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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and passionate about your business or product. specific to your niche. If you feel that you possess 13 . and managing physical products. Use this information as a reference when creating your business. If you aren’t sure where the power button is. We made an effort to research. we felt that a guide was needed. 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. catalogue and bring together all the aspects of online business into one condensed package for learning. 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. to verify with a second opinion (three heads are better than one).About Gurugrounds. a lot of learning and hard work. While we are providing this content to help others make money. While the internet has adapted to the times. entrepreneurial. you may want to think about hiring a professional (or at the very least. You don’t have to read everything. 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. If you are better informed on an area of the book. legal aspects.com and What We Teach After witnessing firsthand the difficult process of starting and running an online business. To help you with that. launching your business is still a fairly complicated process. taking some basic computer classes). Consider this site a reference/encyclopedia for running an online business. you can skip chapters if they don’t pertain to your business. narrow your focus on a specific type of business. 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. we are also benefiting as well. 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. then we suggest at least skimming the section. You should be individual who is self motivated. Who We Created GuruGrounds For This site wasn’t written for the person who’s never touched a computer.

email and navigating the internet. you should still understand the basics of web browsing. we can only open the door for you.any of these qualities. 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. it is up to you to walk through it. 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. 14 . This section will briefly go over the different types of E-Business models. There are many different E-Business models out there and they each require a different skill set. Our ultimate goal is to provide you with the tools required for you to succeed. But remember.

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

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

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

security concerns. Conduct informal research to verify the feasibility of your idea.com SCORE www.uschamber. You can do this by asking your friends. objective outlook. 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. coworkers. The following links are just a few organizations that are out there to help small businesses: Small Business Administration www.gov Small Business Development Center www.score.onlinewbc. Your first idea is usually not the best idea so it's important to deeply examine your idea for potential problems and concerns.gov/sbdc Chamber of Commerce www.sba. new. At the very least spend a week thinking of your business idea. and other professionals.org Woman’s Business Center www. Also be sure to take a step back every once in a while to have a fresh. 18 .sba. and the technology and tools that are at your disposal.gov You should also consult your potential customers. 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. Further Examination of Your Business Idea Poor planning leads to poor performance.

draw a large cross separating the page into four quadrants. 3. 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: • Will I be able to compete with my competitors? • How big are my competitors? 19 . opportunities. 5. 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. The upper left quadrant should be labeled as STRENGTHS. and threats. 2. 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. 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. SWOT is an acronym for strengths. 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. 4. Go through each quadrant and fill out each category to the best of your ability. The lower left quadrant should be labeled as OPPORTUNITIES. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. The upper right quadrant should be labeled as WEAKNESSES. Follow these steps to create your own SWOT chart: 1. 6. When filling out the STRENGTH category. weaknesses.

A feasibility study is a formal written process to help you determine how realistic and achievable your idea is. 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.• 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. family and other professionals there is one last step to completely validate your idea. If you can answer YES to the following questions. Many entrepreneurs can be considered dreamers as they're constantly coming up with new ideas. Essentially the feasibility study will answer these basic questions: 20 . Keep working on your idea until all the factors have been taken into consideration. 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. 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. This is just another step to make sure that all the kinks have been thought out.

• 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 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. The more accurate your information is the better you'll 21 .

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

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

Writing a business plan can be a lot of work depending on how detailed you make it. • Market Analysis: This section will cover the primary target market for your product or service. It’s essentially a summary of the entire business plan. • The Industry: This section is an overview of the industry your business will be operating in. If you’re planning on getting money from an investor. 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. This will include your internal and external management team/resources. • 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. demographics. This goes more or less without exception. 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. bank or other outside source you’ll need a business plan to show them. your target market's wants and how these wants are currently being met. and any promotional plans. and industry sales. • Marketing Plan: This section is a detailed description of your marketing strategy which will include a pricing plan.Your business plan is like a map. with a look of their competitive advantages and how you will be able to overcome any barriers to your market. but it will pay off tremendously in the end. this section is written last. • Competitive Analysis: This will be an examination of your competitors. the major competitors in the industry. 24 . The more information it contains the easier it will be to find the destination and goal you had in mind. all those will change and you business plan will need to change accordingly. These sections should include information on industry trends. and it will include information such as geographic location. The investors want to see that you know what you’re doing. A business plan will you keep your finances in order and you’ll be able to see what is priority and what isn’t.

bplans. Getting Help with Writing the Business Plan Your business plan “should” be very specific and a little research will be required. Check out Bplans (www. There are a few computer programs and templates out there that can assist you in writing the plan. They’ll add all the essential information that the investors will want to see. 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. facilities and equipment of your business.• Operating Plan: This is the section where you describe the physical location.com Deciding Whether Or Not to Hire a Professional Not all businesses need a professional business plan. depending on the requirements. 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. Find a business plan for a business similar to yours and see how they’ve done it. We suggest Business Plan Pro which can be found at: www. What You’ll Get From A Professional Business Plan Writer A business plan writer will require a lot of information from you. A business plan consultant/writer will word your plan in such a way that speaks to investors.gov/sbdc 25 . The going price for a business plan writer/consultant ranges anywhere between $1. You’ll also want to describe the inventory requirements and suppliers.500 to $5. If you want outside startup capital from investors. It can be extremely useful. You can use this format for any business.000. • Financial Plan: Here you should describe your funding requirements and how the money will all be used. you’ll want a polished professional business plan. A professional will also help you save time if that’s an issue for you.paloalto. Paying a professional to write your business plan can pay off in the end if you’re not sure how to go about it.sba. and include a description of the manufacturing process (if any).com) for samples of other business plans. 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.

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

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

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

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. Angels usually avoid getting involved in the actual business. Be sure to have proper terms of agreement written that all parties understand to prevent misunderstandings. Often time’s people who get loans and funding from family and friends keep the terms of agreement unstructured and loose. This can lead to many problems. Depending on the people you know. They just want to provide you with the funding and they’ll let you run your business. Approaching family members and friends for money can lead to problems in the relationship.com Funding Universe www.vfinance. You don’t want to give them too much ownership and then have the company succeed… it can lead to sticky situations.fundinguniverse.com NBAI.nbai. AngelInvestorNews.com www. There are downsides to getting money from your family though. You’ll get your money right away with your family and friends. 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. it’s possible to get a large amount of money by asking for a little from everyone. You’ll have to be careful with how much company stock you give up to your friends and family. angels usually give you more time to return their investments.net www.com www.angel-investor-news. Investment Angels Angel investors are people who are willing to fund small businesses and young company start-ups.com 29 . 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. anywhere up to 5 years. Also.net vFinance.gobignetwork.com Go Big Network www. Here’s a list of angel networks that you’ll find useful.

Venture capitalists will not give money to start-ups.000 or more.Venture Capitalist Getting a venture capitalist to fund your project will not be easy. If you want money from a venture capitalist you need to be in a good industry that shows growth.000 to $10.greyhouse. If you’re thinking of eventually getting a venture capitalist it’s best to make connections now. RRSPs and your 401(k) s are another source of funding. Research the different venture capitalist firms and focus on the ones that invest in your industry. Credit cards and lines of credit are excellent sources.com/venture. You’ll need a proven track record with an experienced management team.com Alternative Financing Sources If you can’t find an Angel investor. some banks and investors can offer you a high interest loan. this can be risky though and so you have to ask yourself… are you willing to lose your home? If you have poor credit. 2008 edition www. 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. just be sure to consider the penalties for early withdrawal.000 and $25.000. there are still many sources you can tap into. Microloans are just as the name implies small loans. Check out these two resources to learn more about the venture capitalist industry: • The directory of venture capital and private equity firms. 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. Attend seminars hosted by venture capitalist and connect with them online.000 and you can receive them the day 30 . your family and friends can’t loan you anything and a venture capitalist is out of the question. These loans usually go between $5. Home equity loans are another option. They want to see that you have a good track record and that you’re able to deal with big loans.html • The money tree report (www.pwcmoneytree. Venture capitalist often invest anywhere from $500.

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

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

The return policy is made to not only protect you. The return policy should clearly state the conditions by which a customer is allowed to return a product and how they will be refunded. but also your customer. 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. • You must include a correct and revised shipping date if there is a delay. 33 . and who you share it with. unless an earlier timeframe is specified. • You must ship the product within 30 days after the order has been received.A privacy policy for your online business is required by law in the USA and it’s mandated by the FTC. The TOS should indicate how users can and cannot use the site. Terms of Services Also known as a “user agreement” or “terms and conditions”. Return Policy The return policy should be clear and specific as there are always a few people who will take advantage of you. Shipping Policy This section should indicate how and when customer orders will be handled and shipped. Many membership sites .where you have to register. Here are the rules: • You must ship the product as stated on your website. will include this during the registration process (a TOS is important if you want to avoid getting sued for actions taken by users). The privacy policy has to be properly labeled and easy to access on your website. There are FTC rules to comply with in regards to shipping and handling. how you use it. It should include information about what information you gather. • 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. • You must notify the customer ASAP if you’re unable to fulfill the order. and any other rule you may require. also legal issues.

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

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

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

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

loan applications. Maintaining A Legitimate Legal Business Before opening the doors and launching your web business. Also the laws are different state to state so be mindful and consult a lawyer if you have any concerns. and many other documents ask for an EIN but if you don’t have one your Social Security Number will often do.gov/sa_vign/newFormSS4.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. review the laws and make sure you’re not breaking any of them. Also it is needed if you have employees. There will be different regulations you must follow depending the type of business you have. 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.irs. Business accounts. Getting a Resale Certificate 38 . To apply for EIN you can call 1-800-829-4933 and agents are available to guide you through the process. or your business is a partnership or corporation. The laws for online businesses change often so you must stay up to date with the regulations.do (If you don’t want to apply online you can download the form from the website and mail the application). An online business not only has its own laws but also must also follow the laws regarding a non-internet business.www4. You can also apply online (probably the easiest method) at: • https://sa.

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

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

The city issues you the license but depending on your business you may also need a county license. If your business requires the storage of a large number of products consider leasing an offsite storage facility to manage and ship your products. 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. Your license will be void and the new owner will have to buy a new one. The price range can vary from $25 to $2000 (or more) depending on the type of business you conduct. If you belong to a home owners association contact them to see if there are any restrictions in regards to conducting business from home. In some cities you may be required to get a “home occupational permit”. When purchasing your license the city clerk will ask you which category your business falls under. 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).html Section 2: Choosing the Best Business Structure For You There are many business structures for you to choose from.sba. 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. To find out where the nearest location is to apply for a license check out the SBA website at: • www. These rules are also there to protect neighbors. If you rent out an apartment or home. all of which have very specific differences that can change your business dramatically.These rules are made to protect the property value of the homes nearby. 41 . 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.gov/hotlist/license. Don’t take any of this lightly. you can change the structure down the line). If you sell your business you won’t be able to transfer the license. if you’re caught breaking the law you “may” have your business shut down.

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. 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. You business name will appear on your bank account. or tax attorney to figure out which option will work best for you. Sole Proprietorship Sole proprietorship is the cheapest. If you want other business to be able to invest in your business your options for the business structure is limited. Another important factor to determine is funding. We suggest consulting a certified public accountant. Only one person can own this type of business and all you will need is a business license. When you register a fictitious name you become John Smith dba (doing business as) fictitious name. If you plan on getting outside investors (angel investors or venture capitalist) you must have a stock option. The profits and losses of your business must be indicated on your personal tax returns under Schedule C.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. 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. How you decide to finance your company will effect which structure you choose. simplest and easiest business structure to form and operate. 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). 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 . license and various legal documents. You will have to pay Self-Employment taxes (under Schedule SE) and your Self-Employment taxes will include your Social Security and Medicare tax.

Limited Liability Company A Limited Liability company.Sole Proprietorship with Your Spouse Technically the IRS identifies a sole proprietorship as having one owner. 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. If you decide to create a partnership. The IRS considers a volunteer to be someone who does not work regular hours. If you decided to use this structure. 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. write a document indicating what percentage is owned by each person. 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. 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. what each person is responsible for. When going into a partnership there should be a clear idea of how much money and time each partner will contribute. Your spouse must meet the criteria of being a volunteer otherwise the IRS will fine you. 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. There should also be a clear idea of how decisions will be made. If your spouse has an active role in the ownership of the business. the IRS considers your business a partnership. and how the profits and losses will be distributed among each partner. also known as an LLC or LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) is a great structure for those looking for legal 43 . 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. According to the IRS your business is still owned by one person.

