5 Newsletter Writing Tips

Are you considering adding a newsletter to your website but need some newsletter writing tips to get you started?

Do you have concerns like: How much of my time is this going to take up? How long should each email be and how many emails should I send out in total? What if I no longer have anything relevant to say? Can I keep up the quality of my newsletter over a certain length of time?

The first thing that you must remember is to always offer some interesting and useful information. You will no longer have any subscribers if you do not. Next, you will want your newsletter to remain fairly short. These days, people are inundated with emails, so they will appreciate it if you send them something that they can quickly scan and then put to good use.

Put some thought into the best possible format for your emails. You will want a model that can be easily reproduced week after week. To make your job simplier, you can choose any one of the following newsletter writing tips as your standard format or you can combine them, whichever. The final choice is yours.

1. Tip of the Week

Come up with at least 24 tips on your main topic. You could brainstorm a specific topic and get enough content for at least 6 months of weekly newsletters. When you focus on your area of expertise this should not be a problem. You will find it best to do this by (a) explaining the problem and then (b) offering a tip that will solve the problem. The length of each email should be from 150-500 words.

2. Top Ten

This format is easy to create and it works. For example, if you are an expert in health and fitness you could give advice on the "Top Ten Health and Fitness Tips","Top Ten Tummy Flattening Techniques", "Top Ten Weight Loss Tricks for 2007". Be sure not to go over board with the word length, just a few sentences for each tip will be fine, not half the page.

3. Three Ways to...

Finding ten ways to do things can sometimes be a little challenging. A quick newsletter tip is to provide only three tips instead; it is much simpler and can be alternated with the "Top Ten" format.

4. Before and After

Just like the "Tip of the Week" format, this tip introduces a problem and then immediately provides a solution. The "before and after" format does however work better with case studies as this is one way of interacting directly with your clients.You can ask them to send in details of something in their possession that requires a makeover; such as a website page, an article, their wardrobe etc, and then you can present them with your solutions.

Or you can ask for "before and after" examples from your readers who have been able to do this themselves, and with their permission show them to your other subscribers. (If you are using text only format for your newsletter, then you can include a link to your website page which has the photos on it). This especially works well if your newsletter is related to health and fitness - the photos will motivate your readers when they see the changes of others through diet and exercise, even weight training.

5. Checklists

Are you trying to learn something new? There is nothing quite like the checklist format to make sure that you do not leave out any steps along the way. Checklists can really save loads of time and your readers will appreciate getting one. All you will need to do is write a short introductory paragraph, make your list and then close with some final tips. You can base the whole of your newsletter on the checklist format, or you can just present one on occasion as a change from the regular newsletter format.

One final tip: You may want to set up a yahoo or gmail account just for your newsletters. Spend some time checking out websites related to your interests, and subscribe to their newsletters. Occasionally, check your emails and study what layout other editors are using. If you see a specific format that you like, print it out and put it in an "ideas" folder. Just unsubscribe from those that are only filled with never-ending sales pitches or junk.


About the Author: Connie McKenzie is a full-time work at home mom who is dedicated to providing detailed information on various subjects including working from home. Discover how you can build a website and turn it into a profitable online business, watch the free video at => http://www.getqualityresults.com.

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Web Hosting & Search Engine Optimization

By Dawn Rowlett (Certified Search Engine Positioning Specialist)

If you feel that everything possible has been done to your web site to meet all high search engine ranking criteria and you still do not find your site ranked at the top of search engines, you web hosting service may be to blame...

How Can My Web Host Affect My Rankings?

If your server is not guaranteed to be up 99.9% of the time, there is a good chance your site will be down when a spider or editor visits your pages. If your site is not viewable, it could be detrimental to your rankings.

If you do not have twenty-four hour access to your files, this will eventually slow the optimization process of your site.

Free hosting services can be slow, often require pop-up ads and experience frequent down time.

There could be numerous banned web sites being hosted from your server or from the very same IP address that your site resides on.

What You Want In A Hosting Service For Successful Search Engine Optimization...

A unique I.P. address for each of your sites. (There is some controversy over the necessity of this, but we highly recommend having a unique I.P. address for each site and that you are sharing your I.P. with no one. If you are sharing your IP with multiple sites, the search engines could automatically ignore your site if there have been many incidents of spamming from other sites using the same IP as you are using.)

Guaranteed 99.9% up-time -- Be sure to monitor this.

A service that allows you twenty-four hour access to your files.

The ability to up-load files at YOUR convenience.

Technical assistance that is available at least during business hours on normal occasions.

