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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why is Local Search Important for your Business

As the web gets bigger and bigger it is becoming more of a battle to ensure your website gets listed higher up in the search engines. Local businesses can sometimes get lost or struggle to get listed at all for relevant keywords or phrases.

As you will already know it is important for your website to appear as high up in the search engine results as possible. This is a technique known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short and this process can take anything from a few months or even longer depending on the competitiveness of the keyword or phrase you want your website to get listed for.

Google has recently made some changes to its algorithms so that when you search for something Google will display local results on the page allowing you to find local businesses relevant to your search query.

Internet users will be looking for local businesses when searching on the Web

Internet users are becoming more savvy and will learn to broaden their search phrase e.g. locksmith services becomes locksmith services London. This will allow the search engines to deliver content that is more specific and relevant to the user.

Research has shown that around 70% of household users perform some kind of search for a local product or service on a daily basis.

Do you know if your website is being found for Google Local results?

Most internet users will want to deal with a company based in their local area first before dealing with a company based further away. Why not perform a search on Google for a keyword or phrase relevant to your business along with your geographical area and find out if your website is being listed or not. Your listing should appear next to the location map (on the right hand side) being displayed underneath the Local business results on the page.

There are currently two search engines Google and Yahoo! who offer local result listings as part of their service.

How to get your business listed in Google Local listings?

To create your business listing in Google Local you will need to register an account first. When you first login into your Google Local Business Center account you will be asked to enter your username and password.

Once you are logged into your Google Local Business Center account you will be asked to enter your business details such as company name, address, telephone number, website URL address, opening hours, payment options and a brief description about your business along with the categories you would like your website to appear under.

You will need to verify your business listing before it goes live. To do this you will need to enter your pin number and this can be retrieved either by phone, SMS or postcard. After verification you should start seeing your business listings on Google within one day.

Your business listing may not always appear on the first page because of your proximity to your location. However some useful tips to get your listing to appear higher up or on the first page is to make sure your title contains keyword phrases and also ask your customers to leave a review about your business.

How to get your business listed in Yahoo! Local?

Unfortunately Yahoo! Local listings is not a free service and prices may vary depending on your area and the keyword phrase you want your website to be listed for. Why not visit the Compass SEO website to request a quotation on how much it would cost for your website to be listed in Yahoo! Local.

You may think to yourself why should I pay to get my website listed in Yahoo! Local when it is free to get listed with Google?

There is one advantage with Yahoo! Local. All BT users have Yahoo! installed as their default web browser on their PC or laptop and this will help you to introduce your business to an entirely new market who may not use the Google search engine to find what they're looking for online.

Continue reading...

How Effective is Your Online Marketing?

Many people struggle with their day to day routine. From the time they sit down in their home office with a fresh cup of joe, and are plagued with the anxiety created by the day's marketing events.

One of the best ways to avoid "paralysis of analysis" is to write out the next days activities before you go to sleep. This will help you to avoid the morning feelings of "I don't know where to start". It also helps to imagine yourself completing all the tasks with ease.

Allow your thoughts to bring you visions of how you will feel when you complete these tasks and the fun things you will get to experience when you are done. If you are having a hard time figuring out how to do something, i.e. getting information from someone or a great price on a product you need, ask yourself throughout the day, "where or how can I most easily get x"? and then let it go and move on with your day.

You'll be surprised how the answers will pop up when you are at the gym, the grocery store, or where ever.

When it comes to internet marketing, there are many paths one can take to make their marketing efforts successful. However, many of them can be costly.

If your budget is tight, article marketing can be a very helpful source to get your message out. We've all had experiences and many folks are experts in certain niche fields. People are always looking for new and improved ways to do the things they are doing. By writing articles, you will simply share much needed advice to people actively looking to be helped. This is also helps get your message and name out to the communities you are looking to target.

Branding is now becoming even more paramount as website marketing becomes flooded with competition. Just having a company landing page that looks like everyone else's just won't cut it anymore.

People are even more skeptical these days, and they want to be able to connect with the someone attached to a certain product or service. Landing pages or "squeeze pages" have been proven more successful when there is a specific person they can connect to. A simple picture with a nice introduction about who you are and how you can help is great.

Even more effective, is to shoot a video about you and the product or service you are recommending. Your conversion rates will be much higher using the video method.

A strong marketing plan is always valuable and it must be written down on paper. Otherwise you have ethereal wishes that continue to take up space in your mind and annoy you from time to time.

To be successful, you must plan your work and then work your plan. It is helpful to be able to cross off "money getting" activities as you go. This will also help you keep a log of your progress. There is no way way to track the effectiveness of what you are doing without this. If you don't make note of it, you will continue to spin and recreate the same madness that is holding you back.

