GuruGrounds.

com – How to Start and Market an Online Business
GuruGrounds

Published: 2010 Categories(s): Non-Fiction, Business & economics, General, Internet Marketing, Home-Based Businesses Tag(s): "Starting a business online" "internet marketing" "making money online"

1

How to Start & Market an Online Business By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher

Contents Introduction to GuruGrounds.com.. 17 About Gurugrounds.com and What We Teach. 17 Things You Should Know About GuruGrounds. 17 Who We Created GuruGrounds For. 18 Course 1: How to Start an Online Business. 20 Section 1: The Various Internet Business Models. 20 Why You Should Start An Online Business Now! 20 What Type of Online Business Is Right For You?. 21 The First Steps. 22 Section 2: Getting Started With Your Online Business. 22 How to Think Like an Entrepreneur. 23 Further Examination of Your Business Idea. 23 Identifying Your Target Market 28 Sizing Up Your Markets Competition. 29 Section 3: How to Make a Proper Business Plan. 29 The Importance of a Business Plan. 30 How a Business Plan Should Be Structured. 30 Getting Help with Writing the Business Plan. 31 Thinking Long Term When Writing a Business Plan. 32 Section 4: Funding Your Online Business. 32 The Low-Cost, Tight Budget Method. 33 Finding a Good Investor. 35 Alternative Financing Sources. 37 Buying an Existing Website. 37 Section 5: Serving Your Online Customers with Integrity. 38 The Customer Comes First 38 Policies, Policies, Policies. 39 Keeping Your Word. 41 Section 6: Setting Up Your Office and Workspace. 42 An Effective Floor Plan. 42 Office Equipment 42 Tools of the Trade. 43

2

Internet Connection. 44 Course 2: Legal Issues and Managing Your Businesses Money. 46 Section 1: Keeping Your Internet Business Legal and Within the Law.. 46 Maintaining A Legitimate Legal Business. 46 Zoning Laws And Restrictions For A Home Business. 48 Obtaining the All Mighty Business Licenses. 49 Section 2: Choosing the Best Business Structure For You. 50 Determining What Organization Will Work Best 50 Sole Proprietorship. 51 Partnerships. 52 Limited Liability Company. 52 Incorporating Your Business. 52 Changing the Legal Structure Down the Road. 54 Section 3: Trademarks and Copyrighting. 54 Why Trademarks and Copyrights Are Important 54 Making a Trademark. 55 Protecting IP’s With Copyrights. 55 Getting a Professional 56 Section 4: Accounting. 56 Paying Your Taxes. 56 Accounting 101. 58 QuickBooks and Accounting Software. 60 Hiring a Professional 61 Good Recordkeeping Habits. 63 Course 3: How to Design a Website for Your Internet Business. 65 Section 1: The Right Domain Name for Your Internet Business. 65 Carefully Choosing Your Domain Name. 65 Where to Register the Domain Name. 66 What You Should Do If Your Domain Name Is Already Taken. 66 Why Finding a Good Domain Name Is So Hard To Find. 67 Section 2: User Friendly Website Design. 68 Optimizing You Website for Profitability. 68 What Is Good Website Design?. 69 Flash Web Design. 71 Function, Function, Function. 71 Section 3: Building a Website on a Shoe String Budget 73 Planning For Success. 73 Building a Website On Your Own. 75 Hiring a Professional 76

3

Section 4: Hosting Your Website. 79 The Terms You Need To Know When Seeking a Hosting Service. 79 Finding the Best Host 80 Section 5: Creating User and Search Engine Friendly Content 81 Effective Internet Writing. 81 Writing for the Internet 81 Motivating Your User to Take Action. 83 Search Engines Friendly Words. 85 Section 6: Launching Your Website. 85 Testing, Testing, Testing. 86 Course 4: How to Operate Your Online Business. 88 Section 1: Ways to Monetize Your Online Business. 88 Selling Physical Products. 88 Selling Your Skills and Services. 92 Information Products. 93 Selling Ad Space. 94 Affiliate Advertising. 95 Multiple Streams of Income. 96 Section 2: Marketing Affiliate Programs. 97 The Ins And Outs of Affiliate Programs. 97 Joining an Affiliate Network. 99 Avoiding Scams and Staying Legitimate. 100 Section 3: Selling Information/Digital Products for Your Online Business. 101 Creating an Information Product 101. 102 EBooks. 103 Creating a Webinar. 105 Section 4: Payment Options for Your Internet Business. 105 Credit Cards and Merchant Accounts. 106 Alternative Payment Methods. 108 Protecting Yourself from Fraud. 108 Section 5: Shopping Carts and Ecommerce. 109 The Variety of Shopping Carts. 109 Hosted Shopping Carts. 111 Purchasing Shopping Cart Software. 111 Custom Made Shopping Cart 112 Section 6: Inventory. 112 Using EBay to Find Out What People Are Buying. 113 Doing Your Research. 113 How to Price Your Products. 114

4

How to Handle Your Inventory. 115 Section 7: Keeping Up with Demand and Filling out Orders for Your Online Business. 116 Systematizing the Process. 116 In-House Delivery. 117 Outsourcing Fulfillment 117 Shipping and Handling. 118 Keeping Things in Check on the Back End. 120 Course 5: How to Deal with Hackers and Fraud When Doing Business Online. 122 Section 1: The Risks Associated With Internet Security And Doing Business Online. 122 Your Legal Responsibility as the Merchant 122 Securing Your Website. 124 Seals of Approval and Displaying Certificates. 124 Section 2: Having Your Website Hacked and How to Protect Your Data. 125 Denial of Service. 125 Protecting Yourself and Your Business. 125 Saving and Backing Up Data. 126 Course 6: Storefronts and How They Work. 129 Section 1: Using a Storefront for Your Online Business. 129 The Essential Features of a Storefront 129 Recommended Storefronts. 131 Section 2: Amazon aStore And Other Storefronts. 131 Marketplace. 131 Pro Merchant 132 Astores. 132 WebStores. 132 Section 3: Yahoo! E-Commerce Store. 133 Yahoo Store Functions. 133 Getting Started With Your Yahoo Store. 133 Yahoo Plans. 134 Yahoo Fees. 135 Section 4: Using EBay for Your Internet Business. 135 Starting Out On EBay. 136 The Benefits of Running an Auction. 137 EBay Store. 137 Course 7: Getting Your Brick and Mortar Business Online. 141

5

143 Comparing the Online and Offline Shopping Experience. 170 Simplifying Shopping Experience. 171 The Dangers of Assuming What Your Customers Want 171 6 . 162 Marketing Strategy. 154 Blog Platforms. 163 Email Newsletters. 144 Dealing With Returned Products from Online Purchases. 149 Marketing To the Younger Audiences. 159 Interacting With Your Community. 152 Getting People to Read Your Blog. 162 Section 3: Marketing Your Internet Business Online. 165 Search Engine Advertising. 166 Marketing In the Offline World. 152 Earning Money. 154 Course 9: How to Market Your Internet Business Online 101. 168 Giving Customers What They Want Before They Know It 169 Making Your Website Buyer Friendly. 144 Managing Your Inventory. 142 Deciding On Inventory. 157 The Basics to Marketing Your Website. 157 Conversion Rates and Other Formulas. 143 What the Online Shopper Will Expect From You.Section 1: Deciding That the Time Is Right to Move Your Business Online. 149 The Over 50 Market 151 Section 3: Blogging about Niche Markets. 168 Getting Customers to Stay On Your Website. 163 Automation and Creating Systems to Simplify Your Life. 158 Section 2: Having a Good Reputation on the Internet 159 Writing Articles. 145 Course 8: Selling To a Niche Market 148 Section 1: Finding an Untapped Niche to Sell To. 141 Connecting Your Online and Offline Store. 148 Section 2: The Children and Elderly Niche Markets. 157 Section 1: Increasing the Number of Sales for Your Online Business. 142 Section 2: Getting to Know Your Online and Offline Customers. 144 Section 3: Common Problems with Getting Your Business Online. 167 Section 4: Increasing Your Conversion Rates. 148 Finding a Niche.

181 Section 1: Getting Your Brand Online and Spread Across the Net 181 Marketing Process. 197 Microblogging.. 189 Section 5: How to Write Excellent Web Copy. 178 Course 10: How to Build You Presence Online. 176 Submitting You Website to the Search Engines. 200 Section 2: Creating Your Social Media Network. 200 What To Track. 187 Color Selection. 199 Popularity Sites. 194 Section 1: What Is Social Media?. 191 Course 11: Social Media Marketing. 174 Using Your Data to Make Changes. 174 Section 6: Search Engine Optimization and Ranking High In Google. 196 Bookmarking Sites. 194 Blogging. 177 Moving Up In the Rankings and Finding out Where You Stand. 181 Developing Your Site. 175 The Most Important Aspects of SEO. 173 Trends. 199 Aggregators. 182 Section 2: Making Money on the Internet 183 Affiliates Assistance. 177 Where to Place Keywords on Your Website. 195 Social Networks. 200 Research Your Target Readers. 203 7 .Converting Viewers into Buyers. 190 Section 6: How to Find an Expert Marketer. 201 Create Your Message. 185 Joint Venturing. 194 Understanding and Exploring Social Media. 188 Site Layout 188 Section 4: Connecting and Integrating Your Multiple Sites. 200 Section 3: How to Set Up a Social Media Marketing Plan. 175 How Search Engines Work. 172 Section 5: Web Analytics and Tracking Your Customers. 202 Preparing Your Style. 186 Section 3: Branding and Marketing For Your Online Business. 198 Media Sharing Sites.

213 Section 2: The Big Players in PPC Advertising. 213 PPC Pros and Cons. 213 Section 1: Understanding What PPC Advertising Is. 220 Schedule Bidding and Spending. 206 Linked In With LinkedIn. 221 Click Fraud. 218 Section 5: How to Budget and Bid for Keywords. 221 Section 6: Understanding the Law When It Comes To PPC. 210 Course 12: PPC and the Basics of Online Advertising. 222 Section 7: Tips. 206 Making MySpace Yours. Organizing and Working With Keywords. 209 Section 6: Non-Intrusive Internet Marketing. 208 Answer Questions. Tools. 205 FaceBook Finesse. 208 Participate In a Discussion. 205 Section 4: Top Social Media Sites and How To Use Them. 204 Reviewing Your Content 205 Planning a Routine. 219 Having A PPC Budget 219 Keyword Bidding. 215 Match Types. 204 Selecting Your Sites. 207 Bookmark like a Pro! 207 Share through Multimedia. 208 Microblog to Success.Developing Your Profile. 218 Test for Successful Ads. 217 Structure of PPC Ads. 216 Destination URLs. 214 Comparing the Big Players. 214 Lesson 3: How to Create an Excellent PPC Keyword List 215 Google Keywords Tool 215 Choosing. 217 Writing A PPC Ad.. and Tricks of the Trade for PPC Advertising. 216 Keyword Tracking and Changing Your Keyword List 217 Section 4: How to Write Ads That Convert and Make Money. 213 Search Engine Relevancy. 223 Course 13: Basic Guide to Blogging and Podcasting. 225 8 . 222 Managing Content Network Campaigns. 209 Section 5: Networking Your Business Online.

253 Collecting Subscriber Information Person. 238 Other Social Marketing Sites. 257 Completing a Subject Line. 233 Section 4: Networking With Other Bloggers. 234 Lesson 5: Building Community and The World Of Blogging. 243 Course 14: Effective Email Marketing. 228 Other Blogging Options. 225 Find Your Competitors. 227 Section 2: Starting a Blog for Your Online Business. 268 9 . 231 Section 3: How to Write Like a Professional Blogger. 238 Submit To Digg. 239 Section 7: Basic Guide to Podcasting. 247 Avoiding Spam Complaints. 246 Section 2: How to Become a Trusted Email Sender.Lesson 1: Choosing a Profitable Topic to Blog About 225 Choosing Your Blog Topic. 246 Section 1: Setting Up an Email Marketing Strategy. 255 Section 4: How to Create an Effective Marketing Email 257 Filling Out the From Line. 229 Setting Up Your Blog. 227 Blogging Tools. 249 Section 3: How to Build a Quality Email Subscriber List 251 Collecting Subscriber Information through Email 252 Collecting Subscriber Information through Website. 265 Section 5: How to Create Valuable Email Content 268 Valuable Offers. 230 RSS Feeds. 237 Posting On StumbleUpon. 263 Emails and Text 264 Emails and Links. 259 Branding Emails. 254 Collecting Subscriber Information with Print 254 Incentives for Signups. 239 Preparing a Script and Recording Your Podcast 242 Encoding and Uploading. 235 Lesson 6: How to Promote Your Blog Posts. 232 Avoiding Writers Block. 255 List Building with List Brokers. 260 Basics of Email Layout 261 Email and Images.

291 Section 3: Referrer Metrics and Analytics. 293 Referring Keywords. 302 Section 2: SEO and Effectively Using Keywords. 289 Keeping a Close Eye on Your Referrers. 292 How to Use Referral Data. 304 Inspect the Competition. 303 Tools To Find the Best Keywords. 303 Picking Out the Best Keywords. 300 Keeping a Tab on Your Results. 283 Privacy. 286 Setting up Your Server for Log File Reporting.. 286 Creating an Account with Google Analytics. 288 Hits Aren’t Everything. 305 Making It Easy For the Search Engines to Crawl Your Website. 306 10 . 277 Course 15: Guide to Web Analytics. 305 Section 3: Common Problems with Search Engines and SEO. 273 Section 7: Increasing Your Emails Deliverability.. 270 Section 6: Tracking Your Results with Email Marketing.Effective Calls to Action. 287 Section 2: Keeping Track Of Your Internet Businesses Traffic... 302 Understanding Your Target Market 302 The Long Tail Theory. 298 How the Search Engines Determine Relevancy. 284 How Reporting Tools Work. 299 Black Hat SEO. 292 Referrers. 294 Bounce Rates. 283 Understanding What Can and Can’t Be Done With Web Analytics. 298 The Purpose of Search Engines. 298 Section 1: Increasing Sales with SEO. 283 Section 1: Getting Started With Web Analytics. 289 The Most Important Traffic Metrics. 295 Key Performance Indicators. 293 Section 4: Determining the Quality of Traffic with Analytics. 294 Determining and Applying Benchmarks. 305 Roadblocks to Getting Noticed By the Search Engines. 295 Course 16: Ranking High In Google with Good SEO. 300 Tools of the Trade. 292 Understanding the Referring Analytic Terms. 285 Deciding Which Reporting Tool to Go With.

323 Section 9: SEO Experts and What They Can Do For You. 312 News.The Firefox Web Developer Toolbar. While the information within is vast. 310 Trust 311 Section 5: How to Capitalize On Blended Search Results.. 315 Writing for the Web. this book is sure to help you out. 317 Write For Customers Not Search Engine. 309 Optimizing Your Site Structure for Search Engines. 323 What to Avoid. 316 Description Tags. 323 Seeing What Your Competition Is Doing. 318 How to Find Writers. we would charge $1 Billion dollars. 324 Finding the Right SEO Expert 324 Realistic Expectations. 315 Title Tags. but we aren’t. 11 . 319 Linkable Content 319 Easy Places and Ways To Get Backlinks. 319 Link Votes. 326 Disclaimer Whether you are looking to expand your knowledge base. 311 The Other Stuff Google Will Blend In. 314 Brainstorming Ideas. 308 Duplicate Content 308 Broken Links. this book in no way guarantees that you will make millions. 317 Make Writing a Routine. and if was to be sold. and can be applied at various levels. The information is worth your time and money (even though this is for free). 320 Quality over Quantity. 318 Section 7: Techniques for Link Building and Getting Backlinks. 317 Headlines. 313 Section 6: How to Write Quality Web Copy For SEO. or are starting scratch. 309 Section 4: Optimizing Your Site for Search Engines.

The information contained within including but not limited to all logos. 12 . In addition to reading this book. more and more people have realized the viability of doing business online. Due to the internet’s ability to constantly change.com By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Introduction to GuruGrounds. you are already on your way to success. content and information is copyrighted by Carbon West Digital. the internet has become one of the togo methods in creating and running a successful business. This may seem as a complicated process. The advice and situations discussed within this book may not apply to every situation and any recommendations made by this book. 2010. but by reading this book. is not to be held accountable. with the update of technology and security. but success depends on your ability to apply the information to your specific topic.This book is packed with thousands of useful methods that can be applied to any niche. be sure to read additional content which may be more targeted towards your specific market. tables. While there have been many cases of fraud and negligence. Introduction to GuruGrounds.com For 20 years the internet has consistently proven itself to be an effective place to conduct business.

You should be individual who is self motivated. If you aren’t sure where the power button is. we decided to combine our years of experience and create a guide that helps you with all aspects of starting and marketing your online business. If you feel that you possess 13 . While the internet has adapted to the times. If you are better informed on an area of the book. we are also benefiting as well. specific to your niche. taking some basic computer classes). Use this information as a reference when creating your business. Not only do we cover the ONLINE aspects of running a business but we also talk about the OFFLINE experience such as basic accounting principles. Because we try to cover every aspect of online business we encourage you to first learn as much as possible and then with the information you’ve gathered. launching your business is still a fairly complicated process.About Gurugrounds. a lot of learning and hard work. You don’t have to read everything. To help you with that. to verify with a second opinion (three heads are better than one). narrow your focus on a specific type of business. then we suggest at least skimming the section. Things You Should Know About GuruGrounds This site covers everything you MAY need to know but doesn’t mean you will need to apply everything to your business. While we are providing this content to help others make money. Of course learning only our material is not enough to get rich so you will have to do your part and remember running an online business requires persistence. and passionate about your business or product. you can skip chapters if they don’t pertain to your business. and managing physical products. Who We Created GuruGrounds For This site wasn’t written for the person who’s never touched a computer. we felt that a guide was needed. catalogue and bring together all the aspects of online business into one condensed package for learning. entrepreneurial. We made an effort to research.com and What We Teach After witnessing firsthand the difficult process of starting and running an online business. you may want to think about hiring a professional (or at the very least. legal aspects. Consider this site a reference/encyclopedia for running an online business.

Course #1 Starting an Online Business By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 1: How to Start an Online Business Section 1: The Various Internet Business Models Before you start an online business you should know what your options are. But remember. This section will briefly go over the different types of E-Business models. we can only open the door for you. Our ultimate goal is to provide you with the tools required for you to succeed.any of these qualities. you should still understand the basics of web browsing. it is up to you to walk through it. email and navigating the internet. For those of you looking to get started. this package of information will definitely be the ultimate reference guide when looking to start and expand a new or existing business venture. There are many different E-Business models out there and they each require a different skill set. 14 .

You should choose a business that you’re passionate about and be sure to choose something that you’d be willing to stick with for a long time. People are becoming more and more comfortable purchasing online. Ecommerce applications are becoming more accessible and easier to use. there’s always room for more. you can work when you want and as much as you want. they are cheap and easy to use so you can start right away. Even though there are business’s that only take advantage of short term trends and do very well. Even if your niche has a lot of competition. In regards to the tools required to start an online business. and in the online world they aren’t limited by location. still out ways the supply. conducting business online was risky and unpredictable. the majority of those business’s never 15 . thereby allowing novices to compete with the bigger companies. online business has become safer and more productive. There are over 238 million internet users in the U.Why You Should Start An Online Business Now! The internet is maturing and becoming a more stable place. You can create a website for free and the cost of hosting and maintaining it are getting cheaper and cheaper. Thinking In the Long Term Not all businesses will become giants like Amazon or eBay. alone are expected to reach $335 billion by the year 2012 (According to studies done by Forrester Research). so you can work from home! You’re not limited to the people in your geographical area. But now. The demand. The great thing about all this is that physical location is not an issue. with more people online than ever before (and those numbers are predicted to increase for many years to come). In the beginning.S. There is very low overhead and with that there is the potential of achieving financial freedom and making really good money. What Type of Online Business Is Right For You? The next step after deciding if you want to start an online business is to find out what kind of online business you want to run. will pay off in the end. Many businesses will take years before they reach their peak in sales. The internet makes it easy for someone with no startup capital to start a business and start making money. for many niches.S. And because you’ll be self employed. Online retail sales in the U. Carefully choosing your business. You can sell to virtually anyone on the planet.

Some people are willing to pay a large amount of money for an app/program. you’ll have the time to learn. Here are some of the ways you can create revenue online: Etail: if you have a brick and mortar site and you offer your products online. Service Business: You don’t always have to sell a product. Applications and programs: People are always looking for an app/ program to do some task for them. In some cases your product may be applicable to both business and individuals. you have an etail site. This is not something you can do halfway and be successful at. When setting goals you should write down exactly what you want on paper. Clarify exactly what you want. Keep in mind that both types of customers require very different business models. either through drop shipping or by shipping out your own products. By choosing a business that will last into the long term. Content site: Information is a commodity and can be sold online in the form of an information product or you can distribute it for free and receive income through advertisements. Think tortoise and the hare. If you're going to start an online business you'll need to be committed to it. Identify your business model. you can also sell your services. especially if it will save them money and time in the long run. The Many Faces of Online Business All online business models generally fall into two categories: business to consumer and business to business. skills and past experiences and decide which business model is best for you. Take into consideration your hobbies. The First Steps So you've decided to start an online business but now what? Here are some steps to help you get started Make a commitment to yourself. Knowing whether your customers will be from a business or from individuals will allow you to create a better marketing plan.reach their full potential for that market. 16 . Shopping cart apps and accounting software are two examples. develop and take over in your chosen market. If you know what you want you’re more likely to get it. Storefront: A strictly online store where you have no actual physical business but you sell products online.

you must make the effort to understand the new trends. privacy and 17 . Further clarify your business idea. talk to your friends and family up about it.Consult family members and friends. The term netrepreneur is used to describe someone who conducts business online. Even though you have a clear vision of what you want. There are tools you can use to analyze the habits of your customers. Customer service. where they come from and much more. what time of the day they come to your website. Write down all the steps required to achieve your goal and set a date to them. By the end of this SECTION you may realize that your plan is not even feasible. Make a timeline. This will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and it will keep you focused. legal issues. Now that you've figured out the holes in your business idea it's time to further develop their bulletproof business idea. where they click. Getting an outsider's opinion will help you work out kinks in your idea. • You must perfectly understand who your customers are. your plans still have a long way to go. and accounting are just a few examples of the commonalities between a traditional business and online business. • You must be able to think like a customer so you can better understand their needs. How to Think Like an Entrepreneur Running an online business is very similar to running a traditional brick-and-mortar business. In order to be successful with an online business. You still need to identify your customers. You can see how much time they spend on your website. products and/or services. taxes. • You must be able to respond to fast and dramatic changes. After developing a clear vision of exactly what you want. Section 2: Getting Started With Your Online Business This section will talk about turning your ideas into a reality. To become a good netrepreneur there are some skills you'll need to acquire. If this is the case you'll just have to take a step back and rethink your idea. • You must understand that the smallest change on your website can create dramatic results. The Internet is constantly changing and you must change with it.

and other professionals. Ask them the following questions: • Would you ever use this product or service? • Do you currently use any products like this? • How much would you be willing to pay for this type of product or service? • Would you use it often? • Where would you normally find this product or service? • Would you ever order this product or service online? It's impossible to please everyone but if you find that majority of the responses are positive then you should consider taking your idea to the next level. Conduct informal research to verify the feasibility of your idea. Also be sure to take a step back every once in a while to have a fresh.sba. You should ask them the following questions: • Have you ever seen this type of product or service? • Would you ever consider buying this product or service? • What do you think of this idea? • What problems do you foresee me encountering? • What do you think are the pros and cons of this idea? • Do you think of me as the type of person who would sell this product or service? Why or why not? Contact organizations that support small businesses and tell them your idea to get high-quality feedback.org Woman’s Business Center www.gov/sbdc Chamber of Commerce www. and the technology and tools that are at your disposal. new. coworkers. The following links are just a few organizations that are out there to help small businesses: Small Business Administration www.uschamber. 18 .com SCORE www.gov You should also consult your potential customers.security concerns. objective outlook.gov Small Business Development Center www. At the very least spend a week thinking of your business idea. You can do this by asking your friends.score.sba. Further Examination of Your Business Idea Poor planning leads to poor performance.onlinewbc. Your first idea is usually not the best idea so it's important to deeply examine your idea for potential problems and concerns.

ask yourself these questions: • Will I be able to compete with my competitors? • How big are my competitors? 19 . ask yourself these questions: • Is there a big demand my product or service? • Is my idea a growing trend? • Will I be able to take advantage of a new technology? When filling out the THREATS category. weaknesses. draw a large cross separating the page into four quadrants. ask yourself these questions: • How much will it cost to produce or offer my product or service? • Will it be difficult to get suppliers? • Do I have enough experience in this industry? When filling out the OPPORTUNITIES category.Applying the SWOT Analysis The SWOT analysis is a popular method used to determine the pros and cons of any idea. opportunities. 4. When filling out the STRENGTH category. Opportunities and threats are considered external factors since they deal with things outside of your control and factors that are influenced by the environment. ask yourself these questions: • What are the benefits of the product or service? • Am I an expert in this industry? • Can I get a patent or copyright to protect my idea? • Are my skills applicable to this business? When filling out the WEAKNESSES category. Go through each quadrant and fill out each category to the best of your ability. 6. The lower left quadrant should be labeled as OPPORTUNITIES. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. 5. 3. meaning that they specifically contribute (good or bad) to the proposed business. The lower right quadrant should be labeled as THREATS. On a sheet of paper. and threats. 2. Follow these steps to create your own SWOT chart: 1. The upper left quadrant should be labeled as STRENGTHS. SWOT is an acronym for strengths. The upper right quadrant should be labeled as WEAKNESSES.

family and other professionals there is one last step to completely validate your idea. An Idea That's Right for You For some of you coming up with a business idea comes easy. do the strengths and opportunities outweigh the threats and weaknesses? Is there anything you can do to offset the disadvantages? There'll always be a few weaknesses and threats on your SWOT analysis but the fewer the better. Many entrepreneurs can be considered dreamers as they're constantly coming up with new ideas. If you are one of these entrepreneurs the biggest problem is not coming up with a business idea but instead choosing which one to pursue. If you can answer YES to the following questions. Essentially the feasibility study will answer these basic questions: 20 . Keep working on your idea until all the factors have been taken into consideration. A feasibility study is a formal written process to help you determine how realistic and achievable your idea is. This is just another step to make sure that all the kinks have been thought out.• Are my competitors able to provide the product or service at a cheaper price? • Will my product be in need five years from now? Take a look at each quadrant. then your business idea is worth pursuing: • Are you interested in this idea? • Does this product or service get you excited? • Are you knowledgeable about this product or service? • Do you have the money on hand to start this business? • Are you willing to change your lifestyle to pursue this idea? • Would operating this business get you closer to achieving your personal goals? • Would operating this business get you closer to achieving your professional goals? • Can you see yourself owning and running this business 10 years from now? • Does this idea pass your feasibility test? How Feasible Is Your Online Business? Once you've done the SWOT test and received feedback from friends.

The more accurate your information is the better you'll 21 . how can I prevent it? The Costs of Business • How much does my product or service cost me? • How much money will I need to start my business? • How much will I need to make in order to make profit? • What other costs will my business have? When you answer these questions make sure you back them up with actual research.• Will people buy my product or service? • How much will it cost to start my business? • How much profit will my business make? • Is my idea worth pursuing? Go through this list of questions to complete the feasibility study: Products and Services • What is the product or service that I am trying to sell? • How will the customers use it? • Where will my customers be able to buy it? • How will my product or service be delivered to my customers? • How will I make my product? • How will I test my product? Management Experience • Do I have any management experience? • Who will manage my business? • What specifically are my skills and credentials? • What skills should I work on? • How much time and when can I devote myself to my business? The Marketplace • How big of a demand is there for my product? • Who exactly are my customers? • What is my target market? • How big is my target market? • Is my market growing or getting smaller? • What is the best way of reaching out to my target market? The Competition • Who exactly are my competitors? • What makes me different from my competitors? • How exactly to my competitors market their products and services? • Is my product or service easy to replicate? If so.

How to Find Out Exactly Who Your Customer Is You must conduct some research to clearly identify your target market. The better you know your target market. keep that in mind. taste in fashion. There are companies such as “Gartner Group” and “IDC” that offer market research.be able to run your business. Surveys and focus groups “can” be effective but they should only be taken with a grain of salt. When you identify your market. Sizing Up Your Markets Competition 22 . There are a ton of free online resources to help you with this. they can be pricey though ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars. when and where will your market use your product? Your market will most likely be a mixture of different people but find the most common denominator. If you can answer all these questions you are ready to move to the next step. the more successfully you’ll be able to market to them. Identifying Your Target Market Your target market is essentially the term used to identify your buyers. gender and occupations of your market? • Psychographics: what are your markets life style. It will also save you time and money if you market effectively to your market. Search online for market research relating to your product. Find your biggest competitors and observe their customers. hobbies. age group. take into consideration these questions: • Demographics: what are the income. and taste in music? • Demographics: where do your customers live? Which country? Which neighborhood? Urban or suburban? • Uses: how. What a customer thinks they want is not always what they actually want. Although copying your competitors can be effective in some respects it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. Classifying Your Customer It will be easier to market if you know what your customer wants.

this will make it much easier to keep up to date with them. You don’t want to be a copycat so try to stand out. pricing your products for a lower price is not always a good idea. Document a list of all your competitors and update it often. posters. The Importance of a Business Plan It’s important for the same reason as not writing your goals down. Use your competitors pricing strategy as a guide. prices) • Promotional work such as ads (brochures. You can use the information you’ve gathered to define your business and make it more unique in relation to your competitors. competitors and the industry the better off you’ll do. Subscribe to all the email newsletters and promo offers. take it into account but do what’s best for “your” business. and how big they end up being. Be strong where they’re weak. for each competitor you should document information such as: • Their website address • The types of products and or services that they offer (details. learn from it and avoid doing the same if possible. Without a destination in mind you’ll be going nowhere fast. Section 3: How to Make a Proper Business Plan People who are starting a business for the very first time will often ask “why should I write a business plan?” and they’ll say something like “it’s all in my head”. Depending on the market. commercials) • How often they have sales. You can get entire books on writing business plans so this SECTION will only cover the basics. Almost all successful business people without exception will tell you that a business plan is essential. If your competitors have a major flaw in their strategy. If you don’t know where you’re going you’re like a ship lost at sea without a destination.The more you know about your market. 23 . Knowledge is power so don’t let this information go to waste. The more information you have. the better. use the information you’ve gathered to strengthen your business strategy. Do they do a better job at a certain task? If so learn from them and implement their strategy into yours. offered by your competitors. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of your business with that of your competitors. flyers.

It’s essentially a summary of the entire business plan. but it will pay off tremendously in the end. Writing a business plan can be a lot of work depending on how detailed you make it. This will include your internal and external management team/resources. with a look of their competitive advantages and how you will be able to overcome any barriers to your market. all those will change and you business plan will need to change accordingly. this section is written last. Most experts on the subject of business plans recommend breaking it down into 7-8 sections as follows: • The Executive Summary: even though this section appears first. and it will include information such as geographic location. the major competitors in the industry. These sections should include information on industry trends. • The Industry: This section is an overview of the industry your business will be operating in. This goes more or less without exception. bank or other outside source you’ll need a business plan to show them. • Competitive Analysis: This will be an examination of your competitors. The more information it contains the easier it will be to find the destination and goal you had in mind. demographics. If you’re planning on getting money from an investor. and any promotional plans. A business plan will you keep your finances in order and you’ll be able to see what is priority and what isn’t. A business plan will change with time because it does not only explain what your business is about and how it works but it also explains where the business is going and how it will get there. • Market Analysis: This section will cover the primary target market for your product or service.Your business plan is like a map. • Marketing Plan: This section is a detailed description of your marketing strategy which will include a pricing plan. your target market's wants and how these wants are currently being met. • Management Plan: This will be an outline of the legal and management structure of you business. How a Business Plan Should Be Structured A business plan should be no more than 20 pages and you can usually get by with a lot less than that. and industry sales. The investors want to see that you know what you’re doing. 24 .

Getting Help with Writing the Business Plan Your business plan “should” be very specific and a little research will be required. There are a few computer programs and templates out there that can assist you in writing the plan.com Deciding Whether Or Not to Hire a Professional Not all businesses need a professional business plan. You can use this format for any business. you’ll want a polished professional business plan. Before deciding to hire a professional check out the following sites since they may contain all the information you need to write a business plan yourself: • Small Business Development Center www. and include a description of the manufacturing process (if any).bplans. Paying a professional to write your business plan can pay off in the end if you’re not sure how to go about it. You’ll also want to describe the inventory requirements and suppliers. depending on the requirements.sba. A business plan consultant/writer will word your plan in such a way that speaks to investors. • Financial Plan: Here you should describe your funding requirements and how the money will all be used. Check out Bplans (www. If you’re initially going to start your business on a part time basis and you plan on starting without an outside investment a solid detailed plan is not needed.• Operating Plan: This is the section where you describe the physical location. We suggest Business Plan Pro which can be found at: www. If you want outside startup capital from investors.000.500 to $5. They’ll add all the essential information that the investors will want to see. Find a business plan for a business similar to yours and see how they’ve done it. The job of the writer/consultant is to translate your thoughts and plans into a cohesive business plan that will be both effective for you and the investors. What You’ll Get From A Professional Business Plan Writer A business plan writer will require a lot of information from you.gov/sbdc 25 . The going price for a business plan writer/consultant ranges anywhere between $1. A professional will also help you save time if that’s an issue for you. facilities and equipment of your business.com) for samples of other business plans.paloalto. It can be extremely useful.

If you borrow from the bank you’ll be faced with paying interest and eventually paying it all back. You want to be absolutely sure that your business will be successful in that case otherwise you’ll be paying it off for a while. The secret to starting a business on a low budget is to make a little money go a long way.com • SCORE www. 26 .org If you do end up deciding to hire a professional be sure that they have experience with your industry and online businesses. This section will cover the various funding methods that will assist your start-up. A tight budget will force you to think outside the box and leverage all the opportunities that come your way. The Low-Cost. Ask yourself if the decision will take you closer or further away from your vision.• Chamber of Commerce www. Section 4: Funding Your Online Business Funding you online business is perhaps one of the scariest things you’ll have to do.uschamber. online businesses can be started up for almost next to nothing. especially if you’re on a tight budget or you don’t currently have a well paying job. Rereading the business plan will keep you on track. It’s very easy to lose focus when running a business. Read other business plans written by the professional and ask for references. It should be referred to often and changed if needed. Tight Budget Method The more money you have. Luckily. Thinking Long Term When Writing a Business Plan Your business plan is something that should always be kept in mind. With specifics of what each party member is responsible for. As with all contracts. You’ll get caught up in the small things and lose sight of the big picture.score. make sure that all the final terms are in a written contract. the easier it will be to start your business. Referring to your business plan often will help you deal with any issue that arises and it will guide you in any decision making situations. The Frugal Lifestyle Starting a business can be risky so the safest (but hardest thing) to do is to keep your job while working on your business.

Rent out a cheaper apartment or drive a cheaper car while growing your business. The key thing is to be financially safe and secure and to cut down expenses so that you won’t run into problems. not hard. • Create a daily. There are many people who will do jobs for you in return for a good recommendation. • Shop second hand and check out garage sales. It will take you longer to start your business but you’ll be in a better financial position in the long run. • Buy what you need and not what you want. and eBay! Shopping second hand isn’t glamorous but it will save a lot. Some people will keep their day job and work on their business at night. Instead of buying or creating the products first and then selling them. Join a mastermind group and you’ll be able to get free advice from other business people. Every Penny Counts There are many ways to save money while starting up a business. • Focus on the business before investing back into yourself. • Find people who will work for free. • Find professionals who are willing to guide you for free. Thinking frugally forces you to be smarter with your money and make the most out of the least. get the money first then create the item and ship it out. This only works with physical products. weekly. • One effective method is to have a customer pay for the product before you yourself even have it. • Work smart.One option is to work part-time to earn enough cash for the essentials but devote the rest of your time to your business. Making Do with Nothing 27 . thrift stores. Focus on the tasks that will wield the biggest results. and monthly budget for yourself and follow it to a tee. This is a lot easier then you think. Sacrifices will need to be made in order to get your business up to the level where you’ll be able to take a step back and relax.

In those cases where a large start-up capital is needed an investor is their best option. Most millionaires are millionaires because they spend wisely. search for freeware (free software) that can do the same thing.Free-DownloadableSoftware. Bartering and trading is essentially getting something in exchange for one of your products of services. Before going out and buying an expensive program. You can always buy the program later. Don’t ever buy computer software before trying out the trial versions. Southern Barter is an organization to help facilitate bartering and trading in your area. Because you don’t have investors breathing down your back. You can find freeware online from many websites. You can search online for similar organizations. you’ll reap higher profits and you won’t have to worry about paying back the investors. it requires discipline and foresight but in the long run you can save a lot of money.com www.com www. Investors will want to have a say in the direction of your business so if you can fund it yourself you’ll retain full ownership. If your idea is good.com The Benefits of Being Frugal Being frugal does have its hardships.com • MajorGeeks. Assuming you maintain full ownership of the business. Most programs offer a 30 day trial period for free which may be long enough to get your business off the ground. We recommend: • Tucows. you’ll be able to make decisions quickly and on the spot.com • Free-Downloadable-Software.tucows. Thinking frugally will prevent you from spending wastefully. Finding a Good Investor Some business start-ups require an initial investment that may be out of reach for most people.com www. 28 . It’s important that you know your options when looking for an investor.Bartering and trading are excellent ways to save money.majorgeeks. investors will invest in your business with the hope that there will be a return on investment or they’ll invest for partial ownership.

AngelInvestorNews.net www. They’re usually much more lenient then full on investors but they’ll still require a good business plan and some evidence to prove to them that they’ll get a return on their investment.Friends and Family This should be your first source of investments since your friends and family are going to be the most flexible when it comes to you paying them back and simply just dealing with them.angel-investor-news. You don’t want to give them too much ownership and then have the company succeed… it can lead to sticky situations.com 29 .com www. Depending on the people you know.fundinguniverse. You’ll have to be careful with how much company stock you give up to your friends and family. it’s possible to get a large amount of money by asking for a little from everyone. Angels usually avoid getting involved in the actual business. You’ll get your money right away with your family and friends. Be sure to have proper terms of agreement written that all parties understand to prevent misunderstandings.com Funding Universe www. Approaching family members and friends for money can lead to problems in the relationship.vfinance. Family members and friends will usually not charge you interest on the loan and you won’t have to deal with bureaucracy that’s usually found with a bank. This can lead to many problems.net vFinance. There are downsides to getting money from your family though. Here’s a list of angel networks that you’ll find useful.com Go Big Network www.com www. angels usually give you more time to return their investments. anywhere up to 5 years. They just want to provide you with the funding and they’ll let you run your business. Also.nbai. Often time’s people who get loans and funding from family and friends keep the terms of agreement unstructured and loose.com NBAI.gobignetwork. Investment Angels Angel investors are people who are willing to fund small businesses and young company start-ups.

Research the different venture capitalist firms and focus on the ones that invest in your industry. Check out these two resources to learn more about the venture capitalist industry: • The directory of venture capital and private equity firms. Attend seminars hosted by venture capitalist and connect with them online. You’ll need a proven track record with an experienced management team.html • The money tree report (www. They want to see that you have a good track record and that you’re able to deal with big loans.pwcmoneytree.greyhouse. 2008 edition www. Venture capitalist often invest anywhere from $500.000. this can be risky though and so you have to ask yourself… are you willing to lose your home? If you have poor credit. Home equity loans are another option. If you’re thinking of eventually getting a venture capitalist it’s best to make connections now. Venture capitalists will not give money to start-ups. Microloans are just as the name implies small loans.000 to $10. These loans usually go between $5. Venture capitalists are looking to make a big return and so you should be ready to give up control and leave it in their hands if need be. some banks and investors can offer you a high interest loan.000 and $25.000 and you can receive them the day 30 . just be sure to consider the penalties for early withdrawal. RRSPs and your 401(k) s are another source of funding. your family and friends can’t loan you anything and a venture capitalist is out of the question.000 or more.com Alternative Financing Sources If you can’t find an Angel investor. Credit cards and lines of credit are excellent sources. If you want money from a venture capitalist you need to be in a good industry that shows growth. try to find a credit card that will offer reward points for money spent and be sure to get a card with a low interest rate.com/venture. there are still many sources you can tap into.Venture Capitalist Getting a venture capitalist to fund your project will not be easy.

or owners that are strapped for cash. Other businesses have a lot of potential but the owners don’t have the motivation to fully take advantage of it.you apply for them. these kind of owner s will sell the businesses for a cheaper price. If starting a business is too much work for you. you’ll be paying more but you’ll have the security of knowing that the business actually works. There are the businesses you want to think about buying. purchasing one may be an option for you. Buying an Existing Website These are thousands and thousands of online businesses. look for a business that already has a steady flow of customers going through. Starting a business can be easy. Some business owners either don’t have time to operate the business or they’ve lost passion for their business. You’ll have to do some research to find these though as there isn’t any resource that keeps track of them all. avoid these sellers as they’re looking to make a profit and they may have used methods to inflate the price of the site. Some people make online businesses with the strict intention of selling it after the initial start up phase. many of which are quite successful. Although it’s not necessary. There are many organizations out there that offer micro loans and we recommend you check out: Count me in www. no longer have time to maintain it. By buying a business you’ll be avoiding all the work of starting it up and all the expenses that came with it. In the case the owner will continue to own the business but you’ll run it until you’ve paid off the asking price. Many companies and organizations offer grants and financial awards to innovative entrepreneurs. you can use the profits to pay back the installments. but marketing it and establishing yourself in the market can take a while so buying a website that’s already established will save you a lot of time. If the business is making money. Section 5: Serving Your Online Customers with Integrity 31 .org Grants and awards are another way to go.org Accion USA www. Look for owners that are dispassionate about their original idea.countmein. Look for a deal where you can put down a down payment and pay the rest in installments.accionusa. Some business owners are willing to lease out their business.

Mention what you will and won’t do for customers and make it clear. Writing a Customer Pledge The pledge can be as short or as long as you want and it can be specific or vague but it has to be honest. Write about what makes your service special and how you stand out from the competitors. You should also have them on your website to prevent misunderstandings and law suits. use. What you do for the customer is more important then what they do for you.org/Privacy/sample_privacy. 32 . Policies. Some policies are mandated by the government so be careful when writing it out (you must have these policies written out and kept somewhere). Having a pledge to your customers is an excellent way to not only let you customer know what to expect from you. You can find a sample privacy policy at: www. This section will cover good business practice and how to treat your customer right. Privacy Policy Your privacy policy will state how you’ll collect. You’ll also need a privacy policy.The customer comes first. Policies A customer service pledge is not the only policy your website will need. but it can serve as a guideline for you and your employees on how to treat them. Policies. shipping policy. and treat the information you collect from people.bbbonline. Explain how you view the customer and how important serving them is to you.asp The sample privacy policy can be used if you live in the USA and you’ll just need to go through and change a few details. return policy. The information you gather includes cookies and other tracking data. your customer base. even in an online business and that is the most important asset in your business. The Customer Comes First Good service will go a long way and is perhaps one of the most cost effective methods to retain a customer. and you may need a few others.

unless an earlier timeframe is specified. how you use it. Shipping Policy This section should indicate how and when customer orders will be handled and shipped. 33 . Here are the rules: • You must ship the product as stated on your website. The return policy is made to not only protect you. and any other rule you may require. • You must allow the customer to agree to any delay or to be able to cancel the order and specify the amount of time required to be refunded. There are FTC rules to comply with in regards to shipping and handling. who are allowed to use the site. The return policy should state: • The time limit in which the owner has before they’re no longer able to return the product. The privacy policy has to be properly labeled and easy to access on your website.where you have to register. Return Policy The return policy should be clear and specific as there are always a few people who will take advantage of you. It should include information about what information you gather. Many membership sites . • You must include a correct and revised shipping date if there is a delay. Terms of Services Also known as a “user agreement” or “terms and conditions”. but also your customer. • You must notify the customer ASAP if you’re unable to fulfill the order. will include this during the registration process (a TOS is important if you want to avoid getting sued for actions taken by users). and who you share it with.A privacy policy for your online business is required by law in the USA and it’s mandated by the FTC. • You must ship the product within 30 days after the order has been received. The return policy should clearly state the conditions by which a customer is allowed to return a product and how they will be refunded. The TOS should indicate how users can and cannot use the site. also legal issues.

exporting and Importing. • You must keep all the information private and confidential. So do what you say and keep out of hot water. you actually have to do what you say. • The fees associated with returning and restocking the items. Many websites will include policies for forums and chat rooms. • You must get the parents’ permission before collecting information and you must explain to them how and what you collect. Keeping Your Word It’s not enough to write your policies and be idealistic. • Will the customer receive cash or store credit? • If you sell other businesses products you must direct the customers to their return policy. COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) Other Policies to Consider Ultimately. don’t take your chances. • Exactly what can and cannot be returned. policies can protect you from being sued and they’ll help prevent misunderstandings and issues. • You should state who will pay for shipping and handling on the returned item. 34 . spam and Email subscriptions. may have big consequences. and Linking to and from other sites. These policies are also there to keep you protected from being sued. To avoid having people take advantage of your return policy. Many of the policies are government mandated so failing to follow these rules. Not doing what you promise will bring down your reputation and trust among your customers.• You’re right to reject a returned item if it shows obvious signs of use. minimize the days in which they can try the product. Protecting Young Users If you live in the USA you’ll have to follow the rules of the FTC’s COPPA which mandates that if your website is targeted to children under 13 you must follow a certain set of rules: • You must have a privacy policy on your front page and have a link on any page that collects information.

fax. Office Equipment Long gone are the days of the $500 photocopiers. Will your business require employees to be at the office? (Unless you’re selling a physical product all employees can work from their home) Make a list of all the items you’ll need. Will any work related people visit your home? If so you want to make it as professional and clean as possible. scan and print DVD’s/CD’s for a very good price (around $150). scanner. Also it’s best to have your computer/office space outside of your bedroom and away from any distractions like the TV. apologize. hardware and layout for an effective workspace. Fortunately most online businesses can be entirely conducted online without devices so unless you sell physical products and you have to print out invoices. If you’re selling physical products you should consider buying a digital camera to display pictures on your website of your products. Now days you can get all in one device that can print. You want a space made for working. An Effective Floor Plan Whether you live in a tiny condo. and offer the customer a refund. an all in one device is not necessary (but really good to have). correct the issue. or discount. Section 6: Setting Up Your Office and Workspace Having a proper work space will save you a lot of time in the end. and printers. If purchasing the equipment is out of the question due to finances you can consider outsourcing that work and using a company like Kinko’s 35 . it’s still probably the most practical purchase you can make.If for whatever chance you are not able to meet the standards when serving a customer: notify the customer ASAP. This section will cover the essential equipment. credit. copy. You can now get computer equipment for a very cheap price. so don’t take this lightly. Draw a layout and make a plan before setting up your office. or spacious home you’ll want to setup an area specifically for working. You’ll be spending a lot of time in front of your computer so make sure it’s comfortable. Even if you don’t need an all in one device.

and word processing. Every netreprenuer will have their own set of tools and programs that they’ll swear by.com/chrome Email Management Thunderbird tp://www. A new computer can now be bought for as low $300 and for most online business. a spouse or family members then you might want to consider buying a new computer. Also before buying a computer.com Google Chrome www.(now FedEx) or Staples to do all you’re printing.html Opera http://www. you’ll most likely be using your computer for more than just business so purchase according to your needs.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/thunderbird/ ht- 36 .com/en-US/ firefox/upgrade. and copying work. If you’re sharing a computer with room-mates. Naturally though. For the most part. make a list of all the programs you’ll be using.mozilla.google. If you have a slow computer you might want to consider just upgrading it. faxing. Tools of the Trade Getting a computer won’t be enough. this should not be a problem. You’ll want a computer that at the very least meets all the programs system requirements. The Office Computer A personal and accessible computer is absolutely essential if you want to conduct business online. it will be more than enough.99% of you. we suggest getting windows 7 as your operating system as it already comes with many useful programs. you’ll be doing simple graphic work. Most computer stores can guide you on what to buy and they’ll even install it for you for a low price. The following list of tools is recommended (you only need one email manager): Web Browsers Firefox http://www. Fortunately for 99. buying a computer has become very easy. You’ll want a fast and stable computer. If you’re a computer illiterate person that’s alright. a super powerful $1000 computer would be overkill.opera.

videolan. Course #2 Business Finance & Legal Issues By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher 37 . you’ll have a different internet service provider (ISP).aspx Media Viewing and Editing Flash Player Picasa VLC media player Miscellaneous WinRAR www.com/ http://office.com/en-us/ http://get.mail.ca/ http://www. You’ll also want either a DSL or Cable modem connection. Research your options and go for the most trustworthy and stable ISP.com/ Internet Connection Depending on the region you live in. You’ll want an ISP that’s stable and provides fast service.com/outlook/ http://www.rarlab.google.microsoft.foxitsoftware.google.com/ www.adobe. Don’t be lured in by cheap deals.com/flashplayer/ http://picasa.org/vlc/ http://www. The average going price for a good internet connection is about $20 $40 per month.microsoft. There’s nothing worse than when your internet goes down for a few days while you’re trying to do business.Gmail Microsoft Outlook Document Viewing and Editing Foxit PDF Reader pdf/reader/ Microsoft Office default.

review the laws and make sure you’re not breaking any of them. Business accounts. The laws for online businesses change often so you must stay up to date with the regulations. and many other documents ask for an EIN but if you don’t have one your Social Security Number will often do. Maintaining A Legitimate Legal Business Before opening the doors and launching your web business. loan applications. To apply for EIN you can call 1-800-829-4933 and agents are available to guide you through the process.irs. Also it is needed if you have employees.Course 2: Legal Issues and Managing Your Businesses Money Section 1: Keeping Your Internet Business Legal and Within the Law There are many laws governing how you can run your business. Getting a Resale Certificate 38 . An online business not only has its own laws but also must also follow the laws regarding a non-internet business. Also the laws are different state to state so be mindful and consult a lawyer if you have any concerns. We realize that reading and understanding the language used by lawyers can be daunting so to help you learn more about the laws governing your business be sure to check out these resources: • Industry trade associations • Local Chamber of Commerce • Small Business Administration (SBA) Employer Identification Number (EIN) An Employer Identification number or EIN (also known as the “Federal Tax Identification Number”) is a 9 digit number that is used to identify a company for tax returns and certain forms. There will be different regulations you must follow depending the type of business you have.gov/sa_vign/newFormSS4.do (If you don’t want to apply online you can download the form from the website and mail the application).www4. or your business is a partnership or corporation. You can also apply online (probably the easiest method) at: • https://sa.

