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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

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Do You Twitter?

Despite its spectacular rise, many people give you strange looks when you say you Twitter. So what exactly is twitter? The owners of Twitter suggests that it is a way to communicate with others by providing quick and frequent answers to the simple question – What are you doing?

Basically, Twitter is a social networking service that allows users to send and receive user updates. These updates are known as ‘tweets’ and have a maximum length of 140 characters. Because of this, Twitter has also been termed a micro-blogging service. Of course, many tweets are extremely mundane and many question why this service should be so popular. For example, you may not be all that interested in what your friend had for breakfast.

However, you can use Twitter as a productivity tool. For example, you can use it to maintain a to-do list or send yourself a reminder. Because you can also send messages via SMS, this can be really useful when you don’t have access to your computer.

You can also establish groups by ‘following’ your friends and having them follow you. In this way, you can update all of them at once. If you can’t make a night out you can simply send ‘ Sorry, can’t make it tonight’. This can also work in a business setting such as times when you are going to be late for a meeting. It can also be used for person to person messaging because there is a command that allows you to send a message directly to another user.

Another great facet is that it is RSS feed enabled. If you don’t have the time to maintain a blog about your product or service you can still keep clients updated if they subscribe to your feed. For example, a video store owner could send a message about the latest video release. Twitter is being used by some as a valuable marketing tool. Unfortunately, there are some who take advantage of this and try to spam the system.

One big problem is that it can become a terrible time waster if you aren’t disciplined. Many people find it best to set aside a set amount of time, say 30 minutes, in the morning and the same again in the evening. If it becomes too annoying you can send the command Off, Sleep, or Stop to Twitter. If you only twitter from your computer then simply avoid the website.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Software Crashes - How To Recover and Prevent Them

Today we have a lot of software on our computers and we all need to know how to take care of our computer as well as manage the hidden danger of a crash.

Some terms you might need to know to proceed with this article are:

1. Crash - When a program or your entire computer stops working and you cannot move the mouse or use the keyboard, and the screen is frozen.

2. Reboot - When you restart your computer after a crash.

3. Control Panel - A feature of Windows that will give you access to system utilities and settings.

Now, what should you do first if your computer crashes? Try to STOP and do nothing for a few minutes. Often, the computer is trying to do your commands and might just need to take a little more time. Pressing more keys will just add to the computer's problems, maybe even forcing a crash.

Check your connections for the keyboard and make sure the pins are not bent. Maybe there is a jammed key on the keyboard, maybe some liquid has spilled. Check the computer connections as well. Also, the mouse may just be dirty and need the inner ball that rolls cleaned with soapy water, dry it, and remove any dust in the mouse body itself and replace the mouse roller ball.

Most of the times the hardware is OK, but the software has caused a problem. A good way to try to recover from a problem is to press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys. From this a box will appear and show you all the programs running. Note that at least one will have a non-responsive indication. Try clicking on the program listed and click END TASK. Close the dialog box and see if your computer is working again. Pray it is! If it does not respond, then try the dialog box again and see if there is another program causing trouble and End Task on it as well.

This should solve about 98% of your computer crashes. If your computer is not responding with all this, you can try restarting. Switching off the entire power is the last resort and should not be done unless everything else has not worked.

To prevent computer crashes, you need to take care of your computer and do some maintenance. First thing to check is that you have room on your hard drive. Windows likes to have space and will not work if you do not keep the total usage down on your hard drive. Never go over 70% usage of your total hard drive space. To check usage, go to Start, right click on My Computer, then click on your hard drive letter and Properties and see what amount of space is available.

You may need to delete or move to another hard drive or a CD any large audio or video files and remove software programs that you do not use. Do that by choosing "Add or Remove Programs" icon from the Control Panel from Start Menu.

You also should make sure you have enough Memory or RAM (Random Access Memory). You can help out your computer by not opening too many programs at once if your RAM is low. To find out how much RAM your computer has, select Control Panel from the Start Menu, Double Click System Tools, and then open the System Information tab. The total and available memory is listed towards the bottom of the right panel when you click on System Summary. Software that uses the most RAM are those that include a lot of graphics, video or sound capabilities. You can keep these to a minimum on your hard drive by burning to a CD and allowing your hard drive space to be saved.

