Five Key Factors for Compelling Web Content

Readers-searching1-618wAlthough content has always been considered the be the “king” when it comes to writing compelling web material, with the rapidly increasing numbers of websites “out there”, never has it been so vitally important to make your content better that of your competition, so it pays to take the time to create high quality articles that visitors truly want to read.

Forget about taking shortcuts; no matter what niche or business you are in, the quality of your articles, posts & sales material will always be the key to a successful online venture.

To write content that really conveys the message you want to get across, take note of these 5 key factors:

Make It Easy To Read
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Keep that in mind many people skim-read webpages. Your target readers are probably subscribed to several news feeds or  blogs, so if you want to hold their interest, you need to make your content easy to read.

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Remember readers like white space, so use short paragraphs and bullet points or numbered lists with subheadings. Use web recommended fonts because research has shown them to be the most easily read by the majority of readers. A particular font might appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean it will have universal appeal or be easily read by others, especially those with poorer eyesight.

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Add graphics to your articles where that is appropriate as this makes the structure of your post more visually appealing and helps to keep your article focused on the point you want to get across.

Good Quality Material

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While it is true that you can get articles written very cheaply when you don’t want (or don’t have time) to write them yourself and also true that some so-called “gurus” claim to still make money using poorly written articles, these guru’s may well have a very large list of people who will buy whatever they recommend, regardless of quality.

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Therefore, it isn’t a good idea for you to do what they do because you want to build a good reputation for yourself, build your business so that your readers and customers see you as a quality provider and will be more interested in your next offer. Remember, it is easier to sell something to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.

Be Natural

Cute_Vector_Robot_Character_176x189Don’t try to fill your article with keywords; make your sentences flow in a clear, informative and entertaining manner.  Search engines have evolved to the point where you will be penalised for overuse of keywords, rather than rewarded in the rankings.

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The best advice is to stop worrying about keywords. If you are answering the questions your searchers are asking then the keywords will come into the content naturally.

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Of course you can add some in on purpose after the article is finished, but in a way that does not upset the flow. Keywords should be secondary to creating an article that’s interesting and informative.

A comfortable Length

Funny_Robot_Vector_Character_25_2There may be accepted “rules” as to how long your online articles should be, but every article and every subject is different, so use your common sense about it.

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Imagine that you are the person searching for your content; ask yourself if you could find the answer to what you want to know in just 100 – 150 words? If the answer to this is “yes”, then 100 -150 words is long enough! The key is to use as many words as are required to address the subject without getting off track or including unnecessary detail and very often, that will require a lot more than 100 words.

Current

Most online content becomes out of date and needs updating from time to time. Yes, some things don’t change much over time, like how to grow vegetables or recipes, so articles about these subjects are considered “evergreen” because they are still relevant long after being written. Robot_Vector_Character_with_Thumbs_Up_175x215 However, just because they are still relevant doesn’t mean you can re-hash them without penalty from the search engines.

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Remember that Google, Bing and the like are businesses too, trying to please their customers (searchers) so they will reward those who upload content that is fresh, up to date and original. It pays to take advantage of this fact by keeping on top of your industry and keeping your readers informed. 

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It is a mistake to take shortcuts when it comes to high quality content. In the long term, it is well worth the time and effort it takes to write material that will convince your reader to take action and join your list or buy whatever you are offering.

Using PLR Successfully (for Newbies)

 

UsingPLRMost people will already know what PLR is, but for any who want to learn more, a google search or this wiki page is a good place to start  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_label_rights

Although you have the right to publish any private label rights material “as is” on your site, there is a possibility that search engines will consider it as “duplicate content” meaning that if the identical material can be found on another site, your article can be considered duplicate content and penalised with regard to ranking. If you have some PLR you want ti use, you can easily find out how many other sites are using that same content by selecting a sentence from an article, putting quotes around it, and entering that sentence into a search engine. Often you’ll find 10, 50, or 100 other sites with the same article.