A good idea is to consult an accountant as they can help find the best account for your business. you will also need to let them know. depending on what you’re selling you may also have to follow the regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you are the only employee. The following forms should be kept in mind as they are required by the IRS: 39 .gov/~comm/foodbiz. and any additional business documentation. Employee Forms and Regulations The IRS is something that we cannot avoid and if you are looking to hire an employee. In addition. you will need to notify them. In order to get a business account the bank will ask for your EID. Exemptions are also given to those who don’t make nutritional claims.html There are exemptions for businesses that don’t exceed a certain yearly sales amount. Creating a Business Account with Your Bank You may be tempted to just operate your business through your current bank account. Department Of Health Permit If you sell food products with your online business you will need a permit from the department of health. you may have to get a resale certificate (you may also need one if you’re going to buy or sell wholesale). you may have to pay and collect a sales tax on every product you sell. Also prior to getting a permit. your work place may be inspected to see if it meets all health regulations.fda.Depending on the state you live in. You can find the website here: • www. With so many exceptions and various rules you may want to consult a certified public accountant.cfsan. this is a bad idea. The FDA’s website will have information on labeling standards and starting and running a food business. a copy of your business license. If you are required to collect and pay tax. If you run and operate a legitimate business you’ll need to pay taxes and therefore do proper accounting. Social Security Number. This means that you will have to follow certain labeling regulations that indicate ingredients and nutritional data. If you use the same account for personal and business you’ll have a tough time doing the book keeping.

But before starting your business. • Have more than 3 employees working on site. Some locations are zoned for residential housing only which means that shops cannot be opened. for people living in a city. Zoning refers to what activities can be conducted in certain areas. • Form 1099: This form is filled out by you every time you hire someone (not a contractor) to do $600 worth of work or less. check to make sure). • Have harmful chemicals on site. Some areas are mixed use which means many things can be built there. This form is also used if you barter or trade goods. • Be warehousing a large number of items. Medicare. • Be selling products on site in person. consultants. Your cities licensing and planning department should be able to tell you what the zoning laws are in your area. social security. you should check to see if you’re city will allow you to operate from home. Zoning Laws And Restrictions For A Home Business Conducting an online business from your home is perhaps one of the simplest ways to go. In most cases. • Business signs on the outside of your home. • Form W-4: This form is to be filled out by any employees you may have. 40 . and free lancers. • Require extra parking. and FUTA (federal unemployment taxes). You’re responsible for withholding and taking out their money for income tax. you’ll be allowed to conduct business from home (but again. Due to the fact that millions of people are now conducting business from home. most cities can give you a variance for online home based business owners. you must assure your city council that your home business will not: • Bring a lot of traffic to your street. • FORM W-2: This form must be given to all your employees at the end of January of each year. The W-2 indicates the total income your employee made and how much you’ve held back for tax reasons. • Have a lot of people coming in and out of your home. To get a variance granted to you.• Form W-9: This form is given to independent contractors. • Have large delivery trucks (company vehicles included) around your home.

If you belong to a home owners association contact them to see if there are any restrictions in regards to conducting business from home. The city issues you the license but depending on your business you may also need a county license. Your license will be void and the new owner will have to buy a new one. you can change the structure down the line).These rules are made to protect the property value of the homes nearby. if you’re caught breaking the law you “may” have your business shut down.gov/hotlist/license. The price range can vary from $25 to $2000 (or more) depending on the type of business you conduct. If your business requires the storage of a large number of products consider leasing an offsite storage facility to manage and ship your products. 41 . If you rent out an apartment or home. Don’t take any of this lightly.sba. In some cities you may be required to get a “home occupational permit”. To find out where the nearest location is to apply for a license check out the SBA website at: • www. If you sell your business you won’t be able to transfer the license. Usually for online business they are given automatically to you but in some instances you’ll have to meet a certain criteria and pay a fee of $1 to $75 (Home Occupational Permit is not the same as a business license). double check with the rental agreement to make sure that you’re allowed to conduct business on the property. Also note that these licenses usually expire within 1-2 years. When purchasing your license the city clerk will ask you which category your business falls under. These rules are also there to protect neighbors.html Section 2: Choosing the Best Business Structure For You There are many business structures for you to choose from. It’s important that you research your options and choose the one that’s best for you (but don’t worry if you need to. all of which have very specific differences that can change your business dramatically. If they don’t have an “online business” category look through the list and find the cheapest and most related one. Obtaining the All Mighty Business Licenses To conduct business you’ll need a business license.

A few questions to ask yourself are who will own and control your business? Will there be multiple owners? Will you accept all the legal consequences of your business? Or will you make a corporation to protect you from the liabilities? While answering these questions be sure to understand that each business structure is taxed differently. When you register a fictitious name you become John Smith dba (doing business as) fictitious name. You will have to pay Self-Employment taxes (under Schedule SE) and your Self-Employment taxes will include your Social Security and Medicare tax. license and various legal documents. The profits and losses of your business must be indicated on your personal tax returns under Schedule C. You business name will appear on your bank account. or tax attorney to figure out which option will work best for you.Determining What Organization Will Work Best Figuring out what system will work best isn’t hard but you will need to know what you want. Another important factor to determine is funding. How you decide to finance your company will effect which structure you choose. simplest and easiest business structure to form and operate. It is important to remember that in most states a small fee and an application is all that’s required to register your domain name. If you want other business to be able to invest in your business your options for the business structure is limited. If you plan on getting outside investors (angel investors or venture capitalist) you must have a stock option. Fictitious Name Registration You can look at operating your business under your own legal name (last name is also fine) or under a different name (you’ll have to register a “fictitious” name with your state). Sole Proprietorship Sole proprietorship is the cheapest. The problem with being a sole proprietor is that you’ll be legally responsible for everything that happens to the business and all legal matters. 42 . You and your personal assets will be liable under this structure for the damages caused by your business Also under this structure you’re responsible for all taxes. Only one person can own this type of business and all you will need is a business license. We suggest consulting a certified public accountant.

a good idea is to have the terms of ownership written down and signed to prevent disputes and legal issues. Partnerships Exactly the same as a sole proprietorship except a partnership can have multiple owners. One way to bypass paying payroll taxes is to consider your spouse a volunteer but the downside is that they won’t get any credit for their social security. The partnerships that last the longest are the ones where all partners openly discuss all the issues and agree upon a solid deal before launching. There should also be a clear idea of how decisions will be made. the IRS considers your business a partnership. Before starting a business all partners should know exactly what’s at stake if they don’t contribute and what will happen to each member’s share of the business if they don’t do their part. write a document indicating what percentage is owned by each person. According to the IRS your business is still owned by one person. and how the profits and losses will be distributed among each partner. If your spouse has an active role in the ownership of the business. Your spouse must meet the criteria of being a volunteer otherwise the IRS will fine you. If you decided to use this structure. If you decide to create a partnership. also known as an LLC or LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) is a great structure for those looking for legal 43 . According to the IRS if your spouse works for your business they would be considered an employee in which case you’d have to withhold taxes. Limited Liability Company A Limited Liability company. Some tax advisors suggest your spouse can still be involved in your business since your business income will be indicated on your joint tax returns under schedule C. When going into a partnership there should be a clear idea of how much money and time each partner will contribute.Sole Proprietorship with Your Spouse Technically the IRS identifies a sole proprietorship as having one owner. The IRS considers a volunteer to be someone who does not work regular hours. what each person is responsible for.

you can fund your project by getting investors (and corporations) as members. there will be separate tax forms which are much more complex then the ordinary forms. 44 . To get an LLC you’ll have to apply with the state and although it is harder to get than a partnership. This is known as double taxation. The owners of a corporation are its stockholders and the stockholders can be individuals or other business entities. must be individuals (US residents) and not other business entities. Deciding to incorporate has many tax advantages that in other structures would not be provided. Incorporating Your Business A corporation is considered in itself a legal entity. which can have an unlimited number of shareholders usually without any restrictions as to who they are. Each shareholder in an S corp. If your corporation does not file taxes or record the minutes of your meeting. is that the corporation get’s taxed on its profits and the shareholders get taxed as well. they aren’t as difficult as filing for a corporation. One disadvantage to incorporating is that applying for one requires a lot of paperwork and information. When applying you’ll have to submit articles and bylaws describing exactly how your business will be run and it must be approved by your state. If you choose to incorporate. For tax purposes an S corp. Choosing To Incorporate The great thing about incorporating is that you get legal protection and is a good choice if you plan on getting outside investors. must be operated on a calendar year. The benefit of this type of corporation is that double taxation does not apply. This can all be daunting at first but it’s really not that difficult. You can take the company public with an IPO (initial public offer). The Two Types of Corporations There are two types of corporations. the stockholders are legally responsible and they are no longer legally protected. The downside to a C corp. A great benefit of this structure is.protection and having multiple partners. which has a limited number of shareholders. The first is a C corp. The second is an S corp. One important requirement for maintaining a corporation is that on an annual basis you must hold meetings and record minutes for these meetings.

45 .sba. Remember. art. If you need new owners for investment reasons you can look at incorporating. Section 3: Trademarks and Copyrighting This section will cover techniques to protect you intellectual properties (IP) from plagiarism to improper use of business materials. music. expect to pay upwards of $1000 for an attorney to fill out the paper work. piece of art.gov/smallbusinessplanner/exit Consult a trusted business advisor before changing the legal structure of your business. design) which is granted by law.For this type of structure. You must go through many procedures to legally dissolve the corporation before changing its legal structure. software. If your business gets big enough you may want to switch to a corporation to avoid the self employment taxes (changing from a proprietorship or partnership to a corporation is much easier than vice versa). for a period of time (usually the life time of the author and 70 years after). logo. We’ll show you how to register trademarks and copyright. Changing the Legal Structure Down the Road Ultimately you’ll just want the structure that’s best for you now and if required change at a later time. You’ve probably put a lot of work into your business and brand and so you’ll want to protect it from being used by others. if you’ve put a lot of work into a certain phrase. or name it’s worth protecting. Why Trademarks and Copyrights Are Important A copyright is the right to use an intellectual property (writing. The SBA website offers instructions for those wanting to change their business legal structure: • www. Most business start out as either a proprietorship but down the line someone else may join you and you can switch to a partnership. If you decide to incorporate yourself you should still expect to pay a few hundred dollars for the filing fees as well as paying an annual fee with your state. If you decide to switch it back to a partnership or proprietorship you’ll have to go through a lot of work. A corporation has many owners and many legal requirements.

A patent is the ownership of an invention, granted by the government that prevents others from using it. Once the invention has been patented, it must be disclosed to the general public. A trademark is a distinctive name, motto or symbol that legally identifies a company, brand or product and legally prevents others from using it. Protecting your IP’s will give you the legal ground to sue or stop anyone someone unlawfully using your work. While this all may sound very difficult it really is quite simple to accomplish. Making a Trademark The surprising thing about a trademark is that you don’t technically have to register it in order to have rights to it. The real benefit of it is to assist you in court if you were ever to sue someone. You can use the trademark symbol on your work whether you’ve registered it or not. A trademark is characterized by the “TM” and a registered trademark is represented by an R inside a small circle. The prevention of people from using your registered trademarks is up to you. If you decide to register your trademark, you may look at paying about $325. You can register your trademark at the United States Patent and Trademark office: • www.uspto.gov Protecting IP’s with Copyrights As with trademarks, copyrights don’t officially need to be registered (but it helps for legal reasons). Like a trademark you must pay to get your copyright officially registered (it costs about $35 online and $45 offline) If you have an online business, there are certain rules apply specifically to websites and online content. There are many IP’s you can protect such computer programs, databases, email newsletters but you cannot copyright your domain name. One important point to make here is as soon as you change the content of a copyrighted item it’s no longer copyrighted. While you cannot change certain items without the copyright also being removed, other items like databases which are constantly changing, can still maintain its copyrights. For those of you writing blogs and online journals keep in mind that although they are databases, they cannot stay copyrighted if changed.

46

For more information regarding copyrights of online work go here: • www.copyrights.gov/circs/circs66.pdf It would be advisable to consult an attorney if it’s important that you protect your product. You register a copyright at the US Copyright Office: • www.copyright.gov Getting a Professional You should consider hiring a professional if protecting your IP’s is critically important to your business. US copyright and trademark laws are recognized in most countries but not all. Hiring a professional familiar with international copyright right and trademark laws will help tremendously. A copyright and trademark professional will run you anywhere from $175 to $300, not including the registration fees. To find an IP’s professional check out: • American Bar Association: www.abanet.org • FindLaw: www.findlaw.com Section 4: Accounting For most business owners accounting is the least enjoyable part of running a business but unfortunately, proper accounting is the most important part of your business. In the end, you must have proper bookkeeping if you want to run your business effectively. The IRS doesn’t take fraudulent inaccurate accounting lightly; you’ll want to pay your taxes properly otherwise face their wrath. Due to the high importance of accounting, many business owners outsource their accounting work to a professional as there is much to know. Paying Your Taxes Paying your taxes is unavoidable and when you run a business there are additional state and federal taxes that you’re required to pay. Income Tax You must pay income tax on the amount of money your business earns regardless business structure (except for a partnership which only files and information return). Income tax is due every quarter and if you’re unsure about how much you’re supposed to pay (due to an overdue invoice) you can estimate the amount. Employment Tax

47

If your business has employees (including you) you are responsible for paying taxes meant for your employees. A payroll tax is the name given to the taxes you pay on behalf of your employees. Payroll taxes include Medicare, social security, Federal income tax withholding, and federal unemployment tax (FUTA). Figuring out the withholding amount is pretty complicated if you haven’t done it before (again, it’s best to hire an accountant to show you exactly how to do calculate the taxes). You must submit the payroll taxes every quarter and file Form 941 on the last day of the month that comes after the end of the quarter. Here is the payroll due dates: Quarter End Due Date Extended Due Date March 31 April 30 May 10 June 30 July 31 August 10 September 30 October 31 November 10 December 31 January 31 February 10 If you are unsure, the IRS website offers tools and learning material to assist you with paying your taxes. The website also contains information for people starting up a business and how best to deal with taxes. If you are not filing taxes, then expect hefty fines. If your payroll taxes are under $1000 you can get permission to submit your taxes annually. You can file your taxes online (fastest and easiest way to go) but you’ll need an EIN (employer identification number) and you’ll need an IRS approved vendor to submit your work. Find From 4419 here: • www.irs.gov/businesses/index.html One highly important recommendation is to send you payroll taxes a bit earlier if you’re going to do it online as there is a bit of turnaround time. Sales Tax If you’re selling or manufacturing products you must collect, and keep track of a sales tax from the customers and submit it to the local, state agencies. Every state deals with the sales tax differently though so you’ll need to keep up to date with the rules of your state. Make sure your accountant is aware of all state sales tax laws especially as it applies to online businesses. There is still a lot of discussion among state authorities as to how online businesses should be dealt with so staying informed is a good idea. The Federation of Tax administrators (FTA) website has links to the tax agencies of each state. You can find it here:

48

• www.tax.admin.org/fta/link/defaults.html Accounting 101 Proper and accurate accounting is essential if you want to run a successful business. It’s not the most fun but you’ll be able to see how decisions you have taken have affected your business. You’ll want to keep accurate records to see how much profit or loss you may have incurred during the month (P&L = profit and loss). Use your financial statement as a guide to show you how well you’re doing. Determining Your Tax Year Periods Your tax year is essentially the period of time you use to see a yearly snapshot on the well being of your business. The most common tax years are: • Calendar year: January 1 to December 31. • Fiscal year: An exact year starting at the beginning of one month and ending the following year before that month. Example: September 1 to August 31. This is useful if your business is seasonal or if your business peaks during the New Year which can be a hassle. Calendar year is the easiest method to take for most people. For some businesses the IRS require that you have a calendar tax year only. If having a calendar year is going to be a problem for your business you may file Form 1128 to request changing your tax year with the IRS, but expect to pay a fee. Methods of Accounting The accounting method is the way in which you figure out your income and expenses. You must pick the method before you start business and you’re expected to stick with it. You may be able to change methods but only if the IRS approves it. There are two common methods of accounting: Cash basis and Accrual basis. Cash basis is a method where you report earnings and expenses as they come in. According to the IRS you cannot use the cash basis method if: • Your business is a C corp. making more than $5 million annually. • Your business is a partnership with a c corp. as a partner and you business makes over $5 million annually. • If your business is a tax shelter.

49

• Your business has inventory. Accrual basis is when you report income when you earn it and you report expenses when you owe them (as oppose to when you pay them). The only restriction with using an accrual system is that you cannot be a tax shelter. Balance Sheets A balance sheet is a detailed overview of your business financial status. You will be using a balance sheet regardless of method of accounting. Here are a few concepts and terms you’ll need to know: • Assets: Anything of value that is owned by your business. ◦ Cash: the amount of money you have in your bank account. ◦ Accounts Receivable: (A/R) The amount of money that’s owed to you. ◦ Inventory: The total value of all the products you currently have on hand. ◦ Fixed Assets: These would be things like land, building, vehicles and equipment. ◦ Miscellaneous: Just as the item implies, anything that doesn’t fit into the other categories. ◦ Liabilities: Any debt that the business has is a liability. ▪ Accounts Payable: (A/P) The total amount of money that you owe to others. ▪ Accrued Expenses: These include wages and taxes which are withheld and paid later. ▪ Net Worth: The amount of equity in your company. ▪ Revenue: The total amount of income your money has made recorded over a period of time. ▪ Expenses: The total amount your company has spent over a period of time. If everything is done correctly your assets should equal the total amount of liabilities plus your net worth. Income Statement This is also knows as a profit and loss statement (P&L). This statement takes a look at all your revenue and expenses. It will show you how much your business earned or lost for a specific period of time. It uses line items (a list of items that affect you monetarily to show you a total of both revenues and expenses).

50

you may consider investing in software specifically designed for your business. 51 . It shows you what came in and out of your business. Hiring a Professional You may hire a professional accountant at some point while your business grows and by hiring a professional.intuit. most small business owners stick with QuickBooks. • Accountant: Essentially the same as a CPA except for the fact that they’re not certified or licensed by the state. You have many types of accounting professionals.You can create a P&L statement quarterly but we recommend doing it monthly as you’ll better able to notice any problems. Like a CPA they can also file your taxes. With a P&L statement you’ll be able to notice trends in your activities and how they affect your business. • CPA: Certified public accountant. you can save you millions. There isn’t much reason to go with anyone else unless your company specifically needs something unique. QuickBooks and Accounting Software QuickBooks is by far the best accounting software you can get for your business and while there are many other accounting programs out there.com QuickBooks is like the Microsoft of the computer world. The generally deal with taxes but they can also specialize in specific aspects of business. An important note to make about your accounting . There are some online accounting software website you can consider and are quite useful since your accounting work can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. These are accountants certified by the state who are recognized by the IRS as someone who can file and submit your taxes. If you business grows to become quite large with many employees. You can check it out here: • www. Although they may be expensive. A P&L statement looks exactly the same as your bank statement. is to always back up your finances (we recommend backing them up to a secure online space) QuickBooks is made by Intuit. and get set in the right direction. they can be more then worth it.

52 . You want someone who will get to know and understand your business. make deposits. or enrolled agent for all your tax issues.org/testrequest. feel free to. Most people have no problem referring you to their accountant. They don’t do any general accounting activities.php How to Work With a Tax Professional If you decide to use the services of a professional. and create balance sheets and income statements each month. Finding the Best Professionals for Your Business There are several ways to find good accountants. • Enrolled Agent: They are federally licensed and trained in state and federal tax laws. • Tax Attorney: They help you out when you’re dealing with complex tax issues. represent you when dealing with the IRS.• Bookkeeper: A bookkeeper is someone who you can hire to manage the basic record keeping of your small business. They can also manage the payroll. Use the free bookkeepers hiring test when hiring a bookkeeper. • Tax Consultant: They can be an accountant or CPA or neither and their skills can vary. attorney and enrolled agent can represent you with the IRS and while bookkeepers are hired by most small businesses if you’re comfortable doing your own accounting. Hiring a bookkeeper is generally not expensive as their fees generally range from $8 to $20. You can find the test here: • www. Only a CPA. be sure to use the same CPA.aipb. The going rate for a tax professional usually starts at about $125/ hour and you will want to be clear on how you’ll be charged for time (some CPA’s charge for questions answered by email). deal with account payables/ receivables. The first way is to find a trusted successful business person and ask them who their accountant is. accountant. A great way to save some money is to make a list of questions to ask the professional before hiring them. and you can consult them with financial planning. They must pass a federal background check. Many large companies will hire one as an employee but for a small business… rarely will you need one. They are certified according to the IRS to file/submit taxes.

org • National Association of Enrolled Agents: www.Another option is to go to your local chamber of commerce and have them help you find a professional. When it comes to taxes you want someone who’s professional and detailed. you will still be getting lots of paperwork.com • CPA associates International: www. good record keeping is of the highest importance for a successful business.com • American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers: www.aicpa. The following websites are a great resource to help you find a good accountant: • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: www. Paper Work Even though your business is online. including CD’s and DVD’s. it can have drastic consequences. You’re allowed to scan copies of your records and keep them on electronic devices.aipb. Good Recordkeeping Habits If you slip up on your record keeping for even a month. especially with your industry.org • AGN North America: www.org Aside from looking for proper accreditation and good rates.agn-na.cpaai.naea. It would be wise to get a small filing cabinet to keep everything organized. Because more businesses are being created online. the amount of work required to fix it will be costly. you should also look for someone with lots of experience. 53 .org • Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants: www. the IRS now considers electronic versions of records legitimate.attorney-cpa. If you make any mistakes. You’ll also want to keep your paperwork organized in the event you’re stuck with a legal issue. Naturally as with hiring anyone you should look for someone who has a good work ethic and doesn’t cut corners. They don’t play favoritism but they can direct you to one who’s familiar with businesses like yours. You’ll want as much proof as possible.

54 . Course #3 Web Design for Your Online Business By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 3: How to Design a Website for Your Internet Business Section 1: The Right Domain Name for Your Internet Business A good domain name is vitally important and should reflect your business name. just try to think about a name that will make it easy for users to find you. legal situation or lawsuit. named your business. the name can also be unrelated.Be sure to make multiple copies of all your work and store them in different physical locations. as there are many companies who specialize in it. If you’re just starting up a business and you don’t yet have a name you’ll have more flexibility. If you have a large amount of files to scan and copy. you can outsource it. your domain name should match your company name. legally. You domain name should identify what your business about and while we don’t recommend this. Another way to call a domain name is a URL or Uniform Resource Locator. The general rule of thumb is to store all your records for up to 7 years but at the very least 4 years. You’ll want to protect all your records in the event of an audit. A URL is the essentially the address of your website on the internet. So you may want to consider choosing a domain name that is appropriate for your market. you should first pick a good domain name. If you are at a loss for a name. Before selecting a URL or domain name. Carefully Choosing Your Domain Name If you already have a business or if you’ve already. as closely as possible.

icann.What Makes A Good Domain Name? The most important point about a good domain name is it should be easy to remember and spell (try avoiding words that are easy misspelled). The prices vary because the different companies offer different services. Compare the fees and services of the various companies before buying. What You Should Do If Your Domain Name Is Already Taken With the explosion of the internet also came a gold of rush of sorts for prime domain names. A final recommendation when choosing a name is to choose a unique one. Registering a domain name will run you anywhere between $5 to $30. the shorter the name.com.org etc.net. A useful way to come up with a domain name is to use keywords to identify what you do. What name would be attractive to your market? Are you selling to an edgy younger crowd or conservative older folks? Where to Register the Domain Name Many web hosting companies offer domain name registering services. You can also find companies that just specialize in registering domain names.com There is an official list of domain names that is operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): • www. If not there are many ways to compromise and find alternatives. 55 . The cost to register your domain name will vary depending on the domain name extension (. If your website name is unique you should be able to get your domain name registered.org When registering the domain name be sure to know how long the name will be registered for. If you use keywords related to your business. search engines will rank you higher which will make it easier for people to find you. . Brevity packs a punch. Also.). Purchasing a domain name has never been easier and most websites come with ample instructions to assist you in your purchase. the easier it will be to remember. Such as: • www. . Avoid names that people search for often.namecheap. The name should be unique but related so that it’s not confused with anything else.

To see a complete list of extensions you can go here: www. Why Finding a Good Domain Name Is So Hard To Find Currently there are about 55 million registered domain names and there are 300. The internet is constantly allowing more and more domain name extensions so if you’re dead set on a certain domain name you may want to just consider changing the extension from . The website in which you register your domain name will often give you alternatives if the domain you wanted is taken (often time the suggested alternatives can be quite good). Keep trying out domain names until you find one that you like and is available. Many domain names do not have active sites so sometimes those owners will give them away for free. If you don’t like the alternatives you basically have to start from square one.000 new domains being registered daily.org.iana. Your registering company can contact the owner with your bid but expect to pay a service fee of about $50.com extension. you should have no problem finding a good domain name.Contact the owner directly and if you’re nice you can get it for free sometimes. you may want to consider using a different extension such as .htm Being Creative with the Domain Naming Process 56 . There are many extensions to choose from but . Buying a Domain Name If you’re dead set on a domain name and you absolutely do not want to go with anything else and it’s been taken you can choose to buy the domain name from the owner.com should be your first choice.Exploring More Options Hopefully your first choice of a domain name will be available. The Domain Name Extension If you’re preferred domain name is taken under the .com to something else. The best way to do this is to contact the owner or webmaster of the owner. It can be difficult to find a good available domain name but if you’re creative.net or .org/cctld/cctld-whois. WHOIS is a feature that some domain names have that allow you to see the contact information of the owners.

By leaving in elements that don’t contribute to your revenue. and functionality should be your primary goals. (Think: Google.howtostartanonlinebusiness. • Ex: www. 57 . Figure out how each method of monetization will be implemented and where they’ll be located on the site. If nothing is working. Yahoo!. Optimizing You Website for Profitability You should plan your website before creating it. and not pretty you won’t make any money. Section 2: User Friendly Website Design Beginners are often tempted to create elaborate websites with many functions but simplicity.Most of the simple and best domain names were taken during the initial . FaceBook. Niche marketers use this technique. ease of use. Regardless of how many methods of monetization methods you can exploit… if your website isn’t functional. easy to navigate through. at the end of your domain name. You’ll want to figure out which programs and applications will be needed for your monetization methods to work.com You can try thinking outside of the box and coming up with a clever name. You’ll probably have to be creative when choosing a domain name because your initial choice will most likely have been taken. you’ll be wasting resources and time.) You can also try adding words like Inc. You’re making a website to make money so figure out what will contribute to profit and focus on that and cut out the rest. don’t be afraid to create your own words or use totally unrelated words for your domain name. Anything that does not contribute to profitability directly or indirectly should be removed. corp. ltd.com explosion. To get the most profit out of your website you should clearly define the purpose and goals of your website. and MySpace. You can try making you domain name extremely specific. Try and create a map to help you visualize how your website will work. Make a list of all the methods of monetization that will be used and number them in order of importance. The method that is expected to make the most money should be the highest priority.

navigational buttons. Layout is the positioning of pages. Stick with the basic fonts: • Arial = common and relaxed • Comic Sans = non serious and childish • Georgia = classy and professional • Time New Roman = Traditional • Verdana = like Arial. Each font in a way sends out its own message. Use images cautiously and always ask if they add or take away from your site. wild colors can be used for a liberal. but more urban and stylish Images can be important and add value to your site but they can also take away. Web Design Principles 101 Before designing your site you should first figure out exactly who your market is and then cater to their taste. The color or your site will have an effect on the mental state and buying behavior of your customers. 58 . By using images. Avoid using unique proprietary fonts as not everyone has them and they won’t show up on the user’s computers.com/?The-Hidden-Secret-on-Logo-Colors. Bright.suite101. you can direct a viewers attention away or to certain parts of your websites.and-How-They-Affect-Your-Customers&id=124569 • http://smallhomebusiness.What Is Good Website Design? A good design will give your audience a good first impression. What impression do you want to give to your audience? You want them to think you’re professional of course but what impressions do you want to give the audience aside from that? The first impression will be made up within the first few seconds of looking at your site.cfm/ how_color_affects_internet_marketing Also keep in mind the font you use. Conservative people prefer toned down colors and nothing to exotic or bright. younger. and hip crowd The layout is the most important element of your website. To see how colors can affect people check out this website: • http://ezinearticles.com/article. content and ads. Video and audio is gradually taking over the internet and people are avoiding more and more text based content.

news. it may not be directly related to design but people will still see the site differently. Coca Cola has altered its logo and look many times. By keeping your website simple and clean you minimize the amount of work required to update it. Making changes can show the viewers that you’re committed to providing high value to them.Having audio and video of you site is a great way to add value to your site but use it cautiously as it can also be annoying. intense graphical capabilities. Also even if you make changes. Web design trends change month to month and keeping up with it can be quite tiring. The exception is of course if you run a news. or retro site. popular culture) and if you do. applications. Use photos that won’t become outdated (such as fashion. Flash Web Design Flash is a program used to create animated vector graphics. If your brick and mortar businesses design is outdated you’d want to modernize the design while still maintaining something from your site. Even just making a few small changes will make your website seem fresh. Your design will primarily be dictated by the industry you’re in. update them. better to give users the choice to play and stop the video. You should also take into account the type of service or product you sell. If your business is already established as a brick and mortar business you’d want to use design elements for your website. They were used a lot in web design for their amazing. Choosing Your Design Take a look at the successful companies in your industry and see how they design their websites.Also remember that flash websites take longer to load and are 59 . style. You don’t want your website to look crazy and wild if you’re selling Rosaries and Crosses. (Flash web design should only be used in specific situations as it is expensive to produce). and websites. People ignore elements of your website if it stays the same. Also try to avoid video and audio that plays on its own. Keep in mind the demographics and keep the design simple and functional. info. It is also important to update your site often. But unfortunately became overused.

60 . The ultimate benefit for SEO improvement is flash content will show up in search engines. The benefit of a flash website is that it displays the same on everyone’s browser and is good for product demonstrations. Function An online business website will contain many applications and functions such a shopping cart. All aspects of the site should go through the question of “will this add or take away from the revenue?” User Experience Based on initial impressions people will decide whether or not return to your site and whether or not to buy something from you. Users will make up their mind about your site within seconds of looking at it. Function.used more to display artistry and for entertainment purposes. If that’s the case just ask yourself if using flash will contribute to an increase in sales. Adding Function to Your Website Not only must your site provide a positive user experience but your site must also influence the user into buying or taking some sort of action. If the function adds to the user experience. A function that takes away from the user experience will lower your sales. how the user experiences your site and how enjoyable or rewarding they find it. registration/membership capability. Function. All functions of the site will either add or take away from the user experience. This being the case. it will increase your sales directly and indirectly. • Simple but effective navigation. news letter signups and etc. The user experience is just as the name implies. Your website functions can be categorized into 3 different categories: • Basic functions • Interactive functions • Enhancing functions Base functions: • Your website loads up quickly. You may be tempted to use flash to develop your website due to positive past experiences. Your job is to impress them right away and continue to impress them if you want them to return and buy. most professional web designers suggests not using it.

People want a simple. • Images and media work as intended. In this section we’ll go into the various methods and ways to make a website either by you or with a professional. Simplicity and ease of use is key. podcasts) Section 3: Building a Website on a Shoe String Budget Web technology has changed greatly in the last 10 years and it will continue to do so. Much like building a house. and entertainment). • Language viewing options. What people want out of a website hasn’t changed much. Sometimes making a website easy to use will require a lot of tech so don’t think a simple site is easy to make but making a website has never been easier. • A way for users to comment on articles and posts and products.. Enhancing functions • Demos and tutorials for your products or services.e. the first step 61 .pdf’s and etc. Interactive functions • A search function that allows users to search for information on your website.). easy to use website that will provide them with value (in the form of information. you need to plan. Planning For Success When it comes to building a website you can’t just jump in there and start doing it. Difficult to make active at first but it’s great if you can get them busy.• All links work properly. • Member registration option for more content and access to areas of your websites (forums and chat rooms). • RSS and email subscribing. media. • Contact information (an email will do). • Store locations (if applicable). • 24/7 customer support. • An option to download media and appropriate files (. • Forums and chat rooms. • New forms of media (i. • Your website should have a way for users to make orders (shopping carts).

• Will there be a members section? If so you’ll need a log in and registration page. Your site ultimately has one function: “to make money”. Users will not scroll down if they don’t like what they see at the top so keep this in mind and focus on the top part of the screen. When a user decides to register do not make them go through any more than 5 steps otherwise they’ll lose interest. Guidelines for Good Page Layouts Don’t overload the users’ senses with too much stuff on any single page. Be sure to 62 . Your attention should go there first (also remember that having an uncrowned page improves loading speed). If you have a large site you’ll have 1000’s of pages so when doing a site map only map out the main pages. Simplify all steps for the user (the fewer steps taken to perform an action the better). products or other items? • Is there a search function? • Will you create a contact form? Or will you just provide an email? • Will there be media on your website? Once you’ve figured out which functions you’ll need. you should start working on a site map. Good sites take ample time to plan exactly what it will look like. What functions will you require in order for your site to make money? Answer the following questions to help you decide what functions you’ll need: • How many types of products are being sold? If you have multiple categories of products you may want multiple pages. You first have to figure out pages you’ll need. A site map is like flow chart to show you how each page connects to one another and what each page links to.before the foundation is creating the blueprints. Don’t worry about how each page look yet. Position all important information at the top of the screen (just like a newspaper does). • Will you use a shopping cart system? How will customers pay for your items? • Is there going to be a FAQ page to assist users with using your website? • Is there a forum? • Will customers be able to comment on articles. The content you want the user to see should be front and center and near the top.

Many people don’t know what they should look for in a web developer so they’ll either hire an extremely expensive one or a way too cheap one. Common Issues That Occur While Developing a Website Piss poor planning leads to piss poor performance. If you have a web developer making your site be sure to get all the content done in time so your developer has something to work with. Building a Website On Your Own 63 . get it up and improve it from there otherwise you’ll never start business. Once you get a functional design that works. Be sure to do your research and see what the developer has done before hiring one otherwise you may be disappointed. Make the navigation global. Losing focus is a big problem with many web designers. Don’t spend too much time working on your web design. Once your site “looks done” go through all the pages and buttons and make sure they all work as intended. A user should be able to access all the main parts of your website from every page. Avoid implementing too many functions on one page.simplify the shopping experience as much as possible. Buying applications and programs before examining the compatibilities is big mistake and can waste you a lot of money as hosting companies may not be able to support the software. Many people start working on their website without planning. Websites often require large amounts of content and it’s up to you to get it done. Good web design is always evolving and can take a lot of time. Not debugging enough is a common problem with many website owners. Realistic Expectations If you’ve never made a website before it’s easy to get carried away and create a grandiose plan. This can lead to a lot of wasted time. Your website will never fully be done because it can always be improved. This will increase sales dramatically. Focus on the priorities and don’t waste your time on trivial applications and functions. Remember that simplicity and ease of use for the user should be your first priority.

HTML HTML is a code that your browser uses to display a webpage and primarily makes the base of all websites now days (and is also quite easy to learn).arachnoid.html WordPress and Other Simple to Use Website Creators There are a few extremely powerful and easy to use programs out there to help you create your website. Many of these tools support membership plug-ins and shopping cart systems.org • http://www.com/lutusp/html_tutor. But the great thing about it is. Entire books are written on html coding and since it’s not necessary for you to know we won’t go into too much detail here.org • http://drupal. Check out the following site to learn the basics of html code: • http://www. With a little time and patience you can create stunning professional website on your own. 64 .com as it’s probably the simplest and easiest to use.Fortunately making your website has never been easier. There are many forums and support available with these tools so if you encounter a problem you can get the help for free.com The websites that offer this powerful site creation tool have lots of support. The following websites are recommended to get you started (we highly recommend WordPress for the beginners): • http://wordpress. the tools out there are simple and easy to use. These tools allow you to easily install new functions and applications all with the click of a button. There are many tools out there that make the process of building a website extremely easy. We recommend wordpress. you don’t need to know html to make a website as there are many tools that will create the html for you. Once you’ve made your website be sure to get feedback from web designers by sharing your site on forums and asking for their opinion.vbulletin.joomla.org • http://www. Some of them you have to pay for but they’re well worth it in the long run. Even if you’re a complete beginner and you’ve never made a website. By learning the basics of html you can save yourself a lot of money. Long gone are the days of using notepad to write html code. Although you don’t need to know html it’s recommended if you want to have better control of your website.

you can therefore expect a much higher quality website. The main downfall is you will pay a much higher price tag for a website done by design firm. it should be yours. Freelance Web Designers 65 . Make sure this is not the case. A website may take a non professional a week to month to complete where as a professional could get your site done in several days. Another option more regularly taken is to hire a webmaster to make changes as the website progresses. Try to find a professional whose done business websites before and also be sure to see their past work. If making a website is too daunting a task and you’re unconfident in your ability to make a professionally effective website. Once the designer finishes your website. The benefit to hiring a professional is that you’ll save a lot of time. motivation and drive.digitalpoint.elance. Websites like Elance are excellent places to find web designer for a good price: • http://www. Some designers have it written in their contracts that the website they create for you will be owned by them. Web Design Firms If you have a high budget and your website calls for real expertise you’d want to hire the services of a design firm. If you come across a website you really like.One excellent place to get feedback for your website is at: • http://forums.com Make sure your designer has experience. you can contact the owner asking them which designer they used. A design firm is usually much more reliable and they’re better able to deal with large problems. Also a design firm will usually hire many specialists to deal with specific issues of your site. Finding the Best Webmaster/ Website Designer Webmasters and website developers can range in price and skill and cheap doesn’t always mean bad quality.com Hiring a Professional If you’d prefer to focus on the business and marketing and not the web development you should outsource the work to a professional. hire a professional.

so it’s difficult to put a price tag on creating one. be sure you have written in the contract exactly what must be done in order for the designer to get paid in full. Making Sure You’re Not Paying Too Much Each website is different and they each have their own issues when being created. Many web designers like to take ownership of their work. This includes media. 66 . Be very clear with the designers telling them exactly what you’re aiming for. Although some designers prefer to be paid by the hour we suggest you hire someone for a flat fee. Let the designers give you input but if their ideas don’t fit in with your business vision don’t use the idea. A good way to keep your developer in check is to create milestones that he or she needs to meet. You can also look at asking the developer to send you daily status reports to ensure that their working. Make sure they make what you want and not what they want. The benefit of hiring a good freelancer is they have personal shortcuts and ways to simplify their job and are much better for smaller simpler projects. When hiring a designer. A good place to start is to create your content before going to the developer. so answer their emails and don’t be lazy with correspondence. Be aware that the designer may ask for a lot of your input. They usually tend to work much faster and much more efficiently. Protecting Your Business Idea Web designers should have an idea of how your website should look and work. Make sure you own the website and all the content.A freelance designer costs much less than a full firm. Also the designer may need access to your hosting servers to manage databases and upload your website (be sure you can give them access to it right away). Ways To Speed Up The Website Development Having a clear and concise plan upfront will save you money and time when hiring the developer. such as photos or videos and any written material. The project should be broken down into parts and each part should have a due date. Make sure it’s spelled out who owns what after the job is complete. Also make sure to have a guarantee that the site will work and function as intended.

67 . Database Management Systems: Just as with scripting languages most hosting services support the common database systems so this shouldn’t too much of an issue. If you decided to go with a hosting service. If you use an obscure uncommon language this may be an issue. But it is cheaper to use the services of a hosting service than to host your website yourself and hire a server technician. hosting fees can go anywhere from $10/year to $10 000/month depending on the scale of your website. Many hosting companies have a lot of experience to counter all the problems your website may face.Once the website is completed ask for a copy of the website on disk or some other form of storage. You can host websites yourself from your own computer but if you do. Disk space: Basically how much space you get on the hosting services servers. Section 4: Hosting Your Website Hosting refers to having your website being online so that others may see it. Most ecommerce websites will need no more than 500 Megs. you’ll need a lot of know how to deal with the problems. Data transfer limit: There is usually a limit on how much information can be transferred in total per month. MySQL and SQL are the most common types. You’re usually charged extra if you exceed this limit. Avoid using the less common database management systems. The Terms You Need To Know When Seeking a Hosting Service You want to know exactly what you’ll need and not pay for anything more. Bandwidth: This refers to how much information can be sent back and to your site at any one time. This is important if you expect to have a lot of people on your site at the same time. Scripting languages: By scripting languages we mean html. PHP. A hosting service is a company that will host your service for a cost. If your website offers media bandwidth is even more important. you may have to pay much more so don’t overdo it. Although it’s good to have a little slack in terms of having more then you need. This isn’t so much of an issue now since hosting services now support most languages. If you’re just starting a business it’s best to start small and cheap and the upgrade your hosting services as required. Having a high limit is important if your website has a lot of media or file transferring going on. Java Script and etc.

com Operating System: Each server is run under a certain operating system although this isn’t much of an issue except for certain technical situations.inmotionhosting.hostgator.com/webhosting • http://www.bluehost.com • http://hostpapa.com Section 5: Creating User and Search Engine Friendly Content When running a business it’s not enough to have a good product. If the SSL is not shared you’ll need to get an individual SSL certificate from: • www.com • http://www.com • http://hosting.justhost. This should be a no brainer.com • http://www.com • http://www.verisgn. Finding the Best Host Since physical location is not important on the internet don’t feel the need to find a local company. Backing up your databases and website is something you should periodically yourself as well.com • http://www. Also be sure that the host has a shared SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer) to ensure that all data being transferred is secure.yahoo. Don’t go with no-name companies.com • http://www. Make sure the hosting service is well known and look for reviews of the company.lunarpages. 68 . Backup’s service: You’ll want a hosting service that will backup your website periodically (if not daily) otherwise it’s possible you can lose all your information and essentially your business.E-commerce support: If your website is going to have a shopping cart is sure that your host can support it. you also need a good sales pitch to convince the customer to actually buy it.hostmonster.fastdomain. Support: Don’t ever use a hosting service that doesn’t offer support. You want a trusted reliable hosting service. They should provide phone and email support. Also you can check out the facilities. Here is a list of hosting services we recommend: • http://www. The only benefit of finding a local host is that you can get one on one support with an actual person.com • http://smallbusiness.webhostingpad.

When writing good literature. Use simple words and sentences that everyone can understand. Another great way to keep the reader engaged is with the use of questions and thoughts that reader can relate to. brevity packs a punch. If you want to rank up high in Google you’ll need to know what they look for. What are your reader’s motivations and fears? By understanding them you’ll better be able to write to “them” specifically. You want to write something that your readers can connect and relate to. Make your headlines interesting and packed with emotion. you will need to be highly descriptive and detailed. With good internet writing. words can move readers into action. What action do you want your users to take specifically? Understanding Your Reader When writing for your website you have to know exactly who your customer is and what they’re all about. Search engines such as Google search your website for keywords and then rank you into their search engine according to the words they find on your website. you must clearly indicate that your product is the solution to their problem and that’s its worth the purchase. Before writing you have to ask yourself what the goal of the writing is. product descriptions and other written content should not exceed 500 words. The goal of the writing for your website has several objectives. Anymore than 500 words people will not read. 69 . When writing content for the internet you have to get the attention of the reader. Writing for the Internet If used effectively. The articles. Readers will often skip articles if the headlines aren’t interesting. What sort of things motivates your customers to buy something? What are they looking for? Your customers more often than not are looking for a solution to their problem. Also try to be clear and simple with your writing.Web copy is the written sales material used to motivate a user into taking action. get the user to take action and to get attention from search engines. Effective Internet Writing Good internet writing and good literature are two very different things.

Every piece of written content should have an objective.poynterextra. For information on some of this research go here: • http://www. • Increase the font size to draw emphasis to it. Ultimately your goal is to make every user a buyer but what’s required to make each person a buyer? A good place to start is your homepage. If your homepage is not able to take them to the next step. Your home page is the most important page of your website since it’s the first thing everyone sees. Your content should look so good that the user would want to read it. Naturally your product should be the best you can offer but if you don’t present it well no one will buy it. Consider each page as having a purpose to move the user into a certain direction. Also be aware that internet users have become expert skimmers.org/eyetrack2004/index. you’ve lost a customer. • Use hyperlinks with certain words and link them up to other pages of your website.You must answer the needs of your buyers.htm Your content should only contain elements that will move the user in a certain direction everything else should be taken away. 70 . The attention span of an internet user is extremely short so here are a few methods to keep them focused: • Make each paragraph really short. It’s How You Package It The saying “like selling ice to an Eskimo” fits this concept quite well. • Use images to draw attention to certain pieces of information. • Make lists and use bullet points. Each piece of content should be catered to the user’s needs and desires. A lot of research has been done to see exactly where people look when they open up a webpage. • Make certain keywords and phrases bold. Sorting It All Out Go through each page of your website and figure out what the goal of each page should be. The packaging not only applies to your product but also to the way you package your written content. It’s Not What You Sell. Make sure you display your product in the best light possible while still being honest. Use the techniques mentioned to make it more conducive for skimming. • Highlight certain keywords and phrases.

You may want the user to subscribe to your email newsletter first and then check out your product demo and then buy the product. There are some basics that you should know. Make a list of all the actions your users can take and rank each one. Your most important content should be front and center. • Use words commonly used by your market.Deciding Which Action Takes Priority There are many actions you’d like customers to take so you must decide which action takes priority. urgent. People act based on emotions and not logic. The more you can connect with them the better. • Lead the customer. listen. Even for simple products people use emotions to determine if they should buy it or not. free are just a few examples of attention grabbing words. Marketers and people involved in sales can go to school for many years to learn this fine art. You should tell them what to do otherwise they won’t do anything. • Make it clear that you know the user’s problem is. Put focus on the actions with priority by placing them higher up on your webpage. The writing you use should: • Solicited strong emotions and feelings. If something feels right they’ll act on it even if it doesn’t make sense. Here are some words you should use when writing your content: • • • • • • • Act now Affordable Amazing Breakthrough Clearance Discover Don’t be left out 71 . web copy and marketing. “BUY THIS NOW!” is a good example. • Your words should grab the attention of the reader. There are many books on the subject of selling. Motivating Your User to Take Action There are many ways to motivate a reader to do something. Words such as: Stop. Do this in the beginning and lead them towards concluding that you provide the answer.

Search engines rank you for a certain keyword based on how relevant you are to that word or phrase. 72 . The more times a certain word or similar word shows up on your website the more relevant you’re considered for that terms.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Dramatically Easy Effective Fast Free Free trial Half off High-profit Improve Instantly Limited time only Listen Little-known Low-cost New No obligation Now Powerful Profitable Proven Quality Reduced Revealed Revolutionary Risk free Save Secret Stop Unleash While supplies last Search Engines Friendly Words Search engines look at the words and phrases on your website and how many times they appear on it. If you place the keyword too many times on your website search engines consider it spamming and will remove you from the rankings.