Buy or journal or a notebook. Type it in a file you will save online. Just make a record of it so you can chart your progress and move towards making money online.

How effective is your marketing? Only you will ever know this. But taking some baby steps in advance, like the night before, will allow you a sense of peace as you tackle the days events.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

10 Hot Ways To Sell Your Products Like Crazy

1. Turn your ad copy into a story or article. Your
visitors won't be as hesitant to read your ad and
will become more interested in your product.

2. Give visitors a freebie for filling out your online
survey or they usually won't. Surveys will give your
business valuable intelligence for your business

3. Enhance the power of your ad copy benefits by
using attention getting words, highlighting keywords,
using color, bolding key phrases, underlining, etc.

4. Give your visitors tons of choices so they don't
get the feeling of being controlled. Offer them a
variety of ways to order, contact you, navigate, etc.

5. Put yourself in your visitors shoes. Design your
site for them, not for yourself. Create your product
around your visitors not because you would buy it.

6. Get free advice from successful online business
owners. Participate in business chat rooms and
message boards to chat with them.

7. Use your free bonuses to create an urgency for
your visitors to buy. Only offer them for a limited
time with your main product.

8. Offer your customers extra add-on products at
the point of purchase. For example, if they are
buying an electronic toy try to sell batteries with it.

9. Make your visitors feel good about themselves
by giving them compliments. If they feel good they
will also feel good about buying from your web site.

10. Add multiple profits to your web site. If you're
selling business books try to sell business services,
courses and supplies too.
Continue reading...

10 Amazing Ways To Jump Start Your Sales

1. Find a strategic business partner. Look for ones
that have the same objective. You can trade leads,
share marketing info, sell package deals, etc.

2. Brand your name and business. You can easily
do this by just writing articles and submitting them
to e-zines or web sites for republishing.

3. Start an auction on your web site. The type of
auction could be related to the theme of your site.
You'll draw traffic from auctioneers and bidders.

4. Remember to take a little time out of your day
or week to brainstorm. New ideas are usually the
difference between success and failure.

5. Model other successful business or people. I'm
not saying out right copy them, but practice some
of the same habits that have made them succeed.

6. Take risks to improve your business. Sometimes
businesses don't want to advertise unless it's free,
sometimes you have to spend money to get results.

7. Include emotional words in your advertisements.
Use ones like love, security, relief, freedom, happy,
satisfaction, fun, etc.

8. Ask people online to review your web site. You
can use the comments you get to improve your web
site or you may turn the reviewer into a customer.

9. Out source part of your workload. You'll save
on most employee costs. You could out source
your secretarial work, accounting, marketing, etc.

10. Combine a product and service together in a
package deal. It could increase your sales. If you're
selling a book, offer an hour of consulting with it.
Continue reading...

10 Killer Ways To Multiply Your Sales

1. When you make your first sale, follow-up with the
customer. You could follow-up with a "thank you"
email and include an advertisement for other products
you sell. You could follow-up every few months.

2. You could upsell to your customers. When they're
at your order page, tell them about a few extra related
products you have for sale. They could just add it to
their original order.

3. Tell your customers if they refer four customers to
your web site, they will receive a full rebate of their
purchase price. This will turn one sale into three sales.

4. When you sell a product, give your customers the
option of joining an affiliate program so they can make
commissions selling your product. This will multiply
the sale you just made.

5. Sell the reprint/reproduction rights to your products.
You could include an ad on or with the product for
other products you sell. You could make sales for the
reproduction rights and sales on the back end product.

6. You could cross promote your product with other
businesses' products in a package deal. You can
include an ad or flyer for other products you sell and
have other businesses selling for you.

7. When you ship out or deliver your product, include
a coupon for other related products you sell in the
package. This will attract them to buy more products
from you.

8. Send your customers a catalog of add-on products
for the original product they purchased. This could be
upgrades, special services, attachments, etc. If they
enjoy your product they will buy the extra add-ons.

9. Sell gift certificates for your products. You'll make
sales from the purchase of the gift certificate, when
the recipient cashes it in. They could also buy other
items from your web site.

10. Send your customers free products with their
product package. The freebies should have your ad
printed on them. It could be bumper stickers, ball
caps, t-shirts etc. This will allow other people to see
your ad and order.
Continue reading...

How to Win the Advertising and Promotion Game


The how much to spend and where to spend it questions have no
easy answers.

Depending on your type of business, many people suggest that the
*how much* should be equal to anywhere from 4% to 10% of your
gross receipts.

