Category — Blogging
A common misconception of newcomers to social bookmarking is that all posts you bookmark receive a backlink to the original source. While the link used on a bookmarking site may provide traffic it does not necessarily mean that the link is a “DoFollow” link providing any SEO benefit to the source.
To receive the SEO benefit along with the traffic you must use social bookmarking sites that have a DoFollow policy.
If you’re not familiar with how social bookmarking works, check out the series I posted on Social Bookmarking 101: What Is It and How Does It Work. The basic idea behind social bookmarking is the ability to store, index and search all of your favorite articles you’ve found while searching the web.
Like any new skill you’re learning when marketing with social media, once you get the basics down you can begin learning learning new ways to use them to benefit yourself. If you are a blog owner one of your biggest tasks is building quality backlinks to your blog to improve your search engine ranking.
Most social bookmarking networks will require you to register, then once you have, you are able to submit links to those networks. If you are selective about using DoFollow bookmarking networks then those links will be DoFollow links back to your site.
Spend some time creating profiles on DoFollow social bookmarking sites. What I would suggest is creating a short template to save time. Since some of the networks will allow backlinks from your profile description, use your keywords as your anchor text. For instance, if you are aiming to have your site ranked for content marketing, in your profile description word it so you are hotlinking your keyword phrase “content marketing” and not just your blog title. I chose several of my most popular articles to link back to when writing my descriptions.
You might want to even create two templates…one html ready with your links and one without. Not all networks will allow links from your profile and some will require you to use your own html tags. (“a href”). So, be prepared and make it easier for yourself.
Once you have your profiles created remember to now use those sites to begin submitting your articles and reap the benefits of your work. Do keep in mind that some networks do not take kindly when you link ONLY to your own site, so be kind and remember to bookmark other interesting articles from other sites.
The best list of DoFollow social bookmarking sites I have found was put together on DoFollow.Info where you can also find some other great resources on DoFollow techniques. This list give descriptions of the networks and where you will find the DoFollow linking. I suggest bookmarking this page because you may not make it through all of the sites in one sitting.
Good luck in your social bookmarking for backlinks strategy. If you have any other tips, comments or questions please share them below. All your feedback is appreciated and we learn from one another.
To Your Success,
April 26, 2010 10 Comments
I am considering switching my commenting system back to CommentLuv and am weighing the features and benefits to decide if it’s a better choice than Disqus. I’ve done a quick review of both the CommentLuv and Disqus commenting platforms to help make a qualified decision on which should be used on my blog and I would appreciate any feedback from you on your experiences or opinions on either.
First of all I guess we have to ask ourselves what is so important about blog commenting in the first place.
There are quite a few reasons to comment on blogs, such as deeper interaction with other bloggers, promoting yourself as an authority on a topic, and SEO benefits by building incoming links to your own blog. All bloggers want more comments on their blogs. It’s a sign of appreciation and like shaking an outstretched hand, which is what I said on Jeff Machado’s article discussing why commenting on blogs will always dominate being active on Twitter.
Jeff said it perfectly here:
Commenting on blogs, on the other hand, allow for streamlined dialogue on a focused topic. You don’t have to worry about anyone telling you you’re Tweeting too much and clogging up their Twitter stream. You can go back and forth and genuinely have a conversation with the blogger whose post you found compelling enough to comment on. Every blog post is an invitation to delve deeper into the topic while a Retweet is just a recognition that the topic exists.
So, you can see commenting is the lifeblood of a blog and therefore the commenting system is pretty important. But, which one is best?
Pros of CommentLuv and Disqus
Both systems have their loyal followers and obvious benefits. I began my blog with CommentLuv but switched to Disqus after having some technical difficulties. Now that I’ve had Disqus a while I’ve also had a few gliches, so go figure. Here’s my take on the two:
- CommentLuv isits the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieve a selection of their last blog post and includes it at the bottom of their comment when they click submit. This is great publicity for your blog, showing not just your blog title, but what you’re writing about.
- It has a great community that is very supportive. Many of the CommentLuv users will band together to comment on each other’s blogs. There is even a list of 132 CommenLuv Blogs by niche that was put together to promote comments. I don’t see that so much with Disqus.
- Because many of the CommentLuv users also have a “do follow” policy on their comment links the comment author may receive a little link love for their blog. I also have a “do follow” policy here, but I use the WordPress plugin NoFollow Free which gives the “do follow” link only after leaving 3 comments. This eliminates link juice going to spammers.
