personally, than to someone else.
So where does the challenge come in with SEO you ask?
The challenge is that as the popularity of personalization grows so will there likely be a diminishing effect on your ranking reports. In simple, it means that
4 people in the same household could all be taking turns using the very same computer and doing searches for the very same keyword phrase, and yet
each person would typically see completely different results because of their personal use of the Internet and a growing history of different interests.
What this means is that you no longer can tell exactly what your ranking reports mean because where you rank for one person will not be the same as
where you rank for the next person or the next. Thus ranking reports could very well become meaningless in time.
It should be understood that with personalization turned on, the search engine is not using a different algorithm. Instead, the algorithm is the same, but
there is a shuffling of results based on the particular individuals history of usage. The search engines attempt to serve up even more relevant content to
that individual based on their personal interests.
This in turn means that it could become very difficult to determine where your ideal buying audience is finding you because you will no longer be able to
simply do a search and see who is ranking number 1. Obviously if you are interested in your own products and you own industry, you site may come up in
the top results when you search. But what is the rest of the world seeing? With personalization growing in popularity, there is no way you can use the
traditional methods to know.
Personalization of Search may bring a new dimension of satisfaction by providing the user with much more personalized results. After all, everyone
wants the best search results. However, it is bound to pose a few challenges for those who have never thought out what is really happening and the far
reaching impact that it will have with posing certain challenges with respect to traditional search engine marketing. As I mentioned in part 1, there are
solutions. But we feel that it's important to help SEO students grasp the implications of how much things could possibly be affected.
So what are others saying about how big this change will be?
Michael Marshall is a respected SEO associate educator and advanced mathematician who has taught with Robin Nobles and I over the last several
years. Michael is a technical expert who often teaches at our Ultra Advanced Symposiums.
Here is a recent quote from an article that Michael published he states that:
"Without a reliable means of rank checking, traditional SEO loses its foundations for optimization decisions. They can't tell who the leaders are. They've
lost sight of the bellwethers. A bellwether is any entity in a given arena that serves to create or influence trends or to presage future happenings. Without
a bellwether, for example, sheep might be left to wander aimlessly. Without a reliable means of rank checking, traditional SEO also loses its metrics for
determining its success or failure regarding changes made for the sake of optimization. Traditional SEO is a process the methodology of which is
predominantly trial and error."
To read Michael's full article, please see "Personalization of Search and its implications for SEO."
In his article, Michael Marshall does far more justice to the topic than I can, on a technical level but also see full quotes he has from an IBM Distinguished
Engineer Mike Moran and how large he estimates Personalization will affect the future.
The solution to the challenges of the effect of personalization is being able to grasp the big picture. Gone are the days of counting characters in a Title
tag or Description tag. Trying to measure SEO influences separately one at a time will be obsolete.
Advanced competitive intelligence is not just a new "buzz" word.
The type of solutions to these challenges will actually have a variety of excellent benefits other than just gaining genuine visibility.
Try and imagine being able to do search marketing and optimization in only the minimum of moves, making only the minimum of changes for your exact
search landscape and making maximum impact.
Will these techniques really be possible in the future you ask?
No, actually they are available right now so you can begin to stabilize your results and prepare for the changes. No one can say for sure the rate at which
personalization will make it's impact. The sad thing for some who are unawares is that with only slow and subtle changes over a given period, they may
never even realize what is happening other than their traffic is dead and sales have stopped. So we start by making our students and readers aware.
Build Customer Confidence with Testimonials
Every person in America has bought something that either broke or stopped working after a few days. Because of this, today's customers want to feel
reassured that you are selling quality products and services. Customers do not want to lose money or feel like they've made a bad decision. The best way
to do assure customers is to have good, strong testimonials.
If a business has happy customers and a lot of return clients, it should have testimonials. You wouldn't hire a contractor to remodel your house without
checking references. Therefore be proud of the work you do and get some testimonials. Customer testimonials will help increase sales as well as boost
the confidence of potential customers.
The Difference Between Good and Better
In order to have testimonials work for you and increase clientele, you must be careful how you phrase them. Testimonials are a marketing effort, which
means that they need to be geared toward making your company look spectacular. For example, instead of writing "I love their vitamins", write "Taking
these vitamins everyday gives me lots of energy and keeps me feeling great all day long." The latter testimonial is a lot more eye-catching and will be
more effective in gaining a customer's confidence than the former. Ask customers who are willing to write testimonials to be specific.
Cherry Pick Your Testimonials
If you don't have any testimonials, check your company's email inbox for customers who sent compliments. If you can't find any ones you like, look at your
client list and find out who is buying your products and at what frequency. Call or email a handful of your best customers and ask them to write a specific
testimonial. Have them send a picture as well. This will give potential customers further reassurance of the validity of the testimonial.
Testimonials will not only improve your business, but will also improve your company's image as one that values customer satisfaction. So make the effort
to get some strong testimonials.
Four Tips for Effective and Eye-Catching Locations
1. Once you have the testimonials, you need to figure out where to put them on your site. Placement is key, particularly when using flash. You want your
testimonials to give maximum impact. The most common place on a website is for them to have their own navigation button titled either "Testimonials" or
"Rave Reviews". This way more testimonials can be viewed on their own page.
2. Another option is to use flash testimonials on a sidebar on the homepage along with the customer's name, job title and company or logo. If you are
using the testimonials in the masthead, they should rotate every 7-10 seconds then stop after all testimonials are shown. You don't want a testimonial to
be so distracting that it takes the emphasis off of the content and what you are selling or offering. By having the flash cycle stop, you are allowing viewers
to see the testimonials and then freely look at the content without the excess flash.
3. An alternative way to present testimonials is to sprinkle them throughout the site, highlighting them within the content using graphics, such as a colour
block background, upper and lower bar, etc. These visual stops are equally effective in reinforcing your credibility and can act as an additional selling
point for specific products or services.
4. If you have the option for audio or video testimonials, this can be very effective in boosting your company's credibility. Audio is easy to record using
Audio Acrobat. Video, on the other hand, requires more thought to positioning and angles. If you are at a trade show or with a client, you may want to pre-
plan these testimonials for more impact.
Remember that in order for a testimonial to be effective, it needs to be specific, believable and placed in a credible location. With these three tips in mind,
your testimonials will build customer confidence and web success.
On Page SEO Tips
It requires a lot of effort in designing and building a site, but it can be all in vain if you can't attract enough traffic towards it. You put all your efforts in an
attractive design of your website and the next step you do is to put it in front of the online world.
