Why You Won’t Sleep Tonight Until You Discover 5 Secrets to Gain New Customers

10 Dec

Is your business growth starting to plateau or stagnate? It’s easy to sit back, take the foot off the accelerator and watch the sales roll in, especially if you are satisfied with how well your business is doing. But keep in mind that if you slack off too much, your competitors will soon catch up and eventually put you out of business.

Marketing your business is even more important than ever if you want to succeed in challenging economic times. Competitors are closing their doors – which means more potential customers for the businesses that do survive. Today is the best time to take steps to revamp your marketing efforts and respond to the needs of your target market. In these times, it’s going to take more than “thinking outside the box” and goodwill with existing customers to secure the survival of your business.

What you need are new and innovative ways to bring attention and profitable sales to your business instead of depending on the “old ways” to get people to learn about you. Here are “5 New & Innovative BE’s” to market you business during challenging economic times. Use these little known ways to increase your market share and watch your business soar.

1. Be Resourceful – It’s Not Stealing, It’s Called “Market Research”

Steal, don’t invent your success from scratch! Watch what other successful companies do – take their innovative ideas, adapt them to your own business and then apply them.

For example, even small or mid size businesses can benefit from carving out a unique image for their vehicles (whether you have 1 car or 100). Think of how quickly you recognize a yellow taxi cab, an emergency vehicle, a Linfox truck. All of these well known icons have been developed because of necessity, purpose and design. You don’t need to spend $1000 to make your branding impactful and memorable either – stickers, magnetic signs and personalized license plates can start from as little as $150. On an average day commuting back and forth to work in traffic, how many vehicles do you think you might see? Statistics indicate that in a busy city like Melbourne, the average commuter is exposed to 5000+ vehicles/hour. That’s 5000+ opportunities to get your brand and contact details out there for very little cost. Can you afford not to try it?

Do yourself a massive favour and STOP concentrating on selling 1 thing to 1 person. What can you do right now to sell your product/service in bunches or bulk? If you are a bookseller, look for opportunities to form alliances with schools, book clubs or companies to generate large orders or group sales. Coaches and trainers may want to consider holding workshops and seminars to increase their leverage and reach. Even if you are in the dry cleaning business, you could arrange to stop by a corporate office on Friday to pick up a pile of orders and then deliver the clean, pressed garments on Monday. I don’t care what business you are in – if you can sell to one person (or business), you can make more money for virtually the same time and effort selling to 10 or 100 people (or companies). Think about it – thinking BIG and selling BIG is the best use of your time.

You may even want to go so far as to consider bribing a “significant other” in order to attract a new, dream client or get in front of a key decision maker. If there is a person that you really want to meet but you can’t seem to get your foot in the door to have an appointment with him/her, you may want to get resourceful and win the backing of a key motivator – i.e. the producer of the radio host’s show, the spouse of the client, the EA (or right hand) of the decision maker etc. Find out what that person likes – whether it’s chocolate, flowers or tickets to a sports event or music concert – and use it to build a relationship and get your foot in the door with the endorsement of this influencer. You will find it pays huge dividends to be sincere and generous!

2. Be Partners – I’ll Scratch Your Back, If You Scratch Mine

This strategy follows along the same lines as what we just discussed above. Question – if given the choice at a networking function, would you rather find one potential customer or a strategic alliance that could help you win 10 customers?

This is not a trick question – of course you would rather develop a relationship with a complementary business or strategic partner who can recommend or refer you to many customers. But how many of you go to events and spend the majority of the time talking about what you do and trying to sell your products/services to anyone who will listen? You only have one mouth and two ears – the key to getting the best result and really growing your business is to use each in the correct proportion. Spend at least 2/3 of the time asking questions and really finding out (1) what is important to the other business and (2) who their customers and suppliers are. Great companies develop great people who really know how to listen. Unfortunately in most prospecting or networking conversations, both people are just waiting for the other person to finish! If you are not listening, you are likely missing opportunities and buying signals.

Be patient and persist – sometimes the synergies are not immediately obvious. I was at a networking event myself last year and met a woman with a small IT company. On the face of it, our businesses really had very little in common. However, after chatting for some time I discovered that one of her suppliers was a company that I was very interested in working with and she also had many contacts (from her previous career in HR) that could be extremely beneficial for my business. She also revealed that she really needed solid business content for her website and ezines that I could provide very easily, at no cost and with little incremental effort on my part. Always think Win-Win.

The easiest way to find potential partners and alliances is to start off by making a list of all of the businesses that might be interested in working with you. Where else does your ideal customer shop? What other products and services do they need? What are they interested in? Get as many ideas down on paper as you can and then sort by order of priority – write a note on your to do list each week to contact 5 people or businesses from this list to set up a meeting and discuss ways that you can work together to become even more successful.

