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Online Income

Search Engine Optimization Basics

If you are creating a website or are considering it, one of the most important things you need to do for you site is search engine optimization. This is something that uses important keywords and keyword phrases that will help the different search engines out there find you site and rank it. If you think this is something that is difficult to understand, you would be wrong. However, it is very time consuming which means that you need to have patience when it comes to SEO. Those who do work as SEO consultants will offer a variety of different kinds of services but when it all comes down to it in the end, it is the website owners who is going to appreciate the optimization services that they get when they educate themselves on the fundamentals of SEO.

When it comes to the nature of website marketing, this is something that continues to evolve from optimizing the text to include a variety of different digital asset optimization like audio, video, images and different kinds of content delivery things like RSS and mobile. No matter how it has evolved, there is always going to be value in basic SEO for any website and any topic.

In a lot of different cases, especially when it comes to small websites or small businesses, there is a lot the owner or the webmasters or developer can do in order to try improve the search engine optimization friendliness of their site, like knowing the fundamental content optimization, before they even consider going out and getting any kind of outside help to get the job done. But those that don't end up outsourcing on page optimization as well as link building will often do so because they seem to have a lack of resources or maybe the lack of desire to do it on their own and they want to try to avoid any huge mistakes that they might end up making which could end up costing them a lot more in the end.

If you are considering doing your own basic SEO here are a few things you need to be aware of:
  • Make sure to clearly define and measure your goals of your site and make sure to take some benchmark measurements.
  • Do good keyword research and generate a personal glossary of the different keyword phrases that addresses you needs and your content for publishing.
  • Make a content creation plan. This could be an editorial calendar for your website. You must be able to plan on creating some good keyword sensitive content for you website that is on an ongoing basis.
  • Use a spreadsheet and do some keyword mapping. You will need to map your keywords to a page or some sort of category. The focus should be one to two phrases per page.
  • Be aware of your keyword phrase order.
  • Be aware of keyword prominence on the Internet so that you don't use to may overused keywords.
  • Make sure that all images have alternate text that are keywords.
  • Make sure to always use hyphens in all file names and never use underscores.
  • Make sure to implement and review the different web stats for trends, behavior of visitors, how well the content is performing, referring traffic. Use things like Google Analytics, WebTrends, ClickTracks, Index Tools and HitsLink Enterprise.



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Using Social Media to Help Promote Your Business Web Site

Social media can be an important part of promoting your business and business website if you are trying to reach more customers. Your customers will be able to interact with your brands via social media and so having a strong social media presence on the Internet is really going to be key to getting their interest. If it is done correctly you can achieve pretty good success for your business.

Social media marketing or SMM is a type of Marketing done on the Internet that tries to implement different social media networks so it can achieve marketing communication and the branding goals of the business owner. This primarily done through activities that involve social sharing of different kinds of content, images and videos.

Before anyone can start using social media to promote their business website they need to have a social media marketing plan. This is where you do some brainstorming of ideas for goals. Some of the goals that SMM can achieve are:
  • Bring traffic to website
  • Conversions
  • Awareness of brands
  • Making a brand identity
  • Communication and interaction with key customers

Some of the best tips for SMM can help you get started building traffic to your site by:
  • Planning – Need to brainstorm and research ideas for content that are going to interest the target customers.
  • Content is Key – Content needs to be consistent and interesting and it needs to offer valuable information that customers are looking for. You need to make a variety of different types of content by using images, videos and informational content.
  • Consistent Brand Image – Make sure the brand image is consistent for all types of social media marketing.
  • Blog – A blog is a great tool for social media marketing because it lets you be able to share with all who come to your site read about events of your business or other things and it can be used for contests and other events as well.
  • Links – Make sure to have links on the site that are connected to other sites with valuable information the target audience might be interested in. These need to be reliable outside sources.
  • Tracking Competitors – It is important to always keep track of what the competitors are doing by keyword research.
  • Use Analytics to Measure Success – Always include Google Analytic to track data otherwise you won't really know what's going on with your website.

Some of the top social media sites that you need to use to help promote your business are:
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Linkedln
  • YouTube
  • Reddit

All of these can help build traffic to your business website in a variety of different ways so it is important that you know how to use them and then implement the tools that they each offer for promoting your website through them.


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Top Tips for Good Web Design

If you are considering designing your own website and you've never done it before, there are a lot of things that you need to consider when it comes to web design. There are far too many things that you can do to a website that will only frustrate your visitors and make them never want to return, and it's nothing that you intended to happen. However, most of the common mistakes made are things that are very easy to fix or to prevent in the first place.