There is a lot of debate on the subject of duplicate content – only yesterday I heard one marketer proclaim that it is rubbish, using duplicate content didn’t affect his results adversely at all, while another IM teacher urged readers to avoid it at all costs.

So if you are a newbie, do you use it or not?  My suggestion is to use it, but change it enough to make it quite different from the original. For me, this is a lot faster than writing a new article from scratch. Here are three of the most common recommendations:

Firstly, you should add a new first paragraph to the article. This paragraph explain your purpose in the rest of the work and summarize what is coming up next.

Secondly,  rewrite most of the first two or three paragraphs in your own words. I like to read a few sentences in a paragraph and then reword them in my own style. Then I delete the original sentences and continue with the next sentences.

This process creates at least three or four paragraphs totally in your own words that are very unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere.

Just how may paragraphs you rewrite is up to you. The more your rewrite the better off you will be. And, the more you change, the more original the article will appear to both the search engines and your site’s visitors.

Thirdly, write a new closing paragraph. Make this a summary of the article. You may also include a lead-in to another page on your site with a link to that page.

It is often said that there is “nothing new under the sun”, in this context meaning that what has been said and written has been said and written before, the only thing that is new in each case is the presentation, so if you want to save some time when creating your own material, whether  articles or complete ebooks, using Private Label Rights in this way will avoid any duplicate content penalty.

 

For more information, subscribe to the blog (RHS of the page) – one of the June freebies is “25 Ways to Reuse PLR content”

 

 

Low Cost Home Business Income from Affiliate Marketing

There are many ways to earn money online but one of the simplest methods is to use affiliate marketing. Probably the biggest advantages of affiliate marketing is that it is not necessary for a person to own a unique product and the process can get underway very quickly. An affiliate marketer makes money by earning commissions when they recommend and sell other peoples’ products.

The Affiliate Process

There are a number of different affiliate marketing strategies, but here is a good specific strategy that is relatively simple yet utilizes several current sophisticated features. The first step is to pick a niche (a sub-category of a larger category) in which there are numerous information products, such as ebooks, e-courses, or reports, available. A good idea is to pick a popular niche of personal interest and then to check the categories in the Marketplace of Clickbank.com, one of the top information product resources for affiliate marketers. Select a few products in the niche to promote and follow the steps to become an affiliate of each of the products and to gain access to the author’s affiliate tools, emails, images, and banners.

Next, use a keyword research tool, such as the highly regarded tool offered freely by Google, to find some ideas for a website domain name. Then, purchase a domain name from one of the many domain name registrars and select an affordable web host that allows easy installation of a WordPress blog.

The reason to use WordPress is that WordPress offers a huge variety of themes and functionality, and the blog platform will allow one to write interesting reviews and articles. Additionally, there are article directories and private label article sources that offer good articles that can be freely included on the blog site.

Now, select an autoresponder system from among the numerous reasonably priced autoresponders that are available. This step will provide the system for creating a series of emails to be sent to prospective customers and to allow follow up marketing to those valuable prospects.

Next, using the tools provided by the autoresponder company, create an opt-in box that will enable the collection of email addresses from prospective customers. Offer the customer a free e-course or series of reports that will provide free and useful information to the prospect. Research private label rights ebooks in the chosen niche online and use one to create a multi-part email series that can be loaded into the autoresponder and sent to the prospect at regular intervals. The benefit of this step is that in addition to getting the useful information the prospect can also receive a short promotion about an appropriate affiliate product that may interest them.

facebookLastly, open an account with Facebook and create a business page. The business page should reflect the blog site’s domain name. This Facebook page can then be used to offer bits of information, advice, pictures, and fun personal notices. The page can also direct the reader to the main blog site where larger articles and product reviews can be found, along with the opt-in box and affiliate product offers.

One of the great things about this specific affiliate marketing strategy is that once the pieces are in place the strategy can be easily repeated to create affiliate marketing opportunities in other niches, as the old saying goes, rinse and repeat!

Best wishes
Trish

IMA – A Review of Internet Marketing Apprentice

Is this the site that has all you need?

