How to Get Your Business Ready For the Coming Holiday Season Profit Takings!

“There is a season and time to everything under the heaven” so says the Good Book!

Yes, there is a season and one such season is just around the corner, the coming holiday season! The question however, is how can you as a business make the best use of this season? How can you position your business to ensure that it maximally profit from the boost in sales that usually accompany such seasons? As a business it is clear that having in place a strategy for the holiday season is a savvy thing to do.

For example, ComScore reported that online profits reached about $42 billion in November and December of 2012 and this figure is expected to rise in 2013! It is therefore a wise business decision to prepare your digital properties right now to ensure that you are not left out of these profit takings.

To help you, here are few suggestions:

Holiday season marketing tips

1. Get Your Website In Shape

Your business website is definitely the center of your marketing operations. Social profiles in places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. may be powerful outlets to connect with your prospective customers but your business site is the foundation of your operations. It is important therefore that it should be the first point of call when preparing for the holiday season.

Here are few things to look into: Can your business site handle an influx of traffic this season? How about the site’s speed?

You need to test your site’s average response time and make improvements where necessary as this could impact negatively on your holiday season performance.

2. Mobile-Optimize Your Ecommerce Website

Is your business website mobile-ready? If it is, how mobile-optimized is it?

ComScore also predicts about $25 billion for mobile ecommerce sales this year. This should serve as some inspiration to mobile-ize your business website. There are different mobile solutions in the market right now. But basically, maintaining either a standalone mobile website or a mobile-friendly version of your business site will do the trick.

Besides a mobile website, creating mobile app solutions that can help customers to easily make purchases or access information about your business will also greatly ensure you take your own share of the holiday season’s profits.

3. Plan Your Promotion Tactics

This is actually the time to begin your holiday season promotions. And there are a number of things you can do. Taking a cue from past holiday sales you can plan giveaway promotions like buy-one-get-one-free offers or offer free shipping deals.

You can also plan daily deals on sites like Groupon.com or use other powerful promotional tactics like hiring professional web content writers to create promotional content that will boost your brand visibility and drive targeted traffic to your sites. These will positively impact on your sales.

4. Paid Advertisements

When it comes to holiday season marketing, time is of great essence. And one good way of ensuring timeliness is using paid advertising. There are email solo ads, website advertising, Facebook ads, Google Adwords, etc. Depending on the type of traffic you are expecting, using any of these paid advertising media is a great way to ensure you benefit from the holiday season sales.

Conclusion

Holiday season marketing is indeed mostly about preparedness. It’s only those who have prepared for the season that will see the profits come in. If you are running an ecommerce and have not prepared your business for the coming holiday season sales then it is time you get started. Implement the suggestions above and you will definitely smile to the bank by the time this holiday season is over!

The Google Hummingbird Algorithm and SEO in 2014 and Beyond!

To say 2013 was a challenging year for search engine optimization professionals is indeed an understatement. Apart from the different Panda and Penguin updates that saw many sites suffering various degrees of organic traffic decline, the latest release of the Hummingbird algorithm a few days ago have greatly tasked search engine optimization professionals so much that the questions on the lips of SEOs right now are:

What is Google really up to?

What will the SEO terrain look like in 2014?

How can I make my website and website relevant in the scheme of things?

And of course, whether to continue with search engine optimization or to simply look for some other form of website traffic!

[wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#A3F74F” text_color=”#E33939″]Must Read: Is SEO A Dead Web Marketing Strategy?[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

Now, because my “job” as an SEO web content writer is basically about helping brands drive organic traffic through optimized marketing content, keeping up with the constantly fluctuating array of updates in order to stay current with the latest trends had given me some insights about these questions. And so, in this article I intend to provide some answers to these questions as much as I can.

So if you are ready, let’s begin!

First, the Big One – The Hummingbird Algorithm!

Google launches Hummingbird Algorithm

Released a few days ago, the Hummingbird algorithm is definitely Google’s major change in recent times.  [wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#FAD905″ text_color=”#000000″]A careful study shows that the panda and all the other update introduced by Google in the past couple of years were actually a build up to the launch of the hummingbird algorithm.[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

Here are a few insights to help you make meaning of the hummingbird algorithm:

1. The Hummingbird algorithm is a new complete rewriting of Google’s search algorithm. Unlike the Penguin and Panda updates which were simply changes to Google’s existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a complete replacement.

2. Hummingbird is designed to provide faster and more precise query results.

3. It is based on semantic search – that is, it focuses on user intent instead of individual search terms. What this means is that Google will no longer return search results based on individual words or phrases but rather based on each word in a search query. At least, this sort of explains why Google recently decided that search term data are now ’100% not provided!’ It is no longer about keywords but customer intent.

4. According to Google about 90% of all searches were to be affected by the release of the Hummingbird algorithm.

5. Though Hummingbird is a complete rewrite of Google’s algorithm many of the existing rules and weightings, for example PageRank, will still apply.

[wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#A3F74F” text_color=”#E33939″]Recommended: Google Panda And Penguin Updates: What You Should Know To Stay Ahead Of The Game! [/wpgfxm_highlighter]

What will be the State of SEO in 2014?

Making search faster and better - Hummingbird!Now, let’s turn our attention to what the SEO terrain will be like in 2014 considering the various changes introduced by Google. Some may say it is too early to really predict (can we really use that word since it is very clear already?) what the terrain will be like 2014. But from what we have seen so far, there is actually nothing for SEO professionals to fear in the coming year 2014 and beyond.