Following the above tips will give your site one more added boost to increasing the accessibility of your pages for better indexing and ranking potential.

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This article, entitled "Web Hosting & Search Engine Optimization" was written by Dawn Rowlett of Web Submission Services to inform web site owners of the importance of choosing a quality web hosting service. Please visit Web Submission Services Search Engine Marketing service and information center for more information on the proper steps to take when preparing your web site for Search Engine Advertising with ethical search engine optimization practices.

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The Three Worst Marketing Mistakes You Can Make

Marketing is what we do that puts us in a position to make a sale. Good marketing makes selling easier. Bad marketing may make selling impossible.

We market to strangers so some of them will raise their hand with at least potential interest in what we have on offer.

We market to our clients and customers in order to move them up to the next level of products or services.

Most of us put a lot of time, money, and effort into marketing. For must of us it is the key activity we use to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

But when we don't deliver on the promises we make in our marketing we unleash the deadly 3/33 viruses on ourselves.

The 3/33 virus will destroy the marketing we have done in the past and it will make it very difficult to successfully market - at least to some prospects - in the future. And for the most part the 3/33 virus is a do-it-to-yourself process.

The 3/33 virus is word of mouth marketing on steroids - in reverse. Here's how it works.

When you fulfill a promise, deliver excellent service, come in under budget, and save your customer more money than you said you would - they might tell 3 people. And that usually is because you asked them for referrals.

But if you screw up, don't do what you said you would do, or fail to deliver in any way - in your customer's mind - they will tell at least 33 people. This can be disaster.

You know I am speaking the truth. Remember the last time you got poor service in a restaurant and how many people you went out of your way to tell about it?

Here are three ways to guarantee that all the marketing you've done will backfire on you.

Don't Do What You Said You'd Do

In 2006 I met the author of a marketing book at the Search Engine Strategies event in New York City. I had been receiving his email newsletter and had heard a few things about the book. A table where he could autograph books had been set up for him at the Search Engine Strategies meeting. When there was no one around I approached him and found him to be a very insightful person, someone whose book would probably be of value to our readers.

He offered to send me a review copy and I thanked him. After the event I emailed him a note with my mailing address. I never received the book. I received several emails to the address I had given him, but they were solicitations sent to everyone he'd come across at the search engine event.

I don't know if he never intended to follow up with his promise, or if he turned it over to someone else, or what. The bottom line is that I will never have anything positive to say about him, his organization, or his book. That can't be what this marketer had in mind when he went to the time, trouble, and energy to come to New York.

Disappear With Your Customer's Money

The Internet makes it possible to hire people you will never see to do something you can not do and really have no way of knowing it will work until it's too late, and pay them via your PayPal account before they've even begun to do the work.

I have done this several times without incident. Recently however I hired someone, on the strength of another person's recommendation, who kept my money and disappeared. He had promised to do the work within 48 hours of receiving my payment. But instead I heard nothing from him for six weeks, at which point he contacted me to see if there was some way to make up for his failure to follow through.

I was astounded, but since I'd already paid him I asked him to do something that was worth less than half of what he'd already been paid. Hey, we all deserve a second chance. What happened? Nothing, I never heard from him again.

It's hard to say if I would have ever needed his services in the future anyway - so it was just a tedious time consuming event for me, getting someone else to do the job and so forth. But what did it do to the relationship I had had with the person who recommended him?

This was someone I trusted. Now I have to think twice about anything he has to sell me. And I am not going to tell my friends to do business with him in the future. Why would I take the chance he will recommend something or someone whose lack of performance comes back to bite me?

Embarrass Your Boss

Everybody's got to serve somebody was a line in one of Bob Dylan's songs. So no matter who you are or the position you have in your outfit - you do have a boss, maybe many of them.

Prior to events where I am registered as part of the media horde, I receive a stream of emails from companies that are making presentations or have exhibits there. A week before the 2007 Search Engine Strategies meeting in New York I received an interview request from the PR firm representing an organization I wanted to learn more about.

Actually I received three emails from them, each with open time slots, so I could chose one of the remaining times for the interview.

This is the way it's always done. By the time I get to the site I have several one on one interviews set up with people whose message, I think, will be of value to our readers. So I emailed my choice of day and time, from one of the remaining time slots.

In this case however, the PR person never go back to me. How was that possible, that was his job?

I was curious about the lack of follow up, from a PR person no less, so I printed out the email I'd sent and took it along with me to the meeting.

On the second day of the search engine conference I scoured the exhibit halls and eventually found the person I had wanted to interview. I still wanted to talk with him if we could work out the time.

