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  • sm4The key to every site’s success is through good marketing and promotion. Even if you have really good and substantial content on your site, you still need to promote it to avoid getting left behind the competition. In the internet community, the best way to achieve an increase in website traffic and revenue is to take advantage of social media. When used correctly, this tool can provide a platform for brand awareness, exposure, networking, and a huge boost in traffic & sales.

    Since there are so many different definitions of social media, let’s clarify what we’re talking about here. Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.

    Listening: Gathering intelligence on your market and your customer

    1. Build sentiment measurements – “showing how people feel about a subject and how those feelings are changing over time.” Listen on the web for people talking about your customers.
    2. Research into those bloggers that might care about your customer and their needs.
    3. Build conversation maps for your customers using Technorati.com, Google, Blogsearch, Summize, and FriendFeed.
    4. Search and collect bookmark statistics on social media success stories. Label them “social media stats”.
    5. Scan Summize.com for data listed in Twitter pertaining to your product, your space and your competition.
    6. Use WebsiteGrader.com as the first stop to understanding the SEO dynamics and on-page SEO quality of your website.
    7. Stop by Compete.com to help understand your site’s traffic. Then, compare it to your competitors’.
    8. Don't ask for too much information from your customers when giving away a freebie. Instead, spread it out and collect little bits of info over time.
    9. Track inbound links to your site. When they come from others blogs, be sure to comment on a few posts to develop a relationship with that blogger.
    10. Seek out those in your field and ask their opinions on your social media efforts. This is a great way to network and build relationships.

    Talking: Engaging in a two-way discussion to get your message out (and get messages in)

    1. Build blogs and teach techniques for conversational marketing and business relationship building.
    2. Check out Twitter as a way to show a company’s personality. (Don’t fabricate this).
    3. Couple your email newsletter content with additional website content on a blog for improved commenting.
    4. Try out a short series of audio podcasts or video podcasts as content marketing and see how they draw.
    5. Experiment with the value of live video like via YouTube or Facebook on a cell phone.
    6. Don’t forget early social sites like Yahoo groups and Craigslist. They still work remarkably well.
    7. Practice delivering quality content on your blogs, so that customers feel educated, equipped, and informed.
    8. Turn your blog into a mobile blog site with Mofuse.
    9. Ensure you offer the basics on your site, like an email alternative to an RSS subscription. In fact, the more ways you can spread and distribute your content, the better.
    10. Research how NOT to pitch to bloggers. A great source of info: Susan Getgood.
    11. Try your hand at video interviews, video press releases and podcasts to build more intimate relationships.
    12. Use your creative vision (or enlist someone to help you) experiment with different lengths and formats for you video. Is a brief and entertaining video better than a longer but more informative one? Test features in more than one hosting platform, browser, OS, etc.

    Energizing: Letting your customers give testimonials on your behalf (viral, word of mouth)

    1. Add social bookmark links to your most important web pages and/or blog posts to improve sharing.
    2. For every video project purchased, ensure there’s an embeddable web version for improved sharing.
    3. Learn how tagging and other metadata improve your ability to search and measure the spread of information. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metadata)
    4. Download the Social Media Press Release (pdf) and see what parts you want to use in your traditional press releases.
    5. Help customers and prospects connect with you on your various networks. Consider a Lijit Wijit or another aggregator widget.
    6. Help spread good tips, articles, solutions for customers; Retweet, Digg, or Bookmark them. Others will thank you.

    Supporting: Getting your customers to support each other

    1. Build community platforms around real communities of shared interest.
    2. Help companies participate in existing social networks, and build relationships on their turf.
    3. Experiment with Flickr and/or YouTube groups to build media for specific events.
    4. Start a community group on Facebook or Ning or MySpace or LinkedIn around the space where your customer does business. Good source of information is, Jeremiah Owyang.
    5. Learn what other free tools might work for community building, like MyBlogLog.
    6. Remember that the people on social networks are all people, have likely been there a while, might know each other, and know that you’re new. It’s important to try new territories, but tread gently.
    7. Voting mechanisms like those used on Digg.com show your customers you care about which information is useful to them.

    Embracing: Building better products and services through collaboration with clients

    1. Investigate whether your product sells better by recommendation versus education. Use wikis and widgets to help recommend, or use videos and podcasts for education.
    2. Try using the same tools internally that your already using externally and learn how this social media can impact your business.

    The bottom line is that you want to have a clear objective, be a valuable resource, and use the social media services in the ways they intend to be used. Anything else will get you filtered out, unfollowed, banned or blacklisted and ultimately be a complete waste of your time.

  • Front Cover smCongratulations on taking the step to advertising and marketing your website for free! Many of the tools contained in this download are what top SEO firms use to market your site to your target customers.

    This information is intended for anyone that has a website and business to promote.

    The download is chock full of ways for you to start promoting your website STARTING NOW, which you are sure to use again and again - FOR FREE!

     

    About the Author
    Michelle Crossley has been working in marketing and design for over 20 years. She's helped many clients achieve great results growing their businesses using proven tactics in this book.

    Through the years, she's taught college design, internet skills and marketing while continuing to work in a freelance design capacity. She launched studio1c in 2007, hasn't spent any money towards online advertising and tripled her business during it's first year in business.

  • conversion-formYou don’t have to spend a fortune to increase sales or leads for your website. There are a number of free and easier techniques you can use for increased website conversion. Consider the case of any service based website. You are probably hoping that your website alone will be enough to help generate leads for your business.

    It is hard to quote a price for many services without gathering more information from your client. Then, what do you do? How do you get your visitors to leave their contact details so you can contact them by e-mail or telephone?

    Ideally, you want your visitors to check your website and fill out a [conversion] form with their contact details so you can get in touch with them to further discuss how your services will help them. Keep in mind, no one wants to fill out a long form! A short, discrete conversion form will help convert your visitors to leads. Images on the form also make a difference to the number of leads.

    The Ideal Form for Your Website

    • Outline the metrics of your marketing campaign before you develop a form for your website.
    • Depending on the needs of your website, you might require a short or medium form
    • Most often, the form has to be short, professional and attractive so it can entice the visitor to fill the required details
    • Reduce the number of fields in your form and ensure that the visitor is not going to fill in unnecessary details
    • Your form should be placed higher on the page so it is clearly visible without the need to scroll
    • Remove the main navigation from the page if possible
    • Guarantee privacy to anyone who uses the form. You can do this by placing a link to your site’s Privacy Policy in the form itself
    • Visitor will feel added trust in your site and form of he/she finds a customer testimonial in the form area as well
    • Some freebies in exchange for the visitors contact details are a good enticement
    • For added lead generation and return visitors, add the collected emails to your future email marketing campaigns

    Apart from all this, it is important to change the form on your website from time to time. While you change the form, review the changes to the number of leads. If you are annoying your visitors with little or no content and long forms to fill, you may be discouraging repeat visits.

  • joomla internet marketing

    1. Foundation of the site is key. Ensure you have it built to current W3C standards utilizing such technologies as HTML, CSS and PHP
    2. Include meta-tags and keywords relative to content
    3. Body text and headings should support and reiterate keywords
    4. List your business for free on Google Maps
    5. Create a Google AdWords campaign
    6. Add a conversion form to your site
    7. Analyze your web traffic and adjust accordingly
    8. Use Google Analytics to check visitor trending such as, keyword usage and adjust accordingly
    9. Create a traffic funnel for how you want clients to navigate through your site
    10. Increase your external links to your site
    11. Periodically check for non-functioning or broken internal and external links
    12. Increase hits back to your site by doing regular email/eNewsletter marketing campaigns
    13. Add a "bookmark this page" to your site so customers can easily come back
    14. Add an "email this page to a friend" link to your site
    15. Don't use flash on your site
    16. Don't use frames on your site
    17. Don't use tables on your site
    18. Don't belong to a weblink or link ring. They don't work
    19. Regularly check your standing in popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) using keywords potential clients would be using
    20. Be sure your site loads quickly with graphics optimized for the web
    21. Keep content fresh as search engines seek out pages that are frequently updated and receive hits
    22. Be sure all links internal and external are all working
    23. Your website address should be printed on all business and marketing items
    24. Advertise your site in the many free online classifieds to increase traffic
    25. List your site with the hundreds of search engines out there - many are free
    26. Use text instead of images to tell of important links or information
    27. Purchase your domain name for long periods of time. Search engines see that as a stable, notable site.
    28. Submit a Sitemap (not sitemap) to search engines so they know of additional content
  • Try posting your website articles or blog to any of these top article submission sites.

    If you have had luck with any other Article submission sites, please let us know! We'll add it to our list.

  • choose your domain wiselySo you’ve decided to expand your horizons to the World Wide Web – congratulations! Promoting your business online is one of the best decisions one can make in today’s times – the scope and reach are far greater online than traditional media outlets. The first step in establishing an online identity is choosing the right domain name. Here are five things you must consider before selecting one.

    Is the domain name unique?
    The trickiest part of choosing a domain name is ensuring that it bears no striking or passing similarity to another domain name, especially a trademarked one. At the same time, you also have to keep the KISS formula in mind for higher recall value – keep it simple/short, stupid. Though you will have great leeway in terms of character limit, it’s best to choose a shorter name because longer domain names tend to be confusing. Also, make sure that there is a distinct connect between the domain name and your business – keep unnecessary wordplay to a minimum. As soon as the visitor sees your domain name in search results or an online advertisement, should you choose to advertise, even before he sees the accompanying text or the metatag, he should get an instant idea as to what your business is all about. Also, ensure your domain name IS your website name.

    Does it need to have a prefix in it?
    If you want to add a definitive article (the) or add a personal touch to it (my), think again if it’s really necessary. Statistics show that the online audience tend to remember the most important part of your domain name and tend to ignore prefixes, especially “the”. If at all a prefix is required, make sure you promote your business’s domain name ALONG WITH the prefix. For example, if you’re a florist, and your domain name is thebouquet.com, remember to let even your offline audience know that your domain’s called thebouquet.com, and not bouquet.com.

    Which suffix is best?
    Studies have shown that of all suffixes like .com, .org, .net, .edu, etc., people tend to associate every domain name with .com, even if they’ve visited the site only recently and it was .org. Unless your business is very specific, and also to err on the side of caution, choose .com as your suffix.

    Have you arrived at the domain name after careful consultation and consideration?
    As with every business, make sure you do your research before you choose a domain name. Speak to your business partners, clients, professional contacts and friends about what they think is the best choice of a domain name for your business. Chances are they might surprise you with facets and aspects of your business that you might yourself have unwittingly neglected. Make sure they are active online, which will broaden the scope of arriving at a suitable domain name for your domain name.

    Is it search engine friendly?
    This is the most important part of choosing a domain name. A search engine has to be able to “catch” and “highlight” your domain name in its search results. For this, you will have to work with a search engine optimization expert, who will guide you and share his instincts which will go a long way in ensuring that your domain name choice is wise, smart and business savvy. And hence contribute to your online business expansion in a big way.

    Good luck with choosing your domain name. Treat it as you would name your baby. Coupled with the points above, you will choose a domain name that will be the envy of your competition.

  • popular-cmsCMS stands for Content Management System, which means it’s an application that YOU control, edit, and manage the content of your website through a login in the back end admin. There are several Open Source (free) CMS applications out there. Here’s a listing of the top 4:

    1. WordPress is probably the most recognized and used. Originally designed for blogging, it’s evolved into a flexible CMS with optional plugins.
    2. Joomla is an award-winning CMS with thousands of extensions readily available
    3. Mambo can handle simple to complex site development
    4. Drupal

    Each CMS has its own unique features and options for customization based on what the user needs for their site. Following, are some benefits of using a Joomla CMS, however many of the aforementioned CMS’s also have similar features.

    Just Starting Out?
    Probably the best part of having a CMS is that you can grow your website as your business grows. If you can only afford a few pages to be developed right now, that’s no problem! You can always add to it yourself or have your webmaster add extensions later on when you are more established.

    What’s Included
    Besides basic items that you need to run the CMS, you’ll also have some other cool features built in. These vary based on the CMS you choose, but Joomla "out of the package" includes:

    • Poll – take an online poll right on your site and view the stats
    • Banner Manager – manage banner ads and view hit stats
    • Who’s Online - you can see how many visitors and registered users are online at any given moment
    • Search – internal search tool for visitors to location information contained within your site
    • Contact – a simple contact form
    • Links – a link manager to categorize links you recommend
    • RSS Feed – syndicate your own site feed allowing others to subscribe or display others RSS feeds on your site

    Expansion
    Probably the biggest advantage to using a CMS is the ease in updating your own site. Businesses are no longer at the mercy of their webmasters schedule and don’t have to pay each time they need something changed. Add pages, menu items, articles, components, a store – basically whatever you need in a matter of minutes.

    There are thousands of Extensions available for Joomla. Many free, but some of the more complex are either donation or relatively affordable. Extensions can range from interactive event calendars, forums, online chat, to ecommerce solutions. Just click install, and configure away!

    Foundation
    Joomla uses PHP programming language along with XHTML, JavaScript and CSS. This means that these sites “out of the box” will pass W3C Validation and CSS Validation standards. Benefits to following and having a web compliant site include:

    • Increased compatibility with browsers (no labels on your site like: “Best viewed using Internet Explorer”)
    • Ease in maintaining site thereby reducing future maintenance costs
    • Consistency in colors, fonts and overall look and feel of site
    • Accessibility broadens your audience by not excluding anyone
    • Forward browser compatibility – designed for new browsers, not old/unused ones

    Templates
    There are thousands of templates available; free, pay per use and template clubs. With Joomla’s simple UI, “test driving” a new look can be done in under a minute with a few simple clicks.

    Stats
    Tells how many times your articles have been hit so you can customize your message pertaining to what your visitors are most interested in.

    User Interface

    The Joomla User Interface is comparable to Microsoft Word. It’s built around a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) technology, so basically you can input the text and photos, arrange it and see how it will look live - no writing code or webmaster expertise required!

  • content-marketing-300x249The role of content is no longer limited to holding reader attention. Even search engine spiders are looking for fresh, updated and unique content online. Most online business owners are aware of the importance of website content. That’s exactly why content should not be an after thought while you develop a website. It is just as important as SEO and marketing your website online. Seasoned pros in website content development services will help give your business a boost. It is necessary to make your website content interesting and the first step in writing good website content is to understand the concept of readability.

    How do I catch the reader’s attention?
    A strong headline
    - The first thing that any browser reads is the headline and it is definitely the key to your entire copy/content. “If you cannot be motivated to write the article based on the headline, how is the reader going to be motivated to read it based on the headline?”

    To ensure that your headline is catchy and tempts the reader to read on, make sure that you:

    • Capitalize all the words in your headline - The thumb rule is to capitalize all the beginning of words with the exception of articles and conjunctions. Exclude short prepositions in headings and in case of lectures, plays or book titles.
    • Use seduction - As mentioned before, it is your headline that should tempt the reader to read on.
    • Avoid periods in titles - The idea is to ensure that your reader moves ahead from the heading to the body of the article. Don’t create a pause with a period in your headline. Allow the natural flow of reading.

    Enhance readability
    If you have ensured that the reader is ‘hooked’ by your title and is reading the content/article, the next step is to keep them interested. Information chunking and Scannability are two important concepts you need to keep in mind if you want to enhance readability of your website.

    • Information chunking:by separating information into small chunks, which will improve a reader's ability to read and understand it. How do you ‘chunk’ your information?
      • Put a bullet in it: By inserting bulleted points, shortening your sub heads and condensing your paragraphs into short yet comprehensive and effective paragraphs.
      • Shorten your subheading, creating organization and telling your reader what comes next.
      • Keep it short and sweet and remember that web readers tend to skim, so keep their interest with one or two ideas per sentence.
      • Condense! Paragraphs should be short with only 5-7 minutes of reading involved. Even one sentence paragraphs can be effective.
      • Use scannable text, by bolding key phrases and words. Use inline graphics that guide the reader’s eyes or illustrate points that require description.
      • A picture is worth a thousand words Apart from great content, images will help convey your ideas too. In fact when used right, they can convey a story! So choose an appropriate image for your website.
        Laying it on the line!

    Content is King
    While using your words correctly is important, providing your reader with good information is the pre-requisite to build credibility.

    • Give them what they need:Remember they were searching for something. What prompted that search? Help them find out how they can benefit by using your product/service
    • Credibility is Key:Adding external links enhances the credibility of the sites content.
    • Be keyword savvy: If your site is targeting the wrong keywords, the search engines, and your customers may never find you, resulting in low rankings and money as well.
    • Answer likely questions: with answers to the questions that he/she is likely to ask. Add FAQs, guides, how-to’s, client Q&A's and critiques to your website.
    • A picture is worth a thousand words: Images convey ideas in ways that words can't. Use images to tell your story. Visitors like seeing images; they break up all those lines of text and help convey a mood or support what you're saying.
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