Infographic: SEO Why Your Business Needs it NOW?

In today’s digital age, having a strong presence on the web is a crucial component for many businesses that operates both on and offline. Though the proliferation of new digital platforms like social media, smartphones, and mobile apps have made the competition stiffer, it also allowed many brands, especially the small ventures, to improve their visibility across the internet, helping them to reach a larger audience and increase their leads and sales.

Your business might be implementing a couple or more digital marketing tactics today, but there is one technique that you should never miss to take advantage with, and that is Search Engine Optimization, or more commonly known as SEO.

Though SEO may seem like an old-hat, there can be no doubt that it is still the most effective organic traffic driver today. According to statistics, 93% of people who are looking for products and services do so use a search engine. With that huge amount of raw traffic, it is impossible not to attract enough volume of the audience that will find your product and services helpful.

To ensure that your website will resonate on top of search engine results pages, you must employ highly-qualified SEO practitioners to make your website all set up – from its user interface all through its technical roots such as headers, meta keywords, and title tags.

To help convince you more, here are the key takeaways from the infographic below which details the reasons why business should implement SEO today.

  1. Many people start their online experience through search
  2. It is more cost-effective than other marketing tactics in terms of producing organic reach
  3. It generates highly targeted traffic that converts into loyal customers
  4. Your competitors are probably doing it today.
  5. It caters to mobile consumers
  6. It keeps an evolving so there is an unlimited number of opportunities.

Check the infographic below from Harris Myers to learn more.

infographic seo why your business needs seo

 

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Infographic: Strategic Digital Marketing Guide for SMB

Digital marketing can be a daunting concept for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). After all, it involves a lot of intricacies that may be too overwhelming for a SMB owner to understand right away. Thus, it is set aside to favor a more classic or known traditional marketing process.

However, digital marketing has a lot of benefits for any type of business, especially in today’s technologically-advancing and digital age. It helps businesses connect with their consumers on the internet as opposed to sticking with marketing that targets them in places where they hypothetically would be found in. This makes sure that you hit your target market more accurately and efficiently.

Also, this helps you reduce on cost, as digital marketing can reach far and wide without relying on multiple channels such as TV, radio, magazine, and print ads. Not only that, they give you real-time results as opposed to waiting if your target market would respond to your different advertisements in varying channels. This also helps you determine what is and isn’t working in your strategy far quicker.

For your target, your digital marketing strategy won’t feel as intrusive than traditional marketing. Flyers shoved to their faces or sales calls at the most inconvenient times won’t be a problem to them–and to you–anymore. The chances of you annoying your target market to sell to them would be lessened drastically, and it’ll be a breather for both you and your customers.

Real-time and greater engagement is also something your business can take from digital marketing. You can encourage your target market to take the appropriate action you want them to within a few clicks. If your posts and ads are also attention-worthy, it can be shared to more audiences with little effort as your target market are doing the dissemination for you, and it may even reach viral status.

With these benefits, taking the risk on using digital marketing will be more than worth it. Ready to jump in on digital marketing? This infographic from CJG Digital Marketing will give you a 4-step-by-step process that will guide you through achieving digital success for your business.


Jomer B. Gregorio is a professional and specialist in integrated digital marketing and holistic SEO. He is the founder of Digital Marketing Philippines and CJG Digital Marketing. If you need an effective and high-performing digital campaigns for your business, don’t hesitate to contact him today.

infographic strategic digital marketing guide for SMB

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How to Turn Your Blog into an Email Newsletter

turn blog into email newsletter

Blogs help you quickly and easily publish compelling information about you and your services out to the world. Blogs help to connect your business to potential customers. But how do your readers know when you’ve published a new post?

blog rss to email newsletter
Simple RSS to Email by AWeber Communications

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) helps you do this by connecting your customers to your blog. The problem is, not many people know what RSS is or even how to use it. They want to connect with you, they’re just not sure how. The fact you likely don’t know how to help them connect with you makes the challenge greater, right?! Well, blog owners, there’s an answer to this.

Aweber has made it easy to connect your blog to your newsletter (your electronic newsletter, that is). Now you can turn your blog into an email newsletter. Simply plug in your blog’s RSS feed (for WordPress sites, this is usually something like yourdomainname.com/feed/) and choose one of Aweber’s colorful templates. When you publish a new post, Aweber places your brilliant content into the email template and fires it off to your subscribers.

You can even schedule your newsletters to go out on a particular day and time in the form of a weekly digest that delivers all of your latest posts! As your subscribers click through to your posts, you’ll see an increase in readers and comments. Plus, even more readers will discover your blog as your subscribers forward your emails to them.

Interested? If you’re tech-savvy, you can go straight to Aweber and proceed in setting up your account. If you’re a little unsure how to proceed–or if you get stuck–simply contact me and I’ll walk you through the next steps.

5 Tips for Non-Profits to Master SEO

nonprofit seo

There are many reasons why non-profits have a great opportunity in digital marketing channels. The competition is low, their brands are authoritative and private companies love to be linked to them to improve their PR and brand recognition.

One of the online channels with great opportunities for non-profits is Search Engine Optimisation. Follow these 5 tips and make it work for you.

1. Understand your potential

How powerful is your non-profit’s website? Google uses a very complex algorithm to assign a value to every website that it will later use to decide which one is shown in rankings when someone uses the search engine.

In order to understand this value we can use 2 metrics from different trusted SEO tools, Domain Authority (DA) from Moz and Trust Flow (TF) from MajesticSEO. Even if you don’t have a paid for account, you’ll be able to see this data.

I’ve used 2 non-profits as examples to see how many points they are given:

(Please note that Orbis is a big and well-established international non-profit and Help them Hope a small national non-profit operating in Peru.)

As you can see, there are big differences in the above values, but these numbers are not helpful unless you have some context. Find your competitor’s score and see how your site fares against them.

2. Understand what works for you

I am sure if you are a UK non-profit like Orbis you would love to rank for terms such as “Donate to Charity”. And as I’m sure you know, this can prove difficult. The first non-profit that shows for this term is Oxfam. They score a DA=87 and a TF=66. However, you really don’t need to go after these big competitive terms; there are thousands of long tail keywords that would be more strategic. The question is: how do we find them?

If you log into your Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console), you will be able to find many keywords that your site is ranking for. Go to Search Traffic/Search Queries and download these keywords in a spreadsheet.

webmaster tools

This is the data for the last month for my digital marketing blog. I sorted the data by impressions to see where the opportunities are.

You can now easily check your current rankings for the top 10 keywords and see how far you are from 1st position. In my case, I have a great opportunity in RLSA as there is lot of interest based on the number of impression and I’m just 2 positions off 1st page.

If you are a registered non-profit in the UK, you are eligible for Google Grants, free AdWords advertising in Google! You can use this grant as a testing tool to see how the chosen keywords convert for you. If you see these are working for you, you´re in a stronger position to start your SEO campaign.

Now that we have the data and we know what to focus on, let’s see how we can put this into practice.

3. Make it accessible

We first need to check your On Site ranking factors to make sure Google can access your site easily and understands what you offer to potential visitors. Here is a checklist:

  1. Title tags: Do you use unique title tags in each page? Are these under 60 characters long? Do you use keywords when appropriate?
  2. Meta descriptions: Do you use engaging meta descriptions to improve your Click Through Rates? Make sure you add ‘call to actions’ to stimulate clicks.
  3. Page speed: How quick is your site to load? This is a very important SEO ranking factor
  4. Internal linking: Do you use internal links to refer users from one page to another? Internal linking is one of the best tools at your disposal to help Google understand what your site is about.

A great tool which will help you with this checklist is Woorank. Woorank analyses your on-page SEO accessibility and lets you know what you should focus on.

4. Build Links

This is where non-profits have their best chance to improve their SEO value.

Donors: Have a look at your list of current corporate donors. Do you have a link from their sites to yours? Go and ask them if they can put up an article on their blog/news section about how cool they are by funding one your latest projects. Offer them help to write up the article and they should be happy to oblige.

Badges: Most companies that donates to charity likes to be linked to the organisation they’re supporting. Why don’t you create an official badge that every donor can proudly show on their homepage? Make sure this badge contains a link back to your site.

Events: Charities tend to organise events in collaborations with other companies/organisations. Make sure you do a write up article talking about how great these companies are and let them know once this is published in your blog. They’re likely to take the bait and link back to your article to show their customers the great endorsement you’ve written about them.

5. Monitor your results

SEO is an art; you can’t scientifically prove what will work and what won’t. Therefore most of your successes will come from testing! And in order to test, you need to monitor the impact from your activities.

One tool I really like for this purpose is Serplab. Serplab is an amazing free tool that will allow you to monitor your rankings for all your chosen keywords on a daily basis. You can even set an automatic email with a daily report so you don’t even need to log into the tool.

Implement, monitor, learn and repeat!


Alvaro Bellido is London-based digital marketer passionate about non-profits, advertising and entrepreneurship. Alvaro collaborates with a number of non-profits as a digital consultant as well as London-based start-ups. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and his personal website.

Infographic: Ecommerce Checklist

Ecommerce is heading towards becoming a trillion-dollar industry and shows no signs of slowing down. Shopping online should be an easy experience for customers and if not they are likely to simply abandon the cart before even filling out their details. Getting the conversions can be a tricky business so we at IDF Marketing have created the “Ecommerce Checklist 2015” to help our clients and followers. This infographic explains quite a bit of important factors that you mightn’t think of. From simple tips on how you should tweak your page layout to tips on what your page should feature such as a Live Chat option to help questioning customers. Other essentials such as making the website mobile responsive and investing in good quality hosting to speed up your ecommerce website are also discussed in greater detail. We hope you find our infographic useful!

infographic ecommerce checklist

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Is It Our Job to Educate Businesses in Tactical SEM?

by John Sylvester

Around the middle of last month I took a phone call from a friend who runs a similar web design agency to ours, with a request for help in putting together coherent SEO/SEM packages for seven of his clients. Before we met, I looked at his clients’ websites and found there was much to do.

When looking at the SEO, virtually all of these sites used keywords in the title that had been plucked out of thin air; most of them had no relationship with the copy whatsoever. With research, we made recommendations for changes in both title and on-page copy. The easy part was the SEO; the difficulty was then to educate the client about how they need to be involved. The feedback from one company was instant and unusual: they accepted our recommendations without question.

In the good old days of directory submissions and the like, SEMs had the sole responsibility for search engine marketing. Not any more. Today, it’s about providing advice to clients on writing press releases and articles, on-site blogging, and how to get involved in social media marketing, together with tweeting.

But how many website owners either have the necessary skills or the resources to relate information about their “products” in a meaningful way in online articles and press releases? In my experience, not many. Most companies appear reluctant to become involved in this, and worse, cannot perceive any real value in a subject they barely understand.

At the height of the dot.com crash at the start of the millennium, I was working with a web design agency in London. To my mind then, and it remains so now, the importance of using the internet as a medium to expand reach and to bring in more business could not be clearer, but the bottom line is that when times get tough, the tough cut internet spend. That will sound a little strange to our industry, but it is inexplicably true.

From my company’s perspective, quality SEO’s are a rare breed and their real value should not only be to provide an excellent service but to educate management (those who will listen, that is) on what we have to offer, which is to help drive traffic to their website and boost revenue. In reality though, this is a far harder job than one would expect. It seems that most companies are resistant to dedicating resources to this effort. As such, SEM lacks both the financial and human resources that need its support.

Our industry has a long way to go yet in assembling and disseminating this concept. With directories moribund and other short-cuts removed from link building processes, providing quality SEO services today belongs in the hands of the wordsmith, the blogger and the social media engineer. And yet, how do we get this message across convincingly?

In one of my posts on this issue, I got the following comment: “Show them the results. Don’t even talk about SEO…then tell them how much in time and resources it’s going to take.” That’s all very good and valuable but how many company executives understand what they are paying for prior to “showing them the results”? Case studies and/or a results-based campaign? That is one strategy we are using for our clients.

In a related article I read recently, an SEO company was explaining why they didn’t end up closing more of their proposals. It was because they advised the company from the outset about how much in-house involvement was required in successfully delivering a comprehensive SEM campaign. It sort of summed up why we need to do more in providing information that will educate companies about the effectiveness of what we are looking to achieve for them.

There is also a case for educating SEO/SEM firms themselves, as almost every week I receive emails from SEO outsourcing companies, generally from India. The majority of these emails pitch the same tired old submission services, including the outmoded reciprocals. On one occasion I decided to try them out – it was a very cheap experiment – and found that not one single link out of the dozen they had submitted appeared in Google’s indexes.