- In addition to the CommentLuv plugin they also have the option of adding KeywordLuv to your commenting. This allows the comment author to use their keywords as anchor text with their name when commenting. Even more SEO benefit.
Disqus Comment Management
- Disqus allows you to track peoples comments across the blogosphere. You can see what the commenters here are saying on other blogs and which blogs they are most active on.
- You can “rate” other commenters which will move their comments move to the top of the discussion. This is great if you comment a lot and people like your input because it makes you more of an authority voice.
- You can log into your own Disqus profile to track where you’ve been commenting. Ever commented on a blog then wanted to go back and check it again but forgot where it was? Maybe it’s just me, but I am all over the place and sometimes I forget to bookmark or realize later that I want to quote the article. I used this today to find Jeff’s article.
- Automatically threads your comments for you. I am not sure if CommentLuv does that or not. From what I remember, I had to add a threaded comments plugin when I had CommentLuv installed. I like a clean and flowing conversation.
- Allows you to share your comment on Twitter or Facebook. I do a lot of marketing with social media and love the benefits of word of mouth. Disqus automatically adds the share feature to easily click and tweet your comment.
Downside of CommentLuv or Disqus
There are only a couple things that I’d consider a downside of either commenting system, but off the top of my head here’s what I’ve got:
- CommentLuv is a little more difficult to install and get running. For instance, if I wanted to add the feature that shows the Twitter username for a commenter I would have to tweak some coding inside my theme to have it work. Yuk…me no likey coding.
- Disqus has more hoops to jump through for a first time commenter to leave a comment. You have to register, create a profile, and/or add your blog URL in order for your name or blog to be linked to. If you just register but don’t add the rest of your information, when someone clicks on your name they are taken to your Disqus profile where all they see are the other comments you have left. If you want to attract more blog comments you want it to be simple.
And, I guess my biggest hesitation to revert back to CommentLuv is that I’m not sure what will happen with all the comments I have on my blog right now. I definitely don’t want to lose them. Comments are content to your blog, so relevant comments can add more keywords for Google to crawl and understand what your blog is about.
Wait…I take my earlier statement back.
The BIGGEST hesitation for me to revert back to CommentLuv is that it calls for me to do some coding. If someone can convince me that it will be super easy it may be all it takes for me to switch. Maybe not.
Will you help me? Please leave your comments and opinions on your experience with either commenting system. Which do you prefer and why?
To Your Success,
April 9, 2010 43 Comments
Promoting your online business almost always depends on others. When just starting out, family and friends get the ball rolling and once you have a few customers you depend on their word of mouth. Cross promotion uses word of mouth and partner visibility to boost your sales, credibility and brand.
In a nutshell, cross promotional marketing is working with other businesses both large and small to draw attention to your products or services.
Cross promotion is different from affiliate marketing in that it is an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both people in the same way. With affiliate marketing, the affiliate gets a percentage of the pie based on an agreed upon amount. With cross promotion, both partners are looking to receive the same amount of compensation.
Why Cross Promote?
The easy answer here is that you want to increase traffic to your website or blog, establish yourself as an authority, and to increase sales. That is the goal of business, after all.
Another reason is to increase your visibility among your business peers. When you partner with a bigger more well known business or blogger (Mike Stelzner calls them Firestarters), you increase your credibility. Keep in mind what you have to offer. The top marketers, influencers and large businesses won’t waste much time with someone who doesn’t bring something valuable to the table.
Types of Cross Promotion
So what does cross promotion look like? The agreement between similar businesses to help one another in their advertising and promo forms a network with new business people and also a way to increase profits for both of you.
Here are a few ideas for cross promotion to get the ball rolling:
1. Advertisement: Banner or Link Exchange
You can post advertisement links or banners on each other’s sites. Look for people or businesses that share similarities with yours or are at least interesting to each other’s site visitors. For instance, if you sell party supplies, partnering with a party planner makes good business sense. Your goal is to be relevant.
If you don’t have a banner, you can get one pretty cheap at $20 Banners. Depending on what design you choose, they really do start at just$20. This gives customers a chance to check you out in a glance so be creative.