You can imagine his response to my story and the copy of my email when I presented it to him.

You can also guess the fate of the PR firm who had mishandled their account. It seems I was not the only person affected by this - one of whom was an industry leader the boss really wanted to meet.

So, who's your boss? Whose opinions are important to you? Who do you serve? Are you doing everything you can and more to make sure you aren't disappointing or embarrassing them?

How can you be sure to avoid the three worst marketing mistakes? Only make promises you can keep, and keep the ones you make. It's as simple as that.


About the Author: If you want to leverage what you are already doing right visit the 21st Century Peer Groups for Wayne Messick's report based on his experience as a business consultant who offers a wealth of free information at http://www.iBizResources.com.

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What a difference a decade makes?

Ten years may not seem like a long time, but at the pace of change in business, it sometimes feels like a lifetime.

For example: When Outsource Marketing first launched in 1997, outsourcing was not some trendy term for staffing CSRs and software programmers in India. It would be eight years before Tom Friedman's The World Is Flat was published and introduced people to the notion that the global economy had arrived.

Marketing has changed even more dramatically during the past 10 years than any other similar period in the past. Why? Technology and its incredible impact on how we access and process information.

In 1997:
* There were fewer than 500,000 Internet Web sites
* Google, YouTube, MySpace or the iPod didn't exist
* Cell phones were just phones

Now there are more than 100 million Web sites, 35 million blogs, and cell phones are hand-held computers that can multitask phone calling, text messaging, photography, video downloading, digital music files and an endless variety of games. It was in 2004 O'Reilly Media coined the phrase Web 2.0--a group of second generation Web-based services.

A decade ago, high-tech acronyms such as CRM, PPC, SEO, MP3, DSL and DVR were yet to join the lexicon. Television consisted of sports, movies and shows you watched on a set in the living room and maybe on another in the kitchen or bedroom. Now TV programming--all 580 channels--can now be TiVo'd, recalled on demand or viewed on a laptop, MP3 player or cell phone. Cable providers now offer high-speed broadband, as well as local and long-distance phone services.

New tech, new media, new Marketing

What does all this mean for marketers? A change in the landscape, a whole new set of consumer and customer segments and a wealth of new tools that still must be smartly deployed and effectively targeted.

Marketing in today's crowded, infoglutted world is more exciting than ever, but it's challenging in new ways. Here are three key dynamics affecting small and mid-market businesses, and some new media strategies to connect customer with your message.

1. Marketing is now in the hands of the people.

As coined by Peter Kim, from Forrester Research in Reinventing the Marketing Organization, participation is now the fifth "p" joining price, product, placement and promotion.

Whether it's blogs, consumer produced Super Bowl commercials or e-mail sharing, customers have never been in such control. Embrace that change. Give your customers opportunities to generate testimonials, feedback and suggestions for product improvements. Allocate time to listen to what they say and respond promptly and honestly. Product and service improvements start with feedback from your own customers.

Instead of being talked at, customers now expect being talked to. Wikis, e-mails, live chat, bulletin boards, texting and video sharing are just some of the ways the word gets spread. Start with the right product (that's never out of date), couple it with good customer service, and you won't need to be afraid of interactive communication--as much communication as you can handle.

American Idol and similar television reality shows are the epitome of the new customer participation model. Instead of just sitting back and watching shows, viewers are now choosing who they want to see by voting. Be creative and think about how you could develop your own company's "fan base." With the technology tools now available, you can deepen your relationships with customers and create the dialogue that leads to loyalty.

2. Online media are mandatory in today's marketing mix.

The Internet continues to absorb more and more of the advertising dollar, leaving other media with less. Newspaper readership is declining. Network TV ratings have declined steadily over the past 10 years. With Internet search engines, consumers can find what they want, rather than be pushed toward purchases with advertising messages. In fact, 66 percent of high school students report that they get their news and information from Web portals such as Yahoo! and Google. More than one-half of U.S. broadband customers said that a recent purchase was influenced by an online message (36 percent by shopping sites and 15 percent by search sites), exceeding the impact of TV commercials (11 percent) and magazine ads (6 percent), according to a 2007 study by market researcher Media-Screen.

"Even the most intensive users of newspapers and magazines spend less time reading these publications than they do online or watching TV," a 2007 Jupiter Research study confirmed.

While a Web site is a marketing "must-have" for today's businesses, additional online presence is also required. E-mail newsletters, blogs, interactive Web elements (videos, podcasts, direct response tools) keep your site fresh and relevant. Targeted e-newsletters are a great way to provide inexpensive yet highly valued information of interest to customers and prospects. New tools now make it easy to personalize the messages and track e-mail opens and click-through rates.

