Tag Archives: website

Optimize Your Website For Search In 3 Steps

Search Engine Logos Since the purpose of having a website is for people to find you online, I wanted to go over some basic strategies for ensuring that people searching for your types of services/products find your small business’s website.

The goal of optimization is to have your website listed before your competitors ("ranked highly") (ideally on the first page of search results, which most people don’t look beyond).

Most search engines report the result of searches in two groups: sponsored ads and normal ("organic ") searches. Sponsored ads appear because the company has agreed to pay the search engine (via a pay-per-click [PPC] ad campaign) money whenever people click on their ad for specific keywords. PPC is a great way to generate traffic quickly, but it’s often not cost effective long-term. Long-term you want your website to appear organically highly ranked.

When a person does a search, the goal of the search engine is to show the most relevant websites that likely match the person’s search terms . The goal of optimizing is to make your site highly relevant for specific search terms.

  1. Identify the search terms you want to rank highly for . As in all forms of marketing, you need to think like the person who’s looking, not as the business who’s selling. That means you need to know what keywords people use to search for businesses like yours. This information is easy to find from pay-per-click programs, such as Google Ad Words Keyword Tool . Don’t forget to also spot trends (using a tool such as Google Trends ) in keyword searches, since you want to catch "up-and-coming" searches that might be ranked low now.
  2. Use the keywords in relevant pages in your website . Keywords are seen in: the main body of the web page, meta tags (less important, but still worth having), and the alt-text in your images. Use keywords naturally – remember the point is to have more customers. If your website isn’t human-readable, then all your work will be for naught. Also, make sure that if you want to target customers in a region, you use your region in your keyword phrases.
  3. Get links to your website. Search engines rank websites by their "authority ". One way they measure authority is how many (and which) other websites link to them ("backlinks "). One backlink from an top-class website is worth hundreds of poor-quality links. You can get backlinks from a wide variety of sites: organizations that you’re a member of, blogs, and directories. One tool I recommend is Directory Submitter , a free tool to get backlinks. Be warned: Google is in the process of penalizing websites with paid backlinks. Also: submit your websites to the search engines (if you have not already) so they can explicitly add your site to their directories: Google , Yahoo , and MSN .

There is a lot more to search engine optimation (SEO) that these tips. Don’t forget there are professionals that can help you with your search engine optimization (I’d be happy to recommend some).

10 Rules For Effective Home Pages

Home PagePeople make a split-second judgment of your website. Is it “talking to them?” Is it worth their time to continue reading it? Are you getting the traffic you want? Are visitors converting to customers?

Having reviewed hundreds of websites I wanted to share some rules to help improve your home page:

  1. Who’s the audience? Your home page must clearly identify who you’re talking to. This allows the reader to quickly pre-qualify them self.
  2. What’s the point? Every page in your website should have a primary goal – an action you want the reader to take. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Buy something new? Create a “call to action” to encourage them to do what you want (“Get your copy of ‘Top 10 insider secrets’ by clicking here”).
  3. Title. The title is used for the window’s title as well as in the name of your site in search engines. Your home page title should at least contain your business name.
  4. Menu structure. Menus are generally horizontal (underneath the banner/logo) or vertical (left side). Having multiple ways to navigate is confusing. Put your menus in places where people look. Make sure to have a “Contact” and “About” page.
  5. Footer. Make sure your contact information is on every page. You don’t want your potential customer to have to work to find you.
  6. Scan-ability. People don’t read websites like they read books. Their eyes bounce around looking for “landmarks” to help them evaluate the site. Therefore, clearly use headings and subheadings to make it easy to find sections. Don’t write long paragraphs. Have lots of white space.
  7. Fonts. This is related to scan-ability – you want to create a natural scanning sequence. Use one (or two) font families (for example, Arial) at most. Make your general text easy to read for your demographic (for example, make it 14pt for older eyes) and headings at least 14pt. Use bold and italics to help draw the eye to specific words. Don’t use animated text. Use colors only for very important thoughts.
  8. Graphics & alt tags. Make sure your graphics reinforce your “message” and “look”. Graphics also can act like whitespace if used properly. Don’t forget that all your graphics should have alt-tags (it helps the search engines “read” your site).
  9. Columns (1 vs 2 vs 3). The more information you present, the harder it is to figure out what to read. For that reason, I prefer one-column or two-column (with special offers/information in the right column).
  10. Keywords. Use the right keywords to make it easy for people to find you using the search engines. What are the right keywords? The ones people use (for example, using Adwords).

Make sure that when you change your home page you measure its effectiveness. Are you getting more traffic with the new look/text? Are you getting less traffic but more sales? The best solution to effective home pages is the one that works for your business.

In addition to a careful eye, there are many free tools that can help analyze your website. Here’s one: Website Grader

Web Marketing For Dummies

Web Marketing For DummiesWeb Marketing is more than just having a website – it’s the strategy of using a website in conjunction with e-mail, e-commerce, chat rooms, blogs, etc. to attract customers. If you are just starting out marketing online or even if you already have a professional website, it’s worth your time to review this book.

The book starts (Part I: Getting Going With Online Marketing) by helping you to develop your online strategy: Who is your target market (by market segmentation), The 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, placement, and promotion), and domain names.

Part II: Building a Marketing-Effective Website focuses on making your website work: marketing copy, graphics, testimonials, and an online store.

Part III: Exploring Online Marketing Basics focuses on strategies for increasing traffic to your website: email marketing, viral marketing, and search engine optimization.

Part IV: Spending Online Marketing Dollars gives you ideas for how to spend your advertising dollars to build traffic: Pay Per Click Ads, Banner Ads, Classified Ads, and Podcasts.

Part V: Maximizing Your Web Success describes using web analytics to measure your ROI, avoiding legal nightmares, and planning for the future.

Part VI: The Part of Tens gives 3 quick checklists for your online marketing: 10 Free Ways To Market Your Website, 10 Most Common Mistakes of Web Marketing, and 10 Tips for Tired Sites.

Reading this book won’t make you a web marketing guru. But it will help you to understand how to improve your own online marketing and how to work with marketing professionals.

How Can I Create A Online Classifieds Website?

I’m starting up an online paid classifieds advertising website and am looking for some marketing and advertising ideas that are outside the box.
Believe it or not Craigslist doesn’t cover our area, we only have one newspaper which has a monopoly on advertising to a county of 130,000 souls.

Currently the county residents are being squeezed by the local paper, I think I can do better and have already received commitments from local businesses committing to banner advertise on the homepage, so we are beyond break-even before we ever launch.

My real question is as to how to think guerilla in launching my attack on this newspaper that so many residents and business owners have already voiced their disdain for?


Let’s set aside the issue that Craigslist can quickly take over your market from you (and in fact, if your goal is to fight the local newspaper, this might be the easiest path — contacting Craiglist) as well as having the newspaper launch an online component to their printed advertising.

You’re asking how to advertise your site when the main form of advertising is your competition. I would suggest starting with the early adopters of online searching. Focus on the under-30 crowd (whether they be at high school, college, nightclubs, bars, music stores, book stores, video rentals, and movie theatres) first. Provide not just advertising, but weekly summaries of “what’s happening” (with the ability for them to post free upcoming community events). That will help start the “buzz”.

How Can I Help My 7-Year Old’s Lego Business?

My 7 year old son has been bugging me for quite some time to help him start an internet business. I thought it might be a good lesson in business, so I agreed. He decided he wanted to do a Lego site and sell Legos. I set up a blog for him on blogger. He made up a domain name and created a tagline. He is making video lego reviews, making and sharing Lego creations, and giving out lego tips. (I actually think he is pretty good – but that could just be me being a proud mom). I saw that you could become an affiliate of Amazon, so we did that and created a lego store. I also put adsense on there for him. Now of course we’ve got to get people to come to the site. We just put up the site up last week, which is at www.LegoAdventures.com What suggestions do you have to let people know of this site? I’m pleased with certain results, but I’m not pleased with the conversion to revenue (zero).


The problem is that his store is selling a commodity product with no value added. This is causing a disconnect between your visitor and the site.

Here’s my thinking. A 7-year old. That’s interesting. I look at the site. Watch the video. And see that he likes certain sets and think, I can buy those sets elsewhere. He’s not selling sets that he designed or instructions for converting existing sets to something more appealing.

The “hook” of your son’s age/perspective is great. But selling something generic isn’t. I would consider a different notion. Instead of trying to sell sets, try to increase traffic to the site. Then sell ad space. Play with the PPC keywords to increase traffic. Get the site listed on other kids and Lego sites. Have your son become the Lego equivalent of movie reviewers for the young crowd. That will help on 2 fronts: opinions are interesting to readers and it may help to attract interest from the Lego company itself (which you son currently would love to work for).

How Can I Sell Safety To Parents With Teen Drivers?

Driving crashes are the #1 cause of death for teenagers. Parents are in control of their kids as they begin driving and it’s their responsibility – legally and morally – to safeguard their kids and the public that’s exposed to the dangers that could result from a new driver on the roads.

Our company delivers education to parents to inform them of (a) their legal obligations and (b) of their parenting duties as they begin the most dangerous phase of their parenting career. We also deliver (c) products and services that are proven to reduce crash rates. In short, we help parents keep their teens safe and alive behind the wheel. See www.safeteendrivingclub.org for the whole story.

Our #1 marketing challenge: most parents either don’t know what they should do to safeguard their kids as they begin to drive. Others, frankly and sadly, just don’t seem to care. These seem to believe sending a son or daughter to driver’s ed is all that’s needed.

What do you suggest we do to (as much as possible) overcome the “it won’t happen to my child” attitude?


“How to overcome the ‘it won’t happen to my child’ attitude?” – Provide statistics. What’s the chance that 16-year-old will get into an accident? Get injured? Die? A 17-year-old? 18-year-old? Since you’re selling accident avoidance products, you need to tell me the same statistics for those that have purchased them. That will inform my ROI as a consumer.

Your business name is “off”. Safe Teen Driving Club sounds like you’re marketing to teens. This is clearly NOT what you’re doing. Compare this to “Mothers Against Drunk Driving”. Instead consider a name like “Parents For Safe Teen Driving”.

Is your website getting poor traffic or traffic that doesn’t convert? I’m guessing you’re having conversion problems, because the site itself doesn’t lead me through the education/sales process simply. Instead, the home page presents me too many options – some selling, some education, and WAY too much text for me to navigate.

A subtle issue I have – you’re using a .org domain name yet you seem to be a .com company. I generally assume a .org is a 501(c)3 I wouldn’t assume a .org would be trying to sell me a bunch of products. I would encourage you to have a 501(c)3 company that does the education and a for-profit that does the product sales. It would be much clearer what you’re selling. I do see that your for-profit donates money to non-profits that support young people and their family.

You’re not selling insurance. Most of the products you’re selling force teens to be more responsible for their driving to avoid being “busted” (GPS devices, bumper stickers, and breathalyzers). The teenSMART teaches education. The legal/roadside assistance is for in-case of a problem.

Together your products may give parents peace of mind. And that’s how I’d package your offering: present the ROI of your products, testimonials from “satisfied” parents (from everything to major accidents), insurance executives, and highway patrol. Highlight the reality of an teen driving problem, its potential for injury/death, and show your solution to the problem.

Should We Include www Or http:// In Our URL?

I was wondering if there are advertising industry standards on displaying website URLs in print ads? (for brick & mortar company having a website).


Definitely not http://

If you omit (the redundant) www you can increase the text size of the URL in your ad.

I have seen some less tech-savvy folks not understand that www. is optional, and couldn’t find a URL in an advertisement.

So it depends on who you’re targeting – tech savvy or not. If you’re not sure, put in the www.

For a second opinion, check out: GoodURLBadURL.com

How Can I Advertise My Discussion Forum?

What are some good ways of advertising a discussion forum to increase membership?


Since you have a forum, you’ve no doubt have in mind who should be part of the forum.

The next step is for you to figure out why people would want to be part of the forum. Are there already forums for these groups? If so, what makes your forum better? Forum membership takes time on the part of participants, so people won’t switch memberships unless you’ve given them something much better.

Let’s say you’ve compared your forum to all the competition, and realized that indeed you’re targeting an under-served group that would truly benefit from membership.

Now, you need to find where the under served group goes online. Blogs? Websites? Reads newsletters? You need to get your advertisement in front of your target.

Simply posting your forum to a list of forums won’t attract the people you’re looking for.

How Can I Get Advertisers And Sponsors For A Website?

I have a fun website that is free for everyone to communicate within the community. I am in need of help on how can I get advertisers and sponsors to be on my website. This is my first time and I need to know what do I do first.


The key to getting advertisers/sponsors is answering the question, “Why should they pay money to be on your site?”. When you approach a potential advertiser, you’ll want to have such information as the following on hand:

  • How many people are registered?
  • How many are active?
  • How many unique visitors do you get
  • Do you have their email addresses? (i.e., can you contact them?)
  • How much profile information have you compiled (age, sex, location, income, etc.)

The advertiser is going to think, “How much is it worth to have my product/service in front of this group?”. You need to help them to figure out their ROI. They’ll also care about ad placement/size, click-through, viewing stats, competition, etc.

Before you accept an advertiser, you’ll also want to answer, “How much will it help/hurt my site to have this product/service advertised?”. The wrong ad will turn off your hard-won traffic.

How Can I Find Obscure Slogans On The Internet?

I am working on a paper for school and need to find the proper brand /entity for 50 slogans. Evidently I do not watch enough television and can only come up with about 25 of them.


Here are some sites for you: