Month: April 2012

It’s a Hot and Humid Day. Which Would You Buy?

Let’s say it’s a very hot day today, the temperature is 40°C/104°F. You see two stalls – both are of the same size, but one looks more elegant than the other. The first one (let’s call it “stall A”) has a very simple “setting”. No flowery curtains, splendid table covers, no fancy stuff. All you can see there is a person (the seller), and his refreshing and cool lemonade. The second one (“stall B”) has all the elegance in the world — high-class decors, tablecloths, a unique logo for the stall, and all that. The owner of stall B looks very presentable, and he’s selling cups of coffee.

Now, the question is… which product would you buy? The lemonade, or the coffee? I’m sure all of you would answer lemonade, unless your brain has been configured to be topsy-turvy!

This teaches us one important lesson. If you do not market the right product to the right people (in this case, people who need a refreshing thirst quencher), you would NOT make any sales at all… No matter how presentable your product is!

Learn to Adapt to Your Environment

The internet is transforming more and more nowadays, and we can not simply deny that fact. We, internet marketers, should learn to adapt to our environment. If the people today need article spinning software, then let us have something to market to them — get a programmer to produce a unique and saleable software, and then do what every marketer should do. Use your skills to make some serious sales. Do not try to sell them an article copier software that literally copies and pastes articles from the net to a word processor. I’m telling you, you would not make even a single cent.

What measures/actions should we take in order to adapt to our environment quicker?

Research, research, research. This one is very powerful especially when you know how to do it properly. Research on the most lucrative niches. Know what the people’s needs today are. Learn which things are hot and which are not. Be updated on all the trends on the internet today.

Don’t try things that you think won’t work. There was this saying by Henry Ford, let me share it with you. “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Most of the time his quote proves to be true! Trust me, I can attest to that. If you think selling boxing gloves to fashion-inclined girls won’t work, then don’t even think of doing it. Once this becomes your habit, you won’t be making mistakes of choosing the wrong product for a certain group of people during a certain period of time.

Ask for suggestions/comments. This method has never failed me. If you ask for suggestions, it would be like asking the question “What would you want me to sell to you?” to your target market! I have tried this a lot of times already and it always worked.

People Buy Something Because They Like It…

… Not because you’ve got a decent sales pitch. If you had a very, very enticing sales pitch, then maybe they would buy without thinking, but we’re only talking about a decent sales pitch here. :razz: No more arguments about the adjectives. Let’s continue on…

Face it — even if you don’t write a great sales pitch, people would be flocking over your online store if they think your product is that good. In my opinion, it would be enough to have a detailed advertisement on forums and other websites in order to get a good number of sales. Overly exaggerated and extravagant pitches might actually do more harm than good. Why? People would be raising their eyebrows on your product!

Summary

Learn to adapt to your environment and make sure your product is liked by people. Research on the hottest trends these days and try to squeeze some information from prospects by asking for suggestions/doing surveys. If you market what’s marketable (or saleable), then you would be sure to get a lot, and I mean a lot of sales.

Top Tips to Avoid Spam

Avoiding spam has been one of the most difficult things to do. However there are some measures that you put to prevent or even reduce the number of spam mails coming to your address. If you intend to prevent these unsolicited mails, it is important for you to be careful on giving your email address as it can easily be harvested by spammers. You can be able to know if your email is available to spammers by tying it in a search engine in the web. Where you notice that the email is available in any website where it is likely to be harvested by spammers you should remove it immediately in order for you to be able to avoid spam. You should also avoid including your email address when making a reply to newsgroup postings.

Also it is important to note that most of the ISP offer email addresses that are free. Therefore if you intend to prevent spam, you can set up at least two email addresses. You can use one of the emails to subscribe to newsletters or even posting on forums. You can also use the other address to communicate with your friends and even colleagues. A more complex address is likely to attract less spam than the rest. Also where the ISP offers a spam filter it is important to enable it. Any missed spam should be reported to the ISP. This is important as it reduce the amount of spam your and the other clients of the internet service provider receives. Incase the ISP does not offer the resource of a spam filter; you can try and use an anti-spam software. This is also effective in reducing the spam that is sent to your email.

Special precautions should also be made when filling forms in the web. For instance you can check and see the privacy policy of the site to confirm whether there is a possibility of your address being passed to any other company. Some of the websites may contain a checkbox which gives you the chance to opt out of mailings from other parties. You should ensure that you make use of this resource.