Another quick tip is to back up your hard drive regularly. There are notes on how to do this online and it is very important and should be done consistently. This way you will not lose a lot of work should you have to turn off power or restart your computer due to a crash.

You will be very appreciative if you have done your proper maintenance and support work for your computer should you have a crash. Losing work is never fun and can be avoided by a little preventive maintenance. Enjoy your computer but keep in mind who is your computer's boss!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Is Social Networking All About?

There are many different reasons that social networks exist. Likewise these social gatherings serve many purposes for those who use them.

If you consider yourself Internet savvy, then you probably already have a pretty good idea what social networking is. Whether you are that savvy or just getting introduced to the Internet, social networking web sites are increasing and doing quite well for the network creators as well as those who join them. So what exactly is social networking and what’s it all about? Read on as we explore this phenomenon.

A basic definition of social networking is paramount to understand what it’s all about. A broad definition is the gathering of people in an online community for the purpose of sharing interests and activities together. This leaves a world of possibilities when it comes to what social networking is all about.

This may speak for itself on the surface but actually socializing is one of the primary ways that we communicate with each other. And thanks to the Internet, it is now possible to socialize on virtually whatever level you desire with people from all walks of life. Networks exist for every interest; from the simply frivolous to the absolute essentials. And because the Internet affords a level of anonymity that many people appreciate, this electronic form of socializing can be intimate, therapeutic, confidential and just plain fun.

This normally brings to mind the idea of people gathering together to create a group of people with a common goal such as finding jobs or raising funds for a charity. Today the Internet connects people from around the world into social networks for sharing pictures, blogs, live chats, instant messaging, emailing and virtually any other social idea you can come up with.

Here are opportunities to promote products and services through exposure that comes with belonging to a social network. You’ve probably seen the advertisements that are placed on the pages of social network members. Additionally, when you have the necessary coding, you can place their notices on the pages of other members. It has become one of the greatest ways to get affiliate sales by marketing your business on every available social network.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Many website owners are turning to social networks to gain added SEO with general information about a particular subject. These articles can be placed as blog comments or stand alone pieces that must be placed in the applicable forums. With the proper use of certain key words placed as back links in the articles, an article can create a wonderful search engine placement benefits for those working to generate new customers and increase profits.

It may be overstated but with so many pressing situations being broadcast in the media, the opportunity to connect with others in a social setting such as the ones that social networks provide is fun. After a hard day at work or searching for work, there is plenty of pleasure to be derived from sitting down in front of the computer and finding several messages from friends in your social network. Whether it is games such as role playing or sharing such as how-to features, the fun aspect of social networking can relieve stress and provide hours of enjoyable time online.

So if you have not joined a social network yet, go to your favorite search engine, and search for some social networks related to your interest. Find one that you are comfortable with, one that looks active, and join the crowd!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

6 Hot Tips For Using Google AdSense

What is AdSense? A program run by Google providing ads to be placed on your websites or blogs (you are called a publisher). When an AdSense ad is clicked by a visitor to your site, you get paid. AdSense is an easy way to monetize your blog. The ads are contextual, meaning they are relevant to the content of your site. The ads are provided by advertisers using Google's AdWords program.

Hot Tip Number 1 - Just Do It

All you need to get started is a website or blog with interesting content and a regular flow of traffic. Then you can get started. Google needs you. You have traffic coming to your site and they want a piece of your action. So, open an AdSense account with Google. It's free, easy to apply and essential to your business partnership with Google. You are only allowed to have one account. Go to:-
http://www.google.com/adsense and click on the big "Sign Up Now" button.

There is no complicated software to install. If you know how to cut and paste simple code into your website you can use AdSense.

Hot Tip Number 2 - Comply

Read the Google Terms of Service (TOS) carefully. It's important to understand the service guidelines and your responsibilities. Basically, the do's and don't's of using AdSense. Find Google's AdSense TOS (by country) here:-

Hot Tip Number 3 - Don't Get Banned

Your AdSense income could become very important to you, so be very careful not to do anything to get your account banned. Of course, when you have read the TOS you'll understand more, but put very simply here are some points to remember:-

- never click the ads on your own sites
- follow the guidelines about the number and type of ads you can have on your page
- follow the guidelines about placement of the ads, e.g., you can't place an Adsense ad on a page without content, like a registration page or a page under construction
- remember that you can't tell visitors to click on the ads
- you can't entice visitors to click on the ads
- you can't make any changes to the code generated by Google
- you can't use other contextual ad providers on the same page as AdSense
- any automated method of ad clicking is banned

The aim is for your real visitors to click on ads which genuinely interest them.