Don’t use those free or cheap link exchange services! You want to build relationships with other site owners and you should be careful about the credibility of those other sites. Don’t hook yourself up into a “bad neighborhood”
2. Guest Blogging
Write website content and blog for each other. This is something that does take a little bit of your time but the rewards are great. By contributing to a blog in your same niche you’re establishing yourself as an expert in that field as well as building links back to your site.
Most website owners allow 1 or 2 “do follow” links within the text and a bio with links so the visitors can click on it for more information.
Share each other’s audiences and tap into one another’s insight. It’s a win for everyone if done well.
3. Link It Up
When you are active in the blogging community you are consistently reading other articles and are aware of the topics. Keep those in mind when you are writing your own articles and link back to them.
Rather than leaving a long comment on a blog post, create an article around it and link back to their post. You’ll add content to your own blog and you’ll be offering a little link love at the same time.
4. Comment Club
Another smart idea is to form a group of bloggers in your niche that will agree to leave comments on each other’s articles. Honestly, I think this should be something we are all reciprocating without forming a club, but it may give us the motivation to kick it up a notch.
It’s like having an exercise partner. You both want to get fit, but sometimes without that accountability of knowing someone is waiting on you it’s way to easy to put it off. Having a group of commenters will keep you accountable and actively involved.
5. Blog or Product Reviews
You see the big guys promoting one another all the time. You always know when there is a new marketing or affilate product launch coming up when you see the same information coming from a group of people. They have their own clubs they have created, so you know it works to create a mass viral effect.
You see John Chow, Jeremy Schoemaker, Yaro Starak & Zac Johnson cross promote. Or, Michael Stelzner, Mari Smith, Denise Wakeman and Chris Garret together. Recently we’ve seen Brian Clark, Chris Brogan and Sonia Simone form their alliances. They all understand this concept.
6. Blog Rolls
Blog Rolls provide your readers and Google a way of figuring out what you’re all about by who you read and look up to.
Much like link exchanges, but blog rolls have a more prominent place than an advertising text link and show your visitors that you recommend this other person rather than took money from them to gain that spot.
7. Bookmarking Buddies
Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon are great ways to get traffic to your site…IF they are being bookmarked. Without an active base of friends or subscribers it’s nearly impossible to make it to the front page of a bookmarking site. There are certain guidelines you must follow in bookmarking etiquette to keep from looking spammy, so don’t go overboard.
StumbleUpon and Digg both offer “do follow” links to your post, I believe. Delicious doesn’t have “do follow”, but they still provide traffic. I use Delicious to bookmark those sites I want to have on hand as a reference because it’s simple.
For a better understanding of how it all works, I have an earlier series of articles I’d recommend called Bookmarking 101.
I’m sure there are plenty of other creative ways to cross promote that I may have missed. What have you found to work well? What new ways can you think of to share here? Leave your comments below to get some feedback.
To Your Success,
P.S. ~~> I am always on the lookout for ways to cross promote and help one another. If you’d like to band together with me and others in my niche, drop me a line with your idea and we can discuss the opportunities! You can use my Contact form or direct email: coree[at]marketlikeachick[dot] com.
April 7, 2010 13 Comments
Your blog is craving attention and journalists are starving for new useful information to share with the public. Top quality content attracts publicity, recognition and traffic. Writing content that attracts journalists and backlinks from other bloggers takes a little know how but if you know how to write attention grabbing content for your readers, you’re halfway there.
Here are a few tips and strategies to write Publicity Friendly Content.
1. Write Compelling Headlines
An average site visitor will spend 30 seconds checking out your article to decide if it’s worth their time to continue. Start with a compelling headline that tells your reader what you’ll be talking about and how it can answer their needs. Always remember to use “WIIFM” mentality. What are you offering your readers? Figure out a need and meet it.
One secret I learned for coming up with great headlines was to track what gets my attention. Create a “swipe file”, which is a list of all the headlines in your email inbox that grab your attention. Swipe and file those headlines as a resource to return to for ideas.
Without a doubt, you MUST do a little keyword research when creating your headlines.
You do this for a number of reasons but the most important one is to learn the language of your audience. What keyword phrases are they using to find the content they need? The old sales term comes to mind “mirror and match”. This means you practice being and speaking just like that person you are researching so there is a better – clearer – means of communication that they can relate to. Speak their language.
Use the keywords and phrases in your headlines for a better search engine results, but don’t sound like you just pulled your headline from a dictionary. Be human and speak like you normally would…just incorporate the keywords into your sentence.