Membership sites are still going strong this year and for good reason – a good membership site can have all the tools and resources you need to get your internet business up and running and making money. The only reason that often they don’t is that you go flitting from one site or ptoject to another (like I used to) and don’t get on and follow the suggestions, plans or programs that these excellent sites offer.

Mind you, they are not all excellent sites, but most are run by people who with integrity and who want to do all they can to get you making money and living the same lifestyle of freedom that they themselves have. SO how do you know if a particular membership site will be one of the good ones?

Here are a few pointers to help you decide:

  • Does the site just seem to be a product with a download area and an optin box for your email?
  • Is there a whole lot of hype and trumpet blowing and very little factual information about what is included?
  • Does the advertising tell you up front that the “free” offering is just a lead in and once you sign up, you’ll have to pay a fee, perhaps a monthly fee, to have any real benefit?

Now, don’t get me wrong  – there is nothing wrong with a membership site that has a monthly fee and offers great value for that fee – I belong to a few of them myself – but they have always been open and honest up front about the pricing structure, letting you decide beforehand whether this is for you.

So, here are some clues that a membership site you are considering is good value:

  • Are you offered something that you deem to be good value before you are even asked for any cash? Especially important for those who are in their early stages and don’t have much to spare yet.
  • What sort of training is on offer?
  • Is it at a level appropriate for your stage of learning? Some sites will only offer basic stuff, while others will bamboozle a beginner, maybe putting them off forever.
  • What other resources are provided? Can you get products to sell, resell, brand or rewrite & make your own?
  • Do they help you get traffic to your sites? After all, the best website ever won’t make any money if nobody sees it!

OK, enough of my views – I want to tell you about a new membership site started by a guy I’ve learned to trust, Randy Smith and his partner Craig Dawber. It’s called Internet Marketing Apprentice (or IMA for short) and it incorporates all the elements I’ve told you to look out for in a good membership site. You can get free coaching newsletters sent every 7 days and you don’t need to pay anything for that.

 

However, for those who are ready for more, there many aspects to the membership.

Read moreIMA – A Review of Internet Marketing Apprentice

Google’s latest changes

GoogleTop search engine Google has announced that their latest search algorithm changes are intended to favor sites with original content over sites that reproduce content produced by others, in an attempt to reduce spam sites or sites that seek to improve their rankings in order to get sales from advertising such as adsense.

As a result, many sites that consist mainly or solely on automatically generated content,  such as articles, videos or news stories already ‘out there’ will suffer much lower rankings than in the past.

Naturally, Google wants to stay as the No. 1 search engine and to keep that slot, they aim to give searchers, their customers, the best quality search results.

There is nothing more irritating than to click on a link that takes you to a site that tells you nothing about what you’re looking for. I’m sure we’ve all had that experience, so these changes are welcomed for this reason.

However, the changes may well have a big impact on those who have sites  with some reproduced content on them. If you are one of those, then a post yesterday by Gail Bottomley called Duplicate Content – No Longer Allowed can help you fix things up. There is a great deal of particulary good content there as well as the replay of her webinar on the subject. I watched the webinar live and found it particularly helpful and positive.

Any changes to reduce spam either on websites or in our inboxes are to be welcomed and anyway,  it is believed that these latest changes in Google will probably not be noticed by most viewers.

Keeping your Brain Active

Free Gift Membership to “Learning to Earn” see below.

If you’re approaching retirement age and wondering what you can do to enjoy a long and healthy life in your golden years then consider adopting the attitude of a lifelong learner. Most people think of lifelong learning as being confined to academic endeavors however the lifelong learning approach covers all areas of life including spiritual, social, academic and physical.

Lifelong learning is based on an attitude of constantly growing and evolving in various areas of your life. The old saying that whenever anything is not growing it is decaying could be just as true for us as humans. No matter what a person’s age there are great benefits to be gained by challenging yourself in the different areas of your life, physical, mental and self-deveopment.

Physical challenges must be appropriate for your level of fitness, but regular exercise of some kind will leep your body healthier and your brain healthier too. Mental challenges do not have to be academic study, they can be a new hobby or interest, a new caring or chrity venture, more involvement with family. The most growth in personal development will come when you take on something that is currently outside your comfort zone (nasty words those, aren’t they? How we love to stay in our comfort zone, even when it isn’t all that comfortable really).

Lifelong learners live by the motto “you’re never too old to learn” and this attitude is a big part of the reason that people who approach life with this mindset are seen to perhaps live longer but definitely enjoy a better quality of life – is the so-called law of nature known as the “use it or lose it” true?

It does seem to be the case that those who are considerably inactive develop mobility problems as they age, whereas those who are quite active do not develop these mobility problems. A similar effect takes place with anyone who takes no part in any mentally challenging activity or pursuit. After years of mental inactivity

Read moreKeeping your Brain Active

Starting Your Own Blog

What is a blog and why would you want to start your own?

Firstly, a blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person’s own life and what is happening on the web. It is usually in the form of  a  frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects,  there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people.

Blogging is part of the general trend of putting everything on the web, regardless of whether we are talking about business, hobbies or personal stuff. It can just be a means of communicating with friends, with others who share your hobbies or interests, or it can be a business tool. Of course it can also be a combination of these things.

So perhaps instead of asking why you would want to have your own blog, ask instead if you want to, or have a need to communicate with others. The great advantage of social media is that you don’t need to know people personally to communicate with them and for this reason it is ideal for bringing interaction with others into the lives of folk who may otherwise feel isolated.

Is this you or somebody you know? Don’t think that it would be too hard to learn how to blog, because it is in fact quite simple and there are dozens of free videos and help pages to show you exactly what to do. There is no need to have fancy looking pages, but if that is what you would like, you could soon learn how to spice them up a bit.

Generally speaking blogs tend to have a few things in common:

  • A main content area with articles listed from the lates backwards.
  • Articles are usually organized into categories.
  • There is an archive of older articles.
  • There is a way for people to leave comments about the articles.
  • A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll” is often included.
  • There can also be one or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files. (A Feedreader accesses other sites automatically looking for new content and then posts updates about that new content to another site).

Blogs can be stand-alone (self-hosted) or externally hosted. If you wish to host your own blog, you will be able to choose your own domain name, but you will be up for the cost of that domain name and your hosting at a minimum.

Externally hosted blogs are usually free but will often have limitations on what content and customisation you can have and perhaps also whether you can monetise it so if you want your blog to make some money, it is best to start out hosting your own. It is possible to change platforms later, but you would probably have to change the blog domain and that might lose you some readers. (For a more extensive discussion on the choice of blog platforms, go to  blogger.com

Some of the most popular free hosted blogs are listed below. All are very easy to set up and get you going quickly. Have a look at each one to see if it does what you want your blog to do, for example upload photos, videos, podcasts, run discussion boards etc.

wordpress.com
thoughts.com (as distinct from wordpress.org which supplies the platform for self-hosting)
weebly
yahoo 360
Windows Live

Problogger – Tips for Beginners

If you sign up to my blog this month you will get access to free ebooks about blogging (if you are already subscribed, you’ll be sent the link).

For more information, check outbecomeablogger.comProblogger – Tips for Beginners & becomeablogger.com for free video tutorials on how to create your own blog.

Blogging is an easy and economical way to share with family, friends and busuness associates alike. Make it fun!

Affiliate Marketing – some thoughts and ideas

Affiliate Marketing – what exactly is it?

Put simply, it is process where you as the affiliate sell or promote someone else’s product or service and you receive a commission for your efforts. Affiliate Marketing is usually considered to be the lowest cost business model when starting an Online Business, and as such is the most popular method with many newcomers to Internet Marketing. The owners or licence holders of the product you promote can be called authors, publishers, merchants or other different terms, depending on whether it is a physical or an information product that you are promoting and how the commission payments are organised.