It may be as simple as having a commission in place for referrals between you or as complicated as providing special pricing to customers on bundled packages of goods. Perhaps you may even want to offer free trials of your product to the best customers of your new alliance? This may make perfect sense if the acquisition cost of a customer is high in your industry or if you are looking to break into an established market where there are well known players who dominate the market.

When looking for potential partners, contemplate:

o Businesses in your same industry

o Businesses that sell items that naturally go along with what you are selling

o Businesses that sell similar items but do not compete directly with you

There are an unlimited number of options available – the ways that you can work together and produce a mutually beneficial result are limited only by your imagination. Consider:

o Giving out promotional materials on behalf of your partner with every sale

o Trading existing customer and mailing lists

o Selling your products cooperatively

o Holding a closed door sale or VIP night where both companies cooperate to offer excellent value and enticements

o Linking to each other’s websites

o Offering tickets to a joint workshop or seminar

o FREE trials/demos to best customers on each other’s database

o Combining sales teams or shipping on bulky items (or items that go out each month)

o Press releases out to media or best customers about how you are working together to make it easier/better for your customers

o Coalition loyalty (giving great value back for purchases by customers across multiple brands)

o Writing a joint newsletter or combining materials into a book or audio file that customers can get for free

Remember to do your due diligence and thoroughly research your potential partners online and offline. Google searches are an excellent way to get a preliminary feel about your potential partners and it will also reveal how committed they are to promoting themselves and growing their business.

3. Be Out There – Master PR & Social Media

A good press release should be between 200 and 400 words. Less is more. The priority is to give only enough information to whet the appetite of the reporters and entice them to contact you to for the main course.

Most make the mistake of thinking that a press release is the opportunity to give every conceivable fact and overload the media with data. A press release is really just an elevator pitch–something you could comfortably say to someone in about 30 seconds. You wouldn’t dream of giving a three-hour lecture in order to get someone’s phone number at a bar. Similarly, you don’t need a 1,000-word press release to get booked in a newspaper or on a radio show. Keep it short, news worthy and intriguing.

The story should be about how what you do/sell relates to something newsworthy or will help the audience to fix an annoying or costly problem once and for all.

Did you know that most individuals and businesses are posting press releases purely to boost website traffic? A press release is much more than just a way to get media attention and free editorial. It can also be a great way to increase the organic traffic you get from Google and other search engines. The online press release services focus time and money on search engine optimization and rank extremely well in search results. You can literally piggyback all of this for next to nothing! All of these links create more ways for your potential customers to find you PLUS you receive the added bonus of appearing to be the expert in your field. You can literally receive thousands of visits to your website, without paying a dime on advertising.

Aside from organic traffic, search engine optimization has the potential to produce radio and TV bookings months after your release is sent out and long after you have forgotten that you even sent it! Think about it, a busy, overworked journalist, booker or producer may search on Google for “self sabotage experts” only to find your well-written, opinionated and informative release appearing on the first page – and a direct link to your website!

In addition to the above, social media and viral marketing are the latest phenomena to generate massive exposure and rocket people/companies from relative obscurity to international fame. If you are not involved (or don’t even know what I am talking about), you need to seriously assess your commitment to your business. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Linked In, blogs etc. are just some of the many ways to build your community and get the “word out” globally about what you do, your products and services, for little or no cost.

In my experience working with the Top 22 brands in this country, 90% of their customers lived within a 10km radius of their office/store. However, the biggest competitor to almost every single one of these businesses was the internet – not another physical location or office. Yet most companies focus on marketing to a set pool of customers. They fall into a fatal trap of doing mail drops and advertising in local newspapers to customers within a certain distance from their store. There is a huge fallacy in this level of thinking – if 20,000 people live within 10km of your business this year, you can bet that the same 20,000 (or similar group) also live within the same radius next year. You are effectively marketing to the same group of people over and over again but you are not reaching many new customers or addressing your #1 competitor – the internet.

Your customers are online right now looking for various goods and services and they are watching the YouTube videos, Facebook profiles and blogs about your competitors. If you continue to ignore the power and reach of the internet, you will do so at your peril. If you want to build a successful business and prosper despite what is happening in the global economy, you need to educate yourself on what is available and what will work best to build relationships with your potential customers. Many of these mediums deliver audio and video right to the computers of your customers – what better way to make a good, personal first impression?

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Baby Boomers and retirees are not online. A recent national study showed that this demographic was one of the fastest growing consumer segments in online research and purchases for travel, insurance, health care and several other categories. No matter what business you are in, someone somewhere is selling a similar product/service online and is capturing the trust, interest, permission and sales of your potential customers. When is NOW a good time to do something about it?

4. Be Direct – Ask For Referrals

Chances are your best customers hang around with or know other [potential] best customers. Asking for referrals is the best way to capture opportunities and acquire new customers that have the ability to become best customers.

