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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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Makes Great Eyeball-Grabbing Sales Copy

Selling services or products over the Internet can be done in two ways. You can either sell through catalog style e-commerce marketing or through direct response marketing. Catalog style e-commerce marketing involves putting a range of services or products with their specifications, functions and uses before the eyes of prospective buyers. Pretty easy. The buyer makes his choices based on the information he sees. But direct response marketing often involves selling only one product or service. The buyer has only two choices - to buy (or take some other form of action the seller wants) or leave. Not easy at all, but immensely rewarding if you can do it well.

In direct response Internet marketing, you must be able to move your reader to take action (often it is to buy your product) simply by communicating through the written word. Doing that successfully takes a very specific set of skills. You must be a master at writing eyeball-grabbing sales copy.

Here are three elements of great sales copy.

Firstly, your copy must have an attention-grabbing and captivating headline. It must stop the reader in his tracks so that he reads nothing else except your copy. There are two ways of doing that. Firstly, you write the main benefit of your product into your headline. Notice it's benefit, not feature that you must highlight. Suppose you are selling an automated blog post making software. Writing, "Introducing the World's Best Software that Makes Blog Posts to Your Blog Automatically" is writing about the feature. But writing, "Discover How You Can Update Your Blog on Autopilot and Never Have to Look at it again for One Entire Year", is writing about benefit.

Features of your product are important, but not in the headline. The second way to make a captivating headline is by writing something in your headline that puts a question into the mind or your reader. This makes him think that the answer must be in the body of your copy and he will continue reading. If you read the headline above, your most natural question would be 'How is this accomplished?' and you will likely read on. Once you get your reader thinking like that, then your headline has done its job. Now comes the body of your copy.

The body of your sales copy must be riveting and engaging. Every word must be written for the sole purpose of getting your reader to read the next sentence. Here's one simple technique to accomplish that.

Think about the old bucket system of dousing a fire. Each person in the line passes a bucket of water to the next person until it reaches the end of the line and the water is poured onto the fire. That is exactly what your sales copy must do. It must move the reader to read the next line and subsequently the next paragraph until he comes to the end.

To do that, your each sentence must lead on to something in the next sentence that your reader wants to know. And the last sentence of each paragraph must leave the reader with some missing piece of the puzzle such that he is compelled to read the next paragraph. Look at the last line of each paragraph of this article. They were designed to lead you to the next paragraph. Can you see how it is done?

Simple, by using certain words like 'if' or '...you must be a master at...' (as in the first two paragraphs), you covertly challenge the reader to find out something he does not yet know. Another way is by stipulating a certain number of points beforehand (as in the fourth paragraph) then your paragraph does not cover all the points you said you would bring up. The reader then concludes there are more points in the following paragraph and reads on.

Another way to write like a 'bucket system' is by using the last line of a paragraph to 'introduce' what's in the next paragraph (as in the 5th and 6th paragraphs). Yet another way is to pose a question in the last sentence (as in paragraph 8).

Finally, great sales copy must have a clear call to action at the end. Your call to action must be convincing and compelling enough for your reader to take the action you want of him (usually it is to buy your product). Your call to action can be made more convincing by answering your reader's objection, favorably comparing the price of your product with another similar product or challenging him to make a change by buying your product instead of remaining the way he is.

A clear call to action is a big topic by itself which can be written about in another article (can you see the 'bucket system' at work here?).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Defining Your Niche Marketplace