Also, there are many SEO companies that falsely claim they can get a client’s website to the top of the search engines for a given keyword or phrase. This has always been a contentious claim, as we could easily get any site to the top of the first page of Google/Bing if the search term is easy to compete on, although the chances are it won’t be searched on. Too much of the time these blanket assurances are an across-the-board, indiscriminate boast. Try “music”, go up against Yahoo, and see what happens. So, let’s now look at some possibilities:

  • It is extremely rare for management to understand the benefits and economics of SEM in organic search and how it can lead to extended market reach and more customers. Too much of the time they take the view that to boost revenue, or in a recession to maintain it, they need to fall back on the reliance of traditional media. The result of this is that migration languishes and profitability targets stagnate. We need to convince them otherwise with case studies and, where appropriate, with results-driven campaigns.
  • One of the major problems in SEM today is that human resources do not normally extend to writers who are conversant with the web in general, and blogging and social media in particular. As such, the SEM is often asked to write about subjects they are unfamiliar with. If no in-house assistance is provided, the chances are the project won’t ever get off the ground. Ideally, companies need to start to look at hiring staff that can implement SEM strategies effectively. But they won’t change until management starts to understand how marketing online actually works. When they do, it could result in a shift of marketing spend towards SEM.
  • The other difficulty is in the actual measuring of SEM, as the search engines have blocked page ranking tools, which in turn leads to sketchy reports on how the campaign is proceeding. Placement is the only real arbiter on this and that takes time. Companies need to be made aware of this.
  • It really is no excuse for companies who are looking to the search engines to broaden their exposure to say that they don’t have the time. They have the time for glossy brochures and hoardings, so why not divert some of that effort to the internet? We may all be experiencing difficult times at the moment and the idea of expanded SEM campaigns now, with companies downsizing and all that entails, should not translate into “campaign postponed”. SEM is the cheapest way of getting a company’s message across to new markets.

As one of the clients we have just taken on board mentioned above, let’s look at the guts of the proposal we submitted in developing their online presence:

  • Creation of RSS feeds for the dissemination and syndication of news;
  • Submission of articles to high-value article sites;
  • Updates to the meta information, including adjusting copy where appropriate to target specific key phrases;
  • Creation of a presence in the Facebook community;
  • Setting up a Twitter account to post weekly news as well as breaking news;
  • Development of an on-site blog with regular updates, linking the headline from the home page so the search engines see movement;
  • Writing and submitting to blogs related to their industry;
  • Where circumstances permit, post regular podcasts, including YouTube and Google videos.

To sum up, we need to create a method, typically via case studies, by which companies not only see the value in SEM but, more importantly, how they ought to be participating in it.


 

John Sylvester is the media director of V9 Design & Build, a company specializing in web design in Bangkok, and who is an expert in search engine optimization and web marketing strategies.

Making Your Site Search Engine Friendly (Spiderability)

by John Buchanan

One of the keys to obtaining top rankings, or ANY rankings for that matter is making sure that the search engines can properly spider and index your site. This means doing whatever you can to make sure the search engines are able to reach each page of your site as easily as possible.

When I talk to my clients about spiderability, I’m generally referring to two things…

  1. Are all the links in the site true hyperlinks that can be picked up properly by the search engines.
  2. Are all the pages within the site reachable within 2-3 clicks from the homepage.

So let’s go over the above two areas of concern.

Hyperlinks

This may seem almost silly, but you would be amazed at the number of sites I run into when doing consultations and website analyses that have non-standard hyperlinks. By “non-standard”, I’m referring to JavaScript generated hyperlinks or hyperlinks embedded within flash files.

There is nothing inherently wrong with JavaScript or flash when used properly, but the simple fact is that JavaScript and flash are NOT search engine friendly. Google is pretty much the only engine that is able to pick up links within JavaScript or Flash code. At this time, I have seen no evidence that either Yahoo or MSN have this ability.

While Google may be able to pick up links, it is unclear as to whether or not Google places any VALUE on the links it finds in this manner. Remember, much of a page’s ranking in Google is determined by links, so you want to be absolutely sure that each and every link is valued.

So, be absolutely sure that your links are true hyperlinks (by “true” hyperlinks, I’m talking about hyperlinks coded with the normal href tags) if you want to make sure they are found, followed, and counted by all the engines.

Distance from Homepage

Ideally, you want your visitors and the search engines to be able to reach any page within your site within a maximum of three (3) clicks and preferably two clicks. The more clicks it takes to reach a page, the less chance there is that the search engines will index that page.

It is for this reason, that site maps have become so popular. By utilizing a sitemap, you are able to link from your homepage to a page that lists all or most of the links to the various pages of your site. The search engines (and visitors) are then able to get to virtually any page of your site within just a couple of clicks.

You’ll notice I’ve mentioned not only the search engines but the visitors as well in the above paragraphs. By reducing the number of clicks it takes to get from your homepage to any page on your site, you will find that you also increase the overall usability of your site.

While site maps can definitely help to increase the spiderability of a site, it is important to remember that they are not a total fix for bad navigational structure within a site. As mentioned, all of the search engines utilize page link popularity in one way or another in their algorithms.

In general, the homepage of a site will have the highest link popularity of any page within the site. This is because most inbound links to a site are pointing to the homepage. It’s from the homepage that all the internal pages derive their link popularity from a sort of “trickle down” affect.

A site map will only derive a certain amount of link popularity that it can pass on to the pages it links to. To understand this best, think of the homepage as a large river with each link on the homepage a smaller river branching off from the main river. Each river will be fed a similar amount of water by the main river. Alone one branch of the river will never be able to deliver as much water to the various areas as all the branches of the river can combined.

The site map is one branch of your sites link popularity river and it has value, but it will never have the same impact as a well thought out and implemented links structure that makes use of all the rivers of link popularity within your site.

To make the most use of the link popularity of your site, you should try and setup your sites navigational structure so that even without a site map, the search engines and visitors are STILL able to reach any page on your site within 2-3 clicks.

So…to make a long story short…always be sure to utilize true, standard hyperlinks throughout your site and be sure that your sites navigational structure allows any page of your site to be reached within no more than 3 clicks.

See you at the top!


John Buchanan is a veteran search engine optimization specialist with over 9 years experience. For more information, visit his site at http://www.sesecrets.com or his newest site http://www.seovideoanalysis.com where he will provide you with a professional SEO video website analysis of your site.

More Tips on SEM and SEO

Here is a down and dirty checklist I compiled a while back. Feel free to use it when you audit your own websites. Enjoy!

Matt

HTML Coding/Development

  • Add brief descriptions to the alt attribute of image tags. The attribute should describe the image, not be a summary of the article.
  • Use H1, H2, and H3 for titles and headings. Ensure the main body content is immediately after the H1, with no breadcrumbs or navigation in between.
  • Create a relevant HTML title for every page. Using the actual article title that appears in the page is a good idea.
  • Use style sheets as much as possible to keep the page size low.
  • Use brief and relevant meta tags (keywords and descriptions) to provide a backup for the description that appears in search engine listings.
  • Don’t fill the meta tags with words that don’t appear in the content of the page. The exception to this is to put common misspellings in the meta tags.
  • Don’t repeat meta tag content on every page. The content should be specific to the page.
  • Create separate sites rather than making a site a sub-site of a larger one.
  • Do not make every visit to a URL unique by appending a session ID or something similar.
  • Create a site map. This is as much for users as for search engines as it can serve as a gateway to deep content.
  • Don’t link to redirects. Better to link directly to the destination page.

Images, Flash, Video

  • Avoid creating images that contain only text (i.e. if an image contains just text, consider using HTML instead.)
  • Ensure all images are named appropriately, have alt tags and are placed near text that is relevant to the image.
  • Don’t put content in Flash movies. Better to have the content outside of the Flash and in the HTML.
  • Provide transcripts for video or audio interviews.

Copy and Content

  • Create a title that uses words that describe the main theme of the article.
  • Use headings and sub-headings that describe the main theme of the copy that follows.
  • Don’t automatically swap out repeated words and phrases in favor of less common words and phrases.
  • Post all content on the web site including newsletters.
  • Keep all special content such as Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving specials on-line.
  • Don’t use pop-up windows for content. If pop-ups are necessary, provide an alternative link to the same page that isn’t a pop-up.
  • Don’t remove content from a web site.
  • Ensure all content—in particular old content—has a link pointing to it. Use a sitemap or archive list page if necessary.
  • Allow search engines to view forum discussions. This is free content.
  • Update content as often as possible. Search engines like frequently updated sites and will visit more frequently.
  • Don’t worry about writing articles that are too long. The longer the better when it comes to SEO.

Links

  • Use link text that is relevant to the destination page. Avoid creating links that read “click here” or “read more”.
  • Don’t create links out of entire sentences.
  • Don’t fill the page footer with links to other sites. Better to keep the list short.
  • Cross-link between pages in the web site.
  • Link to external sites.
  • Encourage external sites to link to specific content. Many sites are open to sharing links.

More SEM and SEO Tips

  • Decide what search phrases you want to target. Use a tool such as the Google keywords suggestion tool to see what search phrases are popular, and optimize your site for these. You can optimize for any number of phrases; a bigger site can target a greater range of phrases.
  • Clean up URLs. No capital letters, no spaces, no special characters. Separate each word with a “-” dash. Make sure each URL accurately describes the page.
  • Remove query strings from URLs. No question marks in your URLs.
  • Redirect the non-www version of your site. When you enter domain.com into the browser, it should redirect you to www.domain.com using a SEO friendly 301 redirection.
  • Make sure you don’t link to “index.htm” or “index.php”. Instead, link to “/”.
  • Remove frames from your site.
  • Ensure the title is different on every page of the site.
  • If your main navigation is flash or image based, ask yourself if it can be done using CSS. If it can, do it.
  • If using CSS styled text for navigation is unthinkable, then add text based footer navigation on every page.
  • Add a Google XML sitemap, even if it’s just a simple list of all the URLs on your site. Submit this to Google through the Google Sitemaps program or Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Is your website tables-based? Consider a cleaner CSS-based layout for your site.
  • Have you got a website statistics program installed? Do you know how to access it, and do you check it regularly? If not, discover Google Analytics.
  • Do you know where your website currently sits for your main phrases? If not, check Google, the localized version of Google (e.g. google.co.nz,) Yahoo and MSN. Remember: few visitors will search past page three.
  • Check the optimization of each page. Pick one search phrase that is relevant to the content on the page. Ensure the page contains the phrase in the title, H1 heading, twice in the meta description, twice in the opening paragraph, and also in the URL if possible.
  • Have good content? SEO will be much harder if you don’t have plenty of original text content, so engage in more time writing good content.
  • Check the source order of your page. Good source code will have the page content as close to the top of the HTML document as possible, and the least important elements such as sidebars and footers last. If you can get the content above the main navigation, great.
  • Action all recommendations that it makes, such as fixing broken links. Look carefully at the list of URLs, and make sure they are clean (no spaces, capitals, etc.)
  • Check the search engines to see how well indexed your site is. If the search engines have indexed pages that have since been moved or deleted, setup a 301 redirect to redirect all traffic that these pages generate (or lose it).
  • If you are a local “bricks and mortar” business, make sure you use your town / city / country on every page, in the title if possible, and in close proximity to your chosen search phrase.

Contact Matt to optimize your website and help you with your search engine marketing.

When Do Cookies Expire?

Cookies will either time out on their own, OR your browser will clear them out (manually or automatically). Take Firefox, for example. In your menu bar, go to Tools> Options…> Privacy and look at the cookies area in this panel. You can clear your private data (including all cookies) by hand or set things to clear every time you close your browser. You can also view the cookies that have loaded onto your machine from here and you will see expiration information for each.

So—while companies may like to set their cookies on users’ machines for their own time periods—they are ultimately at the mercy of the user’s sophistication, preferences and paranoia. This means the data collected from cookies will NEVER show the whole picture, though they may offer a decent snapshot at times.

Contact Matt to optimize your website and help you with your search engine marketing.

6 reasons why a website is critical to your business

by Jamie Kiley

Since I’m a web designer, I have a tendency to think everyone understands that having a website is important. Every once in a while, I have to remind myself that some people just haven’t heard yet!

We’re going to go back to the very beginning and explain. Here are 6 reasons why having a website is such a big deal:

1. A website increases your credibility

Your website has a powerful impact on a potential customer’s confidence in you. A professional design, well-written copy, helpful product information, and good contact info can tremendously increase trust in your company. It lets people know you’re knowledgeable and up-to-date. If you take the time to develop a good-quality site with helpful information, visitors will have no choice but to be impressed.

2. A website makes your company visible anytime, anywhere

As of April 2002, there are roughly 165.8 million people online in the US alone. Some of them are looking for your products and services. With a website, you open yourself up to a world of opportunity in reaching people who might not otherwise find you. With the click of a mouse, anyone can get to your company’s website 24/7.

3. A website makes it easy for people to refer new customers to you

For many businesses, referrals are a crucial source of new customers. Having a website makes it easy to encourage referrals, because customers can simply send friends and business contacts to your site. Website addresses are easier to remember than phone numbers. Plus, giving people multiple ways of contacting you makes it more likely that they will do so.

4. A website is a powerful sales tool

Selling your products through an online store is often a killer way to expand your business. You have a perpetual, easily-accessed storefront—one that costs a fraction of a brick and mortar store and can reach many more people. Effective sales copy can do an incredible job of hooking visitors on your products and compelling them to click that “buy” button.

Even if you can’t sell your services directly over the internet, a website is still a powerful asset. It’s a primer that you use to convince visitors of why they need your services. You get them salivating to buy, then invite them to contact you through your site.

5. A website increases the value of your advertising

Adding your website address to all your advertisements, business cards, and company literature is a great way to draw potential customers to your company. Providing a website gives people a way to act on your message whenever they hear about you or see an ad for your company. Going to a website is easier than writing, visiting a store, or even making a phone call. Customers get the information at their convenience and don’t have to wait for a salesperson to help them. Also, it’s often more comfortable to visit a website, because there is no obligation. Visitors don’t feel pressured.

