Wednesday, May 27, 2009

5 Websites to Ramp Up Your Online Business

Lead Generation.

If you had more customers would you sell more product?

Sounds pretty obvious really.

So, where are the customers? Where are your potential customers?

If you have a retail business selling products or services there is a very good chance that some of your customers are hanging out on these websites.

Put your business in front of them.


PageRank 5
Compete - Approx 428000 unique US visitors in April 2009

Classifieds for Free

PageRank 4
Compete - Approx 48000 unique US visitors April 2009

Free Advertising Forum

PageRank 5
Compete - Approx 26000 unique US visitors April 2009

Web Classifieds

PageRank 4
Compete - Approx 88000 unique US visitors April 2009

Inet Giant

PageRank 4
Compete - Approx 165000 unique US visitors

There are a few things that you need to realise about online classified websites

  1. People that look at online classified websites are looking to buy stuff
  2. These websites come up in Google search results and rank highly.
Just these 5 websites alone in April 2009 had 745000 unique US visitors.

Now, not all of these people are going to see your ad, but even if just a very small percentage of people see your ad you could significantly increase your business.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

31 Things to Consider When Planning Your Business Website

What do you need to consider when planning your business website?

Here is my checklist -

1. Domain Name - do you have one or do you need one?

2. Main Purpose of the Website

3. Your Target Market - what do they want and where do they hang out online?

4. Launch Timeframe - what is your launch date?

5. Your team - inhouse or outsourced?

6. Layout - must lead people around your website and allow them to uncover the things that interest them.

7. Navigation - easy to use and consistent across the website.

8. Integration with your corporate or business image - be consistent across your online and offline business so that your customers recognise you.

9. Color Scheme - use colors to highlight the key areas of your website.

10. Content - text, images, photos, articles, product info

11. Artwork - professional, and consistent with your business image.

12. Banners

13. Fonts - easy to read, consistent across your website, and not too many

14. Photos - professional

15. Internal Linking - this ties in with your navigation and contributes to your search engine rankings.

16. External Linking - what websites will add value to your visitors. These are the ones you should link to.

17. Ecommerce - do you need it?

18. Members Section - do you need a members section? Do people have to pay for it? What value can you give in return for this?

19. Forum - create a community around your website and your business

20. Newsletter - communicate regularly with your online customers

21. Video - a personal touch. Be professional

22. Audio

23. Blog - post new content regularly to your website and communicate with your customers.

24. Content Management System - do you need one?

25. Site Updates - how often? Who is responsible for these?

26. SEO - your website must be found.

27. Keywords and Keyphrases - research, research, research

28. Budget

29. Marketing - how are you going to promote your website? Online? Offline?

30. Code Validation - is your code valid? This could affect how search engines index your website. Make sure you have valid website code.

31. Programming Languages - does your designer have the necessary skills to build your website? Flash? PHP? Javascript?

Great website design comes together when the whole adds up to more than the sum of the individual elements.

Each element must support the main aim of the website

And, each element must support the image of the business.

'Your website is your business representative in the online world. What message are you sending to your online customers?'

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Monday, May 25, 2009

6 Ways to Save Money on Your Website Design

As a business owner, one of the things you are always conscious of is saving money on expenses.

$1 of extra sales might equate to 10cents of extra profit.

But $1 saved on expenses is $1 of extra profit.

Efficiency is all about taking your available resources and making them go further.

So how do you do that when you are planning your business website.

1. Have a clear idea of what you want your website to achieve.

Is your website for e-commerce?
Is your website about lead generation?
Is your website an information resource for your customers?

Having a clear idea of what you want your website to achieve will allow your website designer to get a clear idea of what they need to do for you.

It is a bit like when you build your house or you do a fitout on your business. If you have a clear plan when you start and you don't make too many changes you will limit your cost over-run.

When you have a clear idea of what you want from the start you can then ask your website designer for an estimation of the cost of your project.

2. Prepare your Content

You know your business and your products probably better than anyone else. So having your content prepared will allow your website designer to properly plan your website.

They may need to make some changes to your content to enhance your conversion or your search engine rankings. But if you have your content prepared in advance this will allow your designer to see more clearly what they are dealing with.

Again this will prevent revamping your website part way through the project which can inflate your cost.

3. Find some websites that you like.

This can be as simple as punching in one of your key search terms into Google and looking at the top ranked websites.

Grab a pen and paper and go and do this exercise.

Write down the website address and 3 things you like about the site and 3 things you don't like.

Do you like the layout?
Do you like the colors?
Do you like the images?
Do you like the navigation?
Do you like the content?

Be objective.

Doing this exercise with 4 or 5 of these websites will give your designer a good idea about what you do and don't like and they can prepare your website accordingly.

A word of caution, just remember that you are not your customer. A few years ago I had a retail business and some of the things that I used to sell in giftwares I just could not understand why anyone would buy them, but they sold so I sold them.

You are not your customer.

4. Don't redesign your website unless it needs to be redesigned.

If you have a website that you are looking to redesign, answer me one question?


Don't get me wrong here, I am a web designer and I make money when people decide to redesign their website.

But, you must have a valid reason to redesign your website.

And, these are not valid reasons -

  1. The website is 12 months old
  2. You are tired of the current design
  3. Someone in the marketing department thought it was a good idea.

5. Have an understanding of how long things take.

I once saw a sign in a business that said -

We offer the cheapest, fastest and most professional service to all of our customers. Please choose carefully because we can only do 2 out of these 3 things for you.

Cheap and Professional but not Fast
Cheap and Fast but not Professional
Fast and Professional but not Cheap.

If you are not sure how long your job will take, ask for a clear indication from the designer when you have an outline of what the project will involve.

If the timeframe does not match your needs, either be prepared to pay extra or find another designer.

6. Ask for a mockup of the design before your designer starts to code your website.

Make sure your website designer provides you with a visual picture of what your website will look like before they start to code your website.

I provide all of my clients with a mockup of their design. Over the last couple of years I have changed a few designs at this stage because the client wanted something to look a little different.

Once the client signs off on the mockup then I start to prepare the code.

A wise man once said -

Expect to get what you pay for and be happy with that
Be surprised if you get more than what you pay for, but don't expect it
Don't be surprised if you get less than what you pay for, but don't be happy about it

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Freebies for your Business Website

I don't often post on a Friday but I have decided that from now on, Friday will be freebie day.

One of my business aims is to help business owners add value to their websites and to improve their online business profitability.

So, when I find something of value I am going to give it to you for free - but only on Fridays.

For today I have a couple of Freebies for you.

Freebie Number 1 - Ebook about SEO for Business

This is a great ebook about how to improve the rankings of your website in the search engines. How much extra free traffic could you be getting to your website by improving your search engine rankings.

Freebie Number 2 - Free Website Review

Do you want to know what to do to your website to get in the Top 10 rankings on Google?

Find out what your major competitors are doing and how to beat them at their own game.

As part of my web design and seo services I offer a free website review for business owners that are looking to maximise their online business results.

Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Domain Name - Keywords or Business Name?? What do you Use?

Are you just looking to start your online business?

Are you creating a website for your 'bricks and mortar' business?

At some point in time before your website goes live you will need to register a domain name.

What factors do you need to consider when you choose a domain name?

Do you just choose your business name?

Do you incorporate your keywords?

Do you include your location?

Do you separate the words with hyphens?

How much are you prepared to pay?

The answer to these questions?? IT DEPENDS.

Let me take you through a scenario. I am working with a business selling computers in the retail market. The business is named after the founder of the business - 'Sullivan Computing' and is based in California.'

This business has been established for a long period of time and is well know in its local area.

BUT it is looking to expand its business across the US, into areas where it is less well known?

What domain should you register?

Would you register

Or would you register

2 Rules for Choosing a Great Domain Name

Rule Number 1 for choosing a domain name - MAKE It Easy to Remember

Rule Number 2 - Make it Search Engine Friendly by including relevant keywords

Do you include your Location?

Would I include the location? Not in this case because the business is looking to service the US market. If you have a local business you may benefit from including the location. And I would certainly include your location in your page title and meta description.

Would I use hyphens?

Hyphens can make your domain name difficult to communicate to people. Same goes for fullstops. It can however significantly reduce the cost of the domain name. It may also mean the difference between being able to register the domain name and it not being available at all.

Have a look at and search for your desired domain name with and without hyphens. And compare the difference. - $2232.50 - $13.21

BIG DIFFERENCE in terms of cost. Minimal difference in terms of search engine performance.

Can you get the benefit of both??


What would I do in this instance?

Depending on the budget I would

1. Register

2. Register either or or

3. Place a permanent redirect from to

Make sure you get the redirect done properly.

That way you get the benefit of people already knowing your local business and being able to find your website easily. And you also get the benefit of including some of your keywords in your domain name so you get some extra search engine ranking power.

For more info on keywords check out my post on Keyword Research for Business Websites.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blogging for Online Business Success

A blog is a vital element for the success of an online business.

There are a number of important reasons that a business should have a blog -

1. It creates a community allowing you to interact with your customers on a more personal level.

2. You can quickly and easily distribute important information about new products or services that your business is offering.

3. You can educate your customers about your business products and services and why they should take advantage of them.

4. You can use your blogs to create targeted links back to your main website, bringing you traffic and improving your search engine rankings.

So, have I convinced you that your business needs a blog.

If I have you need to go over and check out Problogger and let Darren teach you how to setup and run your blog the right way.

Like everything, blogging when done correctly is a very powerful way to market your business online. But when done poorly it can be a waste of your valuable time and resources.

Go over and check out Problogger and find out how to do business blogging the right way.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Get Top 10 Google Rankings - DIY

As a business owner it is often tempting to want to do things yourself to save money.

As a result of this the usual cost is time. Because it is your business you don't want to do a terrible job. Yet, maybe it is an area that you don't know very much about.

So, what do you do?

Well, from personal experience I can tell you that what you do is -

1. You invest a lot of time and maybe even some money trying to find out how to do it properly. This takes you away from your family and upsets your wife.

2. When you are finished you are not really sure whether you have done a good job or not.

3. You bring in a professional to sort out what you have done and do it properly.

Sound familiar?

What you need in order to save you time and money are the right tools from people who know what they are doing.

That is why you need to check out Internet Business Promoter if you are looking to improve your search engine rankings.

Not sure about the cost? What is it costing your business to not be on the front page of Google?

It is not very often that I do a review for a paid product as you know. I often review free products but I will only review a paid product under the following criteria -

1. I have used it
2. It does what it said it will
3. I believe that it is great value for money.

Internet Business Promoter fits all of those categories.

Here is just a little summary of what it can do

1. Keyword research - get the right keywords for your website.

2. Find out what you need to do to optimise your website to get on the front page of Google

3. Compare your website to your major competitors to find ways to improve the optimisation of your website.

4. Help you find websites to link to

5. Submit your website to major search engines and directories so that it can be found bny more people.

If you are looking for a DIY SEO program you could do far worse than check out Internet Business Promoter

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Keeping up with the Jones' could be vital to your Business Success

One of the major challenges facing business owners' doing business on the internet is that there is so much info out there that keeping up with everything that is going on can be a major challenge.

Unfortunately if you use all of your time scouring the internet for every last piece of information relating to your industry then you have no time to actually do anything.
But you need to stay up to date with what's hot.

How do you do this?

One of the tools that I use from time to time to monitor what is hot on the internet is Trendpedia

Trendpedia is a great tool for monitoring what is being talked about in your industry or niche on the social media websites.

You can compare different topics within your industry to see which one is hottest at the moment.

When you do a search you see a few different results.

1. You see the number of posts per day that relate to your search term. If you have done a comparison then you will see the number of blog posts per day for each term.

As a general rule, if no one is posting about it then don't waste your time.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule.

If you are in a very specialised industry then there may not be many posts. This is a great opportunity for you to dominate the search engines by posting new content regularly.

If you think you have the next greatest thing since sliced bread that no-one else knows about yet.

2. You see the pattern of blog posting on a daily basis.

Did you ever wonder how often you should post on your blog, or what days you should post on. You can review the pattern of posting and get some answers to your questions.

Follow the peaks and troughs.

Remember it is a bit like the sharemarket. As a general rule you should follow the trend.

3. You see what is being said on Twitter about your subject or subjects.

At the bottom of the screen you can see who is saying what on Twitter about your industry. You can click on the graph and break this down to daily information for your subject.

I find this a great way to monitor Twitter quickly and easily without having to run Twitter applications that suck up my computer memory and can be very distracting.

Does your business have a social media strategy?

Not sure what to post on your blog?

Not sure when or how often to post on your blog?

What is the competition doing?

I have found this to be a great tool to answer all of these questions without taking up a huge amount of my time.

Does it just reinforce what you already know about your industry or are there some different things going on that you need to be aware of?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

How much would you pay for a Number 1 Ranking on Google??

What would it be worth to your online business to be Number 1 on Google?

One of the most common questions that I get asked is 'How much will it cost to get my business to Number 1 on Google?'

My question to you is 'What is it costing you to not be Number 1 on Google?'

Here is an exercise that I do to determine the value of the Number 1 ranking on Google.

Lets say that I have an online business and one of my major search terms generates 2000 searches per month. You can use the Google Keyword Tool to see how many searches per month are generated for your search term.

On average the number 1 listing will generate 40-50% of the total search volume as traffic.

So my website is going to get 800-1000 hits per month.

I have a product that sells for $27. (You can plug in your own numbers)

My website converts at 10% so I am going to make 80 to 100 sales per month. This will generate between $2160 and $2700 per month in revenue from your number one ranking on Google.

You will also get some extra benefit because your optimisation efforts will have a flow on effect to other keywords and phrases and bring more traffic to your website.

So, again I ask you 'How much is it costing your business to not be Number 1 on Google?'

And, another question, 'How much would you be prepared to pay to generate a monthly income of $2160 on a regular basis?'

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Was feeling Frustrated - Now I'm Just Plain Excited

Go right now and check out Google Webmaster Tools

If you are not signed up, sign up right now.

Just go do it alright.

Here is the link

Google Webmaster Tools

You did do it right.

Most of you know that I am a fan of Google Tools. For a couple of different reasons. Firstly they work. Secondly they give pretty good info. And thirdly they are free.

Now don't think me cheap, but I know that when you are running a business there is no point spending money if you don't have to.

In most business models that I know the owner is usually the last one to get paid, and they usually work the hardest!! (something not quite right there!!)

OK, so click on the new layout link at Webmaster Tools.

Click on your website.

And if you are like me you just discovered that Google has found a lot more of the links to your website. And that some of your rankings for keywords are better.

I do like the new layout because you can see most of the information you need to look at very quickly and easily.

Good Work Google.

Hey if you haven't gone over and signed up already do it now.

And, just because I'm having a good day if you need someone to install the code on your website drop me an email and I will do it for FREEEEEEEEEEE!!
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Get More Clicks to Your Website - 5 Tips for Effective Page Titles and Descriptions

Want more clicks to your website?

But don't want to pay for them?

Statistics say that the number 1 listed website on Google for any given search term gets up to 50% of the clicks for that search term. And as you go down the list each listing gets fewer clicks.

And, once you get to the bottom of Page 2 most websites get very few free clicks from Google.

It is possible however to increase the number of free clicks that you are getting by using your Page Title and Meta Description effectively to entice searchers to click on your listing as opposed to the other listings on the page.

As you probably know the Page Title and Meta Description are the parts of your website that appear in the search engine results. Your Page Title is what people will click on, and the meta description gives them some more information about your business to convince them to click on your website.

Here are some rules for creating Page Titles and Meta Descriptions that will get you more clicks.

1. Each webpage on your site must have a unique Title and Description.

2. Google will only show the first 70 characters in your Page Title and 160 characters of your meta description so put your most relevant information at the start of each.

3. The Page Title and Meta Description should contain the most relevant keyword phrases that relate to that page on your website.

4. Sell Benefits not Features. You have a small space to convince a searcher that they should click on your listing.

What can your product do for them?

What will it create for them?

What problem can you solve for them?

These are the questions that you should be trying to answer in your Page Title and Meta Description.

5. Include a Call To Action

Most of us are used to following instructions and when left to make our own decisions, sometimes the decision that people make is no decision at all. Help them to make a decision. The decision to click on your website.

A Call To Action might be a FREE Report or a Special Offer that they will receive when they visit your website. Including this in your meta description will increase your click through rates.

Go and have a look at your page titles and meta descriptions for your website. Grab a pen and paper (yes they still exist)!! Write down the URL for each page on your website. Next to each URL write down the main keyword phrase that you are targeting on the page of your website. Then write down the current Page Title and Meta Description for the page.

Then, answer these questions.

Are my titles and descriptions unique?

Do they include my keyword phrase?

What benefit am I trying to sell?

Is there a strong call to action?

It can take some time and practice to get used to writing effective page titles and meta descriptions in only a very short space.

PS If you want more information about keyword research for your website check out my post on Effective Keyword Research for Business Websites

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Know Your Website Numbers - What you Don't Measure you Can't Improve

As a business owner we all know the importance of 'keeping your finger on the pulse' of your business. It is vital that you know how the various areas of your business are performaing against industry benchmarks or your own budgets and targets.

And your website is no different.

What statistics do you review about your website on a regular basis. What numbers do you need to keep track of? What is relevant and what is not relevant?

In terms of what statistical package do you use there are many options. The main one that I use is Google Analytics, because it gives you good information about your website and it is free.

It is not the most detailed package on the market. If you are a stats guru then maybe you should look at something like Overture which does provide an extra level of detail which you don't get with free packages.

For the average business owner Google Analytics will do just fine.

Please Please Please be very wary of the stats packages provided by web hosts. I am yet to find one that gives you any kind of accurate meaningful information. If you know of one please let me know.

So what things do you look at with Google Analytics.

1. Bounce Rate

Under the Content Tab in Analytics click on the 'Top Content' section. This will show you a list of the pages on your website, and among other things it will show you the 'bounce rate' for each page.

The 'bounce rate' represents people that clicked on this page of your website and then left your website or 'bounced'.

What you want to look for is a page that has a higher bounce rate than other pages on your website. If you find a page with a higher bounce rate have a close look at this page. Is there something about the layout or the content that is unattractive to people. Improving this page could make a significant difference to the overall performance of your website.

If your website has a high overall bounce rate then you need to look closely at the quality of your website traffic and where it is coming from. Maybe you are attracting people to your website that are not looking for what you are offering.

Also, related to this are the 'Top Exit Pages' which is also under the content tab. Have a look at your top exit pages to see where people are leaving your website from. Can these pages be improved?

2. Pages/Visit

Pages/Visit represents how engaged your visitors are by your website. If they find useful content on your site and it is easy to navigate they will look at more pages on your website.

I watch the trend of this number with the aim for it to be trending up.

If this number is too low you need to look at your content and navigation to make them more useful and user friendly.

3. Traffic Sources

The third number that I look at is the percentage of traffic coming from direct traffic, search engines, and referring websites. I like to see a spread of traffic across each of these sources so that you are not relying solely on one source of traffic for your website.

What if that source disappeared tomorrow? So would all your website traffic.

For each of the top traffic sources you can click on the link that is in the list and see the bounce rate and pages/view for each traffic source. I use this to determine the quality of the traffic source. I then invest my time in developing traffic from the sources that give me the lowest bounce rate and highest pages/visit.


If you want to get a better idea of how your website is performing against similar sites you can also use the benchmarking feature. You will find this under the 'Visitors' tab. This will compare the main stats for your website against similar websites to see how you are performing. This will also help to give you a list of areas to work on improving your website.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

The Key to Online Business Success - Position Yourself as an Expert

If you want to be successful online (or offline for that matter) it is essential that you are able to give your customers the most current information about the current information and trends in your industry as they happen.

That means being aware of information as it happens. That could involve a lot of time and effort scouring the internet finding information about your industry on news websites, your competitors websites, blogs, forums, and social media pages.

The challenge as a business owner is to be able to keep track of a large amount of information in the shortest period of time to position yourself as an expert in your industry.

There are a couple of ways that I do this.

1. Google Alerts - You can set up a number of alerts so that Google will track new information as it becomes available and then send you an email telling you where to find this information. I set up 8 to 10 alerts covering the main search terms for my industry and then Google sends me an email whenever new content becomes available on the internet.

I always use comprehensive alerts for this purpose. This monitors websites, blogs, vide, news and group websites. I set the frequency to daily.

I then set aside 15 minutes each day to monitor the alerts and review this information, and make relevant notes that I can refer to when I need to.

2. Feeddemon - Feeddemon is a fantastic tool for being able to quickly review new content on the blogs that are of interest to you in your industry. I have about half a dozen blogs that I follow closely and about another half a dozen that I follow not so closely. About half of these blogs relate directly to web design and seo, and about half of them relate to business ownership. This allows me to quickly stay up to date with the relevant information in my industry. I also post comments which give me links back to my website.

Feeddemon allows you to monitor your blogs all from one application. You are also able to search for blogs that you might be interested in following using your key search terms.

I set aside about 10-15 minutes per day to review these blogs and make comments where I feel that I can contribute to the discussion.

These 2 tools allow me to stay up to date with my industry for about 20 to 30 minutes per day. In this time I also do some link building via the blogs as well. I find this a very efficient use of my time as I am getting ideas for new content, staying up to date with my industry and link building all in about half an hour per day.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Looking for Links - Don't miss This.

OK, so this week I have been looking at Google Trends.

One of the most powerful uses I have found for Google Trends is finding links for my websites.

Having done lots of website reviews for clients, one of the major reasons that most business websites don't feature highly in the search engines is not enough links.

(PS Don't forget that if you would like a FREE website review I am running a competition at the moment for you to win a free review).

Is not enough links holdingg back your website?

In my experience the issue is actually finding the websites to link to that is the problem for most business owners.

One of the tools that I use to find websites to link to is Google Trends.

Here is how I go about it.

1. Find a blog that is relevant to your industry. In Google you would search for "your industry" blog or just search Google Blogs or maybe you are following some already.

2. Put the address of this blog into Google Trends

3. Have a look at the websites that people that visited this website also visited.

4. Check out these websites and see if you can get a link back to your website on them.

5. Check out the search terms that people also searched for and put these into Google and see what websites you get. Put the first few into Google Trends and see if you can get other websites that might give you a link.

6. Look for a forum that relates to your industry. Google search for 'your industry' forum. See what the rules are for posting links on the forums.

7. Put the address of the forum into Google Trends and see what other websites you get. See if you can get a link from these websites.

8. Look at the search terms that people used and check out these search terms.

WARNING - Link building can be a somewhat tedious task. But it is vital to the success of your website in terms of how much organic (Free) traffic you will get to your website.

This is one way that I use to build links for my websites. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks and I will share with you some other ways that I build links for my websites.


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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Out of The Box Keyword Research Strategy - Keep this one to Yourself

Yesterday I gave you an insight into how to use Google Trends to get better results in a shorter time.

Now I want to dig deeper into how I use this for my websites, and how you can use it for yours as well.

We all know the importance of great keyword research so I am always looking for an edge over my competition for my websites and my clients' websites.

Untapped keywords are like Texas Tea. (Anyone remember the Beverley Hillbillies??) They made a lot of money from Texas Tea (oil - for those of you that don't know the Hillbillies). Showing my age I know!!

So, what if you take the info you get from Google Trends and combine it with the info you can put into the Google Keyword Tool.

OK, I'm not a Google freak but when they give you free tools to use that more than do the job, why not use them.

Here is what I do.

1. Type your main search term into Google.

2. Take the number 1 website and put that address into Google Trends.

3. Take the number 1 website and put it into the Google Keyword Tool. Make sure you select 'website content as your means to generate keywords and then hit generate keywords and go through the list and add all keywords that are relevant to your website.

4. Go back to Google Trends and look at the number 1 website. Look at the websites that people also visited.

5. In turn, put each of these websites into the Google Keyword Tool and add all relevant keywords.

Now you have a long list of keywords. Have a good look for the ones with reasonable traffic and reduced competition. These are the nuggets. Here is your Texas Tea.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Did you find a Gold Nugget? Don't stop looking. There will be more than one.

Last week I wrote about 10 Essential Tools for your online business.

Today I am going to dig deeper into another great tool that I use for my online business - Google Trends.

I treat finding a great website like finding a gold nugget. Don't stop looking when you find one, because there might be a cluster of them.

So, how do you find them quickly and easily.

Google Trends

You can use Google trends for a number of things like seeing what search terms are hot on the web.

But, a lesser used section of Google trends is the websites section. You can see different stats about people that visited a certain website.

Lets say that we look at a website like

If you put this into the website section of Google Trends you get some info about visitors to the website.

You can see the volume of traffic and the trend in the traffic.

But, more importantly you get a list of the top 10 websites that people that visited ezinearticles also searched for. Here are the nuggets. Some of these websites you may already know about, but there are some nuggets here that maybe you didn't know about.

You can also see a list of other search terms that they searched for as well.

If you want to dig a bit deeper you can then repeat the propcess for any of those top 10 websites to find other websites.

So, rather than using the search engine and typing in something like 'article directory' and then sifting through the search results, you have a list of the top 10 websites that people visited.

Imagine the possibility in terms of keyword research and linking. Stay tuned, over the next couple of days I am going to take you through using these tools to find great websites to link to and ways to find new keywords.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Are you tired of people stealing your stuff?

Have you ever had your house broken into and some of your stuff stolen?

Really sucks doesn't it.

Last time it happened to me they made a huge mess in our house as well.

I was pretty p....d off.

Well, it happens on the internet as well. You might have even experienced it already. It usually happens a bit like this, you start creating some great content for your website, and you post it to some article directories.

And then one day, you come across what looks a lot like the article you wrote. It might be on another website, or a different article directory, or on a blog somewhere. But the only thing is that someone else has taken credit for your article and they are sending links to a different website.

Not happy, right.

I guess the good news is that on the internet it is easier to find the culprits than it can be in real life. Don't get me worng here - I want people to take my articles and repost them on their websites or blogs. I just want them to acknowledge me as the author and leave my links intact.

Here is what I do to protect my content.

1. I create a Google Alert.

When I do this I usually use a keyphrase from the article or the headline of the article. I make it a comprehensive alert, and I request a daily email whenever Google finds the phrase or headline.

I use a specific term for these alerts as I am just looking for copies of my articles. These are different to the alerts that I use to monitor what is going on in my industry on the web.

2. I use Copyscape.

Copyscape have a free version and a paid version. Once you have a few articles out there the paid version is great value for money. Once a week they send me an email with copies they have found for my articles.

And that is about it.

When I find that someone has copied one of my articles without leaving my links I contact the website owner and advise them. Most often they are posted on obscure article directories.

I give them the web address of my original article and the address of the article on their website and request that the copy be removed.

If they are posted on third party websites I follow the same procedure.

Very rarely are they published on the website of the person copying the article because they are looking for backlinks. I usually find that it is difficult to establish the ownership of the sites that the links are directed to but I do use Whois to do this.

Best case scenario for me is that I get the copied article removed from the website and I then repost the original article with my links intact.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Win a Free Website Review

What is the number one issue or question you have about web design or SEO for your business?

Post a comment below for a chance to win a FREE business website review.

Tell me what is the number one question you would like answered about web design or SEO for your business.

Now is your chance to find out what you need to do to get your website on the front page of Google.

The prize will be drawn on the 15th May.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

10 Essential Tools for your Online Business

In this day and age as the owner of a small to medium business it is getting harder and harder to keep up with everything.

What is going on with the online world?

What is going on in the offline world?

It makes it crucial that you are able to work smarter so that you can get more done in less time.

Here are 10 tools that I use everyday to manage my activities so that I can at least try to keep up with everything.

1. Google Analytics

It is vital that you can see exactly what is going on with your website very quickly. There are some paid packages out there that do offer more than Google Analytics, but this is FREE and it tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

2. Google Webmaster Tools

OK. I am not on the Google payroll for pushing their applications but they do have some good stuff. Want to know what search terms you rank for, how many links your website has, how often the Googlebots crawl your site, do you have any errors that need attention. Again this tells you pretty much everything you need to know about your website.

3. Social Twist

Tell-a-friend by Social Twist lets you share you and your customers/readers share your content in the social media world quickly and easily with only 1 button. I must say that I love this widget and the traffic to a couple of my sites has gone up 1000% since I started using it. Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon - they are all there and more. If you want more referrals to your website from social media you have to be using this.

4. Blogger

5. Wordpress

I have said it before, and I will say it again. You must have a blog for your business.

If you are going to use an offiste blog then use Blogger. If you want your blog onsite then I would use Wordpress. Not sure if you want your blog onsite or offsite then check out my post about onsite blogs vs offsite blogs.

6. Evernote

If you are like me you probably get 1000's of ideas every day. And it is hard to keep track of them all. Using Evernote is a great way to keep track of those ideas. Jot them down, attach a couple of relevant tags and you can easily go back and find them when you want them.

Saves you racking your brain trying to remember that great idea you had yesterday but can't remember now. Happens to me all the time.

7. Deskaway

Have you got a bunch of projects that you are working on. Maybe you are part of a team working on projects. Deskaway is a great way to manage your tasks and projects so that you can keep track of what needs to be done when and by whom.

I use it because it helps to keep me focussed on what I am supposed to be doing at the moment, and it gives me a clear picture of exactly what I have on my plate at the moment.

If you ever find that you spend a lot of time thinking about how much you have to do and not so much time actually doing it, then Deskaway is a great way to get focussed on doing what needs to be done.

8. FeedDemon

Keep track of what is going on in your niche or industry quickly and easily by using FeedDemon. This allows you to monitor the relevant blogs in your industry from 1 platform. I use to set up the RSS feeds from the blogs I liked to look at straight on my iGoogle home page. But then I found there was too many. So, I started to use FeedDemon. You can see which blogs you look at the most and which you don't look at so much.

Part of being a business leader in your industry is staying tuned to what is going on in your industry. Keeping up to date with the latest trends is a big part of your success and this is a quick and easy way to do that.

9. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is another way that I monitor the web to find out what is going on in my industry. You can set up alerts for specific keywords and phrases and then Google will monitor the internet and send you an email when something new that relates to your keywords is published on the web. I get about 4 or 5 alerts daily and I can then click on the links and see quickly what is being published.

10. Firefox

Part of being efficient on the internet is having a great browser. I use Firefox because I find it has less quirky bits than Internet Explorer and there are a whole bunch of great add-ons that you can use with it to further enhance your browsing. Stay tuned for a post next week about Firefox add-ons for your business that you should be using.

I know when you get used to something it can be hard to change but if you have not tried browsing with Firefox I would definitely go check it out.

OK, so you probably already knew about most of these tools. My question for you is - How many of them are you actually using?

Knowledge without Action is just a waste of knowledge. Take your knowledge and put it into action to enhance the success of your online business and your lifestyle.

Have you got online tools for your business that you use everyday that you think are vital to your success? Would you like to share them?
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