The internet world is mine to infiltrate. A successful online business is the goal. Riches and vacations are the dream and the incentive. So why are the wheels spinning and getting nowhere fast?
If this pertains to you keep reading.
Are your e-mails taking up too much of your time? Are you plugging away at an impossible set of keywords? These are just two of the many things that get in the way of having a successful campaign. They were mine.
There are ways of rectifying any distractions. A good way to do that is by creating a to-do list. Once you have discovered the path, you are no longer lost. Follow it and you will escape the forest of distractions and enter the broad landscape of keyword fantasia.
Now you are ready to get to work. Let's find what works best.
To define a particular niche may sound easy, especially if the mind is set on a certain product or service, but it is not. The keywords can and will get in the way of your success if not researched properly.
Keywords are the web term used to define where your potential customers will look for your particular product or service in the search engines.
When specific keywords appear on a web page the search engines will then assume your page will be a good fit for someone typing in your keywords. Of course, there are many other factors coming into play, but keywords are the dominant force in getting your website discovered by your potential customers. Any word can and is a keyword if typed into your computer, but the keywords you choose must be those that your customers would think of when searching for a site such as your own.
It all boils down into how you aggressive you plan on attacking your phrase/keywords and how many competing keywords you face. If the phrase you chose has 5 million competing keywords, how well do you think you will rank? And how easy will it be to get to page one in Google? The answers for both are simple, that is why researching your niche before starting a website is really important. A good place to start is http://www.wordtracker.com. There you will be able to locate which keywords have great potential for marketing.
The niche marketplace is broad in spectrum, but unless you have a huge e-mail list to sell to, you should keep your attention set on a narrow path. Find that potential rose in the field of dandelions and you will be on your way. But don't stop there, once you have located your flower, pick it and take care of it, but by all means find another and another.
A niche market isn't something to be found, but rather a thing you define and create. It will take a lot of effort and time to get it right, but the rewards are well worth it. So rather than spending all your time playing with distraction after distraction, define your niche by finding a great keyword. Then get to work.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Niche Websites For The Longterm

If your looking for longterm, consistent income, then maybe you should look into creating a bunch of niche websites.

Most of the work is done up front, and then you just add to it every little while. If you're getting alot of traffic and/or sales, then you need to put all of your focus on that site to get what you can out of it.

Niche websites are little sites that you can setup using wordpress. Normally about 5-7 pages and promoting one product. They can bring you in a consistent income, sometimes for years! It all depends on how you tend to them through fresh incoming links and updated material. Some do nothing. Others do well. Your hope is that one (or more) does great!

Also, you need to "ping" after every post to your blogs, niche website, or even within your squidoo account. Pinging let's search engines know that you have fresh content on the net. The spiders then come to crawl your site.

Google "ping" to find out more.

Using the free Wordpress.org site means that you will need a host for your sites. There are a ton of hosts out there, but the host you want will support "Fantastico". This enables you to upload your wordpress software at the click of a button.

A host will cost you about $10 a month. Your other expense will be for domain names. For one whole campaign, you're looking at purchasing two domain names, one for your wordpress site and the other for your products affiliate link. This will cost you about $20 a year.

Before you read any further, let's just find out if creating niche websites is for you!

Can you see yourself focusing on one subject for a week or two and then switching gears and throwing all your attention into a new subject?

If you think you can, then maybe this is for you. Alot of people can't do this. They need something that they are passionate about and that's it. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that and actually I would advise you to search for topics that do interest you. Of course, you need to dig down deep into the subject to see if there actually is a market there.

Okay, let me give you a quick rundown on how creating niche websites work!

It's as easy as going to Clickbank, (which is a place where you can promote other people's products and get a percentage of the sale), searching and choosing a product to promote and then grabbing your hoplink(affiliate link). This link is one that you'll want to purchase a domain name for. Once you get that domain name, you forward that hoplink to it, you can do this at the site where you purchase your domain name. Hoplinks are generally pretty long and ugly. You want to look professional, so make them nice and neat.

When choosing your product, stay away from fad products and don't choose a product who's gravity is sky high! Yes, it's nice to know that affiliates are making some money off of the product, but that also means that the competion will be stiff.

We want to, kind of, fly under the radar. Also, before you grab your hoplink from the product your going to promote, go to google and type in "google keyword tool".

Click on it, it's free. Check to see if you can find some good longtail keywords for the product you're looking to promote. We want keyword phrases that are RELEVANT to what you will be promoting. VERY RELEVANT!

Enter a broad keyword. look for keyword phrases that have about 1,000 to 1,500 monthly searches and low competition. Dig down deep, try to find about 5 or 6 really good longtail keywords.

