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5 Tips for Effective Web Pages

When you build a web page there are several things to juggle, the code, where the page fits in the sitemap, how you’re going to get traffic to it and how you’re going to get that traffic to convert to sales after visiting your page. Here I’ll go over 5 of the top things to keep in mind for web pages to increase conversions.

Things to consider when designing a web page.

1. Be Clear

If visitors don’t know what the page is about, or can’t find the links to make a purchase or contact you, then they won’t. Remember most people are using the internet to make their lives easier, if you start to complicate things for them, they’ll go somewhere else. That won’t help your conversion rate.

Each page should be divided into clear sections, the main navigation should be in one area, the text and related pictures and diagrams in another. Use headlines to break up sections of text so people can quickly scan the page and know where to find the exact information they are looking for.

2. Tell Them What To Do

If you want people to sign up for your newsletter, tell them. If you want them to buy something, give them a clearly labeled button to push to make a purchase. This doesn’t mean that the call to action has to dominate the page, it just means it needs to be easy to find. Ideally you would employ both a text link and a graphic button on the page. I would also suggest that you place your call to action both above and below the fold of the page. As any sales person will tell you, calls to actions make conversions.

3. Make the text easy to read

The text on your page needs to be easy to read, that means that the main bodies of text will be written in a font that is easy to read, like Verdana or Times. Save the decorative fonts for short headlines. You will also want to make sure that the font color stands out against the background color, you won’t be using blue text on a green background.

4. Keep Content Relevant

Don’t be like your old aunt Betty and tell wandering stories and address fifteen different topics when you started out trying to explain one thing. If you have a page on Bass Fishing, don’t spend more than a sentence on outboard boat motors. Stay on topic. If you decide that you really want to go into boat motors, create another page and link to it from your bass fishing page. The people who clicked the link to get to your page did so expecting the information promised, not something else. If they feel that the information isn’t relevant to their interest they will leave.

5. Limit the number of Steps

Remember that the idea is to help people get to where you want them to be. Getting there should be simple, which means it should take as few steps as possible. Ideally a person should be able to get from any page on your site to any other page in four steps or less. The contact page and purchase page should take fewer steps. Ideally these two key pages should be reachable in one click.

White Hat vs Black Hat SEO in 2018

Ian Bell as Meyer Lansky, John Stewart Jr. as Bugsy Siegel, Rich Graff as Lucky Luciano, Anthony DiCarlo as Frank Costello and Craig Rivela as Vito Genovese - Making of the Mob _ Season 1, First Look - Photo Credit: Lawrence French/AMC

There are two ways to get a site to the top page of google. In the SEO world they are loosely called black hat and white hat. There are pros and cons to each method, which I will outline briefly here.

White Hat uses the guidelines provided by the search engines to get a site to rate well. The three major search engines, google, bing and yahoo, each have libraries dedicated to teaching webmasters how to get their sites to rank well and include warnings on what the search engine considers to be cheating. Their specific considerations vary but essentially they all say the same thing, make your site the kind of site that users will like to visit and link to from their own sites. The way the search engine determines how well the site is made, is by looking at the frequency and placement of keywords and the number and value of links that point to any given page within a site. So white hat SEO specialists create user friendly content on the web site but spend most of their time getting other web site owners to link to key pages on the sites they manage.

The pros to this approach are:

  • Once you hit page one, you stay at page one
    Even when the search engines change their algorithm, your ranking won’t change drastically
  • Nobody can report you for cheating
  • Competitors will have a very hard time un-seating you
    The cons to this approach are:
  • It takes a little longer to reach number one (actual time depending on the industry and region)
  • costs more

Black hat uses loopholes and short comings in the search engines algorithm to climb to the top page. Black Hat SEO specialists use tools like link farms to fool the search engines into thinking that there are several hundred links pointing to a site. They also use program generated text to fill pages text with keyword rich filler. Many times they will create one or two user friendly pages to mask the search engine friendly pages so that visitors to the site aren’t confused by what they are seeing.

The pros to this approach are:

  • Fast climb to page one
  • Usually inexpensive monthly fee without contracts

The cons to this approach are:

  • Each time the search engines close a loophole hundreds of black hat sites drop or completely disappear from their rankings
  • Competitors who suspect cheating can report sites to search engines for investigation
  • Sites found to be engaged in “cheating” can be suspended or banned from search engines

It is very rare that any SEO specialist falls entirely into one camp or the other, it’s more of a continuum than two camps. It’s important to understand where your SEO specialist falls on the spectrum because of the amount of risk inherent in each technique. Silver Lizard Design is pretty heavy on the White hat side of the spectrum. Contact us to get more information on how we can help you.

What is web hosting bandwidth and how it is measured?

The World Wide Web or the Internet as it is commonly called is a fascinating place. It has drastically changed the way we live. Every successful organization and even educational institutions today have a web presence today. Having a web site not only elevates your status it helps boost your revenue tremendously. From buying, selling, promoting to booking everything can be done at the click of a mouse as and when you want. But for ensuring the success and popularity of a web site having a mere web presence is not enough. You need to select a suitable web hosting service that will do justice to your purpose.

Web Hosting Bandwidth

Now for all you people who are new at computers you may wonder what a web hosting bandwidth is? How is it measured may be another question in your mind! Well take heart. For we are here to tell you what web hosting bandwidth is all about.

When one starts searching for the most suitable web hosting service the issue that bothers him is the bandwidth of the service. It is indeed a deciding factor to your websites performance as well as success. In plain words, Web hosting bandwidth is the quantity of data transfer that the web site faces. Bandwidth in measured in units called Bits. If you visualize bandwidth as a highway, the term traffic can be visualized as cars on that road.

Bandwidth can mean the data trafficking capacity of the network. Alternatively it can also signify the data limit your web hosting service has allotted you for a time period. Different web hosting services have different policies for their consumers. The reason the hosting company monitors the bandwidth consumption of a site is to restrict it from exceeding the limit. If a web site overuses the bandwidth it will cause a server downfall. A slow loading web site in the web browser is a surefire sign of inadequate bandwidth.

If you are thinking how much of bandwidth is adequate for you, the answer is that it depends on your site’s content and the purpose. For example, a text heavy site will be smaller in size compared to a site rich in audio visual and interactive contents. A hosting bandwidth that is enough for the former can prove to be a bottleneck for the latter. So the larger the download or upload files are, the bigger amount of bandwidth is required. Also remember, even if a visitor does not upload and download any file, the mere loading of the page in his browser window consumes some bandwidth. As a matter of fact most web hosting services measure bandwidth in units of GB. You can make an average estimate by calculating factors like the average number of users per month, average page views, and average page size etc.

Free SEO tools for starting websites

Free SEO tools for new websites

Their are many resources out their to help people find success on their website. Since SEO is such a huge field of study, with so much competing advice, it can be hard for the beginner to know where to turn for the “real deal”. Finding the tools of most value to your online marketing campaign can be just as daunting. So I have compiled a list of sites that I use to help me help my clients achieve their online revenue goals.

http://seo-browser.com – This is a quick little tool that will help you see your website the way search engine bots do. It trims out the flash, images, javascript and everything else that the search engine spiders can’t read and lets you see just how visible your content is. This is a good starting point for existing sites to make sure your keywords are actually working for you and aren’t hidden by design or technology.

www.seomoz.org/term-extractor – (This tool has been discontinued.) This handy tool will give you a really good idea of which words on the page will be considered the keywords by the major search engines. The site will show you the one word, two word and three word keywords of the page. In most cases the most important column will be the three word combination, since most searches are performed using three or more words in the query. The term extractor will show you how well you’ve written your content, if you see the wrong words being chosen as your keywords, it’s time to start rewriting.

www.semrush.com – Here you can get several key metrics from any site on the web, which means you can check out how your competitors are setting up their SEO campaign. You can see what their target keywords are, who their competitors are, traffic estimates and much more. This tool will help you discover keywords that you may not have thought of, help you discover competitors that you may not be aware of and help you capitalize on the mistakes of others and exploit their weaknesses.

www.quintura.com – The latent semantic content search engine. Find words that relate to your primary keywords by using this tool. Search engines determine the topic of a page by looking at the words that appear in certain key locations and with the greatest frequency, but they also look at words that support the primary words. In other words a page that is about dogs, but also uses words like canine, fido, leash or bark will rank higher than a page that just uses the word dog several times. Those other words are called latent semantic content.

http://validator.w3.org – Google has explicitly stated that site performance is one of the metrics they use for ranking a site. If the site loads slowly or isn’t compliant with web standards it may take a rating hit. You can check for bugs on your site by looking it up on the validator page. The tool will create a list of errors as well as suggestions on how to fix them.

www.elance.com – Content is king. If you have poorly written content your site will not perform well. It is well worth it to hire someone who can write well to create the content for your site. Elance helps you find content writers who are trained in SEO and can write great, keyword targeted content for reasonable prices.

www.ezinearticles.com – Getting backlinks is a key part of SEO. One way to get good quality backlinks is to submit articles to a variety of sites that are in your market vertical. An easy way to do this is to write and submit articles to ezinearticles. Once you submit an article it is put out for others to place on their site. The better your article, the more likely it will get placed. You can include a link back to your site in your credits and even in the article itself. Assuming you write a good article, you can get several links back to site from just that one article.

www.opensiteexplorer.org – This tool will let you see a fairly complete list of the backlinks to a given page. You can use this tool to check out where your competitors are getting their links, then use that information to get some links of your own.

In the end there are several tools that you can use to increase your sites presence on the web. They can make you life much easier if you know how to use them. If you need help with your SEO efforts please contact me today to find out how I can help you get the success you are looking for.

Top 8 Places to Use your keywords

Sometimes in SEO we hear about keyword density and we’re given complex formulas to come up with the optimum density. In reality, that isn’t as effective as keyword placement. Where you use your keywords contributes more to your SEO endeavors than how often you use them. There are eight places to use your keywords to get the most out them. Here they are, in no particular order.

