If you are trying to increase the amount of traffic to your website then you have probably thought about purchasing online advertising. There are a lot of different options to choose from, but how do you know what is going to work best for you?
First off, you need to make sure that you know the terminology so you can figure out what exposure you would be getting for your money. Then it's just a matter of treating your advertising purchase like you would any other buying decision. This means you will only want to work with advertisers that give you stats and numbers that enable you to make an informed decision.
In order to know what the cost is going to be you have to know how you will be charged. Online there are three different ways to price ads:
- Cost per Click (CPC) - You get charged a certain amount every time someone clicks through the ad to your site. Google's Adwords is a prime example.
- Cost per Impression (CPM or CPI) - It doesn't matter if the ad is clicked or not. You pay a certain amount and your ad will be shown a certain number of times. Normally it's billed out as cost per 1,000 impressions.
- Flat Rate - your ad runs for a certain period of time.
Once you know how you will be billed for the online advertising, you need to know just how many visitors you should expect. That is why you need to look at:
- Traffic Numbers - get statistics on unique visitors and unique pageviews so you can get an idea of the traffic the site receives.
- Relevance - will that site's visitors be interested in what your ad is offering? What percentage will relate to your niche?
- Positioning - the best spots are above the fold and within the content. If you are in the middle of a 125 banner farm in the sidebar or in the footer or a site, don't expect to stand out.
- Size of the Ad - bigger ads allow you to display more information and it gives you a chance to stand out in the page.
You normally check prices from a few different places before making a buying decision right? You have to do the same here. Check similar sites to see where you would get the best deal. You won't be right all of the time on what site is going to be the best fit for your business, but shopping around will help make sure you don't get ripped off.
If you are just starting out with online advertising, then test the waters first. You will be able to get some data of your own on click through rates of different ads, conversion rates from those visitors, and average sale price. With these numbers you can figure out just how much money you will make from the visitors and you won't have to shop around for the cheapest option. Instead, you can go with all options that you think will be profitable.
If you are new to email marketing you might think buying a list of emails is a good idea. Some shady marketer might have told you that buying emails is a way to get a quick start on building your own list and that you can make a lot of money without spending much. You might have heard that the leads you will be buying are targeted to your market, are composed of people who have specifically requested to receive these kinds of offers, and are verified and clean.
Well I'm 99% sure that they didn't opt-in. Who in their right mind requests that their email address be given out to any random person so they can get bombarded with random emails each and every single day?
Origins of the List
So where do these lists actually come from? People scrape them off of old lists, find them on websites, collect contact lists from conferences, and advertise free products only to collect the information visitors provide. This means that they were never interested in what you are selling and even if they are, they didn't request to hear specifically from you.
What Happens to You
If you buy a list you can cause your mail server to get clogged up and you can get blacklisted from email providers. Your domain registrar could take away your domain. Legitimate prospects could devalue your brand.
I won't lie to you and say that this never works. Marketers buy large lists, send them out, and see positive responses. There are just too many negatives possible for me to think this is a good idea.
There is no quick fix to attracting subscribers to your newsletter. You need to grow your traffic and give visitors a reason to want to give you their information. They will want to do that if they like what you have to offer and want to hear more of it. If you are looking for a legitimate company to use for your email marketing, I personally like Aweber.
The game of SEO is always changing. More than ten years ago all you had to worry about was on-page factors and keyword stuffing. Five years ago buying links could guarantee you a top ranking. Where is the future of SEO heading?
First of all, let me stress that the importance of quality content and links isn't going away any time soon. Sites that produce quality content will get links and have users that keep coming back for more. Focus there first, and then worry about some of these other factors.
There is no doubt that faster sites convert better than slow sites. Visitors do not want to sit around waiting for your site to load. They are there to find information, and they want to find it quickly. The goal for all of the pages on my site is four seconds.
How fast is your site loading? Take a look at the "Site Performance" link in Google's Webmaster Tools, or take a link at Pingdom Tools. Follow Google's recommendations, look to upgrade to hosting solution, and read my how to speed up your blog for ideas on how to make your site faster.
If you want to improve your social media score, get active on each of the platforms. Make it easy for visitors to follow you on either and use it to communicate, not just push your products or post automated junk.
If you are lucky enough to have a high listing on a results page you better make sure that it's relevant to what users are searching for. If they are not clicking through then Google is going to think you are not relevant for those keywords and knock you down the rankings.
Want a higher clickthrough rate? Treat your descriptions the same way you would a PPC ad. Call the user to take action and click through to find what they are looking for. Use the keyword in the title and description so it shows up bold.
So a user is clicking through from the results page to your site, but once they get there they quickly realize it's not what they are looking for. Google is tracking bounce rates and if you aren't giving users what they want, they will "bounce" you down the results pages.
To help improve your bounce rate, give the user what they want. Write quality pages or try and ranking product pages for what the user would be searching for, and not something that is borderline relevant.
