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calendar-agendaAt the beginning of a new year we tend to contemplate our lives and try to find a way to improve our situation. We set goals and make a promise to ourselves to achieve these goals.

The same should be done with our business. We need to take some time to look over the last year to see how we can improve our business performance. What goals can we set for our business that will result in growth and improved results?

Here are some New Year’s resolution ideas for your online business growth and success.

1. Refine Your Social Media – Social media is a very important marketing tactic for today’s online business but it can be very time consuming. You need to set a schedule for your social media participation. Use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck.

They can help you free up time that is needed for other tasks. Allow so much time per day for your social media activity. These sites can become addictive and can cause us to neglect other areas of our marketing and business management.

2. Learn New Skills – The many areas and facets of owning and running an online business can be very overwhelming. The techniques, tools and formats are constantly evolving. We need to always be learning and never settle into a routine with our online business. There are tons of resources online that can help you keep up with the ever-changing internet business world. HubSpot Academy is a great place to start. You can also try Moz for search engine optimization, LearnVest to help you manage your business finds and countless quality blogs to help teach you the newest and most productive marketing trends.

3. Get a Grip on Your Finances – If you do your own money management and record keeping for your business, be sure to analyze and plan accordingly. There are some great software programs to help you keep meticulous records of your business funds. A good example would be Quickbooks or Quicken. You need to know where your funds  are going and if you should keep them going in that direction. Go over your advertising budget. Are you getting the results needed? Should you go down other avenues with your advertising budget? What are your regular expenses and are all of these expenses necessary or productive to your business? You need to go over all these questions and more to see if you are delegating your funds for maximum results.

4. Analyze Your Marketing Tactics – As above with your finances, you need to analyze all aspects of your marketing plan. Are your methods yielding the results you expected or needed? What tactics are working and which ones are not? Some techniques might need to be upgraded or even terminated. Read More→


10 Blogging Myths and the Truth Behind Them

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social-monstersWhat is a myth? A myth is actually a false belief or opinion.
However, not all of the myths below are completely false. They do hold some grain of truth to them. But it is not always easy to sort the fact from fiction.

Although I have been in the internet marketing business for about 20 years, I am actually a blogging newbie. I have been blogging for just under two years.

I have learned some things in that time by reading and by experience. Unfortunately, many of the information you read online can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Some information is taken at face value but it must be delved into with more detail to get the full truth. Below is some basic blogging information that needs to be explored more to fully understand the truth of the matter.

Myth #1 Just Set Up a Blog and Start Making Money

This is similar to when the internet first came out.  Many people were led to believe all you had to do was throw up a website and you could start making money.  The same thing is happening with blogs.  Building a successful, income-earning blog takes time, work, commitment and passion.

There are many ways to monetize a blog but some of them might not work for your blog.  Don’t make the mistake of just throwing up a bunch of ads and think the money will start rolling in.

a) Use your blog as an extension of your ecommerce site.
b) Sell advertising space.
c) Join some good affiliate programs.
d) Develop and launch your own product.
e) Sell information or digital products.
f) Host webinars.
g) Offer live workshops and tutorials.
h) Sell services.
i) Start a membership site.

These are just a few ways you can use your blog to start earning a living online.


Myth #2 You Have to Be a Writer

A good writer does not necessarily a good blogger make!  Writing and blogging are two separate things.  To be a good blogger you just need to know what you are talking about and have the passion to share it with your audience.

You do not need to use fancy words. Write like you are talking to a friend and telling them about your recipe, pet tips, DIY ideas, etc. Connect with your readers by being one of them and sharing your knowledge so they can connect and relate to you.


Myth #3 More Posts Mean More Traffic

While this could certainly be the case, it is not carved in stone.  You will read many times that you should be posting at least once or more per day.  This supposedly brings you more traffic.

However, as we dig a little deeper into this tidbit we know that quality is better than and more productive than quantity.  Take the time to write posts that are full of helpful information, resources, images, stats, etc.  Don’t just throw up a post because someone said more posts equals more traffic.