6. A website helps you stay in contact with potential customers

There are frequently people who are interested in what you have to offer, but they might not be ready to buy right now. You need to stay in contact with them so that you immediately come to mind when they ARE ready. A website is a great way to facilitate this. You can use your website to collect email addresses from visitors. Then you can periodically send out promotional emails or a newsletter. Staying in contact keeps your company fresh in visitors’ minds.

Well, there you have it–6 ways a website benefits your company and helps you sell more. Do you want to leave this opportunity to your competitors? Surely not! Each day you wait, you’re letting them establish themselves online as the resource in your field. Stop giving them that advantage!


Jamie Kiley is a web designer in Atlanta, GA.

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.

backlink building

Via túatú

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.

How to Effectively Use Twitter for Your Business

how to use twitter for business

Media Bistro says 33 percent of the 200 million Twitter users follow at least one brand, and the top reason they follow brands, which could include your small business, is because they want discounts and deals, updates, exclusive content and customer service. Yet Forbes.com reports more than 60 percent of businesses surveyed who use social media including Twitter report no return on investment. Why aren’t the sellers-of-stuff reaching the buyers-of-stuff? They’re not using the tool properly.

How Consumers Use Twitter

Twitter users connect with the world by following people, which means other Twitter users who have @ before their Twitter handles, as in @BarackObama, @cnnbrk (CNN Breaking News), @Bill Gates, etc.

They create lists of the people they follow and group them into categories, as in friends, celebrities, news organizations, funny people and so on. Those lists can be made public to the people who follow them, or they may be kept private. The advantage of sharing lists is you can filter out noise you don’t want to read, and zoom in on the people who interest you.

Users also follow conversations, which appear as hastags, as in #superbowl, #iphone, #usingmyimagination, and #breakingbad.

Bottom line: People use @ to follow people and organizations, and # to follow conversations.

How Businesses Use Twitter

As a small business, you probably already know your customers, their demographics and their buying habits. But do you know what they talk about? Do you know what problems they have? Do you know what makes them happy or really ticks them off? Find out what your customers talk about, and use a reliable connection such as InternetProviders.com to get in those conversations.

Let’s say you’re a flower shop with five locations, and you live in a large city such as Minneapolis or San Diego. You will follow your competitors, hotel chains, funeral homes, large corporations, local media and your own customers — and maybe they’ll follow you, too. What do most of your competitors Tweet? Here’s a sampling of a florist in San Diego who has posted nothing but self-promotions in the previous seven Tweets:

twitter for business thread

Here is a Minneapolis-based florist who posts Tweets that tell stories:

twitter for business thread

Take a page from Chez Bloom’s book (or petal from her flower?) While Allen’s Flowers repeatedly says “Buy stuff,” Chez Bloom tells stories. She helped stage a home, she piqued interest with the man-eating flower, and she helped promote a farmers market.

Bottom line: Get into conversations.

How Much Should I Tweet?

Three to five times a day? What?

Calm down. It’s not that difficult. First, you’ll use Twitter’s tool to allow you to see what’s trending in your local area. Get in those conversations.

Next, you’ll look into software that allows you to schedule Tweets out. SocialTimes.com lists 10 apps that will help you do that.

Lastly, you’ll hire an intern. Hire a college kid to do it for you, especially if he or she already has 10,000 followers (that’s a lot — be impressed.) The student will love to get paid to be on social media, and he or she can do your Tweeting on a flexible schedule.

how to use twitter for business

Nikki Siebel’s a native Oregonian who launched her own social media consulting business after baby No. 2 came along (baby No. 3 is on her way, and there will be no baby No. 4).

Brand Conversations: Not Just On Your Twitter Feed

social media marketing

Are you in charge of running a company’s social media campaign? If so, you know that your brand receives all kinds of feedback from followers on social media.

In day-to-day monitoring and community management, social media managers are faced with both positive and negative mentions about their brands. From complimentary praise to harmful attack, social media feeds reflect what people think, feel and write about brands and products.

For marketers, this is of top concern. They should be aware of how their brand is being perceived. The three Cs for marketing teams are Content, Conversations and Community. How is the brand developing content? How are marketing teams leading and responding to brand conversations? What’s the community vibe of a particular product and brand?

Dedicated Twitter feeds, like the Twitter stream of iAcquire NYC, are growing in practice; Facebook pages are optimizing the use of social opt-ins and digital marketing firms are selling social services to clients across the entire online spectrum.

But it’s not the only thing. Where’s the conversation about your company happening? It isn’t just on your social media stream. It’s happening in forums, online webinars, LinkedIn chains, street level marketing events and brand-sponsored tours. How can brands utilize these areas to drive partnerships, bring in new customers and offer up new branding opportunities? Let’s take a look:

Buzz Marketing (aka Word of Mouth Marketing)

As Forbes rightly points out, word of mouth marketing just keeps getting better. Why? It’s a sign that a company is doing something right, and many people are driven to want its product or service. Brands can use teaser and buzz marketing campaigns to build conversations around some of their customers’ best testimonials. For years TV ad campaigns have used customer testimonials. More recently, there are buzzworthy tee-shirt campaigns in urban centers, delivering messages (and sometime free swag) to passers-by.

Street Marketing

Consumer brands should look to street marketing activities for many of their offline campaigns. They can set up booths at city festivals, sponsor local industry functions, and align themselves with local non-profits or worthy causes to boost their community partnership standing.

Marketing Forums

Marketing leaders on all fronts should follow industry insights to benefit their daily roles. LinkedIn hosts a number of industry forums to follow, as do local professional associations. Global and international associations have forums worth following, too.

TV Advertising

A great TV campaign can spark online and offline conversations about your brand. A great product, along with a great message, good timing and a link to the current cultural zeitgeist will help any TV ad campaign. From “Where’s the Beef’ years ago to the best TV ads of 2013, great TV ads can capture a brand’s audience and get them talking about and engaging with the brand. TV ain’t dead yet.

Industry Webinars

Marketers can learn a lot from hosting, sponsoring and participating in online webinars. Direct feedback from customers, competitors, and potential new business partners is invaluable to marketing teams. The key to making a webinar valuable is understanding essential industry topics that need further discussion. If your timing is right, then your webinar can have long-lasting benefits. Set it up with a provocative title, invite the best marketers, and host it with one of these top webinar platforms.

Once marketers spend some time off Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, they may find there is another, sometime deeper, discussion taking place. Online and off, it’s time to manage the discussion of your brand, with the audience that suits your company best.

big data

Guest post by Lucy Kim. Lucy is a mom and avid environmentalist who runs a social media company from her home.

Big Data and the Future of Digital Marketing

marketing big data

It’s no secret that the world of marketing has become increasingly sophisticated in the ever-evolving world of digital media. This new complexity is derived from marketing data becoming exponentially more massive and fueled by today’s discerning, fluctuating consumer base. Big data is here, and it’s changing everything.

What is Big Data?

We produce and consume roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, and 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years alone, according to IBM. Whether we like it or not, all of the data we’re dealing with and managing in the web marketing space is big data. In a nutshell, big data is information that is gathered from social media, GPS, photo sites and general Internet browsing — pretty much anywhere that thousands of users congregate to post and download information produces massive data sets referred to as big data.

Big Data: The Future of Marketing

Five years ago, the idea of web marketers leveraging big data to deepen their understanding of potential customers was laughable. The cost alone of backing up terabytes upon terabytes of marketing data on a daily basis was almost overwhelming. But now with the advances of storage, managing big data in the marketing environment is easier than ever. Many companies are taking advantage of online backup comparison sites that help ensure realistic and affordable prices for online data storage.

Beyond the lowered cost of managing big data, big data-centric social businesses have received a lot of interest from investors over the past few years. Many of these social businesses — Facebook, LinkedIn, Vitrue, Buddy Media, etc — are all resources that marketers use on a daily basis. This is all outstanding news for the marketing community. Never before in advertising and marketing have millions upon millions of users all congregated in the same place. But the big problem with this social business trend, according to Business Insider, is a lack of effective measurement.

This is where big data analytics come into play. It allows marketers to gain sophisticated data on millions of users and social impressions in a single, unified big data analytics dashboard.

Big Data in Healthcare

One of the major industries benefiting from big data technology is healthcare. Big data technologies are making it easier for healthcare professionals to manage data that both helps increase the efficiency of mission-critical healthcare processes and makes it easier to help patients of all kinds. With the right systems in place, healthcare facilities can easily understand and deliver data to patients and other professionals throughout the facility. Big data streamlines these healthcare processes through a combination of virtual administrative assistants (not unlike Apple’s Siri), data mining and analysis, data collection and market analysis, as TechTarget notes.

Big Data in the Entertainment Industry

Big data is even reaching its way into the marketing sector of the entertainment industry. Take the film industry for instance. The film industry needs to embrace this new era of big data to keep up with the growing demands of tomorrow’s moviegoers, opines Steve Canepa on Business Insider. This idea of big data and entertainment industry marketing even trickles down to the video game industry. As more games become social and rely on sophisticated user data, the only way to keep up is through the use of big data technologies.

big data

Guest post by Sarah Phelan, everyone’s favorite IT gal. She does tech reviews on the latest in virus protection software and web hosting.

SEO Case Study: Content is NOT King

content is not king

The prospect wanted to go after the key phrase “corporate wellness Michigan”.

They had their heart set on this term. Now, this was not really based in any kind of keyword research they had done. They were in the corporate wellness business and, by golly, they wanted to dominate the search results for corporate wellness in Michigan. Their logic was sound.

They said they had been trying to rank for this term for about 6-7 months, and they were stuck at page 3. They had all sorts of content in their website. The term “corporate wellness” was woven throughout. Yet for some reason they just were not able to get pass the top of page 3.

So we conducted a little experiment!

The prospect contacted us on a Thursday and by Friday we had decided we were going to try this experiment, so we bought a domain. The domain we purchased was not even an exact match domain (EMD). We went with “corporate wellness”, then put the little “MI” in front of it so it read “micorporatewellness.com”.

Next, we stood a few things on the page. Not a lot of content, mind you; a page title, a sentence or two, an image and a link.  “Corporate Wellness Michigan” is the title for this particular page. We placed it in the title and meta tags. We were even bold enough here in this case to say, “Dear Prospect, you want to rank for this? Please click here.” After that, we pointed a couple links (literally, two) back at this very fresh domain.

Ranking Corporate Wellness Michigan

Turns out, we were able to rank this site by day six.

corporate wellness michigan day 6

All we did is buy a domain, stand up a barebones site, put a couple backlinks facing it, and by day six we had this brand new website on the first page of Google. Not too shabby.

And two weeks later? We were at the top of the search results!

corporate wellness michigan week 2

Keep in mind, nothing changed at this page since the day we built it. We never added any more links going back to it. Yet there it was, on the top of the rankings for those statewide state results. The same search this prospect could not attain on their own, even after six months of trying.

Want to see the page? (You probably want to see the page.) Here it is.

corporate wellness michigan page

This single page is the whole site. That’s it.

So, you know the whole notion that content is king? And how, in order to build up an authority site, you must produce reams and reams of blog posts, each thousands of words long, and they have to be so captivating that people will link to you naturally and (blah, blah, blah)—all the junk we been hearing ever since the Panda and Penguin updates from back in 2012?

It’s junk.

Content is NOT king, folks.

Content helps, especially on the long game (this experiment was a very short game we played) where it’s important to keep people at your site. You eventually want to show that people are staying on your page. Google likes pages that are sticky. With good content, people tend to stay at a website longer and when they linger longer, your bounce rate decreases and your page views increase. Google uses these metrics as social proof by which to weigh the value of your website, so—at some point—you’ll want high quality content on your website.

Again, if we wanted to keep this domain and really turn it into authority-ranked site, we would want to do something more to the site to build it out, but this was just an experiment. Do we have any desire to keep it and build it into authority-ranked site? No, not really. Not unless something happens along the way; maybe the prospect wants to buy this?  For now, it’s just an experiment to boast about and to use as a lesson.

Note: In this case, in this niche, competition was not terribly strong.  We saw things like indeed.com showing on the top of this search results. Usually when you see job sites coming up at the top for search results (when you weren’t searching for jobs,) what you’re seeing is Google not knowing what else to put up there, so it begins filling in the blanks.

P.S.- “Corporate wellness Michigan” was not a well-loved search term to begin with, so the notion that the prospect could not rank for this within six months? They simply did not know what to do. This is why they came to us.

So you there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed this presentation! Have questions? Leave them in the comments.

Want more leads through your website? Fill out our SEO questionnaire.

Writing and Buying Articles: Is iWriter Right For You?

marketing ideas iWriter review

If you have a blog online, you need articles to ensure the success of your blog. If you want to make extra money online, then writing articles for other people is an excellent way to get money quickly. An online writing service called iWriter caters to both people wanting articles written and people wanting to write articles. But is iWriter right for you?

online writing

For People Who Want to Buy Articles

If you need articles written for you, then iWriter can definitely be your best friend. There are not too many downsides for people requesting articles.

Personally, I have not seen anywhere else who offers articles as economically as iWriter. You can get a 500-word article for as low as three dollars. That is cheap!

However, the cheapest articles are written by the most nubile writers. Most of these writers have been negatively rated by other people buying articles, or they are just starting out on iWriter. Obviously, if you get someone who is just starting out, you could end up with a really great writer at a really low price, however you are rolling the dice here because most the writers in the basic category are not excellent writers. More like “writers in waiting.”