The quandary is that a business cannot survive without a fresh
flow of incoming customers. But, a business can seldom generate
a fresh stream of customers without spending money to get the
word out about their business.


Have you ever paid for advertising and sat back to await the
fresh flow of customers, only to find yourself sitting and
sitting and then sitting some more?

Don't feel bad about that. It has happened to many of us before.

See, knowing where to spend the advertising money is not enough
to get the job done.

Where to spend the money only begins to highlight the other
issues connected with advertising:

· Marketing Plan
· Advertising Strategy
· Headlines, Ad Copy and Visual Presentation
· Tracking the Success of Your Advertising Campaigns


The Marketing Plan is used primarily to identify your own
products and services, costs, strengths, weaknesses and the
strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.


It is important to understand what you expect to gain from your

Do you simply wish to get your name known so that when your
customer will need you, they will think of you first? Or, do you
wish to get your customers in your front door on Saturday?

Do you want your customers to come in and take a look around to
discover the next object that they cannot live without? Or, do
you want them to come in and buy a specific widget?

Do you hope that enough people will come in to buy enough
products or services to pay for your single ad? Or, do you
expect to gain a lifelong customer who will help pay for your
advertising over the course of several years?

When you know what you want, then you will better understand
just how to do it.


You might be surprised how many business owners put out
advertising without regard for the quality of the sales pitch or
presentation. The quality of your distribution outlet or the
amount of money you spent to get there will do little for you if
the advertising vehicle is a junker.

Test all of your advertising materials in smaller markets before
blowing your advertising bank roll on it. You must absolutely
know the value of your advertising before putting large sums of
money behind it.


Tell your customers to save another 10% when they tell you they
heard or saw your ad in such-and-such location. Suggest that
they can register to win a free widget if they fill out a form
and have them to tell you how they heard of your business.
Advertise a specific widget in your ad and track the sales of
that widget.

It does not matter how you track your advertising --- just make
sure you do it!


The ideal way to spend your advertising budget is to buy a rifle
with a high-powered scope and to only shoot your targets in the
light of day.

If you are not tracking your advertising, then you are shooting
a pellet gun without an attached scope, with blinders on, and
shooting in the dead darkness of night.

Even with a bigger gun, the blinders in the dark constitute the
single largest mistake made by advertisers. If you are unable to
track your advertising to learn what is working well, what is
working somewhat, and what is a money pit, then you are
condemned to repeat your mistakes over and again.

By relying only on gut instinct, you may be choosing to spend
more money in the money pit and to lose all of your money in the

When you get down to the nuts and bolts of making money from
your advertising, you should plan, prepare, track and study your
results. You must have factual information on which to base your
advertising decisions. When you are making the right advertising
decisions, then making money from your business might just come
Continue reading...

Monday, September 21, 2009

How To Find A Good Web Host?

Usually when someone contacts me online, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is this: "How do I find a good web host?" or "Which web host do you use?"

This is one of those essential things you will need in order to earn that online income. You will need a web site and you will need a web host - somewhere to place that web site.

Sure there are countless marketers who work without a site but most have at least one main site which acts as their online calling card; where people can find them on the web. Of course, you can always use the social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter... but that's like operating your office out of Starbucks!

Instead, a well designed site is just more professional and business like. It also means you're serious about your online business.

Picking a good web host is not easy. I have had numerous different web hosts over the years. Most of them have been very good and served their purpose, but I have had some bad experiences too - what long term webmaster or marketer hasn't? Something always goes wrong eventually, especially if you have a lot of sites and many different web hosts.

Sometimes having a web host can be downright scary. Several years ago, the web host that I had my main site on was first sold and then went bankrupt. One day your site is running fine and the next day the web host is completely gone. Shut down. Your site and all your files completely gone. Vanished. Your host can't be reached. Total blackout!

Fortunately, I had my site backed up on several systems and since that experience I always back my sites up on several computers and I go even further by copying them onto DVD's should those computers crash. If you have a site, I always suggest you back up your site files and make it redundant. The very worst can happen to you.

Overall quality and good 24/7 support should be your first objectives in choosing a good web host. You want a site that's fast, easy to use, rarely down and has good support that you can reach at all times, should something go wrong.

You need to check exactly what features your web host is offering and for what price:

- How much storage space?
- Daily traffic limit or transfer?
- Email system? How many accounts...
- What type of server Linux or Windows?
- How many other sites will be sharing your IP address?
- Do You need SSL or a secure site?
- Are sites/files backed up? How often?
- What are the support hours?
- And of course the Price?