Testing Websites will look slightly different on every browser. Use commonly used keywords and phrases related to your product throughout the content of your website. Launching your website is big milestone in any business and it can be quite exciting. There are many steps involved in launching a website and it’s very easy to get excited and lose track but remember one step at a time! By launch we mean revealing it too the world. Don’t overly use keywords as human users may find it odd and distracting. Testing. Don’t worry too much about any of the problems you see at first as no one else will find your website. Section 6: Launching Your Website Once you’ve designed and developed your website and created all the content for it and found a good host you’ll then be ready to take it to the next step. • Test your website in all the main browsers to look for discrepancies. • Check to make sure that all links work properly. search engines can take up to a month to scan your website and index you. Fortunately you can use websites out there on the internet for free to test everything out for you. One important point to remember is while your site uploaded. Hosted and Uploaded Once your site is up and running you’ll want go through all the pages and test out all the functions to make sure they work. Although it’s sometimes impossible to make it look exactly the same in every browser it should be close. They take screen shots of what your site 73 . • Test your website in each operating system. • Test out all functions of your website.The goal is to make your website appealing to both the human users and the search engines. If you just leave your website as is. Search engines place extra value on the words that are in the header so place keywords and phrases into those sections. you won’t be getting any traffic anytime soon. There are about 5 main things you’ll want to test out: • How your site looks under different screen resolutions. Testing.

under different resolutions and in different operating systems: • http://browsershots. This business model has been around since the beginning of time… It works! 74 . Selling Physical Products Selling physical products is a great and stable method of making money online. effective systems have been created and discovered to help you manage this type of business better. The secret to be successful online is finding the most effective way to make the most money.org Ask your friends and family to test out your website. But it does require a lot more work and overhead costs.looks like in each browser. Every online business is different and so there is no right or wrong ways to monetize. new ways to monetize and make money have come about and developed. you just have to find what’s best for your business. Fortunately because it’s been done so many times by so many people. You want your website to be displayed correctly and working for all viewers otherwise you’ll lose sales. Ask them to click and use every button and function and ask them to report any problems. Course #4 Operating An Online Business By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 4: How to Operate Your Online Business Section 1: Ways to Monetize Your Online Business As the internet evolved. Slight changes in your website and the way you promote your products can either make your business fail or bring you more customers then you can handle.

For some products you’ll have a tough time selling because other competitors have managed to find systems to bring down their overhead costs which allow them to price their products at a more competitive price. You don’t want to go into business running blind… losing profit without knowing why so do the math and create a fool proof plan. you have a profit margin of $3 per sale. You have to look at fuel costs. time spent and etc. answer these questions: • What much does it costs to purchase or produce your product? • How much will the overhead costs? Take into account storage. marketing and etc. Poor planning leads to poor performance… keep that in mind. If you can sell something for more than the cost of getting it. 75 . To help you figure out how much you’ll be making on a certain product. There’s a little math involved but it pays off in the end. • Will you be able to price your product in such a way that you’ll be able to cover the overhead and product expenses while still being competitive with the industry? • How much profit would you like to make per month? How much will you need to sell every month in order to reach that amount? • How many visitors will you need to bring to your website in order to make the desired amount of sales? • How much will the marketing costs to bring in the desired amount of sales? Write down how much you’d like to make and then write down how much you’ll need to spend in order to make that amount in profit. sell high. maintaining it and distributing it… you’d make a profit. employee salaries. The profit margin is how much you make per product sold. Producing Your Own Products Some products can be sold for much higher then what they’re actually worth (in terms of cost to produce). shipping/ handling. Finessing the system though will decrease overhead costs and in turn increase profit.How to Make Profit Buy low. You’ll have to take into account all the expenses required to acquire and distribute the product and not just the buying price. transportation. If your product costs you $7 to sell but the product is priced at $10.

You can either sell items on your own website or on a website like eBay. fashion accessories. If you have the skill. The only downside is that they take a small percentage of each sale. crafts. this minimizes competition. Although it can be difficult to make a living selling second hand items. Buying Wholesale Items in Bulk 76 . Even though your product may be obscure and unique you can still make a good profit since you are the only one selling that type of item. If you have one type of product that you’re selling it may be a good idea to create your own website to sell these items but if you’re selling a large variety of items you should use a service like EBay to sell your items since they have a diverse market going to their website. and garage sales looking for rare valuable items that the seller was unaware of. They buy goods and then sell them online. creativity and know how to make your own product… you “can” make a good profit from them. People are always looking for unique items to set them apart from others so having a unique product can definitely pay off. Many book collectors and sellers use this method with a lot of success. Naturally your products must be of a high quality and worth the price tag. This is called niche marketing. second hand stores. They then sell these items on EBay for an excellent profit. There are many website out there that cater to the artist and allow you to sell your products on their website. Some people will go to flea markets. Some devoted to this method are able to manage a very good living. and art pieces can sell for a large amount if you market it right. This system works great if you can find a good supplier that sells items for much lower than the usual market price. Even if your product is just used by a small portion of the population (such as nose ring jewelry) you’ll be able to tap that market without too many competitors. Your products should be original and unique. Buying Products to Sell Them Online Most internet business runs on this principle. They market and you just have to produce items. You’ll have to know your stuff though and spend a lot of time looking around. paintings. sculptures.Creative items such fashionable clothing.

When you buy wholesale you’re usually required to buy your products in bulk. The most attractive benefit to drop shipping is that you don’t have to pay anything until you’ve sold the item. Drop shipping companies will only bill you once the item is sold and the items are usually priced wholesale on your part… so the profit comes from increasing the price to your customers.If you decide that going to flea markets is not your thing you can try buying wholesale. 77 . Making profit buying and selling products can be extremely difficult but if you have the right product and system in place it can be very rewarding. The problem with selling physical products online is that you’ll have to worry about shipping and handling. returns and exchanges and warehousing all from your home… and if not your home a workplace you’ll have rent out which will cost extra. So you’re basically just a storefront for the drop shipper. No down payment or startup capital required. Drop shipping is when you sell a company’s products. you just have to worry about marketing and selling. warehousing inventory or storage. Drop Shipping Drop shipping has come long way on the internet and it’s become a system that is well developed and easy to use. You only pay once you’ve made money. When selling a physical product you’ll most likely need to devote one area of your house to storage for inventory. To buy wholesale you’ll need a state-issued reseller’s certificate or a Federal tax ID number. Only certain companies allow for drop shipping so you’re somewhat limited with what products you can sell. If you’re buying a large amount you may want to rent out a storage unit or warehouse. The benefit of this system is that you don’t have to worry about shipping or handling. The customer thinks the product came from you and so you’re the one taking the credit. but the items are kept at the companies and warehouse and they deal with the shipping and handling.

If your talent is locally dependant (you having to be at the customer’s location) you should obviously specify travel costs and availability.asp Selling Your Skills and Services Some of you who are skilled and talented may choose to advertise and market your services. Web users today have gotten smart and they no longer take claims at face value.worldwidebrands. This is a good system if your services can be done from your home but you lack customers in your geographic area. When you’re doing business on the internet you’ll be facing many competitors all competing for credibility and legitimacy. You have no say in how or when the products are shipped. consultants. you can market yourself online. Many services can be done for a customer right from your own home. motivational speakers. You can find reputable drop shippers by purchasing a product sourcing membership with: • www. there are many that have bad shipping and handling records so always check their what their reputation is first… do your research Another downside to selling for a drop shipper is that you don’t have complete control. Carpenters. The users want to see your credentials and experience before hiring you. no matter what skill you have. writers. This can be extremely lucrative depending on the service and how you market yourself.You’ll have to look around for a good drop shipping company. Not all drop shippers have return policies so if you guarantee the customer full money back return policy… the money is coming out of your pocket! Depending on the products you sell. the biggest issue with your customers will be your credibility. Many freelance artists work online doing logos and design work. They prefer to read multiple sets of information from 78 . the profit margin might be quite small. Making Yourself Look Credible When offering your services online. The internet knows no distance and so your customers can be international. techies.com/wwb/main_Products. If you’re a professional in this day and age regardless of industry you’ll want a website just to compete with your competitors.

• If you’ve been mentioned or appeared on another website. whether it’s expert predictions on the stock market or a program that will save your business 1000s of dollars. • Client testimonials are an excellent way to increase credibility. The bar is much higher for convincing users of anything. use YouTube and other video sharing sites to promote yourself. People are willing to pay a lot of money for this type of product. or third party… show it off and let people know! When selling your services you should market yourself everywhere applicable. • They want to see your certifications and degrees on your website. or media file and your product only needs to be made once. TV show. • Users want to see that you’ve been around for a long time. It’s recommended you social network. You want to be seen. Information Products This is a method where you sell a digital product. Consider yourself a brand and work on making yourself big. This is another way to show you have experience. • Stories and case studies that illustrate how you’ve helped someone or a company helps. a program. With this method you’re selling information.multiple sources to find the truth. • Be sure to indicate any awards you may have received. If you don’t have time to market yourself you can always hire a marketing expert to do the work for you. this method makes the most profit. magazine. • You should display a list of all your big clients. Since its digital the customers are only buying a copy of the original file and there’s no overhead since there are no physical products to manage. You should never lie but saying you’re a certified _____ makes you automatically more credible. 79 . They’d have a tough time hiring the services of someone new to the industry. Here are few things you may want to include on your website to establish credibility with the users: • Users want to see you on multiple websites throughout the net. Because there is no overhead.

When using an ad network such as Google AdSense you make money every time someone clicks on their ad Ad networks typically place ads that are related to the content of your website.com It’s recommended that you use multiple ad networks in conjunction for maximum revenue. The current trend is to place ads that have value to the customer and make their experience more rewarding. Here are just a few ad networks that we recommend: • http://burstmedia. or a program.com • http://www.casalemedia.A paid membership site can also be considered an informational product since the user is paying for the information found inside. Most digital products come in the form of a PDF EBook. There was a big trend for sites to have annoying banner ads and pop ups to sell you stuff but that trend is waning and going out. There are limits to how many ads you can place on a single page that is determined by the ad network so be sure to follow their TOS (terms of service) closely.com • https://www. Analyzing the Numbers 80 . newspapers. There’s still a time and place to be using banner ads but they should only be used in specific situation.google. and it’s pretty much seen everywhere you go. If your website gets a lot of traffic you should consider putting up some well placed appropriate ads to increase your revenue. so if you have a travel website the ads will be travel related and of interest to the users. This is the most lucrative method to make money online since it requires such little overhead and it’s the direction the internet is currently moving in. The most common system is for you to join an ad network like Google AdSense where you place a small code on a certain page of your website and Google places relevant ads on that page of your website. TV shows. a media file. There are many ways to put ads on your site while not being annoying.com/adsense/ • http://www. Selling Ad Space This method has been around for a long time and is used in magazines.valueclickmedia.

You need a large amount of traffic if you want to make good money selling ad space.com/ads/affiliatenetwork/ 81 . market their product and make a commission on every sale. money. If your average CTR is 2% and the average PPC is about $1. You can easily find an affiliate product that your customers would like and then you can either send out a newsletter or write a review of the product containing your affiliate link. • http://www.google. CTR = Click Through Rate. This is the percentage of people that click on your ads. That money you get is the PPC of the ad. The average PPC though is just a few cents. you must also display the ads effectively if you want people to click on them. The PPC can vary from 1 cent to as high as $60. and directs customers to someone else’s product and if the user buys the product the affiliate get a commission. Some affiliates programs offer commissions as high as 75%. There are many affiliate networks that simplify everything for you. If you have 1000 hits a day you’d make $20. How much money would you like to make per month from ad revenue? By calculating R (revenue) = (hits x CTR) x PPC you’d be able to figure out how many hits you’d need in order to make the desired revenue. fitness. You don’t deal with inventory or shipping and handling. Every ad has its own PPC. If their product is $100 you make 75$ for every sale that came from you. We suggest you check out the following sites. Ads related to debt consolidation.More ads do not necessarily mean more money. If you wanted to make $200 per day you’d have to get 10 000 hits per day. PPC = Pay Per Click. When someone clicks on the ad on your webpage you make a small portion of money (assuming you’re using an ad network like AdSense). travel usually pay more than any other niche. An affiliate is someone is who advertises. markets. A CTR of 3% is considered average. you make $2 for every 100 hits. Affiliate networks are places for you to easily sign up to other companies affiliate program so you can sell their products. health. you just market the product and the other company deals with the rest. Affiliate advertising is an excellent way to add value to your customer. Naturally you should only place affiliate links that are appropriate to your audience for maximum revenue. Affiliate Advertising You can sign up to become an affiliate for a company.

primaryads.com • http://www.primaryads.com • http://www. Multiple Streams of Income The secret to the most successful sites is that they all have multiple streams of income.com • http://www.com • http://www. You’ll have a back up to make sure you keep on getting money.com • http://www.com • http://www.azoogleads. Section 2: Marketing Affiliate Programs Affiliate networking and marketing has taken the internet by storm and its here to stay and it makes up a large part of the most successful online companies.cj. The affiliate networks listed above allow you to add your own product so that people can sign up to advertise your product.affiliatefuel.clickxchange. If you add a new form of monetization it should add to your site and not take away.linkshare. 82 . You want to integrate your ads and affiliate links into the content of your site in such a way that it adds to your website. You may want to create a resource page and link your audience up with your affiliate products that can be of use to your customer. The hardest part is trying to integrate all the monetization methods while not taking away from your main product.com • http://www.• http://www.valueclickmedia.com • http://www. The ultimate goal of your site is to make money so you want to fully utilize your websites potential at making money… while still providing an excellent user experience. Beware though.darkblue. there are a lot of scammy affiliate programs out there on the net.com Having an affiliate program is also an excellent way to market your own product. Having multiple streams of income can be a great save in the event that something goes wrong with your main source of income (your product).com • http://www.clickbank. People do not want to be bombarded with ads and affiliate links that are obviously ads.

These are the people selling the products and items. Because the affiliate program you choose should be related to your website you don’t have to directly market the product. The Ins And Outs of Affiliate Programs Becoming an affiliate is easy. 83 . Affiliate Network: A network where affiliates and merchant come together to offer and join up to affiliate programs. Even large brand names such as Wal-Mart. Merchant: An entity providing the affiliate program for people to join up to. Affiliate Terms You Should Know Affiliate: An entity that’s paid money to promote someone else’s products or services. just follow these steps: • Become a member of an affiliate network • Find the affiliate program that your customer would like • Advertise product on your site • Direct traffic to the affiliate owner’s website. They wouldn’t be doing it if wasn’t working.This section will clarify and help you get a footing with how affiliate programs work and what you should know about them. Naturally you should only go with products your customers would like. Since you image is on the line decide carefully what products you’ll offer. Most people’s initial experience with affiliate networking may be negative… there are a lot of scammy people out there doing bad sales but when done right… it’s seamless and not visible. Amazon and Best Buy use affiliate programs to make money. High quality products do not always sell the best. Advertiser: Same as merchant. There are many affiliate programs out there offering what seems to be total crap and yet they’re total money makers. just advertise your website and with enough traffic you’ll be making a nice steady income. Creative’s: This is the advertising material that either your or the merchant provide. Publisher: The entity that wants to become an affiliate. There are affiliate networks where you can find affiliate programs but many large companies and vendors also provide their own separate affiliate program.

ROI: Return on investment. EPM: Earnings per 1. COOKIE: A file that is used to remember information about a website user that is to be used at a later time. CR: Conversion ratio. CPA: Cost-per-action. or fills out a survey or takes some sort of action that could possibly lead to a sale down the road. The CR is the percentage of clicks or views needed to achieve something like a sale or lead. CPC: Cost per click. InVue: Ads that are like pop-up ads but they appear in the front blocking the content behind it. RON: Run of network. There is usually a button that the user has to click on to move to the next page or they must wait a few seconds for the ad to forward them automatically. PPI: Pay per impression. Qualifying link: The link used to direct users to the affiliate program so you can earn a commission.000. CPM: Cost per 1000 impressions. ROS: Run of site. You can’t drag or move an InVue window. PFP: Pay for performance. EPC: Earnings per 100 clicks. PPS: Pay per sale. PPA: Pay per action.Tag: The part of a link given to the affiliate to keep track of the fact that the user came from you. Joining an Affiliate Network 84 . Interstitial: This is a type of ad that’s displayed between the page you’re on and the page you want to go on. Same as CPA. CPL: Cost-per-lead. Required URL: This is the affiliate location where you send your users. A lead is someone who joins the merchant’s newsletter. If you invested $500 and your earned $1. They are not separate windows but instead exist as a part of the website being browsed.000 impressions. your ROI would be 100%. PPL: Pay per lead. Some merchants will offer you a small amount of money if you get someone to take an action that doesn’t involve a purchase (signing up to a newsletter for instance).

Legal but Not Nice Affiliates Even though the affiliate program is legal it can still be shady and untrustworthy. It might be legal in their country but not yours. They’re willing to go to any lengths to get it. Ignorance is not a defense in court so be careful what you get yourself into. Avoiding Scams and Staying Legitimate There are many people out there all wanting to make money. Illegal Affiliates Just because it’s online doesn’t make it legal… duh! Check to see which country the affiliate program is based out of. This isn’t fool proof of course but if their bad… you’ll probably read about it. just follow the directions provided be the affiliate network. Avoid affiliations with companies that don’t offer money back guarantees. There are several requirements you need to join an affiliate network. You must have a website which will be reviewed by the network and you usually will need an EIN or SSN. Affiliate networks want to see that you’re legitimate and that you’re not out there to scam people. Check the company’s background history to make sure they haven’t been in any legal trouble.gov You should always investigate the programs you sign up for by doing research of them online.org If you do come across an illegal or fraudulent program you can report it with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at: • www. Read the terms and conditions of the affiliate program carefully and always know what you’re getting yourself into. You can check with the better business bureau at: • www. 85 .The signing up process is straight forward. You don’t want to become affiliated with a bad company.ic3. It will make you look bad. Always look online for reviews of the company and what other affiliates think of them.bbbonline. There are many rules governing how things can be sold and what can be sold. The process can take anywhere up to 10 days. Make sure the company has a good reputation and has good service records.

People are always looking for new skills to better themselves and move up in the world. is still very small. The information product industry has exploded in recent years and it continue to become bigger and bigger. If someone purchases your informational product they’re essentially just purchasing a digital copy of your product. Consider the idea that making an informational product is a great way for you (the creator) to learn more about a certain topic. You want open trustworthy companies. there is a lot of money to be made in the field of information products. interactive program or eBook for users to learn from. • Never sign up with an affiliate that requires a fee for you to join them. Creating an Information Product 101 86 . • The companies that have slack requirements are usually worth avoiding. Even if you have no expertise in a field you can still make an information product. Sometimes people are just looking for a simplified and condensed chunk of knowledge so that they can learn it faster. Section 3: Selling Information/Digital Products for Your Online Business Knowledge is power. Information products are just as the name implies… it’s information packed into some form of media. A large part of the internet is still untapped and the competition. Since an information product is for the most part entirely digital. Much of our society today around the world has moved and is moving to an information based economy. lap top or home computer… You have a massive market to sell to. • Avoid companies that don’t offer support for their affiliates.Avoid: • Avoid companies that don’t have contact information or are difficult to learn about. either through cell phone. in many niches. Everyone is connecting to the internet these days. people know this and are often willing to pay for it. iPhone. There is no shipping or handling involved in the purchase. Because of this. there is no overhead save for the cost of hosting. Go with companies that check your website and have strict rules on how you’re allowed to promote them.

87 .Creating an information product can be fun and rewarding but time consuming. • Organize the information into a clear concise teachable manner. Research Once you’ve picked your topic you need to break that topic down into parts. Finding Topics That Sell If people hire consultants or professionals to assist them on a certain topic… it’s probably a good topic to cover. Research. Make sure all you information is current especially if your topic is regarding legal issues or finances. money) are excellent topics. money. Anything related to health. Check out the table of contents for a book related to your subject and see how they break it down. Although you being knowledgeable on the subject are not essential it’s recommended. Do this with several books and try adding your own sections. and travel usually do quite well but don’t discount other topics… there are new markets popping up all the time. Topics that people have a problem with (such as relationships. • Distribute and market it. After breaking down the topic into teachable parts you should organize the parts by what should be learned first and leaving the more advanced knowledge for the end. Regardless on topic there is someone out there willing to pay for it. Research. you want to make it even better and more valuable. You don’t want to just copy another product. What are you knowledgeable at? You may need to do some further studying but if you know a little it’s a good start. • Make money. If you know a second language. Choosing a niche market is often a good idea since you’ll have no competition to deal with. relationships. To create an information product you just need to: • Find a topic that people are willing to pay money for and that you’re interested in. health. then that should be considered a body of knowledge.

Organizing Your Information Most books and information products are structured in a certain way. • The ending should be a summary of the whole book and any final thoughts. When teaching someone you need to start out with the basics and then move up into more and more complex ideas. Creating an EBook PDF = Portable Document Format. PDF’s are supported by almost all computers and is the standard format for businesses around the world. EBooks make great additions to any audio book or video you sell. • The middle should be all about the solutions. It can add a lot of value to the sale.pdf’s you can create bookmarks at each chapter or heading to make it easier for readers.At the very least your information should be on par with the competition and obviously… make sure all your content is original. • The beginning should be discussing the problem and why the user bought the product. or financial document as you’re able to show information in a more structured manner. 88 . EBooks are preferable if you have scientific. A PDF is good because you can lock the content and prevent people from editing your work. EBooks are composed of images and text. PDF’s also give you the option to password protects your file which will help slow down piracy. You can write your document in any word processing program although it’s recommended that the final format is a PDF document. Although eBooks still sell well in this current day and age… it’s having less and less of value as video media is taking over. legal. Try to think as if you were someone who didn’t know anything about the topic… what do you need to know first? And what’s the best way to learn it? EBooks EBooks are digital books and with certain formats such as .

audio. With a good webinar program you can deliver video. you have several ways of distributing it too them: • Once the user has purchased you eBook you can send them a download link to your eBook. and ClickBank.doc. If you’re teaching martial arts or teaching how to apply makeup… a webinar is one avenue you should consider taking. a PowerPoint presentation and chat features to your audience. 89 . and other formats into PDF. Not all topics need webinars but for some… they’re almost essential. You can attach the eBook to the email or send them a link to the eBook. subscribe now to get your free eBook!). It can be found here: • http://createpdf. text. sold by Adobe. If you plan to sell your eBook there are many websites that can help you with that.There are many programs out on the internet that will convert .com allow you to list and sell your eBook off of their sites. Creating a Webinar A webinar is essentially an online seminar.adobe. iTunes.txt. . Many people do not like to read. Adobe offers a website that can create PDF’s for you. • You can also attach the eBook into an email that will be sent to them upon payment. Amazon. (Ex. The most common method is to sell your EBook directly on your website. lulu. they prefer to watch and listen. The most commonly used PDF creator is Adobe Acrobat. EBay no longer allows for the sale of digital products so you’d have to burn the eBook on to a CD or other storage device. Once the user has purchased an eBook from you. Most payment systems support an auto message to be sent to the customer upon a successful payment. Your browser will give them the option to save or open the document.com.com Marketing and Selling Your E-Book Many people use EBooks as an incentive to get people to subscribe to their email. Having a webinar is a good way to increase value. just be sure to store your eBook on your server in a secure location and direct the customers to the location of your eBook. EBay.

Check out the two following links: • · http://office. There are a small percentage of people who refuse to use credit cards… they make up a small percentage but you should still give them other options to pay for your product. You can record webinars and provide them for download later on and your webinars can be live or recorded. Merchant accounts allow you to directly deposit a customer’s money into your own bank account. Many banks now offer ecommerce merchant accounts that simplify the job for you but keep in mind: 90 .com/livemeeting • · www.Webinars are now possible due to the proliferation of broadband which allows lots of information to be sent to the user simultaneously.webex.com/go/demo There are many programs and utilities coming out specifically for creating webinars.microsoft. Although the majority of people would prefer to use credit cards… you should still offer other methods. Section 4: Payment Options for Your Internet Business Almost everyone has a credit card now that they can use for internet shopping. Credit Cards and Merchant Accounts You’ll want an option for the customer to pay with credit cards. Ultimately the more you can give your customers the happier they’ll be. Then on a certain day they do the webinar live. What most webinar creators do is market and advertises their webinars months in advance. Fortunately the internet has developed to the point that you can get a payment system up and running in a few hours and start accepting credit cards right away. You can either use a third party service like PayPal to deal with the credit cards or you can get a merchant account (recommended). Once the webinar is recorded you can offer it to the webinar attendees or sell it to new users. Windows LiveMeeting and WebEx have excellent resources to assist you in making a webinar.

If you’d like to choose a different gateway. Your merchant account provider will most likely have a gateway ready for you.• Having a merchant account will cost you extra since the bank does not process the credit cards (it works as a middle man with the credit companies).asp • www.com/aboutonlineapp.merchantaccounts.networksolutions.com • www. Check out what they have to offer. There are many features your payment gateway can add to your account such as recurring billing and such.com • www. Here are the payment gateways we recommend: • www. A direct provider will be a cheaper option then the using the bank. Here are a few direct providers that provide merchant accounts: • www. • Your gateway should provide 24/7 support.com Payment Gateways The payment gateway is the process that communicates digitally with the credit card company. find one that accepts all the major credit cards: • Visa • MasterCard • American Express Make sure your gateway is compatible with your shopping cart software. a few days at most.onlinedatacorp. Your gateway should: • Be sure your gateway sends the money to your bank account often and not once a month.net • www.firstdata. You don’t want to be spending money on something that you’ll not be able to use… do your research and make sure it will all work in the end.merchantwarehouse.verisign.com • www.authorize. You can also get merchant accounts with the direct provider (the company that processes the credit cards).cardservicesales.com/linkpoint • www.com 91 . • Banks are very strict and rigid with approving accounts. • The gateway should allow you to view your transactions and information. your bank and your website.paymentech.

Electronics checks are also knows as ACH processing. This is the most common type of fraud that the online business owner will face. • Terminating your account.com • www. PayPal supports shopping carts and it gives you a lot of control in terms of how you sell things and how customers shop. Look around and check out your options. • Customer charge backs. Not all merchant account providers will charge you all the fees mentioned above.paypal. EChecks allow a customer to transfer funds directly from their account to your account and they cost about 25 cents to $1 per transaction. 92 . PayPal has many features that simplify the shopping and selling experience. Having several payment options will increase your sales by 20% in some cases… that’s a lot of money! PayPal is perhaps one of the most popular alternatives. • Sending you your statement.com Electronic checks have somewhat of a foot hold in the online world. You’ll most likely be charged for: • Processing your application. • You get charged for not making a monthly minimum. Alternative Payment Methods Giving your users more options is not always a good thing but it is in terms to them paying you.paybycheck. you’ll eventually receive a fraudulent charge-back from one of your customers.ichex. • Transaction fee which can be 2-4%.Merchant Account Fees Unfortunately there’s no way to escape this… you’ll be charged a small fee for every transaction among other things.com Protecting Yourself from Fraud If you do business long enough. PayPal can be used for all transactions if you don’t want to pay too much for the merchant account. Decide what’s best for you. • Setting up your account. You can find it here: • www. Here are several ECheck providers: • www.

• CCV: Card code verification. and images.Stolen credit cards are an issue many owners will encounter. Shopping carts are definitely wanted if you have a wide range of inventory or your products change periodically. If you have 1 or 2 products you can go without using a shopping cart. The shopping cart can be split into 4 sections: • Back end • Front end • Integration • Marketing Back End The back end (or back of house) is what you see and deal with as the administrator. To minimize the risks of fraud you should use the following security features: • AVS: Address verification. the address associated with the credit card must match the address given to you by the order. The credit card companies are always taking more steps to protect both the consumer and merchant from fraud but it’s a constant battle. Section 5: Shopping Carts and Ecommerce Shopping carts are not essential but they do make your website look more professional. create buttons and add them next to the product on your website. and import and export inventory lists. You want a shopping cart that offers as much control as possible. You should be able to change the colors. The Variety of Shopping Carts There is a huge variety of shopping carts available to you. fonts. You want a shopping cart that gives you a ton of control from the back end. Each shopping cart application can have 100s of features. 93 . You have to know exactly what you want before getting a shopping cart and you’ll have to do some research to find one that’s right for you. the user must enter the 3 numbers seen on the back of your credit card. You can always use company like pay pal. • Filters: Filters can screen for suspicious order and block out IP addresses that have made a large amounts of credit card purchases in a short amount of time. Shopping carts can simplify your life tremendously with large product catalogues.

You want a shopping cart that is compatible with your site and is easy to install. You want options and control with your shopping cart. The most important thing for the customer is being able to go through the process of purchasing your item quickly and easily.com. Shopping. You want to make it easy yet appealing. Marketing functions for your shopping cart include such items as: • Coupons • Recommending similar products to customers • Data feeds that can communicate with websites like Froogle.Front End This is what the customer sees when viewing your site. get one free) You want a shopping cart that fits your needs and then some. • Discounts • Sales and Specials • Send out email regarding sales to your email list. Integration Integration refers to the coding side of things. leave and read comments. Test out the front end yourself and imagine being a customer. The shopping cart should be stable and not have errors pop up and your shopping cart should be able to connect with your accounting software. The front end should have a good amount of options for the customer. Marketing A shopping cart that supports marketing functions is extremely important and makes a good bonus. review your product. Shop.com Yahoo shopping. and Shopzilla.com. Dealing with money issues with clients can be a real head ache. Find a shopping cart company that offers good customer support. • Gift certificates • Search tool • SEO friendly (SEO = Search Engine Optimization) • Product ratings and reviews • Product commenting • Polls and surveys • Social bookmarking/networking • Incentives (buy one. 94 . There should be buttons to view their order.

com • www. Here are the best hosting shopping cart companies we recommend: • www. It will cost you anywhere between $300 and $5000.goecart.shopfactory.shopsite.com • www. You just have to worry about keeping the inventory and store up to date. Custom Made Shopping Cart 95 .Hosted Shopping Carts An alternative to hosting. Purchasing Shopping Cart Software Shopping cart software has been around for a long time and it’s become quite developed. Even thought the shopping cart is hosted on a different server you integrate it into your own website. Outsourcing your shopping cart can be cost effective since you won’t have to deal with the problems. Although you’ll have to pay a small fee.asp • www. There are free and cheaper options but you get what you pay for and so the cheaper options are not recommended… they’ll give you and your customers a lot of head ache.mivamerchant. you won’t have to deal with the technical issues. You won’t be tied down by limitations and you’ll have more control of your own store.com Hosted shopping carts can be expensive so make sure it’s worth it for you. installing and programming your own shopping cart is to hire a company to host it and deal with it for you.1shoppingcart.pdgsoft. Even though good software is expensive you’ll save money in the long run. If you decide to go down this route be sure to get an outsourced shopping cart company that offers round the clock support.com/shopping-cart-features. Many companies don’t sell you’re the software but instead lease it out to you in which you only own the license to use it.com • www. Here’s a list of the best shopping cart programs on the market: • www.com Make sure your payment gateway is compatible with the software you use otherwise you’ll have to pay a specialist to program it for you. They can run you $25 to $200 per month.

This is not recommended as it would be very expensive. styles). Because it would be custom coded you’ll have problems with integrating it with your payment gateway and other programs. you can consider this as a viable option.ebay. Check out the top sellers on eBay and see what they do to be so successful. and the items that are being most watched. Pulse will indicate the top items being searched. It’s often a good idea to have several varieties of the same product (different colors. Not only is this approach expensive but it’s also time consuming. It can take month or more to developed and test out. Down the line when your company starts making large amount of money. sizes.com 96 . According to pulse there is a lot more demand than supply with a certain items (hint hint… lots of opportunity). By seeing how well certain products do on eBay you’ll get a better idea and a more realistic picture of what you can expect once you start selling your product. Section 6: Inventory This section is primarily made for those selling a wide range of products but it can also apply to informational products and people selling just a few primary products. Fortunately this subject has been studied and researched greatly and so finding out how to price your products is easy. You can find eBay pulse at: • http://pulse. Million of transactions are occurring daily over EBay and they have supplied its merchant account members with a wide variety of tool to assist them in selling. A custom shopping cart should only be considered if absolutely necessary or if the cost is not an issue for you. it may be a backend thing that helps them sell but also see what they do with the front end…you can learn a lot. Your inventory is not just about the items you have for sale but also the way you price them and what type of variety you have. the biggest stores. It can cost you easily over $10.000. EBay Pulse is a resource for eBay merchants and it keeps track of the major trends occurring in eBay. Using EBay to Find Out What People Are Buying EBay is by far the largest e-commerce site on the web.

Terapeak is another excellent tool offered by eBay but it has a monthly fee of about $24. We recommend the following resources for market research: • www. You want to keep track of the numbers and see what works and what doesn’t.emarketer. If you have money to spare you can hire the services of a market research company. The price you set can change the image of your business so you should price the items in accordance to image you want to give out.com • www. • How much profit you’d like to make.com • www. • The expenses incurred by buying and selling the product.forrester.jupiterresearch. You can find it here: • www. If your market is the upscale type you can go for a higher price without too much difficulty.com How to Price Your Products Once you’ve done your research you should have a good idea of how in demand your products are and what the average going price is for your product.95. If you want a warehouse image you should price your items at a more competitive price. 97 .ecommerce-guide.com/news/research/ • www. • How your competitors price their product. There is plenty of research data available for free on the internet (just make sure it’s recent).com/signup Terapeak offers a free trial and we highly recommend it. Their reports range in price from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on how much data you’d like. • Your position in the market (if you have control you can afford to charge a little more). The price you set should be based on the following factors: • The demand of your product. Doing Your Research Research is everything in business. Not only can research be used to validate your idea but it can be used to give you knew ideas and point you in a new direction in regards to marketing.terapeak.

you’ll need a certain amount of inventory on hand. By cycling your items you’ll be able to see what items sell the most. • How many types of products do you plan to sell? • How much of each item should you have on hand? • Do you have enough room for all the merchandise? The business with the largest array of products has no correlation to how successful that company will be. More is not always better. Offer them many sales/coupons and discounts and they won’t be able to say no. although cheap to make can be worth a fortune… like art) Pricing your items can be a fine art but as long as you stay within a certain acceptable range. How to Handle Your Inventory Depending on the type of business you plan to run. You can price items based on the perceived value of the item (some items. Low price shoppers are looking for good deals and the quality usually comes secondary to price. There are many questions you need to be able to answer when it comes to inventory. Keeping A Limited. Marketing Your Self as a Low Price Leader If your shtick and marketing plan is advertising yourself as having the lowest price items you’ll want to: • Provide many choices • Offer a lot of sales • Find new and different products to sell. Niche 98 . Keep a close eye on how and when your items are being bought. cycling your inventory and changing items is a good idea with this type of person. Specialized Inventory This is probably the easiest method to take when selling online. The secret to maximum profit is finding that perfect number where you don’t price it so high that you lose buyers but you don’t price it so low that you make too little profit per items. If you detect a pattern you may be able to capitalize on it. people will buy the product from you. By focusing on a niche you’ll have an easier time tapping that market.You should calculate all the expenses incurred by your product (the pricing floor). This is the lowest you can possibly go without losing money. Low price shoppers are always looking for a good deal on an item.

filling out the customer’s order is the most important thing you’ll have to do. If you expect 100 orders a month on the other hand… you can probably do it yourself without too much trouble or time spent. If you expect a large amount of orders you may want to consider outsourcing your fulfillment orders to another company. Write down all the step that 99 . if the item takes too long to be sent to the customer and not packaged the way they expected it… you’ll most likely never see that customer again. Niche markets have small communities and usually have social networking groups. Getting your first order can be very exciting as it validates your business idea and is proof that your business works. Section 7: Keeping Up with Demand and Filling out Orders for Your Online Business Second to actually getting the sale. You should have a clear idea of exactly what steps each item goes through from where and when it’s bought or manufactured to how and when the item is packaged and delivered. you can make a name for yourself very quickly. When dealing with a niche market people want to trust that you know everything about the subject and that your items are the best out there. inefficient system for packaging and sending items out… you’ll be in big trouble when the orders start coming in. With niche markets you should focus on acquiring the highest quality and most unique items. You want to make it as simple as possible while still fulfilling the needs of the business. If you have a bad. By joining these groups. This section will talk about way to simplify the job of filling out orders. Keep in mind that no matter how good the user experience was. A niche market would be something like ladies perfume or Japanese tea pots.markets are usually willing to pay much more for an item since the item is typically much rarer. You should think about and plan how you’ll deliver the products before you start business. Try to find a niche that doesn’t have too much competition but has a big following. Systematizing the Process Ultimately the goal of your business is to make it run itself.

In-House Delivery For small businesses this is the cheapest and most practical approach.needs to be taken on paper. This approach is good for those people who like to have control over how their items are shipped. There are many companies that handle the shipping and handling for small businesses and you don’t have to be a multimillion dollar company to be outsourcing this task. You’ll always want items on hand to ship and you’ll want to order a new batch of product before your current batch runs out. Once you understand the whole system. CD’s. If you get a lot of orders and you’re doing business out of your house… you can always hire an employee to assist you in doing the work. you may want to consider renting a storage space or warehouse. DVD’s. Items such as books. The space required to store your products depend on the product. If you have a company that ships the products to you. Outsourcing Fulfillment If your website sells a lot of product you should consider outsourcing your fulfillments to a company that specializes in doing so. 100 . naturally take up much less space and storage should not be a problem. If your product is large and takes up a lot of space. Since companies that specialize in large fulfillment orders are efficient and effective… getting them to do it is much cheaper then you developing your own system. check out how long it takes so you know when to order a new batch without running out of product. it should be clear enough that others will be able to understand it and run your business. Make sure you find out how the fulfillment house packages and delivers the products and check to see how often and how fast they ship out their products. If you get a rental storage you can send your product orders directly to the storage and the rental company can load the product in your storage (expect an extra fee of course). take a close look at how things are done and try to find ways to simplify and automate it for maximum efficiency. These companies that specialize in fulfilling orders are called “fulfillment houses”. Many Fulfillment houses offer extra services such as customer service and reporting.

and orders into an efficient system. Find the one that works best for you.fulfillmentworks.An alternative to big fulfillment houses is that you can also pay someone to fulfill all the orders for you from their own home.com is an expert when it comes to offering customers shipping and handling options.strategicfulfillment.com/logistics Be sure that the company you hire is professional and strives towards good service. some completely handle all your orders and others only deal with packaging and delivery.caleris. Finding the Best Fulfillment House for You As with any purchase you make.com • www.webgistix. There are many types of fulfillment companies.com • www.com UPS offers a service to small business that coordinates all the shipping. Shipping Labels and Postage 101 . Many stay at home mothers do this since they can look after the kids while working. Options will let the customer know exactly what they can expect and it gives them a little control which makes their shopping experience more enjoyable. You should always include the option for express delivery. Factor in the fact that you won’t be needing employees and the time saved.com • www.com • www. The costs can vary for each company so be sure it’s worth it for you. Be sure to indicate clearly exactly how you ship the items and how long customers can expect to wait before they get their product. delivery.efulfillmentservice. You’re putting your reputation into their hands. Shipping and Handling Some customers are picky with how items are shipped to them so it’s good to give your customers options when it comes to delivery. Check out: • http://ups-scs. supply. We recommend you check out the following companies: • www. Amazon. you must do your research.

International shipping is somewhat expensive hence you should charge your customers more during the customer buying process. No matter how good the front end looks… if the back end is in disarray… nothing will work. UPS and the US postal service are just some of the companies that do it. Most shipping companies can pick up your items in under 2 hours.com/shipping/label. You usually have to give them your Visa number and they charge you per postage.com • www. you’ll want to invest in an accurate weight scale as the weight is a requirement with the shipping companies. With the shipping companies you can create an account and have access to forms so you can print your own labels.endicia. 102 . International Orders There should be an option on your shopping cart for international shipping. There are many companies that now allow you to create printable postage. FedEx.stamps. Delivery Many shipping companies can now pick up your items.With the explosions of internet businesses came many advances in web business technology. When making your labels online. As a side note.pitneybowes. When shipping internationally you’ll have to fill out a customs forms and several other forms (for most shipping companies).usps. Keeping Things in Check on the Back End Keeping your back end in check should be a big priority for any business owner.com • www. most shipping companies will have the forms required for international destinations. If you set up a business account with the shipping company they’ll come by on a regular basis to pick up your items.com • www. Many shopping carts systems can now create a print ready shipping label for you to use on your packaging. The only prerequisite of having a company picks up your items is that they all need to be labeled with postage (which you can do online).htm Most big shipping companies now allow you create your shipping labels and postage. Here are some companies that offer printable online postages: • www.

2 billion in losses to business owners per year. $650 million is the total amount of losses reported by customers. Despite the advancements of internet security technology. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself and your customers from these crimes. Create shelving units and label the shelves accordingly. The best technique is to place the most commonly bought items in the most accessible location and do not place items that look identical next to each other (16gig and 8 gig iPods for instance) as you might pick up the wrong one. Fraud and internet crimes account for more than $1. Course #5 Security and Your Online Business By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 5: How to Deal with Hackers and Fraud When Doing Business Online Section 1: The Risks Associated With Internet Security and Doing Business Online Internet fraud accounts for more than 50% of all reports to the FTC. the hackers and criminals are always finding new ways to exploit and bypass security systems. Your Legal Responsibility as the Merchant 103 .The best way to keep a well functioning back end is to create systems and develop good habits to prevent things from falling apart. Shelving System This is pretty straight forward and there isn’t any secret to this and if you outsource your order fulfillment this won’t be issue for you.

Its considered fraud if you send out the correct product to a customer but the customer claims it’s the wrong one. • Check the charge back policies of your credit card vendor.As the merchant. • Ask for the cards verification value. How you protect and secure your customers information should be indicated in detail on your privacy policy page. Securing Your Customers Information Customers want to know that their information is safe with you. Charge backs occur often but you can minimize the amount of fraud by: • Use AVS (address verification system) to verify that the address on the order matches the card holder’s address. you’re entirely responsible for securing your customers data. used without the owner’s permission. Even though you may never be attacked or the victim of fraud. Credit card users can dispute purchases made with their credit card number. Dealing with Charge Backs Charge backs are the most common form of fraud. Credit card companies will more often make you pay for any losses incurred by the customers. • Keep records of all the transactions.6 billion in losses to internet businesses. Credit card thieves tend to max out the card as fast as possible. 90 million credit cards were stolen in 2007 which led to $3. As a merchant you can dispute any charge back by calling the credit card vendor. (FCBA) The Fair Credit Billing Act allows customers to dispute a credit card charge if their card was stolen. Your shopping cart software will usually do this for you. Be prepared to provide them with evidence that you’re properly checked to make sure the card was authentic. 104 . On all visas there are three numbers that are on the back of every card and 4 numbers on the front of every Discover card and MasterCard. it only has to happen once to put you out of business. • Contact customers if they made large orders. If you send out the wrong product to a customer (accidentally) it’s not fraud but you would have to pay the charge backs. Protecting yourself and your customers can save you a lot of money in the long run. or if the customer believes you didn’t deliver the product the way it was supposed to.

If you’re a small business the policies are self regulated. Displaying certificates and seals of approval are just one way to increase the customers trust with you. Some seals of approval require you’ve been in business for more than a year. SSL is a method of communications that encrypts (codes) the information being sent from and into your website.org Securing Your Website There aren’t too many options when it comes to securing the information transferred from your website.merchant911. Applications for some seals of approval can cost you several hundred dollars so you should consider getting them later on when you’re business has found some success. Of all the options.95 and several thousand dollars. the most commonly used and recommended method is to get a SSL certificate. Under the SSL protocol the information your customer shares with you cannot be accessed by deviants. The SSL software is then installed on the host server and your website will then be secured. For information on the policies regarding privacy security check out the FTC websites at: • www. it’s a good thing to have and it shows the user you mean business.000 transactions per year). Your host can activate your SSL or you can do it yourself (it’s slightly technical mind you). High end SSL certificates use 256-bit encryption and the lower end ones use 128-bit encryption. 105 . SSL licenses vary in price according to how secure you want your website to be.merchantriskcouncil.ftc. For more recourse on ways to protect your customer’s information check out the following links: • www. You can get the license from either VeriSign or your hosting company.org • www. To use the SSL system you have to first acquire a license to use it. Seals of Approval and Displaying Certificates People want to trust you before they buy from you. These policies are enforced if you’re a larger company (more than 20.gov Failure to comply with the security standard can leave you with a fine as high as $500.000. The price for SSL can range between $29. Although people don’t directly look for certificates.There are certain regulations and standards that need to be met when protecting data.

com Section 2: Having Your Website Hacked and How to Protect Your Data Internet attacks can cost companies millions of dollars. Any random site can be attacked and even though you may have the problem fixed within a day or so.org • www.bbbonline.gov Computer Crime Research Center: • www. It is important to remember that hackers are very resourceful and can enter your computer through many ways.truste. DoS attacking tools are now easy to come by. Protecting Yourself and Your Business This should be common sense to everyone but always use a firewall and antivirus program on your computer. Just because your website is small doesn’t mean hackers aren’t interested. In this section we talk about the defensive measures and what to do in the event of an attack.ic3. A DoS attack occurs when the hackers put so much demand on the site that no one else is able to use it.net • www.crime-research. Denial of Service DoS = Denial of service A DoS attack is when the hacker prevents your website from being viewed or accessed by you and your customers.privacysecure. Smaller business websites have a higher chance of being hacked since small business owners put security at the bottom of their list of priorities.org • www. 106 . We suggest you avoid using Internet Explorer and use a safer browser like Firefox. it will leave a bad impression to those trying to visit your site.guardianecommerce. They’ll have an expert deal with the issue right away. If you get attacked report it to: • www.The following companies and websites offer seals of approval and certificates: • www. Hackers use Trojan horses and keystroke loggers to get information and data from you. Knowing what to expect and knowing how hackers work can prepare you for when it happens.org If you experience an attack contact your host service providers immediately.

How often do you back up data on your own computer? Losing your information can be extremely costly so make sure you back up your information regularly. Hackers often create fake emails (pretending to be sent from a legitimate source like Amazon or PayPal) and they try to get you to click on a link and enter your visa number. The following methods are effective ways to back up your information: • External Hard drive • USB memory stick • Storing the data on a partitioned part of your hard drive • CD 107 . Without warning your computer can malfunction and you can lose all the data. Protecting your computer is more or less common knowledge nowadays but if you’re new to the internet you can find many resources online. For Firefox you can also get an add-on that prevents scripts from running in your browser.mspx • http://www. ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA! You should back up your data using several methods.com/computer-tips/how-to-protectyour-computer-from-hackers-spyware-and-viruses/ Saving and Backing Up Data You’ve probably spent a lot of time creating your business and nothing is worse than losing all that data. Computers are not always predictable and although it may never malfunction for the many years that you have it.online-tech-tips.net Always be careful with your emails.microsoft.There are many free firewalls and antivirus programs out there and often times they work just as well as the expensive ones. You want more than one backup.com/windowsxp/using/security/expert/ honeycutt_spyware. We highly recommend you use the following addon: • http://noscript. Hosting services usually back up your website daily in the event that their servers crash. Check out the website: • http://www. it can also break down at any moment. We recommend the free version of AVG internet security.

onlinestoragesolution.com • www. There are many online services offering online data storage.sugarsync.com • · www. The Essential Features of a Storefront 108 .carbonite. and Yahoo have developed ways to simplify your job and make it easier for you to sell more on their sites.storegate.box.com Course #6 Setting Up an Online Store By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 6: Storefronts and How They Work Section 1: Using a Storefront for Your Online Business Storefronts are an excellent way to start selling right away. Storefronts such as Amazon.elephantdrive.allmydata. but after you weight the options and decide on a storefront you will soon realize their ease of use. The advantage of storing data online is that it’s accessible globally and it’s stored offsite.adrive.net • · http://mozy.com • · www.flipdrive.com • · www.com • · www. There are many options to choose from. eBay.com • · www.com • · www. The following websites offer good online storage: • · https://www.• DVD • The cloud (the internet).com • · https://www. Having a storefront can vary in price and some can be a bit pricy but others are entirely free.

USE THEM! The following tools are the main ones you want to look out for: • Option to display multiple product images • Forms and tools to allow users to customize their purchase (not just shipping options but also color. be sure that they have proper marketing tools. If your storefront isn’t reliable you can be in for a lot of frustration and wasted time. If you decide to go with a smaller. Since storefront providers get a cut out of the sales they’ll usually have a lot of tools available for you. styles. make sure they have the following elements: • Shopping cart • Payment processing • Free hosting • Reliable • Tools to assist you in marketing. and themes to make your storefront unique. Marketing Tools When looking for a storefront. less known storefront. 109 . Before using a storefront you should thoroughly check out their website and make sure they have and offer: • Fast loading speed • Fast Payment processing speed • A high amount of data storage • Data security • A high limit on how many products you can sell. • 24/7 support • Editable templates. eBay. • Digital product delivery support (customers are able to access the digital files upon payment).). and Yahoo) you may decide to use a smaller one because it better suits your business. • Import and export tools (so you can upload large amount of inventory). • An administrative back end that offers you a good amount of control. Storefront Reliability Reliability is made up of many elements and is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects when choosing a storefront. style and etc.Although you’ll more than likely stick to the 3 main storefronts (Amazon.

com • · http://www.co. MasterCard. they vary in price and we suggest you check them all out: • http://www.e-junkie. newsletters. The best storefronts give you oversight and features like: • An inventory management system • QuickBooks integrations (so you can upload all your accounting data to QuickBooks). etc.com Section 2: Amazon aStore And Other Storefronts Amazon made roughly $19. • Utilities to control the SEO aspects of your storefront.nz/e-commerce/ • · http://checkout. • Payment system with various payment gateways (PayPal. and has a lot of experience and power that has enabled them to create an excellent storefront service for entrepreneurs. • Email subscriptions. gift certificates and promotions.ebay.• Cross-selling/up selling tools that automatically recommend similar items to the customer when purchasing a product.com/ • http://www. Recommended Storefronts The following links are the most recommended storefront. • RSS feeds • Affiliate support Administrative Back-End The back end is the part you (the business owner) see. • Integrated delivery systems to communicate with UPS. • Analytics software so you can keep track of users. This is where you set up the website and have control of all its features. Visa. and auto responders.52 billion in 2008.prestashop. FedEx or DHL.paypallabs. • The tools to support coupons.shopify. Amazon has several services that they can offer to entrepreneurs such as: • Marketplace 110 .).google.yabdab.com/payloom/ • · http://storefront.com/ • · http://www.com/ • http://www.instinct.com/ • http://www.

