Monday, July 31, 2006

Your web page has less than 10 seconds!

It fascinates me when I am asked to view a website as the owner states people are hitting the page and almost IMMEDIATELY leaving.

Its usually very apparent - their website's content is not targeted and the written copy is generic, full of jargon and does not make clear what it is that is on offer.

Most users have a short attention span when searching and hitting a webpage (less than 10 seconds) - they want immediate results and to be satisfied the page they have found makes it easier for them to find out more or best of all make a purchase from you.

If the page does not CLEARLY AND QUICKLY show what they are searching for then you're going to drive your website's visitors away!

It's important to user test your site. It is worth the investment - otherwise you may lose the opportunity of purchases from not realising what visitors are doing on your website.



Friday, July 28, 2006

What's Parasite SEO???

I've heard the term parasite SEO used before but WebGuerilla's web marketing blog really works to make clear what it is about.

Good article with some detailed comments.



Thursday, July 27, 2006

Benefits of Google PPC

Google PPC, more commonly known as Google Adwords™ - by the way "PPC" stands for Pay Per Click - can offer some serious benefits to companies looking to make the most from a website.

Google Adwords CAN also present some serious downsides of which I will briefly mention further below.

Ok so the benefits of Google PPC are:

Immediate - can take as little as 15 minutes to set up though if done correctly you might want to consider spending a bit more time to ensure you've got the right keywords and the best value budget possible - avoid paying high bid rates if at all possible.

Cost effective - if carried out correctly advertising with PPC can be VERY fruitful for a reasonable modest outlay.

Directly measurable - by creating landing pages outside of your main website or installing tracking code on the existing pages you can measure your costs against acquiring each customer and/or measure click through rates to your website on a simpler scale.

Any size company - from low budgets to huge amounts of marketing investment per month any size of company - the one man band to the huge corporate can take a piece of the online pie.

The downsides and pitfalls of Google PPC

Click Fraud, have to admit its a common problem to some advertisers but I it does not affect everyone. Click fraud is where people paid to do so or your competitors directly click on your Ads to waste your budget and deprive you of real traffic to your website. I've yet to see that hapen on any of the Campaigns I manage but it is something I do keep an eye on. Google does have its eye on the problem and will likely investigate any serious fraud taking place.

Cost - in the long term it is more cost effective to be listed in the Organic results and not the sponsored links on Google. But if you are waiting for Google to list your site you can use Google Adwords to generate interest in your website and help mine for more keywords to add into new and existing articles on your website.

Competition - competition is fierce so you're going to need to be on your toes to get the best from your ads. In some sectors the actual profit from a sale is less than the actual cost of each click through for an Ad so you are going to have to watch budgets against click through rates carefully.

Addictive - it can be all too easy to continuely monitor a new campaign looking at results every few minutes, tinkering with Ads and keywords and generally not leaving things alone. Sit back, relax and let your Ads run a while. When there is sufficient data THEN can you sift through the detail. Experienced Google PPC professionals give each Ad time to develop before making significant changes. Well I do anyway!

Google AdWords™ is one of many possible methods of getting traffic to your web site, though it is a great way to get traffic early on with a new website. Its also easy to keep control over ad budgets and now with day parting you will be able to stretch your £ or $ even further.

Give it a go. Who knows what might happen but its worth the effort, trust me!



MyLongTail Keyword Research

Found this keyword research tool mentioned on Cre8site Forum.

Not sure about the Flash, though I liked the voiceover, however is there no option to shut it off and read a text version instead?

Long tail of search means the keywords that are not used on a common basis but collectively can bring you lots of traffic.

You'll have to register, login and install a small script on each of your web pages.

Wasn't too sure how useful it was but its already generated an extra 126 keywords based on the long tail searches coming through on my own website

So potentially thats 126 NEW pages of articles for my site OR content for my blog. Pretty cool tool when you think about it!

Check out:

Its worth a look!



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Basics of Email Marketing

Its hot. And I am bothered, irritated and annoyed. Not only from the plasterer who quite frankly ripped me off on Monday this week but also because the amount of email that hits my inbox that just does not work enough to gain my interest.

So I've decided to blog about email marketing and some of the basic steps you should take to ensure not only that your email arrives at someones inbox but also increases your chances of being opened, read AND actioned on!

First off: Get their permission!

