Friday, February 26, 2010

Things to Avoid when Building Web Pages

by Steven Kim

There many different things that you can do with web pages but a lot of these things you shouldn't do. In order to have happy readers, keep the following tips in mind so that you can create a more effective design.

Websites That Only Work In Internet Explorer

Considering that a lot of people are using browsers such as Firefox today, it can be very detrimental to your business if your website only works in Internet Explorer. You will be limiting the people to whom you are able to market your business especially since Internet Explorer is losing its popularity today.

Web Designs That State They Are Only Written For Specific Versions of Specific Browsers

This will drive away business because your customers don't want to be told what to do. They won't change browsers simply because you tell them to either.

Using Cutting Edge Technology without Needing To

While you may be tempted to use the latest technology, if it isn't supported by the majority of web browsers, you could run the risk of losing clients. So, if you are going to use this at all, make sure to use it sparingly and only in places that are not critical to your entire website.

Automatically Starting Sound or Video

Even if someone likes the sound on your website, they aren't going to want it to start playing automatically. They may already be listening to their own music or they may be somewhere that sound is inappropriate. Not only is this true for music but it is also true for videos as well.

Sound or Video that's Difficult to Turn Off

If you still want to put sound on your website, you should make sure that there is an easy way in which to turn it off and on. This is especially true if you have it start automatically. At least by making the controls easy to find and use you will be showing your visitors some respect. With this in mind, you should put the controls at the top of the page, not the bottom.

Difficulties with Navigation

People like to visit websites that are easy to use. So, if you put your navigation somewhere that is difficult to find or disguise it as something else, then you are going to annoy your visitors and keep them from returning. While you may want to use a theme for your website, make sure that it doesn't turn your home and about us buttons into a picture that is difficult to use.

Text That Moves

Text that moves is very hard to read. It can also be distracting. Some people also have medical issues that actually occur whenever they see blinking text. These are all very good reasons as to why you shouldn't use text that moves.

Ajax for Content

Ajax is fun to use whenever you are creating web applications. However, you shouldn't hide content inside of here as this will cause you a lot of problems. This is because your content usually won't change and thus only those elements that do change should be inside of an Ajax application.

Resizing Browser Windows

While you can open and resize a popup, you should never mess with your visitor's current window. They have it open to a size that they are comfortable with and you will only annoy them by being so intrusive. Whenever you do this, more than likely you will lose a customer.

Placing Your Website inside a Popup Window

Never load your entire website in a popup window. This isn't going to protect your content but it will annoy your visitors and keep them from returning because you are being intrusive.

Nothing but Flash Content

While Flash is great, you will risk losing your visitors if that is the only thing you use. This is because there are a lot of usability issues such as the back button not always working. Furthermore, a lot of search engines don't index Flash content very well. There are also a lot of people who simply don't like Flash and will leave your website just as soon as they see that you are using it.

Flash Splash Screens

A lot of designers like to put together a splash page in Flash just to show off their skills. However, a lot of visitors don't want to have to wait, even 30 seconds, to get the information that they want from your website.

Flash Navigation

No matter how you choose to use Flash, make sure that you don't use it for your navigation. Using Flash for navigation will only cause you problems because your visitors will find it difficult to use as it is inaccessible. Plus, the search engines won't index your pages because it will be too difficult for them to navigate your website.

Using Nothing but Images

There are some print designers who will use Photoshop to build their website. A lot of times they will give up whenever they can't get things exactly right and thus they will just publish things the way they are. This will not only make it difficult to maintain your website but it will make it difficult for your visitors to use your website and oftentimes your website will even be slow to load.

Text Content Inside Of Your Images

Never use images for your content's text because it will be inaccessible, difficult to read, unable to be found by the search engines and can't be resized either.

Non-Working Components

Whenever your visitor figures out that a part of your website is "fake" and doesn't work, they will become frustrated. This is because they will waste several minutes trying to make it work before moving on to find a site that will work better for them.

About the Author

Steve Kim, aka Dr. SEO, is an Expert Internet Marketer who works in Las Vegas, NV. He specializes in Search Engine Optimization, as well as Video and Local Search Optimization. See more of him at Media One Pro

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What Constitutes a Well-Written Article?

by Ken Vogt

Engaging in article writing to communicate with your niche involves a commitment to quality. The Worldwide Web abounds with sub-standard writing. Providing useful information within properly constructed articles means setting yourself apart from mediocrity.

Your primary concern as an article writer is your audience. You must focus on two main elements as applies to this audience. The first is the kind of information they want and need. The second is the best way to present this information to them.

Therefore, a well-written article consists of useful content spread over a sound structure. It's akin to a useful concrete pedestrian walkway spread over a supportive steel grid. Thinking of your articles this way means you present information to your readers in a logical, organized manner.

An effective article marketing campaign depends on using a good article distribution service. They gain you that broad exposure your articles require. However, you don't want broad exposure for poorly constructed articles. This harms your credibility as a reputable information provider.

What results when you lose, or never ever gain, credibility with information searchers? You lose traffic to the website where you look to promote your particular business. The following are tips to ensure you create well-written articles for your readers and build credibility:

Concentrate on the Actual Content

Before you can utilize your structure, you must have useful information to place within it. It all begins with performing the necessary research. Quality research gives you the data, facts, statistics, opinions, viewpoints and more that you need.

You gather this information in various ways. This can include both offline and online research. You may interview experts in a particular field. You may access research materials in a library or read an online whitepaper.

You accumulate vital knowledge as suits your audience's needs. Research must focus on what your audience wants, not what interests you. What your audience wants and what you want is not always the same thing.

Concentrate on Classic Article Structure

Now you organize gathered information based on time-tested classic article structure. This involves employing a proper title and an opening or introductory paragraph. You want to pique your reader's interest right away.

A headline doesn't have to be funny, trendy, or shocking. It does have to let a reader immediately know what they can expect from your article. An introductory paragraph to open your article presents the focus and intent of your article.