You can't get success only by uploading your website on the www; the target is to attract well-qualified visitors towards your website, which can't be done
unless you put your site in the eyes of the search engines.
Today, all of the internet users use search engines to find the site relevant to their interest. For example, if a person is interested in finding information
about on-going and up-coming cricket events, he/she can easily do so by typing in the keywords in Google, Yahoo or any other search engine. The
search engine, as a result, will present a list of most relevant websites on the basis of their keyword. So, in short, to get more traffic towards your website,
make it more optimized and put all efforts into keeping your website in the eye of the search engine. This traffic is, without any doubt, the life of a
business. No e-business can run without adequate traffic.
How to optimize your website for search engines?
There are two ways of doing it.
* Off Page Search Engine Optimization
* On Page Search Engine Optimization.
This article will focus on the tips useful for On Page Search Engine Optimization.
All search engine optimization techniques are usually classified into On Page Optimization Techniques and Off Page Optimization Techniques. Both help
in achieving one common goal; to get higher ranks in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Useful On Page SEO Tips
Following are some of the most common tips for better On Page Search Engine Optimization:
The most important word; The Keyword: it is always suggested that before you upload your website, put all your efforts into the keywords since users will
be using keywords to find websites of their interest. Each page of your website should be treated as a separate entity having its own title and targeted
Always try to name your webpage files starting with your targeted keyword like crickethome.htm etc. For instance, if your website is about Telescopes
then the title of each of your webpage should always start with the word Telescope and name each webpage file starting with word Telescope like
Telescopereview.htm because the search engine robots look at filenames.
Always remember that you have to make your website attractive for the human visitors as well as for search engine robots. Attractiveness for both of
them can be achieved through better keyword optimization.
You should keep in mind the keyword density and never over-optimize your web page. It is not necessary that the greater the optimization level of your
web page the better it will be.
Title Tags are considered to be one of the most important factors of On Page Optimization. You can say in other words that it is mandatory for you to
include the main keyword as part of your title.
You should always use Header tags with lots of care. Most of the SEO experts recommend having a single H1 header tag that should contain the
main Keyword in order to attract human visitors as well as the search engine robots. Other H2 tags can contain secondary keywords.
Putting the main keyword in the URL is always beneficial in the eyes of the search engines. Most of the users are usually not bothered with that but it will
help in better SEO. If it is not possible to include the complete keywords or a phrase in the URL then try at least to include the most important keyword in
There are many more On Page SEO tips but the above mentioned tips are the most common and recommended by experts. You can add additional
features on your website to make it more Search Engine Optimized, for instance, adding blog sections, feedback areas, guestbook’s etc.
Keep the Sale
Keep The Sale - Does this sound familiar?
After dozens of phones calls and emails as well as several face-to-face meetings, you finally reach an agreement with a prospect who is intent on buying
your service, product or solution.
"Whew! Another sale done," you think to yourself.
But, wait. Before you start counting your commission it is critical that you keep the sale. Just because a prospect has agreed to move forward it does not
mean that the sale will move forward, especially if you sell a complex system or solution. Dozens of things can happen to derail your efforts.
Your key contact may change companies or positions. The person you are dealing with gets cold feet, loses interest, or decides to change vendors. The
company may be acquired or sold. A competitor may approach your prospect with a better offer. There is no such thing as a guaranteed sale even if you
are holding a signed contract. That means you need to ensure that you keep the sale. Here are several strategies you can incorporate into your business
that will help you achieve this.
1. First, send some form of acknowledgement or thank-you. I know this sounds like an elementary concept but most sales people think of doing this.
They take the sale and move on to the next prospect. However, if you send a thank-you card immediately after you confirm the sale, you differentiate
yourself you're your competition. You can also use postcards. The key is to show your new customer that you value his or her business and thanking
them is just one small gesture that demonstrates this.
2. The next thing to do is regularly update your new customer. Keep them informed about things like delivery or shipment status and installation
dates and schedules. If you sell a highly customized product, make sure you advise them on the progress of the development of their product. Frequency
of updates will depend on a few factors.
- What does your key decision-maker expect or want? If they are detail oriented person they will require more frequent updates than someone who is less
detail-oriented. The easiest way to determine this is ask this question, "How often do you want me to send you updates?" A simple question but one that
will give you tremendous insight into your customer's expectations.
- Another factor is the length of time that occurs between the time of your agreement and when your services will be rendered or your product will be
delivered. The more time that elapses between these two, the more important it is for you to update your customer. For example, in my particular
business, it is not uncommon for a company to book me for a keynote speech or training workshop up to a year in advance. During this time, I try to send
them some form of update so they know I have not forgotten about their event.
3. Send them additional information of value. This includes articles, magazine and newspaper clippings, or other information that is relevant to their
business. You could send them an article that mentions a strategic move one of their competitors is about to make or an article on a topic that relates to
your key contact's interests. You may come across a newspaper article about their company-clip this article and send it your client. It does not matter if
they have already read the article because your gesture shows that you are paying attention to their business. And most sales people do not do this. One
word of caution. Do NOT send information about your product! This is not about you! It is about giving your new customer a reason to keep the sale with
4. Depending on the size of the sale, you could send a book that will help them with their business. There are a multitude of books on the market today,
addressing virtually every business situation. If your client enjoys reading then it makes good business sense to send them a book that will help improve
their results. I have sent books to my clients that focus on communication, leadership, sales, and customer service. Attach a brief note explaining why you
sent this book.
5. Lastly, reinforce their buying decision. The easiest way to do this is to send them testimonials from satisfied customers. An even more effective
approach is to ask one of your existing clients to call your new customer. People want reassurances that they have made a sound buying decision so just
imagine the impact if they heard a voice mail message from one of your clients stating how satisfied they were with your product, service or solution.
These may sound like simple concepts. However, I can guarantee that very few sales people actually use them. Integrating these strategies into your
routine will not only help you differentiate yourself from your competition, you will increase your odds of keeping every sale you make.
The Most Valuable Source for Leads
Would you like to tap into the most valuable source for leads? You might be surprised to discover that you are climbing over the low hanging fruit in an
effort to get to the top of the tree. In your haste to shout your message to the masses, you could be shouting over the heads of the potential business that
is already in a queue at your door. Slow down and reflect for just a moment. Then tap into the most valuable source for leads.
