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  • 27Sep

    Starting an Affiliate Marketing Campaign

    Some business owners opt to start an affiliate marketing campaign as part of their overall marketing strategy. In most cases the affiliate marketing campaign is only a small portion of the overall marketing strategy but there are some business owners who opt to rely exclusively on this type of marketing. The main purpose of doing this is to save money while still achieving valuable advertising. However, once a business becomes more successful they should consider being more proactive and combining affiliate marketing with other types of Internet marketing such as placing banner ads and orchestrating an email marketing campaign. This article will take a look at what affiliate marketing is and will provide insight into why this is popular and how it can be used effectively.

    An affiliate marketing campaign is essentially a situation where other website owners place ads for your business on their websites. These website owners are known as affiliates. It is important to understand how this type of marketing works. In general the affiliates are given code for your banner ad to place on their website and given the freedom to promote their own website as they see fit. In promoting their website they are also attracting attention to your website because of the banner ad directing visitors to your own website.

    One of the most appealing elements of affiliate marketing is the affiliate is only compensated when he produces a desired result. This means the business owner is not obligated to pay the affiliate unless the affiliate is successful. Success may be defined as generating traffic to the website, resulting in a sale or even resulting in the Internet user registering on your website or filling out a survey. The compensation for affiliates is generally based on cost per click, cost per lead or cost per sale. Cost per click and cost per lead are usually paid in terms of a flat fee which is awarded to the affiliate each time an Internet user either simply clicks through the banner ad on his website or performs a specific action after clicking through the ad. Cost per sale may result in the affiliate being awarded a flat fee or a percentage of the sale depending on the agreement between the business owner and the affiliate.

    The most effective use of affiliate marketing is to actively seek out affiliates with a proven track record of promoting the businesses which they support. Most affiliate programs are open to anyone with a website and it is not necessarily damaging to allow those who are not particularly knowledgeable about marketing to run your banner ad but it is far more worthwhile to seek out affiliates who are quite adept and generating website traffic to their own website. This is important because the more visitors they receive each month the more likely your website it to receive interest from visitors who click on the affiliates banner ad.

    Another aspect of affiliate marketing which can contribute to success or failure is the design of your banner ads. It is important to remember affiliate marketing is viewed the same way other types of marketing are viewed and care should be taken to create banner ads which will be appealing to your target audience. This means everything from the colors of your ad to the size and style of the font should be carefully considered to create an appealing advertisement.
    Starting an Affiliate Marketing Campaign





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  • 25Sep
    Internet Marketing Comments Off

    Is Internet Marketing Working For You?

    Determining whether or not your Internet marketing campaign is working for you is a very important part of the advertising process. This is so important because while there is a great deal of Internet marketing which can be done without a great deal of expense, other types of Internet marketing do have financial costs associated with them. Also, in both cases there is a time and energy burden to orchestrating the Internet marketing. For all of these reasons it is important for business owners to continuously evaluate their marketing techniques and strategies to determine what is working and what is not. This will help the business owner to focus his efforts on marketing strategies which are providing positive results as opposed to those which are either not providing results or are only providing lackluster results. This article will examine a few different marketing strategies as well as how business owners can evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies.

    Affiliate marketing is certainly one of the most cost effective Internet marketing strategies available. This marketing strategy involves having other website owners known as affiliates post an advertisement on their websites to direct Internet traffic to your website. This marketing strategy is cost effective because in most cases the affiliate is only paid when he produces a desired result such as enticing an Internet user to click through the advertisement or to purchase a product or service once they click through the ad. While the business owner is only paying for the advertisement when it produces a desired effect, it is still worthwhile to evaluate the effectiveness of these ads to determine whether or not they are working well.

    Fortunately affiliate marketing ads have a natural feedback mechanism which makes it easy to evaluate how well the ad is working. This feedback is provided in the form of code imbedded in the advertisement which specifies which affiliate generated the website visitors. This information is provided for the purposes of issuing payment to the affiliate but it can also provide the business owner with useful information on which affiliate ads are the most effective. This information is especially useful when the affiliates are posting different ads. The business owner may conclude the ads posted by the more successful affiliates are more appealing to potential customers and may opt to use this style of ad for all of their affiliates.

    Business owners who use Internet marketing strategies such as posting on message boards to promote their business might want to consider asking customers to complete a short survey when making a purchase. This survey can include useful demographic information which is always helpful for marketing as well as information regarding where the customer learned of the products or services you offer. Including the message board web address as one of the responses will give you a good indication of whether or not the message boards are helping to drive customers to your website. You may also have some unofficial feedback in terms of the response to your postings on the message board. If the general consensus is in support of your posts, you may infer you are generating some interest in your business or website through this tactic.

    Finally, an Internet marketing strategy can be evaluated by studying website traffic results as well as sales receipts. Anytime you implement a new Internet marketing strategy or technique it is worthwhile to study your website traffic reports and sales receipts carefully to determine whether or not there is a spike in either traffic or sales immediately after the marketing effort. For example, if you send out an e-newsletter to those who have requested additional information about your products or services, you may notice there is an increase in traffic or sales soon afterwards. This is a good indication the e-newsletter was well received and effective. However, if there is not a marked increase in traffic or sales subsequent to the e-newsletter it indicates the marketing effort was not effective.
    Is Internet Marketing Working For You?





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  • 24Sep
    Internet Marketing Comments Off

    Evaluating the Response to Your Internet Marketing

    Starting an Internet marketing campaign is only the first step in the battle. Sure it is a good idea to start an Internet marketing campaign if members of your target audience are likely to use the Internet to research or purchase the products you sell or the services you offer but these marketing efforts may turn out to be a complete waste of time if you are not diligent about evaluating the response to your Internet marketing. This means each time you implement a change to your marketing strategy; you should evaluate the results of the change to determine whether or not it generated a greater profit for you. This is important because it can help you determine what is working and what is not working for you.

    Evaluating the response of your Internet marketing can be done in a number of different ways. Customer surveys and embedded HTML code are two of the most popular methods of evaluating the effectiveness of an Internet marketing campaign. Customer surveys can be as simple or as complex as you like depending on the amount of feedback you would like to receive. However, one of the most effective ways to find out how well your different marketing tactics are working is to include a question asking the consumer where they first learned about your products or services. This is important because if you find a great deal of your customers are learning about your products or services through a particular venue, it is a good indication this method of advertising is working quite well for you.

    Embedding code into your advertisements for the purpose of receiving feedback is also a popular method of evaluating the response to your Internet marketing strategies. Advertisements can be coded so the business owner receives feedback each time an Internet user clicks through a particular advertisement. This is useful for letting the business owner know which of his advertisements are attracting the most attention. If the business owner is using two different designs for his advertisements he may discover one design is attracting more attention than others and may make the decision to convert all of the advertisements to a more effective style. Similarly a business owner who is running the same advertisement on several different websites may discover he is receiving more traffic from one website than others. He may also discover some websites are not attracting much attention at all. This would give the business owner an indication of which advertisements to cancel and which ones to keep running.

    Finally, the response to an Internet marketing campaign can be evaluated by carefully reviewing website traffic statistics after implementing changes to the marketing strategy. This information is useful because an unusual spike in the amount of website traffic immediately after implementing a stage of the marketing campaign can provide positive feedback that the change was well received by potential customers. While this method of evaluating the response to an Internet marketing campaign can be effective it is important to note implementing multiple changes at once will make it difficult to determine which changes were the most effective. Therefore if you plan to use website traffic as feedback for how well your marketing strategy is working it is important to only implement one major change at a time so they can each be evaluated separately.
    Evaluating the Response to Your Internet Marketing





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  • 31Jul
    Web Site Usability Comments Off

    A Fitness Plan for a Lean & Mean Website

    In this age of instant everything, hardly anyone wants to wait. That is probably the main reasons why drive-thrus, instant messaging, one-touch photo printing and all sorts of “now” technology and products were invented and are profitable today.

    The same can be said when surfing the Internet. Recent studies conducted on Internet habits show that users get irritated when a web page takes more than 10 seconds to completely download; beyond 15 seconds, more than half leave the site entirely. That is how demanding the average Internet user is.

    Some web designers and developers would probably argue that with broadband access, download time should no longer be an issue. However, what these people fail to mention is that only 3 in 10 users in America have hi-speed access. A great majority of Internet users still surf the Internet via dial-up modems. At speed of about or below 50 kbps, web pages heavy with unnecessary baggage easily lose the race for the user’s precious attention.

    So how do you keep your website lean, mean and quick? Here are some tips:

    1. Use lean graphics.
    Graphics, even in .jpeg or .gif form will still take a while to load. But since images do enhance a website’s appearance, it is very likely you will find these necessary. However, keep the loading time for the images down by specifying the height and width attributes of your images. That way, the user’s browser will be able to map the page’s layout while the images are being loaded.

    If large images are necessary for your content, use a thumbnail a link to the bigger version of the picture. This allows the user choose what images he will wait for to load and saves him from needing to wait for those pictures he’s not interested in.
    Another nifty trick for quick-loading images is to use software that cuts up large graphic files into smaller pieces that can be put back together using a table. Software like PictureDicer (by ShoeString) or Online Image Splitter does exactly that and generates HTML code for a table tag. However, be sure to reduce 256-color images to 8-bit colors before processing the picture.

    2. Cut down on the flash intros.
    They may look nice, but they take forever to load. And if these animated presentations are at the front door of your website, you stand to lose a lot of visitors (practically half) even before they saw your actual site.

    If you simply have to have a flash introduction, please do not forget to include a “skip” button prominently displayed on the page as an option for those who don’t want to wait to load the intro.

    Another caveat that comes with flash intros is that (as of now) search engines are unable to index content on flash format. So if you intend to present most of your important information via flash presentation, you stand to lose a lot when it comes to hits from search engines.

    3. Maintain an ideal page size.

    Experts vary in opinion on what is the optimum file size for a web page. As a middle figure, somewhere between 30 to 50 KB file size (including fonts, graphics, html and JavaScript and so on) should do fine and load pretty quickly.

    4. Keep the pages as shallow as possible.
    No one wants to go through so several clicks and links before accessing the page they intend to reach. When creating your site’s over-all organization, make sure that every page can be accessed from any point within 2 clicks. (3 are ok, but it’s pushing it.)

    That said; try to keep all your pages no further down than 2 levels deep from the home page. If the site grows to have so many pages that making deeper levels is inevitable, consider creating an archive page where outdated pages may be kept for reference without causing delay to the more current content.

    Having a quick-loading page show that you value your visitors’ time. They will show their appreciation by staying longer to know what you have to say. It also enhances your company’s brand, showing that you can be efficient, but substantial.

    Paying attention to what is important and useful rather than what looks good but offers little in content will result in a website that is not only quick and lean, but usable as well. And for your target audience, that is the main and most important key.
    A Fitness Plan for a Lean & Mean Website





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  • 26Jul
    SEO Basics Comments Off

    Spamming is Not a Good SEO Technique

    Perhaps very few things can illustrate competition as vividly as the Web. After all, how can one website compete with thousands of other websites just like it?

    If the attention span of an average Internet user is as expansive as a search engine’s listing, then there’s nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, though, that is not the case. Very likely, a person conducting a search on the Internet will probably just browse through the top 3 to 5 SERPs (search engine results pages) and stop there. Website that get buried in the 10th page and onwards will probably not get too much attention if certain measures are not undertaken.

    Those measures are what are called search engine optimization (SEO). Experts in this field perform certain procedures which may be seen a “website boot camp” to get your website into fighting form that will compete in the top rankings of a search engine.

    However, as it is with almost everything else, some shortcuts exist that are able to “cheat” search engines into placing a particular website at a high ranking, despite the fact that it offers no real information. These sets of shortcuts are called “spamming”.

    SEO spam (or spamdexing) is a set of techniques that manipulate a website for the purpose of creating an unrealistic boost in its rankings on SERPs. Here are just some examples of some SEO spam:

    1. Cloaking
    When a website presents a set of information to a search engine different from a set the user is seeing, then cloaking has been done. What usually happens is that the web page’s code is relevant to the user’s search keywords, but when the user visits that particular web page, he user sees a document that has little or nothing to do with his search.

    2. Artificially networked sites
    There is really nothing wrong with creating links between one site to another so long as the links are relevant and serve to connect useful information.

    However, spammers who perform this technique set up several web sites and link them together even the sites contain no real and useful information. The purpose for doing so is simply to create the illusion of a highly referenced site because of its density of links. If this is the case, then it can be considered spamming.

    3. Blog and Forum Spam
    Online blogs and fora are a great source of information since it these formats are built to be updated within short intervals. This, in itself, what makes it a good reference for information, which is why search engines like to visit these sites and rank it well for the quality of information it holds.

    However, spammers have taken advantage of this by flooding blogs and fora with irrelevant links to the websites they want to generate artificial ranking for. Not only are they cheating the search engine company by misleading a user to irrelevant information, they also interrupt the bloggers and the forum participants, which is downright rude.

    4. Hidden text.
    Similar to cloaking, hidden texts are meant to make search engines think that a page is about one thing, while it is actually about another. But it fools the search engine this way: the text that the search engine is able to reads is camouflaged by making the text font color the same as the background. What happens is that the user is unable to read what the search engine saw, and therefore may be looking at a document that is not related to the user’s search.

    Other techniques are to create small, imperceptible links that a user can accidentally click on, thus generating more hits for a website even if the user had no intentions of visiting that site at all.

    By this time, you probably already know why spamming is done. It is a shortcut used by some unscrupulous website owners to make their website rank high on SERPs. Folks who pose as SEO experts use these spamming techniques to get money for doing little to no work.

    Now that you know who they are, and how they do it, here’s why you should have nothing to do with spamming and the people who condone them.

    The whole point of the Internet was to create a wealth of information that everyone can access and add to. The whole idea was to be able to create a place where information can be created and shared with others so that it can foster understanding despite physical borders.

    Other results of this information have led to the development e-commerce and online businesses, which in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It still contributes to a community of information and sharing.

    However, spamming is fundamentally profiting at someone else’s expense. A spammer profits by using other people to make his website rank higher than others without taking the necessary time and effort to make his website useful and relevant as what others have done.

    It speaks poorly of website owners who see nothing but their own bottom lines in using the Internet. It is basically exploiting the trust and the willingness to share, which made the Internet such a promising venue for everyone.

    Finally, it demeans honest SEO experts who take the time and effort to produce quality website and make it a point to follow the rules. Search engine marketing is helping to level the playing field so it can allow businesses of any to advertise right along side each other. And that is a commendable thing, which everyone should gladly support.

    Search engines, on their part, are developing smarter technologies to detect spamming techniques in order to give users the best list of information from the Internet. Eventually, the spam methods mentioned above may be eliminated. But it is very likely other more sophisticated ones will come up. On your part, you can report spammers to these search engines when you encounter them. The more people like you who do this, the easier it will be to apprehend these cheaters and make it more difficult for spammers to do their thing.





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  • 26Jul
    SEO Basics Comments Off

    Search Engine Copywriting For SEO Without Losing Readability

    Copywriting is one significant factor when you want to achieve excellent search engine ranking. Yet, a lot of times website owners think that all that they have to do is to incorporate keywords in page tags and include some keyword mentions in their articles. While SEO copywriting not exceedingly hard, writing for search engines is more complex than that.

    “Search engine optimization copywriting” or SEO, is a method of writing viewable or easily scanned text on your web page which is very acceptable and readable for the internet user as well as targets certain or exact search terms, having the purpose of ranking high in search engines.

    “SEO Copywriting” generally optimizes and enhances other on-page components for search terms being targeted, namely the title, the description and likewise keywords tags, alt text and headings.

    Search engines require and look for authentic content pages, rather than additional pages which are designed solely for attaining high rankings; this then, is the concept of “SEO copywriting”.  And for this reason, search engines may not likely consider SEO pages with undesirable copywriting content.

    Simply put, your site’s content must follow good marketing standards, having great interaction with your visitors because excellent “SEO copywriting” acknowledges the fact that humans make the purchasing decisions and not “spiders”.

    It is recommended that your content comprises of about 250 words that are viewable per page, having a maximum of two targeted keywords or search terms located strategically inside the text as well as in other on-page components.

    A good quality and informative copywriting content indeed is the very foundation for a website to be successful. A good content and excellent website setup will direct your visitors to what exactly they desire while collecting or inquiring for information in your website. A well developed and constructed content page really is important for powerful website content and can take a huge bound in your keyword ranking approach.

    Always remember that internet surfers do not “read” all the time your content, but rather, their tendency is just to scan through the page, searching for prominent and attractive sentences and words. Meaning that for you to magnetize your visitors, you need to write not only convincing and captivating content, but also scannable.

    When a prospect visits your site searching for a service or product, it can be due to fact that they find your information educational and helpful; thus it actually depends on the quality of your content and what type of information that you supply your visitors that determines whether they stay or leave your website. A content rich in keywords will leave an enduring impression for your SEO campaign.

    Here are a few guidelines on writing good quality SEO content:

    1.  Understand and determine your “key phrases” before you begin writing.  Returning and then editing an already existing copy so to reach higher keyword concentration can be a difficult task which often results in fragmented sentences, complicated statements and a copy that is stiff sounding. If you already know the “key phrases”, then you are able to construct a complete and flowing stream of ideas.

    2.  Know who your target audiences are.  You need to determine your target clients before writing your content, so that you can address them properly. You can not write a good quality, informative and persuading content without knowing your visitors requirements, problems and needs.

    Your content should offer a solution to their problems and you need to first identify that problem before you can determine a solution.

    3.  Incorporate your “key phrases” in the headlines.  Almost all search engines believe that a headline is a significant part of your copy which means that the text that comprises the headlines bears additional effect.

    When you make headlines, be certain to construct them so that they also carry the keyword that you have used in your content. Also take note of the “HTML encryption for your title. When you make bold headlines and incorporating them in “<H1>” or “<H2>” tags, they will catch the search engine’s attention.

    4.  Scatter or distribute properly your “key phrases” all throughout the body of your article.  To do this effectively, focus on just a maximum of three primary keywords and let them naturally flow in your article.

    There is what is called a “3 percent guideline” which states that 3 percent of the words in your article must be “keywords”. You should take note however, that this is only a guideline; do not ruin a good article just so to achieve the three percent guideline by insisting on the keywords in sentences where it does not fit just so to achieve the “3 percent guideline.”

    Just remember that a literature form of writing is not what is required in SEO copywriting; it just makes a poor web content. SEO copywriting demands that you specifically need to write for the internet, something that is very much different from a literature or storybook style of writing.

    There is more to web copywriting than merely writing well. Keep this in mind:  Effective web copywriting and keywords “search engine optimization” mean the same thing.
    Search Engine Copywriting For SEO Without Losing Readability





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