Use keywords in the Title
This is arguably the most important place to use your keywords. Use the page’s keyword in the title at least once. For those who are new to web design, the title is the text you see at the top of your browser. The title should be between 7-12 words long. Besides your keyword, use Latent Semantic Content, or related words. For example, if your keyword is “Fishing Lures” using words like “tackle”, “bait”, or “fishing line” all help support the primary keyword by giving it context.

Use keywords in the H1, H2, and H3
The headlines carry a lot of weight, both with viewers and search engines. Make sure that anytime you use a headline, that you include your keyword. Keep headlines short, take a hint from newspapers here. Make sure that the headline also provides insight into the paragraph that follows.

Use the keyword in bold within the body text
Search engines can easily see which words are bold, just like readers. Make sure that your keyword is used in bold, or strong, typeface at least once on the page.

Use keywords in the URL
When naming your pages, avoid names like “page2.html” instead use keyword rich names like “fishing-Lures.html”. This makes it even more clear what the page is about, and will make it easier for people to directly navigate to the page later. Due to the way search engines process URLs, it is better to use “-” to separate words than using “_” or even running the words together.

Use keywords in the Description META tag
This is one tip that does not help with search engines but will help get people to click on your site in the search results. The description you provide is the one that Google or Bing will use to describe your page in their search results. If the description is clear, appealing and seems to address what the person was searching for, they are more likely to click on the link that takes them to your site.

In the file name of images
Image search results are showing great power in driving traffic to sites, make sure you are capitalizing on this by optimizing your images. Search engine bots can’t see your images, so they rely on other factors to let them know what the image portrays. Naming your file something like “fishing-lures.jpg” is better than using your camera’s default image naming process.

Use keywords in the Image Alt Description
Again this is a place to tell the search engine what that image is a picture of. Don’t go too long here, just get describe the image in 5-7 words, making sure to include your keyword.

Use keywords in the anchor text of links pointing to the page
Anchor text is the text a user would click on to get to your page. Using text like “Click Here” is not effective at all. Instead use text that describes the page’s content, by including the pages keywords in the anchor. WARNING: Don’t use the current page’s keywords in anchor text that leads to another page, use that page’s keywords.

So, as you can see, keyword placement isn’t that hard. It can become tedious when you have several pages to redo. but it will help you get your site optimized not only for increased traffic, but for increased sales!

Getting Better Results from Google

We’ve all used Google to look for things. Maybe you were looking for the perfect recipe or maybe you needed to find a place to buy a pet toy, regardless of what you were looking for you probably got tons of results to your search. You may have wondered how to limit your results to sites that matched your needs even more. I’ve compiled a short list of ways to get better results from Google.

Basic Search

Example Search Gets Pages that containing…
dog park the words dog and park, not necessarily together
dog park or playground have dog parks or dog playgrounds
“One small step for a man” the exact phrase “One small step for a man”
tile -ceramic the word “tile” but does not have the word “ceramic”
web-site all forms of the term, with or without hyphen or spaces
define: dichotomy definitions of “dichotomy” from the web

 

Refining Search

Example Search Gets pages that…
tax site: whitehouse.gov contain the word tax from whitehouse.gov only
New Yorker Sushi  2000…2005 have articles from the New Yorker talking about sushi between the years 2000-2005
budget plan filetype:pdf have a budget plan in pdf format
link: www.whitehouse.gov contain a link to www.whitehouse.gov
weather Cedar City UT shows the weather at the specified location (zip code can be used instead of city, state)

 

Restricting by keyword location in result

Example Search Results
allinanchor: Dog Training finds pages where an outgoing link reads “Dog Training”
shopping inanchor: covered-parking finds pages where an outgoing link says something about shopping and covered-shopping
allintext: recipe beef garlic finds pages that contain all the words recipe, beef and garlic
intitle: easy recipe finds pages with a title that contains the words easy and recipe

 

Pay-per-Click vs Pay-per-Impression

Choosing between PPC vs CPM Banners Ads

PPC and CPM, no these aren’t colleges about to face each other on the field. PPC (pay per click) and CPM (cost per thousand) are two methods for paying for banner ads. Each one has it’s place in an effective campaign, in fact I’d go so far as to say that nearly any online campaign should utilize them both. In this post we’ll explore the reason’s why you should consider them both for your online marketing plan.

Introducing the contenders

PPC, or pay-per-click, means that each time a person clicks on your ad you will pay a predetermined amount. This model makes up the majority of Google Adwords ads. The nice thing about it is you are guaranteed a set number of traffic for a set price. In other words if you say you want to pay one dollar per click and you set a budget of 1000 clicks, you will get no more than 1,000 clicks and will pay no more than $1,000 dollars. Of course that can also be viewed as a weakness. You will not get more than 1,000 clicks because once your budget is spent, your ad disappears until the next cycle.

CPM, or cost per thousand, is based on impressions, or views, of the banner. Generally the pricing is based on increments of 1,000 impressions. You are guaranteed that your ad will be displayed on the web page a visitor sees. The benefits of this model are that a banner will be seen a set number of times, the drawback is that you can’t absolutely guarantee an exact number of hits to your website.

Common Misunderstanding

Over the years I’ve encountered many people, even among professional online marketing people, that write off CPM completely. They say that since PPC has a guaranteed flow of traffic that there is no reason to use CPM. Obviously, I disagree with that logic. To prove that CPM should be included in almost every campaign I’ll show the math of the two methods. Feel free to break out your calculators at this point, don’t worry, the article will automatically wait for your return.

The most important common feature of both methods is that their purpose is to drive traffic to your site. Click Through Rate (CTR) then becomes the most important tracking number for us to look at. For the sake of this example, we’ll also assume that basic research has been conducted correctly and that the ads are being placed on websites which are frequented by your target audience. Across all industries the average CTR for banner ads currently sits at 0.9%, for easy math we’ll just round that up to 1%. The average cost per click in PPC is $0.89 and the average CPM is $0.24. We’ll set our CTR goal at 1,000 for the example.

We’ll start with PPC. The math here is very simple, for 1,000 clicks you’ll pay $890. Based on the industry average of a 1% CTR you know that if you have 1,000 clicks, then your ad displayed approximately 100,000 times.

Next comes CPM. In order to hit your target of 1,000 clicks you’ll buy 100,000 views at the average price of $0.24 per thousand. If you multiply 100,000 by $0.24 per thousand you find that you will pay $24 to get the same number of views and clicks as a PPC campaign. (Thanks to Karan for catching my math mistake)

Here’s a handy table to make it easier to see the comparison:

PPC CPM
Number of Views 100,000 (approximate) 100,000 (exact)
Number of Clicks 1,000 (exact) 1,000 (approximate)
Total Cost $890 $24

Knock Out Punch?

Suddenly CPM doesn’t look so bad, right? So, why don’t I tell you to stop using CPC altogether? There are two main reasons, first, not all industries perform as well as others as far as CTR is concerned. Second, some sites only allow for small text ads to display which historically have a much lower CTR than banners that allow images or rich media (animation, sound, etc.)

Boil it down

After everything is said and done, you should choose the ratio of your PPC and CPM after researching your industry’s performance and costs in each. Research the sites on which the ads will run to make sure they are visited by your target audience. If you find yourself getting stuck on the research part or in deciding what ratio you should be using get in touch with me for a consulting session.

Why Low Cost Hosting Companies Suck with Low Uptime

It has been seen that most good web hosting services have the tendency of posting information of their web servers on their websites. Not every people are technical but almost everyone knows some one or the other who has the ability to help him or her analyze the technical complexities. Getting hold of this information will provide the client with a good idea to know about the stability of the web host’s server system.

Low Cost Web Hosting often companies seek to cut the cost by going for free hosting. Low cost hosting often known as free hosting is not a good idea. They have some inherent disadvantages that may jeopardize the business performance of your company. Experts suggest in order to save a few bucks you should not go for low cost hosting services. What are the disadvantages? In the next few paragraphs we tell you all about Why Low Cost Hosting Companies Suck with Low Up-time

It is extremely important to understand thoroughly the amount of storage and bandwidth one is getting in return of a monthly fee. It is very unpredictable with the bandwidth. At times it has the potential to attract high traffic. So through proper understanding you van chalk out the provision.

Checking your site is very important. For this you may hire an expert who will keep a watchful eye all day. The accessibility of the site is the most important thing for consideration. Along with it we have to ensure that everything else is in proper order. If these things are in right order then the visitors will get a proper idea of your business. So it is worth taking the trouble regarding the cost and the labor.

It absolutely makes no sense to spend money on your site without achieving the accessibility factor. So it is crucial to keep in mind the minute details to ensure that while using the low cost web host the downtime does not finish your business prospect.

Free hosts usually do not provide any customer support, and when they occasionally provide it is not up to the mark. A low quality support can completely jeopardize the hosting experience.

The Free web hosting plans generally do not use software, email services and other advanced features, that the paid ones provide. The web hosts add advertisements in the form of banners, pop-ups and text link. This is done for providing funds to the free hosts.

The Free hosts are not renowned for their reliability. Time and again the server’s web hosts put the free users on overcrowded locations and slow down their process.

So by now you are aware of the shortcomings of free host and the problems it is likely to cause. So the points that you should remember is regarding the hidden perils associated with low cost hosting. Also the bandwidth factor and the stability of your server system are of prime importance. You are also expected to know the technical complications by your self as much as possible for finding a fitting solution.

What to Watch out for When Signing up for Hosting

Hosting accounts are now more popular than they ever have been. It seems that everybody and their dog (literally!) has a hosting account nowadays, whether it is to run a business, a personal blog or something completely different. Of course, there are thousands of web hosts out there, some better than others. I have therefore put together this pretty handy guide that you can use to ensure that you won’t get burned when searching for the host of your dreams!