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council has just completed a study of channel executives, distributors, resellers, and other channel
representatives. The results of the surveys may not surprise you, but the contrasts of the responses provide a shocking insight into the sheer volume of
missed opportunities. This is good news for you, because missed opportunities by others can create new opportunities for you. While you may agree with
the initial results of the survey, consider how you can adjust your approach to the market and leverage these opportunities.
According to the survey results by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, most valued source of leads is from customer referrals.
54% Customer Referrals
14% E-Mail or Direct Marketing
7% Leads from Vendors
3% Third Party Lead Generation Organizations
Would you agree that the best leads come from the referrals of satisfied customers? Is it surprising that customer referrals were ranked as four times
more powerful and valuable than E-Mail or Direct Marketing campaigns? Customer referrals were ranked nearly seven times more likely to result in sales
and new business than leads derived the Internet.
Customer referrals are a means of providing immediate credibility. With the increasing ability for consumers to share personal expression on the
Internet, Blogs, E-mail, and word of mouth, the ability to communicate has enhanced the voice of the customer. In business-to-business transactions, a
customer referral is more likely to lead to an appropriate contact with a relevant message, which is far more powerful and likely to result in success than a
cold call from a third party lead generation. Events and trade shows can be a powerful platform to market a brand, but fall short in delivering valuable
With all of this insight, how did the same channel executives, distributors, resellers, and channel representatives respond to the survey by Chief
Marketing Officer Council with regards to tactics for generating new leads in the coming year?
14% Plan to use Direct Marketing and E-mail campaigns
13% Plan to use Sales Brochures and collateral
10% Plan to focus on Tradeshows for lead generation
8% Will use Seminars to generate leads
7% Will rely on Print Advertising
7% Plan to use Public Relations and Article Placement
7% Plan to use the Internet and Online Advertising
6% Will revert to Telemarketing
6% Plan to invest in Internet Search Engine Marketing
5% Plan to engage customers in User Group Gatherings
4% Plan to rely on Yellow Page Advertising
4% Will experiment on the Internet with Blogs and Social Networking
3% Will use Online Directories
3% Will create Webcasts
1% Plan to use Content Syndication
2% Will try something completely different
The results of the survey regarding lead generation tactics for new business acquisition are hardly surprising. Very little has changed in the planning
and tactics as conveyed by the survey response, and yet, the contrast in comparison to the most effective and valued leads is staggering. Even though
54% of respondents acknowledged that the most valued leads are based on customer referrals, the first mention of leveraging this goldmine occurs in the
4% of respondents that plan to engage customers in user group gatherings.
Fortunately, it would appear relatively that fourteen percent of respondents believe the most valuable lead generation comes from Direct Marketing or
E-mail, and fourteen percent plan to use this tactic for lead generation in the coming year. However, even though only seven percent believe that the best
leads come from trade shows, there are ten percent planning to take this tactic, and another eight percent who will augment this activity with seminars.
Although only eight percent believe that the highest chance for success comes from leads acquired by the Internet, there is a staggering number of
diverse plans to leverage this channel of communication. The tactics include seven percent Internet and Online Advertising, six percent investing in
search engine marketing, four percent using blogs and social networking, three percent using Online Directories, and another three percent
experimenting with webcasts. The Internet provides an exciting vehicle to be creative, showcase the brand, and communicate to a very large audience.
However, is it targeting the most valuable audience by engaging the most valuable leads that come from customer referrals?
As you can see, the tactics are not groundbreaking or unusual. On the contrary, the approach to market is contrived on establishing a brand, shouting a
message to the masses, and hoping that the merit is recognized by the appropriate lead. The Internet, Trade Shows, Brochures, and Advertising, provide
effective, if not innovative vehicles for spreading the slogan. While it may be necessary to invest in these channels of communication to maintain
competitive placement, there remains untapped opportunity for higher rates of success when tactics engage customer referrals.
Stop what you are doing right now and imagine how referrals from satisfied customers could generate valuable leads and grow your business. It does
not matter what kind of business you are in, or what responsibilities you have in the organization. Every member of an organization contributes directly, or
indirectly, to customer satisfaction. Your actions may results in testimonials, endorsements, or positive word of mouth. If you could harness the power of
customer referrals, your sales force would blossom with representation from independent trusted advocates.
So, how do you encourage and empower customers to grow this incredible pipeline of valued referrals? You ask them, of course. However, before
you make such a bold request, your customers must know that you are fully engaged and obligated to their aspirations. When customers are assured that
you are a trusted advocate, committed to customer satisfaction, they have the confidence to share referrals and recommendations.
Once customer confidence is established and the relationship is mutually rewarding, then it is just a matter of creating the appropriate opportunity for
referrals to occur. This can be as simple as asking for referrals, or as formal as creating gatherings for existing clients and potential prospects to meet and
exchange experiences. Introducing existing clients to potential prospects demonstrates immense confidence in your own relationship with your
customers, because you are not fearful of losing the mutually rewarding relationship. Group gatherings and communications creates a unique opportunity
to endorse your customers, grow their circle of influence, and for them to provide a third party endorsement of your efforts.
There are many ways to empower customer referrals by engaging individuals in group gathering or discussions, leveraging the Internet or Advertising, or
by collecting a powerful collage of testimonials. The tactics for getting the most out of this goldmine pipeline are as diverse as the markets and customers
in them. It all begins with recognizing the most valuable source for leads, acknowledging the value of these resources, and creating specific action items
in a plan to unleash these untapped opportunities. Actively and effectively mining the most valuable source for leads will give you an advantage over 95%
of your competition.
The Mysteries of SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the most important element in building a successful website. Most people online have heard the term SEO and
have some idea of what is involved yet it remains a mysterious process to many. One of the reasons SEO is so mysterious is that it can be a complicated
endeavour and search engines are constantly changing the way they rank sites and the way the recognize the many tools of SEO.
At the forefront of the SEO check and balance system is the leading search engine Google. They have pretty much set the standard for technology in
search engine algorithms that can track the relevancy of a website to its content and SEO efforts. Their ranking system remains one of the most popular
methods of determining a web site's quality because of their diligent efforts of weeding out the bad apples that have little to offer a consumer other than
skilled manipulation and the ability to 'play the system' to their advantage.
Of course taking advantage of the system makes perfect sense from a business standpoint but from the search engine outlook of wanting to provide the
best quality sites on their results for the viewer it can become difficult to differentiate the site that is good quality wise from the site that is good because it
has a very manipulative operator at the helm.
