An Internet Marketing Lesson I Learned From My 7 Year Old Grandson

A few weeks ago I was watching my 7 year old Grandson Joel as he was drawing a picture of a strawberry patch.

As he drew, it began to look more and more like a Christmas wreath than a strawberry patch. I told him that it looked pretty good, but suggested to him that “maybe you could put a few strawberries here, and here and here” as I pointed to the big white area in the middle of his drawing.

He looked at me in all seriousness and said…

“Grandpa, it doesn’t matter what YOU think, it’s what the artist thinks!”

It was funny at the time, but I have been thinking about this quite a bit.

You know what? He is right!

There is a great lesson to be learned here. The lesson applies very well to Internet marketing. Actually it applies well to ANY kind of marketing, it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the internet.

We have a tendency to come up with an idea that we think is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We’re absolutely convinced that everybody will beat a path to our door to buy our product. We spend lots of money to develop a sales campaign, build a website, buy advertising and so on, and spend a lot of time and effort to draw people to our website, get good search engine positioning, and then more often than not we’re disappointed because very few people buy our products.

Could it be that the marketplace doesn’t care about our opinion?

Does that hurt your ego? It shouldn’t. It should open your eyes to this very simple, but wildly profound truth.

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK, IT’S WHAT THE MARKETPLACE THINKS THAT IS IMPORTANT!

Big companies spend millions of dollars on market research, testing and surveys before they ever spend any money in developing a product or marketing a product. Doesn’t it make sense that before we ever spend a dime on any kind of product development, website development or whatever that we should spend some time first to find out what people are buying, when do they buy, and how do they buy?

By doing proper research in advance, you’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort, and you’ll be rewarded many times over by successful, money making websites. Finding profitable “niches” is not a difficult process, but it can make all the difference in the world as to whether or not your website will be a huge success or a dismal failure.

As you consider what kind of websites you’ll be building, keep in mind the lesson learned from a 7 year old.

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10 Ways to Advertise Online (and where to get started)

Most business owners fully understand that not advertising is the surest way to kill your business.

However they are also bombarded by so much information and so many choices they quickly lose track of what options are available to them.

There are a number of cheap and easy online advertising options available to you.

1. Ezine Advertising

Ezine advertising is one of the best ways to reach your future customers because it is often inexpensive and flexible as well as offering you the option to match the ezine audience with your product and ad. It also often offers a double benefit–your initial ad plus longevity in the ezine archives.

2. Text Links

This simple tool is often overlooked by many. It is simply one of the least expensive and yet most powerful advertising option available. You can often buy text links for under $10 and the link will not only promote the specific site or page you choose but also connect it with the specific key words that will benefit you the most.

Text links also provide a double bonus. You can attract immediate traffic from the host site as well as achieve better search engine ranking which will further increase traffic.

3. Pay per click advertising

Just like it sounds pay per click advertising is simply paying for specifically targeted traffic. You can monitor and control these advertising programs very closely and tweak your ad copy and the key words that you are sponsoring. This can be a very expensive option but doesn’t have to be if you plan carefully and watch closely.

4. Email marketing

Despite ever-increasing vigilant attempts to stop spam, we all know that email marketing is still alive and well. While it is foolish in the extreme to risk your business, web host, or internet connection, by sending out spam you can still use email marketing as a way to reach out and touch your customers and your future customers.

You just need to make sure that no one receives mail except the people who ask for it. People are still willing to sign up for mailing lists–especially if you have something to offer them in return for sharing their email address. Sponsor a contest; give away an article, ebook, or tutorial; or offer a discount and you will have people sign up willingly.

Then if you don’t abuse the mailing list you will have the opportunity to reach them again and again!

5. Banner Ads

Banner ads have a bad reputation. In part because of the proliferation of banner farms that killed all the banner swap programs (or at least made them completely ineffectual). Also we all have memories of those hideous banners flashing across the top of so many web sites.

Banners have come along way since then and a cleverly designed banner can be a real asset to any advertising campaign. Also don’t forget that you don’t have to use one of those big giant banners that span the width of the screen. You can use smaller simple ads that can fit easily into the sidebar or special box on a web site so they can suit the design and work more effectively.

It is also important that you pay close attention to what sites you will choose for displaying your banner. IE. A site about web development for your web hosting service ad or a site about parenting for your ad promoting your potty training book.

Many text link and pay per click advertising vendors also offer the option of banner ads. Similarly many ezine and newsletter publishers sell space on their sites.

~~ Sell Your Knowledge ~~

These next five advertising methods are all free or relatively inexpensive because you are trading something of value — your knowledge and expertise — in return for advertising.

6. Publish a Newsletter

Creating your own regular newsletter or ezine offers you all the advantages of ezine advertising and email marketing offered above.

7. Publish a Blog and RSS Feed

While publishing a newsletter or ezine isn’t that difficult it is much easier to create a blog and make its content available via RSS feed. This can offer you the benefits of regularly updated material for your web site which will be attractive to visitors and search engines alike. It will also help establish you as an expert in your field.

I personally like using WordPress on your own site but many web hosts now offer blogging services and there are many free blogging sites around where you can create a blog on their site.

8. Write Articles

Take some of the material you have generated for your newsletter and/or blog and share it with others. Make it available in one of the many free content directories available on the web. This not only helps to establish your credibility but the contact info you provide in your resource box (which will run every time someone else publishes your material) will bring in both direct traffic as well as search engine attention.

9. Create an Ebook

Once you have enough material generated from your newsletter and blog then you can package it into a convenient Ebook and give it away. Make sure to collect names and email addresses and offer a coupon or discount to bring people back to your site!

10. Post in Forums

If you have the time you should start your own forum but even if you only have a few minutes a week to spare for this effort then it can be well worth the effort. Don’t offer blatant spam posts but find a forum where you have something to offer. Make sure that you include an appropriate url and description for your forum signature and you will attract the double benefit of traffic and search engine attention!

No successful advertising campaign embraces one single method of advertising and no single method of advertising works for everyone. Advertising cannot be treated as a one-size-fits all proposition. However you know what your business needs and can offer–mix and match methods and make sure to track your results–to optimize your choices.

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10 Powerful List Building Techniques

The lifeblood of any Internet marketer is their list. If you have an opt in email list then you are sitting on piles of cash, if you properly use your list then your earning potential is very high.

As many people ask “How do I build a list?” the following points describes some of the best ways for building your email list.

1) Newsletter / E-zine

We are in the Information Age and so people are desperate for information. Everyone is so busy with their lives they don’t have time to find the information for themselves. Publish a newsletter in your niche that is full of valuable content and you will get people flocking to you to sign up.

2) E-Courses

People are hungry for information, so a free e-course will persuade people to part with their email address. Create at least a seven part course that is delivered every few days into their inbox. Of course, the e-course also subtly sells your product!

3) Articles

Write articles and distribute them to article directories. Include your newsletter sign up in the resource box and if you have provided good quality content, you will get the visitors who will sign up to learn more.

4) Free Books

A free e-book is an excellent way to build your list. It doesn’t have to be an epic tome, just valuable information that people will exchange their email address for. You can write one yourself or get one ghostwritten for you. Make sure though that it is information that your visitors will want to have, and make sure you have included links to your products and sites in the book. You can also include affiliate links to further maximise your earnings.

5) Free Membership Site

Creating a free membership site is an excellent way to get people’s email addresses. Offer valuable content for free but only to signed up members. You can then upsell them other products or other levels of membership with more products and more resources available to them.

6) Squeeze Page

A squeeze page is a pre-sales letter page where you capture a person’s email address before they move on to view your sales letter. This is reportedly very effective and you can also personalise the sales letter with their name or other details from the squeeze page.

7) Pop Up

Pop up windows, particularly unique and different windows, can be very effective at persuading people to sign up for your newsletter. These can either pop up as the visitor enters your site, or when they leave, reminding them to sign up for more information.

8) Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is where you give away something of value that people want to pass to all their friends. It may be a video, a book, a game or anything similar. However, whatever it is, it has your web address in it so people can come and sign up to your newsletter and get more info.

9) Free Giveaways

A very popular new method of list building are the big Internet giveaways where lots of people submit products that are available for free in exchange for a newsletter sign up. These are excellent ways to rapidly build your list – though be aware that freebie seekers may not make for the most responsive of lists.

10) Sign up bonuses

Offer your visitors a bonus if they sign up for your newsletter, e.g. “20% off XYZ for readers” or a number of e-books or reports that will be of interest to them.

Using these 10 simple strategies you can build your list and then leverage their earning power.

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6 Internet Marketing Myths

Every day thousands of people go online to make money but most of them fail miserably because they either truly believe one of the 6 Internet Marketing Myths or or all of them. You can read them below and discover the grain of salt in all of them.

Myth #1: Internet Marketing is EASY

This is probably the biggest myth of all, and let me tell you Internet marketing is hard, takes time, effort not mention money and anyone who suggests otherwise is trying to sell you a bunch of horse hockey. Granted that it’s comparatively easier to brick and mortar in that there’s no inventory to carry, no shipping of goods no sales staff and virtually no overhead, but a lot of work is still involved.

Myth #2: ANYONE Can Make Money Online

Folks, this is simply not true. Unless someone gets off their lazy boy recliner and download/read everything they can about internet marketing, and put an action plan in motion, they will never make a dime on the internet. DO NOTHING, MAKE NOTHING.

Myth #3: You Can “GET RICH QUICK” On the Net!

This is the trap that a lot of newbie internet marketers falls into including myself when I first started, why? because scammers make it sounds so easy and let me tell you, chasing “get rich quick scheme” is a WASTE OF TIME!, money and energy. It just won’t happen overnight, instead do some research and find out what people really want and need then give it to them especially a sense of reality.

Myth #4: It’s FREE to Do Business Online

This is one of my favorite myths because I believed it during my first year of internet marketing and it just wasn’t true then, it isn’t true today. Compared to opening your first coffee shop or gift shop in downtown Los Angeles, internet business start-up cost and maintenance cost is pretty low. Once you have your domain set up, you only pay for internet connection, advertising and ongoing educations, that’s it. You can’t expect to make money selling free stuff and ask others to do the same. Folks! it takes money to
make money.

Myth #5: It’s TOO LATE to Start an Internet Business

Most internet marketers would love to hear people say “It’s too late now, too many competitions, I should just pack my bags and go home, the internet is too complicated, etc…”. You know why? the less people they have to compete with the better which in turn will make them more money.

The fact is, it’s never ever too late to start anything and that includes internet business. I firmly believe that the internet is not going anywhere and you should too. Every year the stats will show you the number of people shopping
online are increasing, their spending dollars are growing and the number of people going online is increasing also.

Myth #6: The BIG Money Talk is JUST HYPE

As I’ve told you before, “it takes money to make money?” Well it’s true, although you will be hard pressed to find experienced internet marketers to tell how much they spend on promoting and advertising. Sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper to find the truth in every hype you read. It’s a fact that the people that makes alot of money online also spends alot of money on advertising, tools, resources and know how to get the job done.

If you are willing to take the necessary action to make ‘big money’ happen for you – it will. It takes time. You can criticize, be skeptical and sure that ‘big money’ can’t happen for you – and it won’t. Sit down and write a financial and a sound business plan. Local Chamber of Commerce can give all the info you need to get started.

If you believe that you will succeed you’re right, if you believe that it won’t work, you’re right also.

To summarize, you have heard people’s story how they’re making a fortune on the internet and how easy it is but the reality is some stories are NOT out of this world or unrealistic but it just doesn’t happen overnight. You just have to apply a bit of common sense into it, find what you love to do, have a game plan, stay focus and you my friend might find the right opportunity to make all your dreams come true.

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4 Essential Things To Build Your Email List

Internet marketing may have developed a rapid surge for the past few years. As more internet based businesses are being established, you need to develop new marketing skills and knowledge to keep up with the competition and to cope with the changing in Internet business world.

The demand for Internet marketing tips and techniques have grown significantly and new strategies of online marketing has been born, one of them is Opt-in email marketing, also known as permission marketing. Believe it or not, this technique can spread the word about your sites subsistence in a very cost free and effective way.

Opt-in marketing requires the permission of customer before you are allowed to send or promote any marketing materials, usually in newsletters form delivered via e-mail. The more targeted opt-in marketing mail is sent, the more chances there is to generate sales and more sales. To do this, you must build a list of all those who are interested in your niche and wants to subscribe to your opt-in marketing list.

From your list, you will get your targeted customer, this is a good list since they already have shown interest in what you have to show and sell since they have willingly signed in for your list. These are the people who have liked what they have seen in your site and have decided they want to see more and maybe even purchase what ever product or service your site has to offer.

Many people would think that building their lists would take hard work and a lot of time to build and collect names and addresses. This is not so, it takes a bit of patience and some strategies but in doing this list, you open your site and your business to a whole new world of target market. Take the effort to take your business to a new level, if traffic increase and good profits are what you want, an opt-in list will do wonders for your business venture.

There are many sources and articles in the internet available for everyone to read and follow in building a list. Sometimes they may be confusing because there are so many and there different ways. Different groups of people would have different approaches in building an opt-in list, but no matter how diverse many methods are, there are always some crucial things to do to build your list. Here are four of them.

1) Put up a good web form in your site that immediately follows the end of your content. While some may say this is too soon to subscribe for a website visitors application, try to remember that your homepage should provide a quick good impression. If somehow a website visitor finds something that he or she doesn’t like and turns them off, they may just forget about signing up.

A good web form for subscribing to an opt-in list is not hard to do. Just write a simple short statement about how they would like to see more and get updated about the site. Then there should be an area where they could put in their names and e-mail address. This web form will automatically save and send you the data’s inputted. As more people sign in, your list will be growing.

2) As mentioned in the first tip, make your homepage very, very impressive. You need to have well written articles and descriptions of your site. Depending on what your site is all about, you need to capture your website visitor’s fancy. Make your site useful and very easy to use. Do not expect everyone to be tech savvy. Invest in having good programming in your site, make your graphics beautiful but don’t over do it.

Don’t waste your time making the homepage too overly large megabyte wise. Not all people have dedicated T1 connections, the faster your site gets loaded, the better. Go for a look that borders between simplicity and sophisticated knowledge.

3) Provide good service and products. A return customer is more likely to bring in more business. Even then and now, a satisfied customer will recommend a business always. Word of mouth and recommendations alone can rake in more business than an expensive ad. As your clientele roster grows so shall your list. With more members on the list, the more people will get to know about what you have new to offer.

4) Keep a clean and private list. Never lose the trust your customers have entrusted you. If you provide e-mails to others and they get spammed, many will probably unsubscribe to you. Remember, a good reputation will drive in more traffic and subscribers as well as strengthen the loyalty of your customers.

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3 Simple Steps For Newbies To Start In Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement between an online merchant and affiliate, in which the affiliate earns a commission for generating sales, leads and/or clicks for the merchant’s web site.

Affiliate marketing works in a win-win situation for the merchant and the affiliate. The merchant gains opportunities to advertise his products for free to a larger market which will increase his sales. The more hard-working affiliates he gets, the more sales he can expect. By getting affiliates to market his products and services, he is saving himself time, effort and money in looking for possible markets and customers.

When a client clicks on the link in the affiliate website and purchases the product, recommends it to others who look for the same item or buys it again, this way the merchant leverage his chances of earning. On the other hand, the affiliate marketer benefits from each customer who clicks on the link in his website and who actually purchases the product or avails of the service provided by the merchant. Usually the affiliate gets commission per sale, which can be fixed percentage or fixed amount. The best is that it won’t cost a single dime to join an affiliate program.

If you want to be an affiliate marketer and make money out of the Internet, you may follow these three most basic steps to start your effective affiliate marketing campaign.

Your first step is to identify a particular niche you are interested in or passionate about so you won’t be bored and forced to develop your affiliate web site later on. Focusing on a specific area you known well, it will help you bring out your best. Here are a few places you can research on – ClickBank Marketplace, AssociatePrograms.com, LinkShare.com, CJ.com etc

Secondly is to look for good paying merchants and high converting products .Make a list of good paying and high converting affiliate programs for your chosen niche and create a website. In choosing the products, you must also consider the support they are giving – Marketing materials may include articles, text links, banner ads, classified ads, reports, etc.

There are many affiliate networks and affiliate solution providers that can give you info on the most profitable products and best paying merchants. So be wise enough to choose the right affiliate program.

Now that you have decided which products to promote and the merchant you are supporting and have created your own web site with a domain name and reliable hosting, you are ready to promote. This is the toughest part, since it is through this that you would be able to increase traffic to the business website, sales and of course, profit. In affiliate marketing, it is possible to earn large sums of money in a short span of time if you use the right strategies and methods.

On how to promote the products would need a separate discussion. You must continue to educate yourself by reading books, courses or other articles online about the best and proven advertising techniques.

Remember, there is no quick path towards success. Affiliate marketing may seem very tempting due to numerous encouraging testimonies of merchants and affiliate marketers alike who have benefited from it, but it really involves in a great deal of hard work and persistence. You also need to be creative and flexible.

Most affiliate marketers don’t understand this, so when they don’t make sales, they quit, look for other programs and carry on the same mistake. In the end, they said that affiliate marketing is just one of those scams in the Internet. You can work your way to great success if you employ the right strategies in affiliate marketing. You can make money as an affiliate marketer if you willing to do what it takes.

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Best Online Marketing Techniques

I have been in internet marketing for over ten years and have seen marketing techniques come and go. Some are still around and some are new and innovative. Below you will find what I believe to be the best and most effective online marketing techniques.

Article Marketing – Article marketing was and is one of the most powerful online marketing methods available. Not only does it do wonders for you and your business, it is free as well!

Article marketing consists of writing helpful, informative, easy to understand articles that actually help your readers, not try to sell them something. Then you submit them to article banks, directories and ezine publishers. When your article runs in a popular ezine, it can do great things for your business. Writing articles is not as hard as you might think so give it a try. You will be delightfully surprised at how much it can affect your business.

Remember:

Don’t worry about fancy words. People are looking for help, not big words.

Advertise in your resource box, not your article.

Provide real, helpful info and resources, hot hype!

Write from the heart! Let your personality shine through in your articles.

Blogging – Blogging is a newer form of online marketing that just started becoming popular in the late 90’s. Blog is short for weblog and means an online publication in the form of a log or journal. Blogs can increase your customer base, your traffic and your search engine ranking, thus increasing your sales.

Blogging can be done for free through such sites as:
blogger.com
wordpress.com
and livejournal.com

Be sure and update your blog regularly; everyday would be best as people like fresh content, ideas and information.

Ezine Publishing – Ezine publishing has been around much longer than blogging and is far more effective, in my opinion. Your ezine needs to contain helpful resources and information, not just sales pitches. Develop a relationship with your readers. Let them know they can trust you and rely on you when they need your help.

Things to remember when putting together your ezine:

Keep it clean and easy to read.
Limit your advertising and be choosy.
Always provide quality content and information.
Add your personality so your readers can get to know you.
Always provide contact info and be accessible.
Be consistent; send your ezine regularly as scheduled.
Be sure and proofread before sending it out.

Online Networking – Online networking, as with offline networking, is very important to your business. This is when you connect with as many people as possible to learn more and share more about your business. Many leads can come from networking. There are several ways to do this online.

Email Discussion Groups: Go to yahoogroups.com and search for appropriate groups.

Message Boards: Be sure and follow the rules for posting and offer your help as much as possible.

Social Sites: Such as MySpace.com, Ryze, Merchant Circle, etc. These can be great ways to make more contacts and get leads.

Joint Ventures – This is when you enter into an agreement with another online marketer that will benefit both sides.

Examples of joint ventures:

Ezine Ad Swaps
eBook Ad Swaps
Subscription Page Ad Swaps
Affiliate Programs
Exchange Advertising for % of Sales

and the list goes on and on. Be creative and come up with new ways you and your associates can help each other.

Podcasting – Podcasting is using digital media files which are distributed all over the internet via syndication feeds. Podcasting is still a fairly new way of online marketing and has great potential. Podcasting can be powerful because it uses voice not written words to get the message across. Offer your articles, do voice interviews, offer a chapter in your ebook via podcast, etc. Again, use your imagination to create new ways to spread the word about your business.

Ezine Advertising – Advertising your business, product, service, etc. in quality ezines can be well worth the money spent. There are a few things you can to to help you choose which ezines to advertise in.

Do a search to find ezines that cater to your target market. For example: if you are advertising kids’ books, you don’t want to advertise in an ezine about cars.

Once you find several targeted ezines, subscribe to them so you can look them over and see if the publisher is reliable in sending them out. You can also look over the other ads and make sure the publisher is choosy in their advertising. You can possibly learn what the other readers think of the ezine as well.

Try contacting the publisher to see if they respond to your email. Ask about testimonials from other advertisers. Find out how many ads they run per issue and what the costs are.

You could also ask the publisher to do an ad swap to get an idea of what the response is like. Be choosy in your choices and always code your ads so you know which ezines actually deliver.

I hope this article has given you some insight as to how to market your home/online business. I use several of these methods (and should be using the rest) and know from experience that they work!

The possibilities with the internet are endless and we need to keep up with new and innovative ways of marketing ourselves and our business. And we need to keep using tried and true methods as well.

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Benefits Of Ezine Publishing

On the Internet, it is very possible to make money without selling any product. One way of doing so is through starting your own eZine, also known as an electronic newsletter.

In a nutshell, you send out your eZine issues on a periodical basis to your subscribers. The good part is that you have a flexible choice in automating the process of sending out your eZine issues for you or manually sending them on a periodical basis.

As an eZine publisher, not only can you easily achieve the benefits a conventional newsletter publisher enjoys without having to chop down several trees in the process, you can easily and conveniently spread your marketing influence and expertise to your base of subscribers from the shoes of an ordinary individual.

In other words, you do not have to invest in expensive printing equipment, brick and mortar business, and hiring staff just to run your own newsletter publication, resulting in a lot of time, money and effort saved.

Basically, all you need to start your own eZine are an auto responder and broadcast feature to go with, enabling you to reach out to your massive subscribers whom you can regard as your prospects, too.

All in all, if you do not have the commitments of creating your own product for sale, then publishing your own online newsletter can be one of the wisest decisions you will ever make, given the benefits of impressive marketing power and influence it can offer to you.

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Benefits Of Directory Submission

Internet users need a viable method of locating the sites related to their information needs. There are thousands of sites and many add to the volume every day. You could add latest content, improve the aesthetics of the site and make it more easily navigable. Yet, there is no way someone would find anything about your site unless you submit links to your site to web directories.

Directory submission is an important element of making your website more approachable on the Net. A directory is an Internet resource of related links that could have useful information for the user. Directories were in vogue long before search engines happened. Despite the preference for search engines, directories retain their popularity.

The main advantage of web directories is in providing good rankings on search engines. Out of the many parameters that search engines use to rank your site, links to the site are most relevant. Naturally, more the links, better the ranking.

The relationship between directory submission and search engine rankings is akin to a referral plan. The site with more referrals through links in several directories gets a higher rank. The crawling spider mechanism of the search engines is effective in locating the links for exact keywords related to a topic.

Search engines crawl through the links and add the site pages to their index. Therefore, your site is ranked automatically. For a new website, this could be an easier method of finding a place in the search engine listings. Registering with the search engines could be difficult and or expensive for a start up. But, getting noticed through directory submission is the ideal choice in such cases.

Directory submission is an ethical way of building the marketing plan for your website. Search engines have a serious view on the reciprocal links that is used as a fraudulent method of building link pages. On the other hand, one-way links into directories help search engines reach your pages quickly.

Another great factor in favor of submitting to directories is the specific target of keywords or phrases that can be achieved. Directories allow links to the site with keywords describing your site. Therefore, search engines rank the site higher than other for the given terms.

Cost wise too, directory submission is advantageous. Most directories are free to submit to. It therefore makes business sense to submit to as many directories as possible.

Whether you approach the directories yourself or use directory submission services, you need to keep a few points in mind:

1. Maintain quality content. Most directories have editorial discretion to reject content they feel objectionable, namely, child pornography, libel, infringing on intellectual property rights or abetting illegal activity.

2. Do not submit sites that contain overlapping or repetitive content under different URLs. Also do not provide links to sites that direct to another address.

3. Do not submit ‘Under construction’ sites.

A web directory is intended to be a library for the users. It is therefore the responsibility of the webmasters and developers to cooperate with the editors of directories so that the users get quality and reliable information.

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Beginning Steps To Marketing Success

Hello, I’m over here…
(Getting noticed on the web)


Getting noticed on the web is the holy grail of most webmasters and rightfully so. Not only can you turn visitors into dollars, if done properly, but it also gives a feeling of accomplishment. In all honesty getting people to your site is really not that difficult. There are probably 1,000 things that you can do to attract visitors. The real trick is making use of all of them. The mistake that a lot of people make is believing that there is one magical way, some mystical ritual that will invoke the visitor magnet spell.

Ok, so I’m being facetious but the reality is it does take work and diligence to make things happen. This is by no means a complete list, for a beginning webmaster or someone who is interested in becoming a webmaster, to follow. I am going to assume that an idea for a web site has already been decided upon.

1. The web site itself. This is a very important aspect of web marketing but I am focusing primarily on external web marketing. There are, however a few things that I want to cover here because I believe they are very important:

CONVENIENCE – This is a big one. People today are accustomed to getting things fast from drive thru pharmacies to high speed internet. Instant gratification has become the rule of the day. With this in mind, web pages should load quickly. Believe it or not a 4 second load time for a page is extremely slow today. When the page is loaded potential customers expect to find what they are looking for immediately. Your site should be very well laid out and everything should be easily and quickly navigated. The brick and mortar days of putting the most popular items in the back so customers have to walk through the whole store are not effective for online businesses. This strategy should be avoided at all costs. Some studies have shown that if customers do not find what they are looking for in the first 15 seconds they will move on.

2. The first steps in getting the word out. Visit the popular business directories. http://dir.yahoo.com/, http://sbd.bcentral.com/, http://yellowpages.aol.com/#,. There are hundreds more.

3. Search engine submittal. A lot of web sites offer this service for a fee. I personally have never found it worth it. I recommend doing this yourself. It is easy and does not take that long to do if you submit it to the top search engines.

4. Forums. Get to know your market. There really is no better research than visiting forums related to your market and reading. Find out what your customers concerns are. Keep reading until you feel comfortable enough to post. Don’t spam the forums and be sure to read the rules for posting. A lot of forums will allow you to leave a link and some will not. Either way make sure you respect the guidelines for posting. I did come across a trick for getting recognized by search engines. Most forums allow you an avatar. That is a picture that appears when you post. You can usually set that up in your preferences when you sign up at most any forums.

Typically it is a link to offsite where the picture is hosted. Make sure it is hosted from your web site and named after it. I made a bunch of avatars for a lot of friends and hosted them from my web site. To my surprise, it definitely caught the attention of the search engines. You goal here is to help not only advertise. After long enough you might just be the person everyone has questions for.

By starting with these four marketing strategies you can lay the foundation for a strong presence on the web. It will not happen over night but it will increase the popularity of your web site. Remember, web marketing is a cumulative proposition. The more marketing strategies you use the better.

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