3. Integration is the key to success.

Do all these new media seem like a bit much for any one customer? Possibly. Most people average more than 3,000 commercial message exposures a day, and the volume continues to grow. (Reality check: After you've bought your next $12 movie ticket, count the commercials and previews you have to sit through before the film begins). Creating clear, concise messages that are smoothly integrated is absolutely crucial to successful customer communications.

That's because, despite all the new technologies, this marketing principle hasn't changed: You must start with a relevant position, supported by consistent communications, to achieve a desired position with your target audience.

It used to be that companies could get away with broadcasting clever commercials that generated awareness, and even sales. Now, thanks to infoglut, your company and product and service positioning must be clearly evident across all media. Every customer contact point--how you answer your phone, your e-mails, your customer service and your advertising--need to project the reason why your company provides a unique, relevant value for your intended audience.

Ten years goes by quickly, doesn't it? In 1997, Outsource Marketing started as a way to help companies get the best, most efficient marketing. Even as we strive to keep pace with evolving trends, that remains our most fundamental mission.


About the Author: Kathy Cox, Outsource Marketing's Marketing Integrator and New Media Strategist, is a former marketing executive and entrepreneur who negotiated the Seattle Mariners' first cable TV contract, helped launch Northwest Cable News and founded ParentOrganizer. Having worked on both the client and agency sides of the business, she is uniquely qualified to provide a wide variety of clients with strategic guidance on utilizing new media channels.

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10 Ways To Increase Your 10 Ways To Increase Your Targeted Web Site Traffíc

By Titus Hoskins (c) 2007

In order to create a successful website you must have traffic or visitors to your site. Without traffic your perfect site is useless; it might as well not even exist.

Moreover, because traffic is an essential element of any successful site, many novice webmasters make the mistake of believing all traffic is created equal.

Huge mistake.

For if traffic is King; targeted traffic is God. All traffic is good, but there is a great distinction between ordinary traffic and targeted traffic. Someone clicking on a link to your site who is looking for the exact information or product you have displayed is said to be a targeted visitor. These are the kinds of visitors or traffic you must try to obtain in your marketing and link building.

Why?

Because targeted traffic is often the key to building a successful site on the web. Targeted traffic will greatly increase your sales conversions, bring back repeat visitors and help your site gain a prominent online presence.

So here are 10 targeted traffic building steps you can take:

1. Google Is God!

Only half-kidding but at least where targeted traffic is concerned, Google is still the all important being you should be worshiping online. Don't ignore the other two major demigods Yahoo! and MSN, but Google will deliver most of your traffic. Your website stats will point this out to you daily, so you must optimize your site for Google.

As a general rule make your pages Google friendly by only using one topic per page, include your keywords in the title, meta description and url for that page. It would also be helpful to have your main keywords in the first headline on the page and most experienced webmasters try to place their keywords in the first 90 words and in the last 25 words. Sprinkle your keywords and variations throughout the copy but don't keyword sp@m, just let the engines know this is what your page is about.

2. Target The Right Keywords

You must target the right keywords in order to get useful traffíc to your site. You must first chëck the number of searches and amount of competition for your chosen keywords. You can use software like Keyword Elite or sites like www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ which will give you the Overture and WordTracker monthly stats to help you pick the right keywords for your site. Instead of picking highly competitive keywords, take the middle road and milk the 'long tail keywords'!

Most webmasters create a master keyword list for their site then branch off into sub-categories from this master list. For example, if you have a site on laptops your sub-keyword categories could be laptop accessories, laptop batteries and so on. Similarly, most webmasters only develop their sites in a simple hierarchy with the homepage as the center with their major keywords as separate pages and then sub-categories branching out from these. Your web pages should not be more than three clicks away from your homepage as this will really displease the search engine gods!

3. Have Relevant Content

Perhaps what will appease the SE gods the most is relevant content. Your content has to be relevant to the topic of your site. Keep everything on topic and within the scope of your site.

Relevant, helpful content will also be the biggest magnet for targeted traffic. Surfers are usually looking for information, give them what they want and your site will reap the rewards. Original, high quality, relevant content will draw in targeted traffic to your site so make sure you have some good content to satisfy your visitors and the search engines.

4. Let The Search Engines Find You

Instead of submitting your site to the search engines, let them find your site. One of the best ways to do this is by placing your links on high traffic/spidered sites: on online forums matching your site's content, on social networks such as MySpace, YouTube, Squidoo... and on article directories like Ezinearticles, Goarticles, and Ideamarketers. The search engines will follow these links and index your site before you even know it.

