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Online marketing Strategies for businesses by Priyanka ,  Dec 20, 2016
Creating a stunning website is not enough to guarantee your success on the Net. You need to get visitors to your website. Whether you have small personal page or building a big business website you need to know the basics of Internet Marketing.

ImageWeb marketing is one arena where small businesses can compete against larger companies within the same field. While the size of a budget does influence the amount of money that can be directed towards marketing costs, on the Internet, every company performs on the same stage. With these web marketing tips, you can help your small business thrive and succeed.

For Internet users, access to more than 644 million active websites is no more than a few mouse clicks away, according to a study conducted in 2012 by Netcraft, a UK-based computer security firm. If you run an online small business that’s trying to stand out from the crowd, the sheer size of that number may make your breath away.

Don’t panic. Despite the ever-increasing crush of so many online neighbors, it is still possible for even the smallest business to get noticed thanks to the magic of thoughtful, creative marketing.

Online Marketing Magic blankets the Midwest as SES Chicago kicks off this morning. Audience members packed the room and gulped coffee anxiously awaiting to know what Avinash knows.

Curious to know what makes Avinash Kaushik (Digital Marketing Evangelist, Google) roll out of bed each morning? Surprisingly, it’s not data.

If you want to grow your small or home-based business sales on the Internet, below are my top 10 tips you can put to use right now.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) To get your website noticed in the search engines, you need to optimize your website for Google, Yahoo, Bing so that your website will be on page #1 when people search for your business specialty. My SEO Secrets book gives you step-by-step instructions you can do to get your website listed on page #1 ahead of all your competitors.

Compelling Content Updates Once you have started your business and you have your website on the Internet, if you don't ever do anything further, your website may be doomed for failure. The thing that makes a site interesting and keeps visitors coming back to visit is compelling content where they can find "waht’s in it for them". In order to keep visitors and the search engines happy, you'll want to update at least once a month to keep things fresh and interesting. Writing fresh content can be very difficult unless you do professional writing for a living, so consider handing it off to a professional who writes content every day. This will take the burden off of you and get those updates completed more frequently.

Inbound Links There are 2 types of links associated with your website. "Outbound Links" are the ones where there is a link on your website that links to another website. "Inbound Links" are the ones where another website links to your website. To give your website the most advantage with the search engines, you want as many "Inbound" links as possible because each inbound link is seen as a "vote" of confidence for your website. There are many link building strategies you can use, but one simple one is to ask all of the companies you do business with to place a link on their website to yours. You can reciprocate with them by placing a link to them on your site.

Networking Running a business can go easier when you have others that are involved in your situation where they know details about you and your business. Years ago you had to rely on in-person meetings with individuals and groups. Today, networking with your peers and business advisors is so easy through social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and others. This is how you stay connected and involved with others and they can do the same with you.

Free Advertising One the biggest benefits of Internet marketing is that you can use free services to advertise your business. Sites like Yelp and Kudzu offer free classified style ads where you can upload your business information and place links to your website. Another great place to get free advertising is with Google Places where visitors can find directions to your front door and have the chance to leave reviews. And when it comes to "free", be sure to take advantage or promoting your business everywhere you can. Place a reference to your website, email address, and all social media accounts on your business card, in your email signature line, and every piece of promotional material you produce.

Paid Advertising If you have a little money to burn, then you can pay for some key advertising slots that will increase traffic to your site and bring customers pouring in. Some of the more popular paid advertising ventures include things like Google Adwords, where you purchase text links and pay by the click up to a set amount. You may also want to try Stumble Upon and purchasing direct banner sales on sites with customers you'd like to target. Competitors probably will not sell to you, so it should be related but non-competitive.

Social Marketing Social marketing centers aroung creating content that attracts the attention of your website visitors and encourages them to share it with their social networks. Your message spreads from user to user and is viwed as valuable because it's coming from a trusted source, as opposed to coming directly from your company. Social marketing is a powerful platform that opens doors for your business to increase its brand awareness and hold conversations with your customers. Social marketing is free for most accounts which can't be beat as an inexpensive platform to implement marketing campaigns. The dominant social marketing play is to have a business page on Facebook. You can gain additional exposure using Twitter for shout outs, and YouTube for visual communications.

e-Newsletters Email newsletters are the essential foundation of staying in communication with your customers. Once your business has established a relationship with a customer, email newsletters are how you keep them informed of what is happening with your business. If you sold them a product, the newsletter is where you tell them about new products. If they bought a service from you, the newsletter is where you tell them about new services. Email newsletters are incredibly affordable, but you need to be very careful to use a professional email delivery company to assure that the effort you invest in your newsletter, does not get lost because the email could not be delivered. While social marketing comnpanies rise and fall, email newsletters will stand the test of time by being a consistent voice you have with your customer.