Hot Tip Number 4 - Use All The Options Google Provides

There is more to AdSense that you might think. The available formats are:-
- AdSense for Content
- Text Ads - various styles and shapes to fit the available "real estate" n your site. Ads "above the fold" (viewable without scrolling) often get more clicks.
- Image Ads - not as popular as text ads. You could try them out and see how they work for your site.
- Link units - like a list - in both vertical or horizontal formats.

- AdSense ads in RSS feeds - giving your subscribers another chance to click on an ad. Recently FeedBurner was acquired by Google. You must migrate your RSS feeds to Google to use this service.

- New - YouTube video with ads - providing both contextual content and ads in one go - you need to link your YouTube account with Google AdSense to use this service.

- AdSense for Search - you create a custom search engine - probably offering the most control over what your visitors can view.
- you decide how it looks (you can add your own logo and graphics)
- you decide what sites it searches
- you get paid when someone clicks on an ad

Use all the ad formats Google will allow. You can use 3 ad units, 2 AdSense for Search boxes and 1 link unit per page.

Hot Tip Number 5 - Use Channels

Google provides channels as a way of tracking your AdSense income ad by ad. When you create an ad you can assign it a channel name. This helps you to determine which ads are making you the most money and gives you the chance to "fine tune" your ads to increase their click through rate (CTR) by seeing which ad formats, placement and colors are being clicked on most often.

Hot Tip Number 6 - Ad Design

Match the colors of your ads to the colors of your site. This means you can get the ads to blend in with your other content, so it's not so obvious that it's an ad. The words "ads by Google" will still appear.

Select a background color to match your sites' background, make the ad border disappear by choosing the same color. Select the title and text colors to match the heading and text colors used in your web pages. You can get exact matches by using hexadecimal color codes. Though if you color choice doesn't provide enough contrast you may find Google will ignore your exact colors. What about the URL? The most recognized color for a clickable link is blue. So, don't fight the habits of millions of people, use blue.

While using these Hot Tips will improve your AdSense income, it's also vital to realize the quality of your sites content and the traffic volume are huge factors in establishing a viable AdSense income stream.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Solving The Traffic Exchange Riddle

Everyone involved with Internet Marketing will have heard of, or have used, Traffic Exchanges. Spend a little time surfing them. There are some horror stories out there.
Correctly utilized, the Traffic Exchange is an extremely valuable marketing tool. To get the best from any Traffic Exchange they need to be utilized in the right manner.
You view pages in exchange for others viewing your page. Simple enough.
A "page view" is around 10 seconds of exposure. Not much if a browser is trying to load a page full of graphics, or video.
Avoid using a full sales or affiliate page.
In the limited time available, a blank or partially loaded page does nothing to your advantage.
Traffic Exchanges work best when they are used to simply gather leads. Just collect names and email addresses.
A fast loading lead capture page with one bequeathing feature will generally make even the most impatient surfer take note.
A short, sharp message and a page which requires no scrolling to read works perfectly.
Of course, once the form is completed and the "subscribe" button hit, the surfer becomes a lead deposited in your auto responder to receive emails from you.
This is where the money is - you can promote your offers at any time to all the leads you collect.
Once your lead capture page is set up, you will need to generate some hits to it.
This is where Crazy Browser or Firefox come into their own. Multi-tabbed browsing is a gift especially for Traffic Exchange surfers, or so it seems. Open a few tabs and move from one to the other, accumulating hits at several exchanges during the one surfing session. Magic.
Further advantage can be obtained by building a downline in the various Traffic Exchanges. When you recruit some members under your unique link, a portion of the hits they accumulate will be allocated to you, as referrer.
Free traffic to your page, and less time you need to be at your keyboard.
If several lead capture pages are being used, a rotator is essential.
Not every Traffic Exchange accepts rotators, but a large portion do.
Continued surfing raises yet another problem, that is the surfer who just cannot resist filling in a lot of lead capture pages and becoming bogged down with emails and offers from all the lists that are joined.
Discipline yourself to ignore the pages that flash in front of you, and carry on accumulating hits. This is the sole reason for surfing.
Programs have recently been set up which allow a url to be submitted and entered into a huge rotator. Generally a bulk supply of hits are purchased from many Traffic Exchanges and all url's benefit from being promoted in this way. Saves all the time spent at a keyboard.
Simply put, use a Traffic exchange to gather leads, with one or more rapid loading lead capture pages linked to your auto responder.
Purchase, or surf for hits.
This system still works very well, and will reward your efforts.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Introduction to Squidoo