• Pro Merchant • WebStore • aStore Marketplace This is the fastest way to make money with Amazon and this option is preferable if you plan on only selling a few items. (The Amazon website will have information on what percentage they take depending on the product). But remember. A Pro Merchant account costs $39. There is no start up costs with Amazon marketplace and once registered you can immediately display and sell your products. Astores 111 . • Your postings won’t expire after 60 days. One benefits of having a Pro Merchant account is that Amazon will not charge you transaction fees upon selling an item. Amazon allows you to sell new and used products but whenever a user purchases your items. Pro Merchant Pro merchant accounts are much like the EBay Power Seller program. There is no fee if your item doesn’t sell. • Better security and fraud protection. Amazon allows you to list your products but they will get a small cut. It’s important to know how much Amazon will take away so you can better price your product.99 a month. that individual will pay Amazon and Amazon will transfer money to you to ship the product. A Pro Merchant is essentially an enhanced version of the normal merchant account. out of each sale. This account is ideal if you’re selling more than 40 items a month. The amount Amazon keeps from each sale can range from 6% to 20% depending on the product. Aside from waiving the transaction fee the other benefits include: • Mass listing importer and exporter that allows you to post 1000s of items quickly. • View reports on how much you’re selling and other account activity. Amazon may review you depending on the type of item you sell in order for your business to be approved. With a normal account your items will be kept up for 60 days after which Amazon will remove the product.

Section 3: Yahoo! E-Commerce Store Yahoo! has been around for a long time and so it’s a trusted and reliable company to use. You can sell your own products or you can sell products found on Amazon. Having a WebStore will cost you about $59. Yahoo Store Functions Although there are many levels and pricing plans with the Yahoo store. WebStores The Amazon WebStore is essentially the storefront that is based off of the platform that Amazon uses and is extremely powerful.99 a month but Amazon will still receive 7% per transaction. you don’t need you own products. You can make a living with an aStore but don’t count on it. expect it to be secondary and supplemental to your main business.aStores are entirely free. secure and it comes with automatic trust and security. You can add the aStore to a website you already have or you can create a website entire for the aStore. the following functions are given by default to the basic plan: • Shopping cart software • Sales reports • Inventory tracking • Unlimited bandwidth and storage • Up to 500 sub domains • 1000 business email accounts • SSL security • Credit card verification system • Automatic backups Getting Started With Your Yahoo Store Once you’ve set up your account you can login at: • http://smallbusiness. Unlike new start-ups and storefronts. With an aStore you only make about 15% per sale. you can be sure your Yahoo store will work smoothly.com Once inside go through and edit the following sections: 112 . With an aStore. Yahoo has developed many tools and programs to help assist you with marketing and selling.yahoo. instead you sell amazons pre-existing products. One of the greatest benefits of the Amazon WebStore is that it’s well known.

Once logged into your account you’ll also see a catalogue manager. With the Standard Package you’ll not only get all the features of the Starter Package but you’ll also be able to: • Receive orders by Fax in addition to just email. The great thing about Yahoo. Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re making a million a month. The Yahoo! Standard Package is for those businesses that are already established. • See what searches are most popular among your customers. • Export your orders to your UPS software. Yahoo is also great because you can start with the simplest plan and work your way up to the better plans as your business grows. Yahoo! has the following plans: • Starter Package • Standard Package • Professional Package The basic Yahoo! Starter Package is ideal for people starting a new business and while it says “starter package”. • Automatically send your order information to your databases and applications. • Support gift certificates and coupons. Yahoo has something for everyone. and reporting tools which a small business doesn’t even need. is it has structured all their packages in accordance to what a business will need depending on how big or small it is. The catalogue manager allows you to upload and export your entire catalogue of items all at once. • Have track able links for affiliates. it is actually loaded with great tools. The Starter Package has all the basic features except for the advanced tracking. This is the page where you enter all your products and product details. 113 .• Store manager • Webhosting control panel • Domain control panel • Email control panel The store manager section deals with how your website will be viewed and how it will function for users. Yahoo Plans Yahoo! has made plans for every level of business.

95 per month.75 per month. It’s important you do the math as upgrading your account can save you money despite the monthly recurring fees: • Starter package: 1. Section 4: Using EBay for Your Internet Business EBay has been around for a long time and it has a good track record.75% Yahoo! has other services that you can use to enhance your business. Yahoo! also provides a search engine advertising program but the price varies depending on the advertising campaign. Due to EBay being around for so long. you can get an extra 20 email accounts. Yahoo! Professional Package will be able to handle all of your customers and their specific demands Yahoo Fees A Yahoo! store can be somewhat pricy but it’s well worth it. It costs about $0. For an additional $10.The Professional Package is an excellent option once your business is established and already receiving some success. Aside from the initial start up fee Yahoo! charges you on a recurring basis as follows: • Starter package: $39.95 per month.5% • Standard package: 1. EBay started out as an auction site meaning that people would bid on the items but EBay sellers can also offer set price purchases for those 114 . Yahoo provides Who Is protection which prevents people from finding out that you own the website. it has developed tools and programs to help assist you in selling your items and running a store.00 but a good tip is to look for promotions and deals from other websites like PayPal. • Professional package: $299.com. There’s an initial start up fee of $50. EBay also has many options for you to either sell your own items or sell their items for a commission.0% • Professional package: 0. as there are often good discounts being provided. If you’re making over a million in sales a year. There are also transaction fees that vary depending on the type of account that you have. Many people use EBay as way to test out how well their items sell before they create their own dedicated website (as it costs next to nothing and it’s easy to use).95 per month. • Standard package: 129.

Once you have sold some products. You can also get a merchant account with your bank so you can accept credit card payments. Setting a set price and selling your items in the traditional sense requires a special account. but this has a monthly recurring fee.users not wanting to bid. one of a kind items • Expensive items 115 . Starting Out On EBay After you register on eBay there are several tasks you’ll want to do. check out your competitors on eBay to see how they price their items. Your best bet is to use an auction type store as it costs very little money and there are no monthly fees. We recommend you have a credit card and bank account that you strictly use for business so that you can follow all the transactions better. EBay will offer a store account. Be sure to fill out all the information in your EBay account. When you first start out in EBay. When doing research on your competitors. including the “about me” page so that customers can see what you’re all about. EBay works in conjunction with PayPal (EBay connects with PayPal for the majority of all transactions) so you will want to get an account with PayPal. Take note of the following information: • What keywords did your competitors use? • Which category did your competitors place their items in? • How do they advertise and pitch their items? • How can you be different? • Are the items being sold quickly? • Is there a lot of demand for your type of product? The Benefits of Running an Auction Depending on the type of product you have. search for your type of items and organize the results by what sold the best and for the highest price. The way people price items on eBay can be a bit different from traditional businesses so before selling your items. you’ll have to sell your items like an auction. In order to sign up for PayPal and EBay you need a credit card and a bank account. running auctions may be preferable to having an EBay store. You should definitely consider doing auctions if you’re selling: • Unique.

the seller. If you advertise your products from outside of the EBay website you can earn extra cash by referring the users to EBay. Unlike an auction which expires after a certain amount of time. Feedback scores are given after the transaction. Also you will have access to an email newsletter function.• Collectors items The benefits of running an auction are: • It’s more interesting to people (it gets noticed more). An EBay store is great for those selling large quantities of items. so they know that they’re business will be good. leave feedback to the buyer. Feedback EBay uses a feedback system that’s used to represent how trustworthy every user is. 116 . Both sellers and buyers have feedback scores. • Auctions only costs you a small initial fee as oppose to a monthly fee. • Auctions sell items faster because it creates a sense of scarcity. EBay Store An EBay store is a storefront and you may see that many EBay auctioneers will also have a store to sell their goods. you’ll have access to various templates which will assist you in marketing your EBay Store. • Having an auction is a great way to test the waters and lets you see how much people are willing to pay for such an item. With an EBay store you can sell your items at a fixed price. (If you’re going to have an eBay store it’s recommended you focus on a niche and not sell a wide variety of products). EBay Stores have built in analytics that allow you to see which pages are viewed most and other user information. If you want to have a successful EBay business your feedback score must be as high as possible. the better score the more trustworthy you’ll be considered. the buyer fills out a form scoring your service and you. With an EBay Store there is a function that allows you to export all your sales information from PayPal and EBay into QuickBooks. Other sellers and buyers will see the comments and feedback score. the products you sell in you store can remain up forever. To help you will statistical information. By using an EBay store.

Being a power seller has its benefits and best of all it’s free! EBay normally incurs a fee from you posting but these fees are reduced with a power seller’s account. There is also option to control such things as: • Marketing • Promotions and deals • Logos. When it comes to store design there are many templates offered by EBay. To become a power seller you must sell a minimum of $1.auctiva.95 and so we recommend it’s always best to get the basic plan and move up as your business grows.com • www. The greatest status you can have is that of the Titanium status which requires your total sales to be above $150. In order to get an EBay Store you must have a feedback score of 20 or a PayPal account with a good history. graphics and branding • Store design Power Seller Power sellers are EBay users who sell a steady amount of items on a recurring basis. They’ve earned a high feedback score and are in good standing order.com • www. getting it isn’t as simple as just giving them your credit card and purchasing the account. Go into the “Manage My Store” part of your account and you’ll see that you have many options and controls for you to customize your store.channeladvisor.marketworks.000 per month for the bronze status (there are many different levels each with their own benefits). shipping page and etc. Also a great feature is that each template is customizable. Setting Up Your EBay Store Once you’ve gathered a feedback score of 20 and have the EBay store account acquired you will need to set it up. While you are paying to acquire an EBay Store.000.An EBay Store can cost anywhere between $15. You can add custom pages for your policies page. If you become a power seller these tools will help assist you in making more sales: • www. There are several third party tools you should check out.95 and $299.com 117 .

if your market is not the type to look for you online. wholesalers or even liquidators. Getting online doesn’t hurt and should be considered by all business owners. Also if you already have a brand well known offline.com Once you become a power seller you’ll have access to the Resellers Marketplace. Make sure you have a reason to get online. Getting your business online can: • Help you expand your brand and store name to an international market. advertising online to people within your region is an effective way to market. • Compared to opening up a new store offline. • Even if you don’t plan to sell anything online. marketing online won’t be difficult. If you are going to create a website for your business.ebay.• http://solutions. then there’s no point in getting online. chances have it that you’ll do fine online. make sure it’s of a 118 . Course #7 Setting Up Your Business Online By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 7: Getting Your Brick and Mortar Business Online Section 1: Deciding That the Time Is Right to Move Your Business Online If your business is successful offline. Never create a website for your business just because everyone else is doing it. Some businesses don’t need a presence online. The Resellers Marketplace is a market that allows you to buy items in bulk directly from manufacturers. having an online is a cheap way to expand your presence.

each with their own ways to manage inventory and stock. Every business is different. Making a quick website is not enough. Ultimately it doesn’t matter when you decide to launch your website. Connecting Your Online and Offline Store Your website and offline presence should match and be congruent. this goes without saying.high quality. Deciding On Inventory If you’ve been running a traditional brick and mortar business for some time you’re probably well aware of what sells and what doesn’t. You probably have a good idea of what your customers are looking for and who your primary market is. Also speak to 119 . you want to look professional on and off the internet. the designer should match your website up with your vision. When moving your business online. If you have a good designer. Once your website is up and running be sure to add the URL to your marketing materials. It’s important to have a clear idea of who your market is and exactly what your image will be. users may be confused wondering if they’re dealing with the same company. you may want to consider outsourcing. Don’t have a flowery website if your store is edgy and hardcore. If your website does not match your offline store. How you decide to fulfill orders is something you’ll need to take into account. be sure to create a complete list of your entire inventory along with descriptions and details. your business will need to be able to fulfill those orders. You need a clear public identity for your business and the actions your business take should be congruent with it. If you need assistance with order fulfillments. You want your website to match your offline business! How to Manage Your Inventory If you’re going to be selling online. Having a special launch for your website is not essential and can be counterproductive as indicating that your website is new is often times less appealing then a website that has been around for a long time. Once deciding to have a website expect about a month for the website to be up and running properly.

Be sure to indicate and present the information the users want to see. You don’t have to sell all your products online but you may want to sell just the highest selling products. Section 2: Getting to Know Your Online and Offline Customers There are differences between online and offline customers. By shopping online the customer is able to: • Research their options and products quickly. • They can test the product before the buy it. but when they decide to buy online they’re often looking for something different. • The customer gets the product right away. When you shop at a store a customer will expect: • That their purchases will be more secured (in the sense that you see where your money is going). Customers who come to you store are perhaps looking to see the product for themselves. you’ll need to get a photographer to come in. The selling price of your product will probably be different from the price you have in your store. When selling online. Comparing the Online and Offline Shopping Experience The online and offline shopper have different expectations. these are people who really want to know what they’re getting. How a customer decides to buy a product online is different from the decision making process that goes on when buying from a store.your suppliers as they may be able to ship your products from their warehouse. Some products are easier to sell in the real world then online (since the user can’t interact and test the item out). • Customer service with a real person. Also. The suppliers of those products will often have photos but if they don’t. it’s best to have a picture of your product for the users to see. • By shopping at the store they avoid shipping and handling costs. There are many photographers that specialize in product photography and the cost of their services can vary. It’s important to make the distinction between the two as they will have slightly different shopping habits. just because a product sells well offline doesn’t mean it will sell well online. • Familiarity (people are still uncomfortable with online shopping). Fundamentally your online and offline customers are the same. Be sure to check out your competitors online and see how they price similar products. 120 .

• The convenience of never leaving their home. • 24/7 shopping • Variety of payment methods. the revenue will outweigh the cost of operation. Shopping in real life is self explanatory but online. Also getting your business online will initially require some work but once you have a system in place. Managing Your Inventory If your business deals with a lot of inventory you are more than likely have some sort of system to keep track of the entire inventory. What the Online Shopper Will Expect From You Unlike running a real business. If you’re going to put your business up online. comments and testimonials. • Customer reviews. • Saving time and travel expenses to acquire the product. creating a website and selling online requires that you change your system around.• Compare prices with competitors. • Various delivery options. • Tap a global market for hard to find items (they’re not limited by geography).coresense. Getting your business up online is still cheaper than creating a new location. an online shopper needs information as to how things will be done. • Check customer comments and reviews. • Contact information. the possibilities are endless.com 121 . Connecting an online and offline store is not simple and requires an expert more often than not. • Various payment options. • Information regarding your return policies Section 3: Common Problems with Getting Your Business Online Because you already have a system in place to run your traditional business. The following websites can help assist you with integrating your online and offline stores together: • www. When offering a product online you should include: • An accurate product description. you’ll need a system that can keep track of your entire inventory from offline and online sales.

Your return policy can be customer centric in which the user can return the product without difficulty.com • www.netsuite. Be prepared to be taken advantage of.com • www. Often times a receipt is required in order for a customer to return the product.fedex.com • www. you’ll be selling more products because of your online presence and you’ll therefore need to taking into consideration stockings and sending out more orders to suppliers.ups. If the user purchased the item online a different system is 122 . Dealing with returns can be difficult since it’s very easy for people to be fraudulent.com • www.com Fulfilling Orders Does your store have enough room to deal with packaging and delivery? Will you need to train your employees to handle online orders? Will you need to hire a full time employee to deal with online orders? Initially fulfilling orders can be done entirely in house but as your online presence grows you’ll have to consider and create solutions to deal with this part of your business. If your business already has a return policy with a system able to manage it then this may not be a problem. Outsourcing the fulfillment process is one solution to deal with this problem.• www. if you decide to use this type of policy.epicor. Many shipping companies now have tools that you can implement into your website to allow customers to track their orders. The following companies offer product tracking: • www.dhl. Dealing With Returned Products from Online Purchases You’ll eventually get a few local customers coming to your store to return a product they purchased from you online.com Allowing Your Customers to Track Their Orders You’ll without a doubt get customers calling in or emailing and asking how the delivery of their orders is going.vcommerce. More than likely.

Course #8 Targeting Your Audience By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 8: Selling To a Niche Market Section 1: Finding an Untapped Niche to Sell To A niche market is a smaller segment of a larger market.required. systems. Remember to attach a receipt and a form indicating your return policy. expect to have the occasional angry customer but expect a much easier time not having to deal with the training. To simplify your business you may choose to have a no return policy. and procedures required to deal with it. By focusing on a niche market you’ll have 123 . An example would be something like Japanese tea pots which are a niche belonging to the general tea pot market.

com 124 .html • www. • Customers: Research the competition thoroughly and find out exactly who they are. Finding a Niche Niche customers are extremely knowledgeable of their niche. and look for the next big thing to a segment of society. fads. go through the NICHE process: • Notice: Niche markets exist in every industry and for the most part.com/blog/330000033. annual sales.thestylephile. The following sites are helpful when looking for a niche market: • www. test. Plan and plan some more then execute your plan.smallbiztrends. You’ll have a smaller customer base but you’ll have less competition. • If the niche is good.com • www.less competition focusing on that tight market. • Execute: After you’ve thoroughly tested and found it to be viable. Even if you’re not passionate about a niche you can still study it and demonstrate your knowledge to customers. • Bad service can lead to bad word of mouth. you’re ready to go all out. they exist right in front of us. and test some more! Try selling a few items on EBay to see what people are willing to pay. If you decide to go into a niche market you’ll have the benefit of having: • Defined customer base.ecommerce-guide.com/news • www. Niche markets exist in every industry and they aren’t hard to find. industry trends. • Investigate: Check out the competition. in which case you can expect a lot of word of mouth marketing. there are many niches that still haven’t been tapped. When looking for a niche. The disadvantages of going into a niche market are: • Smaller customer base. there will usually be a community for it. and see if it’s a viable idea. • It’s easier to market. Being passionate about the niche you pick will help greatly. • Less suppliers of your niche product. Pay attention to trends. Are they big spenders? What do they want and how do they want it? • Hypothesize: Before you go all out on storefronts and purchasing products for resale… test.iconoculture.

Nike shoes etc. skate board decks. Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) make up one of the fastest growing markets. • Teens: 13 to 17. Marketing To the Younger Audiences “Younger audiences” can be split into 3 categories: • Kids: 7 and younger. Brand names is important to this age group and being “cool” is important. they don’t have money but their parents do.trendwatching. they have small allowances. they have bigger allowances but still rely on their parents for online credit card purchases and important items. The secret to keeping them interested is to be always coming out with a new version or new product under the same brand (think Pokémon. or otherwise) catches on in the market.).com Section 2: The Children and Elderly Niche Markets There are plenty of opportunities in the younger and older markets. If you know how the market works and how to market to then. They emulate their older counterparts and they start to avoid anything “childish”. Keeping the Younger Market Interested Kids are usually the first to get excited over a new product but they’re interest can die off quickly. physical. The majority of them are still not allowed to use credit cards but their parents are more willing to purchase things for them. • Tweens: 8 to 12. They can get you a high rate of returns if your product (whether it’s a website. • About 9 million teens regularly buy things online.• www. but they also get things from their parents. It’s best to release the customizations and options over 125 . Having customizations for your products is an excellent way to keep kids interested. According to a recent study: • There are about 21 million teen internet users. Beanie Babies. • 11 million teens use the internet every day. The younger audiences are much more computer savvy and adept at searching the internet. Trends among children and youth are volatile but explosive. game. you can do quite well.

and not a bad thing for the kids. Also try to create accessories and things to go with your other products. You have to demonstrate to the parents that your product will be of value to their kids. you’re ultimately selling to their parents. The myths of the internet not being safe are quickly going away and so more and more old people are willing to buy online. For your website have polls. Keep the Parents in Mind As a general rule of thumb. School is essentially a place for kids to interact and socialize. Making small changes to your website often keeps it fresh and stops it from getting stale. The Over 50 Market The over 50 market makes up roughly 1 third of the US population and they have unique needs and desires. You want to reassure the parents that your website and the product you offer is safe. The over 50 market are not avid computer users but about 36 million of them have internet access. The COPPA rules essentially state that you can’t request any information from a child under 13 without notifying and getting permission from their parents first. When it comes to marketing to the younger crowd. and other interactive features.time and not all at once. If your website is targeted towards kids you must follow the regulations set out by COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). you want to sustain their interest for as long as possible Try adding new products often but spaced out long enough that it keeps interest. moral. surveys. always include a “for parents” section if your website is targeted towards the 17 and lower crowd. The “for parents” section should essentially be your privacy policy page written in a more understandable manner. word of it will spread around quickly. if you have a good product. Your product has to be appealing to the kids but also to their parents who control the money. Policies and Guidelines Your website should always have a privacy policy page with a link to it clearly placed and easy to find. Research has shown that the over 50 markets have the following traits: 126 . For the most part teens are not going to ask for the parents’ permission and they’re pretty independent when it comes to online surfing.

Section 3: Blogging about Niche Markets Blogging technology has come a long way since its arrival and there are a lot of people making money with blogs. customer testimonials.• Brand is not as important to them. If it’s possible. Web Designing For The Older Markets This is often overlooked by web designers. • They like deals. Also avoid using too many colors. 127 . Links in the text should be colored with a strong color so it’s noticed. and research papers should be accessible to them. Tahoma or Calibri. Helvetica. Make the navigational buttons larger and clearly identifiable as a button. stick to a simple clear palette. The technology used to run and create blogs can also be used to create full on websites due to their ease of use. • They want to know they’re getting their money’s worth. The button hit space should be larger than the actual button to make it easier to hit. • They like to research and investigate the products before they buy them. For the normal text use a text font size of about 12-14 and 14 and up for headers and captions. In regards to layout and navigation you want to make it as clear and as simple as possible. use the sans serif fonts like Ariel. In regards to font choice. It’s important to have good contact between the text and background so stick with a simple white background with black text. Verdana. promotions. the older 50 crowd are not as adept at internet browsing as the younger folk. Try to avoid light blues and greens as these colors are harder to see. You can use color in headers but avoid it in the main text. coupons and getting the best bang for their buck. this will make it much easier to read. • Peer influence makes up a big factor in their buying decisions. The over 50 market typically have problems with close range vision which means you have to take steps to make it easier for them. add extra space between lines of text. you want to make it intuitive so the user doesn’t have to look hard for what they want. There are more and more tools coming out constantly to help blog more and more. if your product works and does the job… that’s all that matters.

if you decide to run a blog you’ll want to have at least 2 or 3 posts per week (AT THE VERY LEAST!) Finding a Good Topic to Write About You should choose to write about a topic that you’re passionate about but at the same time is wanted by a lot of people. The way you make money through blogging is by getting a ton of traffic and advertising. friendly. and informative. Your “Schtik” Before writing anything you should develop the persona that you want to present on your blog. You’ll want to post interesting things that evokes a reader to participate. Blogs can be very formal and professional but the ones that do the best are the ones that are casual. or media. entertainment. Set out a vision of how you want to be seen and write from that perspective. It’s important to be honest and “real” but how you really talk is not always what other people want to hear. Allowing people to easily subscribe to your blogs RSS feed is an excellent way for people to stay connected with you. With blogging. You want to provide value to a certain segment of society and reach out to them and get them to become avid followers. Blogs can be personal journals. An excellent resource to promote your RSS feed is: • www. a hub of links to interesting sites on the web and much more. Naturally you’ll have competition with other blogs so keep this in mind when choosing a topic.com Posting often will keep your blog fresh.Blogs are excellent ways to expand your reach. Getting People to Read Your Blog The number one most important key to successful blogging is providing value. a place for you to share your knowledge with readers. What are you passionate about that other people would be interested in learning about? Go through the same process as creating a traditional online business to find a topic. by letting people connect with you on a more personal level. inviting. When 128 .feedburner. one of the great things about blogging is that people can comment and add to the content. your product is information. There are blogs that charge people for the information contained within but for the most part their free.

they won’t read it. We personally recommend using wordpress. With Google Ad Sense you earn money every time someone clicks on one of the ads provided by Google. Content Most blogs only have one writer administrating the whole site. This platform is very easy to use and excellent for beginners. a successful site utilizes multiple methods to make money. the best and biggest blogs though typically have multiple contributors. Blogger and WordPress. Earning Money The most common method to earn money from a blog is by using Google Ad Sense. think of it as having a conversation 1 on 1 with someone. refrain from long sidetrack stories. blogger and wordpress. Also be sure to write grammatically and always use spell check. people have low attention spans and if they see it’s a big post. We suggest creating an account with both Blogger and WordPress so you can see what they’re all about. When providing a link. try linking back to another post on your website.org but depending on what you want and need. 129 .Com Blogger is owned by Google so it’s well integrated with the other Google applications. but they all general involve advertising.you write. You’ll be in full control over the design of your blog theme. just doesn’t jam pack your posts with them. Google is just one way to monetize your site. It’s well supported online and so if you have any problems it should be easy to fix. Write new posts on a consistent and often basis.com are both excellent. the more the merrier. Each post should be no more than 500 words. Try to get the readers involved by asking questions and getting them to comment and add feedback. Blogger. Blog Platforms There are about 10 big blogging platforms but only 2 are worth talking about. Providing links to support your post is often a good idea. Internal linking is good SEO. Another effective way to make money blogging is by writing product reviews. Pack each post with nothing but information.

Wordpress.wordpress. There are thousands of themes and layouts you can choose from but requires a bit more tech savvy skills for full utilization but it’s still good for beginners.com. Course #9 Marketing Your Online Business By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher 130 .com and a wordpress. Wordpress.yourblogname. So when people go to www. It’s by far the most supported and feature rich blog platform out there. It supports powerful tools and features to help you get more traffic and run certain functions.WordPress There is a wordpress.com they’ll end up at www.com blog with a normal URL name by purchasing a domain name and forwarding it to your blog.wordpress. it’s much more powerful and has many more features.org provides the engine and platform to run your blog on your own hosting service.com hosts your blog for free but your blog URL with be like this: www.com.yourblog.org. You can have a wordpress.org is extremely powerful and is highly recommended by us. WordPress.yourblog.

This section covers the best way to find out how much traffic your website is getting an also discusses importance to knowing your sales/ traffic ratio (how many visitors you need before you make a sale). One thing to keep in mind is that more traffic doesn’t always mean more sales. • The quality of your website. If you make $10 profit on each item sold and you make 20 sales per day you’d be making $200 which is arguably enough for a decent living. Conversion rates vary from site to site and depend on the product and website (conversion rates can be as high as 20% for some websites). so if you get it this high. when looking to expand. increasing traffic is the best way to boost sales. Conversion Rates and Other Formulas Conversion rate is essentially how many people out of a hundred buy your products (represented as a percentage). you also have to market it. A 2% conversion rate is a good number. If you find that you’re converting 2% and your website is optimized for sales. Assuming you get 1000 visitors a day with a 2% conversion rate you’d be making 20 sales a day.Course 9: How to Market Your Internet Business Online 101 Section 1: Increasing the Number of Sales for Your Online Business Building a website is a good idea. you can be considered to be above average. divide the amount of sales you want by your conversion rate. • Traffic = Sales / Conversion rate • Conversion rate = Sales / Traffic • Sales = Conversion rate x traffic You conversion rate is influences by the following factors: • The amount of qualified traffic you bring in (users who are likely to buy). • The price of your products. By understanding the math you can calculate how much traffic you’ll need in order to make a certain amount of income. To calculate the amount of traffic you’ll need to make a certain amount of sales. According to research the biggest factor in converting a viewer into a buyer is: 131 . but simply setting up a site is not enough.

132 . Lots of people may visit your site and be interested… but not enough to buy your product. Your market most likely has a community presence on the web and you have to reach out and get yourself known among that community. Having your link up on a big named website can bring in 1000s of visitors. • Multiple payment options. Having external links heading to your website will not get visitors heading to your website but it will also increase your search engine rankings. The Basics to Marketing Your Website The best advice to marketing your website is to be consistent and targeted. There are many people who do affiliate marketing as their main source of income and therefore they’re excellent marketers and can bring in a ton of traffic for you. People have a preferred method of payment and if you don’t give them their preferred option they probably won’t buy from you. Ranking high in Google and other search engines can have a dramatic effect on your business. Sending out quality emails regularly will keep the users interested and hopefully get them to buy. Google ad words and other keyword advertising have proven to be worth it (in most cases).• Trust. Not only do you want to “look” good. the user want to see that your website is professional and secure. you may want to consider selling yourself and not the product. Section 2: Having a Good Reputation on the Internet Having good public relations on the web is critical to success. Study your SEO and work on your rankings. Having affiliates drive traffic your way is excellent. Having a large email list is a great way to get those people on the fence to become customers. Having a lot of content on your site can increase your rankings in the search engines and it can get the visitors to stay on your site for a longer time… although be careful as having a lot of content can stop users from buying. you also want to “be” good to your community and market. If you have an informational product where you teach people. With ad words you pay a small price to Google every time someone clicks on ad for your website.

Offering a lot of value to your markets community will let people know that you’re a congruent. Another great site to use is Amazon. but can help if you’re selling something controversial and in certain situations. bad publicity is not a good thing. Another great tip to remember is if you’re following your market you should know where your customers go for advice. The most popular websites and individuals are the ones that offer the most value to customers and other people. you may be missing out on some benefits. It will allow people to write comments and reviews on any of their products although you may not consider this a good place to submit your reviews.99% of all businesses. Writing Articles Demonstrating your knowledge of a product or niche is a great way to boost trust and your value. But try and avoiding having your articles posted on websites that will bring down your image. 133 . otherwise for 99. trustworthy person but be aware of the image you’re presenting and actually showing people. If you don’t participate in your markets community you’ll have no “web cred” and you’ll just be another website. Article Directories and Places To Write Reviews Aside from your own website you should submit your articles and reviews to as many applicable websites as possible. Try and find the website your customers frequent and post your articles and reviews there. This is a website exclusively made for articles and reviews but your writing must be of a certain quality in order for you to post there. be sure to try and mention your name and website (without trying to sell the reader something). If people in your community see that a lot of people are saying good things about you and that the information you give out is solid and accurate. it actually is! Amazon gets a ton of traffic and so you’ll surely be seen. There are many websites out there that you can use to share and post your articles. For example a great website to post to is About. If you’re selling a product you should consider writing product reviews for your market. Bad publicity is bad.com. If you decided to write a review. Also for those of you that think bad publicity is always bad. your trustworthiness will go through the roof.

Writing Articles People are always looking for useful and valuable information. Here’s a really important tip to keep in mind: Always check for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. simple writing that’s easy to understand. If you are providing something of use. Web users have short attention spans and they prefer to have their information super condensed and to the point (avoid unimportant knowledge or side stories stick to the subject). Articles can vary in types.Writing Reviews The great benefit of writing for the web is that you don’t need to be a world famous writer. be sure to include these elements: • First impressions • Pros • Cons • Personal experience • Rating • Recommendation • Website address or link to your website. People like to read user friendly. Think the easier the better! When writing a review. why not get the credit for it. When writing. Articles should have: • Introduction • Summary of what the article will be about • The information • Summary of what the article was about • Conclusion Distributing Your Articles 134 . you can submit the same article to multiple article websites. be sure to write articles that your market would be interested in and once it is completed. There are forums on the internet for just about every subject so be sure to submit and become a member of as many forums as possible. Just as with writing a review you should always include your name and a link to your website. Lists (Don’t go over 10) are popular and step by step guides almost always do well. Articles should be no longer then 500 words. If a user really wants more in-depth information. direct them to supplementary content on your site or another’s site.

articlemarketer. There are many ways to interact with your community and you should take advantage of every method possible to get your name out there.com/ulogin.com/submit • www.cfm • www.isnare.goarticles. Not only will participating in your community bring you more customers. you’ll want to submit it to as many directories as you can. Also always be sure you understand the terms and conditions associated with submitting your articles to a website. Some article directories take ownership of the article once submitted. Section 3: Marketing Your Internet Business Online 135 . they can send a lot of traffic your way. The following websites are excellent places to submit your articles: • www.php • www. An expert is essentially just anyone who knows a lot about a specific field. they are more likely to buy from you. It’s never good to mislead the public so make sure you actually know what you’re talking about.articlesbase.php • www. blog writers and other websites will use their article or link to your article.Once an article is finished.ezinearticles. it will also connect you with other business owners that may be interested in doing a project with you. participate in your markets community as an expert and people will remember you that way and offer as much good advice as possible whenever you can.html • www.com/submit.com/register. The key is if you act like an expert people will treat you like an expert and if people see you as an expert. If you have created some really good content. Marketing Yourself as an Expert Being an expert doesn’t mean much and is not an actual “official” title given to someone.amazines.com/submit-articles.com/members.php Interacting With Your Community Getting your name known is essential in business. It’s not given to you by a higher authority or anything like that. By including your link at the bottom of the article you’ll increase your rankings among the search engines and while you may not get too many visitors directly from the articles your ultimate goal is just to get your name out there. To start demonstrating your expertise. If the blog or other website gets a lot of traffic.

Creating Your Brand Your brand is the image and impression that you want people to see when they encounter your business. Newsletters are not only an effective way to keep people coming back to your site but you can also make a lot of money through newsletters. marketing your site requires steady commitment over a long period of time. marketing online can be much cheaper (practically free) and you’re able to target your market much more effectively. To truly reach that point. they are the best tool to keeping in touch with your audience. promotions. As in the physical world. advice. Ask yourself. You must be persistent. All marketing material should be congruent with your brand image otherwise people may get confused. and while many may argue that they are on their way out. A steady commitment and continuous persistence will eventually get you where you want to be. your marketing strategy should encompass all the major parts of online marketing. Lots of money can be made this way if your 136 . word of mouth is a huge factor in digital marketing. and trustworthy. If you stay consistent and committed long enough you may reach that tipping point where the popularity of your site explodes through the roof. don’t count on it. Although there may be a chance of becoming an overnight success.Unlike traditional forms of marketing. coupons. friendly. Newsletters can be used to share tips. Even if you’re a small business. You will want to send out an image to your consumers that you’re professional. If you find a good affiliate program you can write a review of it and send it out to your email list. Marketing Strategy Having a marketing strategy and sticking to it is essential. what do your customers want to know you for? Email Newsletters We have all heard about newsletters and know that they have been around for a long time. articles and many other things. The secret to online marketing is leveraging and making a little bit go a long way. if you market yourself right you can become a huge business overnight. With the prevalence of social networking and fast communication your marketing can go viral and you can become a hit overnight. The true secret here is.

Always be on the lookout for the newest and freshest content to add. If you are exceptionally busy or just terrible at writing. If your business is such that people want your personnel expertise. (David Deangelos double your dating newsletter is perhaps the greatest example of this). People get a ton of spam emails and they don’t want anything of non value being in their inbox. you don’t have to be the only writer of your newsletter. Many newsletters out there consist of customer questions with the owners answering each question. Your newsletter is what will get the unsure buyers buying so always show your best face when sending out a newsletter. Also. you should personally write the newsletter. If you’re sending it out weekly or monthly it should be sent on the same day at the same time every time. always ask yourself. Newsletter Formats Emails can either be sent in the plain text format or HTML format. Plain text emails can also have links but they can’t have images. You’d think that there isn’t much to email newsletter but entire books have been devoted to the subject. Plain text emails can be viewed by all email programs and spam filters are less likely to junk mail them. A great way to avoid readers considering your content as spam is to express how often you’ll send out an email before the user subscribes. Deciding What to Write For Your Newsletter Your newsletter should contain the most interesting information you can find. your emails should be sent out consistently at the same time all the time. weekly or monthly. There are many guidelines and rules when sending out newsletters. 137 . You can get anyone you trust to write the emails You can send out your emails daily. would I read it? By including a subscribe button on the front page of your website you can hook the users into hopefully becoming customers down the road. Your emails should be of value to the customer. just make sure the content stays fresh and that you’re not annoying people with your newsletter. be sure not to break any laws.readers trust you (people have gotten really good at detecting advertising so don’t ever make anything you do look like an advertisement). since people really just want to know what you’re saying.

Auto responders are programs that automatically send customers emails. you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time.com • www. By cutting out routine tasks and leaving a program to deal with it. A great way to reduce your email looking like spam.constantcontact.com • www. but not all email management programs can handle sending an email out to many recipients. time that you can be spent on more critical and important tasks. If your email list becomes really big (more than a few thousand) you may want to contact your ISP (internet service provider) or hosting company to notify them that you’re not a spammer. Always write it in a word processing program then copy and paste it into your email program.com • www.HTML format can have images.delivra.jangomail. It can be 138 . you should add to all emails an option at the bottom to unsubscribe. it can get quite tricky (ex: when you have 100 people unsubscribing daily). Automation and Creating Systems to Simplify Your Life If you’re running an online business you’ll undoubtedly have a million and one tasks that you’ll have to deal with on a regular basis. Distributing Your Newsletter Distributing your emails properly will be highly useful to get your information to all your contacts. Some ISPs will ban you if they suspect you’re spamming so be careful. Check out the following companies: • www.campaigner.com • www. If a customer subscribes to your newsletter an auto responder can send automatically add the users email to your email list and it will also send out a welcome/informational email to the customer. To simplify your newsletter needs there are a lot of companies that specialize in newsletters. videos and links and are much more visually stimulating but they should be avoided since they don’t always display correctly to the user.exmarketing.com Never write your email directly in the email program (you may send it out incomplete by accident). This is also a regulation made by the FTC and government authorities so don’t forget this! When you’re dealing with several thousand emails. Fortunately technology has come a long way and a lot of your routine tasks can be handled with a program.

If you are looking for the best. Also try having premade emails that are ready to copy and paste. Search Engine Advertising Search engines can display your ads for certain keywords at the top of the page of the search results for that keyword. • Automatically send out newsletters for you on a timed basis. Search engine advertising can be extremely cost effective if done correctly. They offer many tools that assist you to market effectively. MySpace. you should add that question to the FAQ with an answer. your ad will get displayed near the top of the page so that people will see it. Another great option is having a FAQ page (this can save you a lot of time). and Yahoo Are the largest search engines and they all offer search engine advertising. you can have budgets so the search engine will only display your ad until your budget has been exhausted. Work smart not hard. If there’s a routine task that’s commonly done by most people there’s probably a program to do it for you. • Add friends automatically on FaceBook. If someone types in “computer speakers” and you request that your ad be shown for that keyword. If you are tight on money. Because you can tie in your website with certain keywords you can be sure you’ll get qualified traffic coming to your site. • Open up all the programs and web pages you use with the click of a button. MSN. Google. Google ad words are the leader in search engine advertising. If you find yourself getting asked a lot of questions. 139 . If you find that you’re getting a lot of similar emails you should write an email that can be used every time you encounter it. Every time someone clicks on your ad you’ll have to pay a small amount of money. Customers will find it very annoying. Your ads not only have to be tied into certain keywords but they can also be geographically focused so the ads will only display if the searchers IP is located in a certain area. The more specific the keyword the better your results (“cheap computer speakers on sale” would do better than “computer speakers”). and twitter.used to send out emails in response to different requests but don’t overuse it. There are program that can: • Submit your articles automatically to article directories. There are many free programs out there that can automate just about any routine tasks.

Knowing When To Use Pay Per Click Advertising Pay per click advertising is not always cost effective but there are formulas to figure this out.You should only use search engine advertising if your conversation ratio and profit margin is high enough to make your profit when deducting the pay per click costs. It’s always good to have a business card on hand in the event you meet a fellow online business person or someone with a lot of contacts. If your ad is displayed on someone’s site to 100 people but only 4 people click on it you’ll have a CTR (click through rate) or 4%. Marketing In the Offline World Although marketing offline is not as cost effective is should be considered as an additional method to making money. If your pay per click is less than 50 cents you’ll be making a profit with pay per click advertising. The following methods are good offline marketing methods: • Business cards • Custom letterheads • Boxes 140 . • Click through rate (the percentage of people who click on your ad from the external site). you’d be making 1 sale for every 20 people that visit your site. When it comes to pay per click advertising you want to focus on having a really good conversion rate to make each click through visitor be worth more. You should know the following numbers: • The profit margin on each product (The selling price of the product minus the expenses incurred by the product). You pay money each time your ad is clicked so the goal and hope is that you’d be making more money per person then the cost of the click. If you have a profit margin of $10 and you have a conversion rate of 5%. Each person that clicks through the ad would then be worth 50 cents ($10 x 5% = 50 cents). • Your conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who become buyers). you’d be making a higher profit. If In the example above the conversion rate was 10% each click through visitor would be worth $1 and let’s say the pay per click on your ads range between 20 cents and 50 cents.

try providing videos is a great way to keep viewers interested. Creating Original Content Your website should always be changing even if it is only minor changes. If your website becomes full of content you can consider removing older content to make room for new. If you have posted some good content. Stickiness = How long the average user spends on your site. If 141 . Getting Customers to Stay On Your Website The best way to have customers stay on your website is to offer them interesting and original content. The longer people stay on your website the more likely they’ll be to buy something from you or take some form of action. If you have written as much as you can. the user has no need to stay on your website. Although stickiness is not the primary factor in having high conversion rates. Even though you want to focus on the user buying your items you can still provide content that will push them in that direction. You can also provide a chat or forum for people to ask question and discuss your niche. Each website has its own level of stickiness. User generated content can help tremendously. make sure you allow customers to write comments and their own reviews of the products. You can write reviews for your products or create videos demonstrating how to use them. FaceBook for instance is much stickier then your banking website.• • • • Flyers Invoices and Shipping orders Brochures Company vehicle Section 4: Increasing Your Conversion Rates An important word to remember is. Another option is to setup a forum on your site. it definitely helps. If a user sees that nothing has changed and they’ve read all your content. Your website should always be getting new content in order to keep it fresh. Forums are difficult to make busy so you’ll have put some effort into it and participate in your own forum as much as possible to start.

Usually it will be a small minority of trend setters asking for something before the masses start asking for it. User Generated Content User generated content is a cost effective way to get new content to your website. It is important to keep a close eye on what your customers are doing as it may indicate to you many things. User generated content is when the users of your website write articles.ezinearticles. Always pay close attention to what your competition is doing.com Giving Customers What They Want Before They Know It Having a successful business is not only about giving the customers what they want but also anticipating what they “will” want. 142 .com • www. sometimes there is more hype for a product then is actually warranted so be cautious. Watching Your Customers Every Action Web analytics and logs allow you to see which page your customers frequent the most and what they buy. Watch carefully for what your customers are asking for and try to give them what they want before the masses want it.com • www.articlesbase. you don’t want to be left in the dust while your competition is offering the newest product and stealing your customers. try and change special sales and promotions and add/replace new items to the front page. Pay close attention to what the trend setters are doing. comments or reviews for your site (for free). Check out the following websites: • www.goarticles. If you have changed various site features and have no other ideas. you should cycle your information.com • www. Also. There are a ton of websites that offer free content for other website.you realize that you have run out of things to provide. Anticipating your customer’s needs can make you a lot of money since you’ll be one step ahead of your competition.isnare. Look for the “next great thing”. You have to study the trends in your market and supply products to meet those trends.

it may indicate that the product is priced too high. Purchasing an item shouldn’t take too many steps to complete the order. • They don’t feel the site is professional or trustworthy. This is often the case in most businesses. Everything on your site should make sense and the navigation should be understandable by everyone.If customers are going to one product page often but not buying.com is perhaps the best example of how you should allow customers to buy items from you. The biggest deterrents to the customer buying are: • The high cost of shipping and handling. 50 to 90% of all shopping carts are left without purchasing the items inside. • If you’re trustworthy. Users are also looking for simplicity and ease of use. code malfunction. Focus on those products and push them harder. The shopping experience should be simple and easy and not cluttered or distracting with sound files. You may notice that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products. If your sell products your website should have a way for customer to access their shopping cart and account from every page of your website. Amazon. Avoid using too many bells and whistles. or the review and sales pitch is weak. KEEP IT SIMPLE! Simplifying Shopping Experience According to studies. • Their unsure on how to complete the order (they can’t find the right buttons or it’s not clear). Making Your Website Buyer Friendly Online shoppers look for a few things before deciding to purchase from some they’re looking to know: • What your website is about. 143 . • If you’re professional. video files and annoying flash banners…. • If you have common purchasing systems with a variety of payment methods. If you find that the customers are only buying a select few items you may consider offering more products like that. You must convey as much trust and professionalism on the first page of your website. Users will decide if they’ll ever purchase anything from you within the first few seconds of being on your website.

Never assume that something will work without proper research to back your assumptions up. 99% of them will refuse to buy the product. Customers Come First I’m sure you’ve heard “customers come first”. You should ask for feedback from your customers but never take that information at face value. • Allow the user to access their shopping cart from any page. • If you use a third party to handle the credit cards an SSL socket is not important. • Use an SSL socket to protect their data and make it obvious to the customer that you use it. • Let customers know you protect their data. but there are a few things you should be aware of. • Allow customer to add or remove items to their shopping cart. If people say they’ll buy something in a focus group and are then offered the product immediately after them saying they’d buy it. Everything should be designed and created with the user in mind and any of your decisions should be based on research and not assumptions. Finding out What the Customers Really Want Finding out what customers really want may sound simple. One important point to make here is . don’t always pick products “you” like. • Offer FAQ page and make it easy for users to find. • Make it obvious what the next step is for the customer. but never assume that just because a lot of customers request an item that they’ll actually buy it. but naturally you will be more focused on what you want. The results retrieved from focus groups and feedback letters are not completely accurate and should only be used as guidance. The Dangers of Assuming What Your Customers Want Just because your website looks good to you doesn’t mean your customers will like it. The best way to find out what the customers want is to offer them products and see what they buy the most. Customers will usually say one thing but mean another. Feedback can be used to see trends and to give you ideas for what to sell next.To get more buyers considering taking the following actions: • Make the buttons clear and easy to find. 144 .

Always make it clear to the customer what they should do next. Offering them deals. • Limit the supply of the item being sold. then they won’t be motivated to act right away. Deals and Promotions and the Power of Scarcity Deals and promotions make the purchase appealing since you’re adding more value to the product (artificially). • Put a limit on how many people can take advantage of the offer. promotions and special sales is the best way to get your customers to take action. 145 . • How long each user spends on each page. By limiting the deal or item you are making it more scarce which makes the customer much more inclined to buy. If you’re passionate about your type of business and the product you sell. Converting Viewers into Buyers If you don’t tell the viewer to take action and buy. they won’t. In order for them to take action they may need a little motivation. Section 5: Web Analytics and Tracking Your Customers Analyzing exactly what your customers are doing is an excellent way of knowing what you should be working on. Programs such as Google analytics can track a lot of information from your users such as: • What pages they go to.Your store is not about what you want. The three most common methods to create the illusion of scarcity are to: • Limit the length of time for the offer. The following phrases are common way to create scarcity: • “Order now while supplies last” • “Supplies are limited! Order now” • “Sale ends in 10 hours!” • “Offer ends on July 1st “ • “Offer only available to the next 100 customers” If the customer always thinks the offer will be there. you may know a lot about what good and what’s not. but the customers may feel differently and they’d rather go for the inferior product. • Where they come from geographically. it’s about the customers and what they want.

• Geographic conversion rate (what geographic location buys the most). Trends are accurate representations of what the customers want. There are many programs out there on the internet that can track your users for you and some programs will even track where the user’s mouse cursor went. • What website they came from. It’s important to realize that making a change may reduce sales. Following the trends on your website are essential to running a good business and our recommendation is Google analytics for following those trends. With many businesses there is an annual trend where the majority of the business occurs during a certain season or time of the year. take a look at the process and make it better for the customer. If your customers are buying a lot of a certain product you may want to start advertising it on your front page. By understanding what your customers are doing. You’ll want it just in case the change has a detrimental effect on your revenue. • What keywords in Google lead them to you. If you see that your customers are avoiding certain products that were once best sellers. 146 . you’ll better be able to market and sell to them. you’ll better be able to focus your marketing efforts. It’s more accurate than any focus group or customer feedback that you may get. If you are attempting to make changes then you will want to always make a back up of your site before you make a change to it. Trends By understanding and seeing the trends of your website. What you decide to change may not have an effect at all. you may consider replacing that item with another product. If you notice your customers stop and exit your website mid way through the registration process. Using Your Data to Make Changes Once you identify new trends in your website it’s advisable to make changes to accommodate your customers. If you know your business has more traffic during the winter season you may consider putting more effort into marketing during those seasons since there will be more people seeing your ads.