The great news is—if you’re willing to spend a few more bucks—your article will only be seen by the top writers on iWriter (the ones who have been consistently rated as “premium” writers.) There are some really talented writers in the 4-stars-and-up group, and there are even more masterful writers in the elite group. These folks will cost you twice as much, but that is still a cheaper price than any other article-buying site once you figure in your time to rewrite that pathetic little article you got on the cheap.

You Choose The Articles You Want

You get to dictate what kind of article you want, what keywords you want in the article, what your article purpose is for and any other instructions at you want to include. This can take a few minutes, but it helps you get an article that meets your needs.

No matter who writes your article, you can choose to accept it or to reject it after you see the full article. This is quite unique to iWriter. Other article buying sites only allow you to see part of the article before you decide to buy it, to hedge against plagiarism.

One of the great features of iWriter is that you can send your requests to specific writers. This means once you find that excellent writer, you can specifically request them for every future article. A huge time saver!

Even though iWriter’s focus is articles, you can also get e-books and article rewrites done. Again, buying e-books on iWriter is much cheaper than buying e-books anywhere else. However, as of now, there is not much formatting the writers can do. Authors can write the content for you, but you will still need to format the book. Still, this can save you hours and hours of writing if you want to create a report or e-book.

Is iWriter Worth It For Requesters?

Absolutely. If you can find yourself in elite writer who understands what you want in an article, you are set. You’ll be paying less than most people on the Internet for content that is just as good.

And of course, if you simply want a deluge of almost-readable articles stuffed full with keywords for SEO purposes, then there is no other place like iWriter to get articles. You can buy hundreds of articles from basic writers at a very low cost.

»Visit iWriter.com

online writing

For the People Who Want to Write Articles

If your intention is to make some extra money writing articles, then iWriter can be a great option for you, depending on how well you write. Writers do have slightly fewer perks than requesters, however. First, the good news:

The Plus Side to Writing for iWriter

Once you become an elite writer, you can choose to write any article you want. Every day there are hundreds of articles available for you to write. In fact, you will notice there are new requesters almost everyday because iWriter is growing at such a rapid pace. (Good news for writers!)

This means your income potential is only limited to how much, how quickly, and how professionally you can write. If you have a good grasp on the English language and can write quickly, you can potentially make a full-time living off iWriter.

If you impress enough requesters, you will never be short of work.

Requesters are able to choose their favorite writers, so you can easily become a favorite writer of many requesters and therefore always have work available and (as a bonus) earn more money.

You earn a percentage of each article you write. As of the time of this article, iWriter takes 29% of the total cost of the article. This means if you’re writing a 700 word article, the cost to the requester five dollars and you, as a basic writer, will earn $4.05. However, if you get a personal request to write the article, then you earn another 5% of the total price paid. Therefore, getting people to request you definitely works in your favor over the long run.

As a writer, you also earn extra money through tips. When a requester accepts the article, they have a choice to tip. If you can find generous requesters, tips help supplement your income.

The Downside of Writing for iWriter

Let’s face it; rejection sucks. At iWriter, requesters can reject your article without reason. If you are someone who takes an hour or longer to write an article, this can greatly affect the amount of money you make. Wasting an hour or two on an article that doesn’t earn you any money can really chew glass. However, if you own other blogs, you may be able to repurpose those rejected articles, or try sell your rejected articles at other places such as Constant Content.

For writers, probably one of the largest drawbacks of iWriter is the effort required to get yourself upgraded to elite status. Currently, you must write 30 articles at a basic level before you are allowed to move up to premium or elite status. If you write slowly (but you are a good writer) this can require saint-like patience. Nobody wants to earn a few bucks for a lot of work. The two ways to get through this seasoning period? Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and choose to write longer articles (which earn you more money.)

The other drawback is that you are graded on a five-star system. Requesters give you a star rating when they accept or reject your article, and this can greatly influence the amount of money you make. A basic writer is one who receives an average of 4 stars or less. A premium writer has an average of 4-4.6 stars. And an elite writer has an average of more than 4.6 stars.

While most requesters rate you fairly, there are many who may give you 4 stars for no apparent reason. Understandably, this can become very frustrating when you are trying to work your way up to elite status.

Is iWriter Worth It for Writers?

It can be. If you

  • can work yourself up to an elite status,
  • have good research skills or knowledge to write from,
  • have people who request articles from you, and
  • can produce an article with an hour,

then iWriter can be an excellent place to earn a part-time or full-time income from!

»Visit iWriter.com

Online Writing Made Short Work at iWriter

marketing ideas online writing

Your new website or blog needs content that is going to grab and keep your viewer’s attention. It also needs to appear as if it was written by a true professional. Let’s face it. We’re not all loquacious blog writers and sometimes, our written word may not offer our website what it truly needs to compel readers to action.

If you want content that impresses, you may want to consider paying for articles and buying blog posts. There are many sites where you can find online writing services offering top notch writers (oDesk, Elance, Guru, etc.,) but how do you know where to start? Two popular sites many people use to find writers work are iWriter.com and Fiverr.com. For this article, I will use iWriter and Fiverr as opposites on either side of the online-writing spectrum.
online writing

What is iWriter?

Need an article written? Can’t get to that third blog post this week? Looking for essay writing? Have your writing project done easily by using iWriter.com. Here, “requesters” post requests for writing work. Pick your keywords, suggest the topic and write a short summary to help your prospective writers read your mind. Be sure to include special instructions if you have any other directions that could help a would-be author zero in on your perfect article or blog post.

marketing ideas online writing iwriter

Visit iWriter.com

Your writing jobs are then posted to the writer community (those seeking author and blogging jobs,) at which time someone grabs your request and tries their hand at writing for it. The requester (you who’s buying the article,) can read the article or blog post before you pay. Like the work? Pay for the article. Need revisions? Request them and be specific!

What if you don’t like the article written by your iWriter author? You have no obligation to buy the article. The iWriter website allows you to reject any writing jobs and let someone else try writing it for you. (Keep in mind however, the lower your approval rate, the less likely the higher-quality writers will invest their time into your jobs!) You can also ask the writer to make adjustments to the work so you don’t have to reject them completely (full rejection wastes both yours and your writer’s time, so avoid it when you can.)

To sum up, iWriter is a professional online writing site made for writing and writing only.

online writing

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is a site where people pay exactly five dollars for a wide variety of services. Here are the categories Fiverr offers:

  • Gifts
  • Graphics & Design
  • Video & Animation
  • Online Marketing
  • Writing & Translation
  • Advertising
  • Business
  • Programming & Tech
  • Music & Audio
  • Fun & Bizarre
  • Lifestyle
  • Other

marketing ideas online writing fiverr

Visit Fiverr.com

If you are looking to have something written for your website or you need some help marketing, you can find that on Fiverr. You will pay no more than $5 for each service or “gig”. While there are some fun gigs on Fiverr, there are also a fair amount of dregs and scams, so buyer beware here! Certain services (such as having fun videos created for you) have a higher chance of quality delivery than others (like this traffic generation scam I ran across.)

With Fiverr, you can also reject your articles if you’re having someone write for you, however you may find your review disappears! (As in, your warning to others that the Fiverr gig vendor is shady or subrate is mysteriously deleted!) Fiverr takes an undisclosed cut of all their gigs, and they seem to protect their top earners; regardless of any sense of good business ethics or transparency.

In review, Fiverr offers an online marketplace for a wide variety of random services.

online writing

Why Use iWriter?

There are several ways you benefit from using the online writing service iWriter for you article-writing needs. Here are some reasons why you should consider becoming a requester on iWriter today.

iWriter is Simple

To begin receiving articles from iWriter, simply sign up, post your writing job and then sit back while writers do the work! Paying is simple and you don’t have to search for good writers to do the job; the writers come to you. Need a really high-quality article written? Pay a little more to have your writing job placed in front of writers with a 4.6- to 5-star rating.

iWriter is Inexpensive

You can pay as little as $1.25 for a quick article. The more you pay, however, the better quality writing you receive. You can pay as much as $18 for a 1000-word article and expect to have gleaming perfection delivered to you from one of iWriter’s premium writers. The amount you pay is up to you. If you are putting the writing on the main page of your website, you may want to spend a little extra to ensure that post is excellent quality. For article marketing, you may feel the backlinks are more important than the quality of the article, so you may target a lower pay range for this work.

As an iWriter Requester, You Call All the Shots

When you place an order for articles you need to have written, you explain exactly what it is you want done in the special instructions area. This is where you can explain to the writer what you want written, how you want it written and what to include. There are also fields where you will specify keywords, article length and article tone so the writer can keep the keyword at a certain percentage if you are using the articles for advertising and marketing.

When a writer completes the first draft of your article, they submit it for your review. If you like it, you simply pay and download. If you don’t like it, you either ask the writer to make revisions to the article or—if it’s a real train wreck—you have the option to turn it down completely. This means you can turn down as many attempts as it takes until you get the article you really want. (As mentioned earlier, it’s best not to reject articles will-nilly because this lowers your approval score and can drive talented writers away from you.)

iWriter Saves You Time!

Often, the turn-around time it takes to receive your article is very fast. One of the ways writers establish their reputation on iWriter is by providing quick responses to writing jobs. Usually, your blogging jobs are accepted right away, which starts the clock on the job. This means you can have quality content written for you within a few hours. If a writer submits their article and you like the first draft, you simply pay for it and it’s yours right away!
online writing

Afterglow

Ultimately, using the iWriter online writing service can save you a lot of time and heartache while bringing you great content for your readers. But then, iWriter is a service dedicated to writing.

While Fiverr is good for certain things, online writing doesn’t seem to be one of them. There are occasionally talented authors found on Fiverr, however they seem to quickly be crushed by a deluge of $5 requests once the Fiverr community discovers them. (I’ve seen several of the best writers on Fiverr remove their writing gigs or fall ridiculously behind in their writing assignments, regularly failing to meet deadlines and compromising their ratings.)

While any online writing service may require some hunting to find your favorite writers, once you have them selected, using a writing site like iWriter can help make your website a content-rich powerhouse. Highly recommended.

»Visit iWriter.com

101 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Over 100 ways to drive traffic to your website, drive traffic to your website

One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

  • Content & Article Marketing
  • SEO & Search Engine Marketing
  • Video Marketing & Podcasting
  • Email Marketing & Syndication
  • Advertising & PPC
  • Public Relations & Spreading the Word
  • Social Media & Bookmarking

(Of course, some techniques could arguably be placed in more than one category. Enjoy!)

P.S. – Was this helpful? If so, please

SHARE!

Have more ideas? Add them to the comments below!!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

Content & Article Marketing

  1. Start a blog or add a blog to your website. Use WordPress. Tip: Don’t go with the free WordPress hosting offered by WordPress.com. It’s a watered-down version of WordPress you cannot optimize!
  1. Research your article keywords using the Google keyword tool. Target your blog posts and articles using these keywords. (Read How to Add Keywords to Your Website.) This will help your posts rank higher in the search results.
  1. Update your website or blog frequently. Three times each week is great. Daily is better.
  1. Write better headlines. Writing compelling headlines that convert into views is an art. Make sure you research your keywords and work them into your headline. Keep your headline congruent with the webpage it describes.
  1. Stay away from duplicating other posts and articles. Duplicate content is one of the big no-no’s according to Google and your site can be penalized or banned if you are engaging in this practice. Tip: If you’re hiring out your content writing, ensure the contractor knows their work needs to pass a plagiarism-detection tool like Copyscape.
  1. When considering content for your website or blog, there are two approaches to consider: timely hot topics or evergreen. Hot topics—like world events, emerging technology or celebrities—will offer you a chance to speak to something that is on everyone’s minds, however those topics often cool off and fade from relevance over time. Evergreen content—as the name suggests—is content that provides timeless value, based on principles that aren’t as likely to change with the public’s mood. A good piece of evergreen content can bring traffic steadily, year after year, and makes for a real asset to your website.
  1. Convert your blog articles to Adobe PDFs and offer them on Scribd.com.
  1. Offer to guest post at other highly-ranked websites. Include your URL in your resource box (your brief description about you and how to reach you for more information.)
  1. Comment on other blogs in your industry or niche. Make your comments thoughtful, courteous and use a keyword or two. Include the link back to your site.
  1. Similar to blog commenting, offer helpful solutions on Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora. Place the brief synopsis of your solution in answer to the question you’re addressing and post the link to the full article (already posted on your website) if they want to learn more.
  1. Join niche-related forums and offer advice, ask questions, etc. Include links to your websites in your forum signature.
  1. Offer a whitepaper that answers a common challenge for your audience. Collect email sign-ups in exchange. Deliver your whitepaper automatically using your confirmation autoresponder.
  1. Write an ebook. Include links to resources and to your own URL. Offer the ebook on your website.
  1. Place your new ebook into ebook directories for free or low-cost download.
  1. Convert your ebook into a PowerPoint presentation and post on SlideShare.
  1. Repackage your ebook for delivery on the Kindle, Nook and other tablet platforms. Then offer it for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.
  1. Add your blog posts to BlogCarnival.com. Host a blog carnival to bring exposure to others within your niche while building the value in your own site.
  1. Form a blog promotion network. Agree to retweet, mention, link or otherwise promote one member each week. (This requires 100% dedication from all members to make it work. If a member begins falling down on their commitment, they’re out.)
  1. Article marketing. Submit your pithy articles to sites like the following and remember to include keyword links leading back to your website. (Read Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing.)
    1. Ezinearticles.com
    2. Ehow.com
    3. Hubpages.com
    4. Articlesbase.com
    5. Buzzle.com
    6. Associatedcontent.com (now Yahoo Voices)
    7. Suite101.com
  1. Build a quiz or self-test that shows people something about themselves. Entertaining, informative or both, bring value through self-discovery. Though I am certainly biased, here is an example I especially like: Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype Quiz
  1. Create a Squidoo lens. This is a collection of original articles that link back to your site from your Squidoo page.
  1. Add a forum or discussion group software to your website. (Be warned: It takes time, dedication and love to grow a thriving community, but it can be well worth it.)
  1. Offer regular webinars and communicate the schedule and topics through your website and mailing lists. Tip: Record the seminars and add them to a members area on your website, or make them available 24/7, thereby bringing even more value to your site.
  1. Offer a free tool, template or software. When Hotmail was first introduced, each message carried a little signature at the bottom of each email that said “Get your free email at Hotmail”. The email system went viral, spreading naturally from inbox to inbox.
  1. Need help getting posts out regularly? Hire a ghost-writer through an outsourcing service like iWriter, oDesk, Elance, etc.
  1. Create a compelling infographic. When done well, infographics make even the driest material visually interesting, effectively grabbing and holding the reader’s attention long enough to deliver the message—and your URL.