Permission based email marketing is the way to go. Basically means that someone has signed up or subscribed to allow you to send them emails. Targeted emails to agreed subscribers are proven to convert far better into customers than firing out emails blindly in the hope that they may stick - which by the way is considered spam. Get caught and its likely your email address will be blacklisted from ISP services, your ISP cuts you off, you get the picture.

2nd: Ensure your email lets them unsubscribe

People will appreciate seeing the link in your email advising them "to unsubscribe here". Make sure it works! So many times I have unsubscribed only to keep on receiving emails - from then on I just filter them into my junk folder. If it continues for more than a week then generally I make a complaint that I am not interested and then report them to their web hosts. Not happened too many times.

3rd: Your address - your physical off line real world address is displayed

At the foot of your email make sure your email has your name, address AND email and contact telephone numbers. Nothing worse than getting an email and there are no contact details to allow someone to call you or physically visit your address. Makes most users very wary and with the Internet you only want to creat trust and integrity ALWAYS to help establish a positive online reputation.

4th: Link to your website

I do see this time and time again. People forget the purpose of your email is to BRING people to your site and yet they either offer no link or put a link at the bottom of an email.

Put your link in using solid anchor based text to DRIVE people to your website. In fact put a few links in and your telephone number easily spotted inside your email.
They don't want to sit down and read lines and lines of your email before reaching a link. They're busy.

Make it as easy as possible for your readers to reach your site.

5th: Good grammar

Poor spelling online can allow others to poorly perceive your company (regardless if you work from a home office OR from high-tech commercial premises).

Yet it is the most common error. Slow down, take another 30 seconds to a minute and actually READ what you have just written. Don't be too reliant on Spell Checking Software if you have access to it, its not foolproof.

You must manually read your article BEFORE sending it out.

If you're not a great writer then find a copywriter who can help you with grammar and spelling. They should be able to help you get an even better response from your emails with their stylish writing skills.

6th: Your email MUST be honest

Do not promise things that when clicked upon the user finds out there not actually available. Do not fool people into opening your email - it makes most users fairly angry that their time has been wasted.

Clearly state the benefits in your email subject and then ensure they are easily found in your email. Honest communications creates a Win Win situation. Your subscribers have received what was actually promised and you've maintained great positive contact.

I think emails that use gorilla type tactics do not garner much success due to a highly negative perception from customers.

7th: Be courteous in your email

Yes you should consider the demographics of a reader of your email but do not insult their intelligence. Writing your subject in CAPITAL LETTERS SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING which is considered rude by many people.

Offer your subscriber the benefits of buying from you with helpful hints and tips - this can increase their awareness of you as an expert in your field. Place your sales copy after your tips. Keep the article to the point. If it does have to be long place a link to your website with a continuation. Let them absorb your email in readily digestible chunks.

Be polite, offering real benefits for reading your email. Who knows you may get an email back from them thanking you for taking the time for sending them useful details.

8th: Assure them of your privacy policy

People are always wary of giving out their email addresses due to fear of being spammed. Make certain you have a privacy policy stated on your website AND then include brief details of that policy with a link in every email you send.

9th: Offer choices in your email

People like to make decisions and choices and you can offer that in your email with various links to different parts of your website. However you should consider that too many choices can be tiresome in an email. Better to offer a fewer set of links and then on your website offer more links there instead. Makes it easier and can help someone surf your site further and longer on your site.

10th: Build a relationship

Send your emails regularly - at least once a month - at the same time and on the same day if at all possible. Subscribers will then eventually expect your email on a regular basis and are more likely to read it

That's it for email marketing for now. I intend to explore this side of online marketing further over the next few months to help readers of this blog generate even more online sales from their websites.



Monday, July 24, 2006

How much should PROFESSIONAL SEO cost?

Thanks to Rand at SEOMoz for demonstrating how to price for SEO.

Something I do on my own website by directly quoting approximate prices to give people an idea of just how much SEO they can get for their money.

Have to admit my prices are far more highly competitive (i.e. lower!) but SEO Moz tend to go after high value clients where-as I am satisfied serving small/medium sized companies.

So next time you think your site can get to number 1 on Google/Yahoo/MSN for next to little no money from an experienced SEO then remind yourself just what you really SHOULD pay to get what you want!