Think about what you want your site to look like, as far as the pages go and what you'd like each to say. I say that because you're site will be about 5 or 6 pages and each page will be optimized with one of those keywords. Title, first sentence of the first paragraph, the "about" page, and maybe 2 or 3 sprinkled throughout the rest of the page.

Now go grab your hoplink.

You're going to be sending people to that hoplink(which has been forwarded to the purchased domain name, which, by the way, should also be relevant to your topic, having the keyword phrase in the name would be ideal) from your niche website.

You're going to be sending people to your niche website from Squidoo via another domain name, this one being your niche website domain name. So, on Squidoo, you're going to send people to the niche website using that domain. But, on your main website, you're going to send people to the product sales page using the hoplink domain. Kapeesh? Did I even spell that right? Haha!

Google loves Wordpress and Squidoo. This is why most ALL of your links will go straight to your Squidoo lenses first.

Do the same thing with your Squidoo campaign as you did with your niche website; create a lens for each longtail keyword.

Now start sending traffic to each lens. Take each keyword phrase and write articles around it, send the links to your Squidoo lens page and to your niche website page. create a blog or two and link to your lens page and your niche website page. Go to Wetpaint and set up a page, you probably can guess where I'm going to tell you to link to, haha!

The bottom line is this; pick some ways to generate traffic and let that become your routine. Soon, you'll start pumping out these sites. Like I said before, some will stick and some won't. Don't fret over it. Just keep creating more and more.

Also, remember this; when one starts getting some good traffic or sales, stop everything else, go to that site and expand it. Do more articles, make more posts, post in more bookmarking sites, create some videos.

Oh and by the way, once you do start generating some steady cash flow; you can purchase some software and/or outsourcing to get these sites up even faster!

Have fun with this!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Choosing an Accounting Package

Accounting is all about numbers. These numbers are collected , summarized and analyzed before creating reports and statements. This is then distributed to management and even stockholders. It takes time to put all these numbers in order which is why an accounting software is often used for this purpose.

The advantage of using an accounting software for starters is that you can reduce the time needed to collate data so you know almost immediately if the business is making money or not.

Another advantage of using an accounting program is that aside from being fast, it is as accurate as the information you put into it. The best part about accounting software is the fact that you only pay once in order to get the whole package. This saves you money as accountants will charge a professional fee each time you require them to do a particular task.

Most accounting programs in the market are easy to use, set up and navigate. This means you don't have to be a certified accountant to use it. Generally, you are given a step by step guide that will help you throughout the entire process.

There are a few things to look out for when you decide to invest in an accounting software. First, this should be reliable. Some software programs look good in the beginning but then fail to deliver later on.

You can talk with other companies that are in the same industry you are in to find out what software they are using. Since these software programs are sold more openly in the web, you should get in touch with current users to see how well it has performed or read reviews written by various organizations that spend time browsing through the program.

Although accounting uses the basics of mathematics, there is more to it than that especially when various sheets are compiled together. You can ask for a 30 day trial period to see if this is what you need. Should the features and all the numbers come back with the same results, then you know it is worth buying.

If it has a lot of features that you don’t need, you should just look elsewhere and get the kind that suits your needs. There are various ones in the market like those used for payroll or to compute for taxes so you should focus only on what you need.

The last thing to consider is the price. Given that you know what features you are after, you don’t even have to buy the most expensive one in the market. Compare prices. There are cheaper packages that can perform just as well.

Reliability, features and price are the three most important things to look for when you decide to purchase an accounting software for your company or organization.

Flipping Websites to Make Money on Line

Flipping websites is a business model that many online marketers use to generate quick cash. Frankly, it is not as easy as that may sound, but once you have worked out an established process for getting the site, establishing its value and marketing it in the right market, it can be a money maker.

This online business is not limited to flipping just websites. The business model can include selling blogs, Squidoo Lens and Hubpages. The upside of building a Squidoo Lens, Hubpage or say a Blogger Blog, is that the site can be built and sold with just the investment of time, with no cash out of pocket.