It only demands that one take a careful look at what Google has been releasing into the market and the picture will be clear indeed. If you have understood very well what the Hummingbird algorithm is all about (please read the insights above again) and you take that with the various panda and penguin updates that Google has pushed into the market over the past couple of years, you will understand that search engine optimization is not dead and so SEOs should not give up.

Rather SEO professionals who want to stay relevant should focus on the following proven SEO practices in 2014:

1. Be valuable with your content. This is very obvious. Instead of simply pumping out content, focus on providing value. As a business brand, identify your unique value proposition and become an authority in it.  Position yourself to be the provider of answers to what people are seeking.

2. Trust is now the new king of search, therefore focus on pleasing your customers and not the search engines.

3. Be natural instead of keyword focused. It is clear that when conversing with a friend you will not continuously repeat a particular word or phrase over and over again even when you want to emphasize a point. Your marketing content must align to this.  Put less emphasis on keyword data and more on customer engagement.

4. Focus on building relationships that could help in link acquisition instead of using some covert tactics to build links.

5. Hummingbird is about providing in-depth knowledge on a subject treated. [wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#FAD905″ text_color=”#000000″]Therefore be authoritative and transparent with your content. Get a grip on what semantic search and the knowledge graph are and adapt your content accordingly.[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

6. [wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#FAD905″ text_color=”#000000″]Your keyword research should focus on identifying the intent, needs and problems behind queries and then provide solutions and answers with your content.[/wpgfxm_highlighter]

7. Implement Google authorship and some other aspects of the Schema.org article markup like headline and alternativeHeadline, image, description, datePublished, articleBody, etc.

8. Make your site design appealing.

9. Mobile-ize your web properties. It is not an accident that in demonstrating the launch of Hummingbird Google decided to use images of its mobile app and not the desktop site. This shows that the future and by extension Hummingbird, will be more about mobile. It will be a plus therefore that you go for responsive themes for your sites (you can get some very cheap and powerful ones from this site). Creating mobile apps to power your online business will also be a great idea.

How about SEO beyond 2014!

SEO and the future of Hummingbird

It is definite that Google will continue to fine-tune the new Hummingbird algorithm in the years to come. But trying to predict what SEO will be like beyond 2014 is a tall order indeed. By jealously guarding the factors used in ranking websites Google has so far been able to outwit even the smartest SEO professional thus far.

However, with the launch of Hummingbird Google has made a categorical statement that it is moving towards “natural” when it comes to ranking websites/pages. There is therefore going to be a push towards improving this technology in the years to come.

So, beyond 2014 SEO is definitely going to be less focused on keywords and more on authority.

And do not forget that on the net authority is most times gauged by your circle of influence. This means that your connections and social media reach would play a big role in SEO beyond 2014.

My suggestion therefore is to grow your social networks. Focus most of your energy on Google plus and Youtube (I predict that Google would be pushing people towards these two in the years to come!) and then Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  This does not mean other social media sites are not relevant. However, depending on your target market, always focus on these big ones before any other.

[wpgfxm_highlighter bg_color=”#A3F74F” text_color=”#E33939″]Recommended: Exact-Match Domain Algorithm Update: What Is Google Really Up To? [/wpgfxm_highlighter]

Final thoughts

It is quite clear that SEO in 2014 and beyond is not going to be less challenging to search engine optimization professionals than what we have seen in 2013. Statistics already shows that many brands are now moving towards paid search as organic traffic continues to decrease (an indication that that Google’s game plan is working great for them!).

However, SEO professionals mustn’t give up. The noose may be tightening on organic search traffic but as long as Google still have a column in the SERPs for organic search results, what SEO professionals should work towards is a better understanding of what Google is driving at with the various updates and changes and then put in place a strategy, built on a few key time-tested tactics.

In creating content, brands must be more strategic and tactical and also focus on social relationships. They must also be more transparent and provide the consumer real value for their time as it is now clear that valuable, authoritative and customer-focused content would rule the search engines in 2014 and beyond!

Your turn: These indeed may be my thoughts but no doubt they reflect the views of many SEO professionals and experts. You too are an expert in your own way. So, what are your views on SEO in 2014 and beyond? Share with us in your comments below.

Ranking vs CTR: Adapting Your SEO Strategy to Be a Winner in the Ongoing Search Engine Revolution!

Despite the many changes in the SEO world in the recent past, many still think ranking high in the SERPs is all that really matters. They have forgotten that it is this understanding that led to the various blackhat SEO tactics like linkspam, keyword stuffing, cloaking etc. which the algorithm updates are trying to push out of the market. And so, continuing in these dead SEO tactics now that Google has zero tolerance for any appearance of blackhat SEO is simply suicidal, to say the least!

You must understand that Google has renewed its emphasis on quality and not just quantity. Whether it is your content, site design or linking structure, the emphasis right now is quality. White hat SEO tactics are now more important than ever. Any attempt to trick the search engines because you want some cheap ranking, will ultimately harm your website.

One truth you must learn to live with right now is that ranking high in the SERPs without any corresponding CTR could do more damage than good.  In fact, the latest developments make it imperative that increasing your CTR is more important than achieving some high rankings.

It is now clear these days that Google will reward your page with higher rankings if more people click on your search listings. This is because Google takes those clicks as an indication that your page is relevant to what people are looking for.  A high rank without clicks on the other hand simply tells Google that that page listing is not what people are looking for. And so, to encourage the one with more clicks, Google simply rewards it with higher rankings while the one without clicks is “demoted!”

This clearly shows that increasing your CTR is a sure way of helping your site to rise in the SERPs. In this post therefore, I want to give you a few ways to increase your CTR.

