5 Steps to the Right Career Goal Setting

Setting out to study something that your parents decided for you or acting rashly and applying for a college you don’t like can have devastating consequences for your future.

You might end up studying something you don’t like for years to come, only to realize that you need further education in order to work in a field you want. But how can you avoid that and set proper career goals that can help you decide what to do and what not to do during your studies?

Realistic goal setting

The hardest part of setting up your career goals is the realistic situation you find yourself in. Are you a single child? Do you live in a small town or in a huge city with many opportunities? What does the local job market lack and what experts are sought after?

These questions are the ones we keep avoiding the most because they are usually not what we want to hear. Setting career goals based on the realistic nature of your situation is the most selfless and adult thing you can do, if not the most satisfying. Even though you will put yourself second, you will do the right thing by your family and friends.

Using the SMART system

Setting goals without concrete plans or deadlines seems like a waste of time. It’s important to use a system that can help you along the way of educating yourself and gathering enough relevant experience to find a job in your desired field tomorrow. One of the most popular goal-setting systems is the SMART goals system and it can do wonders for your personal and professional development:

S – Specific: Your goal is concrete and set in stone, objectively achievable.

M – Measurable: You can easily see how much progress you have made from A to B.

A – Action-oriented: Your goal is made up of actions that you can take in order to progress forward.

R – Relevant: Your goal is relevant to your situation and career development.

T – Time-bound: Your goal has a specific deadline that you have to abide by.

Using such a system in conjunction with your career goals and plans can have huge impact on the way you develop as a person. Not to mention that it will help you know exactly where you are and how much you have left in order to achieve your career goals.

Being positive

Believe it or not, someone will always make you feel bad. People can always find a way to tell you that you are not doing something right. Even if you are ambitious and full of energy, a jealous neighbor or an insecure friend might tell you that your goals are stupid and that you should stop working on them.

Staying positive is one of the hardest parts of achieving a career success. Believing in yourself when so many people will find a way to make you feel bad is one of the toughest jobs you will have while achieving your career success.

Experience and practice

The best way to find out what you want to do in your life is by experiencing as much as possible. You can take up a number of volunteering and community service tasks that can help you decide what you like and what you don’t like doing. This can result in your resume getting a huge boost in the number of references and bullet points, both of which are necessary to develop a career down the line.

You can visit one of the top professional expert executive resume writing services if you need help putting all of your references on paper. Getting as much experience working in different fields before graduating is the best way of knowing what your career aspirations are.

Evaluating your goals

Keeping track of your goals is important if you want to set the right career path for yourself. Whatever plan you came up with is bound to change as your college progresses. You might even feel the urge to change your plans completely and opt for something new and exciting that you didn’t come up before.

Adjusting the course of your career goals is just as important as setting them in the first place. There is no point in completing a task if you feel bored and unsure about it halfway through. Make sure that you talk to a counselor or a professor before deciding to change career plans once the gears have been set in motion. While it can be hard to jump careers, it’s far better than working a job that you don’t like for the rest of your life.

Conclusion

As hard as it is to set career goals early, it can also be very beneficial down the line. Knowing where your life is headed and having a clear direction of where you are going is the best feeling you could have. The feeling of doing something useful and knowing it will pay off down the line is one of the many reasons why every college student should set their goals properly as soon as possible.

Niche Ideas in a Recession

You never know where your next idea will come from.  It could come to you while you’re sitting on the toilet or watching a movie.  Don’t use the economy as an excuse, because people are still buying things.  However, the things that they are buying change from time to time.

Check out this list of 10 things that people can’t live without from US News.

The Top 5

1. Portable Computers
2. High-speed Internet Access
3. Smartphones
4. Education
5. Movies

Strategic Internet Marketing for Targeting Competitive Keywords

Let’s say you are passionate about a subject that happens to be a very competitive market on the internet.  Or, you’re not interested in creating a hundred niche websites about various topics that you could care less about.  Perhaps you own a business and you want to market your website on the internet in a very competitive market.  Whatever the case may be, there is hope for you and your website.

 NICHE VS. NON-NICHE WEBSITE

A niche website is a website that focuses on a specialized market.  An example of a niche market would be “internet marketing for accountants in New York.”  That’s a very specialized, narrow market.  On the other hand, “internet marketing” is a very broad subject that would be considered a non-niche market.

The difference between a niche site and a non-niche website is that one is very specialized and focuses on a narrow group, where the other is very broad and general.  There are very competitive niche markets out there, but most people that succeed in niche marketing, find the niche markets where competition is relatively low, but the niche still has enough traffic to be profitable.

 BUILDING A NON-NICHE WEBSITE

The first step to building a website in a competitive market is to understand your market.  Whatever your market is, you need to know the keywords that people use, you need to look at your competition, and you need to understand your target market, so you can give them the solutions that they are looking for.

 KEYWORDS

Before you even buy your domain name, you need to find the keywords that you’ll be targeting.  If you are in a competitive market, you’ll need to find multiple keyword phrases that you can use to build the strength of your website.  For example, if you are going into the internet marketing field, that’s a competitive market.  It will take you a long time and lots of hard work to rank for the keyword phrase “internet marketing.”  Find easier keyword phrases that you can rank for in the meantime, but are still related to internet marketing.

Easier keywords are usually longer, called long-tail keywords.  For example, in the internet marketing field, you might find that “search engine internet marketing strategy” is an easy keyword phrase to rank for.  Create an article, or post, with the keyword phrase in the title, create backlinks to that page, and you should start to see that article move up in the search engine results, as you create more backlinks.  Remember, Google returns results for webpages, not websites.

As long as the keywords you target are related to internet marketing, you will be driving traffic to your website using long-tail keyword phrases and building authority for your website.  As your website becomes stronger, in the eyes of Google, it will be easier to rank for more competitive keywords.  When Google trusts your website, you will be able to rank higher, very quickly for keywords that you target.

One way to think about building your website while targeting a competitive market is to think of it like a pyramid.  The most difficult keyword (e.g., internet marketing) is the very top of the pyramid.  While placing a block at the very top of your pyramid is your ultimate goal, the only way you will get there is to build a strong foundation starting at the bottom.   All of your long-tail keywords are the supporting blocks.  As you build a strong foundation, you will be able to target more competitive keywords, until, finally, you will reach the top and begin ranking for your ultimate keyword phrase.

 COMPETITION

When you choose keywords, and markets to enter, you need to evaluate the level of competition to determine whether you can make money in the market and how long it might take you to make money.  There are many ways to do this and different people have different preferences.  I’ll give you some of the more common techniques and you can make your own judgment.

Number of Websites

Many people judge the level of competition by the number of webpages that contain the proposed keyword phrase.  You can determine this by running a search on Google with quotations around your keyword phrase.  It will give you an approximate number of webpages that contain that keyword phrase.

Some people take it a step further and use “allintitle:internetmarketing” – which will return results for those webpages that have the keyword phrase in the title of the website.  The logic behind this is that if the exact phrase is not in the title of the webpage, it will be easier to beat anyone by using good SEO techniques.

Of course, once you run the search, you have to determine a cutoff limit.  In other words some people say that a keyword phrase is good if it returns less than 100,000 webpages.  Some say 50,000, and some say 5,000.  It depends on your goals and your strategy.

PageRank

PageRank is another good method to use to determine the strength of your competition.  PageRank is a numerical rank from 0 to 10 given to webpages by Google.  The stronger the website, in the eyes of Google, the higher the number.  You can determine PageRank by using the Firefox browser and installing free plugins at SEOBook or using the Google toolbar.

You can use the PageRank by running a search in Google with the keyword phrase you’re evaluating.  If you have SEO for Firefox installed, you can click on the dash next to PR for each webpage and quickly determine the PageRank for that webpage.  You want to know what the top 5 search results rank because those are ultimately the websites that you will have to beat.  If the PageRank is 3 or less for each of those 5 pages, you should be able to beat them with some effort.  If you’re not real confident in your abilities yet, look for PR 2 and below.  As you gain experience, you’ll understand better what you can and can’t compete with.

Advertisements

Advertisements are a good way to evaluate the competition level in a market because it’s a strong indication of whether people are making money or not.  If you run a search in Google and there are no Google AdWords advertisements along the side, it’s probably because it’s not a profitable keyword.  In the alternative, if you run a search and there are ads on page after page of search results, it’s probably a profitable market.

You can also use the Google keyword tool to determine what the Avg. cost per click (CPC) is for relevant keywords.  The CPC is what advertisers are willing to pay each time someone clicks on their ad.  The higher the number, the more competitive the market is.  If you come across keywords that are .05 per click, then it’s probably not a profitable keyword.  The key is to find something in between the two, depending on your strategy, of course.

 TARGET MARKET

Of course, an important part of being successful online is connecting with your target market.  If you understand your market and the problems they’re facing, then you can provide them with the solutions they are looking for and making money will be much easier.  Understanding your market is crucial when choosing keywords because you want to target the right people, at the right time.

You can get a good idea of your target market by checking out the websites that show up on the first page of Google for your keyword phrase.  Look at the problems the address, look at the layout, and see how they monetize the website.  Are they looking for clients, selling products, or offering a membership?  The websites can give you a good idea of the issues involved in your market.

 STRATEGIC INTERNET MARKETING

The bottom line is that you don’t have to be afraid of competitive markets.  As long as you build your foundation using related keywords that are easier to rank for, you will create a website that will will be more profitable than you can imagine.  And, you can earn money from the traffic generated by your long-tail keywords until you get authority for your ultimate keyword.  It might take you longer than it would with a niche site but some things are worth the effort.

Internet Marketing Strategy From My Grandma

Sometimes, we learn things in the strangest ways. My grandmother has never used a computer. She claims she’s too busy. Nevertheless, I learned a valuable lesson from her that translates into the internet marketing world.

My grandma used to bitch at me when I was much younger. Not in a bad way, but more like:

“You should wear a coat.”
“You should eat more vegetables.”
“Don’t bang your head against the wall.”

Of course, my response was to ignore her.

“Yeah right, I’ll eat whatever I want.”
“It’s not even cold out.”
“I like banging my head against the wall.”

As I gained wisdom and life experience, I started to realize that I shouldn’t bang my head against the wall. And, maybe I should eat some vegetables from time to time. I still don’t wear a coat very often, but no one can be right about everything.

Internet marketing strategy is sometimes the same way. Whether you realize it or not, you ignore a lot of good advice when you’re new. You read a great, wonderful eBook on how to make money online and you DON’T take the recommended action. You join a membership site and you DON’T do exactly what they suggest you do.

On some level, I don’t think we intentionally ignore the advice. Sometimes, we just don’t understand it.

Sometimes, we don’t have the time. Other times, we think we know better. Whatever the reason is, the bottom line is that we don’t get the results we want.

Until it finally clicks. Maybe you needed more real world experience. Perhaps you read something that explained things in a different way. Whatever it was, it helped you see the big picture. The clouds parted, the sun lit up your face, and you saw things in a brand new light. You finally understood internet marketing and you realized that people had been giving you the information you needed all along.

I was reading an eBook when things finally clicked for me. Before that, I had joined a membership site and read numerous books, articles, and blogs. The other stuff was helpful, but this particular eBook, on that particular day, was written in a way that really just made me “get it.” I finally understood internet marketing.

I can’t say that it was so much that particular eBook, but I think it was more of a combination, or merging, of all the information I had absorbed up to that point. The eBook was the trigger, but the books, articles, and blogs that I previously read created the foundation of my new understanding. They were all an important part of my journey to understand internet marketing.

Of course, sometimes we have to get fat before we realize that, yes, we should eat more vegetables. Or, we have to go broke before we realize, yes, I should have saved more money. If you want to succeed in internet marketing, listen to your grandmother!

If you’ve seen the light, what was your trigger?

How to Center and Resize a Background Image With Dreamweaver

I did a previous tutorial on how to center a background image using Dreamweaver, but that tutorial did not show you how to resize the image with the browser.

In this video tutorial, I show you how to center a background image using Dreamweaver and have that video resize with the browser.

This is the code you need to paste in Dreamweaver:

html {
background: url(images/bg_oap.jpg) no-repeat center center fixed;
-webkit-background-size: cover;
-moz-background-size: cover;
-o-background-size: cover;
background-size: cover;
}

How Social Media Can Save Your Ass

Let me start with a disclaimer.  I am not a social media expert.  Far from it.  I was a skeptical, late bloomer when it came to using social media tools.  The facts convinced me that I could no longer write it off as a “waste of time.”  Here’s why.

If you want to understand internet marketing, Google is a good place to start.  In December 2010, 11.7 billion queries (searches) were performed using Google search engine.  That means that there were 11.7 billion opportunities for potential customers to find you on the internet.

Of course, there are also “the other” search engines, but the traffic from Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL is nominal compared to Google, which controls more than 66% of the search engine market.

Search engines are important but they are becoming less important.  There is a lot of crap on the internet.  When I say crap, I mean low-quality content, scrapers, spam websites, etc.

Low-quality is obviously a subjective term that’s hard to quantify with any sort of specificity.  That’s exactly why it’s so hard for Google to filter out the crap.  Just because I think something is crap doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t appreciate the content.

Google search results are produced from robots and algorithms, not actual people looking at the content to determine what’s good and what isn’t good.  The 200 signals that Google robots measure can identify words but they can’t determine quality of content.

This “crap” problem exists, in part, because of Google.  Google organizes and ranks websites based on various signals, which they do not fully disclose.  You have a lot of people competing for the few top spots in search results, which creates an environment for abuse.

In all fairness, you can’t really blame Google.  Their official policy states that you can not perform any activity to manipulate search engine rankings.  In fact, they pose a question that you should ask yourself before creating content – “Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

So, Google can’t filter the crap out of their search results as well as they would like, and SEO’s are taking advantage of the algorithm to make money online.

The fact is that manipulating the search engine results works.  Affiliate websites are as popular now as they ever were.  You can put up a “low-quality” niche website, build backlinks to increase your position in the search engine results and cash in on the traffic.

As a result, Google has targeted these low-quality websites, as well as content farms.  Google wants to provide better search results but it’s a challenge.  In Google’s quest to provide top quality, relevant search results, there will be some casualties.  Collateral damage, you might say.

That means people that build legitimate websites that provide value and try to do things the right way, may suffer too.  For one reason or another, they get caught in Google’s path and they lose their top rankings.

If you want proof just browse through the Google Webmaster Forums, where you’ll find classic headlines such as “Sudden and catastrophic drop off in traffic from google search for no apparent reason.”

You’ll find numerous stories in the Google Webmaster Forum of people that lost their rankings after the most recent Google update (Jan 2011).  Google wants to improve their results and they’re looking at affiliate sites, content farms, article marketing, syndicated content, scrapers, and more.  It goes back to the question – “Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

But, what about the collateral damage?  What about the innocent victims?

Well, there will be blood.  Ryan Abood can testify to that.

Ryan built a website that sold gourmet gift baskets.  He busted his ass, working 100 hours per week trying to make his website profitable.

After a year and a half of hundred hour work weeks, he was making good money.  Scratch that –  he was making GREAT money, to the tune of $8 million dollars per year.  He was ranking 1 or 2 for most of the keyword phrases relevant to his business.  Life was amazing!  Until November 11, 2008.

Ryan woke up that day and saw that his website was not ranking in the top position where it normally was.  In fact, it was nowhere to be found in the Google search results.  The holidays were approaching, which accounted for 40% – 60% of the revenue generated by his company.

Starting to panic, he contacted the SEO companies responsible for his link-building.  Ryan did the SEO work himself in the past, but as the company grew, he hired SEO firms.

One of the SEO firms admitted that they purchased links.  That is a big-time violation in Google’s book.  The result – Ryan’s company was penalized and removed from the index.

Of course, Ryan contacted Google and told them exactly what happened.  It didn’t matter.  The damage was done.

Over that holiday season and the next year, Abood’s company lost about $4 million dollars in revenue as a result of the decrease in search engine traffic.  It would’ve been even more, but he spent a ton of money buying Ads from Google.  How’s that for irony?

At the time of the penalty, Ryan had no social media presence whatsoever.  After the penalty, he dove head first into social media.

Today, his business is back at the top of the search results and his business has grown even bigger than it was before.  He credits social media for the massive growth.  And, thanks to his social media presence, he’s not dependent on Google for 80% of his income.

The lesson is – it pays to diversify your traffic sources.  Free traffic from search engines is great but do you really want to put all of your eggs in one basket?  Even when you play by the rules (or so you think) something can go wrong.  Websites can be removed from Google’s index if they are hacked, if the servers are down too long, and plenty of other reasons.  Again, if you don’t believe me, check out the forums.

If you aren’t currently involved in social media, you should be.  Pick your poison and jump right in.  You may not see any results right away, but the more you learn, the more you interact, the more options you will have in the future.  Social media just might save your ass someday.

Domain Names, Websites and Internet Marketing Strategy

There are two types of people in this world.  Those who have their own websites and those who don’t.

If you don’t have your own website yet, you can change that in about 10 minutes.

If you do have your own website, this is your opportunity to make sure it’s laser-focused on your number one goal, whatever that might be for you.

MARKET RESEARCH

Before I talk about websites, I’m going to assume 2 things.

1st – I’m going to assume that you want to create a website to make money.  If you’re creating a website for yourself, then it doesn’t really matter what you do.

2nd – I’m going to assume you’ve already done your market research.  You know there’s a hungry market out there and you have the best keywords to reach your market.

If you don’t have your keywords yet, you might want to check out this article on choosing keywords.

Otherwise, let’s move on.

DOMAIN NAME

The first thing you need to do is choose your domain name.  There are generally 4 different choices.

AN EXACT MATCH DOMAIN NAME.

If you’re targeting the keyword phrase “Internet Marketing Consultant” because that’s what you do, then the exact match domain name would be “internetmarketingconsultant.com” (which exists, and is awful, by the way).

No more.  No less.  It’s an exact match of the main keyword phrase you’re targeting.

Exact match domains are good for affiliate marketers.  Affiliate marketers typically build small niche websites and sell other people’s products on those pages.

Affiliate niche markets are usually small, so they build lots of websites and don’t want to spend a lot of time on search engine optimization (SEO) for those websites.  That’s the benefit of having an exact match domain, it provides an SEO boost for that keyword phrase.  It won’t magically propel you to the top of search results, but SEO is cumulative and it’s one more signal for the search engine Gods to pick up on.

Obviously, having an exact match domain can give you a boost regardless of whether you’re an affiliate marketer or an internet marketing consultant.

So, what’s the downside to having an exact match domain name?

First, they’re difficult to find.  A lot of the good exact match domain names are already taken.  You could probably find some with low-quality top level domains (TLD), but the low-quality TLD would probably offset any SEO benefit.

A TLD is the extension on the end of your domain – .com, .net, .org.  Those are the 3 best TLD to have and if you buy anything else, it will be a little more difficult to get to the top of search results.  Have people ranked number one with a .info TLD?  Yes.  Would it be easier with a .com?  Yes.

I’ve seen really good case studies that confirm .com, .net, and .org are easier to rank with.  If you’re still skeptical, go to Google, type in any search phrase you want and take a look at the top 10 results.  How many are .com?  My guess is most of them!  How many are .info?  Thought so.

While I’m already off subject here, let’s talk about dashes in your domain name.  Through the strategic use of dashes in the domain name, it’s possible you could kinda sorta get an exact match domain.  My advice is don’t do it.  Here’s why.

Again, go to Google and type in any search phrase.  How many of the top 10 search results have dashes in the domain name?  My guess is not many.  Having dashes in your domain name makes it a little more difficult to rank well in search engine results.

Domains with dashes or hyphens can look spammy and they are hard to communicate to people in the real world.  One dash might be okay.  Two dashes, you’re pushing it.  Three dashes – stop it!

I have a friend that has one dash in his domain name.  Before I put his new email address in my contacts, I constantly forgot where the dash was in his email address because it was three words and 1 dash, or was it two?  Maybe it’s just my memory, but it’s something to consider.

If you want to make things difficult for yourself, then buy a domain name with 4 dashes in it and a .info TLD.  If you want to stack the cards in your favor, ditch the dashes and stick to the best TLD.

Okay, back on track – the downside to having an exact match domain.

When you buy an exact match domain, you are stuck in that niche.  Not that that’s a terrible thing, but if it doesn’t work out, or your business evolves and you want to grow, it might be difficult with that domain.

For example, what if back in the day Apple chose “desktopcomputers.com,” instead of apple.com?  They’d have to make some serious changes as they grew…if they grew.  If you plan on growing a business into different areas, consider that before choosing an exact match domain name.

A MODIFIED KEYWORD DOMAIN

A modified keyword domain name is a domain with a keyword phrase in it and something else.  For example, “losangelesinternetmarketingconsultant.com.”  Whoa, that’s a long ass domain name.

A better example might be superbadinternetmarketing.com.  The keyword phrase is “internet marketing,” so search engines will recognize that, and Superbad is added to the front for a branding effect.

You can use branding and still get the benefit of having the keyword phrase in the domain.  It doesn’t provide the same boost that an exact match domain does, but every little bit helps when it comes to SEO.

If you really want to use a domain with keywords in it, but the exact match is not available, you might want to consider this option.

A BRAND NAME DOMAIN

This doesn’t really need much explanation.  Most major corporations are built on brand names.  Nike isn’t tennisshoes.com.  Sony isn’t electronicequipment.com.  Yet, they managed to succeed somehow.  If you use a brand name for your domain, the only thing you won’t have is the the extra SEO boost that comes with using keywords in the domain.  If you’re building a long-term business, it probably doesn’t matter that much anyway.

YOUR NAME AS THE DOMAIN

Technically, I would say that using your personal name as your domain name is simply a brand name domain.  For example, tonyrobbins.com.  Tony Robbins is the brand.

When you use your own name as the domain, YOU become the brand.  To an extent, that’s true even with a “normal” brand name.  But, when it is your name, it will be much more difficult to sell your website or your business down the road.

It would be nearly impossible for Tony Robbins to sell his business and exit completely.  People expect him to be a part of the company.  He is the brand.

Of course, there are exceptions.  Michael Jackson, Dale Carnegie, or Elvis Presley.  Their estate still sells products but they’re all dead.  If you think you might ever want to sell your business while you’re still alive, think about that before you buy a domain name based on your personal name.

Don’t over-think your domain name.  Make sure your domain matches your business model and choose one you’re comfortable with.  A domain name alone won’t determine whether your website succeeds or fails.  You can succeed with a crappy domain name and you can fail with an awesome domain name.

Think about what you want to accomplish.

Research keywords and domain availability.

Buy your domain name and move on to the next step.

WHERE TO BUY A DOMAIN NAME

If your wondering where to buy your domain and hosting, I would say buy your domain the same time you get your hosting.  Most hosting companies are currently offering free domains for life, or as long as you host it with them.

Go to GoDaddy.com to find out what domains are available, but DON’T buy it from them.  They are more expensive than most places.

The best hosting company I have found (and I have been through a lot) is WestHost.  They have customer support that you can actually talk to.  They have the latest PHP programs.  And, their servers are fast and reliable.

I’m going to do a LEGITIMATE review of hosting companies within the next month, so I’ll update this with a link to the review.  Until then, if you want the best hosting, check out WestHost.

If you already have hosting, but you just want to buy a domain name, you can buy your domain names through 1and1.  They have relatively low prices, an easy control panel for DNS and email forwarding.  Nothing spectacular, but easy, cheap and reliable.

CREATE YOUR WEBSITE

So, now it’s time to build your website, right?  WRONG!

Before you build your website, the best thing you can do is to create your content FIRST.  I’m sure there are people who disagree with me, but this one tip can help save you serious time and money.  Here’s why.

I love cool web design.  I love unique designs.  When I started building websites and messing around with WordPress, I wasted way too much time thinking about the design of my website.  I tried to pick the really cool designs only to discover that the design was not right for the content.

You don’t want to be in a position where you have to alter your content to fit the design of your website.  Content is THE MOST important aspect of your website.  Create your content first THEN find a design that works with your content.

When you create your content first, this helps you do several things.

First, it helps narrow your focus.  The more focused your message is, the more likely it is that your website will attract, retain and convert visitors into customers.  When you have a website design already picked out, you just tend to fill in the spaces.

“I need to put something in this space.  I need to put something there.”

That is NOT how you do it.

You don’t want to JUST fill in spaces.  You want to create an important message for your visitors to see.  Ask yourself, what does my market want?  What am I providing them?  Why should they buy from me?  What do I have to offer?

Figure out what will attract the attention of your visitors.  You have 10 seconds to capture their attention, what can you write?  When you answer this question, THAT is what you need to put on your website front and center, above the fold (before making them scroll down).

When you create content first, you eliminate the waste.  You don’t create content to fill spaces that need to be filled.  You create content because it’s important.  If you want more info on creating content, follow the link.

Once you have your content, figure out the best way to arrange it BEFORE you choose your website design.  In other words, take a look at the content you have and determine what should go where.  Think about it from your visitor’s point of view.  What do they need to see first?  What questions will they have?  How can you best arrange the information to make it easy for visitors to do what you want them to do?

Now you know what’s important.  Now you have content that is valuable, NOT just filler.  Now, you can find a website design that will allow you to display your content the way you want to.

You don’t need to look at every website design.  Quickly scan for designs that will fit with your content.  This will significantly narrow down your search and save you time.  Plus, you’ll have awesome content, which is much more important than a fancy design.

Don’t get me wrong.  Good design is cool and it can help you, just as bad design can hurt you.  But, time after time, studies show that content is much more important.  I would love to spend my time trying to create a perfect, killer website, with the most amazing design ever.  But, sadly, it’s a waste of my time.  Having that killer website won’t make me money.  It’s what I do after I get the website up that will make me money.  The website is just a means to an end.

So with all of that said, NOW is the time to create a professional website that will fit your content.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR WEBSITE

If you can build your own website, then you don’t need any solutions. You know what to do.

If you don’t know how to build a website, here are the resources you need.

I recommend using WordPress to build your websites.  It is super easy, there are a ton of options to customize your website and it also has built in SEO benefits.  WordPress is not just for blogs, you can create any type of website you want.  Even if you have no technical skill at all, it’s simple to install.

There’s nothing wrong with using an HTML website if you can build one with some sort of site-builder program that you have access to.  The biggest problem is that most of the templates look really dated and they’re usually not as easy to customize.  With WordPress, you can change the entire look of your website with a few clicks of the mouse.

If you plan on doing affiliate marketing, this is a no-brainer.  There is an amazing product called Optimize Press that was created specifically for affiliate marketers.  It runs on the WordPress platform and you can use it on an unlimited number of websites.

Here’s the really cool part.  Optimize Press gives you a ridiculous amount of really cool templates for sales pages, squeeze pages, landing pages, product launch pages, membership pages and a blog page.  Seriously, it’s amazing how cool this product is.

You have to see it to really understand how much you get for only $97.  I can’t imagine it will stay at that price for long, but it’s a steal right now.  Just to give you a comparison, you might remember a product launch not too long ago that was for a similar product but with more backend features.  That product was selling for $1,997 plus a significant monthly fee for the backend services.  That product was not built for the WordPress platform and it had all sorts of problems.

Anyway, if you have a need to build affiliate sites, this is the best software I’ve seen, and it’s priced really low.  You can get it here – Optimize Press.

If you want a blog, you have several options.  You can buy Thesis, which is a very flexible theme that allows you to customize a lot of things without knowing how to code.

 

You can always use the free templates that are offered in WordPress, but if you want to make your website stand out and look more professional, it’s probably a good idea to buy a theme or hire a website designer.

ThemeForest has a huge WordPress selection that offers a lot of really cool websites.  They have a lot of different selections and many of the themes are designed for building regular websites, as opposed to blogs.  Remember, look for a theme that will fit with your content.  Not the other way around.

EXECUTION

How long do you think it would take to do all of the steps above and get your website up and running?  Obviously, some people aren’t as technically savvy as others, but getting your website up and running with content should not take you more than a week.  Honestly, I’d be surprised if it took most people more than 3 days.

The most challenging part should be creating your content.  It can be difficult to write compelling content that’s really high-quality.  If you’re creating a lot of content, or very technical content, it could take longer.  But, you can always go back as you learn more and change the content.  The key is to get your site up and start building traffic.

Click here for a few tips on how to get website traffic.

Otherwise, get started now.

 

How to Get Web Traffic to Your Website

Whether you have a brick and mortar business, or a single website online, getting traffic to your website is extremely important. If you don’t have visitors to your website, you can’t make money online. In fact, many internet startups focus on building traffic first, and figure out how to monetize the website later. Facebook and Twitter are two high profile examples. Regardless of which business model you use, here are some methods to get targeted traffic to your website.

GOOD CONTENT

When most people think about getting internet traffic, they think about things they can do outside of their own website. However, you can get traffic solely from creating good content and posting it on your website. Creating high quality content is very important for creating a website that will attract visitors and keep them coming back.

Some things to think about when you create content for your website are keywords, substance and originality. Keywords are necessary so that people can find your information. People type in specific words when they use search engines. In the internet marketing world, those words are called keywords. Use the proper keywords in your content so that people looking for that specific type of information will find your website.

Creating content with substance is another important factor for generating traffic. When I say substance, I mean it has to provide the reader with useable information, not general ramblings about broad concepts and theories. If you’re trying to get visitors to your website, don’t waste their time. Give them information that they can use.

Unless you’ve already developed some type of authority, most people don’t care about your thoughts and opinions. They want facts and examples. Teach people something or do your own experiment on competing theories. By showing them the substance of your study, people will be able to draw their own conclusions about what works and what doesn’t work. Teach people through your actions and experiences, not just your opinions.

Of course, your content should be original and unique. This may be easier said than done, but if you want something that will stand out from the crowd, you need to provide information that visitors can’t get from a million other resources. One good way to do this is through your own experiments.

When you conduct your own experiment, it is unique to you. There are always different opinions and theories in every market. What works better, A or B? If you want to help your visitors and create unique content, set up your own test and and reveal your findings related to A and B. People will love it because it provides substance and it’s unique.

ARTICLE MARKETING

Article marketing is a common marketing strategy and a lot of people like it because it’s free, easy and effective. The way it works is you write a short article, include a link or two to your website at the end of the article. Submit the article to an article directory and the article directory posts it on their website for the world to see.

Once your article is posted online by the article directory, you can get web traffic in a few different ways. One way that article marketing will bring you traffic is from people that come across your article and click on the link at the bottom of the article. The better your article, the more convincing your link bait is, the more people that will click on your link.

Articles that are published on article directory websites can be republished by other website owners. One of the conditions for republication is that they must also include your links at the end of the article. That’s a good thing because your article could be picked up by other websites and you can benefit from their traffic in the same way you can benefit from posting your article on the website directory. Plus, you’ll build more backlinks when other websites publish your article.

Backlinks are links from other websites that link to your website. When you publish an article on an article directory, those links are backlinks, and backlinks help build the strength and authority of your website. The more backlinks you have, the more likely it is that you will appear on the first page of search results for your targeted keyword. Once you get on the first page of search results, you will see a lot of free, targeted traffic – which is the best kind.

SOCIAL MEDIA

There are a lot of people who don’t fully understand social media. Social media is technically any consumer-generated media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The consumers generate the content and the owners of the websites monetize that content. As websites become more innovative, the line between what is social media and what is not social media will continue to confuse people. Either way, you can use social media to your advantage.

Social media is an important part of an internet marketing strategy because it can help you build traffic, just like any other resource. The key thing to remember with social media is it is a SOCIAL medium. The whole point is to use the available tools to interact with other people. When you work on the computer a lot, you tend to forget that there is a real world out there with living human beings and everything. If you want to be successful with social media, do not forget that important fact.

Social media can help you get traffic in many different ways. One way is through backlinks. If you create a Twitter account and you create a YouTube account, you can put your website link on the page and it helps your website build authority. If you create good content, people might see your link and visit your website.

The best thing about social media is that it allows you to interact with other people that have similar interests. If you develop relationships with people in your field, you can share ideas, concepts, theories, etc. You might even find a future business partner, if you’re both on the same wavelength. While building those relationships, you’ll also see some traffic to your websites. Social media is best used as a tool to get to know others and let others get to know you. If you use social media solely as a way to rapidly post links all over the place, you probably won’t get very good results.

EMAIL MARKETING

Email marketing is just as it sounds. You market to people via email. But first, you have to build an email list. The most common way to build an email list is to put a subscriber form on your website, offer something that would be of interest to visitors in exchange for subscribing to your website and when they do subscribe, they’re on your email list. The easiest way to create your subscriber form, build your list and manage all emails automatically, is to use AWeber.

Email marketing is very important when it comes to monetizing your website. If you have a website or business that offers new products on a regular basis, having an email list is very valuable. When your new product is released, you send a properly structured email to your entire list and, when done right, you generate instant sales, every time. This method has been used and proven time after time to work. If you don’t use email marketing as part of your overall internet marketing strategy, you are passing up a big opportunity to increase your revenue.

PAID ADVERTISING

Although free traffic is always better, because the profit margins will be higher, paid advertising can bring you instant traffic. Paid advertising primarily consists of buying advertising. You can buy advertising and show up in search results, or you can buy advertising on specific websites.

One of the easiest ways to get started with paid advertising is through Google AdWords. When I say easy, I mean easy to get started, not easy to make money. An advertisement through Google AdWords can appear on search results pages, or it can appear on relevant web pages that use Google AdSense. The best place to appear is on Google search results, which will likely result in attracting more targeted visitors, and higher conversion rates.

When you use Google AdWords you can choose many different ways to customize your campaign. You can create your ad using the keywords you want to target and you can choose your daily budget, as well as your maximum Cost Per Click (CPC). Every time your ad appears on the Google search results page, it’s called an impression. You don’t pay for impressions, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your link.

The more you’re willing to pay for CPC, the higher you will appear in search results. However, be aware that you can spend a lot of money quickly using Google AdWords. If the clicks aren’t converting into sales, you will lose money very fast. Of course, the key with any paid traffic method is to spend less than you make.

If you don’t want to use Google AdWords, then there are plenty of additional advertising networks. In addition, you can contact individual website owners that you think might be relevant to your target market and ask if you can advertise on their website. Before you do, make sure you verify the website’s traffic numbers, so you can get an idea of what would be a fair price to pay for advertising. Unless you’re simply advertising to brand your company name, don’t spend more than what you would earn per sale, without actually making a sale.

WEB TRAFFIC SUMMARY

If you want to get more web traffic, you are limited only by your imagination. If you start with the methods listed above, you’ll be able to learn, adapt and implement new strategies as you progress. This article really only scratches the surface, but the more action you take, the more you will learn from your results.

Choosing good keywords is crucial for ensuring your success online. If you want to read more about choosing keywords, click the link.

Choosing Keywords : Find Keywords that will Generate Traffic

In the world of internet marketing, there is nothing better than free website traffic. Free website traffic means more sales, and more sales means more revenue. Choosing the right keywords is the best way to generate website traffic. There are many opinions on choosing good keywords, but it’s crucial to learn the basics first.

WHAT IS A KEYWORD?

A keyword is just a technical way of saying search term. When you go to Google and type in “learn internet marketing” that’s a keyword phrase. People in internet marketing call them keywords because that’s what Google calls them, and who is going to argue with Google?

WHY ARE KEYWORDS IMPORTANT?

Keywords are important for two reasons. First, keywords are important because that’s how people find things on the internet. If I want to buy “internet marketing tools,” I go to Google and type in something like “best internet marketing tools.” When the search results come back, I click through the links and find the website that looks the best to me, and maybe I buy a tool. Keywords are how people find products or information that they want on the internet.

Second, keywords are important because search engines rank, or organize, web pages based on relevant keywords. Google wants to provide good, helpful, relevant results for users. They do this through the use of keywords. When Google robots crawl websites, they look for the keywords used on your web pages and they look at keywords used by other websites to link to your web pages (i.e., backlinks).

So, keywords connect users and providers in many different ways, with Google’s help, of course. In most cases, keywords connect buyers and sellers. If I create a website that sells internet marketing tools, then I need to use the proper keywords so people can find me. If I don’t use keywords in all of my online activities, I will significantly decrease my odds of showing up on Google’s first page of search results.

For example, let’s say I have a website that sells a pizza recipe book, and the title of the website is “Tony From The Bronx.” Everyone links to my website using Tony, or Tony From The Bronx, or Tony’s Website. That’s not a good use of keywords because Google will have no way to know that your website is about a pizza recipe book unless you tell them through the use of proper keywords. As a result, it will be much harder to get on Google’s first page of search results because you failed to identify, and use, the right keywords on your website.

THE BEST KEYWORDS

It’s easy to identify which keywords are relevant to your website because Google shares that information with anyone who wants it through the Google Keyword Tool. Among other things, the Google Keyword Tool provides users with keywords, Cost per Click estimates, and traffic estimates.

In addition to finding keywords that are relevant, you need to find keywords that are not extremely competitive. To determine how competitive a keyword is, you need to perform keyword research. Luckily, there are very good tools available to help with your keyword research, both free and paid tools. Ultimately, you want to get a good idea of how difficult it would be to get to the top of Google search results.

The competitiveness of a keyword phrase is very important. It can determine whether it will take you two years to get to the top of Google search results or two weeks to get to the top of Google search results. If you choose poorly, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.

For example, let’s say you want to start a mortgage company. You build your website and start targeting the term “mortgages.” Unbeknownst to you, there are many companies, with large SEO budgets, competing for that term. They have spent a lot of time, labor and money building the strength of their website so that their website will show up on Google’s first page when someone types in “mortgages.” It would take one individual a long time and a lot of work to outrank those established websites.

On the other hand, you can choose a keyword term that appears to have very little competition, such as “home lending mortgage.” After some moderate work, you might make it to Google’s first page. But, that’s when you realize that only 110 people, worldwide, type in “home lending mortgage” when they search for a home loan. You might get a percentage of that traffic, but it’s certainly not profitable. Even if you rank number one for a phrase, that doesn’t guarantee that it will be profitable.

Of course, the best keyword is one that has low competition and plenty of traffic to make it profitable. In some markets, it can be difficult to find keywords that satisfy those requirements, but they do exist. If you own a main street business and want to market your business online in a competitive market, then you should be prepared for a long, hard road, but it is still very possible to get on Google’s first page.

KEYWORD RESEARCH

Keywords should be researched before you even buy your domain name. Keywords should be used in everything you do, whether that is creating a backlink, or writing a blog post. You need to use keywords properly so you can rank well in the search results. Regardless of how good your website might be, people need to find your website, so you can generate traffic and make sales.

Finding your keywords is the first step of many, but it’s very important to make sure you do it properly so you don’t set yourself up to fail from the very beginning. With hard work, you might be able to rank well for any search term, but you should know what you’re getting into, before you begin.

 

Learn SEO and Make Money Online

I wouldn’t call myself a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. I don’t study Google’s algorithms on a daily basis. I don’t even calculate my keyword density, for those who know what that is. But, I do know the basics and I know how to get a website to the first page of Google, Yahoo and Bing. If you’re interested in getting free website traffic, consider these SEO tips.

WHAT IS SEO?

Search engine optimization is creating and maintaining your website so that it will show up in search engine results, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. You have to remember that everything in the SEO world is based on keywords and keyword phrases.

Keywords are words or phrases that people type into search engines to find websites. For example, if I want to buy a tennis racket, I might go to Google and type in “best tennis racket.” That is a keyword phrase and as a website owner, you need to target good keywords relevant to your market.

ON-PAGE SEO

Everything you do to your website to help rank well in search engine results is often referred to as on-page SEO. Arguably, off-page SEO is more important but when it comes to SEO, every little bit helps. If you get your on-page SEO right, your off-page SEO work will be much more effective.

Domain Name

The domain name for your website is the first thing you need to consider. Without going into great detail, having your domain name as your exact keyword phrase is very helpful. Many keyword phrases are unavailable as .com, .net or .org. There are many top level domains to choose from, but in my experience, it is easier to rank using .com, .org, and .net.

If you can’t get the exact keyword phrase in your domain, add a word to it, or at least use part of your keyword phrase. For example, http://superbadinternetmarketing.com includes internet marketing, I just added Superbad. If you have a long keyword phrase, or you’re wondering whether to add a hyphen between words, check out this article on how to choose the best domain name.

One last thing about domain names. If you haven’t purchased a domain name yet, consider buying your domain for as long as you can, like 2-5 years. Google actually looks at how old the domain is and how long the domain is registered for. If you have a brand new domain name that’s only registered for 1 year, it may take a bit longer to get your website on the first page of search results. It’s one more factor to consider.

Title of Your Website

After choosing a proper domain name, you need to put your keyword phrase in the title of your website. The title of your website is listed in search results and it shows up at the top of the browser when someone is viewing your page. You need to use your keyword phrase so people can find your website when they type in your keyword. If you name your website Smith and Company, that won’t help people find you when they type in whatever product or service you’re selling.

One thing you must understand is that search engines rank pages, not websites. That means you might have one page of your website that shows up for a specific keyword because that page is optimized for a specific keyword phrase. Every single page of your website can have a separate title and target a different keyword, if that’s your business model. If you have a website built on a blog platform, every post is a different page, and you should choose good keywords every time you write an article or create a post.

Meta Description

The meta description for your website is what shows up in search results beneath the title of your website. Search engines don’t always use your meta description, but if it’s accurate, helpful and relevant, they probably will. Use your keyword phrase and any related phrases in your meta description.

Don’t forget, there are two reasons to have a good meta description. First, it can help you for SEO purposes. Second, it’s what people read if your website comes up in search results, so you need to convince them to visit your website. Don’t just throw a bunch of keywords up, that looks too spammy. Tell potential visitors why they should go to your website and use good keywords.

Titles

If you have a blog format website or you use titles on your pages, you should consider using keyword phrases for those titles. However, always create your content for your readers first, search engines second. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfectly optimized site if it looks like someone threw up (literally) a bunch of keyword phrases when visitors try to read your website. Use keywords in the titles when it makes sense to do so.

For blog posts, you should not only make sure that you use keywords in your titles, but you need to set up your website so that the domain name of every page is the title of that page and the domain. In other words, you need to change your permalink structure.

In WordPress, you can do that by going to Settings, Permalinks and click on Custom Structure and type in “/%postname%/” without the quote marks. You can also use month and name, or day and name, if you want. Just be sure the name of the post is in the domain and title of your page.

Content

Of course, you need to use your keyword phrases within the content on your website. Some people recommend that you should actually use the keyword once per every hundred words, or some variation of that. That is referred to as keyword density. I write for people and when it makes sense to use keywords, I use them. When you start writing for keyword density, it looks spammy and the content usually sucks. Don’t over-think this one.

In addition to your keyword phrase, search engine robots expect to see synonyms and related keywords. For example, if your website is about how to make money online, Google might expect to see related words, like “blogging,” or “internet marketing.” Use the Google Keyword Tool to find related phrases or the Google Wonder Wheel, and Related Searches tool, which are both found on the left sidebar of Google search results.

Other SEO Tips

If you have a blog, you will have the option to choose a category and add tags. You should definitely choose appropriate categories, with relevant keywords. You should also add a few relevant tags to each post. Don’t get carried away with the tags, otherwise it starts to look spammy to people and search engine robots.

If you have images on your website, you should use keyword phrases in the alt description. When you add a photo to your web page, you will usually have the option to add a description or title. Search engine robots can’t read images but they can read the alt description of your photo so use a keyword in the description if you can.

The quality of your content plays a role in your search engine rankings. While Google robots can’t actually read and judge the quality of your content, they do use other methods to determine the quality of your content.

Keyword stuffing is typing a bunch of keywords into the content so that you rank higher in the search results. Google can tell if you keyword stuff. If you do that, Google will likely recognize it and treat your website accordingly.

Google really wants to provide good, relevant search results for their users. When people visit your website and immediately click back to the search results without clicking anything or staying for any length of time (referred to as a “bounce”), that means that your website is not providing users with what they’re looking for. If you steal duplicate content and put it on your website, Google will likely recognize that. The point here is, if your website is no good, it won’t do very well in search results for any extended period of time. Create a website that provides people with what they’re looking for.

OFF-PAGE SEO

Off-page SEO is everything that you do outside of your website that helps your web pages rank well in search results. Off-page SEO is what gives your website authority and credibility with the search engines. The main method used is obtaining backlinks. There are plenty of other methods for getting traffic to your website, but creating backlinks is what will help get your web page ranked with the search engines.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links on other websites that link to your website. So, if the New York Times posts an article about how amazing your company is and includes a link to your website, that’s a backlink. The more backlinks you get, the more important your website appears in the eyes of search engine robots. Every backlink is essentially a vote for your website. But, all votes are not equal.

PageRank

PageRank is a system developed by Google for ranking the importance of websites. The scale goes from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most important websites and 0 being the least important. You can determine the PageRank of any website with tools, such as the Google Toolbar or the toolbar at SEO Book. PageRank is only one factor that Google takes into consideration when determining search results for any given keyword, so don’t obsess over it.

When it comes to backlinks, getting a backlink from a web page with a high PageRank is better than a backlink from a low PageRank website. The higher the PageRank, the more “link juice” a web page will carry. In other words, important websites, according to Google, have more “voting power” than other websites. It’s not difficult to see that a backlink from the New York Times should carry more weight than a backlink from your friend’s blog that has virtually no traffic whatsoever. You may not be able to right away, but you should try to get backlinks from websites with high PageRank.

Relevant Websites

Let’s assume you have a website that sells clothing for cats and you’re trying to get backlinks. So, you ask your aunt to put a link to your website on her real estate website. While all links help, a link from relevant websites carry more weight than websites that are totally unrelated. If you got backlinks from your local pet shelter, or a pet store, that would make more sense for a clothing for cats website.

When Google indexes your website for cat clothing, it doesn’t make sense when the search engine robots crawl a real estate website and find a link to a cat clothing website. Not only that, but your goal should be to get targeted traffic to your website. Targeted traffic means people that are actually interested in buying cat clothing, not people looking for real estate.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the text actually used to create the backlink. You could use the url, you could use the name of the website, you could use “click here,” or you could use keywords. Guess which one is the best? Yes, keywords.

When you use keywords to create backlinks, you are telling the search engines what your website is about. If search engine robots come across links everywhere using “make money online” as the anchor text, with links back to your website, it helps them recognize that your website is relevant to the phrase “make money online.” Any link is good but a backlink with your keyword phrase as the anchor text is the most valuable.

SUMMARY

If you understand the SEO basics above, you have enough knowledge to succeed online. Yes, there is more to SEO that I haven’t covered, but nothing that will keep you from getting on the first page of Google search results. If you choose the right keywords, use the tips above and build backlinks on a regular basis, your website will be on the first page of Google search results before you know it.

Check out this article if you want to learn more ways to get website traffic.