How Search Engines Work Search engines use secret algorithms to rank a website. If you get a lot of big websites linking back to you. and Yahoo. The section is all about looking good for the search engines so you rank higher and in turn get more traffic. Each search engine uses a different algorithm and how they determine your rankings is always changing and slightly different from one another. websites like YouTube can also be considered a search engine. Search engines not only rank your website based on the content found on your website but also the links going to your site from other websites. Each website has ranking and if higher website with a good ranking links back to you that link back is worth more than a link from a smaller site. the search engines will increase your rankings. Search engines aren’t only limited to Google. The keywords the search engines have assigned to you are related to the words found on your website. People now days are using search engine more and more to find what they’re looking for. When a search engine scans your website they play higher value on the keywords used in: • Headings • Font size • Bold • Italics 147 . After a search engine has scanned your website it will assign a value to it associate with certain keywords. They are able to search the internet for websites and new content and they look at certain aspects of the site to determine what it’s about.Section 6: Search Engine Optimization and Ranking High In Google SEO = Search engine optimization SEO simply put is optimizing your site so your ranking increases and ranking high in the search engines will get you a lot of traffic. Ranking high in search engine will not only get you’re a lot of traffic but it will increase your reputation and trust to those who found you through them. Typing in a search into Google can yield you 100s of thousands of results and for the most part people will never look beyond the second page.

To optimize your website for a search engine you want to use keywords and phrases that people would search for. it will not place high value on your website page. By having good content on your site. Reciprocated links have a lower value then incoming links. The Most Important Aspects of SEO Ultimately content is still king. don’t expect good rankings. Submitting You Website to the Search Engines Search engine use spiders (automated programs that search the net) to find and index new content. When creating content DO NOT fill up the content with the main keywords too often… the search engines will consider it spamming and can penalize you for it. There by getting the search engines to associate you with those words and phrases. Back links are second to content. The age of your website will play a huge factor in the ranking of your website. people will do it for you.• Meta tags • The first few paragraphs of your content • Meta tags associates with images and videos Because search engines place high value on certain areas of your website it’s best to place your keywords in those locations. if you have poor unoriginal content. If you are looking to get back links you can post your link on other people website but if you have good content. There’s no way to make your site older but to stay around for a while. Also if the search engine detects that your content has been used elsewhere. If you have unoriginal content that you’ve taken from another website. The best thing is to try to have as much original content as you can (unless your website doesn’t offer free information). 148 . you’ll get more people linking to your site. Having back links on big important websites can tremendously help your rankings in the search engines. most search engine will place your page into supplemental (since its duplicate). No matter how many back links you have going back to your site. but not by much. If you also link back to the other website… the search engines consider that too be worth less.

Waiting for a spider to crawl and search your site can take several weeks. Submitting your website to the search engines is the fastest way to get yourself ranked in the search engines. The most important search engines you should submit too are: • Google • Yahoo! • MSN search Often times the search engine will request that you submit a site map for easier crawling. Although Google controls the market on search engines in North America, Yahoo Is still king in Japan and several other countries. Where to Place Keywords on Your Website Effectively placing keywords on your website is critically important. There are many places you should consider placing keywords. Your keywords and phrases are the words you want people to find you by in the search engines. If you’re selling a financial investment product, you’ll want to use keywords related to “financial investment” so that you attract users looking for that. If the search engine associates you with those words or phrases they’ll rank you higher up in the search engine for those words or phrases. Search engines will scan your whole website but they’ll put more value on words found in certain areas of your website. Meta Tags Meta tags are hidden html codes used specifically for the search engines and while search engines are putting less and less value on them but you should still use them. Meta tags indicate to the search engine what your website is about, what keywords you associate your website with, and how often you’d like the search engine to crawl your site. Meta tags are place right below the <head> tag of your website. Use the following tags and place them in your html code: • <META name = “keywords” content = “PLACE YOU KEYWORDS HERE”> • <META name = “description” content = “PLACE YOUR DESCRIPTION HERE”> Visible Keywords

149

The most important places to insert your keywords and phrases on your website are in the following locations: • Page title • Page headings • First sentence • Hyperlinks Bold, italic, underlined text is also considered to be of value to the search engines so be sure highlight your keywords. While having strong keywords in your content is very important, having too many keywords is detrimental. You content should be created with the users in mind first and then the search engines. If you place the keywords so many times in the text that it’s not enjoyable to read, it won’t matter how much traffic you get, because people won’t like it. Moving Up In the Rankings and Finding out Where You Stand Using a program like Google Analytics can tell you if someone came to your site through a search engine and it will indicate what word they used to find your site. Moving up in the search engines can take a long time and ranking high is often not something that can be done overnight. Expect several months of SEO and marketing to see significant results in your rankings Remember, content is king so the most important thing to do is to make your site the best you can and good rankings will follow.

150

Course #10 Building Your Online Presence By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher

Course 10: How to Build You Presence Online Section 1: Getting Your Brand Online and Spread Across the Net A website may be created for a variety of reasons such as providing support, generating business sales or providing research. In this section we are going to take a look at how to set up a website and begin to create some buzz about your site. First we need to understand how to set up your website as well as the process a site must go through. Marketing Process This section we will take a look at the process involved in getting yourself prepared for spreading the word about you and your products/ services. • Phase 1: Organization: You will first need to get your information in order. If you have someone in charge of running and maintaining your website, you will want to get all the materials pertaining to your site (you need to be in charge in case your designer is sick or is fired). This means getting all information such as photos, passwords, backups, everything! You will also want to determine whether you have anything to sell or provide. More information on this will be discussed in following sections • Phase 2: Get Attention: Although this is easier to say than do, you will need to get yourself out to the public. Provide answers to problems, discuss concerns, become the expert. You need to show that you have a purpose on the internet and in turn this will help

151

increase your customer base, increase traffic to your site, and help you become recognized as someone to “follow”. • Phase 3: Expand: Once you have become known on the internet and are making money, you may want to consider adding a sales team or even acquiring a partner; both of which can dramatically increase your sales numbers. This may seem simple enough but remember this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. These sections are designed to help guide you along, and the process discussed earlier, is going to be shown in a more detailed manner as we continue throughout the sections. Developing Your Site Before you run out and spend large amounts of money building a site and waiting for customers to come to you, you need to plan how you are going to create and develop your website. First you will need to define your customers and your competition. You need to determine who your target niche customers are going to be, and who you will be competing with to get those sales. For those of you already up and running, you can take a look at the areas your customers are visiting and what types of concerns they may have. If your website is still in the planning phase, you will want to do the following: • Discover the Needs: Why are people coming to your website? You will be providing a service that isn’t being provided anywhere else. Write some of these down and keep it for your records for later. • Competitors: If you are providing support for a small niche, you may be able to easily determine who your competitors are. For those involved in a much broader topic, you may want to spend some time performing searches for your related topic. • Making Money: Estimate an amount that customers would be willing to pay for your services or products. Remember, time equals money. If you are spending too much time and not making any money, if may not be worth that time. Once you have determined whether your company, product or information is worth your time and effort, your next step is to set up some goals. You may also want to: • Set up a budget for your website. • Consider how much it will cost to run and maintain your site.

152

• Consider whether you’ll be able to do all the work or if you will need to hire someone to help you. • Consider future options regarding an expansion or the amount of income you will need to generate. • Determine what type of sales you will need to have. If your goal is to achieve $1 million, and your product sells for $100, you will need to determine how many you will need to sell before achieving that goal (10,000 units). While having a website already up and running may provide you with information on traffic and sales generated, you will need to estimate how many of your customers are going to purchase your product. Those that take the next step and purchase something with you may be very little (1%), which provides you with insight as to how much more traffic you’ll need to increase your sales to achieve your target goal. If you’re having difficulty seeing yourself do the previously mentioned tasks, then this would be a perfect time to discuss your abilities. If you are a tech savvy individual, you may already see yourself performing the tasks easily. If your background is highly unrelated to computers, then you may want to begin considering your abilities and where you will need to hire others to help you out. If you require assistance with your new internet business venture, you’ll need to consider how much more money your website will need to generate. Section 2: Making Money on the Internet Just because you have a website and a product, doesn’t mean you will strike it rich! Many, if not all, will need to implement different methods in achieving your financial goal. In the following section, we will discuss some of the options you may use to increase revenue The first method is to advertise and promote an affiliate product. Essentially what this entails is having a banner ad on your webpage advertising someone else’s product. If someone continues through the ad and makes a purchase on that site and is due to your referral, you will get paid a commission. There is no additional work for you to do. Your first step of course is to find an affiliate product to promote. To do this, you will want to start your search on Google or any other search engine. Your other option may be to use an affiliate aggregator such as ClickBank (www.clickbank.com) or Commission Junction (www.cj.com). Once you have found an affiliate to promote, you will want to register an account and start promoting. It’s that simple. Note: you will want to follow the directions provided to get the affiliate URL set up on your site. If

153

to podcasts. or webinars. where whenever a customer clicks the ad. you may be interested in creating a whole product line. the advertiser only pays when there is a sale or lead made. For many this is the only type of ads they may use as it is easy to set up. you may want to get some assistance from a web designer. ◦ Finally we have cost-per-action (CPA) with this type of advertising. Once you have your site up and running and you’ve created one or more products. and you will get paid according to a specific method. or even starting an online program. it still is a great starting point. it may be one of the more difficult methods to use. Another useful method is to sell your own products and services on your website. If you are selling an item. Although it doesn’t generate large amounts of revenue. Although this is a great way to keep all the profit and get your name and brand across. This can range from information products such as books or PDF files. and we have listed them in the following section: • Google AdSense: This is the most popular method to use. there are 154 . Note: There is also the method of pay-per-click this is done automatically through the program you use and is easier of the two. ◦ There is also cost-per-page-views (CPM). There are a few methods you can use. your next step is to start selling (of course. It’s also important to remember that you are showing ads for other peoples products. you may not want to send your customers to competitors! • Banner Ads: This has you presenting a banner ad for someone else’s product. ◦ Your first is a cost-per-click (CPC). you charge it to the advertisements owner.you are a little lost. you may as well start making some money of it. You can turn that traffic in money by setting up some ads.$10 but depending on your niche can result in higher amounts. If you are able to already generate a large amount of traffic. videos. You will have to keep track of how many people click by using a statistics tracking tool such as Google Analytics. this method is a payment per 1000 views and can range typically between $4 . If possible try to create your product in an easy to sell format. For those of you with more niche variety.

trying to sell them another product by providing a discount. or selling them something after they have made an initial purchase. This can range from PayPal accounts to credit card accounts. This may include adding a shopping cart feature. extra product information to grow revenue. Put yourself in their shoes. there are a few options that you can look into using. and see what other concerns you may need to answer for them). where the customer enters the product info. how long it will take to ship. There are a few key essentials when setting up the shopping process.several other steps. but also being able to make the page look like the rest of your site. It is important to remember that the easier a shopping experience is. they will be more inclined to give you their payment information. the customer is taking the final step with you. you may want to try selling them additional or supplementary products through up-selling a better product. For those who lack the traffic they need to be able to generate a good conversion rate. 155 . the security of their information. but these will be discussed in upcoming sections). then you’ll know that this is the place where you enter all of your information in to make the transaction. coupons. • Order Form: if you have ever purchased something online. There are a variety of ways in getting your message across. making a purchase. support. Once a customer has decided that they are going to continue making a purchase with you. • Writing content on topics through your blog or on other sites. • Paid searches for promoting a product or service. It may be a regular shopping cart or even a form. several payment options. • Purchase Page: this is the page where a customer picks their products to purchase. If a customer knows how they have to pay for a product. • Sales Account: prior to making any purchases you will want to set up an account with a company that is able to accept payment information. Another important aspect of the shopping experience is to answer all the questions a customer has prior to making that purchase. or even a page that thanks customers for making a purchase. the higher the likelihood that a customer will make a purchase. (Remember. support questions or just making a right decision. but your basics should include the following: • Free listings on the major search engine sites such as Google and Msn.

So you can imagine how large of a team you will need. Note: if an affiliate is very good at promoting your products. Joint Venturing While using affiliates to promote your product may be a great way to let others do the work for you. mentioning your program and where they can get more information on becoming an affiliate. Here are a few tips in helping you with your training: • Weekly calls are great ways to touch base with your affiliates. You will want to write an attractive letter. Setting up a conference call with an agenda is great to get some interaction from your affiliates. • Give incentives you may think about providing additional incentives or increasing pay to those who are able to make the most sales or even to those who can recommend a great affiliate. Note: you may want to record the conversation as it may come in handy at a later time. you will want to get your message out that you are looking for affiliates. Affiliates Assistance Your first step is to create an environment where affiliates can create an account. connect and share your product with the rest of the internet and also allow them to track how their sales are doing. it also has you spending most of the 156 . This will sound even more complicated as it is important to have 10 affiliates for each member that is producing any sales. Of course you will also want to mention the way in which the affiliates will be compensated. it will be one of your most essential tools. you may look at making a much better offer to that specific individual. but to some if may come only after weeks and months of work. once you have your centre and affiliates. Lastly. but luckily there is 1ShoppingCart which offers all this! Just check them out and learn as much as you can. • One-on-one help is useful for those who are struggling or those new to promoting your products. you are going to want to train each individual.• External resources and offline options are also available to increase awareness • References and testimonials always go a long way All this talk about traffic and sales is great if it comes easy. A great way to get your product and service out quicker is to think about creating your own affiliate program. Creating a place such as this may sound complicated and difficult. Now that you affiliate centre is all complete.

If you position text or 157 . you are going to want to have everything in order. A last bit of useful information is to show that you can fulfill the orders. Once you have found a venture partner or host. showing your product is worth their time and effort. Keep in mind that your host is your ticket to big money. Nothing worse than having several hundred or several thousand orders. visitation information. This means that you will need to have your sales proof. Remember. yet is critical in helping increase your company and product being recognized. but also inspire sales. You will want to assemble a binder with information regarding sales. you will want to gather a collection of materials for a presentation. which can’t be fulfilled (you will embarrass yourself and your partner). testimonials and sales letter copy. affiliates. but a partner during a particular event. Before you can approach someone at a networking event. You may have a confidentiality agreement for your partner/host to sign. Section 3: Branding and Marketing For Your Online Business Branding can take a painstakingly long time to develop. It is also important to remember that you may have information regarding your partnership such as: • Profit sharing and what amount each will receive • Expectations of all parties involved • Dispute resolution and how a formal dispute will be dealt with • Confidentiality and how company specific information is to be dealt with. A great way to reduce this is to partner up with someone who may already have a large following. on forum or speaking to affiliates or clients. What you will need to keep in mind is branding helps customers remember you and your product. you will need to bend over backwards for your partner/host and demonstrate how they will benefit out of the experience. You may be required to make a presentation to the host and/or group of staff. but it is also their ticket too! You are going to have to do extra work. Finally you will want to be able to show your affiliates performances.income on your affiliates. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean a true business partner. You will also want to have information regarding your visitation and conversion rates (viewers turned buyers). This could be someone who may provide you with a conference room and refreshments or someone willing to promote your product to their email list (possibly even to a million people). because he/she has all the connections.

A logo will help readers remember you. while black suggests sophistication and elegance. Arial is traditionally used for headings. what do you picture? What do you associate this with? The same applies to your company. Also as we mentioned for your taglines. Each colour is interpreted differently and needs to match what your company stands for. People want to buy from leaders not followers. but also that won’t change frequently. you will want to make sure there is consistency among all your web pages. Not all users have the same shape monitor or even same internet browser. and your products. Many may say that a logo is not important but let me ask you this. You will want to develop a tagline for your site that matches you company. blue suggests honesty and loyalty. Color Selection It is important to speak to your web designer when choosing a color scheme for your website. color. silly or exciting? Is there something that you can do better than anyone else? Questions such as these help determine what your company stands for and helps you determine what your slogan or taglines will be. For example. If you have the budget. logo and information layout. Once you have determined your tagline. while Trebuchet is good for essentially anything. your logo needs to match the company’s persona and appearance. It all depends on the message you are trying to convey While this may seem as a difficult task. People vary in feelings depending on colours presented to them. web designers are usually pretty accustomed to designing great looking sites.com Another equally important piece of information has to do with the layout of your website. For example. Before starting to create a brand or logo or anything. So you will want to make sure that your website will be seen by all viewers in the best way possible. look at hiring a professional branding company. you need to know what your company stands for. your company. A quick way to get some help on logo creation is search through Google for logo creation or a great recommendation is to use 99designs. When I say golden arches. 158 . your next step is to looking into a logo. it may convey the message that your company has no idea what you are doing. To do this. Is it looking to be an innovator or leader in the industry? Are you looking to be funny.pictures poorly. This includes text. You will also need to determine what type of font you will be using for your site.

underlines or outlines to help readers focus attention on the next step of action to take. Section 4: Connecting and Integrating Your Multiple Sites A website can be created from scratch with your own layout and 100% personal input or can be developed through the use of a design template. For those looking to use pre-designed templates. The final recommendation is to run some tests for usability on your site. This is a tool which searches through your site and assessing where readers are focusing their attention. While many sites were previously created offline and uploaded once completed. Another important point of interest is in regards to the use of horizontal and vertical navigation bars. If there is additional information don’t hesitate to add a vertical navigation bar. where there are any issues. A Weblog or as is more commonly known. Minimize the use of navigation bars by placing important information within one page. This will show you where readers are looking and where they aren’t.Site Layout Just because your page includes audio. you will want to have the participants write down any issues or difficulties they have using the site. make a purchase! A great way to determine how viewers are looking at your site is to employ the use of a heat map application. many of today’s sites are creating using a blogging platform. This may include having family and friends use your site. blog. Your site needs to flow from one page to another. buttons. text. or it can be to make a purchase. easily and efficiently. you can perform a search for website templates on any of the search engines. and of course most importantly. A great tidbit of information is if your site is too cluttered (on purpose) then think about adding arrows. Either method you use will need to reflect your company image and goals. is essentially a 159 . in any direction. Performing a search on heat map applications in Google will provide you with a great assortment of tools. You will need them to read and learn about you. Have them do a complete tour through your site and write down. doesn’t mean it will generate traffic. This can be to continue searching or reading. Users hate having to scroll. or it may require you to hire a focus group. Your site needs to entice viewers to remain on your site as long as possible. helping you rearrange and refocus your content. In either scenario. pictures and video on a single page.

you are wasting your time. Remember time is money! Section 5: How to Write Excellent Web Copy A rule of thumb is content is king! If your service or product isn’t selling. Using a paid membership site may get you excited but there are some questions you will need to ask yourself before you get started. When using the various blogging platforms. if there is too much time being spent on the site. The key to do this is to write passionately about your topic and show your readers that you care about what you do and how others react to that. which are added to the top of the page. On the internet people are sceptical and the only way to earn their trust is to show them that you are worth their business. This type of site is great if there is a high amount of traffic which will entice users to return on a weekly basis. This allows users to create a username and password and access content that otherwise would not be accessed. but if it is too cheap. You will need to capture the interest of a reader within a few short seconds. Also you will need to look at amount of time you will need to spend on running and maintaining the site. it may not always be the case. there are several different tools that you can use such as WordPress. and TypePad. Again. Thus you are able to present that latest content without having your readers search for the information. If your headline is appealing to your readers. These are the mostly commonly used tools and of course require that you register an account. This also allows readers the ability to make comments or suggestions on the information you have posted. One critical area is to create a headline with a hook. This may include adding photos or videos of your product. it may have to do with the way in which you are presenting your information. Once you have developed a great headline. Blogger.continuously updated website. then they will continue to read the article. and there isn’t a great enough return. While this method may be useful to create recurring revenue. you may also look at adding various plug-ins to customize the use of your site. You will want to demonstrate that you are 160 . Your first question should be how much will it cost users to become a member of your site? If it’s too expensive they may not register. then it may not be cost effective for you. Another great option is to create a membership site. To create a blog. With a blog you are able to post information or articles. your next step is to create scannable and understandable copy.

Section 6: How to Find an Expert Marketer Sometimes running a website or even a marketing campaign can be time consuming and tedious. this may lead to their downfall. a call to action requires the reader to take the next step. That may be as simple as registering for a free newsletter or making that $500 purchase. For example. Here a customer is to be educated on the product and service.passionate about your product and show viewers how they will benefit from it. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a product that doesn’t do what it says it will. none is more important than providing a call to action. you may make reference to readers subscribing to your feed or purchasing your product. then that is what needs to be given. A page without purpose will be skipped over by readers and may make you lose a sale. which is better than the competitions. but before they can do that. make sure that what you say a product or service does actually happens in real life. letters of recommendation. or demonstrating where other products fail. However many skills you may have. You may look at testing various words for a call to action or use pictures and video. While using these various techniques is crucial. if your product promises users the ability to speak fluent French in 5 hours. it is always important to have someone capable of helping you whenever needed. enough information needs to be provided before they proceed with the action. If a customer is not necessarily interested in purchasing you may be trying to get their email. they need to trust you and your service. and helping to initiate the purchase. Other great methods are to include testimonials. For example. It is at these times where you need to assess what your company is missing. One largely missed but highly important point to remember is that every single page needs to have a purpose and a call to action. While many may feel as though they are capable of running all aspects of a business. While this may not apply to About Us pages or your Sitemap. A call to action is where you ask the customer to take the next step with your company. Once a customer is interested in making a purchase. they will be taken to a sales page. when writing a new post. answering any questions they may have about the product or purchasing procedures. but in either situation. It is important to remember. it does apply to where there are new posts. Depending on your 161 . When writing about your product or service.

The other option is to hire a hobbyist who will be paid less but may not be dedicated and involve themselves in other complications. For example. The first two require you to set up an account and pick someone to help you. Once you have determined the level of assistance required. but again it depends on how comfortable you are with sending out work overseas. don’t forget to encourage and use repetition when speaking with your employee.budget these individuals may be completely dedicated to your project or more on a hobby basis. A little praise goes a long way! 162 . You may also want to ask what the typical turnaround time is for projects that you may have as well as any extra services they may provide. It all depends on your budget and level of assistance. but remember its only one individual. You essentially want to find out as much as you can about the person you are interviewing. while Craigslist doesn’t and just lets your sift through individuals looking for work. While this may work for you. A few recommended places are Elance. you may expect progress reports. you will want to keep things in order by setting some ground rules. Also remember interviewing doesn’t necessarily have to be in person. You can expect them to be there whenever there is an emergency. such as getting a resume. Once you have someone onboard to help with your various tasks. information on past jobs/wages. or scheduled communications. These technicians are able to assist you with essentially all tasks you may have. Again each method has its pros and cons. Before hiring someone you will want to go through the usual steps. your next step is to find one. RentACoder or even Craigslist. You may also look at outsourcing work to other countries. but depends on your level of comfort. and will know the business exceptionally well as it is their form of income. it can be over the phone. but it all comes down to the interviewing and filtering process.

and many others. These sites are great places to meet new clients and customers and also just get your name out there. family and colleagues and build a reputation among them. So in these Sections we’ll dive into the world of social media marketing and really get to understand what it is all about. Even if you are not going to be using social media marketing. Understanding and Exploring Social Media Social media sites allow you the ability to connect to friends. you still need to be aware of what is out there. Today’s social media has turned into a multi-faceted process which involves millions of users from around the world. Flickr. Twitter. It used to be simplistic.Course #11 Social Media Marketing By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 11: Social Media Marketing Section 1: What Is Social Media? Social media is your connection to the world and your customers. An example is FaceBook. Every time you 163 . We’re sure you’ve heard of this site. made up of bulletin board discussions and forums. but there are others such as MySpace.

Doing this provides you with a great way to: • Product Announcements: great way to let people know about a new product. you are slowly building up your profile. and when posting on Twitter. A FaceBook user may have a YouTube account. Another FaceBook user may be linked to their Twitter account. audio and pictures Flickr Popularity Adding your bookmarks to a site and Digg Sites having others vote on them Reddit Help connected individuals keep up with Aggregators FriendFeed everything It is important that you get to know these websites as they will provide you with the ability to stay connected. Not only that. • Feedback: asking your connections to provide some feedback on your new idea or post. Social Media Descriptive Information Examples Allows the ability to enter data. Listed below are some of the websites available and a little bit of information about each. 164 . providBlogger Blogs ing content to readers about your WordPress business Social Able to connect and interact with other FaceBook Networks users MySpace Delicious Bookmarking Save you bookmarks in your browser but Ma. or add a bookmark. There are a few different types of social media websites. Twitter Sites Such as one or two sentences at a time Plurk Media Sharing Provides you with the ability to upload YouTube Sites video. but many of these sites are connected. each offering their own unique abilities. and when posting a favorite video on FaceBook it will be linked to their Youtube account. it will show up on their FaceBook account. • Building Buzz: building some momentum or getting others talking about you and your company.make a post. while others have the ability to link to each other. add a friend. which provides you with the ability to spread your message more quickly and efficiently.gnolia Sites also on a website StumbleUpon Microblogging Allows you to blog on a smaller scale. Some websites are able to provide additional options that some are not able to.

this may incline them to do business with you. A few key benefits of blogging are: • Talking to customers: this will allow you to talk directly to your readers and allows them to comment on what you are writing. letting readers know all sorts of information about yourself. Blogging Blogging is a set of regularly published content by one or several authors that allows users to comment on the entry. This is probably going to be the first step you will take when creating a website for yourself or product and key to funneling users to you. Blogs are a great way to get your message out. Social Networks Social networks should be your next step in connecting with other users on the internet. There are many things that the word blog may refer to such as a program used. where comments can be made. • Demonstrate expertise: if you are an expert in your field. • Explain your business: here you can provide them with information on your business. Your blog will be a place where you can provide information about a service or product you offer and your social 165 . Blogs are powerful tools for social marketing and a great place to start in building your social networks. or just discussing random subjects. the more traffic you will drive as it will increase your search engine ranking. A great way to just let readers see what your company is all about. Creating and running a successful blog is not something you do overnight. • Get more customers: if customers see you have a blog. For our purposes here. on your own website. the next section will take a look at these social media sites separately. we will refer to the aforementioned statement about a blog in regards to regularly published entries. then this is a great way to let others know what you know. or the writing style or even something as simple as the entries. providing them with information on the products and services you provide. It is also important to remember that the more content you are adding to your blog.To better explain each category. your mission statements and philosophy. your product.

FaceBook (www. and utilities.com) • Discussion Forums: for those of you thinking that discussion forums have disappeared. well just about everyone.com) was originally developed to be used at a university campus but then expanded to include. • LinkedIn: this site is a pay-for-use website. • MySpace: another highly used website is MySpace (www. send messages.com) allows you to create a profile and provides you with the ability to connect to others based on similar interests.com). This site has also been seen as a place where many up and coming performers strut their stuff. You can also take a look at sites such as Webmaster World (www. There are many helpful members that are able to provide answers to pretty much any questions you may have. For those of you who are already very familiar with social networks. and of course free.google. demonstrate your expertise. (http://www. Most discussion 166 . This site has been around much longer than FaceBook and provides very similar features.webmasterworld. videos and audio as well as other pieces of information for your circle of friends to see.com). find and connect with other users and talk to your friends. You can create a profile. games. This website is quite simple to use.answers. and this is just a little ego boost. You can also do other things such as post pictures.facebook. and use a variety of applications such as quizzes. LinkedIn (www. think again. you can look at distributing custom tools and create discussion groups that target a particular topic. which is more directed towards business people. getting advice from colleagues and of course.linkedin. You can perform a search in Google or Yahoo! for your topic. create discussion groups. A few websites you may be interested to take a look into are listed below: • FaceBook: we’re pretty sure that if you have some previous experience using the internet you may have already heard of this dominant website.com).myspace. • Yahoo! Answers: this website is a great place to get answers to your burning questions. add friends. and Google Groups (http://groups. Using this type of service has some clear benefits such as getting to know your customers.yahoo.networks will be where you can connect with those interested in what you are providing. Here you can create a profile.

your company and your services. this is a great tool to drive traffic to your website. Don’t overlook these websites as they can really put some money in your pocket if used properly. 167 . and essentially driving thousands of viewers to your website. Microblogs allow you to make many short blog like posts. review others bookmark choices. and discuss the bookmarked topics.delicious.com) • Delicious: using Delicious (www. (www. Microblogs are useful when you are on the go or only have small amounts of information to post (and when we say small. Also by having many individuals rate your website positively. it provides a benefit for your search engine optimization. a user is able to access his or her bookmarks from anywhere that has a computer with an internet connection. By doing this. Using a website to maintain your bookmarks is a great way to share with others. The key here is that using social networks is great in spreading the word about yourself. It is also important to remember that with this drive of traffic. think smaller. If many users rate your website as useful. where some users make posts every few minutes. Some websites available are below: • StumbleUpon: is a program installed on your computer and through the click of a button are. Microblogging If you have an idea of what blogging is all about.stumbleupon. Using a microblogging service is very similar to a messaging service. taken to sites that are positively rated by other users. you are saving them on the website server. your website will be crawled on by search engines. and those that you do have to pay for may just be providing you similar information as those that are free. and increase your ranking. we mean up to 140 characters long). then your content will be spread to other users. This little application is quite useful in finding similar sites related to the topic you are viewing. As you may see.forums are free to join. but instead of saving the bookmarks on your computer.com) is very similar to using StumbleUpon. Bookmarking Sites Bookmarking sites provide you with the ability to move your bookmarks from your computer to the particular website. This type of social media is very instant and in “real time”.

Another benefit of using such a service, is the ability to follow other microbloggers. Communities can be built based upon interests. This in turn relates to others subscribing to your microblog. You will essentially become a leader of your microblogging pack. Here are a few sites you can check out for your microblogging purposes: • Twitter: before we get into too much detail, we would like to caution you that Twitter (www.twitter.com) can become quite addictive. Now that we have warned you, Twitter is a microblogging tool in which you can enter messages up to 140 characters long. You will be able to follow other Twitterers and you will receive their messages. This service is free to join and like other social media, you are able to create your own profile. • Plurk: this is another great microblogging tool, but a few user interface differences. Signing up with this website is also free. Media Sharing Sites Media sharing sites allow you to upload videos, audio, and pictures as a way to get information across to your audience. Here are a couple sites that are quite popular: • Youtube: is the best site to upload videos and have your audience view, rate and comment on your post. This is also a great way to generate an income as well, as long as you have enough viewers taking a look at your content. Youtube is a free service. • Flickr: this site is a perfect tool for uploading and sharing your photos with your audience. This is a great way to demonstrate a project, product or any other content to your readers. In addition to photo support, Flickr has also been providing video support. These two sites are a great way to get your message across to your audience in a format other than text. These sites may not generate traffic instantly, but does provide you with a benefit of connecting with your viewers in a more intimate fashion. This is a perfect way to build trust with your customers. Popularity Sites Popularity sites have combined the best of two different worlds; bookmarking and social networking. This allows you the ability to submit new websites that then get voted on by other internet users. Those voted on more often are moved up in the ratings and seen by more users. Here are a few sites to take a look at:

168

• Digg: Digg is a great way to get users to your website, and if it is voted as number one, be sure to have a large server, or expect to be offline almost instantly. Digg has many users resulting in a large amount of traffic to your site; so beware! • Reddit: this is very similar to Digg, but its focus is more towards news, while Digg is targeted towards the funny and weird. Again, having a number one post, will drive many users to your page, but remember this does require some work on your behalf. Posting on these types of sites can drive large amounts of traffic to your page, but it isn’t a guarantee and does require you to do some editing and possibly re-editing. Aggregators An aggregator is a tool that provides you with the ability to manage all of your connections, such as the photo-sharing site, social network, and bookmarking site. Posting on one of the following FriendFeed.com or Secondbrain.com, will upload the content to all of your other connections. This is a great way to keep track of all your social networking sites, and still be able to update everything, without missing on any websites. While most aggregators are free, some do require a minimal fee, and expect that you perform some managing. This is perfect as you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything, but also reducing the amount of work you have to do. Section 2: Creating Your Social Media Network Social media connections are great to get your information out to the world, but how do you keep track of everything. In this session we will take a look at a few different programs and ways to reduce the time you spend online, trying to determine what everyone is saying about your products and/or stories you want to track. To get everything organized, you will want to get an RSS feed (really simple syndication) set up. This is a great way to have everything sent to you in one program, and then you can choose which headlines to read further into. What To Track You can add blog results from all sorts of websites based on your interests. It is also important to keep in mind that subscribing to all sorts of information, will only lead to more work later. After you have gotten a fair

169

amount of subscriptions, you will want to go through and be critical of what and who you are following. Section 3: How to Set Up a Social Media Marketing Plan In this section we are going to take a look at determining who you want to target on the internet, and how to get your message across to those readers. We have separated the process into a few simple steps, and even if you are familiar with this section, it may still be useful to quickly skim over the information. Research Your Target Readers Determining who and where your readers are coming from is the first step in understanding how to position your social media plan. When performing research on your audience, there are a few questions that need to be answered: • What kinds of people are you targeting: very simply, you need to know who you want to target. • Why they are participating: you need to determine why those people are there and why they are participating in the community. Are they looking to get something accomplished? If so can you meet their needs? • What sites are they most using: where are the individuals or target members gathering on the internet. • How big is your target audience: you will want to gather as many users as you can. While one avenue may be ideal for some topics, others may not. The key is to use as many different social media sites as possible to get your information out to the public. • How often are your users participating within the group: if you have a small number of audience members and they participate rarely, then your level of participation will reflect their usage. You will want to keep these questions available as you begin researching the different websites available. A great way is to create a table and write your answers in the boxes accordingly. You can easily do this using a spread sheet program such as Excel. To begin your research you will want to first start by browsing through online communities. Below are a few different sites you can take a look at to help you find your audience and some questions you need to answer for yourself: Google Groups, Yahoo! Groups, FaceBook, Digg, Blogs. • What are people asking? • How active are the users?

170

• How often are the users participating? • How many members are in groups? • How are posts received by other audience members? • How many are writing about a similar topic? • How many questions are being asked and unresolved? • What concerns are being focused on? Researching your audience is critical in understanding what your readers are looking for, ultimately providing you with insight in ways for you to provide answers to questions or concerns that are not being answered. Once you have explored the online communities you may want to use some additional services such as AdCenter Labs and Quantcast. These resources are free to use, but of course are only experimental and can provide useful or useless information. Although the data is useable, it does change and while some searches are useful at one time, it may not be at a later time. AdCenter Labs is a good tool to use if you are: • Running an online store. • You target audience uses Hotmail or Microsoft related websites. • Your audience is easily identifiable by keyword searches. • If you have a tight budget Finally, you may be interested in using a paid data service for gathering data. This method of course should be used if you have a flexible budget, which can be used to gather research. Below are a few sites you can check out for some research help. • Neilson Online (www.neilson-online.com): you can create reports based on demographics and online usage. Highly detailed reports can be used for comparison study. • Hitwise (www.hitwise.com): this site provides highly informative reporting on industries, categories or even specific sites. • Compete (www.compete.com): provides information regarding searches and usage of specific websites. • ComScore (www.comscore.com): this site provides you with the ability to research advertising and usage patterns on specific sites. Using the above mentioned sites are for those looking to spend a few dollars performing research, are on a time strain, require this type of data, or have the training or interest to go through all of the data. Create Your Message

171

This section is going to be fairly short as it will be combined with the following sections to really get your message across to your viewers. First, think about your company and what it means to you. Then on a piece of paper, write down a few words that you will want associated with your company. Now those words will become your message and whenever you make a post, remember to stay within those words. If you have performed some research, you may want to compare your words to the data you have collected. Does your message fit with research and does it meet the needs of your audience? You can use the research to provide you with assistance to narrow your words and focus your efforts. Preparing Your Style The way you present your message will be your style theme. There are a few different ways you can present your content, and although many users don’t fit into one specific category, it is still wise to understand the different standpoints. • Instigator: this person likes to question assumptions and may at time make fun of others. This is the type of person you want to be in your field, as long as you know for certain that you are an expert in your field. You have a fun approach to information but also have a teasing quality about your responses and actions. • Moderator: this type of person, loves to help others and doing so by sharing their knowledge. You search out for those who have questions and concerns, and try and help them out. • Newbie (Noob): this type of person is seen as being new to the scene, but not necessarily quiet. You gather information like a sponge, and also get to know the users. Be sure that if you consider yourself as a Newbie that you let others know why you’re there, and how you may be able to help. • Superstar: this type of person, goes without saying, is popular. Everyone wants to be a superstar, but getting there is not an easy venture. This type of person has many followers and when makes a comment or post, has many responders. If you are well known in the industry then this will be your automatic position. These are just some of the personas you may find on the internet, and we aren’t suggesting you fake it, but this provides you with some insight as to where your stand in the types and guides you in the way you interact with others on the social media sites.

172

• Think of objectives: if you are looking for business connections then you will want to think about using LinkedIn and microblogging sites such as Twitter or Plurk.Developing Your Profile Each social media site that your register to. As you’re developing your list of sites. Some sites are more beneficial for one line of business. It is important that you write down some information about yourself. Selecting Your Sites There are many social media sites out there and figuring out which ones are going to be the most successful can be difficult. • Make headlines: if you care about search engine optimization or have some important information then make sure to check out bookmarking sites and social news sites as well. it is important to keep in mind whether using a particular site will be beneficial in achieving your goals. and compare whether the answers are met by the site. Slideshare or iTunes. then you will want to take a look at using Youtube. Although figuring out which one is going to be the best fit for your topic. a short description of yourself. and some basic contact information. Each site you use must be useful in doing so directly or indirectly and also help reduce the amount of time you spend on the internet. while other sites may not be as useful. then figure out if there are any other large sites that market towards the same audience. Flickr. Some of the things you will want to make sure you provide in the profile is the avatar or picture representing you. If you want to use media. • Determine your target market or niche: if you are in a particular field or marketing towards a particular audience. 173 . allows you to create a profile. readers or just passersby’s then think about using one of the bigger social networking sites such as FaceBook or MySpace. here are some guidelines to help choose your sites: • Compare your results: take a look at what you wrote down for your research. as it provides you with the ability to connect with other users in a more intimate manner (something which is very hard to do on computers). some random information regarding your interests. • Consider size: if you need to reach consumers. detailing some information about yourself.

or once a day. you are going to have to review your site and the content within. What many users don’t realize is that information may be delivered directly to those readers.Reviewing Your Content Alright. we will take a look at some of the top social media sites. and how to do a few social media tasks. • Ease of contact: nowadays internet users may have several main websites they view for information on a particular subject. Once you have a daily routine planned. a few times a day. You may also want to write about things that invoke some type of emotion in your readers. Before initiating a social media campaign. your message may not be heard by anyone. your next task is to keep on top of your communication. here are a few things to keep an eye out for: • Grab an audience: if you don’t have an audience. use other ways of communicating such as audio. Using an RSS feed will bring all of your new content directly to the reader without any use of the internet (minus the reader downloading the content). You will need to develop a posting style whether it’s posting every hour. To do this try answering questions. Section 4: Top Social Media Sites and How To Use Them In this section. 174 . and reduces the amount of internet “travel”. You will want to grab their attention somehow. The use of an RSS feed. • Share your information: allowing users to share your content to other sites can increase the amount of traffic your site may generate. now that you have determined your sites to get your message across. Planning a Routine Having chosen your social media sites. you may want to figure out a few long term options as well. write out top 10 lists. ease and enjoyment of posting and finally a way to keep track of the results of your postings. will bring all new content to the subscriber. video and graphics. This may include stand-ins while you are away. It’s all about how aggressive you want to be and how much information you have to post. Make sure you have buttons that can quickly bookmark or share your content. You will also want to make sure that your website address and contact info will be easy to remember.

FaceBook Finesse FaceBook is a great way to meet millions of users from around the world and excellent in keeping your friends up to date with any and all of your updates. This site is excellent in providing users with the ability to keep your friends up to date with your current statuses and events. Highly useful in networking with your friends as well as discovering other friends you may have forgotten about. FaceBook also allows you to create groups, where your friends can join and talk about an endless array of topics. This is a perfect way to meet people and make new friends and contacts. (You may also join other groups too!) Also for those looking to just unwind, there is an array of games, quizzes and activities you can do while on FaceBook. Other great functions FaceBook provides you with are things like branding and creating applications. While this may require some additional knowledge or skill on your behalf, it is a great way to get yourself out to your friends, and their connections. Making MySpace Yours MySpace was one of the main social networking sites of its time. Although it still is a fierce competitor, FaceBook has taken a more dominant role. MySpace is highly useful for those looking to attract a younger age group, build traffic to their sites, or (if you are a band) get your band some recognition. Using MySpace is seen more effective for those involved in the entertainment industry or those related to trendy topics. A few key pointers are to: • Customize your page: make it look like you are interested in what you do and want to demonstrate to your audience. • Username selection: needs to be consistent with your brand, company and just your overall presentation. • Linkage: have links back to your website, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, all your networking sites. • Get Help: if you aren’t sure what to do or how to do it, get help! MySpace is the perfect tool for branding. It has great customizability and so it’s excellent to get your message across. You can also look at adding multimedia capabilities, such as audio or videos. You don’t want to overload your page with this type of content, but you do want to demonstrate that you know what you are doing. Linked In With LinkedIn

175

If you are a business and serious about getting work done, then be sure to sign up to LinkedIn. This site is exceptionally useful for companies looking to provide a service, create connections with other companies, are providing some form of consultation, or looking to find quality connections. It is also important to remember that unlike FaceBook or MySpace, the connections you make must be in some way related to you otherwise you will be unable to friend that individual. For this reason, all of the connections you make will be quality contacts. Think of this as the site where the connections you make are worth gold. All the other sites are much easier to friend someone than LinkedIn. Bookmark like a Pro! You may have used the personal bookmarking available in your internet browser, now have a try at sharing those bookmarks. Bookmarking sites allow you to bookmark your favourite sites and share it with the rest of the world. There are a few sites you can use to share your websites, such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, Ma.gnolia and Digg. Each of these sites provides similar capabilities, ranging from saving bookmarks in your account, to downloading toolbars to your internet browser. Bookmarking is very simple and can be done by pretty much anyone. If you already have a list of bookmarks on your browser, you can even upload them to your account. (Be aware of what sites you have bookmarked, because you don’t want any embarrassing ones showing up on your business profile). A great way to develop bookmarking connections is to follow the top users when you initially signup for a bookmarking service. Of course, the top users need to be from your chosen niche. You will also want to make comments, vote and participate in any of the submissions those top users make. A final suggestion when using a bookmarking service is to add proper tags to the bookmarks. A good tag allows others to find your submission easily. Also make sure the words describe what your submission relates to. And the most crucial is to add more than one tag, because one word may not always describe your submission. Share through Multimedia

176

If you are looking at getting your message across or just looking to connect, using various forms of media will help increase your rate of success. The first site you will want to take a look at using is Flickr. Flickr is a photo-sharing site, where you and others can comment on photos you or other people post. While this may be a great way to find others with similar tastes, you need to be wary of the pictures you post. While you may want to make a statement, you will also want others to get involved in a positive and useful manner. Another excellent service to know is YouTube. It is very similar to Flickr, but Youtube deals with videos. Anyone can setup a free account, upload videos, add a brief description and let other viewers make comments. While this is useful in getting video content out to your viewers, remember to personalize your profile and keep your videos short (no one likes watching 10 min long videos). Also think about providing a good brief description as well as an eye catching title. Finally, commenting on what others have written is expected if you want to develop your connections. Participate In a Discussion While discussion forums may seem old and out of date, many users still participate extensively in their favourite forums. They have been around for a long time, and many still feel more comfortable using this type of networking. If you decide to use this type of networking, be sure to choose forums which are relevant to your niche. When posting comments or suggestions, do so in a respectable manner, and don’t try to spam, as the administrators will kick you out. Using a forum is also great to advertise your expertise and of course your site or social media tools. Microblog to Success Microblogging is the progression of blogging. In a blog, you are able to post an article pretty much as long as you like, Microblogging on the other hand, only lets you post up to 140-character posts. This means that you need to know exactly what you want to say, using targeted words. Using microblogging is beneficial in keeping your followers up to date with what you are doing. One of the top microblogging sites is Twitter but there is also Plurk, FriendFeed and Identi. While this may seem as too simple or time wasting, it really has potential for spreading the word about your content. A few things to keep in mind about microblogging is:

177

• Profile. Profile. Profile: just like all other sites, setting up a complete and well developed profile is crucial. • To Follow or Not: while there are many different approaches to following, you need to see what the best method is for your niche. While reciprocating a follower may be useful it may just come off as spammy. • Participate: if you find something interesting and related to your topic, post about it. Also if someone makes a post that is interesting, make sure to pass the word. • Spam: you get in the mail and you hate it, so don’t do the same with the posts you make. Think about posting at proper intervals and not a ten posts in ten seconds. Answer Questions Ever have a question that you needed answered but none of your immediately family or friends could answer it? Well unless you want to do your own research, then your next best step is to ask a question on Yahoo! Answers. This site is useful for asking or answering questions and helps your search rankings. By answering others questions, you are able to demonstrate your expertise and of course get your name out there. Remember out of all of the information provided, there is a continuing trend. That trend is getting yourself, your brand, and your company out to the rest of the world. The methods mentioned above, not only helps you do that, but also helps you practice what we preach. While this may seem repetitive or dull, it really is the key to your success. Keep it up and you will soon be on your way to the top of your niche. Section 5: Networking Your Business Online When we talk about setting up a network, we might think of an intricate grouping of various individuals all related in some way or other. While this may be something of a difficult task on a face-to-face level, networking through the use of social sites is really quite simple. Depending on the social media site, making friends and keeping in touch can be done in many different ways. From sending a private message to making a public post on their “wall” or “space”, staying in touch is a lot easier online. Social media marketing can really only be done by having more friends. While more friends may be less valuable than some friends, it all

178

depends on how well connected and in touch you are with those friends. Here are a few things to keep in mind when acquiring friends: • Search your interests: finding friends interested in your interests is always a good place to start. • Content is king: you’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but it really is true. People like to follow and friend people who post interesting content. • Joining others: if there is a following or groups already created on your niche, join in. Then show others what you know (but remember don’t repeat what others have said). • Be original: just as we’ve mentioned above, don’t repeat other people. Be the expert you want people to see you for. If you can’t say something from a different perspective or angle, don’t say it. • Answer and ask: if you aren’t sure how to get more friends, then start searching FaceBook, Yahoo! Answers, Youtube, Twitter, or any other sites for questions. Then answer them! If you don’t have an answer, then ask a question. The more involved you are, the more your name will come up, when people perform a search! Once you have friends, remember to keep them. Nothing is worse than making friends, and then having them leave you. Besides, if they make some other friends, they may recommend staying away from you because you don’t post enough, or aren’t a leader in your niche. (Good news travels much slower than bad news, but everyone seems to always remember bad news more often). Section 6: Non-Intrusive Internet Marketing In this last section we explain how to market yourself in a non-intrusive manner. You never want to be the person who shoves advertising in a readers face, but rather be the one talked about and praised on what you do. To try and advertise yourself, we have seen that the best way is to provide something of value. Be it some free information, a self-use tool, or just assistance. You want people to come to YOU and not the other way around. (There’s nothing wrong with chasing after readers, but letting them take the last two steps is key). While this may be easier said than done, you don’t have to always do the hard part. For example, if you know of a great tool that you use, but not many others use it, think about advertising it. You may not be the final step or making the sale, but people are going to see you as somewhat

179

if you are seen to be untruthful.of a leader. but also a reliable source for information. or audio intro. advertising may seem as intrusive in any way you do it. If you are ever not sure. if you wouldn’t then don’t do it on the internet. While this may be true. Whether it’s with a small animation. While it may quickly grab their attention. something that entertains a reader will always grasp their attention much easier. You will be seen as someone who is able to keep up to date with latest trends. a great way to ease people into a product or service. Also be sure to avoid misleading or rude behavior when advertising or presenting your content. is do present it in an entertaining way. For some. they will be less inclined to continue following you. Course #12 Advertising Online By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher 180 . just think of whether you would try it in person.

and it’s easy to use. you should read up on it before starting an AdWords Campaign. Pay per click (PPC) – also known as cost per click (CPC) – is a type of paid advertising. sponsored listings. By knowing which advertisements are converting the best you can focus on those ads to build better ad campaigns 181 . you (the advertiser) pays a small fee when a user clicks on the advertisement displayed on their site. Google then finds Google AdSense ready websites relevant to those keywords and places your ad on their site. PPC Pros and Cons PPC advertising can be great if you know how to use it… but you can waste a lot of time and money if you don’t use it properly. Google and other advertising providers have had many problems in the past with people using loopholes and blackhat techniques to take advantage of the system… because of this… many ad networks avoid giving details on how the rank. Essentially. you assign the ad with a list of keywords. sponsored links and partner ads. One huge advantage to Google AdWords is that it allows you to track and figure out which target words are converting the most users to customers. and determine relevancy. There are many other advertising networks that you can join but Google AdWords by far has the furthest reach. When you create an ad with Google AdWords. Search Engine Relevancy Search engines determine relevancy based on a few known key factors: • Key Word List: Do the keywords in the keyword list match what the person typed? • Ad Copy: Does the ad mention what the person is looking for? • Landing Page: Does the ad go to a page that has what the person is looking for? • Bid: How much are you willing to pay to get that visitor? Google keeps the relevancy criteria hidden and secret so that all individuals get an even playing field when it comes to advertising. PPC is not something you just want to jump into. such as a paid search.Course 12: PPC and the Basics of Online Advertising Section 1: Understanding What PPC Advertising Is For this section we’ll be focusing on Google AdWords since it’s the most commonly used PPC advertising service.

then take a look at the biggest contenders. as they have the most bang for your buck (and time too!). The big contenders are naturally: • Google AdWords • Yahoo! Google AdWords has the biggest reach worldwide and is the easiest to use. Some are cheaper but have less reach and some have specific benefits that you might find appealing. • Poorly designed site: update your site and make the navigating easier (this relates to conversion) • Slow page loads: don’t fill the site with all sorts of flash apps. Your ad campaigns and site both need to be maintained on a set schedule (2-3 times a week). The only reason why you wouldn’t go for Google AdWords is if you’re doing business in Japan (or any other country where Google is not the predominant search engine) in which case you’d want to use Yahoo! Aside from geographical considerations and other minor reasons. not all computers are up to date. 182 . you need to stay on top of your business. Google AdWords is definitely the way to go. Section 2: The Big Players in PPC Advertising Although Google AdWords is the predominant PPC provider on the web. and can make you lose many potential customers. some of those may be: • Not enough budget to spend for your industry: advertising needs budgeting correlated to cost of product. There are many other smaller companies out there and you may consider them once you’ve become more experienced with PPC advertising. There’s no such thing as a solve all problems solution. there are several other companies you should take a look at such as Yahoo! and MSN AdCenter. • Not enough volume: Are your search words the right words for your niche? Or are you being too specific? • No analytics: you need an analytic program if you want to know what’s happening with your site • Setting it and forgetting it: this is a big no-no.There are issues though that many may encounter. Comparing the Big Players If you are really looking at setting up a PPC account.

and Brand) Be specific if you have more of one type of product. Size. If you’re selling car products. don’t take the easy way out. FaceBook for instance has its own PPC advertising system so if you’re going for the FaceBook crowd. Remember. and make the words count! 183 . jot down some information about what it is you’re selling (Color. Style. and again by make of those brands. separate by car brands. Choosing. the FaceBook advertising system is the obvious choice.google.ca/select/KeywordToolExternal Just type in a word and an Google will give you a list of suggestion along with estimated average costs. The smaller PPC providers are only really needed in specific situations and recommended to more advanced users. Everything depends on the keywords and phrases that you use for your ads.One other factor in choosing your PPC provider is your market. Your keyword list should start there since it’s the most comprehensive and easiest to use. Lesson 3: How to Create an Excellent PPC Keyword List It is important to remember that the keyword list is the foundation of your ad campaign. Also. remember to keep the words as precise as possible. If your selling ball point or gel pens. be sure to separate the two to get the desired amount of hits Organize the words into separate groups. it’s Google’s Keyword Tool which can be found here: • · https://adwords. One group will not give you all the details required. This will work if you take time and care to be as precise as possible. Organizing and Working With Keywords What type of product are you selling? On a piece of paper. Google and Yahoo! are your best bets otherwise. Google Keywords Tool If there’s every a tool you need when creating keywords. 25 words max. Sometimes going for the obvious keywords and phrases can be a big mistake. This section will go into making a keyword list that performs well and will bring quality traffic. the amount of times it’s being searched for and many other important metrics.

