Profile Pages: Online Branding and Building Authority

Profile Pages: “Online Branding and Building Authority”

What is the difference between online branding and building authority? Some would consider it the same thing, but in reality it can be two completely different processes. Online branding is a way to get more exposure for your brand on all levels of online marketing, especially search and social.

Building authority takes online branding to the next level by making each online presence for a brand authoritative. It goes beyond just about creating a blog or social media account. The following are ways you can build your online brand as well as your authority.

Everyone wants to be an authority. READ: How to be an authority (Know Your Why First)
https://markethive.com/group/marketingdept/blog/how-to-be-an-authority

Start a Blog with Awesome Content

Blogs are beneficial for brands for three reasons. First of all, blogs help you rank well in search engines – Google loves fresh, unique content on websites that are constantly updated. If you’re looking to meet this goal, be sure to use Markethive’s blog platform and build a blog team in a Markethive group to assist in greater content and curation.

RE: WordPress Markethive’s technology super charges WordPress campaigns.

Next, blogs provide for great content to share on social media networks. It’s hard to get traction if your just sharing product and sales pages. But if you’re sharing informative blog posts about your industry, you’re likely to get a lot of traffic and social shares.

Markethive provides plugins and widgets and tech that allows visitors to subscribe to your blog from their Social Networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, thereby allowing your new Markethive posts to publish to their news feed automatically.

Finally, great blogs can help your brand build authority in your niche. This is where you go above and beyond cookie cutter posts that talk about your product to creating awesome content in the form of:

  • Tutorials
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Industry Interviews

Awesome content will show fans of your industry that you know your stuff and therefore are the brand to go with for their business needs. A great example of this is the blog you are reading right now – Markethive has Inbound Marketing technologies, the go to Social Network and infographics that have been tweeted and liked over 10,000 times and posts that have been viewed on Facebook, LinkedIn and Stumbleupon over 100,000 times.

There are two great fears that brands have when it comes to blogging. One is that they won’t have anything to blog about, and this is a complete myth. Everyone can find something to blog about. You just have to expand your definition of the target audience. Imagine you had a body shop. You probably won’t get a lot of attention if you’re writing about paint booths and sanding tools all the time, but you will if you think about broader topics that would interest the people likely to visit an auto body shop. You can blog about the latest coolest Hot Rods at the coming Hot Rod Nationals show or the latest NASCAR winner to grab fans of those programs. Or you can blog about environmental issues and the Prious to grab environmentalists. Just think bigger!

The other fear is that they will be giving away “trade secrets” and lose their business. This one is especially common within industries like SEO, where a brand might feel like giving out ten steps to link building will give their customers the info they need to just do it themselves. But this just isn’t true. I have found that most of the time, if you give a complex, in-depth tutorial, a potential customer will see that your brand has the knowledge to do the service, but they won’t have the time or resources to do it for themselves. Hence, they’ll go with you because they feel confident that your brand has the expertise demonstrated in the content provided on the blog.

The key with your brand’s blog is to make sure that it is apparent who is behind the content. Whether you have your blog on your domain (yourbrand.com/blog), as a subdomain (blog.yourbrand.com), or as a separate site (yourbrandblog.com), be sure that it is matched to your brand. Check out Markethive’s site, blog, and subscribers profile pages, logged in dashboard and display variances on hand held devices. All are unique yet all are well branded and follow a conventional identity protocol (all on separate domains and different devices) as an example of great branding.

Guest Blog for Others (This is a major component in Markethive)

When it comes to blogging, you don’t want to keep the good stuff all to yourself. Guest blogging (join a Markethive Group to share content is that easy) is a great way to build your online brand presence and authority. The basic goal is to find a (GROUP) blog whose audience will be interested in your brand, and create a great piece of content for that blog.

Notice I said great piece of content. I would go so far as to say that the content you create for another (GROUP) site’s blog should be even better than the content you create for your own site. You want the content you create for another blog (GROUP) to rock. You want that content to generate additional social shares, comments, and traffic for the blog owner.

As you create GROUP posts for others, be sure to save the links to those guest posts for future reference. As you approach new GROUPs that you would like to guest post upon, you will want to include those links as examples of your successful guest posts in other Markethive GROUPS. If you can convince the GROUP owner that your post will be a perfect fit for their audience and will drive significant traffic and response, the GROUP blog owner will have a hard time resisting.

My main tips for GROUP blogging for your brand include:

1. Find the best GROUPs to guest post on.

When it comes to blogs you want to get a guest post on, your goal is to find those whose audience would be interested in your brand. The blog should get a significant amount of traffic and social shares as well – there’s no reason to post on a blog that has no visitors just because it has high PageRank or any other criteria – you want to get some brand exposure out of this! Use the Markethive GROUPs directory to start your search for blogs in your niche or industry.

2. Find the GROUPs blogging policy.

If you see that a GROUP allows guest bloggers or outside contributors, the GROUP should have some page or post posted that describes their post policy. If they do have a policy page or post, then be sure to note any and all criteria.

3. Start building a relationship with the GROUP owner first. (Markethive Groups is excellent for this)

Now that you’ve found the blog you want to pitch an idea to, don’t just jump in and pitch them yet. Start by getting to know the GROUP owner first by following their Markethive blog posts, their Twitter and their Facebook fan page. Comment on some of their latest posts – make those comments valuable to enhance discussion and demonstrate your writing skills and expertise in the industry. CoPromote their posts using Broadcasting tools and widgets. Do this for at least a week or two before pitching content to them.

4. Research and pitch great topic ideas. (Join others in our live Markethive Work Shops)

Don’t create the content first and then try to find it a home. Once you’ve found the right blogs and started engaging with the blogs themselves, you’ll get a feel for the type of content they publish.

To get an even better idea of what content is successful for each blog, subscribe to them in your Markethive back office blog platform. Then you will be able to see the site’s latest traffic scores. The higher score, the more comments, tweets, Facebook likes, and other social shares the post received. Use these high-scoring posts as an indicator as to what content does well on each blog.

Now you can message via the Markethive message system or request to join their group saying that you have recently enjoyed reading their blog (as evidenced by your commenting & social sharing) and would like to contribute to their site as a GROUP member. After reading their guidelines, you would like to see if they would be interested in the following topics. Then add three to four great post ideas that you believe will fit their audience to choose from. And of course, if you’ve done guest posts elsewhere, include some of your best links. If not, just include some great links from your own brand’s blog.

5. Create Awesome Content.

Once you get approval from a GROUP, your next job is to create an awesome piece of content. Make sure it fits the theme of that blogging GROUP and that it has the overall feel / tone of the GROUP blog you are submitting to. Also be sure to add in relevant links throughout your blog post – not to your own properties, but internal links to the blog itself. This shows the blog owner you’re really giving it 100% for them and their audience and not just trying to promote yourself.

The self-promotion piece should come at the end with your guest bio. Check out other author bios on the blogs and create yours to match. This is where you can say you are John Smith, an industry enthusiast from ABC Company.

Again, be sure to consider the blog’s guidelines and previous guest author bios when deciding to add one or more links back to your brand. The blog owner ultimately reserves the right to edit it as they feel is necessary.

6. Support your GROUP post once it goes live.

It’s not over yet. After that guest post goes live, you should give it your unconditional love in the form of social sharing with your brand’s audience on Twitter, Facebook, etc. as well as coming by to respond to comments. That kind of response on your guest post will further boost your brand’s reputation as a great guest blogger as well as a confident authority in your niche.

Don’t Forget Blog Commenting

Blog commenting is a great branding and authority building exercise you can do on any blog in your niche. I would suggest subscribing to the top blogs in your industry in Google Reader, and each time there is a new post, be sure to read it thoroughly and add a valuable comment. Remember this isn’t about link building – this is about building your brand’s presence online as an authority in your industry.

Get a Disqus account as well as it is a sort of social network of people that comment.

You can use the blog’s previous comments as a guide as to how you should format yours. Some blogs require you to only use your real name, while others are a little more lenient in using your name – your company. I would suggest linking your comments to your blog as people are more willing to click through to a brand’s blog than their main website.

Your Online Branding & Authority Building Strategy Using Blogs

What is your brand’s strategy when it comes to building your brand’s authority using blogs? Be sure to share what you find brings your brand the best results in the comments!

Create a Consistent Brand Image for Each Profile

Have you ever visited a company’s social profile, and you were not sure that it belonged to the company? One of the most important parts of branding is keeping a consistent image across all of your online properties so that no matter what path a person takes from one property to the next, they will always know it is your brand. For example, someone might:

Find your fan page through a friend’s activity stream and then follow it to your blog, then website

See a tweet from someone they are following, visit your Twitter profile, and then continue onto your website.

Start at your website, then go to check out your social profiles to see if your company is engaging with fans. Engaging is fuel and grows awareness, authority and respect. Comment, recommend. Just drive by liking and endorsing does no one any good and makes you look like a tire kicking couch potato.

Just like you wouldn’t want pages on your website to be different themes, you will want your social profiles to do the same. Markethive also leads the way in doing it right as well:

MARKETHIVE

Markethive probably does the best with branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube accounts as shown above. All five are branded with the honey comb logo, color theme and climbers ascending Mt. Everest in representation of the entrepreneurial social community of entrepreneurs helping each other achieve their agendas, so you can feel the consistency moving from one property to the next.

BMW

The above shows BMW’s branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube profiles. Each online property uses the same color scheme and is currently focused on automotive technology. The logos are all consistent, and the auto focused in the pages is different perspectives, the coloring and themes are consistent as well

BOLTHOUSE

Bolthouse’s (organic farm fresh juices) branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube profiles as shown above uses the same color scheme, logo, and focus on their primary product, carrots and selections of juices. Excellent example of branding and consistency!

Help People Find Your Profiles

I do a lot of competitive analysis in my line of work, and one of the most frustrating things I have to do is search for a brand’s social profiles. Don’t hide your social media presence – flaunt them! Be sure to:

  • Put Social Icons on Your Website – Let visitors to your website know that you are engaging with your audience on social media as well by adding social icons to your website design. The most common places to place them include the header / menu bar, sidebar, and footer. They don’t have to be large and in charge – BMW’s are none existent on their main page and Bolthouse are right up top left of center where they should be and get the job done..
  • Put Social Links in Your Communications – Do you send emails regularly? Add social links to your email signature. Do you send newsletters? Add social icons to them.
  • Make Your Profiles Search Friendly – If I Google your brand name + Twitter, I should get your Twitter handle in the search results. To make this happen, be sure that the name of your social profile (and the username if possible) matches your brand name. You might be tempted to keyword optimize your profiles instead of optimizing them for your brand name – this is something you need to resist. You can learn more about social media SEO on how to optimize for both effectively for search engines.

Another frustration is the direct sales industry.

Even though the size of this industry is huge by any comparison with a market measured in the trillions, even the top 100 fail miserable branding with social media. Do not be like them, rather show them a good example with your efforts. After several days of research I was able to find one such company that at least had the top 5 Social Medias registered with a similar array (not the same name) of usernames. The super majorities only have a token Facebook page, even less with Youtube and Twitter and nearly nonexistent with a Google+ and for that almost none of them are engaged.

BEACHBODY

Team Beach Body with a yearly market of 250 million, struggles with social media but has managed to set up the top 5 social medias, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin and Google+, albeit, the account usernames vary, and across the media branding is seriously lacking. It becomes painfully clear this industry needs Markethive or at least their distributors seriously do.

Get Engaged with Your Followers, Fans, and Subscribers

You probably know that it is important to maintain an active account by posting lots of updates, and that it is best to do something other than blasting advertisements non-stop about your brand. So the question is, what should you be doing to stay active in your social networks? Get engaged with your audience, of course. Here are the top networks to get socially engaged in for your brand.

Twitter Engagement

If you’re goal is to build a strong presence on Twitter and demonstrate your brand’s authority in your industry, you need get involved with your following. Some ways to do so include:

Monitoring Brand Mentions – If you use Twitter itself, just do a search for your brand and save the search for future reference. If you use a Twitter management tool like HootSuite, create a keyword search column that will constantly update you with brand mentions. Anytime someone says something about your brand, whether it is good or bad, you should be responding to it if at all possible. This may mean adding some extra team members to your social media GROUP as a response staff. But over time, if people see that you are always on top of any discussion of your brand, you will gain trust and receive lots of great word of mouth marketing. People will tell their followers what a great response they’ve received from you and likely recommend you based on their satisfaction level.

Monitoring Industry Conversation – One of the best parts of Twitter is that you can jump into any conversation, anytime. So if you are a company providing Inbound Marketing services and technologies like Markethive, you can monitor anyone who talks about Inbound Marketing, SEO, linking, Entrepreneurial interests, and other related topics and just answer simple questions that anyone asks about those topics demonstrating your expertise.

Curate the Best Content – Even if you are the best content creator in your industry, people often like to see a second opinion. Find out who other authorities are in your industry and share their opinion on industry topics with your following. You will gain more relevant followers simply for sharing the best news.

Facebook Fan Page Engagement

There are several different ways you can engage with your fans using your fan page that will keep your current fans active and bring new fans to your brand. These include:

Updating Your Fan Page on Facebook – It’s tempting to use HootSuite and other automated programs to update your fan page. But it’s becoming more and more obvious that if you want your updates to show up in fan’s news feeds that the updates must be organic, or originating from your fan page itself. So take the extra time to disable all of your autofeeds and start updating your fan page manually on Facebook. And when people start engaging with your posts or posting directly on your wall, be sure to respond to them. If they know they’re getting response, they’re more likely to return. No one likes a one-way broadcast.

Try Out Different Types of Updates – Don’t just post links or ask questions. Spice it up – add some video updates and photos. Different types of people like different types of content – be sure to try to cater to everyone by mixing your content up!

Thanks to the last major update to Facebook fan pages, you are able to use Facebook as your fan page. This means you can like pages as your fan page instead of your personal profile and then comment on them as your fan page. If you can find pages that are not direct competitors but whose audience will be interested in your brand, you will want to get active on them. For example, social media consultants should be living on Social Media Examiner’s fan page to connect with other individuals and businesses looking for social media help.

LinkedIn Engagement

If your brand isn’t on LinkedIn, you are missing out. LinkedIn allows you to add a company page where you can post your products, services, job openings, and even send status updates to your company followers including your latest blog posts. But some of the best branding and authority building activities for this network lie in the activity of the professional profiles including:

Participating in Groups – There are lots of great, active groups on LinkedIn in a wide variety of industries. Find the groups that have your potential client base within them and start getting active in discussions and posting useful content. Just be sure not to do anything that the group moderator would consider as spamming!

Answering Questions – The next best area to build a great professional reputation and strong authority in your industry is in LinkedIn Answers. There are questions asked every day in topics ranging from administration to technology. The people who answer the most questions are also featured on the answers’ home page as the week’s top experts!

Gaining Recommendations – Last, but not least, is recommendations. You can get recommendations on both the company pages and the professional profiles of your employees. Imagine if someone is browsing your company’s page and sees that the top employees have a ton of recommendations. It will show that you have a lot of experts in the industry which will make potential clients even more confident in your brand!

 

How Can A Press Release Increase Traffic

press release

press release
Automated Leads

How Can A Press Release Increase Web Traffic?

Publicity is crucial when running a business, whether your business is located offline or on the Internet. When a business has little or even no budget to promote, “Press Releases” are the most advantageous method to promote your business.

Writing press releases has become a good way to drive targeted traffic to your website. In fact, if you are not writing press releases you are missing the best way to boost targeted web site traffic to your website.

Online press releases provides a good platform to reach massive online communities. A well prepared press release would attract journalists and is well optimized for distribution to a targeted audience.

The following are the three effective ways to increase targeted traffic to your website.

Press Releases can create hundreds of back links to your website.

  • By publishing press release to News services on the Internet, you can get links from highly rated web sites. Additionally, press releases will be picked up by other sites too that have similar content which creates even more links pointing to your site.
  • Generating the links around the web towards websites increases its page rank automatically. Since the page rank goes up the higher site will be ranked in the search engines. As a result, more traffic will be driven to the website from the search engines.
  • Regular press releases distribution about the website will emboss a brand name at the forefront in minds of the people. Keeping a business in front of the public is one of the best ways to promote a business and press releases is a great way to do so. The more often the website appears on the net the more it’s perceived as an expert in its niche.

How to draft an excellent press release:

  • The beginning should be solid: Remember to make your title and initial lines cover, what you want to express. The remaining part of your press release should depict detailed information.
  • Use product name repetitively: Repeat placements of the name of your service or product to make it eminent. For example write “Search Engine Optimization” instead of writing “SEO” this would make your product name much popular.
  • Draft it for Journalists/Media agencies: The media agencies and journalists would grab your press release and publish it in their publications; they may slightly edit your press release.
  • Consider the viewer’s way: You should consider to whom you are targeting your press release for, and what is their interest. Think, if you were a part of audience, would you like to read the press release you have written.
  • Make your press release appear practical: Point out real facts of your company/organization, as readers are already so scholar enough to find out ‘what’s true and what’s not’?
  • Make your story include real facts: Avoid untrue examples and add-ons. If you find the content is using too much added extras, make it natural and real. Your press release should be in an active voice, not passive. Verbs in the active voice make your press release live.
  • Use only sufficient words: Avoid using superfluous adjectives, extravagant language, or unnecessary expressions like “The most powerful”. Tell your story with lesser words, as verbosity distracts from your content.
  • Avoid usage of terminology: However, a limited use of terminology would be allowed if required, if you aim to optimize news releases for the Internet search engines. The finest technique to communicate your press release is to speak neatly, using regular words.
  • Keep away from too many exclamations: Too much usage of exclamation point (!) may harm your press release. But, if you have to use an exclamation point, use only one.
  • Get the company’s permission: Companies are very self-protective about their recognition and credibility. So, get written permission before putting in any information or quotes about the company.
  • Company Information: The press release should include a short description of the company, which depicts your company, products, services and a brief history of company.

Now that you have find press releases as one of the best ways to boost targeted traffic to your website, consider using press releases as another tool in your marketing toolbox.

Ida Mae Boyd
Developer

 

How Can Press Release Increase Web Traffic?

press release

press release

How Can Press Release Increase Web Traffic?

Publicity is crucial when running a business, whether your business is located offline or on the Internet. When a business has little or even no budget to promote, "Press Releases" are the most advantageous method to promote your business.

Writing press releases has become a good way to drive targeted traffic to your website. In fact, if you are not writing press releases you are missing the best way to boost targeted web site traffic to your website.

Online press releases provides a good platform to reach massive online communities. A well prepared press release would attract journalists and is well optimized for distribution to a targeted audience.

The following are the three effective ways to increase targeted traffic to your website.

Press Releases can create hundreds of back links to your website.

  • By publishing press release to News services on the Internet, you can get links from highly rated web sites.  Additionally, press releases will be picked up by other sites too that have similar content which creates even more links pointing to your site.
     
  • Generating the links around the web towards websites increases its page rank automatically. Since the page rank goes up the higher site will be ranked in the search engines. As a result, more traffic will be driven to the website from the search engines.
  • Regular press releases distribution about the website will emboss a brand name at the forefront in minds of the people. Keeping a business in front of the public is one of the best ways to promote a business and press releases is a great way to do so. The more often the website appears on the net the more it’s perceived as an expert in its niche.

How to draft an excellent press release:

  • The beginning should be solid: Remember to make your title and initial lines cover, what you want to express. The remaining part of your press release should depict detailed information.
  • Use product name repetitively: Repeat placements of the name of your service or product to make it eminent. For example write “Search Engine Optimization” instead of writing “SEO” this would make your product name much popular.
  • Draft it for Journalists/Media agencies: The media agencies and journalists would grab your press release and publish it in their publications; they may slightly edit your press release.
  • Consider the viewer’s way: You should consider to whom you are targeting your press release for, and what is their interest. Think, if you were a part of audience, would you like to read the press release you have written.
  • Make your press release appear practical: Point out real facts of your company/organization, as readers are already so scholar enough to find out ‘what’s true and what’s not’?
  • Make your story include real facts: Avoid untrue examples and add-ons. If you find the content is using too much added extras, make it natural and real. Your press release should be in an active voice, not passive. Verbs in the active voice make your press release live.
  • Use only sufficient words: Avoid using superfluous adjectives, extravagant language, or unnecessary expressions like “The most powerful”. Tell your story with lesser words, as verbosity distracts from your content.
  • Avoid usage of terminology: However, a limited use of terminology would be allowed if required, if you aim to optimize news releases for the Internet search engines. The finest technique to communicate your press release is to speak neatly, using regular words.
  • Keep away from too many exclamations: Too much usage of exclamation point (!) may harm your press release. But, if you have to use an exclamation point, use only one.
  • Get the company’s permission: Companies are very self-protective about their recognition and credibility. So, get written permission before putting in any information or quotes about the company.
  • Company Information: The press release should include a short description of the company, which depicts your company, products, services and a brief history of company.

Now that you have find press releases as one of the best ways to boost targeted traffic to your website, consider using press releases as another tool in your marketing toolbox.

Ida Mae Boyd
Developer

Why Start in the IM Niche

Why Start in the IM Niche – 10 Reasons

Many gurus say the Internet Marketing (IM) niche is overcrowded.  They advise that newbies should start from non-IM niche. Not so fast there buddy. Here are 9 reasons why the IM niche may well be the best niche for anyone trying to start an online business, especially a newbie. 

1. Easy To Build Your List

Millions of people are looking for ways to make money online, or to help them improve their online earnings. They are eager to learn more and get more.  If you have a pretty good offer, they will grab it. Building a list in the IM niche is a lot easier than other niches.

2. Lots Of Alternative Traffic Sources

If your website is in a non-IM niche, your traffic sources are usually limited to the following sources:
– mainstream advertising, such as Google ad, Facebook ad and other advertising networks (outbound)
– search engine traffic, which new sites often struggle with 
– social media marketing (often loaded with drama)  

– authority blog (inbound)
– niche forum promotion

If your website is in the IM niche or a "make money online" niche, there are many alternative ways to bring in traffic. There are tons of traffic exchanges, auto-surf, and networks where you can get traffic cheap or free.  As your list expands, you are then in a better position to network with other list owners and do some JV. This brings us to the next point. 

3. Find Traffic Partners

Some gurus say that referral traffic is the best free traffic. In IM niche, you can easily find other webmasters willing to do cross-promotion. 

A good product and an affiliate program help make it easier to find JV partners to promote your products and services.

If you are trying to promote a health and wellness website, finding JV partners often means sending emails to other health bloggers. Most of the time, those emails just end up being deleted. 

4. Let Your List  Become Your Traffic Partner

If your website is in a non-IM niche, your list is likely consumers, not marketers. If you provide good content and product, these consumers may tell their friends. Then your website may spread like wildfire. That usually doesn't happen in the infancy stage of a website, but more so as the website matures. 

However, if your website is in the IM niche, your list will likely be mostly other IM marketers. They may also have their own websites and lists. With a good product and an affiliate program, your list can easily become your affiliate and send you traffic. As your list grows, so does your traffic partner's list. This eventually causes a snowball effect where both partners benefit.

5. You May Become The Next Guru

There are many new developments in the IM niche. Many old gurus started before Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media sites existed. Those old gurus from the olden days, are scarce now. New gurus have emerged in recent years. What does that mean?

The fields are open. You may easily become the next guru. Keep up with developments in technology and raise your technical and marketing skills. Get in front of new developments (at least grab ahold of the train as it passes by) and soon, you may be in the spotlight as the next guru. 

6. Lots Of Products To Promote

There’s so much development in the IM niche, you’ll never run out of products to promote. You will also not run out of products to develop! There is always a demand for something newer and faster. 

7. Tons of Opportunities for Lateral Expansion

The IM niche is huge. Topics like website creation, web design, blogging, traffic generation, all kinds of advertising, copywriting, SEO, integrated social networks, and programming are just a few. Pick one area and become successful in it. Then you can easily start another website in another area and leverage onto your existing traffic to quickly ramp up the new site.

Your learning curve to learn the ropes doesn’t matter. When you learn new skills, the opportunities are unlimited. The IM niche can easily keep you busy for the rest of your life. Then you can make a very good income!

8. No Big Boys

The IM niche is huge.,Most of the websites are run by individuals, not those big listed companies. The online world is becoming like the offline world. A few big companies are dominating the market because of their influence and financial power. Look carefully. This is what’s happening in niches like health, investing, travel etc. Trying to break into these market requires a lot of experience and financial support.

On the other hand, smaller players dominate the IM niche. I believe this will continue for the foreseeable future. Individuals like you and I will find it much easier to get in and get a slice of the pie. 

9. Endless Buyers

The IM niche has tons of anxious buyers ready to buy your products and services. As time passes, there will only be more people wanting to make money online. Some people have been making a full-time living through internet marketing for 8 years or more. I don’t see this trend changing any time soon. 

10. Integrated Social Networks

Technology is available now to link multiple social networks together, thereby integrating them, effectively making a much much larger network. We might call this a super-network. Come see what some friends and business associates are doing in MarketHive.  

Thanks for reading this post.  

Rix Robinson 

Contributor

Free Tools for Your Online Business

 

Free Tools for Your Online Business

inbound marketing, blog, content marketing, richard tipsword

 

As a business owner, you want the best for your business but sometimes the budget can get in the way. Never fear, because today there are countless online tools, apps and solutions that you can use to run your online business. Let's not waste any time going into the free tools for your online business. There are over 100 free tools in the list and I saved the best for last so be sure and go through the entire list or start with the last.

 

1) Get an EIN — Even if you aren't going to have employees, it's important to set yourself up so that you don't have your identity stolen. If you're in the USA you can easily get an EIN right now in just a couple of minutes, completely free. This is the number that you'll give, instead of your social security number, to affiliate programs, clients, or anytime someone wants a federal ID number.

 

2) Score.org –– This is an excellent source of information for anyone who wants to start any type of business. You can get so many guides for free such as a business plan start up, financial templates, marketing plans and even a competitive analysis planning template.

 

3) Free Legal Forms — Everyone needs legal forms from contracts to other legal documents. Here you can create many of the legal forms you need (free).

 

4) Disclosure Policy Generator — You will need a disclosure on your website or blog if you are going to sell anything. This disclosure generator is completely free.

 

5) Terms of Use Generator — You may also need a terms of service or terms of use on your website, this is a free generator to use if you're in the USA.

 

6) Quick MBA — Need to learn something real fast about a business topic in any subject from accounting to strategy then Quick MBA is a great website to seek accurate information.

 

7) Khanacademy.org — Want to learn almost anything from experts? You can do it at Khan Academy. This is great if you're a computer programmer and want to brush up on your skills without having to pay to do it.

 

8) Google Learn — If you want to learn how to grow your business online, you can learn how to do it the free way with Learn with Google Beta. You can learn about marketing your business online as well as managing your business online.

 

9) Free Online Marketing Courses — Several colleges actually offer free online courses in marketing. You don't get credit, but you can use this in your business to make it better. Check out the free learning tools at UC Berkeley.

 

10) Enloop.com — You can create one business plan in a PDF version completely free using this software. If you want to get more in-depth you'll need to upgrade but for most people the free version will suffice.

 

11) Google Mail — Everyone knows about Gmail.com and if you don't use it, you should. You can do a lot more with it than you think. For instance, you can check other email accounts, and send as other email accounts, using your Gmail.com account to collect them. All free, of course.

 

12) Google Documents — Found inside Google Drive, you can upload, save, alter, and collaborate on many different types of documents. This is a great way to work with an entire team and ensure everyone has the most recent version.

 

13) Google Forms — A fabulous way to collect information and have it all entered right into a handy downloadable excel file. Google Forms can be emailed, embedded into websites and more. They are automatically saved to your Google Drive upon completion. This can be found inside your Google Drive.

 

14) Google Calendar — Underrated and unappreciated the Google Calendar is amazing. You can have more than one in an account, share them, collaborate, invite others, and more with your Google Calendars. You can even set them up to sync with your mobile device, send you reminder emails and you can get a popup reminder so you never miss an appointment.

 

15) Google Drive — This is where you can save documents, backups, and files. Everyone has some free space for each Google account created. It's unlikely you'll ever use all your free space so you may as well use what you've been given. If you are currently signed into Google, the link will take you to your Google Drive.

 

16) Google Sites — Need to create a fast website to share with others? Look no further than Google Sites to help you with your endeavor. Pick from a variety of templates, or start with a blank one. Follow the steps given and you'll have your site up before you know it.

 

17) Google + Hangouts — There is a lot to learn about Google Hangouts, you can do them privately, on air, and a multitude of ways that boggle the mind. You can use them in so many ways for your business that there isn't room in this report to list them. Check it out for yourself.

 

18) Google Analytics — They say that nothing is ever done until the paperwork is done. In online business, nothing is done without reviewing the metrics. The best way to do so is still free.

 

19) Google Sketch Up — If you need 3D modeling for any reason then Google Sketch Up is for your business. There is a free version which is awesome, as well as a pro version that's way less expensive than other like 3D modeling programs.

 

20) Google Alerts — Everyone needs to monitor their online reputation and one way to do so is with Google Alerts. You can also use it to monitor any topic, name, person, place, or event being discussed across the Internet.

 

21) Dropbox.com — If you need offsite storage solutions, and you really do, then Dropbox should be one of the first ones you try, especially since it's free. What's more is that you get more space for each person you invite to use the service.

 

22) OpenOffice.org — This free productivity suite is an excellent way to get any word-processing type activities completed without having to buy an expensive program.

 

23) Apptivo.com — You can get started with this online project management system using the free version which allows for unlimited users, up to 40 standard apps, still has online support, and the ability to send invoices even with a mobile app. It also integrates with Google Apps. When you have more income you can upgrade relatively inexpensively.

 

24) Freshbooks.com — This is an online invoicing and time tracking software, it is not really an accounting tool, but you can use it in conjunction with other tools and as long as you have less than 3 clients this one is free.

 

25) Nutcache.com — Invoicing and time management is now fun and free. This free service works in many languages, is safe and secure, and is definitely free. If you are one of the first ones to sign up for this time tracking and invoicing service you will never pay.

 

26) Wave Accounting — This amazing accounting suite offers everything you need to keep track of your income 100% free. It's also super easy to use. It offers invoicing and more. All free.

 

27) Expensify.com — If you need to create expense reports in your line of work, this couldn't be more simple and useful. Keep track of expenses and receipts in an organized manner. This software integrates with other solutions.

 

28) PayPal.com — It's free to get started with PayPal and you only pay a percentage of income as you receive it. This is a great way to accept payment for services or products that you sell.

 

29) Square Up — This is a mobile payment processing app that you use on your smart phone. It's free to get started as you only pay a percentage of sales. If you want to sell online, or in a store, or anywhere Square works.

 

30) Appointlet.com — You can use this appointment manager free for an unlimited number of monthly appointments and 1 service. You won't be able to brand yet, but you can get started organizing your meetings and calendar. It works with Google Calendar.

 

31) Doodle.com — A group scheduling app that enables you to send a group invite that allows everyone to collaborate on when the meeting will take place. This helps avoid the back and forth emails that can get everyone confused.

 

32) Survey Monkey — Want to ask your customers questions and get organized answers that are easy to collect, interpret and use? Then Survey Monkey is a great solution. You can use a limited version for free with up to 10 questions and 100 responses.

 

33) Evernote — This software works with all your devices to keep track of everything you want to keep track of it, be it notes for a project, recipes for dinner, a grocery list, whatever it is, you can organize all your files and find them easily and remember everything.

 

34) Boomerang — Want to write an email now but send it later? You can do that with Boomerang for Gmail.com. It gives you a "send later" button in your Gmail and you can tell it when to send an email. The basic plan is free and there are upgrades available.

 

35) Trello.com – Trello is a great way to remember ideas, collect supplies, and get your thought process in order. Organizing anything you want to do is easy with Trello. You can track all your to-dos in one place, and they have a mobile version.

 

36) Mural.ly — Need a vision board to help you brainstorm so you can visually see what you need to do? For a basic plan costing nothing you can get this drag and drop collaboration board today. For people who work better with a visual plan this is a great way to be more productive.

 

37) Cooapp.com –– If you need help keeping your team on the same page then this app can work for you. It keeps track of the work stream, separates out "water cooler" talk, and even has built in time tracking, agenda management and more.

 

38) ProjectLibre.org — This open source project management application and software touts itself a replacement for Microsoft Project and it's completely free. You can choose to use the cloud-based version and have professionals install it for you and set it up for a price, but if you understand the technical aspects you can use this free.

 

39) DropTask.com — You can use it free for some of the features to help manage your daily to-do list better.

 

40) KeePass.info — Can't remember passwords? Neither can anyone else. With KeePass, you only need to remember one password. Yes, it's free too. Amazing and very useful for someone who has many different passwords they're trying to remember.

 

41) Quackit.com — Need a little help with HTML so you can tinker with the code on your website or blog? This site can help you with everything from creating linkable button images to tables.

 

42) Rapportive.com — Works with Gmail so that you can see who you are talking to at all times. It shows their latest Tweets, gives you links to their social media accounts, and allows you to remember and get to know your connections better by putting it all in one spot inside your email.

 

43) Tweepz.com — Want to see who is Tweeting on any topic, location or skill set? Try using Tweepz. You can get inspiration if you're lacking sufficient information about any topic. It’s also a great way to find movers and shakers to follow on Twitter.

 

44) Social Mention — Use this tool to find out who is mentioning you on the social media. You can follow the buzz about any topic which can also help you come up with content for your niche.

 

45) Tweet Alarm — Want to be notified when someone tweets about you, your niche, or a special interest? Well, right now you can do that for free with Tweet Alarm. This can save you a lot of time using Twitter for researching topics.

 

46) Pin Alerts — Like Tweet Alarm this is a way to be notified when someone pins something from your website. It's a great way to keep track of whether your Pinterest marketing is working.

 

47) Mention — Want to find out how many times you're mentioned throughout all social media? You can sign up as one user with one account and get up to 100 mentions per month for free.

 

48) HootSuite.com — Keep your social media better organized and measure the results of your efforts from one dashboard. Many people use HootSuite with great success and you can start out free.

 

49) SocialMention.com — Go to the website and simply type in your keywords, name, Twitter handle, a hashtag or other words into the window, then choose where you want to search. Click search and you're in the know about the trends and buzz of the day.

 

50) Tregia.com — Want to know what another website is doing to get so many visitors and be so successful. You can use this free tool to analyze any website that you want to. It's not cheating, it's smart business to check out your competition. You can also use it to get tips to make your own website better.

 

51) Nutshellmail.com — It's important to monitor the buzz about your business and your competition, now you can do it in your email. Nutshellmail, sends you an email on the schedule you check that visually shows you the activity in your social media accounts.

 

52) Populr — You can open a free account and publish unlimited pages, collaborations and more. Create one page sites, sales pages, point up to three domains to it, and more quickly and it can all be done for free.

 

53) Streak.com — This is a great app that lets you organize your emails inside your Gmail.com so you can keep track of potential deals better. It also offers email scheduling and more. If you need your inbox more organized so you don't lose out on any deals, then Streak is for you.

 

54) FreeCRM.com — You can use the free version which offers no support, and has banner advertising on it, however you can have five users and 2500 contacts, plus it has good basic features. It's a great way to get started with customer relationship management.

 

55) Zoho CRM — Use a limited account with all the features you need to get started with a great customer relationship management tool. Upgrading isn't hard or expensive and the tool really works.

 

56) Opecrx.org – In every way you can imagine, this powerful free tool can help you manage your customers. It offers a true professional CRM suit with truly limitless possibilities. If you can follow the considerable directions and understand more than the average person about the technical aspects this is a bargain.

 

57) Gravatar.com — This is a great service to sign up for, and it's free. You simply sign up and enter all your email addresses, with corresponding headshots of yourself. When you sign onto blogs that use Gravatar.com you'll always have the right picture of yourself.

 

58) HelloSign.com — Doing business online still requires documents to be signed. Stop worrying about doing it in the mail, and you don't have to pay for an expensive software or service to ensure documents are legally signed. Starting out you can get three signatures a month, and premium versions are available.

 

59) EchoSign.com — This is also free, and works with Adobe documents. You can get everything signed fast, online, on your mobile device, and never have to print out a thing. You can sign up to five contracts per month (free).

 

60) MailChimp.com — Need to send out a newsletter but don't have the funds right now to pay? With Mailchimp.com you can have up to 2000 newsletter subscribers before you have to pay a dime. Some people claim you cannot use MailChimp for affiliate links but the truth is, you can as long as they're not on their substantial blacklist. Upgrades aren't that expensive either.

 

61) HARO – Do you want to be a source, or need a source? You can sign up free with HARO which stands for Help a Reporter Out.

 

62) Skype.com — Even with all the other applications come out, Skype is still a winner when it comes to offering free clear, phone quality one-on-one talking ability over the Internet. You can't beat it.

 

63) Free Conference Call – This free service allows you to arrange group phone meetings fast and easy.

 

64) Youtube.com — You need to set up a business account on YouTube.com so that you can share your videos easily with your audience. It's not only free, but if you play your cards right, it can be an additional moneymaker.

 

65) Linkedin.com — If you don't have a Linkedin.com account yet, you must set one up. The basic version is free and there is no reason why you need the advanced version, ever. You can do anything you need to do with the free Linkedin.com business social networking application.

 

66) Facebook.com — A true marvel when it comes to what you can do with it for free, Facebook is a must have for any start up business owner who wants to get the word out about their business. Starting a page or a group for your business on Facebook is necessary today.

 

67) Twitter.com — The popular micro social media network is free, and will always be free for anyone to sign up and use for business or personal uses.

 

68) Tumblr.com — This micro blogging platform is a very popular way to post multimedia content to the web.

 

69) WordPress.com — A free blogging site run by the popular WordPress. Remember this is different from self-hosted WordPress but it's a good way to start as you can always buy a domain and move it to your own hosting later.

 

70) Blogger.com — This is another tool from Google which enables users to create a blog quickly. They even make it possible for you to earn money through Google AdSense.

 

71) Sociopal.comSign up for free to get your business on Facebook, Twitter and start a blog at the same time. In addition, you can get help with marketing. What could be more simple?

 

72) Jing — This is a great way to share your screen and create instant videos to share with others or better explain a process. You simply sign up free, and download the program, and then start sharing.

 

73) Greenshot –Try this free tool to take screenshots of particular areas on your desktop. For instance you may need to capture the full screen then edit and annotate to highlight and help teach someone a process, Greenshot works easily for this purpose.

 

74) Gimp.org — This free open source graphics software is almost as good as big name versions and it's totally free. People say if you can use Photoshop you can use Gimp for the same actions. It won't hurt to try it, since it's free and you are always going to need graphics for your business.

 

75) Pixlr.com — It's hard to believe this gem is free, but it is. You can edit photos in a number of ways and make them really stand out without understanding complicated graphics software.

 

76) Canva.com — Another, free application that works great to create banners, presentations, and other types of graphics for you to use across the web on your blog or social media. You'll be asking yourself the entire time you're using this, is it really free? Why, yes, yes it is free.

 

77) ChartGizmo.com — This is a free software application that enables you to create awesome charts and diagrams from your data. Plus, even though it's free there is a nice manual to teach you how to use it.

 

78) Creative Docs — You can download this software and use it free to create awesome documents with a kick. It works with Windows and is a free download. You can create polygons, Bezier curves, different styles and more to make your documents, flyers and posters pop.

 

79) Draw.io — This is a software program that allows you to create diagrams and save them to your computer, Dropbox or Google Drive automatically. If you need visual representation of any type of content you can create it easily and intuitively with Draw.io.

 

80) FlowChart.com — Currently in Beta, so it's free to use to create awesome flow charts. Everyone needs a flowchart occasionally, and this is a great way to create one for your business.

 

81) Tableau Public — Want to visualize your information in a new way? Tableau public allows you to create visual representations of your data for free. Create interactive graphs, and make it easier for your audience to interact with your data.

 

82) Fring.com — Need to have chats with customers, or your team on the go? This is a great way to do it. You get free talk, text and video calls with this mobile application.

 

83) Weebly.com— If you need a website you can get a basic site up and running, fast. Then upgrade later. The website builder is an easy to use drag and drop builder. You sign up free and then choose the focus of your site, a brochure site, a blog or a store. Then, choose a theme and get started. It's simple and fast to get online. Once you start earning money, you can easily upgrade to a site with your own domain for as little as 3 dollars a month.

 

84) WordPress.org — This is a free open source website builder. To use it, you will need to pay for a domain name, as well as hosting. You can get inexpensive hosting through Mom Webs, and they'll actually throw in a free domain name for you and load your first instance of WordPress too.

 

85) Google Publisher Plugin For WordPress — Is a custom plug in created for and by Google to support webmasters using AdSense and other Webmaster Tools. It's still in Beta Release and it's a good time to try it since it's free. Although, it's likely to remain free. It's Google.

 

86) WP-Drafts For Friends — This WordPress plugin allows you to set a time where people can see a preview of your draft posts with a special link even if they're not users of your site. This is a great way to enable people to give you some tips before you publish it to the world, or give special people a sneak peak.

 

87) AGV Antivirus — This is a free antivirus software that you can use to protect your computer from receiving infected files. It works with many web browsers and the free version works fine for most people.

 

88) Microsoft Security Essentials — If you have a Windows based computer then this is a great free antivirus tool for you to use. It works really good, is completely free, and there is no need for other antivirus software when you use it.

 

89) All In One WP Security & Fire Wall — You need to keep your WordPress site safe from intruders and this will do the job.

 

90) Audacity — A free open source, recording software that you can use for editing sound, recording, and podcasting. It works across operating system platforms and works exceptionally well. This is a good choice for any business owner who wants to add podcasting to their content mix.

 

91) Odiogo — This is a great way to put a voice to your blog posts, making every single blog post on your website just like a podcast. Works great with TypePad, Blogger, WordPress and others.

 

92) Sparkol.com Videoscribe — This is a great way to do fast explainer videos. You've seen them, with the hand writing the words. The free version can be used forever, and while it has less to offer than the upgraded paid version, you can get by just fine with the free version for a long time.

 

93) AnyMeeting.com — This is a great program as long as you don't mind a few advertisements. They're not intrusive so it's a good option when you want a full featured online web meeting / webinar application and don't have the money up front.

 

94) Managemeet.com — This is a great tool to use if you need to have business meetings, collaborate with others and want to do it face-to-face without the travel involved. It's free to use as long as you don't plan to save the meeting or charge for attendance.

 

95) MeetingBurner.com — This is a great way to host, record, and participate in a webinar or meeting for 10 people are less, with no ads.

 

96) Zoho Meeting — This is a great meeting software that you can use for 1 on 1 purposes only for up to 1 hour each time for free.

 

97) MoneyPress: Amazon Edition – Would you like to sell Amazon items right off your WordPress site and make a commission? Use this plugin to make it super fast and easy.

 

98) WP e-Commerce — This is a free shopping cart plugin for your WordPress website. It's very easy to install and figure out how to use it to make an attractive store right on your WordPress site and take payments via PayPal.

 

99) 1FreeCart.com — This is a free shopping cart, that also has a free affiliate program application with it. The free version does have ads on it, but you can always upgrade later.

 

100) PayGear.com — This is a full featured shopping cart, with affiliate marketing tools, that you can get free. You are only charged a percentage of sales. You can even upgrade later to a paid plan so that your fees never get too high if your sales should take off.

 

101) MembersGear.com — This is a free membership software package that you can download and use in conjunction with PayGear. You never pay unless you make a sale. They do offer paid upgrades including an inexpensive plugin to help the membership software work with WordPress.

 

102) Cafe Press — Want to sell premiums from your website like T-shirts, hats, mugs and so forth? You can set up your store free with CafePress.com. It even has a built-in option to offer an affiliate program.

 

103) WebStore.com — If you ever wanted to sell on eBay.com but didn't want to pay the high fees you can now sell at Webstore.com and avoid those fees. It's a little "wild-wild-west" but it does work.

 

104) VistaPrint.com — You can get free business cards from VistaPrint. You might wonder how this is helpful when you run an online business, but it is very help. You never know when you'll run into someone that you want to do business with. Having the card will help you break the ice.

 

105) MarketHive — Is a FREE multi-million dollar platform which evolved from Veretekk. It's primary purpose is to empower the average Jane and Joe to lofty heights as entrepreneurs. Markethive not only invites you to become a member of the Entrepreneur Social Network, but to receive Inbound Marketing tools for your agendas and campaigns giving you the Unfair Advantage on the Internet. These tools include: Auto-responders, Blog Caster (publish your blogs to millions of Social Networks), Blog Swipping, Connect your Blogs (Press Releases) to unlimited WordPress blogs, Lead generation, Conference rooms (HEAR THAT?..your own conference room!), Capture pages, Email Capture Plugins, Daily live workshops, WP Subscribe Plugin, Tiny URL, Website Rotator, Lead Page Plugins, Lead Capture Pages

 

As you can see there is a wide variety of free software, education, code, and more that can help with setting up a website, email marketing, affiliate marketing, podcasting, blogging, selling products, hosting webinars, using social media, and anything you need to do for and with your business. When you are starting a business on a shoestring, an Internet business is the best kind to start due to all the free applications and tools that are available. What are you waiting for?

How To Make Your Blog Posts Look Irresistable

How To Make Your Blog Posts Look Irresistible

It’s been scientifically proven that the average reader has a shorter attention span than the average goldfish (if there is such a thing). The goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.

The importance of this fact is that it proves how little time you’ve got to get a reader’s attention when they encounter something you’ve written. Basically, if you don't build your article cleverly, you run the risk of spending countless hours researching and writing this epic content just to realize nobody actually reads it.

The reality of reader behavior is that they almost always scan it first. If they don’t see something that catches their attention….it’s off to another page and you’ve got nothing to show for all your effort.

There are certain things you can do that make it very hard for your reader to resist reading your article. Put another way, you can take advantage of what their mind almost naturally looks for and you can do so in such a way that they almost literally ‘fall into’ reading your article like an animal in the jungle falls into a hunter’s trap.

That’s your responsibility, as a content creator…at least if you want to eat that month.

Readers Scan Articles First

The first reader behavior you should be cognizant of and use to your advantage is that the vast majority of readers will scan an article first…. Before deciding whether or not to read it.

You should anticipate that and structure your article with these critical characteristics:

After that quick, initial scan, they should immediately know:

  • What is the article is about?

  • What’s the dominant message of the article?

  • And…know they want to get more into the article in detail.

  • And…. be excited about sharing the content on social media.

To do this, the trick isn’t about making your content look ‘pretty’, i.e. in terms of colors or fonts, etc. Rather, it’s about making the article silently and smoothly grab their brain. It should reach out and ‘hook’ attention (intellectually and/or emotionally) and makes them hungry to dig more deeply into its details.

How do you do that?

Readers Won’t Read Stuff That’s Visually Difficult To Read

You’ve probably seen blog posts that had one or more of these characteristics:

  1. Very small type fonts.

  2. Long sentences that were sometimes hard to mentally follow.

  3. Lines that were vertically very tight and thus also hard to read.

  4. Type fonts that were almost gray rather than black.

  5. Paragraphs that were very long (i.e. 5+ sentences).

To prevent these factors from being automatic strikes against you, you should:

  1. Use at least 12 point fonts

  2. Try to keep your sentences as short as possible (just count the words in some material that you find easy to read…and use it as a guideline.

  3. Find a comfortable spacing between your lines. Here, the issue isn’t a specific specification but just look at other copy that you like and try to do the same thing… keeping readability in mind.

  4. Be sure the actual color of your type/fonts is dark enough to be easily read.

  5. Last but perhaps most importantly, keep your paragraphs short. Web-writing is different than magazines or your school text books. 3 to 4 sentences is generally considered optimal length nowadays on the web.

Use Subheadings To Your Advantage

Next, work on learning to use sub-headings. Sub-headings is probably one of the most effective things that beginning writers do NOT do but they are a tool that can be learned with just a little practice.

Size Does Matter  

Your article titles should almost always be H1 (that’s a term/specification you’ll find on online composers. H1 is the largest size and then it goes down, in size, from there…i.e. H2 (of lesser size and used for sub-headings, H3 for lesser importance, etc.

The reason subheadings are so effective (for the purpose we’re discussing here) is because they help your readers scan through the content and get an idea how it flows. Subheading clearly show the ready the structure of the information within your article. Subheadings help the reader to decide what paragraphs they want to read and and they are also useful for SEO purposes.

Google detects H1, H2 ‘tags’ (that’s another term for them) all the way down to H6 and makes certain assumptions about the importance of where they’re used.

Use Bulleted or Numbered Lists When You Can or Should.

There are some guidelines regarding whether numbered or ‘bulleted’ (those little round dots/spots) are better but the main idea here is that these kinds of lists attract the brain’s attention.

Generally, use numbered lists when you're explaining instructions that need to be performed in sequence. If numbers aren't essential, use bullets, especially in business-related documents.

In general, lists make your content (here’s a ‘bulleted list)’:

  • Scannable
  • Shorter
  • Comprehensive

Another good point about ‘lists’ is that they momentarily relieve you of the burden of being a ‘good writer’. Lists let you relax and just list information…but you should set them up in the mind of the reader first.

You should not use bullet points when:

  1. You need several phrases to explain a point.

  2. When you cannot start every bullet the same way grammatically.

  3. If you’ve already used lists several times in the text before (too many lists kill the purpose of using a list to stand out) or…

  4. If you need semicolons to make sense of your bullet points.

Use Bolding… (but sparingly)

The power of bolding is that you can direct the reader's attention.

Use Quotes When Possible… (but sparingly)

Another nice trick to use to get attention is to use quotes…usually put these quotes into italics and indented them somewhat.

Use Numbers… (but sparingly)

It’s OK to use numbers but be aware that somebody else usually has different numbers. So don’t use numbers unless you’re really sure those numbers are unassailable. And if  you don’t really need the numbers to make a point, don’t take the risk. Or just use them minimally.

Use Images

Use images when you can and if you have good ones. Images are enticing to scanners too. Why? Because ‘an image is worth a thousand words’.

Somewhat related to images is the technique of screenshots. There are plenty of good, and free, screenshot tools. Screenshots add a lot to an article…even when it’s being scanned.

Bonus Point: Don’t forget to include a specific CTA (Call To Action). CTA’s are not always required, or appropriate, but you might be missing an opportunity to take your relationship to a higher level, with the reader, if he/she liked what they read.

A CTA could be something like asking them to:

  • Share your article on social media

  • Subscribe to your newsletter

  • Become a fan on Facebook

  • Follow you on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, …

  • Leave a comment

  • Sign up for a free trial

  • Download an ebook

  • Read another article

  • Sign up for a webinar

Just don’t ask them to do all these things. That’ll get you nowhere.

After you’ve used some of the aforementioned techniques, it’s always useful to read through it again — looking only at the text you’ve called special attention to.

When looked at in their aggregate, does what you just read make sense? Does it give you an idea what the article is about? Does it pull you into reading the rest of the article?

It should. But remember that your writing technique and style is always evolving That's because people are always evolving. The important thing is to keep ahead of your competition without getting so far ahead that everybody thinks you live in a jungle.

The Best Social Media Platform For 2016 Is…."It Depends"

The Best Social Media Platform For 2016 Is… "It Depends"
by Art Williams

I'm not going to rehash this article but simply summarize and support its conclusions. That conclusion is that if someone asks the question, 'What's the best social media platform for today?' the answer is still…."It depends".

So that's nothing new, right.

The articles comes from socialmediatoday.com, normally a very reputable website on social media subjects. I couldn't immediately detect who the author was. But…the article makes three basic but accurate and important points about the answer to the above question. It says that the answer 'depends' because….

  1. You need to first know your market. The social media sites you'd use to reach 18 years olds, isn't usually the same site you'd use to reach retired baby-boomers.
  2. It says you're also got to make a decision on whether you want to stay local or go for a global reach (or something in-between). That makes sense too…especially if you've seen the social media sites over in Aisa!
  3. And, last but not least, it recommends staying alert to market changes. Certainly social media is constantly changing.

So….so what?

What could that possibly have to do with Markethive?

To me, it simply validates our basic methodology of mixing evergreen marketing principles, e.g. building trust by generating excellent content, protecting the integrity of our membership and our platform, and providing our community with tools that simple do what no other tools do (e.g. Blogcasting, BlogSwipe, Supersized Syndication, HiveRoom, et.al.

No matter what social media platforms come and go, the things we do and believe in at Markethive will always make sense. Considering that we give away for free a tool suite that costs, at a minimum, hundreds of dollars a month anywhere else (and that's even if they have anything similar..which very few do)… Markethive is poised to become the Platinum Standard on Inbound Marketing and entrepreneurial social communities.

For those who are not familiar with what Markethive has to offer, it's easy to find out. It's free to join….here.

 

Art Williams
Case Study Writer and Markethive Developer

 

 

Your SEO Checklist: 4 Steps to Optimizing Your Webpage

On Page SEO

The goal of search engine optimization is to have the search engine spiders not only find your site and pages but also specifically rank the page relevance so that it appears at the top of the search engine results. The process of optimization is not a one-time process but requires maintenance, tuning, and continuous testing and monitoring.

Below is a broad four-step process for a strategy for search engine optimization. Use this as your top-level checklist.

Step 1: Target Market Business Analysis

Website analysis. Analysis of meta sets/keywords, visible text and code to deter­mine how well you're positioned for search engines. For example, how much code do you have on a page compared to text?

Competitive analysis. Examination of content keywords and present engine rank­ings of competitive websites to determine an effective engine positioning strategy. Pick the top five results in the Google listing results to begin this process. Expand as necessary. Use tools such as Semrush.com and Keywordspy.com.

Initial keyword nomination. Development of a prioritized list of targeted search terms related to your customer base and market segment. Begin with this: What would you type into a search engine to find your business website or page? Then, ask your customers!

Step 2: Keyword Research and Development

Keyword analysis. From nomination, further identify a targeted list of key­words and phrases. Review competitive lists and other pertinent industry sources. Use your preliminary list to determine an indicative number of recent search engine queries and how many websites are competing for each key­word. Prioritize keywords and phrases, plurals, singulars and misspellings. (If search users commonly misspell a keyword, you should identify and use it). Please note that Google will try to correct the term when searching, so use this with care.

Baseline ranking assessment. You need to understand where you are now in order to accurately assess your future rankings. Keep a simple Excel sheet to start the process. Check weekly to begin. As you get more comfortable, check every 30 to 45 days. You should see improvements in website traffic, a key indicator of progress for your keywords. Some optimizers will say that rankings are dead. Yes, traffic and conversions are more important, but we use rankings as an indicator.

Goals and Objectives. Clearly define your objectives in advance so you can truly measure your ROI from any programs you implement. Start simple, but don’t skip this step. Example: You may decide to increase website traffic from a current baseline of 100 visitors a day to 200 visitors over the next 30 days. Or you may want to improve your current conversion rate of one percent to two in a specified period. You may begin with top-level, aggregate numbers, but you must drill down into specific pages that can improve products, services, and business sales.

Step 3: Content Optimization and Submission

Create page titles. Keyword-based titles help establish page theme and direction for your keywords.

Create meta tags. Meta description tags can influence click-throughs but aren't directly used for rankings. (Google doesn't use the keywords tag any­more.)

Place strategic search phrases on pages. Integrate selected keywords into your website source code and existing content on designated pages. Make sure to apply a sug­gested guideline of one to three keywords/phrases per content page and add more pages to complete the list. Ensure that related words are used as a natural inclu­sion of your keywords. It helps the search engines quickly determine what the page is about. A natural approach to this works best. In the past, 100 to 300 words on a page was recommended. Many tests show that pages with 800 to 2,000 words can outperform shorter ones. In the end, the users, the marketplace, content and links will determine the popularity and ranking numbers.

Develop new sitemaps for Google and Bing. Make it easier for search engines to index your website. Create both XML and HTML versions. An HTML version is the first step. XML sitemaps can easily be submitted via Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Submit website to directories (limited use). Professional search marketers don’t sub­mit the URL to the major search engines, but it’s possible to do so. A better and faster way is to get links back to your site naturally. Links get your site indexed by the search engines. However, you should submit your URL to directories such as Yahoo! (paid), Business.com (paid) and DMOZ (free). Some may choose to include AdSense (google.com/adsense) scripts on a new site to get their Google Media bot to visit. It will likely get your pages indexed quickly.

Step 4: Continuous Testing and Measuring

Test and measure. Analyze search engine rankings and web traffic to determine the effectiveness of the programs you’ve implemented, including assessment of individual keyword performance. Test the results of changes, and keep changes tracked in an Excel spreadsheet, or whatever you're comfortable with.

Maintenance. Ongoing addition and modification of keywords and website con­tent are necessary to continually improve search engine rankings so growth doesn’t stall or decline from neglect. You also want to review your link strategy and ensure that your inbound and outbound links are relevant to your business. A blog can provide you the necessary structure and ease of content addition that you need. Your hosting company can typically help you with the setup/installation of a blog.

Origional article by:  Jon Rognerud

Dennis Roeder
Contributor

Review of "Organize Tomorrow Today"

"Organize Tomorrow Today"
A book review by Art Williams

I recently subscribed to a great new service that sends me reviews of top-rated non-fiction books. These are the kinds of books I'd be buying in paperback if I was back in the US… but I'm not in the US. I'm in Colombia. Nor do I have an ebook reader. So I get all my US news over the internet. 

This new service is called www.blinkist.com and I really like it. The most recent book I read (the summary of) is called "Organize Tomorrow Today" and here's what I got out of it:

  1. Task prioritization and organization is the key to productivity. The key to tomorrow is how you plan it today. So…pick three tasks and start organizing them by (a) listing only small, easily doable tasks. Do NOT list massive, complicated tasks, (b) Be conscious of your priorities and schedule wisely, and (c) write everything down. Why? Because it activates your RAS (Reticular Activating System).
    Note: Being busy is a waste of time. The goal is to be productive.
  2. Maximize you time and productivity by (a) Don't waste time between tasks, (b) further maximize productivity by the 'ask and chop' technique…. breaking every task down to the easiest component and doing that first… just like you east a steak bit by bit.(c) Allocate specific amounts of time to each task, and (c) if you do a lot of meetings (and everybody does some of them) structure those meetings. Don't waste everybody's time or yours.
  3. If you're trying to achieve lifestyle goals, make each newly desired habit a ritual that happens at a specific time. With time, that habit becomes more ingrained and easier.
  4. Focus more so on perfecting the process than perfecting the results. Focusing too much on results, as most people do, creates negative motivation for some people. Focusing on the process is more objective and easier to do to yourself.
    Note: Greatness is built around doing things others won't or can't do.
  5. Be aware of your self-talk. Keep it positive. Don't dwell on problems but rather successful solutions or outcomes.
    Note: Whatever you focus on expands so do not focus on negatives.
  6. You must develop your verbal communication skills in front of groups and/or to individuals. For addressing groups, Preparation and Practice are both important and effective no matter how well you do them. For one-on-one, remember that a calm voice is the most effective (with some enthusiasm thrown in at the right time) and listening is usually more important than talking.
  7. Do NOT be normal in the sense that you procrastinate like 'normal' people do and obsess on things beyond your control like 'normal' people do. Keep the main thing the main thing.

Summary: Focus on solutions, control your self-talk, perfect your processes, build your own evaluation ritual that tracks your successes and rewards them.

 

Art Williams
Case Study Writer and Markethive Developer
 

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