SEO & Search Engine Marketing

  1. Use keyword-centric tags with your WordPress posts.
  1. In WordPress, make sure to leave trackbacks turned on. When you link to other site owners, an email will notify the blog owners of the new link and they will likely visit your site. They may even link back!
  1. Install the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress. It automatically sends updates to Google and other search engines when you make a new post, helping your material get indexed more quickly. Don’t have a WordPress site? Use Ping-O-Matic to accomplish the same thing.
  1. Can’t use the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress* to create your sitemap.xml or robots.txt files (used by Google and other search engines?) Use a sitemap generator like XML-Sitemaps.com.
  1. Two words: Google Authorship. Set it up and get your face to appear next to your posts in the Google search results. (Read Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results.)
  1. Install Google Analytics on your site and actually look at it once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be Google Analytics, but you should be able to see how much traffic you’re receiving on a weekly basis and where your visitors are coming in from? How can you intelligently drive more traffic to your site if you don’t know what’s already working for you?
  1. Submit your website to search engines and search directories. Seems obvious, but most folks don’t know where to start. Here is a list of some of the top search sites:
    1. Google
    2. Bing
    3. Yahoo! Search
    4. AltaVista
    5. Excite
    6. Go.com
    7. HotBot
    8. Galaxy
    9. Lycos
    10. Gigablast
    11. Alexa Internet
  1. Use the linkdomain command in Google (ex. linkdomain:marketingideas101.com). While this only shows a subset of the links that lead into a domain, it can give you an idea about how your competitors are getting their rankings.
  1. Research popular misspellings of your company’s name and those of your competitors. Buy those domain names and forward them to your website.
  1. Find expired domain names in your niche that are still receiving traffic and buy them, directing them toward your site. For this, I recommend Expired Domains.
  1. Use a custom 404 page to help people find the information they are seeking from your website in the event it moves or otherwise becomes unavailable.
  1. Reciprocal linking campaigns with mid- to high-PR sites can offer a boost to your rankings and traffic. The best backlink is a one-way, dofollow link from a high PR site. Also, if you’re just getting started with your website and you have low PR, you had better have some great content, otherwise your opt-in rate with a reciprocal campaign is likely to be low.
  1. Join a web ring like WebRing. Advantage: Niche-related linking. Disadvantage: Uglies up your site. (Not as much of a disadvantage if you already have an ugly site. If that’s the case, jump in!)
  1. Pay a freelancer or company to generate obscene amounts of traffic for you. Just beware of the very real chance it could be a scam (Read How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr.)

Video Marketing & Podcasting

  1. Read or speak to your ebook contents in an audio post or series of audio posts and place on BlogTalkRadio or iTunes.
  1. Why only create audio posts of your ebook, blog post or web content? Create a video demonstrating the same information and post to YouTube and Vimeo. Include links back to your site in your video description and in video captions. Tip: you can do this either by presenting the material yourself, hiring someone to present it, or by creating a video with something like Animoto.

Email Marketing & Syndication

  1. Link your blog with your Aweber email marketing account. Take signups for your newsletter, ebook or other promotional/informational offers. This will grow your emailing list.
  1. Establish an RSS feed for your site. Add it to FeedBurner.com. (Well.. what was Feedburner. Google gobbled them up.)
  1. Connect your RSS feed broadcasts to your Aweber email marketing service. This will deliver your blog posts in an enewsletter format to your mailing list. Set the mailing list to weekly or whatever is appropriate for your posting frequency.
  1. Email your current and past clients regularly. Ask them about their interest in new products and services (segment your list accordingly.) Send letters of appreciation, short polls, tips, client spotlights and other relevant correspondence to stay at the front of their minds.
  1. In your enewsletter, don’t embed complete articles. Instead, display hook paragraphs with links back to the full articles on your own site. This also allows you to gauge what topics are most important to your readers.
  1. Don’t stop with only offering your whitepaper from your newsletter signup confirmation page. Include your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ profiles and links to other websites you own that complement.
  1. Syndicate your blog with Technorati.
  1. Include your website URL in your email signature. (It’s a good place to offer some of your social media URLs as well.)
  1. Run a solo ad, whereby you pay someone to market your offer to their list. Research your list owners carefully here; all is not as it may seem. (Proceed with caution. Read Solo Ads Advertising: Why Solo Ad Scams Suck.)
  1. Conduct an ad swap. You have a mailing list. Another marketer has their mailing list. Your offers align with each others’ mailing lists. The other marketer sends your offer to their list and you send their offer to yours. All things being equal, you both should see your opt-in lists expand. (Get started at Safe-Swaps.com.)
  1. Join venture with another marketer. Similar to a solo ad, you run your ad to their list, with the difference being they get a cut of the sales instead of taking a flat fee.

Advertising & PPC

  1. Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads using Facebook ads, Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Tip: Watch your ad performance carefully at first. You can lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t pay attention!
  1. Pay for banner ads on other websites. Target websites in your niche, preferably. This is a quick way to begin receiving qualified traffic.
  1. Banner exchange. Similar to reciprocal links, you agree to trade banner ads with other website owners. Aim for the same or complementary niches.
  1. Post free or paid ads on classified ad sites like Craigslist, ClassifiedAds.com, and Backpage.
  1. Begin an affiliate marketing program and spread the wealth! Pay others to promote you to their website visitors and mailing lists by giving them a cut. Make sure you can track referred traffic correctly before rolling this out.

Public Relations & Spreading the Word

  1. Offer to start an advice column for local media outlets. Have some example column posts and know your pitch well before approaching publishers. Finally, make sure the publisher’s audience matches your own.
  1. Along the same lines as an advice column, offer to write an editorial. This is akin to guest posting on someone else’s blog. By offering thoughtful insight into a common challenge or current event, you bring value to the publication and a spotlight to your own efforts.
  1. Write a compelling press release and post to free press release sites and local media outlets. Here is a short list of free and paid press release sites:
    1. eReleases.com
    2. Free-Press-Release.com
    3. Free-Press-Release-Center.info
    4. 24-7PressRelease.com
    5. 1888PressRelease.com
    6. PRBuzz.com
    7. PRCompass.com
    8. PRUrgent.com
    9. Express-Press-Release.net
    10. ClickPress.com
    11. PR9.net
    12. EcommWire.com
    13. PRLog.org
    14. I-Newswire.com
    15. PressAbout.com
    16. NewswireToday.com
    17. PRLeap.com
    18. PR.com
    19. TheOpenPress.com
  1. Are your offline marketing materials supporting your online marketing efforts? You should have your URL on your business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead; any and all stationary.
  1. Pay a high school or college student to place flyers with your offer and URL around town. Include college campuses, malls, grocery stores, houses, etc., so long as business proprietors are asked and so long as the location is congruent (or neutral) with your offer. These locations should be places where your target audience frequents. Tip: Not sure those flyers won’t end up in the trash? In today’s age of smart phones, pay for each image of the flyers as they’re placed.
  1. Drive your URL all around town. Brand your URL onto your license plate cover, bumper sticker, or have it added professionally to your vehicle’s rear window, tailgate, side, etc. Better if your car is unique in some way (and I’m not talking about that rust spot shaped like Elvis or the Virgin Mary.) Want to take this over the top? Invest in an eye-catching vehicle wrap.
  1. Buy a pair of sandals or boots and carve your URL into the bottom of them. Then go walk on wet sand or snow and give those who follow in your footsteps something to think about.
  1. Hold a contest. Winner gets a rave review on your site, a fun toy or gadget, cash.. whatever. The more compelling and niche-appropriate the prizes, the better. Announce the contest winners on your site.
  1. Join a local business group or association. Members often benefit from being listed in the member directory, complete with their website’s URL.
  1. Your business card should have your link on it, of course. Better, use the back of your business card to state a special offer, coupon code, promotion or other thrilling reason for them to visit your site. Now those networking mixers may actually bring some visits to your site instead of seeding your business cards at the bottom of trash bins all over town.
  1. Sponsor a league team. This might be softball, darts, roller derby, bowling—even chess. Consider the audience (the players and their families and fans) and your own interests when choosing your sponsorship opportunity.
  1. Get seen on television. This technique worked well for Dave Mayer of CleanBottle.com. Dressed in a gigantic bottle costume—complete with URL—Dave was first caught on video running along Tour de France bicyclists. The video went viral and CleanBottle’s orders exploded. He has since made this technique a cornerstone in his marketing strategy, though he’s occasionally roughed up by drunken cycling fans.
  1. Give a live talk, presentation, seminar or workshop. At the end of that event, you should be collecting a short survey to see how to improve the next event. Request email addresses from those who confirm they would like to opt into your mailing list.
  1. When folks were registering for that event, did they fill out a registration form? It better not have been printed! Any flyers or advertising for the event should point to your website where they’ll find more event details and the registration form.
  1. Give an interview. Regardless of the format, a recorded interview can offer you great exposure to your market and places you in the expert seat. As the interviewer for a list of questions ahead of time, or offer your own. Practice being at ease and ask for a copy of the interview for use in your own marketing efforts.
  1. Interview others. With every interview you conduct, the easier it will become for you to interview larger names in your industry. The larger the names, the larger the draw. Tip: Have your recorded interviews transcribed and offer them on your website. It’s a great way to generate fresh content!
  1. Offer to give a product review (whether positive or negative) or testimonial in exchange for a backlink.
  1. Send your product (for free) to other site owners for an online product review.
  1. Hand out promotional items with your URL on them. Don’t skimp here. Nice metal pens and USB drives tend to tend to stay with me for a very long time, even if they have a logo and URL emblazoned on them.
  1. Hold an online treasure hunt. Contestants compete to answer riddles and collect clues to win mind-boggling prizes. Of course, one of the clues (or maybe the treasure!?) will be on your website.
  1. Printed banners, billboards and skywriting. Enough said there. Better: Save yourself the printing costs. To retaliate against political sign thieves, Michigan digital marketing agency, Oneupweb projected a 30-foot video loop of a dancing Senator Obama onto the side of their building. The stunt made the evening news all over the country.
  1. Produce viral content. How? One idea is to make a legend come true. Athletic shoe manufacturer Hi-Tec, made a series of “reality” videos showing their new line of running shoes were so water-resistant, people were attempting to run on water—and they were succeeding.
  1. Tattoo (temporary or otherwise) your URL onto your body. Anything that important is sure to get looked up.
  1. Ask a celebrity to wear a t-shirt or dress with your URL printed on it.
  1. When attending a tradeshow, you and your team wear the same shirts, visibly labeled with your URL. Buttons and hats are another version of this.
  1. Create an award program. Establish the guidelines, the award graphics, press release templates, etc. Be discerning about how you select your candidates and make your announcement. Encourage the winner(s) to place the new badge on their website. Of course, it’s a link to the award summary on your own site.
  1. Promote a sale, introductory pricing, free trial or other enticing promotion to lead deal-conscious buyers to your website.

Social Media & Bookmarking

  1. Facebook. Share interesting or relevant posts, images and videos on your Facebook ‘fan page’. Every now and again, include a link to your own website.
  1. Facebook. Install the NetworkedBlogs Facebook app and connect your blog to Facebook. When you post to your blog, your post automatically shows in Facebook.
  1. Facebook. Link your Facebook account with your Twitter account so a post in Facebook automatically posts in Twitter. This lightens your need to log into both accounts and adds diversity to your Twitter posts, especially if you’re smart enough to automate some of them using…
  1. MarketMeSuite. Manage your social media streams and accounts from one place. Best: Create, schedule and upload your social media broadcasts a week, month, quarter or year at a time. Greatly reduces the social media marketing burden.
  1. Twitter. Display your Twitter feed on your website or blog. If you’re using your Facebook or Twitter account regularly, your tweets will display and serve to freshen your website. This encourages repeat visits and updates your website, keeping you fresh in Google’s search results.
  1. Twitter. Include your website’s link in your Twitter bio.
  1. Twitter. Tweet about your product, service or articles. Include links to your onsite material. Use hash tags (#) to add your tweets to relevant topic streams.
  1. LinkedIn. Connect your WordPress blog with your LinkedIn account so your blog posts appear on your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Include your URL in your profile.
  1. LinkedIn. Start a LinkedIn group. Best: Target your niche and mention your geographical location in the group’s description to build a more focused group.
  1. LinkedIn. Too busy to start your own LinkedIn group? Join other groups and add value to those communications. Often, those posts can be expanded to become full articles on your own website. Then offer the link to the group.
  1. Pinterest. Add interesting, non-copyrighted graphics to your web pages and blog posts then pin them to your Pinterest account.
  1. Create a profile in any of these popular social bookmarking sites. Include your URL in your profile.
    1. Digg.com
    2. StumbleUpon.com
    3. Delicious.com
    4. Fark.com
    5. Slashdot.org
    6. Newsvine.com
    7. DZone.com
    8. Diigo.com
    9. Tumblr.com
    10. Pinterest.com
    11. Reddit.com
  1. Using these popular social bookmarking sites, bookmark links of value, related to your niche. Your own website should be one of these bookmarks.
  1. Ask others to bookmark your site. Or bribe them. Either way.