If the business model was to use Wordpress.org as the site building tool, the cost can be kept to a minimum. The benefit is that the site can be built on a specific domain name and on hosting that you control. A site built for the price of a ten dollar domain name and a faction of a monthly hosting fee, then sold for $50, puts nearly 40 bucks in your pocket or Paypal account.

Building your own site and selling it is only one way online marketers use flipping as one of their multiple streams of income. Another method can be compared to the real estate investing strategy of "rehabbing" properties. In this case, the investor buys an existing site that has some established profit making history. After that the site is tweaked or rehabbed so it gets more traffic and/or converts sales better. Once a the statistics reflect the better profit performance, the site can be sold again for a profit, hopefully a large profit!

One of the trickiest things with flipping websites is determining the value of a site before you buy it or sell it. As with the flipping of domain names, there are services online that will provide you an estimated value report on the website. If expense is an issue, checkout a free service like www.dnscoop.com to help you determine a price for your site.

Another challenge in flipping websites is finding someone to buy it from you. Just starting out in this business model, the best and easiest way to both create interest and market your sites is on eBay. Once you have a value estimate for your site, set up an eBay auction with a minimum bid that assures profit and then see what happens. Once you establish a reputation for marketing quality sites, your auctions will be an ongoing source of revenue for your online business.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do What The Pundits Say You Can't

Remember the days of yore - the ones before there was an Internet? No, you're not dating yourself - it really wasn't that long ago. But the advent of the 'net has changed how business is done pretty drastically in that short space of time, and if you want to squeeze a living from that massive online marketplace, you need to know something about how the rules have changed.

Pre-web, you could crack open a newspaper, check the business opportunities section and find ads galore, all promising to teach you how to make money from home. You'd pony up with a $10 check, they'd mail you back a package teaching you how to sell their package. That self-serving formula hasn't changed much; you'll still find plenty of those online, but they aren't charging you $10 for it anymore, that's for sure.

But there's another kind of teacher that you can find online that isn't trying to sell you on selling them. They really want to teach you how to make money, and aren't trying to fleece you out of what money you have. But they often have one problem: they promote their way of making a success on the Internet as the only true, genuine, workable way to succeed, and proclaim everybody else's methods to be useless at best, and a scam at worst. They take what worked for them as a universal truth, and really they're not wrong, exactly. They just suffer from tunnel vision. You've probably heard the parable about the blind men and the elephant - each one felt a different part of the beast and made their separate (and incorrect) conclusions about it based only on the part they came into contact with . That's what a lot of these online gurus are doing.

If you're trying to learn what "really works" when it comes to making money on the Internet, you are no doubt completely confused by what your research has brought up so far. Let's dispel some of these myths.

Theory One
In these days of blogs and social media, you need to prove your authority for your site to succeed. build your traffic and your authority first, then monetize later.

Theory One Shot Down
While this method can certainly work, it doesn't take into account what your personal style of blogging might be. Perhaps you don't feel yourself to be an authority on a topic you want to turn into a business. If you prefer to write posts that come across like an online diary - if you have your smiling picture up on your "About" page - then the relationships you're forming with the visitors to your blog is a friendly, cozy, interactive one. Once you have a lot of traffic and want to monetize your blog, you'll find yourself in the uncomfortable position of trying to solicit money from people who have become your "friends." You can either establish yourself from Day One as an authoritative source of information, or you can be a blogging buddy. You can't really do both.

Theory Two
You can't be anonymous. People don't respond to a gravatar...they need to see a face.

Theory Two Shot Down
Have you ever heard of lolcats? The icanhascheezburger.com site launched in January, 2007. By June, they were getting half a million hits per day. Nobody knew who ran the site. In July, the two founders were interviewed by Time Magazine, and told their interviewer that they preferred to remain anonymous. It wasn't until they sold their little hobby site for 2 million dollars that we learned their names: Kari Unebasami and Eric Nakagawa. Anonymity didn't seem to hurt them any, eh?

Theory Three
If you have a blog, you must post often or you'll lose traffic.

Theory Three Shot Down
Ask Frank Warren. His postsecret.com blog gets updated once on Sundays, and he landed a multi book contract with a major publisher not long after it swept the web. It's also in the top 100 sites online.