Ranking vs CTR: SEO strategy to adopt

4 Simple Ways on How to Increase Your CTR

1. Clean And Enticing Page Titles

Page titles have always been very crucial when it comes to ranking in the SERPs. But beyond just ranking you need to work on your page titles these days to drive more clicks on your search listings. Your page title should be able to encourage the searcher to click on it when she sees your listings. To achieve this, the title should contain the keyword phrase the searcher is using to search and also contain some benefits. Do a thorough research on what people are actually looking for and optimize your page titles to encourage more clicks.

2. Optimized URLs

You must understand that your page URL is another area that the search engines look when ranking your site. But beyond ranking high in the SERPs a short, clean and keyword optimized page URL will also help in driving CTR. If you are using the wordpress blogging platform, using the custom permalink structure will greatly help. However, understand also that the wordpress software has a way of taking the whole page title and putting it in the URL. You may therefore need to manually enter a short url optimized with your main keyword instead of the very long ones that will be truncated by the search engines.

More: News: Google Celebrates Birthday; Announces Major Algorithm Update!

3. Meta Description

It is true that the description meta tag is no longer relevant as far as search engine ranking is concerned. However, instead of allowing the search engines to automatically generate a description for your page listing, it is advisable to write a thought-provoking description that will encourage the searcher to click on your listing. One simple trick it to write a description that reads like a classified ad!

4. Google Authorship

Many SEOs have proven the fact that having an image of a real person in your search engine listings will always trump the listing that have none. It is important therefore to implement Google authorship (rel=author) on your site. If you are running an ecommerce site using microformatting and rich snippets is a good way of also encouraging more clicks. Microformatting makes specific product-level data more accessible and easier for Google to index, helping search engines infer what searchers can naturally infer on their own. This allows Google to more easily identify and display the business name, product’s make or model, the brand, price, etc. So, implementing rich snippets to either show authorship or specific product information in search listings is a good way of improving CTR.

Recommended: The Most Effective Panda-Proof Ecommerce SEO Solution for Your Money Sites Right Now!

Marketing Takeaway

Getting a high rank is definitely important in search engine marketing however, beyond looking for a 1st or 2nd position in the SERPs, work on your search engine marketing strategy to increase CTR. As more and more people click on your listings the search engines will reward you with higher rankings. And using the above simple tactics you can easily improve your site CTR.

Over to you: How much of changes have you introduced into your search engine marketing strategy lately? Are you still simply depending on keyword optimization or you have learned to move along with the new updates introduced by Google? Share with us in your comments below.

[Quick Guide] How To Use Social Media Marketing To Acquire Loyal Customers!

There is no doubt about it; social media marketing is an important part of effective eCommerce marketing. However, it can also be a tremendous time waste if you are not careful. So, the question is, how do you make sure you are not just wasting your time and resources promoting your ecommerce business on social media?

The answer is in effective social media marketing that is targeted in drawing in loyal customers rather than general curiosity seekers.

Effective Social Media Marketing Guide

Here are 3 simple but powerful ways you can make your social media marketing effective:

1. Specifically Target the Types of Customers You Want to be Loyal

One of the biggest mistakes that eCommerce store owners make is to try to make their marketing campaigns as broad as possible. Of course, they reason this way they can try to get as many people as possible. But this is precisely what reduces the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Instead, you need to get to know the type of customers that you want to attract. Your marketing campaigns and efforts on social media platforms should include information and promotions that would make those types of customers the most interested. The easiest way to increase your effectiveness here is to get to know the greatest density of demographics in your marketing pool. Find out everything you can and make the language of your social media posts target them.

2. Offer “Secret” Promotions

People love being in on a secret. Whether it’s something small like finding a newer and better POS machine or letting people in on a new site upgrade, it makes them feel like they’re special. Taco Bell, for instance, has been using Instagram as an effective social media platform for VIP Taco Bell customers. These customers receive secret images and special videos that are not released to the general public. It creates a feeling of closeness, and it gets their customers excited. These are initially focused on the main target audience, but Taco Bell has started to expand the customer base over the past few months.

3. Let Them Know That You’re Listening

One of the biggest challenges in eCommerce marketing is letting your customers know that you actually listen to them and care about what they have to say. While all large businesses face this problem, eCommerce stores in particular struggle with the conception that they are faceless corporations with no interest in their individual customers.

Take the time to respond to your customers. Ask for their opinions, and then incorporate these into your actual strategies. When you do this, let them know that you listened. It will go a long way toward accomplishing your goals and turning your customers into loyal ones.

Marketing Takeaway

When you use social media for marketing your ecommerce stores, you need to make sure that your activities are effective. You will gain the greatest benefit if you focus on creating loyal customers. Your first step is to target the type of customers you want to be loyal and focus your efforts on them. You can also offer secret promotions. Additionally, you must let your customers know that you are listening. Ask for their opinions, and then make sure that you take some of their recommendations.

Do you have an ecommerce store? What are the major challenges you are facing right now trying to promote through social media marketing?

4 Useful Tips In Dealing With Content Blog Scraping

Have you recently been a victim of content theft from someone who scrapes blogs for their own benefit? If you have, you’re definitely not alone.

Everyday great content is created and uploaded to the internet, and everyday someone steals that great content to try and profit from it. Ever since the dawn of content, people have tried to find shortcuts to success, and it’s sad to say, but some of them have been able to profit a lot from stealing.

So, in this article we are going to check out some ways you can prevent content theft, how to find stolen content, and how to get it removed.

