Monthly Archives: June 2011

Why Hire A Designer?

A lot of online business owners start with no money. They have to do everything themselves — the preparation of a product, the development of a marketing strategy, the actual building of a website to cater to their product’s marketing needs. As their business expands over time, they will find that their simple “homemade” site might not be enough to cover everything, and they will have to take a day or two away to simply dedicate that to the website expansion.

Sounds familiar? Chances are, you’re someone who started everything with no money too, so you’re pretty skeptical when it comes to giving away your money in exchange for something that you could have done yourself. However, there is a lot more to hiring a designer than just finishing up a job that you don’t want to do.

When you hire a web designer to do your job for you, you are doing more than just handing over the “dirty job” to someone else. In fact, by paying a little money, you can let the designer worry about the little annoyances that always evade the main picture and only come haunting when you’re halfway through the job. That way, you will be more focused and have more time to spend on your actual business strategy.

On the other hand, the designers you hire a professionals so they are good at what they do. By outsourcing your web design jobs to them, you won’t have to worry when problems surface because you can always get them to fix it for you. Again, they will be able to pin point the problem and fix it faster than you probably will be able to.

Also, the work you pay for will turn out more professional than what you can achieve because the designers have been doing it longer than you have. After all, they do it for a living so they have to be good!

So, remember to not just work your business, but grow your business too!

Landing Page Success Tips

Also known as the “name squeeze page” or “lead capture page”, you can build your mailing list by funneling all of your would-be subscribers through the creation of a landing page. Not only do you do the work just once, your traffic driving efforts can be focused onto just one effective method.

The following are tips in creating a successful landing page that converts visitors into subscribers on a very huge percentage.

Success Tip 1: Offer a freebie in exchange for your visitor’s email address. I very much endorse this method of building your mailing list. You can offer a special report or a sample of your paid product to your visitor in exchange for their details such as name and email address.

Success Tip 2: The landing page must be written professionally. When writing your page, treat it as if you are writing a sales letter. While you are not necessarily making a hard sale or try to get someone to buy your product upfront, being able to entice your visitors to give their details to you is just as important as selling.

Success Tip 3: Other than your opt-in form and perhaps important disclaimers and terms, there shouldn’t be any other links on your landing page.

Success Tip 4: Rub in the benefits of the freebie you are offering more than a mere subscription to your newsletter. You should focus most of the attention of the letter on encouraging your prospective visitor to download your free offer. Later, you gently remind your prospect that he or she has nothing to pay but just merely subscribe to your newsletter in exchange for the freebie.

As a final reminder and conclusion, in order to build trust, you can include your hand-written signature or a photo of yourself explaining where you are coming from and how you can help your visitor through your free report on offer.

18 Link Building Strategies

1. Contact the websites you are currently linked to to optimize the links. Ask them to change the “click here” to another anchor text containing relevant keywords since the anchor text encourages people to click the ad.

2. Monitor the websites 404 statistics. Keep track of the links that are old or misspelled URLs. Google has a great tool for tracking URLs and links.

3. Create a “link to us” link on your website. This provides information for others to link to your site including anchors, URLs, and logos. Keep this page updated with current information and additional links.

4. Use spell check and grammar checker to correct any errors. The users will notice when you have errors in your links, pages, and content.

5. Search the internet for other sites that mention your website but are not linked to your site. Contact them to have them link your site.

6. Post comments on blogs with a link to your site in your signature line. When you add comments that are relevant and informational you will build traffic.

7. Make sure your navigation is spiderable by the search engines. Use anchor text or image text to increase the search engine results.

8. Use a sitemap on your website. Link all the pages on each page with the sitemap for a user friendly site.

9. Link your site to relevant topics on other websites. Link to the important pages on the site.

10. Link to sites with high search engine rankings. They will drive traffic to your site.

11. Check on the sites your competitors are using. Get the same links to add to your site.

12. Post comments from clients that are positive to add the trust and interest of future clients.

13. Create a free eBook containing your expertise or niche. Offer the eBook as a gift for people viewing your site who provide their personal contact information.

14. Teach an online seminar regarding your expertise. You should be considered an expert in your field and will attract people to the webinar. Post announcements of the seminar.

15. Use Google AdWord’s content to build your network with other sites with relevant products and content.

16. Join an affiliate program that promotes and sells the same type of product. Add links to your website.

17. Add a “donate to charity” link to your site. Describe the charity and how you donate the proceeds received. Pick a charity that people are willing to donate.

18. Submit your URL to social media sites to promote your products and services. Make sure the sites have quality services and products offered on their sites.

When you utilize these strategies to your website you will begin to see profits from the increased traffic.

eBay Title Writing Tips.

Trying to be help your buyers find your auctions can be a truly daunting task. Most people only search eBay by title, not by description, and that means that you only have those 55 characters of the title to cover all the possible search terms. That’s not easy. In this email, I’ll give you a few pointers.

Don’t bother with eBay clichs: There are plenty of eBay auction titles that say things like “Super rare camera wow look low price”. These are stupid things to put in your title, as no-one is going to search for them.

