A Site for Sore Eyes: Build a Website Visitors Will Revisit

Images in Web DesignThree-fourths of the U.S. has access to the Internet. It seems wild to imagine, but Pamela Vaughan’s recent Hubspot round-up on web statistics, for the U.S. in 2012 found that an estimated 239 million people in the U.S. are online. So, how about you? Is your business online? If it is, how many visitors do you get a month? I’m not talking about spam-bots, I’m talking real, live users who have taken an interest in the goods and services you offer on your site. After all, having a website is more than something to show off to your friends and family. It should be easy to find, professional, up-to-date and most important: easy on the eyes and a site that visitors will return to and refer to future clients.

Now, I’m not talking about learning how to write code, or becoming a web developer overnight, though having some understanding of HTML (hyper text markup language) and CSS (cascading style sheets) can go a long way. And that is a strength of what you get from UpstartMediaMarketing. Either we teach you what to do, or we do it for you. It can’t be easier than that, can it?

Before you decide whether you want to use a template, theme or create your professional website from scratch, you’ll want to sign up with a strong web host. VPS (virtual private server) hosting companies are great for anywhere access and are great for data recovery and backing up a site’s information in situations of power outage, natural disasters or super storms. Services such as VPS hosting at MyHosting offer fast and easy setup that you can do without the help of an IT professional. You can install any application, change any file and have complete root access to your site’s server from anywhere online.

After you’ve signed up with a strong hosting server, you’ll want to get to work on your site’s appearance. Jeremy Anderson of eConsultancy.com offers some great tips that any designer (pro or newbie) should pay close attention to if they want to get the most bang out their site. Here are the top ones we liked most.

Site Audit

Before you begin to make any changes to your current site, you are going to want to review your site. Try to look at your site with a critical eye, as if you are critiquing someone else’s site. Are the colors pleasing to the eye? Is the font easy to read? Are you using all of the available social plugins? Also, do a search for sites that fall into the profession that is your competition. Do a comparison between sites that are getting more traffic than you.

Use Video and Lots of Pics!

Most users are visual consumers when it comes to anything. A picture (or video) can speak a thousand words and can be understood cross culturally. You can attract business from people who might not even have a firm grasp of the language that is on your site if you have video and images that will promote your product. So, get busy posting a gallery of pics and videos.

Get in Line

Using proper alignment on your sites pages can make a huge difference. Most designers like to separate their pages into three sections with an eighth to a quarter of the page for your banner, two vertical borders and the middle section as the pages main content section. Designers like to call this concept the “rule of thirds.” Since the human eye takes in information from left to right, if you place the most pertinent information at the left or center, then a person will stop looking once it has reached that point. If you want a visitor to find information easily, place your most important must-see info dead center or at the top center, so it’s easy to find.

Using these essential tips will get you off to a good start and even if you’re not getting 100 visitors a day, eventually you’ll be getting quality visitors who will hopefully become future clients and referrals down the road. Before you know it, you will be offering other web designers advice on how they can make their website more attractive.

Establishing Your Authority and Credibility in your Niche through Article Marketing

Article Marketing - become an authority in your NicheOn the internet, website traffic, at least the kind that brings continuous customers,  is largely based on your authority and credibility. When we are build a new website, most of us are unknown. So, when visitors come to your website they know nothing about you. You could be the most experienced expert on a topic or you could be a “me-too” author. The visitor doesn’t have a lot of information to go on.

Some things, however, immediately indicate that you know what you are talking about–that you are an authority and have credibility in your niche.

  1. The appearance of your website
  2. The number of articles or other content
  3. Where the visitor came from

I’ll talk about the third: If the visitor was referred from a well-respected site, immediately he or she assumes that you are credible, that other important or popular websites in your niche respect you enough to let you write for them.

This page is about helping you become an authority and establishing your own credibility in your niche through article marketing.

In article marketing, I find three separate activities establish your authority

  1. Submit many well-written articles to broad-based, but quality article directories such as ezineArticles
  2. Become a respected contributor on a few, targeted high-impact, authoritative websites in your niche
  3. Establish yourself as a thought leader by submitting your own  or referring to other detailed articles in Scribed. Then lead the discussion.