Erika Napoletano just wrote an awesome post over on Copyblogger that explains Copywriting 3.0. She has some great tips that add to this post on implementing SEO, real time search, article marketing and also suggests creating mobile versions of your website as trends lean that way.
A few resources for writing great headlines:
- How To Write Magnetic Headlines – Copyblogger
- A Top Headline Writing Trick Copywriting Gurus Love – Remarkablogger
- 31 Days To Build A Better Blog - by Darren Rowse of Problogger
2. Why Am I Here?
As we mentioned before, you have a matter of seconds to convince your visitor to continue reading your blog, so it’s important to have your message – or your blog’s purpose – to come through at first glance.
Remember your readers are always asking “WIIFM”. Can they identify your message and does it speak to them? Does your blog title, domain name, tag line and blog design give an immediate snapshot into what they can expect from you?
My goal with Market Like A Chick’s domain name was to take the “she throws like a chick” innuendo and dish it right back up with smart marketing strategies in the voice of a chick – a woman that can hang with the best of the guys and speak with a real, no BS viewpoint. I created my main header banner myself to include my personality…one that is current with the trends, a deep thinker, yet still definitely feminine. Do you get that when you visit here?
When creating your content and lay out keep your points clear and your content formatted so it’s easy to read online. That means headings and subheadings with clear points and bullets or lists because the truth is, people tend to scan rather than read online.
A journalist looking for an article to publicize is not going to take more than a few moments to try and uncover your message. Keep things easy to scan using subheading to pique the reader’s interest. Your subheadings are just as important as your main headline to keep readers engaged. Long, run-on paragraphs are boring and lose attention.
I generally try to keep my paragraphs between 2 to 4 sentences. Just get your point across without making a reader dig through a bunch of rambling.
Don’t be afraid to use a one sentence paragraph to make a point and keep your reader from glazing over.
Some great resources:
- Are You Trying To Be Too Smart – Men With Pens
- Can Your Blog Explain Its Purpose in One Second? – Entrepreneur’s Journey
3. Use Images and Graphics
Whenever possible you should integrate graphics and data to support the information in your article and quote sources responsibly. Journalists take their work seriously, as we all should, and when our work is used without permission or proper attribution it is considered very bad etiquette.
If you’ve written your article based on a case study or market research you will usually find that the graphs have already been created for you. If not, it’s fairly easy to create one in PowerPoint yourself and use the image in your article.
Images speak a thousand words and can help get your point across or prepare the reader for what to expect, simplifying the reading experience.
One of my most trafficked articles that received several trackbacks was written using a case study report that Razorfish had done on why we friend brands online. It doesn’t have to be YOUR case study, just remember to quote your source for proper credit. Your viewpoint is what readers are interested in and helps uncover the meaning of all those statistics.
4. Make Your Content Newsworthy
Make sure your publicity friendly content has a point and the point is relevant and newsworthy. For example, an article about housetraining a dog may not be newsworthy though your prospects may be drawn to your site to access that information.
However, if your article is about the rise in homeless animals and the need for more adoption, which could then lead into information about housetraining a new dog or link to an article on housebreaking a dog then you’re fulfilling the needs of journalists and your audience at the same time.
Journalists and publications seem to love “top lists”. You can create a list for whatever niche you are writing about. Think of what has benefited you as you have learned your industry…what authors helped you the most, what 20 things did you discover were a waste of precious time, where can you find resources to save time or money? Get creative and make your list.
One example that I used was the 20 Best Marketing and Social Media Blogs by Women that had made a difference in my journey. I put together the list of all the women I had networked with, learned from and respected. It took me weeks to put together this one article, but it was worth it since it was picked up and published on Forbes! Not only did I benefit, but so did those 20 ladies.
5. Share Your Industry Knowledge
Journalists respect and flock to experts in a particular industry and if your website is consistently leading with information and discussing the latest industry news you stand a great chance of becoming their go-to person.
Using your keywords that we talked about in #1 will help journalists find you. Without those keywords and your name associated with them how will anyone ever know you have the experience they are seeking?
Google your name, your industry niche, and industry keywords to get an idea of where you rank and what type of message you are sending for Google to reference.
When I wrote my series on using social media for event marketing I made sure I checked keyword competition and the amount of search traffic for various phrases before publishing. Because of this my articles appeared on the first page of Google which led IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) to my blog and my work was discovered.