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

for a period of time (usually the life time of the author and 70 years after). software. If you need new owners for investment reasons you can look at incorporating. music. 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). Most business start out as either a proprietorship but down the line someone else may join you and you can switch to a partnership. 45 . Why Trademarks and Copyrights Are Important A copyright is the right to use an intellectual property (writing. 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. expect to pay upwards of $1000 for an attorney to fill out the paper work. piece of art. The SBA website offers instructions for those wanting to change their business legal structure: • www. 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. logo. If you decide to switch it back to a partnership or proprietorship you’ll have to go through a lot of work. Section 3: Trademarks and Copyrighting This section will cover techniques to protect you intellectual properties (IP) from plagiarism to improper use of business materials. Remember.For this type of structure. art.sba. design) which is granted by law. We’ll show you how to register trademarks and copyright. You must go through many procedures to legally dissolve the corporation before changing its legal structure. A corporation has many owners and many legal requirements. or name it’s worth protecting.gov/smallbusinessplanner/exit Consult a trusted business advisor before changing the legal structure of your business. if you’ve put a lot of work into a certain phrase. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

. Avoid names that people search for often.namecheap. Brevity packs a punch. If you use keywords related to your business.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). A final recommendation when choosing a name is to choose a unique one.org When registering the domain name be sure to know how long the name will be registered for. Registering a domain name will run you anywhere between $5 to $30. 55 .net.). the shorter the name.com. 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. You can also find companies that just specialize in registering domain names. The name should be unique but related so that it’s not confused with anything else. 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. If not there are many ways to compromise and find alternatives.org etc.com There is an official list of domain names that is operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): • www. search engines will rank you higher which will make it easier for people to find you. The prices vary because the different companies offer different services.icann. 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. Also. Compare the fees and services of the various companies before buying. . A useful way to come up with a domain name is to use keywords to identify what you do. the easier it will be to remember. Such as: • www. Purchasing a domain name has never been easier and most websites come with ample instructions to assist you in your purchase.

net or . you may want to consider using a different extension such as . The best way to do this is to contact the owner or webmaster of the owner.htm Being Creative with the Domain Naming Process 56 . 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 . Keep trying out domain names until you find one that you like and is available. The Domain Name Extension If you’re preferred domain name is taken under the .com extension. To see a complete list of extensions you can go here: www.com should be your first choice. Your registering company can contact the owner with your bid but expect to pay a service fee of about $50.000 new domains being registered daily. WHOIS is a feature that some domain names have that allow you to see the contact information of the owners.Contact the owner directly and if you’re nice you can get it for free sometimes. you should have no problem finding a good domain name.org.Exploring More Options Hopefully your first choice of a domain name will be available.com to something else. 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. 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 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).org/cctld/cctld-whois.iana. Many domain names do not have active sites so sometimes those owners will give them away for free. It can be difficult to find a good available domain name but if you’re creative. If you don’t like the alternatives you basically have to start from square one.

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

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

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

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

Difficult to make active at first but it’s great if you can get them busy. • Forums and chat rooms. • Contact information (an email will do). • Language viewing options. Planning For Success When it comes to building a website you can’t just jump in there and start doing it. • A way for users to comment on articles and posts and products. • RSS and email subscribing. • 24/7 customer support.e. Simplicity and ease of use is key. • Member registration option for more content and access to areas of your websites (forums and chat rooms). What people want out of a website hasn’t changed much. Much like building a house.). • Store locations (if applicable). and entertainment). Interactive functions • A search function that allows users to search for information on your website. Enhancing functions • Demos and tutorials for your products or services. media. the first step 61 . you need to plan. • New forms of media (i.pdf’s and etc. • An option to download media and appropriate files (. • Images and media work as intended. 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. • Your website should have a way for users to make orders (shopping carts). People want a simple. 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. easy to use website that will provide them with value (in the form of information..• All links work properly. In this section we’ll go into the various methods and ways to make a website either by you or with a professional.

Simplify all steps for the user (the fewer steps taken to perform an action the better). 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 should start working on a site map. Don’t worry about how each page look yet. 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. • Will there be a members section? If so you’ll need a log in and registration page. • 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. 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. You first have to figure out pages you’ll need.before the foundation is creating the blueprints. Position all important information at the top of the screen (just like a newspaper does). 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. Good sites take ample time to plan exactly what it will look like. The content you want the user to see should be front and center and near the top. A site map is like flow chart to show you how each page connects to one another and what each page links to. Be sure to 62 . Guidelines for Good Page Layouts Don’t overload the users’ senses with too much stuff on any single page. Your site ultimately has one function: “to make money”. Your attention should go there first (also remember that having an uncrowned page improves loading speed).

Good web design is always evolving and can take a lot of time. This can lead to a lot of wasted time. Common Issues That Occur While Developing a Website Piss poor planning leads to piss poor performance. Avoid implementing too many functions on one page. This will increase sales dramatically. Losing focus is a big problem with many web designers. 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. Once you get a functional design that works. Make the navigation global. Once your site “looks done” go through all the pages and buttons and make sure they all work as intended. Building a Website On Your Own 63 . Your website will never fully be done because it can always be improved. Realistic Expectations If you’ve never made a website before it’s easy to get carried away and create a grandiose plan. 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. Be sure to do your research and see what the developer has done before hiring one otherwise you may be disappointed. A user should be able to access all the main parts of your website from every page. Don’t spend too much time working on your web design. get it up and improve it from there otherwise you’ll never start business. 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. Focus on the priorities and don’t waste your time on trivial applications and functions.simplify the shopping experience as much as possible. Not debugging enough is a common problem with many website owners. Remember that simplicity and ease of use for the user should be your first priority. 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.

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. 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). 64 . We recommend wordpress. There are many forums and support available with these tools so if you encounter a problem you can get the help for free.com/lutusp/html_tutor. Long gone are the days of using notepad to write html code. you don’t need to know html to make a website as there are many tools that will create the html for you.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. By learning the basics of html you can save yourself a lot of money.arachnoid. the tools out there are simple and easy to use. 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. There are many tools out there that make the process of building a website extremely easy. But the great thing about it is.org • http://www. The following websites are recommended to get you started (we highly recommend WordPress for the beginners): • http://wordpress. Although you don’t need to know html it’s recommended if you want to have better control of your website. Many of these tools support membership plug-ins and shopping cart systems.joomla. These tools allow you to easily install new functions and applications all with the click of a button.org • http://drupal. Even if you’re a complete beginner and you’ve never made a website.org • http://www. Check out the following site to learn the basics of html code: • http://www.com The websites that offer this powerful site creation tool have lots of support. Some of them you have to pay for but they’re well worth it in the long run.vbulletin. With a little time and patience you can create stunning professional website on your own.com as it’s probably the simplest and easiest to use.Fortunately making your website has never been easier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Search engines rank you for a certain keyword based on how relevant you are to that word or phrase. If you place the keyword too many times on your website search engines consider it spamming and will remove you from the rankings.

• Test out all functions of your website. 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. Don’t overly use keywords as human users may find it odd and distracting. Testing. Fortunately you can use websites out there on the internet for free to test everything out for you. Don’t worry too much about any of the problems you see at first as no one else will find your website. • Test your website in each operating system. Use commonly used keywords and phrases related to your product throughout the content of 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. Testing. search engines can take up to a month to scan your website and index you. 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. They take screen shots of what your site 73 . Testing Websites will look slightly different on every browser. • Test your website in all the main browsers to look for discrepancies. There are about 5 main things you’ll want to test out: • How your site looks under different screen resolutions. • Check to make sure that all links work properly. One important point to remember is while your site uploaded. Although it’s sometimes impossible to make it look exactly the same in every browser it should be close. Launching your website is big milestone in any business and it can be quite exciting. 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.The goal is to make your website appealing to both the human users and the search engines. you won’t be getting any traffic anytime soon.

looks like in each browser. 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.org Ask your friends and family to test out your website. 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. under different resolutions and in different operating systems: • http://browsershots. Every online business is different and so there is no right or wrong ways to monetize. You want your website to be displayed correctly and working for all viewers otherwise you’ll lose sales. Fortunately because it’s been done so many times by so many people. 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. Selling Physical Products Selling physical products is a great and stable method of making money online. This business model has been around since the beginning of time… It works! 74 . new ways to monetize and make money have come about and developed. Ask them to click and use every button and function and ask them to report any problems. you just have to find what’s best for your business. But it does require a lot more work and overhead costs.

75 . If your product costs you $7 to sell but the product is priced at $10. If you can sell something for more than the cost of getting it. 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. shipping/ handling. You have to look at fuel costs. • 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. 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. sell high. There’s a little math involved but it pays off in the end. You’ll have to take into account all the expenses required to acquire and distribute the product and not just the buying price. Finessing the system though will decrease overhead costs and in turn increase profit. employee salaries. maintaining it and distributing it… you’d make a profit. Producing Your Own Products Some products can be sold for much higher then what they’re actually worth (in terms of cost to produce). Poor planning leads to poor performance… keep that in mind. transportation. To help you figure out how much you’ll be making on a certain product. 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. time spent and etc. you have a profit margin of $3 per sale. The profit margin is how much you make per product sold.How to Make Profit Buy low.

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 the skill. crafts. People are always looking for unique items to set them apart from others so having a unique product can definitely pay off. Some people will go to flea markets. Buying Wholesale Items in Bulk 76 . sculptures. paintings. This is called niche marketing. fashion accessories. Although it can be difficult to make a living selling second hand items. second hand stores. 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. this minimizes competition. There are many website out there that cater to the artist and allow you to sell your products on their website. Buying Products to Sell Them Online Most internet business runs on this principle. and art pieces can sell for a large amount if you market it right. and garage sales looking for rare valuable items that the seller was unaware of. Naturally your products must be of a high quality and worth the price tag. 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. The only downside is that they take a small percentage of each sale. You’ll have to know your stuff though and spend a lot of time looking around. Some devoted to this method are able to manage a very good living. creativity and know how to make your own product… you “can” make a good profit from them. They market and you just have to produce items. They then sell these items on EBay for an excellent profit. Your products should be original and unique. They buy goods and then sell them online.Creative items such fashionable clothing. Many book collectors and sellers use this method with a lot of success. You can either sell items on your own website or on a website like eBay.

Only certain companies allow for drop shipping so you’re somewhat limited with what products you can sell. No down payment or startup capital required. The most attractive benefit to drop shipping is that you don’t have to pay anything until you’ve sold the item. The benefit of this system is that you don’t have to worry about shipping or handling. The problem with selling physical products online is that you’ll have to worry about shipping and handling. but the items are kept at the companies and warehouse and they deal with the shipping and handling. If you’re buying a large amount you may want to rent out a storage unit or warehouse. When selling a physical product you’ll most likely need to devote one area of your house to storage for inventory. warehousing inventory or storage. To buy wholesale you’ll need a state-issued reseller’s certificate or a Federal tax ID number. 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.If you decide that going to flea markets is not your thing you can try buying wholesale. Drop shipping is when you sell a company’s products. 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. The customer thinks the product came from you and so you’re the one taking the credit. you just have to worry about marketing and selling. So you’re basically just a storefront for the drop shipper. 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. 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. You only pay once you’ve made money. When you buy wholesale you’re usually required to buy your products in bulk.

the profit margin might be quite small. Many freelance artists work online doing logos and design work. The internet knows no distance and so your customers can be international.com/wwb/main_Products. techies. They prefer to read multiple sets of information from 78 . the biggest issue with your customers will be your credibility. This is a good system if your services can be done from your home but you lack customers in your geographic area.worldwidebrands. writers. If you’re a professional in this day and age regardless of industry you’ll want a website just to compete with your competitors. 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. The users want to see your credentials and experience before hiring you.You’ll have to look around for a good drop shipping company. You have no say in how or when the products are shipped. Making Yourself Look Credible When offering your services online.asp Selling Your Skills and Services Some of you who are skilled and talented may choose to advertise and market your services. you can market yourself online. When you’re doing business on the internet you’ll be facing many competitors all competing for credibility and legitimacy. consultants. You can find reputable drop shippers by purchasing a product sourcing membership with: • www. Carpenters. If your talent is locally dependant (you having to be at the customer’s location) you should obviously specify travel costs and availability. Web users today have gotten smart and they no longer take claims at face value. This can be extremely lucrative depending on the service and how you market yourself. 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. no matter what skill you have. Many services can be done for a customer right from your own home. motivational speakers.

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

There’s still a time and place to be using banner ads but they should only be used in specific situation. newspapers.casalemedia. Selling Ad Space This method has been around for a long time and is used in magazines. 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. Analyzing the Numbers 80 . Here are just a few ad networks that we recommend: • http://burstmedia. There are many ways to put ads on your site while not being annoying. The current trend is to place ads that have value to the customer and make their experience more rewarding.valueclickmedia. and it’s pretty much seen everywhere you go. 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. If your website gets a lot of traffic you should consider putting up some well placed appropriate ads to increase your revenue.com It’s recommended that you use multiple ad networks in conjunction for maximum revenue. so if you have a travel website the ads will be travel related and of interest to the users.com/adsense/ • http://www. TV shows.A paid membership site can also be considered an informational product since the user is paying for the information found inside.google.com • http://www. Most digital products come in the form of a PDF EBook. a media file. 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. or a program. 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.