And finally–because you can’t have a list of only 100 marketing ideas on a website called “Marketing Ideas 101”:

Content & Article Marketing (cont.)

  1. Make a “100 Ways to” list post and ask people to share if they found it helpful. Not quite that ambitious? Make the list “10 Ways to”, “3 Ways to”, “50 Ways to”—you get the idea.

Share if you approve!!

marketing ideas, drive traffic, drive traffic to your website

References

Boorn, Cassie. 50 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Blog. Retrieved from http://askaprgirl.com/50-ways-to-drive-massive-traffic-to-your-blog/ on 12/17/2012.

SEOLogic. Web Traffic 101. Retrieved from http://www.seologic.com/guide/traffic on 12/09/2012.

WarriorForum. 50 Great Ideas to Get More Traffic to a website – I found it and you might find it useful. Retrieved from http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-warriors-success-power-self-improvement/166835-50-great-ideas-get-more-traffic-website-i-found-you-might-find-useful.html on 12/17/2012

 

(* Did you see a pattern? I’ve mentioned WordPress a few times now. I wonder if WordPress could be a powerful option for those who want to have a search engine optimized website that draws traffic. I wonder…)

Banned by Fiverr for Exposing Fiverr Scams

marketing ideas banned by fiverr

I’m continuing some consumer protection work covering Fiverr scams and the manner by which the popular Internet company continues to defend and support these scams. The initial portion of this post began as a response to a rather long thread in the WarriorForum and I’ve gone on to expound from there.

Post response by Chris Kent on July 1, 2011 to “Ban by Fiverr? Here the reason” [sic]:

“Fiverr will ban you if they might lose out of it. On the other hand, they hardly ever ban scammer providers.

“I have twice gotten a refund out of scammers with the help of their helpdesk.

“For example, the first was someone who posts your link on his wall which is a fake “chick’s wall”. He adds several thousand in Photoshop to his list of 72 friends.

“When you get your refund, your negative rating disappears. Fiverr know they have scammers and refuse to ban them. They just want to keep people getting scammed so they make more money.” (Kent, 2011.)

marketing ideas, fiverr scams, scams online, banned by fiverr

marketing ideas fiverr scamSo true!! Here’s a firsthand account (complete with screen captures) about the first Fiverr scam I became aware of. (How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr | Marketing Ideas 101) This scam was for increased traffic to my website for a month, but the seller was supplying junk traffic. I called the gig off early and Fiverr gave the scam artist the out and removed my negative rating and removed my warning to future shoppers.

A couple weeks later, I ran across another scam involving Craigslist ad postings. This particular gig seller couldn’t produce any ads that weren’t ghosted (in Craigslist vernacular, a ghosted ad appears to be live, however it does not show up in the index pages nor through search.) Apparently, the seller’s previous buyers were blissfully unaware the ads the seller was providing were relatively useless.

As of today, I have officially been banned by Fiverr for the first time after buying $830 in $5 gigs from them over the past year.

My offense? I asked a content writer to work up a blog post about Fiverr scams. No kidding. The gig owner wrote this shortly before my account was restricted:

“Hi there Matt! I’m very sorry but I have to pass this time. I don’t feel confident or competent enough with your particular topic or requirements. Requesting for the cancellation of the order and the funds will be refunded back to you. Thanks for understanding!”

When I went to decline the cancellation request and give her a different topic she might better be suited for, I found my account was unable to complete the action.

marketing ideas fiverr restricted account

The error message said my account had been restricted and that I could forward any questions to Fiverr support.

Here’s how that correspondence went:

Matt, Nov 29 17:21 (IST): Folks, I have a gig seller that is trying to cancel an order because she does not feel qualified to write on the topic (scams on Fiverr). That’s fine, but I want to keep the gig and simply give her a different topic. The system is not allowing me. Any thoughts?

Julia – Fiverr’s Customer Support Team (Fiverr Customer Support), Nov 30 04:01 (IST): Hi Matt, we are unable to reinstate your account at this time. Users who violate our Terms of Service and get their account permanently restricted will be able to complete any active orders they may have; and will continue to have access to their completed orders. The funds in your shopping balance have been returned to your PayPal account.

Regards,
Julia

To which I responded:

???
How did I violate the Terms of Service???

I still haven’t heard back. The only opening for an infraction I can find in Fiverr’s Terms of Service (which is heavily slanted toward controlling the gig seller) is the following clause:

“Posting or sending adult, illegal, rude, abusive, improper, copyright protected, promotional, spam, violent, nonsense or any uncool stuff is strictly prohibited. Doing so will get your account blocked permanently.” (Fiverr, 2012.)

So, was I “improper”, asking for “nonsense” or just being “uncool”? It’s hard to say. With terms as vague as these, Fiverr can do whatever they want, really.

Just slimy. Surprisingly slimy for an Internet company I assumed was based in the U.S. Wait! They’re not based in the U.S. at all!

“Fiverr, stylized as fiverr, is an Israel-based global online marketplace offering tasks and services starting at $5. […] The website was founded by Israeli internet entrepreneurs Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger. […] Entrepreneurs and freelancers can use Fiverr to monetize sell their services. Customers in need of services can find and commission that service directly through the site. Currently, Fiverr lists more than 1,000,000 services on the site that range between $5 and $150.” (Wikipedia, 2012.)

I assert that Fiverr is well aware of their shady business practices and they work daily to protect the con job empire they are creating for themselves. They are really a great study on how easily we trust a well-established name and how easily that trust can be grossly abused. Here is a definition for racketeering, which is essentially what I believe Fiverr is engaged in:

“A racket is an illegal business or scheme, usually run as part of organized crime. Engaging in a racket is called racketeering.” (Wikipedia, 2012.)

Oh, and of course there’s fraud:

“Fraud can be committed through many media, including mail, wire, phone, and the Internet (computer crime and Internet fraud). International dimensions of the web and ease with which users can hide their location, the difficulty of checking identity and legitimacy online…” (Wikipedia, 2012.)

Caveat emptor, folks. “Let the buyer beware.”

In support of your efforts,

Matt

P.S. – Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: Consider for a moment Fiverr isn’t just overrun with scam artists, but that it actively and consciously houses a network of them. Just a thought. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

 marketing ideas, fiverr scams, scams online, banned by fiverr

References

Fiverr. Terms of Service. Retrieved from http://fiverr.com/terms_of_service on 11/29/2012.

Kent, Chris. July 1, 2011. Ban by Fiverr? Here the reason. WarriorForum. Retrieved from http://www.warriorforum.com/main-internet-marketing-discussion-forum/406608-ban-fiverr-here-reason.html on 11/29/2012.

Wikipedia.org. Fiverr. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiverr on 11/29/2012.

Wikipedia.org. Fraud. Retrieved from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraud on 11/29/2012.

Wikipedia.org. Racketeering. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeering on 11/29/2012.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

marketing ideas drive traffic blog

Driving traffic to your blog can be one of the most difficult things to do.  With so many blogs starting up each day, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself and your blog from the others online and to culminate an effective online presence.  While it does take hard work and perseverance, driving and maintaining traffic to your blog can be done by utilizing a few key practices to your daily blogging habits.

Blog Targeting: Keep Your Audience in Mind

This is imperative when creating a blog and writing posts.  Have a targeted demographic in mind and write for them, covering topics they want to read about and that they would find useful in their lives. Often over-looked is the tone of your blog posts, which is crucial to your blog’s success.  If you’re writing a fashion and style blog, make the tone fun, informative and friendly—even casual, as if it’s between friends.

On the other hand, if you’re writing a blog for business men and women, or financially-minded people, then you want the tone to be business-like and knowledgeable. Business readers don’t want to feel like they’re getting information from an unreliable source, just as fashion readers don’t want to feel as if they’re being told what to do.  Knowing who is reading your blog and then writing to them will not only set your blog apart but ensure you have repeat readers.

Blog Optimization: Keep Your Search Keywords in Mind

Once you have your blog written in the appropriate tone and content, go back through and ensure that you’ve used words and phrases that will be picked up by Google search bots. (Read How To Work Keywords Into Your Website.) Using a SEO platform to build your blog on can make it extremely easy to ensure that your blog posts will be returned in searches for your topic.  Having good quality blog posts come up in results will make readers take note of the source and come back to peruse the rest of the blog.

Blog Management: Share, Post and Interact

Having a blog that isn’t seen isn’t really a blog at all.  Make your blog something that you are proud of, sharing it on all social media platforms so that you can encourage traffic and increase the amount of clicks on your links.  Sharing photos and posts on platforms that your readers are members of will increase your traffic and increase reader awareness of your blog.  Social media can give your blog a trustworthy reputation and brand it as a trusted source for your topic.

Drive traffic to your blog to help more, connect more, and earn more.

Before you decide to employ these small changes to your blogging practice and aim to make them a habit, install an analytics program so that you can see the results and increase in your traffic these techniques have brought to your blog.  Once you have mastered these habits and can create effective blog posts, there are many more techniques you can incorporate that are more advanced to drive traffic to your blog.  Because ultimately it is traffic to your blog that will eventually make your blog lucrative and help your message reach many more people, so do what you can to increase your blog traffic!

How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr

marketing ideas driving traffic fiverr

(Subtitled: Beware the $5 Traffic Gurus)

I thought I was being smart. I thought I could pay someone five bucks and they would work their magic and funnel all sorts of traffic to my new blog. Of course, I was experimenting, but I had no idea what kind of a fail to expect, so—naively—I hoped for success.

I went to Fiverr.com and dove into ‘Online Marketing,’ then into the ‘Get Traffic’ category. I sorted by rank and found a promising ad. Here’s what it said:

[Name removed to protect the guilty] will drive UNLIMITED
genuine real traffic to your website for one month for $5.

Sounds good, right?

And the job profile comes with lots of rave reviews. I shrugged and hopefully gambled away my $5. The profile asked me the right questions. What’s the URL, what areas do you want to target, etc. Since the job promised to be delivered within three days, I spent three days haunting my Google Analytics reports, eagerly anticipating the hints of a traffic tsunami.

Then it happened! Traffic went from zero (this was a brand new site) to 60 hits and then climbed to 70 hits! Yes! $5 well spent, right!?

Wrong!

Upon further inspection, it appears all the traffic is of the BOUNCING variety (read Should You Worry About Your Bounce Rate? for a better understanding on why high bounce rates are undesirable.) Eyeball the web traffic report below and see if you see what I see:

drive traffic with fiverr

More, if you’ll notice the referrer URL’s, I’m sure you’ll see a trend. Visiting some of these sites will clue you in further to the junk traffic they bring.

Well, there’s an experiment in traffic generation that gives some important feedback. While I might not have benefited from massive volumes of quality traffic, five dollars is cheap tuition. I feel wiser already!

In support of your efforts,

Matt

marketing ideas leadership

Update! (November 2, 2012)

Well, folks.. after writing this post, I opted to go back to the Fiverr vendor and ask them to discontinue the gig, which was supposed to last for a month. I gave them a “thumb’s down”. Here is our discussion:

Me: please discontinue this program. the traffic is junk.

Guilty: Hi, Can I know what happened? And why did you leave a negative feedback without asking information? The traffic is direct to ensure an high level of security with adsense and affiliations, and the bounce rate is related to that because it’s direct. All information are in the document and it’s described, please remove your feedback, and let me know if you are interested in a refund instead.

Me: See attached. Of course you should be expecting negative feedback. There is no value in the traffic you are providing. fiverr-traffic-generation.gif (36.175 KB)

Guilty: My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it’s a consequence of setting the traffic this way. Some people are converting as they reported me and wrote in the feedback, so it’s valuable for someone, I’m truly sorry it isn’t working for you. As I said, I will refund your order, if you agree to remove the feedback. Please help me maintain a good service, I always do my best to provide that but I know sometimes can’t give the expected results.

Me: Will remove the feedback as soon as we see our sites (both of them) removed from these spammy sites. If we look at our Google Analytics tomorrow and we can see all this bouncing traffic has fallen away, we will remove the comment.

Guilty: I will suspend your campaign immediately, you will notice the removal from a few minutes. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Guilty: I suspended them as agreed, if you will check the tracking url you won’t see any more visits from me.

Guilty: Hi, Please check the tracking url and you will see the campaign is no longer active, I’m waiting for you.

Me: Go ahead and refund these orders. Thanks.