Here are is an explanation of the match types: • Broad: long-tailed words (3 or more). It’s basically linking other words/phrases to your AdWords. • Phrase: uses the word in plural form and in the exact order. Adding most exact destination URLs will improve user experience and they’ll be more likely to convert. you’ll get less traffic but the quality will be much higher. no plurals or misspelling. misspelled. Destination URLs Once you’ve organized your keywords by “match types” and ad groups you can help further categorize your information by setting up a destination URL. and uses a variety of words and synonyms. the traffic received for that term is likely to be low. If you’re selling cars and you use the term “car”. • Negative: basically these are words you don’t want your ads to appear with. By knowing which keywords are performing and which ones aren’t you’ll know which ones to remove and which ones to keep. Keyword Tracking and Changing Your Keyword List Over time your list of keywords should change but in order to know which ones to change you’ll need to utilize the tracking tools provided by PPC provider. If you use specifics. This helps generate more results.The reason you need to be so exact is that using general words will bring in too much low value traffic. • Exact: the ad only shows up in searches that use the exact same words. will add other words in front or after your main keyword. Match Types “Match types” are kind of hard to explain but essentially they’re what you use to tell the search engines in what situation you want your ads to be displayed. Section 4: How to Write Ads That Convert and Make Money 184 . Basically the URL leads to a specific webpage. If you’re using keywords like “pink iPods” it makes sense to link the ad to the exact page of that product instead of the more general products page.

If it’s a specific product. Writing A PPC Ad Writing this ad is not going to be an easy task. and how to test your campaigns. Other times you may be interested in adding more information such as www. Internet users have adapted to overlook and avoid ads so your work is cut out for you. We’ll look at such things as the structure of the ad. You need to be as targeted as possible but within a small space. Your ad needs to stand out and be compelling and interesting enough for users to click on it. in 185 . Make those words count. Firstly. But if you follow these guidelines. Depending on the provider you are using. on sale.com/contact or www. there is no point in us telling you it is easy.gurugrounds. This means that you will have something saying free shipping. Structure of PPC Ads Each component of your PPC ad should be carefully considered. It should also be mentioned that it’s easy to make someone see an ad (by making it big and bright) but getting someone to actually click on an ad is much harder.com/ • Destination URL: deliver what the ad says.gurugrounds. you will have a header limit ranging from 35-40 characters. make sure the link goes directly there. • Display URL: Test a few options for this one as it all depends on your traffic. how to write a compelling ad. make sure your ad is providing a benefit and a feature. • Body: Here you will have 2 separate phrases or 2 separate sentences. but make sure whatever you are advertising is what the user will be sent to. Some search engines might only search for this part of the ad. it will make things a lot easier (and you won’t have to get someone to help you (save your money). It might be better to add http:// or just www.In this section we’ll take a look at what makes a good PPC ad. Think of it as placing an ad in the paper. Make sure you get your message across within 70 characters. If it is the website then it is alright to take them to your home page. Use your most targeted keyword(s) here. There are 4 parts to a PPC ad: • Headline: this is the most essential component of your ad.

If it doesn’t work then remove and try another test. Be direct and specific but don’t try and tell them everything. Having your ad stand out a little bit more. quality. be it revenue. A finish point or end point can be set at 100 clicks. or other goals. Once your ad has reached 100 clicks review the conversion information and any other data you have been keeping track of and see what steps you need to take next. put in some urgency/aggression or call to action. If it doesn’t then its good to set a finish point. Don’t forget your grammar. Also don’t forget to keep a tab on length of time online. Make sure you use your keywords. Just because it’s the internet and its fast and easy. But you need to learn from your mistakes and the best way to do that is run some trials (A/B Tests). Nothing in an ad should be overlooked.stock. if you can’t spell. Test for Successful Ads There’s nothing wrong with trying and failing. Note: Two types of action. The slightest changes can make a big difference. If one ad has only been up for a few days and comparing it with one for a month will give you skewed results. Buy Now! Or Order Now! Exclamations help to make you stand out and make users want to take the next step. don’t expect business to flow. If you aren’t getting the goals you have set up for yourself it’s time to take a look at your keywords or the layout of your ad. Then provide the feature such as colors. sizes. Capitalize the body copy and make everything top notch. Test your ads in different ways such as having different headlines but the same body. then great. you have yourself a winner. downloads. Ad testing as you will find is a continual process. Remember this is your ad to the world. will make for better clicks. If you are meeting your targets. This works much better than having just information on your product. Secondly. doesn’t mean you can forget how to speak. aggressive call to action targets an immediate response while the information call to action is for research and browsing. because you won’t have enough space. but don’t jam pack it in there. amount of clicks. Remember to try and use Dynamic Keywords. 186 .

If you’re in a highly competitive niche such as weight loss or debt consolidation you can expect to pay a high price for your ads. Best way is to decide on a daily level. you are trying to make money. But it does mean that you will need to use your tools and research other companies and figure out where your budget needs to be. This will tell you where the money is at and hopefully with these tips. If you aren’t doing so well. you need to do the same on figuring out how much you are willing to spend. Decide if you are going to budget monthly or daily. That doesn’t mean if you are selling an $60. Research is key here. Our suggestion is to gather as much information as you can before throwing your money into something.Make sure to also keep a tab on your ads. look at rearranging your words. The secret to PPC ads is that the cost of the advertising is less than the revenue it generates. If you are able to spare more. look at reinvesting and expanding. Finally.000 product that your PPC budget needs to equal half. Remember. Once you know the conversion rate you’ll know exactly how much money to invest in ads in order to make specific revenue. the cost per click will differ. but if you are in a very targeted niche and have lots of viewers. If your PPC is successful. 187 . you won’t have any ads left. then research and see if it is worth spending the extra bucks. a couple times a week may be your required level of involvement. Don’t be afraid to change your words and edit your ads. Having A PPC Budget Your PPC budget needs to meet the cost of what you are attempting to sell. remember to check conversion rates. Remember if your budget runs out by the end of the month. than in your competitors. Remember these are only guidelines. If you have set a meager budget to test the waters (always a good choice). Section 5: How to Budget and Bid for Keywords Here we talk about the most important factor when it comes to ads. Money! And how much you should spend. not spend it all. Just like you decided to research on how to set up your PPC and your site. and see what does work. making changes. Depending on your niche. and it was not successful then change things around. there will be more money in your pocket. some say once a week.

then don’t change anything. Schedule Bidding and Spending Depending on your product.Stick to your budget! If you are getting the clicks required and making the sales. set the maximum amount for an ad group as a start. Then lower as you receive results. Bidding on keywords of which there are two levels. 188 . • Ad-group Level: must set a maximum bid. Cost per click (CPC) is based on the search engines calculations. Keyword Bidding This is going to be the most complex aspect of PPC advertising. the largest amount you are willing to pay for a single click. One key rule to remember here is that the more generic and broad the terms are the more traffic and times your ads will show up but the quality of traffic will be much lower. If you aren’t making the sales then its time to redraw the plans and figure out what course of action is best for you. We are sorry to say but we can’t provide you with the exact calculations performed as those are kept hidden and secret only to their own companies (Google. Some words may be more expensive than others. Make sure you have enough money for your campaigns. and you will want your ads to display when they are using the internet. • Keyword Level: maximum CPC you are willing to pay per word. you will want to know when your customers are doing most of their shopping. This will give you more results and allows you to adjust better than going from bottom up. MSN. you will know there is a time difference. Yahoo!). If you are in the US and your consumers are in Europe or Asia. We can tell you that there are known factors that play into this. but you may not pay that amount (but be ready if you have to). such as: • Relevancy of the keyword to your ad • Relevancy of the search term to your keyword • Destination URL (where the ad takes the searcher) • Daily Budget • Keyword Bid Amount • Amount of Competition • Relevancy of competitors words to yours One thing to keep in mind is if possible.

You need to make sure that your ads are visible to your customers when you need them to be. Using others information is also a big no no. Section 6: Understanding the Law When It Comes To PPC Don’t be sneaky! Using an ampersand (and) instead of “and” or “2” instead of “to” shortcuts will get you in trouble. and don’t use generic click calls to action like “click here”. as mentioned before. Your URLs need to be in good working order. use standard typography. The site/page needs to be online and not under construction. you will either get your ad removed or worse have a civil suit on your hands. Watch your grammar. The search engines have their own ways of dealing with click fraud and if detected will reimburse you for the cost. If you see a large number coming from one ip address. It’s all about attracting the right customers. false claims. Click Fraud Click fraud is where an individual or programs go onto a site and continually click an ad without ever having intention of buying or using your service. excessive punctuation or repetition. and need to take the visitor to your site. then you could be experiencing click fraud. There are certain guidelines set by the search engines and if you aren’t abiding by those. you will have to get permission. The guidelines for trademark and copyright information are put in the information sections when setting up AdWords. Those selling low cost per conversion and short buying cycle tend to fare better than those with complex and long buying cycles. for the lowest cost for advertising and making enough sales to keep you in business. on your market. avoid all capital letters. 189 . A few things to watch out for is use of language. Following the guidelines will keep your keywords in check and your ads online. don’t expect your ads to show up. Setting up your budget will also depend. When wanting to use a trademark or copyright. If you aren’t abiding by the rules. You can keep track of click fraud by checking your server logs and studying the ip addresses.

the search engine may authorize them to display your ads. If you are experiencing click fraud. Managing Content Network Campaigns A content network or partner network is a set of websites that are affiliated with the search engine that are authorized to show PPC ads provided by that search engine. go offline. ad groups and keywords without having to load pages. Tools. It basically allows you to make PPC edits quickly and easily. but make sure to do your research and know what you are getting into. If you sell snowboards.Also check to see where the clicks are originating from. If your company deals with bikes and another site has similar or bike related content. Be ready to show them your server logs and information. EASY! Use a keyword traffic tool to expand and develop which keywords to add. Demographic bidding also allows you to target individuals by range of age. Section 7: Tips. and Tricks of the Trade for PPC Advertising Offline editors allow you to see your entire account. You may also look into a click fraud prevention program. People in a specific are that you chose will see your ads while others won’t. Some tips to keep in mind for success in content networks: • Create separate campaigns for your search and content networks • Don’t use exactly the same keywords and ads in all your search and content campaigns. Tells you the rate and information needed for each keyword Use geotargeting to target a specific area. You load your account. 190 . campaigns. then your ads will be targeted towards those who live close to mountain ranges instead of those living in sunny/beachy areas. If you are selling a product only for American residents and you are receiving clicks from Russia that may be a warning sign. Using your budget to market to those that would use your product. • Limit keywords to three words (two are better). make sure you contact your customer service department. • Choose a keyword list that describes the sites on which you want your ad to appear. make the necessary changes and then get back online and update the account. You can specify which websites to show your ads and which ones not to.

But to determining what exactly you’ll be talking about must be your first step. We aren’t going to convince you that you can write and we aren’t going to tell you what to write. Another great way to figure 191 . and “How can I use it efficiently?”.• Bid lower on the content network than on the search network. Take a look at your ability to perform or do things that others can’t do. As you may be aware. the question should be “Which program should I use?”. The question should not be “Do I need an analytics program?” or “Why should I use an analytics program?”. and turn it into a site with quality content to inform people. If you are trying to decide what topic to choose. if you aren’t passionate about a topic. Choosing Your Blog Topic The first step is to be positive about this experience. You are going to take a topic you like and know about. Something that you are passionate yet informed about. What we will do is provide you with some guidance and advice on what you should write about and how to write about your topic. Course #13 Basic Blogging & Podcasting By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 13: Basic Guide to Blogging and Podcasting Lesson 1: Choosing a Profitable Topic to Blog About To begin your blogging career your first need is to determine a topic. you probably won’t stick to it when times get tough. • KEEP TRACK OF THE NETWORK SITES Finally the ultimate tip for all websites and this should be a given is USE ANALYTICS PROGRAMS! These programs will help you keep track of everything you will need to run and maintain a successful business. take a look around you and determine what talents you have.

it will come out in your writing. • Be passionate: you need to be passionate about your topic. All you have to do is figure out what you are interested in. making the content more appealing. is going to be boring and tedious.out what to write about is to look at what you involve yourself with. A blog requires dedication. What you 192 . This will only become more difficult as you begin getting into more complicated content and hitting road blocks. You will want to make sure what your are saying is correct. and market it to the world. This could be putting a funny spin on things. your readers will see it right away. If you aren’t happy with what you are doing. then this is not for you. As mentioned if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing. and long term commitment. • Make it your own: if your topic is not the most interesting subject. be ready to be called out on it. It will require you to update your blog on a regular schedule and you must stick to it. If you are trying to expand your business online. hard work. Here are a few pointers that will help determine if your goals are proper for blogging. You could add pictures or videos. You will have to research everything and get the information you need to work on your blog. • Set it and forget it: this is the last thing a blog is. then make sure it is something you are passionate about. otherwise. Now once you have decided on your topic. or adding the newest information on the topic. or it can lead to users questioning your information and credibility. Take a look at your hobbies and see whether this would be of some interest to someone on the internet. • Watch for mistakes: if you provide some information on the internet and it’s wrong. • Blogs need time to succeed: blogs will not explode with new users within the first day and some don’t explode at all. There are a million different topics you can choose from and all have ways in creating the content to attract the attention of readers. Before you do get started there are a few things to keep in mind. readers will not bother to view your content. • Familiarity is key: writing about a topic you are unfamiliar with. you need to decide what goals you have planned for your blog. If you are looking for a way to escape your 9-5 job or make millions from inception of your blog. then add a little bit of your own touch to the mix.

This website will also provide you with their ranking score and show you who your top competitors are. If you are looking to make a lot of money. They either came to you through search engines or your marketing efforts. Then you will want to answer those in the 6 month time frame. Only a certain amount of websites truly generate a large amount of income from advertising on their site. A good time frame for blogging is 6 to 12 months and this is for realistic goals. To determine this information you can use a few of the following methods: • Technorati: this website will perform a blog search and provide you with a list of blogs that are written about the particular search your just made. This is a great way to determine if there is an increased interest in your topic. but it is not just going to come streaming in. If you are posting on a bi-weekly schedule to your blog and expect to make a million dollars in a year. You will also want to determine how big your niche or targeted market sector is. Having approximately 60 posts by 6 months is a good target. • Find and send customers to blog: You can expect some people to start taking a look at your blog. setting goals needs to be done realistically. your next step is to find out what is out there in regards to competition. With these in mind. • Write a set amount of posts: this will depend on your business or blog and how often you will post. • Google Trends: this website will provide you with information regarding the current trend of your chosen topic. then you will need to rethink what you are selling. • Money is not going to be flowing in: you may be in the land of milk and honey.want to do is give yourself a time frame. Find Your Competitors Once you have found your topic and set up your goals. we are going to have to work on that. be sure to use the blog as a supplement to your actual products and/or services. You aren’t well known on the internet just yet. • Are you ready to be unheard?: usually the first 6 months of your blog is spent speaking or rather typing and posting to an empty room. Here are few examples of realistic goals that you can set for you and your blog to achieve in about 6 months time: • Answering questions: you will begin to have users read your content and what you will want to do is determine what questions are being asked most frequently. If you 193 .

setting up your account. that will get more attention than the rest. you will want to research what they are providing and what they aren’t. Both blogging programs are: • Easy to use • Do not require additional software installation • There are many prebuilt designs that you can use • No programming skill required A few draw backs for these are: • Non-customizable: these sites are very basic and only provide you with very. changing the design of your blog and finally posting your first blog. Section 2: Starting a Blog for Your Online Business A few things we are going to look at in this session is choosing a blogging program. it will make it more difficult for you to make a space of your own. Once set up you can start blogging immediately. how many other bloggers there are on your subject. You need to stand out and provide something other bloggers are not providing. very limited options for customization.are right on time and provide exceptional content.com are both very easy to use and only takes a few minutes to get set up. we need to first take a look at some blogging applications you can use. Go to the search engine you are most familiar with and search for your topic. Note: if there is an overflow of content on the internet and many bloggers talking about the same topic. But also remember that the likelihood of this is based on what you are providing. Both have very similar features and can be used by anyone interested in setting up a blog. To do this though. (We will 194 . Blogging is a process by which you use specific tools to publish information on the internet for others to read and comment on. • General search engines: this is the easiest way to determine competitors. Make notes on what bloggers are talking about. The two main blogging applications are Blogger and Wordpress. This will provide you with ways in providing readers with something they aren’t receiving with other blogs. you can become one of the internet success stories. These are questions that need to be asked.com Blogger and Wordpress. Blogging Tools There are a few programs you can use and each come with their own specific set of benefits and abilities. Once searched.

If you decide to go with an installed version of a blogging platform. You can use free templates off the internet and then redesign them to meet your needs. You also add plug-ins which can make running your blog more effective and run more efficiently. this type of blogging will not provide you with options to increase visibility for your website. Installing WordPress will also allow you the ability to make it part of your website. There are other options for online blogging. so you get what they give you. again you can hire the services of a specialist. We would recommend this platform over the rest as it provides you with the ability to customizing options and is also free to install. hire someone to do all the work for you). For those looking for more options and the ability to customize your blog as you see fit there are two options. Using plug-ins and other marketing techniques.com but with a few extra added features: • Customizability: having the software installed allows you to really make the blog look the way you want it to. you can turn your blog into a real money maker. • SEO expandability: due to its customizing nature. WordPress does present its own challenges such as: • Maintenance: if you need any updating or changes made to your blog. If you aren’t sure what needs to be done. you are going to have to do it all yourself (or of course.org are similar to that of Wordpress. Although there are some great benefits. WordPress is a great way to get set up with Blogging. we recommend that you have some knowledge with web servers. • Software knowledge: you will be installing all the necessary programs required to run your blog. WordPress. The basics of Wordpress. 195 .com but it does require payment for use. If you do not then you will want to speak to a Web host or web developer to have you all set up. TypePad is another solution and provides similar qualities as Blogger and Wordpress. • Slow updates: All of the coding is managed by their IT professionals. you can also look at a range of SEO options.org and Moveable Type.talk about how you can customize your blogging in upcoming sections) • SEO limitability: if you are hoping to increase your SEO.

If you having issues with this. 4. we’d recommend hiring a professional… you’ll save a lot of time and money by hiring someone. 5.com) • Textpattern (www.org) • ExpressionEngine (www. Other Blogging Options Listed below we have a few other options for blogging platforms. Basically you are looking at the same features that are within Wordpress. then you will want to speak to an IT specialist or web host. 3. • Joomla! (www. If you’d like something more personal and original. Download and install necessary programs.livejournal. Run a test post.expressionengine. They can manage all the installing and set-up parts of your blog. To hire a professional web designer we recommend using Elance. while you worry about the content and posting. then you are looking at a few differences such as cost and level of difficulty. 2. If you have gone with the installed platform.com) • LiveJournal (www.textpattern. Once that is all set up you will want to move onto setting up the look and feel for your website.joomla. you will want to determine the capabilities you are willing to give your readers. It really comes down to your lever of comfort and knowledge. Once you have your design up and ready for use. Set up login information. you either need to go to the respective websites and sign up for their blogging platform or download and install your own blogging platform. except with additional features such as ability to manage more than one blog at a time. Configure server and your website.org) Setting Up Your Blog Depending on the route you have taken.com) • Drupal (www. If you decide to go with Moveable Type. you will want to: 1. Design your blog.drupal. We recommend this route only if you have a greater understanding of how to use blogging platforms. Designing your blog can be easy since there are many prebuilt template and themes for you to use. A few things you should definitely do is: 196 .org. These are just a few that we have taken a look at but there are at least dozens of options available to you.

Pinging is where your blogging software sends out a notification to search engines and directories.com • http://ping. you can go to www.com/xmlrpc. You want to make sure that you users are commenting on your information appropriately. • http://rpc.feedburner. If you are unsure what RSS stands for it means. Within the settings of your blogging software.blogrolling.• Do not allow them to post comments as they please.icerocket. • Do not get mad at what people comment. anyone can become a critic or a fan.weblogs. really 197 . you will want to add these websites to help you get started in pinging the internet with your content. This is a great way to generate traffic and requires no further action from you.pingomatic. You don’t want links to porn sites or the like being posted for comments.php If your blogging software doesn’t have a pinging feature. The individuals posting are regulars to your site and you do want to keep any eye on what they say but not completely review everything they say.com/pinger • http://topicexchange.pingomatic. A form of trust needs to be built on you blog.com:10080 • http://rpc. • Do allow registered or trusted users to post without moderation.blo.technorati.gs • http://ping.com/rpc.com • http://rpc.com/RPC2 • http://rpc.com and you can send out your pings using a single form. Another critical customization you will want to make is in regards to pinging.syndic8. • Do not refuse people from posting at all.php • http://weblogalot. RSS Feeds One essential component required to run a successful blog is to have an RSS feed. letting them know of your updated content.com/RPC2 • http://ping. You want people to come to your blog to interact with the information you have provided. They have a right to their opinions and on the internet. • Do review comments before allowing them to be published online.com/rpc/ping • http://rpc.

Section 3: How to Write Like a Professional Blogger Writing a blog can be quite difficult to say the least. 1. It is a format which is able to provide the headings and a brief summary or the entire contents of your post. Paste address into the Burn a Feed Right This Instant field and select Next. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something perfect and doesn’t have to make the most sense. but you’ll need to set up an RSS feed for them to view your content. Some may be useful for your blog. We could sit here and tell you what to write and how to write your blog. This is a great way to allow your readers to keep track of what content you might have recently published without having to come to your website. using one or more of hundreds of feeds readers. Just write up an introduction about your blog and what you hope to do with your blog. Also try and avoid writing things like. and getting the hang of how to write a post. The most important idea you should take from this entire section. 198 . Replace old feed address with the new FeedBurner address in your blog. Once that is all set up you are all done. If you are having writers block. The feed reader will provide the reader with your latest content in a simple and easy to read format.com 2. There are many RSS feed readers that a user may have. Readers can subscribe to your RSS feeds. except for your first post. and from the heart. get your work out there. Just get onto your blog and type away. take a break and then come back. is that writing your thoughts out will help you determine your writing style. Make it simple. Go to www. but if the style doesn’t match your personality and business model. conversational. 4. while others may not.simple syndication. Telling people how to write their blogs is a task even more difficult. 3. Setup an account. What we are going to do here is provide you with some pointers to writing a blog. then we clearly have failed you. Below are the steps required to setup an account and get you information sent to your readers. Verify blog documentation for blog’s feed address. No need to tell people about it as everyone experiences it one time or another.feedburner. 5. “I don’t know what to write about”. The important step here is to make that first post.

Take them into consideration when working on your posts.” and “like”.” “extremely. • write. Take a look at some of the suggestions below to try and help with making your blog easier to scan. • Your paragraphs should be kept to a minimum. users tend to scan their emails. This is self explanatory. it helps get your message across better and shows that you are knowledgeable about your topic. Blogs allow writers to get their message across. They are much easier to read. in a professional manner yet in a semi-professional tone. • make lists. Everyone loves to read a list and it is always simple to understand. “really.So to avoid any further confusion. • use confidence when writing. • using too many exclamation points can get annoying. • Any lists that you may create should be bulleted or numbered • Structure your blog so customers know what to expect next • Major points to be broken apart by headlines. Simplicity: you are getting to the point of your sentence and doing so clearly. Just spit it out (well not literally). Don’t jumble it all together • Use line spacing of 1.5 or greater 199 . analyze and revise. Scanability: as we discussed in our email sections. Readers also scan content that they are reading. Two ways to keep your blog on track and concise is to follow two simple rules.” “totally. There is no need to start getting fancy with words. It will help you develop your writing style and after a while. then use them. For example. • avoid filler words as it will only increase your sentences. • avoid the thesaurus like the plague or at the very least do not use it. • practice. thoughts will come more naturally. we are going to provide you with some pointers. If you can use simple words to explain something. Here are some tips to help you keep it simple. write something down and if it doesn’t make sense then revise it • use shorter sentences instead of a large compound sentence. try and use this in limited quantities. but only apply as necessary. A good recommended length is about four or five lines. Simplicity and scanability. If content is all mashed together users will have a hard time reading what you have to say and may stop coming back to your blog.

Save it and access it when you need it again. there’s the perfect way to get some new content out there. then speak to them and see if they would like to write you a piece for your blog. jumbling ideas together can get confusing and strenuous on the readers eyes Avoiding Writers Block Writers block can happen at any time. • Talk it out: if you can’t write or are tired of typing. • Ask for help: don’t have any ideas. It’s ok. Then what you will want is an idea booklet or page. you will be more concentrated on developing ideas. • Just write: write about anything and in a totally different tone.• Use images to help relieve the stress on the eyes • Allow for one idea per paragraph. Again. we all deserve a break. 200 . and to meet readers needs that other websites aren’t meeting. Pretend as if you are presenting the material to a group of friends. If you run into this problem then here are a few ways to help reduce the impact. • Guest bloggers: if you know of someone within your field that has expert knowledge about a particular subject. don’t worry. • Write ideas down: do you ever have those moments when you come up with an idea but then when it comes down to talking or writing about it you can’t remember. then use a recording device and talk out what you were going to write. and if I come up with something. ill note it down in there for later). You will want to organize it so that material can be posted at a later time for when you may get writers block again. If you know that in a few days you have to come up with some content. (I usually keep a notepad by my bed. • Set a date: set a schedule for how often you will post. This is a great way to keep track of your ideas which may be used at a later time. see who has a topic that hasn’t been discussed. • Break time: you could just be frazzled from all the thinking and working you have been doing and it’s just time to take a break. but don’t turn it into an extended leave of absence. • Write for the future: if you are on a roll and have an abundant amount of information then keep on writing. • Answer questions: if someone has a question and it’s not being answer. • Read other blogs: find out what the World Wide Web is talking about.

paraphrase or quote another bloggers content and link to them. because he or she may then promote their own blog or website.Try not to find a guest blogger that is doing the exact same niche as you. If you aren’t an expert in your field. community centered type of way. then don’t be surprised if “they” don’t come. but you can have it perform a search to see if new content has been created. The best way to track those bloggers is by using a feed reader. “Build it and they shall come”? If you have. There are different programs that you can use out there. The rest you can just delete. This is a great way to get the important information from all the blogs you are subscribed to and have it all in one application. in a user-friendly. • Note: your feed reader will update itself about once a day. A blog or website that is put on the internet and is not being connected with other likeminded individuals is already on a path to failure. or those individuals interested in your field. • Note: this allows you the ability to collect articles that are highly relevant to your topic and can be used for reference at a later time. This is very useful as the information is brought to you. To become a recognized contributor to your niche or subject. you need to make contact with those that are already discussing your topic. A feed reader is a program which gathers content from RSS feeds (really simple syndication) and brings them all to you in a nice and organized format. To do this you can go to other sites and make comments. Section 4: Networking With Other Bloggers Blogging is a great way to exchange information. Lesson 5: Building Community and The World Of Blogging Have you heard the phrase. ideas and concepts with people around the world. If you are highly trained in your field or have some specialized knowledge. instead of going to all the different websites. writing some new highly relevant content will also get your name out to the world. The feed reader will deliver the headline and some information about the posts. what you will want to do is keep track of those who are. Many users have responded positively with Google’s Reader but it all does come down to preference. 201 .

• Read other peoples comments and see whether it’s worth your time making a post. • Don’t repeat the same comment. • Linking without relevance. buzz off. It’s just a waste of your time and the blogger’s. Your first step is to find out who you need to connect with in your field. • Make a conflicting statement. He or she thinks you’re crazy and completely ignores you 2.com. If the information is not important or relevant to what your blog is about. So your next question should be. This service can be accessed through www.In this section we are going to look at ways to connect with other bloggers and also look at ways to communicate effectively with them. Don’t just go onto bloggers sites and post random conflicting questions that will irritate people. think of approaching an unknown blogger like approaching a stranger on the street. If someone has said something you want to say. For example: • Read the full post and then reply. There needs to be a response worth the blogger reading it. no one is aware of you. If you just start asking questions one of two things can happen: 1. You can make a conflicting statement but make it in a way that makes a person think. This is a big one to remember. more than once. which can get quite complicated if you are posting on several different blogs. how do I communicate with those top bloggers without seeming like a weirdo? Good job my friends. don’t try and repeat it. You may have already done this using email marketing. all you have are your words. your next step is to make contact. Nothing like looking uninformed than making a comment straight out of left field. but if you haven’t then this is what you need to do. You need to 202 .blogflux. you will use your body language. Try using a different angle. take a look at a service called Commentful. When talking to someone face to face. Comment Tracking: For those of you looking to keep track of all your replies. For example. The only problem is. here are a few pointers on starting a relationship. On the internet. don’t link to them. He or she tells you to politely. tone and pitch of voice and facial expressions to get your message across. Leave comments: now we don’t mean going onto a site and just saying something like “awesome post dude”. Once you have determined who you need to speak with. Avoiding conflict: using the internet is easy to have message misunderstood.

Guest posting: just as we mentioned that you invite others to post on your blog. • Citing for support for an argument you are making in your post is another great way to link up. they may decide not to post your content. Link to bloggers: if you want to gather attention for your work. Remember you are representing your company and you don’t want to come off as unrespectable. If you don’t have something nice or informative to say. Here are some things to avoid: • The use of sarcasm. If your writing isn’t up to his or hers standard or are contradicting their values or beliefs. Here are some things to pointers to remember when you are guest posting: • Blog owner gets final say. To use someone else’s content. but you can offer an exchange. as its your introduction to new audience members and can increase your traffic. you can link other bloggers content to your postings. it’s better not to say anything at all. • Determine if linking back to your blog is alright. • Creating a link list where you would discuss a few links which provide good content that relates to your topic. It will save you a lot of trouble. they may link back to you to help you out. • Do not be nasty. You want to make sure they are comfortable with linking back to your website. • Avoiding jokes will also keep you out of the line of fire. Remember it’s his/hers website. You would of course have a link back to their blog. you may be able to do the same on another bloggers website. Unless you can be completely clear with the joke.make sure that you are careful in the way you type your messages so as not come off as a jerk. • Take some extra time when writing the post. • Citing for additional resources can help expand your resources list and connections It is important to remember that the bloggers that own the content you are posting. will be checking their analytics program to see where their users are coming from. You will need to get in touch with them and let them know of your intentions. If they see that you are contributing to their increase in traffic. It’s hard to show sarcasm in text as it is all in the sound of your voice . best to avoid making them. He or she may also have suggestions for how you may change it. Try to avoid being nasty. You may not be accepted to just write content for them. so avoid it. Text cannot do this. 203 . here are a few ways to avoid any problems.

If they link to you. • create an introduction of yourself and about your blog • ask politely if they would be interested in linking up. It updates the RSS feed. You have posted the content on your blog. Posting On StumbleUpon One website you may have heard of while doing some internet research or browsing is StumbleUpon. Even though there are some places that get the updates of your postings. • finally make sure to reciprocate your linking. You also submit new content to the site. This is the perfect time to let readers know a little bit about yourself. If more users select thumbs-up. you`ll want to continue spreading the word about you posts. You publish a post on your blog. your information will have a higher likelihood of being stumbled upon. Manners will get you further in your progress. pinging will provide a message to the relevant websites that there is new content on your site. It alerts relevant websites. In most blogging programs. This is a great way to generate some traffic. your next task is to get your information out to the public. 2. As mentioned in earlier chapters. you have links from your website to and from your blog but now you need to reach the rest of the world. Don`t ask more than once as you may irritate the blogger. 3. Lesson 6: How to Promote Your Blog Posts Now that you have finished writing your post. 1. • say please and thank you. Use a little bit of common sense. but here are a few ways to really get the ball rolling. three things happen. This websites/service requires that an app is installed onto a person’s browser toolbar and whenever the user clicks on the StumbleUpon icon.• Write about yourself. they’ll be taken to a website based on members thumbs-up or thumbs-down preferences. you will still need to gather readers from all areas of the internet. Ask politely: sometimes just asking a blogger politely might work. which is then circulated among StumbleUpon users. you should do the same for them. It is a great little tool but don`t expect to set it and forget it. Here are few basic suggestions for completing a good submission: 204 .

here are just a few: • Reddit. If it doesn’t appeal to them.• Descriptive title: you should have a title that can explain what the post is about. which would decrease the traffic rate. if your content is mediocre or only above par. drastically. • Description: if your title is descriptive. something bizarre or strange.reddit.3 and beyond.mixx.com) 205 .com) • Plime (www. Quick and easy.plime.com/) • Fark (www. Digg is a great site because if your article is of high quality and of great importance. your post may make it to the front page and if it does that.yahoo.fark. take a look at these suggestions: • Interesting topic: does your topic have something to do with a current trend. then you might want to rethink using Digg.com (www.com) • Mixx (www. The find out if your post is Digg-worthy. • Good tag usage: remember to tag your article properly. don`t forget to write a good description about your content as well. or is it a funny post? • High-quality productions: make sure that your post is easily read. Submit To Digg Another website you may be interested in using is Digg. • Geek alert: if it appeals to those that you may consider “geeky” or “nerdy” you have good content. The only problem is.com) • Yahoo! Buzz (http://buzz. Keywords to explain your post. • Send to friends: send your post to StumbleUpon friends if you think they would be interested in your post. expect server crashing traffic. you may only make it to pages 2. because your readers may be surfing the internet looking for good content and you want to be one of those pages they view. Other Social Marketing Sites There are other sites similar to DIGG.com) • Ezine Articles (http://ezinearticles.com) • Sphinn (http://sphinn.

Blogging puts your thoughts. send polite emails to bloggers. while podcasting puts you on the microphone. Some of your basic necessities to create podcasts are: • Microphone: how else are you going to get your voice recorded and onto the computer. ideas and concepts on paper. There are some benefits of providing a podcast to your viewers such as providing content to customers while on the go. is to connect with bookmarking sites such as del. They are similar to StumbleUpon and are great ways to get more attention. compile it into an audio track and post to your blog and RSS feed. It is all about spreading the word about your information and getting people to notice and remember you. and is a great way to get more personal with your viewers. • Computer: this will be your device to record your information. Podcasting allows you to record your voice or any other sounds you may have. subscribers and other contacts that you may know about your new posts. Section 7: Basic Guide to Podcasting Have you ever imagined yourself being on the radio and providing useful information about your topic to people everywhere? Welcome to your new favorite form of communication. To be able to create a podcast you are going to be looking at either borrowing or purchasing some equipment (if you don’t already own any) and also set up an area in which you can capture great sound quality. This allows users to gain quick and easy access to your content. We are also assuming that if you can read this. These are great ways to pass on information quickly to those that are already part of your community.Other recommendations we can make to get your blog out there. you must have had access or can get access to a computer. Digg. If you decide to go ahead and do some podcasting. and Ma. then be prepared to take some extra steps to provide content to your readers. Our final suggestion is to get onto online communities such as FaceBook or microblogging sites such as Twitter.us. 206 . • Software: you will need a program that can record and edit your audio content. it helps reduce the amount of content you need to write.gnolia.icio. podcasting. You can again as noted in our other sections.

adobe. Its great if you are going to be recording while sitting in front of your laptop but if you need to move around or get things done.samsontech.sourceforge. we will look at a few options below: • Built In: this microphone is built in. When it comes down to microphones.com) Once you have determined your microphone. • Headset: this type of microphone fits around your head and is plugged into your laptop or desktop computer. The microphone is the way that sound will be transferred into a digital format which will be what your viewers are listening to. iTunes or some other service. We could make recommendations for $30 microphones to $400 microphones and beyond. Here are a few options for programs: Windows PC programs: • Audacity (http://audacity. but it doesn’t allow for more than one user to make comments. There are a few brand names that we can refer you to: • Blue Microphones: (www.com) • Logitech: (www. and is seen on a laptop. then it would be pointless. but if it doesn’t meet your needs and budget. Great tool for multiple individuals to record their voices all at once. the microphone.bluemic.logitech. we will look at each component separately.net) • Podproducer (www. It is easy to use.net) • Adobe Audition(http://www. Once again your needs and budget should be taken into consideration. it may make it a bit challenging to drag your laptop around.com) • Samsontech: (www. Great way to capture all the sound from your voice. it may even have proper software already installed.com/products/audition/) Max OS X: 207 . you will want to determine what type of program to use. For those of you who don’t already have a microphone and aren’t sure which to purchase. our recommendation is to do some online searches and see what the best for your needs is and budget. Now that you have an idea of the tools you will require for getting your podcasts completed.• Broadcasting source: getting your content to your viewers will have to be done using FeedBurner.podproducer. If you already have a microphone and are comfortable with the quality it is providing then you’re already ahead of the game. First. • Microphone stand: this is the type of microphone that is usually made of plastic and has its own support that holds it up.

We have heard many podcasts where in the middle of the conversation. • Microphone placement: you will want to move the microphone as far away from the computer as possible and you also want to keep the microphone at eye level for directing your voice directly at the microphone. Well not just yet. Read a few sentences of any document with the microphone at different 208 . This is not very professional and can be very distracting for listeners and for yourself. cars driving by. birds chirping.com/ilife/garageband) • Ubercaster (www. and out of all of them. as you can see Audacity is available on both Mac and PC. this will be your best choice. now that we have the equipment.ubercaster.net) • Logic Studio Pro (http://www. the location and everything set up we can begin podcasting. and those sounds will be heard on the recording.com) • Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge. If you have a dedicated area to perform your recordings.apple. What you want to do is run some tests with the microphone in different positions. we are going to need to find a place to set up for recording.com/logicstudio/) There are quite a few options here. • Appliances: in a quiet area you will begin to hear the low buzzing sound of the appliance. You need a room where there aren’t any appliances running or sounds of people walking upstairs or any other types of noise. Below we have listed a few tips for setting up your quiet recording area: • Windows: these need to be closed as you may begin to notice. egg cartons are also excellent in reducing the echo effect. If you are in a large room or sound carries through your recording area quite easily. And its free! You can’t go wrong with free. Other issues to look out for are echoes. You need a place with complete quietness and if you are trying to do your recordings at home. • Turn off phones: this refers to cell phones and home phones. Try an avoid rooms with appliances completely. just have the family go out for a bit. a phone goes off in the background. The key here is quiet.• GarageBand(www. you can stick up some blankets on the walls. while you complete your recordings. neighbors talking. • Turn off other programs: if you use any instant messaging programs or programs that have sound effects.apple. Now that we have found our microphone and installed all our software. Excellent.

but if you speak to slow. you need to write out everything you are thinking about and want the customer to know. As you begin to record your information you need to keep in mind two things. you will want to have the questions listed out on a piece of paper to make sure you get all the information you need. After editing your recording. Our recommendation is to add your logo as the artwork as it will help users remember you from the rest of the podcasters on the internet. but the benefits 209 . the rest of us may want to write down a few key ideas. While there are some individuals out there that are comfortable with just sitting down and recording their content. If you are doing an interview. Some editing programs may also allow you to add some artwork which can be used for branding. Speak slowly and clearly. will just start to bore the listeners. This process does reduce the size and quality of a file. Doing anything less may be too short and come off as an advertisement. Our recommendation is to stick between 10-20 minutes per podcast. encode the data and play it back. A great way to sound comfortable but still have some structure to your podcast is write out the start of your introduction. Encoding and Uploading Once you have completed your recording. you can re-record the mistakes and then use the editing program to insert your new recording. If you start rushing your listeners won’t be able to keep up with you. add a title and a date. while anything over. Podcasting on the other hand requires you to tell viewers what they need to know. Now you might be wondering how long a podcast needs to be. your main headlines. Preparing a Script and Recording Your Podcast When you write a blog. and a conclusion. you will want to encode and upload it to the internet.levels of sound and height. Once you have done that. This way you will sound comfortable and relaxed but still deliver the content that you want your users to know about. Encoding is the process of compressing a file into an mp3 format. This will help you determine which combination sounds best. Best way to avoid this. If there are any mistakes or hiccups. is to listen to your recording after you have finished. you may have a few people falling asleep.

With all this information. With all this information. • PodcastDirectory. but some additional ways are: • iTunes: you will want to visit iTunes Store and find “Submit Podcasts to iTunes Directory”. For those of you using Firefox. There are many applications out there and any one of them will suffice. we suggest using the add-on FireFTP. you are ready to start blogging and podcasting. you will follow the same guidelines provided to promote your blog posts. 210 . It’s an FTP program built into the browser… very useful! Now that you have your podcast uploaded onto the internet you are going to want to promote it. • Other websites: try finding other sites that allow you to upload your podcast online such as PodcastAlley.com: uploading your content to this will get you more views. To do this.outweigh the minor quality loss. This compression makes it easier and quicker to upload the file to your blog or website. we use Filezilla but others such as CuteFTP or SmartFTP are useful. you are ready to get your written and vocal content out there for all your viewers to see. To upload your file. you may have to download a transfer application such as an FTP client.com.

If you emails are kept consistent in elements and personality. You can also ask people to do certain things with your email or any other information you may send them. 211 . order forms. emails forwarded Using emails will not only keep you in touch with people who may not be ready to buy at the moment but may remember you when they are ready to take further action. targeted. feedback may be given back to the sender. it will naturally develop your brand. Of which there are two types: • Stated Feedback: when someone fills out an online form. Of those steps taken. It is important to remember that customers will respond more positively to your email messages when they can identify with your brand.Course #14 Email Marketing By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 14: Effective Email Marketing Section 1: Setting Up an Email Marketing Strategy Using email is a cost-effective way to deliver your marketing messages. Some ideas to help with branding and provide a familiar look and feel are: • Have logos that look consistent in: signs. website. email signup forms. receipts. An email message is sent and received almost instantaneously and once received the person will open and take steps of using the email. emails. and interest-specific to a large number of people. completes a survey or replies • Behavioral Feedback: when you track link clicks. It can be personalized. business cards. email open rates.

greeting cards.com) • MailChimp (www. physical addresses added to emails. promotions announcements. consultation. • Format message consistently across media: fonts.microsoft. It used to be alright to send emails to anyone you knew and lots of people you didn’t know. calls to action. but nowadays there is protection against that such as spam filters. reports on deliverability. avoid spam complaints. classroom-style tutorials. business letters. • Help with Content: Online communities. templates and service: • Constant Contact (www. • Help With Logistics and Reporting: Storage and retrieval of subscriber information. email signature. how to design and layout.com) • ExactTarget (www. online directories. contact information.• Include company name in all marketing: email from lines. improve open rates. sending from a verified email address.constantcontact. automated subscribe and unsubscribe requests.com) • 1ShoppingCart (www. tutorials. 212 .verticalresponse.exacttarget. • Teach You Best Practices: Best times to send.com) • Aweber (www. headlines.aweber. Some benefits of an ESP (email service provider) are: • Improved email deliverability • Database and list management • Email template design • Email message and content creation • Tracking reports • Advice and consulting There are a few providers that can provide excellent email marketing. fire walls and junk folders.mailchimp. layouts. tracking on blocked and bounced emails. email addresses. To avoid such a situation.com) • Microsoft Office 2007 (http://office. • Keep Marketing Legal: One-click unsubscribe links. privacy statements.com) Some benefits of ESP’s: • Professional Look: Can provide professionally looking newsletters. your blog. what to do when email is blocked or filtered. images. templates.com) • Vertical Response (www. acquiring the service of email providers will reduce the loss of emails. webinars.1shoppingcart.

• Clear email header identifies business and is not misleading. Collecting people’s information nowadays can be quite an endeavor. This legislation separates the two types a person may receive and email for: • Commercial Email: email containing an ad. • Email clearly states the email is a solicitation. Sending out email content to people requires you to have some required information. • Email subject line isn’t misleading. Here are some tips to keep you on the legal side of email collection: • Never purchase an email list from a company that lets you keep as a data file. • Don’t borrow an email lists and send emails to other businesses email list. • Don’t rent email lists unless the rental company practices are legal. There are three levels of permission you can receive. If you are looking at gathering and using someone’s email address. 213 . otherwise it may lead to hesitation for any future business. Collecting emails has to be done legally and while some email collection is illegal they aren’t always easy to spot. That includes: • Provide a way for subscribers to opt-out of receiving future emails. Lawmakers have enacted the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing). laws have been created to avoid such situations. be sure to get permission. but this will only lead to mistrust and loss of business. • Never collect email addresses from websites and other online directories. • Don’t use an email address collection service.Section 2: How to Become a Trusted Email Sender Due to the bothersome nature of spam. It may be easy to use sneaky tactics to gather information. • Your email includes your physical address (website address). • Email complies with any applicable guidelines for sexually oriented content. promo or business content • Transactional/Relationship Email: anything other than a commercial email Make sure that the emails you do send out are CAN-SPAM compliant.

then it is best to discard the email 2. its time to discard the email. or just having a long list and loosing track of what levels of permission belong to which email. written (they email you and you reply by asking for permission). discard it. If you are unsure. If a customer is aware of the decision they are making such as in a “Sign-up to receive a weekly newsletter” or requests to be added to email list. it really is up to you to determine which one works best or whether a combination of the three is key to your success. There are pros and cons for each level of permission. add a discretionary note advising of possible further emails and ability to opt-out) • Level 2: Explicit Permission: this form of permission happens when you disclose to the subscriber what your plans are for the use of their email address. if purchase made over a year ago. Note: If you are unsure about all emails. confirming their registration. Discard ambiguously named emails: if you aren’t sure who it goes to. As all things in this line of work. 2. Sort by date: check orders and match to email. here are a few steps in deterring permission status: 1. ◦ Note: This can be verbal (they share email wiht you and you request to add them to your list). This does not mean that they will agree to further routine emails. 1. continue reading below. it requires tweaking to really meet your business model and requirements. If you have developed or gathered emails either by using low permission levels. through the purchase of another business. ◦ Level 3: Confirmed Permission: this type of permission happens when someone implicitly or explicitly signs up for an email service. (If you do want to continue sending emails. Sort your list by source: where have the emails originated from and are the sources still used.• Level 1: Implied Permission: this form of permission happens when someone is in the course of performing normal business communication. An example would be when someone is providing you an email as part of receiving a quote or further specific information. a. physical (add their email to a guest book or signup via paper form). These emails might look like 214 . at which point you respond with an additional email. incidental (online shoppers can select a box to receive additional information after purchase).