Think like a buyer: If you were looking for your item, then what exactly would you type into that box? If you think it’d help, try searching yourself to find someone else selling your item. What were the first things you thought of typing?

Think like other sellers: Keep an eye on which sellers are doing best with items like yours, and try to copy their title styles – if it works for them, it can work for you.

Be specific: You should be sure to write the item’s brand and specific model number in the title, as people will often search only for this information. Make sure that you also say exactly what the item is.

A Few Examples.

Here are a few examples of good titles. They’re real, and they’re on eBay right now, making their sellers money. So what makes them good?

“Dell Latitude Laptop P3 500mhz Notebook PC Computer”

If you know about computers, you’ll know instantly what this auction is selling. It has manufacturer (Dell) and product line (Latitude), followed by a few technical specifications (P3 500mhz is the processor speed). Notice also that the title includes the four words ‘laptop’, ‘notebook’, ‘PC’ and ‘computer’, as the seller wants people looking for any of those words to see his auction.

“OASIS Don’t Believe the Truth CD Album (New)”

This auction for a CD is well formatted: it gives the artist name in capital letters, followed by the album name. It then manages to include the two key words ‘CD’ and ‘album’, as well as the word ‘new’ – that means that anyone searching for ‘new oasis cd’, ‘oasis new album’ and so on will find this auction.

“1840 Penny Black stamp, certificate, four margins”

Here’s a slightly more obscure one, from the exciting world of stamp collecting. A penny black is one of the oldest and most famous stamps. It uses a few key words that collectors will consider important: ‘four margins’ indicates that the stamp has been cut out with some margins around it and so isn’t damaged, and ‘certificate’ tells you that the item has a certificate of authenticity – it’s a real penny black. Remember to use every bit of space to squeeze in as much important information as you can in the title.

So now that you’ve written a winning title, you need to start on a great description. The next email will show you how.

Who Is Your Audience?

Understanding the type of people who visit your site is a very important task because you can use that information to enhance your site to suit them. As a result, you will gain more loyal returning visitors that come back again and again for more.

What is the age level and what kind of knowledge does your audience have? A layman might linger around a general site on gardening, but a professional botanist might turn his nose at the very same site. Similarly, a regular person will leave a site filled with astronomy abstracts but a well educated university graduate will find that site interesting.

Take your audience’s emotional state into consideration when building your site. If a very irritated visitor searches for a solution and comes across your site, you will want to make sure you offer the solution right up front and sell or promote your product to him second. In this way, the visitor will put his trust in you for offering the solution to his problems and is more likely to buy your product when you offer it to him after that.

When you design the layout for your site, you have to take into account the characteristics of your audience. Are they old or young people? Are they looking for trends or are they just looking for information served without any icing on the cake? For example, introducing a new, exciting game with a simple, straightforward black text against white background page will definitely turn prospects away. Make sure your design suits your site’s general theme.

Try to sprinkle colloquial language in your sites sparingly where you see fit and you will create a sense that your audience is on common ground with you. This in turn builds a trusting relationship between you and your audience, which will come in useful should you want to market a product to your audience.

Using Free Reports to Build Your List

Aside from pre-selling your products and affiliated offers, the other purpose of your free viral report should be to build your mailing list.

This is because if you are unable to pre-sell, let alone sell, the products and services featured in your free report, the last ditch effort should be to collect leads. In short, if you cannot convert the reader into a ready buyer, you should then attempt to convert him or her into your subscriber.

In that manner, you can still follow up with your reader on future offers and have a chance at converting him or her into your customer, preferably lifetime.

You can do so by offering a lifetime update to your report or a unique notification list your reader will be interested in subscribing to, which leads to having him or her subscribed to your mailing list.

One of the few success factors in viral marketing of your free report is quality. If your readers find your information worth sharing, and you encourage them to do so by giving them the right to give your report away for free, you will be able to have your name, status and links within the report passed around without any effort on your part simply because others are willing to do so for you!

How to Choose the Right eBay Product Category.

Some people think it’s easy to choose the right eBay category, and often it is. Sometimes, though, it might not be quite clear exactly what to go for.

Why is it Even Important?

Plenty of people use the category system to find items, when they’re not looking for something specific. If your item is listed in the wrong category – or you’ve just given up and listed it in ‘Everything Else’ – then these people aren’t going to find your auction.

Also, listing items in the wrong categories is against eBay’s rules, and eBay say they will remove any auctions that are wrongly categorised. They don’t often actually do this, but it’s not worth the risk – especially since breaking any rules can cause them to penalise your account, including losing PowerSeller status if you have it.

So What Can You Do?

eBay will suggest categories for you when you sell your item, if you type in a few words to describe the item on the category selection page and click ‘search’. You can make the best of this feature by typing in exactly what your item is, with brand name and model number (if any), so that eBay can find the best category for you.

If that doesn’t work for you, then search yourself for items like yours, and pay attention to which category most of them seem to be in (you can see this near the top of each item’s description page). Try different words and see which ones come back with the most results. You can also browse through all the available categories from eBay’s front page.

Remember that the more specific the category is, the better – use as many subcategories as are appropriate. Don’t just list your HP laptop in the ‘Computers’ category, for example – list it in ‘Computers > Laptops > HP’. Don’t worry: your item will still appear in the ‘Computers’ category, as well as ‘Computers > Laptops’, because items listed in subcategories are always listed in every category above.

Take some time to look through all the categories and get familiar with the way eBay as a whole is laid out. After all, that’s better than getting a few months down the line and finding that you still think of eBay’s category system like it’s some kind of scary jungle.

What if More Than One Category Fits?

Don’t worry, eBay have you covered. For a small extra fee, you can list your item in an extra category, to increase the number of potential buyers who will see it. This isn’t always worth it, though – some items only really fit properly in one category, and listing them in extra categories is just a waste.

Once you know where to list your item, the next step is to write your auction’s title. The title is the most important thing about your auction – the difference between a good title and a bad title can be the difference between $10 and $100. That’s why I’ll take you through the dos and don’ts in the next email.

When Is the Right Time to Redesign?

If you run a website, chances are you often wonder whether it is the right time to do a total redesign of the layout of your website. Here are some points to consider:

Are you thinking of a redesign just for the sake of it? If you answered yes to that question, it is not yet the right time to do a redesign. Remember, a design serves a specific purpose. If you are not sure whether to do an overhaul of your site, keep in mind that your current design might have a specific purpose that you might not know about. You will lose that function if you do a redesign.

On the other hand, if your website has had the same website design since 1990, perhaps it is high time to do a redesign. The last thing you would ever want to happen to your site is when visitors leave your site without taking a look at your content just because the design is old fashioned. If this is your case, here are some points to ponder before doing a redesign.

Redesigning your website is like performing plastic surgery on it. Your website loses its current identity (for the better or worse) and your regular visitors might not recognise your new design at first glance. You risk losing them just because they thought they landed on the wrong page. Hence, it is very important that you retain a characteristic feature from your old layout. Perhaps it is the logo of your site; perhaps it is the same text style for the title for your site.

To play it safe, put a poll on your site to let your visitors do the talking. If they think it is necessary for the website to have a fresh look, give it to them!

Weakness in Safe List

How would you like to send your commercial emails to people you do not know, but are expecting to receive such mail from you? Wait a minute. That does not sound right. How can this be?

It is simple, if you know what is really going on. Everybody who is on these lists, also known as safe lists, knows that they will be receiving emails from other members. This is possible because that is one of the conditions of their “safe list” membership.

And those who join these lists are willing to agree to this condition because they themselves would want to send out their own commercial emails to the others on the list.

The result: everyone is sending emails to each other but no one is reading them!

It gets worse when some savvy members sign up for the membership using a free or less-frequently-used account to store the useless emails they will never bother to open and read.

Having said that, it is always wiser to start your own mailing list and build it with opt-in subscribers, no matter how tempting safe lists can be or how many members there are in a safe list.

Taming the eBay Search Engine.

If you know what you’re doing, you can quickly find what you’re looking for on eBay – and the more you know about how buyers find you, the easier you’ll find it to be found. Here are a few golden searching rules.

Be specific: If you’re searching for the first edition of the original Harry Potter book, you’ll get further searching for ‘harry potter rowling philosopher’s stone first edition’ than you will searching for ‘harry potter’. You’ll get fewer results, but the ones you do get will be far more relevant.

Spell wrongly: It’s a sad fact that many of the sellers on eBay just can’t spell. Whatever you’re looking for, try thinking of a few common misspellings – you might find a few items here that have slipped through the cracks.

Get a thesaurus: You should try to search for all the different words that someone might use to describe an item, for example searching for both ‘TV’ and ‘television’, or for ‘phone’, ‘mobile’ and ‘cellphone’. Where you can, though, leave off the type of item altogether and search by things like brand and model.

Use the categories: Whenever you search, you’ll notice a list of categories at the side of your search results. If you just searched for the name of a CD, you should click the ‘CDs’ category to look at results in that category only. Why bother looking through a load of results that you don’t care about?

Don’t be afraid to browse: Once you’ve found the category that items you like seem to be in, why not click ‘Browse’ and take a look through the whole category? You might be surprised by what you find.

Few people realise just how powerful eBay’s search engine is – a few symbols here and there and it’ll work wonders for you.

Wildcard searches: You can put an asterisk (*) into a search phrase when you want to say ‘anything can go here’. For example, if you wanted to search for a 1950s car, you could search for ‘car 195*’. 195* will show results from any year in the 1950s.

In this order: If you put words in quotes (“”) then the only results shown will be ones that have all of the words between the quote marks. For example, searching for “Lord of the Rings” won’t give you any results that say, for example “Lord Robert Rings”.

Exclude words: Put a minus, and then put any words in brackets that you don’t want to appear in your search results. For example: “Pulp Fiction” -(poster,photo) will find items related to Pulp Fiction but not posters or photos.

Either/or: If you want to search for lots of words at once, just put them in brackets: the TV example from earlier could become ‘(TV,television)’, which would find items with either word.

Don’t get too tied up learning the ways of the search engine, though: a surprising number of eBay users don’t search at all, preferring to look through eBay’s category system and save their favourites in their browser. The next email will show you how to make sure these people can find you too.