Benefits of Link Building for Your Business Website

by Dane O’Leary

Having a strong web presence is an asset to any business. With technology and the internet being integrated into our daily lives to such a thorough degree, web presence could be considered the most important component of advertising, marketing, and customer acquisition for a business.

There are many ways to improve web presence and make a business’s site more prominent across the web and, in fact, sustaining a site’s findability requires ongoing maintenance. However, one of the most effective ways to ensure that a business’s website is easy to find is to list the site externally on other niche sites and web directories, which is frequently referred to as link building. Here are some of the benefits of making your business’s website available on other sites and directories.

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Targeted Traffic

You can find niche websites on just about anything these days. Hobbies of all sorts, science, and a plethora of industries are just a small range of the topical sites that span the worldwide wide. When an individual needs information on a subject, they perform a search using popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, which compile a list of sites based on the search terms or keywords that were used; according to estimates, the strategic use of keywords is one of the key components to getting web traffic and can increase a site’s views by 200 percent or more.

The websites that are listed in these specific searches are niche sites that get targeted traffic, which is a steady stream of visitors seeking the information that the niche sites offer. Contractors, for example, can benefit from this targeted traffic generated via search engines queries by listing their businesses’ websites on the niche websites recommended by the search engines. Users who browse niche websites were able to find those websites because they already had interest in the content and links the sites offer. In short, a niche site’s traffic becomes a targeted audience who are likely to click suggested links to sites that offer services they were already looking for.

Increased Visibility

Niche websites and directories offer businesses a way to significantly increase their visibility on the web. Making a website available in numerous places throughout the web increases visibility in several key ways. However, understanding link building requires a basic understanding of the way search engines work.

A search engine’s responsibility is to provide users credible, relevant, high-quality information in the form of a list of links to sites offering products, services, and information that corresponds to what the users are searching for. Search engines like Google determine a website credibility by observing how often it’s referenced on other sites, the site’s organization and user-friendliness, whether it consistently posts information of value, and as well as many other determinants. Search engines then rank sites with the most authoritative, reliable ones at the top of lists of search results. As such, sites that search engines consider credible and high-quality will be significantly more visible because search engines put them at the top of search results. Consider it like the difference between Wikipedia and a blog; Wikipedia always tops lists of search results while private blogs are typically buried in the list unless the blogger has taken steps to improve their blog’s visibility.

When the California Implant Institute increased the number of quality links to their website on authoritative sites around the web, the amount of traffic to the institute website increased by 79 percent, which has contributed to increased business in the long-term. It takes time to improve search engine rankings; however, link building on niche websites and in directories considered credible and authoritative by search engines will have a huge effect on a site’s visibility. By improving search engine rankings, a business’s website becomes more visible while the numerous links across the web provide more opportunities for users to discover and access the site.

Networking and Partnerships

Another benefit to link building is the potential for networking. Not only does this increased visibility make a business more visible to prospective customers and clients, but it also increases the chances of being discovered by a potential partner and developing lucrative professional relationships.

Web partnerships can be a great source of traffic, especially when the two businesses offer related services; for example, a business that offers carpet installation could advertise for and link to the site of a carpet cleaning business. Such a partnership would be mutually beneficial because customers needing the services of one business might need the services of the other, but each business’s services would be sufficiently different that there wouldn’t be competition.


Dane O’Leary is a full-time freelance writer and design blogger for Modernize.com. He has degrees in psychology and anthropology with additional study in journalism, graphic design, and public relations. Dane is currently working on his debut novel.

Infographic: Digital Coupons

The growth of digital coupons has revolutionized how people interact with coupons. There is no longer a need to print your coupon and bring it to the store as digital coupons are becoming commonplace. In 2012, 92.2 million adults redeemed online coupons and this figure is expected to grow to 124.4 million by 2016.

infographic digital coupons

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It is vital that businesses have measures in place to fully utilize this growing market. There are seven key ways in which businesses can incorporate effective digital coupon marketing. These include integrating the offers with email, using text messaging, and most importantly measuring results to determine how effective each campaign is. This allows you to tweak your technique depending on the most effective methods.

This infographic from Colourfast outlines the growth of digital coupons and provides an effective seven-step plan to maximize the effectiveness of digital coupons for your business.

Have you ever used coupons or promo codes with your offers? Any success? Share below!

How to Make Money Blogging

marketing ideas make money blogging

Ah, to make money blogging. It’s one of the holy grails of the Internet community. We write, therefore we are–but we would rather our loquacious posts pay the bills too. Really, is that too much to ask?