One of the hottest sites to come out of the Web 2.0 phenomenon is Squidoo. If you are not building sites to Squidoo, you are missing one of the quickest and easiest ways to build free traffic for your website or blog.

Squidoo is a cross between a blog, a mini site, and a My Space page. Squidoo calls the sites "lenses" and the people who produce the sites are called "lensmasters."

Squidoo lenses are very easy to make, even if you have not ever built a website or blog before. You can have a lens up and running in as little as 15 minutes.

Squidoo lenses are made up of "modules". Squidoo has dozens of modules to choose from. There are modules for making lists. There are modules for You Tube videos. There are modules for Amazon and Ebay auctions. With a little knowledge of the module system, you can have your lens built in no time.

Squidoo also offers you a chance to make money from your lens. Squidoo makes its money from affiliate advertising with Google AdSense, Amazon, Ebay and several other sites. They keep track of the earnings of each module and split the profits with you 50-50. You can also donate your profits of your module to charity if you wish.

Squidoo is very lenient about allowing you to use third party advertising on your lens. You can promote your own website if you wish or promote your favorite affiliate product. Savvy network marketers often use Squidoo lenses to promote their products and recruit new reps.

Squidoo lenses often rank very high on Google, so it's a great chance to build some backlinks to your primary company website.

One of the best ways to use Squidoo to build traffic to your primary blog is by using the RSS feed module. You simply load the RSS feed from your blog and the Squidoo lens will update automatically as you update your blog.

The Amazon module is also very easy to use for people that are new at Squidoo. For the case of Amazon products, you simply enter the ISBN number of the Amazon product and Squidoo will pull it directly off the Amazon website, complete with the photo and the price. You can also have the module pull directly from keywords if you don't want to take the time to find ISBN numbers on Amazon.

Another great Squidoo module is the Ebay module. With the Ebay module, you can select products by keyword or by seller. If you sell a lot of products yourself on Ebay, this is a great way to get free traffic to your auctions.

As you can tell, Squidoo is a great free and easy way to build traffic and make money online. So get Squidooing!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Email Marketing - Dealing With List Fatigue

We all like to look at our email stats, especially when we have good open rates and our list size is increasing. What should be done, then, if you notice that your list is growing smaller or your open rates have gone down? It's time to get some answers and do something about it.

When subscribers to your list don't open your emails anymore it's known as list fatigue. They're not exactly unsubscribing and yet they're not opening your emails. Why is this happening? Without taking into account the bounces, here are some probable causes:

1. Perhaps they are no longer interested in the subject of your emails. They may have new interests, and there's not a whole lot you can do about that.

2. Are the spam filters catching your emails? Make sure you're not using words that the filters think are spam. Do a search for the current list of spam words and find other ways to say the same thing.

3. Sometimes subscribers opt-in with an email address that they don't check very often, if at all. What you need to do from the beginning is encourage them to sign up with their primary email address.

4. You might be sending them too many emails and they're getting tired of you. If this is happening, slow yourself down and don't send so many, especially the promotional kind.

5. You've given them helpful information in the past and they stay on hoping you'll send them something else they need. So far, your email subject lines have been boring. Take a good look at the content of your emails. Are you sending valuable information or just promotions? Also look hard at your email subject lines. They need to be intriguing and catchy. Start a swipe file of your favorite lines.