5. Use Traffic Modules

One of the most effective ways to bring in targeted traffic is to create traffic modules: whole areas of your site devoted to one sub-topic. For example, if you have a general site on cars, you could develop a whole section on a car-buying guide. Another section could be on car accessories, link all these pages together into a neat traffic cluster on your site. The search engines will love these closely grouped pages and reward you with lots of targeted traffic.

6. Use Articles

Don't forget article marketing, just because it has become extremely popular doesn't mean it has become any less effective. Writing short helpful informative articles on your site's topic is still one of the best ways to get targeted traffic to your site. Place your links with your targeted keyword anchor text in the resource box.

Article marketing is an invaluable source not only of targeted traffic but also one-way links to your site. These links will help increase your rankings, especially in Google which considers each link as a democratic vote for your site and ranks each page with a PageRank PR 0-10.

Articles are also extremely important for pre-selling to your potential customers. These articles warm or soften up your prospective buyers to your sales pitch before they even reach your site.

7. Build Opt-in Lists

Most marketers and webmasters use opt-in lists to bring targeted visitors back to their sites. Instead of just receiving that visitor once, you can get repeat visits by using a simple follow-up system with an autoresponder. Studies have consistently shown it might take 6 or 7 follow-ups before a potential customer buys.

Building a subscriber list will also be helpful in creating a web community around your site. These community members may become your most targeted of all your visitors. Likewise, you should have a bookmark feature on all your pages, any repeat visitor is a targeted visitor!

8. Have Blogs & RSS Feeds

Make sure you have a blog and RSS feed attached to your site. This will not only bring in targeted traffíc but your visitors can also subscribe to your RSS feed. This will bring targeted visitors back to your site. Use a free site like Google's own www.blogger.com or better yet create your own blog using free software such as WordPress.

9. Use Social Media

Build links and contacts in all the important social media networks such as MySpace, YouTube and Flickr. These social networks are a great source of very targeted traffic.

10. Use Multimedia

Perhaps the biggest opportunity to build targeted traffic is using video and audio media on your site. These will help personalize your message or content and build trust with your visitors. Video clips also have a great viral potential which will bring in traffic.

Sites such as YouTube, Google Video can help you get your message or content in front of millions of eyes overnight. Savvy marketers are already exploiting the traffic potential of this new multimedia trend overtaking the web. Why should they have all the fun? You too, can take advantage of these free media sites and pull in targeted traffic to your site.

Of course, there are many more ways of getting targeted traffic to your site. But just using one or two of these techniques should increase your targeted traffic in the coming months. Appease the traffic gods by putting these steps into practice and see for yourself.

About The Author
The author is a full-time online marketer. For the latest and most effective web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Software Or for the most powerful marketing software try: Internet Marketing Tools Copyright � 2007 Titus Hoskins. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

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Search Engine Optimization And Search Marketing For Start Ups

Startup Companies often have big dreams and a small budget. Using pay per click (PPC) advertising like Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and MSN adCenter alone to draw traffic may not be financially feasible.

A successful startup should opt for a more balanced, frugal approach to getting traffic to their landing pages; one which incorporates generic search result traffic. Using a blend of limited PPC advertising and content optimization can yield the best return on an SEO investment.

Strategy One for Startup Companies: Split Tests & Pay Per Click

Whenever you conduct a pay per click campaign you should always run split tests to see which ads are most effective. An A - B split test is the most simple, and practical method. Simply create two ads for the same keywords and run both ads in conjunction. Which ever ad has a higher score, try and determine why. Discontinue the less successful ad and create another ad and accentuate the features of the better selling ad. Iterate this split testing process to come up with the best ads.

Often, simply looking at the top ads is a great way to get started--learn what you can from the best!

Another short note when conducting a pay per click management campaign; often it is wise to only bid on ads on the Google or Yahoo! search results, and not their content networks. Google's content network ads are not as visible and will hurt your ad's quality score due to the lower click thru rate the ads will have on the content networks.

Strategy Two for Startup Companies: Keyword Optimization

Purchasing a software program like AdWords Analyzer or getting a membership at WordTracker.com is essential to effective search engine optimization. The goal with using these programs is to find relevant search phrases that are are searched heavily but without much competition. Once these search phrases are detected, you can start optimizing your page's content for these keywords.

Links have always been the staple of search engine page rank algorithms. Google currently uses link text to determine page relevancy; that is, the words the anchor tags are placed around that link to your site help Google determine what keywords are relevant in relation to your site's content. If I linked to your site with the link text "Polish Sausage" Google will think have a clue that your site is relevant to sausage sales.