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

clickxchange.affiliatefuel.com • http://www. 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.linkshare.azoogleads. 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. If you add a new form of monetization it should add to your site and not take away. 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.• 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. The hardest part is trying to integrate all the monetization methods while not taking away from your main product.cj.com • http://www.com • http://www.valueclickmedia.darkblue.primaryads. 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. People do not want to be bombarded with ads and affiliate links that are obviously ads.com • http://www.com Having an affiliate program is also an excellent way to market your own product. 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. there are a lot of scammy affiliate programs out there on the net.primaryads. You’ll have a back up to make sure you keep on getting money. Beware though. 82 . The affiliate networks listed above allow you to add your own product so that people can sign up to advertise your product.clickbank.com • http://www.com • http://www.

Since you image is on the line decide carefully what products you’ll offer. Amazon and Best Buy use affiliate programs to make money. There are many affiliate programs out there offering what seems to be total crap and yet they’re total money makers. They wouldn’t be doing it if wasn’t working. Creative’s: This is the advertising material that either your or the merchant provide. Affiliate Network: A network where affiliates and merchant come together to offer and join up to affiliate programs. Affiliate Terms You Should Know Affiliate: An entity that’s paid money to promote someone else’s products or services. Because the affiliate program you choose should be related to your website you don’t have to directly market the product. High quality products do not always sell the best.This section will clarify and help you get a footing with how affiliate programs work and what you should know about them. Advertiser: Same as merchant. 83 . These are the people selling the products and items. just advertise your website and with enough traffic you’ll be making a nice steady income. 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. 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. The Ins And Outs of Affiliate Programs Becoming an affiliate is easy. Merchant: An entity providing the affiliate program for people to join up to. Naturally you should only go with products your customers would like. Even large brand names such as Wal-Mart. 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.

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

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

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

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. money) are excellent topics. If you know a second language. then that should be considered a body of knowledge. Make sure all you information is current especially if your topic is regarding legal issues or finances.Creating an information product can be fun and rewarding but time consuming. Research. • 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. Check out the table of contents for a book related to your subject and see how they break it down. 87 . Although you being knowledgeable on the subject are not essential it’s recommended. • Make money. Regardless on topic there is someone out there willing to pay for it. Topics that people have a problem with (such as relationships. money. and travel usually do quite well but don’t discount other topics… there are new markets popping up all the time. you want to make it even better and more valuable. Do this with several books and try adding your own sections. Choosing a niche market is often a good idea since you’ll have no competition to deal with. relationships. Research. • Distribute and market it. You don’t want to just copy another product. 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. Anything related to health. What are you knowledgeable at? You may need to do some further studying but if you know a little it’s a good start. health. 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.

• The middle should be all about the solutions.pdf’s you can create bookmarks at each chapter or heading to make it easier for readers. • The beginning should be discussing the problem and why the user bought the product. A PDF is good because you can lock the content and prevent people from editing your work. • The ending should be a summary of the whole book and any final thoughts. 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. PDF’s also give you the option to password protects your file which will help slow down piracy. EBooks make great additions to any audio book or video you sell. 88 . EBooks are preferable if you have scientific. When teaching someone you need to start out with the basics and then move up into more and more complex ideas. It can add a lot of value to the sale. PDF’s are supported by almost all computers and is the standard format for businesses around the world. legal. You can write your document in any word processing program although it’s recommended that the final format is a PDF document. EBooks are composed of images and text.At the very least your information should be on par with the competition and obviously… make sure all your content is original. 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 . Organizing Your Information Most books and information products are structured in a certain way. Creating an EBook PDF = Portable Document Format. or financial document as you’re able to show information in a more structured manner.

lulu. iTunes.There are many programs out on the internet that will convert . If you’re teaching martial arts or teaching how to apply makeup… a webinar is one avenue you should consider taking. Once the user has purchased an eBook from you. • You can also attach the eBook into an email that will be sent to them upon payment. 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. The most common method is to sell your EBook directly on your website. Most payment systems support an auto message to be sent to the customer upon a successful payment. text. You can attach the eBook to the email or send them a link to the eBook.doc. If you plan to sell your eBook there are many websites that can help you with that. EBay. Creating a Webinar A webinar is essentially an online seminar. Your browser will give them the option to save or open the document.txt. It can be found here: • http://createpdf.com Marketing and Selling Your E-Book Many people use EBooks as an incentive to get people to subscribe to their email. Not all topics need webinars but for some… they’re almost essential. 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. Adobe offers a website that can create PDF’s for you. they prefer to watch and listen. and other formats into PDF. With a good webinar program you can deliver video. audio. (Ex. and ClickBank. subscribe now to get your free eBook!).com allow you to list and sell your eBook off of their sites.com. The most commonly used PDF creator is Adobe Acrobat. a PowerPoint presentation and chat features to your audience. 89 .adobe. Amazon. Many people do not like to read. 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. . sold by Adobe.

You can either use a third party service like PayPal to deal with the credit cards or you can get a merchant account (recommended).com/livemeeting • · www. Section 4: Payment Options for Your Internet Business Almost everyone has a credit card now that they can use for internet shopping.microsoft. Although the majority of people would prefer to use credit cards… you should still offer other methods. 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. Credit Cards and Merchant Accounts You’ll want an option for the customer to pay with credit cards.Webinars are now possible due to the proliferation of broadband which allows lots of information to be sent to the user simultaneously. 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 . Check out the two following links: • · http://office. You can record webinars and provide them for download later on and your webinars can be live or recorded.webex. Then on a certain day they do the webinar live. Windows LiveMeeting and WebEx have excellent resources to assist you in making a webinar. What most webinar creators do is market and advertises their webinars months in advance. 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. Once the webinar is recorded you can offer it to the webinar attendees or sell it to new users. Ultimately the more you can give your customers the happier they’ll be.com/go/demo There are many programs and utilities coming out specifically for creating webinars.

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

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

You should be able to change the colors. You want a shopping cart that gives you a ton of control from the back end. The Variety of Shopping Carts There is a huge variety of shopping carts available to you. If you have 1 or 2 products you can go without using a shopping cart. You can always use company like pay pal.Stolen credit cards are an issue many owners will encounter. Shopping carts can simplify your life tremendously with large product catalogues. and images. the address associated with the credit card must match the address given to you by the order. • 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. The credit card companies are always taking more steps to protect both the consumer and merchant from fraud but it’s a constant battle. Shopping carts are definitely wanted if you have a wide range of inventory or your products change periodically. Section 5: Shopping Carts and Ecommerce Shopping carts are not essential but they do make your website look more professional. the user must enter the 3 numbers seen on the back of your credit card. You want a shopping cart that offers as much control as possible. fonts. create buttons and add them next to the product on your website. 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 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. 93 . • CCV: Card code verification. Each shopping cart application can have 100s of features. To minimize the risks of fraud you should use the following security features: • AVS: Address verification. and import and export inventory lists.

get one free) You want a shopping cart that fits your needs and then some. There should be buttons to view their order. leave and read comments. You want to make it easy yet appealing. Find a shopping cart company that offers good customer support. Marketing A shopping cart that supports marketing functions is extremely important and makes a good bonus. 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. review your product. Shop. You want options and control with your shopping cart.com. Dealing with money issues with clients can be a real head ache. 94 . The front end should have a good amount of options for the customer. The most important thing for the customer is being able to go through the process of purchasing your item quickly and easily. Shopping.Front End This is what the customer sees when viewing your site.com Yahoo shopping. and Shopzilla. 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. Test out the front end yourself and imagine being a customer. You want a shopping cart that is compatible with your site and is easy to install. Integration Integration refers to the coding side of things. • Discounts • Sales and Specials • Send out email regarding sales to your email list.com. • 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.

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. 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.Hosted Shopping Carts An alternative to hosting.1shoppingcart.pdgsoft. It will cost you anywhere between $300 and $5000.shopfactory. installing and programming your own shopping cart is to hire a company to host it and deal with it for you. They can run you $25 to $200 per month.com • www. Although you’ll have to pay a small fee. 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.com • www. Outsourcing your shopping cart can be cost effective since you won’t have to deal with the problems.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. You just have to worry about keeping the inventory and store up to date. Even thought the shopping cart is hosted on a different server you integrate it into your own website.com • www. Custom Made Shopping Cart 95 . Even though good software is expensive you’ll save money in the long run.goecart. Purchasing Shopping Cart Software Shopping cart software has been around for a long time and it’s become quite developed.mivamerchant. If you decide to go down this route be sure to get an outsourced shopping cart company that offers round the clock support.shopsite. Here are the best hosting shopping cart companies we recommend: • www.com/shopping-cart-features.asp • www. you won’t have to deal with the technical issues. Here’s a list of the best shopping cart programs on the market: • www.

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. It’s often a good idea to have several varieties of the same product (different colors.com 96 . sizes. You can find eBay pulse at: • http://pulse. Pulse will indicate the top items being searched. EBay Pulse is a resource for eBay merchants and it keeps track of the major trends occurring in eBay.ebay. Using EBay to Find Out What People Are Buying EBay is by far the largest e-commerce site on the web. 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. 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.000. Because it would be custom coded you’ll have problems with integrating it with your payment gateway and other programs. Fortunately this subject has been studied and researched greatly and so finding out how to price your products is easy. A custom shopping cart should only be considered if absolutely necessary or if the cost is not an issue for you. you can consider this as a viable option. styles). Not only is this approach expensive but it’s also time consuming. Down the line when your company starts making large amount of money. According to pulse there is a lot more demand than supply with a certain items (hint hint… lots of opportunity). 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.This is not recommended as it would be very expensive. the biggest stores. Check out the top sellers on eBay and see what they do to be so successful. 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. It can cost you easily over $10. It can take month or more to developed and test out. and the items that are being most watched.

• The expenses incurred by buying and selling the product.com • www. • How much profit you’d like to make. • Your position in the market (if you have control you can afford to charge a little more).com • www. Their reports range in price from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on how much data you’d like.95.Terapeak is another excellent tool offered by eBay but it has a monthly fee of about $24.com/news/research/ • www. • How your competitors price their product. You can find it here: • www.terapeak. Doing Your Research Research is everything in business. We recommend the following resources for market research: • www.emarketer. 97 . The price you set should be based on the following factors: • The demand of your product.ecommerce-guide. If you want a warehouse image you should price your items at a more competitive price.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.jupiterresearch. If you have money to spare you can hire the services of a market research company. 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.forrester. If your market is the upscale type you can go for a higher price without too much difficulty. You want to keep track of the numbers and see what works and what doesn’t. 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. 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.

• 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. You can price items based on the perceived value of the item (some items. Low price shoppers are always looking for a good deal on an item. There are many questions you need to be able to answer when it comes to inventory. By cycling your items you’ll be able to see what items sell the most. Keep a close eye on how and when your items are being bought. Low price shoppers are looking for good deals and the quality usually comes secondary to price. Specialized Inventory This is probably the easiest method to take when selling online. you’ll need a certain amount of inventory on hand. 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. By focusing on a niche you’ll have an easier time tapping that market. How to Handle Your Inventory Depending on the type of business you plan to run.You should calculate all the expenses incurred by your product (the pricing floor). cycling your inventory and changing items is a good idea with this type of person. 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. Niche 98 . More is not always better. Offer them many sales/coupons and discounts and they won’t be able to say no. 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. This is the lowest you can possibly go without losing money. If you detect a pattern you may be able to capitalize on it. people will buy the product from you. Keeping A Limited.

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 . A niche market would be something like ladies perfume or Japanese tea pots. Keep in mind that no matter how good the user experience was. If you have a bad. Systematizing the Process Ultimately the goal of your business is to make it run itself. 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. This section will talk about way to simplify the job of filling out orders. Getting your first order can be very exciting as it validates your business idea and is proof that your business works. you can make a name for yourself very quickly. By joining these groups. Try to find a niche that doesn’t have too much competition but has a big following. You should think about and plan how you’ll deliver the products before you start business. Niche markets have small communities and usually have social networking groups. 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. inefficient system for packaging and sending items out… you’ll be in big trouble when the orders start coming in. Section 7: Keeping Up with Demand and Filling out Orders for Your Online Business Second to actually getting the sale. 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.markets are usually willing to pay much more for an item since the item is typically much rarer. 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. 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.

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. 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. Once you understand the whole system. 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. This approach is good for those people who like to have control over how their items are shipped. Outsourcing Fulfillment If your website sells a lot of product you should consider outsourcing your fulfillments to a company that specializes in doing so.needs to be taken on paper. 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. The space required to store your products depend on the product. check out how long it takes so you know when to order a new batch without running out of product. Items such as books. If you have a company that ships the products to you. you may want to consider renting a storage space or warehouse. 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). DVD’s. 100 . naturally take up much less space and storage should not be a problem. In-House Delivery For small businesses this is the cheapest and most practical approach. 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. CD’s. If your product is large and takes up a lot of space. 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”. it should be clear enough that others will be able to understand it and run your business. Many Fulfillment houses offer extra services such as customer service and reporting.