I just finished writing an original article on event marketing with social media for IABC’s monthly newsletter which goes out to over 15k subscribers.
Awesome resource for keyword research learning:
- Cloud Living – by Glen Allsop of PluginID and Viper Chill
6. Create Your Own Media Kit
Finally, make sure you have a media page on your website with photos, bios and contact information. You may also want to post links to press releases, published work, awards, recognition and any other information that will add credibility.
If you have great publicity friendly content but forget your media page, then you could be losing valuable opportunities.
You will find most of this information on my About Me page…barring the photos, which is still one of my most dreaded requests. Yes, I need it. Yes, I know I am probably missing out…so what is my problem?? I’m working on my camera shyness, so bear with me as I overcome this last hurdle. Don’t be like me in this case.
When designing your content strategy for the next quarter or year, make sure to include regular publicity friendly content, it can work quite well to attract media attention while at the same time add credibility to your website and still help draw traffic from prospects and customers.
What say ye?? Do you have any other tidbits you might offer to get your content noticed? Start the discussion below in the comments section. Replies are usually posted within the hour.
To Your Success,
March 29, 2010 16 Comments
What is the single most important thing to know when you are writing a blog? Is it the technical experience to design and troubleshoot your theme and website? Or maybe a degree in journalism so you can write properly formatted article? Those may both be nice to know but the single most important thing in creating loyal readership for your blog is this:
Know what your readers want to hear from you.
My goal has always been to provide quality articles that will both teach and inspire. I began Market Like A Chick in February, 2009 and have written on marketing topics covering social media, event marketing, blogging, personal branding as well as maintaining a positive marketing mindset. While I’ve had a great response to my efforts so far, I don’t want to be so spread out or covering so many topics that you are not getting what you came for.
So, I’m asking for your help. I’d like to know what areas YOU would like to see covered more frequently or in more detail in my posts. As I add more contributing authors you’ll begin to see more content being posted and I want to be sure the topics are on base. (If you’d like to be a contributing writer please email me a sample of your work or see the details on my Be Featured page)
It’s all about you, baby! So, here’s your chance…
Please do me a ginormous favor and take a couple minutes of your time to answer this poll and help me give you what you’re looking for. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions here as well.
To Your Success,
March 24, 2010 7 Comments
In an earlier post this week, I shared benefits to using article marketing for your blog and how it can be highly effective in driving traffic to your site, increasing sales, and giving you the status of “expert”. That said, article writing does not come naturally to everybody. And even writers can run out of ideas sometimes.
A great way to overcome article writer’s block is by using templates. You can take a template and use it to churn out articles on any topic or niche. Below are three of the most commonly used templates used in article writing. Try them next time you’re trying to write but you keep drawing blanks:
The Magic 7
There must be something magical about the number 7 because article writers like to use it and readers like to read articles with the number “7” in the title. There are many variations of this:
- 7 tips to…
- 7 ways to…
- 7 steps to…
- 7 biggest mistakes in …
- 7 reasons to…
Once you have your Magic 7 article, write one article about each of your 7 points. Voila! Now you’ve got 8 articles, baby!
Everyone has an opinion about something and people love hearing them. Nowadays an opinion, or a review, of a product in an article or on a blog is one of the most influential factors in purchasing decisions.
Do some keyword research to find out what specific things people are Googling reviews for. I would use keywords that relate to my niche, or tie in somehow, so it not only attracts new visitors but also benefits my loyal readers. If you’re submitting the article to a directory you would want to use related keywords so the reader has a reason to visit your blog after finishing the article.
The outline for this article is simple: Introduce the item. Write what you liked about it. Discuss what you didn’t like about it. Finish with your bottom line – do you recommend it or not? If so, who would benefit most from it? Before you know it, you’ve got another article all finished. You can write reviews for:
The most popular books are those with the words “how to” in the title. Same thing with articles. It seems we’re always looking for the easiest, the fastest, the best way to do something. So why not write a how-to article for your target audience? Some examples:
- How to… (a step-by-step instruction)
- How to avoid…
- How to find…
- How to choose the best…
- How to get…
These are just a few article templates you can use to save time and beat writer’s block. And remember, you can use these templates for your blog posts, Email marketing, article marketing and newsletter ideas too. In fact, there are tons of ways to repurpose and reuse articles.
You’ll get even more ideas from Nicole Dean and Kelly McCausey’s Easy Article Marketing Course. It costs less than hiring a ghost writer, and will pay for itself many times over. You’ll learn not only how to write great articles, but how to get the most profits from them. At the very least, sign up for Nicole and Kelly’s free article marketing E-course.
Do you have any time saving templates you use for your articles? What do you do to beat writer’s block or drum up new ideas for your articles? We’d love to hear your ideas, so feel free to leave a comment below!
To Your Success,
March 4, 2010 3 Comments
When I was doing my yearly planning for 2010, I sat down and listed the five marketing strategies that I intend to carry out to promote Market Like A Chick. Number one on that list…Article marketing. I am committing to write and submit at least one article per week.
In case you’re not familiar with article marketing yet, it involves writing informative and useful articles and distributing them to article directories – giving permission to anyone to republish your article as long as your author resource box is left intact. The resource box is your most important part of the article and whole reason behind the strategy, so be give some thought to what you put in yours.
Here are some results I have personally experienced from article marketing:
1. Free traffic to my site
High authority article directories, like Ezine Articles, enjoy a lot of traffic (we’re talking millions of eyeballs every month). Many of those who read my articles invariably click on the links in my author resource box and end up going to my site. This is free traffic that I otherwise would not have been able to attract to my site!
You don’t have to be an expert author to write and submit articles, just be informative and useful. Give just enough information to provide value, but leave the reader wanting to know more about you and your other work. Lead the reader to your blog, or wherever you want the additional traffic.
2. Increased rankings in Google and other search engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) experts say that one of the most important ways to get high Google rankings for your target keywords is to have lots of links from other sites pointing to yours. The key is the anchor text of those links should be the keywords you’d like to rank high for.
This strategy works so well that an Internet marketing “guru” once succeeded in having his website rank number one in Google for the keywords “coolest guy on earth” (or something like that!) – just by having all his buddies link to his site with that anchor text. That’s how powerful linking is.
These are the same links you get from the usually high-authority article directories all linking back to your website through the author resource box.
3. Affiliate sales
Some article directories allow you to link, not just to your website, but to an affiliate product’s sales page with your affiliate links. This means that your article gets blasted all over the Internet, thus increasing the chances of somebody clicking on your affiliate links and buying the product. The result? More affiliate commissions for you.
This concept is the essence of the so-called “bum marketing” or lazy marketing, which doesn’t even require you to have a website. All you need to do is write and submit articles to article directories and you make affiliate commissions from those articles for as long as they’re online. We’re talking years here.
Another benefit of article marketing is that you become a published author and, therefore, an expert on the topic. In fact, a friend of mine got interviewed on national TV because the reporter read one of her articles online. That’s media publicity that would have cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars! (Unfortunately, I have not had that opportunity – yet)
Whoops, I just realized I may have been sounding Greek throughout this blog post. “Resource box“, “anchor text”, “affiliate links” – are all these terms new to you? If you haven’t tried article marketing yet and would like to know more, I recommend this free article marketing eCourse from Nicole Dean, founder of Lady Pens (an article directory).
Just go to Easy Article Marketing to sign up for the eCourse. It’s free but, you do have to give your name and email address. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the sign-up form. Nicole is great about providing the same step by step instructions you’d find here and has spent a lot of time putting together this course.
Can you join my commitment to write and submit just ONE article per week? It’s a baby step that I know we can take…and if it’s done every week that’s 52 articles per year that can be syndicated and broadcast all over the internet with YOUR name and links. Game on!
To Your Success,
March 1, 2010 55 Comments
Starting a business takes determination and preparation. Oh, and it also takes money. How much money you need depends on the type of business you want to start. For an online business, you can make that dream come true and save some green in the process.
Usually, the first thing that people ask when contemplating a new business start up is “What will it cost me in the beginning?” With an online business you’re already ahead of the game because you’re avoiding many of the costs that come with owning a traditional brick-and-mortar company.
Even so, there will be some initial costs that you’ll have to cover. If your capital is limited, you can still get things going. It may take some legwork and time but it is absolutely doable.
Here are the 3 main costs associated with starting an online business.
Domain Name Purchases – In order to have a presence online, you’ll obviously need a website address or URL. You’ll see special offers and discounts all the time on domain name purchases, but you can generally get your domain name for less than $10. Be careful not to get sucked into buying all the extras most domain name registrars try to get you to purchase when you purchase a domain. Stick to only purchasing the domain name.