Google Adwords If your business website is not ranking well with organic search engine optimiization, you can leverage the power of Google Adwords. The process is simple. You establish an account with Google, set a threshold of money that can be spent each day, then create your ad. When someone clicks on your ad, the cost of the ad is deducted from your daily spending limit, and then the user is sent to a page on your website. To achieve the highest conversion rates, instead of sending the user to your home page and making them figure out what to do next, you should send the user to a landing page that is created specifically for your offer.

Facebook Ads Now that Facebook has overstepped Google with 500+ million registered users, another powerful way for your business to reach potential customers is with Facebook Ads. The process is to design your ad, target who the ad will be presented to, and then select the pricing and scheduling. The power with Facebook comes in step #2 where you can target specific demographics for your ad. This feature opens up so many segmenting possibilities that you can really narrow the focus of each ad to determine, over time, which demographic offers the greatest return on investment. Be sure to send the user who clicks on your ad to a landing page that is created specifically for your offer. Between Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, your business can reach an audience of incredible numbers.

Looking for some basic Internet marketing tips for your small business? While there are hundreds of suggestions we can make, here’s a list of 10 tips that we think 90% of small business owners will find useful.

1. In the words of Ron Simon, “What the hell are you trying to do?” What is the goal of your website? Ultimately, it should be to drive more business, but how exactly will it do that? Start with one goal – such as increasing the number of phone calls – and branch out from there. It’s important to set goals, but it’s just as important to come up with a system for measuring those goals.

Website content is king2. Evaluate your website’s content – Content is King. What does your website say? Is the content unique and useful? Will people learn anything when they visit your site? When was the last time you added new content? Does your website have content worth reading? Does your content match your business goals?

3. The <title> tag. Visit your website. Look at the very top of your browser window. What do you see? Does it describe the page you’re looking at? Is it a unique description? Does it contain the keywords you want people to associate with that page of your website? If you’re a local business, does it contain your key local search keywords? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, check out this article all about title tags.

4. Call tracking and analytics. You can’t improve upon what you can’t measure. Analytics provide a tremendous amount of incredibly useful data, such as where your website visitors come from, how long they stay, and what they do on your site. Google analytics is free and pretty darn good, and we recommend it. We also recommend you make sure you can track every lead that’s generated by your website.

If you don’t have a dedicated phone number for the website that you can track calls on, visit HostedNumbers.com. They’ll issue you a unique tracking phone number and then forward every call you get to your main number while tracking the number of calls you receive, who called, how long the call lasted…etc. It’s surprisingly inexpensive.

5. Take advantage of free local business directories. There are a few great local business directories that are completely free. Visit GetListed.org, enter your business information, then take a moment to submit your business info to each of the directories shown.

Additionally, we do not typically recommend paying for directory placements…we suggest starting with the free listings and then seeing how it goes.

6. Check out your competition. Visit your competitors’ websites. Do searches for keywords related to your business. Find out what others in your vertical are doing and saying. This is a great way to get ideas and take stock of your own company’s online marketing efforts.

Does this dog look ugly to you?Does this dog look ugly to you?

7. Repeat after me – “I have an ugly baby.” A lot of business owners love their websites, but the first step to improving your website is to admit that it has some deficiencies. No website is perfect, and every website can use improvement. If you have a website, you have an ugly baby [sorry]. Just how ugly your website is, however, is open to discussion.

8. Start blogging. Every business, and we mean every business, has something to gain by blogging regularly. The list of benefits is long, but here’s a short list of reasons small businesses should blog.

9. Post online video. Video is still a little cutting-edge for some, but the benefits can’t be understated. Online video is the wave of the future, and every business needs to have something on YouTube, Metacafe, etc. If you’re concerned about expense here, keep in mind there are some low-budget options that won’t damage your brand while still providing concrete benefits.

10. Read as much as you can. There are hundreds of resources online rife with excellent marketing advice. Some of our favorites include:

Consider Launching an Indispensable App

There may be countless Web sites competing for your ideal customer’s attention, but there’s likely only a few dozen icons beckoning him from the glow of his smartphone screen.

By creating and giving away an indispensable app aimed squarely at your target market, you can earn some of that iPhone real estate. That puts your logo in front of your prospect every single time he thumbs through his phone, and it can also offer him one-click access straight to your Web site.

Concerned that a mobile app won’t get you in front of customers often enough? Don’t be. According to a recent report on Marketingland.com, 40 percent of Internet traffic now takes place over mobile devices.

Make Use of High-Value Internet Properties

Instead of lamenting YouTube’s ability to draw tens of millions of daily visitors while you struggle for traffic, start looking for ways to leverage its success to get your brand in front of some of those users hungry for the latest viral video.

You provide the video and let it provide the infrastructure. If you serve a niche that tends to hang out in a few highly-targeted online forums, then leave helpful, relevant comments on that site’s popular posts.

Don’t Neglect SEO Best Practices

While you’re busy building your mobile apps and trying to get meme’s incorporating your product or logo to become the latest Facebook sensation, use good, old-fashioned Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices throughout your Web site.

Strategically building long-tail keywords into your site’s copy, properly structuring your pages and providing a steady stream of useful content will make search engines love you—and bring traffic to your virtual doorstep.

Diligently Maintain Your Reputation

While your online marketing efforts should lean heavily toward getting the word out about who you are and what you do, it’s critical to keep an eye on your online reputation. Set-up a Google Alert to email you when your business is mentioned online.

Keep an eye on consumer review sites like Yelp! and know what customers are saying about you. Monitor social media channels such as Twitter and offer to resolve customer complaints quickly and easily.

Get Out into the Real World and Meet Your Customers

You may conduct your business online, but your customers live in the “real world.” They still want to do business with people they know, like and trust. So go meet them and give them the chance to know you.

Look for conferences and trade shows that match your niche. When you find one that looks promising, attend. If the show offers a large potential audience or is capable of bestowing some prestige on your brand, offer to present or speak.

If these gatherings don’t sound appealing, brainstorm. There are certainly other ways to get out there and meet targeted prospects.

1. Build Out Your Brand

Establishing a recognizable brand image is critical to the growth of your company. Part of a building a brand is associating the name and image of your company with quality in the minds of your customers. When people see a brand image they know, they are reminded of the reasons they trust the company, and they may feel compelled to choose your products or services over those of your competitors. To begin building your brand, place your logo on company social networking pages and use the image in all of your marketing materials online.

2. Make the Most of Your Marketing Budget

To compete against larger companies who may have a marketing budget that is exponentially larger than your own, choose your marketing avenues wisely. For example, paid search campaigns are one arena that can be easily won by throwing large amounts of cash at keywords. Instead, your money may be better spent on other strategies that stretch the value of your marketing dollars, such as content marketing or natural search engine optimization improvements. You can also use social networking sites directly to speak to customers instead of paying to advertise on them.

3. Stay Ahead of Search Engine Updates

When a search engine updates the way it returns search results for keywords, businesses everywhere can experience massive losses or impressive gains in rankings. For buying-orientated keywords in popular niches, this can substantially change the amount of a traffic directed to a site from search results. To avoid being on the losing end when Google releases an update, keep the content on your site fresh and interesting. Update your pages frequently, and optimize each page according to best practice standards. Quality content never goes out of style, and search engines will reward you for making it enjoyable for visitors to read your site.

4. Engage Your Customers

Social networking sites offer your company the opportunity to interact with your customers in ways that were not possible a decade ago. Customers with problems can contact you directly on Twitter, giving you the chance to positively resolve their issue in a very public way. You can use Twitter and Facebook to open up a dialogue with your customers to find out what they want from your company and get feedback on the services you offer. When your company releases new products or has news to share, you can post the updates on social networking sites. Customers that find the information useful may share it with others, and you can use this to your advantage by announcing sales and deals to people willing to connect with your company on social sites.

5. Combine Strategies

To succeed with web marketing, you need to use more than one strategy. A killer web page is great to inform customers about the services you offer, but without marketing they will never find your page to know about your company in the first place. You need to combine social, search and content strategies to reach your customers in every way possible. Additionally, within each marketing area there are more approaches to take.

6. Include Testimonials

Potential customers that read glowing testimonials of your company are likely to be interested in learning more about what you provide. Testimonials are powerful, and you can feature them on your site by linking to review sites such as Yelp, or you can ask your customers who give you feedback if they are willing to allow you to display their comment on your site. Google reviews are also important to building trust in your company. It is a good idea to stay aware of the reviews your company has received, so you can make improvements and learn what is working for you and what needs to be changed.

7. Update Old Content

Today, visitors to your website will arrive expecting to learn something from you in addition to finding out more about contacting your company or the services you offer. You can give them a reason to work with you by refreshing your existing content. You can create videos to feature on your site, and you can integrate content that is likely to be shared on social networking sites. Adding useful content helps build your brand image as well. When you provide potential customers with tips or tricks that are relevant to what they knew they needed when they searched for your site, you begin building a trusting relationship with people that may ultimately convince them to give you a call to find out more about your services or products.

8. Test New Site Features

The changes you make to your site by incorporating new web marketing strategies should be tested for viability. Customers become used to the way a site operates, and changes often cause a temporary dip in sales as people learn to interact with your site in a new way. To minimize the impact of changes on your company, test each feature as you roll it out. User interface changes can lead customers towards the areas of your site you want them to see, and you can try out the placement of calls to action within your content pages to discover any changes that should be made.