This business model can take many different forms but are commonly called Affiliate Programs. You join the affiliate program a merchant is using to sell a particular product you are interested in promoting. The most common types of programs are as follows:

  1. Pay per click – each visitor you send to the merchant’s site will earn you a commission.
  2. Pay per lead – each lead you send to the merchant’s site will earn you a commission.
  3. Pay per sale – commission will be paid by publishers for each sale made at his website or on sites such as clickbank or paydotcom.

Each one of the above methods returns a certain payment for delivering the click, lead, or sale. By far the largest number of businesses utilizing this model work on a Pay per Sale system. There are hundreds of affiliate networks that you can join where the owners of the site have numerous publishers registered so you can choose products & promote them without have to join up to all the separate affiliate programs. Examples of such sites are Commission Junction, Clix Galore, Clickbank, PayDotCom and Click2sell.

Many Internet Marketers will guide the beginner into Affiliate Marketing because it is considered to be the cheapest and simplest business model to get started and develop, especially when all the marketing tools such as a web sales page, promotional emails, articles, press releases etc are provided by the publisher.

Your main costs will be in the promotion of the product or service. All costs associated with the product, sales page, delivery, after sales services, as well as merchant services set up and costs, will be paid by the merchant providing the product.

When starting your Internet Business through affiliate marketing there are five steps to follow:

  1. Find your niche market which shows enough demand as well as a reasonable supply, as well as one that would support future business growth.
  2. Find out what the market is searching for in terms of solutions to problems, or a product/service for which there is a shortage of supply or even a deficiency.
  3. Research the available affiliate products and services for something that will fill the deficiency or fix the problem.
  4. Promote the product by every means available to you.
  5. Although this is not necessarily essential, owning your own website can increase your methods of promotion, but more importantly it allows you to pre-sell the product before redirecting them to the merchant’s sales page.

The final item regarding your own website needs serious consideration as it will be the best way towards developing and growing your business and to start creating an opt-in list of targeted potential customers.

Creating a trust between yourself and your customers, as well as your partners, is of prime importance to your business. This trust will serve you well as your customers will gradually consider you to be their expert in this niche and they will take your recommendations and buy.

To help build this relationship of trust, give value to potential customers by offering something useful to them for free. The more value you give them, the more they will be inclined to make purchases from you at a later date. Do not think for one minute that without it you will be able to succeed in affiliate marketing or any other type of business if you do not build a relationship of trust with a list of potential customers.

Affiliate Marketing

If you’re interested at all in making some money with your computer, as a sideline or as a serious business, you probably already have a good understanding of what affiliate marketing is all about and you may already use it, however there are a number of other readers who don’t know what it is and would like to understand how the process works.

Affiliate marketing is a partnership between two business for their mutual benefit, a win-win situation and is basically the process whereby one business recruits a network of smaller businesses or websites, known as affiliates to drive targeted traffic to the website which contains an offer to sell something.

The process works in two ways as you can be the person having an affiliate program, in which case you pay each of your affiliates when someone they refer makes a purchase or, the other side of the process is that you can be an affiliate for someone else, so that you are finding buyers for his product or service and you are paid a percentage commission for your work. There is nothing new in this concept, it’s just like the travelling salesman of old transitioning to the internet.

The beauty of this process for the beginner internet marketer is that you need very little start-up capital, you don’t need something of your own to sell and you don’t have to worry about ad copy and links for your marketing as they will be provided by the advertisers. You can even start without having your own website, by sending emails, writing articles or reviews for e-zines, article directories, off-line publications etc.

To get referrals who purchase, you need to concentrate on an audience that has some interest in the product or service you are promoting and then focus on important points like how the product can make something in their life easier, faster or more enjoyable. You can also stress what the product saves them from as people will do almost anything to get rid of some problems, such as having pain. In other words, point out the benefits this product would bring to your reader and not the features of it.

There is plenty of information on the internet to show you exactly how to get started but if anyone is interested an having more on the subject in this blog, post a comment below with a few details of what you’d be interested in.