Because the rules for SEO evolve and change rapidly the mystique of search engine optimization continues to confuse website owners. Many people
build their websites thinking the only SEO tool they need is key word density. While key words are an important aspect in SEO they are not the only
means to an end, they are simply a part of the puzzle. There is another tried and true method of SEO that is as relevant today as it was at the start of the
concept of web 2.0 marketing and that is back linking. While back linking remains one of the most successful ways to get your site to rank high on the
search engines it also has undergone some changes making the types of links important so that search engines do not penalize a site for bad incoming
The term "back link" refers to an outside link on another site that points to yours. In the past any link from another site would have a positive impact on
your site by the search engines. Because there were so many gimmicks developed in the last few years to garner massive back links to websites such as
link farms, and irrelevant reciprocal linking Google began to develop a way to weed out links that were purchased, or had little meaning or relevancy.
Even though back linking is used to manipulate search engine popularity there are many very legitimate reasons for using the system of back linking.
Finding web sites that have a common interest to your own who are willing to place your link on their site can get you extra exposure. When their visitors
come to their site they will see your link and likely visit your site as well.
The fact that onsite links like that have such a perceived relevance to the visitor makes them a valuable marketing tool, but that perception of quality is
also why Google works so hard to be sure they are real quality links. You will get higher ranking on a search engine for a number of truly appropriate back
linking partnerships however if the sites linking to you do not share any common information or products Google will penalize you for the link. There are
new programs in the works with Google where your site could even be devalued if the site that links to you is determined to be bad quality so it is
important who you choose to link to, and also who links to you.
In the past many web site owners would open up multiple websites with the sole purpose of promoting one principle site. They would use the extra
websites as a means of placing back links to the main site. Google now watches for sites that are created with the same IP address. Creating a large
number of websites on the same IP address and putting back links on them to quickly develop a number of links is known as link bombing. That is not to
say that you cannot ever link to your own website from a site you own. If there is a reason to show your visitors some additional information a few well
placed back links are fine. It is when there are many links from each site all pointing to a single 'main' site that the search engines look at them
The system Google is working hard to put in place to discount a link from a bad site is why it is very important to know who is linking to you and if their
site stacks up to your standards. It is no longer true that all inbound links to your site are good links. There are very good tools available online for free
that can show you who is linking to you. If you find a site that is linking to you that you feel is questionable in terms of how they relate to your website
either in information or product you should contact the webmaster of the site and demand that they remove the link to your website to avoid being
penalized by the search engines.
Probably the best way to obtain a back link to your site is through anchor text. That is when you have another website with content that is relevant to
your own (relevancy is ALWAYS important) including your site in the actual content of their site with a hyperlink inside the text. These back links are
valued much higher than a simple sidebar link as long as they appear in the text in a way that has a fluid and meaningful association with the content of
the article. There are several ways to get such back links.
Providing articles to content sites with your link built into the article is one method. If you write very compelling information on your website is another as
someone else with a similar site may wish to point it out on their own. You may not even realize they are doing it unless they tell you about it. This is one
of the main reasons it is important to keep an eye on who is back linking to you. While the majority of those types of links are wonderful and you should
thank the site owner for their inclusion, if you feel the site that is linking to you does not meet your standards, have similar information, or the content is
not relevant to your site you should definitely ask them to remove your link.
Back linking is an extremely important aspect of SEO development and it is something you need to understand well in order to implement and control
it properly. There are many secrets and mysteries in the SEO world that diligent study can clear up. Keeping your website in good standing with the
search engines and popular with your visitors is the best way to ensure a vital and profitable future for your business online.
Web Design in a World of Change
When it comes to web design one of the things I really like to see for a more hands-free experience for visitors is self-updating code.
In some cases this information is free. In other instances you may have to pay something to use it or allow the information to be ad supported.
Let's say for instance that you sell replica NASCAR vehicles. You might want the latest NASCAR news on your website. You can search for sources
that provide the information either as scrolling text or in a side box.
There are sites that can make customizable content for your website for things like recipes, news, gardening as well as music and entertainment news.
You can paste the code they supply into a webpage and watch as that information is updated on a regular basis.
This can be an important element for those who don't want static information on their homepage and can utilize information relevant to the primary
It is likely that if a visitor clicks on a link within the text of this information they will be taken away from your webpage, but if they are used to finding that
information with you they will likely come back for more.
It is sometimes difficult for business owners to keep up with every aspect of their industry and this type of updating tool allows comprehensive and current
information to flow without intervention from the site owner.
One site that seems to do a good job of listing lots of free content for websites is http://www.freesticky.com/stickyweb/. Categories include cartoons,
education, entertainment, sports, news, maps, weather, tips and advice to name a few.
Most online sites look for relevant and changing content. The use of a free article directory can help you locate very specific content for your website,
but for news and current events it can be difficult to broker individual agreements to cover the use of current content. That's why finding self-updating
source code can be important to your web design.
You can even segment small portions of your website to include things like a quote of the day, this day in history, unusual facts, daily questions and even
These elements can add some personality to your website as visitors become used to intriguing content that never seems to stay the same even when
other content might.
You should know that not every html code you place on your website will match the look and feel of your website. There may be some adjustment you
can make to help this. It is also possible that the code may interfere with your website design and you may need some help from a code expert to either
fix the coding issue or find something else that may be more suitable.
Some individuals are also using RSS feeds to accomplish a similar goal. The point is that no matter the method you use to obtain the information the
addition of content that remains in a state of flux can help in providing an improved user experience for your regular site visitor.
Internet Marketing, Tracking Your Results
One of the biggest mistakes that newbies make when taking their first steps into Google AdWords is not tracking the results. But this doesn't only
happen with Google AdWords but with all new types of marketing. The majority of people and companies do not track their results or do not track
When people start tracking their marketing it is all too common that the wrong results are being monitored. For example if you start a new marketing
campaign and notice that your website traffic increases by 50% this must be a positive result... Not quite. Just because your website gets more visitors
doesn't mean that you get more money.
When monitoring your marketing it is vital that you monitor your profit, not your turnover or the number of visitors to your website. The only true
representation of how successful your marketing has been is how much profit you have made.
There are many ways you can start tracking your marketing, if your customers phone you up to place an order or enquire about your products. You can
simply ask them, how did you find us? Which search engine did you use? What search term did you use?
Using this method you can generate good results although you allways get some customers who was handed your info by someone else and some
people just don't seem to remember how they found you.