9. Try Different Approaches

As the web marketing industry grows, new and innovative techniques are being developed to help you expand your business. Even if the tried and true methods are working well for your company at the moment, you can stay one step ahead with a willingness to try out new ideas and take different approaches to the same problems. If you are unsure of where to go next with your web marketing strategy, consult an Internet marketing company. The industry is old enough at this point that many companies are highly specialized in a specific area, so you can benefit by finding out the different approaches taken.

What other tips would you give when it comes to helping your business gain more exposure through web marketing?

14 Online Marketing Wake-Up Calls

#1 – Solve problems related to Influence, Experience and Value Start by identifying the 3 W’s: What influence you have and what influence you will need going forward to have an impact.  What’s the current visitor experience on your website? Where can you make it more audience-centric and less sucky?  What business value  is created by your digital footprint; website, social etc?

#2  - Don’t Obsess Over Data Data should be collected and analyzed is service of Influence, Experience and Value.

#3 – Move Beyond the 2% Most companies spend a lot of time and money acquiring web traffic (owned, earned and paid). If you are in the top 50 websites in America, the average conversion rate is 2% What about the 98%? Stop ignoring them.

#4 – Pay attention to Micro-Conversions We need to identify Revenue along with the value coming from interactions of those who don’t immediately buy.

#5 – Understand Economic Value Identify the other types of success from your website. Newsletter signups, Wish Lists, Reviews, Social Interactions, Sweepstakes.

Of those who signed up for the newsletter, how many ended up buying something within 1 month, 3 months etc. You have to be tracking this to get beyond short-term value.

#6 – Create an Economic Value Map What creates Near Term value? Midterm Value and Longterm Value?  We can’t truly understand the impact of marketing activities without understanding micro-conversions and who eventually converts months later.

#7 – CPC’s are not a metric of success!

#8 – Identify Converting Paths on your Website It’s more complex than you probably think. That’s ok.  Check out this site to help you make sense of the data. http://d3js.org/

#9 – Create and Repeat this 3 Step Process

  1. Create a hypothesis of what the ultimate online portfolio looks like
  2. Test
  3. Be less wrong every single day

#10 – Stop Shouting at People The efficiency in marketing isn’t the ability to shout louder and more frequently. Let’s find the intent of our audiences and serve their needs.  Each day we are losing our ability to find people and shout at them a little more. The ability for friends / networks to influence each other is what is and will continue to grow.

#11 – Twitter Is Twitter as another PR channel the best we can do? Something to think about.

#12 – Facebook Stop being a ‘Like begger’. Give them content of value and they will like or share.  They already liked your page, stop being so needy.

#13 – Increase your Social MediaEffectiveness Start measuring the following.

  1. Conversation Rate (# of audience comments per social contribution)
  2. Amplification Rate (# of retweets / shares / etc)
  3. Applause Rate (what should we focus on doing more or less of – # of positive clicks per social contribution)
  4. Economic Value (sum of short and long term revenue)Understand that the goal of Social Media is to create and engage an audience in the channel. Not create the network and stiff arm them to your website.

#14 – Stop Ignoring Mobile Do you understand what the mobile platform allows? And that you have the opportunity to become a part of your audiences’  lives?

Check out Beneful’s site on your mobile device. The first 2 options are tools to help you find places to eat and play with your dog. The second is about dog parks.  They get that you likely aren’t looking to buy dog food from your phone.

Now you know what Avinash and the audience at SES Chicago knows.

To make this advice manageable, it’s a good idea to identify which items are likely to have highest impact and are the most feasible to execute. Then, feel free to put the others on snooze until you’re ready.