And speaking as someone who knows, the best way to encourage a customer to refer new customers to you is to offer a referral bonus. Do not fall into the trap of blindly offering them a $20 bonus, 15% off or free merchandise for every new sales lead. The key to preserving the relationship and building the lifetime value of your existing customer is to give them a valuable offer (if possible) on a product they do not already purchase from you. Giving them a discount on what they would already buy erodes your profitability on existing sales. This is not a good strategy for you in the long term.

You want to increase their business with you by introducing them to additional products and services that they could buy from you. The key is to identify something that is of value and give them an irresistible offer. Make it easy for your customer to refer others to you – keep your offer simple and concise. Consider holding a special by-invitation only event where they can bring a friend and remember to follow up with a hand-written thank you note and their bonus in a timely fashion. Statistics show that a simple, personalized thank you (with no actual offer) has the potential to increase sales by 12-18%!

In my experience, this simple and effective strategy is overlooked by about 90% of businesses. This is by far the most lucrative and cost effective strategy to get new customers. If you are not doing it, you are likely missing out on about 20-25% of sales from top [potential] customers. Can you afford to continue throwing money out the window on mass advertising when you are not doing this 1 simple strategy that could cost you less than $1/customer?

It is not enough to casually ask your customers to come back and bring their friends – you need to put it in writing and make it worth their while. You are essentially asking them to sell your business for you and they will gladly do it, if you reward and thank them for their effort.

5. Be Unique – Do What Others Don’t

Stop right now and make a list of everything that you (and your competitors) do not do for your customers. Next, I want you to start asking customers what they want. If you want to succeed you will take a good hard look at both of these lists and find a way to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to win customers and keep them. Those who are unwilling to do this will never build a truly successful business. End of story.

I had a couple come to me once for advice and coaching – both the business (they were partners in a retail shop) and the relationship, were at the breaking point. The husband said to me “I don’t understand it. I do everything humanly possible for my wife and she doesn’t appreciate me and I don’t think I can possibly do anything more to satisfy my customers – they are never happy and always want more.”

My answer to this age old dilemma is simple and it applies to both relationships and business. “Sounds like you may be doing a lot. Too bad it’s everything BUT what your partner and customers want.”

Let’s take a moment of silence now to contemplate the obvious implications of this poignant story for your own business…

I don’t really care what you are doing or how hard you are working. There is no prize for volume or quantity here….what counts is quality. Are you giving your customers what they want and are you willing to do whatever it takes to give them what they want? More of the “same old same old” is not going to differentiate you from the pack, build trust, win customers and grow a business.

Take some time today to really think about what you offer and how it could be improved (either simply or via a complete overhaul) to revolutionize your business. If all of your customers were to leave today, what would you need to do in order to attract new customers? Consider:

o Everyone loves a freebie – can you offer a free trial or sample?

o Do you offer a guarantee that takes 100% of the risk out of trying your product?

o Is someone (who is respected) willing to endorse your product/service?

o Are you on the cutting edge of technology – are your products/services able to better fulfil a need or fix a problem?

o Do you make it easier than your competitors for customers to buy from you?

o Can you offer free installation or maintenance?

o Is there a unique way to introduce what you do to prospective customers – without all the pressure of a typical sales meeting?

o Can you offer free upgrades or special financing terms?

o Can you negotiate other products/services for your customers at no charge?

o Can you create a sense of community for your customers that will be perceived as valuable?

o Do you incorporate customer feedback into your product improvements or customer service standards?

o Do you offer free training, manuals and assistance?

o Does the relationship with your customer begin or end with the sale itself?

o Do your team members believe in the product and are they willing to go the extra mile for your customers?

At the end of the day, price is never the determining factor. People will always be willing to pay a fair price for a superior product and for the peace of mind that comes with excellent service and a strong guarantee. If you solely focus on having the lowest price, it will eventually put you out of business. Take stock of what the competition is not willing to do and what your customers want most from you. Do something unique – listen and be willing to do whatever it takes to deliver what they want. Anything less, is simply a lot of time, energy and money wasted on all the things that don’t really matter.

For more information on the author and her latest book, On The Shoulder of Giants: 33 New Ways to Guide Yourself to Greatness, visit http://www.imagineeringunlimited.com or contact us at info@imagineeringunlimited.com


Website Traffic Building Tips – Secrets to Increase Website Traffic

6 Dec

If you own a business or a shop, it’s imperative that you attract the right customers to be successful. The same applies to online businesses, whether it’s a shopping site, or just your personal blog, your endeavors has to have enough takers.

If you run a business, you probably know how important a role customers play. The ultimate goal of a business, whether online or otherwise, is to make money. That aim remains unfulfilled if you have no customers. This is even more important if you have an online business, as you have to constantly change your tactics, come up with newer strategies to attract more and more customers, and to make them stay!!

