18 July 2009

Some practical tips to increase traffic levels

These are some practical tips to increase traffic levels that have worked well for many experienced bloggers.

  • Build useful, quality, interesting and original content - Reflect on the blogs that you read often and think again why you read them.
  • Good blog design - Do you tend to think that a blog has quality content if the design is terrible?
  • Link to others - You'll only have others linking to you if you have shown your generosity in linking to others first. Linking helps in two ways: (1) Bring more visitors. (2) Increase your ranking.
  • Comment on other blogs - Interact with others genuinely (not spamming) by giving thoughtful comments in other blogs. People will grow their interest in your blog as you interact more with them.
  • Update frequently - a significant part of large traffic comes from frequent readers, who wants to see fresh contents all the time.
  • Interact with readers - Interact with your readers actively. Answer comments, questions, create memes, games, etc.
  • Optimize for search engines - Visitors that tend to click on the ads the most come from search engines. Doing SEO will increase your revenues and your rank as well.
  • Add your blog add in your email signature - This can help increase visitor numbers to your blog too.
  • Create RSS feed - Let your readers have the option to subscribe easily to your blog's content. Visit Feedburner.com for more details. This method eases their connectivity to your blog.
  • List your URL in directories - This increases the chance for people of relevant interest finding your blog easier through many mediums and portals.
  • Submit to search engines - Send your blog URL to search engines too and similar sites such as Technorati. Use the right and relevant keywords to describe your blog as this is the most crucial information that connects your blog to your visitors.
  • Create a newsletter - This is another option to update your readers of new postings.
  • Get involve in other blog projects - Make yourself visible in the blogosphere by actively participating in other projects or memes. The more visibility you have the better.
  • Participate in forums - This are the places to find other with similar interest. You can draw visitors to your blog by making yourself visible through helping others in the forums.
  • Promote your posts - Send your great posts to others or submit them in social media if you think they have a chance to get votted up. Be selective of which posts to promote to avoid being too annoying.
  • Add an 'Email a Friend' button - Add this button below each of your posts to let your readers have the option to email their friends.
  • Shared from ourblogtemplates