  • Don’t use site-wide links. They are highly deprecated in the latest algorithm changes, and may even lead you to a penalization of your website’s SERPs. As a measure of precaution, I recommend a maximum of one site-wide (no matter the number of pages) for every 40 to 50 unique links from 40 to 50 unique domains.
  • Use the title and meta description tags as wise as possible. They are your best choice of avoiding supplemental pages. Try to make each page with it’s own unique title and description, and never repeat more than 20-25% of the title and description tags content on different pages. Use a limited number of characters (8-10) in the title tag, and put the most important of them, relevant to each page, at the beginning.
  • Read my previous post on 14 search marketing questions, asked by Digitalpoint members.
  • Try to use H tags (1,2,3 etc) at the top-most possible location in the pages of your website, in the source order, and NOT visual order.
  • Don’t be a Copycat. Don’t write news or posts just to have something for the big Google. Nowadays, duplicate-content filters are continuously evolving and even if you gain something on the short term you will loose it later. Try to be innovative.
  • Use a pen and paper. Always have an agenda and a pen around. Note down every crazy idea you think of … Most of us have truly great subjects to write about, but during the day we forget, busy with other issues. I always note my ideas. At the end of a day, I am amazed to see a 20 subjects list to write about, versus 1 or two that I can come up with at writing time.
  • Suggest “related websites” in your website’s Alexa information page. That will bring some traffic.
  • If you want that early search engine boost, don’t just buy a new domain and invest $10K on the website design and development. You are better off buying a 5 year domain and investing $5K on the website. Age matters a lot and it will matter good years from now on.
  • If you own a website that contains 80% Google and you are always on the lookout for new content/news to write about, please and I mean PLEASE read Ionut’s Google System. He’s still a student at a University in Bucharest (I live in Bucharest, so I have to meet him soon) and he can write all those stuff about it. Imagine him 10 years from now. He’s great on finding every bit of information, bug, unreleased service or any other thing about Google.
  • Try to build other websites that revolve around your primary niche. Use them to better market and infuse brand and traffic into your primary website. I’m not talking about building scraper websites. Build quality content ones, and invest money and time and work hours in them. But in the end, just make them a vehicle that you will use to better market your primary website.
  • Use Google’s, Yahoo’s and MSN’s(that’s the Moreover ping server which will ping MSN) sitemap services. Not only that it will provide you with invaluable server and website data, but it will get your pages in their index faster.
  • If your website is in DMOZ, and Google and MSN (Live.com) show the DMOZ title and description, and that doesn’t work for you (most of the time, the DMOZ information for your website sucks) just bypass it and use your own ones. MSN and Google both support this function.
  • Don’t ignore Google’s, Yahoo’s, Live’s and Ask’s image search functions. Most of the times, you can get a higher traffic from the image search engines then from the usual search, especially if you have a content rich website. Just a reminder for you: use the title attribute on links that surround the images, and use the ALT attribute on the image tags themselves. Also, always remember to rename your images with relevant descriptive words (a maximum of 4 words works best).
  • Have a look at the websites I read (Bloglines), and subscribe to their feeds. Read them regularly.
  • How to use whitespace more effectively: read more...
  • Advertising and Affiliate Marketing

  • If you use the Adsense, YPN! or adCenter contextual ads on your website, try to optimize them. Don’t just insert them in your website and leave them. Work with them, change the position, the ad layout, the colors, the content around them. And remember, that at least for Adsense, the ad that’s placed in the highest position possible in the source’s order, will yield the highest income per click.
  • Use affiliate programs once your website has started to receive some quality traffic. Depending on your niche, affiliate programs are a much better way to convert your traffic, then all the other advertising methods like contextual networks, banners, links etc. Commision Junction is a good way to start your research.
  • Effectively lead your readers to your MDA (Most Desired Action). That may be a newsletter box, a banner, an Adsense etc. Place your MDA right below comments, or in the left/right sidebars, or in the header. Experiment. Analyze. React.
  • Build an affiliate system for the services products you are offering. Let others do the PR and sales job for you.
  • RSS & Newsletter Marketing

  • Don’t trust yourself only in RSS feeds. A lot of users are “old-school” and prefer e-mail newsletters. Always offer this option.
  • Another good newsletter tactic is to offer a periodical e-mail digest with the top stories in a certain period. A week, a month etc. Maybe some of your visitors missed a few interesting posts/articles.
  • Research Robin Good’s Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites (Part 2 and Part 3 available too) and market your RSS feed in all those websites. Don’t know what an RSS feed is ? (if you don’t, you’re either a moron, or you should fire someone).
  • Not only submit your RSS feed to different RSS aggregators, but learn to market it.
  • Analytics Marketing Techniques

  • Pay attention to your website’s statistics. Install a good analytics tool like IndexTools or Google Analytics. Not only the absolute numbers and statistics (like total users/total visits) count. Try to go deeper and analyze the navigation patterns, entry/exit rates and pages, the new /returning visitors ratio etc.
  • Continuously monitor your server stats, referrers and logs, and try to respond to links and articles that reference your website. That shows dedication and it’s another way to market your website indirectly.
  • Survey your visitors (you need a free user account to read this article). Learn what your audience and demographics are. Strive to improve your readership towards your website’s business goal. Constantly re-survey.
  • Research your market and always be up to date with your competitors. What their prices are, where do visitors go, is the site designed for success ? Look for things like quality code and content, internal/external linking, keyword density in content and links, pages indexed, Google Pagerank, quality titles, headers, site layout and design, conversion process, site load time, dedicated host, what new services they develop and announce etc.
  • Learn to increase your leads
  • Trial and errorTrial and measure: raise awareness of your products and services, convert a visitor into a registered user and/or paying customer, persuade exiting customers to make further business, developing loyalty.
  • Brand and Visibility Marketing