It is important to choose a company that has a solid reputation, preferably one of the larger ones. Yes, it is all well and good supporting the small companies, but this is very important. Imagine choosing a smaller company (who may just be using a reseller account) and one day they decide to pack everything up and stop hosting, perhaps they forgot to pay their bill or they want to engage in other ventures. You are going to lose ALL of your work. Which means you will lose money, so it is best to steer clear! Checking out a couple of reviews online should tell you whether the company is ‘small’ or not (look at the amount of reviews they have) if they have a particularly amateurish website then it could also be a fairly good indicator. By all means if you do your research into a smaller company you can go with them, but bear in mind things could go wrong.

If you are not used to hosting, or need a little guiding hand from time to time then you will want to opt for a host which offers 24/7 support. That way you can be sure that there is always going to be somebody there whenever you need a little bit of help! It is generally only the larger companies that offer support like this for you.

In addition to this, you will want to pay attention to what you actually get for your money. You should remember that ‘unlimited’ does really mean what it says. Instead it is subject to a fair usage policy (read the terms and conditions of your host), which means they may ask you nicely to upgrade or limit your usage. In cases of unlimited it is really a case of the host trying to put as many sites on the same server as possible, which is going to cause slowdown. Therefore you will want to aim for the larger companies here who have money to invest in larger and better servers!

Finally, don’t let price be the guiding factor. Yes, there are cheap hosts out there who are reliable, Hostgator being one of them. However, you should always check to see they have the features that you want, but perhaps more importantly, how reliable the host is. You should be able to get everything you need in this regard from web reviews.

If you bear the tips above in mind, then you honestly will find it far easier to find a web host that you are able to work with and who can fulfil all of your requirements. Remember, always opt for the reputable companies, that way they won’t disappear over night! I also suggest checking out a number of reviews from these companies before you actually make your purchase, that way you know whether you are getting a good deal nowadays.

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How to Choose a Domain Name for Maximum SEO

The Rundown

In order to get the most out of your SEO process, you’ve got to ensure that your domain is suitable for the project at hand. SEO isn’t something that you can just slap together, and it usually calls for an abundance of professional help to take place. In regards to your domain name, it’s something that helps people identify your brand online – but that’s only skimming the surface of what is needed to be covered. You’re going to be putting a lot of money into these authority sites (or, at least, what you hope will turn into authority sites); which is why it’s crucial to capitalize on your SEO efforts at every possible point.

Keeping Up with the Times!

When speaking about your domain name, it’s going to come with a lot of variables. Not only will these variables come in abundance, but they may even change on certain occasions. This is information that is held in high regard, but usually incredibly difficult to obtain as well. We’re going to look at how you can grow your company in more ways than one, all through the use of your domain name. It may not seem like much right now, but it’s going to be a key piece in the success your business will see.

It’s 2016, and that means you’re going to have to adapt; most people who refuse to do so get left in the dust. It’s a lot more about the entire picture, as opposed to just the old fashioned way of conducting business. Having a strong online presence is pretty much a must these days, and the lack of one is almost like planning for the inevitable failure of your ventures. Some people are going to want shorter domains, so that consumers find them easy to remember; others are going to find interest in the much longer variety (due to the fact that they need to be specific). It’s all about preference, like most other things associated with internet marketing and having an online presence in general.

The Basic Breakdown

Let’s talk about three main attributes that make up a domain, as that should give you some more information to work with. Take a look at these negative attributes, and then apply them to your domain name process as you please; pretty much, just ensure that you avoid all of these things at all costs.

  • Hyphens – Hyphens are a big problem when it comes to purchasing a domain name, as they appear a little more spammy than your traditional domain. Separating words really isn’t that important, seeing as domain names are all one word anyways; in most cases, people only use hyphens to rip off other ideas/websites.
  • Improper TLD’s (Top-Level Domains) – TLD’s are the ending to your domain names, and they can have a very drastic effect on your SEO efforts. For example, when you work with a website that end in something like .com or .co.uk, you’re going to have a lot more credibility (and ranking power). Lesser known TLD’s like .cc, .ws and even .info are something to avoid – in most cases, these are websites that are incredibly frugal with the amount of credibility and honesty they’re offering.
  • Length – The length of your domain name is also very important, and drawing it on and pushing it to more than 15 characters is a no-no. You should avoid lengthy domain names, and you definitely don’t want to go over 15 characters. Short domain names allow the consumer to remember it easier, as well as share them; there is also a much smaller chance of pushing through with any sort of typo.

Domain names have lost a little bit of their “SEO-juice” when compared to the past, but they still hold a pretty decent amount of necessity. Completely forgetting to think of a unique and SEO-ready domain is just silly, and you don’t want to get into that habit.

Getting Started

Determining Your Needs

When it comes to making sure your domain is following SEO protocol, you have to get a hold of specific information. For example, you’ll want to apply your brand name to the domain; it just makes sense. When people go to your website, they’ll be thinking of the words representing your brand. It’s consistent advertising in its finest form, and that’s why the internet is such a business-conscious place to be working with. If you want to go the alternative route, and completely avoid your brand name (which some people do for specific projects), that’s okay as well.

Your brand name should pretty much always make an appearance in the domain, but the sale of domains and URLs has been around for a very long time now. If you have a traditional or commonly named brand, you may find it tough to actually find a domain that’s short and to the point. If you have to get a little lengthy, just make sure it isn’t going overboard. Some of the most important traits to think of before you get into to domain name selection process would be:

What Direction Are You Going? – Are you trying to put together an eCommerece website? Or is it something that’s going to be labeled a little more “artsy”? The form of your website and the demographic that it appeals to is going to be important to keep in mind, otherwise you may find yourself missing on potential growth. If you have to appeal towards the more technical crown, be straightforward; if you’ve got space to be creative, don’t be afraid to do so (but be ready to plan for some rather unique keywords in the process).

Online Presence is Essential – It’s pretty much a known fact that business needs a website these days; at least, if they want to stay in business for more than a few weeks (or days, who knows?). Without a strong online presence, you won’t be able to appeal towards the billions of people living on this planet. That’s something you just really can’t miss out on! Are you ready to get into the process of maintaining the website associated with your domain? Updating it and brushing up on the SEO profile, among other things?

Domain names come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but without proper planning, there’s no telling just how quality your choice is going to be.

Keywords

Keywords are important for SEO purposes, and that pretty much pertains to every single aspect of SEO. If you want to create some content for your website, you need to have keywords; when you’re looking to figure out the perfect domain name, guess what? That’s right, keywords! It’s no secret that keywords are going to be a very constant variable within your SEO process, as a matter of fact, it’s always going to be there. These are the specific phrases that people are searching for within engines like Google or Bing; and these are the phrases you need to be focusing on.

Keywords aren’t always the same for every single domain name, and that’s where a little bit of research is going to come into play. If you’re completely oblivious as to what keywords are, this section is going to bear a lot of “fruit” for you to snack on (mental fruit, of course!).

What Exactly are “Keywords”?

We’re going to get into a pretty technical example here, but trust me, it’s for the greater good. When you talk about keywords and what they have associated with them, it can seem like gibberish at first; that’s okay, just bear with me.

Every single domain name and website (well, everything in general on the internet that has words) can be associated with keywords. For example, let’s just say that your website is called “www.incrediblycoolhats.com” – this means that every single keyword associated with your domain name needs to pertain towards hats (that are more than likely incredibly cool, mind you).

  • Local Keywords – These are keywords that would have to do with the local way deal of dealing with things, as in; “buy hats in x”, where X would be the local region that you’re planning on covering. Local keywords are crucial because they allow you to appeal towards the immediate crowd, those being consumers close to you. Domain names almost never have these, unless you’re creating a very specific page (like a bunch of carpenter sites that cover numerous cities).
  • Competition Levels – Keywords are going to have a lot competition to battle against, regardless of what industry you happen to be in. The world is a big place, and that means there are going to be a lot of people trying to make a living online (or just build their online presence). As a result, you’ll be fighting for the top spot. Research your keywords with the tools available to you (we’ll get into that a little later on), it’ll be easier to ensure your success as things move forward. The “Google Keyword Planner” is the perfect tool to keep in mind, and it’s what most people turn towards for help.

Why Do I Need Keywords?

Without keywords, you won’t be able to appeal towards your preferred demographic. There’s a reason why people research their keywords in abundance before working with them, as it’s something that people have become accustomed to. A domain name without any keywords is fine, but only if you’re looking for a branded domain name.

Branded Domain Names

What Are They?

When you think of incredibly large companies like Nike or Adidas, their domain names are pretty straight forward. Not only will it be simple and to the point, but there’s a reason they’re allowed to follow this suit – that’s because they’re so popular. If you’re already an established name in the industry, all you have to do is use your brand name for the domain. Not only will it already have some SEO power behind it (as you already carry a relatively strong presence with your name alone), but it makes figuring out your domain name a much easier process.

You can only make use of a branded domain name in specific scenarios, as you never want to do it when you aren’t a popular brand. Doing so is going to result in less than stellar results when it comes to your SEO analytics, and you always want to put your best foot forward.

Creating “Sub-Domains”

When you’ve got a domain, and a plethora of pages that you want to get out there, sub-domains can become one of the most – for example, when you use a TLD in which .us appears, there are different sub-domains to apply to every single state within the USA. It’s essentially a domain that is part of a larger domain, which is useful for a variety of different reasons.

Budgeting for Your Domain Name

how-much-does-a-domain-name-cost

The budget behind your domain name selection needs to be figured out beforehand, as there are usually annual fees associated with keeping a page live (for hosting, anyways). You need to factor that in, but you also need to factor in any additional costs that may pop – like I said previously, having a very common brand (word-wise) can be a blessing, but it can also be a burden. If you really wanted something that was short and simple, but very effective, you may have to pay a pretty penny for it.

For example, let’s just say that you wanted a domain like ‘www.cool.com’ – seems easy enough to purchase, right? Domains have been sold ever since the early 90’s (and maybe even earlier), and that’s lead to an incredibly expensive adventure for you to embark upon. Domain names that are simply one word are well worth the amount of money people pay for them, and trust me, there are people out there willing to pay well up to 6 figures for something like that.

If you can’t afford it, you’re going to need to look at other options. There are always going to be more than reasonable options to choose from, it’s just a matter of your personal preference – as well as whether or not the money is there. Pricing is usually based off of:

Current Popularity – If a website is very popular, it’s going to cost a lot of money to buy the domain name associated with it. This is mainly due to the fact that by using this domain name, you’ll already have access to an abundance of potential customers – they’ll already know about the domain name, and have it memorized on top of that.

Length & Longevity – If the domain name is incredibly long, the price is going to be hit rather hard. If it’s over 15 characters, but still somehow manages to sport a relatively strong profile of potential customers, it still might be worth an investment (but that’s completely up to you). Short and sweet is the key, as those are the domain names that last for extended periods of time.

Effectiveness – If you have a business that relates itself to the sport of basketball, you don’t want to try and get your hands on a domain name related to soccer or football. That would not only confuse the people visiting your website, but it would essentially be a waste of money – it would also have a very negative impact on your SEO endeavors. All of the stuff within your domain names pages would pertain to the wrong sport, and Google would become aware of that feat.

Conclusion

domain-name-strategy

There you have it! All of the information presented to you today should help with any questions you could conjure up. Domain names aren’t the easiest thing to manage, that’s for sure; but they’re always going to be very critical to the success of your online practices. If you want to sell a service or product through the use of the internet, you need to make sure your domain names are always following proper SEO protocol. Take the time needed out of your life to actually prepare in the proper sense, so that you’re setting the brand up for success (as opposed to failure). Everybody wants to do something that relates itself to the internet, and that means domain names will always reign supreme.

They are the very first thing people take notice of when visiting your website, and it’s also the thing that most people are able to easily remember. If you want to become a household name in the year 2016, it’s going to take an efficient and well-planned out domain name. Don’t allow outside influences to negatively affect your project, focus on the task at hand and keep a tunnel vision of sorts. The only person who can stop you from success, is the person you look at in the mirror every single morning.

Keep your head high, your domain names SEO-efficient and your conversion rates as high as possible! Internet marketing is the wave of progression that everybody wants to ride, but you can’t do that without SEO-conscious domain names.

Top 10 Coolest New Domain Extensions

For as long as the internet has been around, the available domain extensions have been the standard .com, .org, .edu, .net, etc.

But this year, the internet is finally getting a makeover.

Recently, a host of new extensions were released. Instead of just the standard, boring old domains, we got fun, new domains. Allow me to introduce the best of the best, all of which shall be offered within the next year:

1) .Guru

Who in their right mind doesn’t want to be a guru at something? I can see a whole host of awesome sites being started with the .guru tail. Are you a beer guru? A workout guru? A guru of anything? Register the .guru domain and Voila! you’ll have instant credibility.

2) .Ninja

Who in their right mind does not want to be a ninja? Now, with the .ninja extension, you can do just that! Do you want to be the ninja of soccer? Music? Money? Just register your extension and you are good to go as a qualified ninja!

3) .Sexy

I can’t stop thinking of all the things that could be placed before the .sexy extension and intantly turn, well, sexy. Thongs.sexy. Beercans.sexy. Grandmas.sexy. The possibilities are infinite.

4) .Best

Want to be the best at something but you’re not sure how to show it? Do you have the best idea ever? Just register the .best extension, and you’ll be money

5) .Futbol

One of the few non-English words on the domain extension list, I think .futbol will be blowing up. I don’t know about you, but I’m preregistering all the domain names I can that have to do with .futbol. (Especially on the heels of this awesome World cup of 2014 what what!)

6) .中文网

Even google translate couldn’t help me with this one. Which leads me to believe that it is really sweet. Who wouldn’t want an extenstion ending in .中文网? I, for one, am all about .中文网.

7) .Xyz

As one of the few nonsensical domain extensions added to the list, .xyz stands out. Does your website idea not really fit in to any one of the 100’s of new extensions? Well, problem solved. XYZ!

8) .Expert

Have you ever wanted to be an expert at something, but just don’t have the time to put in the work? Just kidding, you would never do that… I meant, are you an expert at something but you aren’t sure how to show it? With a .expert domain tail, your problem is solved!

9) .Coffee

Why does coffee have a specific domain extension, you might be thinking. Well has someone who has worked a brunch shift at a busy restaurant, let me tell you, people drink coffee like the world’s supply is ending. As awesome as this extension is, I’m not sure how many people would actually use it. Farmers? Barista blogs? Still. The randomness of this extension is what makes it #9.

10) .Kiwi

I’m not sure if ICANN (the organization deciding domain extensions) just really loves this particular fruit, or if this domain is supposed to be an homage those nice folks living down under. The sky is really the limit for what you want to do with a fruit as your domain extension!

There may even been some sweeter domains coming into play, like .moto, .vodka., .beer, and those will all be pretty awesome too. If you are interested in investing in internet real estate, now is a great time to do so!

A Blog or a Simple Website?

What is better, a blog or a simple website? This is a common question, and the answer depends on your specific needs for the site. It is important to know which format will best serve your needs.

A blog is essentially a simple website. The host site such as Blogger or Tumbler will provide templates, which you can manipulate for your purposes. Pictures, video, text, and other elements can be added. Little knowledge about graphic design or computer coding is needed, since these are already worked into the template. Blogs can earn you money. This is done by opening the blog up to advertising. These ads are provided by Google or other vendors, and you choose the location, frequency, size, and other elements of them. Whenever someone clicks on an ad, you earn a small commission. Blogs are usually used by people for personal reasons, since it takes a lot of work to make them profitable.

There are some things a blog cannot do, and this is where the simple website might become more of an option. There is only so much control you have over the template. If you have a very specific idea about how your site should look, a blog might be too restrictive for you. There is also the matter of the web address. If you want a specific, clear-cut address, a simple web site will work better. Blogs will have the host site as part of the web address. For example: yourblog.blogspot.com has the Blogger tag in the web address. This is not in itself a huge problem, but some people may see it as unprofessional if you are looking for a professional website.

If you are looking to set up a merchant site that sells a product, a simple website will be better than a blog. Blogs can be integrated with Amazon to sell products, but you cannot use them to sell your own merchandise. For this you will need a website.

Also consider what you are willing to pay for this site. Blogs are free. There is no monthly or start up fee at all. A website will usually have a monthly fee. You may also have to pay for your web address. Even simple websites will require you to know some code, such as Java. If you do not have this knowledge, then you may have to pay for a website designer. There are simple website templates that can help with this, but again, it depends on how specific of an idea you have about the look of your site. If you have a very clear vision for the design, this will not be achieved by following a set template.

Having a blog or simple website depends on your goals, intentions, and visions for your site. It also depends on how much your are willing to pay for it. Blogs are free and easy to use, but you do not have as much control. Websites are a little more complex, but they give you more freedom.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name

It is amazing that people who spend weeks trying to come up with a name for their new-born baby will name their new website with the first thing that comes to mind. This is because many people put so much effort into the content of the website that they imagine they have already done all the hard work, and that giving a name to the domain is the easy part. There are many things to consider when choosing a domain name, and if you have put a great deal of work into the site, it makes no sense to pay little attention to perhaps the most important part of your site; the name.

First, you will want to consider some of the top keywords associated with your site. For instance, if you are selling pet supplies on your site, you will want to have pets in the name. Since one of the main rules of choosing a domain name is to make sure the name is easy to type, you will probably not want to have supplies in the name. You want to avoid using the letters q, z, x, c, and p in the name if you can. However, since your site is about pets, and pets is a short word, you will use a p. Instead of using supplies in the name you could change it to another great keyword, which is health. Pethealth.com is short, easy to type and utilizes another rule, which is that it is easy to remember. People seldom write down websites, they rely upon their memory.

Another rule to naming your domain is to make the name unique. For example, while pethealth.com says what the site is about, and is short and easy to type, it is rather bland. Perhaps a good verb is needed, such as the word peppy. Peppypet.com is now short, unique, easy to type and lets people know that it is about healthy pets. If there is already a peppypet.com, you are not going to want to use an alternative, such as dot-org, or dot-eu. This is because most people still believe that dot-com is the only add-on for domain names. Also, many people, when searching for something, just type in the subject they are searching for and add a dot-com to it so they can instantly be taken to a website. You can see that if your website is named pethealth.com how many hits you would receive from people who are only performing a search.

Once you have settled on your domain name and have it as a dot-com, it is a good idea to register as many other versions as possible. You want to register your domain with dot-org, dot eu, and so on, and then have these other versions redirect traffic back to your dot-com site. Finally, you will want to be sure that your domain does not infringe upon any copyrights. You can find out for sure by visiting copyright.gov. Just as with your child, now that you have given your domain the perfect name, it is time to send it out into the world to make you proud.

Top Blogging Platforms

Blogging has become one of the best and most convenient self-publishing methods. It has created opportunities for both personal and business enterprises that were not readily available with more traditional methods before. Here is a look at the top blogging platforms currently in use today:

WordPress

WordPress is a very popular blogging platform for a number of reasons. It has remained on the top spot for many years because of its flexibility and ease of use. It manages content quite well, has plenty of plug-ins and features and enjoys strong community support. It comes in free and paid versions.

A plus for WordPress that other platforms do not have is its many themes. Users can choose whichever theme they want to match the topic or genre of their content. If they get tired of their first choice, they can simply change it without worrying too much about how it would affect their site’s content. For bloggers who like a lot of elbow room when it comes to customization, WordPress is an excellent choice.

Blogger

Many of the popular blogs that are still active were set up using Google’s Blogger, which has been around since 2003. Blogger is an excellent platform for beginners because of its easy setup. The user is guided throughout the process from beginning until launch and setup takes only a few minutes. There are ready made blog templates to choose from and the editing process uses drag-and-drop functions. Blogger allows users to create multiple blogs under one account. It is a hosted platform that is totally for free.

Tumblr

Tumblr is an excellent option for individuals who do not like to work on long blog entries. It is the top choice for micro- or short-form bloggers. Tumblr is easy to set up and is flexible enough to accept text and info in the form of photos or videos. Tumblr is free to use.

Posterous

With Posterous, users do not just create a blog – they create ‘spaces’, then set these up for a target group of people to follow. The number of spaces that can be created is limitless and users can customize permissions for each one. Users, for example, can create a space for a publicly accessible blog and another space to be viewed only by family and friends. It is also free to use.

Squarespace

Squarespace is a paid platform (starts at $8.99), so users can expect a lot of features they will not otherwise get from free services. The site’s content management system is tops and it has built-in analytics that allow users to view how their blogs are performing.

Movable Type

Movable Type is one of the earliest blogging platforms, having been developed in 2001. It allows for a lot of customization options with plugins and can be integrated with popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Movable Type offers free (.com) and paid (.org) versions of their platform.

TypePad

Those who have used Movable Type will probably find TypePad familiar. Once a blog has been set up, users can choose from a variety of templates to use. It is an excellent option for bloggers who would rather blog and just let the host take care of design tweaks. TypePad is popular among professionals, journalists and business owners but it also has users that utilizes it for personal blogging.

Squarespace vs Wix

Squarespace and Wix are both popular web site builders for people who don’t know how to write HTML code. They can allow anyone to quickly and easily create a professional looking website. In the battle of Squarespace vs Wix both website builders have their positives and negatives.

When it comes to choosing web templates, Wix is a better option because people have more choices available to them. With more than 280 templates it is easy to find the perfect template for any type of website. Squarespace only offers users a choice of 24 templates, which can severely limit a user’s creativity and their ability to make their website unique from all others.

Deciding on the right web template is a process that can take a long time to do. Those who are unsure of their choice have the option of changing it if they use Squarespace. This is one justification for Squarespace offering much fewer choices in web templates than Wix does. Since Wix has such a superior selection of web templates users are encouraged to take the time to choose the one they will want for their site.

For a more professional looking website, Wix is the better choice in site builders because the quality of website they help users create is far superior to that of Squarespace. Unlike Squarespace templates Wix web templates come with a mobile editor that allows users to have separate versions of their site for desktop view and mobile device view.

Though the pricing is similar between Squarespace and Wix users get their money’s worth out of Wix more so than they do out of Squarespace because Wix offers better services for the same amount of money.

An Overview of Green Web Hosting

To be completely honest, I’m a skeptic when it comes to most ‘green’ initiatives. I was on the first ever Sustainability Committee for my college, and I saw how numbers can be easily skewed and statistics created to make a university seem more green. Once we found out that the energy credits that the university had been purchasing to offset carbon emissions weren’t even being used; they were funneling into somebody’s pocket in Africa who simply claimed to be planting trees.

But I’m getting off topic. Several Green Hosting Companies have been brought to my attention lately: GreenGeeks and Fatcow, most notably. GreenGeeks advertises itself as powered by ‘300% wind energy’ and Fatcow ‘100%.’

Interesting. To run servers requires a lot of electricity. Like a LOT. The servers have to be running 24/7. And they can never shut off. EVER. Or else your website will stop running. And that wouldn’t be good now, would it.

After doing some digging, I found an interview in which Trey Gardner, CEO of GreenGeeks, explains how their 300% wind energy pledge works:

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation estimates the amount of energy consumption based on known factors and allows us to purchase credits to have the energy consumed by our company put back into the grid having been produced by wind energy companies. Bonneville in turn pays the wind farms we pull energy from with the credits we have purchased. We purchase three times the amount of credits needed so in effect we pull 1x from the grid and put back into the grid 3x of energy having been produced by wind farms, effectively making us 300% green.

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation helps give back to wind farms across the northwest. You can find out more about their work here. So it sounds legit. I mean it’s not as if the data center is in a basement under a wind or solar farm, which would be awesome. But it’s refreshing to hear a CEO in this millions dollar industry of hosting at least be thinking environmentally. Nice job, Tray.

I dug a little to find out about Fatcow’s policy. Their website simply states:

Our offices and our data centers are all 100% powered by wind energy. You can be proud that the machines hosting your website and email are fully eco-friendly!

I’m quite honestly not sure what that means, so I emailed them. This statement makes it sound as though FatCow’s data center is right next to a wind farm. Not the case. They too, purchase wind credits. Seems a little misleading to me.

So in the end, if you are wanting to be an environmentally friendly purchaser, you should go with GreenGeeks. The CEO seems like an overall good guy, and the wording of their green policy isn’t misleading in any way.

Environmentally friendly purchasing is the way of the future, and if enough people start signing up for Green hosting, the market may become even riper, inspiring more businessmen to open up legitamately solar or wind powered data centers. This would be pretty cool. For now though, if you want to run your website in an environmentally friendly way, GreenGeeks is the hosting company for you.

Questions about GreenGeeks, or hosting in general? Feel free to comment.

What are You Actually Paying For With Hosting?

I’ve been in the web hosting game for going on four years now. I use Bluehost to host a variety of websites I run, including author blogs for various independent publishers who have asked me to maintain their websites, my own personal blog, as well as a couple of niche sites that I developed for fun and profit.

There is one funny question I hear from people who are unhappy about dropping $4.95 per month for their web hosting. “What am I even paying for?” they ask. Shouldn’t the internet just be free!? It’s a free country!

Well…yes, the internet should certainly be free. But that doesn’t necesarily mean that you running a website should be free. It actually costs a TON of money to keep up a storage environment. So I wanted to take a post and talk a little bit about what you are actually PAYING for when you sign up to have a .com with a hosting company (I recommend and use Bluehost). After I delve into all of the components that Bluehost actually has to house in order to make your words appear on the internet…you’ll find that $4.95 is quite a bargain for all you’re getting!

What you would need to build your own storage

If you were to build your own hosting environment, you would need to buy a server. How much does one of these bad boys cost?

At LEAST $1,000. And we are talking one helluva super tiny server, one that will barely let you find anything on there.

Next you are gonna have to find an APC backup. One of these guys, while not as expensive as a server, is still going to cost you in the $30-40 range. Oh yea, you better make sure you have a generator in case you run of electricity.

Things starting to add up yet? Well I’m just getting started.

We’re going to need software to run on that server, which is pretty costly since we’ll have to license it from Microsoft. Now we have to make sure that server is backed up, preferably twice. Don’t forget virus protection! You don’t want someone hacking into your information do you? You’ll probably want a monitor display so you can view the software on your server, too.

Servers get hot. When those discs are spinning super fast, they tend to heat way way up, so you’ll need a top of the line cooling system to keep your server up. If your server heats up for even an hour, you’re going to risk hard drive failure.

These technical components don’t even take into account the shelving, the rent, and the specialized employees that you have to hire to keep all of these components up and running. All of this, and keep in mind if you are down for even 2 minutes, you are going to hear it from a bunch of your customers (Bluehost comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee).

When you add in all of the other intangibles (discussed in my Bluehost vs Hostgator and Bluehost vs iPage posts) such as speed, customer service, free google adwords credits, among other things, that $4.95 price point is starting to sound damn good!

Like I’ve mentioned, Bluehost is the company that works for me. I’ve worked on mostly small time websites that won’t recieve upwards of 10,000 hits per day any time soon. Once they do, I might look at a more complex hosting solution like Rackspace. BUT there is a reason Bluehost is home to more than 1.9 million websites.

Like this post? Sharing is caring! And for more detailed advice on how to sign up for web hosting, check out my post how to start a blog.

Thanks and have a great day!

How to Start a Blog in 3 Easy Steps

How to Start a Blog with Bluehost

One of the scariest things about starting a blog, is actually getting your site up and running. Today I’m teaching you how to set up a WordPress blog in three easy steps on Bluehost. Hosting companies can be confusing, but it’s actually quite simple. Follow these easy steps on how to start a blog or website and get your hosting set up, WordPress installed and the basic steps to make it beautiful!

STEP ONE: Domain Hosting

You’ve probably already thought about what to call your website, but if not, take some time to think it through and brainstorm. Go to Bluehost and click that big green button to get started. To check if your domain is available, type it in the left hand box and Bluehost will let you know. By the way, Bluehost gives you a FREE domain name with the purchase of your hosting plan!

After you’ve selected a plan, you’ll follow Bluehost’s instructions. Select your package details and any other special deals you want to include. Personally, the only thing I need is domain privacy — it keeps your personal details private and unlisted. Follow the remaining instructions and soon you’ll have hosting!

STEP TWO: Install WordPress

Hosting is set up, so let’s get WordPress installed! Thankfully, Bluehost makes it very simple. Navigate to the hosting tab at the top of the page and then click on “WordPress” under “Website Builders”. Next, you’ll click on “Install a brand new instance” and then select the domain you’d like to install it on and click “Check Domain” (you can leave the “directory” part blank).

Sometimes you may get an error message that says there are files already there. Unless you already have website files there that you want to keep, you can click “Overwrite”.

For the final step, select the drop down for Advanced Options. You can name your blog title here (you can always update this later) and choose your WordPress login and password. Check the box to creating a new and then hit “Install Now.”

You can watch the install process at the top of the page and when it’s ready, a box will show up in the top right corner that says “View Credentials” — click on that and write these down somewhere safe so you can refer back to them to log in to your site. You’ve installed WordPress, congrats! Easy, right?

STEP THREE: Make it Look Nice

Now that you’ve set-up WordPress, it’s time to make your site beautiful! Login to your site by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin (or by following the link from your credentials). You’ll see this page that will log you in to the backend of your site!