Hosting – In order for your website to actually show up on the Internet you’ll need to purchase hosting for your domains. You can purchase this as low as $6.95 a month with hosting companies such as BlueHost – who also offers a free domain, free setup, and unlimited space, transfers, and domains with their hosting package.
Website Design – If you aren’t proficient in web design or HTML, you’ll need someone to set your website up for you. There are a few different options for getting this done:
• Hire a Designer: This is the most expensive way to get things done. However, if you are short on time or just do not feel you have the tech skills to take on the project yourself you may end up saving money in the long run by having a site built by a professional. For design and content marketing, I have referred several people to Kandice at Linwright Design. She is professional and will also take the time to train you as you go. (Mention that Coree sent you and Kandice has agreed to knock off 10%!)
• Site Builder: You can build your site yourself with programs like SiteBuildIt. Learn how and save money by doing it yourself. They offer several video tutorials that will take you from beginner to expert.
• Included with Hosting: Look for deals with your hosting company. For instance, when you purchase a BlueHost or HostGator hosting package you can get a WordPress blog (using the WP platform as your main site is very common due to its ease of use and flexibility) installed on your domain for free. Any customization is up to you, but it’s a start that doesn’t cost anything extra
Here are some tips for purchasing additional items you’ll need to run your business online.
1. Negotiate – All you can do is ask for what you want. When it comes to buying computers and other office equipment, there is some room for haggling. Find the best payment plans you can to help you to offset the cost. This goes for telephone services, answering services and high-speed Internet rates too.
2. Shop around - Buying computers online at sites like Dell.com allows you to add the features you need and pay the price you want to pay. Printers don’t cost as much as they used to. If you need a fax machine and a printer, look for deals on all-in-one equipment so you can save money.
3. Buy in bulk – When you need paper, printer ink and other office supplies, buy as much as you can when a deal comes along. Even if it takes you an entire year to use the paper, you know that you will use it so it doesn’t matter.
4. Ask for advice from others – For example, you’ll need hosting for your website. While there are dozens of web hosting companies out there, both paid and free everyone’s needs differ. What are your needs? If you know other online entrepreneurs, ask who they use. Keep in mind that high price doesn’t necessarily equate with good quality, just like low price doesn’t always mean poor quality. (I use BlueHost for my hosting and have found them to be easy to understand and helpful)
5. Use what you already have for now – The best thing about an online business is that it is operated from your computer. Most people already have one of those. It may not be the top of the line model, but if it has high speed Internet access and a word processing program, you’re good to go!
There are costs that you can avoid by starting an online business versus an offline one, but you still have to spend some money. The above five tips will help you to whittle down the costs you do have even more. This allows you to get your new enterprise up and running as soon as possible. And, don’t forget all these costs can be written off on your income taxes so don’t forget to keep records.
What other ways have you found to save on startup costs? Do you have a secret tip you’d like to share? Please leave comments or questions below. I love hearing from you!
To Your Success,
February 24, 2010 3 Comments
If you have set up your own online business or blog I’m sure you have learned how important it is to get as much traffic as possible to your site. Whether you want people to buy a product, a service or you are looking for more authority in your niche…you need people to know you exist. One of the best ways to get them to come running is through search engine optimization.
This week I’ll be doing a series on building your business on a budget. Believe me…as a single mom of four I KNOW how to get what needs to be done on a strict budget…and most of the time, for free. Come back throughout the week for more business budget tips.
What is SEO?
I’m going to start from the very basics because I know what it was like when I first started my blog and I had no clue about any of this…and I know I needed someone to help me. Since there are so many new blogs started every day, I know there is someone out there seaarching for the same help.
SEO is the abbreviation for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of using keywords to bring targeted traffic to you. Ideally, when people enter their search keywords into any of the most popular search engines, your website content, videos and audio media should pop up in the first page of search results. That’s what everyone wants to achieve.
The better the search engine rankings the more likely you are to get buyers who are ready to spend their money on what you have to offer. It also shows that others must like what your writing, teaching or selling because your on the front page and gives you that “she must know what she’s talking about” edge.
Should You Outsource?
You can always find courses or paid reports that teach search engine optimization. Or you can use any of the SEO firms that will gladly take your money in exchange for their help in outfitting your website for the traffic that you want. They may promise you those front page Google and Yahoo rankings within web searches to make the deal sound irresistible.