  • When commenting a post or story in another website don’t spam: “OMG that’s uber cool”, “Nice post” or something like that. Instead, try to make your comments in a professional way, show what you liked/disliked/agreed/etc, cite other sources, give examples, bring pertinent arguments etc. Remember, comments are an important part of a post/article. Over 60% of the readers will also read the comments.
  • Try to associate your name or your website’s name/brand with the big boys on your niche. Regularly comment their articles (don’t spam) and from time to time make reviews of their post on your blog/website.
  • Starting your website from scratch, always sucks. Seek out other websites/companies in your industry and try to establish a relationship with them. Try a mutual partnership and/or services recommendations. Don’t try to e-mail/fax your direct competitors.
  • Brand and paint your employee’s uniforms and your company’s cars with your logo and website address. This is especially useful if you have a lot of cars. It’s mass-branding and it will get people, thus future clients in your local area accustomed and comfortable with your logo, website and business.
  • Put your website address, on every possible internal piece of paper or communication device, including, but being limited to business cards, letterheads, invoices, newspaper and/or other print ads, yellow pages advertisements, receipts etc.
  • Always identify yourself with your visitors, especially if you own a publishing website/weblog. Always have your editor name written for articles and it’s best to have a profile too. A picture, a contact method.
  • Social Media Marketing

  • If you ever want to write something that will end up on any of Digg’s, Reddit’s, Netscape’s, Newsvine’s (etc) frontpage, write about howto geton their frontpage, about Firefox, Wordpress or Apple/Mac. No matter what you write about those, people love them and you WILL get on the frontpage, unless it’s un utterly stupid article.
  • Pay close attention to Stumbleupon. It’s a great alternative social network. Install their toolbar, and if you write a good post, submit it in their system. Be faithful and fairplay with the other members, help each other, and add friends to your account. Ask other members to review you if they liked what you stumbled upon. StumbleUpon traffic had the highest converting ratio (at least for me), in comparison to Delicious, Digg or Reddit users, which seem to be RSS and AD blind.
  • Whenever you have the belief that digging your articles will yield you an increased CTR on your Adsense ads, RSS subscriptions, comments or any other kind of added benefit to your website, you are wrong. I can sustain Davak’s post 80%, except the Alexa part. Digg users do use the Alexa toolbar or plugins that count as the Alexa toolbar. But you won’t notice any increased CTR’s, comments or clicks, no matter the traffic gained from a Digg.
  • Reward helpful and valuable users by promoting their work on your homepage, or develop a rating system. Invest 5 minutes of your time to send a quick email or note telling them you appreciate their help.
  • At least once per year, ask your visitors what do they think about your website’s content. What would they want to read more ? What new facilities should you offer them ? 10 reasons to survey your visitors.
  • Be humble. Don’t forget where you started from, even if you are a professional in your field. No one can be an authority in a certain category if others don’t link to/recommend/interview/blog about.
  • Link Baiting, Link Building and Research

