Thursday, December 31, 2009
Now that you’re done opening your gifts, and finding out you got nothing you really wanted, let’s move on to getting drunk and enjoying the new year <LOL>. Funny how we get so excited and do so much work for just one day isn’t it? But we do it every year. So usually every year I’ll go out and buy myself something I really want, even if I don’t need it. Sort of like my own special Xmas gift. Hey, I’m worth it. I’ve been thinking about an Amazon Kindle but not sure if it’s worth almost 300.00. Will see.
Anyway, Lynn Terry has put together a free 10 page report for all you bloggers or wantabe bloggers. It’s called “Blog Boost 2010”. In it she gives you a checklist of things to think about when it comes to growing and maintaining your own blog. Good stuff Maynard. Of course, Lynn always puts out quality material. You can download your own copy at the link below. If you like it feel free to pass it along to others. Just please download it to your own site first.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
First off I do apologize for being MIA the past few weeks. With all of the work that comes with getting ready for Christmas I've been pretty busy offline. Now that some of the hoopala has died down I'll try to give you my utmost attention.
Here's a cute video that sums up the year 2009 using Google Wave. It's very creative and I think you're going to like it. Let me know what you think. Have you tried Google Wave yourself?
Thursday, December 10, 2009
As a website owner, one of your top priorities is going to be getting your site indexed and ranked by Google. People perform over 235 million searches a day with Google, so the potential to receive significant traffic from this search engine should be enough for you to invest the time to make sure it's done right.
Google wants to fill its index with quality, error free websites that are beneficial and targeted to their searchers. Enter Google's Webmaster Central Tools http://google.com/webmasters . If you've never heard of it, it's Google's way of helping you with your website's indexing. Not too long ago, it went through a redesign and upgrade process which made it more useful and easier to use than ever.
First thing you'll need to sign in with is a Google account. Google requires an account to be able to use all of their free services, including Blogger and Analytics, so if you don't have one, now's the time to register.
If you have multiple websites to list, that's no problem. Up to 500 sites can be added all under one roof. You will need to perform what Google calls "site verification" for each site submitted. This proves to Google that you are the owner of the site before they release detailed information to you. At one time it was a lengthy process of cutting and pasting code into the head section of your index page or uploading a separate HTML file. Now they've streamlined the process and it's all done with one click of an email.
If you use Blogger.com, "Webmaster Tools" can be enabled from within the Blogger dashboard under tools/resources. Once your sites have been submitted, you'll have access to a whole suite of useful tools. The website is broken up into three main sections.
1) Site Configuration (Information about your site)
2) Your Site on the Web (Google data re: your site)
3) Diagnostics (Any problems Google had while indexing your site)
If your website has never received a decent ranking with Google, these numerous reports will help you in tracking down the problem. It's truly an "eye opener" to see your site through the eyes of a search engine.
On the "Crawl Errors Page", any errors Google encountered while crawling your site are revealed. The url's not listed, and the types of problems such as restricted by robots txt, url's that timed out, and unreachable url's will be uncovered. If numerous pages of your site are not indexed, Sitemaps can also be submitted to help Google find and crawl all of the pages of your site.
If your website is not showing up in Google's index, or you think it's being penalized for some reason, you can contact Google from within the "tools interface" with a "reconsideration" request. This will ask Google to take another look at your site. Before submitting, make sure you've cleaned up any errors, and that you're not in violation of any of Google's webmaster guidelines.
Here's a small sample of some other tasks that can be performed.
- Keyword Research: The keywords page lists the most
important words Google found when indexing your site.
So you know what keyword/phrases your site is ranking for.
- Who's linking to your website.
- Page rank for individual pages can be reviewed.
- Change of address feature, which is useful when
moving domains to let Google know.
- Data can be downloaded in spreadsheet format
in order to be analyzed and tracked.
- Any RSS feeds can also be submitted as sitemaps.
- Parameter Handling- Allows you to tell Google which
url's you want them to ignore.
- Emails from Google's Webmaster Tools can be
forwarded to any email address you specify.
Contrary to popular belief, Google wants you to succeed online which is why they give you the tools needed to fix any problems, and make your site a search engine's indexing dream. That's not just good business for Google,it's good for your website too.
Friday, December 04, 2009
The life of an internet marketer revolves around one thing: Content. You need articles for your blog, more great content for your newsletter or ezine, and even more quality articles if you plan to do article marketing or guest blogging to get free advertising for your website. So, before you throw in the towel completely, let me share a few ideas with you that may help you to actually have time away from your computer.
When looking for articles, you have several options. I personally recommend that you use several of these suggestions to add a variety of content to your websites.
I'll start with a few of my favorites...
Grab some Free Reprint Articles at the Directories.
Article directories like EzineArticles.com, LadyPens.com and ArticleBase.com are packed with quality articles that you can reprint on your site. The only requirements are that you do not edit the article in any way and that you include the author's resource box (or bio) at the end including the link or two that the author has included to his/her website.
It's a win-win situation. The author gets free advertising. You, the publisher, get free content.
There are three negatives to using this type of article.
· First is the issue of duplicate content. You're sharing the same exact articles as everyone else that uses that directory. This is not a big deal at all if you're using the article in your ezine, obviously, since duplicate content is only an issue with the search engines. It's also not a huge issue for your blog or website, as long as you write an introduction to the article, and preferably a wrap-up statement or recommendation at the end.
· Second is the very difficult issue of finding quality content. Gone are the days of grabbing any old free reprint article. You want Expert Content only – and many of the article directories have “bleck” articles.
· Third is the issue of posting those darn links in the author resource box. You're basically advertising for someone else for free. Ouch.
Good news! I can help you with the free advertising part in the next section of this article.
Use Extra-Special Free Reprint Articles.
Oftentimes ebook owners and other marketers with affiliate programs offer articles with a twist. You get to replace the link(s) in the author resource box with YOUR affiliate link for that program.
Here you'll find many articles that meet that criteria: http://freeaffiliatearticles.com/wp/
OR, if your favorite Experts regularly offer reprint articles, ask if this is an option for you.
That way, the expert still gets free advertising. And, you, the publisher, still get great content. But, you can also benefit by earning affiliate commissions as well.
This model definitely adds an increased level of appeal compared to traditional reprint articles. Wouldn't you agree?
Write the Articles Yourself.
You can choose to write some of your web content yourself. I highly recommend that you do write much of your own content, at least on the sites where you're trying to establish yourself as an authority.
However, there are options below that will enable you to post quality content to your website without having to write all of it yourself. (Some you can just edit and use.) The difference in the options below is that YOU become the expert, rather than endorsing someone else as the expert.
Hire a Quality Ghostwriter or Copywriter.
A ghostwriter is a freelancer who writes for you (usually articles or reports), but you take the credit.
A copywriter specializes in writing copy that sells, and you usually take the credit.
There are many sites on the web where you can find writers. Start by asking around, or go to sites like elance.com (a job posting site) or Shelancers.com (a directory of freelancers) to look around. Having a ghostwriter on hand can keep your blog fresh and active.
Our Favorite Shortcut: Stock up on PLR articles.
PLR articles stands for Private Label Rights articles. PLR articles are usually written by a ghostwriter and sold to several website owners. This means that you (and a limited number of other bloggers) can edit the articles and publish them without being required to link back to anyone or give anyone credit for writing them. You become the expert when using PLR articles.
Customize the articles, tweak them for your market, insert examples or photos or case studies and publish them on your website -- or just use them as they are. Either way, you gain a lot of flexibility when working with PLR. Not only that but they are very affordable.
So, How do you Find a Good PLR Service?
Simple. Find a PLR site that's been around for awhile and offers professionally-written and edited content that's sold in limited quantities. That will ensure that you're not getting recycled PLR, but are getting your hands on top-quality content.
One such service is: http://www.plr.me/affiliates/uid/msmerle_2
Our Recommendation for Top Quality PLR, Sold in Very Limited Quantities:
EasyPLR.com has been offering the best niche plr article packs on the web since 2006.
- Great reputation. Thousands of happy, repeat customers over the years.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
UNIX/ NT/ The two most popular hosting platforms to choose from are UNIX and NT. UNIX is by far the favorite, as it was the only choice way back in the early days of the Internet. It is easy to configure, great for setting your own file permissions and the platform for most of the free scripts available for download. It is flexible, reliable and supports scripting languages like Perl and PHP3.
NT is Microsoft's baby. One problem that I have found with NT servers is a lack of readily available scripts that work on this platform. Also, (unlike UNIX) many NT users need assistance from their Web Host Administrators to set file permissions. NT supports MS applications such as ASP, Access, FP and scripting languages such as Perl, Cold Fusion and ASP.
TECH SUPPORT/ When you need help you'll want to make sure you can get it. Some web hosts offer phone support or even live chat. Make sure they have good tech support in place as there's nothing more annoying than needing assistance with your site and not being able to get it.
SET UP FEE/ MONTHLY FEE/ Some hosts charge an initial set up fee to get your site set up and running on their server. Make sure you check on this when comparing prices. I've seen monthly fees ranging from 9.99 to 39.99, depending on the plan and services offered. My advice to you would be to look past the cheapest and most expensive ends of the scale and go with a mid-range pricing plan to be on the safe side. You should be able to pick up a reliable web host for 10 to 20.00 per month.
HARD DRIVE/ SPACE/ How much space they're willing to give you is important if you're going to compare apples to apples. You need to keep in mind the size of your site when deciding how much space you really need. Generally, 20 to 30 MB is plenty for a small site. You might want to ask if you can pay for more space should your site ever outgrow its present state.
FTP ACCESS/ TELNET ACCESS/ Even if you plan on using Frontpage to manage your site, you'll still need to have FTP access. It is usually standard, but it never hurts to ask. Make sure you keep your user name and password in a safe place. You'll use FTP to set file permissions and to upload your files to the web server.
Telnet can be very useful for troubleshooting CGI scripts and changing server configurations. There are some servers that will not grant telnet access.
CGI-BIN/ A very important component if you're planning on adding any sort of interactivity to your site like forms, shopping carts, etc. Usually comes as standard equipment, but I've seen some of the cheaper hosts leave it out entirely.
EMAIL BOXES & POP 3 ALIASES/ One thing that's very important to me is the ability to use different aliases with my domain name. For example, if your domain is YourBizName.com, you may want to set up separate addresses to sort your mail like serviceATyourbizname or supportATyourbizname. They may all funnel into the same mailbox, but you can set up filters at your end, making customer service a whole lot easier.
If you have a "wildcard" account, you can set up as many aliases as you like. If you have ther employees who will need their own private box, check with the web host to see how many boxes they will allow.
STATS/ Once you start getting traffic, you'll want to know where it's coming from and what pages of your site are being visited. Some web hosts will throw stats tracking in with their standard package or at least give you access to your log files, which you can then use with third party software to run reports on the traffic your site is receiving.
1) If you want to use Frontpage: Do they have the FP server extensions installed?
2) Do they offer autoresponders?
3) How about a secured server option for payment transactions?
4) Do they back up all websites in case of disaster?
5) Do they offer assistance in programming or design work if needed at an hourly rate?
6) Do they offer shopping cart software if you're going to be selling products?
7) Do any customized forms come standard with your account, like feedback or order forms?
8) Bandwidth- Be aware that bandwidth is how much data can be transferred in a month's time. This shouldn't be a concern unless you're getting a ton of traffic, but be aware that most hosts do have limitations on what they'll allow.
As you can see, there are many factors to take into account when choosing a web host. Your host is essentially the spine of your site, so you want to make sure that the one you choose is reliable and solid. Nothing can ruin a site faster than an unreliable host. I know; been there, done that.
Remember, choosing a good host is essential to the success and reliability of your online business. Do your homework and choose the one that's right for you.