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

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

Your Legal Responsibility as the Merchant 103 . 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. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself and your customers from these crimes. $650 million is the total amount of losses reported by customers. 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.The best way to keep a well functioning back end is to create systems and develop good habits to prevent things from falling apart.2 billion in losses to business owners per year. 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. Despite the advancements of internet security technology. Fraud and internet crimes account for more than $1. the hackers and criminals are always finding new ways to exploit and bypass security systems.

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

For more recourse on ways to protect your customer’s information check out the following links: • www. For information on the policies regarding privacy security check out the FTC websites at: • www. Of all the options.org Securing Your Website There aren’t too many options when it comes to securing the information transferred from your website.merchant911. The SSL software is then installed on the host server and your website will then be secured. If you’re a small business the policies are self regulated.000.000 transactions per year). These policies are enforced if you’re a larger company (more than 20. Some seals of approval require you’ve been in business for more than a year.merchantriskcouncil.There are certain regulations and standards that need to be met when protecting data. SSL is a method of communications that encrypts (codes) the information being sent from and into your website. Your host can activate your SSL or you can do it yourself (it’s slightly technical mind you).org • www. Seals of Approval and Displaying Certificates People want to trust you before they buy from you. You can get the license from either VeriSign or your hosting company. High end SSL certificates use 256-bit encryption and the lower end ones use 128-bit encryption. To use the SSL system you have to first acquire a license to use it. 105 . SSL licenses vary in price according to how secure you want your website to be. 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. 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. it’s a good thing to have and it shows the user you mean business.ftc.95 and several thousand dollars. Displaying certificates and seals of approval are just one way to increase the customers trust with you.gov Failure to comply with the security standard can leave you with a fine as high as $500. The price for SSL can range between $29. Although people don’t directly look for certificates.

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

microsoft.online-tech-tips. You want more than one backup. Check out the website: • http://www.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. 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. Computers are not always predictable and although it may never malfunction for the many years that you have it. Without warning your computer can malfunction and you can lose all the data. Hosting services usually back up your website daily in the event that their servers crash. it can also break down at any moment. ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA! You should back up your data using several methods. We recommend the free version of AVG internet security. We highly recommend you use the following addon: • http://noscript.mspx • http://www.There are many free firewalls and antivirus programs out there and often times they work just as well as the expensive ones. For Firefox you can also get an add-on that prevents scripts from running in your browser. Protecting your computer is more or less common knowledge nowadays but if you’re new to the internet you can find many resources online.net Always be careful with your emails.com/windowsxp/using/security/expert/ honeycutt_spyware. 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 .

allmydata.com • · https://www.com • · www.carbonite.net • · http://mozy. There are many options to choose from.sugarsync.storegate. and Yahoo have developed ways to simplify your job and make it easier for you to sell more on their sites.com • · www.onlinestoragesolution. The following websites offer good online storage: • · https://www.adrive.com • · www.com • www.com • · www.box. There are many online services offering online data storage.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.com • · www. but after you weight the options and decide on a storefront you will soon realize their ease of use.• DVD • The cloud (the internet). Having a storefront can vary in price and some can be a bit pricy but others are entirely free. Storefronts such as Amazon. eBay. The advantage of storing data online is that it’s accessible globally and it’s stored offsite.elephantdrive.flipdrive.com • · www. The Essential Features of a Storefront 108 .

and themes to make your storefront unique. • Digital product delivery support (customers are able to access the digital files upon payment). 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. less known storefront. Storefront Reliability Reliability is made up of many elements and is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects when choosing a storefront. If your storefront isn’t reliable you can be in for a lot of frustration and wasted time.Although you’ll more than likely stick to the 3 main storefronts (Amazon. eBay. be sure that they have proper marketing tools. Marketing Tools When looking for a storefront.). styles. • Import and export tools (so you can upload large amount of inventory). • An administrative back end that offers you a good amount of control. • 24/7 support • Editable templates. 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. 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. make sure they have the following elements: • Shopping cart • Payment processing • Free hosting • Reliable • Tools to assist you in marketing. and Yahoo) you may decide to use a smaller one because it better suits your business. 109 . style and etc.

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

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

com Once inside go through and edit the following sections: 112 .99 a month but Amazon will still receive 7% per transaction. One of the greatest benefits of the Amazon WebStore is that it’s well known. You can make a living with an aStore but don’t count on it. With an aStore you only make about 15% per sale.aStores are entirely free. 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. Having a WebStore will cost you about $59. You can sell your own products or you can sell products found on Amazon. You can add the aStore to a website you already have or you can create a website entire for the aStore. With an aStore. WebStores The Amazon WebStore is essentially the storefront that is based off of the platform that Amazon uses and is extremely powerful.yahoo. Yahoo has developed many tools and programs to help assist you with marketing and selling. 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. expect it to be secondary and supplemental to your main business. you don’t need you own products. you can be sure your Yahoo store will work smoothly. instead you sell amazons pre-existing products. secure and it comes with automatic trust and security. Yahoo Store Functions Although there are many levels and pricing plans with the Yahoo store. Unlike new start-ups and storefronts.

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.• 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. The catalogue manager allows you to upload and export your entire catalogue of items all at once. 113 . The great thing about Yahoo. it is actually loaded with great tools. • See what searches are most popular among your customers. is it has structured all their packages in accordance to what a business will need depending on how big or small it is. and reporting tools which a small business doesn’t even need. This is the page where you enter all your products and product details. Yahoo Plans Yahoo! has made plans for every level of business. Yahoo has something for everyone. • Support gift certificates and coupons. • Export your orders to your UPS software. Once logged into your account you’ll also see a catalogue manager. • Automatically send your order information to your databases and applications. Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re making a million a month. 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. The Yahoo! Standard Package is for those businesses that are already established. The Starter Package has all the basic features except for the advanced tracking. 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”. • Have track able links for affiliates.

There’s an initial start up fee of $50.75 per month. It costs about $0. Aside from the initial start up fee Yahoo! charges you on a recurring basis as follows: • Starter package: $39. • Professional package: $299. If you’re making over a million in sales a year. 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). There are also transaction fees that vary depending on the type of account that you have. For an additional $10.00 but a good tip is to look for promotions and deals from other websites like PayPal.The Professional Package is an excellent option once your business is established and already receiving some success. 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 .95 per month.com. you can get an extra 20 email accounts.0% • Professional package: 0. • Standard package: 129. as there are often good discounts being provided. Yahoo provides Who Is protection which prevents people from finding out that you own the website.95 per month. Yahoo! also provides a search engine advertising program but the price varies depending on the advertising campaign.95 per month.75% Yahoo! has other services that you can use to enhance your business. EBay also has many options for you to either sell your own items or sell their items for a commission. it has developed tools and programs to help assist you in selling your items and running a store. 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’s important you do the math as upgrading your account can save you money despite the monthly recurring fees: • Starter package: 1. Due to EBay being around for so long. Section 4: Using EBay for Your Internet Business EBay has been around for a long time and it has a good track record.5% • Standard package: 1.

Once you have sold some products. Setting a set price and selling your items in the traditional sense requires a special account. The way people price items on eBay can be a bit different from traditional businesses so before selling your items. When doing research on your competitors. search for your type of items and organize the results by what sold the best and for the highest price. 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. Be sure to fill out all the information in your EBay account. including the “about me” page so that customers can see what you’re all about. one of a kind items • Expensive items 115 . You can also get a merchant account with your bank so you can accept credit card payments. In order to sign up for PayPal and EBay you need a credit card and a bank account. EBay will offer a store account. 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. Starting Out On EBay After you register on eBay there are several tasks you’ll want to do.users not wanting to bid. you’ll have to sell your items like an auction. 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. You should definitely consider doing auctions if you’re selling: • Unique. but this has a monthly recurring fee. check out your competitors on eBay to see how they price their items. running auctions may be preferable to having an EBay store. When you first start out in EBay. Your best bet is to use an auction type store as it costs very little money and there are no monthly fees.

Also you will have access to an email newsletter function. • 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. the buyer fills out a form scoring your service and you. With an EBay store you can sell your items at a fixed price. • Auctions sell items faster because it creates a sense of scarcity. Feedback EBay uses a feedback system that’s used to represent how trustworthy every user is. leave feedback to the buyer. (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). Both sellers and buyers have feedback scores. With an EBay Store there is a function that allows you to export all your sales information from PayPal and EBay into QuickBooks. you’ll have access to various templates which will assist you in marketing your EBay Store. 116 . • Auctions only costs you a small initial fee as oppose to a monthly fee. 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. so they know that they’re business will be good. the better score the more trustworthy you’ll be considered. the products you sell in you store can remain up forever. Unlike an auction which expires after a certain amount of time. the seller. Feedback scores are given after the transaction.• Collectors items The benefits of running an auction are: • It’s more interesting to people (it gets noticed more). EBay Stores have built in analytics that allow you to see which pages are viewed most and other user information. By using an EBay store. Other sellers and buyers will see the comments and feedback score. If you want to have a successful EBay business your feedback score must be as high as possible. To help you will statistical information. If you advertise your products from outside of the EBay website you can earn extra cash by referring the users to EBay. An EBay store is great for those selling large quantities of items.

marketworks. In order to get an EBay Store you must have a feedback score of 20 or a PayPal account with a good history. When it comes to store design there are many templates offered by EBay. While you are paying to acquire an EBay Store.com 117 .channeladvisor.95 and so we recommend it’s always best to get the basic plan and move up as your business grows. 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. The greatest status you can have is that of the Titanium status which requires your total sales to be above $150.000 per month for the bronze status (there are many different levels each with their own benefits). graphics and branding • Store design Power Seller Power sellers are EBay users who sell a steady amount of items on a recurring basis. You can add custom pages for your policies page. 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. 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. They’ve earned a high feedback score and are in good standing order.auctiva. To become a power seller you must sell a minimum of $1. shipping page and etc. Also a great feature is that each template is customizable.95 and $299. There is also option to control such things as: • Marketing • Promotions and deals • Logos.000.An EBay Store can cost anywhere between $15.com • www.com • www. If you become a power seller these tools will help assist you in making more sales: • www. getting it isn’t as simple as just giving them your credit card and purchasing the account. There are several third party tools you should check out.

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

high quality. the designer should match your website up with your vision. If you have a good designer. If your website does not match your offline store. If you need assistance with order fulfillments. your business will need to be able to fulfill those orders. you want to look professional on and off the internet. be sure to create a complete list of your entire inventory along with descriptions and details. Ultimately it doesn’t matter when you decide to launch your website. Don’t have a flowery website if your store is edgy and hardcore. Once deciding to have a website expect about a month for the website to be up and running properly. Making a quick website is not enough. users may be confused wondering if they’re dealing with the same company. 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. this goes without saying. You probably have a good idea of what your customers are looking for and who your primary market is. 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. You want your website to match your offline business! How to Manage Your Inventory If you’re going to be selling online. Every business is different. 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. How you decide to fulfill orders is something you’ll need to take into account. each with their own ways to manage inventory and stock. you may want to consider outsourcing. Connecting Your Online and Offline Store Your website and offline presence should match and be congruent. You need a clear public identity for your business and the actions your business take should be congruent with it. When moving your business online. Also speak to 119 .

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

If you’re going to put your business up online. • Check customer comments and reviews. • Various payment options. • Tap a global market for hard to find items (they’re not limited by geography).• Compare prices with competitors. • The convenience of never leaving their home. • 24/7 shopping • Variety of payment methods. creating a website and selling online requires that you change your system around. Connecting an online and offline store is not simple and requires an expert more often than not. What the Online Shopper Will Expect From You Unlike running a real 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. Also getting your business online will initially require some work but once you have a system in place. • 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. • Customer reviews. Getting your business up online is still cheaper than creating a new location. you’ll need a system that can keep track of your entire inventory from offline and online sales. the revenue will outweigh the cost of operation. • Saving time and travel expenses to acquire the product.coresense. Shopping in real life is self explanatory but online. comments and testimonials. the possibilities are endless. 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. • Various delivery options. an online shopper needs information as to how things will be done.com 121 . • Contact information.

com • www.netsuite.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.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. If your business already has a return policy with a system able to manage it then this may not be a problem. Often times a receipt is required in order for a customer to return the product. if you decide to use this type of policy. More than likely.dhl.epicor.com • www. Outsourcing the fulfillment process is one solution to deal with this problem. Many shipping companies now have tools that you can implement into your website to allow customers to track their orders.ups.com • www.fedex. 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. 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. Your return policy can be customer centric in which the user can return the product without difficulty. Be prepared to be taken advantage of.vcommerce. The following companies offer product tracking: • www. 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.• www.