It is important that all of your pages on your site contain good content and offer something valuable to your visitors. Even though this is not actually part of web design itself, it is probably even more important than the actual design of your website. Sure you may want to make your site look pretty and attractive but if you have nothing interesting or valuable to offer your visitors beauty will fall by the wayside. And if you are trying to make money from advertising on the site make sure that you don't go over 25% ads and 75% content. You website has to have more than ads to be any kind of success. After all who would watch TV if there was nothing but ads and no programming?

Avoid loading your web design with sleazy items. Avoid distracting your visitors with a bunch of scrolling text, animated GIFs and sounds that auto load. A bunch of animation and sounds can be very distracting. No one finds it very easy to concentrate on trying to read what your site has to offer if there are all kinds of sounds and things flying all over the place. It would be like trying to read a book or newspaper all the while someone is poking you on shoulder or back continually. Plus not everyone has fast connections and they often resent websites that make it even slower for them to pull up a website.

If your web design includes a bunch of blinking ads or pop ups they will more than likely leave your website right away and not even consider clicking on anything to further explore your website. They won't bookmark it or tell others about it either.

Scrolling text is annoying for a variety of reasons but the biggest reason is that the visitor cannot read the text at their own personal pace. It forces them to read it at whatever pace you have the speed set at. This can cause them to just move on, even if they may have wanted to actually read it.

Always remember to design the site for your visitors not for yourself.

Not a single person likes pop up windows. The only reason why websites contain them is because the owner is thinking of their own personal interests and not that of the visitors. As the owner of the site you need to put yourself in the visitors shoes. So consider this when considering a pop up window. If it were you, which of the two reactions would you have if you went to a site that had pop ups?

1.) “Oooh a pop up window, oh boy! I really love websites with pop up windows! I am going to make sure I bookmark this site and come back often. I'm going to click on all the ads and links too cause I love pop ups so much.”

2.) “@#&$! Whoever did this site sure has no respect for me as their visitor! I'm out of here and don't plan to ever come back!”

So, which would be your reaction?

Never put text over any image backgrounds. The first thing this does is say “Hey! I'm an amateur!” Why? Because it is only amateurish websites that use this technique. Not only does this scream low quality but it also is a hint that the website is going to be user hostile in other ways as well. Often the ones with text over image backgrounds will also have very slow page load times and internal links that will pop up into new windows, links that are the same color as all the other text and a lot of cheap looking animated GIFs, tons of keyword stuffing and often a lot of misspelled words as well. These sites are often nearly impossible to navigate as well.

Make it easy to find things on your website and put a lot of thought into your organization. Think about your content and how it should be organized on your website. This is just as important as what your pages look like. Make sure that there is minimal clicking for the visitors. The fewer clicks there are for your visitors to get to the information you are offering is best. The more you force them to click around on the site the more likely they are going to leave your site.

If your homepage is what is called a splash page or a page that contains no useful information on it and just welcomes visitors, you need to get rid of it. Don't make your visitors have to knock on more than one door to get to your site. If your page doesn't have at least 400 words on it combine it with another short page. Also try to minimize scrolling as well.

You want to also make sure that each page on your website gives your visitors a way back to your homepage. Often if a visitor gets lost on a site they want an easy way to get back to the beginning in order to start over again. So always make sure all of your pages include some sort of text and link that either says “Home” or have a logo that takes them back. However, the word “Home” is probably the best because many visitors don't realize that logos will take them back.

Try to have several navigation menus on each page. Don't just put them on the bottom. It is advisable to put them on the top as well as on the left of all your pages. Try to avoid using frames in your web design as well. Even though it can be tempting to do so because it is easier to have the same header or menus all through the site. Studies show that users may consider frames easy to navigate there are downsides to them. The address bar won't change from page to page, so there is no easy way to bookmark or share a link with others and second when a page on your site in a frame set shows up on search engines visitors who click over to the page is only going to see the sub page and no surrounding frame.

Don't bog your website down with huge files, make sure all of your graphics are compressed into smaller files and don't use a lot of flashy multimedia that can actually ruin your entire site. Most people today try to avoid sites that are Java controlled and have a lot of Flash.