Let’s make this thing pretty! Most likely, you’ll want to select a new theme since the ones that come with WordPress for free are pretty basic. You can hire a designer (like me!) to design you a custom theme or you can find a beautiful theme elsewhere and install it yourself. The second option is definitely more budget friendly and seriously, there are so many gorgeous options out there now! Here’s a few great places to start looking:

1. StudioPress Themes: gorgeous, minimalist themes built on a great framework (This site was built on a StudioPress Theme – News Pro)

2. Themeforest: one of the biggest sites to buy a theme, literally anything you want, you can most likely find it here

3. Thesis Themes: Eye-catching blog themes, attractive and aesthically pleasing with good SEO

Quick Bonus Tip

Under your blog’s “Settings”, you can customize some basic things to make your blog look more professional. Under “General” Set your blog name and tagline — the default one is not what you want. You can also select how dates are shown here as well.

Under “Reading”, you can make your homepage static to look more like a website and select a different page where your blog posts will appear. For traditional blogs, you’ll probably just want to leave this as is!

And lastly! Permalinks. I highly recommend that you change your permalinks to the Post Name structure. It’s better for SEO purposes and looks much cleaner than the basic one!

Questions? Feel free to leave below and I’ll do my best to answer!

What is SSL and Do I Need It?

What is a SSL certificate?

SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, a standard web technology that is used to secure information being transmitted to a server. SSL ensures that any information that is passed between a browser and server is encrypted, and cannot be deciphered should it be intercepted by a third party.

SSL certificates are usually sold by web hosting and domain registration companies. The certificates are usually required in e-commerce websites and other sites that require users to enter sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers, home addresses, emails among others. Web owners have to install SSL certificates in order to secure their users’ information.

Should I Install SSL In my Website?

Installing an SSL certificate on your website is optional. However, if you are likely to take any sensitive information from your customers, it is recommended that you install an SSL certificate. E-commerce sites, credit institutions, and private sections of a company’s website are examples where installing SSL is recommended. If you have a blog or website which you do not use to collect any sensitive information from your users, installing the certificates may not be crucial.

SSL and Online Payments

If you operate an online store, installing SSL is a definite must. With e-commerce sites, customers usually have to sign up at the website before the can purchase anything. Having an SSL certificate assures customers that the information that they are entering on your website is secured. Today, many people are used to shopping online and expect e-commerce sites to have SSL certificates. With the certificates, they are assured that the information they enter such as their credit card numbers is safe and will not be intercepted by prying third parties.
By installing SSL on your e-commerce website, your conversion rates will improve and this will increase your profits. Customers are quick to leave websites that do not guarantee their information is secured. Trust and security are major issues online. With the common horror stories of credit card theft online, no one is taking any chances. You do not want to lose sales by failing to install an SSL certificate.

Capitalize On The Branding of SSL Certificates Providers

Most of the companies that provide SSL certificates are well- known and have come to symbolize information security online. Brands like VeriSign, GeoTrust, Comodo and others have made a name for themselves over the years for securing customer data transmitted online. When you buy an SSL certificate, the SSL company will issue you with a seal to show that your website is secured using their SSL certificate. This immediately increases customers’ confidence when they are shopping or entering their information ,

What If I opt not to use SSL?

Using SSL is not mandatory. However, you have to weigh the sales consequences of not having an SSL certificate installed. Customers may leave your website when they realize you do not have the certificate. This may in turn make your website be considered a scammer site, something that will drastically hurt your conversions.

How SEO Helps Your Business

SEO is the shorter form of Search Engine Optimization. It is where aspects of a website are changed in accordance with energizing a higher posting position in the search engines. This calibrating is done to accomplish a superior come back from the search results for relevant keywords and key phrases. Numerous companies don’t understand that having a website built is just piece of the story. It pays to comprehend the basics of SEO and how it can enable your business to grow.

Key benefits of SEO

Expanded brand awareness – Companies will spend an immense number on promoting yet are regularly liable for neglecting the power of the internet. The web is a virtual shop window that can increment or enhance the awareness of the company or brand.

Expanded website traffic – If your website is on page 9 of the search engine results, it is protected to expect you won’t get much traffic from that specific source. However, a search engine upgraded website with a noticeable position on page 1 of the search results, will appreciate an unfaltering supply of free traffic.

Expanded sales – An expansion in traffic to your website will result in more inquiries and sales of your product or service. This implies a recognizable increment in turnover, benefits and business growth for your company.

Worldwide presentation all day, every day – For those companies that target a global market, the internet conveys introduction everywhere throughout the world. This occurs for 24 hours daily even while you rest.

Organic search traffic cheaper than PPC – Traffic from pay per click campaigns like Google Ad words can be expensive if not legitimately controlled. Interestingly, organic traffic from a high search engine position is free and conveys consistent quantities of guests.

Keyword research and optimization

Excessively hot keywords – These include single words which are famously competitive. These are amazingly difficult, tedious and expensive where high rankings are concerned.

Without flaw keywords – These speak to a decent balance between medium to high search volume combined with low competition. These kinds of words speak to the best target for any SEO consultant.

Excessively icy keywords – These keywords are generally disposed of due to being low competition and having a low search volume. At the end of the day, these mixes don’t convey adequate quantities of traffic

Whitecap SEO procedures

The best search engine optimization procedures are called ‘Whitecap’ because of them being spotless and regular according to the business. They include great practice and will convey consistent long haul results. Google frequently informs the building concerning websites for people as opposed to for search engines. This is amazing guidance and if took after, will guarantee a website keeps on getting a charge out of a decent standing.

There are a few methods which sit in a hazy area since it isn’t evident whether they are great or terrible practice. Subsequently, these strategies are considered to have a place someplace in the middle. The best game-plan is maintained a strategic distance from such methods.

Besides, a few systems are viewed as terrible practice by the business. These strategies are disapproved of as they include double-dealing and deceiving the search engines. This sort of SEO ought to be maintained a strategic distance from no matter what.

Ideally, in the wake of perusing this article, you ought to have a superior comprehension of SEO and how it can enable your business to grow. You ought to be acquainted with the normal, safe systems and those strategies which are best dodged. This ought to guarantee your website keeps on climbing the search engine rankings.

Lucille Duren is author of the article. Lucille is a SEO specialist, business marketer and guest blogger for the stock prediction neural network. She lives in Miami with her family.

The Top Security Concerns of Running a Website

The Top Security Concerns of Running a Website

When you own and operate a website, you have security concerns just like any homeowner or business owner in the brick-and-mortar world might have. In fact, you might say that the burden of worry is even greater for your website because crime in the real world is lessening while crime on the web is only becoming more common. What is worse is that web assailants can do more than attack your website or steal data from you. They can also use your website to get to other people.

If you are going to prevent all of these from happening, you need to know which concerns are of the highest priority for the average website-owner today and how to mitigate their consequences. The following list explicates the top five problems that you may encounter in web security. Some of them have solutions while others should simply be avoided as much as possible.

Top 5 Security Concerns of Running a Website

1. Direct Access to Data

All data that exists can be seen and extracted somehow. This is why many businesses do not store credit card information on the web. They do not want to pay for the costly security needed to adequately protect that information. If possible, save yourself the trouble and do not store unnecessary data on the website.

2. Phishing

This issue is best addressed through educating the users that visit your site. Malicious entities will use your name to contact clients and other visitors to your website in order to solicit information or get them to open an attachment with a virus in it. You need to be very clear with your visitors about how and under what circumstances you would contact them. You can also prevent this possibility through carefully designing your website’s architecture so that people can easily understand when you are truly contacting them.

3. Denial of Service

This is a very common form of assault on the Internet. For whatever reason, malicious entities may try to swamp your server with a huge number of interactions and requests. This can slow down the service at your website to such an extent that it simply stops functioning as far as users are concerned. For that time period, no one will be able to use your site.

4. Malicious File Execution

If your website permits uploads, malicious users may try to submit files that are not actually what they seem to be. To avoid problems with this sort of attack, do not let input from the public be used a file name. Do not store uploaded material in locations that can be accessed from the web.

5. Data Poisoning

When you allow users to amend data that you use to update your systems, there is a chance that they will do so inappropriately. This will lead to the loss of business information. This might occur inadvertently or not. While it is hard to lose anything in a digital world, there is the possibility of completely losing data if problems like this are not detected as soon as they occur.

Do I Need a Dedicated Server?

Starting a website was just the first step. If you become successful with your original idea, then you may want to consider graduating from your hosting account and getting your own dedicated server. Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not have much choice. There are some questions, however, that you should ask yourself before taking this big step. You answers may tell you that it is time to move up to a dedicated server or they may inform you that waiting is a better idea.

Do I Need a Dedicated Server? How Busy Is Your Website?

Your site primarily uses three resources of your hosting account which are crucial to this question. These are network bandwidth, processor speed and disk storage. Your host has limits on how much of each resource you can use. Your account information should explain in detail just how much data transfer you are permitted each month. You will be able to tell from your own experience just how fast your processor is. Your biggest concern, if you are really busy, is how disk space that you are using. If you overrun your limits, then your host may charge you a possibly exorbitant fee for doing so.
Does Your Site Need Features That Your Hosting Account Does Not Offer?

Perhaps it is not the number of visitors that your site is receiving which has tempted you with the idea of transferring to a dedicated server. You may want a server for some of the special, additional capabilities such independence would grant you. For instance, with a dedicated server you will be able to upload necessary software without waiting for cooperation from your host. You will also be able to run chat servers, java back ends and game servers. These are often not allowed with shared hosting accounts. Finally, you can offer streaming audio and downloads with a dedicated server.
Will You Be Able to Afford a Dedicated Server?

Even if you your answers to the previous questions have led you to believe that you do indeed need a dedicated server, there is still the question of money. If you cannot afford one, the question is moot. While you can get a hosting account for under $10 a month, a dedicated server will cost as much as $100 per month. Continuing on at this point will require an understanding of how much you are making from your site, or how important it is to you. If you can rationalize the cost by determining how much more profit you will make from the transition, then the answer is yes.
Do You Know How to Manage a Dedicated Server? Do You Have Time to Learn?