If you own an online business website and are looking for ways to increase the number of visitors on your site, the one good news is that is really easy and there are hundreds of ways go about this, both online and offline!

Netizens, who are searching for products online, are always looking for something new and innovative. The usual, mundane things that we always find on every second website bore them. If you can take some effort to perk up your websites, offer them the usual things in an innovative way-you’ll find that online customers on your website are increasing by the day.

To add a zing to your old website, update them on a regular basis, so that you can get your prospective customers are glued to your website anytime they visit it. If you can afford it, hire a copywriter who can present your website content in a more creative way. Not only the content of your website matters, but the entire website matters…when you update your website, try to change the complete look of the site, it’ll be a fresh change for your regular customers who will find renewed interest in your products.

To increase traffic on your website, search engine optimization is a process you can opt for. It is a sure way to make your website rank among the topmost sites on the search page. Search engine optimization involves ranking your website so that it features at the top, and consequently attracts maximum number of customers.

Promoting your products plays a very important role in getting customers for your website. When your business is an online venture, ezines are a great way to promote your products. You can try a “buy one get one free” scheme to draw more customers to your site. Through an ezine, you can offer your customers a related product with the product they buy. For example, if somebody buys an e-book on weight loss, you can offer a free ezine on healthy eating!

If blogs are your tool to increase traffic, back linking is your weapon. If you use the tool in a useful manner, you can turn your website into a hub for customers. The way to increase customers is obviously to ensure that your blog is being read. Registering your website with a popular indexing unit like Technoratti or Diggit can help you make your voice heard. Also, constant upgradation and updating of your blogs can help attract more readers.

Discover how to make more money from your online business and drive a ton of traffic to your websites!! Sign up for my three free article marketing reports that show the article marketing methods, strategies and tips I routinely use to generate over three million page views and hundreds of thousands of free visitors to my websites by visiting http://www.articlestrategies.com – Go there now!

Auto Blog What?!

2 Dec

Auto Blog Samurai!

Is the latest best autoblogging software today! AutoBlog Samurai is a 3-in-1 blogging software wherein you can automatically create unique contents and post it to your blog with just a click of a button. Not only that, it automatically updates your blog every day without doing anything.


Well That Is what Their Website Says!..

Check It Out Now!

But What Truly Counts Is What The People Who Have Tried Out The Actual Product Say.

Like Me!.

And I Definantely recommend this product to any newbie, or experienced online affiliate marketer. It saves heaps of time, instead of daily dedication, you can spend 10 mins daily on this software and  post 1-1000 posts to as many blogs you want. And not only does it do that, it can post clickbank, amazon and Adsense links on your blogs.

No Need To Sweat!. Simple And Easy!

And plus as a bonus you get more traffic to your blogs because of updated content!..

Taaa Daaaahh! Like a magic wand…

Check it out NOW!..

How You Can Land in the Top 30 of Google’s Rankings Within 6 Weeks For Free

1 Dec

One of the most burning questions that website owners ask themselves is this: How do I get targeted traffic fast and – preferably – free? Well, there are many ways to achieve it and I will show you a bunch of proven site promotion strategies here. These should help you to secure a good position with search engines and have traffic for free. Three months ago I set up a niche site for women. As I already had a number of websites behind me, previous experiences came handy in the promotion strategy. And in 6 weeks the site managed to get listed in the top 30 of Google’s rankings.

Let me show you how I did it and how can you, too!

You will need to apply three types of site promotion strategies:

I. Search Engine Optimization strategies

II. Viral Marketing strategies

III Additional site promotion strategies

I. Search Engine Optimization strategies

1. Search engine optimization of your webpage:

This is the first thing you should do. At the stage of creating your pages have the rules of SEO in your mind, it will save you time and work later.

2. Site submission:

Submit your website to as many search engines and link directories as possible. The most valuable directories are the ones that focus on the subject of your site. For example, if your site covers the topic of real estate, then find directories specializing in real estate listings.

3. Make people link to your site

Use any given opportunity to make people link to your site. The most common way is to exchange links with link partners whose site has a high PageRank.

II. Viral Marketing strategies

1. Article submission:

Write articles – or hire someone to do the job – and send them to free article directories. Learn how to write the kind of articles that make people curious. Use catchy titles. Send some additional articles into categories where there is a high demand and low supply.

2. Press releases:

Write press releases, publish them on your site and allow other webmasters to publish it. You can also distribute your press releases to news sites.

3. Create freebies:

Create a free ebook, free report, free script or a free software and let people download it from your site. Allow other webmasters to distribute your freebies on their websites or use them as incentives, provided they keep your links untouched in your info product.

4. Tell-a-friend script:

Ask people to send your pages to their friends by using a Tell-a-friend script.

5. Write product reviews, testimonials:

When you purchase a product or a service and you are satisfied with it, don’t hold back your enthusiasm. Write a praising review of the product and ask the vendor to publish it on his site with your name and your website’s address. Amazon.com is also a great place for writing online reviews.

III. Additional Site Promotion strategies

1. Blogs:

Start a niche blog or a personal blog and network with other bloggers. Use RSS feeds for your blogs to promote them and to gain returning visitors.

2. Message Boards:

Post comments on message boards and forums. Establish yourself as an expert of the subject of your website. This way you will create credibility.

3. Comments, messages:

Leave messages in guest books or comments on other people’s blogs.

4. Sig file:

Use a signature file in your emails. Put a link of your website into the autosignature part and use it in your outgoing mails and autoresponders.

5. Offline promotion:

Put the link of your website on your business card. Distribute flyers in your local community, use them at bulletin boards.

6. Start a free email course

Start a mini course and send out articles or advice through emails. This can help you to boost your opt-in list’s size.

7. Start a free ezine:

If you already publish articles on your site, why not turning it into a free ezine? Submit your ezine to ezine directories to get more visitors.

8. Start an affiliate program:

If you sell a product, the best way to promote it is to have affiliates who will lend ad space on their websites for free and even help you sell your stuff. You can create your own affiliate program or join an affiliate network.

These were just a few of possible site promotion strategies that will help you get traffic, and eventually get your website into the top of search engine rankings. Of course the time frame differs, depending on how competitive the subject of your website is. If you use PPC advertising, it can shorten the process. But if you are on a tight budget and can afford only free methods, you will still succeed. Just make a plan for your site promotion activities and stick to it. The results will come!

Download free web page templates and free banner templates at http://www.webtemplatemall.com

How to Get More Traffic Today

1 Dec

Web analytics software should tell you where people are clicking from to get to you. Are there ads you should do more of? Website traffic is essential no matter what your online goals are. For this reason it is very important to learn the best, and highest-yield tactics for getting traffic.

Webmasters would in days of old pile keywords at the top of their web page and some even tried to mask them at the bottom. Search engines have since gotten clever and they can spot keyword spamming a mile off. However professional Webmasters get unlimited, targeted search engine traffic free of charge by playing by the rules and implementing white hat and ethical traffic tactics!

Social marketing is the current new wave added to most webmasters traffic tactics arsenal and is a fantastic resource if it is done properly.Posting in Guestbooks on lenses is a privilege if you abuse that privilege (by posting self-promotional links, spamming the guestbook, being rude, or posting otherwise irrelevant or offensive stuff), then the lensmasters have the ability to flag your actions. Post good quality articles at sites that are related to your blog content or to the sites that simply need someone to post articles to them. Try searching them in google then Post a free classified ad on Flugpo about your blog.By Giving a teaser from your post as the headline to your classified ad you should see a result based obviously on quality of post.If you are lucky enough to have produced some great content that people love then the page will get voted up and up and up and could eventually send you hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Link to those posts from your blog that’s right, link to them! Links are one thing, but straight links are a dime a dozen, they’re just not worth what they used to be. Sure, you can get some page rank but when it comes down to it, the power of return visitors is invaluable.

Start with the problem, add actions to resolve the problem, and conclude with results. Finally you need a biography box to seal the article. Start a blog for your business and update it on a regular basis as a business blog is an excellent tool to toot your own horn, let the world know about your new products, and tell your target customers why they should do business with you, rather than your competitor.Start article marketing today, and your results will grow quickly over time. Imagine what you could do if you combined this approach with some other traffic generating techniques? Also pay careful consideration to what your content is about as Traffic matters alot on what content you are selecting to write on.

Google (like the other search engines) favour content that is new (therefore deemed more relevant) so if you update the website infrequently then you can expect to see fluctuations in your Google traffic. Writing new content on a regular basis ensures that they index your website on a regular basis (Seopher.com has new posts indexed within hours of posting). Google XML Sitemaps this plugin automatically generates and updates a sitemaps.org compliant sitemap for your blog. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Ask.com use that sitemap format to aid their spidering robots’ efforts to index sites more completely.Search engines absolutely LOVE keyword rich domains and will usually index them far faster. Google also says the best way to ensure that pages in your site are indexed is to build links to them.

Choosing a keyword rich domain name will also improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine listing thus increasing the number of visitors to your site.Search engines actually pay closer attention to what is included on a home page than what might be included elsewhere on a website.An important point to understand is that Searchers are looking for information they don’t want to be sold to. Search engines want searchers to have a good experience when they search and that means finding good information easily.

Submit sites about feeds only as Submitting your site to directories does not only give you more hits, it also increases your link popularity.Ultimately the number of web pages linking to your site is considered an important factor by many search engines to achieve a high ranking.

Article submission is generally free, though software is available to speed up the process but can be expensive. Whilst there is free software available, the range of directories the free submission services submit to is very small, and does not generally cover the best sites.However I can assure you that Article writing is no where near as hard as it seems, it is a skill that you can learn, and once you learn the basics just keep writing and you will get better.

Sending traffic to other sites is fun to do especially when someone usually only gets 20 visitors on the average day, and a casual mention might send them hundreds or thousands. Everybody’s always asking me how to get more traffic to their site. Send out an all-points bulletin to your affiliates recognize their efforts in a big way and you will find that more of your affiliates will start to come up with great ideas of their own.

Targeted traffic helps you achieve your goal and that goal could be anything selling a product or a service, generating ad revenue or encouraging people to subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feeds.So my advice to you in closing is if you look after your traffic then your traffic will look after you.If you do as i suggest then you will be well on your way to Starting your Internet empire and the final leg of your journey to total financial freedom.

To Your Success As Always


How to Make Your Own Affiliate Site

1 Dec

It never fails. Everytime that I show my site to someone and tell them how
much money I have made off of it over the years, they always say “You gotta show me how to do this!”. Well, I’m tired of
wasting my breath on this subject so I’m going to write down everything that’s needed and just point people to this article
from now on.

First off, a little history may be in order. I created my site about seven years ago after a friend told me of someone he knew that was making something like $60k a year from his own
website. I checked out the website and saw that it was an affiliate site. An affiliate site is a site where there are
special links to online stores and if someone clicks on one of those links and then buys something from that store, the
site owner gets paid a percentage of the sale. It seemed easy enough to do and I knew enough about html to do it, so I
decided to give it a try.

I couldn’t afford to risk much in trying to create a new business as I didn’t have a lot of money. The only site I
had created up until then was just a free site on Geocities, so I didn’t really have any knowledge about what it took
to set up a “real” website. After doing a little research, I found out that you really didn’t need a lot of money to set
up a site and to get your own domain name. Basically if you have $150 (a year) to spare and some free time, you can create
your own online business site to make extra money with.

How much money? I can’t say that I have been able to quit my day job (yet), but I have made significant amounts of money
from my site. How significant? Some months I have made nothing. Some months I have made thousands. 2005 was my best year
ever- I made over $25,000 from my site! How much you make really all depends
on the fickle nature of the search engine gods and on how much work that you want to put into your site. Some people have made
fortunes from affiliate sites, but I assume that the ones who do have made it their life’s work and spend most of their time
working on their site, studying the search engines, and how to beat them. I put very little work into my site (and it shows),
but it has still provided me with a good deal of extra income.

Still want to know how to do it yourself? Here’s how:

Step 1 – Learn HTML

Most of the friends that I have showed my site to already knew how to make webpages with HTML. If you don’t know anything
about HTML, don’t worry; HTML is easy to learn and you don’t need to know much to get started. If you can make a simple webpage
with links on it, that’s all you really need to know to begin building your site. If you need help with this, I suggest reading a book like
HTML in Easy Steps. I’ve had good luck with the other books
in the Easy Step series. They’re small books that give you just enough info to get started without confusing you with theory and
they’re cheap- only $10.

You don’t need to spend any money for a tool to create web pages in. You can use any text editor, even Notepad works. If you do a search on Google for
“free html editor”, you’ll find lots of free tools that you can try.

Step 2 – Set Up Your Website

Ok, now that you know how to create a webpage, its time to start setting up your website. To run your website you will
need a webhost. That’s a company that hosts websites on their servers. You can get a lot of webhosting bang for your buck
if you know what to look for.

The main things that you will need to think about as you choose a webhost are: price, language support, and database
support. If you only know HTML, all you have to worry about is price. If you need support for ASP, PHP, MYSQL, etc., you
will need to do a bit more research before you make your choice.

What’s a good price for webhosting? You can pay hundreds of dollars a month for dedicated hosting, but your site will
work just as well with a webhost that costs less than $10 per month. Another thing you need to consider when comparing
the prices of the different webhosts is how much they charge to register domain names for you. This can range from free (yay!)
upwards of $20 per year.

Getting set up with on your chosen webhost should be an easy task. It usually requires no more than filling in some personal
info and your credit card number. The only hard part is picking a domain name to use for your website. Unfortunately, most
good, short names are already taken. Either make up a new word altogether or combine two or more words into a name.
That’s how I ended up with Bargainstrike as a name.

Some sites chain words together with hypens in order to gain an advantage
from search engines. An example of this would be: [http://www.buy-cars-online-cheap.com]. While this may help your search ranking
on some search engines, I would advoid naming your site like this. It’s a practice that’s likely to be penalized by Google
and others someday. Fixing a problem with a domain name problem like would not be easy to fix.

Step 3 – Register with Affiliate Companies

Affiliate companies are the middlemen between online stores and you. They provide you with the links
to different stores, record the amount of traffic and sales that your links send to those stores, and they send you
your payment for this. You really can’t run an affiliate site without registering with at least one Affiliate company as
very few major stores run their own independant affiliate program. There are lots of different ones that you can sign up
with, but there are only three major ones that you really need to registered with. They are Linkshare,
Commission Junction, and Performics. And of
these three, Linkshare is by far the most important one to belong to. At least 90% of my money comes from Linkshare links
as more major stores with affiliate programs use Linkshare than any other affiliate company.

After you have registered with an Affiliate company, you will need to sign up with the companies that you would like
to affiliate with. This can be tricky expecially when you are just getting started. Some companies check out each applicant
by hand to make sure that your site meets their standards. Since your website isn’t even built yet, you will get rejected
by these companies. The good news is that there are a lot of companies who automatically accept all applicants without
checking anything. These are the ones that you are looking for at this point in the game. Later, when your site is actually
running and getting some traffic, come back and try registering for the ones who declined your application before.

After you get accepted into a company’s affiliate program you can then get the links that point to that company’s
products and promotions. These links contain the affiliate tracking codes that are necessary for giving you credit for
sending them a sale. Take care that when you copy them to your site that you get the entire code for the link.

Step 4 – Build Your Site

Ok, this is where it all comes together. If you haven’t built a website before, it can be an intimidating task. What
should it look like? What colors should everything be? What fonts should I use? The best advice I can give about the look
and feel of your site is to look around the internet, find some sites that you like, and try to copy the look in your design.

A thing to remember is that since you only get money for sending people to another website, your website is not a
final destination. It is a conduit. It should be functional and fast. The best way to achieve this is to keep your design
simple and keep graphics to a minimum. When in doubt, look at how Google or Yahoo designs their pages.

Your home page should contain links to all the rest of the pages on your site. Its main function is to allow search
engines to easily spider your entire site. It should also be easy for users to find what they are looking for, but don’t be
fooled- most people will never see your homepage. If you build your other pages correctly, users will go to them much more
often than your homepage.

All of the other pages on your site are where you make the money. Build a separate page for each companies affiliate program
that you belong to. Put the name of the company along with what ever search term that you want to key on in the TITLE element
of the page. The title of the page is by far the most important thing that search engines will rank your pages on. Now
get some links to their site from the affiliate site that this company uses and put them in the page. Add some text describing
the company that you are linking to and perhaps their banner image. Do this for each of the stores that you want to link to
and your basic site is done.

Once you have your site done, ftp all of it to your webhost. There are some free programs to do this with, but I usually
just use the one that built into Internet Explorer.

One final thing, don’t use pop-ups, pop-unders, or any other devious tricks on your visitors. Don’t spam people with
emails. People who do these things are assholes. Don’t be an asshole.

Step 5 – Promote your Website

Now that you have a working affiliate site on the web, the money is just going to start pouring in, right? Not exactly.
First off, nobody will find your site until you get listed by the search engines. To get started, use a free automated URL submission service like Sitesearchsubmit [http://www.sitesearchsubmit.com]. Fill in your website’s URL and email address and Sitesearchsubmit will submit your site’s address to many of the top search engines automatically. Next, you will need to manually submit the address of your page to the search engines that don’t allow for automated submission like MSN and Yahoo.

Now be patient. Some search engines can take 3-4 months to list your site. Some will have your site indexed within a month. Just do a search for your site’s name once a week on each search engine to see if has been listed yet.

Once your site has been listed you can start testing to see how you are being ranked for the keywords that you are using.
If you would like to find out what keywords are important to ranked high for, do a search here for suggestions.
Do some research on how to optimize your pages for search engines. I won’t go into that here as search engines are constantly
changing how they rank pages and such info is quickly outdated. Make some changes to your site and wait until they re-indexed
(Google will usually index your site every month) and see whether or not your changes made a difference. Keep doing this
until you have the ranking you want or until you give up in frustration.

Search engines are fickle beasts. Be patient as it will probably take at least a year before you see your first check.
Also, don’t give up when the search engines leave your site high and dry sometimes. I’ve had an entire year before where
my traffic almost dropped to nothing and then the next year it went through the roof- all without me making any changes to
the site at all. Stay in it for the long run and you will make money.



How to Make Your Computer Print Money in 6 Easy Steps

1 Dec

I bet that got your attention, didn’t it? I’ve been working on my headlines. Sorry to disappoint you but this article isn’t about counterfeiting or how to get rich quick. It’s about how to create a successful website which will draw lots of traffic and make you lots of money.

This is an enormous subject and you could write a book on each different step. I’m just going to provide a general outline here of the 6 crucial steps to creating a website that’s successful over the long term.

1 – Pick Your Niche

Choose something you enjoy researching and writing about because you’re going to spend a lot of time doing both. It shouldn’t have a lot of competition. For example, don’t choose “electronics.” I guarantee you’ll never get a better ranking in the search engines than Sony or Amazon.com. Narrow it down to something like “high end audiophile speakers”.