  • Write controversial content that will self-generate links and discussions/comments. Pick on well-known people, criticize loved websites or brands.
  • When starting your website, try to gather a few links from already established and trustworthy websites. Stop trying to get your link on websites that are 2 months old like yours. Pay a directory submission in Yahoo!, BOTW, Webxperience!, Skaffe or other well known directories. Paying for a directory submission almost guarantees you a faster response time. DMOZ is an excellent way to start but you can’t get your way in fast and with money, so it’s best to “submit-and-forget-about-it”.
  • Build links slowly, to avoid the sandbox. Slowly can mean 5-10 gained backlinks per month.
  • When you research websites for IBL’s possibilities, don’t be fooled about high PR pages. What you need is Trust, not a high Pagerank. How can you tell if a website is an authority website or not ? Just find 5 titles of 5 articles on that website and search those phrases in Google. If the website appears on the first page, then it’s a quality website. After that inspect some of it’s backlinks, and try to see if the website is involved in dubious link schemes or has IBLs from irrelevant and spam websites. If it doesn’t, you’re OK to go. Remember, what you need is Trust, and traffic. Not Pagerank.
  • A good link building strategy is to comment or participate in discussions or content on other websites in your industry. It’s not enough to have good articles/content. The world has to know about them. Make connections/relations with other jounalists/bloggers/entreprenours in your niche, comment their articles, and links will come by themselves, with time.
  • Create posts/articles that help your visitors and attract natural links. “5 tips to …”, “25 easy ways to make …. better” type of articles are the best you can write.
  • Write stories/articles in the most highly-ranked websites of your industry and link to your website from the article. I am not talking about article directories, but industry websites that accept content contributions from members. (like ThreadWatch or WebproNews, for example)
  • Are you in any good relations with an US faculty/university ? Kindly ask them if you can contribute with something, and request a link from their websites. .edu and .gov links are supposed to carry a little more weight and authority then regular links. An excellent post in SEOmoz on ten ways to earn an .edu link
  • Do you write in forums ? Always put your link in your signature, and try to write a few attractive words too, to increase the likelihood of clicks on your links. Many forums like Digitalpoint or V7N, have a latest blog post function. If you have a feed, always use that functions (tip: it works with any feed, not just blogs).
  • My best advice for gathering a LOT of easy links is to create and release free templates for any wide-spread, free CMS system out there. Wordpress, PHP Link Directory, Joomla, Mambo, Typo66, Drupal, etc. You are not a designer ? Hire one to build you some templates. What’s the benefit ? That small “template by X” in the footer of the template, that will reside in all the websites that use it. The more functional and beautiful the template is, the more people will use it. 
  • If you are interested about Pagerank rather then relevancy, whenever you submit to directories or other websites that accept links, try to search the most relevant page with the highest PR, and submit to that. Keep the relevancy pretty high on your list though, otherwise they will reject your website for sure. I would and will.
  • Viral marketing, word of mouth, tell a friend schemes can get your server on fire in hours. Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. I guess this Threadwatch article about a Mini-Cooper AD will tell you more.
  • Ask friends or colleagues in your industry, to review your business website. If you have highprofilefriends, then you are sure to bring a high traffic and increased authority impact to your website.
  • Build a funny 404 page that will make your visitors laugh a bit and maybe will attract some links.
  • Don’t overlook linkbaiting: Organize a contest, adding a competitive element to it and offering a prize, post a very cool and funny post (usually a video or a cartoon or something that everyone would understand visually), ideally related to your industry etc.
  • Take a 6 months/1 year college class and get a personal page on the university’s .edu domain. Prices are usually cheap
  • Corporate & e-Commerce Marketing

  • Issue press releases for your website. No matter the field, a well written press release can not only improve your marketing strategy and gain a few inbound links and link bait from other websites, but can lead to journalists that will cite your company in their offline/online magazine as well as in online news websites like Google News and Yahoo! News.
  • If you have a company or product presentation website, try to provide multilingual pages. Helps for ranking in different localized search engines and user experience …
  • If you have local conferences or shows, that relate to your industry attend to them. Go yourself, or send an employee. Make business connections, friends, discuss daily issues, socialize. You wouldn’t imagine how much that will help you on the long run.
  • If you sell products or services on your website, regularly offer discounts or promotional coupons. That will not only increase sales and visibility but will attract links and stories, especially if you are a well known company. Issue a press release each and every time you offer that discount. Journalists and news search engines like Google News usually pick up the press release if it’s written correctly.
  • Offer a Privacy Policy (think about how much information is on the Internet; your credit card, your home addresses, your personal letters by email. etc.), a FAQ section, a Help section or any other functionality that will bring your website closer to your visitors, increasing authority, trust and re-visit rates.
  • No matter your writing skill, read a few pointers about how to write a professional press release (excellent 21 pages e-book on the new rules of PRlocal mirror) and try releasing a free press release at PressBox, Free Press Release, PrLeap, i-Newswire, 24/7 Press Release, PR.com, PR Free or ClickPress. After you’ll see the benefits, hire a professional press release writing service and do it by the book at PrWeb, PrNewsWire and/ore other global, more authoritative PR distribution services.
  • Read the PccPolo 101 marketing tips (local mirror) and the United States Small Business Administration 100+ Marketing Ideas.
  • Your customers are always right!
  • Thou shalt remember that not only Google has a Bible: The 10 Commandments of Marketing (you need a free user account to read this article).
  • Personalize your company’s cars license plates
  • Optimize your website’s shopping cart and watch how your average order size increase and your cart abandonment rate decrease.
  • Blog Marketing

  • Do you have a company or corporate website ? Build a blog for yourself. Blogs are a common way of internal company communication as well as a good source of PR. Clients and possible clients feel close and can interact with your team, online.
  • Do you blog ? Pimp your blog with social bookmarking tools, a Feedburner account with the FeedCount option activated to show your RSS subscribers.
  • If you have a blog (but not only a blog) take full advantage of Technorati. Technorati offers you the chance to submit 20 tags relevant to your blog, when you create your account, and start to claim each blog/website. Don’t let that stop you. Use Technorati tags, tailored for each post individually. Technorati pages rank extremely well, and it’s a great source of traffic, so it’s best to use it to your advantage. Watch how PrWebusesTechnoratitags in every press release, to it’s advantage. The advantage is that your specific article will show up in searches of each of those tags.
  • Whenever you write a post on your blog, or an article in your publishing website, or a press release, try to think search too. Research with Overture and Wordtracker (if you have an account), what are the best words to use in your title. They tend to help a lot, because the title usually is used in the meta description and URL too. That will boost your page a little in the SERPs.
  • Plan your blog’s start. When starting a new blog, it’s important to realize that every detail counts. Don’t start with a default theme and ‘hello world’ – like posts and then ask for links. Try to start with 2-3 good written subjects. Always plan ahead and write today, tomorrow’s post.
  • Always link from your blog. Link to as many quality websites as possible. Don’t be afraid to “spread your PR thin” or some other BS like that. Link to good posts of people, link to good newspaper articles, and most importantly, link to relatively unknown blogs/websites that feature a good original story. In most cases that will yield you some free PR. Most other websites (like PrWeb or blogs etc) have trackback plugins so they’ll feature your story in their comments.
  • Read Quadzilla’s 9 rules about blogging (disregard rule #10) and Seth Godin’s how to get traffic for your blog post.
  • I use the Bloglines, Technorati and Google Blogs pings to update those services immediately and not wait for services like Pingomatic to notify them hourly.

  • Design, Content, Accessibility and Usability Marketing

  • The quality of the layout and design matters. Don’t release an ugly, badly design website. I would rather wait to do a much better design and release the website afterwards. The same situation for websites that are already online. Got an ugly design ? Redesign the website. It’s proven that a new, more beautiful and accessible design for a website strongly increases the likelihood of bookmarking, re-visiting, and subscribes to the feed and newsletters.
  • Write with the user in mind. A BAD post example is like writing a long citation of another blog-post/authority site, and actually writing no opinion of your own. Try to add your own analysis and views of the subject. No matter how many other websites blogged or wrote about a story, they will never write the same post as yours, with the same pro’s and con’s.
  • Spell check your content. There’s no other big mistake for a publishing site than users criticizing the misspells. Take those extra 2 minutes to check the spelling errors in Word or even Google.
  • Try to get your readers to comment and to involve themselves with the subject at hand. Uses phrases like “I’d like to know what you think?” / “I’m waiting your suggestions about …” etc.
  • If you can’t write good stories, don’t. Hire an experienced publisher to do the writing for you. John Scott hired Peter Da Vanzo to blog for V7N’s blog. Not because John can’t, but because he’s not the writing geek and because he wanted a professional blog. That does the job well for him and that can do the job well for you too.
  • If you have a website where people can pay online for products, make the job easy. Put a BIG button or text, use multiple processors like 2CO, Paypal etc. Don’t hide the payment link in some footer or sidebar space. Make it visible. If you don’t have your own shopping cart, then let the visitor know that he will be redirected to a 3rd party website, to complete the payment process.
  • Make sure the website is consistent in look, feel and design. Nothing is more disturbing to a visitor/customer than feeling as if they have just gone to another website. Keep colors and themes constant throughout the site. And yes, this is a marketing tool too. You DO want your visitors to come back right ?
  • If you have a content website, try to keep your posting frequency regular. If you decide to post 1 post per day, then post 1 post per day, every day, every week, 365 days/year. So what if it’s Christmas ? Just don’t make your posting habit irregular. Today 1 post, tomorrow 5 posts, 1 week no posts etc. That disturbs visitors and that will hurt your RSS subscribers and newsletter subscribers numbers.
  • Always personalize your e-mail responses, newsletters, invitations and any other material that ends up at your existing or possible future clients. Never send a bulk message. Most of the current clients get offended by such messages and the future possible clients will just ignore them.
  • Send out a “thank you” email to all existing customers and alert them about your plans for the next year.
  • Add interactivity to your website. Visitors need to have a communication highway one way or another. If you still haven’t included a commenting system, a forum, a blog or other interactivity systems to your website, do it now. Always ask questions from your readers and try to involve them in your world.
  • Create an (extensive) glossary of terms in your industry, like Aaron did for his industry: search engine marketing. That will set you apart and will make you an authority website in your niche.
  • Create powerful anti-spam blocks for your website. No-one will trust your authority if your website is full of spam. Use a Captcha module, or a math module, asking visitors to identify a string or to do a mathematical calculation before their comment gets approved. According to Akismet, 93% of (blog) comments are spam. Loren Baker’s Search Engine Journal got hit with 850.000 spam comments since he installed Akismet (thanks for the info Loren).
  • Put the accent on visitor experience not traffic. Traffic is useless if you can’t convert it into paying customers. A visitor experience optimized website with 500 visits/day can bring you twice the income then an un-optimized one with 10.000 visits/day.
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