If you are selling your products online using a e-commerce shopping cart or even a service like Paypal you can track every step a visitor makes all the
way through to purchase. Google has their own monitoring tool called Google Analytics. This tool allows you to monitor every visitor into your website,
you can see what traffic sources provide your visitors, how many pages they visit, which page do the leave on.
Google Analytics has a powerful tool called Conversions, you can define what you class as a conversion for example this maybe the thank you page
after someone has purchased one of your products, it may be the thank you page after someone has joined your mailing list or subscribed to your
You can then take this a step further and create a sequence of conversions, this is often called a sales funnel. You may for example set up a conversion
for when someone enters their name and email into your squeeze page. A second conversion may then exist on the page containing how to buy your
product and finally and conversion at the end of a shopping cart.
Using this method you can see how many people get to your squeeze page, who then goes on to find out more and finally the percentage of visitors
who go on to purchase one of your products.
When you are successfully tracking your marketing campaigns you will always know which keywords from which traffic sources are generating you the
most profit. You can identify what does not work, ignore it and then concentrate on your marketing that gives you the best results.
The 3 Types of Website Traffic
Where does traffic come from? Now I'm not talking about that stuff we all get stuck in during rush hour. Website traffic is essential, if you have no traffic
to your website you are not going to get anyone buying your products or reading your articles. Traffic is one of the key components of your website and is
available in these three forms.
1. Pay For It.
You can buy traffic typically using what is known as Pay Per Click advertising. The major names in this market are Google and their AdWords program
and Yahoo Network Sponsored Search. There are many smaller companies around also but they all follow the same premise.
You create your account, grab a bunch of keywords and create your adverts. You can define the amount you want to spend per click or per day, what
geographical areas you want your adverts to appear in and even what time they should appear.
When someone types one of your keywords into for example Google your advert will be displayed down the right hand side of the natural search results.
If the searcher then chooses to click on your advert and gets forwarded to your website you will get charged for that click.
The price you pay for each individual click depends on a variety of conditions such as how many other people are competing on that keyword. The more
competition the more it costs to be higher up the ranks. The position you want to occupy. The percentage of people who click on your advert, the list goes
Pay Per Click advertising can be very successful but has a steep learning curve, it is essential that you do lots of research into your chosen Pay Per Click
vender and in the niche you are in.
2. Borrow It.
This option is not for everyone, but in certain niches it can be effective. The first method of borrowing traffic is what is called link exchange. This is where
you put links to another website on your site and they put links back to you on theirs. This can be beneficial as you can get traffic from a more successful
website reasonably quickly. However this traffic is not always targeted.
The second option in the affiliate marketing world is called a joint venture or a JP. This is essentially where you would contact another marketer or
company who had products that complements yours. If they are interested they may send a mailing out to their list or put an entry in their blog alerting
their visitors about you and your relevant products.
The key things to remember about borrowing traffic is that you have to give something in return. This can make it tricky when targeting very successful
3. Create It.
Creating your own traffic is one of the best ways to start bringing people into your website. There are literally hundreds of ways to start creating your
traffic but I'm just going to tell you about two of the most popular.
Articles are a great way of generating traffic. You can write your articles about your chosen niche, offering advice, definitions, explanations, news, reviews
just to name a few. Once you have created your articles you can put them on your website or blog as content. You can also upload them to article
directories or even assemble a few of them into a white paper or ebook to give away to visitors.
Video is currently the big thing on the internet world. Everywhere you look there are videos for everything. 50% of all web traffic is video and YouTube
alone receives 12.5% of all the traffic out there. YouTube has made it possible for anyone to upload their videos for the whole world to see. Just as you
can create an article about anything you can do the same thing with video. The best option is to do both: Create it in print and create it in video.
I wish you all the best of success.
Who are you? Your customers really want to know.
Who are you, really?
Your brand, I mean.
What do you want other people to think when they think about your business, your service, or your product?
Do you want them to think your brand is the life of the party, or the designated driver? Is it a trusted friend, or a glamorous rock star? Are you a Volvo or a
So I repeat...who are you?
You may already know this, and if that's the case, I congratulate you! Many small businesses struggle with this. If, however, you need a little help in
defining yourself, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. How am I currently perceived by my customers?
If you don't know, do a quick focus group with a target segment of your market (10 - 20 people), customers and non-customers. Have a list of questions
ready to ask.
2. How do I want to be perceived by my customers?
Realize that your brand needs to reflect and resonate with your target market. If you want to be a sports car, but your customer wants you to be a sedan,
you should probably reflect what your customer's value unless you're trying to attract a different set of customers.
3. How far apart is how I'm currently being perceived to how I want to be perceived?
What will it take to bridge the gap? Do I really need to bridge the gap, or should I enhance my current image?
Once you've got a general idea of perception, time to make your personality more definitive. So, ask yourself these questions:
4. What are my brand's human characteristics?
As crazy as it may sound to you, many branding experts suggest you do this in order to put your brand on a level everyone in your organization can
understand. Is your brand male, female? Old, young? Rich, poor, middle class? Where does it work? What does it do for entertainment? These are just
starter questions...you can think of a lot more yourself!
5. If my brand was an actual person, what would be its name?
Think about it, when you hear someone is names "Biff," an immediate picture comes to your mind. I bet you can think of a dozen such examples! Pick a
name that personifies your brand. Paris, Tom, Jane, Inga, Ian, Jeff, Elsa...
6. What is my brand's "life story?"
Biff needs to know where he came from, so create a brief, fictional biography of your humanized brand.
Once you figure all this out, consider building a Personality Board. This is very helpful in giving your brand a visual personification. Cut out pictures,
stories, headlines, or any other visual reference you think would work to define your personality. You may even want to find a photograph of someone
who is the image of your brand personality (your Biff) and place it in the middle. Display it proudly, and make sure your employees know what it is.
Now, when you create your advertising and marketing materials - from print ads to tv and radio spots, from websites to packaging, and beyond - you
know what personality they need to reflect. And you will be on your way to delivering a brand with which your customers can identify.
SEO - Be Direct, Be Clear
If you are like most people, it is probably safe to say that you are often annoyed when sales people become... pushy. And it doesn't matter if it's a car
salesperson or someone blocking your way past a kiosk in the mall, these sales people have something in common, and that is persistence and the belief
that they can persuade you to buy anything and/or everything.
If they talk fast enough, or maybe if they fill your head with so many claims, they feel that you can be convinced.