An example would be something like Japanese tea pots which are a niche belonging to the general tea pot market. 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. 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. By focusing on a niche market you’ll have 123 . and procedures required to deal with it.required.

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

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

When it comes to marketing to the younger crowd. always include a “for parents” section if your website is targeted towards the 17 and lower crowd. surveys. 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. The Over 50 Market The over 50 market makes up roughly 1 third of the US population and they have unique needs and desires. and not a bad thing for the kids. Keep the Parents in Mind As a general rule of thumb. You have to demonstrate to the parents that your product will be of value to their kids. Also try to create accessories and things to go with your other products.time and not all at once. The over 50 market are not avid computer users but about 36 million of them have internet access. School is essentially a place for kids to interact and socialize. The “for parents” section should essentially be your privacy policy page written in a more understandable manner. 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. word of it will spread around quickly. If your website is targeted towards kids you must follow the regulations set out by COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). moral. Your product has to be appealing to the kids but also to their parents who control the money. For your website have polls. Making small changes to your website often keeps it fresh and stops it from getting stale. you’re ultimately selling to their parents. 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. and other interactive features. if you have a good product. You want to reassure the parents that your website and the product you offer is safe. Policies and Guidelines Your website should always have a privacy policy page with a link to it clearly placed and easy to find. The myths of the internet not being safe are quickly going away and so more and more old people are willing to buy online.

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

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

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

com blog with a normal URL name by purchasing a domain name and forwarding it to your blog.com and a wordpress. You can have a 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. 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.yourblogname.yourblog.com.yourblog. it’s much more powerful and has many more features.com.wordpress. Course #9 Marketing Your Online Business By GuruGrounds – Thomas Timely & Nick Gallagher 130 . WordPress.org is extremely powerful and is highly recommended by us. It’s by far the most supported and feature rich blog platform out there.org.wordpress. Wordpress.org provides the engine and platform to run your blog on your own hosting service. Wordpress.com hosts your blog for free but your blog URL with be like this: www. So when people go to www.

According to research the biggest factor in converting a viewer into a buyer is: 131 . One thing to keep in mind is that more traffic doesn’t always mean more sales. • 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). If you find that you’re converting 2% and your website is optimized for sales. 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). A 2% conversion rate is a good number. you can be considered to be above average. • The price of your products. when looking to expand. • The quality of your website. Conversion Rates and Other Formulas Conversion rate is essentially how many people out of a hundred buy your products (represented as a percentage). To calculate the amount of traffic you’ll need to make a certain amount of sales. By understanding the math you can calculate how much traffic you’ll need in order to make a certain amount of income. divide the amount of sales you want by your conversion rate.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. so if you get it this high. increasing traffic is the best way to boost sales. you also have to market it. Assuming you get 1000 visitors a day with a 2% conversion rate you’d be making 20 sales a day. but simply setting up a site is not enough. 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).

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

Try and find the website your customers frequent and post your articles and reviews there. If you decided to write a review. but can help if you’re selling something controversial and in certain situations. it actually is! Amazon gets a ton of traffic and so you’ll surely be seen. The most popular websites and individuals are the ones that offer the most value to customers and other people. 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.Offering a lot of value to your markets community will let people know that you’re a congruent. your trustworthiness will go through the roof. There are many websites out there that you can use to share and post your articles. trustworthy person but be aware of the image you’re presenting and actually showing people. But try and avoiding having your articles posted on websites that will bring down your image. Another great tip to remember is if you’re following your market you should know where your customers go for advice. For example a great website to post to is About. If you don’t participate in your markets community you’ll have no “web cred” and you’ll just be another website.com. otherwise for 99. you may be missing out on some benefits. 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. be sure to try and mention your name and website (without trying to sell the reader something). Writing Articles Demonstrating your knowledge of a product or niche is a great way to boost trust and your value. If you’re selling a product you should consider writing product reviews for your market. Bad publicity is bad. 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. bad publicity is not a good thing. 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. 133 . Also for those of you that think bad publicity is always bad. Another great site to use is Amazon.

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 . be sure to include these elements: • First impressions • Pros • Cons • Personal experience • Rating • Recommendation • Website address or link to your website. direct them to supplementary content on your site or another’s site. When writing. Articles should be no longer then 500 words. be sure to write articles that your market would be interested in and once it is completed. If you are providing something of use. People like to read user friendly.Writing Reviews The great benefit of writing for the web is that you don’t need to be a world famous writer. If a user really wants more in-depth information. Lists (Don’t go over 10) are popular and step by step guides almost always do well. simple writing that’s easy to understand. Here’s a really important tip to keep in mind: Always check for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Just as with writing a review you should always include your name and a link to your website. why not get the credit for it. Think the easier the better! When writing a review. Writing Articles People are always looking for useful and valuable information. you can submit the same article to multiple article websites. Articles can vary in types. 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). 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.

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

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

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

exmarketing. Fortunately technology has come a long way and a lot of your routine tasks can be handled with a program.com • www.com Never write your email directly in the email program (you may send it out incomplete by accident).HTML format can have images.constantcontact. Check out the following companies: • www. you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time. Distributing Your Newsletter Distributing your emails properly will be highly useful to get your information to all your contacts. 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). Auto responders are programs that automatically send customers emails. Some ISPs will ban you if they suspect you’re spamming so be careful. A great way to reduce your email looking like spam.jangomail. 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. videos and links and are much more visually stimulating but they should be avoided since they don’t always display correctly to the user.com • www.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.delivra. time that you can be spent on more critical and important tasks. It can be 138 . but not all email management programs can handle sending an email out to many recipients. 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.com • www. To simplify your newsletter needs there are a lot of companies that specialize in newsletters. By cutting out routine tasks and leaving a program to deal with it. Always write it in a word processing program then copy and paste it into your email program. 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.campaigner.

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

you’d be making a higher profit. 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. 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.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. If you have a profit margin of $10 and you have a conversion rate of 5%. you’d be making 1 sale for every 20 people that visit your site. The following methods are good offline marketing methods: • Business cards • Custom letterheads • Boxes 140 . 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%. • Your conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who become buyers). 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. • Click through rate (the percentage of people who click on your ad from the external site). If your pay per click is less than 50 cents you’ll be making a profit with pay per click advertising. Each person that clicks through the ad would then be worth 50 cents ($10 x 5% = 50 cents). 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. Marketing In the Offline World Although marketing offline is not as cost effective is should be considered as an additional method to making money. 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. 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).

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

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

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

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. 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. 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. Customers will usually say one thing but mean another. don’t always pick products “you” like. Never assume that something will work without proper research to back your assumptions up. • Make it obvious what the next step is for the customer. The Dangers of Assuming What Your Customers Want Just because your website looks good to you doesn’t mean your customers will like it. but never assume that just because a lot of customers request an item that they’ll actually buy it. • Offer FAQ page and make it easy for users to find. • 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. Everything should be designed and created with the user in mind and any of your decisions should be based on research and not assumptions. One important point to make here is . • Use an SSL socket to protect their data and make it obvious to the customer that you use it. but there are a few things you should be aware of. • Let customers know you protect their data.To get more buyers considering taking the following actions: • Make the buttons clear and easy to find. 144 . The best way to find out what the customers want is to offer them products and see what they buy the most. Feedback can be used to see trends and to give you ideas for what to sell next. • Allow customer to add or remove items to their shopping cart. Finding out What the Customers Really Want Finding out what customers really want may sound simple. 99% of them will refuse to buy the product.

you may know a lot about what good and what’s not.Your store is not about what you want. 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. 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. then they won’t be motivated to act right away. Converting Viewers into Buyers If you don’t tell the viewer to take action and buy. Always make it clear to the customer what they should do next. In order for them to take action they may need a little motivation. but the customers may feel differently and they’d rather go for the inferior product. • Put a limit on how many people can take advantage of the offer. By limiting the deal or item you are making it more scarce which makes the customer much more inclined to buy. promotions and special sales is the best way to get your customers to take action. Offering them deals. it’s about the customers and what they want. they won’t. • Where they come from geographically. Programs such as Google analytics can track a lot of information from your users such as: • What pages they go to. • How long each user spends on each page. The three most common methods to create the illusion of scarcity are to: • Limit the length of time for the offer. 145 . • Limit the supply of the item being sold. If you’re passionate about your type of business and the product you sell. 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).

you may consider replacing that item with another product. You’ll want it just in case the change has a detrimental effect on your revenue. By understanding what your customers are doing. 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. It’s important to realize that making a change may reduce sales.• Geographic conversion rate (what geographic location buys the most). 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 notice your customers stop and exit your website mid way through the registration process. 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. If your customers are buying a lot of a certain product you may want to start advertising it on your front page. With many businesses there is an annual trend where the majority of the business occurs during a certain season or time of the year. If you see that your customers are avoiding certain products that were once best sellers. • What website they came from. Following the trends on your website are essential to running a good business and our recommendation is Google analytics for following those trends. 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. • What keywords in Google lead them to you. you’ll better be able to focus your marketing efforts. you’ll better be able to market and sell to them. It’s more accurate than any focus group or customer feedback that you may get. take a look at the process and make it better for the customer. What you decide to change may not have an effect at all. Trends By understanding and seeing the trends of your website. 146 . Trends are accurate representations of what the customers want.

Each search engine uses a different algorithm and how they determine your rankings is always changing and slightly different from one another.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. 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. People now days are using search engine more and more to find what they’re looking for. The section is all about looking good for the search engines so you rank higher and in turn get more traffic. the search engines will increase your rankings. After a search engine has scanned your website it will assign a value to it associate with certain keywords. If you get a lot of big websites linking back to you. 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. and Yahoo. Search engines aren’t only limited to Google. When a search engine scans your website they play higher value on the keywords used in: • Headings • Font size • Bold • Italics 147 . The keywords the search engines have assigned to you are related to the words found on your website. 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. websites like YouTube can also be considered a search engine. 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. 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. How Search Engines Work Search engines use secret algorithms to rank a website.

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

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

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

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

Setting up a conference call with an agenda is great to get some interaction from your affiliates. connect and share your product with the rest of the internet and also allow them to track how their sales are doing. • 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. Creating a place such as this may sound complicated and difficult. Of course you will also want to mention the way in which the affiliates will be compensated. Note: you may want to record the conversation as it may come in handy at a later time. You will want to write an attractive letter. 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 get your message out that you are looking for affiliates. but to some if may come only after weeks and months of work. Now that you affiliate centre is all complete. it will be one of your most essential tools. but luckily there is 1ShoppingCart which offers all this! Just check them out and learn as much as you can. Affiliates Assistance Your first step is to create an environment where affiliates can create an account. you are going to want to train each individual. A great way to get your product and service out quicker is to think about creating your own affiliate program. This will sound even more complicated as it is important to have 10 affiliates for each member that is producing any sales. Note: if an affiliate is very good at promoting your products. it also has you spending most of the 156 . once you have your centre and affiliates. you may look at making a much better offer to that specific individual. • One-on-one help is useful for those who are struggling or those new to 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.• 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. Lastly. So you can imagine how large of a team you will need.

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

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

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

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. On the internet people are sceptical and the only way to earn their trust is to show them that you are worth their business. Once you have developed a great headline. it may not always be the case. 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. your next step is to create scannable and understandable copy. then they will continue to read the article. 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. These are the mostly commonly used tools and of course require that you register an account. 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 may include adding photos or videos of your product. then it may not be cost effective for you. if there is too much time being spent on the site. and there isn’t a great enough return. there are several different tools that you can use such as WordPress. Also you will need to look at amount of time you will need to spend on running and maintaining the site. You will want to demonstrate that you are 160 . Another great option is to create a membership site. This allows users to create a username and password and access content that otherwise would not be accessed. Using a paid membership site may get you excited but there are some questions you will need to ask yourself before you get started. With a blog you are able to post information or articles. it may have to do with the way in which you are presenting your information. To create a blog. You will need to capture the interest of a reader within a few short seconds. One critical area is to create a headline with a hook. When using the various blogging platforms. This also allows readers the ability to make comments or suggestions on the information you have posted. 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. and TypePad. Again. Blogger. you are wasting your time. but if it is too cheap. which are added to the top of the page. If your headline is appealing to your readers.continuously updated website. Thus you are able to present that latest content without having your readers search for the information.

which is better than the competitions. and helping to initiate the purchase. While using these various techniques is crucial. then that is what needs to be given. but before they can do that. it is always important to have someone capable of helping you whenever needed. It is at these times where you need to assess what your company is missing. they will be taken to a sales page. Other great methods are to include testimonials. Section 6: How to Find an Expert Marketer Sometimes running a website or even a marketing campaign can be time consuming and tedious. Once a customer is interested in making a purchase. If a customer is not necessarily interested in purchasing you may be trying to get their email. You may look at testing various words for a call to action or use pictures and video. Here a customer is to be educated on the product and service. but in either situation. when writing a new post. this may lead to their downfall. It is important to remember. While many may feel as though they are capable of running all aspects of a business. a call to action requires the reader to take the next step. make sure that what you say a product or service does actually happens in real life. none is more important than providing a call to action. if your product promises users the ability to speak fluent French in 5 hours. A page without purpose will be skipped over by readers and may make you lose a sale. That may be as simple as registering for a free newsletter or making that $500 purchase. A call to action is where you ask the customer to take the next step with your company. letters of recommendation.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. Depending on your 161 . it does apply to where there are new posts. When writing about your product or service. While this may not apply to About Us pages or your Sitemap. enough information needs to be provided before they proceed with the action. or demonstrating where other products fail. For example. One largely missed but highly important point to remember is that every single page needs to have a purpose and a call to action. However many skills you may have. For example. answering any questions they may have about the product or purchasing procedures. they need to trust you and your service. you may make reference to readers subscribing to your feed or purchasing your product.

