7 Ways to Make Your Readers Eager to Link

The biggest reason blog readers don’t leave comments – or click away before they’ve even finished your blog post or article – is because you haven’t given them any new ideas to chew on… or any reason.

Your readers are also investors, and investors need to be convinced the venture they’re going spend their hard-earned time on is worth it.

If you’re like me, however, there are definitely times when you feel as if you’ve said it all a million times. There’s nothing left to blog about that excites you. It’s just another chore that has to be performed.

Here are 7 ways I jolt myself out of Writer’s Blahh, when I’m feeling too dull to blog. And I discovered – quite by accident – it’s also a great way to give your readers a genuine reason to leave their linkback!

1. Climb the fence and switch sides. For example, if you always blog about the necessity of keyword research, find all the reasons keyword research doesn’t do the trick – and blog about that!

2. Take a shortcut. One of my favorite shortcuts is to visit Scribd.com, and read something interesting – and timely – from their “Trending” section. The beauty of this lies in the fact that what’s being trended is popularity and user driven – which means it’s currently on people’s minds. And if what you’ve read that’s so interesting doesn’t relate to your niche, I guarantee that if you write your own posts at all, it will still most likely spark an idea – a tangent, perhaps; but something related to your readership, and a new, fresh thought for you.

3. Reverse-engineer a “family story”. But first, think of your family favorites. Which one resonates with you? What principle does it deal with, and why do you care enough to write? Answer this question – then briefly illustrate it with the anecdote. People are more likely to identify with a story than a lecture – and so are you!

4. Relax. Not every post is going to generate tons of links. Some are like the foundations of a building: They’re laying the groundwork for the second post… or the third… It’s more important to be real and keep your focus on your reader. Ask yourself: “Why does this relate to him?” – make it a habit as much as writing from a relaxed viewpoint.

5. Piggyback-post. The most effective way to do this is to take a hot topic currently under blog discussion, and summarize 4 or 5 top arguments on other blogs, crediting the authors. Not only can this provoke an immediate linkback from the (top-level) author in question, people will find it more authoritative (if you’re relatively new to the game) than your personal opinion… and the hot topic has already been identified for you.

6. Look for the Gaps. Just as you would when assessing the competition’s products prior to creating your own, look for the “gaps” your competitors are leaving in their post

7. Read Authority Blog Comments. Sometimes you can get great ideas for new blogging subjects in reader comments – particularly when it’s a hot topic. And using the “keywords” their comments generate is a great way to invite traffic over to your “house”.

So there you have it – 7 ways to engage your next blog visitor. Try it for yourself – and see if these tactics don’t generate the side benefit of links!

Keyword Research: Don’t forget the obvious!

While there certainly are effective keyword research tools to use when trying to develop an effective and appropriate keyword list for your website, it is critical to perform research beyond these specific Internet tools in order to be most effective.

You will first need to develop a basic list of keywords that you think are “obvious”. In other words, if you sell cars, you would create a list of words like “cars, automobiles, trucks, car sales, etc.” But, beyond the obvious are terms like “trade-in value, car repair, foreign car reliability, etc.” It is critical to think “outside the box” when approaching your keyword list.

Sometimes, we forget to look in the most obvious places when trying to develop our keywords. For instance, a thesaurus can be an incredibly useful resource when trying to generate an effective list of keywords.

A thesaurus, while limited in its capabilities, does provide the ability to find multiple synonyms for the keywords that you think might be appropriate to employ. Rather than depend on your own limitations, take the time to research synonyms that you may not have otherwise thought of.

You may also want to take a look at the competition. Your competitors will most likely provide you with some of the best keywords out there. Be careful not to directly copy their approach, as this won’t do you any good when trying to top the rankings within your industry, but researching competitors keywords can be a great launching pad as you develop your keyword list and implement an effective, competitive SEO campaign.

Finally, beyond the thesaurus, competition analysis and keyword research tools, you must be strategic. You must invest time and energy into carefully selecting keywords that are realistic to top and will be most effective for targeting your audience.

Think like a customer, not a business owner. You may want to ask family, friends, peers and colleagues, even customers, what they might search for when looking for your business services and/or products. They may come up with very different keywords than you ever would have on your own. Sometimes it can be difficult to step outside of your own thoughts about your business because you eat, sleep and breathe what you do. But what others have to say in terms of keywords is usually much more useful and effective than anything you could ever think of.

Also, think like a search engine, not a website owner. While keywords are subjective, they must also be technically strategic. A search engine, although wise, is not a human. So make sure you are aware of current rankings, popularity of search terms and attainability of keywords. This is where those keyword research tools really do come in handy.

And finally, manage your keyword and SEO efforts on a weekly, if not daily basis. Keywords are like children. They require constant care, management and direction. So take your SEO efforts into your own hands and make sure your keywords are effective and working for you as well. You must be committed to this process if you want it to succeed.

Affiliate Marketing Strategies

The most successful affiliate marketers have several things in common such as having chosen a narrow niche, know their target market intimately, know their product and have used it, have studied and implemented search engine optimization strategies, and they promote more than one product but all the products are within their niche. The other factor that creates successful affiliates is that they keep up to date and learning about their career and they never give up.

Choose a niche – Before you get started in affiliate marketing pick a niche in order to be able to target your market narrowly. In affiliate marketing, smaller is better. The more focused and targeted your niche the better able you are to fill needs within your niche and offer products that they want to buy. Ask yourself questions before picking a product to add to your offerings: What need does this fill? Is the price right for my target market? Does it stray outside my niche?

Know your products — If you are promoting too many products it’s hard for you to try them all and know whether or not they actually work as promised. It is imperative to your success that every product you promote is as full of integrity as you are. Your audience will come to know that the products you create, promote and recommend do what they say they will. In some cases you can ask for a sample product, and in others you may have to purchase the product and try it out before you promote it. Usually if you’re going to promote an entire line of products trying one or two to ensure quality is all that is needed.

Practice good SEO – SEO stands for “search engine optimization” which speaks to the activities that attract traffic to your websites and blogs by optimizing your site for the search engines. The term SEO encompasses how you code your site, how you title your articles and blogs, how you title the pages of your site, what content you include and the keywords you choose and how you involve yourself with social media.

Keep educating yourself – The industry is ever-changing and it is important to keep updated on emerging technology, changing search algorithms, new products and services as well as laws within your niche and the overall field of affiliate marketing. There is one caveat to this and that is once you learn something practice enacting it before you start learning something else. You don’t want to be distracted by “shiny object syndrome”.

Don’t Stop – Earning money at affiliate marketing is not an overnight get rich quick scheme. Affiliate marketing is a real, viable career that you can do from home, in your free time to get started and then eventually fulltime as your main money making activity. But, it takes time, so don’t stop and give it time to work. How long it will take completely depends on how much time you devote. For some, an hour a day for a year or more might be it, for others 8 hours a day might mean success sooner.

Mobile Website Branding

If you are focused on branding your business, remember that your mobile website can help – or hurt – this process.

What is “branding” exactly? The practice of creating an instantly recognizable site, logo, color scheme or any other visual “cue” that helps viewers identify it instantly with your product or business.

If you’ve set things up properly, the advantages you can expect to reap from branding are:

Your customer knows who you are and what you’re about
What to expect in quality, service and price
Whether or not he is your favored target market (and if he is, he tends to stay loyal!)

You need a strategy, if you decide to focus on branding. You need ideas and methods to keep your sites and products in front of the public eye.

Coca-Cola’s distinctive red-and-white colors are as much a part of its branding as its actual logo. Even when small details change, the overall feel stays the same.

The Coca-Cola polar bears are instantly recognizable as part of that brand. Their graphic representation taps into 2 key elements of strong branding:

– Consistency
– Repetition

Even though you don’t want heavy graphics with a mobile website, small graphic elements that instantly remind people of your brand will work well. Allowing your branding to remain even through your mobile sites ensures:

1. Potential customers think of you, the moment they see those graphic elements on their mobiles

2. Potential customers know instantly what they’re going to get – they develop either a positive or negative emotion when they see your name or logo

3 Repetition of positive feelings brings trust – and a willingness to entertain your offers

4. Trust brings purchases – and develops repeat customers, who remain loyal for as long as you remain consistent

So don’t neglect your branding (if that’s relevant to your business strategy) when you decide to go mobile.

It can help boost your credibility more than you might ever realize, or think!

Delegate Your Way to More Time

You can’t really get more time in a day. Time is one of those limited resources that you cannot create more of, or get back after you have wasted it. There are 8760 hours in a year, but we have to subtract out hours for sleeping, which we’ll make an average of 8 hours a night which leaves 5840 hours. Take out 48 hrs a week for family time, and you have 3344 hours left, take out a two week vacation and you have a total of 3004 hours remaining. Most yearly salaries are figured on working 2080 hours a year. We all know business owners tend to work double this at about 4160 hours a year. If you look at the numbers, it becomes clear something is suffering, and more than likely it’s you and your family and possibly even your business.

A great aspect of owning your own business is that you can always delegate tasks to others. Even if you don’t have employees it is possible to delegate some tasks virtually as well as delegate household tasks to other family members or hire some household help. If hiring someone, whether they come to your business, or whether they are virtual contractors, or whether they clean your house it automatically frees up your time.

One of the issues with delegating often ends up being an erroneous fear of the financial costs. But you have to look at this outside of the immediate financial cost and figure out how much your time is worth. Remember, you can’t get it back, and you need more of it because you need to be able to do all the things you dreamed of doing when you became a business owner. A good rule of thumb when outsourcing any type of task, is that if it costs less than you can earn in your core money making activity to outsource, then you’re better off outsourcing. If you can get it done free by family members, so much the better.

We all want to be a superhero, but if you try that route eventually something will end up not done, or not done well. This is not good for your business reputation, and when it comes to letting family fall through the cracks the consequences can be disastrous. Fortunately, one of the secret methods of time management that all kinds of business owners use is to outsource and delegate. Even if you can’t technically get more time in a day, you can feel like you have more time if you’re not doing everything alone.

Try making a list of some of the non-core business activities you do each day. Non-core activities are the tasks that you don’t make most of your money from. If you have a business store front, obviously you may need to be there, but do you need to be there from open to close, or can you hire someone to cover some of the less busy hours? If you work from home as a bookkeeper you don’t want to outsource the bookkeeping, but you may want to outsource some housework. Of course if you wanted to have an entire firm of bookkeepers, eventually you can hire other bookkeepers when your business is busy enough. Don’t forget to involve your family by delegating tasks at home. The sky is the limit when you start realizing how you can outsource and delegate.

Are You Missing Passive Income Opportunities Right Under Your Nose?

When it comes to passive income opportunities, you’ve already got your plan in place. You’re a new marketer, so you’re go with the most inexpensive option for your product – a digital eBook. You plan to pay Clickbank’s $50 one-time publisher’s fee, and place your product there. Clickbank provides your affiliate program management, as well as your payment processor, so you don’t have to manage either. And you’ve covered the last base by learning how to legally, effectively cloak your hoplink.

Let’s run over your checklist…

Domain name
Sales Page
Affiliate banner ads and code

You’ve even paid for a professionally designed header and some graphics. And you’ve already started to publicize your new eBook on social networks and forums.

In fact, you’re all set, and ready to go!

Or Are You?

There is one more question you need to ask yourself:

Have I made the most of every opportunity to squeeze more passive income out of my subject?

Until you’ve considered every option, you’re leaving money behind that could be pouring into your bank account! You could easily upsell at check-out point by offering your eBook as a physical product. Companies like Kunaki can produce your CD or DVD on an “as-ordered” basis, shipped directly to the customer. Your base cost, at time of writing, is $1.75 per CD!

If your actual cost (including shipping) is $1.75, and you offer the CD version at checkout for $10.00 (including shipping), you could maximize your passive income from that one sale point by a profit of $8.25 per CD! (Kunaki can create videos and DVD’s too.)

There’s no good reason to leave unmined sources of income behind at every sale. Find out all the details at Kunaki – and decide if creating a physical upsell product is a viable idea for you.

Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing there are things you should do and things you should avoid. Like any endeavor that you embark upon on your own you will need to have a self-starting attitude, the ability to make a commitment, and perseverance. Since you’ve endeavored to start a business I am pretty sure that you’re a self-starter, but are you able to make a commitment persevere and avoid making these mistakes?

Don’t reinvent the wheel – You’ve probably heard that one before, but you’d be surprised at how many people believe they can succeed in affiliate marketing by not doing what successful people before them are doing. Instead, they insist on making the same mistakes the people who have succeed made and failed at before they succeeded. Winning strategies and tactics already exist in affiliate marketing, follow them and you too will succeed.

Don’t invest in content – Aside from products, content is your next most important aspect of marketing your affiliate products. Without investing in content via your time to write the content, or via dollars to buy original, unique and well written content, then you may as well not even bother trying to be an affiliate marketer. Content is and will always be king, whether it is written, audio or video or a combination of the three.

Don’t promote products you’ve used – This is one of the hardest aspects of affiliate marketing but you should have used the products in order to honestly promote them. If you haven’t seen a free preview copy, or you haven’t used it, then you shouldn’t promote it. How can you know the product is good if you’ve never seen it? If you promote a line of products such as children’s clothing it is okay to purchase or get some free samples and then promote the entire line, but if you’re promoting a specific program and you’ve not bought it, you really can’t expect others to spend money you’re not willing to spend.

Don’t understand SEO – Search engine optimization is your friend and it encompasses, all content on all your sites, sales pages, and article marketing articles, as well a the code on your site such as the meta tags, title tags, and alt tags on photographs. Every aspect of your marketing efforts should consider SEO which also involves keyword research and even social media marketing.

Don’t stick to a niche – If you try to work in too many areas you’ll get lost. Pick a narrow niche, and a few products that fill needs of your targeted niche and you’ll do a lot better in affiliate marketing. Casting a wide marketing net does not work in Internet marketing or any type of marketing. In a university marketing class one of the first things learned is about getting to know the target market intimately to the point you know exactly what they need, what they want, and how you can give it to them.

Don’t stay the course – Many people who get involved in affiliate marketing get distracted easily by new programs, new products, and new information. Instead, it is important that you stay the course and stick to one product at a time within your niche until you are making money, then move on to the next and at the most promote about four or five products or product lines at a time.

Market Your Blog with Social Networking

Social network marketing is becoming the way to market in this day and age of the Internet. With the Internet, businesses are able to reach people throughout the world with their products and services and social networking is the key to reaching more and more people.

If you are not familiar with social networking on the Internet, here is a little explanation. Social networking is basically interacting with other people on the Internet through various sites and platforms.

How to make social networking work for you consists of a few key elements. When you incorporate them into your business marketing plan your business traffic will increase and more traffic means more sales.

First of all, you need to know which social networks are popular and join them. Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Delicious and Stumble Upon are all huge right now with millions of members each from all over the world. Obviously you don’t want to, and won’t be able to, reach all of them, so you will want to target specific groups or persons; basically you want to reach all of the people who are going to be interested in what you have to sell or offer. Which brings me to my next point.

Next you will need to know your target market. Is your target market work at home moms, men, women, single people, mother’s, dad’s, etc? Once you know your target market, begin connecting with them by adding them as a friend or follower. It helps to know one person in your target market who is already a member of the social network to introduce you to new people in your niche.

One thing you will find about social networks is there are millions of people. You will get people adding you that will never buy from you or become regular readers of yours, but they may be a friend or follower of someone else who will. But don’t add people simply to have a huge number of friends or followers. If that is your goal, then that is all you will have. The idea is to build relationships with these friends and followers so they get to know you and trust you and then perhaps they will become regular subscribers to your business blog.

Using Graphics on Your Mini Site

Mini sites are not known for being flashy. And there’s a good reason for that. Too much flash and splash detracts from the message you’re trying to get across. And when your site is made up of only one or a few pages, your message must get through quickly.

But as we all know, a page full of plain old text isn’t particularly appealing. And even if formatting is used to make certain things stand out, a bright and prominent graphic does a much better job of drawing our attention. So even though graphics should be used sparingly on a mini site, it’s crucial to make sure that the graphics we do use are effective.

The first graphic people will see when they visit your mini site is your page header. It stands to reason that it should be attractive and captivating. It doesn’t have to be a complex work of art, but it should be brightly colored and include the name of your product. A few more words might be in order, but don’t go overboard. The headline will provide more detailed information about what you have to offer.

Most mini sites have a bulleted list somewhere on the page. They are bulleted because they contain important information, such as your product’s key benefits or what’s included with it. So attention-getting bullets in bright colors are good things to have.

And then there are your buttons and boxes. Boxes are used to bring things like testimonials and calls to action to the reader’s attention. The most commonly used button is the order button, and that should definitely stand out.

A mini site is not the place for a graphic design exhibition (unless, of course, you’re selling graphics). The graphics used should be prominent and professional looking, yet not so fancy that they take the visitor’s attention away from the text.

Social Media interactions influence your client’s perception

Have you ever thought about what happens when you “like” something? Well, that depends on your Facebook privacy settings. If you don’t have your settings correct then anyone can see that you liked something. That may not seem like a problem except that, as Dr. Phil says, “Perception is reality”.

If your client sees that you liked something that is offensive to them, be it cute underwear, a political statement, or a humorous meme, they might quietly end their relationship with you, but they might also publically admonish you for your choices. Now, that’s not to say that you do not have a right to your own opinions, but you also have a right to privacy. Why would you want business relationships to know everything about you, inside and out, like your family does?

Outside of taking a supportive stand for a charity that everyone will love, it’s very important to take back your privacy on your social media accounts. Not only should you not share every moment of your day and every personal milestone of your children and dogs with business associates on social media, you should not bombard your family and friends with business type announcements.

It’s okay to share a few personal things with your business associates, like a child getting an academic award, or graduating or getting married. But, you probably don’t want to share when your boy tee-tees in the closet, or that picture of you drinking the super sized giant margarita in Vegas at your sister’s bachelorette party.

Create separate business social media accounts and private social media accounts. Learn how to use the technology on each type of social media account you set up so that you can properly monitor and protect your privacy. When participating in social media always consider the consequences of every share, every like, and every comment.

Remember that when it comes to business your business comments, updates and shares should be focused and have a reason for being as well as a call to action. If it doesn’t then you should think twice before posting. Any communications that you participate in on social media in the name of your business needs to have that focus.

On your personal social media accounts you have a different reason of being there. Your reason for being there is to keep family and friends up to date on your personal life, and to keep up to date on theirs. Grandma probably loves seeing updates about little Billy’s t-ball games, but she probably doesn’t care much about your most recent product promotion or sale.

Your interactions with others on social media will influence your clients in one way, or another. If they can’t see it, it can’t influence them. You want to use social media to highlight the greatness of your business, the products and services you offer your clients, and not yourself.

Creditability is a hard thing to get back after it’s lost and many a social media user, innocent as they may be, have used social media in a way that caused them to lose that standing. Don’t make that mistake; keep your business and personal lives separate on social media. You have a right to do that.