Unfortunately, there are many sites on the Internet who feel the same way, that if they inundate the friendly neighborhood visitor with claims and boasts
and incomprehensible numbers and figures, they'll persuade you that what they are offering is exactly what you need. And surely you'd agree with them...
once you've waded through all the claims.
Or, there is the other situation, the one in which you wander into the wrong store, either because the name was misleading or you just weren't paying
enough attention. The same thing happens online. SEO practices can get certain websites to the top of the ranking for a given keyword, even if the
searcher's intent doesn't quite match up with the content of the site. The visitors who click on your site need to know they found the right place before they
have the chance to beat a hasty retreat.
Given these experiences, it should be obvious that being direct and being clear is at least as important a part of SEO as keyword rich content writing or
link recruitment. Well, to rephrase, it is important if you want to increase your conversion rate and not just the number of visitors.
Often SEO developers are focused on creating keyword relevant content, and advertisers are focused on finding that great turn-of-phrase or magical
call to action that will persuade a visitor to make a purchase. But the truth of the matter is that often it is the simple act of making your site clear that will
do the most good for your business.
By clear and direct, this means that a potential customer will need to know immediately where they are, what they can do/buy there, and why they should
choose you over the competition.
For example, an old SEO tactic (a bad tactic, it should be added) was to redirect visitors to a different page. But it doesn't have to be that dramatic,
either. If a visitor clicked on a PPC ad that claimed there was a free download/membership/whatever at the other end, yet when they get to the site there
is no clear path to the freebie, this can lead a consumer to believe that they found the wrong place and they will try somewhere else.
Helping them understand what they can do on your site should happen next, and it should happen very quickly. Don't make them wade through lines of
text before giving them an option to do something. That option should be available to them from the beginning, and they should know exactly what that
Finally, they need to see why you are the right choice instead of your competition. This does not mean bragging and talking yourself up. When you do
that you've just reverted to the care salesman mentality again. And no one likes dealing with these personalties unless they absolutely have to. Clear
comparisons and honest testimonials will go a lot further than hollow promises and claims.
Many times content writers feel like they need to answer the "why" before the "what" and the "where". This only leads to cumbersome dialogue and
weary customers. Proper content needs to quickly confirm where they are and what they can do. Do not try to present the solution before the problem.
When you address these issues you can start to create a site that will interest your customers and help them choose to do business with you.
What Corporates should know about Online Marketing
The most important function of a website is to help a company to sell their services/products to new clients.
When potential new clients/tourists need to choose between two companies with whom they aren't familiar, they are most likely to compare the
websites. This is because a website is almost the only method for a person to actually see beforehand what he/she pays for. In general, more than 90%
of these potential new client's decisions are decided upon the impression that is reflected from the website, regardless of the competence of these
companies. The general truth is that most potential clients do not know how to technically compare companies, and therefore trust that the website's
professionalism will reflect the expertise.
Therefore large amounts are invested in corporate website development.
Unfortunately most companies tend to overlook the importance of building a trusted web presence. Without having a web presence with authority
almost no new visitors will end up at your website. And since every company wants to expand, they need to focus on improving their web presence in
order to increase the chance of getting new customers.
The best and most effective long term solution to increase your web presence is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is a highly
specialized field that focus on improving the amount of trust the rest of the world will have in your website. The more trust you have, the more potential
new clients will visit your website daily.
The amount of trust your website has, is most of the time determined by search engines (for example Google, Yahoo, etc.). This is because the search
engines have the most advanced mathematical algorithms available today, hence the acronym, SEO. Of all these search engines, the world's most
accepted benchmark of website trust is known as the Google rank (or page rank) of your website. Therefore, if you could increase your Google rank, your
number of new visitors to your website will most certainly increase.
Google Rank of well known organisations' home page:
4/10: Pick n Pay, Steers, KWV, News 24
5/10: Anglo Gold, Checkers, Spur, Shoprite, Nedbank, Old Mutual
6/10: Anglo American, Absa, Stellenbosch University, Telkom, MTN, Vodacom, Mobil, Virgin, Standard Bank, Die Burger, Sasol
7/10: McDonald's, Ford, General Electric, Nike, Coke
8/10: General Motors
9/10: Microsoft, eBay, Amazon
10/10: Google, Facebook
Another reason why Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is so important is because of the quality of the traffic (website visitors) you receive on your
website. If somebody visits your website due to a search engine query, as opposed to other reasons (such as typing in the web address/clicking on a link
from another website, etc), the new visitor will most likely already be looking for your services. For example, if someone types in the word "wine" in
Google, they are probably looking for wine. So if your site comes up first on Google you can probably sell a bottle of wine if your offering is satisfactory.
The contrary is that the person accidentally lands on your website, but has no immediate desire for the product or services.
Please note that it is possible to buy quality traffic, but this is expensive (depending on the product value and competition) and only effective in the
immediate short term i.e. while it is active. SEO has a long term cumulative effect and is relatively inexpensive to maintain once a certain level of
optimisation is reached.
Tips when hiring SEO experts:
- Whenever using a company in order to improve your SEO, always check out the Google Rank of their website. Since SEO is not that well known in
management circles, there is a lot of companies that will try to sell SEO skills while there own SEO are terrible.
- Also try to get some form of guarantee. It is very rare that marketing companies ever give guarantees about the effects of their efforts, but if they actually
do, you know they are serious about their skills.
- Try to get clear benchmarks to calculate the results of the SEO campaign. For example monitor the number of visitors that your website receives that
came from natural search engine queries during and after the time of your campaign. (If your marketing team don't know how to get these figures, don't
- Make sure your SEO team have a clean record. Sometimes SEO companies may get desperate in order to get results and might step over the moral
line by trying to fool search engines with unnatural 'black hat' methods. When caught out, these websites are usually banned from search engines and will
not show in any search result. To look into any company's track record simply Google them. Disgruntles clients tend to write their bad experience in public
forums that will normally be listed in Google's search results just below the company's own website.
Search Engine and Website Optimization
SEO is an essential part of website optimization, involving the formatting of a web page so that search engine algorithms score it highly for the
Each page should be optimized for only one keyword so that the page is listed in as high a position as possible for that keyword.
If you understand how search engines work you will be able to apply your knowledge of SEO to optimize your website and ensure, not only a listing,
but a search engine listing worth having. So, exactly how does a search engine such as Google work?