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

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

Social Media Descriptive Information Examples Allows the ability to enter data. Some websites are able to provide additional options that some are not able to.gnolia Sites also on a website StumbleUpon Microblogging Allows you to blog on a smaller scale. while others have the ability to link to each other. There are a few different types of social media websites. 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. • Feedback: asking your connections to provide some feedback on your new idea or post. Listed below are some of the websites available and a little bit of information about each. 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. A FaceBook user may have a YouTube account. • Building Buzz: building some momentum or getting others talking about you and your company. Another FaceBook user may be linked to their Twitter account. 164 . you are slowly building up your profile. Doing this provides you with a great way to: • Product Announcements: great way to let people know about a new product. it will show up on their FaceBook account. and when posting on Twitter.make a post. add a friend. or add a bookmark. but many of these sites are connected. which provides you with the ability to spread your message more quickly and efficiently. and when posting a favorite video on FaceBook it will be linked to their Youtube account. Twitter Sites Such as one or two sentences at a time Plurk Media Sharing Provides you with the ability to upload YouTube Sites video. Not only that. each offering their own unique abilities.

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

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

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

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

Some sites are more beneficial for one line of business. It is important that you write down some information about yourself. and compare whether the answers are met by the site. Although figuring out which one is going to be the best fit for your topic. then figure out if there are any other large sites that market towards the same audience. • Consider size: if you need to reach consumers. • Determine your target market or niche: if you are in a particular field or marketing towards a particular audience. then you will want to take a look at using Youtube. 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. and some basic contact information. • 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. If you want to use media. Slideshare or iTunes. 173 . • 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. As you’re developing your list of sites. some random information regarding your interests. 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). a short description of yourself. Some of the things you will want to make sure you provide in the profile is the avatar or picture representing you. here are some guidelines to help choose your sites: • Compare your results: take a look at what you wrote down for your research.Developing Your Profile Each social media site that your register to. Flickr. readers or just passersby’s then think about using one of the bigger social networking sites such as FaceBook or MySpace. while other sites may not be as useful. 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. detailing some information about yourself. it is important to keep in mind whether using a particular site will be beneficial in achieving your goals. allows you to create a profile.

To do this try answering questions. and how to do a few social media tasks. You will need to develop a posting style whether it’s posting every hour. Planning a Routine Having chosen your social media sites. This may include stand-ins while you are away. • Share your information: allowing users to share your content to other sites can increase the amount of traffic your site may generate. What many users don’t realize is that information may be delivered directly to those readers. your message may not be heard by anyone. we will take a look at some of the top social media sites. a few times a day. your next task is to keep on top of your communication. 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). Make sure you have buttons that can quickly bookmark or share your content. ease and enjoyment of posting and finally a way to keep track of the results of your postings. It’s all about how aggressive you want to be and how much information you have to post. you are going to have to review your site and the content within. You may also want to write about things that invoke some type of emotion in your readers. • Ease of contact: nowadays internet users may have several main websites they view for information on a particular subject. Section 4: Top Social Media Sites and How To Use Them In this section. or once a day. You will want to grab their attention somehow. You will also want to make sure that your website address and contact info will be easy to remember. Before initiating a social media campaign. video and graphics.Reviewing Your Content Alright. and reduces the amount of internet “travel”. now that you have determined your sites to get your message across. use other ways of communicating such as audio. 174 . here are a few things to keep an eye out for: • Grab an audience: if you don’t have an audience. The use of an RSS feed. Once you have a daily routine planned. you may want to figure out a few long term options as well. write out top 10 lists. will bring all new content to the subscriber.

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

When you create an ad with Google AdWords. By knowing which advertisements are converting the best you can focus on those ads to build better ad campaigns 181 . 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. such as a paid search. Essentially. 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. and determine relevancy.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. and it’s easy to use. 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. you (the advertiser) pays a small fee when a user clicks on the advertisement displayed on their site. PPC is not something you just want to jump into. Google then finds Google AdSense ready websites relevant to those keywords and places your ad on their site. 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. There are many other advertising networks that you can join but Google AdWords by far has the furthest reach. sponsored links and partner ads. 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. sponsored listings. you assign the ad with a list of keywords.

and can make you lose many potential customers. Comparing the Big Players If you are really looking at setting up a PPC account. there are several other companies you should take a look at such as Yahoo! and MSN AdCenter. Your ad campaigns and site both need to be maintained on a set schedule (2-3 times a week). then take a look at the biggest contenders. 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. There are many other smaller companies out there and you may consider them once you’ve become more experienced with PPC advertising. 182 .There are issues though that many may encounter. • 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. not all computers are up to date. Google AdWords is definitely the way to go. Some are cheaper but have less reach and some have specific benefits that you might find appealing. Section 2: The Big Players in PPC Advertising Although Google AdWords is the predominant PPC provider on the web. • 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. you need to stay on top of your business. some of those may be: • Not enough budget to spend for your industry: advertising needs budgeting correlated to cost of product. The big contenders are naturally: • Google AdWords • Yahoo! Google AdWords has the biggest reach worldwide and is the easiest to use. There’s no such thing as a solve all problems solution. as they have the most bang for your buck (and time too!).

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

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. It’s basically linking other words/phrases to your AdWords. the traffic received for that term is likely to be low. • Negative: basically these are words you don’t want your ads to appear with. Section 4: How to Write Ads That Convert and Make Money 184 . • Phrase: uses the word in plural form and in the exact order. By knowing which keywords are performing and which ones aren’t you’ll know which ones to remove and which ones to keep. 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. If you use specifics. Adding most exact destination URLs will improve user experience and they’ll be more likely to convert. If you’re selling cars and you use the term “car”. and uses a variety of words and synonyms. • Exact: the ad only shows up in searches that use the exact same words. misspelled.The reason you need to be so exact is that using general words will bring in too much low value traffic. you’ll get less traffic but the quality will be much higher. will add other words in front or after your main keyword. 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. 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. Basically the URL leads to a specific webpage. This helps generate more results. no plurals or misspelling. Here are is an explanation of the match types: • Broad: long-tailed words (3 or more).

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

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

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

you will want to know when your customers are doing most of their shopping. then don’t change anything. set the maximum amount for an ad group as a start. We can tell you that there are known factors that play into this. 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. 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. the largest amount you are willing to pay for a single click. Make sure you have enough money for your campaigns. 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. Schedule Bidding and Spending Depending on your product. • Ad-group Level: must set a maximum bid. and you will want your ads to display when they are using the internet. Keyword Bidding This is going to be the most complex aspect of PPC advertising. This will give you more results and allows you to adjust better than going from bottom up. you will know there is a time difference. Bidding on keywords of which there are two levels. MSN. but you may not pay that amount (but be ready if you have to). Some words may be more expensive than others. Yahoo!). 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. 188 .Stick to your budget! If you are getting the clicks required and making the sales. • Keyword Level: maximum CPC you are willing to pay per word. Cost per click (CPC) is based on the search engines calculations. If you are in the US and your consumers are in Europe or Asia. Then lower as you receive results.

It’s all about attracting the right customers. then you could be experiencing click fraud. Those selling low cost per conversion and short buying cycle tend to fare better than those with complex and long buying cycles. The guidelines for trademark and copyright information are put in the information sections when setting up AdWords. Following the guidelines will keep your keywords in check and your ads online. The site/page needs to be online and not under construction. don’t expect your ads to show up. for the lowest cost for advertising and making enough sales to keep you in business. Setting up your budget will also depend. If you aren’t abiding by the rules. false claims. excessive punctuation or repetition. on your market. you will either get your ad removed or worse have a civil suit on your hands. When wanting to use a trademark or copyright. use standard typography. If you see a large number coming from one ip address.You need to make sure that your ads are visible to your customers when you need them to be. Your URLs need to be in good working order. Watch your grammar. 189 . and need to take the visitor to your site. Using others information is also a big no no. 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. A few things to watch out for is use of language. You can keep track of click fraud by checking your server logs and studying the ip addresses. There are certain guidelines set by the search engines and if you aren’t abiding by those. The search engines have their own ways of dealing with click fraud and if detected will reimburse you for the cost. you will have to get permission. avoid all capital letters. and don’t use generic click calls to action like “click here”. as mentioned before. 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.

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

Choosing Your Blog Topic The first step is to be positive about this experience. But to determining what exactly you’ll be talking about must be your first step. and “How can I use it efficiently?”. We aren’t going to convince you that you can write and we aren’t going to tell you what to write. 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. 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. Another great way to figure 191 . the question should be “Which program should I use?”. if you aren’t passionate about a topic. The question should not be “Do I need an analytics program?” or “Why should I use an analytics program?”. As you may be aware. • 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. You are going to take a topic you like and know about. Take a look at your ability to perform or do things that others can’t do. take a look around you and determine what talents you have. you probably won’t stick to it when times get tough. If you are trying to decide what topic to choose.• Bid lower on the content network than on the search network. Something that you are passionate yet informed about. and turn it into a site with quality content to inform people.

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

• Write a set amount of posts: this will depend on your business or blog and how often you will post. be sure to use the blog as a supplement to your actual products and/or services. but it is not just going to come streaming in. • 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. With these in mind. If you are looking to make a lot of money. • Find and send customers to blog: You can expect some people to start taking a look at your blog. A good time frame for blogging is 6 to 12 months and this is for realistic goals. Find Your Competitors Once you have found your topic and set up your goals. setting goals needs to be done realistically. • Google Trends: this website will provide you with information regarding the current trend of your chosen topic. 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.want to do is give yourself a time frame. If you are posting on a bi-weekly schedule to your blog and expect to make a million dollars in a year. 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. You aren’t well known on the internet just yet. This website will also provide you with their ranking score and show you who your top competitors are. Only a certain amount of websites truly generate a large amount of income from advertising on their site. Then you will want to answer those in the 6 month time frame. This is a great way to determine if there is an increased interest in your 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. we are going to have to work on that. your next step is to find out what is out there in regards to competition. If you 193 . You will also want to determine how big your niche or targeted market sector is. They either came to you through search engines or your marketing efforts. Having approximately 60 posts by 6 months is a good target.

Make notes on what bloggers are talking about. Once searched. You need to stand out and provide something other bloggers are not providing. you will want to research what they are providing and what they aren’t. Note: if there is an overflow of content on the internet and many bloggers talking about the same topic. we need to first take a look at some blogging applications you can use.com are both very easy to use and only takes a few minutes to get set up. To do this though. it will make it more difficult for you to make a space of your own. The two main blogging applications are Blogger and Wordpress. Once set up you can start blogging immediately. very limited options for customization. that will get more attention than the rest. setting up your account. But also remember that the likelihood of this is based on what you are providing. • General search engines: this is the easiest way to determine competitors. Blogging is a process by which you use specific tools to publish information on the internet for others to read and comment on. (We will 194 . These are questions that need to be asked. how many other bloggers there are on your subject. 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. Both have very similar features and can be used by anyone interested in setting up a blog.com Blogger and Wordpress. changing the design of your blog and finally posting your first blog. you can become one of the internet success stories. Blogging Tools There are a few programs you can use and each come with their own specific set of benefits and abilities. Go to the search engine you are most familiar with and search for your topic.are right on time and provide exceptional content. This will provide you with ways in providing readers with something they aren’t receiving with other blogs. 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.