But, all of this costs money and chances are that when you’re first starting out, you don’t have much of a budget to work with. There’s always the trade off of time vs money.
3 Simple SEO Basics You Need To Know
With SEO or any new business talent, it may take you longer, but you can learn how to do it yourself. As a student of Internet marketing, you have to be willing to do the legwork required to gain the knowledge you need. You should always learn at least the basics of anything you outsource anyway so you know if you’re getting what you pay for, right?
1. Know how to use the resources available to you.
If you don’t have any keywords in mind, you can use free online keyword tools to help you discover the viability of keywords in your niche. They will also rank them for you. Keep a spreadsheet of all the words you use so you can track how they work at increasing your visitors, sales and search engine rankings. Here are two free keyword tools you can start with:
2. Pick a keyword or two and use it on your website.
Website optimization is a bit trickier than optimizing content (we’ll get to that later). For your website, these keywords can appear in webpage headlines, picture tags, taglines, anchor text (the words that hide a hyperlink within the text of an article) and other places. When your website is registered with search engines, the bots and spiders crawl each page. You want them to find your keywords and rank accordingly.
3. Use the keywords in your content displayed on your website.
Keyword density is the number of times that a certain keyword appears in a piece of content of a certain size. Optimal keyword usage is between 1% and 3%. Going over that could be considered “stuffing” and you might get your hand slapped by Google.
Search engine optimization is trial and error. Others can do it for you for a price. But, if you are dedicated and want to increase your skillset, you can learn to use it for yourself, drive traffic to your website and increase sales.
These are very basic tips that some of you may already know…for those of you that are more advanced, what other simple tips can you share with readers? What has worked for you? Please share your comments below.
To Your Success,
February 22, 2010 9 Comments
I love sharing great deals on products I’ve found useful. Today is one of those days! I just got word from Jimmy D. Brown that he is shutting down his Small Reports Zone site on February 26th at 10PM. ALL of Jimmy’s small reports at the site will NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE for purchase after that date.
I’ve used Jimmy’s information and tips on Market Like A Chick and have even offered his 21 day email list building series. I’ve had tons of great feedback and I, personally, have learned a lot from Jimmy. He presents things in a very easy to follow format…and you all know, that is just my style!
Jimmy is “retiring” (IE Removing the reports from the web and no longer selling them) All of his offers…all of his reports, ebooks, membership sites, coaching programs, software programs, etc. He’s beginning with all of his SR Zone reports. These short, meaty, low-cost reports are a gold mine of quality content for internet marketers.
Here’s a list of what’s available…
1. Piggyback Launches: 3 Surefire Ways To Get A Steady Stream Of Free Traffic For Any New Product
2. Homepreneur Habits: How To Run A Successful Home Business
3. How To Get Free Traffic To Your Website With Ezine Articles
4. 8 Irresistible Ways To Get Super Affiliates To Enlist In Your Sales Army
5. How To Improve Your Information W.R.I.T.I.N.G.
6. The Upsell Report: How To Get Customers To Spend More Money
I’m sorry to see Jimmy shut down this site, but I’m glad he’s giving us all a few days to grab up copies of these gems before he pulls the plug.
The BEST Part About Jimmy’s Goodbye
The really good news is this: as part of this “goodbye”, Jimmy is discounting the price of EVERY report to only $10 each! This makes these reports affordable for everyone, even those on a strict budget. If you have a few extra bucks, it would be smart to order a copy of each of these.
I’m really surprised that he’s including a 65 page report “Homepreneur Habits”. It’s a 65-page “operations manual”. In it, Jimmy takes you “behind the scenes” to look at how he runs his own business, complete with photographs of his home office. He tells you what software programs he uses, tools and equipment he uses and even a schedule of tasks he performs. At only $10, it’s a no-brainer!
To read through a complete description of each report, visit the SR Zone site by clicking the link below:
Also, if you want to read all about WHY Jimmy is retiring ALL of his offers, he has posted all of the details here… http://www.marketlikeachick.com/JDBrownBlog
REMEMBER, you only have a limited time to order any of the small reports that you are interested in. On February 26th at 10PM the site will be shut down.
I hope you can take advantage of some of these reports. They have invaluable information for you to use in your business. Or, they are great content ideas to use on your blog that your readers will find useful.
To Your Success,
February 16, 2010 Comments Off