The question then becomes, "How do I get the right links pointing to my site with the right keywords in the linked text?" That might be difficult if you didn't do it yourself; thus you must do it yourself.

You'll want to find sites with a high page rank to post your links on; message boards will not do. Decent Search Engine Marketing will require you to sign up for sites like Associated Content, Squidoo, and eZine Articles. Create your own content and have link text that is keyword specific to the various pages you are linking to. Watch, you rankings will improve and you'll make money posting content to some of these sites as well.

In conclusion, incorporating a blend of pay per click and organic search engine optimization will dramatically improve your page rank and your landing page scores. Google, and the rest of the engines are getting smarter; keyword optimization is just the tip of the iceberg! If your money low, time high, this balanced attack strategy can be an incredibly effective course of action with a great return on your investment.


About the Author: Dave Davis is the managing director of RedFly Marketing - Pay Per Click Management & runs an SEO Blog.

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Earning Customer Trust Online

Building customer trust online is a combination of good branding, good design, and good content. A website needs all three components to be successful in creating a climate of trust that encourages sales.

Branding is about finding a specific idea that you stand for, finding a way to own that idea in a credible way, and ultimately building a total trust that you will always deliver.

Branding for Success

Maybe you think only big businesses need to be branded, but I'd challenge that thought by telling you this - As soon as you open your doors for business (either physically or metaphorically) you become a brand in the eyes of everyone who sees you or buys from you. The only choice you have is to become either a negative brand, undifferentiated brand, or a powerful, motivating brand.

Good branding on a website immediately lets a visitor know what you can do for them. In other words, don't brand your business by a generic term like "gardening." Instead, brand your business by showing the uniqueness of what you offer with a benefit statement, "Container gardening for unhappy apartment dwellers who want to be surrounded by nature."

With Internet branding, you want to present your brand so customers can interact with your message and interact with your site. On the Internet, your prospects have total control of what they see, read, and hear. That's why traditional advertising doesn't work on the Net.

Design Considerations

Visitors are interacting with your site when they are shopping. The Internet gives you total control over what your prospective customer sees. Their shopping experience needs to be positive or you lose the sale. According to a 2002 survey by the Stanford Credibility Project, 46% of respondents said that design plays a role in a websites creditability. Even a reputable brand with a poorly designed website would cause people to leave.

Just like in a crowded store, where you can't find the section you are looking for, a crowded/cluttered website confuses a prospective buyer. Have the website set up with simple graphics and navigation. What you need to do is remove all the obstacles from the selling process. To increase the click-thru rate, your site must offer instant gratification in terms of comprehension and clarity.

Remember, customers are entering your site at different points, so it is important that your brand message is clear on every page of your website. Try to have a consistent look on the site that matches your offline branding. Keep the same colors on your website so that they match your offline marketing materials.

Trustworthy Content

Creating content that gives your customer a sense of safety and security is also a way of building trust with your customer. Fraud and identity theft are big concerns for online shoppers. Sadly, according to Forrester Research, 71% of online shoppers don't believe the retailer can protect them from fraud. So, they are reluctant to give out financial information. Consumers also believe that only 49% of companies will protect their privacy.

Website visitors need to feel that the information they give to a website will be held in confidence. Before asking someone to give you their email address, be sure you have a privacy policy statement. Make sure the privacy statement is near the email sign-up.

To reassure your website visitors of a secure financial transaction, use the security certification seals of Verisign, Hackersafe, and Thawte. Make sure the seals are prominently displayed on the shopping cart and throughout the checkout process. Forrester research found that sites using these certification seals had a 14% increase in conversion rates.

Another technique is to use privacy seals from BBB online and TrustE. These third party logos communicate that your company can be trusted and have met a standard of measurement for reliability. These seals need to be placed throughout the website: near email signups, registration, cart, and checkout.

Communicate to Build Trust

Building trust online comes down to clearly communicating with your customer. Something as simple as failing to communicate the total purchase price upfront, will lead to shopping cart abandonment. Forrester research found that 57% of shoppers will abandon a shopping cart because the shipping charges were more than they expected.

The goal of an online business should be to create an environment of worry free shopping. Create a website that makes a visitor feel safe, clearly expresses the company's brand through good design, and boosts website conversions through trustworthy content.


About the Author: Michelle Howe, MBA, president of Internet Word Magic, specializes in writing irresistible copy for websites. Transform the way you do business. Visit her website at http://www.InternetWordMagic.com for a free chapter download of her new book "Turn Browsers into Buyers".

