Monday, July 30, 2012

How Are My Online Competitors Different to My Bricks and Mortar Competitors?

The online marketplace, with the input of Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing, can mean that your competitors are quite different to those you face in the bricks and mortar marketplace.
Traditionally, your competitors may have been those shops located in a busy shopping mall, selling a similar range of products to your own. Both you and your consumers can infer this similarity from what is presented in the store, and from in-store displayed advertising/promotions. Conversely, such comparisons are not so easily made in the online marketplace, and your competitors are likely to be businesses which you perhaps didn't even consider you were up against.
Why the difference? The methodology applied in the world of Search Engines, in relation to consumers search queries and which websites appear in the results, takes into account many factors. One of these factors is the relationship between the keyword phrases used in a particular search query, and which companies have used these keyword phrases in the Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing of their websites. If the brick and mortar shop at the end of the mall has a website with a focus on product 'B' only and your website's main focus is on products 'A' and 'B', then the Search Engines will establish that your target markets are different, therefore your online competitors will also be different.
It can seem odd that a website which is remarkably different to your website is one of your competitors in the online marketplace. It is important to remember that your online competitors may offer slightly different services to your business. As an example, a website which appears on page 1 of the search results for a keyword phrase related to product 'B', might also sell another entirely different product range as well. Overall, these online competitors are appearing for the same keyword phrases as your website and vying for the same visitors.
Being a website owner, it is highly likely you have carried out a few searches using a keyword phrase related to your business, but haven't seen your website in the first 3 search result pages. Given this cause for concern, you are now considering a Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing strategy to help increase your websites rankings and resultantly gain more traffic. Did you also jot down who your competitors were when you conducted your search? These businesses are your online marketplace competitors.
As we noted above, the Search Engines consider many factors when determining which websites to display for a given search, based on relevancy to the search query. Because of this, it is imperative that your website measures up against these relevancy factors. Enlisting the ongoing services of a Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing Company, will ensure that your website is positioned competitively against your online marketplace competitors - both those you are aware of, and those that you are not.

Monday, July 23, 2012

7 Steps to Get Started Making Money Online With a Blog

The internet has made it easy for us to make money online if you have a way with words. There are a few things that you should do to make money online. Although there are many ways to make money online, blogging is turning on very popular as it allows anyone with an internet connection to get started with making money online. I started my first blog with a mobile. The things like designing, adding widgets are all difficult but still blogging with only a mobile is possible. Only an internet connection is required. The material you will get when you start or else you can write about what you love.
How to get started with blogging?
1. Finding a niche
The first and hardest step to get started with blogging is to decide what to write about. But it can be the easiest thing to do if you have an interest at something. Everybody's good at something and within the span of a lifetime, from our childhood we learn things that shape our memories and define us. The little nuggets of wisdom that we learn lie deep within us like pebbles at the bottom of a river. These very things and the experiences we had at handling them, whether pleasant or bitter define our thoughts and interests. Along with interest, blogging is also about running a business. If you want to make a living with blogging you need to treat blogging as a business, you need to treat it as a real job. To run a business you need to find out what people are searching online. Here comes the importance of keyword research. Keyword research tells you what people are looking for and tells you if you can potentially generate money with your writing expedition.
2. Buying a domain
Buying a domain name is quite easy but choosing what name to give your dreams is very hard. I think it doesn't matter whichever name you give as long as it is easy to spell. Keep it simple. You can either go for a keyword rich blog name or a name which has no relation to keywords. The word Pepsi has no relation to cold drinks but when you need to chill off you go for Pepsi, similarly Nokia is the greatest brand on earth but it doesn't remotely sound a phone. Both the names are simple and sweet. Learn from the way things work around you, try to observe and you will learn more than a pro blogger can teach you. Lots of sites are available for you too buy a domain like GoDaddy, Name cheap etc.
3. Choosing a hosting
A Host is simply the place where you store the stuff what consists your website and your host makes it available online. Whenever any Tom, Dick or Harry types in your site on the address bar, the hosting company makes sure that they reach you. If you are unavailable at that time you have lost the revenue the visitor could have generated, you have lost a customer for no fault of yours and that's why never ever go for cheap hosting. My blog is hosted on HostGator and so are a million other websites. Bluehost, HostGator, DreamHost the choice is yours!
4. Blogger or WordPress the eternal debate
The debate never ends but I will put my vote on WordPress. I have used the Blogger platform for 15 months and the Word press platform since a few days and with Word press you have the convenience of say Home delivery. You need to do anything you got a plugin for that. From SEO to submitting your sitemap there's a plugin for every need. With blogger the quality of third party widgets is awful and you have to search the code for everything, copy paste it and see if it works. When you are starting out blogger is great but then as Paul says it in the bible grown ups need solid food and babies milk. One more thing with WordPress is that there's so much to learn that you can start a blog on your learning experiences alone.
5. So your first post is live, do not share it
Yes I am not kidding, if you have written your only post then do not bother about sharing it online on Facebook, Twitter, delicious or Digg. The reason is that your blog is empty. People never visit a shop if it looks empty even if that shop has something that they are looking for. Similarly a visitor landing from any social media site will leave before your page loads if your site doesn't look full. Wait until you have 10 posts and then start sharing it to the world.
6. Guest posting
This step needs to be followed immediately after writing some posts on your blog like 10 to 15. There are a lot of people who have succeeded online a big way. There is,, etc where you can post an article. Beef it up with a link to your site and Google gives some of the importance that the big site is receiving to you without you have to reach that level. Quality backlinks matter and whenever you do a guest post on a high PR blog you are working towards improving your PR too. The visitors who come to your site are a nice catch and you should have a giveaway ready for capturing their e mail addresses. To know what you can do with that read below.
7. E mail marketing
AWeber is the thing to do when it comes to e mail marketing. Give away something for free to your target audience to make them sign up under your aegis. An e book on "how to make money online" would be ideal. Capture their e mail ids and send them offers periodically.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spotting Fake Craigslist Ads Made Simple And Easy

Advertisements are considered to be the life blood of almost every small and large business organization. With the roots of internet spanning to different sectors of the economy, how can the world of advertising be left untouched. People have started using internet as one of the best platforms for promoting their respective business concerns. There are a number of websites that support classified advertisements and Craigslist is one of the most popular ones. It is a great platform to advertise your business venture in just a few minutes. Craigslist Ads can easily promote your next entrepreneurial project among target audience and that too without spending a fortune.
No doubt Craigslist is an excellent platform for classified ads, but it also attracts a good number of bots, scammers and fake advertisements. This gives birth to the need of being watchful in order to stay safe from the evil elements of the web world. You should watch out for such fake ads as anyone can take full advantage of your cyberspace presence. With the help of some simple steps mentioned below, you can easily stay safe from fake Craigslist Ads and save your precious money.
• One of the most visible signs of an advertisement being bogus is that it appears too good to be true. You can stay safe from such scammers by opting to deal with the local people only. If you are getting indulge in any buying or selling activities, dealing solely in cash and making/receiving bills is generally advisable.
• For replying to the advertisements, you should always try to make use of secondary email account. The account should be one that you hardly care about. Advertisements used by the spammers to collect mails will only be seeing your secondary email address.
• One of the best ways of checking fake Craigslist Ads is making use of two separate emails to reply to the same advertisement. If you receive same reply in a really fast manner on both your emails, then the ad is probably run by bots. These fake responses normally have different email ids but the content is completely same.
• If you are able to see the same advertisements in other cities as well, there are 100% chances of the advertisement being fake. Scammers and spammers regularly post these ads in different cities as well as countries in order to stay ahead in the race.
So, these are some simple ways that can surely help you in spotting any fake Craigslist Ads as well as listings in an easy manner.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Facebook's New Timeline Layout for Business

Inserting a Cover Photo 
The first and the most important step will be to insert a Cover Photograph. The cover photo should be a true and clear representation of your business and not contain sales, discounts, contact information, or overt references to "like" or "share" your page. The cover image should be at least 399 pixels. To get the best quality image and fastest load times for your Page, upload an RGB JPG file that's 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kb. The most important thing is that should be enticing for the target users so much that they should be compelled to tag it to their timeline.