• Too Frequent: repetitive. Avoiding Spam Complaints Recipients of your emails must be comfortable receiving emails from you and to avoid getting complaints. Confirm permission to send email: Obtaining emails from subscribers is something you should be proud of. always be cautious. accidentally clicks spam. Here are a few tips and trick for keeping subscribers up to date with your emails and letting them know what your company is up to: • Email reminders: let them know how you obtained their email address • Email frequency in line with email content: don’t overdo it but keep the content proper • Reinforce branding: include logo and keep the same color scheme • Reinforce familiarity: make emails memorable and familiar 215 . 3. If you see the above steps as a laborious process then you might be better off in discarding your list and starting off fresh. you don’t want to come off as a spammer. The most important and professional practice is to allow users to unsubscribe from your email service (it is also required by CAN-SPAM Act) The use of the unsubscribe ability provides users with the confidence that you appreciate your relationship with them. Once permission is received your next step is to minimize confusion among subscribers. Depending on this fact will determine how you proceed. doesn’t trust unsubscribe. Once a list has been obtained you will want to protect that data as misusing the email will be misusing the subscribers trust. accidental filter. Sort by category: determine if a prospect or a return customer.webmaster@ or info@ and aren’t sure who it actually gets sent to. permission to send them emails must be given. But remember. There are many reasons for a person to consider your email as spam some of those may be: • Don’t want it: unwanted marketing emails. Use “From” line to discern if spam or not. • Can’t verify it: customer is unaware of it origins. irrelevant or long emails that are frequent may be seen as spam. 4. • Other: can’t unsubscribe.

• Include email and signup process: when a new subscriber is interested in receiving emails. or wait until you have more information. • Send useful information: don’t abuse the permission. To develop a proper list. • Make Valuable Email Content: nobody likes to receive boring and useless emails. and make your emails easy and comprehendible (don’t make them work more than clicking open). Section 3: How to Build a Quality Email Subscriber List Building an email list can be an arduous task and so determining whether each subscriber you have is a loyal follower or just a migrant is important. you just avoided a lot of people sending you to the junk mail inbox. they will spam block you. if you’re in the business of funeral homes or tombstone masonry) • Allow customization: if you send out more than one type of email. • Easy signup and clear identity: don’t make signups hard (you’ll lose potentials). allow users to subscribe to the email content they want. If they allowed you to use their email. let them know what the process includes and what they will receive. • Get reviews: find out why people have unsubscribed (they may not want to give you any information but it doesn’t hurt to ask politely) • Use ESP authentication: if you can get an ESP to authentic your emails. You can use this database to do the following: • Organize and view list data easily. you will want to develop a database. If you are sending all your emails to someone who only wants one.• Send reminder letter: send a periodical letter (with their permission) similar to email reminders. It is difficult but it makes sense to agree that having a smaller following full of avid fans and repeat customers is more beneficial than having a large group of low quality subscribers and no buyers. make sure you send them relevant content that they approved (no sending cartoons to your subscribers. • Sort list into categories: you will want to do this to send out targeted emails in a variety of groupings. make sure you have something important to say. 216 . you will first need to keep track of your subscribers and to do this.

first place would be a simple database application (Microsoft Access has a great set of tools available) or through your Email Service Provider (ESP). If a simple database with a few features will suffice then great. • Synchronization: if you decide to stick with your own program or use an external providers program. remember to make sure that whatever program you are using will export the database to other programs. • Applications galore: if you aren’t sure where to start. repeat cusInformation act towards your egories for targeted tomers.users. You definitely do not want to work on a project and realize it will be useless. emails messages advocates 217 . Below is just some of the information you can gather as well as what it can be used for and some examples of each. Collecting Subscriber Information through Email There are a few types of information you can ask from prospective email list subscribers. but don’t go spending more money on features that are going to cost you more time and money (remember the old saying. coupon Behavioral how audience will subscribers into cat. zip code This will show you Used to categorize Prospects. Nothing like getting your hard earned work disappearing in seconds. • Exportation: finally. A few things to remember when creating an email database: • More bang for your buck: you don’t need to have the most fancy database out there. dating will assist in showing you how long they stay with you or unsubscribe. • Backups: always keep a copy of your database in a few private places. Category Description Use Examples Information your First name. VIP’s. mo money. • Look into your list and extract: take the most useful information and reports. mo problems). dress.• Process and track unsubscribers: this will show you a trend. make sure you can transfer or sync your data with your ESP. preEssential Used to personalize customers expect ferred email adInformation your emails. you to know.

family Information you are sending relevant info. Collecting Subscriber Information through Website 218 . Excellent Customer Service.Reveals important Gender. marital Personal info about person Used to send more status. In these situations you can. To better explain this we have provided an example below: • Open-ended question: “Why do you use our service?” • Closed-ended/Categoric-specific question: Which answer best describes your willingness to do business with us? Good Savings. you will need to provide them with a variety of questions. • Use other medias for marketing as trust develops. which would quickly decrease their rate of answering or you can ask them questions and provide them with answers that would give you a more targeted response. preferences info to. • Ask for info in regular emails. You can try to gather all this information at the start but more than likely this will not be the case. info. Knowledgeable Staff. provide them with: • Priority • Reserved tickets • Early bird access • First-to-know product information • Member-only discounts You need to provide them with an added benefit as they are providing more insight into themselves. if able to. to do so you can do the following: • Send short relevant email surveys. • Use forms or links to site where they can browse or make purchases. each with its own specific benefit so you can better understand your customers’ needs. In an effort to get to know your subscribers a little better. This way everybody wins even though you may get additional winnings in the near future. You can ask them open ended questions which may take them longer to answer. Ease of Understanding? Some subscribers may only provide information if there is preferential treatment or a prize for providing you with information that others wouldn’t provide.

here is a list of a few places: • Every page of your website • Email signature • Blog/personal website • Banner ads or online advertising • Other websites • Non-competing friends emails • Online directories Collecting Subscriber Information Person 219 . which gets you the most subscriptions. • Text links: this type can be added to the bottom of each page or it can be added as part of your email signature. Simple. A few options you can look at increasing email subscription is listed below: • Text boxes: those little boxes that have the words “Enter your email” and have submit underneath the area where you enter your email address. • Check boxes: this type of subscription method is usually added as a buffer. that when a customer is going to receive emails. may be under “Contact Us” or “About Us” or even your last button.If you have a list already built up from users that have used your service but are looking for more. but don’t make it stand out like a clown at a funeral. This is also a very simple way to get subscriptions. Now we aren’t saying that every other button or link has to be an opportunity. These types of subscriptions can be employed pretty much anywhere. but it can be incorporated in less dramatic places. or a page requiring more information. but close to that. another approach is to essentially swap your readers with opportunities on your website. easy and highly effective. the only issue with this is that it doesn’t stand out as much as the others. let them know the frequency and the information contained within. You will also want to make this visible and easy to follow through. Those can either lead to a thank you page. • Buttons: a button placed alongside your other buttons. You will want to fiddle around with its location to determine. A person who is in the process of purchasing a product can select this check box and begin to receive emails. Remember as discussed in the previous information.

but our recommendation is do it with finesse.There are rules out there when it comes down to collecting information from potential subscribers in person. You don’t want to walk into a room and just start advertising yourself (although is has worked before and should only be done if appropriate). • Business card incentive: on the back of your business card you can add an incentive for registering for emails such as “save 10% or more”. Get their permission and let them know your intention. but you would be surprised to find out how easy and effective it is when a person has something in their hand to remember you from. • Buy a domain name: create an intuitive name for a website that would then link to your signup page. You’re paying their wages. • Place a guestbook: this can be done at your store or office. but doesn’t have to be too fancy and can be a few pages long. Incentives for Signups Providing an incentive for readers to subscribe is a great way to show your appreciation to those that subscribe. • Business card basket: if you’re at a trade show or convention set up a basket. (who isn’t interested in free stuff for an email address?) • Added value: this used together with the postcard example. know what information they will receive. it will cost extra per year. Provide an additional benefit outside of your line of business such as a free haircut. but its whole purpose is to get those every important emails. • Postcards: send this out with an incentive to return it with their email address. • Train employees: if you have employees working for you then have them take down clientele information. keep one in the car just in case. Collecting Subscriber Information with Print Using print may seem contradictory when it comes to an internet business. and add a note letting potential subscribers. Here are a few ideas in helping you shine bright and not look out of place. • Swap business cards: ask if their email address is on the business card they give you. Here are some useful pieces of information when it comes to print sources. or gift card. to those that refer others and to 220 . and it only takes a few moments to do.

This route is a great way to get a large list. • Future: event access that only a member would have to already be subscribed to. they may not allow you to use a purchased list . List Building with List Brokers List brokers are marketing companies that collect and sell contact information. You already know who your customer base is and purchasing a list where you hope it will target your market. Make sure that the list you do purchase has emails of individuals that are prepared to receive your emails and have given confirmed-permission. Using an incentive provides you with two basic benefits: • Increased signups: if individuals feel they are going to get a benefit they will more likely give you information than if you weren’t giving them anything in return. This basically means that wherever you are already in contact with people. VIP access. it isn’t a guarantee that it will pay off at the end. reward points. or by mail. repeat buyers and referral increase. in person. but at the same time. may just be a financial mistake. develop your list through them. Customer would get access to a 24-hour sale that would be upcoming in 6 months). member-only info. 221 . The subscriber would only get this information that you would provide advertising for after they have been with you for a time. then make sure to proceed with caution. (ex. These incentives can also be provided to subscribers in two formats: • Immediate: free trials. If you decide to continue with this route. then be ready to have your emails overlooked. If you are using an ESP. discounts. You may have a full list and send the information to the right demographic but end up with negative results. If this point of quality isn’t met. be it the internet.those remaining loyal to you. Also be prepared to pay anywhere from 10-30 cents per email address (this is for only one email sent). • Increased loyalty: incentive rewards provides a benefit to subscribers and can cause loyalty. A few things to keep in mind when purchasing a list from a list broker: • Emails obtained: how and when was the email obtained and was explicit permission provided. Our recommendation is to collect-where-you-connect. They don’t want to become known for allowing users to essentially spam people on the internet.

This is what you need to keep in mind when developing the email. you will tend to scan. • Subscriber interests: finding out how the interests of the subscribers was determined is also very important. Do you read every single word or do you tend to scan? Like most readers when it comes to foreign emails. Think of when you read an email. An email needs to be built in a way that will stop readers in their tracks and has them take steps with you.• Permission confirmed: determine when permission was provided and how much time had passed from the date of confirmation and any other emails send to relate further info. You will create an email and then send it to the broker. • From address: this will be the address from which you are sending the email 222 . Section 4: How to Create an Effective Marketing Email This section we are going to be looking at the proper way in creating an effective email that will provide you with a brand and bring in the subscriptions you are looking for. Also be sure to have a link that will relate back to your website. email lists may be on sale only as a rental. make sure that your email provides a few options for signing up to receive more of your emails. If an email was gathered through the individual selecting a interest to car tuning is more useful than using an email from a person that bought a car part online (the purchase may have been bought as a gift). These questions are essential in determining whether the list you are buying is going to be useful for you or whether its going to be just a waste of money. This will generate traffic and can further help you with signups and website development. Quality confirmed permission emails are hard to attain and thus. If this is the case. Finally you will want to know whether the emails that you are looking at purchasing are emails you will get to see or not. The first step in creating the perfect email is having a proper header. who then formats the email and then sends it to the list. The information included in a header is listed below: • From line: this tells the recipient of your email whom the email is from. We will look at examples and ways to present an email and things to avoid when putting together all the components. This means that you will be buying the use of the emails but you will never actually see the emails.

then be sure to split your email addresses into separate lists by representative. A few things to include in you’re “From” line will help identify you much easier: • Your name: if you are the only one in your business. • Business name: if you are sure subscribers will remember you easier from your company name rather than your name. To better understand this part of the email. (ex. there is already quite a bit of information presented to the subscriber. which is unique number that provides information from the server you are sending the information from. this may be the easiest way to have subscribers remember you. You will definitely want to be associated with a good ESP as this will impact your reputation as well. then your best option would be to add your business name as well as your location. and then go ahead and create your “From” line with that information. then use your domain name. Galaxy Travel. As you can see. (ex. • Name and business name: if you are a representative of a large company. If you have a longer business name. be sure to leave the entire name as opposed to IBA.• Subject line: this is where you will enter your information regarding the email details • Email server address: this is the Internet protocol (IP) address. If your website domain name 223 . Filling Out the From Line Here you will want to ask yourself. then use whichever one is easiest for customers to associate with. If subscribers are able to relate to both. “how is your audience most likely going to recognize you”. then using both your name and business name will be more useful for your subscribers. George Simmons . then be sure to have your business name.Galaxy Travel) • Representative’s name: if there are several representatives in your company that subscribers associate with. such as Internet Business Academy. we will analyze each segment in more depth. • Location: if you are part of a large franchise. Seattle) • Website domain: if your customers are able to recognize you better with your website domain name over your name or business name.

com”.com”. Also when placing information. making the customer want to open your email and see what the fuss is about. you may be able to use your email address in the From line. Any issues with the honesty of your emails may come back to you and end up in further issues. ◦ If you are sending newsletters and are recognized by your name you may send an email from “newsletters@yourname. make sure that the information therein is honest and relevant to your business as it does need to be CAN-SPAM compliant. ◦ If you are sending and event invitation and your customers recognize you by a personal representative then your email should look like “event_invitation@repname.uses abbreviations. • Email address: in addition to using your name and business name. Here are a few 224 .com”. then you’re still best off using your business full name for clarity. The most effective subject lines are those that prompt the audience to open the email and search for specific information. Coming up with a good subject line is difficult seeing as how most programs only display 30-50 characters. There are a few options that you can follow through with but of course it is all dependent on how users associate with you best. Here are some examples of different emails for different situations. but if you have other ways that are successful then by all means stick with that route.com” ◦ If you are sending coupons and that recognizes you better from your company name then you may be able to send them from “coupons@youcompanyname. Provide the benefits in the subject line and let them know what amazing results to expect. This only allows a limited amount of information to be presented. ◦ If you are sending an announcement and users recognize your website domain name then your best option may be “announcement@yourdomain. These are great ways for readers to recognize you. Completing a Subject Line This portion of the email gives the reader a hit as to the content within the email. initials or alternate spelling.business. You are really trying to create a sense of urgency. One way to really get your point across is to copy the benefits of the product or service you are providing.

Make sure you are avoiding things that they are using as they will only make sure your emails get sent to the junk folder. it’s your product information. and what you can do to make it sound more urgent. then you know how to send out the rest of the emails. • Excessive punctuation: !!!! or ???? • Symbols: dollar signs ($$$) or asterisk (***) • Capital letters: CLICK TO ORDER NOW • Recipients first name: clearly the reader is not the subject. If you are getting more responses from one email than another. wanting to get proper information about your products and services. Remember you don’t want to mislead. then there is no need to lie. • Vague Trickery: don’t try tricking readers in clicking your emails by using openings such as “Hey” or “Check this out” or “Hi!” or “Personal Information”. deceive or manipulate your emails. • Using RE: unless of course it’s a real response to a previous email. Another very useful tactic in determining how to send out your emails is to double check your junk mail folders and see what they are doing.examples of how a subject line may look like. If you are a legitimate business. as per CAN-SPAM regulations. • Poor: What you need to know about investing • Better: What you need to know now about investing • Poor: Car Sale • Better: Car Sale – early entry information • Poor: Consultation invitation • Better: Last chance to register • Poor: Tips for remodeling your home • Better: Tomorrow’s tips for remodeling your home today Clearly there are simple ways in changing your subject line from important to urgent and all you need is to think of a word or two that will help increase urgency. if you are bothering readers with an email make it worth their time and yours. A way to really test whether your wording of urgency is doing it’s job is to send out the same email with different subject lines. 225 . • Blank: don’t leave the subject line blank.

Have it positioned in the upper left or top centre of your email. All your communications that you send will need to convey your brand and provide readers with confidence in what you provide. • Website and email colors: another way to determine which colors to use in your email is to look at the color patterns within your website. To really get the right design of email for your brand. 226 .Branding Emails This is probably going to be the most fun part of your email development as you will be using graphic elements to give your business a unique and consistent identity. To brand your email you are going to need to know how to use HTML. • Website and email offers: if your email includes an offer with a specific design. Branding helps your readers recognize you immediately and help differentiate your emails from the unfamiliar emails they receive. Using more than two or three types of fonts will only further confuse a reader. you will want to make sure that your communications match your emails. If that does not work then you will want to speak to a Web designer and have them create a custom look and feel for your emails. • Print and emails: if you are sending out offers via print sources. If you are unsure on how to use HTML you will want to direct your concerns to your ESP. If you aren’t sure which colors go well together then do a quick search on the internet for keyword “color-matching tools”. here are a few things to keep in mind: • Logo: make sure you have a logo added to your email. This provides a further integration within a subscriber’s mind of your company and brand by reiterating the color scheme. Again. this will keep the person focused on what was in the offer and will be easier to recognize it. You also want to make sure that the design is memorable enough so that customers will not forget you even if you send less than frequent emails. In the position where readers are most likely to see it • Logo and email colors: be sure to use colors from your logo within your email. • Fonts and brand: consistent use of fonts throughout your email and separate communications will provide visual anchors. once they are on your website. be sure that your website has a similar if not exact design. This will keep a more consistency throughout your email.

they will tend to use the layout as their guide on how to read the content. The main point you will want to keep in mind when creating your brand and developing your look and feel is consistency. To get a few examples take a look at: • www. be sure to only make slight changes to the different topics. look at using a copywriter. The tables below show how the majority of users scan emails.eyetools. A heat map will take a look at your email or content and determines which areas are most likely to drawn attention.com Heat maps will use different components of your email such as colors and shading to determine which areas of an email will gather the most attention. Readers will be able to associate and remember you better if the emails they receive have emails with a consistent layout and design. You don’t want to stray too far from the main design but don’t want to have all the information with one design template. For those of you with multiple formats of emails.• Emails and business personality: your emails look and feel also needs to be consistent with the type of language you will be using. which many do not have time for. A good way to figure out how a person will view your content is to separate your email into four quadrants. Once you’ve selected someone to write your emails for you. For example if you are a seller of party supplies your email text may look childish or exciting something like this: “Party Supplies”. 12 34 13 227 . let them know what type of feel you are striving for whether it be: ◦ Serious or comedic ◦ Formal or friendly ◦ Professional or casual. Using this program will help shed some light on how to design your emails. This program will help you when creating content and laying out the information in your emails. Basics of Email Layout When someone begins to read their emails. or use a heat map. If you aren’t very good at writing. A good way to determine how someone reads their email is to run a few trials.

a call to action is a statement asking the reader to do something specific or immediately. your next step is to show them where to look next. Email and Images 228 . logo and other brand-identifying information in this area will be most useful in helping your audience recognize you easier. • Next quadrant: once you have made your statement or got their attention. make sure that the image is not overwhelming. links and graphics. but it will grab their attention and having them read your headliner will again provide the recognition you will want. • Strong visual anchors: visual anchors are such things as icons. that it is within the email or directs them to where you want them to perform the particular action. Here are a few pointers you should keep in mind when designing your email and also having the most important information in the upper left hand quadrant: • Brand display: you readers are going to be seeing this portion first so having your name. • Email’s call to action: as discussed in previous sections. bullets. clicking a link or calling for service. (Making users scroll through your email will mean less views of what is really important – the content). These will help reinforce your readers view of your most important information. Make sure that if you are going to be adding a call to action. You don’t want to add a large picture and have your important information be off the page. This may be like making a purchase. • Image sizes: if you are going to be adding an image in the upper left hand quadrant. images. so you will want to make sure that your most important content is in that area of your email.24 Figure 1-1 Figure 1-2 As you can see. If there is further information be sure to use navigation links to show them where to read further. • Main headline: adding a main headline won’t be only in the upper left hand area. the upper left quadrant is the area in which most attention is given to.

If your readers are going to be viewing the material online. There are three formats that are the best for most email browsers.Images can help make your message stand out loud and clear. then this resolution is perfect. If they are likely to print the material then 300 dpi or higher is better. To use pictures effectively. Some key elements you will want to make sure that your picture contains is the following: • Browser compliant pictures: an image will be created in a format of which will determine the amount of space that picture will take. you will want to: ▪ Reduce dimension: smaller picture equals less space and less load time. it does need to be added in proper format so as to allow for all computers with different email browsers to view the content. If you are using your personal pictures or ones you have paid for online. ◦ JPG or JPEG (Joint Pictures Expert Group): is the standard for internet and email pictures. ◦ File size: the size of the file refers to the amount of data your image will use. More dots per inch means a higher quality image. It is also important when adding pictures to remember not to embed or add the pictures as attachments. ◦ PNG (Portable Network Graphics): similar to GIF but displays colors more efficiently. It is important to remember that although adding pictures is essential to a well-designed email. This will also be your way in providing customers with strong visual cues and help communicate your message better. 229 . This will usually send your email to the junk folder. ▪ Reduce resolution: 72 dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pixels per inch) is the best for quality while proportionate to loading time. ◦ GIF (Graphic Interchange Format): this is well suited for images with few colors. A solution for this is to use an image reference point. which directs images stored on a public folder. When adding pictures to your emails you need to make sure that the file you will be using is email compliant. you will want to make sure that the file can be read by email browsers. This information is determined by a number and measured in kilobytes (K). Images of less than 50K will be easier to view and load much faster.

You will want to add text but within a HTML design format. This will provide reasons for purchasing products from you or buying a service you may provide. At the opposite end of the spectrum. • Paragraphs: this will provide the important information you are attempting to relay. if you are unsure. If you are using HTML fonts. you will want to speak to your ESP or acquire the assistance of a web designer. A picture may be worth a thousand words.This will require some minor HTML work. but is the way in which your information with be viewed. The use of links will allow users to: • Visit pages: you can direct them to specific pages that you want them to view • Download: customers can download files or any additional information not in the email • Ordering: allowing users to gain access to your shopping page 230 . then words will provide the missing information. Regular users do not usually go out of their way to update their fonts. • Fonts: this isn’t necessarily its own segment within the email. you need to provide users with a way in taking action or performing some sort of transaction with you. it must be noted that for readers to view your content. Plain text will seem boring and look unprofessional. then that content will not be visible. This will provide emphasis on words. Emails and Text The use of text within an email should be no surprise. What you will want to do is to have a combination of text within the email to truly get your message across. and give your email an overall feeling. but if those viewing your pictures aren’t getting the full message. To do this you will want to place links in the email. (Remember: use sparingly). The main components required are listed below. and if you are using one unavailable to them. • Headline: this will usually be 2 to 4 points larger than your paragraph text and help entice users to continue reading. Emails and Links Once you have created your email design and figured out what information it will contain. • Links: this will allows your readers to click on keywords or phrases. it must be available on their computers. brand your emails. too many pictures and HTML can get cluttered. directing them to perform a desired task.

A simple link to a website will look something like the following: • <a href=http://www. • Name links naturally: name the link in a way that will tell users what they will get. ◦ if the link is taking a user to your website and they have to scroll through the information. Of course we are using computers. To assess this we are going to provide you with a few pointers in creating proper names for the links. ◦ Name links for analysis: you will want to create links that provide you with some feedback as to what the reader is interested in. These are clickable words or phrases.com>Insert Link Text Here</a> Most ESP’s and email applications have the user-friendly ability of selecting particular text and adding a link to the text. Doing this would only require you to enter such basic information as the website address and the name of the link. If your information provides renewal options for car insurance. so be ready to use a little bit of HTML. then you will want to name the link providing the first step: “Read step 2 for submitting ticket purchases”. then making that text the link will provide you with better results than “Click Here” text. If your email provides information on car repair of classic cars. One critical part of text links that is mostly overlooked is choosing the appropriate words for the link. then having a “Click for More” link won’t 231 . ◦ if you are going to have a link that requires customers to perform additional clicks or actions after their initial selection. ◦ if your link is going to link to an email address then you will want to make sure to include your email in the link such as: “Contact Us at support@yourcompanydomain. let them know what to expect: “Details on website/blog (scroll to bottom of page)”. ◦ if the link is going to download a file then add the type of file in parentheses: “More Information on Our Services (PDF)”.com”.• Skipping: users can skip through the different pages in your email without having to scroll through all the content available. The first type of links we will look at are text links. which results in a particular action when a user clicks on them. ◦ Name links from content: use links that are contained within your body text.mywebsite.

provide any further information on the reader. Another form of link you can have is navigation links. 232 . If you need to add a table of contents. you’ll want to speak to a web designer. These allow users to click a link which takes them to a part of the email that they can’t see immediately and also provides them with a way of skipping through the email instead of scrolling. Here is something how your link should look like: ▪ Restoring your 1967 Mustang? Discover more efficient alternatives to fiberglass. will make the reader that much more interested. Here’s an example of a better way: ▪ Shop at our site and receive free shipping. you can link the picture so that it takes you to the original size image. usually at the top of the email and contains the headlines of your content. Go ahead. A user can click one of the links and be directed to the specific information. try out other websites and see how their logo brings you to the homepage of their website. make sure the information you are providing to users is useful and not just rambling. Having a “Go to Site” link doesn’t provide a benefit and reduces interest. Try to only use it when you have a lot of information. Here are some key elements to help make your image links more effective: • Make image links naturally: When a user sees the picture. • Link to images: if you are trying to conserve space and load time by having smaller pictures. Another great way to set up links in your emails is to have image links. ▪ Name links with benefits: telling the user that there will be some sort of benefit for clicking your link. Customers can click on a picture and it will bring them to your desired location. Remember to let users know that they will be directed to a better or larger copy of the image. There is some additional programming required and so you’re lost as to how to do that. they should have an idea as to where they are going to be directed to. Clicking the logo will bring you to the main page of the website. This is a group of links. try and avoid a table of contents if at all possible. 15% off and a complimentary company mug. Although these may be a great way to organize your information. You may also be interested in adding a table of contents. • Logos to website: this should be a given as many websites are designed this way as well.

• Short headlines: keep the headlines short but to the point. so should your table of contents. although sending emails with attachments can result in having it sent to the junk folder. Email has the opportunity to provide readers with extensive information. Although there are great benefits of video. Try and avoid being clever with headlines as they may only confuse your readers.Some tips in helping you create a table of contents is below: • Heading: just like your body texts have headlines. not distract them. • Clear headlines: links should provide users with clear information as to what they will see. 233 . it becomes difficult to email a full video. Customers will not be comfortable with receiving frequent emails that either provide little to no valuable content or emails only highlighting your special qualities. Another method to deliver your message is through audio or sound files. These can be great tools for providing content while the customer is running errands or performing other duties. As an alternative you can embed a screen-short picture of the video. This information can also be hosted on your website as a podcast. Section 5: How to Create Valuable Email Content As your list grows. To avoid such situations you can create links within the content of your emails. Also by providing the link. Table of contents should help you viewers read your content. or the point where the user needs to scroll down to continue reading your content. You can provide links to video content which enables a visual element for better selling techniques. You can add the same headline from the body text but just truncate the information if it is too long. Finally you can also provide links to Portable Document Format files (PDFs). The general concept involves copying the link of the website with the content and then adding that link within the email. • Keep above scroll line: your table of contents should be kept above the scroll line. If your headline for your paragraph is “Top 10 ways in dealing with stress and anxiety” can be added to a table of contents as “Top 10 ways…”. A link is added to your email and provides a direct link to your website and content. you begin to wonder what a subscriber will expect from you. remember to provide information to the readers as to what they should expect on clicking the link.

◦ manufacturers content for your products can provide you with descriptions. Today’s coupons are also 234 . loss of clicks and ultimately leading to unsubscribing requests. a call to action can be a request for the customer to consider a product or become aware of a new service. This can be very useful as it is a powerful tool for motivating customers to take action. To help subscribers become interested in a product or service you may have. there still needs to be a strong call to action. take a look at some of steps you can take to make your sales. Two types of values need to be given to a customer when sending an email. Valuable Offers Offers can range from promotional emails to gather interest. As you provide answers to customers. To better demonstrate sending valuable offers. A strong call to action does not mean that an individual will make a purchase. ◦ testimonials can also be productive in the sense that you can allow customers to provide you with stories of their experiences.Repetitive emails providing nothing of importance will begin to bore the subscriber which translates to low levels of emails being opened. ◦ customers descriptions can be provided from those who are using your products or services. images and headlines. which prompts the reader to help meet your goals. ◦ Coupon cashing: coupons have usually come in print form and redeemed in person. ◦ check emails for clues as to what customers are interested in seeing from you. Also make sure that you have permission to use the testimonials. ◦ digital photos can be taken using a digital camera and can demonstrate your services to customers. keep track of your responses as they can be used to help promote your products and services. One of which is an offer that is valuable with the proper actions taken and the second of which is an inherent value or value in and of itself. Here are a few key elements that will assist when creating this type of email. • Promotional content: this type of email would be sent as a way of promoting a new product or service. But as good as these values may be. you will need to provide some value offers. to giveaways of complimentary products or services to entice the individual to make a purchase.

Here are a few formats in which coupons may be seen: ▪ HTML designed and printable these can be seen on websites and through emails for a real.provided online. in-person type store. ▪ NOTE: this is especially important as you may not realize how quickly a coupon can spread. If you don’t have a store then it can give the feeling of a coupon which can motivate purchases to be made. Even if you have a few subscribers. An example of an incentive would be a savings or some type of additional privilege. ▪ Incentives and giveaways: incentives are used as a way to try and gather information as to what customers are interested in and what they are willing to purchase. make sure to add a coupon number or a disclaimer. ▪ codes are entered when using an online store to purchase a product or service ▪ links that are included special codes which would apply a discount to a product once added to the shopping cart. Dates and codes can help lower your occurrence of any issues. the readers you do have may pass the coupon on to their friends who may be interested in your products. you may want to take a look at the financial loss you may incur if someone does try and abuse your offer. A giveaway on the other hand would be provided to a select amount of individuals and entice the customer to do the following: ▪ share information with you such as more personal information and interests ▪ respond to questionnaires and surveys you may have 235 . Even with the disclaimer. If you are truly content on keeping your coupon usage to a limit amount of readers. making your readers aware of the one coupon per person rule. ▪ NOTE: you may also be able to add a dotted line border to the coupon which can later be printed of and used in store.

Easiest and cheapest form of marketing) ▪ Loss leaders and urgent offers: a loss leader or bait-and-catch design is where you are discounting your product or service substantially to gain new customers or sales that is more profitable. Another method is to instill a sense of urgency in your readers. To avoid such situations you are going to need to use a call to action.▪ forward your information and emails to friends or family. It is also important to remember that when used sparingly it is more effective than used on a frequent basis. Customers are going to be more perceptive to offers that are only available for a limited amount of time. Effective Calls to Action If you are sending emails to customers on a irregular basis customers may forget you. we are sure you have seen generic calls to action such as “Click Here” or “Call Now”. We consider this as stale. Everything you want the user to do must be stated and sometimes the only way to do this is to be blunt or straight forward. This is a great way to acquire customers that are interested in your product but not ready to invest just yet. A call to action is a statement that motivates the readers to perform a certain action. If you are sending emails to customers on a frequent schedule they may become irritated and unsubscribe or not consider your information valuable. boring and repetitive. (word of mouth marketing. This can range from opening your email to making a purchase. To avoid such uninteresting calls to action we have added a list of calls to action that are strong and clear in providing direction to customers. • Complete this form • Sign up now • Print this email • Make this purchase • Visit our website • Register online • Visit our location • Save this email 236 . By now after using the internet.

will be very difficult. There has to be a benefit of opening your email in the first place. The next portions of information will detail how to create inherent material or how to combine it with various offers. You are asking the customer to act in a particular way. a sense of urgency and an adjective. This can be difficult but with practice and knowing what you want customers to do before hand will help make things easier. try and think of what you want your customer to do. Then combine an action word with the event that you want to happen. By aggregating information. Here is an example: • Purchase this great item online before Thursday and receive a 20% discount. • Informative content: when you are looking to provide readers with educational material then naturally you will be looking at adding direct facts and data possibly combined with expert opinions. ◦ Aggregating information is the process by which one collects information.• Purchase this item • Call for information • Forward your email • Find us now • Make an appointment • Order product now • Call us now • Purchase product now • Register for information • Call for service This gives you a sort of idea as to what you want to your readers to do. Providing readers with content that is inherently valuable is simple if you have something worth saying. Readers are more appreciative of emails with information based on your knowledge and experience rather than emails with offers. To create your own call to action. you are gathering stories or reports from others and providing that knowledge to your readers. There is such an array of information available on the internet that having your users find exactly what you what them to find. The examples provided above are just your starting point. (Make sure you have permission to use the information 237 . From there you can add words to provide the location. As you can see we have our action words and our information words. Here are some ideas for you to use when creating an informative email.

For example. Increases length of time spent on the website as well. If you are considered as just another website. This way you don’t have to gather evidence and permission from other websites. Providing a link back to that persons website will reduce any issues with using that content). If your readers are aware of your concerns and have similar beliefs. ▪ Answering customer questions or concerns is another great way to develop loyalty with your readers. ▪ Try adding one tip or trick in your promotional emails. Story telling is another great way to provide content. You can have one of your customers provide information about your product or service. or provide information on how to change your oil.◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ before posting to your site. Interviewing an expert in your field is a great way to provide some relevant and motivating content. and provide that content through your emails. presenting the opinions of an expert can again draw further attention to your email and website. Here are some ideas for your tips. tricks and advice content: ▪ Start a newsletter that provides information content in a fun and easy to read format. ▪ Also do not be afraid of sharing others opinions. this will increase the likelihood of developing loyalty. This is also a great way in increasing the amount of views to your website. You are summarizing content from other websites or magazines in your own words with your opinion. Tips. You can find someone within your field that is recognized as an expert. You will of course have to ask for permission but experts from the field are sure ways in gathering attention. 238 . You can also add a link to your archives where the remainder of your tips are stored. an experienced mechanic may provide information on how to extend the life of your tires. Provide opinions to your readers. ▪ Don’t be afraid to share your opinions with customers. tricks and advice: providing some form of guidance is a great way to develop trust with you clients.

If you are a food critic. You may also be interested in adding facts or research from other sources such as the internet or books and magazines. You can call it “Reader Submitted Tips” or “Tips by Readers”. dedicate an area where readers can ask you questions. ▪ Having customers submit tips or tricks can be used as a section in your email. (Remember to get permission to use their stories in your emails). ▪ Including links in your emails to videos or other similar content. you can add one step within your emails. if you require further assistance. then including this information within your emails is another great way to provide useful content. ▪ Instructions and directions: if your products require customers to follow certain steps. make sure to add them to your emails and remind readers to save them. These are great ways in developing great content for your emails. then you may want to speak to marketing 239 . you may add stories of your travels abroad. (Remember again to get permission from website or video owners) ▪ Writing your own stories is also a great way to convey a message to your readers. ▪ If there are steps that may be used for reference.Within your email. ▪ Telling a story of a customer’s experience may make the reader laugh and also helps remember your products or services. ▪ As mentioned above. ▪ Entertaining content: if your readers value a good laugh or enjoy a good story then adding some of this content will help make readers interested in your emails. ▪ Fact and research: you can perform your own research and present that information in your emails.

then your bounce rate would be 0. For example. So again if your total emails sent is 100 and 15 of them bounced. you take the amount of emails sent and subtract total bounced emails.companies or content providers. but if you don’t then you will want to speak to your ESP. To calculate this rate. Here are a few examples of what you might expect in one of those reports: • Emails bounced • Why emails bounced • Who opened the emails • Links clicked • Unsubscribers • Emails forwarded There are a few calculations that you can make to determine these. You will need to have extensive knowledge of HTML and database programming to track emails. then your total non-bounced rate is 85. ◦ Note: it is important to remember that your non-bounced rate is not the exact amount of emails that is received by readers as some emails might be blocked or not received that is not due to the server. This may be a great way to get things done if you are on a tight schedule or if you are just looking for help. Email tracking reports are a great way to determine how your email campaign is going. Here are a few important figures you will need to know as they will explain your readers usage: • Bounce rate: is the rate of emails that bounced or did not get delivered. If your emails sent is 100 and your bounce rate was 15 of them. Section 6: Tracking Your Results with Email Marketing A great reason to use emails for promotions and contact is the ability to track the emails. ▪ The open rate is calculated by dividing the tracked opens by non-bounced total. ◦ Open rate: the open rate is when someone opens an email but also when one of two things happen: ▪ When the recipient enables the images in preview pane or full display or the recipient clicks the link within the email.15 or 15%. if 85 of your 100 emails are not bounced. • Non-bounce rate total: this is the amount of emails that are sent to the reader and not bounced by the server. and 35 are tracked 240 .

• In-store purchases: if you are looking at converting internet users into in-store purchasers then you will need to somehow track those individuals. attendance or responses. To determine this figure. this requires a few additional steps listed below: ▪ To find out this number. ▪ Click-through rate: this is the number that is from unique individuals clicking on the links within your email. If your email contains 4 links and received multiple clicks from 20 users user. Some information cannot be tracked through click rates but requires a different form of tracking. ▪ Note: for those that are sending out text-only emails. to ensure that open tracking is possible.12 or 12% click-through rate per open.as opened. For example. Next you want to take the number of tracked opens and divide by total unique clicks. but most email tracking reports do provide reports on how many clicks each user selected and which links were clicked. you want to subtract 20 from the total amount of clicks. then the amount of received emails is 0. This might be used to determine sales. the amount of clicks in your email are divided by the number of emails opened. Also this only present your with unique clicks. • Note: your number of click-through rate will never exceed the number of tracked opens. Here are a few ways to do this: ◦ Have the email audience print the email and bring it along with them if they decide to come to your location. Customers can’t click links if not opened. You want to make sure that your ESP adds a blank image in every email. Below we will take a look at a few examples that don’t require tracking of clicking. You can keep a booklet set aside to keep track of the mentions. You can also provide an incentive or 241 . Try to do a monthly count as a daily count may be too minor.41 or 41%. if you have 50 tracked as open and 6 unique clicks. you will not get these emails tracked until the reader replies. ◦ Ask your email recipients to mention your email when they visit your location. your email received 0.

▪ If the invitees do not want to bring the email. and count each call related to a promotion or service. then have them mention the email to you at the event. ◦ Phone calls: if you are looking at increasing your telephone traffic.gift to mention your email. then you will know that is a call related to your email. ▪ If you are looking at a way to count the number of people attending prior to the event. ◦ Promoting products or services can also be used to track customers. If a customer enters your store in search of that particular offer then your know they have received your email. then here are some useful ways in keeping track of those callers. ▪ Email replies: the easiest way to track emails is well through your email. ▪ Event attendance: if you are trying to determine how many email recipients you will have at your event. ▪ You may add a note within the email regarding who recipients should speak with. ▪ Just like those trying to generate in –store purchases have callers mention your email. ▪ You can also ask customers how they found your number. here are few ways to help you keep track of them: ▪ Ask subscribers to bring the email invitation to the event. This can be done even if they aren’t purchasing anything. then you will want to make sure to note that information down. If they reply from the email. This can be done by you or your employees and kept be kept track of in your booklet. ▪ Setting up a special phone number for calls related directly to your emails. you may ask about the email. Smith. you can have guests preregister or reply to your email. ◦ When customers enter your store. You will want to count the emails after the event. If you sent out an email regarding “Registration due today” and 242 . Whenever a call comes in for say Mr.

you will begin to accumulate usage data through your link-tracking codes. Once you have sent out information to the readers. • Targeted email offers: if someone were to own a car parts store and from their email. This will help you determine why they are replying and whether there were any concerns or questions they may have had. then you can clearly see what they are responding to.received an email back with “RE: Registration due today” in the subject line of the email. There are two components here that you want to keep track of here. ▪ Keep track of your reply and any further replies thereafter. The list below is an example of how you can use click-through data for email development. Using this form of data you may be able to: ◦ Create a database for those individuals. ◦ Once you have discovered the different categories of interests. You will then send more targeted email information to those specifically interested in a particular segment in your business. they would be safe to assume those individuals are interested in hot rod parts. ◦ You will be able to create interest targeted emails to groups of viewers. This will be a great opportunity to speak to the customer 243 . ◦ Follow ups: following up with your clients is a great way to develop your understanding of how users interpret your email and provide you with more personal information. For example. while one group receives a coupon the other receives a discount. they would create a generic email and make minor adjustments for the two different categories. Your offers may be different. you want to make sure that your call to action remains the same. There are different ways in which you can use this data to help determine what steps you will need to take next. ▪ Keep track of the reply. you can change your offers specific to the group. if the car parts store knew that they had viewers interested in hot rods parts and other interested in import car parts. received 150 link clicks for hot rod parts. You may also want to keep track of the result or solution for the reply.

▪ Testing: this will be essential in providing you with insight to clients reaction of your email layout and content. ▪ Following up with customers can provide you with an opportunity to send a survey. ▪ This can allow you an opportunity to call and speak to the customer. You can also find out why they may have decided not to go through with the purchase. you can send a thank you card which makes a perfect transition to another offer for an alternative product. Here are some pieces of information regarding follow ups with your customers. ▪ This will be a great way to make a second offer to customers that may have clicked your purchase link but didn’t continue with the transaction. ▪ You can thank your subscribers who may have helped gain you leads or new subscribers. ▪ Then you will want to create two editions of your email and send it out to your subscribers. Determine what reasons they had for leaving your business. purchases. Find out more about your clients and provide any answers for questions they may have. etc. ▪ To run a successful test.). Then you will want to record the amount of link clicks and usage.and collect information such as telephone numbers and home mailing addresses. you will want to randomly select a percent of your email subscribers (10 to 15%) and separate them into a new category in your database. This can help gather vital data in their experience with your email. ▪ You will want to wait approximately 48 hours or until you are sure your clients have received the email. ▪ For those that did click your link. ▪ Finally you can use the follow up to get in touch with your clients that may have unsubscribed. Here are a few ways to run testing with your subscribers and you don’t even have to tell them that you’re doing anything. 244 . ▪ Once you have determined the email with the highest rate of return (clicks.

Section 7: Increasing Your Emails Deliverability Mail has always been somewhat of a love/hate relationship. After several tests. This is usually caused due to a technical issue and is 245 . Such examples may be due to misspelling of the email or due to unused of email. Then we will take a look at blocked emails and ways to avoid having your emails blocked. When an email is sent to a recipient but then returned to the sender this is called a bounced email. you will begin to see a dramatic increase in activity and will provide you further information about your subscribers usage. We also hate to receive boring. ▪ Final step is to wait for results. Because an email can be bounced for different reasons. If you are doing this properly and often. We will first take a look at different types of bounced emails and ways of dealing with them. We all love to receive fun and exciting mail. In this section we will take a look at ways at maximizing the deliverability of emails and minimizing the rate of bounced or blocked emails. you will also become better at designing your links and proper wording to attract attention. (Remember practice does not make perfection but it does bring you closer to your clients needs).send that email to the remainder of your email list. ◦ A way to deal with this is to send an email every third month informing the client that their email is registered to your mailing list. but the difference is the ability to block certain content. You can also provide a link where a customer is able to update their information if it has changed. ◦ Soft bounces: this type of bounce happens when an email is unable to be sent due to a reason that is temporary in nature. the clear solution is to fix it before sending another email out. A bounced email may be due to the server or by the email program. Email is very similar in nature. • Hard bounces: this is a type of bounce which happened due to a specific and fixed condition. we will take a look at the categories separately. irritating or expensive mail. ads or those political ad pamphlets. such as bills. ◦ If you have misspelled the email address. such as a monthly magazine subscription.

remove them from your database (it is most likely a spam trap). here are a few things that you may encounter and ways to avoid getting blocked. • Avoiding spam lists: this is a list that all senders should try and avoid. A few examples of soft bounces are: ▪ Recipients’ mailbox is full. These reasons may be temporary or fixed in nature and is a response done by the server or application. ◦ If you have just gathered a list of new subscribers. • Challenge response authentication: this is an application thats generated by a third-party that works alongside the email application. At this point the sender would authenticate the email. If you are sending out emails that are receiving spam complaints on a continual basis your email may be added to that list. To avoid these situations. ▪ The software used by the recipient cannot accept the email. try sending a introduction email to your readers. Browsing the web is not a good way to get more clients. Emails that are not being received by the sender and not due to any of the reasons mentioned above are due to blocking. It is also known as the blacklist. This is used to avoid inbox’s being flooded by programs designed to send out spam. Usually these lists of emails are gathered without consent and may contain spam traps. The application returns unrecognized emails to the sender who then needs to authenticate that they are human. A few things to remember when avoiding these spam traps are: ◦ Don’t steal or collect emails of the internet. These are all issues that are out of the senders hands. • Spam traps: spam traps are essentially email addresses that are trapped and sent to a block list. If you receive an email back from particular emails.not something that can be controlled by the sender. allowing it to be passed onto the recipient. 246 . If you send an email to any of the spam trap address you ability to send any further emails to anyone will be nonexistent. The best option is to wait until the matter is resolved or until you are to send out your next email campaign. ◦ Try to avoid purchasing a list of emails. ▪ A server that is performing the transaction of emails is currently down.

Here are some things to look for when choosing your ESP: 247 . There are spam emails that are created to look like real emails and if your email has similar qualities. Speaking to the IT professional at your subscriber’s place of work and having them add you to their allowed sender list will provide you with access to their work email. Now that we have taken a look at bounced and blocked emails. You will have to change the way you deliver your email to these individuals. Trying to bypass these applications are very tricky as anyone using one can set the parameters to block any emails with a certain type of content or words in subject headings or any other settings they desire. you will want to deliver your emails through a respected and well-known ESP. If that email is unblocked. It may be that one email is blocked by firewall. To understand and avoid your emails being filtered we will take a more in-depth look at email filtering. Even though your email may be considered spam. if you are listed as a contact person. while the other is not. we will take a look at another program which stops a recipient from receiving your emails. Here are some ways that may help your emails get around these firewalls: ▪ Having your subscribers add you to their contacts list may improve your rate of deliverability. your email just may get through. ▪ Speak to your subscribers and determine if there is an alternate email address that you could send information to. This program is called an email filter. you just got one more person to read your content.◦ Firewalls: are applications which are designed to filter out spam emails to a high degree. notifying them that the email has not been sent. An email filter is designed by the system administrators of the email programs. may be blocked like the rest. An email may be filtered due to words that are contained within the email or even done so by mistake. • Establish a reputation: having a reputable name behind your email address will increase the likelihood of your email being delivered. Because your email server is mostly unknown. ▪ This next step might prove a bit difficult but if possible it will allow your readers access to your content even at work. The difference here is that an email filter does not send an email back to the sender.

◦ ESPs that control their content being sent out by customers is also necessary. so best thing to do is hope you aren’t part of that small percentage. ◦ User controlled filtering: this is a setting that is controlled by the user. the ESP should assess the situation and determine the necessary action that needs to be taken ◦ ESP will require quality email lists before sending out emails. This will enable servers to identify you as the sender. This can range from exclamation marks (!!!!!) or 248 . It is safe to say that there is only a small percentage of individuals that are affected. They will want to make sure that your contacts are valid and have provided your permission to send them emails. Using the subscribers name in the subject line is a sure fire way to get you filtered. whichever the subscriber identifies most with. ◦ ESPs should allow you to remove customers with high spam complaints. If a complaint is made. they will consider your email as spam ▪ Place some information in the from line. ▪ Try not to use excessive symbols and punctuations. Here you can add your company name. There are certain specifications that a user can control in a means to provide additional filtering control. ◦ Automatic filtering: there is the possibility that emails may be filtered due to system administrators. Global parameters are set in place and if affected there isn’t much you can do for this unless of course you know the IT professional. Most filters will block your email if there is no from information. If they don’t know you and you have their first name. email address or first and last name. Listed below are a few ways to avoid being considered as spam: ▪ Watch what you use for information entered in the subject line. This shows that they are interested in keeping a good name for their company and at the same time providing you with a quality name provider.◦ make sure they can provide you with authentication for your email.

clicks or additional subscriptions. You will want to keep updating yourself with new technologies that ESPs are providing. there is a high likelihood of deletion or filtering. ▪ The use of ALL CAPITALS is another great way to be filtered as spam.dollar symbols ($$$) or any other types such as those mentioned. They are unfamiliar with the email address and the content. There is no need to use all capitals as it will draw attention. If the application considers a certain word to be associated with spam. but will either be interpreted as yelling. This is a great tool for users to filter content but not so great for your emails. which is never good. ▪ Emails that have attachments and are considered for marketing use will also scare the reader. which in turn results in more of your emails either getting through the filters or running into road blocks. It is important to keep authentication in mind when sending emails to your subscribers. unfortunately your email will be filtered out. 249 . It is easy misunderstood as spam. ▪ Self-learning filters: these are the type of filters that are set at a broad parameter and are self updated as the user interacts with his email. and your email contains that word. A few things to keep in mind that technology is constantly changing and updating and can prove beneficial for your needs. The ultimate goal is to get your email content out to your readers and provide you with additional benefits such as sales. or just plain old spam.

We’ll take a look at the data Google Analytics keeps an eye on and how to use that information in an effective manner.). What Analytics Can Do 250 . You should know exactly how this data relates to your KPIs (key performance indicators ex. it’s important that you know exactly what it can and can’t do. leads etc. Understanding What Can and Can’t Be Done With Web Analytics Before we go into the details of web analytics and the traffic reports they provide. There are many programs and companies that offer web analytics capabilities but this course will only focus on Google Analytics (the best option out there for most people).Course #15 The Essentials of Web Analytics By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 15: Guide to Web Analytics Section 1: Getting Started With Web Analytics Web analytic programs keep track of all the traffic your website receives which can then be used to see what your users are doing. sales. Entire books can be written on web analytics so this course will just cover the most essential and practical applications of the data.