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Advanced Link Building: Advanced Link Building: Hosted Content, The Quest for the Perfect Link

By Frederick Townes

Ask Google, search engines love links. Of course, they love some links more than others. For example, a simple link exchange (reciprocal link) doesn't have as much value to search engines and so, it doesn't receive the same weíght as a non-reciprocal (one-way) link � the theory being that a one-way, in-bound link is a recommendation from a site owner to visit this linked site. The link, itself, is testament to the quality of the site being referred.

Article Syndication

In recent years, many sites have employed article syndication to develop links. These site owners write (or have written) articles of interest to a particular audience. The site owners then offër these articles to other relevant sites free in exchange for a link back to the originator of the content in the "about the author" section of the article. In this way, a single site owner can submit dozens of articles for syndication receiving an inbound link from each article in return for the frëe use of content. They can also watch other sites post the content virally to keep their sites fresh, as well.

Sites need fresh content so many will happily display your article and provide a link to your site. It's a tried and true link building tactic. However, search engines are programmed to seek out the most natural, and therefore valuable, links they can find.

The way articles are syndicated is through sites like goarticles.com and ezinearticles.com. The standard format for the display of the article is: headline, article body followed by a small blurb about the author with a link back to the author's site. Since those links appear in the body of the page, they appear to be more valuable in comparison to most purchased or reciprocal links which often appear at the bottom of a page column, or in the footer surrounded by lots of other links � somewhat effective, but not necessarily the best way to acquire inbound links.

In addition, syndication leads to duplication when a single article appears on 10 sites all at the same time. This diminishes the quality of the text and the back link to the author's site. It's still more valuable than a plain link exchange, but search engines are placing less emphasis on syndicated content. So, what's a site owner to do?

Hosted Web Content

It goes by many different names: content swapping, advertorials, pre-sell pages and hosted content � all basically the same idea.

The way hosted content works is that you, the author, pay a site owner to display your article. However, now, instead of the back links to your site coming at the end of the article, you embed those links in the body of the text surrounded by your target keywords and actually useful content for the reader. In the "eyes" of a search engine, this is among the highest valued back link.

Hosted content is basically renting a page on another site with links to your site embedded in the main body of the article. The web site that hosts the content receives payment from the author plus fresh content, the author gets a valuable back link and visitors to the hostíng site get useful content.

This strategy isn't new. It's simply doing what search engines want us to do � produce content that's useful, beneficial and appears on quality sites. Not only does a quality piece of content receive more visibility when hosted on an authoritative site, it also delivers increased benefit to the author, and the page may even rank itself for target key phrases. When a major site hosts your content, you gain from its page rank in strong testimonials and referrals. Whether or not the site owners want to monetize their site by allowing approved authors to post content is the same debate as whether or not links should be bought and sold. However, publishing high quality, unique and useful content, rather than just creating inflated link popularity with diminishing returns, is, in comparison, a tested SEO tactic.

Designing a Hosted Content Page

You're paying for the placement of this content so you want it to be good. In the eternal quest for successful link bait, you also want the content to be ranked by search engines because it provides real value to the reader and is hosted on an authoritative site.

Design the hosted content page using standard SEO conventions: a keyword savvy title, header <>, subheads <> and a keyword density of less than 5%. Any higher and search engines may consider the content to be "spamish" regardless of where the content appears.

Now comes the most important part. As you write the article, carefully place links to topically relevant pages on your own site within the body of the article's text. These are high value links that will improve your SEO. However, it's also important to place your articles on sites that are topically related to your piece (and probably already rank for related topics). The authority of the site hostíng your content, the relevance of the site (topically speaking) and that back link make your site look stronger as far as search engines are concerned. Also, remember that the quality of the content to which you link also matters. Link to strong pages (those with quality back links) on your site, as well. Your article should reference other authoritative, relevant articles so that search engines see that your piece was written to offër real value to readers.

It's Not Quantity, It's Quality

It's no longer simply a matter of how many links point to a site. There are many cases of sites in which 50 quality links outrank sites with hundreds of links. It's not quantity, it's the quality of the links that improve ranking in the SERPs.

Editorial links (links in hosted content) are more "natural" from a search engine's perspective and, therefore, more valuable because the article has, at most, two or three targeted links pointing to your site's pages. Just like quality link bait, which is unique, original and useful content, quality hosted content on respected sites will also naturally develop its own back links - the ultimate validation and the desired outcome of placing quality content. Finally, because these links are found on pages optimized with your keywords, search engines will consider them extremely relevant to the subject at hand.

