Three WordPress Plug-ins for Better SEO

One of the easiest ways to get a head start up the search engine results is to use WordPress as the foundation for your website. It’s extremely search engine friendly and there are several plug-ins to help you boost your results and traffic. Here are three WordPress SEO plug-ins to consider.

1. All in One SEO Pack

The All In One SEO Pack, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/ is one of the most popular SEO plug-ins and has more than 30,000 downloads. A comprehensive solution, it covers the basics and lets you set page titles, meta tags, keywords, and descriptions automatically.

Here are just some of the features and functions:

* Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines

* Generates META tags automatically

* Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs

* For beginners, you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.

* For advanced users, you can fine-tune everything

* You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.

2. Google Positioner

Google Positioner, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-google-seo-positioner/, actually tells you which keywords are getting searched for on your blog. This is a great analytics tool because it’ll help you hone in on the most popular and useful keywords for your readers. Thus enabling you to focus on what they are searching for. This plug-in coupled with Google Analytics empowers you to have all the information you need to make strategic business decisions.

3. SEO Smart Links

Smart Links, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seo-automatic-links/, automatically links keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog. More than 100,000 downloads, this is a highly rated plug-in. Your internal linking structure is one of the key elements search engines look for when analyzing and ranking your website. Manually creating these internal links takes hours of your valuable time. SEO Smart Links does it automatically.

These amazing plug-ins and many more are why many website builders choose WordPress. When trying to get to the top of the search engine results, it’s smart to use every tool available to you.

Grow your online business through outsourcing

At some point in your online business, you’ll get to a point where you either have to accept that you can’t make more money than you do right now ( if you still want a life), or you will break through the wall and start outsourcing certain portions of your business to contractors who are experts in their field. The honest fact is, you cannot really do everything yourself. No businessperson runs his or her business alone and even though you have an online business, there is no reason why you should be forced to do everything alone either.

Most businesses outsource to people like accountants, bookkeepers, cleaning staff and more. But a bricks and mortar business often hires staff to be the receptionist, the secretary, web designers, content writers and other staff that can actually be outsourced to independent contractors for the most part. This is especially true if you have an online business where you do not have foot traffic coming in your door. There is no reason to have onsite staff. You can outsource almost every aspect of your business that doesn’t need “you”, to independent contractors.

By this, no one is saying that not every aspect of your business needs you. Of course, you are the one who has to approve everything that is done, and put your name on everything that comes out of your business. However, honestly, you don’t need to do everything. Therefore, you must decide what parts of your business need the most of your input. What parts of your business can be completed by others? What part needs your special touch? Write a list of every business task you do during a day, a week, a month and a year. Highlight the tasks that only you can do. Now, find people to whom you can outsource the rest.

It also helps if you get your procedures organized and written out in a sort of standard operating procedures (SOP) manual. Your SOP will include what needs to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis and who is responsible for each task. In addition, it will include the expected results, directions if needed, user names, passwords and any other information needed. The best way to keep this up to date is with some sort of online file or project manager so that if one person updates the file then it’s updated for everyone who may be using that file. Once you have this together you can separate duties up and give access only to those who need access.

To find vendors and contractors you can go to places like Shelancers.com, Odesk.com, Guru.com, eLance.com, Fiverr.com, and many other places on the net. One of the best places to find vendors is from recommendations from other online business owners. Most people will not give you a personal recommendation unless they really know that the person they are recommending will do a good job. Nevertheless, sometimes it is good to go out on your own to try to find the perfect person or people to outsource the tasks you need completed. The important thing is to move forward, and invest in your business and yourself so that you can grow your online business and move to the next level.

Separating Personal from Professional on Social Media

Social media is used both professionally and privately. People use it for sharing news about grandchildren, personal milestones, and to market their business. It’s easy to start off with good intentions to keep your personal social media separate from your business social media, and then have it all somehow go awry.

Personal friends follow your business account, and business associates follow your personal accounts. Before you know it you have a hodgepodge of followers on each account, and you get off track with your message on both. Next thing you know, you say something on your personal Facebook page that insults and offends your business acquaintances. Or, your friends get irritated with your constant business promotions.

If you’ve already mixed things up, it’s time to separate your accounts and clean things up. Announce to your friends as well as your business acquaintances that you want to separate personal from professional because you value their time and respect them as individuals. It’s probably okay if your friends want to keep following your business, but unless you’re positive you’re really friends with business associates its best not to mix business with pleasure.

This is especially true if you happen to involve yourself on a personal level with the three things that should not be spoken about in mixed company: Religion, Politics and Money. It may seem fun to engage in friendly debate, but with some people it could severely damage your reputation. It could hurt your business. Let’s be frank, there are people who won’t do business with those who disagree with them on these three topics. It may not be right, but it’s a fact.

To protect your business either do not participate in these debates on social media at all or at least try to keep them very separate. Start with creating separate accounts for each of your social media accounts that you wish to use for both personal and professional reasons. When posting on your business accounts ask yourself whether or not your post aligns with your business goals and your target audience.

Create a social media marketing plan for your business related social media accounts so that you’re not tempted to post about the last time your child went tee-tee. Every post you make on social media in relation to your business should have a focus and a call to action. If you don’t have a reason for making a post then it’s best that you don’t make it.

One thing great about having separate accounts is that you can be freer on your other social media as long as it’s the type of account where you can block people, as well as block search engines. Because, remember that people will Google you. People who want to do business with you or hire you for a project typically search on Twitter and Facebook too. If they can find you, and see things that they don’t like, no matter how good you are in your business they make not choose you.

Use one site to update all your social media

ping.fm

yoono

Gizapage is another promising aggregator. It says it’s an integrated social hub bringing together your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and more so that you can share with all networks at the same time, and you can pick and choose which networks too. It also lets you view your full profile from one spot. The problem with it is that you have to ask for a quote. It looks really great but that automatically makes me think it will be expensive. I put in for a quote but haven’t heard anything yet.

Social aggregators aren’t new, they’ve been around as long as social media has been around. If you do a Google search on social media aggregators you’re likely to find a lot of them both working and defunct. You’ll find free aggregators, and premium fee based services. They come and go so choose a popular one that is widely used so that you don’t have to start over. Part of using an aggregator is to save time. Setting one up takes some time and work but is worth it in the end so no matter which one you choose definitely make sure you do choose one in order to stop wasting time duplicating tasks.

Selling upgrades to your free app

Once you get into the iPhone app business you will discover many ways to make money. First you can make money giving away useful and / or fun applications that are ad or sponsor supported, then you can offer an upgrade that offers an ad free version with a bit more functionality than the free version. You can even advertise your upgrade via the free application so that users are aware that they can get the newer, ad free app by upgrading. This a great way to tap into more revenue from existing customers.

In marketing this is referred to as: Mining your existing customers. Coined by Reverend Russell Conwell and is just as useful for you to know about today as it was in the past. Your best chance to sell more is via your current or past clients. If they’ve bought from you before you have a huge chance to have them buy from you again. Therefore offering an improved version of a previous iPhone app to people who already have the other version can increase your bottom line exponentially.

The other term that you should be aware of is: Cross selling and Up-selling. This means that you have a way to tell all your customers about what you offer outside of what they’ve already bought from you. Cross selling refers to the idea of selling additional products or services to those who have already bought from you. Up-selling refers to the practice of offering bigger ticket items or upgrades and add-ons to a product at the time of or immediately after purchase. Offering a short term sale to a client who just purchased from you is a classic method of up-selling.

Whether you call it mining, up-selling or cross selling it is imperative that you market to your current and past clients to get the most for your marketing dollar. By ignoring the people who have already bought from you, you’re leaving too much money on the table. You can market to your current clients in a variety of ways such as via a newsletter where you offer specials to just your past and present clients. You can do this via customer appreciation days, special iPhone applications for only clients, and percents off coupons. However, you choose to do it, selling upgrades to your free iPhone apps will increase your bottom line exponentially.

Website Tools to Help You Capture More Leads

Autoresponders — You probably already have one, but you may not be using it to its full potential if you don’t understand everything that it can do. We’re talking software like Aweber.com, GetResponse.com, MailChimp.com and others. Just having it won’t capture leads; you have to also know how to use it properly.

Contact & Subscription Forms — Many autoresponder or email list services provide templates for generating forms, but you can also use other form services such as Formstack.com, Google Docs, and Formsite.com. You can go beyond what’s premade on your autoresponder and use your own.

Customer Relationship Management Software — No matter how badly you want it to be your autoresponder software and email list management software is not the same thing as a customer relationship management tool. Many CRMs work with your email list providers to create a better way to manage your customer relationships. Look at Insightly.com, Zoho CRM, and others. You can also look at systems that do both like Infusionsoft.com.

Google Hangouts On Air — This is a fabulous way to get the word out about a new product, service or event that you’re having. There is a lot to learn about Google Hangouts so you may need to do some practice runs or find an expert to help you but it’s a great way to connect with your audience pushing more leads to your website.

WordPress Plugins — A few that can help you bring in traffic, capture leads, convert leads and more are: WordPress Leads, WordPress landing Pages, OptinMonster.com, magicboxplugin.com and wp-livechat.com. Honestly, there are so many WP plugins that you can use to optimize your website for capturing leads that you can’t really list them all here. Start with these.

Canva.com — This is a nifty graphics generator that you can use for free with your own pictures, or use some of theirs for just a buck each, to generate terrific graphics for social media, presentations, blog graphics, Facebook covers and more. The reason this is so important is that you need to include visuals with your blog posts and social media updates to get noticed today. This makes it super simple.

Split Testing — You’ve hopefully heard of this but if you really want to improve your lead conversion rates so that you really can turn your website into a money maker, then you’ll need to practice split testing or A / B testing. You can use a variety of means to do this such as creating slightly different landing pages to see which one converts best, or different sign up forms, or offer different gifts. Practice makes perfect.

Finally, as they say: “Nothing is done until the paperwork is complete.” That’s true for your websites too. You must study your analytics to find out if what you’re doing is enough to get conversions. It’s good to know what is working and what is not working and you can’t know that without looking at and drilling down into the numbers. You can find out most of what you need to know using the free Google Analytics software available to all webmasters.

7 Tasks Online Business Owners Can Easily & Quickly Outsource

As an online business owner, you’ve probably heard the term “outsourcing” more than once. Outsourcing is a great way to expand your business while freeing up your own time and saving money too. But, what exactly can you get help with in your business and how will it help? Keep reading for seven tasks that can easily and quickly be handed off to someone else allowing you to focus on more important things in your business and personal life.

Content Creation – Ahh the basis of all websites, content is a necessity if you want your prospects to actually find you on the Internet. Hiring a ghostwriter to produce content such as articles, special reports, eBooks, and more is one of the best ways to grow your business and free up your time.

Article Marketing – Submitting your articles to directories is very time consuming but another necessity to grow your business. You can find a virtual assistant who specializes in article submissions for very little costs.

Graphic Design – The majority of people aren’t born with the gift of artistic ability. If you’re one too, outsourcing graphic work is a god-send. No more spending hours trying to put together a professional looking graphic that turns out blurry or just plain stinks.

Technical Tasks – Technical stuff isn’t my best friend. As a matter of fact, many online business owners have a fear of the techie side of their business and for good reason. In one click you can lose it all if you don’t know what you’re doing. Save yourself from the possible heartache by hiring someone who specializes in this area to maintain your website or create software for you.

Bookkeeping/Tax Preparation – Most of us dislike the numbers side of business (unless of course your business is bookkeeping). Unless it’s the numbers making it into our pockets we just don’t have an interest in the figures. Save yourself a lot of heartache at tax time and hire a bookkeeper. Then when your accountant asks for your annual information you can simply hand it over!

Customer Service – Many online marketers have a hard time letting go of this part of their business, but in all actuality it serves more than one purpose. You no longer spend an entire day replying to or checking your email. Even better, you aren’t emotionally attached to the responses you might receive. When you’re that close to the action words can hurt. If you let someone who is not so vested in your business, you’ll only see the things necessary for your input. Let the haters have their say, now you don’t have to let it get you down.

Website Design & Maintenance – Do you have a vision for your website, but have no idea how to make it real? Let a professional handle it. No need to learn every little detail in order to keep your site maintained or even created from scratch.

These are only 7 of the many, many tasks that can easily be outsourced to someone else. Take a minute to think of the things you could use a hand with or just want to be relieved of in your business and start researching people who can help you get them done. Once you start removing things from your plate, you can then focus on the things you enjoy doing in your business – the things that an owner should be centering their attention on.

Get to know your backend

Getting to know your backend shouldn’t be too difficult – your product line is already in place, your business is established and you have had success with a decent customer base… But are those customers bringing you repeat business?

If they are, you have been lucky. But don’t depend on that sort of luck to stay with you through thick and thin. You have to strategize and work hard to keep those customers coming back for more, and you can do this without ever sending them another sales pitch – or at least not inadvertently.

So how do you do it?

How do you sell to your customers without blatantly selling to them?

You apply proven backend sales strategies that will help grow your business and your bottom line. There are a number of tried and true approaches to take, but the most important part of making back end sales strategies work for you, is understanding why and how they work in the first place.

First things first, you should carefully consider your options when selecting an e-commerce solution. Be sure it offers a scalable solution as well as one that provides opportunity to sell on the backend. In other words, you should have the ability to automatically insert specific information that appears once a customer has made their purchase. In addition, this information can be used each time the customer logs in, in the future.

For example, if a customer purchases an e-book on how to manage a successful affiliate marketing campaign, that information is then logged and stored in a database, which automatically populates their check-out session with related products. When that same customer returns a month later, their information is triggered and they are directed to products and offerings that suit their buying history.

If you have a repeat customer who is always interested in the topic of viral marketing, then their profile will reflect that, showcasing products that fall under that topic umbrella. Trending is important to take note of, and a properly designed database will help you do just that.

Once your e-commerce solution is in place, you will need to focus on the customer. In fact, you should always be focused on the customer.

Engage your customers before they ever even enter your site through enticing linking campaigns, social media and viral marketing. Once they are on your site, your quality products and first-class offerings should immediately intrigue them. Employ classic marketing techniques, creative language and lead them through the site in an intuitive manner.

If a customer finds your site easy to use, easy to navigate and welcoming, they are likely to return time and time again.

Customers are, after all, the driving force of your business, so you must cater to them on a professional and somewhat emotional level. `Backend sales strategies are about more than making a sale. They are about engaging the customer through important calls to action. Showcase your robust product line like never before by putting a quality e-commerce solution in place that will not only help with the check-out process, but will allow you to grow and enhance your business while simultaneously improving the user experience.

5 Ways to Distribute Your Content for Free

Once you have your content ready for people to read and use, you need to make sure they are able to find it. There are a number of ways to get this accomplished for a price but there are also ways to get your content distributed free. Here are five ways to distribute your content that won’t cost you anything at all.

1. Social Networking – Social networking is the hottest promotional tool available online at this time. There are a lot of sites such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Digg and others who have opened up a world of marketing for online businesses. Through these tools you can establish trust, expertise and gain a sold following of people who want to know what you think and can do for them.

2. Article Directories – These sites are comprised of article listings written by just about anyone and on any subject. The articles are placed specifically for use on these types of sites. They rank well on search engines because they rely heavily on SEO and also provide links back to your website. This is another great and free way to show your expertise and knowledge in your chosen field thus bringing more people to you and your site.

3. Blogging – Blogging is probably one of the most useful ways to bring someone to your information and website, specifically, guest blogging on other websites. Doing this can increase your exposure to an increasing number of people as you are able to link your information in your blog posts. The owner of the blog can also promote your site by placing links to your site around their blog. You can also offer to swap posts with other blogs and increase your traffic by bringing their followers to your site.

4. Give it Away on Your Website – One of the easiest ways to distribute your content is to offer it as a free bonus on your website. Everyone loves getting something for nothing, so package your content as a PDF or even an audio download and let your site visitors download it for nothing. Don’t even ask for an email address in exchange. Instead, just give it as a gift and you’ll generate good will.

5. Using Local Listing Services – This tactic is especially useful if you have an offline business with an online presence. Google and other search engines have local area listings, so when someone does a local search they will find your website. This increases your chances of being closer to the top of the first page in search engine results. This is a great way to increase your online visibility with absolutely no cost to you. When local customers find your website, they will be even more likely to look to you for their information needs, which will in turn lead to more sales.

The biggest tip is to never stop the process of using new content to promote your business. There are always new ways to get your name out there, but providing free content that solves a problem for your customer will never go out of style.

Why Membership?

People often ask me, why is membership marketing so important? To me, it’s simple. It makes so much sense and yet, it is often a missed opportunity by so many internet marketers and online business owners.

The real question, in my opinion, should be… Why not?

At the very foundation of membership marketing is the idea of loyalty. You gain loyalty by building loyalty. In other words, you will attract loyal customers, and ultimately gain revenue, by offering a loyal – or reliable – product.

Membership marketing is merely a natural extension of your business. Or should be at least. It shouldn’t be hard or complicated. It should be easy to build, easy to manage and easy to succeed.

Yes, of course you are already busy managing your business. But think of how great it would be to secure customers for months, if not years at a time. Think of how wonderfully confident you would be if you knew you did not have to worry about where your next sale will come from or how much time and money you have to spend to find your next customer. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Membership marketing is like job security. You secure your customers, therefore you secure revenue and hopefully, if you do it right, you will secure the future success of your business.

Membership marketing is so important because it can and will help your business grow in such a way that allows you to focus on providing quality products and service.