It is also important for you to ensure that you do not respond to any spam mails. Avoid replying even when it is to request for your address to be removed from their mailing list. This just confirms to the sender that the email address is valid and their mail has not been filtered. Also you confirm of having opened the message and read it. This makes the spammer to find your address more valuable than those that they aren’t aware whether their mails were delivered. Spammers have a better interest in the list of emails that have been confirmed.

Whenever it is possible, you should try to avoid opening the spam mails. This is because in most of the times the spammers are able to find out how many of their messages have been opened. You should also avoid licking on any link provided by a spam mail as much as possible. This is because in most of the times they contain a code that enables them to read the email address. Also you should avoid buying any goods from spammers. This is because it is the clients who buy from them that keep them in business. You should also ensure that the antivirus software of your computer is always up to date. Also you should avoid clicking on any suspicious link. If your email address keeps receiving so much spam, you can consider closing it and opening a new one.

Tips to Ensure Successful Blogging

It is every persons dream that his blog will be successful. However this is not always the case due to the stiff competition and the only ways to do this is by ensuring that it stands out from the rest. However there are some tips that you can use to increase the chances of success.

One good way of doing this is by ensuring that you connect with other readers in places such as Facebook, Linkedin or even twitter. These are some of the good resources that you can use to drive traffic to your blog. This is because you can create a ripple effect by promoting your blog in the other social media. You can use these sites to make your blog stronger when you seek the feedback of the readers and also nurture new relationships. By setting up say, a twitter account r even Facebook page to your blog, you will be able to update your followers on the latest posts in your blog.

It is also important for you to come up with interesting headings to your post. This is because the readers usually use it to make a decision on whether to continue reading the post or not. Therefore you can use the headline to arouse the interest of the people which will cause them to read more. If you come up with a headline that does not generate interest to your readers, you miss a great platform to market you blog. Also there is a possibility that the blog will go viral due to a great headline and this even makes the readers to share it other social media.

Other readers who have subscribed to your blog by RSS feed or even through email will also make a decision depending on the headline first. You can research on how to come up with a good headline by looking at other blogs in the same niche. Ensure that you are keen on those ones which seem to be the most popular and study carefully their headlines. Also remember that it takes time to be able come up with captivating headlines but it’s possible to master it.

It is also important for you to find some inspirational topics to write on. There are many ideas on which you can write on but the best place and easiest way to get some is from your readers. It is important for you to think of the most urgent needs of your readers and try to address them. You can also come up with a main topic for the blog and also some sub topics. You can also try and serialize some of your most popular blogs. You should also try and use some useful headline formulas such as ‘how to..’ or even ‘why…’ It is also important for you to ensure that you read widely whether online or even offline. While reading you should also remember that inspiration does not necessarily come from your niche. You should also take your time to think of an appropriate idea. Any idea that comes to mind should be noted down either in a place such as an email. Also ensure that you take your time to go through the comments by your readers.

Learn to read and leave comments on other blogs. You can use this to improve your search engine ranking by not only leaving the comment but also your blog address. You may even get inspired to turn the comment into a blog itself. You can also take the time to appreciate and even recognize people who comment on your blog.

Choosing a Host For Your Blog

Blogging is one of the biggest things to ever happen on the internet. Technorati, a search engine for blogs, has estimated that there are about 112 million of them. Blogs are widely used by millions of people across the world for web publishing.

The funny thing about blogs – which can also be called online journals, web blogs, livejournals or weblogs – is that many people who set them up only do so for the fun of it, but later on come to realize just how big a potential a blog can have in terms of making money, friends and even simply having fun.

All blogs are set up on a host and run using some form of blogging software which allows people to write messages on their blogs or even upload images or videos which they want to display on their pages. There are many types of hosts and software for use by bloggers, with each of them coming at a different price and with different characteristics. It is of great importance that an interested blogger selects the best host for his or her blog since this will play a big roles in the manner in which the blog will work.

Though there are some that can be got for a stipulated monthly fee, there are others that are available at no cost at all. The best thing to do when selecting a blog host is to conduct some research and talk to some experts who can help in choosing a god one for use on the blog. The final choice of a blog host will greatly depend on the goals that the owner of the blog will be having (both long term and short term goals). That is why it is imperative to first come up with the goals of the blog.