Many bloggers have become successful with one or two well thought out posts per week. As long as you are consistent and post regularly, the content of these posts is much more important than the number of posts. Read More→

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10 Simple Strategies for Decreasing Your Bounce Rate

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jump for joyThe bounce rate for your website is the percentage of people who visit your site and then leave without clicking to any other location.   They are single-page visitors and then they “bounce” right off your site.  

There are many reasons a person might leave your site before exploring further, all of them not necessarily bad but this article will help you determine and remedy some of those reasons.  

1. Easy to Read – You want to make things as easy for your visitors as possible and reading time is no exception.  

Some things you can do to ensure this are:

a) Make your paragraphs small.  Big blocks of text will deter people from continuing on with your site.  Use white space to your advantage.  

b) Use bulleted or numbered lists when possible. The eye will be attracted to easy to read lists.

c) Use bold headlines and subheadings.

d) Use straightforward text.  While the fancy fonts may look nice, they do nothing towards getting your content read.

e) Make sure you use a color of font that works well with your background color.  Most people would say black text on white background is best.

f) Use images in all your posts.  Scatter them throughout for more effectiveness.

g) Always use simple and concise language.  You don’t need to use fancy words.  Make your content easy to understand as if talking to a friend.  

2. Site Search – Be sure to have an easy to find search box on all pages of your site.  You don’t want your visitors to play hide and seek the search box.  If they cannot find what they need, they will leave.  

3. 404 Error Page – The dreaded 404 error page can be annoying but if done properly, can be helpful as well.  Don’t just have the standard, “This Page Does Not Exist” message.  Add useful information so your visitor can easily continue through your site.  

For example: Have an entertaining graphic with your homepage link and/or other pertinent links with a message like, The page you were looking for is gone but we have lots of other good pages.  

Be creative and use some humor for your 404 page.  Make people want to stay on your site.

4. External Links – If you have external links on your blog be sure to have them all open in a new window.  If people go to those links they can then easily get back to your site.

If you have a WordPress site, there is, of course, a plugin to do this for you.  

5. Ad Invasion – Most of us have some ads on our site for affiliate programs, ad programs, etc.  

But some words of caution:

a) Ads can be distracting and turn your potential customer’s attention elsewhere.  You could lose sales from people clicking on the ads and going to another site.

b) Ads clutter up your site and cause slower load time.

c) Ads could cause you and your site to lose credibility.

d) Ads can make your site more confusing and harder to navigate.

So, limit the number of ads on your site and make sure they will not cause you to lose visitors or sales.

6. Update Regularly – Add new content to your site often and keep things fresh and new for your visitors. If they come back and see all the same information and content, it will more than likely be their last visit.

7. Mobile Friendly – More people are going mobile all the time so you must make sure your website is optimized for mobile users.  If you have a WordPress site there is a plugin called WPtouch Mobile Plugin that will make your site mobile friendly.

a) Don’t use flash.

b) Don’t use pop-ups.

c) Keep things simple.

d) If you are comfortable with it, you can also make changes to your CSS coding.  

8. Internal Links – If you want people to stay on your site, give them lots of links to other information or content they will want to check out.  

When you post an article include internal links to other related content within that article.  Add internal links wherever appropriate to keep that person clicking from one page to the next.

9. Focus on Your Target Market – High traffic is good but what you really want is targeted traffic.  People that are coming to your site because they are interested in what you offer is your goal.

Optimize your keywords and site description to bring in the right audience.  Zero in on that target market.

10. No More Auto-Play – If you have videos and/or music on your site, by all means, do not have start playing when a person lands on your site.  Turn off the auto-play and give the person the option of watching/listening or not.

In general, make a visit to your site, easy, pleasant and non-intrusive.  Provide the content to make people want to come again. Read More→

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10 Ways to Get Your Subscribers to Open and Read Your Email

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terriBuilding an email list is very important to your online business. According to statistics, email is 40 times more successful at getting your business new clients than either Facebook or Twitter.

Email is a powerful marketing method but getting subscribers is the easier part. Once you have your list of subscribers, you want to ensure that they open and read your emails regularly.

Another unfortunate statistic is that only about half of your subscribers will open and/or read your emails. There ae many easy things you can do to help raise this number.

Below are ten quick and easy ideas to help you get more people to open and read your emails.

1. Subject Line – Approximately one third of your subscribers will open your email based on subject line alone. You want your subject line to be short – about 3 words. You do not want to use spammy words such as free, help and reminder. Do not use exclamation points in your subject line. Negative words draw more attention. Using words like wrong, lose, stupid, etc. can actually get your email opened more often.

2. Personalization – If you can add the person’s name in the subject line, there is a greater chance it will be opened. But be careful you do not end of with something like: Hello [name]. This will make your email seem spammy and unprofessional. You also want to write your emails in a way that is a friend to a friend type conversation. Don’t make your emails sterile and hard to understand.

3. Go Mobile – Over half of all emails read are now on mobile phones. Make sure your emails, including the subject lines, are mobile-friendly.

4. When to Send – Tuesday is the day that more emails will get opened and read according to Experian. According to MailChimp, after noon becomes more active with the most active email reading time being between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

5. Personality – Be sure to give your emails a little of your personality. Your readers want to get to know you so put yourself in your emails. Add some fun, humor (do not be offensive or inappropriate) and games or contests. Read More→

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30 Quick Tips for More Traffic

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FThree To-Do Listsor whatever reason a person lands on your site, they are part of your website traffic. Even if a person just chance lands on your site, you have a short window of opportunity to convert them.

Sometimes this will happen and sometimes it won’t but the more traffic you have, whether targeted or otherwise, the more chances you have of increasing your conversion rate.

Getting this traffic is not always easy. Below are some quick tips on how you can increase your traffic for more conversions.

1. If you have not yet added a blog to your site, do so. Blogs are a very efficient way to get more traffic to your site and keep them coming back.

2. Start an email list and send out regular emails to your subscribers. Focus on building a relationship with your readers.

3. Cross promote on your social media accounts. Connect all your accounts with your website and blog.

4. Contact other blog owners and swap content. Choose blogs that are complementary to yours not competitive.

5. Join Viral Content Buzz. It is a great site for getting others to share your content on their social media accounts.

6. Post your blog posts to social media. This can help get people who read your posts to your blog or website.

7. Submit guest posts to other blogs that complement your blog.

8. Optimize your site for SEO using well-placed relevant keywords.

9. Submit your blog to popular blog directories such as EatonWeb, Jayde and OnTopList.

10. Share your knowledge with others at Yahoo Answers. Answering questions and offering advice can get you substantial traffic.

11. Get involved in forums and participate regularly. Facebook groups are solid forums to increase your traffic.

12. If you publish a newsletter, swap ads with other publishers. This is a great way to get more exposure and more traffic.

13. Learn how to write compelling headlines for your content. There are lots of helpful tips on how to write headlines that get attention and clicks.

14. Post your content on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is becoming a powerful social media platform and could get you a lot of traffic.

15. Interview others to post on your blog. The person you interviewed will undoubtedly share the interview on his/her site and social media accounts which will draw more people to your site. Read More→

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10 Ways to Generate Leads from Facebook

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Facebook logoExactly what is a lead and what does it mean for your business?  A lead is a person or organization that has, in some way, expressed an interest in your product or service.  Leads, if handled properly, can be turned into customers which means more sales and success for your business.

There are many ways to find leads including social media.  Social media lead generation is cost-effective and can considerably elevate your sales success.

Facebook has over one billion users and is the continued powerhouse of social media.  Below are ten ideas you can utilize to help increase your lead generation using Facebook.

1. Use Calls-to-Action in Your Cover Photo – With Facebook changing their policies and allowing calls-to-action in your cover photo, all kinds of possibilities open up for lead generation.  You can link to special offers, contests, events, giveaways, etc.  By displaying a lead capturing call to action your conversion numbers could grow substantially.

2. Use Links in Your Posts – Posting with photos will get you more than 50% more likes than text posts.  Be sure to add a link back to your website to capture that lead.

3. Host Events and Contests – The possibilities are endless for holding all types of events to get those leads.  Some ideas are webinars, contests, competitions, giveaways, Facebook chat, etc.  You can easily create an event page.  Use Facebook’s event app to create your page and then send out your invites.