Want your words working for you? Here are a few ways to help your articles make money online.

How to Structure Your Blog

Write. A Lot.

The more gravity your website has, the more value (presumably) it will have, providing you have valuable insight to offer on the topic at the center of your soapbox. The search engines don’t look at only pages; they look at the composition of the whole site, as well as the sites linking into it, the links leading away from it, etc. So the more targeted content you have, the more gravity your site will have on that topic and the higher you will rise through the results.

Keyword Research

Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool) to help you ascertain how people are searching for the content you want to offer.

  1. On the left navigation bar, set the search to [Exact].
  2. Enter your first attempt at keywords.
  3. Sift through the proposed keywords, looking for keywords and phrases with thousands of local visits, but which also have low competition. (This is Adwords ads competition, but we’re using it as an indicator of global competitive targeting.)

how to make money blogging

Sprinkle Keywords Throughout

Now that you’ve selected some keyphrases, it’s time to work them into your post. They should appear in your title and–if you’re using WordPress like you should be–in your page URL for the post or page you’re creating. Your keywords should also appear occasionally within your content and within a link or two.

Don’t go crazy here, as it all still needs to be readable by a human, but your blog post also needs to be found relevant by a search engine.

Title Your Images

Also, don’t forget to title your blog’s images. You will want to include the keyword in the alt tag for the image, as well as the actual file name for the image. For instance, the image above is titled “make-money-blogging.jpg” and its alt tag matches the title of this post; “how to make money blogging”. The alt tag is something you can set easily in the WordPress blog software.

While taking a second job might seem like the way to go there are only so many hours in the day, and the stress of the extra workload can lead to other problems. The key to generating a secondary income stream is to find something you enjoy, something you already do or could do, and get paid for it.

Leveraging Your Blog

Affiliate Marketing

One of the major methods people use to bring in extra money with their blog (or replace their main income in some instances) is affiliate marketing. One common approach here is to become a digital advisor and for every sale you make, you earn a commission. So say you write a blog reviewing books. In every blog post, you might place an affiliate link to the book you’re reviewing. Every time someone clicks that link and buys that book, you make X percent of that sale. If no one buys the product, you get nothing, but putting up a single, popular review has the potential to lead to many sales over time, creating an income stream once you build up a steady flow of traffic.

With affiliate marketing, you don’t have to be the magic or produce the magic. You get paid to offer information about whatever product, service, dream or dread the audience is seeking.

Per-Per-Click Marketing

Per-per-click marketing is used by services such as Google AdSense and InfoLinks. With this marketing strategy your goal is not to sell a product, but rather to get your readers to check out ads related to your content. Again let’s use the example of a blog. Say your blog is about aftermarket car upgrades and how-to articles for car enthusiasts. If you allow Google to place a link or banner onto your blog, your audience will now be exposed to the ad. If they click on that ad, you get paid. The more traffic your site gets, and the more ads those people click, the more money you make. Ideally it’s possible to build up a popular enough base of traffic that you can just sit back and let the money roll in.

Selling Your Crafts

Lots of people enjoy making things, but they would never imagine there was a market for the things they make. Whether it’s weaving chainmail or making necklaces, all you have to do is set up an Internet storefront. Websites like Etsy.com or Ebay.com allow you to put up items for sale (or re-sale if you want to try and get a good price for things you bought cheap like designer clothes at a thrift store). You simply create a profile and pay a small fee to list your items. When those items sell you mail them to the buyer, and you get paid. This is more like running a traditional store, but with less of the traditional overhead that comes with a bricks and mortar operation.

Warning: Blog Owner Beware

The Internet is a great way to make extra money, but you need to be cautious when you decide to try out something you found online. Research any site or system before you decide to invest your time and effort into it, and if a “business opportunity” requires you to buy a starting kit make very sure that you look for reviews from other people. Chances are good that the only person making money is the one promising that you’ll be able to quit your day job within the year.

Afterglow

Well, while this isn’t all the tricks you can do, these ideas will get you a long way toward making money online with your blog. After all, I didn’t even discuss sponsorships, mailing list subscriptions, squeeze pages or any of the other fun monetizing techniques. There are many ways to make money blogging, but the cornerstone to running a successful blog begins with these core steps. As traffic to your site increases due to the increased value you’ve built, these money-making techniques will work better and better.
In support of your efforts,

Matt

(Updated April 1, 2015. Original posted October 30, 2012.)

