Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Affiliate Marketing - Improve Your Clickthrough Rate Today!

by Ray Shank

Affiliate marketing is currently the one of the best way to earn money online fast. The key to success in this business is the provision of quality information which will help improve your promotional clickthrough rate.

How to Increase site Traffic:

Driving large amount of traffic to your website or affiliate product promotional page is accomplished using a variety of techniques. One of the quickest, most inexpensive ways to promote your or your advertiser's products or services is by way of relevant content production.

This often is produced in the form of promoted articles or produced live video. These are often placed on either article sites or uploaded websites. Usually in the process you are provide a place to post your author profile. This is usually done as you post links in an article resource box or when you provide information on your author page.

These articles and videos that you post are usually categorized or tagged by keywords. These will help improve your chances of having your articles or videos show up in search engine results. This is one way to increase site traffic.

Article and video posting to directories are not the only way to bring traffic to your site in order to advance your affiliate marketing campaign. You can find other ways to promote your home business which are also very effective.

For instance, many people have taken advantage of the convenient automated tools used to create an effective, informative e-mail marketing campaign. In doing so, you keep in contact with your current and prospective clients in order to determine how you can best help them.

In fact, once you have created long enough of an e-mail list you can begin to turn these e-newsletter subscribers into paying customers. This is a gradual process which starts by providing them with tips offered to help address some their most important concerns.

This system is also designed to help you create a database that you can use when offering new products and services. Furthermore, it can be used as a tool to help invite current or future buyers to offer you necessary feedback.

This will further help you fill the needs of all your potential buyers as efficiently and as effectively as possible. It will also further help you analyze your ideal market.

More Advice for Affiliate Marketers:

Once you have completed enough research, you should know whether or not the product you choose is suited for sale to your target market. At this point, it does get easier. However, your work is far from done.

You also need to research the company who offers a specific affiliate marketing opportunity. This is to ensure that the company in question is one that is credible, one known for its favorable reputation.

This will help you build the trust between you and your prospects much faster. This is necessary if you do not want to wait forever for them to buy from you.

Furthermore, as you plan your advertising campaigns, learn from your competitors. However make sure you do not let the competition discourage you. If you are willing to work hard you are more than likely to succeed.

About the Author

Ray Shank has been providing no nonsense small/home business opportunities tips and techniques through his website http://www.dollarchurn.com.

Sign up for Ray's FREE Internet home business tips newsletter. Get hundreds of money making tips and tricks delivered directly to your inbox. A $147.95 value, yours FREE!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Website Storyboarding

by Cody Sparks

After going through the Website Brainstorming process, you have found a solid topic and sub-categories. Now it is time to start storyboarding your website. Why Storyboard a Website? Website Storyboarding will make the development process easier and more efficient. This will save you either time and/or money. Storyboarding your website will help you see the end result of your project.

Storyboard Your Design & Usability

When doing your storyboard you should have one statement in mind. How can I make this design pleasurable and usable? You want your design to be fresh and exciting. On the other side of the scale you need it to be simple and very user friendly.

Surfing Is Not a Waste of Time

One way to get some ideas going is to surf the internet. Find webpages that you like and webpages that you hate. When you find some webpages that you love, ask yourself why? Does it look good, do you like the colors, or maybe you like how the navigation works? Whatever it is, document it. Write is down so you don't forget. These can be the building blocks to your success website. Now your bad webpages, is it hard to read, navigation, usability or is it another flash site that has cool animations but doesn't have good content. Write down the bad things of the bad webpages. This is your stop sign list so you don't make the same mistakes.

Website Storyboarding

When finding some building blocks get a sheet of paper and start to draw your website. Start with Homepage. The Homepage is the most important page. You have 5 seconds to get attract someone to your website and surf through it. If it is hard to use, nobody is going to use it. Make it simple. When you have your first storyboard done, try to think like a first time visitor to your webpage. Would you stop and look and would you click on a link. If you say Yes, then you're on the right track. You can quickly draw a basic building block in a couple of seconds.

Keep Consistency

The next webpages will be easier. Keep the website consistent with all your pages. Don't change your navigation between pages. Find a place to put it and leave it there. Keep things Simple. When you have a couple of pages, pick one. Say to yourself, if I was here, how would I get back to the Homepage? Maybe you are at the homepage. How would I get to one of your content pages? Try to make this a one simple answer.

Build a Sitemap

When you have an idea of what your website is going to look like you can take it further and make a sitemap. A sitemap is a breakdown of how your website will flow. From home page, to category, to sub-category.

This Technique Saves Time

When finding out how to storyboard your website and navigate through it. This can save you lots of time and money. It takes a few minutes to draw something up. If you were to develop the code for it, it could take you an hour. Take your time on this. It could make your website very simple, enjoyable and become successful. Or it could cause confusion, frustration and not be successful. Remember Keep It Simple.

About the Author

This is a WebHostDesignPost.com Article

Read more articles and information for Web Development and Website Storyboarding.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Avoid Broken Links: 5 Quick and Easy Tricks To Ensure Your Resource Box Links Work!

by Steve Shaw

Article Marketing is a great way to build links to your site, resulting in long term targeted traffic and an increase in your search engine rankings.

How does that work?

With every article you submit you will also include an 'author resource box' or 'author bio' that includes some basic biographical information and also a link back to your website.

That resource box will sit below your article, and if a reader likes your article they will read your resource box and then (hopefully!) click the link that leads back to your website.

Also, every time your article is republished, you gain an incoming link to your site which can affect your website's search engine ranking. With an increase in links, your website can start ranking higher when people do searches for your keyword terms.

So, a major key to success with article marketing is that link in the resource box that leads back to your website.

You can imagine how frustrating it must be to go through the effort of writing an article and submitting it, only to later realize that you made a mistake when entering your website URL into the author bio area.

If you've ever made that mistake, you're familiar with that "Argh--I can't believe I did that!" feeling, and I bet you'll go to any lengths to be sure that it doesn't happen again.

How can you be sure that your links work?

Are there any quick and easy tricks to make absolutely certain that the links in your resource box lead back to your website like they're supposed to?

Thankfully, yes!

There are several recurring reasons why links break, and if you'll follow these 5 tricks, you will submit an article with a resource box that has working links!

1) Be sure that your URL is fully qualified and has 'http://' at the start of it.

Now, I know that we're all used to just typing in www. and then our website name, but when you're entering a link into your author bio box, be sure that the link is a fully qualified URL. For example, http://www.examplewebsite.com

That http part at the beginning of the website address needs to be there. If you're nervous about entering your URL correctly, you may try just bringing your website up on your computer, and then copying and pasting the URL from the address bar of your browser. Then, you don't have to worry about making a typing mistake.

2) Don't try to italicize or bold your website address.