Do some research. Check out how much your keywords are going to cost for advertising. If they’re really expensive you might want to choose another niche. Check out some sites with similar subject matter so you can see who you’re going to be competing with for rankings in the search engines.

2 – Choose Your Service Providers And Register Your Domain

Your service providers must be reliable. If your internet connection is always going down or your server is constantly crashing it’s going to be difficult to maintain a successful business. Don’t skimp on quality just to save a few pennies here.

Your domain name should contain your most important keyword that you’re hoping to rank well for in the search engines. It should be something unique that’s related to your niche and easily brandable. By brandable I mean easy for people to remember and associate with your site. Some call it “mindshare”.

3 – Create Your Content

Your content must be unique. If you’re content is plagiarized, Google will tend to ignore you. They now recognize duplicate content and refuse to list it. They want to provide their users with useful results. People have been slapping together crappy “made for AdSense” websites by just copying and pasting content and Google’s decided to put an end to it.

My advice is not to mess with Google. They’re the 900 lb gorilla of the internet that you really don’t want to piss off. If you can’t get listed in the search engines, you’re pretty much doomed from the start. So give them what they want. You’ll need 30-100 pages of good content before you even put up a website. You could just start with a few pages and add a page day – like you would with a blog – but it will take you longer to get indexed. Are you noticing a theme about the search engines here?

4 – Create Your Website

You’re either going to have to use a program like Dreamweaver or a Content Management System. I’d suggest considering a CMS. You’ll need to update your website frequently, and even for experienced web designers this can be difficult. A CMS removes all the hassles of publishing new content daily. However, you have to make sure your CMS is search engine friendly. Probably the easiest thing to do for a beginner is use a blogging program like WordPress. Search engines LOVE blogs, they’re very easy to update, and best of all WordPress is FREE.

You should create the website with search engine optimization in mind right from the start. SEO is a very in-depth subject that I can’t get into here. Basically, you’ll want to make sure your website can be easily crawled by the search engine robots or “spiders”. This requires all kinds of things like proper meta-tags and making sure you have good keyword density on your pages.

Also, you MUST make sure all your pages load quickly. Much of the world still doesn’t have broadband. The average surfer will only wait about 4 seconds before they click off elsewhere. If your pages load too slowly you will be losing massive amounts of traffic. Navigation is very important as well. If people have a hard time finding their way around they’ll quickly get frustrated and leave.

5 – Drive Traffic To Your Website

Setting up a business on the net is different than at a physical location. In the “real” world it’s all about location, location, location. If your store’s in a high traffic area it’s easy to get customers. But on the net no one just passes by, they SEARCH for specific things. Until your site is listed in the search engines there’s no way for anyone to find it – It’s up to you to drive traffic to it.

There a several ways to do this:

You can buy it by creating ads and then bidding on certain keywords so the ads will show up whenever anyone searches for them.

You can get it for free by:

– Writing articles on your niche topic with a link to your site in the author’s resource box, and submitting them to article directories so publishers can use them and distribute them to thousands of readers.

– Submitting your site to free SEO friendly web directories.

– Social bookmarking some of the more interesting pages on your site at places like del.icio.us and Blink.

– Submitting some of your articles to sites like Digg or Reddit, where people vote on whether they should be displayed on the front page. If you’re item is popular and gets displayed on the front page of Digg, the amount of traffic you get could crash your server. I’m not kidding, I’ve seen it happen.

– Participate in forums and provide a link to your site in you signature. Don’t spam or you’ll get banned – make intelligent comments.

– Comment in blogs with a link in your sig. Again – don’t spam. And make sure the blog isn’t using no-follow or you’ll be wasting your time.

– Post free classified ads. These provide a high value link back from a popular site, plus you get free targeted traffic to your website from the ads.

– There’s many ways to get free traffic – just be creative – but don’t be too creative. There’s a lot of illegal ways to get free traffic as well but they’ll backfire on you in the long run.

6 – Monetize Your Website

This is the fun part. Now that you’ve got all this traffic how do you make money?

– You can sell advertising – probably the easiest way is with Google AdSense. You can also sell banner space, text links, almost anything really.

– You can sell merchandise – I’d suggest drop-shipping. Why do all that packing and shipping if you don’t have to? That’s too much like work.

– You can do affiliate marketing – one of the easiest ways to do this is to feature recommended products that link through to your affiliate’s site for purchase. Just make sure you choose quality products to be affiliated with.

– The sky’s the limit when it comes to monetizing your website. Be creative here too – but again, not too creative. You don’t want to do anything stupid and get banned from AdSense or your best affiliate program.

And there you have it. How to make your computer print money in six not so easy steps. Now get going and have some fun!

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