4. Design an Effective Cover Photo – Be sure to follow Facebook’s cover photo guidelines.  Draw attention to your call-to-action buttons with some text directly above them or an arrow or other similar tactic.  Keep it fresh by changing your photo periodically.  There are many sites that offer free cover images for you to use.,, and just to name a few.

5. Avoid Direct Selling – Avoid using obvious advertising in your posts.  If people see nothing but an ad, they will more than likely avoid it.  Provide quality, informative content to get a higher number of leads and conversions. Read More→

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10 SEO Mistakes You Should Not Be Making

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Top view of young lady sitting on floor with a laptop and lookinSEO or search engine optimization is the process in which you make your site more easily read by the search engine spiders. Thus giving it more visibility and higher search engine rankings.

The higher your rankings, the more searches your site will be included in and this in turn will get you more traffic.

There are a lot of factors involved when optimizing your site for the search engines. They range from keywords to image tags to social media.

Many of us make the following common SEO mistakes that can easily be rectified.

1. Not Enough Content – Content is very important for your site. The search engines want to display the best sites for people who are searching for specific information. If your site contains quality information and content, they will consider your site to be one of these sites. Make sure your content is relevant to your site, has proper spelling and grammar, includes not only text but videos, links, images and other content.

2. No ALT Tags – Alt tags, also referred to as alt text, describe images on your site. The search engines cannot read images so adding an alternative text tag gives the search engine a readable description of the image to help the search engine spiders place your site within the search results of that text. For example: If you have a picture of a sunset with vibrant colors you may give it the alt tag description orange red summer sunset. Don’t use words that do not describe the image in hopes of getting better SEO results. This can do more harm than good by lowering your rankings.

3. Keyword Stuffing – Back in the day when search engines relied mostly on keywords it was a popular practice to stuff them in as much as possible. Now, keyword stuffing can get you penalized or even banned. Focus on one or two keywords or keyword phrases and sprinkle them lightly throughout your text. Keep your keyword density in the 1% – 3% range. So that would mean for every 100 words, use your keyword 1-3 times. This will give you a high optimization value.

4. Too Much Flash – Flash is a software used to build colorful, animated, flashy websites with a lot of graphics and light. They may look beautiful but unfortunately they are not user-friendly or SEO friendly. Flash has been widely phased out for the above reasons and more. Search engines find it difficult to read Flash. Flash can also cause your site’s performance to become substantially lower resulting in an increased bounce rate and lower rankings. Flash is not totally worthless but can cause you many difficulties. Read More→

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10 Strong Benefits of Blog Commenting

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You might feel that taking the time to visit other blogs and posting comments takes too much time from your “more important” tasks. There are millions of blogs out there and trying to find the ones that would be suitable on which to comment could seem overwhelming. But start slow and make a commenting schedule. Start with one or two a day and try to work yourself up to more.

You will discover that all the benefits of accomplishing this will put blog commenting in your “more important” category of tasks.

1. Build Relationships – Sharing information and offering your expertise on various subjects is a great way to start building relationships and forming trust. These relationships can be vital to your online business.

2. More Backlinks – A backlink is simply a link to your website coming from another website. Building an arsenal of quality backlinks can get you more targeted traffic and improve your search engine ranking. By getting involved with other blogs and posting helpful comments, you are well on your way.

3. Expand Your Network – Along with building relationships comes expanding your network. Meet more business owners, possible clients, and bloggers. Not only will this help you to possibly increase your sales but it could help you get more involved with joint ventures and cross promotions. Those techniques can help your business tremendously.

4. Build Your Reputation – Build your reputation as an active member of the internet marketing community. Show people you know your stuff and are not afraid to use it to help others. This will help brand you as the go to person for information and resources as well as your services and/or products.

5. Increase Your Traffic – Participating in other blogs can help increase your traffic in many ways. Along with all the above mentioned reasons, you will also get more clicks from people who, because you offer helpful advice and information, may just want to check out your site or blog to see what you have.