Search Engine Optimising Flash websites

Having been asked recently about optimising for Flash websites let me post here the details I provided to the online community I work with.

"With regards to Google, no the search engine is not (yet) capable of indexing Flash websites.

It is generally accepted in some circles that Flash can follow Flash links however I feel that it is not yet advisable to go down this route.

Why? Search engines prefer links that are easy to navigate as possible so are unlikely to be favoured if it involves more work for a search engine bot (means more work for the engineers!)

If you carry out a search on Google using "Flash" as the search term all listings actually link to HTML pages bar one!

Also bear in mind screen readers designed for those with vision problems/visual challenges
cannot read Flash websites either. So there may be potential discriminatory issues there.

Some ways around this are to offer a Flash based website and HTML site though usually this involves using a "Splash" type screen - something I am not fond of.

Here are a few tips you COULD use that MAY help:

* Make sure that relevant content text in the .swf files is text
* Descriptive text & meta info is used for the header of each page
* Use HTML href links in the footer of each page
* Make sure that title tags use targeted and/or keyword phrases & are unique for each page

I'll be honest and say I am not a fan of Flash UNLESS its done creatively and differently which down to development costs can only IMHO be afforded by those with deep marketing and creative budgets.

If I see one more animated logo in Flash!!!!!!!! :(



Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blog spamming Bastards!

I detest spam and can never understand why people buy into it, cause if they didn't then we would not get this crap. This blog has been spammed quite a few times now and results in me having to waste MY time deleting their crap.

I don't gamble, I don't have a sex drive problem and I don't need to know your exclusive stocks so if you spam this crap go find somewhere else to do it. I feel it should be law to bang spammers up... for life!

One positive thing I guess is that my blog is now getting found so this is the downside attracting spammers.

Don't bother spamming here again as I have set Comments to require you to be logged into post now. No more anonymous comments - sorry guys...

One hot and bothered Daz!



Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Careful if you try to use a competitors brand in your site

Myself and my wife are considering a new car and a friend of mine suggested Motorpoint in Newport, UK as his girlfriend just purchased a car there over this past weekend.

So off I head to Google to look this company's website up and check out the range of cars to see what they have for sale.

Up come the listings and browsing the results quickly as one does, ignoring the domain name and looking at the description and title I decide the second organic result on the page is the more relevant.

Having clicked the link and reached the second site the whole page shows a Motorpoint logo for each Motorpoint location around the country with a link saying something "More cars for sale here". Looks useful as it appears the site is taking me where I want to go.

When this link is clicked on (and you as a user fully expecting to reach the required Motorpoint Location) you are taken to a website that appears to have no connection to the dealer's website at all.


Why did I ignore the first listing?? (Which admittedly uses Motorpoint in the domain name)
Because if you notice the cached page title for that listing in the SERPS says "Motorpoint of Derby Limited."

I did not want Derby instead I wanted the Newport dealer.

Motorpoint could be quite a common name for a car company so the website below with part of its page title:

"Motorpoint Uk...."

This made me want to go to look for Motorpoint Dealers in the UK and not just in Derby!

The second results description:

"... Find your nearest Car Supermarket in on Car...."

The first part of the description seems reasonably accurate (though "in on Car" is my mind just nonsense).

When you reach the listed site and click on the link to go to what you think is the Newport Motorpoint website you do not get there. As a user its likely you will feel you have been tricked/deceived into thinking that the link on the car supermarket page will take you where you want to go, when it fact it does not as at 18th July 2006.

3 things here:

Google - I think you need your results to be more accurate. IMHO this second result does not get me to where I want to go and is the site is being listed against someone elses "brand". If you did not list results like this it would make searching a whole lot more pleasurable as a task.

Car Supermarket - clever work but the way I see it I would not give your website the time of day. You deceive me on the web, what would you do if I decided to purchase a car from you or one of your advertisers?

Motorpoint - you need to look carefully at your page description and title. Start naming dealer locations if possible - put a search call to action in there as well i.e. "Find your nearest Motorpoint dealer here" or something to that effect. It took me 3 or 4 times on the a competitor site desperately looking for a link to you when one was not there. Eventually I came back to Google and clicked on your listing. I would have headed directly to your site if your page description and title were better.

Last word from me...

If you ever think you want to use a competitors name and hope some people may be duped into visiting your site - because you cleverly play with your listing, let me tell you that many people will be turned off by what you have done... especially like me if they feel a website has only wasted their precious time.



Monday, July 17, 2006

The importance of anchor text links to YOUR website

Whilst carrying out research for a client I noticed that for the term "health and safety consultant" the second listing on the page did not make use of the keyword consultant in it's page content instead Google advises when checking the cache:

"these search terms have been highlighted: health safety
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: consultant"

If ever this was enough proof to show you that external links AND the anchor text of those inbound links to your site are VITAL then this is an excellent example.

How long they will be listed for I do not know but there's lots of good content there, at first glance anyway.

For more details check below


So you can list for competitive keyword phrases without having to always include the actual phrase within your content. The next bit of research would be to find out the number of backlinks, who links to the site and the anchor text used (is it the same or does it vary across sites?)



Google Adwords landing page criteria - whats all the fuss about???

Google Adwords has updated its guidelines on landing pages and for some at least its causing a bit of a "hoo-haa"....

Google's new guidelines state that Ads linked to poor quality pages will have to pay a higher minimum clickthrough rate than Ads that link to high quality landing pages.

Perhaps not fair for spammers but by setting this out clearly, it brings Adwords into line with Google's general webmaster guidelines - which again are reasonably fair and clear. If it means that Adwords are more trustworthy to users as Google has taken steps to help reduce spammy pages then thats a good thing. I have found myself in some very dubious websites which I clicked on from Google Ads... the Ad looked positive but there was no relation to the advetised content at the website when I visited it via Google Ads. Not a positive experience as a user.

Though I am curious to know where Google gets its user feedback - who are these chosen lucky few???

So if you're one thats states that what Google is doing is unfair and feel Adwords is too heavily policed then perhaps do me a favour?

And thats to stop advertising your site on Google Ads so us legitimate advertisers can give more to website visitors when they arrive at our sites.



Friday, July 14, 2006

Check your links carefully or pay the consequences


Do you have a website with a lot of pages?

Have you got Googlebot visiting your site? To find out check your webstats.

For some time I have been noticing a 404 Page not found on Broken Link Checkers.
With more than 30 pages on my site and a lot of links to other websites I struggled to find the broken links.

It may seem easier to quickly scan your website instead take the time to ensure ALL your links are valid & working.

Part of Google's guidelines state that your site should be complete with no links broken. If you're looking to get a good listing its really, really important that no pages are missing - mine was I had named the page incorrectly which was causing the broken links.

I had put in a 404 response offering the user a message stating the page did not exist and to continue with the rest of the website using the links on the left.

This was at least professional but would still cause confusion with most users.

If you have worked hard to get visitors to your site then make the last bit of extra effort BEFORE you set your site live to check all your links are functioning. By doing so you'll be doing yourself, your visitors and the search engines a major favour.



Wednesday, July 05, 2006

All Things Web is on the move...


Due to customer demand for my web marketing services I am moving tomorrow closer to my client base to better service my accounts.

Just a short hop from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire to Swindon, Wiltshire...

Having worked in and out of the UK for a number of years and pretty much living out of a bag (albeit a big one) in hotels or rental accommodation its a big shock to the system having now to shift the entire contents of one's house!

For this reason it is unlikely I will be posting again till next week in my spare time (if I can get away from the week of decorating and revamping hell my wife has planned for me!).

If anyone can provide any decent tips on how to make the move day go as smoothly and as stress free as possible please leave a comment as it would be most appreciated.



Get your website listed in Google the easy way!

Your website not showing up in Google? Finding it more and more frustrating that your website cannot be found and is not bringing in those business enquiries that you hoped for?

Well there are some things you can do for yourself to get your website listed.

In my experience as a Web Optimisation Specialist and Consultant I know of a number of ways to get your site into Google and ethically and properly start the climb to the top of the search engine's rankings!

Before you submit your website to Google you will need to make sure your website not only meets their webmaster guidelines but also offers relevant, interesting content to your users.

Your website does offer great content doesn't it?

You'll have to compete with 8 billion other web pages in Google's index. If you're not offering relevant interesting content you are going to have to go back to the drawing board!

Research your keywords by looking at competitors sites and brainstorming to help identify niche keywords that will set you apart from your online competition. Or make use of professional keyword research tool such as Wordtracker.

Consider trying Google's free offering:

External Keyword Tool

The power of the knowing the right keywords is CRUCIAL to your online success.

You'll also need to ensure your website is:

* Structured correctly with a clear hierarchy
* Making good use of text links
* Text is being used rather than text embedded inside an image - Google cannot read the contents of an actual image
* Your title tags are unique and descriptive for each and every page
* A sitemap is included to link to every page online
* You include a robots.txt file to instruct Google's robots when they arrive at your site
* Links are all correct with no broken links to parts of your website that do not exist
* You have links from at least 3 to 4 established websites of a similar nature to yours

Now you can submit a new website to Google.

A couple more processes and you're almost done!

Apply to Google Sitemaps

Go now to Google Sitemaps and apply. Once your site is verified - this may take a little time - then you may use a third party tool such as Google Sitemap Generator Tool

This tool can generate an XML site map for you. Very simple and very easy.

You'll need to register for this tool though and then install it as an extension into Dreamweaver

A sitemap can help Google's robot analyse your site in greater depth. It is unlikely your site will be listed any quicker but the easier you can make life easier for Google...? It's up to you but I'd recommend you carry out this task.

Google Analytics

Register your website with Google Analytics. This can help measure your site's success online - be aware that because of high demand Google will send you an invitation in due course but this could take several weeks.

If your website is not of a high enough quality then don't expect Google to come back any time soon with an invitation.

"How soon will my site be listed?"

If you have identified and targeted focused keywords that Google's users are searching out yet very few websites are competing for then it's possible your site would gain a foothold in Google's organic search results reasonably quickly.

On the other hand if you're targeting keywords that have hundreds of thousands or even millions of websites competing to get listed on the first page of Google's results you've got your work cut out!

How to get in Google was written by Darren Moloney of All Things Web - for more tips and details on search engine optimisation check out: On-Seo Pond - an updated blog on web optimsation and internet marketing

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

25 Tips on Blogging

By Lee Odden - 25 Tips on Blogging.

Looking to get your blog listed and generate traffic to your blog?

You won't go far wrong checking out Lee's article, full of tips on how to get the most traffic to your Blog. Intriguing stuff.



Monday, July 03, 2006

How to get the best from corporate blogging!

So you've set up a blog and now wondering where your visitors are?

I'm afraid to say you have your work cut out with blogging too... nothing in life is easy. Some make it look easy but it can't be to all.

The quickest way to get people to your blog is to tell your clients, suppliers, friends and family.


The amount of times I have set up Blogs for others and they have started dead keen with their blogging and then 3 to 4 days later they've given up!


"Too much like hard work"


"Did not know what to blog about...."

Comments like the ones above are frequently heard.

If you're not sure what to blog about then let me suggest this:

Subscribe to Google News Alerts that deals with something in your industry and let Google email you once a day or once a week. Even as news happens if you feel so inclined. Take a news item, list it (properly paraphrased not just copied and passed off as your own), comment on it and ask others what they think OR take a news item and create your own article to educate and entertain (infotain then!) your readers.

Create your briefs short as you can and light hearted.

I personally avoid bad language and swearing. It's not big and it's not f*****g clever!!!
See? Even when asterisked out swearing lowers the tone of my message.

Swear by all means but I say keep that for your personal blog.

Another way is to generate as many keyword phrases as possible (around 30) and then create short articles around those. With 30 phrases that's 6 working weeks of daily content for your blog!

Blogging takes time - like a website (or fine wine - Ed) and it really is a case of garbage in and garbage out... so take a little care and patience when creating your blogs.

Happy blogging!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Gutted and I'm not even a football fan!

Headline says it all really....

Well done England. Good effort.


Free Web Software

I've recently gone back to a forum I was a member of up until a couple of years ago and found this posting on free web software.

Its of interest as it reminded me of how I started in the internet business trying to build up clients but unable to afford the "pro" software and resistant to using pirated versions of Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

So if you're just starting out (or thinking of starting out) the links on the forum

may prove invaluable.

Web software for free may not be as powerful as some other professional programs BUT there still functional enough to allow you to learn and develop your skills.

I'll finish by saying if you're looking for experts in the internet you won't go far wrong by trawling through Cre8asite's forum - there is a helluva lot of pages though!



PS And yes I did miss posting yesterday as not enough hours in the day!