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

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

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

Make it simple. Just get onto your blog and type away. 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. Readers can subscribe to your RSS feeds. while others may not. get your work out there.feedburner. What we are going to do here is provide you with some pointers to writing a blog. Also try and avoid writing things like. but if the style doesn’t match your personality and business model. No need to tell people about it as everyone experiences it one time or another.com 2.simple syndication. 1. Telling people how to write their blogs is a task even more difficult. “I don’t know what to write about”. Once that is all set up you are all done. 4. Replace old feed address with the new FeedBurner address in your blog. If you are having writers block. It is a format which is able to provide the headings and a brief summary or the entire contents of your post. We could sit here and tell you what to write and how to write your blog. Paste address into the Burn a Feed Right This Instant field and select Next. Go to www. then we clearly have failed you. Section 3: How to Write Like a Professional Blogger Writing a blog can be quite difficult to say the least. using one or more of hundreds of feeds readers. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something perfect and doesn’t have to make the most sense. Setup an account. There are many RSS feed readers that a user may have. 5. 198 . Some may be useful for your blog. The important step here is to make that first post. and getting the hang of how to write a post. except for your first post. but you’ll need to set up an RSS feed for them to view your content. take a break and then come back. Verify blog documentation for blog’s feed address. The feed reader will provide the reader with your latest content in a simple and easy to read format. 3. conversational. is that writing your thoughts out will help you determine your writing style. and from the heart. Below are the steps required to setup an account and get you information sent to your readers. The most important idea you should take from this entire section. Just write up an introduction about your blog and what you hope to do with your blog.

• avoid the thesaurus like the plague or at the very least do not use it. • avoid filler words as it will only increase your sentences. • Your paragraphs should be kept to a minimum. • make lists.” and “like”. Take them into consideration when working on your posts. • practice.” “totally. There is no need to start getting fancy with words. we are going to provide you with some pointers. Take a look at some of the suggestions below to try and help with making your blog easier to scan. 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. If you can use simple words to explain something. It will help you develop your writing style and after a while. • write. A good recommended length is about four or five lines. Just spit it out (well not literally).5 or greater 199 . • 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. Everyone loves to read a list and it is always simple to understand. but only apply as necessary. • use confidence when writing. it helps get your message across better and shows that you are knowledgeable about your topic. Readers also scan content that they are reading. thoughts will come more naturally. They are much easier to read.” “extremely. Two ways to keep your blog on track and concise is to follow two simple rules. users tend to scan their emails. then use them. try and use this in limited quantities. For example. Don’t jumble it all together • Use line spacing of 1. write something down and if it doesn’t make sense then revise it • use shorter sentences instead of a large compound sentence. • using too many exclamation points can get annoying. “really. analyze and revise. Blogs allow writers to get their message across. Here are some tips to help you keep it simple. This is self explanatory. Simplicity and scanability. Scanability: as we discussed in our email sections.So to avoid any further confusion. Simplicity: you are getting to the point of your sentence and doing so clearly. in a professional manner yet in a semi-professional tone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

us. We are also assuming that if you can read this.icio. There are some benefits of providing a podcast to your viewers such as providing content to customers while on the go. If you decide to go ahead and do some podcasting. ideas and concepts on paper. Blogging puts your thoughts. then be prepared to take some extra steps to provide content to your readers. you must have had access or can get access to a computer. Some of your basic necessities to create podcasts are: • Microphone: how else are you going to get your voice recorded and onto the computer. 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. podcasting. You can again as noted in our other sections. send polite emails to bloggers. These are great ways to pass on information quickly to those that are already part of your community. Digg. compile it into an audio track and post to your blog and RSS feed. subscribers and other contacts that you may know about your new posts. it helps reduce the amount of content you need to write. Our final suggestion is to get onto online communities such as FaceBook or microblogging sites such as Twitter.gnolia. • Computer: this will be your device to record your information. Podcasting allows you to record your voice or any other sounds you may have. and Ma. 206 . and is a great way to get more personal with your viewers. is to connect with bookmarking sites such as del. • Software: you will need a program that can record and edit your audio content. while podcasting puts you on the microphone. This allows users to gain quick and easy access to your content. It is all about spreading the word about your information and getting people to notice and remember you. They are similar to StumbleUpon and are great ways to get more attention.Other recommendations we can make to get your blog out there. 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.

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

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

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

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

It is important to remember that customers will respond more positively to your email messages when they can identify with your brand. email open rates. and interest-specific to a large number of people. Of which there are two types: • Stated Feedback: when someone fills out an online form. Of those steps taken. An email message is sent and received almost instantaneously and once received the person will open and take steps of using the email. business cards. order forms. It can be personalized. 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. completes a survey or replies • Behavioral Feedback: when you track link clicks. emails. it will naturally develop 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. You can also ask people to do certain things with your email or any other information you may send them. Some ideas to help with branding and provide a familiar look and feel are: • Have logos that look consistent in: signs. receipts. 211 . website. email signup forms. feedback may be given back to the sender. If you emails are kept consistent in elements and personality.

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

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

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

• Too Frequent: repetitive. accidental filter. doesn’t trust unsubscribe. 4. Avoiding Spam Complaints Recipients of your emails must be comfortable receiving emails from you and to avoid getting complaints. 3. permission to send them emails must be given. Sort by category: determine if a prospect or a return customer. irrelevant or long emails that are frequent may be seen as 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 . accidentally clicks spam. • Other: can’t unsubscribe. Confirm permission to send email: Obtaining emails from subscribers is something you should be proud of. always be cautious. • Can’t verify it: customer is unaware of it origins. Once permission is received your next step is to minimize confusion among subscribers. 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. Depending on this fact will determine how you proceed. Once a list has been obtained you will want to protect that data as misusing the email will be misusing the subscribers trust.webmaster@ or info@ and aren’t sure who it actually gets sent to. 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. you don’t want to come off as a spammer. If you see the above steps as a laborious process then you might be better off in discarding your list and starting off fresh. Use “From” line to discern if spam or not.

• Include email and signup process: when a new subscriber is interested in receiving emails. • Send useful information: don’t abuse the permission. if you’re in the business of funeral homes or tombstone masonry) • Allow customization: if you send out more than one type of email. make sure you have something important to say. 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 Valuable Email Content: nobody likes to receive boring and useless emails. or wait until you have more information. 216 . 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. • Easy signup and clear identity: don’t make signups hard (you’ll lose potentials). If you are sending all your emails to someone who only wants one. you will want to develop a database. they will spam block you. you will first need to keep track of your subscribers and to do this. make sure you send them relevant content that they approved (no sending cartoons to your subscribers. 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. allow users to subscribe to the email content they want.• Send reminder letter: send a periodical letter (with their permission) similar to email reminders. To develop a proper list. you just avoided a lot of people sending you to the junk mail inbox. • Sort list into categories: you will want to do this to send out targeted emails in a variety of groupings. and make your emails easy and comprehendible (don’t make them work more than clicking open).

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

• Use other medias for marketing as trust develops. In these situations you can. 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.Reveals important Gender. marital Personal info about person Used to send more status. • Ask for info in regular emails. 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. Excellent Customer Service. 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. In an effort to get to know your subscribers a little better. • Use forms or links to site where they can browse or make purchases. Knowledgeable Staff. 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. info. to do so you can do the following: • Send short relevant email surveys. 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. Collecting Subscriber Information through Website 218 . family Information you are sending relevant info. preferences info to. if able to. you will need to provide them with a variety of questions. You can try to gather all this information at the start but more than likely this will not be the case. each with its own specific benefit so you can better understand your customers’ needs.

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

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

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

Think of when you read an email. who then formats the email and then sends it to the list. 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. Do you read every single word or do you tend to scan? Like most readers when it comes to foreign emails. If this is the case. An email needs to be built in a way that will stop readers in their tracks and has them take steps with you. make sure that your email provides a few options for signing up to receive more of your emails.• 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. email lists may be on sale only as a rental. The information included in a header is listed below: • From line: this tells the recipient of your email whom the email is from. 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. you will tend to scan. Quality confirmed permission emails are hard to attain and thus. • Subscriber interests: finding out how the interests of the subscribers was determined is also very important. Also be sure to have a link that will relate back to your website. You will create an email and then send it to the broker. 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. • From address: this will be the address from which you are sending the email 222 . This is what you need to keep in mind when developing the email. 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. 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).

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

but if you have other ways that are successful then by all means stick with that route. This only allows a limited amount of information to be presented. Any issues with the honesty of your emails may come back to you and end up in further issues. Here are some examples of different emails for different situations. you may be able to use your email address in the From line. making the customer want to open your email and see what the fuss is about. Also when placing information. Coming up with a good subject line is difficult seeing as how most programs only display 30-50 characters.com”.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. initials or alternate spelling. • Email address: in addition to using your name and business name.com”. make sure that the information therein is honest and relevant to your business as it does need to be CAN-SPAM compliant. The most effective subject lines are those that prompt the audience to open the email and search for specific information. 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. ◦ If you are sending newsletters and are recognized by your name you may send an email from “newsletters@yourname. You are really trying to create a sense of urgency. then you’re still best off using your business full name for clarity. These are great ways for readers to recognize you.com”. ◦ If you are sending an announcement and users recognize your website domain name then your best option may be “announcement@yourdomain.uses abbreviations. ◦ 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. One way to really get your point across is to copy the benefits of the product or service you are providing. Provide the benefits in the subject line and let them know what amazing results to expect.business. Here are a few 224 . Completing a Subject Line This portion of the email gives the reader a hit as to the content within the 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. if you are bothering readers with an email make it worth their time and yours. • 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. If you are a legitimate business. then you know how to send out the rest of the emails. 225 .examples of how a subject line may look like. Remember you don’t want to mislead. • Using RE: unless of course it’s a real response to a previous email. • Excessive punctuation: !!!! or ???? • Symbols: dollar signs ($$$) or asterisk (***) • Capital letters: CLICK TO ORDER NOW • Recipients first name: clearly the reader is not the subject. 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. wanting to get proper information about your products and services. and what you can do to make it sound more urgent. it’s your product information. If you are getting more responses from one email than another. then there is no need to lie. • Blank: don’t leave the subject line blank. • 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. Make sure you are avoiding things that they are using as they will only make sure your emails get sent to the junk folder. as per CAN-SPAM regulations.

This provides a further integration within a subscriber’s mind of your company and brand by reiterating the color scheme. If you aren’t sure which colors go well together then do a quick search on the internet for keyword “color-matching tools”. Using more than two or three types of fonts will only further confuse a reader. 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. • Print and emails: if you are sending out offers via print sources. Branding helps your readers recognize you immediately and help differentiate your emails from the unfamiliar emails they receive. be sure that your website has a similar if not exact design. • Fonts and brand: consistent use of fonts throughout your email and separate communications will provide visual anchors. Again. 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. This will keep a more consistency throughout your email. Have it positioned in the upper left or top centre of your email. 226 . To brand your email you are going to need to know how to use HTML.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. • Website and email offers: if your email includes an offer with a specific design. once they are on your website. 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. here are a few things to keep in mind: • Logo: make sure you have a logo added to your email. All your communications that you send will need to convey your brand and provide readers with confidence in what you provide. you will want to make sure that your communications match your emails. If you are unsure on how to use HTML you will want to direct your concerns to your ESP. To really get the right design of email for your brand. • 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. this will keep the person focused on what was in the offer and will be easier to recognize it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

▪ 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. If you are truly content on keeping your coupon usage to a limit amount of readers. in-person type store. Even with the disclaimer. you may want to take a look at the financial loss you may incur if someone does try and abuse your offer. Dates and codes can help lower your occurrence of any issues. making your readers aware of the one coupon per person rule. make sure to add a coupon number or a disclaimer. An example of an incentive would be a savings or some type of additional privilege. 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 . ▪ 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.provided online. 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. the readers you do have may pass the coupon on to their friends who may be interested in your products. ▪ 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. Even if you have a few subscribers. ▪ 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.

If you are sending emails to customers on a frequent schedule they may become irritated and unsubscribe or not consider your information valuable. (word of mouth marketing. By now after using the internet. 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. To avoid such situations you are going to need to use a call to action. • Complete this form • Sign up now • Print this email • Make this purchase • Visit our website • Register online • Visit our location • Save this email 236 . 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. A call to action is a statement that motivates the readers to perform a certain action. we are sure you have seen generic calls to action such as “Click Here” or “Call Now”. This can range from opening your email to making a purchase. Another method is to instill a sense of urgency in your readers. We consider this as stale. This is a great way to acquire customers that are interested in your product but not ready to invest just yet. 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. boring and repetitive. Customers are going to be more perceptive to offers that are only available for a limited amount of time. It is also important to remember that when used sparingly it is more effective than used on a frequent basis. Effective Calls to Action If you are sending emails to customers on a irregular basis customers may forget you.▪ forward your information and emails to friends or family.

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

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

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

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. Email tracking reports are a great way to determine how your email campaign is going. If your emails sent is 100 and your bounce rate was 15 of them. 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. and 35 are tracked 240 .15 or 15%. but if you don’t then you will want to speak to your ESP. For example. ◦ 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. then your bounce rate would be 0. 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. 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. ◦ 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. You will need to have extensive knowledge of HTML and database programming to track emails. So again if your total emails sent is 100 and 15 of them bounced. ▪ The open rate is calculated by dividing the tracked opens by non-bounced total. if 85 of your 100 emails are not bounced. then your total non-bounced rate is 85. • Non-bounce rate total: this is the amount of emails that are sent to the reader and not bounced by the server.companies or content providers. you take the amount of emails sent and subtract total bounced emails. To calculate this rate.