Guilty: No problem, but you should remove the feedback before I ask the refund or you won’t be able to modify it anymore… Write me as soon as it’s done and I will send the refund, thank you.

I allowed them to sweat a little until the next day. I was still debating taking the review down–after all, wouldn’t the honest feedback protect others from making my same mistake? However, it seems the decision was made for me! I received the following email from Fiverr:

Your order #FO_____________ was cancelled by Fiverr’s customer service team.

Your funds have been returned to your Fiverr Balance and will be used automatically for your next purchase.

Thanks,
The Fiverr Team

So I guess the vendor didn’t want to wait. However, much to my surprise, Fiverr actually removed my feedback from the vendor’s ratings completely! See below. Notice two things:

  1. My negative feedback has been removed, as well as my comments!
  2. Another person has gotten an inkling that the traffic they are receiving isn’t doing them any good; though they are much less confident about what they should be seeing, they suspect there’s something wrong.

drive traffic fiverr

Now, it’s somewhat disheartening to recognize most of these folks see the spike in traffic like I did, however they aren’t looking at their bounce rates or the referring URL’s, so they aren’t realizing they’re being duped.

I liken this to ordering the steak dinner at a restaurant, being served a rice cake, and commenting how full you are now that you’ve eaten so well.

And what about Fiverr in all this? They didn’t reach out to me at all. They just deleted the truth and will let this person continue their deceptive practices. Yikes!

Ah, buy why the heck should they do anything? Fiverr gets paid on every sale, don’t they?

Buyer beware, folks.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

P.S. – The vendor said, “My traffic is direct only, and I know the bounce rate is high because it’s a consequence of setting the traffic this way.” That’s junk, people. Traffic being direct versus referred has no bearing on the quality of the traffic; it’s merely an indication of how people are getting to your site. If there were even people behind those hits. It’s quite possible that traffic is from bots.

Should You Worry About Your Bounce Rate?

marketing ideas bounce rate

by Lucy Beer

A low bounce rate is often cited as a hallmark of a good website–40% or lower is typically heralded as the goal–signaling that visitors are engaged with your site and finding useful content. A high bounce rate is often assumed to mean that your site is not doing its job. In reality, bounce rate means different things for different sites and the emphasis you place on it will vary according to the type of site you have and its goals.

What Does Bounce Rate Mean?

The definition from Google’s Analytics help pages is: “Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.”

When is Bounce Rate a Relevant Metric?

  • If you have a sales or conversion process which requires the user to follow through multiple pages on your site.
  • If exploration of your site is important to your goals. If you are trying to turn new visitors into loyal readers or customers.
  • If yours is a retail site and you want people to shop around and make purchases.
  • If your homepage is not inducing further clicks, particularly if it contains blog excerpts or other ‘teaser’ content.

What a High Bounce Rate Could Mean:

1. Keywords and content are mismatched.

In cases where visitors are coming from search engines, a high bounce rate may mean that the keywords they used and the content they found on your site are not aligned–so your site doesn’t meet their expectations in some way.

What you can do:

Analyze your keyword traffic and make sure your pages are optimized for the keywords you want and that the content is closely aligned with keywords and not misleading in any way.

2. The next step in your conversion or goal process is not obvious or easy enough.

What you can do:

Look at your landing pages with an objective eye and make the next step clear and easy to take.

3. The navigation on your site is confusing or unclear, making additional content hard to find.

What you can do:

Re-evaluate the navigation and see if there are ways to streamline or simplify. Also double-check for browser compatibility–perhaps the page is not displaying correctly under some conditions.

4. Your offer or product is not presented in a compelling or easy to understand way.

What you can do:

Look at your sales copy or offer details and see if you can refresh it or make it more appealing. You could try split-testing different versions to see which performs better.

5. Your site has technical problems. Particularly if your bounce rate suddenly spikes or displays an unusual trend, it could be an indication of technical issues–broken images or links, or something on the page not loading correctly.

What you can do:

Check for compatibility and broken links. Test the load speed of the page and generally make sure your code is as clean and functional as possible. Check for server outages and other issues that could have temporarily affected the functionality of your site.

A high bounce rate might not be a problem if:

  • You have a blog homepage containing all your recent posts in their entirety – Blogger blogs are notorious for this. When all your posts are presented up front there would be little reason for someone to click to any other pages.
  • You have a loyal blog following and your site has a higher proportion of returning visitors than new visitors. Your followers and subscribers may just want to read the newest post and have no need to visit other pages.
  • You are promoting a landing page which contains the call to action within it, such as submitting an email address. That single page can do its job effectively without requiring further clicks.
  • The call to action or conversion takes your visitor off-site–to an external shopping cart or email sign up for example. This would look like a bounce, but can still be a conversion.
  • Blogs typically have higher bounce rates compared to other types of sites so the same benchmarks do not apply.

Bounce Rate is Not the Only Metric.

Don’t look at bounce rate in isolation–look at the overall picture of your website and how it’s performing according to the metrics that matter to you. What DO you want your visitors to do at your site? Are you making it easy for them to do that, and are you measuring it?

Look for trends and other data that give you a fuller picture of what the bounce rate really means:

  • Is the bounce rate higher or lower for certain keywords?
  • Does it vary according to how people found your site? Search engines vs. social media, for example.
  • How does it vary with New vs. Returning visitors?
  • Which particular pages or types of content on your site have higher or lower bounce rates?
  • Look also at length of time the visitor spends on the page which could indicate whether or not they are reading what they find–this is very important for a blog.

marketing ideas leadership

Lucy Beer of WebTrainingWheels.com is a marketing professional of more than 8 years. She has been using and loving WordPress since 2004 and provides WordPress training services. She also consults with small businesses on their marketing online strategy, helping them develop and execute a plan that increases their business and engages their target audience.

How To Work Keywords Into Your Website

marketing ideas how to add keywords

One of the most important things you can do to improve your rankings in the search engines and directories (Google, Yahoo, Bing, DMOZ, et cetera) is to ensure your website is optimized in accordance with the keywords and key phrases you are looking to target.

To “optimize” a website for search engine relevancy means going over it with a fine-tooth comb and seeking out ways to make the website more targeted toward the topic it incites. There are a number of ways to do this.

Domain Name

Does your domain name carry with it “maximum information per square inch?” As in, is your product or service in your name? While this can help your rankings, it is not the end all, be all. After all, do a search in Google on “fast food” and you will notice McDonald’s and Wendy’s sites come up to the top and their domain names are not mcdonaldsfastfood.com or wendysfastfood.com.

Page Titles

Each web page on your site should have its own distinct title. A web page title should tell the user and the search engines what the page is about and you want to make sure to work in a couple keywords relevant to your website and specific to that page. Recommendation: Resist the temptation to place your company name first in the title—your keywords are more important to both humans and bots, so they go first.

Metadata

Add keywords and key phrases into your website’s metadata. Every web page has the capacity to have within it a hidden description and set of keywords. Whether web designers make use of this feature is another matter. Besides your domain name and page titles, this is one of the first things the search engines use to determine where in their indexes your site should be placed. While the importance for metadata has been greatly reduced over the years, it is still something you want to address as it’s the meta description that shows up in the search results.

Copy

Your copy (the text you write,) your links and the images you choose can all be constructed to give the search engines a greater idea about your website’s singular reason for being.

When you seek to “keyword optimize” your website, you begin by knowing the keywords you want to target. Once you have a list of 20 to 30 keywords or key phrases, you may then begin to craft your message to your public, sprinkling in those important words along the way. A good rule of thumb here is to focus on a few keywords per page, rather than trying to stuff them all onto every page.

Tip: Write for humans, but optimize for search engines. Do not pack your site with your keywords. The top search engines have algorithms in place that will penalize for “keyword stuffing.” (Keyword stuffing is considered to be a “black hat” search engine optimization technique and is wonderful way to get your website banned from the search engines. Not recommended.)

Links

Descriptive links are another great way to tell the search engines what your site is about and they carry a good amount of weight and should be used wisely. If you are merely stating “click here” or “read more” you are missing an opportunity. Instead of stopping at “read more”, build a little more information into the link by saying “read more about online marketing” (or whatever your topic.) Assuming “online marketing” was one of our key phrases, we just gave that search engine a little more reason to promote our site when someone searches on online marketing.

Images

Even the images you use can build relevancy for your website. For example, if you have a dog grooming company, abstain from putting up pictures of your clients that still carry the same filename as the day they were pulled off the digital camera. “DC3459.jpg” tells the search engines nothing about the subject of that image. Since search engines cannot actually see the image to interpret it (yet,) they can only rely upon the filename you give your image (and an “alt” tag, which we will discuss later,) balanced against the rest of the page on which it resides. A better filename might be “dog-grooming-service.jpg” or “pet-grooming.jpg.” This same principle holds true for every filename you use on your site (.doc, .pdf, .gif, .htm, .php, etc.,) including even the pages of your website.

Does it sound like we are catering to the search engines? We are. Search engines and directories are large conduits into your website. Without them, there would be considerably less traffic on your site, so you want to make it clear to them you are 1) an authority in your field, and 2) your website contains great value to those who will find it.

Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing

Marketing Ideas Article Marketing

Today, article marketing is probably one of the most powerful and inexpensive forms of online marketing available to small business owners and non-profits. For those not savvy with the term “article marketing”, here is a quick definition:

In exchange for a little sweat and focus, an article author (you) shares their wisdom and experience with the world by posting their short article of advice or insight to blogs, social media and article publication sites. Within those articles are one-way links leading back into the author’s own website, raising their website’s “authority” karma with the search engines and increasing their qualified web traffic.

You Are the Expert

Here is a little mental preparation for you. I want to make sure you are looking at article marketing—and yourself—through the proper lens.

When you produce articles, it is your goal to encapsulate gems of experience-hardened wisdom and share them with the online community. In doing so, you:

  1. Help to advise those who are seeking that knowledge, and you
  2. Position yourself as an expert on the topic. (Important!)

Warning: Don’t get caught on the term “expert.” Many humble folks who are vastly knowledgeable about their industry wouldn’t refer to themselves as experts because they are also aware there is much they don’t know. You don’t have to know it all. You just need to know more than your customers and then know where to find the answers when you are stumped.

Your Mission: Inspire, Inform, Entertain

Your primary goal in business is to help, right? Businesses and non-profit organizations provide products and services with the intent of helping people. (Naïve? Maybe. Choosing to see the best? Definitely.) That might mean helping to:

  1. Provide a solution to a problem,
  2. Offer inspiration, motivation or elevation,
  3. Foster greater awareness to a social concern, or even to
  4. Entertain and enthrall.

The best place to start? Begin with what you know. Offer advice. Offer your life experience. Offer sagacious words of wisdom. Expound and elucidate. Maybe even do a little research. Article marketing is your vehicle for taking your wisdom to your audience, answering their questions before their questions have bubbled up.

Step 1: Target Your Topic

What do you specialize in? What do you know a lot about? What is the point to your website? After all, the goal of any article marketing campaign is to place articles of value out into the world and grow your number of back links (links that point back to your website from another website.) Google and other popular search engines/directories see these links leading into your website as proof you must be something of an authority.

Translation: On the Internet, you are somebody important if other people say you are. It’s like high school all over again! Yeah!

Step 2: Write the Article

To begin marketing with articles, you must write the articles. No kidding. Sure, there is some work involved here, but the rewards can be great as qualified traffic to your website increases. Yes, I’m aware there are certain sources for pre-written articles on a myriad of topics, however I would recommend against putting your name on other people’s work. Call me paranoid, but here are some possible dangers with this:

  1. Loss of credibility and damage to your reputation when it’s discovered you’re not writing your own material,
  2. Being called upon to discuss a topic you barely considered to begin with, and
  3. Being accountable for someone else’s errors if they pop up.

Remember: One of the greatest things about writing is the fact you’re building an asset when you write. You are building a body of reproducible and shareable knowledge. This is what “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author, Rob Kiyosaki, refers to as “doing it once and replicating it over and over.”

To write an article, you don’t have to be a Harvard literature graduate, but you should know how to complete a thought, hold a one-way conversation with a friend, and use spellcheck.

  • First, know what your goal is for your article. What is your point? Being clear on this will help keep you on track as craft your introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Next, pretend you are relaying this information to a friend. What would you say? How would you counsel this friend if they came to you seeking this advice?
  • Finally, use spellcheck. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read the article aloud to test for smooth flow and phrasing. Ferret out all typos, grammatical errors and punctuation gaffs. If missed, these mistakes can detract from your writing and credibility.

The Resource Box

The last detail you’ll consider for your article will be your resource box. Your resource box is the little paragraph at the end of your article that tells the reader a little about you and how to contact you. It should always include a link to your website. Always. You want your readers to be able to find you if they desire more information and you want the search engines to see you as an authority through that back link, remember?

Key point: In your resource box, you don’t always have to use the same link back to your website’s homepage. In fact, you will likely have greater success by linking to the page on your site most closely related to your article’s topic. This moves visitors from the article directly to their topic of interest. (For example, if a web design company also offers web hosting, their article “How to pick the best web host” should link back to the page on their website that describes their web hosting services.)

Step 3: Launch!

There! You have produced a shiny little gem of literary brilliance. Now it is time to set it free.