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25 June 2009

52 of the Ways to Promote your Blog

In the meantime, here are 52 Great Ways to market your blog:
1. Submit your site to the main web directories - you’ll find a good list at Directory Maximiser
2. Make sure that the whole of your blog is indexed on the main Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN/Live
3. Get a Google Sitemap on your blog to help to get it fully indexed
4. Participate in online business networking sites such as Linked In, eCademy and SoFlow
5. Make it easy for your readers to bookmark your blog on the social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Del.icio.us, Furl etc.
6. Make sure you submit your blog to the main Blog directories (Good list here and here)
7. Also submit your blog to the main RSS directories
8. Ensure that you automatically ping the main blog Search Engines and Directories suach as Technorati and IceRocket to get instantly indexed - good list of pinging addresses
9. Join a number of relevant online communities or discussion groups for your market area
10. Maximise the design of your own blog: highlight posts or subjects that will attract and retain readers
11. Add comments - relevant, useful comments - to other people’s threads or blogs
12. Use Pay per Click (PPC) advertising like Google Adwords or Yahoo Search Marketing
13. Advertise on sites such as Gumtree or Craigslist
14. Make sure that you run an ezine (e-newsletter) alongside your blog and make the two work together
15. Make sure that you link out to other blogs in your blog posts and, for special recommended blogs, in your BlogRoll
16. Join MyBlogLog to be able to make contact with other MyBlogLog users and develop relationships
17. Set up a social network part of your blog with Ning
18. Write your own e-book (perhaps using content from your blog) and give away free chapters to encourage visitors or subscribers
19. Start your own meme or viral networking idea (such as 2000 Bloggers)
20. Attend local networking groups such as BNI, BRE etc - tell them about what you do and reference your blog
21. Set up and develop a profile on online social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo etc.
22. Create a free account on BT Tradespace
23. Interview people for your own regular podcast - perhaps you could make it like your own online radio show
24. Contact other relevant ezines and offer to write articles for them
25. Submit your articles to article directories (Ezine Articles, Article Alley etc.)and link to your blog in the signature
26. Submit your own ezine to ezine directories such as Ezine Directory or Best Ezines
27. Include podcasts as part of your blog to distribute interviews, informational pieces etc.
28. Convert some of your existing articles into podcasts
29. Create a lense at Squidoo
30. Distribute and syndicate your articles and podcasts via your RSS feed
31. Offer free white papers or specialist documents which are branded with your blog and RSS details
32. Set up teleconferences or teleseminars focusing on your main content areas
33. Write a review of books on Amazon.com linking back to your blog
34. Distribute press releases via online news services such as PR Web or Press Box
35. Add a poll or survey to your blog and post/distribute the results - try SurveyGizmo if you are a Wordpress user
36. Read other blogs and leave your own comments on them
37. Use trackbacks when you reference other bloggers’ posts
38. Create podcasts of your best posts and syndicate them, as well as submitting them to iTunes and other podcast directories
39. Sign up to Feedburner and include the Headline Animator in your email signature and the one you use when you post to forums
40. Make sure you include your blog address on your business cards and company stationery
41. Customise and improve your RSS Feed using Feedburner - include special offers, sign up opportunities and make sure the feed delivers the full post
42. Increase RSS feed sign ups by offering a sign up bonus to subscribers - how? Just ask!
43. Offer readers the chance to sign up via email (Feedburner and Feedblitz offer the service
44. Put files and follow ups to presentations, conferences and seminars on your blog for attendees to read and download
45. Offer to become a Guest blogger on other blogs and invite Guest bloggers to write on your own blog
46. Make sure to submit articles to and participate in Blog Carnivals (more on Blog Carnivals here)
47. Optimise your blog where possible and particularly the Categories, Title Tags and Meta Tags
48. Participate regularly in conversations on other blogs
49. Post answers on LinkedIn Answers and Yahoo Answers
50. Try LinkBaiting using controversial subjects or opinions – be careful though!
51. Contact the main bloggers in your market area and introduce yourself or send details of a particular post that might interest them and above all,
52. Write great content that people will want to read, recommend and link to!
by Mark White, Blog Consultant in Blog Directories and Search , Marketing your Blog , Corporate Blogging , Blogging for Small Businesses , BBB Bloggers Guides , BBB Quick Guides , New Media Marketing , Promoting a Blog

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22 June 2009

Tips To Good (And Bad) Search Rankings

As all professionals involved in Search Engine Optimization know, there are no guarantees with SEO. Understandably, major search engines are pretty cagey about how much they let search marketers know regarding their algorithms and ranking methods. Whilst we all know that ethical SEO tries to work with search engines to bring about relevant and useful results for the user, we also know that this isn't as simple as it sounds. Search engines constantly adjust their algorithms and as SEO professionals, our job is to constantly innovate too in order to find new ways to improve our clients' websites so that search engines recognise their relevance and move them up the results listings. In an SEO world with ever-changing goalposts, there are still some methods and techniques which are tried and tested to help in the mission to get on that first page.

Here are my top tips to SEO and ranking success:

Content, Content, Content
A point that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of quality content to a website. Well-written and relevant content is perhaps the most valuable SEO tool that there is, but as with all good search engine optimization techniques, it benefits the user of the website most of all. A website which is a great industry resource for information rather than merely sales-speak is much more likely to be seen by search engines as a site worthy of their attention. A high ratio of text to images, flash or JavaScript helps to ensure that search engines can decipher a web page's subject matter easily and having a website which is rich in useful information for users will mean that visitors are much more likely to stay on a site for longer and return to it again.

Business Blogs & Bookmarking
There has been much debate in the search marketing industry in recent times over whether or not blogs are a useful tool when it comes to SEO. The general conclusion is that the only blogs which really make a difference to your website's online profile are those which really have something interesting to say. Blogging for SEO reasons alone is pretty pointless, but relevant and information rich blogs can help to build your website into a comprehensive industry resource which visitors find valuable and as a result, so do search engines. Blogging can show the "human side" of your organisation too, which users often find more approachable and you may find that visitors will comment on your blog asking questions etc which they wouldn't have the facility to do otherwise.