6. Improves Your SEO – Another benefit that goes hand in hand with the previous benefits is maximized SEO for higher search engine rankings. More quality backlinks means more attention from the search engines. More traffic produces the same result. Read More→

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How to Expand Your Social Network for Business Success

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Social Media MarketingIn the last twenty years the growth of online social media has been phenomenal. New social sites are popping up left and right. This social media explosion can be a powerful tool for the growth of your business. But trying to gain control of your social media skills for business development can be a daunting task.

Below are some ideas on how you can zero in on your social media marketing campaign and use it to expand your online network and intensify your business.

1. Establish Identity – Starting with your username, establishing the appropriate identity is very important. Define who you are and be clear on your purpose. Do not try to be too cutesy or trendy. Trends come and go but your username will be forever. Using a good photo of yourself for your avatar is usually best. This will help brand you as a person to connect with your company.

2. Build Relationships – Establishing and building relationships is the cornerstone for all businesses. Taking the time to cement a relationship with your followers will be much more effective than being a collector of friends. Let them get to know you so trust and respect can be formed. From this will come more conversions and sales.

3. Share and Share Alike – Don’t expect everyone to share your posts and information without ever sharing back. You will need to reciprocate these actions. Let people know you appreciate the sharing of your posts, videos or information. Do not take advantage of others just to get the share.

4. Value and Quality – Do not watch conversations and then jump in when you feel your sales pitch fits. Participate in the conversation, offer sound advice and quality information. Become a regular contributor who is always willing to offer value. Don’t just copy and paste. Provide original ideas, information and resources. Take the extra time to establish your expertise and willingness to offer assistance. This will carry over into your business when the people you have helped need your services and/or products.

5. Understand Your Customers – Do your research and always be aware of your potential customers’ needs and wants. Periodically take surveys, stay on top of the marketing trends and information. There are tools that can help you compile consumer data which you can then analyze to see what is working and what is not. DataHero, NetVibes and Google Analytics are a few you can use for free to sharpen your analytical skills. Read More→

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10 Primary Pages of a Profitable Website

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nicoleMaking a good living online can be a daunting task but certainly not impossible. To accomplish this goal you need a strong foundation, which in this case would be a well-structured, productive website. A website should be designed to suit your business purpose and to draw in and capture your target market. There are many elements to consider when planning your website.

One favorable factor in building websites is that you can change any part of your website for greater effectiveness. As websites evolve and change, you can fairly easily adapt your website to those changes.

Below is a list of some of the most important pages your website should include for maximum results and prosperity:

1. Home – Your homepage, also called the landing page, is most often where your potential customer will land when coming to your website. You have just seconds to grab and retain that person before they decide to leave. Your homepage needs an attention grabbing headline and compelling copy. You want to pull-in and lead your visitor through the rest of your site. Be clear, concise and simple. Explain what you can  do for the customer and why they should buy from you. Be sure to include benefits.

The brain retains visual images more than text so use images and/or a video. Make sure the customer knows exactly what to do next and show them a clear path through the buying process. Navigation is key to reduce your bounce rate. Never load up your homepage with banners, flash ads, and other distracting features.

2. About – The about page is where your customer will learn all about you and your business. This is how your potential clients will get to know you. Consumers want to buy from people they know. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Let people know the person behind the website. Adding a picture of yourself will go a long way in making people feel they can trust you. Share your experience and expertise. Explain what they can expect from and how they can benefit from your business. What makes your company better than the rest? What will the experience be like when doing business with you? Add a link to your mailing list so they can get to know you and your business even better. Some people will say that the customer only wants to know about your business and how it can solve their problems but in my experience they also want to know the person behind the business.

3. FAQ – A frequently asked question or FAQ page is important to your website because it can give people the information they are seeking in order to do business with you. A well-written FAQ page can be an effective marketing tool. Most people do not want to take the time to email and then wait for the answers. Providing the answers now is much more effective. Place most commonly asked questions on top and keep them flowing. Organizing and grouping questions by category works very well. Adding images or screenshots can add value and usability to your page. Be sure to answer the questions from the consumer’s point of view. Do not try to impress people with technical or difficult to understand words. Read More→

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