Making Keyword Research Easy

Nov 04th, 2014

Even if you don’t know what they are, keywords are really the backbone of your website. These are the words that people enter into search engines when they’re looking for content, and that will ultimately lead them to your site. Most Internet users, even if they’re going to the same websites every day, use search engines and keywords on an almost constant basis, and so if you want to get more visitors to your site, you must know how to use them. But where do you start? And will it involve hours of keyword research? Well, you can begin your research right here, and all of it will take just a few minutes.

Start your keyword research by simply pulling out a blank sheet of paper and pencil (or you can do it right in your computer using a program such as Word.) Think about all the words and phrases that apply to your website, and start jotting them down. For instance, if your website teaches people how to cook, some of the words and phrases that might apply include “recipes,” “easy recipes,” “best recipes,” as well as different kinds of food – “turkey,” “beef,” “spinach,” and anything else that you cook and post regularly. Because you come up with these keywords easily and naturally, they are likely to be the most organic keywords you will find.

Unfortunately though, compiling a list of your own keywords and phrases isn’t enough. Once you have your own list, you’ll need to expand on it by utilizing keyword research tools. These are tools that will not only provide you with even more keywords and phrases, but that will show you which ones will perform better than others on your website. You’ll be able to see how much traffic certain keywords will bring in, as well as how many searchers are currently using specific keywords. Still don’t know where to start? Some of the most popular keyword research tools you’ll find online are: Wordze, Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Bing’s Keyword Tool, Wordpot, YouTube keyword tools, and Keyword Spy.

Lastly, make sure you’re using long tail keywords. Many people see long phrases such as “the best beef stew you’ll ever make,” and automatically discount them because they think they’re simply too long for a keyword. However, that’s not the case. These longer phrases are known as ‘long tail keywords,’ and because fewer website owners tend to use them, they’re far less competitive. Because of that, when you incorporate them on your website, users that are searching for that long tail keyword will be taken to your website over someone’s who has just used the keyword “stew.”

Keyword research is essential in order to draw traffic from the search engines, but it’s important for other reasons too. It will show you which niches are most profitable for your business, tell you about the specific content ideas people are most interested in, and give you hints about the products and services that will be most profitable on your website. Keyword research doesn’t have to be difficult, and it holds so many benefits for online business owners.

Keeping the Navigational Side of Your Website Organized

Oct 02nd, 2014

You can have the greatest business in the world, e-commerce or otherwise, but if your website is lacking in navigational organization, the website alone could ruin it. The world of the Internet is so fast today, and there is so much competition between businesses and their websites. If yours is lacking, it won’t take long for customers to abandon it and instead go to your competitor’s website. And, a recent study done by Social Triggers found that no matter how great the business concept or business model, the majority of customers will turn away from it if they can’t navigate through it smoothly. So, how do you make sure that they can?

Start by knowing the Golden Rule of website navigation, the 3-click rule. This rule states that any page within your site should be accessible by three clicks. So make sure that there are clear links to every page on your site right on the landing page; and if there are pages that are buried deep within your site, make sure you have a link to a sitemap on the landing page. The sitemap is a list of every page on your website, so if customers can simply visit it, find what they need and click on it, you’re golden. Just so long as it doesn’t take more than three clicks to get to any page, you’ll be keeping within the rule and keeping yoru website’s navigation organized.

Secondly, use tags and use them wisely. Tags are a great way to categorize different pages and there are many different types of tags. This may seem redundant to the business owner, but the different types of tags will be very helpful to visitors. Tags fall into the three categories of crucial, optional, and irrelevant. Crucial tags are those that apply to everyone that comes to the site, and visitors should be able to find whatever they need using these tags. So if you have a wedding planning site, “Bride,” “Groom,” or “Wedding Party” are great examples of crucial tags. Optional tags on the other hand, will refine the results so that if someone clicks on “Wedding Party,” they’ll then be taken to “Ushers,” “Bridesmaids,” or “Maid of Honor.” Users will only get to these pages though, after they’ve clicked on the crucial tag of “Wedding Party.” Irrelevant tags then, are tags that are only seen by the site’s administration staff and not the general public. These include things such as word count and the date the post or page was published.

Lastly, you need to make it very simple for users to start their search again, or go back and start searching for something else. This is important on every single website, no matter what product or service you’re offering, and it’s very easy to do. Simply provide visitors with a way to get back to the home page, whether that’s through a “Home” button on the bottom of every page, or whether they can click on the name of the website found at the top of every page. Visitors don’t want to click back hundreds of times any more than they want to click forward and so, you need to make it easy for them.

It doesn’t matter how brilliant your website or business is. If your website isn’t easy to move through, visitors aren’t going to stick around to figure it out. Follow these tips to ensure that they do!

Is Your Website Successful? Find out how to tell here!

Sep 08th, 2014

There really is no point in having a website or a blog if you’re simply publishing to it (even daily) and letting it sit. Doing this will give you no insight to the number of visitors you have, whether or not your site is making money for you, or if there are mistakes you’re making that could be easily fixed. There simply is no way to determine the success of your site by just publishing and never recording its success. So how do you tell if your website is successful? By using measuring metrics, and knowing what to look for within those metrics.

Google Analytics is probably the most popular tool for measuring the metrics within your site; and it’s free, too. Not only will Google Analytics measure things such as conversion rates, bounce rates, and keywords, it will also let you perform split testing. That’s the unique ability to find where the trouble is within your data, and use action steps to help correct it.

Piwik is another tool that’s also free and will help you measure the success of your website. The one benefit Piwik has over Google Analytics is that it’s hosted on the same web server as your website, which might consolidate the resources you use and give you total privacy when it comes to looking at the stats.

So what data should you be analyzing to determine the success of your website?

• Conversion rate: This will tell you how many people are simply visiting your site and then leaving, and how many are staying on the site and taking the action you want them to, whether that’s visiting pages further in than just the landing page, subscribing to a newsletter, or contacting you directly. This is given as a percentage, and the percentage you see is the number of people taking action.
• Exit pages: Unless the exit pages are natural (such as a thank you page,) you need to know where users lose their interest and leave your site. By seeing what pages are the biggest exit points for your readers, you can improve them so they don’t leave, but continue on.
• Page views: These are very simple; they’re the amount of times a page was viewed within one day. However, it won’t tell you whether that number was by the same person coming back to the same page, or if they were unique visitors.
• Unique visitors: This is where you’ll not only find out how many times a page was viewed, but how many different people came to look at that one page.
• Referrers: Are you listed on other websites? If so, the referrers metric is very important. This measuring tool will let you know where the most customers are coming from, and can either help you boost your efforts on that page, or improve other pages that may not be getting the same amount of referrers.
• Internal search keywords: Unlike search engine keywords, which tell you what words people are entering into search engines to find your site, internal search keywords will tell you what people are entering into the search box found on your site. This can help you see what pages are the most popular, and add other content like it.
• Bounce rate: This rate tells you how many people are visiting your site and leaving after only looking at the first page. It can be helpful to determine the success of your landing page, and your able to help users convert landing into an action taken.
These are a few of the different ways you can determine the success of your website. And if you’re not currently using any type of measuring system to determine the success of your site, they’re a very good place to start.

How Social Media can Help You Provide Better Customer Service

Aug 07th, 2014

Never thought that being on social media is all that important for your business? Or are you on Twitter and Facebook, but use it mainly to tell customers about new products, or new blog posts and other content on your website? If any of these things are true for you and your business, it could be one of the biggest business mistakes you’re making. In fact, social media can be your biggest boost when it comes to customer service.

First, set up the Twitter account with the username yourcompany_complaints, or other name that clearly indicates that if customers have a problem, this is where they should be telling you about them.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to sort through hundreds of tweets, just to find the one that involves a complaint from a customer. To keep this from happening, make sure you set up a Twitter account that is dedicated to issues.

Customers love social media because if they find a problem with your product or service, they can tell you about it right away. They know that instead of waiting on hold over the phone, or writing a letter, they can simply hop onto Facebook or Twitter, leave a message for you, and their concerns will be addressed. However, because they are able to leave a message instantly, you need to do them the same courtesy and make sure you respond immediately. It will only take a minute, and it gives you the chance to keep a customer for life. If you don’t want to be tied to your phone, or you don’t want to be checking your accounts all the time, hire a staff person dedicated to this job.

When it comes time to respond to the customer, make sure that you do several things. First, acknowledge that what they’re complaining about is an actual problem and apologize for it. Then, offer a solution that does not involve something that’s already on your website or social media account. The customer will feel offended that you’ve assumed they haven’t looked into it, or that they have simply overlooked something that’s clearly written out. Doing so will not only show that you’re sympathetic to their situation, but that you actually care and are doing everything you can to right the wrong they have experienced.

No matter how organized you are with keeping your complaints separate, no matter how timely you are in responding, and no matter how much advice and information you give, sometimes there just isn’t a solution. But if you give your customer nothing at this point, they’re going to be even angrier. When this happens, make sure that you offer your empathy and that you also give them something for their trouble. Whether it’s a gift certificate or a discount on their next purchase, they’ll appreciate the fact that you really have done all they could to make their experience a bit better.

Customer service used to be one of the most difficult aspects of owning a business. With the advent of social media today however, it’s actually one of the easiest if you know how to harness it and use it to your advantage.

10 Marketing Strategies that will Help Your Small Business

Jul 10th, 2014

There are fewer things in life harder than starting a business. And for even the most ambitious business owner, one of the most stressful aspects of starting that business can be the marketing of it. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be! Here are ten marketing strategies that are not only effective, but also pretty easy for even the business owner with next to no marketing experience whatsoever.

1.) Be yourself
This one is very important because no matter what type of marketing you embark on, you always want to make sure your voice and your own personal style comes through. There is something that makes you uniquely you and therefore, makes your business unique from any other. Be sure to include that with any type of marketing you use and you’ll be halfway to one of marketing’s biggest stumbling blocks – distinguishing yourself from the competition.

2.) Content marketing
This one is also really easy and applies to your website. Simply make sure that any content that goes on your website, blog, or social media is dynamic, interesting, and helpful to visitors, and they’ll be back to check it out again at a later point in time. It’s that easy.

3.) Use social media
Social media has done many great things for our world, and it’s done many great things for businesses too. While businesses once had to go to great time and expense to tell their customers about something new, today it’s super easy to tell them – simply hop onto Twitter or Facebook!

4.) Utilize SEO
The best way to tell people about your website is to simply utilize great SEO tactics. Simply know how to use keywords and backlinks on your website and it will be the search engines that actually do the marketing for you and bring customers to your website.

5.) Pay-per-click
Pay-per-click is perhaps one of the most common forms of advertising on the web. Simply purchase ads that will be displayed on other web pages, such as Google or Facebook, and you’ll get paid every time someone clicks on them and is taken to your site. Be warned that PPC alone won’t get you the results you’re looking for. Customers will need dynamic content greeting them on the other end if you want them to stick around.

6.) Reputation marketing
This is something that is lesser known than using SEO and PPC advertising. With reputation marketing, a business simply asks customers to review their product or service and collects these reviews over time. They can be posted on the site, or on third-party review sites.

7.) Go outside of banner ads
There are sites such as BuzzFeed that allow businesses to market their products or services. Typically these advertisements do look different than other content on the site, but users prefer them over other types of advertising such as banner ads (which users find really annoying.)

8.) Be creative
With even more businesses popping up today and surrounding customers everywhere they go from their daily lives to online, they’re getting tired of seeing and hearing the same old thing. Be creative, think outside of the box, and inject that passion and ingenuity that had you start up the business in the first place.

9.) Make sure customers are really happy
This sounds like common sense, but ensuring customers’ happiness is about more than just delivering the promised product at the guaranteed time. Go out of your way to make your customers really happy; go above and beyond. That will ensure that they come back next time they need your product or service.

10.) Be diverse
Online marketing is great, but make sure you’re involved in many kinds of it (SEO, PPC, content marketing, etc.) so that you diversify as much as possible. Also in terms of diversification, don’t forget about including traditional forms of marketing such as TV and radio if your business needs it.
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