But don't always try to get the cheapest price hosting, keep in mind, you always get what you pay for. A cheap web host won't save you money if it's a poor service and your site is always going down. So don't always pick the cheapest web host.

Match up your hosting service with the type of site you will be running; a simple HTML site will have or make simple demands on your hosting service. So a shared hosting service may be quite adequate to meet your hosting needs. For SEO reasons, you should always check the location of your site, I have found which country your site is hosted in, plays a role in your rankings, especially in Google.

However, if you have a site that's extremely interactive with forums, discussion groups, get large bursts of traffic or you're running a lot of server-side scripts and programs - then you may need a more robust hosting service to meet your needs.

In this case, you might need a dedicated server to handle just your site. Many web hosts offer this service and it's worth looking into if you have a site with extreme amounts of traffic or if you're running forums, affiliate programs, email services... from your site. Most of my own sites are very simple and I have them on many different web hosts. Mainly because of my own experiences, I just don't want to have all my sites on one host... the old "don't put all your eggs in one basket" reasoning.

At the moment I am quite pleased with all my web hosts... many of my sites are on GoDaddy and I find them OK for simple sites like mine. I also find it convenient because they are also a domain registry so I can easily use them to buy my domains. Although many experts suggest you should always keep your domain registration separate from your hosting service because if your host should suddenly vanish, it is only a simple matter of moving your site to a different host. If your host controls your domain, this can be a major problem. Always keep control of your domain in your own hands, but you probably already knew that.

Continue reading...

Web Optimization - Four Common Problems That Stop Your Success

Anyone interested in online marketing knows that web optimization is critical to a successful business. Web optimization comprises a number of different ideas, including search engine optimization, website analytics, and design factors, among many others.

However, optimization is more than just a standard set of practices. As every good interactive marketing agency knows, it is different for each business, and within each industry.

Those differences are one of the primary aspects that make 'do-it-yourself' optimization without an interactive marketing agency such a risky prospect. An interactive marketing agency keeps abreast of the ever-changing landscape in order to implement best practices to achieve good positioning and visibility for a website -- they are also able to conduct in-depth research to understand what your competition is doing as well.

If you are learning from scratch and implementing as you go, you can be put at a disadvantage compared to competitors who hire professionals.

In this article, we'll walk through some of the most common misconceptions about optimization. We'll also look at what your company can do to see real optimization success.

Problem 1: Seeing Optimization as a Project With An "End Date"

Optimization, and online marketing in general, isn't a destination. Rather, it's a road, one that must be constantly traveled for optimal levels of success. There is no time when your optimization is "complete", in fact, even once your initial online marketing plan sees success, there will be other ways that you can improve your online presence. The process can always be improved.

Problem 2: Not Planning For Optimization In The Long Run

Because online marketing is a process, wise companies will plan for optimization in the long run. Don't think of it as a short-term investment, and don't divert resources you are only comfortable diverting for a few weeks. Think about it more broadly, and give your optimization plan the time and support it needs to be successful. Like any company initiative, if the program is understaffed or underfunded, it won't be able to thrive as it ought to.

Problem 3: Not Monitoring Progress

In the old days, it was next to impossible to know if your agency's plan was doing the job. But now, tracking online marketing results are easy. Think of it like cooking: you have to test the food every so often to see how it's going. If you need to make a change, you learn about it early on, and if the food is great, you know more about how to make it the next time around.

Web optimization is exactly the same way. Keeping track of what policies bring success and which don't will help you in the short term and in the long term. You will have more to work with when you start additional campaigns, and you'll have real results that you can point to. So much depends on customer preference, and only when you start to get a feel for that preference will you see the best outcomes.

Problem 4: Working Alone

It is the rare person who can successfully design and implement an online marketing optimization strategy without the help of an interactive marketing agency. Optimization is a very particular process, with a number of techniques and strategies to learn. Articles like this one can help, but it takes years of experience to become a real optimization expert.

Does it really make sense for you to spend your time learning, rather than hiring the expertise of an interactive marketing agency? In almost every case, focusing on what you do best - running your business - is the best idea.

Putting it All Together

Now you know some of the most common pitfalls that make optimization programs fail. Do any of them sound familiar? If so, then you're now equipped with the knowledge to change the problem. You can start fresh, and get the optimization results you're looking for. You might not see them overnight, but with time the effect will be noticeable.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Big Trends To Watch Out For In Search Engine Optimisation

If you know anything about the fundamentals of search engine optimization, you will know that the experts' opinions on what to do, what is now considered redundant and recommendations of the absolutely necessary elements you must put in place on your website, change with mind-spinning frequency.

However, the bigger trends in search engine optimization are easier to keep up with and most seem to be here to stay, as business owners become more attuned to just how important SEO is to their success.

SEO Trends 2009 And Beyond

The industry and 'bigger picture' trends have become relatively easy to identify as the SEO world becomes more established - increased awareness of SEO in general being the first major trend.

Search engine optimization used to be an exclusive world, with only those practicing it really knowing what it entailed and how it boosted a website's visitor stats.

Now, most people know what it means, and most business owners are aware of just how important the internet is and how SEO can help them gain more customers.

The next major trend and one which is definitely here to stay, is the rise and rise of Google - they have dominated the world of search engine optimization for years, and their lead over competitors such as Yahoo and MSN is only getting bigger.

When Google speaks, SEO consultants listen and if your business is not being found on Google, it's almost certain it's not being found at all - around 70% of user searches are done using Google.

SEO tools and automated processes are becoming an important part of the reporting of website results - individuals are focusing on developing these tools for companies to buy, who may be struggling to find or afford a good search engine optimization agency. Such tools can offer good basic data, but it's worth remembering that it's still what you do with the data that's important.

Dipping into the actual technicalities of good SEO practice, good content has been king for a while and remains so.

As a business owner, if you write, or employ an SEO copywriter to write good quality articles and press releases, this will benefit your search results hugely, encourages links to and from your website - and links are extremely important as the 'currency' of good quality SEO.

Finally, a trend clear to all - not just those operating in the search engine optimization world - is the rise and rise of social networking sites.

Facebook and now Twitter are educating people to communicate in a whole different way, and business owners should be engaging these people in order to develop a whole new audience.

Keep Up With SEO - Your Business Will Benefit

There are many more trends in search engine optimization, too many to mention here, but one thing remains clear - business owners small and large cannot afford to ignore SEO and must become well-versed in good SEO practice if they want to keep up with the ever-changing world of consumer web behavior.

Introducing Snap Shots from

I just installed a nice little tool on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

Enhanced with Snapshots
Continue reading...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Who Says Flash is Not SEO Friendly?

People who say that Flash is not SEO friendly are absolutely wrong. It is just a myth that Flash is SEO unfriendly.

Creating accessible flash content for search engines is crucial for you to preserve your online presence and drive traffic to your site. Follow these Flash Optimization Tips to get most out of the major search engines.

Adding SWF content to your HTML source

An iron-clad way to guarantee that a SWF's content is picked up and ranked by search engines is to extract the content and place it into the page's HTML source. Tools such as Dreamweaver use SWF Object to embed Flash. The code view in Dreamweaver displays comments where you should add your alternative HTML content.

Keep your URL unique

If your site is just one big lump of Flash in an HTML template, your page is never going to refresh. Consider having a different URL for each page of your site's Flash content. Each page would have its own HTML source title, "H1" and body copy containing the keyword you want to rank.

Use source content dumping

A one-page HTML rich internet application (RIA) will not be SEO enhanced simply by adding the content for each section of the Flash application into the HTML source for this page. Doing this doesn't establish any prominence of content, as there are too many competing terms. Keep extracted Flash content relevant to the page it's on.

Keep an eye on new initiatives

Adobe has been working with Google and Yahoo! to make the Flash file format (SWF) search engine friendly. This will enable the engines to see what's inside a SWF's content and index it. However, the use of Flash Player technology by search engines is still developing and so can't be relied on as the only step towards optimizing your project for SEO.

Add text to your Flash applications

A simple Flash SEO enhancement is to use Flash-generated text in your creative when displaying or animating type. You can do this instead of using text that's a flattened bitmap. Flash text can contain keyword-based messages, which help increase traffic. Include this text in the HTML source of the page as well.

Remember that search engine spiders hate pop-ups

We've all visited sites that urge us to click to launch Flash content into a new window. This removes any chance of the site's content being picked up and indexed by search engines. In addition to search spiders not being able to see them, pop-ups suffer from being blocked by many browsers.

Get robotic help

Robots.txt is a plain text file found at the root of a server. This tells search bots which content needs to be allowed or disallowed when it visits their website. If your Flash text content is the same as your HTML version, you could set the Robots.txt file to ignore the SWF content and push only the HTML content to the search bots.

Embed Flash content with SWF Object

SWF Object is a search engine-friendly way to embed Flash content. Alternative (non-Flash) content is produced first, and then snippets of JavaScript are used to swap out the alternative content with the Flash movies. This ensures that the content is indexed by search engines. Users without Flash will still see a working HTML page.

Continue reading...




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