How can someone choose the best possible host on which to found his or her blog? There are a number of factors that can assist in doing this.

a.) Price: This is usually the first thing that potential bloggers ask network professionals when they want to set up their new blogs. There are some service providers that are way too expensive, while others are very cheap. Still, there are others that are completely free. Considering that host software plays a big role in the performance of a blog, it would be advisable not to just rush to the cheapest one or even the most expensive one while ignoring other factors that are very crucial. Before choosing a host, the best thing to do is to first look at all that it has to offer and then look at other hosts and compare the prices so that the one that is finally chosen is actually the best available one. Price should not be the only factor on which a decision is made.

b.) Specialties:
Before choosing a company to host a blog, it is important to first investigate and find out the areas in which they the company is best suited to perform. There are some hosting companies that are continuously able to support blogs as they continue growing, while others will not be able to do so. Persons who wish to set up blogs of any kind must therefore make sure that they get hosting companies that will first of all understand their specific needs (depending on the goal of the blog to be created) and secondly provide sufficient corresponding support. Bloggers should also seek second opinions from others who could be more informed on this issue, so that in the end they are able to buy a host that will meet all their needs and therefore be of benefit to them.

The Essentials of Blogging

One could find that beginning a blog to be quite difficult and may put off many people. Some are really motivated at first but they soon become discouraged when people do not comment or visit their blogs. There are millions of bloggers and only over a hundred thousand are visited. The following tips can be used by the bloggers who are starting out and want to stand out from the crowd.

• One should Post regularly on the blog however, one should not post if they have nothing that is worth posting.
• One should also stick to certain genres
• Links such as ‘vote me’, ’subscribe’ at the page at the front of the blog. This is because it can put off some new visitors to your blog.
• Use a very clean and the simplest theme possible
• If one visits other people’s blogs, comment on them, they will obviously visit your blog.
• One should always have fun blogging because it should be so.

Before one proceeds with blogging, one needs to ask themselves if they a blog is really the right thing to do. Blogs are exactly not the ultimate kind of websites. This means that it is not exactly the best way of obtaining a presence on the web. Blogs do not suit all application and every situation. They do not contain all the answers.

It is after one analyzing ones needs, their personality, experiences, hopes and even the style that one finds if blogging fits well for their purposes however other applications on the web may fit
better where one is at. One should not rush into blogging and then expect the world. One should ask themselves the following questions before they can get into blogging.

1. Does one enjoy writing? Blogs are largely in a medium that is written medium. If one does not like writing, chances are that one will not relish blogging.

2. What is the message that one wants to pass across? – Whereas there are so many blogging applications, the main reason for blogging is passing across a certain message. If one has a message that they want to communicate to a certain audience, being a blogger might help one to pass the message but it might not even that message.

3. If one is an excellent communicator it is an added advantage. Though not every good communicator should have a blog, it is an excellent way of passing the message. Those who are not very good communicators could learn to improve on their communication skills and become excellent communicators

4. One should ask themselves what they are best at. They should choose between speaking and writing. If one likes speaking more than writing, they could consider a website that is video based or a podcasting.

5. Though blogs are excellent at community building, they mostly feature a single person; the person is the central voice in the discussion. If one is looking for a place where anyone can start a discussion, a forum is the best medium for such a person.

6. It takes a self-starter for one to start a blog. One must take the initiative. It is easier these days to start one because the software’s are more advanced but only a motivated person can get a blog off the ground.

7. Blogs need to be updated and checked regularly, only a person with self-discipline can be so motivated to update their blogs daily.

8. One should also have time for a blog. This is because blogs take time to update articles, to moderate comments, to respond to the questions of the readers, read the bloggers comments and posts and also to form a network and connect with other bloggers.

9. A blogger must be thick skinned this is because one will always be critiqued.

Five Tips to Pick the Best Affiliate Program

It is important to pick the best affiliate program in order to earn a steady income. You might wonder how to pick the best affiliate program. It is important to know that the Internet is a repository of innumerable earning opportunities. An affiliate program is also a great earning opportunity by which you will earn money by selling products or services. You can also earn money by referring people under you. Thus it is also called as a downline program. Each member in your downline is called as an affiliate.

Make sure that all your affiliates are active in order to earn money on a regular basis. If your affiliates are not active then you would not earn money on a regular basis. Thus make sure to interact with your affiliates. In other words your affiliates remain active only if they are kept informed about the pros and cons of the program. You would do well to pick the affiliate program that encourages you to interact with your affiliates or communicate with your affiliates. At the same time think twice before joining an affiliate program that does not allow you to communicate with your referrals. This is how you should pick the best affiliate program.

As a matter of fact there are many affiliate programs on the Internet that show great promise when it comes to earning money. You can indeed earn attractive income every month by building a deep downline. Make sure that you earn from each level of your downline. You would do well to pick a program that is characterized by two or three levels of downline. Too many levels in downline is not really good when it comes to marketing. All these points should be taken into consideration when picking the best affiliate program. Make sure to pick a program that has an effective affiliate support. In other words you should get quick response from the support personnel. Any affiliate program that has a good support system does well at the higher level. An affiliate program characterized by affiliate marketing is a great way to earn the extra money that can supplement your regular income. It is not a hyperbole to say that a good affiliate program has the capacity to earn more money for you than you would have expected! You should aim to join the best program on the Internet and earn right from the comfort of your home.

Buying Blog Reviews Poor Marketing Strategy?

When Does a Runner Reach the Finish Line?

You might be thinking that this is not related to the post, but it is. Say, a person is running a 100-meter track. Before he is able to travel 100 meters, he has to travel half, which is 50 meters. Before he can travel 50 meters, he has to travel 25 meters. Before he can cover the distance of 25 meters, he has to reach the 12.5 meter line first, and so on and so forth. So this means that the runner will be stuck at the starting line. Thus he will never reach the finish line, his goal!

Stop thinking about the paradox now. Let’s connect it to buying blog reviews being a poor marketing strategy. Buying reviews may, at first, seem to help you reach your goal, though in reality you would just be wasting money and not reach whatever your goal is for your website!

Don’t believe me? Read on.

Blog Reviews Often Have Short-Term Effects

I have had bought some blog reviews a few months back for a niche site of mine. My site was good, it had targeted content and a pleasant design. I experienced medium to huge traffic surges, depending on the size of the blog I bought a review from. Sure, the traffic was great, but they didn’t return. I got like a 50%-100% boost of traffic during the week the review was on the homepage, but when it was buried into the archives, the traffic was lost.

Why does this happen?I believe it’s because the readers of the blog only check out the reviews for the sake of seeing the site and to be able to leave comments on the post. Obviously, if a blog is big, people would want to comment on its post to gain exposure. I think this is the reason why they check the sites being reviewed — to have something to comment about!

Even though some people (more or less 10%, depending on the type of audience the blog has) are actually interested in your site, quite a number of them will either forget about your site or lose their interest! Now, for some amount of money, you’re left with a few returning visitors.

If it’s not that easy to understand, then let me give a concrete example. Let’s create a situation! Here it is:

You own a technology-related shopping site. You found this tech blog which has 500 subscribers. The author charges $40 per review. Not bad, huh? Let’s say only 300 of these subscribers are active, i.e., only 300 of them read the blog daily. You bought a review and it was the recent post for 2 days, but the same 300 people read it. So basically your $40 was spent to reach 300 people. An okay deal? Not really. What if only 10% of them actually cared about your site? The other 90% just visited to be able to leave comments on the blog. The 1:9 ratio may seem weird at first, but it is possible.

You now have 30 people who are interested in what yo have. Then because of unavoidable circumstances, half of them forgot about your site. You think that’s a good deal for $40? Nah. It would be better to pay $0.50 per click for really interested visitors on a PPC campaign!

There you go, short-term traffic increase for some serious money spent. After the buzz, the traffic surge will be over too. How does this prove that buying blog reviews is not a good strategy? Simple, really. A long-term, gradual, and stable traffic increase is way better than a short-term, sudden traffic increase. There are many ways to bring in quality and returning traffic to your website. Sadly, buying blog reviews is not one of them.

Not All Blogs with High Subscriber Counts Publish Great Reviews

Not yet convinced? Well, here’s another reason why purchasing blog reviews can be an “epic fail” tactic. You’ve seen those blogs with 1,000 or even 10,000 subscribers. They have big subscriber bases, yes, but the question is, do they publish great, informative reviews? Not all of them! I can pinpoint some right now, but I will not do that — this post is meant to help you, not to degrade others. ;)

Even if you pay $300 or so for a review on a blog with tens of thousands of subscribers, most of the time it wouldn’t be worth it. Sometimes, people are too busy and they publish a 300-500 word review for $300. While that is not bad, some of them do not even bother to proofread their reviews! Your $300 can be spent on more meaningful things. Believe me.

Hint: Banner ads and things that could help promote your site (like Facebook apps for example).

…But Some Internet Marketing Gurus Say Blog Reviews are Great!

Sometimes, it’s very hard to get people to believe you. I’m aware that while some of you have been convinced by yours truly already, I know some of you still resist my ideas — and I know exactly why.

You have been told by some internet marketing gurus that blog reviews are great.

Why not believe them, right? Well why would YOU want to believe them? They are also internet marketers. Marketers are somewhat similar to lawyers — they tend to exaggerate and lie sometimes to get what they want. So, our dear internet marketing gurus who we’re talking about are blatantly telling you that reviews are great because they want to sell their reviews to you!

Get the picture? Great! Now let me know your insights. Do you think buying blog reviews is a great marketing strategy or are we better off with other things which can give us a better ROI?

Things to Look for in WordPress Themes

Blog Themes: Is There Really a “Right Theme” for My Blog?

WordPress themes — there are literally tens of thousands of them available today. Nevertheless, not all of them can suit your blog perfectly. Some may be too “busy” for your blog’s topic, while others may not have all the features that you need.

Even though there are lots of themes out there, you can’t just pick a random one and use that on your blog. You have to choose carefully. How? You should look for certain things in the theme, and of course weigh the pros and cons of the theme. Does it have this? Does it have that? Are the footer links a hindrance to my success? Questions along those lines. ;)

Today, I’m going to focus on what things you should look for in WordPress themes. These are the things that I usually look for, so if you think I missed something, feel free to add more to this list by commenting. I’m always open to suggestions and all that.

What to Look for in WordPress Themes

Fast loading time – While the loading speed of blogs is most likely affected by the widgets and “accessories” being placed by the owner, themes also play a role in increasing the loading speed of a blog. If the theme uses too much images (or images which are big in file size), then don’t consider using that theme. Your visitors would be bored to death waiting for your blog to load and that’s not a great thing.

Widget-ready feature – Almost all the WordPress themes today are widget-ready already. However, there are still some which are left behind in time and don’t have the capability to have widgets placed. If I were you, I’d choose a widget-ready theme to save myself loads of time in configuring/styling my blog.
Search engine optimized code – Well, let’s face it, not all of us can read and understand the coding structure. To give you a hint, view the source code and see if the content appears somewhere on top of the code (not necessarily the first, ’cause the header appears before the content itself). Make sure that the sidebar stuff don’t appear first than the content itself, otherwise your blog might have problems getting into good positions in the SERPs.


Valid markup
– It’s not really necessary, but some people consider valid XHTML/CSS markup when judging a site. I don’t know why, maybe they’re just obsessive-compulsive or what. Some people also believe that Google (as well as other search engines) prefers blogs which have a semantically valid code. I myself don’t believe that but just to be safe, it’s better to have a well-coded theme.
Prominent advertisement spots – Some blogs may not need ad spots, but since most of you are internet entrepreneurs and would like to make money, then choose a theme which allows you to place ads on visible and prominent spots. Don’t get a theme which has a little 88×31 ad space near the footer! Try getting a theme which has a place for a full banner (468×60) or maybe a 125×125 square ad.
Clean design and layout – I am not a fan of “busy” themes, so clean and simple designs work well for me. It’s better to have neat layouts since most people are going to your blog to read your content; they most likely won’t care if you’ve got a very extravagant background image. Besides, the neater your blog, the easier it is for everyone to read your posts.

Colors which suit your blog’s topic well – If you’re writing about business, then avoid using rainbow-colored themes. That would make you look like a total idiot. Make sure that you’re going to be using a theme which matches your blog’s topic very well. For example, if you run an environment-related blog, then green is your best bet.
These are the things that I usually look for in free/premium WordPress themes. Hopefully you’ll be able to choose more wisely now, eh?

Please take note, I highly suggest that you get a custom theme done instead of downloading free themes from a theme site. If you’re still having second thoughts, I suggest you read this post from ThouShallBlog.com.

Summary

Clean layouts, feature-rich (but not overdone), and optimized themes are the best choices. Make sure that you choose a theme that suits your topic well — like, don’t use a cartoony theme for a real estate blog! Choosing the right theme will make your blog more reader-friendly and people will really feel what you’re writing about.

P.S. As I said, I’m going to hire a designer to create themes for me and I’ll be distributing them for free (of course with my link. :twisted: ). Let me know what style of themes you prefer. Grunge? MMO-like (with ad spaces and all that)? Abstract? Kiddish? Colorful? Just leave comments on this post.

P.P.S. I promise to publish a post which is more internet marketing or probably entrepreneurship inclined during the weekend. This week’s just very hectic for me so I ended up writing something about blogging. Nonetheless, this one’s still a useful post for you since most of you are bloggers anyway.

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