Inserting Profile Picture 
Profile picture is the normal profile picture which was used until now and displays next to wall posts and other members would be able to see it. The best choice would be a logo of your business. It should be at least 180 X 180 pixels.

Admin Panel 
The new business page has Tool Icons at the top of the page - Views, Apps, Admin Panel, Messages, and About etc. This offers great information pertaining to what your fans like, how they interact with your content, where they are located and more marketing information. Furthermore, you can manage one-on-one messages from fans, design new advertisements and campaigns in this top admin panel without leaving your business page.

Organization of Apps 
You can easily arrange the most important news and pictures on the basis of priority. As many as 12 Apps can be tagged here like photographs, events, "Join my List" to grow your email contacts, and so on and, fans will be able to enjoy it using the drop down Icon. The administrator can also modify the photographs using the Admin Panel.

Star, Hide or Pin 
This is a great new feature of the new Business Page Design. By simply hovering over the top right of a post on your page, you can access these tools to: Star/highlight an article or story which would be beneficial for your business and it will spread it across both columns to make it stand out. If you would like an article to remain at the top of your page (for up to a week), simply "Pin to Top". You can also hide content and even delete something irrelevant.

Management of Messages 
This is a great asset for businesses as it enables their fans to connect with them more personally, to send them their suggestions, advice, and other thoughts on various issues. As we all know not all thoughts can be shared publicly. This can also become very helpful business tactics as we can communicate directly with the political leaders, actors, entrepreneurs and in turn these people can learn about their shortcomings and rectify them on a one-to-one basis.

Other Important Features
About - Give a brief and concise description of your business. This is very important also as it can be a crowd puller. 
Milestone - Facebook allows you to keep a record of your worthwhile achievements and growth and it will be tagged on your page along with the historical photograph. You can expect many of compliments! 
Activity Log - The activity Log helps you to manage your posts, messages and comments from a single place.

There are many more such exciting features in Facebook's new Business Timeline Layout that will certainly enhance your business and the way you manage your page. Utilizing Facebook for your business is an asset for success and the new business layout furthers your efforts.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Employee Maintained Business Blogs

Employee blogging is a good thing and a bad thing. A business needs to control their reputation online and offline and having a lot of bloggers spread the word about their business is a good thing, however, it is also a bad thing because it opens up more and more avenues for the business to be attacked on different social media platforms. Therefore, a business must carefully weigh the pros and cons of an action before they go as deep as possible with that action.
The good part of this action is that the business has a greater reach than they did before their employees started to blog on their (or a) website. This means that the company enjoys a greater amount of exposure to the world. They are able to get more traffic because they have more pages to get that traffic. Essentially, the business is casting a bigger net to catch more potential clients and customers. All a very good thing for the business owner or business in the future, because every little piece of publicity helps a business extend their brand.
However, the greater number of pages increases the business's chances of being attacked through those pages. The blogging platforms have their comments set to "on" by default. This means that an internet "troll" can essentially attack a business by posting irrelevant and anger driven comments in the comments field.
The best way to deal with this problem is to turn on moderation in the comment field. This ensures that all comments are moderated and only the positive and constructive comments are allowed on the page. The attacking and devious comments are deleted and do not cause problems for the business. They do not hurt the reputation of the business and they do not hurt the business in the end.
One more thing to keep in mind is that a person who moderates the comments for the blogs should not be the same person who writes the posts. The moderator is a neutral entity who will not take any comments personally, whereas the blog creator is likely to become upset with the comments that some of the blog readers may make on the blog. This keeps the blog writer positive and keeps the reputation of the business clean.
In the end, a business make a decision whether or not the down sides of having employees blogging is worth the upside of having the extra exposure. There are many mistakes that both the business and the employee can make when using this system. Therefore, it must be carefully considered before a business decides to take this course of action.
Remember that employees will extend the reach of the business and may potentially bring in far more customers and clients with their blogs. However, it must be considered that this also opens the business up to attacks from the outside. There is also the problem that a business can be associated with comments from the blogger that they do not believe in themselves. Therefore, there is no right or wrong answer to this question, it just depends on what the business owner wants and needs.