Start Your Hosted Content Campaign Today

It's being done everyday, successfully building small sites into largër sites, providing frëe advertising for the thought-leader/author, delivering less duplicate content to search engines and more new content (plus revenue) to the hostíng site and, perhaps most importantly, hosted content actually delivers useful, relevant information to readers � exactly what search engines rank in the first place. As with any link-building technique, hosted content can be abused, but topically authoritative sites are not going to accept content that does not meet their high standards � so everyone wins when the goals are white hat.

Start searching for websites that might be interested in hostíng your next article, or start looking for a site owner interested in content swapping. Create content that's unique, useful and well-written and you may find that you won't even have to pay a site owner to share your content with their readers � exactly how it should be.

About The Author
Frederick Townes in the owner of W3-EDGE. W3-EDGE is a Boston-based web design company specializing in W3C compliant and search engine friendly web design. Whether your needs fall into the Web 2.0 category or if you just need an attractive design that will convert your visitors into buyer, we have the solution for you.

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Web Traffic - Measurements and Other Essentials

After thorough research and consideration, you decided to put up an online business. Careful Internet marketing has been executed flawlessly and without much difficulty. You have your URL name. Your web site is very appropriate for your business and very attractive, too. You've done every search engine optimization technique you have read. Now, you wait... anticipating any site hits.

How many hits is your web site getting? How many products or ad spaces have you sold? How many visitors are going to your site? Are your links effective? Your mind is racing and these are the questions that have been bugging you since you started. One thing's for sure, you can glide through the discussion on Web traffic and site hits without knowledge of the following:

Definition

Web site traffic is the amount of visitors to your site and the pages they visit. It is the amount of data sent and received, which makes up the bulk of Internet traffic. It is important for you to monitor what are the pages most visitors like and their trends. It is vital that you understand what people are getting from it.

Web Traffic Measurements

It is important for you to know the metrics of web traffic because it is part of your marketing tactic. It is for you to understand the quality of visitors and to target the needs of your consumers. Profits and future dealings with partners will be based on their referrals.

A web hit is generated when a file is seen. A page view is when a visitor requests a page within the web site. The information collected are the following:

(a) number of visitors (b) number of page views for each visitor (c) duration of a user's visit (d) duration a page is viewed (e) most popular pages (f) most requested entry page (g) most requested exit page and (h) the source of links that lead to your web site.

There are various methods of measuring web site traffic. These include:

a. Server logs

All files that are requested are logged on a web server. It can be performed by the web server itself or you can use a customized software that records the requests for you. Advantages includes vital information updates, such as the popularity of the site and patterns of activity. The web site controls the logs. However, some information are lost because it cannot monitor activity outside of the server.

b. Panel Survey

A company is hired to pick a random volunteer to be part of a panel. A device is planted in their computer to record Internet activity. This is accurate because it can also determine the duration of page views. However, the disadvantage is that it is done in the home and the usual consumers are in the work place.

c. Browser Analysis

This is done by inserting a web tag in each page of the web site that will run once the user goes to the page. However, the privacy of the user is an issue and each item should be tagged, which could slow down traffic.

Regulate Web Traffic

Like any business, the consumers opinions and view are highly regarded. The amount of hits and web traffic will help you see possible mistakes and what the consumer really wants. This is your chance to improve your marketing tactics. It is in your hands if the web site increases, decreases or maintains the amount of traffic it gets. It is also vital that you protect some parts of your web site by allowing only authorized people to view them.

A good marketing strategy may increase web site traffic. This can be done by advertising or placement of your site on search engines. But placement only is not sufficient. Your web site should appear on the first page of the results page. Most people often do not bother going through the next page. As your web site is ranked lower, it diminishes the chance that someone will go through your site. Try using promotions and pop up ads to increase your web popularity. You can also trade links with other web sites.

Overload of Web Site Traffic

It is definitely devastating to learn that after months of waiting, your site had few hits. It is bad for business. However, it is also difficult if your web site is so popular that it causes overload to the web traffic. Too much traffic can prevent or slow down access to your site.

A sudden popularity of a site, for example, being a target of a news and email campaign, can cause web site traffic. Many sites had been forced to close due to sudden demand. Some were forced to resell private label rights.

It is important for any business to know what your customer needs. Making them happy will earn repeated visit to your web site. Investigating and understanding their concern is an ultimate factor to making a business successful. Making extra effort in getting web traffic can increase profits and will reap you huge benefits in the end.


About the Author: Jeremy Gislason is a leading expert on membership sites, marketing and online business. For more Online Traffic Strategies, Tips and Information visit MarketingExplosion.com.

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