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Thursday, February 26, 2009

10 best practices for online sales pages

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If you run an online business and you depend on search engine traffic you need to utilize the following Google Adwords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 10 best practices for online sales pages. Even if you don't currently use Google Adwords paid advertising, the following useful tips will help you beat out 99% of your online competition in regard to Google specific search engine optimization for online sales pages.
Before we jump right into the 10 best practices, let me take a moment and briefly describe if you don't already know, how a typical person happens to come across your website.
Typically speaking, someone will usually find a website via the many search engines on the Internet; the two best examples in the U.S. are probably Google.com and Yahoo.com in that order.
So the process goes something like this:
A person has a specific problem to solve or they are researching a particular topic. An example would be a problem with acne. Imagine if you will, a person with an acne problem going to Google.com and typing in something along the lines of "how to solve severe facial acne".
In the above scenario, a person with a specific problem they are trying to solve has typed in a question into a search engine. They didn't type in JohnSmith'sWebsite.com or JohnSmith'sBestAcneProduct.com, they typed in a question to a problem they have and they are looking for specific answers as a result of their search. Understanding this flow is a critical online success factor. Now, back to our Search Engine Optimization Best Practices;
What you have to understand distinctly is that the above scenario is based specifically around a few "key words" or more accurately, a "key phrase"; "how to solve severe facial acne"
Your typical mom and pop Internet store owner tends to think advertising on the Internet via Google Adwords or simple search engine marketing is the same or similar to any other form of advertising like local phone book ads, classified ads, radio or even TV ads for that matter. You just mention your company name, products, address and phone number and wait for the people to walk through your virtual door.
Unfortunately, online advertising is nothing like the above unless your Nike or CNBC and have ad budgets in the $ millions. I wish I would have coined this; and I don't remember who did... but you have to think of online marketing as "Phrase Marketing".
What do I mean by that?
Well, you have to put yourself in your customer's place and imagine what you would type into a search engine if you were trying to find the products you sell. You also have to do this in the above context of what problems do your products solve. Learn how to use that second point effectively and your sales will shoot through the moon. By doing the above, you can effectively begin to envision how to optimize your sales pages and your online business.
So in the context of all the above, here are 10 deadly effective and simple ways to beat 99% of your competition in "Phrase Marketing" or Google Adwords and Search Engine Optimization.
1. Include your most important keywords in the title tag of your sales page. A little bit of "techiness" - this just means put your key phrase in between your "title tags" on your online sales page. Any basic web editor like MS Frontpage will allow you to do this easily.
2. Include a few key word relevant sentences at the very top of your product sales page. If your product is an acne product; just place a few key sentences at the top of your page and include the relevant words of acne and any supporting key words in those sentences. Make the sentences key-word-rich.
3. Make your h1, h2, and h3 tags keyword relevant similar to point number 2 above. Really, this just means in the important sections of your sales page, include that key phrase in any headline formatting tags like "h1", "h2", or "h3".
4. Include a bold headline which includes your key phrase in it under your key sentences above. For the non-techies, using an "HTML tag" as your headline is one way search engines pick up that you want to emphasize this line as important on your web page. It's just a visual formatting tag like using "bold" in MS Word.
5. Don't use any window pop-ups. This is an absolute no-no with Google Adwords. Just don't do it - enough said.
6. Always include a contact us page link with your name, email, phone number, and physical address. Again, common sense, but lots of people forget it. Make it easy for customers to contact you and put that link in a conspicuous place on your sales page.
7. Include outbound links with your keywords as the anchor text. This is great for Google cross linking relevance. If you have online articles you've written or a blog, place links to some of those articles on your sales page and cross link between the pages.
8. Always include a privacy policy at the bottom of your pages. In today's world, that should go without saying, but it also carries weight with Google and Google may tend to treat your website a little better than a similar site without a privacy policy link in plain view.
9. Name irrelevant pictures a generic name or number. What I mean by this is; for the above example, if you have a picture on your sales page, don't name that picture something like "acne_solutions.jpg". Just name the picture "salespageimage1.jpg" instead. Google may place that image inside of "Google Images" after your webpage gets indexed and if you name it "acne_solutions.jpg" but it has nothing to do with real acne solutions, then people aren't going to click on it. This may end up decreasing your overall site relevance within Google. This definitely is not what we're trying to achieve here.
10. Lastly, avoid using words like Iron Clad Guarantee, testimonial, free offer, etc. If your page is very "salesy" Google may tend to frown on that a bit. Just offer unique, honest "key-word-rich" content on your sales page and you will be ahead of 99% of your competition.
In summary, I hope the above tips help you to master the "real" way you need to market online using "Phrase Marketing".
What would you type into a search engine to find your products?
Answer that question and place those keywords strategically throughout your sales pages and you will absolutely increase your overall level of success in your online marketing efforts and will certainly increase sales.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Online jobs