Protecting your Blog Content

Don’t Get Angry

Before we get into all of the tips and tricks, you should be advised never to get angry in these situations. While you might not like someone using your content, getting mad and yelling at people will get you nowhere. It could end up actually making you work more than you need to. So with that being said, let’s start out by finding your stolen content.

Where is the Duplicate Content?

This process is quite easy. All you really need to do is use a tool, for example: CopyScape, and then have them scan your websites and look for other duplicate copies out there. You will get a report of where any duplicate content might be located. Not only that but you will get % statistics and other useful information that you might need to use later on. Using these types of programs will come with a cost, but it usually isn’t too much at all. A small price is definitely worth your content being unique and profitable, but if you don’t want to pay anything, you have another option. Checking the links that are pointing towards your website.

How to protect your blog contentIf you decide to set up a lot of internal links, then when an automated blog scraper program comes and swoops up your content, it will usually be posted with the links. Once it posts the content with your links, you can easily just pull a link profile report and see exactly where it is. It’s pretty simple, but the only bad part is if someone doesn’t use an automated program, they might actually remove your links before they post it. In situations like these, it’s best to just use a content protector tool, like I mentioned before.

Preventing Future Thefts

There is no 100% way of stopping thieves from taking what’s yours, but there are ways to help ward them off. If you make it very clear on your website that it is protected by a program, then that will encourage them to just go to the next website. They usually don’t want to be caught, so instead of stealing from a protected site, they can just as easily go to a site that isn’t protected.

Time to Get The Duplicates Removed

Before you want to take action against the website owner directly through Google, you should first just contact them and ask nicely. Like I stated previously, getting mad will never help you in these situations, so just be nice and politely ask for the removal. Usually they will. A lot of the times the website owners use services that connect him with content writers, and those content writers are the ones who actually stole the content. So the site owner might not even realize everything they are posting is stolen.

So, once you have found your content, get the contact information for the website owner, and then send them an email. In the Email you will want to include that you have found your content being duplicated on their site, that you want them to remove it, and that you appreciate any help they can provide. After a day or two, an active website will usually respond saying that it has been removed.

If you never receive a response, or the website owner is not going to remove it, it’s time to go to plan B. You are going to submit a DMCA takedown request with Google. Google will verify everything and then they will end up having the duplicate content removed from the index, so you are no longer being punished for someone else’s doing.

This is a guest post from Ness on behalf of MakeAWebsite – an independent hosting review site. They currently favor http://webhostinghub.com. Click on the link to find out why.

Mobile App Business: Here’s How to Grab A Piece of the Cake Even If You Lack Programming Skills!

If there’s anything that is HOT right now, it is mobile phone apps. A recent research published by Gartner estimates that 103bn mobile apps will be downloaded in 2013 – representing a 59.4% rise on last year’s total!

The report also predicts that global mobile apps revenue will reach $26bn this year – a 44.4% rise against 2012 figures!

These are indeed interesting figures.

But the question is, are you positioning yourself to get a piece of that cake?

Would you be interested in starting a mobile app business that will help you join the league of “creative entrepreneurs” who are making it big with this lucrative venture?

Oh, did I hear you say you lack programming skills and therefore you’re “technically” knocked out of this market?

But what if I tell you that you can start your own mobile app business without any programming skills? Yes, you can actually build a mobile app in just about 12 minutes starting with zero knowledge!

It sounds incredible, right?

Then carefully read every word on this post to discover how you can start your own lucrative mobile app business with this revolutionary app machine (click link to see a video proof – opens in a new page!).

Build a mobile app business with no programming skills

The Essentials for Building a Profitable Mobile App Business

Now, let’s talk about the essentials for building a successful mobile app business.

1. A Creative Sensibility of Public Taste

This is the ability to create mobile apps that have a broad customer appeal. An app may be incredibly appealing from an intellectual perspective but if it has no appeal to the general public it cannot be profitable venture. What you need is the ability to sense what the public wants and creatively put it in their hands and you can do this if you have the right tools to research the market!

2. Excellent Computer Programming Skills

As you do know apps are software designed for mobile devices. To create mobile apps therefore you need the right programming skills. Once you have the idea of what the public wants you will need to write the program that will achieve that purpose. If you lack the right programming language you will either look for someone else to help you create the app of get a tool like the  Innovative App Machine to help you create your mobile apps.

3. Strong Entrepreneurial Skills

If you desire a profitable mobile app business, you must have the basic entrepreneurial skills of marketing and sales. Being creative is not enough. Unfortunately, many who are challenged in this area resort to specializing in developing the apps rather than marketing them. But, there is a drawback to this as these ones are forced to forfeit a huge chunk of the profits. And so, you will need a system that can help you create your own mobile apps and also help you with the marketing aspect of your business if you truly want to maximize your mobile app business potentials.

Making Money With A Mobile Apps

You definitely don’t want to start a business without knowing how you can monetize that business, right? Ok, here are some of the ways mobile apps can be easily monetized:

1. Paid Downloads – Here you place a fixed price on the mobile app and customers buy the app in a simple transaction. Right now, this is the most popular and simplest way of making money through mobile apps.

2. App Sponsorship – Here you simply look for a sponsor who pays for a percentage of the profits for the app. If you are just starting out you may want to consider this option. However, there are some drawbacks to this method for example, the inventor of the app does not receive all of the profits from the app and so if it becomes popular, they will need to forfeit a large amount of the profits.

