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Blog Business World

Blogs in business, marketing, public relations, and SEO search engine optimization for successful entrepreneurs

Monday, February 28, 2005

 

Search engines and directories: Knowing the difference

Everyone wants their blog indexed by the major search engines. It’s a reasonable desire on the part of a blogger.

The most important search engines are Google, Yahoo Search, MSN Search, the new Amazon owned A9.com, Ask Jeeves, AOL Search, Teoma, and Wisenut.

Without inclusion in the search engine listings, there is no chance of receiving any search related visitor traffic, for your most important keywords.

In fact, you will receive no search engine generated web traffic at all. For that reason, and many others, your blog must get indexed by the most important internet search engines.

You often hear people suggest, that you must either manually or electronically submit your website or blog, to the various search engines. Don’t listen to them. There is no need to submit your site to the search engines.

Ever.

The entire idea, of needing to submit a blog or website to the search engines, is simply a myth. A better idea is to let their spiders find and crawl your blog. They will index you.

The search engines make regular crawls of the internet. Their computer program robots, more popularly called spiders, are constantly crawling the world wide web searching for new websites. One of those sites will be yours.

All you need to provide for the spiders is an open path into your site. Once that pathway is opened, the little robot spiders will crawl your site.

All you need to do is make that visit, for the robot spiders, an easy and inviting one. The spiders will take care of the rest.

There is no good reason to submit to the search engines. Unlike internet directories, like the Open Directory Project (better known as DMOZ), the various free blog directories, or the Yahoo! Directory which require manual submissions, the search engines index sites without your ever submitting to them.

You will definitely want to add your blog to the many free blog directories. Some of them will list your blog by its URL, while others index your blog's RSS feed. As you know, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary, depending upon whom you ask, the day of the week, and the alignment of the planets.

One of the best lists of directory submission links, for blog URLs and RSS feeds, is found at Robin Good's Master New Media blog.

Remember, those submissions are for blog directories, not for the major search engines.

The search engines are an entirely different breed of internet beast from directories.

Directories require submissions. Search engines do not. Repeat that chant, and you won't go wrong.

A website or blog will be indexed, with as little as one link, from a site already indexed by the search engine. For example, if a blog that is already included in the Google search engine links to your blog, the spiders will follow that link.

Once the spiders crawl your blog, it’s almost immediately part of the Google index. It’s that simple. Users of the Google Toolbar can also tell, they have been indexed, as their PageRank meter will turn from grey to white.

It is thought, by a number of search engine optimization professionals, that a site found by Google will rank higher than one that uses Google’s site submission process.

There are also many people who believe, perhaps with some good evidence, that websites using Google’s submission page don’t get included by the search engine industry leader at all. There are those who also believe that the Google submission page doesn't even work at all.

While I wouldn't go that far into the realm of Google conspiracy theories and speculation, it is true that your blog or website is much better off being discovered and indexed by Google, all on its own.

Other search engines, notably Teoma and Wisenut, are often difficult for some novice webmasters to even locate the submission page. Many search engines simply don’t have easily located free submission options. Of course, that is not always a bad thing, as search engine submissions, through their submission pages, are often very slow.

Their only method of inclusion, is often to have their spider crawl a link, from one of their indexed websites to your new site. While experienced web professionals usually have no difficulty in getting indexed, by all of the search engines, many novices find the process very difficult.

Once a blog is indexed by the search engines, it remains indexed. There is simply no need to keep submitting it. There is also a myth that each and every page of a site must be submitted separately for inclusion. That is simply not the case.

There is also no need to submit to the hundreds of minor search engines on the internet. Inclusion in the majors is usually enough for virtually all practical purposes.

The problem that arises then, for many new bloggers, is getting that first link from an already indexed blog or website. There are several good and proven techniques for getting a previously indexed link to your site.

One time proven method of getting a link, to your blog is to offer a link exchange to other bloggers, whose sites are already indexed. A friend or business associate is likely to swap links readily with you.

Out of a number of link exchange requests, you are certain to achieve at least one link into your blog. That is enough to get your site crawled by a spider.

Another technique for getting an incoming link, that also pays long term benefits, is submitting your site to an internet blog directory. There are many smaller directories that provide almost instant inclusion. Since the directories are often crawled on an almost daily basis, your site will be indexed in as little as one or two days.

Posting in message forums will get your site visited by a search engine spider. Many internet discussion forums allow for the use of a signature link back to your website. If they do, be certain to use one for your posts.

Like adding your site to a directory, joining a message forum can pay off with a link to your site getting you indexed now. It can also pay long term dividends by providing you with a solid reputation as an expert in your field. Don’t waste such a valuable opportunity foolishly by being an irresponsible poster.

Create top quality content for your blog. People will always link to a blog that has strong content that is useful and informative to their own visitors. By providing interesting and helpful poss, other website owners will link to your blog naturally. Those incoming links serve as natural entries for search engine spiders.

There is simply no need to submit your blog to the major search engines for inclusion. The search engine spiders will find your blog on their own.

There are many good ways to add those important incoming links, to serve as pathways for the spiders. Create an entry to your site and the spiders will crawl right in and make themselves at home.

Let the search engine spiders find your blog or website all by themselves.

It’s the best way to be indexed by the search engines.

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

 

Blog posting frequency: How often?

Blog posting frequency is one of the most frequently asked blog questions.

How often should a blogger post to a blog is a question that has an ambiguous answer.

It all depends.

My personal preference, in the form of the obligatory disclaimer, is to write one longer post per day. Sometimes, I post twice and very occasionally, three times per day.

On the whole, however, I like to post one fairly long (some say too lengthy) column or article per day. One thousand or more word Gleemanesque length essays are even named in some quarters after baseball, poker, and journalism blogger Aaron Gleeman.

Despite that rather interesting coined term, it's not uncommon to find more indepth (some would say long winded) blog writers almost everywhere in the blogosphere.

Many bloggers prefer to use multiple short posts, or even collect a series of relevant and interesting links, several times per day.

Those are very good, and highly effective blogging systems, as well.

Note that there are many ways to post successfully. They include one longer post, a regular interesting post with links and commentary, a series of shorter posts, or simple one liners with attached links. These are, of course, only a few posting styles.

There are many more, and most bloggers employ several post writing techniques, either individually, or in new combinations.

I have used most of them myself, especially when my fingers feel like less key tapping than usual.

Anyway.

My rule of thumb, or keyboard, or tempting of carpal tunnel syndrome, is to post one major written piece per day.

That daily frequency is not always necessary.

Being reliable to post at least three posts per week is more important.

What a blogger is attempting to do, by posting fairly often, is develop a regular readership base. Those usual visitors might not be large in number, or ever intended to be all that many. What is more important is to have your blog updated fairly often, so there is something new for the visitors to read.

There are few things that cause your regular visitors to drift away more than not updating your blog.

Nothing new to read means nothing in terms of visitor traffic.

Keep in mind that a week in blog time is almost an eternity.

Most blogs are set to scroll all of the posts off in one week's time. That's not very long, before archives are the home of all of your best posts.

