Online Businesses Tips

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Maximize the promotional opportunities of article marketing

Your article is going to be published online. This means people will only find it if it relates to the key words and phrase they are using to search the web. Therefore, your article needs use key words and phrases strategically. Be very careful not to overdo this -- keyword stuffing is bad - don't do it.

Once the article is found, it must be read or the the reader will not make it to your resource box and click through to your website. So make your content good and your resource box compelling.

Also, you need to be strategic about the article you publish. Create a plan for your article marketing so that you will know what you are doing, why and when.


How many articles can you submit at one time?

I don't think there is any article directory rule that limits how many articles you can submit at one time. That said, if the resource box is pointing to the same website for each article, I would limit it to two or three. You want to build your back links in a more organic manner and suddenly having 50 back links to your site from one directory may get you dinged for content spam by the search engines.


Consider having duplicate navigation

Consider having duplicate navigation: one along the top of your website and another along the side. Some visitors to your website will favor one over the other and if it isn't there may not even think of looking in the other location.


Document What You Do and Sell That

You should document all the systems you use. When you've created one that works very well for you, create an information product that shows other how to gain the same benefits your got. Now you have a new product to add to your marketing funnel!


Don't publish content that does not help your readers

This may seem like beating a dead horse, but you must remember always that your article must serve it's primary audience: the reader. If you don't care about the reader, it will show. Don't get caught up only in getting links back to your site.

Be aware that not all article directories will accept your content automatically. Follow their guidelines and specifications, which, most likely, will include the requirement that your article be well-written and informative.

In addition, if your article provides value to readers, it will more likely be picked up by other publishers. Write the articles that publishers want in their publications and your potential audience will exponentially grow.


Done confuse the reason to publish your articles with the reason to write them

You publish articles to article directories for three basic reasons: branding, lead generation and promotion. But there is only one reason to write an article, and that is to inform your audience. If the article is not focused on this primary and most important purpose, it will fail to achieve the three reasons you're publishing the article because no one will be interested in reading it.

First and foremost, you need to get people to read your article, then make them click on your resource box. This is achieved by writing quality content.


What are you using article marketing to accomplish?

Are you using article marketing to improve off-page SEO through back links? Are you using it to drive traffic to your site? Are you using it to prime your list-building pump? Each of these goals will be facilitated by a slightly different strategy.


How prolific an article writer can you be?

How many articles can you write in a week? 1? 2? 50? How often you submit your articles to article directories is very much dependent on how many articles you can write. Obviously if you can only write one a week, you won't be submitting more than once a week.


Pros and cons fo choosing a topic and writing different articles for your blog and article directories


This is probably your most powerful option... you are creating unique content for all the places you will post it and you save time because the more you write about a focused topic, the easier and quicker it gets.


Of all the methods available, this one takes the most time and effort.


Pros & cons of publishing an article in an article directory, then summarizing it on your blog

In this strategy, you will point the reader back to the directory at the end of the summary.


Your article gets a higher ranking, you still get content for your blog.


Does your article point to your blog? Now you're creating a reciprocal link which can actually lower your search engine ranking in both locations.


Pros & Cons of publishing an article in an article directory, then re-publishing it on your blog.


This is a good strategy if you're only blogging for search engine optimization reasons. It saves you time and lets your article directory articles get higher search engine rankings.


Again, if your article points back to your blog, you may frustrate your readers.


Pros & Cons of posting an article on your blog, then re-publishing in an article directory


When there is more than one version of an article on the web, search engines will give the highest rank to the one they indexed first, sometimes even ignoring altogether the ones they find afterward.

Therefore, if you are going to post your article in more than one place without changing the wording at all, you should publish in the place you want to rank the highest first. Wait a few days then post it elsewhere. So, if you want your blog to rank higher, post the article there first.


If the article points back to your blog, having too much duplicate content can just frustrate your readers. Remember, they clicked on the link in your article to get more information... not just the same information.


Why you need an opt-in box: Reason #5

An opt-in box looks more professional that a simple form. When you have a clean, stylized opt-in box, it looks more like you are willing to invest in your business. And when you believe in your business, it is easier for others to do so, as well.


