Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Do Yourself A Favicon"

No, I didn't misspell favorite. I meant favicon.

"A favicon (short for 'favorites icon'), also known as a website icon, page icon or urlicon, is an icon associated with a particular website or webpage." (From Wikipedia)

In other words, a favicon is that little image you see in the address bar and your bookmark list next to the websites address or title. Having a favicon for your site makes it possible for your site visitors to associate a special logo or other small graphic with your web page.

And favicons aren't hard to add to you site. If you've already got a picture or logo you would like to use as your favicon you can easily turn it into one here. It's a free service that not only turns your pictures into favicons, they also give you the 1 line of code you have to add to your web page. In addition, if you've already got a favicon you can check the favicon and the favicon link tags on your web page using their Favicon Validator.

Don't have a picture to use for your favicon? Well, creating a picture is slightly more difficult than creating the favicon. If you've got a graphics package like photoshop you can use it to create your image. If you don't have a graphics package you can use other software packages like PowerPoint or FrontPage. I usually use PowerPoint to create mine.

So do yourself a favicon. They're not a necessity however they are a great way to personalize and brand your web sites.

To Your Success,

P.S. Favicons are not visible to everyone in the address bar because of the differences in browsers. I hope you can see Blogger's on this blog and mine on my other sites at:

FriendsWhoCare Newsletter


And if you'd like to put a favicon on your WordPress blog with a plugin, you can get a free favicon plugin here.

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts about this tip.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Better Safe Than Sorry!"

Since about half of my online income comes from my list, losing my list would be a serious blow to my business. And that's exactly what happened to me last week.

For 5 years I used the same autoresponder system and although there was an occasional problem, those problems were always fixed quickly. So even with occasional problems and only getting basic features, I was happily building my list and my business.

Then last week the 1 thing that everyone who has a list dreads happened to me. I went to my autoresponder to send out a broadcast that the newsletter was ready and discovered ...

All My Current Subscribers Were Gone!

Now unless you've experienced something like this I can't describe how it makes you feel. There's shock, there's bewilderment and there's depression all rolled up together in that first instant you see what's happened. It's a feeling much like the 1 you get when you discover ...

My Site Has Been Hacked!
(Yes, this has happened to me too.)

So what do you do when something like this happens? Do you give up? Do you start over? Or do you fix the problem and move on?

The correct answer is ...

Fix The Problem And Move On!

And how do you fix the problem? Well, first you must decide if you want to stay with the service where the problem occurred and this decision is based on how happy you've been in the past with the service and how well they respond to the current problem. Then you restore your list or your site either using the same service or a new one.

And how do you restore your list and your site? With your backups of course. You are making backup copies of all the important things for your business aren't you? If you aren't then you should be because having backup copies of your list and your site are extremely important.

Now incase you're not familiar with the term "backup" it means saving a copy of a program or file and storing it separately from the original. In other words, having a copy of your list members and site files stored somewhere other than where they are in use, usually on your own PC.

In this particular instance I decided to change services since my previous autoresponder system is still looking for my subscribers and a new service was very responsive to my problem and allowed me to import my list since I could show them that all my subscribers actually do have to request my newsletter mailings. Yes, my subscribers were caught without warning and had to re-confirm and I've lost some. But those who actually read my mailings are back with me.

So even though I "lost" all my subscribers last Wednesday, I had many of them back in less than 2 days.

And it's the same for restoring your site if it gets hacked. Yes, it may take a day or 2 to get your pages uploaded again but better 2 days than the weeks it took you to create those pages originally.

Oh, in case you're thinking these things won't happen to you. Please, please think again because things like this happen every day to lots of people. It doesn't matter how big or small your site, list or business is. It doesn't matter what service you're using or how long they've been in business.

Losing things and getting hacked are a fact of life
for online businesses!

So be prepared for the worst and give yourself some peace of mind by making periodic backups of your important business files. As they say ...

"Better Safe Than Sorry!"

To Your Success,

P.S. I've now moved my subscriber list to 1 of the oldest, largest and most reliable autoresponder systems available. And even though I trust them to be responsive and dependable, I still plan to make periodic backups of my subscriber list because this is how I feel about you ...

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts about this tip.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"4 Reasons Not To Blog"

As someone pointed out in a recent poll, the internet is about connecting with people. And if you're trying to make money online then blogging is 1 of the best ways to start connecting with lots of people.

So what is a blog and what is the meaning of blogging?

A blog is simply a web log and a web log is like an online journal. Blogging is the activity of writing entries in your blog.

So who blogs and what do they blog about?

Hundreds of thousands of people blog and they blog about just about everything. Just go to Yahoo, Google or your favorite search engine and type in your favorite topic along with the word blog. Chances are you'll find quite a few blogs about that subject.

Now if you're trying to start an online business or get traffic to your existing online business, blogging is a great tool because blogging can be free and it's easy to start a blog.

The 2 biggest free places to host a free blog are Wordpress and Blogger. Both not only host your blog for no cost but they also provide wizards so you can easily set up your blog in a few minutes.

Now you're probably asking, "Can anyone make money from a free blog hosted on either of these site?"

The short answer is - yes. I give this answer speaking from my own experience since I've been making sales from some entries on 1 of my free blogs hosted at Blogger. And the best part of this is - I posted those entries last year and have been making a few sales every month since!

Now the sad thing is that while blogging can be free and easy many online entrepreneurs don't do. And the biggest reasons many don't blog are:

  • They worry that the blog won't be perfect.

    Hey, there's no such thing as a perfect blog. If you're not blogging because you don't know how to create your own perfect template or use the perfect widget then you're just procrastinating. Forget about all the fancy stuff, keep your blog simple and just get started.

  • They don't think they have the time to blog.

    True, blogging at least once a day is a good idea however it's not mandatory. The fact is, the more frequent you blog the faster you'll be discovered however, even if you only blog once or twice a month you'll eventually be found. When I stated how I was making some monthly income from some blog posts I neglected to say that these entries are on a blog where I rarely write a new entry. So while having fresh content posted frequently is a good way to have your blog discovered by the search engines, using the right key words and keyword density are also extremely important.

  • They are afraid people won't agree with what they have to say.

    Worrying that someone may not agree with you is an irrational fear because it will eventually happen and there's nothing you can do about it. Sure, you could block all comments but that stops the community interaction and hurts the blog. Or, you could delete the comment like it was spam however this can hurt your credibility with the person making the comment and anyone else who saw it before you deleted it.

    The best course of action for negative comments is to maintain your professionalism and post a kind and insightful reply. By doing this you show your readers you care and helps build a better relationship with them.

    In addition to building a better relationship, a negative comment may actually help you get traffic to your blog. An example of how a negative comment actually drove traffic to a blog was given in the second audio of "How Can I Get Visitors to My Website: Traffic Generation Techniques Explained." And while I won't go into the details of what happened I will pass on this bit of information:

    When someone likes something they tell 3 people about it and when someone doesn't like something they tell 20.

    This doesn't mean go post things everyone will hate. It does mean that a little controversy once in awhile can be a good thing.

  • They think they can't make money with a free blog.

    While a free blog is not as powerful a marketing tool as a blog on your own hosted site, you can make money with a free blog. I've done it and so have a lot of others! And while where your blog is hosted is important, what's on your blog is more important.

    Will you make money or start driving traffic to your web site the day you set up your blog? Probably not. But as you learn more about blogging, write more entries and improve your blogging technique and style you may start seeing some sales and traffic.

Blogging is a powerful way to communicate with your targeted niche market. Blogs are easy to create, can be changed easily and allow 2-way interaction between you and those in your target community. And while not everyone who tries blogging has a successful blog, if you don't try then you never will.

To Your Success,

P.S. Today's tip contains some of the information in the blogging discussion from "How Can I Get Visitors to My Website: Traffic Generation Techniques Explained."

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts about this tip.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"The Power of Article Marketing

The power of article marketing is that it is 1 of the best free traffic generating methods to get people to visit your web site. Yet many don't use the power of article marketing because they think they can't write. And many of those who do write articles don't write them correctly.

To use the power of article marketing correctly you need to do these 3 things:

1. Pick a topic

Since you've picked a niche for your web site you should be writing articles that pertain to that niche. Writing an article about how to improve your golf swing for a cooking site just doesn't make any sense. Even if the article is really good and does drive traffic to your site, it's very doubtful that the reader will be interested in what your site has to offer so they will just move on.

When you pick a topic make sure it's something that people are looking for information about. Article marketing is about providing information people want. If you write an article that doesn't provide any useful information then those who read it probably won't visit your site.

2. Write a "good" article

Most people who don't use the power of article marketing are people who think they can't write. If you're one of those people let me ask you a question?

Can you talk?

If you can talk and you can talk about your niche then you can write!

Article marketing isn't about writing a paper for school. It's about having a conversation with someone. When you write, write like you talk. Sure you don't want to make a lot of glaring spelling and grammar errors but the internet is much more forgiving than your English teacher. (Hint: Some people use a mini-recorder to record what they want to say and then write what they've recorded.)

When using article marketing you must also provide useful information however you don't have to write a book. You only have to write a short 250 to 600 word article and that isn't long enough to tell your reader everything you know. So don't try to prove you're an expert and tell them everything. Just show them you're a credible resource and tell them a little.

The real power of article marketing comes when you write your article correctly and this doesn't mean good spelling and grammar. It means you've written an article that has good keyword density. Keywords are those words people are searching for and density means you've used those keywords enough times in the article to make the search engines think your article is relevant. Just be careful about the number of times you use your keywords because if you over use them your article could be considered spam and ignored. For optimum keyword performance and to get the most from the power of article marketing, keep your keyword density around 4% for the total number of words in your article.

Having a conversation with your reader about something in your niche, providing useful information and having your search engine keywords sprinkled throughout is what makes a good article. (Hint: A catchy title containing your keywords will also help.)

3. Use your resource box

Your resource box is the key to driving traffic to your site with article marketing because it's where you put your link and the compelling reason to click it. You should state your name, a statement with some of your business/personal information along with an offer containing your link.

In other words, say who you are, why they should care about what you have to say, where to go to get more information and your link to get there.

The power of article marketing is under-used and misused by most online marketers. Yet it's one of the best free traffic resources online. Article marketing is a free way to:

  • Get your article (with your link) a good search engine ranking

  • Get backlinks to your site (when others put your article on their site they have to include your resource box)

  • Get your name branded as a credible resource

By using the power of article marketing correctly and often you'll be able to drive traffic to your web site.

To Your Success,

P.S. Today's tip contains some of the information in the article marketing discussion from "How Can I Get Visitors to My Website: Traffic Generation Techniques Explained." Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts about this tip.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,