Make your text readable. There is a reason why newspapers print in columns. It is because the lines are shorter and easier for people to read. So, make sure that your text doesn't go past 650 pixels wide. Also make sure that your pages aren't too wide or too narrow. As of 2011, studies have shown that 99% of users now have screens that are at least 1024 x 768 pixels. You can get away with as small as 770 pixels wide and still please most users. So you should try to limit the page content to 1200 pixels or less.

Make sure the color combinations for text and background work and that the text on the page is large enough to read. Try to go with Verdana that is 11 or 12px or Arial that is 12 or 13px. On the average this is the most comfortable for most visitors. Never use more than one ! Either and avoid putting a lot of words in caps, a couple here and there is fine but not entire sentences or paragraphs. It's like you are screaming at people. Also never underline a word if it is not a link. When a word is underlined on most sites it generally means it's a link to someplace else and when you do use links make them blue or underlined or both because blue is probably used in 99% of all websites. And always make sure you explain what the link is.


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Top Tips To Increase Your Web Traffic

There are a lot of different ways in which you can increase web traffic to your website. Some of them are free and some of them are going to be costly. The most important thing to remember is that you need to use legitimate ways that are going to help boost the amount of visitors that you get to come to your website. If you simply can’t afford to spend a lot of money there are some good ways you can increase traffic that are free.

Probably the best and most important thing that you can do to increase web traffic is to try and offer things to visitors that they cannot find somewhere else or at least at a better quality level than they find elsewhere. You can do this by including some of the following:
  • Make sure that you include some good quality creative content that is useful and helpful. If you just put together a hodgepodge of information from another site really isn’t going to do much to help increase your web traffic. What you need is to offer your visitors information they might need to be able to reach a particular goal, help them solve a problem or to be entertained.
  • Make sure that your content is always fresh. This is important if you want people to come back. This means you need to do regular updates on your website, especially the areas that appear to get the most visits. You should try to put new content on your site every few days if possible, but if not you should update your website at least once per week.
  • Another important thing you need to be sure of is that all your tags are where they should be and done correctly. You also need to make sure that all the links you might have on your site are working and not broken.
  • Consider outsourcing your article writing. If you find it difficult to generate your own content or don’t have time, make sure that you try and create a writing team with savvy writers who specialize in the topics or topics of your website. But forget to still try to write some of your own articles.
  • Consider adding video relevant to your content on your landing pages. Good video is a good way to improve your page landings.
  • Consider adding contests to your website, this will always draw some web traffic to your site. Search on Google to find free sponsor programs that can help you set up contests.
Try some backlinking, this can help bring more traffic. By going to sites with similar content that allows either commenting or posting or both and add links to your posts that point their readers back to your website.

Make sure that you use a proofreader. Bad grammar and spelling reflects badly on you and the services you may offer. Also avoid using content generators. This once use to be the thing to do but it is no longer considered a useful tool. Very important note is never simply copy and paste content from another website. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN are far too sophisticated today and they can detect copied as well as unoriginal content which will send you to the bottom of the rankings list. Be sure to include keywords that make sense and flow easily within your content. The keywords need to relate to the content as well. Never over stuff keywords this too can result in low rankings.

You can also go to other sites that have similar topics as you site and not just any site you visit. They need to be quality sites. When you find high quality sites similar to your own you can approach them and ask if they exchange links. You should not over do this either. Don’t forget to include social media to help you get more visitors to come to your site. Consider posting some compelling content that will peak the interest of others who will follow and share your content with others by giving them the opportunity to share and like your content. It takes time to build a group of followers but once you do you should see others promoting your website without even being asked to do so.

Give some free stuff away. Everyone likes to get something for nothing. Some things you might consider are eBook or eBooks with an ad on it regarding your site. Offer free online classes or seminars. These could be held on your site in a chat room. Being “live” entices people more to visit. Free entry to contests is another way. Consider offering online services that are free or free utilities all of which they can access from your website. You also might consider offering free consulting to those who visit your site they can get it through email or even by phone. Consider offering visitors free screensavers or consider templates for cards, business cards, stationary or anything they can print out.

Finally consider using services such as USFreeads.net, Twitter, bloggvertise.com, drop flyers, chat rooms, Youtube, and Google Groups to help increase your traffic. Most importantly though, be patient. All of this can take time. It’s not going to happen over night.


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Some Simple Tips for Your Web Design

It is really important how your web design is set up if you want to attract visitors. How it is laid out, the colors, fonts and images that you include or exclude, are all important and can actually mean the difference between the success and the failure of your website.

If you are looking to attract visitors, keep them on your site and keep them coming back then you can do so by trying some of these simple tips for web design that should help you get the desired results that you are looking for.

Consider the following for your web design:
  • Make sure to have a professional looking logo that will link to your home page. The logo for your website is a very important part of the brand so you need to make sure it is located prominently on your website. You should always use a high resolution style image and try and put it on all of your pages, usually at the upper left corner.
  • Consider using intuitive navigation. Typically good navigation options are put in a horizontal menu bar along the top of a website. But don't forget to consider adding a secondary navigation that is either under the primary navigation or is located on the left margin of the website better known as the sidebar.
  • Make sure there is no clutter on your website. To keep your visitors on your website make sure that the pages don't have competing calls to action or better known as visual clutter such as lots of graphics, animated images and photographs. What this does is draw the visitors eyes away from the important information on the page. Also try to keep the paragraphs short, a single paragraph probably shouldn't be more than six lines.
  • Make sure visitors have breathing room. This means make enough space between your paragraphs and images so the visitor has time to breathe and is more able to take in all the other features on the website. By controlling the white space through the layout will help keep users more focused on the content.
  • Make sure that color is used strategically. By using a neutral color palette will help your website come off with a more elegant, modern and clean look. It is a good idea to use a color palette that complements your logo.
  • It is also a good idea to invest in professional photography or consider buying professional stock photos to add to your website. Poor quality photos do no good for the website and in fact if the quality is poor, it is better to not have any photos.
  • Make sure the fonts used are easy to read and can be read across different devices and different browsers. So make sure the font is one that can be easily read on all devices, so make sure that the font you choose is a universal one.
  • Make sure that all pages are designed like landing pages because they all need to have key information about the site and/or business you represent on each page. Not every visitor ends up on the homepage when they get to a website.
  • Because of an ongoing dispute between Adobe and Apple, it is wise not to include Flash on your website. The days of Flash as being the Internet standard is slowly coming to an end. For example HTML5 is becoming very popular and it has search engine friendly text and functions in most mobile operating systems without requiring any kind of plug ins like Flash does.
  • Make sure to include button with all of the web forms you have. It is important however, to make the submission buttons appealing to the visitors and when the visitor hovers over the button it needs to change color, opacity, gradient or font.
Finally it is important that you always make sure that you test out your design once you have put it all together to make sure how it works for different browsers, computers and other devices before you give the final OK for it to be revealed to the world.


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Web Development Tips to Boost Your Online Sales

A lot of people who have websites for their business often don't realize how important their web development is to the success of their sales online. Many don't realize that their storefront designs from the actual landing page to the shopping cart can and does have a direct effect on the sales they generate. Even the smallest of elements can either improve or harm the sales.

One of the best things to do is to think about the website from the shoppers point of view when improving your web development. As a shopper you are going to want your shopping to be intuitive and easy, but often online storefronts don't offer this. Often online stores are far too cutesy or artsy in design. While others might use flash that will often slow down the shoppers browsers. Then there are some that may use certain colors that can send the wrong signal to the shopper.

When considering your web development it is important that you first consider your shopping cart. So, it is very important that you make sure that the shopping cart is visible to the shopper. When customers add items to their carts, they definitely want know for sure that their items were actually registered as being chosen and put in the shopping cart. So, this means that some place on the page during the shopping process there should be an area that lists the number of items that are in the customers shopping cart and checkout information.

If you have the checkout information visible and easily available to them will also help them transition from their shopping to the checkout a lot easier. It is always important to have a quick link back to the shopping cart for the customer.

To make the cart more visible it should “pop” so it is easier to find. The best thing to do here is to make sure that it stands out from the rest of the color scheme on the website.

Make better use of your “add to cart” buttons that you may have on your website. Customers respond differently to various “calls to action”. For example if you button happens to say some like “for more details” or “learn more about” they usually don't react too well to those kinds of commands. However, if the button says something like “Buy Now” you are going to get a far better reaction.

Also be careful of the colors that you use for the “add to cart” buttons. Orange or red are colors that don't usually fare well and you might want to consider using blues or greens because they are gentler colors that usually encourage people to follow up.

Another very important part of your website are your product pages. You product pages need to be well organized and have good product images. Shoppers definitely want to see what they are getting for their money. So make sure you have very good photos of your products. Next would be the product name, then the description and finally the price of the product. Always make sure to try and keep items such as customer reviews and links to products that are similar closer to the bottom of your product pages.