If you go online and Google online jobs a myriad of possibilities appear magically before your eyes. From entry level to executive, a wide variety of online jobs are available. The best website I have found in searching for online jobs is at www.googleonlinejobs.com.
 This website has lists of legitimate online job opportunities.
The folks at google online jobs have done a marvelous job of compiling lists of online jobs in just about every imaginable category. They also have further recommended websites to search for online jobs. The nice thing about looking for online jobs with google online jobs is that this is a reputable company. You won't have to worry about scam jobs or rip offs that seem like jobs but are not.
We have all gotten those e-mails advertising Google online jobs and clicked on the website, only to find that these people are not affiliated with Google, or any other reputable company in any way. They have used the reputation of Google to draw in consumers looking for online jobs. Their e-mails make it look like you would be working for Google.
If one sends for the information offered by these Google online jobs scam artists, they would have to pay dearly for job lists which may or may not be legitimate offers. This is probably just a new twist on the old mail order scam. In this old scam people paid for information on how to make money through the mail and received information on how to scam others with the same ad they answered.
It is best to ignore any e-mails received on the subject of Google online jobs. In fact, don't answer or click on any unsolicited e-mail you receive. This is just asking for viruses and scam artists to just step right through the open door. It is much better to go to legitimate companies such as Google to look for online jobs.
There are many opportunities for legitimate online jobs. Some companies offer work at home opportunities. There are other reputable websites for job hunting, but I find that Google has the best listings. The jobs listed on Google are not necessarily with Google but they don't charge you a dime to check them out.
If you are genuinely interested in online jobs, go right to the best source. Google online jobs has jobs listed by industry, job fairs, work at home opportunities, seasonal and worldwide jobs and more. Whatever type of online jobs you're interested in, they can be found at google online jobs. They won't mislead or misrepresent. The job of your dreams is just a click away.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sexy Networking?

I don't care what business you're in, networking is an important part of your daily business practices. If it's not it should be. You never know who you will run into on a day-to-day basis. Casual conversations in this day and age usually circle back around to what you do for a living. Be prepared when that happens.

1. The Pitch

Memorize a 1-2 minute pitch about yourself and your business. Keep it short and sweet, no one wants an earful right out of the gate. You can always elaborate more as the conversation continues but at first your intent should be to hook the listener. Have a strong pitch, an attention grabber, something that sums up your skills and services in a neat little package and gets your perspective client thinking "I'm intrigued. Tell me more."

2. Identity

I can't stress this enough. I've seen it time and time again. Someone gets to talking to someone who is interested in their line of work, they ask: "Do you have a business card?" and the response is "No, let me write my information onto this cocktail napkin instead."

You're not trying to pick up your client for a date are you? (If you are that's an entirely different topic). Point is, napkins get torn, lost, or just plain ignored and thrown out with the rest of the pocket/purse trash. The proper response is to present a card that is much like your pitch. To the point, not too flashy, not bogged down with info, but eye catching and informative enough that the next time that person comes across your card they paus to look it over - and hopefully call you.

For those in the entertainment business - models and actors - you should already know that a zed card is your business card. People want to remember your face if they're thinking about booking you fora job. Don't confuse zed cards with headshots. Carrying around stacks of 8x10s isn't always that conducive. Zed cards are the mini equivalent and they also showcase images of your previous work on the back for models, for actors a brief list of skills and accomplishments. And, of course, for business cards, zed cards, and headshots, there should be a way to contact you. A clear, legible phone number, email address, and even a website if you have one...if you don't, keep reading!

3. Website/Internet

People are visual beasts. Most of them like to research their prospects - the way they do it: Internet, websites, GOOGLE! Yknow, those popular buzz words you always hear? Well they mean something. A presence on The Net can land you clients just as sure as walking up and talking to them face-to-face. It's importantto be visual any way you can. Take advantage of the different avenues available to you. And don't forget the first tool you have at your disposal - your mouth.

Case in point: I was recently at a convention in LA. One of the speakers was a prominent actress. She was asked if she had a website and she said: "No, but I am thinking of getting one."

Now a brief intro to myself: I design websites, so upon hearing her interest in getting one made I stood from my seat, walked up to the stage where she was speaking, handed her my business card that detailed the fact that I do web design, and I also used my mouth tool to tell her that I was a web designer and I would be happy to assist her. Low and behold the entire convention crowd applauded me. Why you ask? Well, one woman in the crowd said it best as I returned to my seat: "Wow, what great networking!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's not unusual for a big chunk of your emails to disappear before they reach your subscribers. Your email software or service likely doesn't tell you this. It can't.
The anti-spam technologies used by webmail services and others accidentally tag some legitimate emails as spam. Then they delete them or reroute them to junk folders. You'd never know, as they rarely tell the sender when this happens.

Think about the impact if just 10% of your emails go missing. How many clicks, sales or downloads would you lose? Clearly you need to know whether you have a delivery problem. But where do you even start?

Free Trial Spam Filter Environment

DELIVERY WATCH might be your answer. It's a self-service online tool which does the delivery detective work for you. You can test it out through their FREE TRIAL.

The tool runs your email through popular spam filters and reveals whether your message would get marked as spam.Delivery Watch also tells you how the top email address providers deal with your emails: do they deliver them to inboxes, put them in junk folders or delete them?

It covers all the top webmail services (like Yahoo! Mail), as well as regional providers from North America, the UK and elsewhere. The tool also checks if you're on any email blacklists and whether your deliverinfrastructure is configured properly.

Armed with all this information, you can then work on solving any problems and watch those responses rise. Start a free trial HERE.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Affiliate Marketing 101

It's incredible the number of people wanting to earn money online who just sign up for an affiliate marketing program and then wonder why they are not making any money. How many times do you need to h ear that there are no quick and easy ways to earn large sums of money on the internet? Sure you could sign up for one of these get paid to post forums and spend endless hours in front of your computer just to earn a measly $10 per month! I do believe that the real internet gold is in affiliate marketing.

There has been a great attraction to affiliate marketing as a way to earn money online since it was created, and this is because it is easier that selling directly or drop-shipping: with affiliate marketing you do not have to buy a product and then sell it, leaving you with a loss if you cannot sell your products; you do not have to handle products, you do not have to worry about after-sale services, you do not even have to handle the transaction between the provider and the buyer; affiliate marketing is a totally risk-free business.

The problem is that the majority of people think it is easy and it will make them rich after just a few days. Let me put you right here: I am not saying that you can't make money with affiliate marketing, I am just saying that if you join the right affiliate marketing program, if you are willing to work for your money and if you get the right advice, you can earn a handsome, steady income from it.

When I say the right affiliate marketing program, I mean that not all programs suit everyone. There are a lot of opportunities to choose from, and you must do some research before you launch yourself in your affiliate marketing venture. If you have a passion for a topic like psychology for example, you should go for a program that lets you sell books on psychology rather than a product than allows you to earn a bigger commission per item sold, but that you know little or nothing about.
Beware also of affiliate marketing programs that ask for a joining fee: there are a lot of free affiliate marketing programs out there, and I believe that a website that asks you to pay before signing up has no other design than taking its own members' money. I would be very dubious that anyone other than the website owners could make any money with these.

If you want to earn money from affiliate marketing, you do have to put in some effort. If you already own a website and get traffic to it, then your work is already cut out for you: you need to choose a product related to your website that you can write about; you can write a review praising the merits of your chosen product, place some advertisements on your website for it: the program you signed up for should provide you with a code containing your affiliate ID that will bring your website's visitors to the product's website when they click on that link, and if they decide to buy the product you will earn a commission.

If you do not have a website, you can either get one (nowadays there are tools that can easily let you set up a more than passable-looking website), set up a free blog or even a Squidoo lens on a topic you are passionate about and write reviews as I have described above. Keep in mind that you will need some time and effort to build up the necessary traffic that will allow you to make one sale; you will have to read up on SEO and traffic-building, be patient and not lose hope.

If you do not wish to choose a product to promote but still want to be an affiliate marketer with Clickbank, one of the most rewarding affiliate program online, you can get a Clickbank portal, which is a great tool: it is a free website that also comes with free hosting and that allows you to promote the 10000 products from Clickbank's marketplace; when you sign up you will automatically have your Clickbank affiliate ID inserted in the 10000 products of your portal so you don't even need to know anything about coding or websites, all you have to do is bring visitors to so that you can earn commission on whatever product they decide to buy.
One thing I strongly recommend to all would-be affiliate marketers is to write a few good quality articles about the product or products you are selling and submit those to online article directories; very few article directories allow you to include affiliate links in your articles and author's resource box but including your website's address would be very beneficial to your business, as people that may not otherwise visit your website may read your article and want to buy the product you are writing about. Writing articles and having them published in places outside your website will be a great help in earning money online from affiliate marketing as well as from your website's ordinary business: this will bring more traffic to it and this traffic will more than likely bring you buying customers for your affiliate products.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Writing Techniques

If you have website or a blog, you need to create contents that people find useful. If the content is valuable, other sites will link to your content and you will increase the number of back links to
your site. These back links will not only generate direct traffic from those sites, it will also help increase your search engine ranking and organic traffic.

So, what types of contents are baits for other sites to link to your sites? This article discusses seven types of contents that are proven to be magnets for back links. Try out a few of these techniques to increase your links and traffic.

1. Crete "How To" Guides. This type of guides is popular and also very useful to the readers Write down a few ideas related your niche and use authoritative websites to do your research.

Make it a step-by-step, preferably numbered like 1, 2, etc., guide. It should be as simple as a recipe but has enough details for some one to follow the steps to accomplish something.

2. Write controversial opinion on breaking news. Don't repeat the news. Big news organizations have hundreds of paid stuff for news reporting. You need to analyze the news and offer your own opinions. However, if the opinion is off main stream, it has better chance of attracting others attentions.

3. Videos are becoming ever popular on the web. Create a video related to your niche but make it funny. People love funny videos. You can use kids and pets to create funny video shots and than try to tie those shots to your niche. Upload to a few popular video sites like YouTube and Metacafe. Don't forget to put your website link in the video and embed the video in your website.

4. Keep a small inexpensive digital camera in you car all the time. When you come across funny things like, billboard and road signs, license plates, etc., take pictures and post it on your site and popular picture sharing sites like flickr, smugmug, etc.

5. Create a web tool related to your niche. Web tools like mortgage calculator, carbon foot print calculator, etc. are popular and useful. Ask your site visitors what type of tools they want to see on your site. Once you have the details of what the tool should do, go to elance, rent-a-coder, or online programmers and webmasters forums to solicit bids for developing the tool. You don't have to know any softwa re programming, but you have to know exactly what the tools should do.

6. Solicit ideas for contests from forums you visit regularly and start a contest on your site. Announce it in forums related to your niche. Give away free stuff at least worth $50 to the winner and token prizes to all finalists. Consider it as your advertisement spending. Run the contest for a month or so for the word to spread around. Encourage your visitors to spread the word.

7. Interview well-known personality in your niche and post the interview on your site. Write to bloggers in your niche about the interview. If the interviewee has some insightful thoughts, other bloggers will write about it and link to the original interview published in your site.

Bloggers use the seven content types described above for viral marketing and link baiting to increase traffic to their sites. If you are running a web site, not a blog, you can still employ these techniques to claim you share of the web traffic in your niche.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

web hosting companies

These days, in an all-out effort to get your business, web hosting companies offer a bewilder ing array of choices. The competition for your business is one of the factors that makes web hosting a great buy for prospective webmasters. Here are some things to consider when choosing a both web hosting company and your individual hosting plan.

Web site hosts offer an often bewildering array of features for a prospective customer to choose from. In an effort to compete with other web hosting companies, primarily the competition is in four areas:

1. Storage space
2. Data Transfer (bandwidth)
3. Extra features like scripts, extensions, statistics, etc.
4. Price for the above.

Consumers often base their web hosting purchase on just these four features. Their choice often boils down to who offers the most space, bandwidth, and features for the least amount of dollars. But well informed consumers should also consider these other factors before making any web hosting purchase.

1. Are you going to be hosting more than one domain? How many domain names are you eventually going to register? Does your plan allow for this?
2. How much space and transfer does your website really need? Most web hosts count on sites using a small portion of their plan's assets.
3. Do you really need add-ons like shopping carts, automated script installs, FrontPage extensions, and site builders?
4. Is your web host offering a Windows package when you really need Linux or vice versa?
5. Does your web host offer flexible payment plans and advertise them truthfully? Many of those "low monthly rates" apply to accounts paid ahead a year or two.
6. Is your primary purpose blogging or starting a forum? Make sure your host's PHP and MySQL are up to date and can handle the latest offerings.
7.Do you need to host large files such as audio and video without storage and bandwidth issues?
8.Do you need complete stats? Does your web hosting plan offer a stats package at no extra charge?
9. Is the control panel flexible and easy to use? CPanel and Plesk are two of the standards.
By keeping all these points in mind you, as a prospective web hosting customer, can choose a web hosting company that will meet your needs, as well as the individual web hosting plan that is most affordable for you and offers the features you really need. Educate yourself, and make the choice that makes the most sense now, as well as for any additional future hosting needs you'll require.