Below, I’ve included an audio discussion and an article from scribd. The article is a well-written analysis from the Yaro Starak from Enterpreneur’s Journey and Brian Clark from Copy Blogger. This discusses some important aspects of how to write and submit articles.

The audio discussion helps you understand the three parts to establishing your authority and credibility in your niche  through the three important parts of article marketing.

Click to Play Teleseminar:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

[scribd id=37119751 key=key-1cco1q2k7kt28m9amh7c mode=list]

The very basics of SEO made simple for Totally Green

Seo basics. The basics of SEO.I was replying to a user on a internet forum about the very basics of SEO. It is my answer to SEO made simple.

Google (and the other search engines) want to know what your article is all about. The only way to do that is to get that information from the text that you provide. AND, they want to know how good you are at telling them what the article is about.

When we put an article on the web, whether we use WordPress or straight html or Joomla or Drupal or Dreamweaver or any other tool, ultimately each web page is converted to html so that your web browser can “read” the page. We call the “behind the scenes” html as the “source”. This is all part of the basics of SEO.

The search engines look at a few things in the HTML source to identify what the web page is about.

  1. Title
  2. Title meta tag
  3. Description meta tag
  4. First keyword of the keyword meta tag
  5. In the anchor of any link that links to your page
  6. Get external links with the keyword in your ancher
  7. In any image that is on the page (alt tag)
  8. And of course, a few places in the body of your article. Don’t over use, but certainly use the keyword 3-4 times, especially in the first paragraph and in the last paragraph.

First it looks at the actual title of the article. This is the title that will show in your browser tab at the top of the page. When you are building a web page, this is the title of the article at the top. In WordPress, it is the title of your article.

However, you can add “code” in your web page that is called “meta tags”. The three important meta tags are Title, Description, and Keywords. If you are building the website with HTML or some program that builds separate web pages, then you need to add these meta tags. Most software will give you that option somewhere. If you are using WordPress, there are some fields below where you type your article that are called Title, Description, and Keywords.

The person viewing the page doesn’t see these when he is looking at the web page on the internet, but the search engines do, and this “meta data” helps the search engine decide what the article is about. So, the better you know how to put this information in and make it consistent, the more the search engines like you and ultimately bring your pages to the top of the search results. (THAT’s what we all want!). Also, the person does see the meta title and the meta description in the actual search results. That’s what you see when Google gives you a list: meta title, meta description . . . if you provided it. Otherwise, it just picks up your main title and the first bit of text (about 160 characters) from your article.

Anchor and Target are also important. When you write an article and link to another article, it is important to know where you are linking FROM and what you are linking TO. You know the text that we click to go somewhere else? That is called the anchor text. The page that we end up on is called the Target.

So, Google loves it when we use within our anchor text the exact same keyword as will be in the target title. That doesn’t mean that the anchor and title should have ONLY those keywords, but those keywords should be clearly within the anchor and title. If you can do that for every link and page, Google will eventually cuddle up nice and cozy. You’ll be best buds, especially if you have done keyword research that identifies keywords that people are actually using.

So, always create good anchor and title links to every page on your website. If you can control the incoming links (from other sites), it is very, very good if you can get the incoming link to use the same keyword in the anchor as your title page. If someone else is writing the article, you may not have the option. But if you write an article for some other site and link to your site . . . ALWAYS know to which page you are linking and use the appropriate keyword in your anchor text.

So what’s the “alt” tag on an image? When you load an image, there are two “names”. The first is the actual file name. If you can use that image file name identical to the keyword, that is helpful also. But the alt tag (sometimes also called description when you load a graphic) is very important. Always use a keyword that people are searching for that identifies the graphic. This will also be listed if the person hovers their mouse over your image. Google indexes that alt tag as well.

All of this is called SEO. It is only the beginning of what you can do with SEO, but it is the more, most, mostest important part. Our lesson 4 is called What is SEO? and How do you find Good Keywords?

Just a parting thought. I have a garden website called Learn to Garden Like a Pro at LivingGardenSeries.com. I have watched the statistics. Pages that have good SEO get 10-1 hits over those that I wrote quickly and ignored the SEO. (But I have to be honest. Sometimes I’m lazy and don’t do it.) But I see constant incoming traffic from google analytics for strongly seo-ed pages.

This is just the beginning. I have a excellent video training program that goes into depth on SEO, e-commerce, WordPress, Facebook, Youtube, link building, email marketing and list building, . . . We would love to have you visit us . . . even join us. It’s worth it.

–Aaron

Fascinating – Filter Bubble

Finding yourself alone

I frequently find myself watching interesting talks on TED talks. They are often insightful and imaginative. Today I listened to a talk that I believe should be listened to by all, especially those who are internet marketers.

Eli Pariser talked about how we use search engines and how they are becoming smarter and smarter as they are able to specifically identify the things you want to see, based on your previous clicks and watches. The data that they use weeds out all of the extraneous noise as much as possible, so that it knows that if your and outdoor enthusiast, when you search for “bears”, you want to see big furry creatures. But if you are a sports enthusiast, Chicago Bears will the top hits in your search engines.

If we are politically minded, our political choices will naturally come first. And the topics go on an on. This is exactly what we want, right?

Pariser points out how we are become increasingly isolated, to our own detriment. We miss important “alternative” views that are critical for us. Pariser makes a convincing arguement.

And Google is not the only search engine with this type of technology. Facebook, Youtube, Netflix, Yahoo, Bing, and all the big news search engines do the same.

Go ahead and watch this video.

Free Website Traffic

Free Traffic for Your Website or BlogSo, you’ve been building your website. It’s beautiful. You have a great topic and your talents, skills, and interests are well organized on you website.

You’ve added your own unique products. You’ve written content that is uniquely “you.” You’ve developed the “image” that we talk about in our training. But now you need some website traffic . . . you need to get visitors to your website.

Without website traffic, you’re an island in the ocean. Traffic is an interesting catch-22. If you have traffic, Google and the search engines notice you and push your pages higher on the search results page. But to get the traffic, you need traffic. Hmmmmm. What to do?

There are, however, some very good traffic producing techniques that will work well for the little guys as well as the big guys. As a matter of fact, the little guys may do better because we’re usually “huuungryyyy.”

Before I go further, let me mention that incoming links from about 10 high-quality websites will trump 1000 random links. So as you begin to build a mass of 1000 (or 10,000) mini-incoming links, also begin grooming a handful of quality websites to which you can contribute and which will link back to your website.

Let’s look a just a few to get you started.

1) Forum Marketing

Being an expert in your field is one of the most important things you can do to bring return visitor traffic. And one of the best places to become an expert is in the forums. First. Don’t just go to a forum and start dropping one-liners with your “signature” attached and link back to your website or blog. Don’t do it. No one likes that. The moderators may ban you. And you won’t be seen as an expert.

Instead, actually provide value on the internet. In the forum, look for questions that you can answer and then provide real, quality answers. Find a few forums and visit them regularly. As your name becomes common, the people will naturally begin to follow.

Obviously you want to choose forums that focus on your particular topic or niche.  Forums provide a unique concentration of people that are interested in the same topic. They are all in one spot.  So make sure you include a signature with a link to your website with each post. You may even contact the owners of the forum and ask to be a moderator.

2) Article Marketing

There are hundreds, thousands of website owners who are hungry for new articles to be written for their website or blogs. They search article directories in order to find these. There are many article directories; some have simply deteriorated into spammy link farms. EzineArticles, however, and a few others are devoted to providing high quality articles. (Note. Google has recently “slapped” all article marketing websites, which has reduced the effectiveness. However, that has made them all the more intent on requiring their authors to write quality content.)

In an article, it is not appropriate to put links to your products all over the article. EzineArticles will actually disallow your article if you do. However, they do allow a resource box at the bottom of the article. In the resource box, you can write a brief promotional summary with links to your website. This is great for SEO.

You can also track your articles using Google Alerts. If someone is regularly using your articles, then you may want to contact them and offer to submit your articles directly to them whenever you write a new topic.

3) Youtube Videos

People love videos, especially high quality videos. Youtube searches account for about 1/3 of the internet searches. That’s a LOT of traffic.

By themselves, the videos in Youtube are a single items in the mass of the Youtube community. However, you can create playlists and links from your videos that point to your website. Of course we teach you more about that in our training video. By providing links, annotations, playlists, and working with friends and subscribers, you can develop a following of people who are introduced to you in Youtube but follow you to your website for regular updates.

4) Facebook Fan Page

Integrating a Facebook Fan Page will bring strong traffic. You will link your blog articles to you Facebook Fan page. You can integrate comments from Facebook back to your Blog. Of course, our social media instruction will show you how to set all of that up.

Google loves Facebook. (Well, not in a competition mode, but it indexes the site rapidly because of the social network value.) So building solid content on Facebook will rapidly build links back to your primary website.

5) Become a Guest Blogger

This is similar to Article Marketing. But the difference is that you are writing specifically for another blog. The best way to do this is to write a series of tightly-related articles. Make sure they are all high quality and provide value and demonstrate your unique insights and information. They need to show that you are an expert in your field, if just an emerging expert.

Contact the owner of a high-traffic blog and show them your content. Then ask them if you can be an expert contributor to their blog. At the bottom of each article you will include a brief summary about you and your website. But don’t just go in there trying to “exchange links.” That was “so last year.” Provide high-quality content regularly and prove your value.

6) Twitter

Twitter is here to stay. Twitter is a little different animal. People don’t sit and “read” twitter. It is more like an ongoing movie. So, you will only catch those who are watching the movie at the time that you tweet. But as you build a massive Twitter following and as your content becomes more popular and is “re-tweeted” more and more eyes see the links and it brings more traffic to your website.

Twitter is not about advertising. Twitter is about sharing good bits of information. So, you will want to watch our training videos about how to build quality information that is both popular and valuable. It doesn’t take long that the big Twitter users will begin to automatically re-tweet your tweets because they know that you only send valuable information.

Just remember, if you go on Twitter and you start spamming with links, links, links. Buy, buy, buy. That is what you will be known for. Instead, build up a stream of targeted followers by providing interesting tweets.

7) Yahoo Answers

Yahoo answers is an excellent way to get traffic and show off your expert knowledge. Look for questions in your area of expertise and provide quality, valuable answers. Of course, add your link for reference.

8) Build a Squidoo Lense

Squidoo allows you to build “lenses” that are concentrations of information on specific topics. They allow you to include video, audio, photos, articles, and other content directly related to the lense topic. Each of these can includes links back to your website.

As you build the lense, consider the “long-tailed keywords”, the phrases that you have identified to be good search terms, and put those keywords in the anchor from your squidoo link to the title of your blog article. Google likes “in anchor and title” links. Squidoo provides the method to create a concentrated topic page and link back to your blog with several well-placed and keyworded links.

9) Your own blog and SEO

Don’t forget the basics. You need to stay on top of your own website. Add articles regularly. Do keyword research regularly. The keyword research will actually create a list of articles that you need to write.

Study our videos about keywords in the Title, Description, and Keywords meta data for each article. Create keyword-linked articles on your website. SEO your website every time you write.

10) Ask people to share your work

There are many legitimate ways for you to ask people to share your work. And don’t be bashful or ashamed. If you produce quality articles, videos, photos, or other content, people will be happy to share them.

Integrate the Facebook “Like” button. Add the Twitter “Follow Me.” Add phrases like “Share with a Friend” on your newsletters. And whenever you are engaged with any customer in a chat, the phone, or any other communication, always add, “please share my website and newsletter with others.”

 

 

This is not a complete list. There are many different methods to bring traffic to your website. The key to getting free website traffic is 1) write quality content, 2) optimize your website for SEO (keywords and links), 3) become an expert by sharing your best knowledge in tidbits and link back to your main website, 4) appropriately ask people to follow you.

As you build this network of links and specifically build 10 or more high-traffic  “partners”, your website will rapidly bring more and more free traffic to your website.