  • Place it on your blog (if you have one and if it fits appropriately.)
  • Share it with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and your other social media outlets. You can post it over and over by hand or use tools like PingFM to automate this process.
  • Submit your article to free article directories! Here are the top 10 most popular article directories, according to list of the top 50, found at http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php:
  1. seekingalpha.com
  2. ehow.com
  3. hubpages.com
  4. biggerpockets.com/articles
  5. ezinearticles.com
  6. brighthub.com
  7. buzzle.com
  8. textbroker.com
  9. selfgrowth.com
  10. knoji.com/articles/
  • Use an article submission software or service to shorten this process. One good example is isnare.com.
  • Feeling brave? Record your article as you read it into a microphone and post it to iTunes.
  • Braver still? Use your digital video camera and post your work to YouTube, Vimeo and the like.

Step 4: Track Your Results

Just because you’ve accomplished the first three steps of deciding, drafting and delivering your article, don’t think you’re done! You should be watching to see how this article affects your traffic. Did you see an increase? Did your website’s conversion rate (the number of calls, emails, sign-ups, sales, etc.) edge up? If not, did your article compel people to want to know more? Did it provide enough value? Was it placed properly?

Marketing Tip: Use the powerful and free traffic-tracking tool, Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics). Design your Analytics reports and schedule them to automatically arrive in your inbox as frequently as you like.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Now do it again. Find different-but-related categories to place your articles under so they don’t compete with each other. Discuss different aspects of products and services you offer. Determine how often you will produce and post your articles. This depends on how intensely you will run your article marketing campaign. You’ll need to weigh your priorities against your normal day-to-day workload, your goals and the competitiveness of your industry.

If you’re just starting out, aim to write weekly or bi-weekly articles using the promotional campaign in Step 3 as a model. If you are an ambitious writer or blogger, step up your efforts to daily and spread your articles across the media outlets.

Marketing Tip: Since you’re writing these articles anyways, you may as well post them to your website to keep your site’s content fresh. Then place them in your online newsletter and send them to your mailing list.

Afterglow

At this point, you have enough of a blueprint to successfully manage your own article marketing campaign. Writing articles can be a fun way to promote your website and your effort, but it can also be a great way to collect your thoughts and bring greater clarity to challenges you and your audience may be facing. Use articles to entertain, educate and inspire!

In support of your efforts,
M

Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship

You may have noticed a trend emerging when you perform a search in Google. Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority. Google is even publishing their face!” Once the star-struck awe wears off, you may then wonder, “How did they do that? Can I do that?”

For authors, bloggers, podcasters, video personalities and content producers, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”

Google—in their tireless effort to serve and encourage rich Internet content—has produced something called “rich snippets,” which offers content producers and marketers an opportunity to stand out using “Google Authorship” markup code.

The Google Authorship process, however, wasn’t terribly clear for me. I ended up needing about five different resources to successfully navigate the Google Authorship process. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to reproduce a step-by-step process for getting that pretty mug of yours into the Google SERPs.

Step 1: Set Up Your Google+ Profile

If you don’t already have a Google+ profile, go to Google.com and select You+ from the navigation bar at the top. As you move through setting up your profile, pay close attention to adding content for the following fields:

  • Introduction
    • Keep this short and sweet; one to four sentences. A little about you and where visitors and followers can find you.
  • Profile photo
    • Use a clear headshot. This will be reproduced as a small thumbnail if it’s placed into the Google search results. (Google is sure to repeat “if” and “no guarantee” numerous times on your Authorship journey. Be prepared: Your face may not show up in the SERPs for months, if ever.)[image of intro and photo]
  • Work Email
    • Preferred: Select an email address with the same domain name as the one you will be linking from (i.e. your email address is yourname@yourdomain.com and your website is yourdomain.com.) If you can’t do that, any email address you control will do.[image]
  • Contributor to
    • This is where you tell Google what sites you post to, or—in cases where you have been a guest author on someone else’s site or blog—what articles you’ve had published. If a guest post, link directly to your post on the other site; not the main homepage.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile

Step 2: Link to Your Google+ Account from Your Posts

There are a couple different ways to add Google Authorship markup code to your site, but I’m going to focus on my favorite: the rel=author parameter. Why is this my favorite method? I feel the rel=me parameter you would add to your blog’s “about me” page is too broad to be targeted, whereas the rel=author parameter you add to specific links, giving you much more control. You may say, “Matt, that seems like more work!” but I would say, “Not if you do it the way I’m about to teach you!”

Your goal now is to add the code to one place: the bottom of your posts. If you don’t already have one, begin by writing your “about the author” blurb. Here is mine:

Marketing Ideas Author Matt SchoenherrWritten by Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com

As you can see, I’ve included links to some of the other social media channels I use, the same headshot I used for my Google+ profile (this could be any picture; I’m just being consistent) and a little about myself.

Pay close attention to the Google+ link here. This is the format you want to use:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/111111111111111111111?rel=author“>My link to Google+</a>

Change the 1’s to your Google+ profile ID. To find your profile ID, make sure you’re logged out of Google+ and

  1. do a search for your profile from the Google+ landing page (Google.com, then select You+.) You may see your profile posts come up on the left and believe you just found your profile.
  2. Don’t be fooled! This is not the right address!
  3. You still want to select your profile from the list that appears on the right.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile ID

Now you will see your actual profile and will be able to capture the URL address properly:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/posts

Strip off “posts” and now your URL should look like:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/

Once you have your “about the author” description created, you will add it to the bottom of your posts. If your website is built on a content management system, this may be easy. With Joomla, you may simply add a custom HTML module to the bottom of those pages. In WordPress, you may use a wonderful plugin called “Post Footer” and drop your “about the author” blurb in. If you need help with this, ask your web guru. Here is what my code looks like:

<img src=”https://marketingideas101.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/marketing-ideas-author-200-150×150.jpg” alt=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” title=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1465″ /><strong>Written by Matt Schoenherr</strong><br />
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on <a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363?rel=author” title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/mattschoenherr” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a> and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/marketingideas101″ title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>. Creative <a href=”https://marketingideas101.com/category/marketing-ideas/”>marketing ideas</a> and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

Step 3: It’s Alive!

Google has provided a slick little tool that tells you whether you’re on the right path. It’s called the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and you can find it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

To determine if things are working properly, place the URL address for one of your posts carrying the Google+ link into the top box and select the Preview button.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Testing Tool

An example of what your post will look like in the search results will appear. If you see your picture, great news! You’re done! If not, the Rich Snippets Testing Tool will tell you what errors it found. For me, I was told I hadn’t verified my email address, so once I added the work email address to my Google+ profile and verified it, my “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section looked like this:

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Verified

Afterglow

Per the search engine marketing agency, CatalystOnline:

“The results over a few weeks proved the quintessential SEO theory that Rich Snippets do increase CTR and as a result greater traffic. According to Google Webmaster Tools, clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150% and this improvement resulted in an increase of visits and page views (see chart below).” (Emmanuel, 2012.)

Marketing Ideas Rich Snippet Results

True, it may take a little time to get Google Authorship markup installed and functioning. Still, if your posts begin displaying your profile picture in the Google search results, you stand to gain considerable advantage over other content authors whom have not made this effort. As of today, I will begin watching to see when (if) my profile picture begins appearing alongside my posts. When (if) I see this occur, I will come back here and post an update to let you know how long it took.

In the meantime, if you work through these directions and you discover something was unclear or missing, please offer some clarification in the comments below and I’ll update this post.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

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Update, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well, it seems Google caught my Authorship submission today!  Fairly quick turn-around at exactly a week. Nice. So, what did we learn? It’s possible and it can happen quickly. We also learned your photo won’t show up next to everything you’ve written. See below.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Results

As you can see, a search for “marketing ideas 101” shows four listings (page 1, positions 1-4) for the Marketing Ideas 101 site but only one entry in the search results shows my Google Authorship image. Still, every little bit helps. In the meantime, I see I need to address the meta keywords and description for my pages, as my resource box content is being displayed instead of the page description. Ah, good times.

If I notice any other updates, I’ll post them here!

marketing ideas ebook divider

References

Crestodina, A. Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results. Retrieved from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.

Emmanuel.E. January 19, 2012. CatalystOnline. How Rich Snippets Can Improve Your CTR. Retrieved from http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/2012/01/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/.

Google. Author information in the search results. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986&expand=option2.

Google. Rich snippets not appearing. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493.

Google. Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.

Jamieson, E. How Long Will It Take For My Face/Logo To Show Up In The Search Results? Retrieved from http://www.authorsure.com/514/how-long-will-it-take-for-my-facelogo-to-show-up-in-the-search-results.

To Market Online, Know Your ‘Why’

Marketing Ideas Know Your Why

Question: When marketing online, I have always focused on marketing only one of my many services. Should I market something else? How should I market my business online?

Answer: Many folks wonder how to market businesses online. I believe your starting point depends upon where your heart lies.

If you’re in love with one particular element of your business, focus on that. For instance, if you’re a photographer who favors working weddings, I would recommend staying focused on ‘wedding photographer’ as a keyphrase. Then add your target location (where you want to work these jobs.)  Your keyphrase would then look like ‘wedding photographer Detroit’ or ‘wedding photographer Chicago’.

Yes, if you’re a talented wedding photographer, you probably do well photographing other events. If you prefer photographing sporting events, sure, follow that. However, know that maintaining a singular focus over time will yield more singular results than a dispersed focus (better position in the search engines, more qualified traffic, therefore higher conversions to paying wedding photography jobs.) When choosing keywords during your online marketing activities, take aim at your singular idea—your one thing—and charge after that.

At the time of this writing, MarketingIdeas101.com is only about five months old. Judging by the domain name, it’s safe to guess ‘marketing ideas’ is one of the coveted keyphrases. Well, it so happens there are lots of top-dogs ranking well for that keyphrase, nationally and globally. When the Marketing Ideas 101 site first hit Google, it was on page 2 for ‘marketing ideas 101’ and between pages 13-17 for ‘marketing ideas’. For ‘marketing ideas’, that’s a position of 130-170 out of the approximate 196,000,000 results found by Google. Who is going to go to the 17th page of their search results? The site may as well have not existed!

It took only five months and now Marketing Ideas 101 dominates ‘marketing ideas 101’ (top four positions when I looked this morning) and is now on page 3 for ‘marketing ideas’, surpassing even an Inc.com page. During this time, Marketing Ideas 101 has been grown from a single page to over 50 pages, most of which have ‘marketing idea’ or ‘marketing ideas’ in the title and URL.

(Note: Don’t think for a second I believe there are throngs of people looking for ‘marketing ideas 101’ as a keyphrase. This phrase—which coincides with the domain name MarketingIdeas101.com—was simply one of the smaller milestones I used to gauge progress. Now that the top position for the full phrase has been captured, we’re continuing on after the big fish on the national and global levels; those who sit atop the ‘marketing ideas’ search results.)

The off-site marketing of the MarketingIdeas101.com site has not been aggressive. Maybe there has been a blog comment every two weeks? Maybe there has been a broadcast for new post or article to Twitter and LinkedIn about once a week? More importantly, there are 2-3 new posts every week. Plus, most these posts carry titles based on low- to medium-competition keyphrases with higher search volume.

The aim is to reach folks who have specific marketing questions on topics that have been under-served. Combine this with broadcasting new posts through Facebook, Twitter (automated), LinkedIn groups, and Pinterest (my photographer example should definitely be using Pinterest) and Marketing Ideas 101 moved up to an average daily volume of 50-60 visits each day. The Marketing Ideas site cleared 100 visits in a day last week. Yes, these are still small numbers, but for many small businesses and nonprofits operating at a local level, it is targeted traffic at this volume that begins to make the phone ring.

Again, the only aggressive effort here has been in the delivery of solid content. This content was designed to provide answers to current marketing questions, assisting as many people as possible (e.g. where to find Google Analytics report templates, what’s hot in social media, why you don’t care about building a mobile app, etc.)

Make no mistake; claiming page 1 positioning may take a couple more years even though the Marketing Ideas 101 site jumped to page 3 after 5 months. I can be patient. I understand this is a journey. As long as I’m serving others with the goal of making a difference for as many people as possible, I’ll keep after it. You must know your ‘why’ though; otherwise you may find it easy to become distracted or frustrated when you occasionally lose position to a competitor (or the latest Google update,) or when you lose a client, etc.

My goal for this project is to serve as many folks as I can by providing great content, tools, instruction and support. The intent is to help my followers and students 1) gain the competitive edge in their marketplace and 2) see their dreams through to fulfillment and expansion. Ultimately, my ‘why’ is to fortify or restore hope in the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the freelancer, the nonprofit–anyone who would have more from life from the status quo. Then I arm them with a set of the tools by which to do this.

Knowing your ‘why’ will help you focus your direction and your dedication. Then you can begin selecting your keyphrases. Then you can really get into your online marketing strategies.

So my question to you is this: What is your ‘why‘? Why is it you do what you do? What does driving toward your mission fulfill for you and what does it fulfill for those you support?

What is your ‘why’?

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Update, Saturday, July 14, 2012

It appears the Marketing Ideas 101 site has jumped to page 2 in at least one of Google’s indexes (Google has at least two I’m aware of.) Since this original post 20 days ago, I’ve produced three light posts and two full-length articles. Additionally, I had an online article publisher offer to publish this article and Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results. (Read more on article marketing.)

Page Position Marketing Ideas

I’ll report back once I’ve achieved a first page position for “marketing ideas”. Until then, go forth and conquer.

Matt