Finally, you have to ask yourself if you are even capable of handling such a transition. If you have successfully managed your hosting account, you probably have the wherewithal to learn about managing a dedicated serve. Whether you have the time to learn is something only you can answer.

The Difference Between Managed and Unmanaged Hosting

Shared hosting accounts are managed, which means that site owners and administrators do not get root access to the server and control panel or get to make any changes to server configurations and settings. This makes sense because several sites are hosted on a single server. In most cases, users of shared hosting accounts do not have enough know-how or interest to tinker with the server anyway.

Fully Supported Managed Hosting

Dedicated hosting accounts come in two flavors, managed and managed, which really translates to, supported and unsupported hosting. This is because the difference between managed and unmanaged hosting is basically about who runs the server and how much support will be provided to the user. Managed hosting servers are not only managed by the web host but also comes with full support. Newbies especially like this set up because the hosting company takes care of the entire server set up from the operating system, control panel, bundled applications and all the necessary configurations. In addition, most managed hosting solutions also provide upgrades, automated backups, site monitoring and other maintenance tasks.

Do-It-Yourself Unmanaged Hosting

Unmanaged servers, on the other hand, are managed by the end user or customer. Although unmanaged web hosting providers generally provide basic hardware support and maintenance, that is about all they will provide. Most providers would certainly not offer support for software, installation or configuration issues. This means that the responsibility for setting up, configuring, maintaining, upgrading, maintaining and troubleshooting the server belongs to the customer. Unmanaged servers are obviously cheaper than managed hosting packages, but they also obviously require more expertise and more resources to run. For instance, many providers do not even include a web server or a basic control panel with unmanaged hosting accounts, which means that the customer will have to set up everything from scratch.

Although this sounds rather daunting, unmanaged hosting solutions translate to complete control over the server. This not only translates to sole access to the root server, but total freedom installing operating systems, control panels, management systems, security protocol and any number of applications. Although a time and resource-hog, unmanaged servers offer customers the flexibility and the power to run complex websites that meet specific company needs and specifications.

Choosing Between Managed and Unmanaged Hosting

Like other forms of technology and web solutions, choosing the ideal hosting solution depends entirely on the specific needs and expertise-profile of its end user. For the most part, unmanaged hosting only makes sense for a fully staffed outfit with specific, custom requirements for running a large, complex or extremely high-traffic website. In these situations, the outfit would most likely already have dedicated personnel responsible for setting up and running the site on a daily basis because this makes sense in the light of their needs and business operations.

Truth to tell, the majority of webmasters and website owners prefer managed hosting because of its convenience. This is true even of webmasters with reasonable IT skills because unmanaged hosting requires not only expertise but also time. Since time translates to money, most website owners would rather trust server issues to their web hosts and concentrate on their core competencies, which bring in the revenues.

5 Tips on How to Speed Up Your Site

Obviously having a slow loading website will prevent people from staying on your site. If it takes longer than 4 seconds to load a page, many people will leave. Not only will speeding up your site help with retaining visitors, but it will also be good for SEO. One of the factors in the Google algorithm is speed. Therefore, if your site loads slowly, it may not rank it higher in search results.

There are a lot of tips on how to speed up your site online and here are top 5 strategies to help you immediately speed things up:

Here are the top 5 things to make your website load faster.

Make the images smaller

Obviously pictures are excellent because they can make the site more interesting and draw people in. However, if they are slowing down your site, they are doing more harm than good. First, inspect the pictures on the site and determine if they are really a necessity. If it does not seem like it is contributing to the site at all, then get rid of it.

Once you have determined which pictures to keep, make them smaller. You can do this by reducing the physical size of the image. This will help the page load faster. If you must make the picture smaller than you would like, than just make a link with it to the full size image. In addition, you should make the file size smaller, and this can be achieved with a good image optimizer. There are a lot of them for free online, and this can reduce the size considerably (like on hosting plata sms).

Get rid of long pages

The shorter the page, the faster the site will load. Not only that, but it will help visitors stay longer, because people often get overwhelmed by longer content. The shorter the page, the more manageable it looks.

Use a quality hosting company

The tinier hosting companies are fine for sites without a lot of traffic. However, once you are start getting more visitors, they will be insufficient. This is because more visitors require more bandwidth, something smaller companies do not have lots of. If you either are getting a lot of visitors, or are planning on it in the future, you might want to pay a bit more to go with a quality company. It will be a bit more expensive, but the added costs are worth it.

Get rid of advertisements

Advertisements are generally are loaded from external sites, and therefore will slow down your site. If you are not seeing much progress from a particular advertisement, getting rid of it would be a good idea.

Reduce flash

Ideally, you want to get rid of flash on your site completely. Certain files require a lot of bandwidth, and therefore use alternatives if you can.

Conclusion

Having a quicker loading site is important for SEO and your bottom line. Otherwise, your visitors will leave before they even get to view your content, and all your efforts will have been wasted. Use these 5 tips, and you will speed up your site quickly and easily.

Google Analytics in your Flex mobile apps

Analytics is a natural asset of an efficient website. If you don’t collect, measure and analyze your internet data, you cannot maintain and optimize your web applications. Surprisingly, analytics are rarely used for Enterprise applications, and that’s shocking. IT services deliver complex applications, with a lot of screens, tabs and advanced navigation components and they just never analyze how their RIAs are used. Internal apps would benefit so much from analytics solutions. I feel that we are reproducing the same mistake with mobile applications. As we are living the early-ages of mobile apps, it’s time so standardize analytics in Flex mobile apps. Adobe Omniture is the most professional analytics solution of the market. As you can guess, it’s very easy to add analytics tags in a Flex application. We even developed an Omniture extension for Flash Builder. Check this article is you are Omniture customers: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/sitecatalyst_extension_flashbuilder.html I know that you are not all Omniture customers, and for simple needs you may choose a free solution such as Google Analytics that would answer your basic needs.

Google Analytics is also trying to ease the addition of tracking events inside Flex applications. Unfortunately, the current version of the Google Analytics Tracker library doesn’t support Flex mobile projects. As I really needed this feature for a mobile app (that I will unveil next week), I modified the source code of the GATracker library and now it works like a charm. You can track everything, I mean everything:

– If you have HTTPService requests, you can track how many successful results your users get and  compared this number with the number HTTP fault events.

– If you have 5 tabs in your mobile apps, measure what is the most used tab, check if they are all used. You can also imagine to track the most common path for your app and track scenarios such as “the user hits tab 1, then tab 3 and then tab 2, is the main use case”.

Your mission is to defined what makes sense in your application, and which information will help optimizing it. Here are the steps I used to add Google Analytics tracking information in my mobile application:

1. Download the source (not the SWC) of the Google Analytics for Flash library:  http://code.google.com/p/gaforflash/

2. Open your Flex mobile project and add the code inside your project. It will create a com.google.analytics package with a lot of AS3 classes.

In your Google Analytics console, you need to measure an existing website (in my case riagora.com) and add the classic Google Analytics JavaScript library. Then your website will be validated and you’ll be given an ID for your website by Google. We’ll surcharge the tracking information of your website with mobile tracking information. The ID of your website should look like this chain of characters: UA-2999999-2.

3. On the application level (your root MXML file), create an AnalyticsTracker variable and instantiate a GATracker. The tracking variable is public. Add this code for instance:

public var tracker:AnalyticsTracker;
protected function viewnavigatorapplication1_creationCompleteHandler(event:FlexEvent):void
{
	// TODO Auto-generated method stub
	tracker = new GATracker(this,"YOUR_GOOGLE_ANALYTICS_WEBSITE_ID","AS3",false);
}

4. If you want to track something, just call the trackPageview method. It’s waiting for the name of the HTML page as a parameter. Create custom names such as “/mobileApp-Success”, or “/mobileApp-tab1”.

protected function button1_clickHandler(event:MouseEvent):void
{
	// TODO Auto-generated method stub
					FlexGlobals.topLevelApplication.tracker.trackPageview('/mobileApp-tab1');
}

5. Now if you compile your project, you’ll get error messages such as the famous TypeError #1009, also known as “the error that doesn’t help”. Let’s start modifying the Google Analytics code.

6. Open the class components/FlexTracker.as

7. Search and replace this code:

var appclass:Object = getDefinitionByName( "mx.core::Application" );
 _app = appclass.application;

by code that doesn’t refer to MX Application. In Flex 4.5, we don’t use MX applications anymore, but we can use the FlexGlobals class 😉

appclass = getDefinitionByName( "mx.core::FlexGlobals" );
 
_app = appclass.topLevelApplication;

8. Then we need to add the root URL of our virtual website (in my case riagora.com). By default, the library tries to get the URL from browser information… well this cannot work with a mobile app running in AIR, so we’ll hard-code the URL Open the GATracker.as class. Comment the _env.url line and add your own root URL.

//_env.url = _display.stage.loaderInfo.url;
_env.url = "http://www.riagora.com/";

9. We still have to deal with small ‘stage’ issues. Open the core/IdleTimer.as class and comment two lines of code that deal with the Stage:

_debug      = debug;
         //   _stage      = display.stage;
            _buffer     = buffer;
            _lastMove   = getTimer();
            _inactivity = inactivity * 1000; //milliseconds
 
            _loop.addEventListener( TimerEvent.TIMER, checkForIdle );
            _session.addEventListener( TimerEvent.TIMER_COMPLETE, endSession );
          //  _stage.addEventListener( MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, onMouseMove );

10. And that’s it!!! Within the Google Analytics console, you can now create custom dashboards, filtering the visited pages that starts with “/mobileApp”.

11. You can download this sample Flex 4.5.1 project that contains my updated Google Analytics library. Here is the link to this Flash Builder project: http://riagora.com/pvt_content/android/GoogleAnalytics.fxp

WARNING: Google Analytics doesn’t display the results in real-time ! You have to wait for 24 hours before seeing some tracking results.

What Are Backlinks in SEO and How to Generate Backlinks?

Backlinks are an important piece in modern day search engine optimization (SEO).