If you know basic HTML then you know how to do bold and italics, but I caution you--do not try to put bold or italics into your URL. The HTML can mess up the formatting of the link and make it not work, and I know you don't want to risk that happening!

Just keep things simple--enter your fully qualified URL and don't worry about making it fancy with bold or italics or underline.

3) Put your URL on a new line.

Sometimes when a link is at the end of a line it can get artificially cut off, which results in a broken link. To safeguard against this, try entering your URL on a new line rather than at the end of a line.

Now, of course to make this look right, you need to make your URL be the last word in your resource box.

4) Don't put punctuation after your URL.

Even if your URL is at the end of a sentence, you don't need to put a period behind it. Putting any type of punctuation after your website address can mess up the formatting and break the link.

5) Preview your article and test your links.

Now, this is a foolproof way to be sure that your links will work--before submitting your article, preview it and click the links in your resource box.

When clicking your links, do they take you to your website?

If so, great! Then you know your links work, and you can put your mind at ease.

If not, then you can go back into the 'edit' page of your article and make your corrections. Maybe you typed your URL incorrectly, or maybe you made one of the mistakes listed above.

At any rate, isn't it great to figure out that your links don't work when you still have the opportunity to correct things? Absolutely!

After you write your article and get it all entered into the submission page, just take an extra few seconds to be sure that your links are formatted correctly and working--you'll be happy you did!

About the Author

Want to build even more links with article marketing? You can save time and increase your exposure by using an article distribution service, SubmitYOURArticle.com, which distributes your articles to hundreds of targeted publishers with the click of a button. For more information go to=> http://www.SubmitYOURArticle.com

Friday, April 24, 2009

TOP 5 Free Keyword Research Tools For Web Developers And Online Marketers

by Cory Threlfall

The benefits of finding the best free keyword research tools online today are plentiful for you. With so many popping up online you often ask yourself which one is worth using for my basic keyword research needs.

Well in this article I'm going to give you some great links to what I think are the best free keyword research tools on the web to help you with your keyword analysis. They'll give you some great stats to work with and hopefully do the job you were hoping for.

There's just one thing I want to mention about these free keyword research tools below and that is they only give you the amount of searches for that given keyword phrase. What they don't give you is your competition for those given keyword phrases.

But what we're really trying to do here is find out if there's a market for your interests and passions before you start building and marketing your website.

So with that said here are the free keyword research tools I think are the best for you to get started with and are very easy to use.

Lets start with the first one.

1) Wordtracker

With this free keyword research tool all you need to do is enter a starting keyword to generate up to 100 related keywords and an estimate of their daily search volume.

Go to: http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com

2) Google Adwords

This keyword research tool I think is by far the best because it allows you to enter keywords for analysis or a website URL(Hint: Great for analysing your competitors sites).

Go to: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

3) SEO Book

SEO Books keyword research tool is powered by Wordtracker's API, plus it cross references Google and Yahoo search results to give you a detailed view of your keyword analysis.

Go to: http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/

4) NicheBot Classic

With NicheBot Classic which also uses Wordtracker's API allows you to insert your keyword and will give you the TOP 50 keywords and there daily search count and competing pages in Google, MSN and Yahoo.

Go to: http://www.nichebotclassic.com

5) Good Keywords

Good Keywords is a free Windows software for finding the perfect set of keywords for your web pages. Good Keywords is completely free. No registration, no payments and no nag screens.

Go to: http://www.goodkeywords.com

So there you have it, 5 of the TOP free keyword research tools available to you on the web for free to get you started with your keyword research.

There are of course paid services and software that give you more detailed keyword analysis but if you don't have the money to spend these are a great starting point for you.

It all starts here with your keyword research because what's the point of starting a website or paid advertising campaign without this valuable information in your hands.

I hope this list of free keyword research tools helps you and the best of luck with your websites and advertising campaigns.

About the Author

Cory Threlfall owns and operates a blog called The Web Development Central BLOG. Here you'll receive Expert How-To Articles, Video Tutorials and Recommended Resources for getting your first website up and generating traffic. Visit today and subscribe to his Free RSS feed or Twitter feed so you'll be the first to receive his latest blog updates. Go now to: http://www.corythrelfall.com

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Article Marketing: 5 Steps To Writing A Killer 'How To' Article

by Steve Shaw

Educational articles should be your bread and butter when you're doing article marketing, so why not write a 'how to' article?

'How to' articles provide your readers with information they find valuable, help inspire customer confidence (if you're able to teach them something, obviously you know what you're talking about), and make for reader friendly content.

On top of all those perks, 'how to' articles are some of the easiest articles to write, but to get the most bang for your buck you need to keep a few guidelines in mind.

In order to write a 'how to' article that delivers on all of these perks, just follow these 5 simple steps:

1) What will you instruct readers how to do?

Whether you're a banker, a physical trainer, a landscape designer, or whatever, you have specialized knowledge that readers would like to learn.

When trying to decide what to write, think about questions that your customers routinely ask you--if customers are asking those questions, then it's a good sign that a topic will be useful to your target market.

2) What are the steps involved?

Write your steps down and then explain them.

Every 'how to' can be broken down into a series of steps. Before trying to write your article, it's often helpful to first jot down your steps in order.

I would encourage you, if at all possible, to write 'how to' articles that have 3, 5, 7, 9, or 10 steps. (This is for use later on in your title)

Why?

Well, a 'how to' article is a list article, meaning that the items in the article are numbered. For some reason, list articles that contain certain numbers are more popular than others. For example, a title like "How To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets in 5 Easy Steps" sounds better than 4 steps.

3) Write a paragraph that introduces your 'how to' and also a paragraph that wraps up your article.

Once you have your steps in place, it may be tempting just to leave the article as it is, but you really need an introductory and concluding paragraph. In fact, some publishers will outright refuse an article that does not have an introductory paragraph. It doesn't have to be long--it could even be just a sentence or two that tells the reader what your topic is and gently leads them into the instructional part of your article.

The concluding paragraph is a wrap-up of the article and can be just a sentence or two as well. The concluding paragraph can also help transition into the resource box--it's nice to leave the reader with a final thought rather than just abruptly cutting off and then launching into your resource box (the author bio that sits below your article).

4) Put your steps in sequential order and number them.

To take full advantage of the perks of 'how to' articles, I encourage you to actually number all of your steps, putting 1, 2, 3, etc in front of each step. It is possible to have an instructional article without number each step, but numbering makes for easier reading and helps lead your audience through your article.

Spacing is also important--be sure that you have ample spacing in between your steps and in between paragraphs to make your article as reader friendly as possible. Break big paragraphs into several smaller ones, and your readers will appreciate it!