Infographic: Mobile Market Domination

Why Your Business Needs A Mobile Marketing Strategy

People are no longer only relying on their computers or a landline to stay connected with friends, family, and businesses. Instead, people are using mobile devices to build relationships with others and make purchasing decisions each day.

infographic Mobile Market Domination

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It’s predicted that by 2017, there will be 10 billion connected mobile devices. Additionally, more than half of all mobile devices will be smartphones. As mobile continues to dominate the market, brands will need to implement a mobile marketing strategy that will help them reach their customers.

Mobile is becoming an integral part of marketing strategies because it’s changing the way people consume content. According to the infographic, 51 percent of mobile traffic is mobile and 90 percent of tweets are from a mobile device. Clearly, mobile is making a huge impact on how brands should create content for their customers.

Mobile is also important for brands because people are using their smartphones to make purchasing decisions. In fact, four out of five consumers have used their smartphone to make a purchasing decision. Additionally, more than half of consumers believe mobile making shopping more enjoyable.

When people use their mobile devices for shopping, there are a number of things they look for. According to the infographic, 67 percent of consumers use their smartphones to search for a store’s location. Not only that, but 51 percent of consumers use their smartphones to research product information and 59 percent use them to compare prices.

Mobile domination is changing the way brands create exposure for their business and target customers. By creating a mobile strategy, your business will have the opportunity to create more awareness and build relationships with customers.

Have you had any luck marketing to a mobile audience?

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

Ivan Serrano is a social media, business and finance journalist living in the Bay Area of California. 

 

5 Tips for Choosing a Web Designer

by Jamie Kiley

If you’re in the market for a new website, one of the first things you’ll need to do is hire a web designer. As in any field, there are good web designer and bad web designers, and it’s important to know how to determine which is which. Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1.  Don’t judge a designer’s skill solely on graphic design skills.

Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a web designer based on his or her graphic design skills alone. While graphic design is important, attractive images are not the most significant determinant of good design. In fact, they are a comparatively small part of what makes a good website.

Instead of focusing completely on visual image, concentrate on evaluating a designer’s other skills. Evaluate the designer’s portfolio by asking these sample questions:

  • Does this designer design with usability in mind? In other words, is the site designed for form or for function?
  • Does the designer have good organizational abilities? Look for organization of the entire site as a whole, as well as the organization of individual page layouts.
  • Does the designer employ good navigation techniques? Try out some of the sites in his or her portfolio and carefully examine how easy it is for you to navigate around the site and find specific pieces of information.
  • Instead of using graphics just for the sake of pizzazz, does the designer use graphics purposefully to organize the page and to direct a visitor’s attention to important points?
  • All sites should motivate a visitor to do something, whether it is buying a product, filling out a quote request form, signing up for a newsletter, etc.
  • Does the designer do a good job of visually showing visitors how to take action?
  • Does the designer design sites that are easy to use?
  • Instead of asking, “Does this site look good?” ask, “Would this site make me want to buy a product if I was in that site’s target market?”

2.  Talk with references.

Don’t just peruse the sites in a designer’s portfolio. Get in contact with some of the designer’s past clients and question them on the specifics of their experience. Ask how long it took to complete their website, as well as how easy it was to work with the designer.

Also, be sure to ask how effective the client’s website has been. How many visitors do they get? By how much have their sales increased? How well has the site accomplished the client’s intended goals?

3.  Have a basic knowledge of good web design techniques.

It helps significantly in evaluating a prospective web designer if you know at least the basics of good web design. This way, you’ll be in a better position to judge good techniques from the not-so-good.

Before you get ready to hire a designer, spend some time browsing the web and the shelves of your local bookstore. If possible, try to get a feel for the basics of usability and online marketing. Also, glean information from a variety of different sources. The experts often disagree, and it’s helpful to hear from a variety of perspectives and understand why they hold particular positions.

4.  Don’t necessarily go for the lowest bidder.

Remember, it’s not just about getting a website; you’ll need a website that will actually perform. Price and quality usually have a direct relationship, so you’ll get what you pay for. Designers who are overly inexpensive ordinarily lack experience, are difficult to work with, don’t understand much about online marketing, or don’t truly have a grasp of good web design techniques. A website from such a designer won’t be beneficial.

5.  Look for a designer who asks good questions.

Astute designers should probe you for specific answers to such questions as:

  • What is your primary goal?
  • By what standard will you measure the success of your site?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the primary benefits of your product or service?

Look for a designer who obviously understands marketing, not just graphic design.


Jamie Kiley is a web designer in Atlanta, GA.