The answer to that is that nobody knows - except some Google employees of course. However, by carrying out certain actions and analyzing the
results, it is possible to come to certain conclusions as to what Google are looking for and using that information to your advantage. Keep in mind,
however, that the number of variables Google is evaluating is believed to reach three figures, so you will only ever scratch the surface, but we know that
some of these are given more weighting than others.
SEO variables come in groups, and your website optimization strategy should take as many of these into account as possible. These groups can be
categorized into increasingly narrower sets, the broadest being on-page and off-page optimization. The variables with most weighting are currently
believed to be:
1. ON-PAGE WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION
On-page optimization is, as the term suggests, carried out on the web page itself. This can either be on the visible part of the page, or in the underlying
source html code. This optimization can be further classified into:
a) The Keywords. Each web page should be optimized for one keyword, and can contain a few sub-keywords for which the page might also be listed.
These, however, are less important than they once were in view of Google's latent semantic indexing (LSI) algorithm. That is another subject! The choice
of keyword is important, and there is software available (free and not so free) to help you choose the best keyword for your needs. Do not overuse
keywords - instead use lots of related text and synonyms to tell the spiders what your page is about.
b) The Title. This 'title' is not visible on the page, but contained within the html 'Title' tag prior to the 'Body' section of the page html. It should contain the
keyword, and is the title that appears at the head of the search engine listing for the page.
c) Meta Tags. In SEO, the Meta tags, again contained prior to the visible 'body' section, provide the search engine crawlers or spiders with information
about your site. The only tags of use today are:
i. The Description Meta tag. This describes the content of your site and is shown in full or part below the title in your search engine listing. Include your
selling point and any toll-free number you might have.
ii. The Keyword Meta tag. Not generally used, but who knows - it costs nothing and does no harm.
iii. The Robots Meta tag should be used to block any page from spiders that you don't want visited, in case they dilute the overall site relevance. For
example, duplicate sales pages. Use it blank even if you are not blocking anything.
d) Headings Page and paragraph headings should be in bold text within H (heading) html tags, H1 for page and H2 for paragraph headings. Use
keywords because heading tags stress the importance of the text within them, especially if formatted bold.
e) Navigation Links
i. Your navigation is best if made using keyword anchor text and with a small description of the page linked to just below it.
ii. Try to arrange your html so that the spider sees your body text first, followed by the links that will lead it away from your page. Most importance is
placed on the first 100 words and the last paragraph, so don't let these words be your navigation links.
iii. Pay attention to your on-site linking strategy. There is a formula you can use to maximize the Page Rank points for each or any individual page.
2. OFF-PAGE WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION
Off-page optimization is a massive subject, and would require a separate article to even scratch the surface. It includes techniques such as one-way
back links, reciprocal linking, article marketing, directory submissions, interlinking your own sites and blogs, use of social bookmarking sites and social
networking, Twitter and so on.
These SEO techniques can in many respects be more important than on-page SEO, and it is not uncommon to see a page with no content but adverts
listed at position #1 on Google due solely to the number of other web pages linked to it.
SEO is an extensive subject, but you can improve your chances of getting a high listing if you take advantage of what is known. Information is available,
some of it genuine and some opinion. Make sure you find the former and avoid the latter in your website optimization strategy.
5 Steps to Newsletter Mastery
What is good email design? And how can you hone it to heighten the payoff of your email marketing investment over time?
Like any ambitious endeavour, success favours preparation. In this article is best practices for optimal email newsletter design and how, with careful
cultivation, you can plant the seeds that will yield a bounty later. As you will discover, launching successful newsletters is not difficult--it simply involves a
hearty combination of knowing your goals, drafting a plan and executing with precision. Staying committed to each is essential.
Mastery Step #1: Define Your Purpose
Your email marketing program--and each newsletter within it--deserves a well-thought-out plan. It's essential to determine what goals you want to
accomplish and how they align with your department's or your company's overall communications strategy. The idea is to send emails that convey
context, reinforce company "voice," and build your brand by creating a positive user experience. Draft a rock-solid email messaging plan, listing yours
goals and the content and design features that will support them. Ensure every element--imagery, copy, palette, tone--supports your brand and
communicates consistency across campaigns.
Mastery Step #2: Know Your Audience
Always remember: Your audience is in cahoots with their own interests. That means, no matter what your plans are, if your newsletter doesn't speak to,
reach, or intrigue your audience, then you're not going to see the response you want. Since you're also marketing to current or potential customers, it's
imperative to understand what they want to see and how they want to see it.
Take into account the following demographic considerations and plan accordingly:
- Is your list comprised of B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer)?
- Does your list skew to teens, middle-aged or elderly individuals?
- Is it predominantly female or male? Age, generation and gender are big influencers in design. Vary font size, message relevancy, tone of voice, and
colour themes based on whose reading and why.
- How well do recipients know you and your company? If you're emailing to prospects, delineate clear and relevant benefits in the subject line to deter
spam alerts. If your list already knows you, personalize the message by including your name in the "from" line and put the recipient's name in the body.
A few quick tips on keeping the audience front and centre:
- Execute "precision marketing:" create newsletter campaigns based on demographic information (age, sex, income, geography, buying habits)
- Place the content most relevant to your target demographic above the fold.
- Speak to your audience on the level they prefer, talk up not down to young adults, be respectful yet upbeat and friendly to seniors.
- Create visual and content templates unique to each demographic group.
Mastery Step #3: Crystallize Your Message
To win the hearts of customers, you need a meaningful message--well told and well presented. To get there in a newsletter, it's essential to define your
content's purpose. Do you mean to build customer loyalty, start a conversation, sell a product, offer a discount, or ask for opinions?
Perhaps "all of the above" sounds good, but be warned: like any message, a newsletter saturated by multiple themes and intentions loses steam fast.
Spare your readers the burden of too many links, options, and themes. If you don't, they'll likely abandon the search and leave. If your goal is to sell more,
try saying less. Be precise. Showcase your products, offer incentives, and present obvious and enticing links. Save the rest for another round.
Map out your newsletter with clear goals in mind--and don't overwhelm readers with too many or unrelated messages.
Remember these quick tips:
- One objective is best for all emails.
- If you have multiple objectives, break it up into manageable sections or send several emails over time.