If you do integrate a blog into your organisation's website, you can utilise the relatively new world of social bookmarking to find a whole new audience and exposure. If your blog post (or video or audio blog) is submitted to a social bookmarking service such as digg or stumbleupon, it appears on their website (or a review and link does) which increases your traffic as users of the social bookmarking service click through to your site. A reputation can be built for producing quality blog content, especially multimedia blogs (e.g. regular video blogs through youtube) and interested users will subscribe to your feeds, receiving updates when you release new content. Regular return visits, more inbound links to your website and the good quality of your content will help you to gain more authority with search engines and improve your rankings.

Online Press Releases
Press releases have also been a bone of contention in SEO circles for some time, mostly because a meaningless press release is a waste of everyone's time. A press release can be a useful SEO tool, but only when you have something worthwhile to say. The point of press releases is that they can be picked up by journalists as well as by consumers and therefore they need to be well-written and interesting. Writing a great article is one thing, but making sure that it is distributed to those who will find it relevant is another matter. With online press release services able to distribute your piece for you to industry relevant portals (for a price), it is entirely possible to target your audience to a large degree. Hyperlinks within the press release point back to the website and with major search engines picking up on it in their news sections for your keywords, increasing the appropriate targeted traffic to your website, raising your profile online and of course, spreading your organisation's latest news far and wide.

Good quality, relevant inbound links to your website are considered vital in any off page search engine optimization strategy. If you take a look at some of your main online competitors' link popularity (using one of the many free online SEO tools) then you can see how well their link building is going and how much catching up you may need to do. In order for links to help improve your ranking, they need to be from good sources. Quality over quantity is definitely true when it comes to backlinks, because links from sites with little relevance or search engine authority themselves will do you no good whatsoever. The reasoning behind this is that good quality websites with great content and good rankings are likely to link to sites of a similar high quality as they only want to be associated with relevant websites themselves. Building excellent links can take time, but is well worth the effort.

For every ethical search engine optimisation technique which works with search engines to produce relevant results for the users, there are many methods which do the opposite. Often known as "black hat" SEO, these methods aim to manipulate search engines into thinking that a website is something that it isn't in order to gain better search results. Although some of these techniques may seem to be working for a very short time, search engines usually penalise website utilising these techniques by imposing bans from all of their search results, sometimes even blacklisting a website altogether. The confusing part is that some of these methods were at some point considered part of legitimate SEO until they were abused by black hatters.

Here are my top 'don'ts' for SEO:

Keyword Stuffing
Although targeting keywords is important because they are the search terms that people use in search engines when your result pops up, there is definitely such a thing as overkill. We will all have seen websites at some stage or another which we click on through a search engine, only to land on a web page which is full of keywords and very little else. This is exactly the kind of scenario that search engines try to avoid and so websites which stuff their content with keywords are likely to suffer penalties quickly. Although a few occurrences of keywords in your website content can help search engines to pick out the main theme, a keyword density of more than 1-2% for any one keyword or key phrase is likely to cause problems with some search engines.

Hidden Text
Even more devious than keyword stuffing is the technique of hiding text on a website. This is usually done either by hiding the text (usually just repeated keywords) behind an image, or making the text the same colour as the background. Either way, the user can't read the text but the search engines can, which means that it breaks the major search engine guidelines that state both users and search engines must have all the same content available to them on a webpage. Search engines will often ban such websites from their listings altogether.

Doorways & Cloaking
Doorways are single web pages which are created to funnel users from search engines to a specific website. You can't get to a doorway page via the normal website navigation and they contribute nothing valuable to a site. Again, as they are created for search engines to see (and rank) rather than users, they breach guidelines and users who find themselves clicking on a search result and ending up on a completely different website to the one they thought they'd be visiting find them very frustrating.

Cloaking is another technique which presents different content to search engines and users. The content it reveals to search engines is engineered with the sole intention of ranking for keywords and the actual 'real' website could be on an entirely different topic. Therefore, as the search result and the actual website are totally different, this is also considered a black hat technique.