Why you need an opt-in box: Reason #4

An opt-in box can emphasize your promise not to share their information with others and use it responsibly -- increasing trust. People are very aware of how their in-boxes are filled with SPAM... so let them know that none of that stuff will come from you.


Why you need an opt-in box: Reason #3

An opt-in box can showcase your opt-in offer, making your request for name and email address more compelling. Include your bonus name and, if room, an image of it's virtual packaging.


Why you need an opt-in box: Reason #2

Not only do you need to ask your website visitors for their name and email address, you need to make sure that your request is "heard." It needs to stand out from the rest of your website so that people will notice it. If you use a simple form, visitors to your website may gloss over it and never opt in to your list.


Why you need an opt-in box: Reason #1

People are not going to voluntarily, out of the goodness of your hear, send you their contact information. You need to ask for it. Therefore, you need to have an autoresponder service and use their web form to ask for this information on your website.


Opt-in box placement for list building

If your primary goal is to grow your list, then your opt-in box has to be "above the fold"... that is a visitor to your website should not have to scroll down to see it.

But, should it go to the right, left or center? There will be those who tell you that putting it on the right or left converts better than the reverse. But, ultimately it depends on how you will be designing your page and what kind of other content will be there, too.

Often, when all you're going to have is a headline and opt-in box, the box should go in the center. If the content is more robust -- a blog, a sales letter for your opt-in bonus, a video -- putting it to the left or right depends greatly on:

  • How busy the site is

  • What you want the visitor to see first

Your best bet is to choose the location that is the most promising and then test it.


Blogging content tip: Go Multi-Media

Share photos, videos and audio with your blog reading audience. This gives your blog a more 3D feel and, you know what they say.... a picture is worth a thousand words!


Blogging content tip: Be A Semi-Open Book

Share your personal experiences, especially as they relate to your business, on your blog. This helps your readers feel like they know you and gives your blog a personality.


Blogging content tip: Drill, Baby, Drill!

Drill down into the nitty gritty details of your topic in your blog posts. The more you show off your depth of expertise, the more likely people will think of you as the go-to person in your field of expertise.


Blogging content tip: Tips & Advice

Show off your expertise by providing useful tips, advice and information on your blog. This will position you as an expert and, possibly, a thought leader. It builds trust, which can only help sales.


Blogging content tip: Top X Lists

People love to read lists. You can create simple or complex "Top 5? or "Top 10? lists that cover:

  • The best ways to...

  • Reasons why...

  • Best resources for...

Be creative. Use keywords as your leaping off points. I'm sure you could come up with at least one top list per month.


Be realistic with your plans for your blog

While you are creating your blog plan, you can dream big but also be realistic in the time lines you set for your goals. Many solo entrepreneurs who are new to blogging, have unrealistic expectations of how fast their readership will grow and how much of an increase in profit blogging will bring them. When these unrealistic expectations aren't met, they stop blogging ... often just before they've reached critical mass and were at the edge of success! So create your short- and long-term plans - and stick to them!


How will you measure your blog's results?

How will you know that your blog is reaching the goals you have set for it? You need to measure the results of your efforts. You need to plan for how will do this measuring in advance. Will you measure visitor statistics? Quantity of comments posted? Opt-in subscriber growth? Incoming links? Something else? Determine which metric is meaningful for the goals you have in mind and set things up so that you can measure that metric over time.


How will you promote your blog?

If you build it, they will come just doesn't work with blogs. To build traffic, you are going to have to promote it in some way. Too many bloggers spend all of their time writing posts and next to no time marketing the site, so this is a key component of your plan. There are so many ways to do this both passively and actively, that I can't really list them here. But this is definitely something that should be a part of your blog plan.


What kind of content will your blog feature?

When planning your blog for success, you need to know what you will be writing about. What topic will your content cover? What style of delivery will you use? Will your posts include photographs? Clipart? Video? The answers to these questions will help you create a design that supports your content plan.


How often will you post to your blog?