The best bet is to try to prevent inactive subscribers before they happen. Here are some ways to engage your subscribers:

1. Give high quality content. People will rush to open your emails if you always over-deliver.

2. Survey your list and find out what information they want from you. This shows you care about them and their needs. It also gets your emails opened.

3. Hold a contest that's relevant to your niche and get your readers to respond.

4. Give people a call to action and be specific. Ask them to respond to an email you sent or leave a comment on your blog. Ask them about their successes or ask them what their opinion is on such-and-such product.

5. Drop tantalizing hints about what the next email is going to be about. Leave them wondering and wanting to read your next email.

List fatigue happens, but you can take active measures to minimize it. Always remember that you're writing your email to real people and when you have something good to say, they'll want to read it.

Web Traffic Is Not Created Equal

Everyone who has a website wants more traffic. However, not all traffic is created equal. Many people get so caught up with driving traffic to their website they forget to check whether it is working towards the actual goal of the website.

Different websites have different goals. One may be to build a brand, another may be to sell a product while yet another may be to build a list from leads. No matter what the goal, tracking should be done to see whether the traffic generated from various sources is actually helping to achieve that goal.

In some cases, it is easy to see the difference between various traffic sources. For example, it is usually much cheaper to buy Pay Per Click (PPC) ads for a content network than for a search network. On a content network, ads appear on related web sites while on a search network they appear as the result of a user keying in specific search terms.

People who click on ads on the content network tend to be browsing the Internet for information. In most cases, they expect to get this information for free. On the other hand, those searching for key terms, especially product names, are more likely to be looking to buy. Because of this, conversion rates are typically much higher on the search network. This leads to more demand which, in turn, leads to higher prices for these ads.

Unfortunately, paying for advertising can eat into profits. In some cases campaigns that are generating a good volume of sales can be rendered unprofitable due to the costs of advertising. However, organic traffic, which comes from unpaid listing on search engines, is free and targeted. The difficulty arises in generating sufficient volumes of traffic. To do this requires being on the front pages of the major search engines for popular terms. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of trying to rank highly for competitive keywords. Unfortunately, many SEO techniques take considerable time to put into place and to affect search engine rankings.

One technique to overcome this problem is to aim for 'low-hanging fruit'. That is, keywords that have less competition. While these generate lower traffic, it is possible to build up considerable amounts of traffic by building up a portfolio of less popular keywords.

Other good forms of generating free targeted traffic include article marketing, email marketing and utilizing joint venture partnerships. The main thing is to avoid traffic generation strategies that cost money, but don't result in conversions.

Smart Ways To Use The Internet

The internet is an extremely over-hyped area of opportunity but here are several tested, proven, practical and almost universally valuable uses.

To begin, you need to create a website for your business, not so much as a means of acquiring customers via cyberspace, but a customer service, education, and information center. For example, your website could offer answers to all the commonly asked questions, diagrams, etc. accessible free, 24 hours a day. You could even make a portion of your site "access restricted," for customers, clients, subscribers, or "members" only, adding mystique to your marketing, and adding perceived value for your clientele!

This technique would work whether you have a brick and mortar or internet based business. For example, a restaurant could do this with "secret recipes" and special VIP offers; a clothing retailer with etiquette and fashion tips and special offers, and so on. Of course, you'll also want a promotional area on your website designed for new customers and you'll then want to add your website address to video brochures, audio recordings and infomercials for your advertising and marketing materials.

Second, begin collecting and organizing the email addresses of your customers and collecting the email address of visitors to your site.

With the list, you can do virtually free, push button marketing anytime you like, as often as you like. You can send out an email newsletter to your customers, or other information like tip sheets.

Let's say you have a rather ordinary business; kitchen and bath business, for example. Here are a few of the things you might transmit by email to your customer list:

1. Resources to upgrade your countertops to granite or marble
2. Cabinet grade tips and suggestions
3. Special offers for new plumbing fixtures
4. Tips on determining the grade of cabinet materials
5. New product information

Keep in mind, regardless of your business or product you can use the above techniques for creating and marketing your website and business.

Third, in seeking publicity from the media, being able to fax, email or mail very brief, provocative news releases that refer the recipients to your website for more information is very useful.