For example, of the following objectives, choose two or three per campaign:
- Build customer interaction/brand awareness
- Drive customers to your Web site
- Sell your products or services
- Promote events or news
- Recruit brand champions to spread your message
- Communicate your unique selling position and cultivate customer interest
- Build or introduce new brand attributes: colour, logos, messaging and tone
- Create hype and fuel social networking
Email marketing is essentially a speed game, word economy is a must. Don't take time getting to the point: say it now, fast, and clearly. Remember that
your newsletter is about prompting readers to click to your site. Communicate enough benefit, briefly coined, so readers will want learn more.
Make calls-to-action stand out with unique symbols, arrows, or font and colour choices. Pick a style and stick with it--if you use a red triangle to denote
section links, then always use them. This consistent effect trains your audience to quickly identify and to respond to links within the message.
Mastery Step #4: Carefully Chunk Content
Structure, design, nuance and message blend to create the force--powerful or weak--behind any communication. How these aspects coalesce in your
newsletter content can affect your brand image, sales goals, customer relationships, and future business demand.
As many big-name e-marketers know, achieving email newsletter success requires shapely, succinct, engaging and easy-to-follow content. Once you
master the form of these design strategies, over time your newsletter's effectiveness will rise to the occasion.
For starters, a carefully chunked page--that is, a page broken into bite-sized pieces served under clear, informative headings--creates a palatable design
tempting to even the pickiest reader. Content chunking is cousin to several essential design tactics. For example, avoid the formidable "wall of text;"
present brief, quick-read paragraphs that prompt a "click" rather than teach a lesson; and buffer sections with plenty of white space and complimentary,
Akin to content chunks is the "6-second rule." Keeping this in mind will shape everything you do in your newsletter design and campaign, from subject
line, to byline to calls to action. The gist is this: if your reader doesn't get it in six seconds or less, then they're gone. Do not collect $200. Do not pass go.
They couldn't care less. That's because the way to your readers' hearts is through direct, clear, scannable content that piques their interest and offers
quick benefits. How you convey that in the speed game of email marketing is with carefully and concisely structured pages.
Here are a few tips to assist you with 6-second rule mastery:
- Use headings to communicate the essential messages on the page.
- Segment content to make the page "scan able".
- Offer obvious and enticing links to your site or promotional page.
- Restrict paragraphs to three lines or less.
- Break key points into bullets rather than paragraphs.
- Include title, by-line, and call-to-action in each paragraph and bulleted list area.
- If you have multiple objectives, chunk each one into bite size nuggets.
Mastery Step #5: Send Multi-Message Campaigns
We've covered the importance of limiting each newsletter to just one or two clear objectives. Now, what about big, complicated messages that still need to
Once you outline your campaign's successive messaging goals, list the topics for each email. Then you can run it as an ongoing conversation with your
audience on a theme you make familiar by stretching it across days, weeks, or months. Always remember, the ultimate goal is to get them to your site.
Here are a few tips for multi-message success:
- Stay nimble and allow your Web site to do heavy lifting.
- In each successive email, sprinkle intrigue elements--ask question, offer titbits, lay breadcrumbs--to get them to your site.
- Use teasers in each email about what's coming next week, month, etc.
- Create reflective content on your site to pair with each message.
- Maintain a consistent theme throughout the entire campaign, in your newsletter and on your Web site.
- Suggest a timely, limited offer to create extra incentive to buy, click or return.
- Plan multi-message campaigns to coincide with larger, yearly marketing strategies.
Using Keywords as Part of Your Internet Marketing Strategy
Whether your internet marketing strategy utilizes websites, blogs, article marketing or press releases correctly using keywords is an absolute must.
Anyone involved in an online business will tell you their marketing efforts are dramatically reduced if they haven't optimized their published content
correctly with the right keywords.
Keyword optimization is a very integral component of an effective online marketing strategy.
The proper keyword optimization of content helps anyone searching for information like yours to easily find it. Done correctly and you'll be rewarded with a
higher ranking in the search results. The manner in which you use keywords within your content will make or break you in the search engine rankings. A
low search engine ranking will make you virtually invisible to anyone searching for content like yours.
Search engines rely heavily on keywords to accurately identify and rank sites found on the internet for people searching for the content that these sites
contain. Under or over utilizing keywords will only hurt the ranking of the site giving it a very weak showing in any search results.
There are 3 areas of focus you'll need to be concerned with to correctly utilize keywords within your content. By doing so you'll gain the favour of the
search engines and also quite a bit more traffic to your site.
Let's discuss these 3 important areas of keyword optimization below:
Any keywords you select to use should be relevant to the content itself. Search engines are very strict about this and will bury you in the search results if
they feel your keyword selection doesn't reflect the content. When people search keywords on the internet they're expecting to find information directly
related to the words they are searching on. Search engines for their part want to insure that people using their search engine find what it is they're looking
Another factor to be considered when using keywords is the placement of these words within the content itself. For instance it is recommended to use
keywords in the title of your content when you can. Even within the title it is better to place the selected word or phrase at the title beginning if at all
possible. Again you must remember that these keywords must accurately describe, reflect, or relate to the content within.
Another consideration is to place your primary keyword at the beginning and the end of the body of content you're performing the keyword optimization
on. Additional theme keywords should be used conservatively thru out the content when their use makes grammatical sense.
Here's an area where some people may have a tendency to get carried away. In an attempt to gain the attention of search engines some may overuse
their selected keywords throughout the content. Keyword 'stuffing' as this is known is frowned upon by search engines as a deliberate attempt to gain
higher search rankings. Search engines discourage this by penalizing you with a lower search engine ranking.
Opinions vary on what is the right percentage of keywords to use within the content that will maximize your optimization efforts while avoiding penalties.
Generally any keyword usage between 2 and 5 percent of the total body of content is considered safe. A free keyword density tool you can use online to
check your content can be found at live-keyword-analysis.
Always remember to use your selected words in a natural way within the body of your content since you're writing for the reader and not the search
engine. So before you hit the 'submit' bottom proof-read your work to ensure it reads like a human wrote it and not some cyborg.
Proper keyword placement and utilization is almost always at the core of any successful internet marketing strategy. Thru the correct implementation of
this online marketing technique you will increase your search rankings thereby boosting the awareness of your online presence. Whatever your reasons
for being online may be, if you're looking to boost your traffic this is one of the most effective and fundamental ways to achieve that!
Good luck with your marketing campaign!
All of the above SEO tips have been gathered from various texts and sources during my time in web design. I have put the majority of these tips to good
use at our website which is http://www.aliquidationcentre.co.uk. Constructive criticism or compliments are welcome mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org