Theory Four
The fastest way to build a list is to give away freebies.

Theory Four Shot Down
Well, this can work, but you could also be laboring to build a list of freebie hounds that never, ever end up buying anything from you. It's a crapshoot.

Theory Five
Your website, blog posts, or mailing list should be about whatever you're selling.

Theory Five Shot Down
On the surface of it, this makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Problem is, it doesn't necessarily reflect reality. You have a brand of socks that you think are the bee's knees, but do you really want to read a newsletter about them? You wanna join a mailing list and hang out in forums and get updated blog posts about your favorite nose hair trimmer? Ask a few gurus what they'd do about trying to sell a product that nobody really wants to read about, and most of them will tell you not to bother trying to sell it. But people do sell these things online, and make a very nice living for themselves doing it. How do you manage that when you can't stay "topical" or "targeted"? Well, find a way to promote an idea that's related to what you're selling. If you're trying to sell socks, consider talking about the fashion industry in your posts. If you're selling nose hair trimmers, you could write about hygiene, or personal grooming in general. If you are selling your services, for instance home renovation, roofing, decks, etc., how about creating a site with barbecue recipes and kids crafts, with testimonials from your clients telling about how they loved entertaining on their new deck and that the kids are crazy about their new playroom. People will love your cool articles and fun stuff, and return to your site to buy what you're selling them. Just talk about what people want to hear and they'll remember the connection.

Theory Six
Do what you love, and the money will follow. It won't even seem like work.

Theory Six Shot Down
Again, another idea that makes sense on first viewing. What better way to spend your life than getting paid for doing something you love? But think about it. What was a leisure pursuit, a way to relax, a way to express yourself, will soon become a full time job, with pressures, deadlines, expectations, and endless compromise as you cater to each new "boss" that pays you to give them what they want. How long do you think it will take before you have no desire to look another doll, or sewing machine, or kit car, or pile of PC parts in the face again? There's nothing wrong with making your hobby into a business, if that's what you really want. But considering the downside, it's also perfectly possible and often desirable to go into something else altogether, keeping your hobbies and business completely unrelated.

Theory Seven
You can't succeed in a field you know nothing about.

Theory Seven Shot Down
It's not tough to see how having a lot of knowledge in a particular field can help you achieve great success in it. And sometimes it's even a prerequisite: you probably wouldn't take flying lessons from someone who'd never flown a plane.

But do you suppose that every successful marketer, website designer or ghostwriter is an expert in every field they're asked to apply their expertise to? Of course not. So what did they do? They found out What They Needed To Know. If you know how to properly research an industry, you can sell anything to anyone in any field and make a success of it.

So don't take what someone trying to sell you their "Make Millions Online" program says as gospel truth. They may not be trying to mislead you, but they may have a fatally narrow focus and a "can't do" attitude that won't reassure you that there really is an infinite number of ways to make money online. If you keep an open mind about the possibilities, you really can make the dream work for you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

4 Really Good Reasons To Start A Blog

For as many people who have started a blog or 2 of their own, for their internet business, there are still ten times as many who have not. That is somewhat amazing when you consider how many benefits blogging can offer your business.

I could write all day on why you should start a blog, but let's boil it down to 4 really good reasons!

1. Everyone else is doing it so why not you. Maybe a better way to put that is your competition has a blog so you better get with it or be left behind eating their dust.

If you compare two similar businesses online today you will find the one that has a blog is beating the pants off of the one who does not. Is that a risk worth taking?

2. Blogs are a great way to interact with your visitors. In fact you can do so many cool things with a blog today that the really good ones make the visit so enjoyable people actually want to come back again.

You can interact with your visitors by adding a place for them to post comments on your blog articles. You can run polls and make it fun to see what people are voting on.

You can add videos on various things relating to the theme of your blog. If you do not know how to create a video you can go to You Tube and copy some simple code and place it in your blog. Presto, you now have made your blog more fun.

3. You can sell products on your blog. This is so easy that anyone can do it as well. Start by placing a banner for your favorite affiliate program on the sidebar. Then add text link ads for more products you sell in the content of the blog articles themselves.

Another huge revenue stream for top bloggers is selling advertising. Did you know you could earn several thousands dollars a month for one banner ad if you have a high traffic blog.

You can even place Google Adsense ads on your blog and get paid every month by Google. They sell the advertising for you which makes it real nice!

4. Search engines love blogs because they are looking for fresh content everyday. If you work at adding new content on a consistent basis Google and other search engines will reward you with free traffic.

So there you have it. 4 really good reasons to start a blog. What are you waiting for? Go do it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Can You Trust Anyone Selling Training Online?

Are they out for your money or are they really interested in helping you to succeed. Both are indeed true. It is up to you to decide which.
There are ways to uncover the facts and it is important that you do if you plan on spending any money. So before emptying your wallet, open your browser and do a search. Go to Google search and type in the persons name or web address and see what comes up. Another way to find out a lot about a certain website is by going to http://www.scambusters.org. If it is not listed there you may be in the clear. Although, all it might mean is that they haven't had any reports yet. Another great place to find out about whether a company is legitimate or not is to go to http://www.sohojobs.org/scams.html.
Since the birth of the Internet there has been many people out there looking to make a quick buck. Many have succeeded because the person doing the buying doesn't take the time to look into what they are purchasing.
So when looking to purchase training do your homework. There are many great training programs available online and many are free. Most trainers will offer a free audio, video or e-mail course in exchange for your name and e-mail address. You are then placed in their autoresponder and will begin to receive sales messages via e-mail. This can be a very fair trade-off if the original training content is good.
There are also numerous training sites that offer multiple sources of material for a monthly fee. It would not be fair to place all of these systems under one dusty old umbrella because there are many legitimate companies out there offering top of the line training. But be careful, do not spend 100 dollars a month on something that sounds too good to be true, because it probably is. What you should be looking for in any one of these companies is the truth. That usually spells out by them claiming there will be work involved.
In any online business, just like any offline business, you must work at it in order to succeed. And in order to become a successful online marketer you must learn and acquire good training to make your dreams a reality. Just be careful and do your homework first, otherwise you could end up a statistic and end up a dime in some scammers pocket.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Link Partner Strategy to Leverage Your Marketing Results

The name of the game with Internet Marketing is productivity. Productivity means reaching the greatest number of targeted prospects with the least effort and expense to generate the most sales.

The key to productivity is leverage: expanding your marketing activity with resources and systems that run without your direct effort or excessive involvement.

Developing a Link Partner strategy is one recommended way to leverage your efforts and increase your productivity, although there are numerous additional ways to apply leverage to your Internet business efforts. These may include:

- Advertising in ezines, online forums, websites and other sources

- Participation as a member in online business and marketing forums

- Participation in Social Networking sites

With each of these leveraging systems, it may take some effort and time to get them set up and to begin establishing your website presence.

The advantage to any or all of these systems is that once set up, they will produce results for you with minimal effort and will continue to do so for extended periods of time.

Link Partners are website owners or webmasters with whom you exchange your website link. You will place a link to their site somewhere on your website, and they will place your link somewhere on their site.

Links can be in text ad form or banner form. Links might be included in an article, a site review or a blog post. Or they might be listed in a business services directory. The style or nature of the link exchange should be agreed upon before the links are posted to prevent any misunderstandings or disappointments.

Link Partners may be easy to find, but the real essence of an effective Link Partner strategy is exchanging links with quality websites. That is, sites with a respectable PageRank and who are already attracting the same kind of visitors that you are targeting for your online business.

There are many good web tools available that can be used to check the PageRank of a website. You can do an Internet search for page rank tools.

To find quality sites and to encourage them to want to support your Link Partner strategy, here are some recommended steps:

1) When surfing the Internet, watch for and bookmark sites that you believe are suitable for your purpose. You could also do Internet searches for your keywords, then check out the sites that rate the highest in the search engine results.

2) Once you identify a suitable Link Partner candidate, write a complimentary review for the site and post the review on your website or blog page.

3) Contact the webmaster or owner of the reviewed site, advise them of the review and give them permission to publish the review on their site along with a link pointing back to your site as the review source. As an alternative to publishing the review on their site, they can simply include a link that points to the review on your site.

You can apply this Link Partner strategy to any number of partners you choose, keeping in mind that the more link partners you have, the more effectively you will be able to leverage your efforts and expand your reach.

Productivity is the name of the game. Increased sales are the goal. An effective Link Partner strategy can be the ideal means to achieve the desired end.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How To Become a Search Engine Friendly Web Designer

There are many great web designers out there, and some of these designers pride themselves on their great designs. Visually of course, a great look and feel is an important part of a Website, but unfortunately, many Websites don't rank well with Search Engines because of this very fact. Many designers get carried away with Flash, complicated table layouts and images, making their Website load slowly or hard to read. Often designers forget or don't know the workings of a web page or a Website as a whole.

In the past, Search Engines were not as evolved as they are now. There are a number of constantly changing Algorithms now in place to determine whether you make the cut. Realistically, you would need a professional SEO company to optimize and maintain your Website properly if you want to follow all the Tech specks that Search Engines use, but to keep it simple, here are some basic SEO tips and questions to consider when building a Website:

1. Optimize the size of the web page to the fullest. Resizing the images to their correct dimensions and getting them reduced in file size as much as possible is important, because the more KB a Website has to load, the slower it is. Ideally, a visitor wants to get in to your Website and get the information that they came for as fast as possible. If the Website takes long to load, visitors will get discouraged and leave. Achieving a balance of a great design and a fast loading time is crucial to Search Engine success. There are a number of Websites that will test your loading time using different speeds. Usually these services are free. Do a search for one. It is definitely worth your time.

2. Too much optimization can hurt you.. Some elements are important to properly optimize a web page. An example of these include: Metatags with a well written Title, relevant strategically placed H1 and H2 Tags, ALT Tags, Comments, and obviously keyword rich content are to name a few. Key fact to keep in mind though, over doing it can actually hurt the Website. There needs to be a balance of real content and optimization. When unsure, less is always better.

3. Is the Website using web safe colors and fonts? Fonts and colors often make a web page more attractive. This becomes a problem when designers use fonts that are not available on the visitor's computer. The font then defaults to the closest web safe font available. The result is often unpredictable and a visual mess. The same applies to colors. Colors look different on different monitors, and unless a web-safe color is used, it will vary on different monitors.

4. Is the content "Readable" by the Search Engines? To display the content exactly how the designers plan it, they often turn valuable content into images. Remember, Search Engines cannot read images. An ALT description can and should be used for images, but it does not substitute for great HTML content. If possible, always opt for using HTML content and ALWAYS, write the content for the readers, not the Search Engines.

5. Design with screen resolution in mind. Screen Resolution is a setting on individual computers that people set according to their preference. Screen resolutions can vary. Here are some common settings that people use: 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1152 x 870. When designing a Website, you would want to stay somewhere in the middle of the range. If you must go beyond that, try to fit at least the important parts of your Website into that valuable space. The last thing you want the visitor to do is scroll horizontally to read your content.

There are a lot more intricacies to why a Website succeeds or fails out there, and different Search Engines are constantly evolving and changing their review criteria. If you speak to 10 different SEO professionals, they will most likely give you 10 different interpretations of what it takes to be a truly Search Engine friendly Website. Chances are they are all correct. It's hard to keep up, but one thing seems to be a definite constant. Keep all the SEO pointers in mind from the start when designing a Website, and definitely design with your visitors in mind. You do that, and it will save you a lot of time and heartache later on, and the Search Engines will love you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Meet the Tweeple

It seems that there are hundreds of new terms entering our vocabulary each year because of technology. It wasn’t so long ago that nobody would have understand what ‘go and Google it’ would mean. The latest craze bringing in a wealth of new terms of its own is Twitter.