The more often you post to your blog, the more traffic you are likely to attract. But you need to be realistic and balance the need for traffic with the time you have to write good quality posts. So, how often will you be posting to your blog? Daily? Weekly? On specific days of the week? Make sure your blog plan fits the needs of your prospects. How often would they be likely to visit and read your posts? Also, keep in mind that you want to stick to a regular schedule. Once your readers know that you update frequently, they will return to your site on a regular basis.


What results do you want to achieve with your blog?

As a solo entrepreneur, it is especially important that you have a plan for your business, including your blog. The key to having a successful blog as a business owner is keeping your goals clear and concrete at every step of the way. The first thing you need to think of are the results you want to gain from your blog. Do you want to grow an RSS subscription list? What about an opt-in list? Do you want to grow both? The answers to these questions will help you decide everythiing else about your blog.


Do you want your web visitor to call you?

Your phone number should be front, center and brightly colored on your home page. All copy on the page should extol the virtues and benefits of calling you. Convince your visitor to pick up the phone now.


Do you want your web visitor to opt-in to your list?

Then you have a couple of strategic options with your landing or home page. You can play hardball and make the visitor sign up or leave. This sort of opt-in page has some information explaining the benefits of opting in and an opt-in box.

Or you can play softball and just make the opt-in prominent. This might be a good option if another goal of your homepage is to establish expertise or build a relationship. Allowing your visitor to browse a little before opting-in could be a very good strategy.


Do you want your web visitor to buy something?

Then your landing page needs to be free of clutter. All copy must drive the visitor toward the sale and the only choice of action he or she should have is to buy or leave.


Build a List with Your Home Page

Landing pages that have the sole purpose of building a list are often called squeeze pages. Basically a visitor to such a web page either provides their name and email address in return for an opt-in bonus... or they leave.

This type of web page has an opt-in box as its focal point. Any and all text is there to convince the visitor to enter their name and email address in the form provided.


Establish Your Brand with Your Home Page

Your brand is so much more than a simple logo or a tag line. It is an emotional experience. A landing page that communicates this experience is probably one of the more difficult ones to create.

Mostly, emotion is communicated through a website with images, color combination and, possibly, headlines. A branding page is usually heavy on ambiance but light on information.

Landing pages that establish expertise or try to build a relationship are a form of this type of home page.


Your Target Market Effect Website Design

The type of person you want to communicate with through your website will determine what colors can be in your color palette, what images you use to illustrate your points and how you organize your website's information. Corporate clients will expect a certain look that is very different from what work at home moms will expect and relate to.


Domain names: Support your brand

Sometimes, you want your domain name to be more about your brand than about SEO or a specific product or service. For example, if you are an author, speaker or coach, your name would make a very good domain. Not only does it support your brand, but if someone is searching for you on the Internet by name, it also has your key words.

However, if you are not trying to brand your name, but instead are building a brand that you can later sell or bequeath to your children or grandchildren, you might go a different route and purchase a domain that describes your service.


Domian names: Be easy to understand and remember

It is better to have a domain name that a person can remember and easily type into their browser than one that is clever but difficult to remember how to spell.

Also, you should keep an eye out for unintended meanings that might be lurking in the combination of letters. Take for example, This domain can be read two ways: "chooses pain" or "choose Spain." The latter is the intended meaning.


Domain names: Help with search engine optimization (SEO)

If you can use keywords that your target market would use to look for what you have to offer in your domain, then your domain itself is helping out with SEO. For example, if someone would use the term "homemade pie" to look for your new book, then a domain such as would work really well to get search engine traffic.


Domain names: Capture interest in visiting the website

When someone sees your domain name, does it make them want to visit the site? Does the domain communicate a benefit that the Internet surfer wants to have? For example, if you sell widgets, then a domain like clearly identifies what the widgets are for and will attract folks from the construction industry. Another good example might be this domain clearly states a benefit of the widgets... they are cost effective.


Domain names: Clearly identify what your business or website is about

Many successful domain names are the same as the product promoted at that site. Others state what the product is about. Both of these strategies work well because the domain name helps the visitor understand what to expect before they even get there.