Everybody in the media is online. And, some are lazy, so if they can research a story without leaving their chair, believe me, that's the way they're going to do it. If you go the route of writing articles for publication in your industry journals or article forums, you can even post a whole collection of them on your site, and invite any publication to download and use whatever they like.

In summary of my advice to most business owners about the internet: do Not be seduced, do Not buy into the hype and expect miracles or invest inordinate amounts of time or money. Do Not let the internet take away from your commitment to more reliable, predictable, results-measurable advertising and marketing media. But DO get involved. At whatever pace is comfortable for you, begin learning about the internet, getting your business on the Net, and experimenting with practical applications like those just described. Proceed calmly, deliberately, strategically.

Above all else, Just Do It!

Are You Promoting The Right Link?

If you are promoting an affiliate link or your own site or service, without first capturing the customer's name and email address, you are leaving lots of business and money on the table.

This may seem very basic promotion and marketing information for many of you who have been working on line for any length of time. It seems that many others just have not totally figured out how to go about promoting effectively.

When you promote a bare affiliate link, the potential customer clicks on the link and goes to the site. They either buy at the sales page or surf on never to return The percentage of sales for first-time visitors is very low.

Whatever effort including money and time that you put forth to get the customer to that sales page is gone. That potential customer has been lost to you forever.

Here's a much more profitable approach:

- Invest some money and purchase a good, dependable auto-responder service. A simple search of the internet will provide you many options. Staying with one of the better known ones will probably prove to be your best investment.

- Get their name and email address by sending them to a lead capture page. These are simple to set up and there are even some free software programs that will provide you one by simply filling in some information about your site.

- After signing up to your auto-responder on the lead capture page, they are sent a welcome message with the link you are promoting, and they then go to the sales page.

- They are sent a series of follow-up messages over a period of days and weeks. Your offer is seen again and again by them. You will probably want to include additional, related offers for them to review also.

- Multiple exposures to your offer has been proven to be much more effective to over coming sales resistance. As many as seven messages may be needed according to some research. Remember, the "Squeaky wheel gets the grease."

This approach of first capturing their name and email address on your list will turn out to be much more profitable to you in your promotion and marketing efforts.

Your sales will increase because you have captured their name and email address and are able to remind them of your product or service over and over again with personalized messages which are sent out automatically by your auto-responder at pre-set intervals.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are You Making These Twitter Mistakes?

Do you Twitter?

It's the latest craze, and one that can make you money, build your brand, get you clients, and bring on some great joint venture projects. No one made me the Twitter police but I have noticed there are ways to work Twitter and there are ways to use Twitter that won't get you any work.

Here are some dont's with regards to getting followers:

1. Don't try to amass a huge following before you've done some tweeting. People will not be interested in following you when they click on your Twitter page to see what you've got, and notice you don't have much. You need to have tweeted more than, "Trying to figure this Twitter out" and "I think I've got it figured out now." Tweet, tweet, tweet before you gather your flock. Don't know what to say? Try "retweeting" (RT) some other peoples' tweets that resonate with you. Reply to what someone else says and start up a conversation. Tell what you're doing on your business right now. Those are several tweets in the making right there.

2. Don't shoot out promotion after promotion. When others look at your timeline, they'll notice you're just in it for you. People want to know what's in it for them. There are millions of Twitters to follow, why should they follow you when you're only tweeting about your own annoying promotions?

3. Engage in conversation with your Twitter friends. If they're your friends/followers, shouldn't you reply to them on a daily basis? I don't mean reply to all of them everyday, just do several replies to various tweets a day. Again, your potential followers will look at your Twitter timeline and if you don't ever talk to anyone, it's a big turn off. It says ME, ME, ME. So hit @reply and give attaboys, words of encouragement, comments on their blog post link or tell them how you like their latest product. Offer answers when someone has a question, which is an excellent way to brand yourself as an expert. And if someone @replies to one of your posts, it's considered common courtesy to comment back.

The biggest advantage of Twitter is using it to build relationships. Offer value, yes, but also take the time to "talk" to people so they can see you as a real life person. Give first, make friends, and watch your business world open up - just from tweeting on Twitter.