Internet marketing is a game of managing resources better than your competitors. You are limited in the amount of time you can commit and the money that you can spend. With search engine optimization (SEO), it all starts with keywords. Using a strategy that allows you to select the "right" keywords to target will help you make more money online.
The first question to ask is how many keywords to target for your site? Keep this simple and go after only 1-9 at a time. This will allow you to devote more time to getting a high ranking for specific terms, and once that high ranking is reached you can move on to your next target. If you overreach and try and optimize your site for 50 keywords at once, none of them will get ranked and you will have wasted both time and money without seeing much in return.
When it comes to the number of keywords to target on individual pages the goal is 1-3. You can only fit so many terms into your title tag and having your keywords in the title tag is important for both conversion and getting a high ranking. Matching keywords to the right landing pages is also important for conversion purposes. Plus, that extra content also helps gain you more Pagerank on your site that you can use to give a boost to internal pages you want ranked.
Once you know how many terms you are going to target you have to choose your keywords. The main point here is to make sure you go after the terms that will earn you the most money. If you are just starting out, these are the ones you want to simply get listed on the first page of the results. If you already have some traffic it could mean moving up the listing for terms you are already ranking for.
For existing sites, it is important to use the rankings you already have in order to learn which keywords are most profitable for you, and also which are the highest traffic. Getting a No. 1 ranking will provide a huge boost over 2-5, and getting up into that second tier is big over ranking in the 6-10 spots. Optimization that moves you up a few places to get seen on the first page will provide a nice traffic bump rather than being on page two.
Another advantage that older sites have is that they can learn keywords to target with their site analtyics. Site stats can tell you what keywords visitors are using to find your site and what pages they are landing on. You can then either improve the pages you already have or create new ones more appropriate for those terms.
How difficult will it be to make a dent in the rankings? As part of your research you have to analyze your competitors. Big sites tend to do better because they can point more internal links to certain pages. If a site has a lot of authority it's internal links will also provide it a boost, and of course external links going to a page directly using the anchor text desired provides a lift. Find out where your competitors stand for each of these and you'll be able to paint yourself a picture on what you have to do to rank closer to the top.
That is our keyword strategy from start to finish. If you use the tips provided you will start using your resources more effectively and do a better job of increasing your traffic with your SEO efforts.
For search engine optimization (SEO) purposes we have talked about why both content and links are important. In both articles I stressed how vital it is to get a high percentage of your pages indexed in order to maximize the traffic to your site. How do you know how many pages of your site are indexed though? Here are the tools that I use:
Google Webmaster Tools
Let Google tell you how many pages on your site that they have found and are indexed. Submit your sitemap to their Webmaster Tools. Google provides a lot of useful information, but what we want to focus on here are how many pages are in your submitted sitemap, and how many of those Google has indexed. You want to see a very high percentage here, past 90%.
If you go to google.com and search for "site:(yoursitename.com)" the results will show you how many pages are in the index. This number varies from what is in Webmaster Tools and you probably won't get as high of a percentage of your site indexed looking at these results.
Google powers AOL.com's search, but the difference is AOL doesn't include the supplemental index in their results. These are lower quality pages. So, doing a "site:(yoursitename.com)" search here will show you how many high quality pages your site has in the index. I feel like this gives you the best idea on how well your site is getting indexed and if you need to work on getting more links to your site.
ComScore has released their search analysis for December of 2010 and it is no surprise that Google continues to lead the way. Google accounted for 66.6% of all searches conducted in the United States.
There were 16.4 billions explicit core searches conducted in Dedember with Google taking 66.6% of them, that is up 0.4% from November. In second place is Yahoo with 16%, down 0.4% from last month. Bing comes up 0.2% to 12% overall. Ask is all but forgotten down to 3.5% while AOL garners 1.9%, even though both of these are powered by Google.
What does this mean for you? If you want traffic via the search engines, it's best to focus on Google. They are the most reliable in terms of ranking factors and do the best job of removing spam from the index. This means it's easiest to actually get ranked, which is good news when you see that most of the search engine traffic that you are going to get comes from their results!
What to know how to get started moving up the rankings? Take a look at my simple SEO strategy guide and find out how you can start getting more traffic by getting listed higher in the search engines.
When site owners get started out with search engine optimization (SEO) they always here that "content is king" or to drive more people to their site they need to write more articles. Not a lot of people explain why they need to do these things or what good comes from it. It's obvious that content speaks a lot about what you have to offer and should convince visitors that you are an expert or that your product/service will solve their problems, but it can also help you gain more traffic. Here's why:
I like to try to only target 1-3 keywords for each page on the site. That means as you build up the list of terms that you are going to go after, you should have a landing page for almost every one. This will help increase conversions because the traffic you get will be targeted to a page that is custom tailed for almost exactly what they are looking for.
Long tail keywords
When working on SEO it's common to focus in on those money keywords that are 2-3 keywords long, highly searched for, but yet highly competitive. However, when you have a bunch of content on your site you can drive visitors with long tail keywords. These are keywords that are low traffic so sites do not concentrate on them specifically. An example would be if you are selling Armani suits and were ranked for "half price black armani suits."