• The number of people that visit your site. If you see that people are leaving at the registration page… you’ll want to either remove it or make it easier for users. • The keywords that a visitor used in Google to find you. and other marketing pieces brought in the most traffic.Google analytics can provide you with the following information and much more: • The most popular pages on your website. • Better focus your advertising efforts since your know which sources are driving the most traffic. From the information you get with Google analytics. emails. you’ll be able to: • Understand what your visitors are interested in by knowing which pages are most viewed. you’ll have a better understanding of what keywords to focus on. but only with the user’s permission. • Provide 100% accurate information. • Which websites your visitors are coming from. • Figure out where users are leaving your site during the shopping cart process. Privacy There are many ways to learn more about your users. • E-commerce sales tracking. • Determine the location of the users (accurately). • Knowing which of your ads. • The average amount of time a person spends on your website. Google Analytics will let you know what regions traffic is coming from but not exact addresses. • Tracking conversion goals. there are many ways in which the information provided will be skewed. Google Analytics does not: • Let you know the demographics or your users. • By understanding what paid ads (like Google AdWords) had the best ROI. 251 . • Provide you with the identity of the users (it’s all anonymous). What Analytics Can’t Do For You There are strict laws in regards to privacy that prevent Google Analytics from collecting certain information.

To avoid any problems with the law: • Provide a clear privacy policy on your site that explains what information you collect and what you do with it. • Sharing analytics data is only allowed if you have permission from the user. Log files tend to sometimes provide faulty information since not all analytic tools are able to understand some aspect of the log files. • Where they went on your website. It must be done with permission. • Retrieving and analyzing data from both log files and JavaScript codes. • Sometimes they provide info on when the user left the website. interests and habit can be extremely valuable since you’ll better be able to place ads for them. 252 . • You must be able to protect the information you collect from users. If you decide to collect more information on your users. The tools that use the log file information have to go through thousands of lines of code to retrieve and make sense of the useful data. Log Files Log files are made by your websites server. The information provided by the users was consensual. Log files collect information such as: • When the visitor arrived. • Where they came from. The information must be kept private unless permission is granted from the users. typically to deal with any problems that may arise. Collecting information such as demographics. There are strict laws regarding internet privacy and the penalties can be steep. • Retrieving data from JavaScript programs. Always ask before collecting sensitive data. How Reporting Tools Work Google analytics and other reporting tools collect the information in 3 possible ways: • Analyzing server log files. you must let the users know about it and get their consent before you do it.FaceBook users can add lots of information to their profiles which is then used for better ad placement on the part of FaceBook.

You should get your server to log the following information: • Session time 253 .If you don’t own the server you won’t have access to the server and therefore won’t have permission to control what information the log files record. Some tools interpret the information differently and so it’s recommended that if you decide to switch to a different tool that you run both simultaneously to see how they differ. Some people have JavaScript disabled on their browsers. If you use CSS and PHP codes… just place the JavaScript code in the footer. One problem with using JavaScript code is that it can slow down the load times of your website. you can run several at the same time which is recommended if you’re thinking of switching to a different tool. if this is the case the JavaScript will not retrieve the data.com • www.php of your website and it will end up on every page of your website. Setting up Your Server for Log File Reporting This can be extremely complicated and not recommended for most users. We recommend Google Analytics but if you feel it’s not powerful enough we suggest you go with the following: • www. We suggest contacting your webmaster to set this up for you. You’re not limited to just one analytics tool. Deciding Which Reporting Tool to Go With Google Analytics is the best tool for 90% of all users but it’s not the ultimate analytics tool out there. JavaScript Analytic tools that use JavaScript to retrieve data require that you place the code on every page of your website.omniture. It all depends on the size of your business and the budget you have available.clicktracks. JavaScript based analytic tool typically collect much more useful information and it’s much more accurate.com The high-end analytics tools can go for as much $500 per month. They can be extremely powerful and useful if you know how to use them.

To set up your site search function in Google do the following: 1. 4. Tracking Searches While you’re setting up your Google Analytics account. One such feature is the search tracking tool that will allow you to see what’s being searched for on your site and when it’s being done.yourwebsite. Log into your Google Analytics account. For the most part setting up Google Analytics is very easy as they provide all the info you need to start up. Creating an Account with Google Analytics Google Analytics provides a very easy method to start tracking your websites traffic. Servers can be set up to record more data but it requires a technical expertise that we won’t go into here. Save Changes. Click the edit button next to your website. It will take about 24 hours before you’ll see any actual data in Google Analytics. 3. It should be next to the Main Website Profile Information button. Google will ask you to place a code in the footer section of your website. After you register your account. 2. 5. you might as well set up the extra features they have. Copy the search query attribute and place it into the Query Parameter field in Google Analytics. Find the search query attribute in the address bar of your website (typically q= or search=).• IP addresses • Referring cookie file info • HTTP status code At the very least your server should be recording the basic information. Click the edit button at the very top of the page. It will probably look like this: • (http://www. 7. Select the “Do Track Site Search radio” button.com/(random string of numbers and letters)&q=pickaword&(more random letters and numbers) 1. Do a search for “pickaword” in the search field on your website. Go to your website in a separate browser window or tab. 2. Excluding IP Addresses From Google Analytics 254 . 6.

Select the “Add Filter for Profile” option. Every time an image or file is loaded it’s considered a hit and therefore the more files you have on a single page the more hits that page will get per visitor. A simple website with very few images will get less hits then a website with many images. Tracking the hits your website receives is not important.If you’re working on your website often. 4. A hit occurs when a file is being requested from the server. 2. 3. 5. Log into your Google Analytics Account. Section 2: Keeping Track Of Your Internet Businesses Traffic In this section we cover the main metrics that are used to understand your sites traffic. your own traffic will screw the results of your analytics tools. Click the “Add Filter” button under “Filters Applied to Profile”. It’s very easy to come to conclusions when looking at your metrics. The Most Important Traffic Metrics 255 . Hits Aren’t Everything It’s important to know exactly what a “hit” is. Hits don’t mean much in terms of traffic or marketing so don’t even bother to look at this metric. Enter the IPs that needs to be filtered. To do this you need to add a filter to your website in Google Analytics that will ignore traffic coming from your computer. Follow these steps to add a filter: 1. unless you want to examine server loads and page load times. Name the filter and under “Filter Type”. We mostly cover the metrics used by Google Analytics since it’s the most widely used program. It’s important that you understand what the metrics mean and doesn’t mean. It’s important that you exclude your IP address and the other computers who work on your site from Google Analytics. 6. keep in mind that the numbers can mean many things and that it’s very easy for the numbers to become skewed. select “Exclude All Traffic from an IP Address”. Click the Edit button next to your Website.

Every time someone goes to your website (regardless of how many pages they went to) it’s regarded as a session. By knowing the relationship between each metric and what they could mean… you’ll get much more information than if you were to just look at each metric individually. Google Analytics has a great feature that allows you to see the peak visit time throughout times of the day. Knowing the number of visits is needed to know your conversion rate since the conversion rate is based on sales per traffic. or year. If a person goes to your site many times a day… each time they go on will be considered a session. Unique Visitors 256 .There are 5 important metrics that you should know. They are a good measure of traffic but they don’t necessarily indicate audience size since a lot of visits can be created by a few people. This information can come in handy when used right. Sessions Sessions (aka visits) indicate how many times your website as a whole was viewed. In order of importance they are: • Sessions • Unique Visitors • Page views • Time on Site • Referrers These 5 metrics should be tracked regardless of what tool you use. month. it’s not an indicator of new users coming in. Some Analytics experts pay less attention to sessions and put more focus on unique visitors… but it all depends on the type of website that you have and what your goals are. Activity is an indicator of activity of the users already there. They are vital. Google Analytics places these 5 metrics on the front page when you log in. If you have lots of visits but only a few unique visitors… you know that those people like going back to your site on a regular basis. All of these metrics don’t mean much on their own. Sessions are a good indicator of how interested people are in your site. You’ll see this sort of trend with forums and news related sites.

you’ll get a good idea of user loyalty. They can show you the average number of pages viewed per session. The average amount of page views can be high (let's say 10) but if the time spent on your site is low (1 minute) then your users are just clicking through a few links but not spending the time reading anything (only 6 seconds per page). The average amount of pages viewed per visit is a good measure of how interested users are in your site. Users who look at a lot of pages on your site are probably more interested in your site then users who just look at a few pages. The better your external ads… the more new people your website gets. The higher. The time spent on your site is the metric that brings everything together. Page views are a good way to determine what pages are most popular on your site. you know you’re doing well.Unique visitors indicate how many individuals have been visiting your site. Ultimately what you want is a high time spent on your site per page views. By knowing how many new people are coming to your site. regardless of how many times they’ve been on. 257 . If the number is high. Keeping a Close Eye on Your Referrers Referrers are other websites that link to you. Time on Site The average time spent on your website combined with page views and traffic is extremely useful and powerful. It will let you know how big your audience size is. you’ll have a better understanding of how well your ad campaign is working. Google Analytics offer several ways to look at page views. the number of views each page received. By taking a look at the sessions per uniques ratio. and they can also show you the total amount of pages viewed on your site. You’ll have a better idea of what your users are into. Page Views Page views have multiple ways to be examined. the better. You may get a lot of visits but if you only have a few visitors you may want to focus on getting new people. Some visitors may view a single page several hundred times so don’t confuse more page views with more traffic.

Understanding the Referring Analytic Terms 258 .Referrer data is incredibly important. you can safely assume that those visitors were not as interested in your content. search engines that have links heading to your website. your analytics program will make requests to the user’s browser as to what website they just came from. Your privacy is secured as no private information is provided (99% of the time). emails. you’ll have invaluable data that can dramatically boost your sales and other goals. Section 3: Referrer Metrics and Analytics Referrers are by far the most important metric that you can have. ads. When combined with the other basic metrics and more advanced metrics like conversion rate. The website the user came from will be logged in your analytics program The feature in your browser that provides referral information can be turned off if you choose to. Don’t assume that just because you received a lot of traffic from a certain site that those people were interested in your site. you’ll better be able to advertise and know which one of your campaigns have worked. Referrals to your site can come in 3 different forms: • Search engines • Links from non search engine websites • Links in emails It’s paramount that your tracking program is able to detect where a user has come from. If you get a huge spike in traffic from a certain site but the average time on your site has gone down. In this section we cover the most important elements of referral tracking and a few ways in which you can use this data. Take everything into consideration. When a user clicks on a link heading to your website. especially when combined with the other metrics that Google Analytics offers. By knowing which website has sent you traffic. Referrers Referrers are essentially the websites.

Paying attention to referring keywords can be extremely useful. It could also mean that users clicking on that link are expecting something different. How to Use Referral Data If you see that you’re getting a lot of traffic from one site but the average time spent on your site is really low from those users… that may be an indication that there’s a problem with that page and it’s not loading up properly. If you combine conversion metrics with your referral data. • % New Visits: The percentage of visitors who’ve never been to your site before. referral data can be used to see which ads are performing the best. If you’re conducting an AdWords campaign. Referrer data is excellent for knowing where to focus your efforts. • Avg. You’ll want to focus your efforts on Digg but also create content better suited for Digg users.There are some terms you should understand in regards to referral data before analyzing referral data. You’ll likely be ranked moderately well in Google for several keywords and phrases. • Visits: The amount of people that came to your site through the referral. Referring Keywords Google Analytics will track what keywords were used in Google by the user that came to your site. The most important terms you should be familiar with are: • Source: Where your visitors are coming from. you’ll know exactly which ads are bringing in the most sales. If you see that a single submission to a site like Digg gets a lot of traffic. you’ll have a better idea of what keywords to focus on. By seeing what keywords bring in the highest quality of traffic. • Pages/Visit: The amount of pages being viewed by each visitor from the referral. Time on Site: The average time the visitors from a referral spend on your site. 259 . • Direct: The amount of traffic that came to your site directly by typing in the URL address. • Bounce Rate: The rate at which a visitor from a referral will see your site and then leave.

Benchmarks can be set as high as you want but you should set them realistically. time on site plus high page views per visit.Knowing which keywords bring in quality traffic will be helpful when creating an AdWords campaign. Determining quality traffic is something that occurs later on. it’s just taking up bandwidth and server resources. Every website is different and so quality traffic is different for every site. you’ll be able to know what referrers are performing effectively. What you want is a high avg. By setting the avg. Once you set all the goals with Google Analytics. Bounce Rates A bounce occurs when someone leaves your website. Quality traffic is essentially traffic that spends a lot of time on your site and will check out a lot of pages. You should also set a benchmark for customer loyalty which is essentially how often users keep coming back to your site and how often they buy products from your site. You’ll want to know what average for your site is and set that as the benchmark. There are no absolutes. Section 4: Determining the Quality of Traffic with Analytics You can be receiving a lot of traffic but unless it’s quality traffic. Find the average for each metric and set that as the benchmark. When conducting new campaigns you’ll want to get nothing less then what you’ve set as your benchmark. After you’ve set all of your benchmarks. time on page benchmark you’ll be able to know what page on your site is performing the best. Determining and Applying Benchmarks Google Analytics give you the option to set goals (or benchmarks) so you can easily see if a campaign is working effectively. The bounce rate it the percentage of people who visit a webpage that then leave your site without exploring your site further. 260 . Take a close look at the page and if you can replicate it with similar content. set them up in Google Analytics. I like to set my benchmarks slightly higher than average for a particular metric.

If it’s interesting users will click around and explore your site further. Fixing bottlenecks is critical if you want people to do a certain task. checking the bounce rates of pages leading up to the sale or registration can tell you where people are getting turned off and where there’s a bottleneck. they are the metrics that indicate how well your business is doing. People leave mid way during a registration process or purchase for a variety of reasons. it could be because the process is too complicated or there’s a trust issue. There are success KPIs and warning KPIs. Success KPIs are metrics that if they increase indicate that your business is doing well and they can include such things as: • Conversion rates for sales • Conversion rates of leads • Number of email newsletter signups • Number of sales • Number of leads • Revenue • ROI (return of investment). KPI’s can be measured in many ways but for the most part they’re measured in terms of conversion goals. If a user looks at a page and then leaves your site… it’s safe to say they lost interest.It’s a good indicator of how sticky a web page is. Key Performance Indicators Also known as KPIs. Warning KPIs are metrics that if they increase are signs that your business may not doing well and they’ll include such factors as: • Bounce rate • Cost per sale • Cost per lead • Complaints 261 . If you have an ecommerce site or a site where people have to register. By knowing that people bounce on a certain page… you’ll better be able to diagnose the problem.

For the most part SEO is very straight foreword but there are a lot of tricks and methods that can make a huge difference. 262 .Course #16 Search Engine Optimization By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher Course 16: Ranking High In Google with Good SEO Section 1: Increasing Sales with SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. They allow us to find and connect with others. This course will cover all the essentials and then some on how to get your site ranked up high on the search engines. You’ll need to put a lot of time and consistent effort into it in order for it to work. The Purpose of Search Engines Search engines are essentially what make the internet what it is.

If the website you clicked on was what you were looking for. natural way to increase your search rankings by making your site more search engine and user friendly and relevant to certain keywords and phrases. Yahoo! and Microsoft Live Search are the most well known examples of search engines out there today. Linkbait: Content that others would want to link to on other sites. you’d hope that the search engine will rank you high up to the front page so that people will find your website. If someone types in your business name. You may think Google is the #1 search engine… but only if you live in North America or Europe. White hat SEO: A non manipulative. if they don’t tell you… don’t hire them. Common SEO Terms Black hat SEO: Devious methods to increase your rankings in a way that can get you banned from the search engine if they found out. Be Cautious Of SEO “Experts” Unfortunately there are a lot of scammers out there promising to build 1000s of backlinks for you for a low price. Spiders/bots: software used by the search engines to crawl the net. Having a high placement in the search engine ranking pages can bring you a lot of traffic if ranked for the right keywords. A large segment of your traffic is likely to come from search engines. Always know exactly what methods these experts intend to use. you’re probably going to use that search engine again and again which in turn brings up the search engines traffic and hopefully stock value. 263 . SEO makes your website more appealing to search engines by making your site seem more relevant. Yahoo! still reigns supreme in many parts of the world.Search engines are important because you want people to find and connect with you and/or your business. Backlinks: External links from other websites linking back to your website. SERP: search engine ranking pages or the results on page you see when you enter a search into a search engine. Google. Crawl: Search engines use bots to scan (crawl) the internet for new pages and links. The purpose of a search engine is to give you the most relevant web page related to the search term you’ve entered.

that link is considered to have more value. description Meta tags. and much. White hat SEO is a long process and to rank #1 you’ll have to put in a lot of work and time. anchor text. There are methods to get 1000s of backlinks very quickly and ways to fool the search engines but you stand the risk of getting penalized and possibly black listed. How the Search Engines Determine Relevancy Search engines use complex algorithms to determine what your site is most relevant for and it then compares your site to other sites in order to rank your web page. They look at such factors as title tags. So the more votes you get from high valued sites… the higher you’ll rank. just make sure you know exactly what methods they use. Black Hat SEO It’s very tempting to take shortcuts when doing business but in regards to SEO. A backlink is like a vote. Good keyword rich content is important but if you want to be ranked #1. the written content. You want your site to be associated with a certain keyword or phrase. much more. There are no short cuts. you’ll need backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites. Some methods will get your site to jump up for a short period of time but they won’t help in the long term. SEO is making your site easy for the search engines to understand what your site is about and letting them know that you’re relevant to a certain keyword or phrase. URL. site age. If you plan on running a business for several years. headings. backlinks.Some of the methods used by “professionals” can get you black listed by search engines. DO NOT USE BLACK HAT METHODS! Black hat SEO looks at the loop holes in the search engine algorithm and then takes advantage of them. image captions. 264 . don’t count on them. file names. trust factors. They can bring in lots of traffic and rank you high but as soon as the search engine finds out… you can kiss your rankings goodbye. and if it comes from a website related to your niche. Not all SEO professionals are bad of course.

yahoo.com/ 265 . Search engine algorithms are changing all the time and they’re often flawed in some way which allows them to be manipulated. Yahoo! and Microsoft’s Bing provide webmaster tools that can you help you out with your SEO campaign.seoquake. It has hundreds of add-ons many of which can assist you in your business ventures.search.google. affiliate program or quick rich campaign… it’s not worth it. SeoQuake provides information like PageRank.mozilla. You can check out their collection of add-ons at: • http://addons. Firefox is the preferred browser of online entrepreneurs.com SeoQuake places a bar at the top of your browser that shows information about the sites that you’re visiting. They can be found at: • http://siteexplorer.mozilla. Search Engine Webmaster Tools Search engines like Google.org The best SEO add-on for Firefox is SeoQuake which you can download at: • www.com/webmasters Yahoo! and Bing are not as useful or as powerful as Google but they provide tools that you’ll want to use. If your business is just temporary. You can download Mozilla from the following website: • www.org/firefox Not only is Firefox one of the safest browsers to use but it has thousands of add-ons. It typically takes a search engine several months to find out about your black hat methods. Google Webmasters is an extremely powerful tool and can provide you with a lot of useful resources. Tools of the Trade If you’re serious about your SEO campaign there are tools you should use to help you reach your goals.Black hat SEO is not illegal and will not get you into trouble. SeoQuake is useful in the sense that you can do research on your competitors and you can check out your own site to see what the search engines have on you. site age. and rankings in Google and Yahoo. black hat SEO can do you wonders but if you’re in it for the long haul… avoid it at all costs. It can be found here: • www. so unless you’re doing a PPC campaign. backlinks.

Make sure your keywords relate to your website and that those words don’t have double meanings (ex. In this section we’ll cover how to pick the right keywords to bring in valued traffic from search engines. Learn to use it and it will help greatly. 266 . It’s important to document the steps you take so that you won’t confuse a large amount of incoming traffic with anything else. SEO starts with your chosen keywords. Understanding Your Target Market Choose keywords that your target market would associate with your topic. not what you associate with your topic. The secret is to find the variation of keywords for your niche that are searched for the most in search engines by your target market. Google analytics will analyze all the traffic coming to your site and display the results for you in a very comprehensive and understandable manner. Section 2: SEO and Effectively Using Keywords Having the right keywords and key phrases are paramount to an effective SEO campaign. Google Analytics is a very advanced tool and has many features that go beyond what’s needed.bing. You want to know exactly what’s causing any spike or decline of traffic. If you don’t know how your efforts are affecting traffic you could end up damaging your site. depression can be both a mental state and a financial state). There are tools to help you find the best keywords that we’ll go into later. By keeping track of your traffic. Check your Google Analytics daily and you’ll eventually see trends and gain a better understanding of how Google sees your site. don’t expect much in regards to the traffic you receive from the search engines.• http://www.com/webmaster Keeping a Tab on Your Results There are many options to analyze your results but Google analytics is by far the best. Just understand that you want to choose the words from your target markets perspective. If you don’t have the right keywords. you’ll see what works and what doesn’t.

It can be found here: • http://siteexplorer. The combined traffic of the long tail may be more then the traffic coming from “BMW” You’ll want to pick key phrases that have long tail attributes.search. the main keyword of BMW has a long tail with words such as BMW 1 series. BMW 2 series. (Ex. 267 .com/trends • http://www. Yahoo! Site Explorer is another useful tool that can give you information on a website as it pertains to the Yahoo! search engine.The Long Tail Theory The long tail is basically the longer variable key phrases of a given simpler phrase.google.microsoft.yahoo.google. The traffic from long tail keywords are generally better customers since they have a better idea of what they want.ca/select/KeywordToolExternal • http://www.) Although you may not rank number 1 for “BMW” you may rank high for “BMW dealerships” and other variables. Picking Out the Best Keywords The best keywords are ones with a good long tail but because a lot of words can have multiple meanings make sure that the long tail primarily consists of phrases relevant to your subject.com/insights/search/ There are other tools out there. Tools To Find the Best Keywords Google by far has the most dominating keyword tools out there on the market… and best of all… they’re free! The following tools are provided by Google and are extremely easy to use: • https://adwords. etc.com/Demographics-Prediction/ The demographic prediction tool is useful in that you’ll get a better idea of who’s searching for those keywords so you can have a better idea of your market.google.com/ One of the best features of Yahoo! Site Explorer is that it allows you to see what websites are linking back to a website (very useful when researching your competition). one that we like to use is Microsoft’s demographic prediction tool: • http://adlab.

The easiest way to find out how much competition a keyword has is to type that keyword into Google and see how many results come up. You can use a Yahoo! Site Explorer to see exactly what pages are linking back to your competitors. Google’s AdSense keyword tool has an option to export your chosen keywords into a txt file (which can then be imported into Excel. Although a general but relevant keyword will have lots of competition.google. If you installed SeoQuake mentioned earlier in the lesson. You want a good keyword but you don’t want a lot of competition. 268 . Essentially you want a keyword that is searched for a lot but lacks websites covering it. See who ranks #1 for a certain keyword and try to deduce what they do to get there. We recommend using a spread sheet to keep all this data as it will be easier to manipulate.com/select/KeywordToolExternal Inspect the Competition Always keep a close eye on your competition… chances have it they’re also inspecting you. Keywords that have low competition but high search rates should be on your list since they’ll help in the short term. those are your competitors. you’ll be able to get some interesting information on your competition. Study the top 20 or so websites that come up for a keyword so you can see what you’re up against. it will hold value in the long run since eventually with enough work you may rank high for it. Having a Master Keyword List You should write down all the good keywords along with each ones search volume and number of results. Having a master keyword list will come in handy when creating content and it’s important that you review the keywords every once in a while to keep yourself focused.You’ll also want a word with very little competition per search volume. Do a search for your keywords in Google and Yahoo! and examine the top 10 or so results. It can be found here: • https://adwords. The relevant keyword with the least amount of results per search volume should be added to your keyword list.

If you have a robots. Just make sure you don’t disallow everything.txt already. Robots. it means the search engine bots are being prevented from crawling your site. When a web developer is building your site. Having a form like this 269 . you’ll have no problem ranking high.txt' are useful if you want the search engine to avoid duplicate and useless pages. The most typical reason is a robots. We’ll also go into ways to make your website in such a way that you won’t have any problems when it comes to the search engines crawling your site. they often place a robot Meta tag in the code to prevent search engines from crawling your site while it’s under construction. It’s important to always stay on top of the current SEO methods. Check out the source code of your website and if you see the following. Roadblocks to Getting Noticed By the Search Engines There are some things that prevent the search engines from crawling your site. NOFOLLOW"> Some websites are now using registration forms of some sort to make the user fill out before accessing the content. Section 3: Common Problems with Search Engines and SEO This section will cover common problems that webmasters will have and some of ways to fix them. so one day you might be doing well and the next you’ll be off the radar. remove it: <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX. if this is the case. check it out and if you see: User-agent: * Disallow: / If you see the “Disallow: /” command.txt with a disallow command on the whole site.Upon doing research you’re likely to find that a lot of your competitors actually have bad SEO and that the only reason they rank high is because of a lack of competition. Every search engine is different and the algorithms they use always change. Sometimes they’ll forget to modify or remove it.

Why You Shouldn’t Have Flash Websites Flash is a highly advanced code used to make vector animations and “flashy” websites and apps. Always make sure you have HTML links somewhere on your page as a way to navigate to other pages. If you have a membership site. Having a link to a site map that links to all your other pages is perhaps the easiest way to ensure that your entire site is crawled. the search engines can’t read the flash code and therefore the content won’t be indexed. Client Side Redirects 270 . The most common method is to have your page “degrade gracefully”. Adobe (the company that makes flash) is working hard with Google to make flash crawlable but it’s still not there yet. The problem with having two versions is that only the html version will be indexed and so the traffic you receive will only be directed to the HTML version. You can still use forms and drop down menus but be sure to have a way for the bots to crawl your site. Making It Easy For the Search Engines to Crawl Your Website Search engines crawl your site by links on your page. Ajax is used to create fast loading WebPages and DHTML is used to create drop down menus and other interesting effects. Since search engines are unable to read JavaScript. Much like Ajax and DHTML. What many websites do is offer an html and flash version of their website which allows the site to still be indexed. the content you create with Ajax and DHTML will not be indexed.prevents search engines from seeing the content and therefore the site is not indexed. There are ways to build drop down menus without DHTML and in such a way that search engines can navigate them. Flash looks great but it’s not SEO friendly. keep in mind that it won’t be crawled. they use JavaScript to load the content. Ajax and DHTML Ajax and DHTML are code languages used to make fancy web apps. Search engine bots can’t use forms or drop down menus. meaning you won’t receive too much traffic from the search engines.

This will show you all the pages of your site 271 . webmasters would create pages loaded with keyword rich content for the search engines but then include a redirect code so that people would be directed to the main page and not see any of the keyword spam. If you have duplicates on your own site and you have backlinks going back to both duplicates.yourwebsite. Duplicate Content Duplicate content is a big problem when it comes to SEO. The search engines were unable to detect duplicate content but they now can and will often times penalize those sites. To find duplicate content go to Google and type in “site: www. it’s possible that the thief’s site will be indexed higher than yours.com”. This can be bad because if someone decides to steal your content and they have more authority. Disable JavaScript and CSS and if you can see all the content on your website and navigate to every page… you’re in good shape. you’re essential decreasing the amount of links going back to a single page. people would intentionally make several websites with the exact same content linking to each other thereby increasing relevancy and rankings. Search engines now detect duplicate content and will only index one of the copies. The redirect method worked great at increasing the ranking but search engines have caught on and now penalize sites for using this method. Google will rank both pages separately and because of the divided links… neither page will be ranked high. The Firefox Web Developer Toolbar Firefox has a web developer toolbar plug-in which can be found here: • http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/ This tool will let you see what a website looks like to the search engines. Go to a website and disable CSS and JavaScript… what you see is what the search engines sees.Back in the olden days of the internet. Some websites still use advanced forms of cloaking for certain businesses but its considered black hat so you should avoid it. You can use this tool to see the problems in your own website. In the early days of search engines. This redirected method was also known as “cloaking”.

you can then go through your site and fix all the issues.com” to “http://www. With the list of broken links. You know you have duplicate content if you see a message at the bottom that says: • “In order to show you the most relevant results. To find broken links you can download a free program called “Xenu Link Sleuth” which you can download here: • http://download. You’ll see all the other instances of where that sentence has been found.com • www. Always link to your site the same way.yoursite.com/”. the search engine will lower the value of your site and the bot is likely to stop crawling the moment it finds a broken link. Broken Links Broken links are a big no no in SEO. 272 . This can hurt your rankings greatly.cnet.com/index. preferably like this: • http://www.html Google sees each version of your website as an entirely separate website and therefore if you get backlinks to each version your site will be indexed 3 times as if they were different but with duplicate content.com/ Have a 301 redirect from “yoursite.yoursite.yoursite. Another great way to find duplicate content is too copy a sentence of your content and do a search for it in Google. If you like. If you have a website that utilizes a database you’ll probably get very complex URL’s.yoursite.com/Xenu-s-Link-Sleuth/ 3000-10248_4-10020826. You want each page to only have one URL all the time. get a plug-in that will simplify all the URL’s and make them SEO friendly. Section 4: Optimizing Your Site for Search Engines SEO is all about making your website appealing to the search engines.that have been indexed. we have omitted some entries very similar to the 217 already displayed.com • www. When a bot is crawling on your site and navigates to a broken link. you can repeat the search with the omitted results included”.html Xenu makes a list of all the broken links it finds on your website. Your website has 3 different addresses as in: • yoursite.

The deeper a page is. The hub pages should be categorized. Try to structure your site in such a way that your main content is accessible through the home page. in terms of page hierarchy… the less value it will have. It comes off as more professional. By creating hubs you make it easier for users to find the content that they want.This section will cover how to structure your content and website for maximum SEO value. H4 etc tags • Txt content • Links and images If your title tag is irrelevant to the H1 tag. You want your users to find the content in the least amount of clicks possible. search engines will add more value to the content since it’s more relevant and related. The best method to push up content is to create “hub pages” that link to the rest of your content. so one hub page will link to a certain category of content. 273 . Having Rules and Structure It’s important that you make an outline of the rules and structure that you’ll use for your site. It’s important to have each page congruent with one another. Your home page should link to these hubs (categories) that will then link to the content. The home page is the most important and the pages within one click are second and so on. We also go into techniques to make your website trustworthy. Structure your site with that in mind. Each page of content should be structured as follows: • Title tag • H1 tag • H2. By linking like with like. Making your site simpler is not only more SEO friendly but it’s also more user friendly. Optimizing Your Site Structure for Search Engines The secret to having a good structure is to have your best content within 1 click of your homepage. The hub page can be within 1 link from your home page. H3. the H1 tag won’t matter.

colors. fonts. are always the same. This is good for you since it’s another opportunity to get ranked high. bullet points and etc. Yahoo and Microsoft have both followed in Google footsteps and have implemented blended search features. Don’t link to sites with a low Trust Rank. • Plug-in and add-ons that you’re using. Only have one H1 piece of txt on your each page at the most.Have all the content be consistent with a certain style. It calculates your trust factor based on a few factors. Consider buying a pre-existing domain name before starting business. The Other Stuff Google Will Blend In Google takes in several different forms of content that it blends in with your search. Google search engine will see it and take it into account. H1 text has a much greater value. It’s recommend you have your site evaluated by a prominent security service and place the seal of approval on your website. Make sure that each title tag for every page is slightly different and highly relevant to the page. The search engines don’t like it when you use it too much. • The type of software and code your website uses. It takes news. Security stickers and badges help. indents. Meaning the spacing’s. Many times the webmaster will give it to you for free. The search engines take into account such things as: • The age of your website. They’ll blend in: 274 . Keep in mind that bold larger font text is not the same as H1 text. Section 5: How to Capitalize On Blended Search Results Blended search is a feature Google implemented back in 2007. You may not get a certain website ranked high but maybe an image or video will do well. Trust Trust Rank is a new concept being employed by the Google search algorithms. • The type of websites that link back to you. images and video and other media and mixes it with your regular search… but only if Google feels it’s more applicable.

make sure it’s yours or its copyright free. When writing a press release.google. Google. don’t make a sales letter! Include images and make it SEO friendly (Good use of keywords and headlines). be sure to make it informative and objective. 275 . you’ll need to make it highly relevant.pricegrabber. Search engines can’t see images but they can see the file name. Make sure it’s all there. Google allows you to submit your feed for free at: • www. If you’re going to use an image on your website.ca In order to have your feed show up.com/base Price Grabber and Microsoft require you to pay to upload your feeds and they can be found here: • www. and Microsoft’s Bing all take news feeds from news sites and will sometimes blend them with the searches. so use quality keywords. you don’t want to be sued. Update your feed regularly. If you’re allowed… include custom fields to add more relevant information. News Press releases can be extremely effective if used right.bing. A product feed is basically a spread sheet that you can give to the search engines for indexing.com/productupload/ • www. Include images in the feed. Images Images don’t have has much competition as websites in search engines and so optimizing your images for SEO can be extremely powerful.• • • • • Product feeds News feeds Images Videos Geo search info (displayed on Google Maps) Products Google and the other big search engines now take products feeds. and context in which it’s being used. Yahoo. tags. Submit press releases with PRWeb or an equivalent quality newswire.

Geo Search If you have a location for your business. this is how they determine your address.superpages. Place keyword rich captions on all your images. It’s recommended that you not only host the file on your own website but you also share it on services like YouTube.yellowpages. Google and the other search engines reference other websites for your address. The best formats for images are as . context and such. you’ll get more hits from the search engines this way. Include your video in your RSS feed. Include your physical address on every page of your site (preferably in the footer). Section 6: How to Write Quality Web Copy For SEO This section is all about writing for SEO. Many people may dread the idea of writing but it’s an essential skill to have when conducting business online. 276 .com • www.Use images that are easy to see as a thumbnail. Vimeo and other video sharing sites. Add a description tag to all of your images. it’s important to include that information on your website and to optimize for that area.com You’ll also want reviews and ratings on those sites since it’s been proven to help. Submit your business to the following sites: • www.yelp. Video Video optimizing is much like image optimizing. Name the file with good keywords and make it relevant.JPGs.citysearch.com • www. If it’s good for your viewers it’s good for SEO. Google can’t see video so it relies on the tags. be sure to place a link back to your site in the description section. If you place the video on other sharing sites. Include your location in your Meta tags. Name the file of the image appropriately using keywords. They’re the most common file format for images.com • www.

you’ll want to write articles and/ or eBooks for marketing purposes. Regardless of what your business is. There are writers out there working for as low as $5 per article and the price can go up to a several hundred dollars per 500 words. People tend to have a much shorter attention span on the net and therefore will avoid reading anything too long and trivial. People who use the web regularly have become expert skimmers. Reviews of other products will supply you with an endless list of things to write about. Get into the mind of your typical customer and think about what they would want to know or the common problems that they have to deal with. just because you’re an expert doesn’t mean everyone else is. you still need to practice your writing skills for communication sake. Brevity works best on the net. Write in short easy to understand sentences and avoid overly complex words. It’s critical that when you write for the internet you keep both SEO and your viewers in mind. Brainstorming Ideas Regardless of what kind of business you have. you’ll want to contribute some writing periodically. write daily! Writing for the Web Writing for the web is different from other media. Keep this in mind and make your content skimable and easy to read.Even if you decide to outsource your writing to a professional. They ignore useless information and focus only on what they’re looking for. Keep it simple. you’ll want to brand your expertise and participate on other blogs and websites. The New York Times for instance has a very educated crowd of followers who don’t mind the detailed articles. Keep in mind that if you decide to outsource… you get what you pay for. 277 . The writing style you should use all depends on you industry. Don’t assume that something is common knowledge. Keep up with the news in your industry and write about the current events going on. they go hand in hand. For the most part people on the web just want the information they “NEED” and nothing else. Even if your site is just a sales page.

not “readers” in the traditional sense. WordPress. Description Tags Description tags don’t affect rankings but they are used by search engines as the text you see below the title tag in search results. If your product has many features don’t cram it all into a paragraph but instead turn into a list with bullet points. It should be readable and make sense. Because of this write your content as a list. The secret is to make it entirely of keywords while still sounding nice. Always place your brand name or business name at the end of the title tag. Think of title tags as headlines. Just use as many as you can get away with without making it spammy or annoying. Typically search engines only look at the first 65 characters in your title tag so place the keywords in the beginning. Keep this in mind.It’s recommended you use spaces between each line. Joomla etc. make your content easily readable and appealing to your customers first. just straight to the point. Having unique keyword tags for each page is essential if you want to be indexed. 278 . Title Tags Title tags are used by search engines to label your webpage in the search engines. Make sure your CMS (ex.) allows you to edit the title tags for each one of your pages. In regards to keyword density. 5% keyword density is what most professionals recommend. Keyword density all depends on the topic and context. Always look for ways to shorten your sentences and you don’t need to be poetic. Make your point first and then explain it as oppose to starting vague and ending with a conclusion. Web users are scanners. You want to say what the page is about first. You can get more traffic then the number 1 position in a search engine if your title tag is intriguing and attention grabbing. it’s much more scannable. it makes it easier to read. they should be interesting and make people want to see it. People will see what the brand is upon entering your site. Avoid stuffing keywords into the title tag.

The secret is to have your keywords placed in such a way that it doesn’t take away from the user experience but it still conforms to good SEO. As mentioned before. The purpose of a headline is to grab the attention of the reader and to make them read on. it’s still recommended since those words will be highlighted if they match the search term. Content is KING! Make Writing a Routine One of the biggest commonalities between all experts is that they write about their subject often. Headlines for your content should always be coded as H1 tags and not just larger bold text. A great place to get information and see examples of a good header is at: • www. A large part of your focus should be on creating the perfect headline.com Write For Customers Not Search Engines Write for your customers first. Having to sit down and focus to write is not appealing to most people.copyblogger. No amount of SEO will help if your content is not good. writing is essential to an online business so you have to develop effective writing skills. which can then be used as content for your business. Either way it works as long as it’s interesting and convinces you to click on it. For many people writing is something that they avoid at all costs. The description tag should only be a few sentences long and it can either be about the page it’s on or your business as a whole. Headlines Headlines are important for SEO and more important than most people think. The header should relate to the title tag and should also be about the purpose of your content on that page. you’ll get traffic but you won’t get sales. If it’s not appealing to your customers. Writing about your subject forces you to form your knowledge into a cohesive manner.Although it’s not as important to include keywords in your description tag. 279 . It can bring in a lot of traffic when it’s done right. Having a call to action as in “call us at: 123 4567” can be very effective.

The links each have a different value 280 .elance. you’re in luck as there are thousands of writers out there for a good price. At the very least you should be writing 30 minutes a day.Even if you outsource your writing to someone else. This section will go into the various techniques to build links. How to Find Writers Some people are either too busy or they just can’t stand writing. It’s recommended that your writer understands SEO and keyword densities. you’ll enhance your understanding of the topic. SEO is not just about link building. it’s arguable but don’t ignore the other techniques. link baiting and the various things you have to keep in mind. Practice makes perfect. it’s important you develop your personal writing skills because learning how to make a cohesive article or document is critical to many other activities. By making writing a routine. An SEO copywriter will cost you more but the quality of the content will be much greater.com Don’t be afraid to hire a writer from Asia or a traditionally non English speaking country. The best website out there to connect you with a writer is: • www. There are many ways to create back links and some techniques can get very complicated. If you did this daily you’d have 365 articles by the end of the year… which can then be used to create a massive eBook or it can be used for your site. Within 30 minutes you can easily research and write a 500 word article. develop your writing skills and possibly be creating useable content for your business. Link Votes All websites have a PageRank which dictates how many votes (links) it can give to other websites. Section 7: Techniques for Link Building and Getting Backlinks Link building is about having other websites link back to you. Many people are under the impression that back links are the most important aspect of SEO. If you’re one of them. They can be very proficient at writing English and they can do it for a very good price.

you may be tempted to go above and beyond to get more buying power. This command prevents search engines from counting that link as a vote.com rel=”nofollow”> Linkable Content People link to articles they think other people will find interesting. Spamming the internet with links back to your site and then stopping doesn’t have much value. Provide as much value as you can. If the content isn’t the most appealing. Make your content so good that people want to see more and pay for more. You can get other websites to link back to your site all you want but if the content isn’t there… no amount of links will help. PageRank is determined by how good the SEO of that website is. do not make your content a sales pitch. Some websites will add a “nofollow” command to the links. try and place a focus on your headlines and make them interesting and provocative. try to write something that people would want to share. quality content must be your highest priority. Having a consistent number of links coming in is better than getting a lot in a short amount of time. For those of you starting out. It should be the backbone of your link building strategy. Getting link backs naturally with interesting and provocative information is the best strategy.yourwebsite. Link velocity is the term used to describe the rate a websites receives incoming links. While adding images and great headers will help with your SEO efforts. 1 or 2 images are ideal. including number and power of the links it receives from other websites. If you aren’t really sure how to make a boring topic interesting. One great tip to keep in mind while writing your content is making it easily scannable like a “top 10 list” always does well. try adding images to your article. while you can to a certain extent. Making It Easy To Share 281 . The more relevant the website is to the one it’s linking to the more valuable that link is. Good content should always come first. Also if possible. The quality of your content should sell itself. It looks like this: • <a href=http://www.depending on the relevancy of the pages. Providing unique fresh information is the best way to get others to link back to you. A great way to get link backs is to always be original and create new fresh content that hasn’t been seen before.

Approaching Others for Linkbacks This technique should only be used once since asking a webmaster multiple times can be very annoying.com • www.exactseek.somuch.zeal. • Placing links on your site back to them.Aside from having excellent content. Be sure to not copy and paste your content to each forum. Many large blogs and websites receive many emails a day asking for link backs and 99% of the time they’re ignored. We suggest the following directories: • www.com • www.clickey. you should make it easy for people to share the content. There are many plugins now available for most CMS’s that allow people to share a page on the various social bookmarking sites. There are thousands of directories on the net where you can submit your URL for free. Many blogs will ask for your URL when you comment. don’t ever spam or make it look like you’re trying to get a link back. Each post should be unique and genuine. Join all the forums related to your topic and contribute content to their website.org • www.DMOZ. Many forums allow you to have a signature which goes at the bottom of your post. Although many of these freebies won’t be worth much. place your URL in there. Easy Places and Ways To Get Backlinks There are many places on the net where you can simply submit your URL for a backlink. Also be sure to make your URL’s simple and avoid dynamic URL's as they won’t get indexed. When posting on forums. • Doing positive reviews of their site. 282 . forums are also good places to get link backs.com • www.Chiff. Another great way to get your URL out there is commenting on blogs. Before you ask others for link backs it’s recommended you build a relationship with the webmaster first by: • Contributing content to their site. they’ll still help in the long run.com If you aren’t sure where to start. Including an “email to a friend” feature at the bottom of your content is a good way to encourage sharing.com • www.

there’s a widget. or tool that will be helpful to your customers and other webmasters in your field. be sure to have other forms of backlinks as well. • It’s different. Addons.com. Apps and Plug-Ins Regardless of what niche you’re in. Just make a description of the idea you want and you’ll get programmers bidding for the project. • It’s never just text. Simple apps won’t cost you much (under $100). make sure it’s useful. easy to use and easy to implement. Link baiting much like a viral video is not a well understood science but there are commonalities between the successes. Widgets. To find a programmer we suggest using Elance. But don’t make programs your main source of backlinks as the search engines frown upon it if it’s used too much. • It’s a list. Lots of marketing experts are trying to figure out the secret to viral/ link bait marketing. Widgets and tools are great since you can add your URL to it and if someone else uses the tool. Make sure your product and site is of such a high quality that others would want to link back to you. 283 . expect others to promote it. There are hundreds of factors at play so it’s very hard to figure out. If an app is really useful to you niche. • It has images and/or videos. The most common commonalities are: • The content provides a new outlook on things. The webmasters reputation is on the line by linking to you. they’ll be advertising for you. Make sure the program runs smoothly as other webmasters will hate it if slows down loading speed. Offering your product for free to the webmaster in exchange for links can be very effective. Link Bait Link baiting is creating a piece of content that will make other people want to link to it and share it. • It’s never been seen before. so make sure your site is not something that would embarrass them. you shouldn’t have to ask for it.You want to make the act of them placing a link to you a natural process. When making an app.

Quality over Quantity Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when creating links. What to Avoid Not all backlinks are good backlinks. Seeing What Your Competition Is Doing Your competition may be your greatest source for finding good backlinks. be sure to add images and add a little humor.There are some websites you should avoid being associated with as they can lower your rankings. then be sure to avoid link exchanges and link networks.Follow social bookmarking sites like Digg and notice what makes it to the front page. The more relevant it is the better. always use anchor text for a link. Getting thousands of backlinks in short period of time can set of their radar so be careful. Link bait content may not be successful right away but keep at it. instead talk about both sides and let your visitors argue about it in the comments section. this can get you penalized. The best way to stay out of trouble is to not spam. The search engines look for certain signs that could mean you’re spamming. instead build links naturally. Talking about a controversial subject can be good link bait. Make sure your anchor text is relevant to your home page. There are some programs like Yahoo! Site Explorer which allow you to see which websites link to your competitors. One good link is worth a lot more than a lot of bad links so try and focus on quality and not quantity when making back links Remember that links with a keyword rich anchor text is much better than a “click here” link and when possible. as it could get you associated with spam sites. 284 . Lists like “top 10 lists” do really well. although avoid offering an opinion. Also be sure to avoid using programs that automatically submit your URL to thousands of sites. So if you are trying to build links naturally. sometimes an article will take off a year after publishing. One final recommendation is to focus on getting backlinks from websites with a high PageRank.

Check out the following: • www.linkdiagnosis. An expert can take a look at your site and its links and quickly tell you what do differently. Communicating over the internet just doesn’t cut it sometimes. Also when choosing an SEO expert be sure that you two have good communication and goals. You can find the program here: • www.com By seeing what your competition is doing.seomoz. Are They Qualified? 285 . you can follow in their footsteps and then go beyond their efforts.com • www. If the SEO expert ever mentions placing links to unrelated websites. as your SEO expert is someone you’ll want to work with for at least several months as SEO takes a while to see any results from it. the anchor text used and other information about the links. avoid them! If you have found someone you are interested in working with be sure to ask for referrals from anyone you know who’s used an SEO expert. SEO is a long and tedious process and may get a little technical.org Look for an expert that you can talk to and work with in person. Finding the Right SEO Expert There are a lot of people out there advertising themselves as SEO experts. Their methods should be transparent in case they use black hat methods.There’s an excellent Firefox extension that lets you see your competitors backlinks. SEO experts can be worth your time and money but you have to watch out as there are many scammers out there. There are a few sites that can help connect you with an SEO expert.org • www.elance. Also be sure to never use an SEO expert who doesn’t reveal their secrets. Section 9: SEO Experts and What They Can Do For You This section covers what you should look for in an SEO expert. A great tip to help you find a good SEO expert is to avoid any expert who guarantees a high ranking.sempo.

• Do they have contracts and if so… can you end them early? • Ask them what techniques they would be using for your site. take it for face value.000 per month.Unfortunately with the internet. A good question is to check to see how long they’ve been around for. You should expect regular reports from your professional. For smaller businesses this option is recommended. You should ask them: • How long they’ve been working in SEO. You’ll see prices ranging from $90 per month to $10. Do they sound professional? Do they know what they’re talking about? Don’t be so concerned if they’ve worked with your industry or not. • Are there any extra fees? If they can’t tell you something because it’s a “secret”. Do a search for the potential SEO experts and see what others have to say. Questions To Ask Your Potential SEO Experts To get the most out of your SEO expert you should talk with them over the phone so you get a good grasp of exactly what they do. Always call them to see what they’re like on the phone. The pricing for an SEO professional can vary but they typically charge monthly. By demanding regular reports you’ll see exactly what they’re doing. 286 . Some of you may just want a consultation with an expert in which case they just write a report about your site and give you recommendations. The most important things to look out for is that they’re transparent with their techniques and that they have a good track record. • What’s their payment process? • What steps they would take with your site (make sure they see your site before talking). Consultants who’ve been around for a while are likely to be much better. Google Blog Search is a good feature to see what people are saying. they probably are. but make sure you have an “out” in case they mess things up. trust can be an issue so when you check out the experts sites. Realistic Expectations Good SEO takes a long time to fully implement so don’t expect quick results. If they come across as professional. avoid them. SEO is the same for every industry.

Always ask them why and what they’re doing. if your site is already optimized they should charge you less. It is all about finding out as much as possible about the individual and getting to know what they have worked on. Remember you are the boss. and what they can provide you with. You’ll have to do some work and provide them with content and other things in order for them to do their job. The costs all depends on your situation. and you are the one with the vision of what you would like your online business to be! 287 . then don’t be afraid to move onto the next expert.The experts you hire can only do so much. if they can’t tell you… fire them. If you aren’t comfortable with the person you are dealing with.

com Food for the mind 288 .www.feedbooks.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful