Feb 28, 2011

By: Markco | 4 comments

SEO Evolved: Community in 2011

SEO has Evolved, for the Better in 2011

Social media web 2.0 has been the overall trend for building SEO throughout 2010. Having link bait worthy content has become even more important than purchasing links which happened to be the common trend of 2009. Now that we're at 2011, what will be the new trend or method for dominating the search rankings in Google, Yahoo, Bing and all the other search engines?

I'll answer the question with one word: Community

Have you built a community around your website yet? If you haven't, you're already behind in 2011 and should start immediately. What is a community? How does it help with SEO? Let me put it to you this way, imagine if you had an army of link baiting and social media sharing fanatics slaving away 24/7 to make sure that you were at the top of the search engine rankings for your niche. How great would that be? I know, it would be amazing, actually it is amazing, and that's what community does for a site.

Direct Them With Your Headlines

People tend to retweet, facebook share, digg, stumble, etc using the title of the post or article they've liked. If the title is catchy or funny then it will be a given that your community will share it using the exact same title you've provided them with. Ensuring that your title covers the keywords you want associated with your site will mean that your army of followers will be sending SEO gold to the search engines when they discuss your topic on other sites, forums or participate in social media sharing. Headlines are king for directing your audience.

Motivate Them With Your Story

A mini trend revolving around community is the theme of a story. Does your community tell a motivating story? Perhaps your community grew steadily from humble beginnings into an impressive, thought provoking force which uncovered various information within your niche. People want to belong, and having a believable, moving story will have them chomping at the bit to join your community. The story of your community begins with your story, so how does your story help to foster community? Reflect on that question and then think about the consequences of a having a story which promotes isolation vs personal growth and inclusion.

Impress Them With Your Consistent Presence

Being a part of every social media site in existence was the trend of 2010, in the hopes of link baiting armies of people into spreading the word on your hilarious new commercial or thought provoking article. Now you want to be consistently present on the internet for your readers' benefit, not your own link baiting agenda. Be present, build credibility and make people feel at home in your community. This will not only impress them, but build the greatest commodity in 2011: trust. Without trust there is no faith in your community or in your ability to lead that community.

Why Community Will Help Your SEO

At this point you're probably thinking, OK, so community will be the trend of 2011, but how will that affect SEO? Let's go back to the army analogy. You now have a successful community and you create a thought provoking article. Your army of followers then retweets it, stumbles it, facebooks it, talks about it on forums and even leaves blog comments linking to your article. This attention brings about other bloggers or site owners discussing your thought provoking article within their own sites. From there, those communities do the same thing yours did and so on and so forth. As everyone focuses on communities, SEO hungry site owners will immediately be drawn to people who already have communities in order to benefit them best with sharing their content. Joint Ventures will open up to you simply because you have a community in 2011 and if you don't have one, you'll simply be missing out on countless potential opportunities.

So Will You Build A Community in 2011?

I highly recommend for anyone who is working towards building a community that they focus hard on becoming a member of another, possibly similar one. This will give you the experience of participating in and seeing how a leader works for his or her own community. Will you build a community in 2011?
Feb 27, 2011

By: Markco | 2 comments

Your Audience Isn't Coming to You

I feel so bad for people who send me their sob stories about working so much but seeing nothing in return. They write hundreds, maybe thousands of articles and posts. They create products which rival the greatest works of internet gurus. Yet they can't seem to get more than a handful of visitors per day. You can avoid wasted work and get the most for  your efforts by following a very simple instruction:

Go to Your Audience.

So simple, yet so many writers online miss the message of this directive. Your audience has no reason whatsoever to venture outside the confines of their current sources of information, so why should they come to you in the first place? Unless you are actively putting yourself out there in the places where your audience congregates, how can they possibly find your site? Perhaps you are one of these people who put so much effort into writing and creating value but can't seem to get anyone to take the time to observe what you worked so hard to produce.

Is your blog like easter island? Here is a simple plan to get noticed in your niche.

Step 1: Identify

Start searching on Google and looking for the places where your potential audience likes to hang out or get information. This could be a series of forums, podcasts, blogs, websites, social networks, etc. Take the time to find all the various locations where your potential audience gathers and you will greatly increase your chances of getting their collective attention.

Step 2: Know What They Want

Before you can start gathering an audience, you need to first identify what it is they are looking for. You want headlines that are irresistible, so you need to have exactly what they are looking for immediately available on the other end of your links. Think long and hard about this step, it is the most important one by far.

Step 3: Write Headlines

You should leave links in the locations where your audience gathers. This could entail guest posting, podcast interviews, forum signatures, youtube video responses, or any host of other means of interaction. The more places you appear on the more credibility you will have.

Do you have a plan for attracting a larger audience? Do you get out there instead of waiting for your audience to come to you?
Feb 26, 2011

By: Markco | 2 comments

Ask Your Readers What They Think

Ask and You Shall Receive

I wrote the opening sentence to this paragraph about 30 times. Why? Because I do not want to leave the wrong impression. I would like for you to leave a comment about how the blog is doing, and the best way to accomplish this is to flat out ask, "What do you think so far?" If I were to open any other way, perhaps by saying "Yes the blog is doing marvelous, look at how many subscribers have signed up or how great the posts have been" then you would be less inclined to comment. After all, if you agree with me then you probably won't say anything. If you disagree you might not be motivated enough to say anything either, but by asking "Well, what do you think so far?" I leave open the possibility for all kinds of answers and no one will feel silly posting their comments.

This is a very real and powerful lesson in how to get more people to comment on your blog, and I've been working hard to learn how to improve over the past several weeks. For years I'd been happy building blogs without tons of comments simply because the subscriber count continued to grow. However, I hope to change this not only for myself but for you as well so that you can begin building growing, collaborating communities out of your own blogs.

So what do you think, how is it going so far? Has your blog improved since you started reading The Traffic Blogger? What hasn't been covered or not covered well enough?

Have you asked your readers what they want recently?
Feb 25, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Lessons in Blogging: What NOT to Blog

Perhaps you have heard about Natalie Munroe, the teacher suspended for blogging about her students?

Basically, this teacher decided to talk about her students in a negative fashion, calling into question their motives, their upbringings and stating that they were all rather lazy. Natalie Munroe was suspended for her actions and many of her students protested to the school's administration about the event. Obviously, this story received nation wide attention as major news organizations got word of a blogger getting into trouble from their writing, and a teacher of all professions!

We've seen students get in trouble for blogging about their teachers, so I was pretty happy to see the roles reversed for once, been waiting for it to happen for quite some time actually. I mean, how many teachers have stated on facebook to their friends that they had a bad day because the kids were brats? I'm sure it happens all the time.

What can you learn from this whole blogging debacle? Your words matter and you are accountable for them. If you make a mistake, it is in your best interest to own up to it. Believe me, I've been called out before, especially early on in my blogging career, and it wasn't pretty. Almost cost me my job actually, not because of something I'd actually done, but just due to the gravity of the accusations!

So be mindful of what you write and be sure to get you facts straight, because you are absolutely accountable for what you say and do. Don't take this as a threat, just keep your writing within the bounds of the law. If you slander others or bring your professional career into the picture of blogging then you are opening doors you may not wish to be open. Some of you may blog anonymously, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, that does not give you a free pass to say and do whatever you wish. Remember that your blogs are on servers run by real people in countries with rules and if you break those rules then they will be held responsible. They would rather shut down your site then face legal repercussions for the things you say in your blog. Everyone is accountable in today's day and age, anonymity just doesn't exist anymore!
Feb 24, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

The Other Way to Get Traffic With Youtube

Youtube is a great way to get natural, organic traffic to your site. Simply uploading videos, giving them a catchy title, a collection of tags and a thorough description is enough to guarantee hits and subscribers. But what about the other way to get traffic with youtube? Yes, I'm talking about video responses.

What is a Video Response?

Video responses are simply videos which you publish to your youtube account and then you also send them out as responses to someone else's videos. If the person in question approves your video response (it appears in their inbox for approval), then your video will appear just above the comments in the video response section.

Do Video Responses Drive Traffic?

YES. They do a awesome job of driving additional traffic to your site. What's more, they allow you to borrow the credibility and audience of the person you are responding too. Far too few people make use of video responses, and being the only response to a video with 10-50 thousand views will give you a ton of free traffic. Just remember to make sure that your video has something to do with the original or else the owner will reject it.

Is This Easy to Do?

Of course! All you have to do is search for videos related to you best videos and then you send in for video response requests via the link below the video description. It's that easy! There are so many other authors out there that you could make the video a response to several of them, as long as the original youtube channel owner believes you bring something of value to the conversation.
Feb 23, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Are You Trashing Your Mobile Traffic?

By: Gareth Harmer

Picture the scene. One of your fans is out grabbing some lunch and catching up on Twitter. They see a message from you with a link to your latest article. They tap it only to get an error message in their phone browser. Even worse, they’re left waiting for an eternity for your page to download only for it to be badly formatted and virtually unreadable.

Not only have you lost an opportunity but you’ve made a bad impression as well. Do you think they’ll share it with their friends or take the time to read your article later?

Social networks are a great way to drive traffic to your blog and build up an audience of followers thirsty for your content. They can also act as a beautiful amplifier for your message. But are you shunning a large chunk of your hard-won audience before they’ve read a word?

The Importance of Mobile


Don’t kid yourself that smartphone users don’t matter. Around 20% of Twitter users access the service from their phone. Facebook has 200 million mobile users. These users are a bigger presence on social networks as well, with mobile Facebook users twice as active as non-mobile. If you’re looking for people to spread the word about your content, you need to harness this group.

This isn’t some kind of flash in the pan either. Mobile access for Facebook and Twitter is enjoying triple digit growth. People want to be continually connected to the things that are important to them and social networks are becoming an increasing part of that.

From my own experience, visitors to my blogs make up about 5% of the overall traffic. When I throw a link out on Twitter or Facebook that can leap to 15%. Get linked from a mobile-friendly news site and mobile traffic can be as high as 25%!

Laying Out the Welcome Mat


If you’re going to start catering for these readers then you need to put yourself in their shoes. Grab a smartphone and test your site out. Ask yourself if your blog is readable and clear on the small screen.

Some blog systems will let you go even further. For Wordpress users there’s the Wordpress Mobile Pack and WPTouch. These plugins provide an alternative theme for your blog when viewed from the more popular smartphones, improving download speeds and providing a smoother experience. Blogger has also recently caught up, with a handful of mobile templates now available that you can select and enable.

All systems allow users to leave comments on your posts from their phone. You can also use the Blogger templates and WPTouch to serve up Mobile Adsense ads that are specially formatted for your mobile visitors.

Turning Mobile Readers into Subscribers


Many of us simply cannot afford to develop a custom app to display our content, but that doesn’t mean we can’t turn the occasional smartphone reader into a regular subscriber.

By creating a link to a static page that contains your Feedburner or Aweber email subscription box, you provide a way for readers to sign up for regular updates. Then simply tag a link to this static page at the end of your posts and you’re done.

If you want to go the extra mile then have a look at WPTouch Pro. The big difference with going pro is the extended “iPhone app” feel that encourages new readers to add your site to their bookmarks and home screen.

Being mobile-friendly is about helping your highly active readers to be advocates for your content, sharing you links and getting involved. It’s about closing the loop with new readers, encouraging them to become subscribers and eventually fans of your work. It’s about never missing a droplet of traffic whichever route it takes to reach you.

Gareth Harmer is author of Gazimoff’s Geekblog where he shares techniques and advice on blogging, audience building and social networks.
Feb 22, 2011

By: Markco | 1 comments

The Importance of Split Testing

Split testing is a way of measuring whether tactic A works better or worse than tactic B. The "tactic" could be anything from devoting your efforts on creating youtube videos vs ezine articles or a much simpler study of headline X vs headline Z. Usually split testing involves showing 50% of an audience one thing and the other 50% another.

Let's talk headlines shall we? Currently, my gaming site is testing out headlines and you can see (if you refresh a few times) that at WoW Gold Guide there are two different headlines being shown. Each headline has a 50% chance of being shown and I am recording via cookies which headline the user saw and saving that cookie for exactly one hour. If the user makes a purchase within one hour then the headline number will be saved along with the date so that I can figure out which headline has higher conversions. So far, it appears that headline #7 is winning by 20% over headline #1 (if you type ?headline=X at the end of the URL you will see the different headlines).

Numbers are everything online. Improving conversions by even 1% is worth hours of effort figuring out what people like or don't like. Perhaps you don't have the programming know how to split test your pages? Well you can use a google site called Website Optimizer. All you have to do is publish two pages and then set up Website Optimizer to send users to both sites. You can then analyze the statistics and compare them to each other.

As long as you are always testing then your copy will constantly be improving. If you stop testing then you will stop improving or possibly drop in terms of conversion numbers. Are you split testing anything? Have you ever split test in the past? What would you want to split test if you have the choice?
Feb 21, 2011

By: Markco | 3 comments

The Numbers Behind a 6 Figure Income

Part of driving traffic online is having a purpose for doing so. Perhaps you have a product you're trying to sell, maybe you even have dreams of making a 6 figure income? This video will open your eyes.



What are you thoughts after viewing the video?
Feb 20, 2011

By: Markco | 4 comments

He Who Tweets Less Tweets More

Did you grow up with a mother who liked to use the famous phrase:

"If you don't have something nice to say then don't say nothing at all?"

I sure did, and you know what, it stuck! Let's consider the ramifications of this phrase with regards to twitter.

Pressed for time and feeling the need to publish something to twitter, you quickly publish a series of six tweets about the dessert you just ate and how it upset your stomach. Within minutes you have lost three followers. Was it really worth it to post that garbage on your twitter account? No, probably wasn't. What's more, would those three followers have cared if you hadn't posted anything? No, probably wouldn't have cared at all.

So the question that I can see brewing in your mind from this discussion would be this one:

"Do I have to post frequently to twitter? If so, how much?"

I don't believe you need to tweet AT ALL if you don't want to. Will a follower even notice if you don't post to twitter? Unless you are like one of their three followers than no, I don't think they will care if you go a few days without tweeting. If anything, they will enjoy more interesting and thought provoking tweets given once in a while over a slew of garbage tweets you are throwing out there simply to have something for them to read.

What do you think, should you tweet on a schedule or as information comes in that you feel is valuable to your followers?
Feb 19, 2011

By: Markco | 2 comments

Traffic Stats 77 Posts Later

Hard to believe it, but Traffic Blogger has already passed the 77 Post mark.

I think it's time I took a look at how the traffic is doing, as well as review the strategies I'm focused on using to attract new readers.

Top Ways I'm Driving Traffic
  • Google SEO - Creates more and more visits each day from Google (20%).
  • Guest Posting - Creates a spike in visitors for several days and usually leaves a permanent increase in daily hits (25%).
  • Article Directories - Not a steady form of traffic yet, but still sends in a few new visitors every day (5%).
  • Forum Signature - A surprising number of readers come from people clicking on my forum signature on the various forums I participate in (10%).
  • Everything else comes from direct visitors, email links or other methods (40%).
Traffic Figures for Jan 9th to Feb 9th

Unique Visits: 2192
Pageviews: 3725
Avg. Time on Site: 1:43

The reason I use Jan 9th as the starting point is because that's the day I began recording metrics for the traffic blogger.

How was the month of January for your own blog or website? Have you made improvements from reading the traffic blogger? Do you plan on making any changes?
Feb 18, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Are You Memorable?

Think about this very simple question and answer it thoroughly with reasons for why or why not:

Are You Memorable?

  • Why?
  • Why Not?

In my post on Why People Buy You, I talked about how listening to your audience and acting on their feedback is one way to make them want You and the services which You provide. This is one way to build a reputation with an audience, as well building great, consistent content, but what makes a site memorable? Shouldn't making your site as memorable as possible be a very real and ongoing goal to ensure your own success?

Uniqueness is Memorable

Everything from your posted opinions to your website's looks can be memorable because they are unique. The real secret here, however, is that You are unique, both in what you say and what you do. Being memorable is about being the person You were born to be, especially in how you interact with others online. Are your websites and your interactions with people online memorable?

A Leader is Memorable

Leaders tend to lead many people, and in doing so they are often memorable figures in society. Simply for the fact that leaders lead when the vast majority of people follow makes them memorable. Are you a leader?

Quality is Memorable

A website which catches your attention with a great title but then provides crappy content will not remain memorable for very long. Sure, the title was memorable, but the lack of quality will lead to a visitor who remembers you for the wrong reasons. You want people to remember you as a quality member of your niche, not a negative one.

So, answer the question in the comments, are You memorable? Why or why not?
Feb 17, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Dead Space 2 Marketing

Dead Space 2Ever play the game Dead Space 2? I love this game :-) . However, I believe that the Dead Space 2 marketing team has screwed up royally with a marketing campaign which I feel misses their target audience by a wide margin.

Humor

The latest marketing ploy for this game is simple, identify the parts of the game which parents hate, in particular mothers, but which hard core gamers love. These attributes are of course violence, death, explosions and disfigured aliens. Is Dead Space 2 misjudging the demographic for their own game? Aren't most people playing it above the age of 17 and therefore possibly no longer living with their parents 24/7?  Who cares if mom hates a game you play at the age of 25 when you live by yourself?

Depth

For those people who have not been lucky enough to play Dead Space 2, or were disgusted by the graphic nature of it, they are missing out on a great story line. The characters in Dead Space 2 are rich and story driven, with some great dialogue and hilarious one lines from various characters. Atmosphere is almost like another character, with amazing lighting and dreadful gloomy artwork amongst machinery which feels like it is going to turn off any second. For those who do decide to travel down the cramped hallways and bloody residences which populate Dead Space 2, they are in for one hell of a great ride. One has to wonder, does the Dead Space 2 marketing team do a good enough job of informing their audience of just what awaits them in this sequel?

Unique Game Play

The whole idea behind Dead Space 2's game play is to create a world where the head shot is no longer king and body shots basically do nothing. Your opponent's limbs are the real target and shooting their head only makes them angry. This revolutionary method of play creates an environment where careful aim and intelligent tactics are your only hope due to the fact that enemies are faster and often more powerful than you are, especially on the harder levels of play. Dead Space 2's marketing really doesn't focus on the dissection of your enemies being the focal point of the game however. For all you know it's just another horror first person shooter.

Re-playability

The most difficult aspect of any game is to make it worth playing a second time through, even if you know the ending or endings. Without creating a series of multiple endings like most games which claim they have re-playability, Dead Space 2 created a system of rewards and suits which make tackling the harder levels of play more bearable your second, third, X time through. Once again the marketing falls short on probably the best feature out of them all regarding Dead Space 2.

OK, my list is getting kind of long and my main point has been made. Now, it's your turn, did Dead Space 2 nail their marketing or fail miserably. The numbers seem to say that they did great, but did they do that well because of the success of the original Dead Space? Back when Dead Space 1 was launched, there were months of viral videos, comics and even short films released before hand. Did Dead Space 2 miss out on even more sales due to their "your mom hates us" strategy on a demographic which probably doesn't play the game all that much due to its mature rating? How would you market Dead Space 2 if you had the chance?
Feb 16, 2011

By: Markco | 5 comments

A Blog With No Comments

Middle of No Where

How many of you see tumble weeds blowing past your monitor when you look at your comment count on the front page of your blog?

There are several reasons for why visitors aren't commenting but I'd like to focus on the reason why no one is commenting on my blogs and how I will aim to fix this issue. This is a very real problem for blogs of all sizes, but it all boils down to one common cause: Writing too well about a subject area.

Now I'm not being snide when I say "Writing too well." Just go through the posts on this blog and you'll see that there just aren't that many comments. You take a look at my other blog, Just My Two Copper, and you'll see that even though I have over 10,000 subscribers and thousands upon thousands of hits per day, the average comment count per post is about 8. The Traffic Blogger gets at least 100-300 hits per day, so what am I doing wrong?

Let's first take a look at the comments I do get, and you'll understand the root of the problem.

Uneventful Comment #1: Thank You for your post.

This is great, but doesn't really add to the conversation. Without conversation there really is no reason for someone else to comment unless they too are saying thank you.

Uneventful Comment #2: I Disagree, Sort of

This is a great comment, but you'll find there are almost none of these on both of my blogs. If anything someone will say "Well that is a great point, but in my situation it's not quite as clear cut." That's a far cry from "You're wrong and here's why!"

That's it. Those are the two types of comments I get most frequently on all of my blogs. What can I do to increase comment discussion? Let's look at when I've received comments that differ from these two stereotypical ones.

Good Comment #1: Here are 10 other ways you could do that.

I love these comments! This is when someone adds to what I've written about and usually evolves into a conversation on the issue at hand as more people add their own items as well.

Good Comment #2: This post made me think, here's why.

Sometimes a commenter will take what I've said and apply it to another situation, or perhaps look at something they usually take for granted in a new light. These are awesome conversation starters.

So how do I go from uneventful comments to conversation starting comments? How do I get people who visit daily and never say a word to speak out? Here are some things you or I or anyone else could talk about that just drives people to comment on a blog...

  • Controversy
  • Thought Provoking Content
  • Call to Add to a List
  • Asking "How do You do it?"

I will do my best to create posts in the future which attract a larger percentage of commentators. For starters, please add in the comments section a list of ways you try to get comments or if there are other topics besides what I listed here today.

Then take a second look at this post and see if there are aspects I could have left out in order for you to realize on your own and comment about. I know, it's NOT EASY TO DO.
Feb 15, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Are You a Business or a Blog if You're Making Money Online?

Blogs Evolve

Isn't it interesting how blogs can evolve in the way they make money over time? The general cycle tends to be something like this:

Donations -> Adsense Ads -> Affiliate Products -> Own Products -> Joint Ventures

During this process of slowly but surely growing the revenue stream of a blog, at what point does it become a business and in doing so, does it lose any aspects of being a blog? Is a blog even a blog anymore once it's a business?

Evolution Doesn't Necessarily Mean Direct Changes

I'm telling you right now that your blog does not have to change in order for it to double as a business and start earning you money.

For starters my personal definition of a business is a single individual or team of people charging to provide goods or services to others.

When a blog has no revenue stream it is still a business. It's a non profit essentially, providing goods or services for free. If, however, there is enough value in the efforts of the blog owner than maybe revenue streams can be added. Suddenly, the blog takes a turn from a non-profit to a profit-focused business.

Many people believe that a blog is no longer a blog once it is free. I completely disagree. All the elements of blogging are there, especially the community interaction. The only difference in my eye is that enough effort is placed into the site to make it have value worth purchasing.

Learn more about what can be sold online with Three Things that Sell Online.
Feb 14, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

The Secret to Being Somebody

Are You Somebody?

I talked about in my guest post for problogger here, that there were three ways to take advantage of being a nobody in the blogging world today. However, it's obvious that the benefits of being a somebody far outweigh those of being a nobody, so how do you make the transition?

Be Somebody

Becoming a somebody is all about being that particular somebody every day regardless of whether or not other people view you as the somebody which you want to be. Might want to read that one again, that was difficult to type let alone read lol. Seriously though, becoming and being somebody both happen at the SAME TIME. Being someone isn't about a goal, it's about a lifestyle. Dieting is kind of the same way. When someone tells you they are 'on a diet', you laugh right? You know that as soon as they get off the diet that they will gain the weight back gradually over time because they will go back to their old way of eating. In order to lose weight permanently, you have to make daily choices for the rest of your life that reflect your goals. Being a somebody is no different. If you make a ton of effort to change your 'diet' so to speak, but then go back to the way you behaved as a nobody, well then you will go right back to where you were before - Not A Somebody!

What's the Secret to being Somebody?

The secret to being somebody is in the daily routine. Do you make daily choices which prove that you are memorable, worth listening to and important enough to look at for more than a few seconds? Daily decisions build trust and with trust comes expertise. From expertise you get to that somebody status we all long for. However, if you build a great list of daily choices you are going to make, just like a diet, once you stop you will head right back to being a nobody again. Instead of making a 'diet,' make a life choice.

Be the somebody you want to be today, that's the secret to being a somebody.

Now for the secret to making great headlines...
Feb 13, 2011

By: Markco | 4 comments

Email Marketing and List Attrition, Idiocy or Genius?

Right now I allow my blog feed to broadcast (Daily) to my aweber subscriber list of almost 7,000 people. I also give them a 7 day course in the form of follow up emails.

Besides this, on occasion (usually friday-saturday) I give one notification style email regarding news and events.
So on any give day, a member of my email list could receive 3 EMAILS!
This style of list building does two things:
  • Makes people hate my emails and unsubscribe.
  • Makes people love my emails and recommend me to their friends.
I like to call this list attrition, because by sending out so many emails I am thinning my list in the process of keeping only the people who really love my stuff.

However, this could be a huge mistake because marketing isn't about the "Yes" or "No" people, it's about the "Maybe"s. Am I scaring away the maybe's before I can really convince them of my expertise?

So now I put it to you, sheer idiocy or pure genius? ... you decide!

By: Markco | 1 comments

Go Outside and Improve Your Blog

I'd like to take a moment to stress the importance of two things in life when it comes to improving your internet marketing career offline:

1. Get Active
2. Get Social

The #1 thing you should be doing away from your computer terminal is exercising. You'll feel better about yourself, you'll not need to replace broken chairs and you will look better in Youtube videos.

The #2 thing I suggest you focus on is being social offline. This will lead to real world experiences which you can *gasp* relate to in articles online. This will allow you to also share experiences with people (real ones without 1's and 0's) when you get back online.

It's no surprise that the weeks were I neglect exercise and social activity are my worst performances online: I sound bad on Youtube, my writing is sloppy and my product updates are not of the high quality my buyers are used to.

But when I go outside, get some fresh air, meet with friends and family, basically living a LIFE, I end up with some of the best relate-able criteria for posts on my sites.

So get out of the house a little and improve your sites a lot.
Feb 12, 2011

By: Markco | 1 comments

How to Read Traffic Stats: Google Analytics

Traffic statistics can be a little overwhelming at times. They can also be underwhelming depending on what information you receive! Regardless of what your numbers are (high or low), there is a proper way to read them in order to improve your site from day to day.

Picture your blog as if it were a museum. People come and go throughout the day but you also track their behaviors with metrics. That's all the numbers you see really are, simple behavioral metrics. In Google Analytics, you can quickly and easily analyze the behaviors and patterns of your audience.

Here are some of the ways I read my traffic stats and how I react to them:

Visitors - I like to look at the New Visitors section of this tab by clicking New Vs. Returning and then clicking on New Visitors. The bounce rate is what I'm most interested in... did these new visitors take one look at the site, read a little and leave or did they choose to check out additional links at the site? If they are leaving, I will look into what on my site might be scaring them off or whether the article they were mostly visiting wasn't up to snuff.

Traffic Sources - If I notice an unusually high count coming from any site I investigate the why behind the numbers and use that to my advantage. Maybe someone just mentioned me in a forum where I could "show up" and offer more social proof that I exist and am an active member of the community.

Content - I like to look at content from month's past and see which pages are seeing the most action over time. If any are remarkably high then I go to the post in question and make sure to add an edited section at the top of it for new visitors. This could be as simple as "Hey, you can learn more about this discuss here" or "Hey, there's a product you can buy which I offer on this subject matter." It works amazingly well since these are often your best ranking pages on Google.

That's all for today, in the future I'd like to at least cover goals and how to set them up correctly. Do you use Google Analytics or another service, if so what and how has your experience been so far with it?
Feb 11, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Ebook Without a Sales Channel Equals Wasted Time

Ever poured your heart and soul into something only to watch a bunch of 0's float by your screen day after day? Many bloggers fall victim to paid ebook writing tutorials which make it sound like writing is the only aspect of selling a product online.

You know what's way more important? A sales channel.

Let me explain a sales channel very simply as being the way in which your audience can find your ebook. Google + Your Blog + Advertising + Guest Posting + Twitter Channel would be an example of a well throughout sales channel, especially if all the various sites pointed to a single review of your ebook.

What are the components of your sales channel? Have you written an ebook and seen no results for your efforts?

One great way to diversify your sales channel is through article marketing and I have an awesome ebook on this site which walks you through the reasoning behind article marketing correctly as well as my best practices for doing it right the first time. Simply sign up as a subscriber to get started with the ebook.
Feb 10, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Most Bloggers are Untrained Project Managers

I'll give you a prime example of how most bloggers are untrained project managers trying to manage products.

Product #1 will take 3 weeks to complete. Product #2 will take 3 weeks to complete. Product #3 will take 3 weeks to complete. What do we do as untrained project managers? We try to do all three at once and end up finishing Product #1 at 6 weeks, Product #2 at 8 weeks and Product #3 at 9 weeks. Instead of focusing on 1, 2 and then 3, we try to do them all at once. This creates a situation where we actually lose quite a bit of potential money because Product #1 is finished at 6 weeks instead of 3. That's three whole weeks spent without any revenue generated from a product that should have been finished that much earlier.

I'm not saying you shouldn't multitask, but you should not have more than one short, medium and long term project being worked at any one time. You'll work yourself to death for one, and you'll also waste time not getting paid when you should be.

There are many more examples of how bloggers are untrained project managers trying to manage their blogging projects, but what are your thoughts on the matter?
Feb 9, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

If Your Blog Was a Broadway Play, Would Anyone Go to See It?

How's the lighting?

Is your site attractive, well lit and easy to view from any angle? When a visitor first comes to your site, they could be coming from any number of venues and it is your job as set designer to see to it that these newcomers get to watch a grand performance no matter what. Think about it though, how many different ways can visitors come to your site? What is their mindset and what are they looking for? These questions will help you answer how best to light, setup and prepare your stage.

Are there galleries and areas for patrons to mingle?

Everybody knows that theaters make the majority of their money on food and attractions outside of the viewing areas. Do you have places for your audience to mingle and possibly spend additional time (plus dollars!) at your establishment? This could be anything from a forum to a shout box, but without it your visitors will simply come in, watch the show and leave without a second thought.

Is there a history of the show?

How easily can someone look at the history of your performance? A good director doesn't just throw away all his old content, but rather, he uses it to his advantage to make himself look bigger and his performance look grander. Are you doing this with your content? Do you mention old shows during current ones and show off your track record of scheduled performances in some kind of archive?

How's the brochure?

At a glance, a website should show off all its best content above the fold and in throughout links in this area. Can readers see your brochure when they first get to the page, and if so, does it direct them to the places they want to go?

If your blog was a Broadway play, would anyone go to see it?

These questions were created to get you thinking, but be sure to also get talking in the comments! Feel free to ask additional questions, you don't have to just give answers! Brainstorm people ;)
Feb 8, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Improve Your Blogging from the Outside In

Yesterday I wrote a post entitled "Improve Your Blogging from the Inside Out" and today it's time for the opposite approach!

Blogging is like Bejeweled

For a moment, I want you to imagine that you are playing bejeweled. When you start off all the pieces are jumbled and no three playing pieces are in a row. It's your job to then swap pieces, one space at a time, in order to make them line up with at least three in a row per move. Should you make a move that doesn't create a line of at least three identical pieces, you get a buzzer sound and have to try again.

Move Your Pieces, Find a Match, Score Points

Spreading your blog to new audiences is just like playing bejeweled. You have to move yourself (the piece) out of its current alignment and into a new space. Should you succeed and finding similar looking pieces (new audience interested in your ideas) then you will be accepted and score some points. If not, the  buzzer will sound and you'll have to move somewhere else.

Examples of 'Playing' the Blogging Game

Guest Posting
Article Marketing
Forum Signatures
Blogging
Social Media

How About You?

Do you get yourself out there in front of other audiences located in forums, blogs, wikis, article marketing directories or any number of other websites where your potential readers congregate? Do you give up once the buzzer sounds or do you stay committed and agile?
Feb 7, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Improve Your Blogging from the Inside Out

A lot of bloggers complain about writer's block or other blogging ailments which cause them to lose the will to blog. I'd like you to participate in a little blogging exercise which will aid you in realizing the true potential of your site. Regardless of whether you are a successful blogger or not, this should prove useful and revitalize your love for writing. The key is to use this simple strategy as a way to look at what you are currently writing and make changes there first.

Look Inside Your Blog Posts

Once a blogger gets comfortable or even 'fed up' with internal design of their site they tend to leave it as is and never look at improving it. Same goes for their writing style as well. Have you looked inside your blog posts lately? Do they follow a common theme and structure which is pleasing to the eye? Are they easy to read, skim read and can someone read the first paragraph and learn something instantly? Those are three very different types of readers which you need to cater to in every single post!

Make Posts Easy to Digest

Reading online is very different than reading a newspaper, a standard book or even an e-reader. Bulleted lists, bold headings above paragraphs and short, succinct sentences are the norm online. No flowery text needed here, just grimy in your face solutions to your audience's problems. Ask yourself, are my posts easy to read?

Stop Skim Readers Cold

Let's face it, most people skim read online. If your post doesn't contain information which are easy to pick out while skim reading then these readers will quickly move on to the next post. Bold text, short sentences and eye catching one liners are what you need to stop skim readers in their tracks and turn them into thoroughly interested members of your community in an instant.

Make the First Paragraph the Hook

A first paragraph of any great post should contain the answer to your audience's unique problem, as well as hook your readers into exploring the rest of the post. Let's face it, if a reader thinks your first post is too boring or beating around the bush, they will move on to continue their Google search. Nail that first paragraph and you have an interested reader from the get go.

So, have you looked into the readability, digestibility and likability of your posts lately? OK that last line is kind of cheesy... have you looked inside how you write your posts lately?
Feb 6, 2011

By: Markco | 3 comments

The Secret Keyword for Generating Compelling Headlines

Curiosity is the most compelling part of our humanity: it drives us to make decisions just as powerfully as love or fear, sometimes more so. Playing off this emotional trigger, a wise headline writer can draw in new visitors with one secret word.

"Secret"

Maybe you figured it out already, but the secret keyword is in fact "Secret." By incorporating this phrase into your headlines or product reviews you will instantly draw the attention and more importantly, the curiosity of people who read your copy.

Remember that curiosity is not the only thing you need to sell something online, as you must then deliver on the assumptions you audience will make based on their curiosity.

Have you used "Secret" in your online copy or headlines?
Feb 5, 2011

By: Markco | 1 comments

Build a Net Worthy of the Minnows

Picture this, your site is a net and your visitors are fish. When you're first starting out, the only fish you can manage to reach with your net are a class of visitors I like to call "the minnows." If you are unable to attract and consistently catch these simple minnows, well then you will never be able to afford a bigger net or eventually maybe even a boat to start seeking the bigger schools of fish. Let's look at some characteristics of "the minnows" because unless we truly understand these valuable members of our communities how can we ever hope to effectively catch them?

Characteristics of a Minnow

-> Minnows Are Small But Many

Everyone knows that minnows are small, quick and difficult to catch. However, the fact that there are untold numbers of them makes it so that even a clumsy fisherman can grab a few with each swing of his net. Unfortunately, this limited amount of success gives a lot of fishermen (analogous for bloggers in this case) a false sense of success in their online work whenever they manage to snag a few minnows with their latest effort.

-> Minnows Travel in Schools

This is the best part about minnows. Since they are scared easily and seek protection, you'll often find them moving in small to medium sized packs such as twitter lists, facebook groups etc. This is a great thing for fishermen who make themselves mobile enough to go to where the minnows gather and swing their nets.

-> Minnows Are Scared Easily

This is the hardest part about catching minnows, they literally are shaking at the sight of the shadow of your site, let alone your sales page. Using safe fonts and eliminating movement on your page is important for keeping the minnows from darting for the nearest dark corner at the very sight of you. Keep in mind that every other fisherman that's starting out is focusing on targeting the minnows, and so they are wary of sales offers and any sign of a scam.

-> Minnows Are Hungry

Online readers are always hungry for information, but minnows are ravenous bunch even for online surfers. They want content and they want it within 1 second of viewing your page or else they are heading back out to sea. If you don't feed minnows then you will never ever effectively catch them.

The Three Stages to Catching a Minnow

1. Construct Your Net

This is where you will defeat the issue of your minnows being small and difficult to catch. The most basic online net I could construct for any writer would be a blog (the wooden pole) and a social media network (the strings). The blog is what grounds the social media in place and keeps everything together, while the social media provides the interweaving structure for holding on to your squirmy minnows. A social media network does not mean one particular place like a twitter account or facebook page, but instead implies the use of multiple networks in order to create a unique one aimed specifically at catching and entertaining the minnows. A net is interlaced, it's not single strands of solitary strings, so make sure that your social media networks interlap as well to wrap those fish up nice and tight in your net.

2. Apply The Bait

Bait makes a Minnow ignore all willpower and strike instinctually for the most basic of needs: food. By providing free content (bait) to a minnow that is so good that they will instinctually crave to have it (just like food) you will suddenly find your nets filling up faster than you can empty them. Oh, did I tell you yet that you have to empty your net? Yeah that's the next part...

3. Release Them Back into the Wild

Minnows are a terrified species of fish. They scatter easily and are fearful of everything you do towards them. Some of the minnows who take your bait will buy your products and services. If you do a good enough job of providing a safe environment for them to play with other minnows then they will come back, even if that means entering a net again. Taking care of your minnows will mean that every time the minnow leaves they will gather up additional minnows to bring back to the net at a later date. You can't possibly control a minnow, so the best solution is to send them back into the wild with a great impression of your care towards them. If you did a good job while they were in the net then they will spread the word of the nice fisherman who feeds them free bait and never tries to hold on to them after the catch.

Oh and they'll always be asking for more bait, so be sure to keep giving it to them and you'll have a feeding frenzy on your hands. Which should attract the attention of bigger fish... and that's when things really get interesting.
Feb 4, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

It's Your Money Online, Your Decision... But...

Spend Wisely

Have you ever put your money into a product or service just because, well, someone told you to?

Did you buy into flashy graphics, big red arrows and highlighted text, before really finding out what it was you were buying?

When I visit the pitch page or read an article by someone who is trying to sell me something (either now or will later on), I always look at the why behind the system in question. Here are the questions I ask myself before I even consider buying something online, especially a system or product:

  • Why does the system or product work?
  • How does the system or product work?
  • How does the owner make money?
  • How will I benefit, financially speaking, from this endeavor? (Is it a good investment?)
  • Are there tangible ways to measure my results?
  • What are the chances I will be successful?
  • Can I reproduce this on my own for less time/effort than it would take to implement their strategy and buy their product?
  • What value am I getting and what value will this bring to my current audience?
  • Who uses this that I could talk to in person to get the inside scoop?

Don't Follow Others

If you blindly follow the instructions of others than you may doom yourself to failure. Think about this for a moment, if you found a system which worked very well for your personal situation, when you tried to sell it you would make it as broad as possible, correct? So maybe, just maybe, some of the buyers wouldn't fit into your perfect situation which worked for you as the seller. Therefore, you cannot just take the results and make your decision based off those alone. Instead, you need to consider the requirements to get those results, particularly the position of the seller. Does the seller have better connections than you? Has the seller had better results due to insane amounts of effort compared to what you can afford to spend?

Be smart out there guys and girls, don't buy just because you're told to!
Feb 3, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

How to Give a Great Presentation

The following outline is meant to help you develop a great presentation. Start off by recreating this outline and filling in the details for each section.
Know Your Audience

-Will you be wasting their time?
-What is their starting knowledge base?
-What are their needs?
-What are their concerns?
-What hot points interest them?
-Is there a political climate you should avoid?
-What buzz words are received well with them?

Message

-Is your message direct and to the point?
-Are you prepared for questions, anticipating reactions/responses?
-Are you sending a favorable message for your agenda?
-Are there visual ways to illustrate your point?
-Are you providing all the data, including adverse opinions?
-Are you focusing on why you are right?
-Are you aware of avoiding providing excess data to look good?
-How trusted are you by the group? You will need less hard data the more you are trusted by the group.

You

-Prepare.
-Remember that people remember 10% of your presentation afterward.
-Say bottom line early and at end.
-Set tone from the start.
-Go Green – (less paper) be concise.
-Be energetic and positive, excited.
-Practice.
Feb 2, 2011

By: Markco | 0 comments

Biggest Mistake Article Marketers Make

Backlinks, Google and SEO

There is one very crucial flaw in the strategy of most article marketers: they create backlinks for their home page only. This has a terribly crippling effect on Google rankings and will do more harm than good for your site's SEO.

The Long Tail

The purpose of creating lots of articles is to build up long tail keywords and get your individual pages to rank well for those keywords. It is far harder to get a single home page to rank for all the keywords you are targeting than it is to break them up into several pages of targeted SEO. By writing articles which link directly to a specific page of your site, you can then have the article and the page share very similar keywords. This will make Google really like that one page for that one set of keywords. Google doesn't keep more than a set number of keywords on any site and it ranks them for that particular site. So you physically cannot rank the best for more than a handful of keywords on any particular site, at least they can't all rank at the same value. That doesn't mean you can't have a site that ranks #1 for a dozen keywords, it just means that each keyword has less weight in helping it get to #1 the more high ranking keywords you attempt to get on the same page. By breaking up your keywords into specific pages you can more easily focus on getting to rank #1on Google in multiple categories.

Do you always link to your homepage or do you tailor your keywords in the article to match linking to a specific url on your site?
Feb 1, 2011

By: Markco | 2 comments

Guest Posting is the New Article Marketing

Let's look at the benefits between guest posting and article marketing, and I'll show you why one is far greater than the other!

Article

-Target key words are determined by the success of the article directory in question. Some keywords will be higher than others and it is difficult to judge how your articles will do on Google.
-Your audience is varied and difficult to predict.
-Your article gets published usually around the same span of time every time.
-You cannot have links inside your post (on most article sites).
-You are an expert, just like every writer for the article directory site.

Guest Post

-The site's popularity determines the audience which will see your post and thus you can write specifically for that group of people. Conversions will be predictable.
-You build off and leverage the trust which the audience already has with their current writer(s).
-Your guest post could take a long time to get published depending on the site.
-Google will give you a ranking on your keywords based on the site who linked to you.
-The chances of going viral are very high if your article is good and is received well by the audience in question.
-You can work with the site owner to develop a post that will convert very well with their audience.
-You can (usually) leave links throughout your guest post.

Is it even a competition? Although you can make up in sheer volume of articles what a single guest post can do, there really is no question that a single guest post will destroy an article in terms of SEO backlinks and quality traffic generation. What are your thoughts? Do you mix it up and do both or focus on one over the other? What's your marketing strategy for your site or product?

Can You Have More Sales, Too?
Helping over 102,000+ businesses like yours raise profits and build customer relationships using AWeber's opt-in email marketing software for over 10 years.
Take a Free Test Drive today!