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.

Each Share Lives Forever: Keeping Business & Private Life Separate

Social media activities are one of those things, like a digital recording or photograph that can never be completely removed. Comments on discussion boards, photographs, and even “likes” can sometimes be deleted, but screen shots can be made, and a digital record can still be found online.

Now of course, you’re not doing anything illicit or wrong on social media. You’re just being yourself, sharing funny photos with friends, making the odd comment on politics, or issues of the day. Sharing recipes, and updates about the kids is fun. Nothing wrong with it – and the random occasional photo your best friend tagged you in where you’re dressed funny and drinking a super sized beverage — that isn’t too bad either.

Or is it?

The thing is, when it comes to business it’s important to realize that not all of your clients or future customers are going to want to see every aspect of your personal life displayed on social media. Others may want to take a look, but they might also end up accidentally offended or turned away from you. They might take something you “liked”, commented on, or forwarded wrong. Some, you will actually become true friends with. But, if you keep your social media accounts separated between personal and professional it’s really better.

The best way to make social media work well for your business is to become super focused. The only way to really be focused is to keep accounts separate. When you create separate accounts for your business you can create your profile, posts, and updates with your target audience in mind. Nothing goes out to your audience that doesn’t have a reason to go out, and a purpose as well as a call to action.

You will no longer have to worry that your personal life will accidentally offend someone if you set up your personal accounts properly using the security setting options. Often, you can even block your personal account from being searchable at all by the public. But, do keep in mind that free social media accounts can do pretty much whatever they want and change the rules mid stream so always post and comment on anything with thought.

But separating the accounts will be a good start to keeping your personal life and business life separate. Also just being more cognizant of how what you do can leave behind a footprint long after you think online. Even if you’ve made mistakes in the past, you can clean up the trail by ensuring that you only post thoughtfully.

Take the time to occasionally do a Google search on yourself and your business. Look at what pops up so that you’ll know whether you’re projecting the type of image you want to online. By taking the time to practice thought before posting, plus using proper security features provided on each social media account you’ll soon create the image you want to project and if you had anything you didn’t want to project before, it’ll be buried.

Make your “niche” something you love!

Niche marketing is about focusing your marketing efforts on a particular market segment, or “niche” and creating a product and/or service that speaks directly to that niche.

For example, the “pet” market is quite large. It includes all types of animals from mammals to amphibians. So, a segment of the pet market might be dogs. But a niche takes it one step further. A niche would be something more specific, like “West Highland Terriers” or “Golden Retrievers.”

Another example might be the “food” market. A segment of that market is “fruits and vegetables” and a niche would be “organic fruits”.

The list goes on and on and once you truly understand what a niche is, you can then begin to decide which niche is right for you. Niche marketing is all about doing what you love. That’s right! You get to make money by focusing your efforts on something you enjoy. Whether it’s hiking, cooking, painting or writing, you can create your niche marketing business on just about anything in the world.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out which niche market is right for you:

o Do you enjoy sports? If so, which one is your favorite?

o Do you enjoy reading? If so, what are your favorite kinds of books?

o What, if any, hobbies do you have? What hobbies do you wish you had?

o What was your favorite subject in school? What was your major in college?

o What is the one thing you think you do particularly well?

This line of questioning will help you hone in on your likes, dislikes, and what really stands out as a topic or area of interest for you. Once you realize what that is, make that your niche!

Does your Blog Need a Mobile WordPress Plug-in?

If you have a blog, don’t assume it will translate perfectly to mobile: Chances are, it has at least 2 columns, and runs ads, graphics and is set for a screen width that’s (at absolute minimum) 760 px wide.

Besides, even if it was able to load in and emerge with a readable format, you need to remember that many people are paying heavily for each megabyte downloaded on their mobiles (not to mention for the time)… and they’re not going to wait twenty minutes for all your graphics and plug-ins to load.

One superb and very user-friendly plug in is WordPress Mobile edition. If you can’t find it by searching the plug-in section via your blog Dashboard, you can easily download it from’s plug-in section. (It even allows comments – something that is often a problem.)

One word of caution: If you have one of the smaller mobile phones, avoid the popular Carrington theme recommended on the WordPress Mobile editions page.)

According to, this plug-in works particularly well on Blackberries, iPhones, Androids, touch phones, all wireless, and PDA.

Advertising, Anyone?

If you want to display ads, the Mippin Mobilize plug-in (also found at is a configuration-free plug in. It works by redirecting other mobile users to Mippin’s rendering of your blog. This is a nice plug-in, because it scales photographs to conform to your mobile site visitor’s screen width, and converts vides to 3G format.

Customization, Anyone?

If you’d rather customize your blog theme somewhat, a plug-in you might like is MobilePress. This one isn’t available at, but you can find it on its home site,

It’s biggest benefit: Allowing you to use customized themes, and it also allows specific themes for the iPhone, as well as the Opera Mini browser and Windows CE Mobile. (Surprisingly simple to install!)

So there you have it: 3 fantastic plug-ins to help your WordPress blog go mobile.

(Perhaps the new mobile technology is going to end up being easier to adapt to than we think!)

The First Steps for Starting a Membership Site of Your Own

A membership site is a website that provides information or services to those people who register and pay to be a member. Most membership sites bill their members on a monthly basis. Once someone signs up as a member, depending on the owner’s set up, they are automatically billed each month. Those who sign up to become members have access to member’s only information provided by the site owner on a regular basis.

In order to start a membership site of your own, you must first determine who your market is. Next, you’ll need to put together a product, service or other information your market is in need of. Remember, it must be valuable enough they will be willing to pay for it on a recurring basis.

Once you have this information it’s time to think about how you will receive and keep track of member payments for each billing cycle. Popular payment options for members include credit cards or Paypal. Clickbank is also a popular payment gateway for membership sites, since they’ve recently added a recurring billing feature for publishers. The payments are still made by your customer via a credit card or Paypal, but Clickbank deals with all the accounting for you. This saves you a lot of time each and every month. You receive your check after all returns and fees have been removed and that’s it.

Next you’ll need to determine which type of membership site software you want to use to manage your members, the content, and all the important confidential information such as logins, etc. that come with a membership site.

If you’re looking to save a bit of money with this step (some membership management software can be a bit pricey) one way you can handle how you offer your content and member access to it is to set up an email list. Each month send an email telling current members where to go in order to access their new information via a special link on your website.

Fast Article Writing: Tips For Getting Your Content Ready Under A Deadline

Although we’d all love to spend hours crafting each piece of content we write, the truth is that some of us work better under a deadline. If you need to get content written quickly then here are a few useful tips that won’t leave you sacrificing quality.

Always Outline Your Articles Beforehand

If you find it hard to get those articles written, an outline breaks it up into manageable chunks and makes sure that you get it done with minimal effort.

How to write an effective article outline:

* Write out around 2-4 subheadings for points you want to include in your article,

* Without thinking too much, make short notes under each subheading about what you could include,

* You might want to note down any helpful websites that you found in your research,

* Leave space for your introduction and conclusion, and perhaps write them at this stage if you’re confident about what the message of your article will be.

If you’re writing an article of around 500 words, each subheading would only need to be around 165 words long to reach that limit. Doesn’t breaking it down like that make it seem a lot easier?!

Writing the Article

Now it’s time to actually write the article. This should be easy, now that you have an outline! It could take as little as 15 minutes, especially after you have a bit of practice. That said, it’s always good to have a few other tricks up your sleeve to make your writing as fast as possible:

1) Set A Timer: Set a timer and just write until that timer ends. For example, say you have thirty minutes free before you have to go out. That thirty minutes is perfect for writing your article! And it isn’t daunting at all. After all, anyone can focus for just thirty minutes. Think how much better you’ll feel after that thirty minutes is up.

The chances are that if you can just get yourself to sit down and work solidly for that thirty minutes, you’ll get the article completed without any problems at all. If not, just use another slot of time to write solidly, and you’ll get it done.

2) Just Write: Some of us find it hard to type fast simply because we want to keep going back and editing what we’ve written. Try not to edit as you go along. With practice, you’ll learn to ignore the inner editor and just get it done. You can go back and edit once you’ve got the writing out of the way. Just typing quickly should help stop the temptation to go back and keep editing everything and wasting time as you go along.

3) Use Voice Recognition Software: If you’re not a fast typer then consider purchasing software that turns voice into text. There will be a learning curve with this, just like typing, but many people claim that it’s the perfect way to get articles written quickly. Take a look at Dragon Naturally Speaking for more information.

The tricks above are excellent ways to improve your writing speed. Ultimately, though, it all comes down to practice. The more you can get into good habits, the faster you can learn to type without editing, the quicker you’ll become at creating high quality content.

Use Blog Posts to Inform Customers of Your Products & Services

Sometimes bloggers claim they have nothing to blog about, but the truth is you have a lot to write about. If you are promoting a product of your own, or someone else’s, or offering any type of service you have dozens apron dozens of blog posts you could be writing right now. You should be using your blog to inform your customers about your products and services whether they are yours only or you’re promoting them via an affiliate program.

Always be Marketing

Marketing is a process that is ongoing. You should always be marketing, even when you’re telling your audience a funny story about yourself and your kids. It’s a fine line for sure, but if you don’t blog about your products, services and ideas, who will? How will your audience know that these things exist to help them solve their problems? The single most effective form of marketing today is your blog.

Blog to Inform

On your blog you will attract your audience and encourage them to sign up for your email list. On your blog you will introduce your audience to the movers and shakers that you surround yourself with. On your blog you will inform your audience of solutions for their problems. On your blog you will promote your own and other people’s products and services because they are needed by your audience. You are doing a service for your audience, and because you’ve spent time developing trust, your audience will believe you when you explain why any particular product or service will help them.

Make it Easy

You don’t want your readers to have too many questions about how to buy. As soon as they want to buy you should ensure that they can buy. The link should say something like Buy Now. Don’t put something that doesn’t suggest that they are making a purchase because they won’t understand that this is how to buy if you say something that doesn’t mean buy. Purchase Now, Buy Now, Add to Cart. These are words that make sense. Plus, you don’t want to force the people who want to buy to give too much information. They want to buy right now, not in 20 minutes after filling out a long form.

Tell a Story

If you want to get your audience to buy your products, you need to talk about your products in your blog posts. Use personal stories, examples, and real life examples of how someone like them has used the product and service. You can write 10 reasons this product is perfect for you. 3 examples of how this product worked for so-and-so. You can even phrase it as a warning to your audience such as: Warning: Read this before you xyz.

You have to find a way to connect with your audience in a personal way in order to earn attention, build trust and make a profit. Tell the story of how and why you want to promote the product. Why this product is is good for your audience? How is your product different from someone else’s? Use your blog to explain and differentiate your products, services and ideas from your competition, and be clear in your calls to action.

Add Social Media Marketing Services to your Online Business

Do you have an online business that isn’t providing enough money yet, and you’re worried you won’t make it if you can’t bring in money right now? The very best way to bring in immediate money is to start providing a service. A really hot service right now, is Social Media Marketing Services.

This would include tasks such as:

* Setting up Social Media Accounts — From writing the profile, to providing custom graphics, you can help clients set up their social media accounts. You have already done it for yourself, so you know how to do it, now simply offer it is a service to others to help you generate money.
* Populating Social Media Accounts with Content — Social media accounts need content, you can create content ideas, the content, or any portion of this and charge a fee for your service.
* Providing Regular Updates and Content — Social media accounts, by their very nature, are social, and require constant updating. Provide continuous monitoring and updating as a service.
* Sharing Other Content via Social Media — When a client puts up an article, it helps if that article, blog or other content is shared via more social media networks than their own. Offering to share via your social media network, other people’s content is another valuable service related to social media marketing.

These are all services that you can charge for either by the project, the account, or by the hour to complete. If you charged by the hour about $20 to $40 per hour, and just worked five hours a week, you can generate $100 to $200 a week that you can spend on your business. Remember, that while you do need to claim the income from this endeavor, if you turn around and spend it on developing your real business, it then becomes a tax write off. Earn $200 but then turn around and spend $200 and you essentially break even until you start out earning your expenses. Certainly, with a few more dollars to spend on your business you’ll make money faster. Why? Because, you have to spend money to make money!

To add social media marketing services to your business all you need to have is your normal Internet connection, and the knowledge of how to set up the accounts. You can go through one, and write down all the information you need for each account, create a simple form using Google Documents, that you send to each new client. Then you just cut and paste their information into the right areas for the client.

After that, you simply make a schedule in which you check your client(s) accounts on a regular basis, use some sort of billing software or spreadsheet to keep track of time, then bill your clients on a regular basis for this service. Avoid the temptation to spend this money on going out to eat, and having fun. Spend the money on advancing your real Internet business so that you can drop the services in a few months when your business is more successful. While providing services and trading hours for dollars is an easy way to bring home income, it’s not desirable for the long term if you want to create a passive income stream.

How to Promote Your Mini Site for Free

Large website with big budgets often spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns. They plaster their URL on billboards across the nation, buy full-page spreads in magazines and spend small fortunes on pay per click advertising. How can a mini site run by your average Joe compete with that?

A better question might be, “Why should a mini site try to compete with that?” A mini site usually consists of one, or at most a few, pages. And it targets a very specific market niche. An ad in the New York Times would, in the overwhelming majority of cases, be overkill.

Promoting a mini site is doable on a mini budget. In fact, it is entirely possible to promote your mini site without spending a dime. Getting traffic may take a little more time and effort than if you spent big bucks, but your profit margin will be much higher.

Here are some free methods for promoting your mini site:

Do your own SEO. There is a small learning curve, but you can do it yourself. And once you get it right, your search engine placement will keep the traffic coming.
Submit articles to free reprint sites, such as Include a link to your site in the resource box. The article must include the resource box whenever it is reprinted, so you’ll get links from anyone who uses your content.
Join forums that appeal to members of your target market. Participate in discussions, and include a link to your site in your signature.
Comment on blogs. Most will include a link to your site with your comment. This will help boost your search engine rankings and could result in click-through traffic.
Contact bloggers that reach your target market and ask to write a guest post for them. This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert and create interest in your site.
Write a special report, making sure to include a link to your site. Then contact others who sell information products and ask them if they would like to give it away as a bonus with their product.
Write a press release. Submit it to press release websites, online publications and bloggers.

You don’t have to spend obscene amounts of money to get the word out about your mini site. With some creativity, you can start getting traffic without spending a dime on advertising.

Backend Sales Secrets

Backend sales don’t happen on their own… or do they? The key is to strategically devise a plan that places your products in the hands of the consumer. And we are talking more than just basic sales techniques here. We are talking the right products for the right customers, which is a far cry from the point and shoot marketing approach of old.

Rather than send a direct mail campaign via snail mail, and hope for the best, backend sales strategies and secrets are much more useful, targeted and effective. So how do you make it work? The secret to any good backend sales strategy is to not only recognize what the customer wants, but to in turn, fulfill that need.

If Customer A has a history of purchasing products about shoes, then they will most likely purchase additional products about shoes. If Customer B has purchased products on multiple topics that fall under one umbrella – for example, affiliate marketing, viral marketing and social marketing, all very closely related – you will want to be sure to showcase products along the same vein each and every time they visit your site.

So is you who has to recognize these trends? Well, yes. But not directly. Be sure to invest in a quality auto-responder with strong data collecting and database capabilities that you can rely on to send the right message to the right customer. If you do, your backend sales strategy will require some monitoring, but it will inevitably run itself. And you will reap the rewards.