Link Farming
As mentioned in the top tips for SEO above, relevant links from other websites with authority are vital to your off page search engine optimisation strategy and quality wins over quantity every time. One 'black hat' technique is to build what is known as a 'link farm' by creating a number of websites with the primary purpose of linking back to a main site. These links are trying to distort search engine results because they are manufactured, not 'real' links from relevant sources and this can also result in search engine bans.
From visibility Magazine. By Matt Bullas is the founder and Managing Director of Click Consult, a leading UK search marketing agency, and its specialist search engine optimization division, SEO Consult, the UK's number 1 organic SEO company. Established in 2003, Click Consult has over 200 SEO and PPC clients in every major industry, providing a comprehensive range of search marketing services including Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns, Content and Banner Advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Shopping Feeds, Website Design and Development, E-Mail Marketing and Online Press Releases. Write on June 09

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Ten Tips to Optimize a Landing Page

A landing page serves as a bridge between the marketing message that brings visitors to your website and the site functionality that enables those visitors to take action, such as filling out a lead form or making a purchase. In essence, it’s your organization’s first impression to the online community. In today’s market, first impressions are tough to overcome, especially when the competition is just one click away. The old saying holds true, you only get one chance to make a good first impression – so don’t blow it. Invest some time in testing and optimizing your company’s landing page. If done properly, it can offer a gateway to your business, giving customers the information they need to make purchasing decisions and delivering the essential sales information you need internally to run a successful business. Here are ten quick and easy tips to ensure your landing page meets customer expectations:

1. Are there any obstacles to scanning the page?

Today’s rule of thumb is that a Pentium I-586 user connecting via dial-up should to be able to quickly see your landing page and complete its call to action. Can they? Double-check the page appearance in different browsers, paying special attention to video and flash, as they not only create distraction, but also build additional barriers for the user to overcome.

2. How hard is it to leave the page or get sidetracked?

Check your headline. There’s not always a perfect headline, but there are a lot of bad ones. Most users will make the decision to stay or go within seconds of visiting your landing page. Your headline MUST catch the user’s attention immediately and compel them to keep reading.
Unlike traditional website navigation, landing page navigation should make it difficult for a user to easily leave the page. Allowing website navigation on the landing page offers more exit options and may hurt the conversion rate. Another reason to remove the standard website navigation is to gain better control over what the visitor sees and interacts with on the page.

3. Does the page have a fold?

It’s recommended that any folds on your landing page be eliminated. However, if a fold is unavoidable, make sure it does not take away from the call to action – keep all important components above the fold. In addition, it’s okay to have multiple CTAs (calls-to-action) on one page, as long as the primary CTA is in the top position above the fold.

4. Are you gathering unnecessary data?

Poorly constructed and unreasonably lengthy forms are still surprisingly common in today’s landing pages. Remember to keep the user in mind and optimize your forms to provide the best experience. Evaluate each form field to determine if the information requested is really necessary. To make the form better, allow:

a) the input cursor to hop to the next field after the current field is completed;
b) the user to tab around fields
c) fields to be auto-populated where possible

5. Is there enough white space on the page?

Studies show that white space improves the user experience and allows key messages to stand out. Your landing page should do the same. Evaluate every element on the page for its contribution to user conversion rate. If you don’t need it to get your message across, remove it. It may seem like more is always better. But if you take a step back and really give it some thought, is more really better? Don’t overload your users.

6. Are there testimonials on the page? Is there a link to Privacy Policy?

Testimonials and privacy policies help create the necessary levels of trust required for today’s online businesses. Would you purchase an item from a site that did not have this information? In addition, if you have any awards or other forms of recognition, a landing page is a great place to highlight them and boost your corporate validation.

7. Is it obvious which button to click on?

Make it easy for the user. All buttons on the page need to be big, use full color, and be located above the page fold. Test to learn what colors and sizes work best but take baby steps and test one thing at a time, or you risk not understanding what exactly worked the magic.

8. Does it take too long for the page to load?

Pages that take too long to load produce “barely there” conversion rates, a poor user experience, and Google quality score issues. Use tools to check your page load times and make sure it takes less than the 7.5 seconds to load.

9. How do you feel about the photography used on the page?

Images are probably the most controversial element of any page, but even more so for landing pages. Try testing stock imagery versus amateur photography. An image should compliment your messages, making the entire page look more professional.

10. What about search Engines?

If you are creating multiple landing pages with only slight variations in text, it's wise to ensure that these pages are kept away from search engine spiders. To prevent duplicate content penalties from search engines, make your general purpose landing page available for indexing, but use robots.txt or a robots meta tag to exclude other pages.
Employing these techniques can greatly improve the success of your company’s landing page and in return, increase sales conversion. Taking simple steps to increase the usability and appeal of your page can give your company the edge over competitors – and in these tough economic times, can make the difference for your business and its future.

From Visibility Magazine. By Maria Nikishyna is the Client Manager for Point It! Inc. Maria has a degree from the University of Washington. Write on June 09.

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17 June 2009

Generate money from Blog

In this blog I've posted some articles to guide you generate money from blogs. Most of the tips come from extremely long articles of successful bloggers that I've compressed to make the readings much much shorter for you. Trust me, if you have no idea about monetizing blogs, learning to do it from the basics can take a really long time. Having short articles that compresses all the important points can help you a lot, because you don't want to spend too much time on learning how to do it. There are 3 basic questions you should be asking yourself when learning to build a monetizing blog:
* How to get more visitors to your blog?
* What's the best programs to monetize your blog?
* How to optimize your blog and ad designs to maximize your earning?
If you're a first timer on this, I'll give you some quick pointers on what are some of the major things you should know if you want to successfully monetize your blog. It can hurt you a lot if you don't know these things (hurt = cost you time and energy with little in return). This list isn't the most comprehensive ones on the subject, but will give you the big picture on what to learn.

* Adsense - Know Adsense and learn how to optimize its use in your blog. Using Adsense isn't just about putting the codes in your blog. There are tips on how to maximize your earnings by optimizing you Adsense placement, colors, and overall design.
* SEO - Learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is needed to help you get your blog to rank high on search engines, e.g. Google. In other words, you'd want your blog to be in the first page of Google search result when somebody googles keywords related to your blog.
* Keyword Research and Niche - Think carefully on what niche area you want to blog about and what keywords are the best for your blog URL, titles, descriptions, and post titles. Simply using www.yourname.com as a URL will put you at a huge disadvantage at getting rank well, unless your name is Paris Hilton, which gets search the most (to learn from what she has to say about life, I guess).
* Blog Promotion - Money only comes in when there are visitors to your blog, thousands of them. How to get them to your blog isn't easy. You have to learn how to promote your blog.
* Monetizing Programs - Bloggers out there don't just use Adsense. There are tons of other programs, affiliates, and sponsorships. The trick is to know which is the best for you and how to optimize their use in your blog.
* Quality Blog Content - Anybody can write anything on their blogs. But what articles attract the most readers? Blogging isn't just about posting articles. You have to learn the tips and tricks to get others read what you write.
* What NOT to do - There are things that if you do will hurt your monetizing effort. For example, if you have Adsense put in blogs that are 'smart-priced' by Adsense, you'll earn very little. Read also the Adsense Terms and Conditions so that you don't do anything that'll get you banned from the program. 'Smart-pricing' is explained below.
* Social Media - One way of promoting your blog is through networking inside social media networks, such as Digg.com, StumbleUpon.com, etc. There are tricks to get the most out of them.
* Getting Visitor Traffic - How to bring visitors to your blog? And how to get more and more of them, over time? There are many ways to get people to your blog - social media, search engines, word-of-mouth, recommendations. The more you know about this the better.
* RSS Subscribers - People will subscribe to your blog if you have good contents, which means you'll get more readers, more visitors, and most importantly more exposure. Are there tips out there how to increase the number of subscribers? Yes, there are. Sharing from ourblogtemplate.com

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