Next is significant main body copy where you disseminate the bulk of your useful information. This main body copy may include sub-headings and bullet points with attendant information. These accomplish two things.

First, they allow readers to scan and hone in quickly on major points. Scanning also gives readers a quick overview of what they are about to read. Second, sub-headings and bullet points break up large blocks of text. This makes an article easier to read.

In the main body of your article, you present, point-by-point, your information. This helps your reader gain knowledge in a systematic fashion. Intelligently presenting vital information, linking paragraphs logically promotes faster learning and knowledge retention.

This organized approach means you, the writer, don't wander off topic. It also means you hold your reader's attention. A haphazard approach to presenting information increases the chances you lose your reader's interest. After the main body copy, you employ a concise conclusion, which ties everything up precisely.

Concentrate on Spelling and Grammar

Of course, you must do all of the above with attention to spelling and grammar. In the rush to get articles online, these two elements often get the short shrift. We often rely too much on spell-check programs and forgo rereading our articles.

Spell-check programs, because of their general nature, don't always catch unique spelling and grammatical occurrences. Reread your articles and look for these situations. This extra attention to detail ensures your articles are of a higher quality for your readers.

Focused attention to spelling and grammar also present you as a professional. It shows you respect the writing discipline and your readers. In addition, article distribution services and publishers demand this attention to these elements.

On top of all that, articles with proper spelling and grammar are easier to read. You get your points across with clarity when commas, periods, quotation marks and such are in the right places. Additionally, spelling mistakes don't stand out like sore thumbs, breaking your reader's concentration. This contributes to enjoyable reading for your audience.

Follow the above tips to create well-written articles. Informative content presented over an organized structure with attention to grammar and spelling enhances your writer reputation. This means a growing audience for your articles, and the websites linked to them.

About the Author

Kenneth Vogt is CEO of Content Crooner; a quality content distribution service. He is an established internet marketing professional and respected Web expert. Discover how quality content is a driving force behind highly targeted traffic and improved page rank in our Free Report.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Use Customer Testimonials to Increase Web Sales

by Karen Scharf

I've got to warn you - you're about to read about the pot calling the kettle black. That's because with each and every coaching client I have, I always discuss the creation of a testimonial capturing system. And yet I am woefully inept at using testimonials myself. Because I have non-disclosure agreements with most of my clients, I'm often hesitant to ask for testimonials. But I'm leaving a huge opportunity on the table.

That's because using testimonials can help ease your prospect's mind and reduce her buying resistance. Because testimonials are so tremendously influential, as marketers, you and I should never produce one single piece of marketing collateral without including testimonials.

But I believe testimonials are even more essential on your web pages.

That's because the web can be such an impersonal selling environment. Your web visitors have their "scam radar" at high alert. They don't trust much of what you say - but they will trust what others say. So start adding testimonials to each and every one of your web pages today.

If you don't have any customer testimonials yet, just follow these easy steps to start using them as soon as possible:

1. Develop a system for collecting testimonials. A simple web form should work well in most situations. Don't forget to ask for your customer's full name and get permission to publish the testimonial.

2. Request a testimonial immediately after the sale. This will have two benefits. First, the details of your service will still be fresh in your customer's mind. Second, buyer's remorse and refund requests will be reduced once the client has "taken a stand" for your service.

3. Be specific with your request. Instead of simply asking, "What did you think of our service?" you should say, "Brenda can you write down a quick sentence or two about how we cleaned your carpet and put all the furniture back in place when we were done?"

4. Ask your customer to provide a description of his problem before he used your product or service. This helps your prospect identify with the customer giving a testimonial, and also helps aggravate the pain the prospect is experiencing.

5. Use a picture of your customer whenever possible. Either snap the photo yourself with your digital camera or ask your client to email you a digital image. This will make it easy for you to incorporate the photo in your web page.

Once you've collected your customer testimonials, be sure to include them on as many web pages as possible. After that, you can also:

1. Put all your testimonials into a free report and use it as a lead generator.

2. Put audio versions of the testimonials onto a CD that you can send to new prospects.

3. Put your clients' testimonials on a DVD and play the video in your waiting room. This is especially effective if you have testimonials about products or services that many of your customers aren't aware that you offer. This makes great covert "advertising".

4. Add a corresponding testimonial to all of your advertising. If you are creating a coupon for a free piece of pie with any meal, include a testimonial praising you for your fresh, home baked pies.

5. Instead of a corresponding testimonial, try a complimentary testimonial in your advertising. If you're advertising an oil change special, include testimonials about your tire rotation service.

And remember, the clients who give you testimonials are your best and most loyal customers, so be sure to reward them properly. You might need to get creative with your reward system so it doesn't appear as if you're buying testimonials, but a little extra special treatment will definitely be worth it.

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.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Website Accessibility And Usability

by Willie Greg

Usability is one of the most pressing issues in the field of website development nowadays. The usability of a website is tested against its simplicity which makes it easy for people to navigate the site as fast as possible, therefore making access to information easier.

Accessibility is a concept that is intertwined with the concept of usability. It refers to creating the website content available to all people.

Context

The issue has caught the attention of different sectors of society. Why? Because 1 out of 5 people in America possess some kind of disability and this figure translates to around 30 million Americans. The figure is still increasing, with the coming of age of senior citizens. During the past decade alone, a dramatic increase of 25% was seen.

Why the Internet?

One might ask, "Why is the Internet a central focus in this issue of usability?" The Internet has transformed the lives of people during the past decade. People have been able to do things that they were not able to do before, this includes the people with disabilities. People who are impaired don't have as much opportunities compared to people who are well and able.

The Internet has provided them avenues for communication, information gathering, social interaction, engaging in cultural activities and it provides them with employment opportunities. However, statistics have shown that the potential of the Internet to provide these certain opportunities is still not maximized because the people with disabilities are hindered by usability issues from using it to the fullest.

Stakeholders

The issue of usability is not only watched by institutions which are related to giving support to people with disabilities, most of the sectors of society are closely watching its progress. Institutions which are involved in governance, education, media, public services and even the business sectors are observers in the game.

Benefits

The benefits of improving accessibility of websites will not only benefit the people who have impairments but will affect the whole web community. Businesses, services, information campaigners, everyone will benefit.

Many people are calling for developing websites using a universal design approach. This is a way of developing web content which would accommodate the widest range of users. Some features of this said scheme are: provision of interoperability of applications; access for the disabled; localization and customization.

Recommendations for Improving Accessibility

Listed below are some of the key recommendations from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 which was developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of W3C on how to improve the accessibility of the contents of a website.

1. Provide alternatives to audio-visual content Not all people will be able to use different kinds of content. These people may be disabled or may have a lower version of Internet browsers. Movies, sound clips, animations and other contents should be translated into text alternatives so as to provide information to the broadest range of viewers.

2. Developers shouldn't rely on color alone

Many people are impaired in color differentiation. Developers shouldn't rely too much on the use of colors to relay information in the websites. Charts that are color-coded should be modified and the background and foreground colors of the websites should have enough contrast to enable people with color differentiation impairment to easily navigate the site.

3. Clarification of the use of natural language

Content developers usually mark up the changes in natural language in their websites. They should be able to identify the dominant language that is used in the site so as to avoid confusion.

4. Control of content changes that are time-sensitive

This issue particularly involves people who have visual or cognitive impairments and those who are not able to read texts that are moving quickly. Movement is seen as an over-all enhancer to the look of the site, but it may pose some problems to people with cognitive impairments.

5. Accessibility of user interfaces that are embedded

Objects that posses their own interfaces should be made accessible, and alternative solutions must be provided if this is not possible.

6. Provision of orientation and context information

The provision of information on how the objects are organized is important to provide people with guidance on how to access information.

There are other ways of improving a website's over-all accessibility to make it more usable. Developers should take into consideration the different people who are going to view their websites and make them focal points in the designing process.

About the Author

Willie Greg is an expert in Internet marketing. He writes articles about online business and other related topics. For the listing of corporate events visits current events and trade shows calendar.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

March Vacation

Guys,

Just so you all know, this blog will be on vacation during the month of March. I'll post another reminder closer to the end of February, and posting will resume on Monday, April 5.

Internet Marketing Video Conversion Rates Higher Than Written Content

by Selva Sugunendran

Considering the strict and fiery competitions in the online business industry, it is almost impossible to get a good conversion of simple viewers to actual customers. Getting leads out of texts and images on your site may not be as productive as most would think since the online masses today are quite hard to convince.

Business Now Using Videos

If you check out business-related websites on the Internet, you will see that most of them are going out of their way to integrate videos and animations as a strategy for better conversions. According to recent studies, a majority of the online populace tends to look for videos rather than text content for information. After all, videos provide a more convenient way to learn than reading tons of texts crammed in a single page.

Internet marketers noticed that video conversion from simple viewers to customers have increased upon integrating Web Video Marketing on their websites rather than making do with simple texts and images as content. People who are looking for a specific product or service would be more than willing to look at its features and benefits in a video rather than reading it online in random sites. Not only that, video marketing makes it easy for viewers to know your product, showing how it is used and its potential benefits, offers a surefire way in turning them into buyers.

Text versus Videos

According to experts, video conversions rate higher than actual text content; studies shows that leads are much higher compared to putting up their business information online as texts. The reason is simple, videos offers an environment to educate your visitors without having to spend hours reading written content. They can just sit back and relax as the video plays to teach them what the business is and how your product works. They can also see firsthand the actual use of your product rather than getting the information out of a manual or instructions on your site.

Putting Your Visitors Needs First

Your viewers will think that you are very concerned with their welfare that you put up a video rather than letting them get the information out from reading texts. This might not mean much to you, but it would mean a lot of your visitors. To put it simply, simplifying their means of getting the information is putting their needs first than concentrating on profit -- which, in truth, targets both.

Improve Your Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Using Videos

If you want to rake in the profit through video conversions then you need to plan for it carefully to make the most out of this marketing strategy. The video should provide complete information about your business, its products and services, as well as the benefits of your offers to your customers.

Starting a Video Marketing is simple and does not require high-end equipments or state-of-the-art effects just to turn visitors into leads. The gist here is to provide them with simple, easy-to-understand information that they can easily digest and know the benefits in making use of your products and services. Begin with a simple planning that includes the incorporation of a detailed script that contains the information of your business, specifications of your products and services, benefits of your offers, as well as some instructions on how to utilize it properly. Close your video with a few lines that detail your contact information and how your customers can get in touch with you for inquiry and purchase.

Implementing Your Videos Online

There are plenty of ways to make your videos accessible to the online public. Upload them over to your own Web server and implement it on your site. You can also use public video upload sites so people can look it up and stream. There are also some social networking sites that offer a feature where you can post a video on your profile that is readily accessible to everyone in the community.

Just make sure that you give your videos a good online coverage by uploading them with tags, a good title with keywords, and well-placed links on different advertisement sites related to your business, on Web directories, and so on. The more people who have access to your videos, the better the conversion rate would be for the success of your online business.

About the Author

Selva Sugunendran, one of the top experts on Social Media based Internet Marketing has set up a unique integrated Online presence using six websites (each specialising on one particular niche) to help those wishing to learn, set up or optimise their own online business. Get ebooks, articles, video and audio based training completely FREE by visiting : http://www.SocialMediaBusinessOnline.com

Monday, February 15, 2010

LinkedIn-Who Knew You Could Generate Leads There?

by Syvella Brantley

Are you a member of LinkedIn, and you want to know what are the effective LinkedIn marketing strategies that you can use to maximize your membership? Have you been into network for a while or are you a newbie to the industry? Is the generation of leads that will express interest in your business or product a major concern for you?

If your answer to the above questions is, yes, then this is the article for you. Below you will get 4 great tips that are going to assist you with maximizing your membership with LinkedIn so that you can generate the quality leads you need.

Tip 1. Present yourself well in LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a network of professionals who have the desire to connect with people with the same interests as they have and be able to create and sustain some forms of business or professional relationships. Therefore, the way you present yourself is imperative to your success on LinkedIn. The choice of your photo is crucial to determining the kind of person you are; make sure you use a professional looking photo and not one that shows you sipping on a drink. You have to make sure that you are presenting yourself as decent, professional and business-minded person. This is the first important step for generating leads with LinkedIn.

Tip 2. Join LinkedIn Groups and Participate. If you are new in LinkedIn, you can start joining the groups that interest you. Since your concern is lead generation, you might want to join well attended groups on network marketing, affiliate marketing and other similar groups, with at least 10,000 members. You can start with posting comments on articles and later on, you can start with posting your own informative and educational articles highlighting the benefits of your product or service without necessarily selling it. Make your connections with those who will make comments on your articles and build relationships. But, you should take caution in doing this, because you might be overwhelmed to invite them to join you that you will end up losing them. Do it at the right time and with the high level of relationship that you already have established, and generating leads with LinkedIn will be easy.

Tip 3. Maintain your Presence. A sustained relationship with your connections will only be possible if you are a consistent member of the group. With your presence, your connection will grow and the possibility of increasing your leads will be high. Invest some time for this everyday and you will find yourself succeeding.

Tip 4. Write Articles that Will Attract People's Attention. You can post articles that will catch the group's attention. You can start with writing 1 or 2 a week and post them in all the groups that you are a member of. Connect with these people but you have to get their permission before inviting them. This, aside from showing your professionalism, will be helpful in communicating respect to other people. This is one of the most effective LinkedIn marketing strategies to let people know your product or service.

When you start applying the four simple tips presented above, you will surely see that your prospects are not limited to the people you know, like your friends, colleagues, or family members. With your faithful and consistent use of LinkedIn, people will start seeing you as a great testimony of a successful marketer and the results that you will get will be more than what you expect!

About the Author

Syvella Brantley is an expert on Social Media marketing and will happy to share with some additional training on generating leads on LinkedIn. Visit Syvella's Internet Marketing Blog for more details.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Affiliate Cloaking: How To Double Your Affiliate Commissions Overnight

by Adam Bauthues

I know how the affiliate marketing game goes because that is what I do full-time. I know the ins and outs of the whole process, and the excitement of a well thought out and perfectly executed affiliate campaign, which results in a steady stream of affiliate commissions. I also know what it is like to watch those same successful campaigns dry up suddenly for no logical reason at all. Sometimes they never even get off the ground when all the indicators are there that they should be profitable.

If this has happened to you before here is what I think the main problem is and a solution to deal with it.

If you are an affiliate marketer it is highly likely that you take the following steps when building a successful campaign:

1) You build a landing page to suck in as many leads as possible

2) You follow-up with these leads via a targeted email autoresponder campaign

3) You drive traffic to this new campaign

In a nutshell, you build a highly successful sales funnel, meant to sell a product or several related products, and you drive traffic to that funnel in a number of ways.

After building this successful sales funnel what happens if you don't seem to be getting any sales? You get plenty of leads coming in, which means your traffic is converting, but the sales seem non-existent. Why is this?

Well, the first thing I would do is check my email follow-up series. There must be something wrong with my email sales copy, or my links, or the way I am pre-selling the offer.

But what if you are getting a ton of clicks to your products but no sales? Is it the product itself that is the issue? This could be. You really cannot be 100% sure of the problem at this point, and you may never know. The product itself could be a dud.

Well, I have had many campaigns like this over the years and I usually would just let them go and move on. That was until I experienced a very successful campaign, which had a consistent sales conversion rate and everything working properly, just stop working. Not a little bit either. The sales went to ZERO, overnight.

I spent some time asking other affiliates about this and found out it was a pretty common problem. I also found out what that problem was and how to combat it too. It is unfortunate that many affiliates do not understand what is really going on with their commissions.

I'll try to explain a little of what could be happening to your sales in this article.

The most frustrating thing of all is that it is highly possible your sales funnels could be making a ton of sales and that you are just not getting credited with those sales. In other words, you are doing all of the work and someone else is getting your commissions. That doesn't sit well with me and should not sit well with you either.

The Problem: Affiliate Link Theft

Without getting too technical, here is what is happening.

Your affiliate ID is being changed to someone elses at the point of sale, either manually by the user, or via spyware on your computer which was placed there at some point while you were online. You could also be a victim of "cookie stuffing" which many affiliates do to try and protect their own commissions from link thieves.

The problem is that this "cookie stuffing" sometimes steals sales from others as well. These "cookie stuffing" affiliates are just trying to protect their own commissions but they don't realize they are becoming part of the problem.

Any of these things can stop you from receiving credit for the sale even though you're the one who should have made it. You cannot stop ALL commission thievery online, but to stop any of it at all you must implement affiliate cloaking into your campaigns.

Link cloaking is when you create a redirect, or a hidden frame redirect on your website that hides your affiliate ID's and makes it nearly impossible for spyware programs to tinker with your affiliate links at the point of sale.

If you start incorporating affiliate cloaking into your business today you can make a huge difference in your bottom line. It is very possible that you are losing 30-50% of the sales that should be yours. I certainly was.

So now that you know you need affiliate cloaking, lets look at the right and wrong ways to do it.

Choosing A Link Cloaking Service

There are tons of programs and software packages online claiming to be able to help you cloak your links. Many of them are offered for free even. I would not suggest that you go with the first one you find for many reasons. You need to make sure that the link cloaker you use has been created specifically for affiliate marketing and not for some "black hat" SEO tricks.

There are not as many affiliate cloaking systems as their are SEO cloaking and regular link cloaking software programs so you need to be careful what you choose.

Do NOT Use Free Cloaking Services

I understand that everyone is looking for a bargain these days, but when it comes to your affiliate commissions be willing to do what is best for your business. The most notable free link redirection and cloaking services online are those provided by companies like tinyurl.com, bit.ly, budurl.com and others.

These services started out as a way to shorten long URL's but have recently been taking steps to supply affiliates with link cloaking too.

The problem with many of these services is that they don't work with every kind of affiliate link or program, and many times will actually hinder your ability to get visitors to your site!

The horror stories are too numerous of people who used redirection services such as TinyURL and Bit.ly and lost commissions. Many spammers use these services to try and cloak their links too, which results in many of these links not being accepted as viable URL's by spam filters and other email services.

It is in your best interest to not use these services at all.

The Best Link Cloaking Service

The best link cloaker is one that you can upload to your own servers so you don't have to worry about anything breaking down or not working properly.

This means you could create a separate website to house ALL of your cloaked links, or upload the cloaking script to each individual website you are promoting and create site specific links.

Depending on which way you want to go (I actually use both methods) it can be difficult to accomplish any of it if you are not a web programmer, or don't want to outsource the project to someone you are not sure you can trust.

With all of the different options available out there in regards to link cloaking it is very important to spend some time learning about the concept from an affiliate marketing standpoint. Once I got hooked up with the right cloaking systems my commissions doubled practically overnight for many of the products I was originally having trouble selling.

About the Author

And now I would like to invite you to receive Instant Free Access to my affiliate cloaking report! You can get the report here: http://freeinternetmarketingreports.com/cloak-and-dagger.php . In this report you will learn how to properly use affiliate link cloaking to generate more sales, bigger commissions, and repeat customers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How To Create High Quality Landing Pages For Google Adwords

by Trish Thackston

Google Adwords can be as complicated and complex as you want it to be. If you are like me and prefer to keep things simple then do this...deliver what your ad promises. Whether you are trying to set up your first campaign or trying to optimize your campaign to lower your bid price and increase conversions, optimizing your landing page is always time well spent.

Too many Google Adwords marketers spend their time on keywords and ads, and leave the landing page out of the equation. Doing so can leave marketers scratching their heads when their cost per click remains high and conversions remain low. Despite all of the complicated theories about how to succeed with Google Adwords, it comes to this one fact: Google rewards or punishes its advertisers based on how well they solve the problem that Google's searcher has. If your ad says "Learn Guitar In 2 Days" then the content on your landing page better have them playing like Eddie Van Halen within 48 hours. Anything short of that will, sooner or later, result in a Google "slap" where your impressions from Google Adwords are severely reduced or cut off altogether.

The following are seven elements for landing pages that Google Adwords will love (and will convert like crazy!):

1) Deliver on the promise of your ad - As I said before, this is the biggest key to success. If you solve the searcher's problem/issue, you win. If your searcher clicks off of your page and begins another search, Google tracks it and penalizes you. Google rewards sites that deliver with lower costs and increased impressions.

2) Make your page original - Unlike in the past, mass produced "replicated sites" no longer work. Google values giving their searchers unique and high quality information. Mass produced site, with their duplicate content, was watering down Google's search results so they put an end to their use by penalizing advertisers that used them. Your landing page is your chance to "wow" your visitor. Make it count by making your landing page unique, novel and personal. Google will reward you for ending a search on your landing page by lowering your cost per click and increasing your number of impressions.

2) One page does not fit all - You have just seconds to draw your visitor in. Be sure the top of your page matches the ad they clicked on. This is where, as good marketer, you can really excel. Maximize your conversions across all ads by creating a landing page for each ad. This mainly involves customizing the top portion of the page. The rest of the page can remain the same for all pages.

3) Get to the point - The perfect length of your landing page is exactly as long as it takes to succinctly and effectively convey your message. No more, no less. Grammar counts! Leave the misspellings and bad punctuation for the amateurs.

4) Have a goal in mind for your visitors - Are you trying to make a sale or get a lead? Have a goal in mind before creating your page and write your copy to lead them to that conclusion. Focus on one goal per page.

5) Increase conversions with a bonus - Everyone responds to "Free." Adding a bonus to sweeten the deal will increase conversions. Information products work great and they don't cost you anything.

6) Credibility counts - You are an experienced, successful business person. Your page should convey that. Graphics should augment your page copy, not compete with it. Leaving white space on your page is a good thing. Also, do not set any audio or video on your site to launch automatically. Your page should be welcoming without looking like a Vegas billboard.

7) Be trustworthy - Trust is a huge issue online. Anything you can do to be transparent is a plus. For example, are you a member of the Better Business Bureau? Put your member logo on your page! Same for site security certifications. Also, let your visitors know a little bit about you. Nothing really personal but you want your readers to feel like you are a real person.

This can seem like a lot to remember until you understand that all of these tips boil down to being a real and genuine person online. With billions of pages of content to wade through, people crave quality and trustworthy professionals to do business with. When you think about it, Google Adwords requirements are very straight forward. Be a professional and deliver on your promise, the same as in any other kind of business. Just these two simple things will give you a huge advantage over the competition.

About the Author

Still struggling with your online marketing efforts? Brookview Partners mentors new home-based entrepreneurs using our proven five principle approach. Click below to get our free report => http://www.thehomebusinessroadmap.com

Monday, February 8, 2010

Protect Your Customers (and Your Company) with an SSL Certificate

by Amy Armitage

For most people, online security is a matter of remembering a few passwords and scanning for viruses. Most connections from a home computer to a Web server have no protection whatsoever, but there is one facet of the online experience that has always been security-conscious, and that's shopping ("e-commerce," if you prefer). E-commerce sites have an incentive to protect themselves, as well as their customers, so if you want to know about online security, they're a great place to start.

Today's e-commerce sites have, pretty much en masse, adopted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to protect both their customer's credit card data, as well as their own information. You can typically see when SSL is being used, as the URL will have an "s" added to the "http," yielding "https" before the "www" and/or the site's domain name. Most new browsers will also display a small lock icon somewhere in the active window, while some highlight the whole URL entry field (one with bright green) to indicate that an SSL connection is being made.

The SSL Certificate On the technology side, SSL is a way to create and maintain an encrypted connection between computers and Web servers. All the data going both directions across an SSL connection is encrypted, making it safe against casual (or amateur) sleuthing or snooping. Before such a connection can be made between a browser-equipped PC and a Web server, an SSL Certificate is necessary as it carries the information, in the form of "keys," to enable the special communication.

After obtaining and installing your SSL Certificate, you will be provided with two numbers, known as "keys." The first is the "private key" known only by your Web server, and the second is the "public key" that, theoretically at least, everyone can get. Computers that connect to your Web site (via your server, naturally) can send you messages that your public key encrypts, and your server decrypts them with the private one. The entire process is transparent to the users, as the Web server and the remote browser handle all the details automatically.

Both keys are needed, at the right points in the connection process, to ensure a secure, SSL-encrypted connection. Your public key is placed in a file called a "Certificate Signing Request," a simple data file with Web server information and the public key. The CSR is freely available to everyone, enabling worldwide connections to your site with SSL protection.

Consider it "value added" Even if you don't sell items on the Web, you may be obtaining customer information for other reasons, information that is sensitive and deserves protection. Of course, if you are doing sales, you have credit card numbers and bank routing information. Either way, you need an SSL Certificate. Even users who are not quite savvy enough to know what SSL stands for are learning what that extra "s" in the address field means, and know that the little lock icon means extra protection.

There is other information that is valuable to your firm, too, so if you provide network access or applications to your customers - thereby opening yourself up to snooping and such - you also need an SSL Certificate. What goes on between you and your customers, not to mention what is going on with your research and development, is nobody elses business, particularly your business competitors. If your firm has multiple locations, or employees who sign on to your system remotely, VPN (Virtual Private Network) software can protect you, but an SSL Certificate is often easier and less costly.

Putting it together SSL Certificates are handled as a part of the WWW infrastructure by "Certificate Authorities" that issue SSL Certificates to companies and organizations (actually, individuals can apply for them, too). When applying for one, you give domain name information, and for some levels of SSL Certificates you also give company information. The Certificate will have an expiration date and identifying information about the issuing Certificate Authority, which could even be your Internet Service Provider (ISP) act as Certificate Authorities - but it doesn't much matter, as an SSL Certificate can be issued to any domain, wherever it's hosted.

The simplest, most basic SSL Certificate is one that you can obtain with confirmation of only your domain name, and you can usually get this kind in a matter of minutes. The next level up requires company information, and sometimes information on company principals. Costs for SSL Certificates depend on a number of factors, such as the Certificate Authority, the type you want and whether you get it as part of a package deal. There are many ISPs and domain registrars providing all types of SSL Certificates, and customers connecting to your Web server won't know which type you have, although the data in your CSR will differ accordingly.

Besides the obvious reasons of safety and security, having an SSL Certificate makes an important statement to your customers. It means you take their business and their privacy seriously, that you care enough to go the extra mile and secure your site, your business - and your customer's business, too.

About the Author

Amy Armitage is the head of Business Development for Lunarpages. Lunarpages provides quality web hosting from their US-based hosting facility. They offer a wide-range of services from linux virtual private servers and managed solutions to shared and reseller hosting plans. Visit online for more information.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How To Successfully Use Google Placement To Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website

by Jeffrey Benson

The most frequent question you hear from online marketers is "how can I get more targeted traffic to my website at a cost I can easily afford?"

Many people and particularly the less experienced internet marketers find Google Placement Targeting very confusing, and it can often feel as if you are walking through a maze, not knowing where the gold is hidden or the exit is.

However, it is currently the undisputed No.1 method of getting traffic to any website, providing of course you know what you are doing. It isn't rocket science to learn the nitty-gritty of successful Google Placement Targeting; all you need to know are the main concepts.

Here's a quick and valuable guide to understanding how to get the best out of your Google placement campaigns without throwing away your money.

What exactly do the words "Google Placement" mean?

I'm sure you'll have noticed when visiting websites, many contain advertisements for other websites provided by Google, this is known as Google Adsense.

Website owners become Google 'Partners' when they want to generate an additional and sometimes a highly profitable income stream by advertising other people's products or services. They receive a code from Google which they position on a page or pages of their website where they want Google Adsense adverts to appear. Google will then send adverts to these locations which are relevant to the site's keywords - these website pages are often referred to as placements.

You can waste a lot of money on Google Placement targeting.

Possibly, the most intimidating thing for most marketers using Google placement targeting - is the massive number of placements on the Internet they can choose from. This makes it extremely difficult deciding where to place your ads for maximum results whilst keeping your cost as low as possible.

However, this massive amount of choice can be an advantage for the savvy Internet marketer, because they use specialized software to find exactly where to place their Google Placement ads so they get substantial volumes of highly targeted traffic, which they can easily convert into buyers, without having to spend a fortune.

However, if you are not very careful when selecting the web pages to advertise on, the 'flip' side can be - massive amounts of untargeted traffic at a high cost to you, but resulting in very few or no sales.

How to make money from Google Placement targeting?

To run a successful Google Placement targeting campaign, you first need to start by identifying the relevant keywords for your products or services. These keywords will help you to start finding the websites and web pages where you can place your ads.

Google placement tool can help you locate placement sites for your ads by using your selected keywords.

But, unfortunately this tool isn't very effective, because it only identifies the home page of websites that may not produce the highly targeted traffic you need. Remember, the watch word here is 'Targeted' traffic. You need Targeted traffic in order to make REAL money online.

This means you have to exactly identify web pages that are already pre-qualified for your products or services. Not websites that may contain somewhere some of your keywords or key phrases.

What is the difference between Google placement targeting and Google keyword targeting?

Simply put, Google Placement Targeting targets Websites whilst Google Keyword Targeting targets Keywords. With Google placement targeting, you choose the websites that carry Adsense ads, and with the right tool you can easily locate sites that your ideal prospects most frequently visit. This is where you want to place your ad for maximum targeted traffic, and you can do this on high priced keywords for a fraction of the normal cost.

The advantages of Google Placement targeting

The first advantage is that Google lets you choose the webpages that are already highly prequalified for your products and/or services. Providing you choose carefully, these websites and web pages are already attracting potential customers looking for what you sell. Simply put, they are your competitors' websites, and by targeting these sites, you are prequalifying your prospects so you get more quality traffic that is easier for you to convert into customers.

Secondly, you are able to use image ads in addition to text ads. Image ads, known as banner ads, are extremely good for placements because it allows Google to place your banners on the sites which you have chosen in your placement campaigns. This is a great way to leverage your ad serving opportunity. Just imagine being able to place your banners on 2,000, 3,000 or more websites. This will give you a ton of high quality traffic every day.

The third advantage is that Google displays only your ad in the Adsense box no matter the size of the box. Most Adsense boxes contain 2 to 4 ads within the box but with placement targeting your ad replaces the 2-4 ads in the box. This is a great advantage because no ad is competing with you in the ad space.

The fourth advantage is cost savings - with placement targeting you pay per thousands impressions (CPM) rather than paying per click, which can make Keyword targeting very expensive. With Placement targeting, Google allows you to bid CPM so you only pay a certain amount when Google displays your ad a thousand times.

Let's say you bid for $1.00 or $2.00 for every one thousand times Google displays your ad. It doesn't matter whether your ad receives 1 click, 20 clicks or even 500 clicks; you pay the same $1 or $2. It is easy to see why this is a huge advantage to online advertisers - if your ad converts well, it means you can get lots of clicks from highly targeted websites for just cents on the dollar.

Tips for getting more clicks and improving your conversions.

With Google placement targeting you can get performance reports just the same as you would with a keyword targeting campaign. So you can see how much you are spending, how many clicks you are getting and from which web pages the traffic is coming from. Google will also provide you with simple tips to improve your campaign results.

Monitoring your Placement targeting campaigns is very important. Google has the tools to track your campaign either from inside Adwords or by using Google Analytics. You will be able to see the placements that are producing the right kind of traffic and the ones that are wasting your money.

Any placement that is not getting clicks or maybe getting too many clicks but not producing sales - you need to delete, leaving only those placements that are producing the results you want.

It is always a good idea to test two ads against each other to find out which ad performs the best and then only use this ad in future campaigns or until you want to test another ad.

With placement targeting, what you need are the clicks. Just go for the clicks and let your webpage do the conversion and sale. The more clicks you get, the less you pay per click because you are paying the same amount per thousand impressions. The more quality clicks you get the lower your cost will be for each new customer.

To get lots of clicks from any placement make sure your ads are being displayed above the fold on the web pages you choose. This means, your ad position needs to be located where visitors can easily see it without having to scroll down the page. If your ad is below the fold people may not see it, but Google will still count it as an impression. So only choose top positions for your ads.

Also, make sure there aren't too many ad spots on the web page, because the more ad spots there are the less effective your ad will be. Only choose web pages that have one or two ad spaces close to the top of the page and you will be sure to get your money's worth. Follow these simple tips and you'll never go wrong.

The advantages of using images in placement targeting.

Image ads can be static as well as motion or animated and can be placed on selected content sites that accept banners which most content websites nowadays do. Google is now providing programs on image ads for internet marketers. With image ads, you experience vivid graphics and AdWords placement technology that are known to provide additional stimulus that emphasizes the real value of your products or services.

Image ads are run via content sites for campaigns that use placement targeting.

About the Author

Free video reveals how to create successful placement targeting and get up to 341.10% more traffic for the same money you are already spending. Download your free video from http://www.adplacementlocator.com

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All you wanted to know about Talking Web Presenters

by Vlad P

Talking web presenters or web hosts is a new and interactive way of introducing your webpage to your viewers. With millions of sites jostling for recognition on the Internet, you will need a special edge to ensure that your visitors get interested in your products - the talking web presenters can do just that for you.

What are talking web presenters?

A talking web host is a real person on your website who will engage your viewers while they browse though your site. The presenter will direct the viewers through your website, thus making the browsing experience lively and fun!

You can choose your own web presenter from an array of presenters coming from various ethnic backgrounds and social status. Once you have decided upon a presenter who can best represent the product that you have to offer, you will need to come up with a script.

This script can be prepared by you, or the Web Presenting Company may help you with the preparation of the script. However, you will usually be charged extra for the preparation of the script from scratch. The professional web presenters are trained to present your website just the way you want them to.

How do add a Web Presenter to website

Web presenters are incorporated into your website by dedicated web presenting companies. These companies will usually have a full range of facilities to help you develop the perfect web presenter for your site. The facilities include green screen shooting, teleprompting and a highly professional crew. The technology merges Flash with high definition video, in order to create the ultimate web host for your homepage.

The web presenting company will then give you a secure line of code that you will have to add to your site. Usually, to ensure fast upload of the site, along with the talking web host, the company will offer you the facility of hosting the videos on their own server - this will ensure a faster and more fulfilling experience for your viewers.

What are the advantages of a talking web host?

Since a real person is hosting your site, it captures the attention of your viewers. It has been proved that your potential clients will spend more time on your web site if they are introduced to the site by a web host. This traffic ultimately results in real sales.

The talking web hosting in your site also results in a higher search engine ranking. It aids your viewers to navigate though the site, thus making the experience effortless. The web host will automatically give the product information to your viewers, so they are satisfied with the information. You can position the web host anywhere in the site and you can create a dramatic effect by choosing to let the web presenter enter the site in such a way that it catches the attention of the viewers. They can jump onto the page, walk into it, or maybe even pull themselves onto the page.

A talking web presenter is indeed a great idea, as this is sure to make a great impact on your business and on your sales. The flexibility and the interactive aspect of this web hosting make it even more attractive because you can choose to host the web site yourself too.

About the Author

http://www.webwisemedia.com

Monday, February 1, 2010

Three Effective Revenue Streams for Your Website

by DefaultValue@ThisisdefaultValue.usersshouldfillininformation.com

Most people who have started a website were motivated by the chance to make money. For some, this may mean a full-time job with the chance of a dream-like payout, for others it may mean just covering the costs on a hobby website, and maybe make a little extra.

Whatever your situation is, there are several ways to monetize your website. There are no rules on which approach is right or wrong; it's more a matter of following some general guidelines and evaluating what works best for your unique set of circumstances. Here are three effective revenue streams that you can use for your website.

1. Sell your own products or services

The first and most obvious revenue stream is to sell your own products or services on your website. This, of course, means that you'll first need a product or service to sell. If you already have that , this can be a great choice because it allows you to get started quickly and build a long-term business. If you don't think you have anything to sell, you're most likely wrong; almost everyone I've met has a unique skill they are good at and enjoy doing that others would be willing to pay them to do. Think about the things that your friends and family come to you for assistance or advice and I'm sure you'll think of a few ideas.

If you want to monetize your website by selling your own products or services, some important details to think about are:

Focus on benefits, not features. No one cares about how an antacid is manufactured or why it works in the way that it does - they only care that it eliminates the heartburn they are suffering from. Educate your visitors on the benefits they will enjoy by investing in your products or services.

Get to the point. Get rid of splash pages, special plugins, music and anything else that acts as a distraction or road block to your visitor purchasing from your website.

Tell your visitors precisely what you want them to do. If you want them to call you, make sure that your phone number is clearly visible near the header and footer of every page, and tell them to call you. If you want them to fill out a form, you should clearly link to it from each page, or even better, add it to every page. Whatever action you want them to take, make it clear and easy for them.

Present a professional image. If your budget allows, hire a professional website design firm and copywriter. The money you may save by designing your own website will be far less than the sales you will lose with an ineffective website.

2. Promote other company's products or services

If you don't want to, or are unable to sell your own products or services, you can always promote other companies through affiliate marketing and earn revenue for each sale or lead you generate for the merchant. Affiliate marketing can take many forms, such as media buys or PPC, but in this context we're referring to placing ads with and affiliate tracking code on your website to drive traffic to the merchant's website. You might have already come across several companies that offer their own affiliate programs, but you're generally better off working with a reputable network because they make sure that you get paid as long as you've followed the terms of service, plus they offer tutorials to help you get started and avoid many of the common pitfalls. Commission Junction is a great choice for both novices and pros because they offer a wide range of advertisers, helpful staff as well as tutorials and other resources. Another excellent choice is Amazon's affiliate program since they sell just about anything you can think of, making it easy to monetize almost any niche.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, these steps will get you headed in the right direction:

Develop original, useful content. The key to success for a content-based website monetized with affiliate marketing is targeted traffic, and the key to earning that traffic is feeding the search engines fresh, relevant content on a regular and frequent basis.

Focus on relevancy over commissions. You will undoubtedly find an advertiser offering a high payout for hot new product, sometimes over $100 per sale, but if it's of no interest to your visitors, your conversions will suffer. If you focus on relevant ads instead, your individual commissions will be smaller, but they will be steady and frequent, so you will be far more profitable in the long run.

Focus on content, not ads. If most of your website is covered with ads, your visitors won't stay around long, and they won't come back again. However, if the ads are subtle, they can actually add value for your visitors. You should avoid anything that forces your visitors to view your ads before they can get to your content.

Test everything. Ad design, size, location and so on. The more variables you test, the more you can improve your conversions and increase your profits. You should be using tools such as Google analytics in addition to analyzing your performance as well as commission reports within your affiliate network.

3. Sell advertising space

Perhaps you want to keep things nice and simple. If you don't want to sell products or services, and the idea of tracking and testing your results is only slightly more appealing than moonlighting as a rodeo clown, then selling ad space may be a better choice for you. One of the most important details in making this choice approach successful is quality targeted traffic, after all, companies are advertising because they want exposure to the right people, and a website without much traffic, or poor quality traffic can't produce that.

Selling ad space can be difficult, but here are some tried and true methods to make it work:

As with affiliate marketing, your focus should be on your content, not the ads. Having fewer ads doesn't mean that you'll make less money - advertisers will be more likely to purchase ad space if they feel they have a better chance of their ad being noticed and clicked on.

You should offer ad space in several of the standard ad sizes because many advertisers already have their creative materials produced and don't want to create a custom sized ad. You'll want to make sure that you make space for several 125×125px ads, and either a 300×250px or 250×250px ad, as these are the most popular. 468X60px and 728x90px are fairly common too.

Make it clear that you sell ad space. That could be as basic as a link that says "Advertise on this site" or a muted ad that says "Your ad could be here."

If you haven't sold any ads yet, you should put some up, even if you do it for free. You could temporarily fill your ad space with affiliate ads, ads for friends or business partners or even ads for some of your favorite charities. The idea is to create an impression of demand; think about how you would feel if you walked into an unfamiliar restaurant around lunch time and it was completely empty - you'd probably think it wasn't a very good restaurant and consider spending your money elsewhere.

Learn what works best for you. Remember, one solution won't necessarily work for everyone, so feel free to experiment with each revenue stream or a combination of them. Every website is different, as is every niche, so you'll probably have to do a bit of testing to see what works the best in your particular situation. This can take a fair amount of time, especially with a new website, so be patient and follow through until you find what produces the best results for you.

About the Author

Could your business achieve greater progress online with a more powerful website? Call Wildfire Marketing Group, a world-class web design company right now to find out!