Bloggers and webmasters who fail to understand the value of backlinks and the value it provides remain in a perpetual state of oblivion. No successful website was or can ever be built without optimal usage of backlinks. This article examines what a backlink is and how to go about realizing its full potential.

What Are Backlinks?

A backlink is a web link pointing to a page or website under reference. Backlink is a digital age term created by combining ‘back’ and ‘link’. So, in simple words it’s a link pointing back to a website under discussion. As you might guess from a technical standpoint a ‘backlink’ is still a link.

Once upon a time when search engines were not smarter than humans backlinks were even more important than they are now. The number of backlinks pointing to a website was considered as a metric of how many people/institutions consider a particular page as important. The more the number of backlinks, the higher was the deemed value of a page. The smart bloggers and webmasters started using this flaw to their advantage by creating ‘artificial backlinks‘. An artificial backlink, as opposed to organic backlink, is one that is created through some sort of coercion.

As the evolutionary war between search engines and content producers progressed the search engines got smart enough to figure out an artificial/coerced/fake backlink. Nowadays the search engines impose severe penalties on fake backlinks. For example, if you are blogging about politics it will be a terrible idea to have your backlink on a programming blog. After all, reasons Google, why should programming and politics mix? Therefore, a site with lots of artificial backlinks is automatically demoted in the rankings, defeating the purpose of the whole artificial link creation exercise. In a nutshell, in today’s world a blogger trying to create artificial backlinks is nothing short of suicidal.

Some search engines have now taken this evolutionary race to next level by cataloging all websites that are known to indulge in backlink malpractices. You would be doomed if your website were to figure on one of these websites.

Decoding SEO Jargon: Must Know Terms

Link Juice

When a website A contains a link to another website B, A is said to pass ‘link juice’ to B. In the eyes of Google, the great, this is akin to A sharing its goodwill with B. Therefore, if website A is a hot favorite of the search engine, the ratings of B rises as well.

No-Follow Link

Many a times a webpage contains links to another website but the author doesn’t want to pass on the link juice. This is achieved by embedding the no-follow tag (rel=”no-follow”) in the html code of the link.

With the rapid rise of social media, a new kind of implicit no-follow link has emerged. This is a backlink which does not have the code rel=”no-follow” in the html source but still search engines don’t consider it relevant for ranking pages. A nice example of this kind of implicit no-follow links is the links to a website from its Facebook page or its Twitter handle. Whereas search engines attach a lot of value to people sharing the links on your social media page, the links on the page by themselves don’t count. So, if nobody is sharing your links they are as bad as dead.

Do-Follow Link

A do-follow link is a ‘regular’ link that passes link juice. There are no special tags there. A modern day webmaster should use do-follow links very very judiciously.

Linked Root Domain Count

Linked Root Domain Count is a count of unique websites as opposed to unique webpages backlinking to another website. If a website A has 100 pages backlinking to website B, A will still count as 1 linked root domain.

Internal Link

A link to some other location (page or section of a page) within the same website is called an internal link. Internal links help reduce the bounce rate and increase the time visitors spend on a website.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the phrase that is used for a link. It is primarily used for keyword targeting. If there are a large number of backlinks to a particular page with a particular keyword, the backlinked page will rank better for that particular keyword.

Managing Your Backlinks

Managing your backlinks continues to be one of the main cornerstones of modern day SEO strategy. Here are five most important points about backlink management  –

  1. Never try to artificially create backlinks. This is especially true for backlinks created on websites in unrelated area.
  2. Try to create high-quality content that meets real needs of real people. This will help you create organic traffic and increase your traffic manifold.
  3. If you are just starting out with your blog or site and you are not hosting on Google, it’s all the more important for you to get high quality organic backlinks. These backlinks inform search engines that a new kid has arrived on the blog. New websites that fail to generate backlinks may take up to a month to get discovered by Google. This discovery is faster if you are hosting your website on a Google platform such as Blogger (Blgospot, to be more precise).
  4. If you are an eCommerce store or shop you should focus harder on backlinks. In an eCommerce setting typically many vendors are selling the same product. Moreover, product descriptions, prices and reviews also tend to be similar, if not identical. So, as far as a search engine is concerned it’s the same content that is repeated on multiple eCommerce stores. The point of difference than boils down to backlinks. An eCommerce store having high quality backlinks will definitely fare better (at least in terms of traffic) than the competitors.
  5. In modern day SEO the quantity of backlinks is far less important than the quality. A single high quality backlink can be a thousand times better than thousand low quality backlinks. In fact, if the backlinks are of real poor quality they can damage the reputation of your website, sometimes irreparably. So focus on high quality backlinks rather than lots of backlinks.

Generating High Quality Backlinks

A lot of webmasters constantly keep asking – How do I get high quality backlinks for my blog or website?

Here are five proven ways  of generating backlinks for your websites –

  1. Produce quality content that solves real problems of real people
  2. Participate in discussion forums or on Q & A websites related to your domain
  3. Harness the power of social media
  4. Think beyond Google
  5. (Don’t) Submit your URLs to web directories

1. Produce quality content

This is the most important aspect of organic backlink building. As search engines continue to evolve and grow more intelligent, the importance of quality content will keep growing. It’s quite conceivable that eventually nothing else will matter in backlink building except high quality content.
Since high quality content is the backbone of all successful online ventures, we will spend some more trying to define it. High quality content doesn’t necessarily that it’s scholarly content. Nor does it mean that the content you post be breakthrough inventions. Before preparing and posting content take a moment to think about your potential audience. What do they need, what format suits them best and what would impress them enough to come back to your website again.

2. Participate in discussion forums and on Q & A websites

Posting useful backlinks to your websites in a relevant context is perhaps the only other way apart from quality content to gain powerful backlinks. This methodology of creating backlinks relies on posting links to your webpages in response to questions posted by other users. Note that modern day Q & A websites such as Quora.com & StackOverflow.com are smart enough to distinguish good responses from bad ones. Therefore, don’t even think about spamming. To get a long lasting powerful backlink your link must be a coherent part of response that answers a query.

3. Harness the power of social media

With most users on internet joining the social media bandwagon, the search engines have changed their algorithms to attach more weight-age to social media. Links on your social media homepage don’t count as backlinks, but if they go viral search engines start attaching a lot of value to those backlinks. Also note that not all social media are equal. Facebook & Twitter are first among equals. Many researchers believe that Twitter is more future-proof. Therefore, if you just enough resources to manage one social medium, make it Twitter. Some research points to a hypothesis that Facebook is more effective in generating traffic than Twitter. Some of other popular social media that you can consider include Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram.

4. Think beyond Google

Google is the dominant search engine. It has been so for as long memory serves us and is likely to remain the dominant force for a long time in future. Other search engines are also-rans and fail to pose any major challenge to Google. Nevertheless, 2 to 3 % of search engine traffic comes from these search engines such as Bing. If you are the David facing Goliath, this can be easy picking for you. Most large and successful websites focus on Google to the extent that they stop caring about other search engines. You can boost your traffic by getting traffic from smaller search engines. For example, a backlink for wordpress.com website might be deemed more valuable by Bing search engine than by Google.

5. (Don’t) Submit your URLs to web directories

Once upon a time submitting your webpages to web directories used to be part and parcel of every effective SEO strategy. Nowadays it’s suicidal to submit your URLs to any web directory. In fact, if your URLs appear in some of the bad web directories, Google may club you with spammy websites and severely hurt your rankings. In a nutshell, in the era of Google Penguin algorithm it makes no sense whatsoever to submit your URLs anywhere.

It must be pointed out here that there is exactly one place where you MUST submit your URLs. That ‘web directory’ is Google Webmasters. This is the reason why Don’t has be placed in parenthesis in the title above. Submitting your web pages to any other directory is most likely going to do more harm than good to your business.

Conclusion

Backlinks are an important piece in SEO. In this article I have tried to highlight the most basic essential elements of backlink management. Managing backlinks properly is the key distinguishing factor between a thriving and failing online venture.  Failure to adhere to the principles is likely to be catastrophic to websites. Hopefully the ways of generating quality backlinks described here will help your online venture get more organic traffic.

Advantages of doing SEM instead SEO

SEO vs SEM

It is true that practically all websites should do SEO, but it is also true that it has some disadvantages that are noticeable in the short term, and not everyone can wait. Next we will see some of the key points that a SEM campaign offers to get more benefit from our company:

Advantages of doing a SEM campaign

1.- The first and most notable advantage offered by a SEM campaign is that it is instantaneous. From the moment you pay, your website will be in the top positions until you run out of the budget that you have spent on the payments per click of your keywords.

2.- The second advantage is obviously the position you occupy in Google while you are doing the SEM campaign. It is much easier to buy yourself being in first position, to buy your competition, being them on the second page.

3.- Possibility to segment the market. What does this mean? It’s very simple. At the moment I open a SEM campaign, I must know what my target audience is and contact them, as the money spent on the campaign will only be on a potential client. (Remember that the money that is invested in a campaign is only consumed when the ad is clicked).

4.- Possibility that the potential client reaches the page you want. You choose where you want to direct traffic.

5.- As many keywords as we want. It is convenient that the keywords are studied and we know that we are really offering the product that the people who put those keywords are looking for.

6.- It is possible to estimate the results before starting the SEM campaign. Depending on the investment we make in the campaign itself we can know more or less the clicks and the reach they have.

7.- One of the things that I would like to highlight, is that even if your website is outdated, it does not matter, since while you pay Google, he will be positioning you.

8.- We are the one who created the ad, and we can give free rein to our creativity, to attract more customers to our website.

As a conclusion, and also a brief advice, is that if you are going to carry out an SEM campaign, do it with a professional, since it is true that it has many advantages, but if you do not do it well, you can be throwing your money away, and in this sector in the end the cheap, it is expensive.

Do you have time and want to end up saving? SEO

Do you want results already? Do not you mind making an investment from the start? SEM.
I hope you liked the article, and especially that it has helped you to make a good decision.

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