5) Create a title that reflects what you're teaching (and include the number of steps in the title if you like)

As always, your title should tell the reader what your article is about, and with a 'how to' article you have the opportunity to also capture a reader's eye by revealing in the title how many steps are in your tutorial.

For example, at title like "How to Groom Your Poodle Like a Pro in 7 Easy Steps" will convey to the reader:

*What you're teaching

*How involved the instructions are (7 steps)

*That the process is easy and you shouldn't be daunted ("easy steps")

Your title is the first thing that a reader will see. Your title will appear in search engine results and on article directory summary pages, and your title is what catches a reader's eye and makes them want to read your full article. You've taken a good bit of time to craft your article--take the final step and craft a thoughtful title.

And that's it!

'How to' articles are ideal for article marketing, especially when you optimize them by following the steps above. Now you're ready to start teaching your target market, giving them the valuable educational information that they're looking for.

About the Author

After you've written your 'How To' article you need to get your article to as many publishers as possible. Best bet is to use an article submission service - for more information on how to do this go to=> http://www.SubmitYOURArticle.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to optimize video based website

by Debdulal Dey

The dawn of World Wide Web was a significant breakthrough in the history of man. Today, the Internet has become an indispensable part of our lives. Life now runs on more smoother and easier terms. The onset of this new mode has defined a new way of communication among us, which is direct, fast and easy. Modern day business uses this new medium widely to reach out to the millions across the globe. Advancement of web technology had had a compelling impact in the business arena. Briefly speaking, the enormous changes taking place every passing day has shaped new marketing strategies.

Recent trend in the Web: Web is a flexible medium, which has been witnessing a huge metamorphosis now and then. Static websites gave way to the dynamic ones followed by extensive use of flash and graphics and more recently, web videos are in great vogue.Web videos are the order of the day. This new device is widely used by newly built websites. The new trend dates back to the times, supposedly in and around 2005 with the birth of many video-sharing sites.

Technique of optimizing web videos: Business concerns design websites with the goal to build a brand of itself in public by clearly defining about itself, its vision, product and services. There is always a race among business competitors to establish its website in the good listings of the search engines. More good is the ranking; the more is the inflow of traffic.

The text of a web page filled with appropriate keywords in the right place helps in search engine optimization. Similarly there are numerous ways to make web videos search engine friendly. Some ways to optimize websites are mentioned below:

1. Specify the kind of format used: It is essential to provide both audio and video contents of the web video in many formats as far as possible. Distinctly label the kinds of formats mentioning the kind of platform and software support. Also, mention the downloading time primarily based on the connection speed

2. Keywords in file name and URL: Keywords play a vital role in optimizing websites. Search engine friendly keywords are also user friendly and drive in more traffic. Hence, it is imperative to use keywords in the file name and URL of the website. The placement of the keywords helps the search engines to recognize the content of the website and also helps in the work of web analytics report

3. Use of keywords in link text: Links in the text content are made up of keywords. Similarly, this rule pertains in the video website too. Placement of the keywords in the link text is both search engine as well as user friendly

4. Add a descriptive title to the web video: The title of the video based website must be descriptive in nature. It must consist of the right keywords, which explain the whole content of the video. In short, the title must take away the target audience as well as the search engine robots at the first look

5. Provide text for the audio and video content: Video with good quality audio content is always interactive. It is, however, necessary to give text to the video and audio content. This is primarily done with the due purpose that it is readable to the search engines and easily comprehensible to the different target audiences

6. Use RSS feeds to publicize the multimedia files: RSS feeds are very much useful as they contribute a great deal in popularizing websites. It is, therefore, very important to use appropriate RSS feeds in order to publicize multimedia files

7. Submit web videos in online video sharing sites: Websites that are hardly indexed by the search engine robots are not able to reach the target audience. In order to reach the millions and get noticed in the competitive market, it is essential that the web videos must be submitted in all video sharing sites such as You Tube, Google Video, to name a few.

8. Review video and multimedia file: Merely putting up a video doesn't mean the task is over. In fact, the real task begins from this stage. It is important that multimedia file and web videos meta data properties must be reviewed from time to time.

9. Add video sitemap in Google and other search engines: Good ranking in the search engines is one of the basic craze among the business concerns. It is fruitful, if the website map of the web video is added in the major search engines namely Google, Yahoo and MSN and thereby enjoy maximum traffic.

10. Add blog for this site in different free blog site: A video based website may create a blog section in its site. There are also various individuals who have hosted their videos in online video sharing sites. These individuals can create a blog for themselves in several free blog sites, for instance, " www.blogspot.com"

Web videos are in huge demand in cyberworld. The optimization of the video based websites is still in its infant years. Experiments are on as new ways are being thought to help the search engine optimization process. Today, optimization of video based websites has become an important marketing strategy of business industries to make a strong presence in the cyberworld.

About the Author

This informative article is written by Debdulal Dey. He regularly writes for Quality Web Solutions that offers quality content writing service to its global clients.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why You Should Read Before You Enroll In Any Affiliate Marketing Opportunity

by Lyn Troyer

One of the benefits of an affiliate marketing opportunity is after you have joined one, if you decide it isn't for you, you can find a new one to join.

Most affiliate marketing opportunities are free to join so there is little consequence for calling it quits, besides the time you put into it.

However, just because you find a new program does not always mean you are free from the old one. Sometimes leaving an affiliate marketing opportunity can be hard to do. A number of programs have strict guidelines that may keep you in the program or can withhold payment. This is why reading the fine print is essential because some merchants use the following tactics to sabotage your success.

Exclusivity clause: This is where a company contract states that they should be the only vendor of that product on your site. For example, "you agree that we shall be the exclusive merchant of books on your site." Clauses like this are ridiculous and are considered unfair business practice.

In worst cases affiliates have been sued for allowing the banners of other merchants that sell similar products. Read the terms and conditions carefully, and no matter how big the company, or how high the success rate, know that there are other fish in the sea.

Non-disparaging clause: Although you can understand why the affiliate merchant would not want you to criticize them, it does make it harder for the affiliate to honestly review the products.

A customer who reads an affiliate's review may consider it fake if there is nothing bad about the company. If you are not allowed to say anything bad about the company you can't honestly weigh the pro and cons which is what consumers look for these days.

As an affiliate most of what you say will be good with maybe a few minor criticisms. But any merchant that keeps you from doing this, is keeping you from running an honest business. Not only are you not allowed to disparage the affiliate marketing opportunity as an affiliate, but in some cases you can't say anything bad about the company even once you break up.

The no-PPC clause: Some affiliate marketing opportunities will forbid their affiliates from bidding on keywords they use. However, some companies go too far. They can make outlandish claims of affiliates using PPC, bidding, or cheating if the affiliate's site is doing well.

Multiple merchant's contracts: Instead of one affiliate marketing opportunity contract, some companies have their affiliates sign separate contracts with each merchant in that company. The problem is every merchant has different conditions and terms, so even if you have left their opportunity you are still bound to their conditions until you break your contract with.

Closure fee: Though not too many programs do this (thank goodness), there are a few that will charge affiliates a fee to leave the program. This is a ridiculous clause. It's like paying your boss after you decide to quit your job. It's your right to leave the program without having to literally buy your way out.

The main reason you want to read the terms and conditions is because of the popular "retain payment" clause. This is a clause that is showing up more and more. Companies now are claiming the right to retain payment for "disobeying other clauses" and if your account was "less than the threshold."

Even if it's trivial amounts, it morally disturbing for an affiliate marketing opportunity to keep even a cent of what you worked hard to earn. This is just an excuse for companies to keep people's money and it comes in especially handy when they switch service providers.

You should read the terms and conditions carefully, because any company that states they will keep your money has put in a several clauses that will ensure they are legally bound to it.

Don't just carelessly sign up; read all the fine print. The last thing you want is to be stuck in an affiliate marketing opportunity.

About the Author

Lyn Troyer and his Niche Power Group teach beginners how to make money online with niche marketing. Please visit their online business mentoring website here to learn how you can go from making nothing to a full time internet income in 12 months or less. http://nichepowergroup.com

Monday, April 20, 2009

Secrets Of Online Lead Generation: 10 Ways To Boost Opt-In Page Conversions

by Joshua Aaron Stanley

The opt-in page is a critical leverage point in online lead generation. Here are 10 tips for increasing its conversion rate...

Technical & Design Considerations:

1. An opt-in page, or "squeeze page", has but one goal: to collect contact information. That said, there should be no other option but to fill out the form. No menu bar... no external links... nothing to distract your visitor from taking the desired action. This is proven to increase response.

2. As a general rule, the more information you ask for, the lower your response will be. For first contact, settle for the name and email address. Asking for the phone number will kill your response. It's too soon to ask for it. Once you've built the relationship, you can always step up the involvement by offering another enticement for more of their contact information.

3. Be sure the opt-in form is "above the fold" so visitors don't have to scroll down to see it. This is proven to increase conversions. If the copy is long, include another form at the bottom of the page.

4. Your opt-in page should be on its own domain such as www.AutomatedLeadsOnline.com. This makes it much easier to market and promote your opt-in page using offline methods.

Copywriting Considerations:

5. Here's a quick headline test: Your headline should speak to your target prospect, communicate a unique benefit, contain a certain amount of curiosity, use specific (non vague) language, and make an emotional appeal.

6. People are increasingly reluctant to give up their contact information. That means your copy needs to work extra hard to "sell" your free enticement. In fact, opt-in page copy is actually sales copy. Your prospect should desire your information so strongly, he is willing to give up his closely-guarded email address to get his hands on it.

7. Use bullet points to create intrigue and tease curiosity. They should point out what your prospect will discover on the "other side." Make them as interesting as possible. They should be specific... unique... relevant... and intriguing.

8. Provide a "reason why" you're offering this information for free. People need a reason for everything. A plausible "reason why" is powerful and persuasive.

9. Include a call to action that tells the reader exactly what you want them to do. Leave nothing to chance. Take advantage of the fact that people respond to direct commands. For example, "To get your hands on this valuable Special Report, simply fill in your name and the best email address to reach you."

10. Use audio or video to add an extra dimension. This engages your visitors on another level, and gives you more chances to "sell" your prospect on opting-in.

Use these 10 tips as a general guide for creating effective lead-generating opt-in pages. But take don't take them as gospel. Always test your opt-in page elements to determine the best-performing combination.

About the Author

Joshua Aaron Stanley is a copywriter and marketing consultant who turns words into wealth by creating client-attracting marketing systems. To download his free special report, "5 Steps To Automated Lead Generation Online," visit http://www.AutomatedLeadsOnline.com

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Determining Link Quality

by Niche Marketing

Link building is a fundamental part of search engine optimisation but, of course, not all links are equal. Determining link quality is an important skill as although no link to your site will have a negative effect on your ranking, a good link can be worth a thousand poor links and some links will have no benefit at all.

Some of the factors that affect link quality are:

* PageRank

* Content Relevancy

* Anchor Text

* Number Of Links On Page

There are other factors that come into play, such as link position on page, but the above factors will make the biggest difference to a link's benefit. It is also worth noting that by "quality" I am really talking about a link's contribution to search engine optimisation efforts and its ability to improve listings. A link can be considered extremely valuable if it sends a steady stream of traffic to your site, but this is not the focus of this post.

Of the above factors, relevancy is the most important. It is common for people to place too much emphasis on the importance of PageRank. Whilst high PR links are desirable, a link from page with no PageRank at all can still be beneficial. To illustrate this point, it is worth considering that while a page's relevancy is unlikely to change, its PageRank may improve significantly within a few months.

If you receive a link request from a relevant company who has placed your link on a PR 0 page, do not dismiss it immediately. It may be on a quality page that is just new but will be given a much higher PR at the next update. Alternatively, it may be on one of a hundred links pages that is not cached by the search engines.

The number of links on the page is an important factor because the PageRank that is "passed" from the links page will be shared among all of the links whether internal or external. With all other things being equal, a page with a PR 4 and 5 links will provide a greater benefit than a PR 5 with 50 links.

Anchor text is important because it will help your site rank for specific terms. For example, Adobe ranks first in Google for the term "click here" because of the huge number of sites that use phrases such as "click here to download adobe reader" to like to Adobe. Link anchor text to your site should include keywords where possible. It is best to vary anchor text and use specific terms rather than generic words.

As an additional note, while inbound links will not harm your site, outbound links can. For that reason, be very careful of accepting reciprocal link exchanges from sites that use link farms, black hat techniques or that belong to "bad neighbourhoods".

About the Author

Dave Stewart is a PPC manager and copywriter for Niche Marketing - a UK based Internet Marketing company. For more marketing tips or the latest news, please visit the SEO Blog.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Social Media Marketing Strategies

by Tammy Corbett

There has been a significant increase in the popularity of social media websites over the past few years. With it has come a shift in the way that people search for information and how they share and consult opinions on the internet when making purchasing decisions.

Social media sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg, give users a voice on the internet by providing tools to connect, exchange views, share content, information, and recommend products and services using the "thumbs up or down" approach. This has caused a huge shift in the way people search for information online. More and more, Internet users rely on the opinions of others before they buy into the validity of a product or service. "Word of mouth" is no longer only from mouth to ear, but is more frequently spread on social media sites and it has never been so powerful. Any product or service deemed worthy are promoted, shared, or discouraged against in these online social communities.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) targets users by promoting content through bookmarking, blogging, online video sharing, and social networking to potentially expand their audience and drive traffic to their website. Businesses are beginning to understand the power of these influences when it comes to establishing a reputation and growing their online business. Social media marketing strategies such as a business' engagement in various social media websites can help to generate branding and a personal connection with its users.

Business Profiles

One of the most important social media marketing methods includes posting business profiles on social media websites such as Facebook and linkedIn. Instead of waiting around for consumers to come to you, you have to reach out to your target audience. Solidifying your presence in the social media community creates a direct interaction between business and consumer that may not dramatically increase conversion rates but is definitely capable of establishing branding power and credibility. The valuable feedback consumers provide promotes insight in determining what business strategies are working and what could be re-evaluated to make a website more user-friendly.

Search Results

The influence of social media sites has changed the way search engines define placement. Images, videos and news content featured on social media sites such as Youtube, Digg, and Flickr are equally capable of sitting comfortably at the top of the search results leaving others, who have not yet jumped on the social media bandwagon, a little confused.

Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies

Take a hint from the popular social media websites by adding some type of interactive quality to your website. Engage the viewer and create an atmosphere of inclusion and direct contact that encourages a user to come back and visit again. Forums and social applications can help you compete for traffic in an evolving market.

Become an expert in your niche. Yahoo Answers is a great place to start. You can create a business or company profile and begin answering direct questions and supplying information to those in your target audience.

Join Social Networks. Social networking provides a means to promote association and the exchange of knowledge while also establishing business contacts and connections. Post your business profile in the popular social and business networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but also make sure to concentrate your attention on your niche audience by joining social media networks that represent and support your business or company's ideas.

For example if you are selling organic produce and you set up a profile in a social media network such as Care2.com, an environmental portal, you are then communicating directly with those individuals who will support your product or service because of a shared interest. These types of social media communities will extend their approval by sharing in discussions about your products or services with other users and even in some cases "become a fan" of your featured webpage.

Some examples of popular niche social networks include:

  • TravBuddy.com for the traveller
  • Tipd.com for those seeking financial advice
  • AutoSpies.com providing money saving and insider information on cars

Publish articles to popular social media news sites such as Mixx.com, Digg.com, and Propeller.com. These sites allow you to post articles and vote on news stories.

Share videos and images by setting up accounts with Youtube.com and Flickr.com, leaders in online video and imaging to reach a broad or targeted audience.

Social bookmarking on sites such as Del.ici.ous and Ma.gnolia.com provide an opportunity to store and share links.

Blogging enables you to provide information and updates about your business to customers.

Businesses that incorporate social media marketing into their conventional marketing plan have the advantage of reaching audiences using a whole new approach. The benefits of branding and traffic are just the tip of the iceberg, establishing your business as a leading authority in your industry promotes good quality links, better search engine placement, which in turn increases sales.

About the Author

Tammy Corbett is the resident expert for social media marketing at Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc.
www.redcarpetweb.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Keywords.....Why More Is Not Always Better

by William J Thomas

One of my first online business ventures was an Oldies Internet radio station I started with a longtime friend of mine. While he was the Oldies music expert, I was the person responsible for getting the word out about our new business. After doing a bit of research, I discovered that there were already numerous Oldies radio stations on the Internet, and it was necessary for us to take a multi faceted approach to advertising in order to be able to compete with the established businesses. One of the methods we decided to use in order to jump start our business was Pay Per Click advertising. This form of advertising has numerous benefits including instant results and being able to control the cost of your advertising budget. Knowing that the Pay Per Click(PPC) advertising system is based upon 'keywords', I sat down and came up with a list of words that were relevant to what our website was about.

Over the next several weeks, we were pleased to discover that were getting loads of traffic to our Oldies website. It was almost magical; one day a few visitors, the next day a virtual deluge of traffic. As time passed however, we came to realize that while our traffic statistics were off the charts, we weren't converting much of the traffic to subscribers. Since we were using several PPC search engines including Google and Yahoo and were getting lots of clicks, I figured that the ads we were running was not the issue, but the problem lay somewhere else. After doing a good bit of analysis, I came to realize that the real problem with our advertising was with many of the keywords that we were using. In place of keywords that were relevant to the theme of our website, we were using many general terms that could literally mean a thousand different things. For instance, instead of using words such as 'Oldies Radio Station' or 'Oldies Music', I was using vague words such as 'music', 'radio', 'internet radio', etc. Once I realized the mistake I was making, I refined my list of keywords, and greatly improved our results.

With PPC advertising, you pay every time someone clicks on one of your keywords, and it's therefore imperative that you are using the proper keywords that accurately describes your business or product. A good way to develop a good list of keywords is to sit down and write everything that comes to mind about your website or business. After you have completed this, go back a few days later and take some time to analyze each word or phrase that you have written down to see if these words still accurately describe your business. If you are like most people, you'll find that many of the keywords you originally listed just don't hold up to scrutiny and you'll be able to discard many of them. When generating a list of keywords, strive to eliminate vague or general terms, and look for keywords that are relevant to what your business is about.

In relation to this, some PPC advertisers take the 'more is better' approach with keywords. Part of the reasoning behind this strategy is that by having lots of keywords some will cost you much less than others, bringing down your average cost per click. A major problem with this approach is that many of the keywords are so general in nature that you wind up wasting lots of money on keywords that have no relation to your site. For instance, when I started advertising my Oldies site, I listed every word that I could think of that had any relation to the word 'music'. While this approach did get us lots of clicks and traffic, most of it was wasted because the word itself means so many different things as to be useless as a keyword. When generating your list of keywords, you need to keep in mind that more isn't necessarily better.

You should also be aware that some keywords are so popular as to be out of reach for most PPC advertisers. Keywords such as 'food', 'travel', 'music', etc., are expensive and may cost you several dollars or more a click with a top search engine such as Google. Don't make the mistake of trying to compete with advertisers that have huge advertising budgets. On the flip side, a keyword is only expensive if it's costing you more than it's producing in profit. While a keyword costing $2 a click could bring you back $5 in profit, only time and testing will tell. You might be better served to start with less costly keywords and if these produce a profit, later expand to the more costly keywords.

Pay Per Click offers several advantages and can be a great way to expand your business. What could be simpler then to sit down, come up with a list of keywords that describe your business or product, list them with one of the PPC's and instantly start to receive an endless flow of prospects and business. While there are many factors that determines success, using the right keywords is one of the 'keys' that opens the door to success with Pay Per Click advertising.

About the Author

Have you struggled to earn money online? Learn how this business can turn a one time payment into a large monthly income! Perfect business for today's economy...low cost, great informational products, fantastic compensation plan. This is the last business you'll have to join! http://www.billthomas.ws

Monday, April 13, 2009

Improving Website Performance through Benchmarking

by Darrell Freeman

In today's tough competition in the local or global market, you can determine your marketing performance through comparison with other branches and franchises related to your trade. This is a very effective strategy to keep track of your improvement without having to conduct a regular extensive study on your performance. In terms of websites and online businesses, the same strategy would also apply. You may view your website's effectiveness based on the data from other websites under the same sector.

Website administrators often use performance benchmarking to rate the productivity of a certain website. A site performance index (SPI) reflects the ranking of the website. The comparison involves checking the website's performance in relation to other websites under the same category. A performance benchmarking process measures several factors that affect a website. The elements analyzed during the procedure include loading time, speed and availability to the online community. The comparison between the client's website and other predefined statistics of other competitors generates values which serve as the basis for the website's rank. The ranking reflects the rate of productivity of the website within a specific sector.

Performance benchmarking of a website eliminates the need to have a deep analysis of the website production report in order to determine its effectiveness on the online market. The performance reports gives an overview on factors that needs improvement and good points to maintain. The websites reflection in the SPI also rates the performance of the website based on customer experience. Websites with slow loading time and those which are unavailable receive poor ratings from customers. The SPI enables you to have a quick overview of the trends within a specific sector or location.

There are three options to conduct benchmarking of your website's performance. Firstly, a sector report provides general information about the websites performance and availability. This type of benchmarking compares the website to a few representative companies on top of the ranks within a particular sector. A sector report includes a summary report of the results every month. A more detailed view of the report is set on a quarterly basis. The detailed quarterly report contains statistics of performance and availability and ranking and trend analysis comparison within a specific period of time.

Secondly, a sector benchmark compares the status of your website not only to other competitors in the category but also to the whole industry as well. The ratings of the website's performance and availability rely on the averages within the specified sector. This type of benchmarking procedure ranks your website against the averages of the leading competitors and to the indicated country as well.

Lastly, a custom benchmark allows you to specify the factors that need monitoring. In this method of website benchmarking, you may choose from the selection of sectors, competitors and countries in order to generate the comparison report. You may also indicate the type of analysis and statistics of the website's performance and availability you want to see.

There are several Internet companies which offer this service through the use of web-based applications. If you want to check your website's performance, website benchmarking will help you determine the facts you need in a short period of time.


About the Author

Darrell F writing about website performance benchmarking and website monitoring which are services available from Site Confidence.

Friday, April 10, 2009

How to Write Articles: Using Article Marketing to Make Money

by Peter Nisbet

If you know how to write articles properly, then you can make money by using article marketing as a very effective online advertising technique. Not only does Google love article content, whether published in article directories or on your own website, but visitors also like to read about the topics that interest them, particularly if you write well and to the point.

It is beyond the scope of this article to teach you how to write articles properly since I cannot condense the contents of a 100+ page book on the subject into a few hundred words, but here are some tips on how to write in a manner that is rewarded by the search engines and keeps readers interested in what you have to say.

Use a Title that Attracts Attention

Your title should reflect the content of the article, and persuade anybody seeking the information you are providing to read it. The title used for this article explains exactly what I am doing now, and if you really want to learn how to write articles and use them to advertise your website or products, then you will be likely to have started reading.

For search engine purposes, do some keyword research and choose a keyword that has a good demand, but not too high a supply or you will have too much competition. Choose another that supports the first: this can be more competitive, such as the term 'article marketing' that I have used here. Use the better keyword at the start and the more competitive one at the end of the title. Selecting the right keywords is an important part of learning how to write articles.

The Opening Paragraph

This will either chase the reader away or keep them on the page. If they reach past the opening paragraph, they will likely read the article to the end, assuming it is not too long. Around 500 - 900 words are best for an article, and no more than 80 for the opening paragraph.

Use this paragraph to state the purpose and content of the article, and to stress any benefits the reader will receive by reading it, such as "you can make money by using article marketing. . ." Use the keywords in the first 100 characters of your opening paragraph, including spaces. The search engines regard these as the most important characters in your article. After that, the final paragraph is the next most important since many search engines check that to ensure you are maintaining relevance.

The Article Body

Write your articles in short paragraphs of 1 - 3 sentences. People like their information in bite-sized pieces, and easily get bored with long rambling sentences and paragraphs. Be short and to the point, and never stray from the topic. Do not over-use keywords, but use semantically related text to expand on the topic and make the meaning of the article unambiguously clear to search engine algorithms.

Search engines calculate relevance to a topic by means of mathematical equations known as algorithms, and use pre-programmed vocabulary rules to determine that, not just the keywords you use. Excessive use of your keywords will be punished by your article not being listed. When writing articles, you must keep completely on topic, and not digress to other subjects.

The Final Paragraph

The final paragraph should sum up the article, and also contain one incidence of each of the keywords used in the title. Two or three sentences are sufficient.

The Author's Resource

If your article is for submission to article directories, you are permitted to include a few words about yourself or your website. Some directories offer a separate box for this while others allow you to add it after the final paragraph. Use the resource wisely, including a link to your website and also the product name if you have one.

Make sure that the link is to a page on your website related to the topic of the article. In this article, my resource leads to a page on my site offering a free gift and free course on writing articles and article marketing, whereby readers can expand on what they have learned by reading this.

These are the very basics of how to write articles for publication or website content. Article marketing is an extremely useful advertising technique to use online, and offers several routes by which visitors can find a way to your website. By becoming proficient in writing articles and how to use them properly, you have a marvellous free tool at your disposal that can be much more profitable than pay-per-click or any other form of paid advertising.

About the Author

You now understand the basics of how to write articles. For more detailed information, and article marketing secrets that can power you to the top of the listings, check out Pete's ebook Article Czar here: http://www.articleczar.com/gift.html and receive a free gift plus a free article writing course for doing so.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Increase Landing Page Conversion By Testing These 5 Elements

by Karen Scharf

Are you satisfied with the conversion rate on your landing page?

I hope the answer to that question - no matter what your conversion rate - is an emphatic "No!" Because no matter what your conversion rate is, there's always the chance that it can be better.

You'll never know how much money you're leaving on the table until you start measuring, optimizing and testing. If you're a newbie to website testing, there are two different schools of thought as to how you should get started.

The first says you should start with an "unimportant" page on your site. Use that page as your "practice field" to avoid making any grave mistakes while you're learning the ins and outs of testing. I, on the other hand, subscribe to the second school of thought: start with a high traffic web page so you can see results more quickly. If there's one thing the internet era has done to all of us, it's turned us into a society of "immediate gratification seekers". We want results now. We don't want to wait for the answer. The danger in starting your website testing with an "unimportant page" is that it will take too long to see any real results. You'll grow impatient, you'll get bored, and chances are you'll abandon the concept of testing before you've had a chance to appreciate its amazing merits. So let's start with your highest traffic page (if you're scared you'll make a mess, start with the second or third highest traffic page - but don't worry. As long as you back up ahead of time, anything you "mess up" can be undone!) The page components you want to test are: 1. Your Headline Without a doubt, your headline is the most important component of your web page. It's the first thing your visitor will see when landing on your site. It will either compel him to continue reading, or convince him he's at the wrong page.

And the best part is, it's super easy to test. You don't need to get your graphic artist involved, or even your copywriter. You can easily craft a few benefits-laden headlines to test on your own. I suggest writing at least four different headlines and designing an A/B test to verify the effectiveness of each. 2. Your Opening Paragraph Just as in offline direct mail marketing, the opening paragraph of your web page sales letter must pull the reader into your copy and make him want to read more.

Because many small business owners have a harder time writing opening paragraphs than headlines, you might want to get your copywriter involved in this one. But again, a simple A/B test can be used to measure the effectiveness of each paragraph. 3. Your Call to Action There are dozens of different ways to spell out to your reader exactly what you want him to do. And depending on your product, your niche, your audience, etc, some will definitely be more effective than others.

This is one component of your web page that you don't want to leave to chance. Rather than simply copying what other marketers are doing, choose several different calls to action and test them each against each other. 4. Your Product Benefits Your sales copy will be most effective when you list the most important benefit first. But Wait!! Your prospect might have a different opinion of which is the most important benefit.

Try varying the order of your benefit statements to test which positioning converts at the highest rate. This could also provide some valuable insight into rewriting your entire sales letter for higher conversions - or writing the sales letter for your next product. 5. Your Graphics and Visual Elements They say a picture is worth a thousand words - but what is the wrong picture worth? Some colors, graphics and photographs can actually hurt your conversion rate. Some can provide a so-so conversion rate. While others can have your conversion rate soaring through the roof.

The only way you'll know for sure that you're using the right visual elements is to test. A multivariate test will allow you to test several different elements simultaneously to ensure you have the right combination. Once these initial tests are done, it will be time to move on to more tests. Never rest on your laurels and never assume that your conversion rate is as good as it could possibly be. There will always be room for improvement - and room for more testing.

About the Author

Karen Scharf is an Indianapolis marketing consultant who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her FREE Can-Spam checklist and FREE email pre-flight checklist to ensure your emails get delivered, get opened and get read. Download your copies at http://www.ModernImage.com.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

7 Golden Rules To Success Through Affiliate Programs

by James Davis

Thousands of people have quit their JOBS and started earning money exclusively online. There are a lot of ways you can do it on the Internet... such as creating your own products, offering a service, licensing products, etc.

Many people have done it without having ANY products of their own. This is done through affiliate income or selling other people's products for a commission.

Here's how it can be done:

1. Don't sell anything you don't own.

This rule is listed first for a good reason. You should never sell anything that you don't own yourself. If you don't have enough faith in it's results to buy it yourself, then you have no reason to sell it to others.

Think about this for a moment - if you don't own it and are unwilling to purchase it how can you endorse the product? How can you honestly answer questions about the product? The answer is you can't. Too often people are willing to jump on the bandwagon and promote whatever the hyped product of the week is... without stopping to think of the value of the product itself. No matter how many other people are recommending it, you shouldn't if you haven't bought it yourself.

2. Only offer complementary products and services.

If your web site is about sports products, then you definitely shouldn't be offering cigarettes in another program. It doesn't make any sense at all, and these products defiantly do not compliment each other. You are unlikely to sell both products to the same customer. A good example of selling complementary products would be, if you sell golf products, then you could sell golf vacations, golf clubs, golf subscriptions, golf training products, etc. All these products would entice the same consumer.

Meaning once you get the person interested in golf to your site you increase your chances of selling them more than one item. This would not be the case if you sold golf clubs and gardening books. Make sure everything you offer goes together. You should earn multiple streams of income, but they must all be related on the same subject.

3. Build an opt-in email list.

I can not stress enough how vital this is to your online success. Ask any top business person what their most valuable asset. It isn't their products. It isn't their location. It isn't even their employees. The most valuable asset to any business is their customer list. The most valuable asset to any Internet business is the opt-in email list. Your email list IS your Internet business. If you don't have an email list, you don't have an Internet business. Offer an affiliate product...and you earn money once. Offer a subscription to your opt-in email list and you earn money forever (from hundreds of offers you can make to that list.

4. Concentrate on your brand.

Use your opt-in email list to build a relationship with your subscribers. When they first subscribe, they may not know you from Peter. So tell them about yourself. Express your opinions. On your first 2-3 contacts do not sell them anything.

Tell them about yourself, your experiences, stick your neck out and tell them what you think. Let your customers get to know you. You have to give people a reason to know, like, and trust you. You don't have to be the best writer on the planet. You don't have to be just like your favorite guru. Just write some things that are exclusively you in your emails. Sure, some of them will get mad. Some will ask to be removed. Some will cuss you out.

Deal with it. The way I see these people are by removing themselves from my list I do not have to waist time on trying to sell to them. I just move on to the people who are interested and I have a greater chance of making money off. If you're just like everyone else, then why should anyone choose to buy from you?

5. Write your own endorsements and reviews.

Every affiliate program has solo ads, endorsement ads, and classified ads available.

You can use them sometimes, but they should never become your only marketing pieces. But on top of every ad you should have your OWN opinion of the product.

You should tell your customers in your own words why they should buy this or that. Then use the ad copy you were given UNDER your own statements. The same thing goes for online newsletters. You can use content and articles from other people, but every single email you ever send out should have something written from you...in your own words...at the top of it if nowhere else. It could be just a short 'what's going on' section or an editorial. You don't have to be professional writer. You just have to have opinions and be willing to stick your neck out giving them.

6. Offer extra specials.

You don't have to do this every single time, but you should be making special offers for your list. Why should they buy a product from you instead of one of 1,000 other affiliates offering it? Give them something extra they can't get from other affiliates! You can tell them that if they buy affiliate product A from you...you'll give them this special report. All they have to do is buy the product and then email you the receipt. You'll send them their extra bonus report right over. It could also be an eBook, an email consultation, a phone consultation, an ad in your newsletter, a link on your special links page, etc. Give them something extra special with some of your offers and watch your checks soar.

Make sure the items you give for free are related to your product.

7. Ask for the sale.

You have to ask for the sale. If you don't ask you will never get. The worst they can say is "no" and all that means is you are no worse off than you are right now. But if you ask and they say yes you are in a much better place. You can't be wimpy or shy.

You can't just give away a lot of content hoping someone will click on your little link somewhere and magically decide to buy your product. You have to tell your prospects and customers why they want and need your product. You have to tell them what they get when they buy. If some subscribers get mad when you send them an offer, help them remove themselves from your list.

It's funny, but most profitable promotions have also get the most complaints and removes. I've had people email me saying, "If you're just trying to sell something online, then I don't even want your newsletter." Guess what? Remove them.

That is the end purpose of your newsletter, any content you provide, or anything you do online. Remember why you started on online business - to make money not to give out free gifts and content.

About the Author

For more information Click Here - 7 Golden Rules To Success Through Affiliate Programs.

This article is shareware. Give this article away for free on your site, or include it as part of any paid package as long as the entire article is left intact including a live link. Copyright © 2009 James Davis

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Promoting Your Website through a Sweepstakes

by Linda Horricks

This article discusses a mechanism to increase traffic by offering an incentive to visitors through a sweepstakes. A sweepstakes does not replace other marketing efforts but can be an effective and inexpensive way of increasing visitor traffic if done properly.

One of the benefits for those sites that offer a give-away is that they can take advantage of free advertising. There are a number of websites that cater to sweepstakes enthusiasts and provide a directory list of sites that offer sweepstakes and contests. These directories are updated daily and are continually looking for additional content to maintain their own visitors' interest. Many of them provide the ability for a visitor to enter the details of a new sweepstakes and the link will be incorporated in the main directory list often as quickly as the next day. The largest of these sweepstakes directories get many thousands of visitors daily so there is the potential for a lot of referral traffic.

When it comes to selecting a prize the larger the value, the more interest your sweepstakes will generate. It's possible however, to run a promotion on a small budget and it is not uncommon for smaller websites or blogs to offer prizes of books or DVDs that are in the $25 range. If you are on a budget, you should start small and if your initial sweepstakes is successful, you can increase the prize value the next time and see if the traffic is proportionally increased.

You should keep the prize relevant to the interest range of your target audience. A cash give-away is attractive to everyone and will get you a lot of hit and run traffic. A visitor who clicks through to your website, registers for your sweepstakes and disappears without paying attention to the rest of the site is not the kind of traffic you want. If the theme of your website is cooking, for example, a cook book or kitchen gadget will ensure that you attract only those visitors who are likely to be interested in what you are offering through your site.

It's important to think about how you are going to present your sweepstakes entry form on your website and what information you are going to ask your visitors to enter. Usually the minimum information you'll need is an email address so you can contact the winner. In general, the less information you ask for, the more entries you'll get and the more time you'll give your visitor to explore your site rather an preoccupying them with filling in a form. As for the form itself, it should be included in a content page rather than being on a page by itself. If it's on its own page, a link from a sweepstakes directory will be directly to the sweepstakes entry page and the visitor will see only the form and no other content. If the form is included on the main page of your site, say just below the fold, a visitor will be required to scan the content of your main page and scroll down before the form is visible. This will increase the possibility of generating interest in your site beyond just the sweepstakes.

So what can you expect in the way of traffic volume and how much will it cost? It's difficult to answer this question accurately but it's realistic to assume you will get somewhere from a hundred to a few hundred visitors from a single sweepstakes directory if you are offering a small prize. If you are listed in multiple sweepstakes directories, these numbers will be compounded. To take an example; a sweepstakes with a $40 prize that attracts a total of 800 visitors translates to a cost of $0.05 per visitor. This is very inexpensive by any measure.

If this is something you are considering for the first time, I suggest that you start by looking at other websites that are running sweepstakes to see how they incorporate them into their content. This will give you some ideas of what would best suit your site. Start small to limit your liability. Once you have found an effective formula you can try increasing the prize value or simply stay with what works if you are happy with the results.

An honest and carefully run sweepstakes is an excellent way to drive traffic to a website or blog. It needs to be promoted in order to be effective but if the website and the prize are good quality, there should be no problem having it listed in the major sweepstakes directories. If you can get listed in three or four of the big directories, that is very likely all the promotion you'll need.

About the Author

Linda Horricks is a sweepstakes enthusiast and the owner of the website Contestgirl at http://www.contestgirl.com

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Serious Look at Green Web Hosting

by Michael Hanks

A General Overview

There is a new wave that is emerging hereabouts, and it is colored green. This new advocacy espoused by an enlightened sector of the web hosting community has created a new concept of using website hosting service that endeavors to reduce its environmental impact.

The term used to loosely refer to this new revolution in the web hosting community is green web hosting. Green, or alternatively called eco-friendly, website hosting is a new trend that endeavors to develop web hosting providers operating within the platform that does not harm the environment.

Consequently, this new concept also calls for the conversion of green consumers out of those who require hosting services. Hosting Companies GO Green Web Hosting

Website hosting has grown by leaps and bounds through the years. Indications point to a continued and sustained growth in the coming years.

One area which is drawing a lot of efforts to promote green web hosting is in the area of power usage. All those servers are using massive amounts of power 24 hours a day.

Various green web hosting providers follow different approaches. There are no straight and fast rules followed by green web hosting providers, but their initiatives fall under 3 major categories. These are: Carbon offsetting Environmental footprint reduction Use of renewable energy sources

Green Web Hosting GO Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting are actions done in the web hosting community that mitigates greenhouse emissions. The principle behind it is that instead on concentrating efforts at reducing your own greenhouse gas emissions, one compensates by paying and supporting others that works to provide clean energy. Your company could also be paying others to have greenhouse gas emissions reduced elsewhere.

Some of the initiatives that are specific to the web hosting industry include:

Initiate a tree planting activity for each client. This might be included with each account or be an option for an additional fee allocated for the purpose when purchasing a hosting plan.

Patronize Renewable Certificates. The certificates are evidence or proof of renewable energy or green energy that is purchased by the hosting company from the energy provider. The web host may not be buying renewable energy directly, but by buying RECs, it provides incentives for the energy provider to use renewable energy and reduces the need for energy from non-renewable sources. RECs are also termed as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, and Tradeable Renewable Certificates (TRCs).

Go for the purchase of Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs). This refers to government records of emission reductions. They can be used by the hosting provider to offset future emission increases. ERCs can also be transferred to another company, or retired.

Green Web Hosting GO Environment Footprint Reduction Use of more energy-efficient servers Use of backup generators that run on propane gas Initiate a work at home program Run a solar powered office Reduce or eliminate the use of paper in the office Recycle

Green Web Hosting Use Renewable Energy Sources

The following initiatives could also involve the data centers. These are: The web host locates servers in a data center that generates power from renewable forms of energy such as wind, solar, or geothermal. The web host invests of facilities that provide renewable energy source

Other initiatives that green web hosting provider can take may involve donation of funds to environmental protection organizations and to other charity organizations that advocate green awareness.

About the Author

Michael is a web hosting expert and on his site WebhostingExplained.com, a website dedicated to web hosting reviews, news and tools he is providing a detailed web hosting knowledge base, SEO and other helpful webmaster tools free of charge. Check out his site now!