3. Paid Option – As a mobile app creator you may decide to give out your apps free of charge but also give the customer an option to pay for services within the app. For example, if you build a mobile app that provides weather forecasts, you may decide to provide basic forecasts for free but put a price on more detailed and extensive reports.

This approach is more lucrative for apps that provide a number of different services.

4. Sell Advertisement Spaces – Though this is less popular than other methods yet it can prove profitable if your mobile phone app become very popular. The drawback is that it requires an external company that is willing to advertise on the app. Besides, it means having a large enough space to accommodate the advertisement.

Mobile App Business Takeaway

There’s one secret to building a profitable mobile app business and that is:

“Create mobile apps that are simple to use and that fill a logical void!

Mobile phone apps should provide maximum value for little effort. This is because apps are typically consumed during a very limited amount of leisure time. They are usually a method for passing time rather than the object of actual engagement.”

If you want to create a mobile app business that is outstanding therefore, you need to take this into consideration. Besides, you must ensure that your app is not overly similar to a preexisting app but original to generate that public interest that will make it successful.

For Action Takers:

Starting a profitable mobile app business even when you have no programming skills is possible with the Green App Machine With the Green App Machine you have:

1. A software that automates the building of mobile apps.

2. A Software with an inbuilt keyword research tool to help you build a mobile phone app with the potential of tens of thousands of downloads!

3. A training module with hours of detailed instructional videos and hundreds of pages of comprehensive PDFs that will guide you  on how to actually structure your mobile apps into a profitable business.

4.  A complete business toolkit that gives you access into the Tapgage marketplace where you can actually get paid on a CPM basis for allowing others to serve their own push notifications to all of the people that have installed you app.

5. Etc.

Click here for details and a video proof of how Green App Machine works.

Over to You: What top challenges do you think a mobile app business will face in the market right now? Share your thoughts with us in your comments below.

5 Solid Reasons Why Your Business Can’t Afford NOT to Be Online!

If you say we live in a totally changed world today you are definitely not far from the truth. The advent and popularity of the internet has changed everything in our world – talk of communicating, researching, sharing things/ideas, or even things like booking your flights/train ticket, everything is now being done online. All around the globe, people now spend more time and do more things over the web simply because of the ease and convenience of the internet.

Now, what does this mean for your business?

A lot indeed! If you have a business and you are yet to have a web presence for that business then you are simply sabotaging your own success. This is because the internet is the best medium to promote and market any business in our today’s economy. Research shows that more and more people now turn to online search engines and other online resources for information on their every day needs. Many will readily do a Google search before making a decision to buy a particular product. Just look around you and you will discover that phone books and yellow pages are fast becoming obsolete!

Your business should be onlineIf you want to boost the chances of your business therefore it is important that you get a business website or blog for your business as that will help in having your presence felt over the web. Even if it’s just about showcasing your business contact details or simply having few pages about your business for the modern day consumers who prefer to carry out their research online, the results would surprise you!

The moral of this? You simply cannot keep your business away from the web.

Now, let’s check a few of the reasons for the same as under:

Accessibility 24 x 7

Once you have your business presence over the web, you simply keep your office or store available over the web open for 24 x 7. You may sleep at 10 pm, but your business would be open all the time to cater the online customers coming to you. In this way, you and your business remains accessible all the time, without giving the customer any reason to opt for some other option. Having an online presence in the form of a website or a blog or even via a social media profile would give the customers to inquire or place any order for a particular product or service you are offering. This can therefore reduce the probabilities of customers’ mind getting changed as you are never closed before they get the opportunity to take any action.

Recommended: 8 Reasons Why Blogs Are An Important Part of a Business Website!

Reach Out Further and Much Wider

Having a web presence opens a whole lot of opportunity for you to reach a much wider of potential clients or customers. Without having the online presence you are simply limited to a certain number of customers who come in touch with you in your office or physical store.  However, the moment you go online, your reach becomes beyond the imagination. You are now connected to the entire globe, which means there is no end or physical boundary that comes in your way. Thus people accessing your web can be reached by your business later since you have better technology to find out about them and reach to them.

Get Your Business Rated

There is a proverb; no publicity can be called as a bad publicity, which some people would believe that it is not often true. But by having your company/business reviewed online can prove out to be a proven business booster. As per the Harvard Business School study, there is a tangible amount of boost in revenue whenever any business gets a positive rating over the review sites or blog. The local reviews over the web seem to be playing its part more than the older and traditional methods of building up a good reputation in the market place.

Customer Service Becomes an Easier Task

By getting online and connecting with your customers over the web, things like customer service become a soft nut to crack. You do not require much time or efforts in getting connected with the consumers the best. By having a small list of FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) over the web can really slash down the amount of time you invest about the comment questions to the customers.

Recommended: Why Are You Not Making Money With Your Blog?

Beat the Brick and Mortar Prices

One of the key reasons to make your business online is to beat the prices of your product or services and make them more competitive. Beyond simply having an online presence for your physical store, you can certainly think of skipping the bricks once for all in the favor of the pixels that are significantly very much costly. You can very easily avoid that hefty kind of start up money by keeping your business venture online in a great way. In fact, carrying out business online can really save lots of money owing to the less recurring cost in comparison to the brick and mortar stores.

Final word

Considering the wide range of reasons and benefits you enjoy over the web by having your business online, more and more businesses are treading this path. So, if you are yet to choose this path, think again as no one in this world can afford to be away from the online world considering its huge amount of popularity and easy accessibility.

So, what do you think of businesses having an online presence? Share your thought with us in your comments below.

Jetpack By WordPress.com: A WordPress Plugin Engineered To Make Blogging Enjoyable!