Let’s look at how you can increase your chances of meeting the tweeple. (This is just one of those new terms mentioned. It is so new that spelling checkers still think it is a mistake). Tweeple are simply people using Twitter. Why would you want to meet people using Twitter? The reason is that there is a potential to reach a huge audience very quickly. Unlike spam email the people reading your messages (or tweets) have opted in to do so by becoming your ‘followers’. This raises the possibility for Twitter marketing.

It is not a good idea to blatantly advertise in twitter – even though many do. Apart from the fact that people may stop following you, they are also a lot less likely to click on any of your links. A better method is to tell a story. For example, you could send a tweet that said something like ‘You’ll never guess what happened to me at the shops today – find out the full story [link]’. This would arouse curiosity. The link would send readers to your blog or website where you could include an interesting pre-sell story. Not only would you get more clicks, you are likely to get higher conversions.

Of course, none of this is going to happen if you don’t have followers. There are some simple steps you can take to increase the likelihood of others following you. The simplest is to make good use of your twitter profile. You should include a picture of yourself in order to appear personal and approachable. If you have a website then you should include the URL in the profile. Twitter allows you to add up to 160 characters for your bio. This is an area you should put some thought into. As well as introducing yourself you should add something about the niche you are targeting.

An advanced tip is to change the profile background. Most people couldn’t be bothered doing this so this one small change can help you stand out from the crowd. Not only can you change the background color, you can also add a picture. This could be a picture of yourself, your product or one that just sets a theme.

If you set up your profile well and provide useful tweets that add value you are likely to build an army of followers as well as make some extra sales and get increased traffic to your website along the way.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Promotions That Stick Like Peanut Butter

Are you always searching for new, better ways to promote your product or service on line ? If so, then you are certainly not alone.

Promotion of your site's product or service should be the type of thing that is at the top of your list if you are intent on creating some traffic and sales.

Everyday you are likely flooded with new email offers which promise to create a flood of new traffic to your Web site. Some of these offers are fresh, creative approaches, but most of them are simply re-hashed efforts of systems and creations of others.

For the most part, if they sound too good to be true, they probably are.

This article is aimed at giving you three good, time-tested approaches to promotion of your site that brings you some long term residual benefits and traffic. As you probably already know, increased traffic = increased sales and more profit for you.

Here is three suggestions:

(1) Write Articles

Writing and distributing articles is probably the very best approach in your promotional arsenal.

It's something that you can do for free and with just a little effort. Try to include article writing in your weekly activities. Make a goal of creating one or more articles each week.

Once you have your articles written, you should distribute them through services like iSnare.com, http://www.isnare.com , an article submission and distribution directory. Your articles will be sent out to thousands of ezine publishers and article directories within a few days.

While there is a cost for the distribution, it is small and well worth the cost to quickly and efficiently distribute your articles widely and quickly. It would probably take days of your time to equal their efforts.

(2) Build A Partners List

Establishing a joint venture effort with several of your on line partners who have complimentary but not competitive Web sites, can be very beneficial.

One good source of potential partners would be the Directory of Ezines.com. http://www.directoryofezines.com/ . While this is not a free resource, it can be a beneficial investment that provides you with a ton of information on ezines, advertising and other resources.

You can then swap advertising efforts and share in promotion of each others offers. They can benefit from your promotion of their products or services in your list of subscribers and you can do the same.

To make your contacts with potential joint venture partners easier you can create some contact letters to use as templates. Simply personalize each new contact with their name and information.

It's a win-win situation.

(3) Visit Forums

Location and use of on line forums which are appropriate to your niche can be very beneficial to your site. Most of them will allow you to include a signature file with a URL to your site in your posts you make to the forum.

To locate appropriate forums to visit, simply do a search on one of the major search engines for "forums:marketing." Include the niche you want to find as the second word in your search.

Try to provide helpful answers to those asking questions and needing help in forums you visit. Become a resource that is trusted and respected. You will be more likely to gain some traffic and sales at your site. Be sure to read their rules to make sure you are not spamming.

A conscientious effort by you to apply these promotional efforts outlined in the article above create promotions that sticks like peanut butter and results in increased traffic and sales of your product or services.