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

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

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

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

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

If you receive an email back from particular emails. allowing it to be passed onto the recipient. try sending a introduction email to your readers. • Avoiding spam lists: this is a list that all senders should try and avoid. It is also known as the blacklist. ▪ The software used by the recipient cannot accept the email. Browsing the web is not a good way to get more clients. This is used to avoid inbox’s being flooded by programs designed to send out spam. 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. 246 . If you are sending out emails that are receiving spam complaints on a continual basis your email may be added to that list. here are a few things that you may encounter and ways to avoid getting blocked.not something that can be controlled by the sender. Emails that are not being received by the sender and not due to any of the reasons mentioned above are due to blocking. ▪ A server that is performing the transaction of emails is currently down. • 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. The application returns unrecognized emails to the sender who then needs to authenticate that they are human. If you send an email to any of the spam trap address you ability to send any further emails to anyone will be nonexistent. A few examples of soft bounces are: ▪ Recipients’ mailbox is full. remove them from your database (it is most likely a spam trap). 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. Usually these lists of emails are gathered without consent and may contain spam traps. 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. To avoid these situations.

we will take a look at another program which stops a recipient from receiving your emails. 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. 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. ▪ Speak to your subscribers and determine if there is an alternate email address that you could send information to. To understand and avoid your emails being filtered we will take a more in-depth look at email filtering. If that email is unblocked. An email filter is designed by the system administrators of the email programs. 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. Here are some things to look for when choosing your ESP: 247 . It may be that one email is blocked by firewall. your email just may get through. you just got one more person to read your content. may be blocked like the rest. if you are listed as a contact person. Now that we have taken a look at bounced and blocked emails. The difference here is that an email filter does not send an email back to the sender. 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. You will have to change the way you deliver your email to these individuals. • Establish a reputation: having a reputable name behind your email address will increase the likelihood of your email being delivered. notifying them that the email has not been sent. This program is called an email filter. while the other is not. you will want to deliver your emails through a respected and well-known ESP. Even though your email may be considered spam.◦ Firewalls: are applications which are designed to filter out spam emails to a high degree. An email may be filtered due to words that are contained within the email or even done so by mistake.

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

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

it’s important that you know exactly what it can and can’t do.).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. You should know exactly how this data relates to your KPIs (key performance indicators ex. sales. 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). 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. 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 . Entire books can be written on web analytics so this course will just cover the most essential and practical applications of the data. leads etc.

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

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

Some people have JavaScript disabled on their browsers.php of your website and it will end up on every page 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 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.com • www. 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. 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. It all depends on the size of your business and the budget you have available.clicktracks. if this is the case the JavaScript will not retrieve the data.omniture. If you use CSS and PHP codes… just place the JavaScript code in the footer. They can be extremely powerful and useful if you know how to use them. We recommend Google Analytics but if you feel it’s not powerful enough we suggest you go with the following: • www. You should get your server to log the following information: • Session time 253 . You’re not limited to just one analytics tool. We suggest contacting your webmaster to set this up for you. JavaScript Analytic tools that use JavaScript to retrieve data require that you place the code on every page of your website. JavaScript based analytic tool typically collect much more useful information and it’s much more accurate. Setting up Your Server for Log File Reporting This can be extremely complicated and not recommended for most users. One problem with using JavaScript code is that it can slow down the load times of your website.com The high-end analytics tools can go for as much $500 per month.

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

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

Google Analytics places these 5 metrics on the front page when you log in. it’s not an indicator of new users coming in. Unique Visitors 256 . Google Analytics has a great feature that allows you to see the peak visit time throughout times of the day. Sessions are a good indicator of how interested people are in your site. 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. If a person goes to your site many times a day… each time they go on will be considered a session. or year. 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. You’ll see this sort of trend with forums and news related sites. Sessions Sessions (aka visits) indicate how many times your website as a whole was viewed. Knowing the number of visits is needed to know your conversion rate since the conversion rate is based on sales per traffic. month. Activity is an indicator of activity of the users already there. 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. This information can come in handy when used right. 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. 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. All of these metrics don’t mean much on their own. Every time someone goes to your website (regardless of how many pages they went to) it’s regarded as a session. They are vital.There are 5 important metrics that you should know.

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

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

There are some terms you should understand in regards to referral data before analyzing referral data. • Bounce Rate: The rate at which a visitor from a referral will see your site and then leave. Time on Site: The average time the visitors from a referral spend on your site. The most important terms you should be familiar with are: • Source: Where your visitors are coming from. Referrer data is excellent for knowing where to focus your efforts. 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. Paying attention to referring keywords can be extremely useful. • Pages/Visit: The amount of pages being viewed by each visitor from the referral. If you see that a single submission to a site like Digg gets a lot of traffic. • % New Visits: The percentage of visitors who’ve never been to your site before. you’ll have a better idea of what keywords to focus on. Referring Keywords Google Analytics will track what keywords were used in Google by the user that came to your site. • Visits: The amount of people that came to your site through the referral. • Direct: The amount of traffic that came to your site directly by typing in the URL address. you’ll know exactly which ads are bringing in the most sales. referral data can be used to see which ads are performing the best. • Avg. If you’re conducting an AdWords campaign. You’ll likely be ranked moderately well in Google for several keywords and phrases. You’ll want to focus your efforts on Digg but also create content better suited for Digg users. If you combine conversion metrics with your referral data. By seeing what keywords bring in the highest quality of traffic. It could also mean that users clicking on that link are expecting something different. 259 .

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

If a user looks at a page and then leaves your site… it’s safe to say they lost interest. 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).It’s a good indicator of how sticky a web page is. If it’s interesting users will click around and explore your site further. Key Performance Indicators Also known as KPIs. 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. People leave mid way during a registration process or purchase for a variety of reasons. they are the metrics that indicate how well your business is doing. By knowing that people bounce on a certain page… you’ll better be able to diagnose the problem. 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 . Fixing bottlenecks is critical if you want people to do a certain task. KPI’s can be measured in many ways but for the most part they’re measured in terms of conversion goals. If you have an ecommerce site or a site where people have to register.

For the most part SEO is very straight foreword but there are a lot of tricks and methods that can make a huge difference. You’ll need to put a lot of time and consistent effort into it in order for it to work. They allow us to find and connect with others. 262 . This course will cover all the essentials and then some on how to get your site ranked up high on the search engines. The Purpose of Search Engines Search engines are essentially what make the internet what it is.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.

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

don’t count on them. 264 . site age. Not all SEO professionals are bad of course. image captions. They look at such factors as title tags. You want your site to be associated with a certain keyword or phrase. URL. and if it comes from a website related to your niche. that link is considered to have more value. much more. and much. 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. So the more votes you get from high valued sites… the higher you’ll rank. 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. trust factors. Good keyword rich content is important but if you want to be ranked #1. If you plan on running a business for several years. A backlink is like a vote.Some of the methods used by “professionals” can get you black listed by search engines. just make sure you know exactly what methods they use. Some methods will get your site to jump up for a short period of time but they won’t help in the long term. 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. the written content. 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 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. headings. backlinks. you’ll need backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites. 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. description Meta tags. file names. There are no short cuts. Black Hat SEO It’s very tempting to take shortcuts when doing business but in regards to SEO.

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

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

It can be found here: • http://siteexplorer.google. the main keyword of BMW has a long tail with words such as BMW 1 series.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.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. etc.search.microsoft. Yahoo! Site Explorer is another useful tool that can give you information on a website as it pertains to the Yahoo! search engine. (Ex.com/trends • http://www. BMW 2 series.google.ca/select/KeywordToolExternal • http://www.) Although you may not rank number 1 for “BMW” you may rank high for “BMW dealerships” and other variables.The Long Tail Theory The long tail is basically the longer variable key phrases of a given simpler phrase. The traffic from long tail keywords are generally better customers since they have a better idea of what they want.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).yahoo. 267 . 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. 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.google. one that we like to use is Microsoft’s demographic prediction tool: • http://adlab.

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

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.txt' are useful if you want the search engine to avoid duplicate and useless pages. if this is the case. Roadblocks to Getting Noticed By the Search Engines There are some things that prevent the search engines from 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. Check out the source code of your website and if you see the following. you’ll have no problem ranking high. Robots. Every search engine is different and the algorithms they use always change. check it out and if you see: User-agent: * Disallow: / If you see the “Disallow: /” command. It’s important to always stay on top of the current SEO methods.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. so one day you might be doing well and the next you’ll be off the radar. remove it: <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX. When a web developer is building your site.txt with a disallow command on the whole site. The most typical reason is a robots. it means the search engine bots are being prevented from crawling your site. Just make sure you don’t disallow everything. Sometimes they’ll forget to modify or remove it. If you have a robots.txt already. 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. Having a form like this 269 .

Much like Ajax and DHTML. Flash looks great but it’s not SEO friendly. the search engines can’t read the flash code and therefore the content won’t be indexed. You can still use forms and drop down menus but be sure to have a way for the bots to crawl your site. There are ways to build drop down menus without DHTML and in such a way that search engines can navigate them. Ajax and DHTML Ajax and DHTML are code languages used to make fancy web apps. 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. Since search engines are unable to read JavaScript. Ajax is used to create fast loading WebPages and DHTML is used to create drop down menus and other interesting effects. 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. Client Side Redirects 270 . meaning you won’t receive too much traffic from the search engines. Search engine bots can’t use forms or drop down menus. keep in mind that it won’t be crawled. 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. Why You Shouldn’t Have Flash Websites Flash is a highly advanced code used to make vector animations and “flashy” websites and apps. 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. they use JavaScript to load the content.prevents search engines from seeing the content and therefore the site is not indexed. Adobe (the company that makes flash) is working hard with Google to make flash crawlable but it’s still not there yet. The most common method is to have your page “degrade gracefully”. Making It Easy For the Search Engines to Crawl Your Website Search engines crawl your site by links on your page.

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. This redirected method was also known as “cloaking”. In the early days of search engines. 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. This can be bad because if someone decides to steal your content and they have more authority. You can use this tool to see the problems in your own website. Go to a website and disable CSS and JavaScript… what you see is what the search engines sees. you’re essential decreasing the amount of links going back to a single page. To find duplicate content go to Google and type in “site: www. people would intentionally make several websites with the exact same content linking to each other thereby increasing relevancy and rankings. Duplicate Content Duplicate content is a big problem when it comes to SEO. If you have duplicates on your own site and you have backlinks going back to both duplicates.com”.Back in the olden days of the internet. The Firefox Web Developer Toolbar Firefox has a web developer toolbar plug-in which can be found here: • http://chrispederick. The redirect method worked great at increasing the ranking but search engines have caught on and now penalize sites for using this method. Search engines now detect duplicate content and will only index one of the copies.com/work/web-developer/ This tool will let you see what a website looks like to the search engines. it’s possible that the thief’s site will be indexed higher than yours. The search engines were unable to detect duplicate content but they now can and will often times penalize those sites.yourwebsite. Some websites still use advanced forms of cloaking for certain businesses but its considered black hat so you should avoid it. This will show you all the pages of your site 271 . Google will rank both pages separately and because of the divided links… neither page will be ranked high.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It should be the backbone of your link building strategy. While adding images and great headers will help with your SEO efforts. try adding images to your article. The more relevant the website is to the one it’s linking to the more valuable that link is. Providing unique fresh information is the best way to get others to link back to you. you may be tempted to go above and beyond to get more buying power. Provide as much value as you can. Spamming the internet with links back to your site and then stopping doesn’t have much value. A great way to get link backs is to always be original and create new fresh content that hasn’t been seen before. For those of you starting out. PageRank is determined by how good the SEO of that website is.depending on the relevancy of the pages. One great tip to keep in mind while writing your content is making it easily scannable like a “top 10 list” always does well.yourwebsite. quality content must be your highest priority. If you aren’t really sure how to make a boring topic interesting. 1 or 2 images are ideal. It looks like this: • <a href=http://www. Good content should always come first. The quality of your content should sell itself. Getting link backs naturally with interesting and provocative information is the best strategy.com rel=”nofollow”> Linkable Content People link to articles they think other people will find interesting. This command prevents search engines from counting that link as a vote. do not make your content a sales pitch. Make your content so good that people want to see more and pay for more. including number and power of the links it receives from other websites. 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. Making It Easy To Share 281 . Having a consistent number of links coming in is better than getting a lot in a short amount of time. while you can to a certain extent. Also if possible. try to write something that people would want to share. Some websites will add a “nofollow” command to the links. If the content isn’t the most appealing. try and place a focus on your headlines and make them interesting and provocative. Link velocity is the term used to describe the rate a websites receives incoming links.

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.com Food for the mind 288 .feedbooks.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful