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Welcome to James Craven's Blog

I've recently created this page with the intent of helping my fellow marketer. Over the past months I've written dozens upon dozens of articles that I've either posted on enzines, or just kept stuffed away in my desk. Well I figure it's time to put them to some use. So I've gathered them up along with some e-books, free software and a few other goodies. I love to write, so if there is anything you would like to hear my opinion about or basic fact, please let me know and I will get right on it. I am just a normal guy with just a little extra time on my hands. The internet has set me free financially and if you would trust in me I will take your hand and guide you down the path to prosperity. Why do you ask? Because in order to succeed in this business we must all help one another, otherwise it will not work. That is my belief and I trust in it. Sincerely, James Craven

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Does AdSense Belong on my Blog?

So you're setting up a new blog and you have lots of decisions to make. Which design should you use? What plug-ins should you add? How do you monetize your blog?

When considering how to make money with your blog, the question always comes up about whether or not to place AdSense ads on your site. Let's go over the plusses and minuses of mixing ads with the content of your site.


An easy way to monetize your blog, especially if you are a beginner blogger, is to place AdSense ads on it. You decide on the format, size, and color and AdSense walks you through the whole thing. Look around at other blogs to get ideas of what you like. Keep in mind, AdSense has restrictions as to the number of ads you can add, but you don't want to overdo it anyway.

Ads are passive income. You make money if people click on them (PPC). You just stick them up there and let them do their job. You don't presell or tell people to click on them. Experiment on placement, type, color, etc. and track which works best.

It's true that blogs are a creative outlet, but if you're not doing anything else to make money with your blog, why not use AdSense? The money you make may not replace your income, but it's still money coming in.


Placing ads on your site may feel like a cop-out if you want your blog to remain a pure artistic creation. Your readers may not like it if you suddenly start throwing up ads. If your blog is already going strong before you start using AdSense, then make the ads small, unobtrusive, and few to start with.

AdSense may not make you much money. It depends on the amount of traffic coming your way and the relevancy of the ads. Sometimes there is a better use for that spot the ads are on, especially if that spot is above the fold.

When you put ads on your site you are asking people to click away. This is not a good idea on every site. For example, if you have a one page sales page where you are selling your product, you don't want people to click away, you want them to buy now.

It might be a big decision whether to put AdSense ads on your blog, but it's easier to put them on in the beginning and take them off later than to add them after the fact. Either way, though, your decision can be changed. Just remember your blog content should always be your main concern.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Your Web Site's Success: Are You A Perceived Expert?

Do you want to know what it takes to successfully market a web site and generate repeat sales?

It's simple really.

You must position yourself as a perceived expert. It doesn't matter what product or service you are selling, this same premise will hold true.

What is a perceived expert, you ask?

Good question.

Gone are the days where you could build a simple company web site, list your products and send customers to an order page. New web sites are sprouting up like blades of grass and competition is intensely fierce.

The bottom line is this: why should a customer buy from YOU?

A small but growing number of small business owners have discovered the answer to this question and are kicking your butt. How are they accomplishing this? By positioning themselves as an expert in their industry and using their web site to communicate that fact to potential customers.

How can you become an expert too?

Offer your potential customers an education to compliment the product or service you are selling. You can write it, buy it or license the content you need. Whichever you choose, teaching your customers should be an essential component of your web site and its importance cannot be overstated.

Here are some examples:

If you are selling diamonds or jewelry online, offer articles, tips or even a free guide on "How do I choose the right diamond for me?" or "20 ways to spot fake jewelry."

If you operate a job search or career database, offer a wealth of guides and tips such as "20 ways to improve your resume," "what to wear at a job interview," or "how do I know if a job is right for me."

If you are selling health related items (ie: vitamins, pills or creams), don't simply throw up ad copy, a few product images and an order form. Educate your customers on the benefits of each ingredient and how it can improve their well-being. Take it one step further and provide an education on every vitamin and mineral known to man. Just make it fun and easy to read.

You get the picture.

How can this help your web site prosper?

People want to buy the best product they can, at the best price, from someone they trust. Given the fact your customers will never see or meet you, this task is accomplished by your web site. By offering them a wealth of expertise related to the products you are selling, you immediately create a foundation to build upon. You are helping them make a more informed decision as to what to purchase while at YOUR web site. In essence, your web site becomes the salesperson that the customer would normally see in the store or talk to on the phone. Customers always have questions. You have the opportunity to give them the answer and a whole lot more knowledge by becoming a perceived expert in your industry.

If you give your potential customers an education, they will reward you for it. Plus, they will likely tell their friends too!

Friday, March 27, 2009

What is a Niche Market Anyway?

You are interested in starting a home-based business. You also want to use the Internet for your work-at-home idea. However, you are not sure if you can make money online. To make matters worse, you are confused about what home-based business opportunity to pursue.

If this sounds like you, rest assured that money can be made online with a home-based business. You don't need to study for years until you can reap rewards. There are sound business concepts that have been taught and proven to be true by some of the most highly successful marketers in the world. What is the top sound principle that will ensure your success? It is choosing the right niche market.

You might be wondering what is a niche. A niche is simply a group of people with similar interests and needs. They are very passionate about their topic of interest. Think of a small pond packed with starving fish and you have the bait specific to their needs; they will like what you have to offer the best. This, in essence, is a niche.

Why a niche market? Well, unless you are a huge corporation with bottomless pockets, niche marketing is the way to go. You see most of the large corporations blow off niche markets because they are not trying to make an additional $1000 to $15000 per month like many home-based business entrepreneurs and other small business owners. They are seeking to make millions per month, which is good for you because you don't have to compete with those companies that have massive marketing budgets.

It really is easy to find potential customers in niche markets. Here are some examples:

Motor Home Owners
Carpet Cleaner Business Owners
Restaurant Owners
Winter Camping Enthusiasts
Siamese Cat Owners
Landscape Company Owners

You get the picture.

Before you decide which niche market to target for your home- based business, here are four important points to consider:

1. Is the market easily defined and reachable? Do you know where they hangout? What kind of trade journals or publications do they read? Do they have clubs or are members of particular organizations?

2. Is the market small enough that you will not have tons of competitors, but still large enough for you to make a good profit?

3. Does the market have the money to spend?

4. Does the group have an insane passion for their hobby or topic of interest? Do they eat, sleep, and breathe their hobby? Are they constantly seeking more information related to their subject? A great example of this would be golfers and NASCAR enthusiasts!

Doing research related to these questions will help you pick the perfect niche market for your home-based business.

As you think about starting a home-based business and what market to target, follow the above suggestions and you will be way ahead of many other home-based business opportunity seekers who want to start a work-at-home business.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to benefit from Social Sites

Social sites have become the latest craze on the Internet. Social Marketing can also be seen as the next wave of internet marketing. Everyone has heard about social sites and benefits from such sites. Social sites provide a lot of freedom and interactivity to the user. Such sites are powered by the latest technologies like AJAX and allow users to personalize page backgrounds,style,post their music, post videos, store documents, share their favorites and connect with people. Users can also post their pictures, share them with friends and even invite or search for new friends.

But how exactly do these sites help your site and its rankings? By sending huge amounts of traffic and getting you a good ranking on search engines.

There are two types of social sites. One is social networking and the other type is social bookmarking. Social networking sites provide you an easy way to connect with people who share similar interests like you. Sites like MySpace, Orkut, Bebo, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster are popular among users. These sites have a huge user base and provide an excellent opportunity for advertising your site. There are also specialized social networking sites like 43Things, MomJunction, Mothersclick which cater to specific interests.

Some social networking sites group people with common interests, but some sites are "traditional networking sites" and allow you to search for friends based on your interests. In any case you will always have a larger audience for showcasing your site. Sites like Facebook and MySpace allow you to post your advertisements and promote your products, provided you are not spamming. If you have a really good site, you will surely find a large visitor base just by showcasing your site on your profile.

Social bookmarking sites provide you easy way to store, organize, manage your bookmarks as well as share them with your friends. You can bookmark any URL or page you liked and even mark them for public or private viewing. Social bookmarking sites also provide you with the option of tagging your bookmarks. Some of the bookmarking sites link directly to your URL’s thus helping your site in getting valuable back links and quick indexing. Sites like Stumbleupon, Digg, Delicious are known to send huge traffic to your site. If you manage to get on the front page of these sites, you should be prepared to handle a huge number of visitors to your site.

Search engines spiders love social sites and usually follow links on these sites. This means if you have your site link on social networking and bookmarking sites, your site will be indexed quickly.

If you happen to be using Wordpress for your blog, you should use some good plugins like Socialmarker, Socializer and Addthis. These plugins provide your site visitors a quick option to bookmark your site. Getting bookmarked from different users and different bookmarking sites will definitely help your site rank better on search engines. Some plugins like Onlywire automatically bookmark your post to 20 different bookmarking sites as soon as you publish your post.

It is a known fact that the video and photo sharing sites like Youtube and Flickr are visited by millions of people everyday. If you think out of the box and use your creativity, your published video will get your site the traffic you've always wanted. Some video sharing sites like Metacafe also pay you a part of their revenue just for publishing your video.

Like it or not, social sites have become an integral part of the internet. You need to use this opportunity to you advantage before it is too late.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Split Testing to Improve Your Website

Most people change their website's pages whenever they get a new idea. They think that each change is going to improve their site and make them more successful.

Of course, there are basic improvements you can make as you are writing the content for your site. And for the first few weeks you may notice some shortcomings that need to be remedied.

But, after a few days or weeks your site becomes stable. You don't find any more errors in spelling or grammar. The graphics look like they belong on the site. And your order link or opt-in form performs correctly.

You're now ready for split testing. This is a slow, incremental improvement of your site through ongoing testing.

Split testing involves making an experimental change to one of your pages, measuring the effects of that change, and analyzing the significance of differences in measured results. In other words, a split test attempts to determine how a change to your site affects some measurable response.

There are several decisions you must make to conduct a split test.

First, you need to determine what change you want to make. Typically you will change a headline, a sentence or two in your sales copy, the price of your product, the wording of your guarantee, change an image, or alter some other single feature of your page.

You will use two (or more) nearly identical pages. The difference being that one page has the "original" material while the other "experimental" page has the change applied.

Second, you must decide what "success event" to measure. For many people, it will be sales of a product or clicks of the order link. Some will want to measure the number of opt-ins. Others will measure the clicks to a pay-per-click service like AdSense.

To measure successfully, you must know how to distinguish successful responses from your "original" and "experimental" pages.

For example, many affiliate programs allow you to include a campaign ID in your link. By placing one campaign ID in the order links on the "original" page and another campaign ID on the "experimental" page you can determine the number of clicks and the number of orders coming from your pages.

Other people use a redirect script that keeps statistics on each redirect request. Redirect scripts typically use a keyword to select the URL for redirection. You can use keywords like "original" and "experimental" and have both redirected to your affiliate program's order page. Then you can use the admin function of the redirect script to look at the number of clicks to the order page from both your "original" and "experimental" pages.

Next, you'll need a script to randomly deliver your original or experimental pages to your site's visitors. It would be helpful for this script to place a cookie on the visitor’s computer so the same page is delivered when the visitor returns.

Finally, you'll need to analyze the results. The Chi Square statistic is often used to determine the significance of experiments similar to this. While differences in results often seem satisfyingly clear, they often are not statistically significant.

For example, consider two pages that are each displayed 500 times. One page resulted in 20 sales while the other page resulted in 30 sales. "WOW", you say. "One page caused 50% more sales than the other page. That's got to be meaningful."

In this case we had a total of 50 sales, all things being equal, we would expect 25 sales from each page. The difference for both of your pages was only 5 sales. One page made 5 more sales than expected while the other made 5 fewer sales than expected. This could easily be the result of random variation rather than being caused by differences in your pages.

To help you understand, consider this story. Two random people are each given 500 pennies and each is placed 30 feet from a small can. They toss their pennies at the can. One person gets 30 pennies in the can while the other gets only 20 in the can. Can you conclude that the person who got 30 pennies in was significantly more skilled at tossing pennies than the other person?

No. In fact, if this penny tossing experiment was repeated 100 times, it is likely that 15 of those results would differ by as much or more than our example. That's too close to simple random variation to believe that there is a real difference in skill levels between the people tossing the pennies.

For many experiments, a "statistically significant" result means that the differences we seen in our result would occur 5 or fewer times if a similar random experiment was repeated 100 times.

So, we should not conclude that there is a significant difference in the ability of our pages to deliver the "success event."

There are now two things we can do. One is to conclude that the change we made to our "experimental" page is not statistically significant. In this case we can move on to the next split test experiment.

Or, we can continue this split test and hope that the ratio of sales remains the same. If we carried on the split test longer and found the same ratio of results, the differences could be significant. Consider doubling the number of exposures of your pages. If the ratio held, and we now have 60 sales compared to only 40 sales, that result would be statistically significant.

In 100 truly random experiments, successes having differences similar to 60 and 40 would occur fewer than 5 times. This is a good indication that the observed differences were not caused simply by random chance. Rather, we can conclude that there was a real cause for the observed differences.

The Chi Square statistic can be found on many spreadsheets, including Excel. With this statistic you compare the expected success values with the actual success values. When the statistic has a value of 0.05 or less you can conclude that there was a real reason for the differences.

Don't expect every split test experiment to yield important results. Perhaps a third of your split test experiments will show the experimental page significantly improved sales. A third of the time there will be no significant difference. And a third of the time, the experimental page will cause a decrease in sales.

But, keep testing because that's the sure way to improve your sales.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Your Own Web Site: Patient Friend or Darkest Nightmare?

Most everyone will agree, if you are going to do business online, you need your own web site. It can be a mini-site or a full blown multi-page mega-monster. These days, maybe you just need a blog.

There are those who have written entire books about how they made X amount of dollars with no web site, and no product of their own. That's entirely possible.

Having your own site may open up many possibilities that you could never have imagined. For many who embark upon their own web site adventure, it becomes a learning experience with no equal.

Your site will take on a personality of its own. You may see it as a very patient friend, waiting calmly for you to discover some little hidden function, which opens up a whole range of entirely new possibilities, and starts your thoughts racing - thinking about how to capitalize on that particular feature.

You may get a little careless, or too relaxed with it, then bam! Right between the eyes. Oh, no, you've just wiped out your index page by mistake. Happily, you're not just enthusiastic, but also careful. You have a copy on your hard drive, so that's easy to fix.

Anyway, it's fun, can be profitable, and most certainly could feed that creative flair in all of us. Others may look at it as a nightmare. I guess it depends on your frame of mind.

To prevent your experience from becoming a nightmare there are a few basic things that will help.

1. Research domain names carefully. Don't just pick one you like. You want it to be something a lot of people are searching for, but hopefully has low to medium competition.

Use Wordtracker's FREE trial: http://wordtracker.com

http://www.google.com search will give you an idea about competition for any particular keyword.

Use Overture's search box to find how many times your keyword was searched on last month:


2. Don't get fooled into paying too much for a domain name, unless it's really a special one that fits your purpose and your niche like a glove. Domain names can be had, starting at around $9 or $10 at:


3. Research again when you go to get your actual domain, the space for you to tack your sign (your domain name) on to. Especially check storage and bandwidth allowed, and of course price.

4. My advice is to use a template to build your actual web pages. You can find them all over the 'Net FREE!

http://www.ibdprince.com - has all kinds of webmaster goodies, including really great looking CSS templates.

http://www.diyminisite.com - templates and videos about mini site creation - click the "not yet a member" link to join. It's FREE. Then go to the download area. No strings.

5. When you actually start creating your web pages, take care that the HTML you use is in line with what the search engine web spiders require.

Get a FREE copy of "7 days to Massive Web Site Traffic." It outlines the steps to a web page that can rank high in the search engines, and even goes beyond just your web pages, to tell you "the rest of the story." I thoroughly enjoyed it.

...There used to be a link directly to the ebook, but now the only way to get a copy is to go to:


Scroll through the sales pitch, then close the page. The "7 Days" popup appears. It sounds like a lot of trouble, but believe me, it's worth it.

6. Don't load your site down with slow loading banners and images. Use interlaced low-res images that have been optimized for the web.

7. Write your copy, then play editor: write, hack, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, until it is crisp, clear, to the point, and utterly understandable.

Repeat your strongest point or benefit a number of times (at least three). Some people just don't get it the first time or two.

Spread your text out a bit. Don't double space, but use very short paragraphs, and lots of headings with some space between the heading and the paragraph.

Target your audience. Don't talk about network marketing to golfers. They may be interested in network marketing, but they probably got to your site via a search for a golf product and that's what they're looking for.

Did you advertise a network marketing opportunity in a golfing ezine? That's acceptable in the "paper and ink" world, but could be spam online.

Keep your fonts constant throughout your site. Variety may be the "spice of life" but can really look lousy on a web page. You can vary the size a bit, and throw in a little color, but stay conservative with the type style.

Know your target audience, and be sure not to speak (write) above their heads. Use words they will understand without Webster's help. You may get by with writing a little below their level, but never above it.

Highlight important selling words and phrases with bolding, italics, underlining, and color. Just don't overdo it.

Don't forget, purchases are never made on logic, but on emotion. Use copy that is designed to trigger an emotional response, such as a sense of loss, one of the strongest: "If you wait, this offer may no longer be available at this price. Get it now at this ridiculously low price, and it's yours forever."

8. The most important point, that will probably do more to promote your online success than any other is this: Pick a niche! Do not get sucked into selling network marketing programs and how-to information, ebooks and such, about online marketing. That's what EVERYBODY is doing. The competition will KILL you.

Find something you are interested in, research it, and if necessary learn it. You are so much better off starting out by learning a niche like "19th Century Knitting" or "17th Century Scrimshaw" than you are jumping into the cauldron of poor souls caught up in the nightmare of selling ebooks that are being given away FREE all over the internet.

Why do so many do it? There was no one to tell them "don't touch that, it will burn you." There's about a million or more marketers out there telling you, "Come on in, the water's fine." So you do, only to find they just wanted to sell you something.

Don't fall for it! It's hard to change direction once you get up momentum, so start out right.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Guide to Article Marketing

Most article marketing slogans will try to pull you into the bandwagon with slogans like "You can earn money by blogging!" or "Make your blog generate cash!" However, beginners make a lot of mistakes when they try to submit their articles online. Below are the most common misconceptions about the business of writing content for the web.

Avoid the hype text.

Whether you are writing for a website, or writing an online review about a certain product, you should always try not to sound like a hawker with a megaphone. Putting too many exclamation points (!!!) in your text is a big no-no. For one, it makes your readers feel like you think they are stupid, and secondly, it gives you away. When you write in an exclamatory (!!!) tone, you only end up sounding insincere. This is not the way to gain your readers' trust.

Stick to informative articles.

Whether you are writing for your own affiliate web site or an ezine that pays you depending on your word count, it is always safe to stick to informative topics. How-to articles are big right now. Everyone seems to be looking for self-help tips online, whether it is about carpentry or losing weight. Because how-to articles require a lot of research, it is safer to stick to topics you are familiar with. You would not want to be stuck with a lot of jargon you cannot understand. Writing articles is about translating your understanding of the subject matter onto the screen. If you cannot get anything about what you are reading, chances are, you will give nothing in what you are writing as well.

Do keyword research.

You can do this simply by typing in what you think your prospective readers will search for when they are looking for your topic. This way, you can compare why one page is ranked over the other and what keywords actually reap a lot of results.

Using less common keywords will probably help you rank higher on search engines, although you stand less chance that this keyword will actually be keyed in by any prospective online reader. On the other hand, using common keywords will help you be included in one of the index pages of a search engine, but you will stand very little chance of actually being ranked in the first page.

The best place to start is with the master of search engines, Google. Who better would know what people are searching for than the most used search engine on the web? Google's Keyword Research Tool can give you a list of related keywords in your niche, as well as the search count, competition, monthly trends, etc. You can find it here:


Do not overdo the SEO.

Although it is necessary to know how to manipulate keywords in your articles so it can attract search engine spiders, it is not very good to overdo it. For example, repeating "hypertext inclusion" 40 times in a 400 word article will not only make what you have written sound like gibberish, it can get you banned from the most popular search engines online.

You should write for human readers first. Worry about the search engines later once you have come up with web content that is actually worth reading. There is nothing more irritating than looking at 400 words of garbage. If you are going to occupy a domain's precious bandwidth, anyway, you might as well try to make your text useful.

Try to be original.

Repeating information that has been recycled over and over online will not give you much of an edge as an article marketer. If you cannot get any new information about the topic you are writing about, you might as well try to be creative with your delivery. Again, we do not mean hype when we say creative. Keep your text readable, conversational, and entertaining. You should also never underestimate the power of a well written web article. Proofread your articles before publishing them, and make sure that you do not have any filler text that readers might find useless.

Keep your web content short, sweet, and strong. People who read through their screen do not have the time to filter junk information.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Six Tips In Setting Up A Sitemap

A sitemap is to a website as the table of contents is to a book. The sitemap lists all the pages in the site, helping visitors and search engine robots find pages in that website. This not only encourages live visitors to return to the site, but also helps in the optimization of the site for search engines.

There are three major types of sitemaps:

1. indexed - The sitemap appears as an alphabetical listing or directory. The relationship among the pages is not indicated.

2. full categorical - The map displays all links which are classified in categories. This type was found to be the most preferred type by users as it makes it easier for them to search for certain topics in the site, and it eases comparison between and among categories.

3. restricted categorical - The sitemap displays all links in a chosen category at a time; you will not see all the links of a website, as compared to the full categorical type. The sitemap confines the list of links under a selected category. This makes viewing easier and less eye-straining.

With any of these types are techniques you can use to set up a superior sitemap. Here are six tips that you can use:

1. Link the sitemap only to your homepage. This will ensure that the search engine robot starts searching from your homepage down to all the pages listed in your sitemap. In this way, no page will be left unvisited by the robot.

2. Limit your sitemap to 30 pages. If you have more than this, the search engines might think that your sitemap is a link farm, and you will be penalized for that. Limiting the number of pages of your sitemap also prevents overcrowding of links. This will make viewing less tiring.

3. Check all the links in your sitemap. It can be discouraging for your visitors if they click on a link only to get a 404 error message or the page requested is not found. Or your visitors click on a link only to be shown a page that has a different topic to that of the link. You should, therefore, test your sitemap, clicking on all the links in every page, to ensure that there are no unbroken links, and that all links are indeed linked to the right page.

4. Give keyword-rich titles to your sitemaps. This helps in the optimization of your website. Search engine robots will search your website properly under the right category.

5. Provide a short description for the links. This will help your visitors to know what to expect to find in a link. This can save your visitors time surfing your website.

6. Be consistent in designing your sitemap with that of the other pages in your website. Use the same HTML template for all pages in your site, including the sitemap. This will establish identity and build character to your website.

By following the above tips, not only will you create a sitemap that is pleasing to the eye, but will also encourage your visitors to return to your site, have the search engine robots crawl through all the pages in your site, and increase your ranking in the search engines.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One Of The Easiest Ways To Make Money Online

There are many different ways to generate revenue online and some are more difficult than others.

Let’s face it, many people that first come online and find out they could make a few bucks realize really quickly that it's not all that easy.

They start searching for information about making money online and find out all too soon that there are a lot of sites out there that will let them purchase information they can use to learn how to make tons of cash for themselves and shortly thereafter they realize that the next step is to go purchase even more tools, info and study material at an even higher cost.

The other problem many people run into is that they find the many different newsletters that are online and each one is promoting a different way of making money online. Some may talk about affiliate marketing, others are discussing how to use their blogs or the power of Web 2.0 and yet others review how to use AdSense and PPC (pay per click) to boost their business.

In both cases, the new and aspiring Internet marketer is confused, lost and all too quickly fed up and frustrated after just a short time and most likely a ton of money they feel was thrown out the window.

And yet, making money online doesn’t have to be difficult, you don’t even have to have a website, your own products are not needed and you don’t have to run a massive affiliate program of your own to at least make some money to help you get started and you can quickly plug that hole in your wallet where all those precious dollars have been falling out of.

One of the simplest and quickest ways to get started generating some revenue online is to use articles coupled with affiliate marketing.

Here’s a simple guide to help you get started:

1. Head over to Clickbank and take a look at the many products waiting for you to promote them.

There are a few things you might want to look at while you are browsing around the Marketplace. Clickbank has a pretty good guide that will tell you how to tell the difference between products that are performing well and those that are bombing, but here’s one simple tip to keep in mind as well. As you look through the Pitch Pages, think to yourself for just a moment, if I was interested in this product, does this page even grab my attention? Would you be likely to purchase what you saw?

Once you have picked out a couple of products you really like, consider purchasing them so you can provide high-quality reviews of them, but if the budget is tight, that sometimes isn’t an option, so you will have to make note of the features, benefits and any other important information you got from the sales page.

2. Write one article.

Yes, that’s it. Write one simple article that features some of the key benefits of the product you will be promoting. Keep it simple and don't make it look like a sales page. For example, if the product you plan to promote is about Planning Your Wedding you could write your article based on "The Top 10 Things To Keep In Mind When Planning Your Wedding" and then list the 10 things (or however many you got) from the sales page that are related, such as Choosing The Location For Your Reception, How To Avoid Relatives Embarrassing You, How To Keep Your Bridesmaids From Looking Like Clowns. Whatever the information you found, write it out in a bullet point list and then add a few short sentences to each bullet point. It doesn’t have to be fancy, short and sweet works better. For example, if you are working on Choosing The Location For Your Reception, you could add a sentence or two about the things to keep in mind if you are planning an outdoor reception.

3. The Resource Box or About The Author

If you go look at some of the popular article directories, such as eZineArticles.com online you will find at the bottom of each article a section known as the Resource Box, or also called About The Author.

This is your place to shine. Your article was to the point, without any sales pitches, but now in this last part you are free to tell a little about yourself (and if you have a website you can add a link there too) and you can also suggest a helpful solution (the product you are promoting) that could further assist the reader with the challenges of planning their own wedding.

Keep in mind that you only have a few lines for the resource box, so you will definitely have to rewrite it a few times just so you can tweak it and get it just the way you want it, but ultimately, the goal is to have the reader click the link at the end of your article and purchase the product you are promoting, so make it straight to the point. A simple and yet effective example might be: "For more helpful information as well as awesome ways to save hundreds if not thousands on your wedding visit youraffiliatelink.com today".

Again, you don’t want it to be fancy, but your call to action has to make sure the reader has no choice but to click the link and hopefully the sales page you are referring them to is good enough to close the deal and earn you some referral commissions.

4. Last but definitely not least.

If you go to your favorite search engine and type in "Article Directory" you will find hundreds of different websites where you can submit your article for inclusion. There are other ways to spread the word about your new article, but directories are a quick and easy way to get the word out there and they are all quite easy to use. Just search for the article directories and then submit your new article to as many as you can. If possible, try to submit it to at least 20 or 30, but the more the better.

What will happen is that webmasters, bloggers and newsletter publishers that search through these directories will come across your article and if it’s a good match for their readers and visitors they will be inclined to post your article on their website, or publish it in their newsletter and they will include your Resource Box, along with the link to the product you are promoting.

Bottom line this has the potential to get your article very quickly on thousands of websites, in front of tons of newsletter readers and ultimately you didn’t have to spend a single penny for all this exposure and advertising, you didn’t have to have your own fancy website or subscriber optin list and you didn’t have to create your own product.

This same method has been used for quite some time very successfully and has in many cases returned more than just a few hundred bucks within a couple of weeks, in some cases, 1 single article has returned over a thousand dollars in a month and the best part is that your article will continue to be out there, week after week for others to see, click your link and order the product, making you more commissions.

The final thing to help you get started is when you’ve gotten this far congratulate yourself. You have done more than many of the people "day-dreaming" of making it online; you’ve actually done something about it. Now get back over to Clickbank and find yourself another product to promote, start back at step 1 and have fun making money.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to Start a Profitable Niche Marketing Business

What does niche marketing mean? Niche marketing is about finding small opportunities on the web, small areas in which people might be interested and for which they might be searching. Big companies and experienced webmasters are not interested in these areas because they are not important enough. But a small business could be something in which you might be interested.

Perhaps a small mini website will not generate thousands of dollars every month; it might generate 100 bucks, for example. That is ok, if the effort involved in terms of creating this mini website is not too high; in this way, you could repeat the same business model again and again. Taking into consideration that every small business could generate around $100 every month, with ten niches, you could earn $1.000 monthly. Does this sound better? And what if you could create 50 websites?

The first step in this kind of business is always keyword research. You need to find small markets which do not have competition. Wordtrack is a very good tool to use for finding niche opportunities. For every keyword, it tells you the number of searches and how many results are found on each search engine. You need to pay special attention to the KEI column. KEI is the index that balances the number of searches and the number of competitors. The more searches and the fewer the competitors, the better for you. A KEI higher than 10 is good, but you should, ideally, look at keywords with a KEI over 100. More than 400 is a gift.

Once you have identified your niche, you need to find content for it. Don`t worry about which product you are going to sell; this will come later. The “fuel” of any Internet business is content. So where can you find content? Well, if you are an expert in an area, you could write your own articles, but if you are not, you have to look for content somewhere else.

There are many article directories that offer a lot of content that you can use. You can also find much content just by searching the web. Use search engines, find blogs, forums, websites, etc. Last, but not least, you can always find information as in “the old times,” go to the library or buy one or two books.

After you have found enough content, it is time to register a domain name. You should choose a name that has something to do with your target market, but if your intention is to create multiple mini websites, you don’t need to register a different domain name every time. You can save money by having one global domain name, and create sub domains for each business.

The question now is, “Since everything looks good, how do I make money with these sites?” You need to follow this 3 step formula (CTM):

- Create Content
- Generate Traffic
- Monetize your website

You can build traffic by optimizing the webpage content for the search engines and by analyzing your competitors in order to build a better SEO strategy (but this is another chapter). Blogging and pinging is a way to make sure that your site will be spidered by the search engines. Wordpress is a very good option for creating your blog, as it allows you to post, not only articles, but pages. You can easily build miniwebsites with Wordpress. Finally, there are three easy ways to earn money with your site.

1. Sell some product that you can create yourself. If you have this ability and you want to allow people to buy your products with a credit card, the easiest way is to create a Paypal account. If you don’t have one, visit www.paypal.com and create one.

2. Join affiliate programs. Find people who sell products related to your market niche and who have affiliate programs already set up. You will earn commissions just by selling other people’s items. A good place to find affiliate programs on products is www.clickbank.com.

3. Google Adsense. Create an account at Google Adsense and include Google ads on your site. Every time someone visits your site and clicks one of those ads, Google will share its profit with you.

Creating small businesses is like a game. They do not require high investment, but they will not make you rich either. However, if you start playing many of those games, it can become a serious business.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How You Can Save Time And Money To Invest In Your Online Business

If you think you are too poor or too busy to succeed with a home-based business on the Internet, here are some tips to help you save time and money to invest in your online business.

Most people have never stopped to analyze how they spend their time and money and would be shocked if they realized how much of each commodity they wasted every week of their lives.

The problem is that people often lack a clear focus in their lives. So the first key to finding the time and money you need for your Internet business is to find your sense of purpose and focus on it. Napoleon Hill called this sense of purpose a BURNING DESIRE.

What is it that you truly want?

What is it that causes you to want to start a business working from home on the Internet?.

Whatever it is, make it a concrete, visible, tangible BURNING DESIRE and that will give you the focus you need to cut out time and money wasting habits and invest that saved time and money in your online business.

Now, let's take a look at some of the key time wasting NON-ESSENTIAL activities that many people are addicted to, often simply because they have not developed a BURNING DESIRE to achieve anything more positive in their lives.

First and foremost, television must be the chief time-waster in many people's lives.

Actually, there is nothing wrong with television in itself. It is the way people spend hours of their lives in unplanned TV viewing that is the problem. So if you cannot or do not want to cut the goggle box out of your life, at least plan and ration your viewing time. Use the TV guide to plan your viewing and look out for programs that will inform and educate you.

Now, here are some other activities that you will want to ration, cut back on or eradicate from your life altogether in order to save time and money for your Internet business:

spectator sports; socializing with negative-minded types who can drain you of your self-belief; telephone conversations, email and online chat; surfing the Internet with no clear purpose in mind; newspapers and magazines; gambling and lotteries; smoking; drinking (both alcohol and beverages - cut out those long coffee breaks); expensive cars; cinema; clubbing; fashion and vanity; long baths; long dinners; restaurants; bars; DVDs; expensive holidays; impulse purchases and window shopping expeditions; searching for bargains on eBay...

Perhaps as you read through the list and came to activities that you enjoy you found yourself making an excuse for them... Just remember the old saying, "No pain, no gain"!

You don't (really) have to become a hermit who spends all day working on the Internet with just a couple of ten minute breaks for bread and water. But if you do want to succeed online and are operating with limited time and money, then you will need to decide where your priorities lie and act accordingly.

One final point is to see yourself not so much as giving up stuff, but as REPLACING a non-productive activity that eats into your precious time and money with a new, positive activity that is both fun and productive.

Yes, Internet marketing IS a lot of fun. If you are willing to save time and money on other pursuits in order to invest in your online business you will build new friendships and associations as you make contact on the Internet with mentors, fellow marketers, and a growing network of customers and affiliates.

Really, it is up to you what you really want to do with your life, your time and your money.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Four Ways To Get Links

Creating links from your site to other sites related to yours is a very important tactic for you to improve your search engine position and increase your site's visibility. This article gives you four ways to do that as well as how to check your site's link popularity.

Basically there are two types of links to consider. One type of link is an inbound link, or backlink, which is simply a link from another site pointing to your site. All backlinks are good. It doesn't matter if the content of the other site is similar or related to yours.

The other type of link involves a reciprocal link which means that your site and the other site have exchanged links which point to the other's site. Good reciprocal links should be from sites which have similar related content. The search engines may penalize you if you accept links that are not from sites with related content.

Here are four ways to located related sites with which you may want to exchange reciprocal links.


Do a simple search in any of the major search engines for keywords and terms which relate to your website and its content.

When you have located appropriate sites and reviewed them, send the webmaster an invitation message which you should have already created and saved in a drafts folder.

Your success with this method depends a lot on how you approach the selected websites. If possible, your message should be personalized with the webmaster's name and the link information to their site which you have already posted on your site.

Of course you will also want to include your linking information for your site for them to post a reciprocal link to your site.


Discover who your competitors are on line and make some visits to their sites to determine who they are linking to. Review those links on their sites and make contact with them about reciprocal links to your site.

They are more likely to reciprocate with a link to your site since you have related content to them and a site with which they are already linked.

To locate your competition, just do a search on one of the major search engines using the keywords for your site.


Building relationships with other sites which are similar to yours in content can be an effective way to build some good, solid, effective links.

Get acquainted with the webmaster by subscribing to their newsletter and contributing articles to it. Send them ideas, suggestions and comments about their site. Offer testimonials for the products or services they offer. Provide a link on your site to theirs and ask for a reciprocal link. These are just a few ways to become a trusted ally and almost always get a reciprocal link.

While it is not the quickest or most efficient way to get links, it may be the most certain way to end with great, relevant links to other sites.


There are some very helpful services and software available for locating linking partners. It is not the aim of this article to recommend any of these, but rather point out that it is an option for you to consider.

Alexa offers a free enhanced toolbar which you can add to your browser. It's most important feature is the ability to estimate how much traffic any given site receives. This can be valuable when determining which sites to approach about reciprocal links.


A search with words like "linking software," "link tools," or similar terms will produce a variety of sites for you to examine.


Link popularity is the total number and quality of links that point to your site. Search engines are looking just for links to your site that may be useless.

Do you know what sites link to you now? You can find out here:


Knowing who links to your site and increasing the amount of good, quality links is an important part of any website promotion.

In Summary, there is a lot to learn about linking strategies. This article is not meant to be all-inclusive, but instead a starting point for you to build links that are effective and valuable

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dare to be Different Online

There are plenty of people offering their "secrets" to help you make more money online. The only problem is that as you trawl around the web searching out these secrets you soon discover they aren't secrets after all.

What you will learn is good, old-fashioned business common sense. These "secrets" will teach that some kind of a promotion is necessary to attract people to your web site. Once attracted, you need to entice people further with more offerings in exchange for their contact information (email address). As the saying goes, the money is in the list. You cannot run any kind of business online, or offline unless you have a list of potential customers.

So, the "secrets" that you are searching for online have been there ever since business began. Find something people want, entice them to connect with you, get their details and sell, sell, sell to them over a period of time to convert them from interested parties to confirmed customers.

But the one secret that is often missing from much of the information online has been around offline for centuries as well - be different. Don't try to be the same as your competitors. Stand out from the crowd. Do something different that gets you remembered.

For example, take the cab driver who gets the name and address of every passenger. Each Christmas they get a card from him. And guess what, people remember him and recommend him. He gets most of his fares from referral business, rather than having to wait around. Have you ever met a cab driver who sends all his passengers cards at Christmas?

Yet online, everyone seems to be the same. New online businesses follow the "rules" set by the experts and gurus. The result is that almost all web sites trying to sell something are starting to look the same. They all do the same thing - have a great offer and a box to fill in your details. Many of them even use the same templates. If you follow the "rules" that are part of the "secrets" you will end up following the pack and you won't be noticed. If you truly want to make it online, you have to be different.

So stand out from the crowd by being different - not just visually, but in the way you approach your readers. Do whacky things perhaps. You will be noticed and remembered - and online that's nine tenths of the battle.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Get your website to the top of Google!

Have you come across adverts like these on the Internet? Every business wants their website to get to the top of Google. Why? Because the level of competition on the Internet is so fierce that if your site is not on the first few pages, it is likely that your web site will never get seen - except by you!

Adverts like these are only partially true. No one can really guarantee you the number 1 spot in Google or any other search engine, and if they can, it may only be for keywords that none of your potential visitors are seeking.

How come? Google's programmers keep the exact basis on which websites are rated and positioned secret. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts have been able to find out many of the factors that Google weighs to determine which position to assign any particular website. However, no one knows exactly how much weight Google attaches to each factor. So even the experts can get it wrong and spending huge amounts of money on SEO can turn out to be futile.

How does this affect you as a business trying to maximize your web site visibility? Can your site rise to the top of Google? Yes. Possibly. You can get into the top 10 positions - with hard work and depending on a number of factors including what you are promoting, your sites domain name, how much competition there is, the number of pages your website has and how well you use keywords on your site - among others.

What can you do to boost your website sales and position?

a) Try to make your website the best one possible for the services and products you offer. If your site appears unprofessional, is difficult to use, unattractive or lacks the products people want - then even if you get to the top search engine positions, you will not be able to make sales.

Add regular features, articles and special offers to your site. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing and to new trends. Research, update and improve constantly, innovate. Capture details of your visitors in website forms and communicate with them.

b) Identify the best keywords for your website. When you surf the Internet, you type in relevant words. The search engines then find and list websites whose content matches those words. Help your website to be found by including the items people are searching for in your site's text. Think about what people seeking your products would type in Google. What words do your competitors emphasize on their websites?

c) Apply standard website optimization techniques to your website. Any good website developer will know the basic technical aspects of SEO (Keyword density, using keywords in page titles, keyword selection, tags etc.) So let us focus on the things you as the site owner can influence directly.

As the content provider, sprinkle your keywords throughout your website (e.g. see how often the words "website" and "position" can be found in this article). But make sure you use your keywords in context. Mix up your phrases, but make sure they don't come across as stilted or un-natural. The last thing you want to do is gain search engine positions and lose customers.

d) Get other websites to link to your website. The links count as votes in your favour.

In summary, while SEO is important and worth paying for if you can afford it, there are many things you can do to optimize your website if you can't. Remember that optimizing your site will take time to yield any results.

Even if your site never gets to be number 1 in Google, doing these things will benefit both your website and your business.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

7 Steps to Creating Human and Search Engine Friendly Web Pages

After making your Website human friendly, you have to make it search engine friendly so that human searchers can easily find your site in the search engine result pages. By following the steps described below, you can optimize your Website for search engines.

1. Use a keyword research tool for mining keywords related to your site's offerings. One of the most effective and free keyword research tool is Google Adwords Keyword tool. Do a Google search for the URL of the site.

You start with some broad keywords like "golf ball" and the tool lists all the related keywords people use in their search queries related to "golf ball". The tool also displays the monthly volumes of those search queries.

2. Get a domain name that is not too long and has relevancy to the products or services your site is offering. Using the keyword research tool, pick a few keywords related to your site. Pick a domain name based on one of these keywords.

All the domains based on broad keywords are already sold out. So you cannot get a domain based on a broad keyword, like golf ball. If you find one, grab it without any delay. However, most domain registrars, like Godaddy, have domain finding tools that suggest available domains based on broad keywords.

3. Your Website title that is located in the HTML TITLE tag should be meaningful and at the same time it should contain related keywords. Limit the title tag to 50 characters so that is is not truncated in the search result page.

4. The most important meta tag in a web page for a search engine crawler is the description meta tag that has two attributes: NAME="description" and CONTENT="your site's content". Describe your site's contents using a few sentences in the content attribute of the META tag. Your site description should contain related keywords.

5. Create quality contents using texts and graphics. Use short paragraphs for text and separate texts using headings or H1 tag, and sub headings or H2 tags. Use one H1 tag per page. Don't forget to use keywords in your paragraphs, H1, and H2 tags.

Use plenty of white spaces and bulleted items so that visitors can scan your page easily. Most people don't read web pages but they scan to find texts that are of particular interest to them.

6. If you are using images, use keywords in the ALT and TITLE attributes of the IMG tag. Use keywords for image file names. Most people use meaningless image file names like image1, image2, etc. Search engine crawlers have no way to understand what image1 and image2 are all about.

7. Cross links your web pages using keywords in the anchor texts. For example, if your web site is about golf ball, you can use anchor text "callaway golf ball" on your home page to direct visitors to a page dedicated to "callaway golf ball".

Search engine optimization is the art of creating contents for human readers using keywords. Don't create contents for search engines. Create contents for human and use keywords strategically placed in your contents for the consumption of search engine crawlers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Blogger's Look at Digg.com

Blogging is one of the best ways to share information as well as advertise yourself on today's Internet, but are you doing everything you can to make sure that you put yourself out there? As many bloggers are finding out, putting out a blog that has good information simply is not enough; advertising is an important part of any endeavor on the web. Luckily, you will find that the Internet is a great place to see viral marketing in action. Digg.com, a site that many bloggers have begun using, is one example of this.

At first glance, Digg.com seems to be a lot of information stored in one place, but with a second look will actually show you how organized it is. The search function is particularly useful, and the range of topics, images, and information that it covers is rather exhaustive. From learning about mountain bikes to hearing the latest news out of Washington, this is one of the best sites that you can frequent, especially when you are looking for a diverse field of information.

At its most basic, Digg.com is a sharing site. People will post things that they find interesting online, and no matter how obscure or how important it is, you will be able to find it here. Digg.com is one of many social bookmarking sites that have appeared, and there is a good reason for that. Despite its invaluable presence and despite its admitted scope and staying power, many people are becoming impatient with the results that come from a simple Google search. People are looking for relevance when they look for information, and nearly the only way to get that is by looking through material that has already been gone through for relevance by other people.

On Digg.com, you start contributing as soon as you sign up, and something that might surprise you is the level of community on this site. This is one great way for people to get to know one another, and it is a great way for you to get information about your blog out there. Many blogs end up being linked by other people, and you will find that this improves your link building status; your links will not only be out there, they will also be contributing to your Google search engine rankings.

As any marketer will tell you, part of the key to success to marketing online is to give people content, and with Digg.com, you can do exactly that. Take some time and look at the content you have simply bookmarked for your purposes. Similarly, many bloggers have a list of links on their sidebar, you can get started just by putting that up. Reach out and make sure that the members of your Internet community know that you exist!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3 Reasons To Buy An Existing Domain Name

When the time comes to set up your own internet business one of your first thoughts is to buy a domain name to establish a web site for your new business. You may spend a lot of time dreaming up possible names and testing their availability but there is another option you should consider -- buying an existing domain name.

Obviously you do not want to buy an existing web site for your new business as you wish to create a web site that accurately reflects your business vision, but there are a number of advantages to buying an existing domain name and if you do not yet have your heart set on a new domain name you will likely find an existing domain name available at a price not much greater than you will pay for a fresh name and an existing domain name brings a number of advantages.

One of the primary advantages of an existing domain name is that it already has traffic flowing toward it. Obviously the amount of traffic will vary greatly depending on what the current owner has done for promotion but any traffic is more than the zero visitors a fresh name will deliver.

Another advantage is from search engine optimization. Many domainers will have at least put in a small amount of time optimizing their domain name portfolio for search engines. Others put in a great deal of time and effort targeting key words and making sure the domain name is listed. It takes time for various domain names to work their way into search engine listings and if someone has already done that work for you then you are ready to capitalize on their groundwork as soon as you take over the name.

A third advantage is that the wild frontier of short, targeted, key word domain names is over. It is not impossible but very difficult to find an unregistered domain name in a short, catchy phrase and even more so if you have a specific key word in mind. However, many of the domainers who registered these domain names did so as an investment rather than a long-term project of their own and so are willing to sell. The only way to acquire many of these great domain names is by purchasing an existing domain name. You will not be able to find one to register fresh.

Choosing the right domain name for your internet business enterprise can be an exciting and challenging time but if you take the time to learn more about the available domain names you can buy then you just might find the bargain of a lifetime and start off your business with a bang.

Are You Using Articles and Blogs for your Internet Business?

If you are the owner of an Internet Marketing website or an Internet Business, you must be aware that it is not the traffic to your website that counts, but rather the percentage of conversions (the percentage of people who buy your products and services after visiting). Thus, in order to get a high rate of conversions, you will need to target quality traffic, or people who are already interested in what you are offering. The best way to do this is by using Web Articles and Web Blogs.

The concept of writing articles for the web has been around for the past decade. There are lots of quality article web sites on the Internet, like Ezine Articles or Article Web and many others. All these web sites will publish the articles that you write on the Internet for free, as long as you can offer some interesting information to their readers.

One thing that you have to watch out for is that you should make sure to provide useful information to the readers. This way, having in the article links that point to your website, you can get new and interested people to visit your web property.

The best part is that these people will already be interested in your offering. Let’s say you are a florist having just written an article on the web on how to keep the flowers fresh longer in their vases. This way you will be able to attract the attention of people who are already interested in buying flowers. This way you will also be able to get a much higher conversion rate.

Besides writing articles, you can also write blogs and also motivate people you know to post entries about your products and services. Do not forget that honest reviews of your products will always attract positive attention to your Internet Marketing Business.

Do not be afraid to talk about the positive and the negative aspects of your business in the blogs. Of course, it's fine to stress a bit more on the positive aspects. Reading blogs is the current trend - they have an aura of neutrality surrounding them in many instances.

It is possible that the techniques outlined above may sound tedious to you. But instead of putting your advertisements everywhere, it is better to attract specific people with quality marketing effort, people who are likely to try your services. That's the way the system works.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Network Marketing Books- 5 Proven Tips on How to Evaluate a MLM

There are many network marketing books on the market today. Everyone seems to have their own opinions on how to build a successful mlm business.

There is one book which seems to lay the "real deal" on the table, especially when it comes to how to evaluate an opportunity and how distributors are really paid in this industry. With all the hype that is out there, this was a fresh and unique approach. If you are ready to find out how all of this works, read on!

Everyone has seen things such as this:

-It will all be done for you.
-Our system will recruit for you and your group will be built by "spillover"
-Instant downline system

The truth it, anyone who believes statements like these and joins an opportunity, most likely will not be successful. Why? Because with any business, including mlm, one must WORK at it. There is no such thing as something being handed to you on a silver platter. If one doesn't want to do the work, why even start a business?

So, in order to avoid being taken in by hype, you must learn how to carefully evaluate an opportunity. How? By following this 5 step formula.

Tip #1: Ask yourself, "Does the compensation plan work with the numbers? You see, in mlm, virtually any successful networker will tell you that most of their income comes from 2-3 people in their group. Therefore, the compensation plan needs to be set up so that you are paid well even if you don't recruit a lot of people. There should be an ample retail profit as well. Making 5-7% on a wholesale price will get you nowhere fast. Think about Wal-Mart. How long would they be in business if they only made 5-7% profit on their wholesale prices? Not long! It's the same with mlm. People must be paid well. Making 40% on the retail price would be a lot better right?

Tip #2: Ask yourself, "Can the average part-timer build and prosper"? The reality is that most of your team will be part-time people only. If they cannot get into profit quickly, have to jump through many hoops to get paid, have to worry about losing their downline if they don't recruit a certain number of people in am month, etc., you will be constantly building.

Tip #3: Does the company's pay plan work for the average recruiting numbers? In the network marketing book that I read, it stated that the average mlm industry statistics for sponsoring people is 2.7. In other words, most distributors only sponsor 3 people in their home based business career. Now, if distributors are taught only how to constantly sell and close people with no type of relationship building first, the revolving door will never stop. No one wants to worry about having to constantly re-sell and close their people every month to get them to do any work! So, make sure that pay plan works well even if a person is not a sponsor super star. Make sure your training is always built around relationship building first.

Tip #3: Ask yourself, "Does the company have a product that people will buy even with no compensation plan? Many people seem to feel that they have to fall in love with a product first and then sell it to people. In reality, it's the other way around. There needs to be a hot and hungry mob of people who rave about a product. So, you market the product to them! You don' have to absolutely love it yourself; just offer it to people who want it. Just focus on the people and the market, and choose a company with a product that everyone wants and you will be fine.

Tip #4: Before joining ANY opportunity, ask yourself, "Does the company management have experience in network marketing?" Being a CEO of a big fortune 500 company who decides to start a mlm company because he or she heard there is good money in it doesn't count. Get past the smoke, mirrors, and hype and do your research logically. All you have to do is go to Google and put in the company's owners name around quotes. Then, carefully read about the leadership. If there are many negatives and red flags, their company is one you run from.

Tip #5: Ask yourself, "Does the company have a system in place"? If so, make sure it is proven and duplicatable. A system is not making a list of friends and family and buying leads. A system is not one in which only the top 1% of the distributors can work successfully. It needs to be so simple a child could do it! It should be so simple you can teach it to anyone who joins your team and they in turn can become successful using it. So, make sure there is such a system in place.

This network marketing book presented things very clearly. The information was such that it will help anyone carefully evaluate a mlm opportunity easily. So, make sure you follow these 5 tips before making a decision. You will be glad you did!

Should You Create a Static or Dynamic Website?

Yes, this is a big question that haunts all new website owners. It is especially so for those who have no interest in programming languages or their differences. This article is targeted to help you make a decision on whether you should look at creating a dynamic site and if so which language should be used.

Websites are normally classified in two broad classifications, the static websites and the dynamic websites. The Static web site or the so called static web pages are normally created using html with styling done with either graphics or using CSS styles. The dynamic websites would be the ones created using programming languages like PHP, ASP, ASP.net, JSP etc.

Having a static website has its own advantage. You do not have to worry about managing the databases or managing the code in the pages nor would you ever see the server errors which occur due to some logic or runtime error in your code. Whenever you want to add new content to such sites you would refer to the template page, add your content and voila` your page is ready to be uploaded.

This is good for some time. When you have web sites with lots of content and a reliable source such as IGR providing you rich content, you would end up making these html pages almost every now and then. Maintaining the static pages for any small change like the style or menu, which remains common across pages, becomes very difficult. You would have to open each page in your editor, make the change and then upload the pages again to your server, unless of course you have "include" files for your menus, or styles.

Creating a dynamic website is challenging but the result you would get after hard work on understanding and coding your web pages with languages like ASP or PHP, would make you feel good about yourself.

Programming languages often help you in creating dynamic pages which would also enable you to manage the web site content dynamically or at runtime. You would access the web site through the browser and edit the content or, to some extent, even the look and feel of the website. Such web sites are normally called the content management systems. Many CMS systems are freely available in case you do not want to put your efforts in programming. There might be some conditions such as displaying the web site content based on users demographics, or tracking where the user came from, or collecting the user information and storing it so that you can send your newsletters with your affiliate programs. Such actions call for a dynamic web site.

Once you decide that you really want to have a dynamic web site, the next big question that pops up is what programming language should you use for your web site. The most commonly used ones are ASP, PHP, CGI Perl, JSP and recent addition being ASP.net. Each language has its own advantages and disadvantages. For instance PHP would have a considerable learning curve, but you will have a wide variety of open source applications for you to use on your web site if your host server supports PHP. Many are aware of word press blogs which is coded in PHP. Again if you were to see the bonuses and applications provided by your server host, you would be surprised to see that almost all the features that you have thought for your website are available free of charge for you to use directly on your web pages. PHP is supported on both Windows as well as Linux servers. Choosing Linux environment with Apache server makes sense for PHP.

The ASP web sites would have a much smaller learning curve but then ASP sites are restricted to IIS and the windows environment. What does that mean to you? After all you will be interested in your web site and not the servers. But if you want to add a feature or application to your web site, then you would have to search really hard for some good freely available plugins. Most of the applications that are available for any Microsoft technologies like ASP, ASP.net are normally paid applications. You would have to buy the licenses to use this on your web site. For example it would be really daunting task to find freely available blog software for ASP or ASP.net website, then it would be for the PHP sites.

Though JSP is one of the languages which probably have a huge learning curve, it provides all the features of Java. There is no doubt that Java can provide you with excellent features when it comes to server side programming.

A dynamic web site would also require a database support to store the information. Normally the CMS systems use a database to store the content and other web site information like the currently selected styles and preferences set by the owner. Similarly you would require a database to store the data from which your code would create the pages or part of the web pages dynamically. A classic example would be the online shopping cart you use when shopping for your Christmas gifts, the comments you post on your favorite sites. All this storage is usually done in the database.

PHP would normally be used with MySQL database while ASP, ASP.net would go well with database like MS SQL Server or MS access, for a simple reason that ASP, ASP.net, MS SQL Server, MS access are all Microsoft technologies.

As far as the cost for the dynamic websites is considered, you might not find a big difference since the server host would usually charge almost same charge for both Windows and Linux based hosting.

If you are serious enough to make some decent living from your web site, the final advice would be to get your self equipped with the knowledge of creating dynamic web sites.

Happy programming!

How to Move Your Blog to a New Hosting Service

From time to time it's necessary to pick up and move your blog or site from one hosting service to a new one. There are a variety of reasons for this, for example:

* perhaps you found a better deal elsewhere, more bang for less buck.
* perhaps your old hosting was inadequate, had poor service, or no service, or you just outgrew them.
* perhaps you had a huge traffic spike ("digg effect" or your product launch was a crazy success) and the host told you to get lost.
* maybe your host was bought out and the new host just wasn't up to snuff, or any number of other reasons.

Moving a blog isn't quite like moving a static HTML site. A basic HTML site you can just upload to the new host, a blog or more complex site will have databases and scripts and other things that need to be tied together. Fortunately, that's not a hard thing to deal with.

If you are moving from a linux/unix server to a windows server, or visa versa, the procedure may be a little more awkward given the differences between those systems. Your tech support people should be able to help you through any rough spots there.

First off you will need to have the nameservers of your new host available. Get them from your new host, they will look like ns1.YourNewHost.com and ns2.YourNewHost.com.

When your move is finished you go to your domain name registrar, enter your account, find a section that says something like "update nameservers" and fill in the blanks. Once the nameserver change is accepted it will take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for your new site to properly appear.

If your new host uses a system that is compatible with the old host then the new host might be able to access the old site and move all your settings, data, databases, scripts, etc., over to the new account. For example, if both hosts use "cpanel" the new host will easily be able to move all of your data.

If your old host kicked you off their system, for whatever reason, or if your new host can't access the old one, then the old host should be able to provide a total backup of your site. This backup will contain all the logs, data, databases, and everything else that was part of the site. They will roll it all into one file and provide you access to download it.

The you simply upload the entire backup file to your new host and they should be able to install it with no problems.

Moving a blog is very much the same thing. A complete backup of the one site can be moved to the new host, installed, nameservers changed, and your blog will be up and running in a couple of days.

Another option, if all you want is your database, is to start fresh on the new host and upload that database. You will get all your old posts and settings back and you will be back in business.

In the control panel of your old host there should be a section where you can handle your database functions. In cpanel it's "phpMyAdmin." In this area you should be able to find a section that will let you export your database. In cpanel you select the database you want on the left menu, then there will be an "export" link on the top of the right panel.

When you export the database make sure that everything is selected and that you download it as a file to your hard disk. (You should do this regularly, anyway, as a backup procedure.)

Next you log into your new host and create a new database. Make note of the name of the new database, the username, and the password, you will need them later. Enter your database control panel and import the database backup that you made.

Upload your blogging system to your new host, but don't install it. Find the configuration file, in Blogger it's wp-config.php, though you may have to start with the wp-config-sample.php file.

Open up that file in a text editor (NOT Word or any other word processor. Use Notepad or something like it.) You will see fields to enter your database name, username, password, and host (which will likely be "localhost.")

Make sure that file is saved as wp-config.php, then upload it to your new host. If you're using something other than Blogger you will have to change a different config file, but it should be a similar process.

Now set those nameservers and once they "resolve" then you should be able to see your site, up on the new host, just as it always was.

Is Your Website Working?

Does your Website attract a steady flow of targeted traffic, build an opt-in list, supply you leads and income from sales of products and services?

If it doesn't, then you need to examine your Website content, design and structure.

In most cases, Websites are designed and built first. Then the business owners try to figure out how to attract visitors. This approach is backwards.

Before you have a single web page built or content written you should have clearly identified your strategy for attracting visitors and converting them to leads or clients. Using the web to market your product or services requires a web marketing plan.

The web has the potential to be a powerful communication tool, but your Website needs to be designed in order for you to achieve your marketing goals. These goals also have to be measurable.

A Website built and managed without a clear marketing plan is usually a waste of time and money. Many Website are nothing more than web billboards. These sites generally do not attract clients and provide little marketing benefit.

What should you measure?

The most obvious category that can be measured is the amount of traffic that your Website is generating. The key value is the number of unique visitors that come to the Website. There are other values that are important, such as page views and average length of stay.

As you measure these values over time the goal would be to have a steady increase in all of these values.

Of course, if these visitors are not doing anything when they are on your Website they are of little value.

Do you have a call to action?

Your Website should be designed in such a way that your visitors are presented with a call to action. This call to action should be obvious to the visitor. Your call to action is another element that can be measured. How many visitors perform the call to action?

The call to action can take many forms. It may be opting in to a email newsletter list, or filling out a lead form. The ideal action is the purchase of a product or service.

When a site visitor performs the call to action, you have a conversion. The number of conversions divided by the number of Website visitors is the conversion rate.

One of the goals of the Website should be to increase the conversion rate.


Once you have your measurable elements, traffic and conversions, you can test various ways to make your Website work. You can test various techniques for increasing traffic. Options here include search engine optimization of your Website, pay per click advertising, press releases and article writing.

Then you will also want to increase your conversion rates. Split testing is used to determine how various elements within the web page affect the visitor. You can change the elements on the page such as the headline or color of text and graphics, to measure the affect on the visitor.

Website Goals

You now have the understanding that your business Website should be working for you with a marketing plan. You need a call to action. You need to measure traffic and conversions, and then test to improve the results.

With these measurements in hand, you can now set goals for your Website.

Choosing A Content Management System

A content management system, or CMS, is a piece of software that makes it easy to create and manage websites. It is very important for a website's content to be frequently refreshed and updated. Fresh content keeps visitors coming back and can improve search engine rankings. However, publishing new content on a regular basis can become complicated if the webmaster has to make a new HTML page each time he adds an article, image, link or other piece of content. Content management systems have been developed to solve this problem.

With a content management system, there is no need to create new HTML pages manually - the CMS does it automatically. The webmaster simply enters the content into a form, clicks a button and the software generates a new web page. A content management system separates the content (e.g. images, text, links, files, etc.) from the layout. When the webmaster sets up a new website he creates a set of templates for the pages. Whenever he adds new content, the pages are automatically laid out based on these pre-defined templates. This may sound complicated, but in most modern content management systems, setting up the templates is simple. The webmaster will probably use an HTML editor like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web to create templates for the CMS. They contain all the page elements that are common across the whole site like header, footer, logo, and navigation. Spaces are left in the templates for the CMS to insert content when a new page is generated.

Users who are not confident with HTML need not worry - most content management systems offer some ready-made templates that can be used 'out of the box'. Many open source content management systems offer free templates, which have been submitted by their community of users. It is also possible to buy CMS templates from online template stores. Another alternative is to find a designer to build custom templates.

These are the basic principles upon which all content management systems are based. So how do you choose which CMS is right for you? The first thing to establish is the size of your budget. Content management systems range in price from zero up to thousands of dollars. The no-cost end of the market is comprised of the many open source content management systems that are available. At the high end of the market are the custom built enterprise systems used by big corporations.

For the purposes of this article, we will concentrate on the open source options; there are so many CMS products to choose from in this category that there is bound to be one to suit most needs. Open source software has an open license, which means it is free to use and the source code is available for anyone to modify it.

Some of these open source systems are capable of running complex portal websites with lots of dynamic functionality, whilst others are much more simple. It is important to establish the scope of a website before choosing the CMS. Most websites exist simply to publish standard content. For sites like this, a complicated portal CMS is not required. (We will discuss portals in more detail later.)

Learning how to use a portal CMS can be quite a demanding task because of the complexity of these systems. For most simple websites there is no point in going through this learning process. Instead choose a simpler CMS that will require far less time and technical skill to operate. One of the simplest content management systems is called sNews. Other simple alternatives include most of the blogging software packages (e.g. WordPress, Nucleus, Typo, etc.). Although these are called 'blogs' they are, in fact, content management systems. By default, they have been configured to run blog sites, but by simply changing the templates they can be made to run many other types of website.

There are also many simple content management systems that are not primarily designed to run blogs. These systems will run a wide range of websites (including blogs!) and although the core software is usually fairly simple, there may be add-ons and plugins, which can be used to extend the system's capabilities. A good example of this kind of system is a package called 'CMS Made Simple'.

We have already briefly mentioned portal systems. As well as managing content, these provide all kinds of additional functionality like front-end user registration, polls, forums, ecommerce, mailing lists, etc. They are very powerful pieces of software and, for the advanced webmaster, they provide almost endless possibilities in site creation. However, for novice and intermediate users, the high level of technical ability required may be prohibitive. Examples of portal systems include Joomla!, Mambo, Drupal and Postnuke.

You should now have an overview of how content management systems work and some of the things to consider when researching which CMS to use. It is important to note that there are hundreds more open source content management systems than the handful mentioned here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Skinny on Online Marketing

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to online marketing. Beginners in the field can easily fall prey to bad Internet marketing strategies that promise instant results. The thing is, “instant” doesn’t always mean long lasting. They cannot guarantee sure profits either. Some of these Internet marketing tricks might increase the number of hits to your website, but they will not necessarily bring in the cash.

Knowing your SEO hats

Article marketing makes up a big chunk of online marketing strategies. Businesses online depend on websites, and the blood work of all websites is content. You need to keep your content relevant if you want to attract costumers. However, costumers aren’t the only ones you need to write for.

To raise the page ranking of your website in popular search engines and directories, you need to keep your content optimized. This means knowing how to place the right number of keywords within the article. These “keywords” or key phrases will then be indexed by search engine “spiders”. Since these spiders are programs, they cannot initially gauge the quality of your articles depending on the value of information included in it. Most pages are ranked on search engines because the right keywords are frequently mentioned in the same article.

While this is good for the search engine, being too redundant in the article (e.g. saying the word “hormonal imbalance” 30 times in a 400-word article) is annoying for the human reader. Keyword stuffing this intense is also referred to as “black hat SEO” or bad SEO. While this may result in top page ranking overnight, you can also lose your slot in no time once your irrelevant content was “found out” by human editors.

Other people use the term “white hat SEO” for article marketing that is more focused on human readers than search engine spiders. However, no online marketing strategy today can claim to be purely white hat SEO. Because of the tight competition of businesses online, companies are bound to make use of a little black hat SEO trick once in a while, but probably not to the extent that they are risking being banned from search engines.

The most common form of article marketing today makes use of gray hat SEO strategies, which is a well balanced scheme which considers both the human readers and the search engine spiders.

Email marketing ethics

If you are personally annoyed at spam mails, then you might immediately want to cross email marketing off your list. You should not do this just yet. Email marketing is an effective Internet marketing strategy if you know how to do it right.

Sending out advertisements and newsletters to a random number of email addresses will not help you gain customers. Instead, you will be putting all your hard work in the trash bin of someone’s email. Think about your target audience instead. Do not simply blast your advertisements everywhere.

What you are looking for here is a list that is more focused on quality, not quantity. A targeted list of 20 clients, or prospective clients, is more effective than 200 strangers who might just see your unsolicited newsletter as an annoyance.

Getting the list right

Targeted lists can be formed from databases in your website. People who visit your website could simply drop a line, and voluntarily give out their email addresses where you can send product catalogues, newsletters, and whatnot that is related to your product.

If you are a traditional business who also trades offline, you can collect emails during tradeshows. If you have a shop somewhere in the city, you can ask your clients to fill out a small survey form, which also asks for their email addresses. It can be a simple line at the bottom saying: “Would you like to be updated about out latest products? Tell us where we can find you in cyberspace so we can drop a line.”

The Importance of Keyword Tracking

Pay Per Click (PPC) is a great way to obtain large amounts of traffic. However, the downside is clearly visible in the word ‘Pay’. Although you don’t have to pay for impressions, every time someone clicks on your ad it is going to cost. The actual cost depends of your maximum bidding amount. This can vary between 1 cent and many dollars.

While you may not actually have to pay the maximum, many novices have found to their dismay that the costs of advertising soon add up. This is not a problem if you are making sales, but if the offer isn’t converting you can lose a considerable amount of money.

On the other hand, you may be making sales but still operating at a loss. Your profit depends on the difference between the amount you are making in sales minus the amount you are paying for traffic. For a beginner, this can be frustrating to see that an offer converts, but seems impossible to operate at a profit.

Lowering your bidding is one option. However, this may have the effect of reducing traffic, or even turning it off completely. Fortunately, there is a technique that can turn the odds back in your favor. It is one that is used by the majority of successful PPC marketers. The method is to track your individual keywords.

In any given campaign there are differing types of keywords. Some get small amounts of traffic, some get moderate traffic and the stars which get enormous traffic. The same goes for conversions. Some get no conversions all the way through to great converting keywords. Unless you track keywords you could end up in the unenviable position of having a keyword that generates an enormous amount of traffic, but no sales. This can be very costly.

However, if you track keywords then you will learn this quickly and can pause the keyword. It is usually better to pause rather than delete keywords because then you have an on-going record. Otherwise, when you get to the stage of having thousands of keywords you may inadvertently run that losing keyword again.

Over time, by removing the non-performing keywords (in terms of conversions) you can turn a losing campaign in to one that is quite profitable. Of course, not all campaigns have the potential to be profitable. When you have done your best to optimize a campaign based on your keyword tracking then it is usually best to pause the whole campaign. By cutting your losses and running with your winners you should eventually find success using PPC.