One reason the WordPress blogging platform has become very popular today is the abundance of plugins that makes your blogging experience an enjoyable one. With wordpress plugins you can do a whole lot of things with your blog.

However, there is one drawback to the use of plugins – the more the plugins you install the more the load on your site resulting in increase in use of server resources.

This has several negative effects on your blog. For example, slow loading sites are a headache to online users and therefore many will readily click away before the site loads. Also the search engines would penalize your blog with low page rank if it is too slow in loading. Besides,  the increased use of server resources will help up to your cost as your webhost will expect you to upgrade your hosting package to accommodate the increase!

You can see therefore, that though using wordpress plugins can very beneficial to your blog they can also add some unnecessary cost and inconvenience to the blog.

Jetpack by WordPress.com

Jetpack to the Rescue!

I recently started using the Jetpack plugin by wordpress.com across several of my wordpress blogs; and this is for a reason.

I remember using the plugin on the Web Income Journal blog a couple of years back but had to remove it after I read a blog post that spoke some negative things about the plugin. Yes, without actually really investigating and substantiating those claims, I pulled out the plugin and even made an uninformed post titled:

WordPress Stats Plugin: I Dished JetPack; Long Live JetPack!

However, of recent while doing some research I read another blog post that mentioned Jetpack as one plugin that could do one of the things I was looking to do. This made me to take a second look at the plugin and I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised at what is contained in this plugin.

I’ve just discovered that besides helping to reduce site load, because it will help you reduce the number of plugins on your blog, Jetpack also gives you a wide range of blogging tools that will make your blog the better for it.

Why I Have Again Made Jetpack My #1 WordPress Plugin!

As I mentioned earlier, I once considered Jetpack as an unnecessary plugin but today that opinion has been reversed! I now consider Jetpack as one plugin that every blogger must have.

But why this sudden change?

Let’s take a look at some of the tools contained in this plugin to help you understand why I have suddenly made this “about-turn!”

1. Site Stats – All of us love those figures! Nothing gives you more joy Site Stats using Jetpack by wordpress.comthan when you load your stats page and you see how many people have visited your blog, where they came from, what pages they checked out on your blog, how long they stayed on the blog, from which page they exited, etc.

I know that there are different plugins that helps you with this. However, while most of them require you to visit a third party website to know these stats, Jetpack gives you the ability of knowing all of these right on your wordpress blog dashboard.

2. Contact Forms – This is another very important aspect of your blog that is contained in the Jetpack plugin. Contact forms help you on several levels both as a feedback tool and a way of communicating with your blog readers.

Before now I have always used the Fast Secure Contact Form plugin for adding contact forms to my blog. But I’ve just dished that plugin for Jetpack! Why? Because that’s one plugin less on the blog!

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3. Social Sharing – In these days of our socially connected internet giving your site visitors some easy way to share your posts with their social media friends is something you don’t want to do without. Again, Jetpack has this built in and therefore you don’t need to add some extra plugin to your wordpress for your blog readers to share your posts on social media.

Jetpack Social Sharing4. Publicize – Beyond the ability of your blog readers sharing your blog posts on their social media profiles, Jetpack also has a built-in module that helps you to automatically submit your blog posts to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Path. To me this is really a great resource as you don’t have to manually submit your posts whenever you publish a new one.

5. Blog/Comments Subscription – Giving your blog readers a way to stay connected with your blog is important for the success of your blog. Once a reader is subscribed to your blog, they are able to receive new updates automatically without any extra work on your side. Also, readers can subscribe to comments enabling them to receive notifications anytime a new comment is added.

Several other plugins offer these separately but with Jetpack you have all in your package! The good thing about Jetpack subscription you can add a check box beneath the commenting box giving the reader an easy way to subscribe. Also there is a sidebar widget for adding the subscription box on the blog sidebar.

6. Mobile Theme – No doubt, at a time when more and more people are going mobile in all areas of life, enabling your blog for these users is the best thing you can do for your blog. Right now there are various plugins and tools that will help you do this. Some are free but others come with a price tag.

It will interest you to know that Jetpack come packed with a mobile theme that is ready for use on your blog. I actually found this to be one of the greatest tools you don’t want to miss.

Recommended: A Step By Step Guide on How to Migrate WordPress Site like A Pro!

7. Jetpack Comments – Of recent different third party blog commenting systems have come on stream. Most of these commenting systems seek to replace the default wordpress commenting system with their own while others simply integrate with the default commenting box.

Jetpack Comments will replace the default commenting box with a new design, readers can still use the default features when commenting.  But beyond that Jetpack enables your blog readers to easily log into their WordPress.com, Twitter.com, or Facebook.com accounts when commenting on your site.

Jetpack wordpress comments

8. Extra Sidebar Widgets – This one helps you to easily add widgets for RSS feeds, comment RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook Like Box and Images to your blog sidebar. I know that many of us are already using some other plugin to add these to our blog’s sidebar but why use something else when this on just one plugin?

9. Enhanced Distribution – This is one of the tools that are automatically activated when you activate the Jetpack plugin. What it does is to automatically take your published content and share it instantly with search engines. This is actually a plus for your blog as it helps to increase your reach and traffic.

10. Photon – We are all aware of the importance of having super fast-loading blog. There are different solutions for this, one of which is the use of third party content delivery networks. The Jetpack plugin comes with a built in content delivery network powered by WordPress.com. Activating this module will enable you to load your blog images from the WordPress.com content delivery network thereby reducing the burden on your Web host.