Most readers read the first few posts, if that.

The archives are not explored all that often.

So, after all that preamble, digression, and generally avoiding the issue, the question of posting frequency remains.

Okay, I'll take a stand.

Sort of.

Post to your blog at least three times per week, meaning a post every other day.

Time can usually be found for at least that amount of writing.

Think three posts minimum per week, and you'll be just fine.

Oh, and note that this was a not a long winded post.

Okay, don't believe me!

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

 

Previous posts still bring visitors

Blog posting on a regular and long term basis pays off in visitor traffic.

Older posts are like a good gift that keeps on giving.

Like a beautiful flowering apple tree, a blog continues to grow and bear fruit. It also provides sustenance from the past, like apples frozen for pies at a later date.

A tour of your visitor logs will reveal this phenomenon in action.

Most longer term blogs will find visitors to older posts, often up to a year old.

A quick perusal of your blog's visitor logs will reveal the past returning, as an endless cycle of renewal.

Everything that's old is definitely new again, when it comes to blogging.

I've had visitors resulting from guest columns written elsewhere over a year ago.

Links from other blogs, to long since archived postings, are another reliable source of fresh visitor traffic. Each new reader is a potential regular visitor, and perhaps someone who will link to your blog.

The cycle continues.

Rinse and repeat.

We tend to often look at our blogs, and those of our most frequent reads, in terms of the here and now. It's a function of blog time, which turns last week's posts into ancient history, perhaps contempory with the fall of the Roman Empire.

Or even earlier.

Internet time is short and moves at the speed of electrons. We begin to think in those extremely brief time frames ourselves.

We often forget that many new internet users go live every single day. Out of those novice internet travellers, some become bloggers for the very first time. They join many long time internet surfers who have also only recently discovered the power of blogs and of blogging.

Our older posts are all new to them, as our archives are fresh to those who have only recently found our blogs.

As a result, our older and often almost forgotten posts bring in some brand new blog visitor traffic.

The old postings become new, and their first time readers become our new visitors.

Instead of always thinking about the most recent columns and articles on your blog, take time to remember your previous writings are just as valuable.

History works for bloggers.

Your blog's past helps your blog's present and future come alive.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

 

Blog interviews: A growing trend

Blog interviews, and in particular blogger to blogger interviews, are becoming an important feature of the blogosphere.

More and more we see one well known blogger interviewing and picking the brain of another blog writer. The results are usually very good indeed.

Some bloggers like my good friend Yvonne DiVita of the top of the line Lip-Sticking blog have used blogger interviews as a regular posting idea. Her "Smart Woman" and "Smart Man" series is one of the better ongoing themes in the blogosphere.

Each week, Yvonne selects a a leading male or female blogger, and holds an indepth inteview. I was honoured to be one of her first interviewees.

What is unique about Yvonne's system is her interviews are partially by e-mail and are often completed by telephone conversation.

The personal touch sparkles through her delightful conversational discussions with other bloggers.

Some bloggers, like Susannah Gardner of the very informative Buzz Marketing With Blogs and Rosa Say of the wonderful Talking Story, have provided one time very indepth interviews with leading bloggers.

Susannah Gardner has a very indepth two part interview with my friend Darren Rowse of the must read Pro Blogger. Either Part one or Part two would be strong interviews individually. Together, they are an intensive examination of blogs as revenue builders.

Rosa Say puts her unique and intensely caring style to work in her deeply personal interview with Yvonne DiVita.

Combining a discussion of business, blogging, and publishing with some very personal discussion, Rosa and Yvonne's interview is like sitting down and listening to some very good friends in an important conversation.

Many other bloggers are picking up the concept of blogger to blogger interviews, and are adding their own unique styles to the discussion genre.

There are many ways for a blogger to interview other bloggers, and to add the resulting discussion to their blogs.

Simple question and answers can be used, or a more personalized conversational style can be taken.

The number of variations is almost unlimited in scope.

Interviews provide a sharing of information and ideas between bloggers, in either a formal or a more casual way. The important aspect is the helping of other bloggers, and sharing knowledge with one another, through conversation.

Adding a blogger interview to your blog might be a way to introduce your blog, and that of your discussion partner, to many new readers as well.

Talking and sharing knowledge and ideas with others is always a good thing for all bloggers.

Consider interviewing another blogger, or being interviewed yourself.

Share what you know, and you will learn even more in return.

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RSS teleseminar with Rodney Rumford a success

The second of the tremendous teleseminar series, hosted by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing was held Wednesday, February 23 at noon Central Standard Time.

The special guest this week was Rodney Rumford, the highly knowledgeable founder of My RSS Creator.com and Feed Syndicator.com.

The topic, as you might have already guessed is RSS and RSS feeds.

In fact, so much valuable information was supplied by Rodney, that even seasoned internet users found something new and intersesting.

I know that I did!

As most of you are aware, RSS or Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary) is one of the fasted growing information mediums on the internet. Not only is RSS a powerful tool for bloggers, and for blog readers, but for all internet users, marketers, and website owners.

In an easy to follow, informative, and entertaining style Rodney Rumford provided the background, uses, and practical hands on techniques for using RSS.

The overflow listening audience left with an entirely new perspective on the value and importance of sending an RSS feed from their blogs or websites. They also learned how and why it's a great policy to read blogs and website updates by means of an RSS reader.

I would heartily recommend signing up for the next (and for that matter, all) of the informative and free seminars in the Local Online Marketing series.

I've already signed up.

I don't want to miss even one.

Neither should you.

The teleseminars are really that good!

Sign up for the balance of the seven part teleseminar series today!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

 

2005 Business Blogging Award Winners announced

2005 Business Blogging Awards Winner



The 2005 Business Blogging Awards winners have been announced.

Congratulations to the winners in the various categories, and also to all of the nominated blogs.

It's just too bad that everyone couldn't win the vote, as all of the nominated blogs are true winners in their own right. They represent some of the very best blogs, that the business related blog genre, has to offer.

The real winners, in my opinion, are every single business related blog on the internet.

Whether your spot in the blogosphere is business, law, economics, writing, publishing, technology, real estate, accounting, sales, marketing, human resources, employment, public relations, SEO, finance, entrepreneurship, venture capital, small business, leadership, coaching, project management, engineering, investments, or any other blogging area related to business, all of you are the real winners!

Business blogs have been a glaring ommission, from all of the major blogging awards, up until now.

Thanks to The 2005 Business Blogging Awards, everyone involved in busines blogging got their reward.

Thanks to all of the participating bloggers; to all of the voters; to all of the very generous and supportive sponsors who provided a collection of very valuable prizes; and to Jeremy Wright and Darren Barefoot of Inside Blogging for taking on this enormous, yet very worthwhile task.

Thanks to everyone who voted for Blog Business World as Best SEO Blog and as Best Overall Blog. I am touched and humbled by your kindness and support.

While I didn't win Best Overall Blog, it was an honour to simply be nominated in that category, with some of the truly elite business blogs on the internet. Thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone who voted for Blog Business World. Your support is greatly appreciated.