Make sure your navigation paths are easy and effective. Hidden menus and other hidden elements will frustrate shoppers. It is best to avoid these types of elements. However, if you happen to have too many categories this can be a more difficult task to accomplish and can clutter the site if all categories are listed. So it is best then that you use fly out menus, ones that “fly out” at the shopper when they run the mouse over them. This keeps the page from getting cluttered and it gives the shopper the ability to access other categories easily.

When it comes to the checkout page, the simpler the better. Remove sidebar navigation and define a clear path for them. Try to avoid the urge of continuing to try and sell them items during the checkout process because this can sometimes cause the loss of a customer. Also make sure that your checkout is a single page, these tend to keep the customer and assure you of a sale. The easier it is for the customer to checkout the better it is for your business.
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How To Generate More Traffic To Your Website

Anyone who has a website wants web traffic coming to their site. In fact this is probably the most important job of the webmaster. Even after you do get traffic coming to your site it is not just a one time thing, instead it's an ongoing task that you as a webmaster have to be constantly doing. This is often not the easiest thing to do and if you have a budget to follow, there are ways to get the work done for free. Here are a few things that you can do to help get some visitors to your website.


Optimizing Your Site for Search Engines

For years search engines have been the main way to get web traffic to your website for free. But, you need to make sure that you do your homework on this and optimize your site so that it will get a good ranking for the keywords you target. SEO is probably the most powerful way in which you can get traffic. You just need to invest time and effort into it. There are plenty of websites out there that offer free tips on how to use keywords and benefit from SEO.

Make Sure You Update Your Sites Content Often

No secret here. You need content for your website and it needs to be good quality content as well. Not only do you need good content you need to make sure that you add new and interesting content on a regular basis, this is vital. If you continually update your site you will eventually build a loyal following who will come back often to see what is new on your site.

Use Social Bookmarking Sites

Popular social bookmarking sites can be another powerful and free tool for you to get some web traffic to you site. Make sure you do your research about social bookmarking sites and learn how to use them to your advantage. A couple of the more popular ones are Digg and Delicious.

Get Twitter and Facebook Accounts and Use Them

Even if you are not into either one of these social network sites, sign up for accounts and use them in order to direct web traffic to your website. This is another great free way to get people to come visit your site. However, this does take a lot of time and effort on your part building a network that will bring you visitors, but if you work hard at it, the traffic you can get from those two networks could surpass the visitors you get from Google and other search engines.

Get Links With Other Sites Within Your Website Niche

Another free way to get some traffic to your site is to put your link on other sites that cover the same topics that your site does. If there is a way to get you link in a more visible spot on a site that gets a lot of traffic this is going to be more of a benefit for your site. There are a variety of sites you can use to find websites in your niche that allow backlinks. You just need to research backlink builders and you should find several you can use to find a variety of sites you can include your link at.

Promote Your Site For Free

Free promotion is everywhere and you should take advantage of it whenever you can. Some of the free promotion methods would be listing your site on classified ads, submitting to directories and inclusion in a variety of different kinds of listings. Even though these ways may not work as well as some as the other methods it is still a decent way to promote your site for free.

Offer a Free Product or Service

Of course content is going to drive traffic to your site but if you offer something special or useful, it's going to peak the interest of more visitors. Of course you can never go wrong with good content and advice or helpful tips, but when something free is offered it often will increase your visitors and if it is something that gets popular more and more visitors are going to come to your site to take advantage of the offer.

Try to Use Some Viral Content

One of the best varieties of free products or services is to use viral content. They call it this because it can spread like a virus. When someone really likes the content they will pass it on to other people and other sites. This kind of content will distribute itself you just need to make it and submit it to a few very popular sites. The content for something like this is often a really good video or some sort of presentation, a really good old article or even a great image.

Try Offline Promotion

This is probably the most forgotten type of promotion but it can get traffic to your site for free. True people are on computers all the time and some even spend more time online than off but there still is life offline. Offline promotion can be pretty powerful and if you use it right you can get a lot of visitors from it. If you own a business make sure the URL is on your business cards, make fliers and put them on vehicles, make T-shirts that advertise it and other items you can hand out for free to people with the URL on it. Also, don't forget word of mouth.

Put Your URL in Your Signature

You can put your URL in all of your online signatures, this could be forums, blogs and even in your email, all of which are free and can help generate more traffic to your site.

There are many other ways in which you can get visitors to your site, but these are the most popular and most successful if you use them correctly.


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