What Makes A Blog Post Viral

The best type of advertising has three characteristics. It is free, impactful and viral. What kind of advertising fulfills all three characteristics? Word of mouth! It is free because it is spontaneous, unsolicited and natural. It is impactful because the persons spreading it were impacted and they spread the news out of their own impacted emotions. And it is extremely viral because it spreads exponentially. Imagine if your blog posts could be passed around this way.

What kind of blog post can achieve such a viral nature? A viral blog can be one of several kinds:

1. A HOW TO blog post

The HOW TO blog post shows the reader how to do something that many people want to know. If you know how to do something that most people do not, you could post a step-by-step guide on how to do it to your blog. Once the right people discover your blog post, they will naturally and spontaneously spread your blog post to others. You could write about how to speak in public, how to write HTML, how to play the piano by ear, how to take great photos etc. There are literally thousands of 'how to' things you could post about.

2. A UNIQUE TWIST blog post

This type of blog post is closely related to the first HOW TO type. This is where you blog about something that is common knowledge but you put your own unique twist to it, something that most people have never thought of. It may well be totally contrary to conventional practice. One example is article marketing. The conventional practice in article marketing is where you write articles and submit them to article directories. But if you have a better and more effective way of article marketing, post about it in your blog. For example, instead of submitting articles to directories, you could offer your articles to blog owners or newsletter owners in your niche. Tell them they can make your article available to their readers for free as long as no changes are made to any of the content. This way you get much more targeted readers reading your article and more powerful link juice back to your blog because it comes from another blog that is related to your own instead of from a general article directory.

3. A HOT REVIEW blog post

This type of post follows the principle of the early bird catching the worm. This is where you blog about the latest hot topic in your niche and give an honest appraisal of what is good and what is bad about whatever is happening. Since the topic is new, virtually no one has much knowledge, much less a view about it. This works tremendously well for political blogs. But the review can also be about the hottest gadget or the latest book or the newest trend in your niche. One great place where you can find out the latest happenings is Google Trends. If you are the first to blog about whatever is happening, you can capture the initial interest of the public and people will start passing your blog post around like wildfire. When that wave dies down, simply find the next sizzling development and review it and the process repeats itself.

These are just three ways you can make your blog viral. Obviously, you will not succeed every time, but if you keep at it, you will hit the jackpot sooner or later. And as a result, the readership of your blog experiences an exponential spurt of growth.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

7 Must Use Internet Social Media Avenues

One type of Internet marketing that you must be taking advantage of is social media. The truth is your Internet business will not survive unless you are involved in various forms of social media. The only exception to that would be is if you do paid advertising such as Google Adwords or Yahoo Marketing.

Perhaps you do not understand the various ways you can utilize these many types of social media to brand yourself and expand your business. Here are 7 types of Internet social media you should be doing everyday.

1. Blogging

Your competition has a blog and so should you. Blogs can serve many purposes. A couple of key points are host your own blog and consistently add fresh content. Never let your blog go stale.

2. Social Networking

My Space and Facebook are 2 of the largest. Building relationships online are a big part of having a successful Internet business. Social networking allows you to hang out with people that have similar interests to you.

3. Micro Blogging

Twitter.com is a combination of social networking and blogging. Building a large list of followers is a great way to meet people and increase traffic to your blog and websites. Plus it is fun to Tweet!

4. Social Bookmarking

Directories such as Digg and Technorati serve as search engine bait for your blog posts and for new traffic from people who read your blog articles. Bookmarking a blog post is very easy to do and the rewards can pay off for years to come.

5. Discussion Forums

This really was one of the first forms of social media and still is a great way to learn about the niche of your business and to drive traffic to it. Hanging out in discussion forums can be addictive so be careful to use them the right way and not waste time. There is an art to forum marketing and you must learn to do it correctly, but the benefits are many.

6. Email Marketing

There has always been money in having a list. The trick is to build relationships with your list and then sell to it after you have done that. For that reason we include it in social media. Today you can add video, audio, graphics, and other things to make your email more interactive.

7. Video Marketing

When Google bought YouTube everyone was put on notice that video marketing was going to be important. Today internet marketers can drive traffic and build credibility by adding videos to their blog and website.

This is 7 forms of social media you must be using everyday to build your Internet business. The most successful Internet marketers already are!