You may ask why worry about them if they are low traffic? First, you aren't going to put any extra effort in. Second, the benefits compound when you get several thousand keywords sending you a few new visitors each month. Third, these long tail keywords typically have a higher conversion rate.
If you notice related long tail keywords that send double digit visitors to your site each month, consider writing an article focusing on that topic.
Each page that you create adds authority to your site. You need authority just to break into the search engine results (SERPs) and the more you have allows the specific search engines to "trust" your site that much more.
Not only does each page on your site add authority, but also pagerank. You can then use that additional pagerank to feed your landing pages by linking to them with the proper keywords in the anchor text. You will really only see the benefits from doing this when you create over 1,000 pages on your site.
With additional pages you can also silo your content to ensure that more of your pages get indexed. A good way to do this is with categories in WordPress. For each of my most popular categories I will create a different menu that is filled with top posts a visitor would want to see if they are interested in that particular category.
You don't need to keep typing away until your fingers go raw because you will see diminishing returns. While it's true that each additional page adds value to your site, that value is only added if the page actually gets indexed. If you don't have any links pointing to your site then it doesn't matter if you have 1,000 page, none of them will be in the index so none of them will be able to show up in the SERPs nor add any authority to your site.
Post content at a pace that you can maintain and monitor your webmaster tools to make sure that all of your pages are getting indexed. If your index percentage drops too low, then you need to work on getting more links to your site. The article I wrote on how to get your site indexed faster also applies to getting more your site in the index.
WordPress sites can tend to run a bit slow, especially if you are getting a lot of traffic to your site. The problem is that page loading time matters quite a bit to your visitors. They don't want to wait around for 10 seconds for your page to load or else they will just go somewhere else to try and find the information they were looking for. With that in mind there are probably some things that you can do right now to speed up your site.
Review Your Hosting
A shared host can be great because they cost less than $100 per year, but if you start drawing heavy traffic to your site and make a decent amount of money this is the first thing you are going to want to upgrade. A VPS or dedicated server can cost quite a bit more per month, but not having to share resources with other sites will allow more computer power to be used towards your site. See How to Move Your Blog to Another Host for more information.
Remove Unused Widgets and Plugins
The more plugins you have onyour site the more code that your server has to compile, eating up more resources. Remove any plugin that you do not feel is absolutely necessary.
Install WordPress W3 Total Cache
Minimize PHP Calls
Each time a page on your site loads the browser executes all of the PHP and database queries that it finds. This adds to your load time. Here are some examples of what you can replace:
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="<?php bloginfo('html_type'); ?>; charset=<?php bloginfo('charset'); ?>" />
<meta name="generator" content="WordPress <?php bloginfo('version'); ?>" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="<?php bloginfo('stylesheet_url'); ?>" type="text/css" media="screen" />
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0" href="<?php bloginfo('rss2_url'); ?>" />
An example of minimized queries & requests:
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<meta name="generator" content="WordPress 3.0" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://www.jamiefaidley.com/wp-content/themes/lightword/style.css" type="text/css" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://www.jamiefaidley.com/wp-content/themes/lightword/original.css" type="text/css" />
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0" href="http://www.jamiefaidley.com/feed/" />
If you want to get started making money online one of the quickest and easiest ways to do so is by creating niche sites. These are smaller, mini sites that focus on a very narrow topic. If you start with a general idea you will want to drill down a few categories from there. Let's say you are interested in Video Games. That is a broad topic covered by the likes of IGN and others, but if you drill down to say Civilization V, you will cut out a lot of the competition.
There are a ton of products and keyword terms to go after here, but how do you get started? Zac Johnson has a nice guide on building niche sites that you should check out. Let's take a look at some of the key points.
Find a Profitable Niche
The first stop should be Google's Keyword tool to see how many searches there are for your term each month. You don't want too many, otherwise you are going to be competing with the bigger sites, but you do want a decent cost per click (CPC). That is a sign that the niche is profitable. Then search google to see what advertisers are using the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads to drive traffic to their sites. You don't want to see Amazon, but if you can find affiliate sites that's a bonus.
The easiest affiliate market to use is Clickbank. All you have to do is type your keyword in to their search box and see what pops up.
Building content on your site is easy. You want to continue to do some keyword research with Google's tool to see what kinds of variations are listed. Check out competitor sites to see what they are writing about. Then start posting as much content as you can. Don't overthink this.
Great, so you built the site but how are visitors going to find it? You have to build links to your site. You can submit to paid directories like Yahoo and/or start writing articles for directories like EzineArticles. The more you write, the more links you will get coming back to you site for the keywords that you desire. With any luck, other sites will pick up your articles and maintain the link.
There is a quick how-to guide on how to get started with niche marketing. The good news is that the more you create the more practice you get at figuring out what works and what doesn't. Plus, the sites continue to give you residual income for years down the line, even after you have moved on to another niche!