I was honoured by the voters with winning Best SEO Blog, for which I offer my deepest and most sincerest thanks.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The 2005 Business Blogging Award Winners:

Best Overall Blog - Security Awareness
Best New Blog - Monty’s Bluff
Best Group Blog - 800-CEO-READ
Best Law Blog - Phosita
Best VC/Entrepreneur Blog - Business Opportunities
Best Financial Industry/Investment Blog - Between the Hedges
Best Personal Finance Blog - PFBlog
Best Blog by a Small Business - The Tin Basher Blog
Best Blog About Small Business - eBizBlog
Best PR Blog - Media Guerilla
Best Tech Company Blog - Security Awareness
Best Media Blog - Fast Company Blog
Best Real Estate Blog - Tampa Bay’s Inside Real Estate Journal
Best Marketing Blog - JSLogan
Best SEO Blog - Blog Business World
Best Project Management Blog - AgileManagement
Best Leadership Blog - Leadership Now
The Picasso Award (Best Design) - Signal vs. Noise
The Peacock Award (Most Self-Important) - Inside Real Estate Journal
The Chris Pirillo Award (For Shameless Self Promotion) - Chris Pirillo






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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

 

Bloggers as book publishers: Redux

Bloggers are might be the ideal book publishers, not to mention authors of books, but the book publishing process is filled with lots of hard work and a need to keep good records.

That includes careful recording of everything completed, or written, or sent, during the entire publishing effort.

So says my good friend David St. Lawrence of the wonderful Ripples in the third installment of his series on "Becoming a writer/publisher - part 3".

Part one and Part two of the blogger book publishing series are still available on David's blog.

For my commentary on the first two parts of David's publishing series, see my previous post entitled "Bloggers as book publishers".

After you have finished reading your daily blogs, be certain to get the free download pdf edition of David St. Lawrence's book entitled Danger Quicksand: Have A Nice Day.

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RSS teleseminar with Rodney Rumford

The second of the tremendous teleseminar series, hosted by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing is set for Wednesday, February 23 at noon Central Standard Time.

The special guest this week is Rodney Rumford, the highly knowledgeable founder of My RSS Creator.com and Feed Syndicator.com.

The topic, as you might have already guessed is RSS and RSS feeds.

As most of you are aware, RSS or Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary) is one of the fasted growing information mediums on the internet. Not only is RSS a powerful tool for bloggers, and for blog readers, but for all internet users, marketers, and website owners.

John Jantsch says about RSS expert Rodney Rumford:

It's getting harder and harder to cut through the clutter and be
heard. RSS technology allows you to develop a more personal
relationship with your clients and prospects and gives you another
tool to communicate. Again, this is still very new but by the end
of 2005 every small business owner will understand it's power
- Get in now! Rodney Rumford has created several very
successful services that show anyone how to use RSS as a small
business marketing tool. This session will make what appears to
be a highly technical subject, very user friendly.


Without a doubt, the teleseminar will tell you everything you always wanted to know about RSS, but had no idea who to ask.

Now you know where to find the answers.

This RSS teleseminar is the second in a series of seven seminars, sponsored by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing.

I listened in on the first teleseminar in the series, and as a result, I signed up for all of the rest.

Immediately.

They are that good, and that informative.

The first seminar on blogging, with Debbie Weil of BlogWriteforCEOs, was over subscribed. There were more potential listeners, than spaces available. many people had to be turned away.

I would urge you to sign up quickly for this seminar today.

Don't be disappointed, and miss Rodney Rumford. The guy knows RSS, and he is generously sharing what he knows with you.

The date for the seminar is Wednesday, February 23.

The time is 12:00 noon CST, 1:00 pm EST, 10:00 am PST, or GMT -6 hours.

Here is the sign up page for the teleseminar series.

Be sure to sign up for all of the remaining seminars as well.

You will be very glad that you did.

I'll be listening in.

You should too.

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Monday, February 21, 2005

 

Bloggers as experts

Blogs are a powerful tool.

In fact, maintaining a blog can transform an ordinary everyday person into a local, national, or even international expert in their field.

That phenomenon can definitely can happen for business bloggers.

Just ask my good friend Darren Rowse of the must read Pro Blogger.

Not only was Darren a much deserved nominee in the 2005 Business Blogging Awards for Best Overall Blog, but he has also developed a solid reputation as an expert in the fields of blogging, and of his chosen hobbies.

The entire matter has Darren a little frightened, but very excited.

The reason for Darren Rowse's billing, as a highly reputable and well known expert, is a direct result of his blogging activities.

By writing about his hobbies, and about the business side of blogging, Darren has earned a world wide audience for his ideas and recommendations. Without his blogs, that global reach would have been almost impossible.

By freely and generously offering ideas and assistance to bloggers everywhere, Darren has helped himself.

And you can too.

There are those who say that helping others will return to you in the form of good karma. In effect, the more you benefit other people, the better off you will be personally.

I believe that concept to be true.

By helping other people reach their goals, a blogger or anyone else will enjoy the personal satisfaction, of having assisted someone else acheive success. Any financial rewards and added reputation, resulting from your generosity, are simply a bonus.

That said, blogging will work wonders for a business person's, or anyone else's reputation as an expert in their area of interest. By sharing knowledge, you are also displaying knowledge.

Becoming a teacher and mentor to others, as Rick Blythe of Feedbuzzard openly declares of Darren Rowse, his guide in blogging , builds a huge audience of students. Without a blog, adding pupils for your ideas is much more difficult, and takes a very long time.

With a blog, your ideas can be delivered to your intended audience in a matter of minutes. All it takes is the time to write the blog post, and ping the blog services.

By writing regular blog posts, that provide interesting and informative content, you too can be considered an expert.

All because of a blog.

The next time you are introduced as an expert in your field of endeavour, because of your blogging activities, don't be too surprised.

In fact, it's to be expected, as long as you provide valuable assistance to others, in achieving their goals.

Just ask the expert, my good friend Darren Rowse!

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Carnival of the Capitalists at The Raw Prawn

This week sees a business and economics approach for the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a stop at a blog where economics, business, and politics are always on the menu.

This week's tremendous lineup of posts feature a political and economics, as well as a historical side, as we visit the cool named The Raw Prawn.

When the The Raw Prawn blog isn't jam packed with political and economics posts, time outs are taken for football Super Bowl ads watching and for fast food tastings.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, education, legal issues, spam, insider trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, politics, and technology.

As you would expect from The Raw Prawn there are many discussions of politics, markets, international relations, and economics ideas.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.

As I am always privileged to do, I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My entry post this week is entitled "Google Filters: How to avoid them" where I point out the possible filters that Google is though to use to prevent violating their search engine use guidelines. While not everyone in the SEO industry agrees on all of the alleged filters, most SEO professionals do agree that Google has a large number of filters in place. Failure to recognize the many ways that Google filters the various aspects of blogs and websites will result in lower seach engine rankings for you.

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to the new address:

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog.

The extra visitors can't sent to your blog won't hurt either!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will make a visit to Warren Meyer's elite business and economics, and well deserved 2005 Business Blogging Awards nominee for Best Overall Blog, called Coyote Blog

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the The Raw Prawn hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesnt do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer you a chance to sample some raw prawns. (groan)

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

 

Bloggers as book publishers

Bloggers are naturals when it comes to the book publishing industry.

It makes sense when you think about it.

Blogging is micro-publishing, done by yourself, on your own timetable.

Bloggers are prolific and talented writers, and virtually (pun intended) every blogger has at least one book (and probably more) in their vast store of knowledge.

Write what you is the lesson given to beginning writers.

My good friend David St. Lawrence of the brilliant and must read Ripples is a fine example of all of the above ideas.

In a very informative and honest two part discussion on self publishing, David takes bloggers and other writers through his experiences writing a book. In the vein of writing what you know, David has written his first major work on what he knows well. He chose the world of employment, layoffs, and what happens next.

In the case of David's wonderful book,entitled Danger Quicksand: Have A Nice Day, the what happens next is self employment and entrepreneurship.

To facilitate the publishing process, David has formed his own publishing company called Bent Crow Press.

In support of marketing Danger Quicksand: Have A Nice Day, David has generously made the book available in pdf format; and in PDA format, for your convenience.

The download of Danger Quicksand: Have A Nice Day is free.

You can't beat that price.

In his two part Ripples posting on self publishing, David takes the reader through the entire initial book publishing process in Part One.

In Part Two of the self publishing series, David discusses the gritty details of publishing, including cost of printing, and even how a book is actually printed. It makes for very interesting reading when David tells it, as always, with his unique voice.

Be sure to join over 1200 other readers, including me, who have downloaded Danger Quicksand: Have A Nice Day.

David also would appreciate you passing the download URLs around to your friends and family, and anyone else who currently has a job , and who dreams of moving on toward becoming an entrepreneur, rather than an employee.

After that, be sure to purchase a hard copy of the book to read over and over again.

The book could change your life...for the better!

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

 

Trackback for Blogger hosted blogs

Among the many weaknesses of using Blogger as a blog host, is the lack of the very important trackback feature.

Trackback of blog postings enables other bloggers to carry on a conversation, over several different blogs, on the same topic. The discussion may have even had its genesis on your own blog.

In effect, blogs "ping" one another.

Without the trackback ability, you will never know just who pinged whom.

I recently added trackback at the suggestion of Martin Lindeskog at EGO, who has another Blogger hosted blog.

He suggested that I use the third party add on trackback provided by HaloScan

Many bloggers already use HaloScan for their blog commenters, so the addition of the trackback feature, is very convenient.

What I liked about Haloscan trackback is the ability to employ it alongside my already in use third party commenter system. Note that I don't use Blogger's built in commenter, as a) I would lose all of my existing comments, and b) Blogger wasn't there with a commenter when I needed one.

For Blogger hosted blogs, who are utilizing Blogger's commenter system, the HaloScan system can be used in tandem with Blogger comments, and other third party commenters as well.

The copy and paste coding technique, separated from the commenter coding for Haloscan, can be found in their forum. Once coded, the blog will have trackback alongside their already existing comments system.

Another option for Blogger users is the Whizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger. Thanks to Derek Andrews of Marketing Mania, yet another Blogger hosted blog, for the tip on the alternative trackback idea.

Along with the pinger link, Derek also provides a couple of handy links that explain what trackback does and how trackback works.

The Whizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger provides a handy fill in the blanks trackback pinger for any blog post on any blog host.

And Derek, there is even a trackback to your post.

Enjoy the ping!

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Wearable blogs: Bloggerwear clothing

Wearable blogs might be just around the corner.

I can see it now...

...the latest blog post scrolls by on the blogger's clothing.

Well...that idea might be a bit into the future, but don't despair.

Bloggerwear is here today.

Susannah Gardner of Buzz Marketing With Blogs and Paul Chaney of Radiant Marketing Group have joined their considerable talents on the marketing front. (Pun definitely intended)

They are now in the Bloggerwear business.

Included is a full line of Bloggerwear products including T-Shirts, bags, and baby clothing.

The products are produced by the well known Cafepress internet marketing organization.

On his blog, Paul Chaney had this to say about the Bloggerwear line:

We've come up with several fun slogans like "I blog for a living...no really, I do" and "I haven't been fired for blogging...yet!"

Plus, we answer the age-old question "What is a blog?" The question is on the front of the shirt and the answer on the back.

We've tried to price Bloggerwear affordably. There's not a large markup on each item, just enough to make it worth our time.


Susannah and Paul are also asking for ideas for more products, and any imaginative slogan concepts, as a form of costomer based market research.

Over time, we will see many more blogger as entrepreneur ventures as bloggers find ways to monetize their blogs, and put their business skills to work.

Not all ideas will work out; but many will succeed.

Some business concepts might even yield some high dollar returns.

Of course, no one seems to want to finance my idea, of regular daily blog postings scrolling along on clothing, as the wearer walks along the streets.

I wonder why!

Oh well.

Unlike Paul Chaney and Susannah Gardner of Bloggerwear, I'm back to the old drawing board.

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Friday, February 18, 2005

 

Band names: An idea

The Bloggers.

What a great name for a rock band!

Or perhaps something in the indie music, or alternative music fields, perhaps.

I offer the name as an idea for budding rock stars everywhere.

Can't you just picture it.

The Bloggers sweep the world in the same way that that bloggers have done for the internet.

The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Pink Floyd. The Who. The Clash. Queen. R.E.M. Green Day.

The Bloggers.

Okay, maybe not that big, but huge in their own right.

Like blogs.

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Interviews: Success is only a few words away

If you are like most blogers, you are constantly seeking new and different ways to promote your blog or website.

You want more visitor traffic, as potential customers and clients, or even simply as readers for your thoughts and ideas, but you’ve found that you’ve tried all of the usual avenues.

Perhaps you should consider talking people into surfing over to your site. All you have to do is get yourself interviewed, as an expert in your field.

Interviews provide widespread exposure for you and your website. When you are interviewed as an authority in your area of business, you gain status and credibility, that literally cannot be bought for any price.

The endorsement, provided by the interviewing medium, can propel you and your website to the top of your business sector. It is certain to be one of the best investments, of your time and energy, that you can ever make.

The opportunities to give interviews are limited only by your imagination. Chances to talk about your area of interest include all forms of the media including television, radio, newspapers, and trade magazine articles.

Don’t forget that expert interviews are highly sought after as internet articles and website content, and for the growing phenomenon of blogs. Recently, there has been a huge increase in the number of blogger to blogger interviews.

I have participated in several blogger interviews myself.

The first step is to think like an editor. You want to provide information suited the media outlet’s target readership market. That is what the editor demands and will expect from you.

It’s up to you to make that information available, with yourself as the knowledge source. All you have to do is get your story into the editor’s hands.

Using the proper tools for the job

Your online business has a newsworthy story. It may not be immediately recognizable, but there is news within your business. Because your business activities have news value, you need to get your story out there to be written. The standard means is by way of a written press release.

Keep in mind that your blog is also a press release and public relations vehicle. Many journalists read blogs on a regular basis, searching for story ideas. Always be prepared for a reporter to contact you. Keep your contact information handy on your blog, for just that purpose.

Your first step is to find a newsworthy story. In the news business, that is referred to as the “angle”. To find a news angle, many people suggest thinking like a journalist. An even better idea is to think like an editor.

The publication editor will always want to know the news value of the story and its angle. It’s up to you to provide it for them. Send them a press release.

Make certain that the interview topic is of interest to their target audience. If your discussion will be only about how wonderful your products and services are, they will see you as trying to gain a free advertisement, and reject you.

Instead, offer useful information about use of the products, some industry news, and some thoughtful business insights.

Be sure to stress your availability to be interviewed on the subject. Make certain that your release contains all of your online and offline contact information.

Always remember to make yourself available. The media have strict deadline times and you must adhere to them. If they can’t reach you for comment, they’ll talk to someone else.

Getting to the decision makers

Send your press release to the online and traditional offline media who cover news stories in your industry. If the news angle you have chosen has wider appeal, feel free to send it to other media who cover that news area. Avoid sending your release to media who would have no interest in your story.

While everyone imagines their story in the big city daily newspapers or on national television, they are only the tip of the iceberg. Don’t overlook small weekly newspapers, locally produced television and radio shows, and blogs.

Their market is local, and their readers and electronic audiences are your potential customers. Often pressed for time and staff resources, yet with air time and print space to fill, they may contact you immediately to be interviewed

Many trade and industry publications, both online and offline, publish news stories in your industry and value interviews with industry leaders like yourself. These highly specialized and targeted publications are widely read by those people in your business area.

Conclusion

By sending out targeted press releases, to online and offline media outlets who cover your industry, you can receive valuable free publicity. By being the focus of an interview about business in general, and your business area in particular, you and your company gain immediate stature as leaders in the field.

By forming and maintaining available, reliable, and honest media contacts, you can also be interviewed and quoted as an industry expert in other news stories.

Bloggers will often gladly interview business and community leaders who are involved with their blogging area of interest.

Whatever you do, and wherever you have an interview, don’t use the time for blatant self promotion. Think of the audience first, and you will become a sought after business spokesperson.

Not bad for getting noticed as a blogger!

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

 

Business Blogging Awards voting closed

The 2005 Business Blogging Awards


The voting for The 2005 Business Blogging Awards is now completed.

The polls were closed as of noon Pacific Standard Time today.

Overall, the concept of honouring business blogs was a good one. For too long, the various blog awards shows have ignored business blogs; leaving them without a category at all.

That should be changed now.

With the strong voter turnout, resulting in some very close races, there clearly is an interest in business blogs. They are a rising force on the internet in general, and in the blogosphere in particular.

In the future, I hope to see business blog categories in all the blog voting events.

Thanks to all of the voters and the entered blogs for participating.

Your support for The 2005 Business Blogging Awards was important and appreciated by everyone involved.

I want to send a special thanks to all who supported and voted for Blog Business World. I was touched and honoured, that so many of you find my blog to be helpful in reaching your goals, and in achieving your success in business and in blogging.

Every blog nominated was definitley a great blog, and I personally visited every blog in every category.

Thanks as well to Jeremy Wright and Darren Barefoot of Inside Blogging for running the awards so well. They definitely deserve our gratitude for developing these awards for everyone.

Let's have hearty round of applause for Darren and Jeremy!

The 2005 Business Blogging Awards were truly a landmark event where every blogger was a winner.

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Blogging: A contrarian viewpoint

Blogging has some possible bad points?

Say it ain't so!

After all, on this business blog, the chances of anything bad ever being said about blogs is akin to claiming the Earth is flat.

Right?

Well, partially true.

There are still many unreconstructed blog non-believers out there on the internet who need a good conversion. The road to Damascus guides, we might not be, but we are at least able to attempt a bit of friendly persuasion.

You've all heard the objections to blogging.

Perhaps they need a few rebuttals; or perhaps a kick in the rebuttal, if mere words aren't up to the job.

Blogs and blogging take time that busy business and professional people can't afford to spend; so the story goes.

Of course, the same people who claim to not have any time, happily spend it on some other activity that is less likely to make them any money, improve their marketing and public relations efforts, and raise their website's rankings in the various search engines.

Oh well, if they choose to use their time in other ways, like watching television shows, who are we to judge. After all, there are only ten places on the Google search engine first page. We don't have to worry about their business as competition.

And you know that no one would ever be able to find enough topics to blog about. You've all heard that one.

If the blogger can't find enough business and personal examples for at least two posting ideas per week, they must have no imagination. My readers all seem to have ideas for many times that number of posts.

In fact, the same blog posting idea can be examined from several different directions. After all, there are more things to discuss about regarding elephants than simply the trunk.

They could also blog about those television shows that they were watching that took all of their time away from blogging. We all know many bloggers who can watch TV and blog.

Often at the same time.

Doubters will often point out the classic outmoded line that blogs are simply personal online diaries.

I know my blog isn't an online diary, and I highly doubt that yours is an angst ridden lament about the Prom either. Old prejudices die hard.

Don't worry though.

When your business growth explodes past theirs, as a direct result of your blogging activities, be gracious in your success. Recommend a good blog hosting company for them to use. It's the right thing to do.

Yes, blogs have so many disadvantages.

I can't imagine why anyone even bothers writing blogs.

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Monday, February 14, 2005

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at Weekend Pundit

This week sees a thought provoking adventure for the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a stop at a blog where politics, economics, and opinion are the order of the day.

This week's tremendous lineup of posts feature a political and market oriented side as we visit Weekend Pundit.

When the Weekend Pundit blog isn't jam packed with political and economics posts, there are some postings dedicated to life and happenings in New England.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, education, legal issues, spam, insider trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, politics, and technology.

As you would expect from Weekend Pundit there are many discussions of politics, markets, social issues, and economics ideas.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.

As I am always privileged to do, I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My entry post this week is entitled "A9 Search: Optimization on the Amazon" where I discuss techniques for optimizing your blog or website for the Amazon.com owned A9 search engine.

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to the new address:

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog.

The extra visitors can't sent to your blog won't hurt either!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will make a visit to Adam Crouch and Reena Ganga's well known economics and current affairs blog called The Raw Prawn.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the Weekend Pundit hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesnt do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer you a chance to tour New England, at least vicariously. (groan)

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Google filters: How to avoid them

Some of the major concerns, of many search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, are the various alleged filters employed by Google.

It is thought, that the search engine giant has placed many dampening and blocking devices, in its algorithm. They are collectively referred to as filters.

The reasoning behind the alleged use of the various filtration systems is still unclear. It is also not universally agreed, by all SEO professionals, that filters even exist.

Most SEO experts agree, however, that there are some sort of dampening type filters built into the Google algorithm. The evidence for filters is circumstantial, but is fairly evident across the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Since about one hundred factors and variables are programmed into the algorithm, it is entirely probable that a number of them are filters. The questions then become what are the various filters and what are their purposes.

While some experts believe that there are no such filters, it is still a good idea to guard against their possibility. Whether you take the position, that some filters and dampening effects exist or not, there are ways to avoid them entirely.

Let’s examine some of the techniques, of search engine optimization, that help you to steer clear of any of the actual and coincidental filters. Since no one knows precisely what’s in the Google algorithm, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Instead of being caught in a possible filter, or being assessed a Google penalty, it’s a much wiser course of action to be safe rather than sorry.

With a good SEO strategy, you can avoid any possible Google filters, or possible penalties that might result.

What are some of the alleged filters?

There are a number of filters and dampening effects that are noticeable by SEOs. They range from the well known sandbox effect to the so-called over optimization filter.

This list is by no means comprehensive, and doesn’t include every alleged filter. Note as well, that the alleged filters mentioned are purely speculative. Our main purpose is to show the widespread possibility of filtering and dampening, that may result in penalties.

While many SEO experts disagree as to whether any, some, or all of the alleged filter actually exist, it makes good sense to be aware of them. Avoidance of their potential triggers goes a long way toward prevention of possible problems.

In fact, many of the techniques that avoid being trapped by a filter, are also good methods of gaining higher search engine rankings. They provide what amounts to a double benefit.

Let’s consider some of the alleged filters, one at a time, along with some possible methods of avoiding them.

Possible link related filters

One fairly well documented filter involves the use of identical link anchor text on all of your site’s incoming links. Many SEO professionals have noticed, that the use of the same anchor text raises some red flags, that all of the links are not naturally created. The same link text might be signs of link manipulation for the purposes of higher Google PageRank and link popularity.

An easy solution, to the possible identical anchor text filter is to mix up your link text wording. The use of somewhat different keywords, and perhaps even your site title, will bypass that problem entirely. By using no more than a maximum 80% of your regular link text, and at least 20% alternative text, the filter will be avoided.

Potentially, the variety of anchor text wording could provide benefits. The different texts will show a wider range of incoming links, and that could show up well in your backlink totals and search rankings.

There is some evidence that links.htm pages, that place virtually all of a site’s outgoing links on a page labelled in that manner, triggers a filter. Many website owners have seen their links.htm pages not given credit either for their own PageRank, or PageRank and backlink credit for their linking partners. Other webmasters have seen no such lack of link credit.

To overcome even the possibility of being caught by a links.htm filter, simply name your links something else entirely. In fact, don’t use the word links at all. Another idea that might work for you, is to split links up by themes, and place them over several pages. Writing a brief description of each link, and how it is themed to your site might also prevent tripping off the possible filter.

There is concern that reciprocal links may invite a Google filter. There is some evidence that reciprocal link pages may be discounted, but that may be a side effect of the possible links.htm filter as well. Blogs contain many reciprocal links, but seem to have suffered no ill effects, either in backlink totals or in PageRank loss.

One method to combat the possible reciprocal link filter may be to maintain a positive ratio of incoming one way links. Blogs use that technique without thinking about with their heavy tendency to link to one another constantly.

Many observers have noticed a cross linking filter resulting from cross linking together too many sites from the same server, and especially from the same c level block. A c level block is the part of a website address in the third section. Example: 123.123.xxx.123 xxx = c level There is some belief that the threshold trigger for that filter is about 20 linked sites.

To avoid this potential filter, it is a good idea to avoid reciprocal cross linking of many same hosted websites. A good method is to triangular link them A to B and B to C with C back to A. Do not use any other combinations as they could trip off a filter in the algorithm. Being careful with cross linking should avoid any such problems.

Potential multiple cause filters

The so-called over optimization filter appears to be more the result of a number of triggers, than from simply one cause. No one is certain if there ever was an over optimization filter, but strong evidence of it occurring was seen during the infamous Florida update and the later Austin update.

The main culprits appear to have been, the now isolated anchor text filter, various on page problems caused by over use of h1 and h2 tags, and some keyword stuffing concerns.

The over optimization filter appears to have been most active, in the most competitive and therefore most spam laden, keywords and phrases. Website owners, in the more competitive keyword areas, should consider using only the most reasonable levels of keywords in their content; certainly not more than 3%.

Writing naturally will work best for the search engines and for conversions to sales. Over use of keywords may even trigger a filter all by itself. Be careful of overusing h1 and h2 tags. Make certain each page has a unique title tag related to that page’s actual content.

There is thought by some people to be a damper placed on new incoming links. Those freshly created links allegedly don’t give the same bang for the buck as older more established links. This theory is usually discussed in conjunction with the famous sandbox filter.

The sand box filter allegedly works this way. A new site will receive a fresh site bonus from Google and rank highly. Following that initial blush with fame and fortune, the site will drop in the search rankings, and drop, and then drop some more. That is where the alleged sandbox occurs.

Once in the sandbox, the site will be anywhere from two to four months rising in the SERPs to a respectable position. During that sandbox period, regardless of the number and quality of inbound links and the PageRank, that site will not rank well at all.

It is thought that gaining too many links too quickly might be part of the reason for the sandbox. On the other hand, building up a domain with incoming links prior to site launch, may help avoid the sandbox entirely.

Some observers believe only certain search terms are filtered through the sandbox. If that is true, then the sandbox is tied in with the alleged most competitive search term filter as well.

In any case, it’s wise to take the ranking time into consideration when launching a new site. Perhaps setting the site up live, slightly earlier than planned for business, will allow time for any damper placed on the site to be removed.

Duplicate content may not only trigger a filter, but sites that contain a large number of pages that are similar in content might be targeted. If that is indeed the case, then webmasters must be careful to differentiate their pages more completely. Of course, that is a great idea from an SEO point of view. More different pages, each with individual titles and main keywords, means more potentially high ranking pages in the search engines.

Many of the larger sites, which may be experiencing a possible large site and duplicate content filter, are thought to be affiliate sites. If that’s true, then there may even be a bias filter against affiliate sites by means of clamping down more tightly on duplicate or very similar content.

As always, the best way to avoid the possibility of duplicating web page content, is to make certain all pages contain unique and differentiated copy. By continually updating and adding different pages, you will also benefit from the search engine algorithm preference for fresh content.

Conclusion

As stated from the outset, many of these alleged filters are based on partial observation. The filters and dampers are not definitely in place. On the other hand, where there is smoke, fire might be close at hand.

The best way to avoid any filters or dampers is to employ common sense search engine optimization practices. Mix up your link anchor text. Write natural sounding unique content for each web page without keyword stuffing. Avoid duplicate content. Don’t employ any questionable practices designed only to fool the search engines.

Following best SEO practices will work best for you in the long run, and you will avoid any filters, real or imagined.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005

 

Blog comments help everyone

Writing comments on other people's blogs helps everyone.

Comments on another blogger's post helps them.

Placing comments on other blogs helps you.

Talk about your win/win situation.

When you visit other blogs, adding a comment makes the blog post writer very happy. This is true for several reasons.

When you add a comment to a post that you like, or even one where you disagree entirely, you show the blogger that you actually read the post.

Not only did you read the post, but you cared about the subject matter and the opinion offered, to voice your approval or dissent. Your blog comment could add more information to the post, or send the discussion into new and exciting directions.

Additional comments are gratifying to the blogger because it's nice to read other people's thoughts and ideas. In effect, comments start a back and forth interaction between writer and reader.

As my good friend David St. Lawrence of Ripples is so fond of saying, "Blogs are conversations".

What that conversation can lead to is a new friendship, or a more involved business relationship. The entire chain reaction is set off by simply writing a blog comment.

Since the comments offer links back to the writer's blog, or to the person's e-mail, a return visit or response can take place.

I have often suggested that writing comments is a great traffic builder for your own blog. Many other very knowledgeable bloggers have agreed. Of course, that is a rather narrow and self centred viewpoint.

It's still an important consideration, however.

Comment writers get more visitor traffic, and that's a good thing.

Even more important than visitor traffic is the start of the conversation between yourself, the blog post writer, and other commenting bloggers. The interation can lead to some fascinating possibilities.

Talking together via comments and e-mails has very often led to telephone discussions, and some very rewarding in person meetings between bloggers. Lifetime friendships can be formed.

Simply taking a few seconds to write a comment on someone else's blog can open up new doors to exciting new possibilities. In effect, you can change not only your own future, but that of the other blogger as well.

Talk about how such a simple act can alter the future.

Write some blog comments, and create some new timelines for your future and that of other bloggers.

Today.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

 

Advertising: Testing its value

A businessperson once said that she knew one half of her advertising expenditure was wasted. The problem was she was not sure which half that was.

Is that how you feel about your advertising spending? If so, then you need to test and track your ads for effectiveness.

Advertising is expensive. We all understand that.

We also realize that spending money on paid advertising can bring in many new customers. The problem lies with a failure to recognize that all advertising vehicles are equal.

Some ads may return numerous visitors. Some may result in high conversion rates. Some may provide both. Others might get no response at all. The only way you can tell which ad is working for you, and which one is enjoying a paid holiday, is to track and test them.

Tracking ads involves mechanisms to show which ads are sending traffic from different locations. Testing involves knowing which ad works best in a specific location.

By combining these powerful tools, a website owner will know which ads are working better than others, and how each advertising medium is producing as well.

Tracking the game

No advertising materials should ever be employed by your business without some form of tracking system. A simple code will suffice. All it needs to do is indicate which advertising vehicle sent the visitor to your site.

Many companies resort to asking the question, “How did you hear about us?” While nice in principle, the question is ineffective in practice.

Most people don’t remember, or even know how they arrived at the site. They certainly won’t know which advertising material they read and followed. Their answers won’t help, if in fact they even tell you at all.

Place a simple tracking code on the advertisement, so the click registers on the site visitor logs as to its origin, is possible. Another easy idea is a separate landing page for each separate advertisement.

For incoming phone calls, place a different “extension” number on each ad material. The same technique can be used for mailed in responses. A different “department” number will work well, separating the results quite nicely.

While none of these concepts is ground breaking, they are very easy to employ. Not many businesses utilize them effectively. Without knowing which marketing pieces are sending customers, and which are not, you will never know which ones are complete waste of money.

Testing the waters

Some advertisements bring in more business than others. That is a given. What is also important to remember, is some changes in the advertising copy and design, can make an ad even more effective than before.

Every business person wants to have more effective marketing, but to fully take advantage of any improvements, they need to be tested.

The results of the original ad must always be compared to the returns from a slightly changed version. Sometimes content changes are for the better, and sometimes the alterations create worse results. Without testing the different variations, you never know which copy and design is more effective than another.

Many purchased ad spaces let the buyer change the advertising copy at certain intervals. Take advantage of the opportunity, to test different versions of the marketing material.

To test advertising copy, try two different formats and designs of the same ad. Make only one change in the copy at a time to determine which version works best.

If possible, run both versions at the same time, keeping careful records of the resulting click throughs and conversions. By utilizing a simple tracking device, the effectiveness of each test can be calculated. When a version of the ad that works well is discovered, try another change elsewhere in the ad.

Keep testing and tracking different advertising materials, to uncover the best possible marketing device.

The tested results, of course, should be logged through careful tracking. Note that testing different versions and tracking the results work together to provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. One won’t work very well without the other.

With the visitor logs, or other tracking system records in hand, a series of tests can turn a very poorly producing ad into a much better one. If the same ad copy is used in multiple locations, the new and improved version can be tested as a replacement for other purchased spots as well.

Putting testing and tracking to work for you

Start by taking an inventory of all of your ads both online and offline. If you have any way to track their effectiveness up to this point, take advantage of those materials.

They might be in the form of landing pages from banners, classified ads, or a newsletter placement. These rough results will provide an initial idea of what ads are providing some return.

Following that examination, you will at least have some idea of what is happening.

Immediately implement a tracking system for every advertisement that you can. Track the results for thirty days to get an early sample of the results.

After the weak performers are located, either drop them entirely, or make some testable changes in the copy.

Use testing and tracking, to keep your advertising materials working for you, and not the other way around.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

 

Linking out is seeing the light for blogs

Few topics in search engine optimization, cause as many heated disputes, as the concept of linking out to other sites.

Whenever the subject of linking to other blogs and traditional sites arises, in conversation or on and internet message forum, the sides in the debate are certain to become very polarized.

The speed at the taking of sides, and the lack of compromise on the issue, is always amazing to many impartial observers. Why people feel so strongly either one way or another usually boils down to the outgoing link value.

How fast a webmaster seeks benefits and returns, and whether any or all of the value of linking out can be measured, in any objective manner.

The search engine optimization community usually examines the issue of linking out based on the search engine algorithms. Their questions surround whether or not the search engines give the activity any weight.

Many search engine optimization experts even believe that the practice of linking out to other sites is indeed harmful. The answer to those questions are important to the entire discussion.

We do know one thing. Bloggers link out freely to other blogs and websites, and are rewarded in the search engines for doing so.

Note how bloggers are on the cutting edge of SEO thought once again.

The search engine marketing community, along with the internet informational community, take the opposite point of view. They believe there are hidden short and long term benefits to linking out that don’t show up immediately, if at all, in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The believers in linking out usually consider the search engine rankings to be given far too much importance. Linking out, they contend, has far more benefits than the search results can begin to measure.

As with most discussions concerning the more contentious issues, involving search engine optimization, there are valid points made on both sides. Pluses and minuses to any search engine related activity can be debated. In the end, the best answer is what is right for the website owner’s individual goals. Not all sites share the same objectives.

A closer examination of the pros and cons, of linking to other sites, is required for a fuller understanding of the topic. Finding the costs and the benefits of linking out, in an open and objective way, is helpful to all webmasters.

Knowing the value or cost, of any search engine optimization or search engine marketing activity, is a step toward maximizing the value of your own website.

Armed with the facts, from both sides of the outbound links debate, you can decide which course of action is right, for your own website.

Seeing the dark side of outbound links

Many search engine optimization experts oppose needlessly linking out to other sites. They cite some powerful reasons for reaching that conclusion. The opponents of outbound links will point out that the SERPs tell the story, and the search engine algorithms are not friends to those who link outwards.

Most SEO professionals tend to agree that linking out provides no real boost in link popularity. They rightly point to the fact that the search engines, and especially link obsessed Google, reward incoming links. The search engines are thought to provide no weight to the links going to other websites. With that in mind, many website owners are reluctant to link out to other sites.

That concept is now under debate, as linking out works for blogs and helps to create the highly regarded hub site.

Along with the lack of link popularity benefit in the search rankings, there is also a widespread fear of loss of Google PageRank. Google PageRank, of course, is Google’s numerical measure of the importance of a web page on the internet. The PageRank calculation is based on the number of incoming links, and of their quality in the form of the transferring page’s own PageRank.

Since PageRank flows from one web page to the next, there is concern among many webmasters and SEO experts, that PageRank will be lost through leakage. That alleged loss of PageRank requires constant replenishment, they say, and outgoing links are merely a drain on its level. In other words, the worry is that too many outgoing links will drain away a web page’s PageRank, to other pages on other websites.

Many webmasters are strongly opposed to linking out to competitors, even if the competing site is considered an authority site by Google. An authority site is one that Google rates as among the most important websites in any particular theme area. These webmasters don’t like the possibility of sending potential customers, and perhaps their business as well, to other sites.

Some SEO professionals prefer not to provide competitors with any more inbound link popularity than they already possess. If a competing site is an authority site, they argue, they want to help them even less with link power. With links being important to the search engines, and especially Google, the last thing these SEOs want to do, is to help their competition to defeat their own or their clients’ sites in the rankings.

Seeking the light in outbound links

Outbound links are not all bad, according to many internet marketing specialists. By linking out to other related sites, a visitor is provided with even more helpful information on the topic. Sending to traffic to other useful websites is especially important for purely informational sites.

Since the goal of knowledge based sites is to give visitors as much information on a topic as possible, outbound links are simply a service from the site. Not all webmasters believe they can afford to be so generous, however. The question for those website owners is whether or not linking out will give them benefits in return.

Linking out can help develop a reputation, for a webmaster, of being helpful to the site’s visitors. By creating a reason for returning to the site, the visitor traffic will not be permanently lost. In fact, many visitors will often bookmark a site that they trust to help them. That built up trust factor can translate into many online and offline sales for a business.

People purchase goods and services from people they trust. Those who provide access, to many sources of useful information, gain the trust of their visitors. Once again,we see the blogging advantage.

While the occasional link to other related sites might not provide much search engine value, to a website owner, many outbound links are an entirely different matter. If a site links to the most relevant sites on the theme, including the most important authority sites, the linking out site can gain major importance in Google.

That importance arrives in the form of being regarded as a hub site by Google. Along with the hub site status, conferred upon sites that are like train stations for themed links, comes high search rankings.

Search engine optimization professionals agree that becoming a hub site, for a site’s most important keywords, is a worthwhile goal. Part of becoming a hub site involves linking out to related sites. Some of those sites might even be competitors.

You win some and you lose some

As with all matters of linking out to other sites, and in particular, to websites that might be your competitors for customers and clients is problematic. No website owner wants to risk losing paying business to other sites. Loss of visitors is especially painful, if the traffic was sent to the competitor, through a link out from your own site. The question is how large is that risk.

If a webmaster believes, that visitor traffic will maintain loyalty to their site, then sending visitors elsewhere will do little or no harm to sales. The concern is not with the outgoing links, but with onsite conversion factors anyway. If a site provides no good reasons to buy their products and services on offer, then sales will be weak, whether there are links to competitors or not.

A strong website offers a balance of useful information as a reason to visit, and powerful reasons to buy once there. Offering that assistance to visitors develops a trust factor that will lead to more sales.

If a potential customer is lost, due to an outgoing link, they might not be strong long term buyers in any case. They may just as easily return to your site, as quickly as they left for the competitor’s offer.

In fact, loss of customers to competitors, can serve as a powerful wake up call, to improve your onsite conversions of visitors to customers. Without the feedback found, through escaped traffic, that systemic site problem might never have been discovered.

Any perceived outflow of traffic, through links to other sites, can serve a very useful purpose. Use that market intelligence to improve your conversion rates.

Not all search engine optimization experts believe that Google PageRank is leaked away through outgoing links. In fact, many SEO people believe that the PageRank, that flows out in one area, is returned through inbound links from other websites. They argue that the level of Google PageRank, paradoxically, can only really be increased by linking out to other sites.

In that regard, creating a PageRank island with no outgoing links is harmful to a site. Linking out becomes a good thing, resulting in more inflowing than outflowing PageRank. Provided a solid ratio of somewhat more inbound links than outgoing links is maintained, PageRank will constantly rise. The positive ratio of links will serve a site in good stead in the SERPs as well.

Conclusion

Linking out to other blogs remains a controversial topic. Sending visitor traffic to other sites is considered offering service and information by some webmasters, and is decried as throwing potential customers and search engine power away by others.

The transfer of Google PageRank is considered a net loss to a web page by some search engine experts, and part of a cycle that returns even more PageRank inflow by other SEO professionals.

There will always be people who leave a site for other places, as they are only a click away. It’s really impossible to keep a web visitor captive on a site. The best solution is probably to provide a great site, to which visitors will return over and over, while linking to sites that provide additional theme related information.

If a website owner wants to gain customers and clients, the onus rests on them to develop the best site possible. That situation will require outgoing links to other blogs and sites as well.

There is some definite long term advantage to linking out, as well as offering immediate assistance to your blog’s visitors.

Your site might be accorded the coveted hub site by Google, and the high search rankings that come with that status.

You will be glad you linked to some other blogs and sites in that case.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

 

Local Online Marketing seminar with Debbie Weil a success

The first in the Duct Tape Marketing hosted Local Online Marketing teleseminar series, featuring internet marketing and blogging expert Debbie Weil of BlogWrite for CEOs,, was a huge success.

The February 9 telephone hosted seminar was filled to capacity with business people, sharing an interest in learning more about blogging.

They were not disappointed.

The hour long session flew by in what seemed like only a few minutes, as the very knowledgeable and highly informative Debbie Weil, and enthusiastic host John Jantsch, kept the blogging information flowing smoothly.

Whether a blogger had little experience or was a seasoned blogging veteran, everyone left knowing much more about blogging than when they started.

I learned a few interesting details about blogging myself.

Without a doubt, everyone else listening in to the tremendous seminar learned much more.

I would highly recommend signing up for the rest of the nine part teleseminar series from Local Online Marketing and Duct Tape Marketing.

I intend to enrol in them all, and join in the fun, for each and every one of them.

You should too.

Surf immediately to the Local Online Marketing sign up page and register now!

The next installment in the series, scheduled for February 23, is called "How to deliver your marketing message directly to your customer's computer desktop - The basics of marketing with RSS", featuring RSS expert Rodney Rumford of My RSS Creator and Feed Syndicator.com.

You won't want to miss a single seminar.

Enrol now!

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