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blogging“So what do I blog about?” Often my customers want to start a blog but are stumped or intimidated as to what to write about.

For an active blog, you need to post blogs at least three times per week. If you have the time to update your blog more often, great! But, if your blog idea cup runneth over, here are the top 10 ideas you could use:

  1. Address FAQs or queries, which you get from your customers. They (customers) are surely the heart of all business. Answering their FAQs in the form of blogs will help existing and future clients. Also, instead of repeatedly responding to the same questions, you can choose to write a series of blog posts to answer the frequently asked questions, which could free up time for you in the long run.
  2. Expert Interviews. If you admire someone in your industry, your readers or followers might too! Contact the experts, who you think can offer valuable insights on business, trends, etc. and publish the interview as a blog post.
  3. How-to Tutorial of a process will contribute to a series of blog posts. For example, you can create a series of how-to tutorials on website design, creating a logo or any topic related to your expertise. You can choose to create written, audio, or video tutorial. Tutorials build credibility and trust within your clients. They will begin to see you as an authority in this industry.
  4. Events or Trends in your industry making news? Make sure that you include your perspective into the blog. A number of bloggers blog about the trends or related news stories. However, very few offer their unique perspective on the events.
  5. Review a site, blog, book or anything related to your industry. Highlight the pros and cons clearly, so your readers are not left wondering whether you are recommending the site, blog, book, etc or not.
  6. Personally Yours. Tell a story about what’s happening in your life and how it is affecting your business. Your hobbies and interests could make a good read too. Readers are always happy to read more about the “real” blogger and helps establish a deeper personal connection with your clients.
  7. How You Helped. Did you help your client’s site rank well on the major search engines? Is your client happy with the logo you recently worked on? Blog about it. Begin with how you addressed the problem from scratch and helped the client. Existing or future clients may come across this and it might be just the thing they were looking for. What better way to get a new client than coming to their rescue?
  8. 10 Best Lists. Depending on your area of expertise and business, you can choose from a range of topics for best-of lists or even reasons-to-do lists. For example, best of Photoshop freebies, best freelance web design jobs boards, why you should get a website, etc.
  9. Polls are a great way to keep your readers occupied and interested too. With polls, your readers will await results and then discuss the results too. However, you need to ensure that you choose an interesting poll. You can use Constant Contact to publish your poll.
  10. Blog about blogging. There are a number of blog-related topics, which you can use to write posts about. Readers are always keen to find out more about how they can blog, optimize their blog, use it for business purposes etc.

Facebook likes

Your job doesn’t end with the creation of a Facebook Page. You should have a clear goal to take it further. Whether you wish to bring traffic to your blog or website from your Facebook Page, or use it as a hub for your online strategy, you need to have a clear picture of the outcome you desire.

If you find that your Facebook Page is not getting as many ‘Like’ as you might have wanted it to, these 5 reasons could be the ones to blame:

Absence of adequate promotion: If you don’t integrate your Facebook Page with your website or blog, many people won’t even know that such a page exists and you may end up not having too many Likes. You may use different tools available on Facebook Badges like Profile Badge, Like Badge, Page Badge, Photo Badge etc in addition to using social plugins (Activity Feed, Like button) to publicize your Facebook Page and make it easier for your blog/website visitors to Like your Page.

Irregular posts that fail to engage your audience: You should remember that frequency builds momentum. So, you should make regular posts to your Facebook Page. However, it doesn’t mean that you need to make a dozen posts in an hour. You may start with 2/3 posts every day and adjust the frequency based on how people react to them. You should also make your posts interesting, creative, and fun, which trigger discussions and engage the audience. Unless you are able to encourage your audience to participate and share their thoughts, your Facebook Page may not get many Likes.

Not posting rich and quality content: Unlike Twitter where you can post only texts, Facebook gives you the option to post media from photography to video and even questions that don’t need readers to follow a link and leave your page. Since pictures and videos engage people more as compared to mere texts, not using them would mean less Likes. Posting quality and exclusive content on your Facebook Page is another way to get Likes. Simply posting links to content or copying from other online resources won’t do. You need to create your unique content, which showcases your perspective on various subjects, and is useful for your Facebook audience is crucial to get more Likes.

Unable to leverage customizations: Though there are not many options to make your Facebook Page stand out visually, you should leverage each small opportunity that’s available. For example, customizing your landing page to introduce yourself, creating a brand recognition, communicating the goal/purpose of the page, prompting the user in the right direction (such as asking for a Like) etc can give a unique edge to your Facebook Page and encourage people to click the Like button.

Posting at the wrong time: Many experts tell that people remain the most active on Facebook during the weekends and when they are back from their workplaces after the daily grind, which is why you should time your posts accordingly. However, you should judge the activity level of your target audience to find out the right time of making your posts to enjoy optimum activity (Likes, comments etc).

Armed with these tips, and by keeping an eye on Facebook Insights, you can manage your Facebook Page better and get more Likes. So, act now and experience the difference.

In the age of Internet Marketing, there are a number of techniques you can use to ensure maximum visibility for your website. Two important approaches to marketing your website are through paid ads or generate traffic organically. Searches or web traffic which comes from unpaid listings on search engines are called organic clicks/hits. Pay-per-click allows the advertisers to bid on certain keywords relevant to their target market. These advertisements called sponsored links appear adjacent to the organic results on the home page.

Organic hits stands out as much more reliable and affordable option delivering a higher return on investment [ROI] over time. Consider this; Organic results are 5x more likely to be clicked on than paid results. [Source: Marketing Sherpa, Search Marketing Benchmark Survey] The same report states that organic listings account for 4.2 % conversion rate while paid listings account for 3.6% conversion rate.

With the advent of savvy web surfers who look out for non-sponsored results or organic hits on the first page of the search engine, the popularity of PPC has dropped considerably. Surfers believe that if the site made it to the results on the first page itself without paying for it, it must be the best site. Apart from that, PPC is limited by space and gains less traffic overall when compared to organic hits. It remains the second best way to ensure a good ranking for your site in the search engines, behind organic hits.

Here’s why PPC gains less traffic for your site even if it gets you decent conversion. PPC only provides links to your homepage. But, the internal pages of your site will link throughout the search engine if you rely on organic means to rank your website. A PPC campaign that links to your sites internal pages is not a cost-effective means to guarantee conversions as well.

Here’s a table which shows the level of education and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) usage patterns:
patterns:

Which area on a SERP would you typically look at first
Level of education
Some high shool
High school diploma or equivalent
2-Year degree
University degree
Masters degree
Doctoral degree
alt. org. and features
0
18.75%
17.56%
20.22%
20.25%
35.00%
organic results
33.33%
0
64.12%
64.62%
66.87%
45.00%
sidebar paid
0
53.13%
4.58%
4.58%
1.84%
0
top portion paid
66.67%
28.13%
13.74%
13.74%
11.04%
20.00%


In the recessionary times we are a part of, internet based businesses might not even want to consider PPC. The campaigns might not even be as successful as they have been in the past too. Here’s an image displaying the relevance of organic hits when compare to paid hits.

Organic Hits: Long Road to Success?
The process to push your site organically into the top 10 results on google.com might be long and tedious. You will need to work on keeping content fresh by frequently updating your site, writing articles, posting your site in forums and even take advantage of Social Media Optimization to get your business out there. Better still, you could use the services of a SEO company to bring targeted traffic to your site. Find-ability is key in any online business. Despite what you paid to have your website designed, what purpose does it serve if no one can find it? Only a qualified SEO company can help potential clients find your website on the major search engines. This allows you to concentrate on your business while a qualified SEO consultant takes care of your website optimization.

However long and hard the process, the results are well-worth it. It is definitely credible to be listed highly in organic searches than paid results. Research has revealed that people who click on organic search results are highly educated which translates into relevant traffic for your website. ‘More Money at No Cost’, that’s what organic hits will help you with. Apart from that, organic hits guarantees long lasting rank and traffic for your website.

The Golden Triangle
As you see in the image of the Google Golden Triangle, which was the result of a study conducted by Enquiros. The study watched eye movements of fifty users on the Google search engine result pages. Results revealed a "golden triangle" which confirms the belief nothing beats organic search results, although sponsored sites which are placed above the organic results do well.

 

Paid Hits that Can Hurt SEO
Link exchanges, setting up related links, emphasizing on anchor text and updating your site with content is the cornerstone of any website success story. However, there are some common link building mistakes which questionable webmasters commit. Using paid linking services could result in loss of $15 on an average after each hit - linking circles, and spamming to build links, are just some of them.

On the other hand, PPC guarantees immediate ranking because you pay to be listed. It helps familiarize users with your website and more often visitors log on to your website it will help improve your site’s performance too. Your ad will be shown at the times when you choose to pay for it. If you have chosen PPC for your site, ensure that you choose the Google Adwords program.

Organic hits or PPC: One or both? Which did you choose? How did it help your site?

All businesses want their websites ranked at the top with search engines, so how does one go about doing this? There are many different ways to help get your website ranked higher during those searches. A key way of increasing your web traffic and optimizing your site for search engines is by increasing the number of organic links to your site. Previously, a couple of the more conventional ways to build links were through directory submission or buying links. The value in using these artificial methods have declined, there are different search engines that do not even recommend using high quality paid directories. In respect of Google’s rules, paying for links is not allowed, and many companies are being penalized.

Stop building links artificially and utilize one or more of the following ways to build links organically, optimizing your search engine rankings.

  1. Create a genuine yearly competition or organize a charitable event such as blog action day.
  2. Mirror a high traffic site such as free software sites / open source software sites, or an activist site.
  3. Join social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp, Inc. and maintain them over time.
  4. Offer a rebate for a particular group, such as working class families, veterans or whichever disadvantaged group you decide upon.
  5. Maintain a business blog that is updated regularly with high value resources.
  6. Posting articles on a few quality article directories with your resource box and URL is a sure fire way of creating back links.
  7. Send out a press release via a few online services.
  8. Network through business colleagues and people you know and have them link to you.
  9. Answer questions in different forums like Yahoo Answers.
  10. Go Green, start a green initiative. There are countless opportunities on how to go about achieving this, carbon free websites is a great example.
  11. Add resources to user generated sites like associated content or zimbio.
  12. Create a regularly updated resource list like the Web developer’s Handbook that people will continue to refer back to and refer others to.
  13. Get your content translated and republished in multiple languages and countries.
  14. Create CSS solutions for common tasks or CSS problems, or even more effective would be a whole set of solutions.
  15. Program a free tool or software everyone needs for a specific niche, but not one that everybody offers yet.
  16. Fashion an enduring partnership with similar service providers, like a graphic design agency joining forces with a PSD2XHTML provider.
  17. Publish recipes for healthy, Greek, Indian, raw or any type of food that is desirable to others but not everybody can buy.
  18. Perform a community service or help with animals and display images of them for others to see.
  19. Join a community and become one of the more prominent members like Maki of DoshDosh did on Sphinn and Digg.
  20. Build a community like 9Rules where people “proudly” are part of and display it on their sites.
  21. Develop a Firefox plugin for a common reoccurring task or having to deal with a widely spread annoyance, like BugMeNot .
  22. Join the “freebies” bandwagon, people love free stuff and when everyone loves you, the people willing to spend money will find you.
  23. Offer free music or other audio downloads, or at least a way to listen to the audio online.
  24. Give away a free eBook, or better yet offer several free eBooks like O’Reilly does.
  25. Offer free high quality icons for download and free use.
  26. Have background patterns available for free for web designers.
  27. Give away free wallpapers for download and invite artists to modify.
  28. Offer free scripts and “chunks code” for webmasters to use freely.
  29. Offer fundamental self improvement quotes or advice like hackyourself
  30. Give away images using a creative commons provider such as creative commons on your website.

These are a few of the ways you are able to build links naturally and enhance you SEO. Keep this in mind when you go from very few links to having an additional 3,000 in a week, the spiders notice it and your ranking drops. So stay consistent with building your links naturally and avoid the artificial means of link building.

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