Jetpack Marketing Takeaway

The above are just 10 of the 26 different tools contained in the Jetpack plugin by WordPress.com. Implementing this plugin has helped me to remove about 7 other plugins which to my own estimation is definitely a great plus for the blog.

And so my advice is, if you have not tried it, now is the time to do so. Simply go to Plugins >>> Add New and then search for Jetpack. Looking forward to reading your own review of this plugin once you have installed it!

Over to you: Are you presently using the Jetpack plugin? What are your experience using it? If you are not using it right now do you have any specific reason why?

The Most Effective Ecommerce SEO Solution for Your Money Sites

Since the launch of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates in the recent past few months, many e-commerce sites have been groaning in pains because of the hard knocks they received from the algorithm changes. Besides, many are right now spending more money to correct the offending ecommerce SEO tactics that got them into this mess.

observing the havoc on many ecommerce and money sites, one would be tempted to ask, did Google purposely launched its Panda updates to pull down ecommerce sites or is it just coincident that ecommerce sites were that badly affected?

Ecommerce SEO Unfortunately, many erroneously actually think that is the case. However, to answer that question we must take a good look at how ecommerce sites did SEO before the panda updates. Essentially what many did was simply to hire the services of an SEO consulting firm or SEO Company to:

1. Build thousands of backlinks from wherever possible without any regard to quality or where these links came from.

2. Research hundreds of keywords and stuff these in their thin content pages and in anchor texts. Many actually fell foul of Google’s “exact match domain” anchor text rule.

3. Auto-build hundreds and thousands of spam blogs and other Web 2.0 sites that have no real value in themselves.

4. Engage in RSS and blog comments spamming in a bid to increase the volume of back links to their sites.

These and many other unwholesome tactics were carried out in order to please Google’s search machine without any regard to the real people who visits those sites. Worst still, by nature ecommerce sites are thin on content and so, while their blackhat SEO tactics got the attention of the search machines, the sites themselves did nothing in the area of offering valuable content to the users. And so, when these updates came along they simply fell like a pack of cards!

Recommended: Google’s Content Farmer/Panda Algorithm Change: What You Can Do To Stay Afloat!

How to Put In Place an Effective Panda-Proof Ecommerce SEO

It is a good thing that many ecommerce sites are trying to correct their earlier mistakes. However, it’s more important to ensure that this unpleasant situation does not happen again. To this end, ecommerce sites should have in place a strategic ecommerce SEO plan devoid of the unwholesome blackhat tactics that have brought them nothing but horror.

Your money (ecommerce) sites are too valuable to be toiled with. There’s no doubt, optimizing your money sites for the search engines remain the only guaranteed way your products can be found by relevant customers. But you need the right SEO strategy to do that.

The following is a strategic ecommerce SEO solution that will help you drive your brand loyalty, boost your brand exposure and increase your profitability over time!

SEO tips for ecommerce sites1. Avoid Duplicate Content – There is no doubt that quality and valuable web content has continued to be the essential element if you want to get on top of Google’s search result pages. If you desire to boost your organic search rankings you must deal with this problem of duplicate content. One simple way of doing this is to never copy-paste product descriptions from the product manufacturers. Doing so will be putting you up against the manufacturer’s site and you will be the one to loss out.

2. Build Out Thin Content – It is true that the problem of many sites in the new SEO dispensation is that of quality content. But for ecommerce sites the problem is both quality and quantity. This is because ecommerce sites are by nature heavy on graphics but light on content. It is important therefore that you find some creative ways to build out the thin content on product descriptions since this is the main areas where ecommerce sites’ contents are mostly found. Use quality product descriptions that add value to each page and as pointed out in #1 above, make this unique. You can hire professional web content writers to help you do this.

3. Know Your Customers And What They Want – It is a fact that your ecommerce site is about you and what you’re offering but the truth is, it is not for you but for your customers. It is important therefore to truly understand your target audience so that you can better create content that will engage them. Instead of thinking of your customers as some generic group of prospects, try as much as possible to analyze, segment and personalize the ways you engage with your ecommerce site buyers.

4. Diversify Your Link Profile – Before the Google Panda and Penguin Updates, ecommerce sites depended heavily on links to boost their search rankings. Unfortunately, this has become a no go area as the recent Google algorithm changes were launched to root out ‘over-optimized’ sites. Therefore, to escape the Panda and Penguin hammers, ecommerce sites should aim for natural link profiles. This demands driving relevant backlinks from different sources and using different anchor texts. The best way to do this is to engage in content marketing, infographic marketing, social media, press release, etc.

5. Build Relationships And Not Just Links – Ecommerce sites that want to overcome the Panda and Penguin blues should focus on relationship building. Design marketing strategies that will help you build strong authority in your niche which will in turn boost your brand awareness. Content marketing and social media interactions will both naturally build your brand and expand your link profile. Besides, adding a blog to your ecommerce site will be of great advantage.

Recommended: The Watertight Strategy for effectively Writing Content for SEO in A Post-Penguin Internet!

Marketing Takeaway

Ecommerce SEO done right is the only panacea to a successful organic presence. To effectively position your ecommerce sites and online stores to drive the right type of traffic from organic searches, you must take into consideration your target audience and their needs. Create valuable content and avoid duplicating product descriptions. Be creative with your content marketing and you will be able to rank your ecommerce sites effectively. Remember, Google Panda updates is an on-going activity. Don’t fall under the hammer one time!

There are thousands of post-panda SEO products on sale right now but many are nothing but the same black hat SEO tactics dressed up new garbs. Do not be deceived. Click here for a workable and effectual ecommerce SEO solution that the industry leaders are recommending right now. It is also very cost-effective.

Your Turn: What do you think of ecommerce SEO today? Feel free to share your own strategies with us in your comments below.

How to Design an Effective Content Marketing Plan for Your Organization

Content marketing has, in recent times, become a buzz word among online marketing professionals. But beyond being a buzz word, content marketing when done right, can greatly turn around the fortunes of any business because of the evolving changes in customers’ buying behaviors.

It is a confirmed fact that buyers are now more educated and will want to research different options before they approach a sales rep. Therefore, content marketing is basically a strategy to position your organization so that when the customer goes on her self-education quest, you will be there for her to find you! The beauty of this is that instead of you being an ‘intruder’ in the life of the customer, you become the sought-after authority in your market! So, content marketing at its core is a strategic ‘permission marketing’ rather than ‘interruption marketing.’

A Content Marketing Framework Is Necessary

For your organization to truly succeed with your content marketing campaign you need a framework that works. The challenge that many online businesses face today is that of a workable content marketing framework. Many are confused with the what, the how, the where, and the when of a strategic content marketing structure.

In this post I want to lay out the essential elements of an effective content marketing framework. This is to help you design a structure for your organizational needs.

Recommended: Online Business Marketing: 8 Reasons Why Blogs Are An Important Part of a Business Website

A strategic content marketing plan

The 7 Essential Elements of an Effective Content Marketing Framework

1. A Workable Content Marketing Plan

It doesn’t matter the size of your organization you need a well thought out strategic content marketing plan that aligns with your overall business goals. Your content marketing plan should be built on answering some very pertinent questions about your organization like, who are you as an organization and what do you bring to the market? What are your marketing challenges and how can content marketing help you overcome these challenges? Once this plan is laid out it will become the driving force of your on-going marketing optimization.

2. Your Audience

The next element in your content marketing framework is your target audience. Once you have an idea of who you are, where you are and where you want to get to with your content marketing, you seek to know who your target audiences are. What are their needs? How does your product or service help them with these needs? How best can your reach with your marketing content?

Besides this, you should also take into consideration how your target audience needs may change as they go through your sales cycle. This will help you in delivery your message with the right medium and at the right time.

Recommended: Content for SEO: A Content Marketing Strategy to Beat Google and Its Demons!

3. Your Brand Story

Content marketing helps you in building relationship with your target audience. A relationship that is necessary in to build your business success. This is where story telling in marketing is gaining strength these days. You should be able to use your knowledge of who you are and who your target audience is and what their needs are to build a story that will help your connect with them emotionally. Remember your brand story is not a “selling tool” but a bond-building tool. Get your target audience to bond with you and selling to them later will be a thing of joy.

4. The Delivery Channels

There are different channels available for you deliver your story to your target audience. One thing however is that your choice of a delivery channel should depend on your content marketing goal.  The two shouldn’t be aligned. Besides, the context within which your target audience will consume the story should also play a role in your choice. Your delivery channels could be: (1) Text – example, blog posts, case studies, press releases, article marketing etc, (2) Video – example, product demonstrations; and (3) Audio – example, podcasting.

What you simply need do therefore is to consider the story you want to tell, to whom you want to tell it to and where you will want to tell that story and then choose your delivery channel.

5. Content Creation Process

This is where your aforementioned planning is translated into action. Some of the questions you need to answer here are: who will be responsible for creating your content? What content should be created at a specific time? And when is the right time to create a particular piece of content? This stage of your content marketing framework is very important because if you get it wrong all of your planning will be in vain. Getting the right content marketing services to create your content is as important as knowing when to create the content. If you do not have in-house content writers getting outside professional help will become inevitable. There are thousands of so-called professional web content writers out there but be careful that you don’t pick the wrong ones. The best bet is to have an in-house Chief Content Officer who will then take charge of dealing with in-house and outside content creators.

Recommended: How To Choose An SEO Content Writer For Your Content Marketing Needs!

6. Interacting And Conversing With Your Audience

Be careful of your content writing servicesIt’s unfortunate that many business organizations still see the internet today with the eyes of yesterday. Their websites are nothing but an extension of their business catalogs – beautifully designed with enticing graphics but no interaction with their audiences! As an organization that wants to succeed with content marketing, you must understand that content marketing is a 2-way conversation. When you tell your story you also need to listen to what your audience is saying and respond to that. This conversation may happen on your own platforms like business blogs and social media profiles and also on external media like forums and review sites. Your strategic content marketing framework should therefore include a well laid out plan to interact and converse with your target audience.

7. Measurement And Evaluation

It’s definite, every business is about profitability. No business will want to invest in any venture without any commensurate return in investment. This being so, there is need to monitor your content marketing activities to know what is working, what needs to be changed and what to focus on etc. of course, this measurement and monitoring should be carried out at every stage of your content marketing framework. There are indeed many variables and metrics you may want to measure but don’t be taken in by that. Determine the fundamentals necessary to enhance your content marketing plan and concentrate on that.

Marketing Takeaway

Content marketing is not just a buzz word. If you are not involved right now right now you might just be miles behind the competition. Get to work today. Design your content marketing framework and commit to working it. If you do not have in-house content writers/officers to create and manage your content marketing campaigns, then it is good business sense to get freelance writers to do it for you. I recommend that you check out LocalDigitalHERO.com for professional help.

Your Turn:  How do you think businesses can better tackle the challenges of getting quality and valuable marketing content for their marketing needs? Share with us in your comments below.