Use the Title Tag to Improve Search Engine Optimization

The words you use in the title tag are what appear in the clickable text on the search engine results page. Therefore you want to make sure that this includes not only the name of your website, but also the key benefit (using key words, of course) you have to offer. If you don't know how to add or modify your website's title tag, make sure your webmaster does it for you.


Use the "alt" Attribute to improve search engine optimization

The alt attribute is an attribute of the "img" tag and was created as an alternative for non-visual browsers when they come across images. In other words, the text is meant to be used when the image is not visible on the page. Instead, what is displayed (or read) is the alternative text.

But now that people can search for images on search engines, this attribute can contribute to your SEO. So, include a key-word rich, but simple description of the image in your "alt" attribute and your site will show up on image searches, as well. This, in turn, can improve your overall ranking.


Use H Tags to improve search engine optimization

When a search engine is evaluating your webpage, it takes a look a the text the lies between heading tags ("H" tags) and weighs those more than text that lies outside of them. Therefore, words that are put between the H1 through H6 tags carry more defining weight than other words.

So, you should be using these tags for all your key word phrase headings... not the "b" or "strong" tags. Many website owners miss out of this little bit of search engine optimization (SEO) by using bold tags instead.

Of course, text in between bold tags carry more weight than plain text, so that tag still can help you SEO efforts.


What is Anchor Text and Why Should I Use It?

When you are reading something online and you see that a phrase within a sentence or paragraph is a live link, the link text is what is called "anchor text." This is because it acts as an anchor to the link. Here is an example:

If you are a blogger, then you should be using article marketing to drive traffic to your blog.

In this example, the underlined copy -- the anchor text -- would link to content related to that phrase.

Anchor text is also what Google and other search engines use to rank backlinks. A website that is linked to from specific keywords will rank higher for those keywords. Links that use text are weighed more heavily than links that use the URL. Here are two examples of a URL link:<br /><br>

You'll notice that one included the "http://" and the other one didn't. It doesn't, to my knowledge, make a difference which you use. However the former (that starts with the "www") is easier to read, and sometimes readability counts. Use your best judgement in this case.

You use the anchor text because it gives you more search engine juice and can improve clicks.

You use URL links or context or to help readers who might be reading your content in a text format that doesn't support anchor links.


Use sub-navigation on your "bucket" pages

Use sub-navigation on your website's "bucket" pages, but not your home page. For example, if one of your main navigational "buckets" is "Portfolio" and contains the samples of your work, then when someone clicks on the "Portfolio" link they should be taken to a page that further breaks down your portfolio into different sections... this is your sub-navigation.


Make your navigational categories as logical as possible

Make your navigational categories as logical as possible. If you can, test your assumptions with members of your target market. Once, when I was working on a health care website, we had to change the names of our "buckets" because our target market did not use the same terms we did.


Use the bottom of your website for less important quick links

Keep necessary but not necessarily pertinent links at the bottom of the page where they can be easily found, but not clutter up your main navigation. These links can include your legal pages such as privacy policy and earnings disclaimer, as well as your media room and, sometimes, contact page.


Website Navigation Tip: Create information buckets

Organize your content into no more than seven basic "buckets." These "buckets" will form your main navigation that you can display at the top and/or the side of your web page. More than that and it gets too hard to navigate.


Use Pictures on Your Blog

Images give your blog visual apeal and they help break up the text so it looks more readable. And, some images, can actually enhance the understanding of the text.


When Blogging, Aways Consider Your Audience

Even if your blog is generally personal, you should always consider the interests of your readers. You want it to be read, so write about what your target market wants to read about.


How often should you submit to article directories?

I know people who submit articles three to five times a week. These folks are usually using article marketing to support their affiliate marketing efforts. In this case, volume can make a big difference.

I believe that once a week to once a month is sufficient for steady, organic traffic growth in most cases. But, of course, the more articles you post to directories the better.

To "win" the article marketing race, quantity is quite important. So, posting more often will help you reach large numbers more quickly.

Ultimately, the question you should be asking is, "How does article marketing fit within my overall business strategy?". Your answer to this question will help you decide how often you should be posting.

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt