Archive for June, 2014

Building A Niche Website

Filed in Marketing Guides by on June 16, 2014

Today we are going to go through the process of building a new website from beginning to end starting from scratch and ending with a site that has good solid content and the ability to have monetization channels for revenue.

Getting started in niche websites can be a struggle and getting a first site up gives you the confidence that it can be done and that is what will be our goal at the end of this series. This article will also be helpful for those who already have sites up and running as it will cover a solid foundation of information. Even though we will start at ground zero and end with a fully functioning site it will provide value for both beginner and intermediate level readers.

Our goals are:

1) Educate the reader about and document the process of building a niche website from start to finish.

2) Determine how to pick a site that has good search traffic that has potential to rank well in the search engines and obtain organic,  not purchased, traffic

3) Discuss the potential for adding monetization strategies. While the goal will to build a solid content site that adds value to a reader, we are also investing time and resources in building the content and traffic so there is a reasonable desire for monetization possibilities.

4) End up at the end of the series with a solid website property.

As a general reminder, it is ok to focus on a topic that interests you as the guiding principle in this website building case study, as long as it has some commercial potential. While there is nothing wrong with selecting a topic for your niche based solely on monetary factors (we are talking about web “business” after all), when possible it can be helpful to select a niche that you do have some interest in or knowledge about to get started. This can make it easier to maintain interest in the project as well as making it easier to add content on your own.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding the words and phrases that you will target for ranking in the search engines. Ideally, keywords with high search volume and low competition are what we are looking for here.

As mentioned in the introduction, we can look for a keyword that is primarily based on commercial intent and target easier monetization, or one that covers a topic of personal interest or knowledge to help retain motivation and allow for easier content generation on your own.

As you are thinking about this, brainstorm on things you like to do, read, or watch. Look at your bookshelf and movies, etc. What do you like to look at on the internet? These can all give you ideas for possible keywords. What have you purchased lately in your Amazon shopping cart? How about a hobby that you spend a lot of time on? All of these can get you started.

Take a look at some of the popular websites like Amazon and look in the bestseller area for ideas on items that are popular or trending. Another option is to browse on Flippa and see some websites that are up for sale or recently sold that could spark some ideas.

Make an initial list of keyword ideas in a few broad areas that interest you, and then next to each keyword expand a little more with a more narrow idea to get some creative juices flowing.

At this point you will have a nice starting list built up and we are ready to move to the next step which is seeing how often our target keywords (and related ones) are being searched in Google.

Google Keyword Tool

You will need a free Google account for several of the next steps, so to follow this process go on over to and sign up if you don’t have one. The starting point for our keyword research will be Google’s own <a href=”” title=”Keyword Research Tool”>Keyword Research Tool</a>.

Using this tool, potential keywords can be researched and the average monthly searches can be found along with some other relevant data such as the estimated average Cost per Click (CPC). Start off with one of your broad and narrower keyword sets and enter them and hit search so we can see some results.

Note: Let’s talk about broad, phrase, and exact match for a minute.

Broad match results give the number of searches regardless of the order or words that may be between a search phrase.

Phrase match gives the number or searches for those words in that order but can be part of a larger query.

Exact match gives you the number of searches for the keyword or keywords as entered exactly.

Example: Using the phrase “Make Money Online” as your keywords would give:

– Broad match for any of these searches: Make Money Online Fast, How to Make Money Online, How to Make Fast Money Online Now

– Phrase match for these searches: Make Money Online Today, The Make Money Online Answer

– Exact match for only: Make Money Online

It is important to pay attention to the type of match selected as broad will give the largest search numbers, but is quite misleading at times. Exact match is considered the standard to judge potential search traffic by, and will be the lowest number of these three with Phrase match somewhere in the middle.

This is important, as many people have chosen what they thought was a great niche only to realize they have been hit with the Broad match overstatement. Google will also list some other similar words to your listed keywords in related that you can review.

There are tons of tips and tricks for how to determine if a number of searches is high enough to tackle with a niche site, but one rule of thumb for starting is to go with a keyword with at least 1,000 local searches a month to target a keyword with enough traffic to make it a minimum for viability.

That gets us to the point where we can identify how many searches there are for a keyword, next let’s take a look at some competition analysis.

Competition & Monetization

At this point after reviewing the keywords on your list, hopefully a few of them will have passed an initial screening of meeting a minimum level of searches and you will have a couple of favorites. At this point there are still a few more things to consider.

First and foremost, what is the possible competition to rank highly for this keyword? Second, does the potential site and content offer a possibility to monetize in the future?

There are multiple tools to do competition analysis available on the internet, but one that has a nice free version is Traffic Travis which offers both a free version and a paid version. You can have some initial success with the free version, but can consider the paid version if you like what you see.

In this program, going to the keyword tools section will give you an average daily search result including multiple search engines (Google, Bing,Yahoo, etc) and the totals so you can see an idea of what other search engines may bring you in addition to Google (these are broad match results). The real meat for us in this program though is in the SEO analysis section, you can enter your chosen keywords and the program will go grab the top 10 or 20 search results for that phrase and provide you its analysis of the relative difficulty of ranking for the keyword as well as details on the competing sites in the top 10 or 20 results.

The program will give you its rating of the difficulty of ranking for the keyword, and you can also see some of the key data on the top ranking sites for your analysis.

Another popular program that is also used by many is Market Samurai which has a free trial offer as well, then becomes a paid program if you want to continue using it.

If the competition seems reasonable, make sure that you do some brainstorming on possible monetization strategies. Most sites will have something available whether it is is advertising, digital products, or physical products as affiliates. As a solid content site, advertising is always a possibility, but the payout could be low. Using Ebay or Amazon affiliates for any site talking about physical products seems reasonable as a possibility. Just make sure you aren’t in a completely non commercial niche before going any further.

Domain Name

In the last three posts on keyword research we walked through how to select a keyword and now we will talk about selecting a domain name and how we will go about registering it. is a popular site to register domains and many people have had a good experience with them overall and they are a huge domain registrar. They are an established and reputable company.

To have a website, it must have a domain name which is the website address that is used to reach the site. Domain registration is relatively simple. To get started, click on over to to get to the domain search at Godaddy on their homepage. Once there and at the search box, type in the domain name that you want in the search and it will return the result of whether it is available, and if not will give some suggestions for alternatives.

It is most commonly recommended that if at all possible for a niche site that you get the Exact Match Domain (or EMD). This means the domain name is the exact same as your keyword.  If it isn’t available, it isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is generally accepted that it gives you some initial boost in the search rankings. If you find that the EMD isn’t available, then adding something as a prefix or a suffix can get you there. Try searching with best or top on the front or HQ or reviews at the end of your keywords. The key is finding something that fits, but that gives you a keyword rich domain.

Once you have found the domain you want, add it to your shopping cart. At this point, you can add additional domains or go to the checkout (you will need to register an account to buy domains just like any online store).

There will be options offered to you to make several upgrades and upsells which can usually be safely declined except for one. The one that can be added and many do is Private Registration which helps protect your personal information from public searches in Whois. If you want to host with GoDaddy they do offer hosting, but the next post will cover another web host and the recommendation is not to use Godaddy hosting.

One quick tip on private registration is that if you add 5 or more domains to an order, then the private registration is added at no charge to the initial order. They call it bulk pricing. If you have five names you would like, then this approach can save some money on private registration. Now that you have a domain name, you need a webhosting service…


Now that you have a domain name and an address on the web for your site, it needs somewhere to be hosted at on a server so that people can access it. The domain name is just the address, but the webhost is the actual home of the website.

Hostgator is topnotch website hosting and they have a long history and lots of solid reviews over many years around the web. Hostgator offers two “introductory” hosting plans at a reasonable price. Their “Hatchling” plan is currently $4.95-$8.95 per month and the “Baby” plan is at $7.95-$9.95 per month depending on the length of the initial signup. The key difference between these two plans is that the Baby plan allows you to host unlimited domains on their shared servers while the Hatchling plan only allows one. If you are planning to expand to multiple websites the Baby plan seems to make more sense.

If you get big and have a larger traffic site, they do offer more extensive plans, but the shared server solutions should be adequate for your starting traffic and is a good place to get started.

Note: They also offer Reseller Hosting plans if you want to go the route of reselling your own hosting as a part of a way to start a web business, but that is a different business model.

After you have obtained your webhosting, then you are ready to setup the domain name on the web hosting account, setup an email address, and change the domain nameservers to your hosting account nameservers which is the subject of the next post.

Setup domain & nameservers

Now that you have a domain name and webhosting then we need to setup the domain name on the web hosting account, setup an email address, and change the domain nameservers to the hosting account nameservers.

If you just registered your webhosting, you should have been run through the request for your domain name at registration and already have the domain name setup on the Cpanel account at the webhosting provider. If this is an additional domain, then in the Cpanel account, we will add it as an add-on domain. To do this, in the lower section of the Cpanel, click on Add-on Domains, and add your domain name and password and hit the add domain button on the next screen. Now the domain name should be registered with your webhost.

I like to go ahead and setup an email address at my new domain, so go back to the Cpanel home, click on email accounts in the email section, then at the next screen add a username and select your domain name and hit Create Account. Now we have a custom email address.

Next, to have your domain properly forwarded to the webhosting provider, the nameservers must be set to the ones provided by your hosting company. You should have received these from your webhost at signup. Make note of these, and then we will go back over to our domain registrar (GoDaddy) to set these.

Once there, go to your account, and the Domain Manager. Click on the domain information for the domain you are changing, and hit the Nameservers link/tab. At this screen, overwrite the default nameservers with your hosting provider’s nameservers that they provided.

It can take a few hours for the nameservers to populate, but at this point you are really close to having your home on the web setup and started, but there is still some more to do to get where we want to be.

Now you have a domain name, hosting, and have basics configured, the next step is to install WordPress which is a great blogging/web platform. We will be using WordPress in this study and will discuss installation in the next post installing WordPress.

Installing WordPress

Next up we will install WordPress and also an FTP program that we can use to upload files to our webserver. The good news is that WordPress has a simple installation with Hostgator. The Cpanel at HostGator offers a great one click installation of WordPress via a program called Fantistico. To get there, go to the lower section of the Cpanel and click on Fantastico. Once there, a menu will appear on the left, and select WordPress. At the next screen, select New Installation.

Now there are three steps left. On this page, select the domain to install WordPress on, then select a username and password and the other fields and click Install WordPress. At the next page, confirm the information, and click Finish Installation. WordPress will now install, and you will get a note with the key information about the install. You can enter an email address to send the install information to and hit send. That is it. Now you have WordPress installed on your website and you have a home on the web!

An FTP program allows you to link to your webserver and upload files from your computer to your websites. While not necessarily required as many themes and plugins can be installed directly from WordPress Admin area some have to be uploaded because they aren’t in WordPress’ hosted database.

If a user of the Firefox web browser, the FireFTP addon is recommended. If you haven’t setup FTP, go to Cpanel and click the FTP menu and setup a user name and password.

Once FireFTP is installed, it can be found in the tools menu. Create an account and give it a name. The host is (where is your website domain) and add your username and password. Connect and you will see your computer files on the left and the server on the right and can upload to them as needed in the future. Next up we will add some plugins to our WordPress site.

WordPress Plugins

One of the great things about using WordPress is that there are thousands of plugins available to expand the basic WordPress installation. In fact, there are plugins for almost anything imaginable that make building up a site with it much easier than having to code in HTML. To learn about how to add new plugins read the below. There are both paid and free plugins available for WordPress, but these below are all free as of the time of this writing.

In the WordPress Admin area, click on the “Add New” link under Plugins and search for the plugins desired. When you find one to install, click install and it should be installed and added to the plugins menu for activation and setup as needed. Plugins can also be added via FTP after being downloaded to a local file and then uploaded to the plugins folder on the website server if they are not available inside WordPress (usually this is more common with paid plugins).

On a new site setup, the following are the plugins that are commonly recommended to install at startup and cover much of what is needed for a new site.

All in One SEO WordPress plugin

This plugin is a strong plugin to help Search Engine Optimize your site. It adds options for adding additional information to page and post headers, descriptions, keywords, etc and is a top add plugin for your site.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin creates a XML sitemap and submits it to Search Engines based on the options selected and can help guide the search crawlers as they index your website.

Contact Form plugin

An easy automated plugin for adding a web form to send an email to you directly from the website.

Sociable plugin

The Sociable plugin adds social networking icons to the end of your posts and pages so that readers can easily Tweet, Digg, Bookmark, Stumble, Facebook, etc your post and hopefully drive back social media traffic to your site.

Another solid option for sharing is a plugin called SexyBookmarks, which isn’t adult even though the name makes it sound like it might be. They are just another icon set with a different look that does basically the same thing as Sociable in function.

Wp-DB Backup

This plugin allows you to schedule automatic backups of your WordPress site and have it emailed to you. This can help make sure that you never lose your entire site as it can be restored from the backup files.   These are some great plugins to get started with. Next up we will look at some WordPress theme options.

WordPress Themes

Like plugins, there are also thousands of themes available beyond the basic WordPress default theme. As the basic look of your website, the theme will define the header, the sidebar menus, the colors, etc. It defines what the site will look like. To learn about how to add new themes read the below.

In the WordPress Admin area, click on the Themes link in Appearance and select”Add New” to search or browse for themes on the WordPress site. When you find one to install, click install and it should be installed and added to the themes menu for activation and setup as needed.

It is also common for themes to be added via FTP after being downloaded to a local file and then uploaded to the themes folder on the website server. Then they will show up in the Themes menu as available to preview or activate.

Some themes have customization menus in the Theme options, and others don’t, only allowing easy customization via widgets, with any other changes requiring some php code editing. Themes with good customization options are preferable for most, but a nice clean look is a main factor regardless of the customization available.

Some popular free themes to check out are:

Semiologic WordPress theme (Highly Customizable)
Lightword WordPress theme (Modest options support, nice clean look)
Simple Balance WordPress theme (Highly Customizable)
Vigilance WordPress theme (Modest options support, nice clean look)
Pressplay WordPress theme (not a lot of customization options, but like the look and flow for certain sites)
Tarski WordPress theme (nice two column clean look, not alot of customization options)

Hopefully this list will help you speed up the search process. You can easily spend a lot of time looking for and browsing for themes that look good and give you the functionality desired.

There are also paid themes available that have many options and customization built in and these are another option. Next up we will discuss setting up tracking for traffic on your website and using some of Google’s tools for website management.

Google Tools & Analytics

Installing <a href=””>Google Analytics</a> on your websites can be a good way to track the traffic coming to your site. Once signed up with Analytics you will receive a block of code to include on your website that will allow Google to report to you on the number of your website visits, how people got there, which pages they visit, and how long they stay.

You can see traffic numbers from search engines including what search words drove the traffic. If the traffic came from a referring site you can see that also, so for example if you post your link somewhere to drive traffic you can measure its effectiveness. Also available for research is to see what pages are visited from all of your pages and posts so that you can see what content is bringing people to your site.

Google <a href=””>Webmaster Tools</a> also provides data that can be used to evaluate a website’s performance. While somewhat more performance focused as it shows things like errors and possible search crawl errors that can be relevant for search engine indexing, it does also show a listing of queries for your site, a list of backlinks to your site, and if you have a sitemap it will show you how many pages are indexed in Google.

The combination of these two free Google tools will help to give you guidance on your website’s performance and a view into your traffic statistics.

Links are included below in addition to the clickable links above.

The next part will discuss some standard pages to include on a website.

Standard Pages (Privacy, Disclaimer, Contact)

The next thing to do as part of general setup is to add Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, General, About, and Contact form pages to your site.  These pages can to some degree be customized per site, but are often used in much the same form over multiple sites once the template is created.

The privacy page will give readers the information about your Privacy Policy which is a required page if you use Google Adsense, and the disclaimer will list a disclaimer that you make affiliate sales that can earn you commissions for purchases (and anything else you want to mention).

An earnings disclaimer is quite common on sites discussing how to make money to indicate that you may not make anything at all, and may lose money.

The contact page will list how to contact you via a web form on the page that will send you an email.

The about page will give information about what your website is about and what is its purpose.

Other general information is also often included about the site on a general page. It may discuss anything wanting to be listed for possible site readers. It is common to talk about information being the reader’s responsibility to use properly for example and that posts aren’t medical, legal, or financial advice, and other general terms of service.

One of the plugins recommended earlier is of great use in building the Contact page.

-Contact Form 7 allows a very easy setup of the web form that will allow you to be contacted from the form that it can create on a page.

With this done, we now have most of the basics of building the website framework in place with just a few more housekeeping items to go. Continued next is some basic WordPress setup advice.

Basic WordPress Setup

To start, a quick note is in order about the difference between Pages and Posts in WordPress. Also a couple of important WordPress Settings will be discussed also.

A page in WordPress is a static document that doesn’t go into the feed and stream of posts that is typically associated with a “blogging” style layout.

A post in WordPress goes into the RSS feed and usually goes into the stream of posts on the homepage based on date published with the newest post at the top. This can be modified on a post by post basis by making a post “sticky” in the admin panel to keep it on top.

A decision can be made in the Settings for Reading to have the front page display a static page of your choosing with your post stream on another page of your choosing instead of the default option. If that style fits your website design better than a homepage that is in a more blog feed format, then feel free to use it.

Two other WordPress settings that should always be checked and changed if necessary are under Privacy Settings and Permalink settings.

Under Privacy settings, if you want to be able to obtain search results and rankings, then the blog needs to be set to be visible to everyone including search engines. This is typically the default listing, but always check to be sure.

Under permalink settings, change the Common Settings to Custom Structure and use /%postname%/ in the entry box. The default WordPress url structure is not very SEO friendly as it would assign your posts a number or letters, etc instead of whatever your post title is listed as. Making this change puts your post name as the url which is much more search engine friendly

Now that WordPress is setup with a basic configuration and there is a general knowledge of pages vs posts, we will move to submitting our site url to the search engines to get indexed.

Submit to Search Engines

After a long hard climb through the first 12 posts with a lot of actions and a lot of learning, especially if this is the first site you have ever built, this short action of how to submit the website url to the major search engines (Google and Bing) will be a much easier task to accomplish.

There is some debate over whether this step is necessary, but since it is quite easy, and gives us a breather from a lot of heavy lifting, then it can’t hurt to do it and maybe speed up the site indexing process.

Although it is common, especially for WordPress sites, that most of the major search engines will find your site on their own, submitting to their submission pages notifies them of your website and its url address so they know to come crawl it and add it to their index of sites.

Submit URL to Google

Submit URL to Bing (signup required)

Next up we get going again with building things up by learning about adding content.


Content is king. Or so say the current rules of the Internet. Starting up a content based website for is what we have been discussing and so far, not a lot in this series has been about content just yet. That must seem strange, but we had to lay the foundation first.

A couple of notes on that. First, this is assuming a step by step walkthrough, and after doing some of the ground work once it will be a lot easier the second time around. This means that in the future the content creation will be able to start faster. There is also nothing to say that things must always be done in this order because there is definitely nothing wrong with getting some content in work or on the site before everything else is 100% in place. In fact, it is taking actions like that which will help you persevere through the tough times.

Writing good solid content can take time and focus, and at first just getting everything together and setup may take all of that concentration which is why we have focused on the foundation pieces for your website which will be one of the pillars of starting an online business.

But yes, it is now time to focus on content creation. Whether taking the form of articles, blog style posts, how to’s, informational posts, reviews, etc. the meat of a website is its content and without it the search engine rankings and traffic will not come.

If you have chosen a niche that you have some familiarity with, then selecting some topics to write about may come easier than if it is an unfamiliar niche topic. Either way, some other suggestions to find topics to write about are below.

Google’s Keyword Tool – Using the related keywords from the keyword research earlier, other similar and related topics will have presented themselves in those other keywords.

Google Trends – If looking for things to write about that are currently hot, then looking at the Google Trends can show you what is trending up.

Search Engine results – Searching for the related keywords in the search engines and seeing what results come up can give you an idea of what the competition is ranking for and can give you ideas of what content is ranking highly.

Article Directories ( – These will come up again later as part of driving traffic and building backlinks, but can also give ideas for what topics people are finding interesting.

You can start out with posts closely related to the topic, and then expand the site over time to cover more related topics that can flesh out the site.

In a topic that could be its own course, if your budget can afford it or you want to speed things up, you can utilize an outsourcing service to create the articles and posts for your site. is a solid article writing service that has reasonable prices and lots of authors in the system. The service runs the articles through a copy checker for you prior to releasing them for review and acceptance, so the content you get is has a better proof of being original for your use and there is an option to send back for revision prior to acceptance if it doesn’t meet your requirements. Next up we will discuss getting a Twitter account and RSS feed through Feedburner for your website.


Getting a Twitter account for a website is a step to take next, even if it doesn’t seem like it will be used a lot at first. At a minimum, the account can be used to send out tweets announcing new posts on your website which will get your site in Twitter’s search stream, and possibly create some traffic. At best, if in a niche where posting is frequent and many followers end up on your account, it can be a key traffic mechanism and lead generator similar to an email list.

Since it is easy to do and may be great as a future piece of the website strategy it is a piece of new website setup that should be done and then automated as much as possible. As it is being regularly discussed that social signals such as Tweets may be being considered as ranking factors in the search engines, that is another reason to do it. To setup an account, just go over to and open a new account (it’s free).

You may also want to consider setting up a Feedburner RSS feed instead of just using the default WordPress feed.  The default WordPress feed is ok, but the Feedburner feed can provide a little more detail about subscriber stats over WordPress, but this can be considered more of an option than a necessity. Unless the Theme offers the ability to include an RSS subscribe button that can be pointed as you define, a plugin such as the “Subscribe” plugin must be used to add the Feedburner feed to the site for subscribers.

To setup a Feedburner feed requires a free Google account which is also needed for Analytics and Webmaster Tools, so if following along you already have this. Go to to create a Feedburner feed.

There are some nice plugins for WordPress for Twitter and RSS integration that can be used in conjunction with these. There are tons of Twitter plugins that can do everything from including your Twitter feed on your homepage to posting a new tweet automatically when a new post is published. One plugin mentioned above, the “Subscribe” plugin, can add a widget to the sidebar which will allow people to follow your Twitter account or subscribe to your RSS feed from the homepage sidebar. Next up adding video to your site will be discussed.

Add videos

Adding videos to a website can be a strong draw for visitors to your site, and can also add to the feeling of a well planned and developed site that can get natural search engine results. Video has exploded as a medium for communication on the web. Youtube is one of the largest and most visited sites on the internet with tons of videos to view and share as well as providing the ability to upload your own content.

Video has become a big enough topic that it shows up separately in many search results by default, and has its own video section in search engines as well. Ranking well in these search results for videos can be an important driver of traffic as well as the normal text search results.

Ideally you would create brand new original content in video form. This could then be uploaded and then shared on your site with a link back to your site from Youtube (or other video site like Vimeo). Also, when creating your own content from something as simple even as Windows built in Movie Maker a visual of your site name and address can be added to the video thus making more exposure possible in case other sites pick up and embed your video on their sites.

Making a video to upload doesn’t have to be complex. One simple approach is to take relevant image files that have been merged together in slideshow form to make a video. While this probably isn’t the ideal way to make a video, depending on the topic it may work well and should at least get exposure and links. Most digital cameras and many phones include a video capture component that can be used without buying expensive or extra equipment.

Youtube videos can often be embedded based on the video settings, and can be added to your site as well. Next up is a similar topic to using video in your website efforts by using pictures and images on your website.

Add Pictures

Adding images to a website is another solid method to attract visitors to your site. Much of what was said about videos applies to images as well.

Images and pictures are another large content area on the web today and like video they also have separate search results and areas in the search rankings.

The image content can also be either original and created by you or used from shared content from sites such as if the image has been shared with a license allowing it to be used (check licenses on Flickr). The images can be hosted on your own webhost or linked from a site such as Flickr.

Images are even simpler to create than video as all you need is a digital camera and the shots can be uploaded with only any minor editing that is needed. This can be an easy way to add original content to a site especially if the site is on a topic you are personally involved in since the pictures of normal activities and hobbies could become original content for the search engines to index and display.

Flickr images can be searched, and there is an option to search for images available under licensing that allows it to be added to another site, usually with a link back as photographer credit. There are also paid image sites available where you can buy rights to use images from an available selection. This may allow you to find a larger selection of images. is one of these options that it popular to use.  Next up we will be discussing backlinks which will lead into other traffic strategies.


Obtaining links from other websites on the internet to your website is an important part of gaining search engine rankings as well as referral traffic (ie visitors from the linking site). Google and other search engines use links from other websites along with many other factors in making its ranking decisions. These links from other sites are called backlinks and account for the “off-page” portion of search engine optimization (SEO). (“On-page” factors are similar to what they sound like including the content, keywords, title, url, etc. of your webpage and are the other part of SEO). Backlinks are like a vote for your website from the linking website and help to establish credibility with the search engines.

There are numerous ways to attract and/or build links to your website or other web properties. Several of the next posts will discuss some of these different types of links and define what they are and what to consider in approaching link building. Each type of link can be considered to have a use in a link building strategy, but some links can be overdone as well and look bad (spammy) to the search engines.

First, a couple topics to address briefly are anchor text and follow vs nofollow.

Anchor text is the linking of a website with the use of a word or phrase as the clickable link. Often, the desired keywords are used as this anchor text which is supposed to help a search engine crawler obtain more information about a site’s content. A regular (naked) link is a clickable format of the full url. So for example, see the below examples:

Anchor text link for a website in HTML:
<a title=”Your Domain Name” href=”” target=”_self”>Your Domain Name</a>

Naked link to a website in HTML:
<a href=””></a>

Using good anchor text is important, but it is considered good practice not to overdo it with one anchor text to avoid search penalties for over optimization of anchor text.  Some people even recommend using a few anchor texts like “click here” as anchor text as it helps make for a more natural link structure.

A link can be a “nofollow” link or a “follow” link. Nofollow is an attribute that can be added to a link to tell a search engine not to pass any of a site’s page rank to another site (or “nofollow” the link). Nofollow links are often considered to be less valuable than a follow link because of this, and comparatively that is often true, but others believe that a link is a link and thus a possible source of traffic even if it doesn’t pass pagerank. In building backlinks it should be an issue to be aware of and consider, but a natural link profile would likely include a mix of follow and nofollow so it should be ok to mix it up.

Web 2.0/Blog sites

Web 2.0 (blog) sites such as,,,, or can be a great source of links that can be built up over time and really send your site some good links. This post is about using these web 2.0 sites to get links back to your site which will help in ranking in the search engines, but can also drive traffic to your site through referrals as these sites can rank some themselves (although this isn’t their primary goal).

Most of these sites are community type sites in which users register for an account and can then add their own page or pages on whatever topic (with the usual exceptions for adult and other prohibited content) they want to. You will need the typical information for signing up for an account on the web, but it is pretty easy to do. This process can even be outsourced (, or automated with the right software (SEO Link Robot, SENuke), but the software can be pricey and not really needed unless you are going to use a ton of links which may not be best for your site anyway.

At present, many of these type of sites are receiving good authority from Googleand they are crawled and indexed by Google quickly so a link from them can help get your site indexed by the search engines as well as help in ranking although this is a secondary concern. A link here back to your site also gives you the first opportunity to create some “anchor text” which is the keywords that are used for your link. For example, instead of “click here” and a clickable link, it will be “your keyword” and a clickable link. As we discussed in a previous post, anchor text helps tell the search engines what the link is about and helps in search engine ranking.

As an example, to setup a Squidoo lens head over to and sign up for a free account and select the option to create a lens. A lens must contain some content and add some value to a user so write some words and text about your subject. They also have some cool options to add different things to the lens to make it a general aggregator page. For example, you can feature polls, blog searches, Twitter feeds, picture search, etc. In addition, there is a link back to your site that traffic is being driven to and since it is a related site with more information on the subject, anyone clicking through will find good related information. Once you are done click publish and the lens is live. Squidoo offers the option to share in the revenue by adding the standard affiliate and advertising options so it is also a possible revenue source in addition to the main website.

The other sites all have the option to create the account on their site, write and post an article, and add a link, so check out the others above and do some searching for many more.

Web 2.0’s make a great “1st tier” set of backlinks. A tiered linking structure has lower quality backlinks (discussed later) pointing to higher quality links which point back to your main website. This strategy is believed to help lower the chance of receiving any ranking penalties while adding authority to the web 2.0 sites that have been created. The next post will discuss using article directories for linking purposes.

Article Marketing (Tier 1)

Article marketing refers to the strategy of writing articles for distribution on an article directory on the internet to drive traffic as well as obtain backlinks to a website.

There are many, many article directories available to post articles to (which will be discussed in more detail as second tier links in a later post), but the ones that are the subject of this post are Ezinearticles and Goarticles which are two of the higher quality article sites. (two other options are and Ezinearticles is considered one of the top directories since they follow a stricter standard for article approval and editorial quality.  They are considered to have the highest overall quality articles in general for article directory sites.

It is a good idea to pick these or a few other upper tier articles sites and use these like the web 2.0’s as part of a first tier that you will link back to with some lower quality links.

At Ezinearticles as at any of the article directories, the main benefit to the author is that at the end of the article in the “resource box” a link back to a website along with anchor text is allowed. The benefit to the directory is that they get an article that will attract people to their site, so it is theoretically a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.

Be aware that at all of the article directories the submission rules should be read and adhered to in order to make sure that your articles are accepted and published with the least amount of time and revision possible. Most of the directories have limits on how many links can be in the body of the text (if any) and how many can be in the resource box. Most will not allow direct affiliate links in the resource box although some do allow linking to a sales page, but not always.

The opportunity to get quality links and traffic from an article marketing strategy shouldn’t be overlooked. It can be somewhat difficult as when you write a nice article, the instinct will be to want to put it on your main site, but one or two articles should be written specifically to be listed on article directories. It is recommended not use your best content on this, and not to post it on your site after posting it to an article directory. Next up is social bookmarking.

Social Bookmarking

This post and the next four will talk about some additional different traffic and linking methods that can help in driving both direct traffic as well as building up backlinks. These will both aid in and supplement the search engine traffic that will hopefully be the backbone of your traffic, but all of these other methods can help, especially when a site is new. These link types can be used as either links to your main site or your tier 1 sites, but it is recommended not to go to heavy on links to your main site, especially at first. A common approach is to use only the higher quality versions of these links to the main site, and the lower quality ones to the tier one sites. In this way you get some diverse links without overdoing it, and building up the tier 1 sites at the same time.

This next link strategy will be the use of social bookmarking websites. These are community type sites where a user can post a link and then other users can vote on it. The higher the votes, the higher the chances that the link gets visited by the site’s users. In addition to this direct traffic from the site referrals, if a user likes the content there is always the chance that they will send it out as a tweet in Twitter or post it on Facebook or other similar sites thus giving the added benefit of social media exposure.

Three of the biggest players in this arena are,, and

Almost all of these sites do require a free registration, but after that submissions can be made just by logging in. it is a good idea for you not only to add your site or sites, but add other interesting content found on the web so that you are a valuable user who won’t be seen only as a self-promoter. If you regularly add interesting content users on some of the services will be able to start following your updates and thus helping to get more traffic to your site. Also recommended is not to submit just every single post that is made so it doesn’t look like you are spamming the service, but are sharing your quality content as well as other sites that you enjoyed.

The below are some other sites in the social bookmarking arena. Also, remember that by adding the Sociable or SexyBookmarks plugin to your site then sites can be submitted from your posts and pages by the visitors to your site easily.

There are dozens more out there for use, but this is a good start, especially if you will be doing this manually. Like all links, this one can be outsourced ( or automated (Bookmarking Demon).  Next up is blog commenting.

Blog Commenting

Another way to build up traffic to your site or blog is to use a strategy known as blog commenting. Blog commenting is pretty much what it sounds like. You will go to other blogs and post a comment in the comments section of one of their posts and then list a link back to your site when doing so.

We will be assuming in the notes below that you are building blog comment links directly to your main site, so you want them to be good quality. If you are using any of the automated programs (Scrapebox, etc) it is probably best to send those links to your tier 1 sites and not your main site.

Some keys to successful blog commenting are to choose a blog to comment on that is in your relevant subject area and also to make a good valuable comment, not just a spam note and a link. If your comment makes it clear that you didn’t even read the article, then it often will not be approved or will be deleted by the website owner.

To make a good comment, don’t just throw a generic “good post!” For one reason, this isn’t likely to attract any clickthrough back to your site, and it increases the chances of a comment being seen as spam. Give the article a quick read, make at least a couple of sentences of good feedback and post the comment and it will be more likely to be a good comment.

Also important if looking to get clickthrough and not just build a link is to select a blog in your topic area. One of the ways to do this is to do a regular Google search for your keyword and then the word “blog” or to do the regular keyword search, then on the left side of the page on Google to click on the blog link to give search results from blogs. This is a good way to find some relevant blogs that have at least a couple things going: 1) they are related to your keywords, and 2) they have enough Google respect to rank for those keywords.

Spending a little time doing some quick commenting each day can become an easy 10 or 15 minute habit that isn’t difficult to accomplish and over time you can build a nice following in your niche along with some nice links. The next post covers a similar topic area which is forum commenting.

Forum Commenting

Much of what was just posted about blog commenting also applies to the strategy known as forum commenting. With forum commenting, you go to a forum related to your topic and post questions, answers, posts, or replies and leave a link in your signature block and/or profile back to your website.

As mentioned with blog commenting, pick a relevant forum and add a good post with value to a reader. A good answer or interesting post will make it more likely for a reader to click through to your site.

When looking for forums to comment on, you can do a Google search for your keyword plus the word “forums”, or do a regular Google search and click the link in the left side of the page for “discussions.” This will usually list some good forum links with discussions about your target keywords.

While maybe not quite a forum, adding answers to Yahoo Answers is another way to comment and get traffic and is a link type that is worth mentioning in this post.

This one is a little shorter than the others due to some similarities and crossover with the previous post in blog commenting, but both can be valuable strategies that will reach different audiences.

Note: It is important to mention that this is not meaning forum profile links, which are typically built in large quantities and if used at all should be used only to tier 1 sites and not your main site. Next up is more on article marketing, this time as it relates to articles pointing to your first tier instead of your main site.

Article Marketing (tier 2)

In an earlier post we discussed article marketing in general and specifically using a few higher quality sites as tier 1 sites to use to link to our main sites.. We focused on those first because of their importance in creating the tier linking structure.

So, at this point, if you have submitted an article to Ezinearticles (and a few others) then hopefully it is approved by now and it is live with a link to your site in the resource box. If not, then the suggestion is to wait until it is before sending it in to any of these other sites.

For creating these 2nd tier article marketing links, it is going to be recommended to use either outsourcing (, etc) or to buy some software (Article Marketing Robot) because you will be submitting to hundreds of sites for this purpose and probably spinning your articles. If this isn’t something you want to do, then you can skip this step or just pick a dozen or so if you still want some tiered linking from article sites.

This is one of the steps that you will probably not want to send directly to your main site, especially not at first since this step creates a lot of automated links, which is desirable in tier 2, but not in links to your main site. Next up we talk about using directories to get links.


Listing your website or blog in directories can be a way to build backlinks and some traffic although with a lot of directories the traffic will be secondary to the link building.

There are thousands and thousands of directories that are on the web. Finding a directory for your niche can be done by Google searching for your topic or keywords plus the word directory.

In general a directory is just a site that has categories and then allows for submission of a link back to your site. There are general directories and topic directories. They can also be free or paid. Be aware that some free directories will want a link back to their site and that some directories are full of spam sites. It is always a good idea to take a look around the site before submitting your site to a directory when doing it manually or to your main site.

A lot of the better directories will have someone at least take a look at your site, and some of them require a blog to have been around a certain number of months or have a regular posting frequency to be listed. Like all of the other linking strategies, using directories will require some investment of time and energy to see progress when being done manually and to the main site. It can be a little bit harder than some of the other link strategies, but could result in what is considered a higher quality link if getting into the better moderated directories.

As a note here too like with the second tier article sites, with the exception of finding a couple dozen manual directories, this is a task that is well suited to outsourcing or buying software for, and if done in any volume should also be sent only to the tier 1 links, not the main site.

It is worth mentioning the directory that is considered the big daddy of directories even though you probably will never get in. 🙂 That is and it is considere the premier directory at the present time. It is a free submission directory, and each submission is moderated by a human being who is a volunteer for DMOZ. It is often discussed online about how long it can take to be approved for inclusion in DMOZ, and some sites never are. Even though it can be a long shot or take a long time, the possible advantages of being in DMOZ are worth making a onetime submission request and then moving along to the next one

Take note of the DMOZ submission guidelines and follow them when submitting your site. Make sure to list your site in the right category and comply with all of their other requests to help aid in an approval. It may seem strange since it takes so long to get approved and may not happen anyway, but because of the potential benefits it is best to only submita site once it is either fully built, or if it is going to be regularly updated and has some substantial content. Having a good site with good content should aid in DMOZ approval.

Give directories a try for some link diversity, and remember that if sending links to directories by automation to filter them through your tiers, and if going with manual and higher quality directories to go ahead and link to your main site.  The next post in the series is about adding a forum to your website.

Add a Forum

Adding a forum to your website is definitely not for everyone, nor is it the right move for every site, but it is worth discussion because it is something that should be considered depending on the niche and the site.  In addition to allowing post and page comments from the readers of a site, having a forum can  be an additional way to drive user engagement and community building on your site.

By adding a forum, the website becomes more of an interactive community where readers can log in and not only comment on existing posts, but add their own content, questions, and answer others questions as well. If a forum takes off on your site it will help build up its credibility and will make it more likely that the forum users will return as well as adding content to your site that is created by others.

One way to add a forum is with SMF (Simple Machines Forum) which if you are using Hostgator as discussed earlier in this series will be available to install via Fantastico and the SMF link on the left side of your screen much like when we installed WordPress earlier in the series.

If adding a forum in this manner, it will ask where to install it, and if it is going to be an add on to an existing site then adding a /forums directory after your domain name is a good suggestion. Setup a username and pass as requested and then add the forum via the Fantastico install. Forums can be a little harder to get used to and manage than a WordPress site, but can add value to a site as mentioned above and aren’t that tricky once you log in a few times.

However, they can be hard to get going as at first the forum will be empty and have no posts or active users. Expect it to take some time to get an active forum going. Making a serious go at creating a forum may be more appropriate once a site is drawing steady traffic or if the webmaster is prepared to put in a lot of initial time while it builds a solid audience. Also, be aware that a forum can be a spam magnet as many of the automated softwares post links to forums on the web, so you will need to be committed to moderating it to keep it clean.

Now that we have covered adding a forum as a possible feature of your website, the next post up is gets us moving into monetization methods.

Monetization Options

Up until this point, everything in this series has been about building the infrastructure of a website, adding top quality content, and how to get traffic, links, and search engine rankings. Nothing about monetization yet. That is because without those things it is unlikely that a monetization strategy would matter because no one would find your website without them, and even if they did there would be nothing there to keep them around and coming back for more. This is why the series has focused on the things that will build up a good quality website which is the basis for building any future business and traffic on.

But now at this point with a good website that is hopefully starting to see some visitors and some search results it is time to start thinking about how to add some income streams to the site. There are several ways to go about doing this, and some of the top ones, especially to get started with, are listed below.

Google Adsense

Google Adsense is the advertising arm of Google. By signing up as an Adsense member you will be allowed to display ads on your site for Google publishers and be compensated each time a user clicks an ad served up on your site. Google is one of several advertising partners available to use, but is a major player and is relatively easy to sign up for and get started using. If you have your Google account like discussed earlier in the series then head over and sign up.

It is worth mentioning that you should pay close attention to Google’s rules on how many ad units can be on a page as well as their website guidelines to make sure that you don’t violate their policies and get banned. Some key guidelines to follow are: never click on your own ads or encourage others to do so, have a good contact email address listed so Google can contact you with any problems, and stay in compliance with all Google recommendations including quality guidelines and their requirement to have a privacy policy published on any site serving up their ads.

It is recommended to not include Google ads on any so called made for Adsense sites (low quality one or two page sites that don’t have much content for example) or any low quality site as Google has been known to ban Adsense accounts of users using their ads on sites such as this. Adsense is a common method many people get started in monetization while testing other methods.

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is the affiliate program of By signing up to become an affiliate, you will be able to add text and image links back to products on Amazon that your website readers may be interested in. If they click over to Amazon and make a purchase, then you can get a percentage of the order as commission for the referral. Approval for Amazon’s affiliate program is usually relatively quick and easy.

Ebay Partner Network

The EPN (Ebay Partner Network) is Ebay’s affiliate program. Using this program allows you to add text or image links to Ebay auctions and you can be compensated by users who click over and bid on or buy the products. EPN pays out on a per click basis, not on a commission basis. It can be difficult to get approved for EPN compared to other programs. It is recommended to apply only once a website is fully created with some good content.


Clickbank is the most commonly known information product (ebooks) affiliate program on the web. Signing up with Clickbank is quick and easy and you can get an affiliate link to place on your website very quickly. Clickbank is a marketplace for people who list their information products for sale through their website. These products are all also available for selling as an affiliate and you will get a commission for each product based on what is listed in its description. If you are a creator of information products, you can list your product here and make it available for others to market for you for a share of the sales value as well.

Commission Junction

Commission Junction is another affiliate program that includes lots of companies with lots of different products and offers for sale. CJ includes different payment structures including commissions for product click-throughs followed by sales as well as cost per action programs where compensation is gained when someone signs up for something (a free trail for example) or performs a similar action.


There are a lot of other monetization possibilities including other advertisers and other affiliate programs in addition to selling your own ad space and your own products or services, but this should give you options to evaluate and consider for use on your website.

Remember the user experience when placing offers or ads and make sure that they don’t override the content. After all of the work to build a quality site it could be ruined as a ton of different monetization strategies could make the site look too much like one of those spammy sites we have all run across and ignored.  Next up in the series is making a decision about the future direction of the site.

The Future of the Site

In our most recent post in the series some methods for monetization were discussed. At this point in the process of launching a site, the site is built, indexed, has some links, some search results, and is probably getting some traffic.  After the last post, maybe you added one or more of the monetization strategies discussed and are hoping to see some clicks, commissions, or sales. So now, at this point, a common question is what happens next with the site? Build it out, move on to the next site, focus on links, etc?

One question needs to be answered first that determines the detailed answer to that question. Is this the end of your updating of this site except for maybe one or two posts a year? Have you said what was needed and made a nice resource site for the niche? If so, then maybe you don’t plan to do much except monitor the site in Analytics and Webmaster tools to keep an eye on it and monitor and test your monetization results for optimization of conversions. There is nothing wrong with this approach. As the site ages and gains more authority it will just set on autopilot and (hopefully) gain even more traffic. Maybe one or two posts a year help keep it from being completely stale, but mostly maintenance free. A lot of smaller sites in more static niches can fall into this category.

However, if this is going to be a site that has more future potential or is in a topic you are interested in, then you will want to post to it more regularly (multiple times a week or month) and keep the content fresh and the traffic increasing. If the site has a lot of untapped potential left then this is a good strategy. Many people currently believe that this model is the future of website building, and if you have identified a good niche, then really building it into a big authority site may be the best way to go.

If you are going to continue updating it, then a recommendation is to go ahead and lay out that plan so it doesn’t get lost as you move to building the next site or any other online endeavors. Go ahead and write down traffic plans, any ideas for great posts, any seasonal ideas (Halloween/Christmas/Holiday articles), basically any suggestions that come to mind to avoid any future writer’s block. Keep this a running list so that ideas can be added in the future. Keep in mind that to build a site that is considered authoritative in the future and gets good page rank (PR) then growing the site past 6-12 posts total is going to be needed, so adding to the content regularly is needed if this is what you decide is a goal with the site.  Next up is a post about what many consider the holy grail of the internet marketer which is getting opt in’s and building an email list.

Email Listbuilding

Building an email list through an opt in form on your website is a tried and true principle of internet marketing taught by almost everyone as a method to use in growing your brand and adding monetization to a site. An email list can be used to send information about your site’s updates, send a newsletter, and market to the list by affiliate offers or in email advertisements. It can increase the “stickiness” of your site and keep users coming back for more as it can also be an avenue to let people know about new blog posts or new products.

Aweber is considered to be the premier email list program. It has a lot of the features that are desired in a mailing software including building the forms and code needed to add to your site as well as templates for different types of mails and newsletters.

With the autoresponder features of a mailing list management program like Aweber, it can be configured so that new subscribers receive preset emails after they sign up in the order and days apart that you set. This is in addition to any on demand emails you would like to send to your list.

This type of opt in and email functionality is often used to offer a special report, free mini ebook, or a several part tips or training course that offers a good free incentive for signing up. This way both parties gain value. The user gets some valuable content that can help them in the search for information they were looking for, and the website owner gets a subscriber to their email list that can potentially become a long term reader and customer.

If you use the signup form on Aweber’s site, then you can get Aweber’s test drive email campaign and you will get a series of emails from Aweber which will answer questions about Aweber, and why they should be the ones to manage your email marketing.

Almost anyone in the internet marketing world when asked says that their number one mistake was not starting to build a list soon enough. Keep that in mind and consider getting an email capture form added to your site.

And now coming up is the final post with closing comments.

Final Thoughts

Now lets close out our post on building a niche website starting from ground zero and ending with a functioning and fully built website. As we moved through this series a lot of ground has been covered and a lot of information has been shared. Here is to the hope that your startup site is already starting to see some good solid traffic, that backlinks are being built, and maybe you have seen clicks and earnings!

This final post closes with a couple of solid tips. One that can add to the revenue streams of a site and another that can help build traffic and backlinks.

Adding an advertising page that lets people know that you will consider taking ads on the site as direct placements is a way to put that idea in front of potential advertisers who may not have otherwise contacted you. Having the Contact page and Contact Form plugin installed as recommended earlier in the series does give potential advertisers a way to contact you without a separate page, but listing it separately can give it more exposure. In addition, if you choose to do this, you can go ahead and list desired pricing for different types of ads (text, banner, sidebar, etc). If your traffic warrants it, then traffic numbers can even be added here. This approach won’t be for everyone, but for some sites, this page could help bring in advertisers who otherwise wouldn’t think about advertising with you directly.

Next up, getting user generated content in the form of either guest postings or picture and video submissions can help to add some solid original content to your site while helping to engage with your user base. You can offer a link back to someone’s webpage when they provide a guest post on your site and this is a win-win for both users. One person gets some good original content and the other person gets a link. This is basically what article directories do, but on a larger scale.

This approach can also be carried out with other sites in your niche if you want to do so. If it isn’t necessarily a direct competitor site, then you could contact the owner and ask if they wanted to write a post for your blog (or you could offer to write one for theirs).

Other user generated content can come in the form of pictures or video. If your site has a gallery area or otherwise uses images and video, then a call for user submissions may get you something to add to the galleries.

User generated content in the form of posts, pictures, video or any form can be a help to a site as it provides new content while engaging the readers of the site and giving a sense of community. It may also help in social media and bookmarking traffic as the users who have submitted content share with their friends and contacts, and if they are website owners themselves with their readers.

Use these final two tips to put the finishing touches on your website strategy.

The Pinterest Madness

Filed in Marketing Guides by on June 16, 2014

Staying on top of the newest social media marketing methods can be difficult and down right maddening. Everyday a new social media site appears and it can make any small business owner shake their head and wonder how will they ever utilize this new one.

The newest one to hit the market of course is Pinterest and this is a great little site because for just a few extra minutes each day you can substantially expand your reach to new potential customers and build your online brand even further.

If you’re just checking out the site for the first time you’ve probably come to realize it is full of wonderful, interesting pictures; literally, all over the place. And essentially this is what the site is. An entire webpage of pictures linking back to the sources and companies that pinned that picture.

What does this mean for you?

Well first off it means more exposure and more exposure is always good for your bottom line. Secondly it means that with some creative skills you can easily captivate an entirely untapped market. All you need to do is figure out what pictures best represent your company and go from there. We’re not talking run of the mill boring pictures. In order to best benefit form the site you really need to have the pictures that make people stop and go awe or I have got to have that.

Once you’ve gotten a batch of pictures that match that criteria all you have to do is start pinning them to your own boards and then those who follow you (much like friend on Facebook) can take your pictures and repin them to their own boards and the viral effect of Pinterest can then take place. Each and every time your picture is pinned and repinned you gain yet another link back to your website, your business and another link to new potential customers.

Free Marketing At It’s Best

Free marketing methods are an important aspect to any business, especially in the current economic times. Pinterest is just one such free marketing method that you should be using if you are hoping to capitalize on well, a lack of capital for marketing.

Pinterest is one of the newest social media marketing sites to take the internet by storm and it really is taking the internet by storm. In the under two years the site has been around it has been rapidly grabbing the attention span of consumers world-wide (especially females in the twenty to thirty year old range) as well as raising itself in the search engines, which of course means plenty of backlinks to your site if you do it right.

All the pictures on the site drive traffic back to the images source, which means if the picture is of your product or your brand it drives traffic, and therefore potential customers back to your site. It does take a little work though.

As with any method of social media marketing one of the important aspects to do it successfully is to engage and interact with the network. You need to be a member of the site and actually pin and repin others pictures as well if you want to see any results with your own pictures and boards. Now before you think that this will end up being another time suck, think again. Just like Facebook fan pages and other social media sites it really only takes a few minutes a day. Of course if you want to see faster results you can always do more work earlier on to start that snowballing effect but it is not necessary in order for it to work.

Pinterest really is a free viral method of building traffic to your site, just a few moments of time each day can pay off substantially in the long run.

A Picture Can Be Worth Thousands To Your Business

The saying a picture is worth a thousand words has never meant so much to online marketing as it does today. A single picture you could say is worth a thousand dollars if used properly. That is if the picture is “pinned”, “repinned” and “repinned” some more. If you’re confused you’re not alone. Many business owners have yet to realize the potential that lies with the newest picture sharing site Pinterest.

You may be wondering how sharing a picture can help your business. Or you may already know what Pinterest is but are unsure of how it can benefit your business on a marketing level. The simple answer is that it is a social media site and social media is currently one of the fastest growing marketing techniques for any form of business.

Social media marketing takes advantage of one of the greatest methods of marketing that has been around for years, word of mouth. Nothing sells a company better than word of mouth advertising. Hearing from a close personal friend or family member that you’ve got to have this product will outsell some stranger telling you how great it is.

Pinterest capitalizes on this. It allows you to have word of mouth marketing using pictures of your products. All you need is a picture that represents your business or products, a few “pinners” following your account and you are set to go.

You post a picture of your products on one of your boards (much like an online cork board) and other pinners are able to take that picture pin it to their boards and spread your product like wildfire. Your picture has a short blurb and a link back to your site where they can purchase your product or get more information. And suddenly you have an entirely new form of bringing in customers and traffic!

The Facebook Of 2012

If you’re already utilizing Facebook fan pages and groups there is a great little (or not so little) new social media site that you should be using as well. You may have heard about it by now, it’s called Pinterest and in many ways functions in the same ways as Facebook.

To begin, just like in Facebook, a lot of the power of the site lies in the number of followers you have. The more followers you have (and the more people you follow who may in turn follow you back) the better chance you have of your Pins going viral and your business getting the attention it deserves.

You see just like a post in Facebook that is placed in everyone’s feed a Pin (an image you pin to one of your boards) is posted in all your followers feeds on Pinterest. This means that they may see your products image and pin it to one of their boards and so on and so forth until your reaching as many possible Pinners (a Pinterest user) and potential customers. From there the viral effect takes over and your image makes it way through the 10 million current users.

It also allows you to Pin videos as well, which means it takes you video marketing to a whole new level. If getting your videos on Youtube seen has ever been an issue for you, Pinterest can take care of that as well. Just like the viral effect can occur with your images, it can also occur with your videos. This means you’re now able to take advantage of more methods of marketing then ever before, and the greatest part is that it is free, it relies on social media and the addictive power of it, and it takes very little time to put into effect.

Viral Marketing At It’s Best And Simplest

Viral marketing is one sure fire way to gain exposure for your company with minimal efforts. Getting your site and products to go viral though can be difficult. Or at least it used to be. Now with Pinterest you can get your products, brand and site to go viral with just a few clicks of your mouse and the odd interesting photo.

That’s right. You can now take advantage of the viral nature of social marketing sites without having to put in excessive efforts and/or time. All you need to do is spend some time seeking (or getting created for you) some pictures that represent your brand in an interesting and eye catching way. You can then take your pictures, pin them to a board on Pinterest and watch the viral effect take over. It’s really that simple.

Well almost.

Like any social media marketing method you will have to engage the community. The more you engage the Pinterest community the more followers you’ll get and with more followers will come more repinning, and with more repinning comes more customers and visitors to your sites! It’s that simple.

As long as you spend 10 minutes or so a day on Pinterest pinning pictures of interest to your company and adding new pictures you’ll be able to take advantage of a ground floor social media marketing method.

When other users repin your pictures, their followers will see them and if their followers like them they can also repin them and before you know it your brand or product is in front of a much larger market then you could have ever done on your own, all for next to no money or time output.

In fact, in the time it’s taken you to read about Pinterest, you could have already gotten your pictures up and posted to your boards and started taking advantage of Pinterest and all it has to offer your company.

Marketing With Pinterest

If females in their twenties and thirties are your target, then Pinterest better be in your marketing arsenal. If you’ve been anywhere online as of late you’ll already be well versed in what Pinterest is, if not, stay tuned.

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that is taking off in leaps and bounds, but it doesn’t work quite like other social bookmarking sites you may already be familiar with. Instead of using urls and articles like many other sites, Pinterest is based solely around pictures and “pinning”. With the picture, users get to add a link for more information. Are you beginning to see how this can work for your business?

Essentially what you need to do is find pictures that are eye catching and attention grabbing (and of course relate to your topic) and pin them. When you pin them you link back to your site and thus grab traffic and a whole new surge of customers.

What sort of pictures will work? Interesting pictures to start. Any business can have pictures that will work for them. A martial arts studio can post pictures of their fighters in combat (remember this is a majorly female based network) with a link back to their studio website. A flower shop could post pictures of their best arrangements with a link back to the sales page. A dog grooming studio can post pictures of cute cuddly puppies. The options are endless. All you need is a little creativity to capture your portion of this audience.

And the best part is that other users can take your picture and “repin” it to their own boards which will expand your reach even further (think of it like Facebook’s share option) The more users share or repin your picture the more marketing you get done for just a few moments work.

If you’re not yet using Pinterest you should be. Any business whether based online or off can benefit from the social interaction of Pinterest and spreading your marketing through new methods with minimal work.

Pinners, Pinning, Repinning – Understanding Common Pinterest Terminology And It’s Uses For Your Business

As with any social media marketing site being used for business the basics always require you to understand the terminology being used and what it means. Pinterest has just become one of the top ten social media sites and thus deserves a place in your marketing arsenal. In order to do that you need to understand exactly what is meant by pinning, repinning and all the other words that have evolved as a result of Pinterest.

Board – This is the place where you “pin” your images. Just like a cork board in real life a board in Pinterest is where you post your images and can remove and repost them as you see fit.

Pin or Pinning – The action of posting a picture to your board. (Hence the sites name Pinterest, the pinning of interesting images.)

Repin or Repinning – What another Pinterest user does with your images. This is when they take an image from one of your boards and repin it to one of their own boards.

Pinners – The common term used for members of Pinterest. Pinners are like Facebook fan page followers.

So now you know the terminology, what’s the next step?

Well, right now Pinterest is by invite only, so you either need to know someone who uses it already or request an invite from the site. Chances are a simple post on Facebook or any other social media site you are already using will get you an invite quickly. Then the fun can begin.

Prepare to lose large chunks of time as you learn the site and it’s rather addictive ways (which is part of the reason all businesses should be on it.) Addictive plus fun equals time suck and users who become die hard fans quickly.

From there you simply need to start posting your pictures and links to your sites and products and watching your traffic and bottom line grow.

Pinterest And Videos – It Can Be Done

Many people know that Pinterest is a social media platform that is also a photo sharing site but what a lot of people don’t realize is that it is also a video sharing site. That is, if you share a video link on Pinterest the video will become embedded into your image for Pinterest and you’ve got another great traffic source.

What does this mean for your business?  Well first off it means if you don’t have pictures readily available but have videos already on Youtube and the internet, you’re already good to go. No time wasted looking for photos, you can start pinning right away and begin utilizing Pinterest and all it’s traffic goodness!

It also means that you can maximize on Youtube as well. Look at it this way. If you already have a Youtube account that is doing fairly well and has been accepted to have ads, you can further capitalize on it by posting your videos to Pinterest. Then you have yet another source of traffic and another source of income for your business. Utilizing both sites to their full potential will only mean major traffic and rewards for your business and your pocket book.

Another great side effect of doing this is getting high quality backlinks to your videos, which will further help your cause by getting them better rankings within the search engines. Nothing like doing double duty with no added work!

And of course you can also use Pinterest in the traditional way with pictures and images as well. Mix up your boards with a healthy combination of both images and video and your traffic should surge and you could end up with more customers than you know what to do with.

The time is now to begin using Pinterest. With more than 10 million users there are plenty of customers waiting to discover your business and your product, all you got to do is go out there and do it.

Using Pinterest To It’s Full Potential

As a business owner one of the first things you should focus on is getting the best results from your current marketing methods and marketing with social media and more specifically Pinterest is no different. There are many ways to go about marketing but the best ways are those that take full advantage of all the sites have to offer.

So how can you best take advantage of Pinterest?

Start with emotionally driven pictures that represent your brand and product. Humans are very emotional creatures and are more likely to share items that strike an emotional cord with them. Look at Facebook for example. How many times do you see pictures that are emotionally driven shared and gone viral, now imagine that times 10 on a site specialized in picture marketing.

Find ways to connect your product of brand to females. If they aren’t your demographic, find a twist or angle to make them your demographic. Reason being is the majority of Pinterest users are younger females. If you can find a way to strike a cord with them, you’ve got it made in the Pinterest universe.

Engage the consumer. Don’t look at it like a money tree. Look at it as another way to engage your customers. Another method to reach out to them and build your brands reputation. Don’t be spammy about it. Simple engage the community and make the most of your time and efforts spent there and see an increase in market base as a result.

Be creative. Pictures need to grab attention if you want them repinned and to take on a viral life of their own. Boring pictures are just that boring. No one is going to share some boring picture but they will share a vibrant interesting picture of your product.

Think outside the box. You don’t need to just put pictures of your product. For a pots and pan company you could post pictures of delicious recipes and food that can be made with your products. Or for a pet store you could show pictures of exotic animals you carry in their natural habitats. Imagination is key.

Why Your Business Needs Pinterest

Every time a new social media marketing method comes out we’re told we must be apart of it. It’s going to be the next big thing and sometimes it is, other times not so much. The newest big thing your business needs to be a part of is Pinterest. Why?

It’s addictive. And addictive social media sites (think Facebook games, apps and all that fun stuff) live, grow and become giants. Woman from the ages of 18-40 already know how good this site is, are in love with it and are already addicted to it. It’s simple, it’s fun and they love using it, which means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

It’s a traffic monster. Although it’s only been around for about 2 years it’s already got over 10 million users. You read that right, ten million! That’s ten million potential customers for your business, your site and your bottom line.

Pinning is simple and can be integrated to your website easily. Just like you can place the Twitter with us button, the follow us on Facebook button and other easy to use social interaction buttons, you can place a Pin It button on your site making it easy for pinners (Pinterest users) to pin your site and spread your brand for you.

Pinterest is perfect product placement. The place where you want your product is right in front of your consumers. With Pinterest your consumers see your products as they spread across pinners pinboards and in front of the eyes of new people who may have never before heard of your brand or product.

If that’s not enough reason to get your business onto Pinterest than the simplicity of it should be. It’s not a social media marketing method that you have to pour endless hours into. Simply placing the button on your site can gain you exposure, as will having our own Pinterest account that posts pictures of your products and business. Social media marketing has never been easier and more effective.

When using Pinterest for business

The fastest growing social networking site is Pinterest. This site broke all records when it reached 10 million users in less than 2 years. In a very short time, it outbid Facebook and YouTube. Let us first understand what Pinterest is. Well, it’s a website which is a pin board and it allows its users to share and organize the good stuff that they discover on the internet. This is a fantastic concept. You can pin interesting visuals and photographs, which belong to you or which you discover on the internet. You can also check what others are up to and share or publish their interests if they are similar to yours.

Brands and celebrities have already started using Pinterest for their online presence. In this article, we are going to learn how companies and corporations can use Pinterest to their advantage.

Things you need to remember

1.) Pinterest is a graphical twitter. What I mean is that the site is run on images. Because of all the interesting images on this website, it’s addictive and people spend hours of time on it. The Pinterest interface allows any user to add images into a collage. These images are subsequent to each other. This is the best part of Pinterest. Whenever you see an interesting, funny, motivational or any other kind of an image related to you, you can pin it on Pinterest. If you have something interesting on your hard disk, you can upload that to Pinterest too. You can add tags to your pin boards, so that people can find them when they search.

2.) You must remember that if you are using Pinterest to target customers, you should keep the end-consumer in mind. Think about what your clients might be thinking. If you are planning to pin things related to your business, you must make sure that you should know what exactly your customers might be looking for. Try to make them curious about your business through you pin boards. Get them excited.

3.) Allow all your clients to participate in your pin boards. This will help a lot; there is no doubt about it. One good thing about Pinterest is that people can give you feedback, they can share your pin boards and they can look at the things you’ve pinned. If they share it, it will be shared amongst their network, and if it’s really good, it might even go viral and by doing this you are crowd sourcing your organization.

4.) When you are publishing pictures on Pinterest, remember that you are letting people use them however they want and share them wherever they want. They will be sharing this with their friends. This helps your brand grow but you should be careful about what you share.

5.) At the end, you need to be quick and fast. Right now, Pinterest is in its starting stages, its young. It is growing very fast and can be the next big thing online. Sign up on Pinterest and be the first in your business to use Pinterest for business.

How can it help small businesses?

Social media changes fast. If you are not a professional, it can be difficult for you to stay updated. Every small business these days has a Facebook page and a twitter feed. Here is something more in social media that will keep you busy – Pinterest.

When you first take a look at Pinterest, you might not understand what’s going on. If you are one of those who has spent a lot of money on getting Myspace site designed, and found out that your customers have moved to Facebook and thinking that the same might happen with Pinterest, your fears are rational.

Pinterest is a site where you can upload interesting graphics or photos from your hard disk or anywhere from the internet. Pinterest is where you stick the items you’d have stuck on your real pin board or a freezer. No, it doesn’t mean that you can stick something like “Buy Sugar”. Your stuff has to be creative/beautiful/ inspiring and interesting. Let’s assume that you are getting married and you come across a great idea for flowers or your hairstyle; you can share that on Pinterest.

When you upload or pin your interesting photos on Pinterest other users can comment or share the pin boards. So when you uploaded your wedding flower idea, your friends and others who look at your pin share it with their friends.

So if you own a company, and you do something unique, you can upload those photos on Pinterest. Your friends can share it, and it might go viral. This will help more and more people know about your company, and if they like yours, they will become your customers. Very few people use Pinterest for business. You can be the first one to do it in your business.

Some profiles on Pinterest are private, but most of them are public. A user can follow other people just like on twitter. The user interface is easy to use and navigate. This site is full of young people posting stuff on their favorite topics. The interface is fast too.

When you visit Pinterest, you’ll notice that the homepage is filled with interesting and beautiful photos of different categories. Food, art, architecture, apparel, hair and beauty are some of these topics. It is the most visual social network on the internet. Once you take a look at it, you’ll get an idea of what type of business works best on Pinterest.

Most of the businesses should do well on Pinterest. If you sell goods online, Etsy added a Pinterest button on their listings. So your products can now easily be shared on Pinterest.

Mostly, business in the creative field would do the best on Pinterest. If you do anything creative, don’t miss the opportunity to market yourself on Pinterest. If you are in the wedding industry, definitely look into it. Thousands of people are looking for wedding plans and ideas. If you are a hair stylist, upload some photos of your work, and if people like it, they will visit you. Take these pics with a good professional camera.

Marketing online

A year ago my wife introduced me to Pinterest. It’s a social media site she and all her friends loved. The site was genuine. After going through the website I realized that it’s possible to squeeze some profit out of it. The amount of money you make through Pinterest depends totally on the amount of time you put into working on the site, your creativity and the amount of content you upload.

1. Growing Fast
It’s easy to get addicted to Pinterest. That’s why it has grown so fast. It got around10 million users in 2 years. Pinterest is a website where you can share interesting images you have or interesting images that you find on the internet. It has a lot of traffic, and has grown up 50 times in the last 8 months. Its growth is mainly mouth publicity. The site has already made it to top 10 social networking sites getting around 11.5 million visitors per/week. Not month, week. Its growing faster than Facebook and YouTube grew when they were launched.

2. It’s easy to go viral, if you are innovative
When you upload an interesting image to your pin board on Pinterest, and if other people find it interesting, it is going to go viral. If anyone who follows you shares the Pin, their friends are going to see it. They can just click on the like button for their friends to see it, just like in Facebook. Data says that 70% + pins are repins meaning that they are not created, but shared. Can you now see the potential for marketing? All you need to do is be a bit creative or find something creative, relate it to your business and post it.

3. Visual Engagement
Pinterest is twitter, but with some visuals and graphics. Humans are visual animals and this works globally. Images are the best and the quickest way to spread your msg. Your challenge is to create or search for the best, most innovative images in your category and spread them around the world. For example if you are selling a weight loss product, you can come up with some really good before and after photos of people who have lost weight and built muscle. You can send Pinterest users to your site through this image.

4. This site is new; make the most out of it
Research says that 30% affiliate marketers advertise on Facebook and 25% use twitter to promote products. Pinterest is new and you should tap into its full potential before it changes. A friend has to refer you to this site if you wish to join. This creates urgency and buzz as many pinners wait for their invitation. Most marketers haven’t thought about using this for internet marketing purposes. They are simply clueless. The site is addictive and you should make hay while the sun shines.

5. Uploading messages from your computer
An awesome feature on this social network is that you can upload messages from your hard disk to your Pinterest pin board. This can be a video or a photo. The better your imagination, the more you can use it in internet marketing.

4 ways to use Pinterest to your advantage
We all know the fact that Pinterest is fairly a new social media platform which is growing quite popular and this has actually made it fall in the eyes of marketers too. The rising number of its users also contributed to the increased time that most of the people spend on this site. Many studies also show that the average time spent by the users has increased by 500% which is a very impressive number. Though it is an image sharing place on the net, its growth is tremendous and it has lots of potential when it comes to marketing.

Now, let me explain how you can actually use this potential to your advantage:

Start promoting your products: Though you are not able to sell any product on this site, you can still show your stuff to people and brag about it. You get an automatic price tag and when users come across your stuff, they can also use your link to reach your site and buy whatever you have to sell. Great isn’t it?

Contributions of fans: The boards which reflect your customers do have some advantages. Your fans do wish to stay connected to you and they are like your supporters. You need to make them feel special and also keep them well involved. This will inspire them to promote your products further. Satisfied customers are your biggest asset.

Come up with a Contest: There are immense opportunities to come up with contests which will help you to engage your fans. You can invite your fans to come up with innovative and stylish banners for your products or anything like that so that your fans feel involved. They surely get excited when their voice is heard and their ideas considered.

Use the platform for research: This site would be the best place to do market research or analysis. You can post about your upcoming product’s description and see what people’s reactions are. Read all the comments that people place there. You will surely get a basic idea about what other people think about your idea or new concept and this would surely help you a great deal when you are developing something new. You can make changes or modifications accordingly once you know about your fans feedback. Is it not great?

This way, there are lots of advantages if you actually know how to use this site in the best possible way to promote your products or concepts. If you are into business, it is a necessity to explore new ways to reach people because only then you would be able to expand the reach of your business. If you lag behind in this process, the growth of your business suffers a lot and this is the reason why it is very important to explore constantly.

So, make sure you understand all the above advantages of Pinterest and make sure that you utilize this platform in the best possible way in order to promote your business.

Why people get addicted

Only if you have been living under a rock since long you would be unaware of the popularity of Pinterest. This site has turned out to become the fastest growing site of social networking. It started in the year of 2009 and the number of its users skyrocketed in such a short span of time. You can check out a lot of information available out there which explains how this site can be helpful in promoting anything. But I would like to explain why this site has become an addiction to its users. Why are people going crazy about this site? This is the topic about which I am going to explain here.

1.    The first and the foremost reason why people are showing interest in Pinterest is one simple reason: its simplicity. The layout of this particular site is so simple to the eye and it looks quite clean that way. The white background of the site allows the beautiful images to slowly pop out and appear cool on the eye of the viewer. Many site owners do not know the basics of display but frankly speaking, this particular feature really helped a lot for this site.

2.    Apart from that, this site also grabs the attention of the user and retains the attention span for a long time which makes people stay on this site for a long duration which increased its popularity over night.

3.    The navigation is also quite smooth and easy to handle without any clutter on any of its pages. Doesn’t it sound great? Of course yes and this could be one of the reasons why Pinterest becomes an addiction to its users.

4.    The steps involved in the process of pinning up an image are very easy and they are just 4 simple steps. If things are so easy even kids can handle the process, am I right?

5.    The look and feel of this site is so pleasant and apart from that its utility is what attracted most of the people. This also contributed a lot to its ever increasing popularity all over the globe. It goes without saying that some people’s daily routine starts with logging on to Pinterest nowadays. No, I am not kidding.

Frankly speaking, these reasons are not enough to completely explain why people are going crazy about this site, but still I think I could analyze things up to a certain extent in the best possible way. All of us are human beings and we tend to have certain qualities which are quite common in all of us. One such quality is to be identified by something and display it to fellow human beings. This quality is what makes people crave for such social media platforms because they give them a chance to show off stuff to their friends and others in this world. This quality is being used by most of the platforms like Facebook too and this explains the success rate of all of these social platforms. They simply give us a chance to get noticed and this quenches the desire or the craving inside all of us. Now, did you understand the reason behind the addiction to Pinterest?

How to use it?

When anyone first comes across Pinterest, one would surely fall in love with it because of its sheer simplicity and superb functionality. The site looks clean and pure, which is what almost all sites on the internet lack. Now, consider the idea of driving traffic to your own web site from such a popular website like this. Isn’t it awesome?

Well let us take a look at it.

The main way to exploit the benefits of this site would be through the click throughs. If the number of people who get connected to the stuff that you post is more, then the number of people coming to your web site through this site will also be more and this helps you a lot as this is what you are looking for. All you need to do is to create some content which gets you some following and that’s all.

The process is quite easy and you don’t need to study rocket science now. Make sure that you pin more and ensure that the quality of the content that you pin is high and you will observe the fact that more number of people will start following you. Just like in twitter, here also you can re-pin something like how you re-tweet in twitter. This would help you a lot if you catch someone with more number of fans.

You also need to build the trust of your followers. If you don’t capture their interest or retain the attention they will start un-following you. So don’t spam at all.

Make sure that you link to your own site and ensure that whatever you have to show is engaging to the average viewer and you have done the job well.

Ensure that your content is completely unique as people hate to see imitators.

Make sure that you link to several banners which have the promotional content. But don’t just overdo any of this stuff as people might feel like un-following you at the earliest if they hate what they see.

Make sure that your graphics emotionally connect with each and every viewer. This would make them glued to you and your concepts. Remember the fact that such social platforms are popular in the young circles and this is the reason why you have to target them always.

This way, there are several excellent ways which help you promote anything through this awesome site called Pinterest. Make sure you study several ways to exploit the potential of this site so that you can surely reap all its benefits. You already know the fact that it would be quite difficult to get some traffic to your site by any other means. Some people spend a fortune to just do that and now imagine if you can use this platform and get a lot of traffic; isn’t it great? Try this beautiful platform called Pinterest and enjoy the myriad number of its advantages and expand your business in the best possible way.

Promoting your business

Pinterest is a very good social media site for promoting business. You can post various images and when the images are pinned your followers can see those images. People who like the images can comment and in this way you can interact with your followers. This site can become a very useful tool to attract new customers. Based on a theme or a topic, anyone can create a board. For promoting your business, you must know what your customers are interested in and should create a proper plan to attract them.

You need to observe several things on the website to understand how it actually works and then start building relations. Big business owners are already using this site. There are more than 500 million users and the number is growing. The graphics you create should be attractive so that customers get attracted towards them. When any other customer likes your pin there are chances that he visits your site. This will bring traffic to your site. There are some steps which you can consider to promote your business.

Advertise your product
You can advertise your product by describing its features and some advantages. You can group your products by size, theme, etc. and describe your image very well so that customers can understand properly.

Use the price tag to your advantage
There is a feature on Pinterest which helps you add a price tag on any item and a link back to your website. When you insert a price tag, it is by itself added to the gifts page. Customers can directly click on the gifts page to find your product with a price tag and a link.

Market your Services
If you do not have any product which you can sell then you can market your services. If you are an interior designer then you can post your favorite rooms, if you are a painter you can post your paintings. This way, it gives you a platform to showcase your work so that you gain exposure and may be some work too.

Give discounts to boost sales
Inserting a price tag on the product and a back link to your site makes people understand that your product is for sale. Hence use the correct keywords and boost your website traffic. If people come to your site, offer them a Pinterest user discount which can make them happy and that makes them visit your site again and again in the future.

Just pin out other items which are related to your product so that people see that as a precious source.

Connect with Users
Link with other users and make business relations to create a community. When you sell any product, request for customer feedback so that in future, you can make certain improvements to your product. Just like any other social media site, it will take time to reach targets.

This way there are some ways through which you can promote your business through Pinterest.

All about Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media site where users can create and share their own pin boards. It is becoming popular these days. All the online businesses are trying to use this site as there is a lot of scope to gain tremendous exposure through this site. There are a few things which are necessary to be considered before getting into this site.

It’s all about sharing visuals
Pinterest is all about pinning images. Through images, it is very easy to sell your concepts or products. If you create boards and content on this site then it would be a good place to begin.

Spend enough time
The activities on this website cannot be automated like any other social networking sites. A person should spend time adding comments or images and it can be good for marketers who want to market their products. So, you have to spend quality time on this site or you can even hire any person to spend time on this website.

Doing online marketing on this website is good and mostly women whose age is between 18 and 40 are using this site more. It is necessary to target the right audience to grow your business. Till now, there are no complaints against this site from any business owners. The website keeps spammers away from it.

In the last few months, Pinterest has done a very good job with 10 million users using this site which is a record. There are certain steps you should consider while doing business using this site. Promoting any business is the most important use of this website. You can easily pin your products and can share them.

Customer Feedback
Some of the users re-pin the items and so you must comment and thank the users. This site acts as a customer feedback tool. Make a community where you can meet people who are interested in your products and follow other users as well.

Connect with different Social Networks
You should meet customers in this site from other social networking sites. You can meet customers in a new way and can develop your business.

Innovative Contests
Holding contests can be quite good and you can prepare for some modern contest ideas so that your customers feel interested and involved.

This website has a section called gifts where business people can gain more customers if they put their products in that section. The items which you pin should be price tagged with the website link including it.

Search Engine Optimization
You can do SEO by using this website as it is search engine friendly. When you or other users link to your products you can get high quality back links. The main thing you must always remember while doing SEO is you must use the right keyword and description.

Exclusive Content
The content you share with the users must be exclusive. Pinterest is a new social media site and hence you must promote your website in a way that customers get attracted towards it.

Simple tips for using Pinterest

Pinterest is a famous social bookmarking site. You can share photos on this site and gain exposure to your products and services. If you have experience of using Digg and StumbleUpon then you will know how to use this website. If users like your image, they will re-pin it which will give a link to you. It is very easy and simple to access this site and quite fun as well. There is no specific way to define Pinterest but we can say that it is a mix of Tumblr and Delicious which are full of graphics. Many people find this site interesting because they have the stuff in which they are interested in; not for finding friends.

More and more people visit this site to find a recipe or food in which they are interested in. People share their items on this website which makes it likeable to everybody. There are a lot of tips which you can go through and they are as follows:

Pin Button
If you install a pin it button then visitors will visit your website. You need to follow some steps to insert a pin it button. Just check out the goodies section and follow the steps given.

A person having small business can join Pinterest to share several items so that they become popular. You know the fact that if you visit Google shopping site, you will see only branded items whereas in this site, you can see all the popular items and the items which are being shared by people.

Link Building
The items which are pinned from your site pull the image and link from your site. The pinned items can be re-pinned number of times which gets more back links for your website.

People can offer a whole board to your brand if they like your stuff. There are so many social bookmarking sites but some of the sites have failed to get more traffic and users. However, Pinterest has millions of users available and is considered as top 50 websites of 2011 by Times Magazine. Hence, it has become a popular website.

As a newcomer to the site, your brand cannot become popular but when your brand is checked out by some visitors on this site then you can start advertising your product on the site.

You can do your advertising hugely. Many people are looking for attractive content and they check what their friends are sharing. It is necessary to market the pin board in order to become popular.  The pin boards which are used on this website should be promoted in other social bookmarking sites as well. The manner in which you are advertising your product should not be changed in any site. Whenever you promote your product it should be pinned with images. If the image is not available then, it will not be pinned. Therefore, pin the items and keep your followers updated with current news in Pinterest and try to make the image and content both attractive.

SEO advantages through Pinterest

Pinterest can be called as a social media site or social bookmarking site as well. Some people do not know about this website and its advantages. Hence, I shall explain you what it is and how it can be useful for everybody.

What is Pinterest?
If you take a look at this site, it is quite easy and simple. Any person who joins this site is able to create pin boards. People can share and can gather items which interest them. The items which are shared are put in different categories. When the items are shared and users check out the items, Pinterest drives traffic and hence marketing of business becomes successful. There are lots of SEO benefits and they are as follows:

This site has become famous because of more traffic to the website. New customers can visit your site through this site. It is necessary to attract visitors so that they become interested in your product.

Keyword Approach
Optimize your website and blog in such a way that it gets focused on some keywords. Each and every pin board is indexed separately by Google and so a descriptive title having keywords is necessary.

Link Building
This site’s domain authority is good. All the new contents are indexed more by Google and when more items are posted by you, people will link to it and you will get good amount of traffic. Individual pins should be tagged with hash tags and links should be included in your blog and website.

Search of Image
Pinterest focuses mainly on images. Hence, whether you need to upload an image, poster or a video you have to attach a stored link to it. The ALT tags should be used in the images to become searchable in Google. Just check out your website or blog to find a pin-able image and content that interests your customers.

Analytics Report
In the traffic analysis report, Pinterest website will specify which content produced a click. In this way, you can get a detailed report. This will help you understand which type of pin is the one that most of the people are interested in so that type of content can be created more.

Insert Pin Buttons
This site has pin buttons which are widgets and these widgets can be put on the web content. The visitors who visit your website can click on the widget and can add your data on their pin boards. Another widget is ‘follow me’ just like the one on twitter. Hence, the pin buttons are more useful.

Since the last two years, this site has earned millions of people. It is almost important as any other blog, or sites like Facebook, twitter, etc. People visit this site more and from here they can come to your site if they like the pinned items tagged by you. Therefore, sales increase and your business will become successful. Pinterest is better for raising brand awareness. The published links on this website are called as ‘dofollow’ links. When you post your images, people come to know about your business and what it offers.

Google Places 101

Filed in Marketing Guides by on June 16, 2014

As you probably already know, small businesses are always searching for inexpensive ways to promote their businesses and attract new customers. One advertising avenue that is open to all businesses is to have a Google Places page.

When local consumers search for local products and services online, businesses can show up high in the search results with a well-optimized Google Places page.

According to Google, one in five searches includes a “location,” which prompted them to create Google Local. In July 2010, Google Local was renamed as Google Places.

Just as the Yellow Pages once listed services according to their locations, Google Places compiles lists of local businesses that offer the services and products that consumers search for online.

Therefore, having a claimed, verified, high-ranking Google Places listing is now crucial to every small business’ local success.

Google Places in a Nutshell

Google Places ( is a free service that is a part of the Google search engine that focuses specifically on businesses and their locations. It links to Google Maps and displays a list of companies in the area that offer services or products based on the user’s search terms.

For instance, if a search is made for bookstores in a specific location, all of the listed bookstores within that area will be marked on a Google Map with short reviews and often pictures and/or videos related to the business.

Google Places pages are usually generated automatically for any business that has an online presence, such as a company website. They are also generated for businesses that are already listed in other online directories such as the Yahoo directory, Bing Local, and others.

These listings are considered as “citations” and are very important in the ranking factors of Google Places pages. We will talk more about citations in a later section of this report.

When a user performs a search, Google Places listings are displayed and ranked in the search results using four simple factors. Based on these factors, each listing is given a score, which determines where it ranks in the results.

The 4 Key Google Places Ranking Factors:

1. The proximity of the business to the center of the specified search location.

2. The general SEO rating of the business listing in the Google index.

3. The quality of the citations that exist online for the business in all of the local directories.

4. The quantity of the customer reviews that are on the business’s Google Places page.

Once all of these factors have been considered, a page is given its final placement for certain local keyword phrases. Research has shown that consumers would rather take their business to a local company than make purchase online. However, they always go online first to actually “find” a local company to do business with.

While they’re there, they also read comments from other consumers about these companies to help them make a decision.

For instance, someone in Los Angeles needs a plastic surgeon may go to Google and type in “Los Angeles Cosmetic Surgeon” and a list of cosmetic surgeons in Los Angeles will come up in the Google Places results.

Google Places takes advantage of these very concrete search terms to return very precise search engine results to pinpoint the closest and highest rated businesses that match the query.

Users can then easily choose the closest business to their location that meets their needs or the one with the best customer reviews.

Google Places currently has 5 million listings2 that have been claimed by businesses around the world, with 2.3 million of them being in the United States alone.

Because Google generates place pages automatically, there are presently 50 million Google Place pages that are waiting to be claimed by businesses.

Studies show that 20% of all of Google’s 14.3 billion monthly searches include the location as one of the search parameters.

But many companies are missing out on this massive number of potential sales because they are not taking full advantage of this huge local market.

Listing Your Business in Google Places

Google usually generates the Place pages for businesses automatically, so it isn’t always necessary for a business to create one from scratch. Instead, they only have to claim the page that has been already created for their business by going to the Google Places homepage and following the ‘find your business’ links.

The service is completely free and if your business doesn’t already have a Google Places page, setting one up is as simple as creating a new Google account.

Filling Out Your Listing

If you already have an existing Google account, log in to your account, go to the Google Places website (,  and create a listing for your business using the ‘add new business’ tab on the home page.

To get real value out of the Google Places listing for your business, it is important to take it a couple of steps beyond just creating the page. Your goal is to ensure that you get the highest ranked listing possible in your business niche.

In order to make your business show up at the top of all the ranked businesses listed in your area, it is necessary to make sure that your listing is fully optimized.

For starters, be sure to fill the listing out completely. Enter your real location address, phone number, email address, and website address. Be sure to choose the proper categories that fit your business profile and do not leave any sections blank and make sure you have a 100% score.

Add your service areas, hours of operations, payment options, and as many videos and photos as you can (preferably add the max of 10 photos and 5 videos). Also use the free coupon section. All of this adds to your listing’s importance in Google’s eyes. So fill out everything so you can to get the best results.

Claiming and Verifying Your Listing

The final, and probably the most vital, step in the process of claiming your page is to verify that you are actually the owner of the Places page.

All new users and businesses that have claimed a Places page will be prompted to do this at the end of the registration process.

Google offers three verification options; by phone, by SMS message or by snail mail. After this is finished and Google has verified ownership, Google will then connect your websites and your business details with the Places page listing for your business.

To get the most out of your listing, it is important to make sure that the verification is completed and that the connection has been done correctly by going onto Google and doing a search for your business.

The Importance of Citations and Customer Reviews

Once you have claimed your Google Places page, the next step is to make sure that it is ranked high enough to be shown in the search results.

Two factors that play a part in this process are:  Citations and Customer Reviews

Although similar, these two elements have different sources. While you can’t do much to affect the reviews that you get, there is quite a bit that can be done to increase the online citations, giving your Places page a better SEO ranking.


Citations are the references to your business and its products or services that are found on the various local directories like, and

Currently, Google lists the basic ones, so one way to really boost your citations is to look at your competition’s citation listings. Then, add your business to those sites so you can have a citation there as well. This will put you closer to your competitors in terms of ranking.

Because the crawlers visit these sites more regularly than static pages, it is best to have a strong list of citations on sites known to have a high trust rank with Google like Wikipedia or the Yahoo directory. The more citations that appear for your site, the higher the Google ranking for your business is going to be.

The real grunt-work of optimizing your Google Places listing involves creating a comprehensive list of citations across the internet that point back to your business.

By submitting your business details to as many of the trusted sources as possible, you only increase your chance of boosting your rankings and beating your competitors.

Obviously, this process takes a lot of time, effort, and skills to get the best results. Therefore, most businesses get the help of an experienced Internet Marketer who is comfortable performing this task. While there will be an investment, this route will save you a lot of time as well as increase your exposure more quickly.

Customer Reviews

In addition to citations, Google also considers the number of customer reviews you have when ranking your listing. In fact, the more reviews you have, the better.

Having awesome customer reviews is great because that is what consumers want to see when they are trying to decide whether or not to do business with a company.

However, when ranking your listing page, Google doesn’t rate the “quality” of the reviews and simply focuses on the “quantity” of reviews.

This means that even having 200 ordinary reviews is going to improve your SEO with Google more than four or five really good reviews. There is even evidence to suggest that having a lot of reviews can outweigh the quality and quantity of the citations.

Either way, encourage your customers to review your business as it can be a good, cost effective way of building your online exposure with little risk or financial investments to make it work for you.

Having reviews posted on an on-going basis is very important too. Don’t ever stop asking your customers to leave online reviews for your company because even if you have hundreds of reviews, it isn’t going to help your ranking if they’re all over a year old.

This is because the spider bots are always searching for fresh content when updating the Google indexes.

In other words, Google loves “fresh” content and this is why it pushes your page up the ranks if you have a lot of citations and customer reviews.

Google Places and Mobile Internet Usage

Another value that a Google Places page will add to your business is the reach it has for the mobile internet market. A very high percentage of shoppers look for businesses online using their mobile devices.

Some sources estimate that 10% of all searches are done from mobile devices, so this is the perfect opportunity for any business to convert online traffic into foot traffic.

One obvious advantage is that mobile internet users have been shown to take more immediate action on their searches in the real world than PC shoppers do.

Current statistics show that Google dominates the mobile search engine market with as much as 96.8% of all mobile searches using Google. This means that the most effective way at the moment to advertise online to mobile internet users is through an optimized Google Places page.

Recent predictions show that by 2015, mobile internet usage will surpass wire line usage. Therefore, having a strong web presence that is mobile-friendly will be vital to all companies in the coming years.

One enduring challenge for most small businesses is finding a way to be competitive in their marketplace. Implementing cost effective strategies to get your company’s message in front of consumers is one of the keys to successfully promoting any business.

Google Places is an avenue that every small business should take advantage of if they really want to compete with the corporate giants in their industry.

Setting up a Google Places listing page is not that difficult. However, it can be daunting and ineffective if not done properly.

Social Media Marketing

Filed in Marketing Guides by on June 16, 2014

The big buzz in online marketing today is Social Media. Chances are that you are more than familiar with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube – and many others. The initial goal of social networking sites was to connect people with relatives, old friends, and colleagues. However, the marketing world is now utilizing this powerful tool to popularize business brands all over the world.

As a small business owner, you can market your business directly to consumers at no cost using various social networking sites. The only thing you need to do to be successful is invest some time to grow and nurture your online following – transforming them into loyal life-long customers.

Social media is one of the fastest growing trends online. In fact, there are more than one billion people in the social media community. You probably already know that many of your customers are socializing online every day.  Therefore, it would be easy for you to use social media to keep them coming back. Even if you only generated 100 new customers or sales through the use of social media, it is well worth the effort. The good news is that you can achieve these types of goals without spending an arm and leg.

Social media accounts are free to setup and use. This is why many business owners have recently turned to social media to get more website traffic, more customers, and more profits.

Creating Awareness About Your Business

When it comes to prioritizing your marketing strategies, it can be hard to decide what will make the cut. But the problem is that many small business owners usually ignore some of the most powerful strategies, such as Social Media Marketing. Most business owners simply do not have time to delve in this intriguing online concept and its mysterious features. Some of them do not understand what it Social Media is, while others think it’s only for teenagers. However, what they do not realize is that ignoring social media could be a huge mistake.

Look at it this way; a good number of teenagers who joined Facebook in 2007 are in their early twenties now and they are still using Facebook.  Not only are they using Facebook, but so are their children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. People of all ages, races, genders, and income levels are now using Facebook and other social media networking sites.  It does not really matter whether you are a fan of social media or not; statistics and technology determine how businesses should shift their marketing efforts.

Although the ultimate goal of Social Media Marketing is to generate more sales, the approach should be to create awareness about your business. It involves building a relationship with your contacts and reminding them that your business exists. Eventually, many of those contacts will convert into sales.

Is Social Media Worth The Time?

Social media is a very important marketing tool for businesses today. Everywhere you go, people are in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google plus and any other social network that connects people with others. With Facebook alone having 800+ million users, you know that your business needs to jump into the massive social media market. Small businesses have limited resources and it is up to you, the business owner, to find ways and to enhance your business’ presence.

Setting up social media profiles and campaigns can be a little confusing and somewhat time-consuming; but it cannot be ignored. To get started off on the right foot, take a really close look at what type of people you want to target online and then join the social media sites that can put you in touch with them.

Social Media is not a “set-and-forget” type of marketing channel. It will require that you set aside some time to update fresh content and interact with your contacts and customers in order to be effective. After identifying your target group, you need to plan out exactly what type of content you will be using to reach them. This content must be valuable, engaging, interesting, and informative in order to hold their attention.

So, building a social media following is just half the battle. The true value is determined by what you do with them; and the possibilities are endless.

Revolutionizing Small Businesses

Years ago, we all depended on newspapers, billboards, radio and TV for advertisements. That has long since changed with the introduction of various digital online advancements such as social media networks. These are simply websites that were created to help people connect with their friends, family, peers, and other professionals.

Social media has also been responsible for many small businesses, as well as multibillion corporations, to turn their backs on the world of traditional advertising.  As a business owner, you already know that the best way to stay in business is by keeping your existing customers, as well as generating new customers.

Social media is the perfect way to accomplish both goals without breaking the bank. Not only has it revolutionized the way businesses conduct certain activities, it has also changed the lifestyles of many consumers across the world.  People are now spending more time on social media sites than any other type of website online. Not only that, but they are staying connected with businesses that they like and want to do business with.

Therefore, it’s time to take your small business to your target audience.  By consistently communicating with your customers and followers, you will ultimately increase sales and profits.

Social Media Etiquette for Small Businesses

If you are still wondering whether or not you should join the Social Media explosion, you are probably losing potential business to your direct competitors who are using it. The question you should be asking yourself is “how” you should use these powerful networking sites to boost your sales and profits. Social media has definitely gone to places we never thought it could reach in such a short amount of time. Initially starting out as a place for online socialization, social media networks have stepped onto the frontline when it comes to online marketing and advertising.

Before you decide which social networks to join, it is important that you look at the advantages of each one, as well as whether or not a large portion of your target audience is spending time there. In most cases, most of your customers are using sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Twitter. Therefore, these sites should not be ignored.

However, one of the most important pieces of the social media puzzle is “how” you interact with your audience. It is crucial that you do not bombard your audience with constant promotions and irrelevant information. If you do, they will quickly opt-out of your network.  Focus on being consistent with your communications while providing valuation information and offers that your customers want to hear about.

To build a following that will generate new sales for your business, the key is keeping your posts and updates interesting, informative, and engaging. Plan your strategy accordingly and you will soon have a strong, loyal social media following.

Social Media: The Affordable Marketing Solution

It is quite difficult to understand why a small business would want to spend a fortune on conventional advertising when there are new and advanced methods that less expensive and actually generate results. Social media is a prime example. Social media networks are websites that allow people to socialize or connect with friends, family or businesses. There are millions of users on the top social media sites, so they are a goldmine for connecting with consumers.

These sites are free to join and offer a wide variety of features that enhance easy connection and sharing of information. Businesses across the world are steadily joining the various online social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube and many others.

Social media networks are known to influence people, which is why they are so powerful when it comes to marketing. Print and electronic advertising are now financially out of reach for most small businesses today. Not only that, but they are no longer as effective as they used to be.

The good thing about social media that makes it superior to other marketing strategies is the ability for a business to interact with their prospects and customers “directly.”  If you want to maintain your customers while attracting new ones, social media marketing could be the vehicle you need.

Social Media Tips for Small Local Businesses

In a nutshell, social media network sites are used in many different ways by different people. Some use it to meet new friends; some use it to connect with existing friends and family; some use it as a means to simply share information with others.

But what if this “information” was an advertisement for your business? Social media networks are free to join, which gives them an immediate advantage over other marketing and advertising methods that usually cost thousands of dollars while generating minimal results.

If you are planning to use social media to market your business, there are a few steps you should take before jumping in.

* The first thing you need to do is conduct a research that will show you where your target audience is spending most of their time.  This will help you decide which social networks you should use to start building your social media marketing campaigns.

* After deciding which networks to use, you should take some time to learn about each network and identify the features you will use introduce your business to the community.

Statistics show that many people will see something on social media networks and visit the related business if it is in their local area.

The Viral Nature of Social Media Marketing

Social media refers to websites that allow users to interact with other people by sharing information. Social media sites across the web have a massive amount of users: LinkedIn has around 100 million users, Twitter boasts of well over 100 million users, and Facebook takes the lead with approximately 800 million active users.

These numbers alone show you the potential power that social media can bring to small businesses that want to reach out to consumers.   For instance, if you had immediate, daily contact with 100 local consumers through social media, you will have the opportunity to build a relationship with them on a consistent basis. What could this do to your bottom line?

Not only that, but social media platforms are setup in a way that will allow your audience to do some of the marketing for you. For example, let’s say you post a status update that involves new products and services on your Facebook Fan Page. Your fans can easily share this with their friends, family, and other contacts with a click of a button.

This is known as “going viral” in the social media world. Before you know it, this new product or service has been exposed to thousands of people; many who will end up coming into your establishment to make a purchase. To attract more attention, you can use coupons and special offers in your social media circle. Although many people will visit your store just to redeem the offer, many of them will end up making additional purchases as well.

Social Media is the one of the easiest ways to interact with your prospects and customers directly. Technology has made social media an inevitable phenomenon and as a small business owner, there is no choice other than to embrace it and utilize its features to expand your business and increase profits.

Using Social Media to Promote Your Small Business

Since the internet was first introduced, the world has become consumed with all of the digital and technological advances it has to offer. The most significant revolution in the internet phenomenon is Social Media.

Communication has been made easy, instant, and affordable through the use of many different social media networking websites. Social media marketing is an emerging trend that has proven to be effective and it is here to stay despite the fact that many people doubted its power just a few years ago.

Social media networks have become a necessity for most people today, so businesses have to adjust and start finding ways to market to this group of people. For instance, as a local business owner, many of your local consumers spend a great deal of time every day on social media sites. If your goal is to generate more customers and sales, then you should not ignore social media and what it can do for your business.

Since you run a small business, your budget is probably tight these days and traditional advertising methods are not within your reach like they used to be. So why not consider the use of social media networks to reach your customers and attract new ones?

Some forms of technology are here to stay and the internet is one of them. Moreover, as long as the internet is alive and kicking, so is social media. You may not care about social media on a personal level, but from a business perspective, it could be the one thing you need to boost sales and profits.

Why Social Media is the Answer for Small Businesses

According to independent surveys, businesses with social media connections generate more leads compared to businesses that have not included social media in their marketing strategy. Social media is a suitable venture for small businesses for a number of reasons.  The first reason is the fact that small businesses do not have the same budgets as large corporations to pay for expensive advertising. Social media is, therefore, an effective alternative for smaller businesses with fewer marketing dollars available to spend.

There are billions of social media users today. This creates a wide audience and a hot market for you to interact with on a consistent basis. However, you will need to do some background work before implementing business strategies revolving around social media networks.  It is important to research different social media sites and then figure out the best way to incorporate them to your business marketing plan.

Social media is a new vehicle that small businesses can use to propel success.  It is safe to assume that over the next few years, it will have a really strong hold on the marketing industry. So it is wise to start now so you are ahead of your competitors.

Most people hear “Social Media” and immediately think of Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks of this caliber. These social platforms are the most popular, but this is not the final list by far. There are a lot of different social media platforms online. Depending on your type of business, you should do some research to see which ones fits your type of business best. However, using the top social media sites would be a good start. Chances are, most of your target audience is already logging into these sites every single day.

Social Media Statistics

There are incredible opportunities for small businesses who utilize the power of social media. We will look at actual numbers just to show you how powerful it has become. As you’ve probably noticed, social media constantly changes year after year.  The good news is that people are embracing it and moving right along with it every time it changes. Even people who are 50+ in age are jumping into social media at staggering rates. Therefore, as a small business owner, most of your customers and prospects are using it, so it’s time to reach them through this amazing marketing channel that is already made for you.

The most popular social media sites that you can take advantage of include:

* Facebook
* Twitter
* LinkedIn
* Google Plus

2011 was a good year for social media networks; Facebook hit the 800 million users mark with 200 million fans joining in a one-year period. Twitter and LinkedIn both are enjoying over 100 million users. There are approximately 2 billion internet users in the world and at least 50% of them use social networks. This shows you just how much social media has taken the internet world by storm. Below are a few quick, but interesting take outs covering social media statistics for the year 2012:

2012 Statistics: Facebook & Twitter Alone

* Facebook, the most popular social media network, has approximately  800+ million users

* The average Facebook user will have a minimum of 130 friends and will like about 80 pages

* On average, 3.5 billion content pieces are shared via Facebook

* Approximately 56% of consumers have reported that they will recommend a certain brand after becoming a fan of the related page.

* Approximately 77% of consumers have admitted that they interact with businesses on Facebook before purchasing their products

* Approximately 50% of Facebook users will log on every single day

* Approximately 55% of users use their mobile phone to access the Twitter platform

* Approximately 34% of business marketers have managed to generate leads using Twitter

General Social Media Statistics

A study by Nielsen shows the following:

* Approximately 80% of Americans use social media networks

* Internet surfers will spend a considerable amount on social networks as compared to other websites

* About 40% of the people will use their mobile phone devices to access social media networks

* Social media fans are more influential and active offline

Experian released a report on the use of social media and these are some of the highlights:

* About 129 million, or 91% of American adult internet surfers, use social media networks every  month

* An average Facebook user will spend at least 20 minutes every time they log into their accounts

* Approximately 20% of social media users are more likely to visit other social media sites after they exit from one

The above statistics are more than just mere numbers. They are an actual representation of just how much social media has impacted our daily lives. From these numbers, you can see that one of the best ways to reach out to your prospects and customers, without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising, is via social media.

Your business can easily communicate with your prospects through social networks and convert them into long-term customers. Your audience can get information on your new products, as well as give feedback on products and services they’ve purchased for you.

It is also a great way to build customer reviews. You should encourage your satisfied customers to go online to social media sites and give a review. Online reviews are instrumental in influencing consumer buying decisions these days. Most people go online to do a little research before they purchase anything.

So it would benefit your business to have a lot of glowing reviews online for everyone to see.
And let’s not forget about Online Reputation Management. Social media allows business owners a way to monitor and respond to what is being said about them online. With a strong social media presence, you will be given a chance to catch and correct any customer service issues that may be made public by an unhappy customer.

With the right approach, local businesses can build a healthy relationship with their customers, as well as with other like-minded companies through the use of social media. In a nutshell, it could be the key to creating more sales and profits funnels into your business. The number of social media users is projected to increase substantially in 2012 with more than 100 million additional people joining the various networks.
As you can see, when it comes to attracting new customers and prospects, social media must be a part of the plan if you want to grow and expand your local customer reach.

We can no longer look at social media networks only as a thing for the “young generation” to express themselves. We have to look at it as a powerful marketing and advertising vehicle that can take your business to the next level without damaging your wallet.

Let’s take a closer look at the most popular Social Media Networking site today …


Before you explore this phenomenon that has stirred up the internet and the social media world, it is important to understand what Facebook really is and its relevance to the marketing industry. Facebook is a social media network that is causing ripples on the web. This website was created with the intention of helping people connect with family and friends. Starting out as a college network site, Facebook has come a long way. In fact, it is now at the top of the list when it comes to influential social media networks.

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook, which was known as “thefacebook” back then. The site was an instant hit on campus (Harvard) and slowly expanded to other colleges. With the rapid success, Zuckerberg included two other students to assist him with his new found business. Together, they churned out this nationwide networking website geared mostly towards college students.

However, today, Facebook is used by most people around the world. Facebook gives its users the ability to create profiles so that they can share information about themselves. This includes Fan Pages, which are mostly used by businesses who want to market their companies.

One of the most powerful features of Facebook is the ability for fans and friends to comment on profiles and Fan Pages. This feature has played a huge role in turning Facebook into the ultimate place for businesses to engage with their customers and prospects. While consumers can easily get the information they need on products and services, businesses enjoy the cheap advertising and exposure.

Why Use Facebook in Marketing?

Facebook is the number one social networking site with a massive number of daily users. The website allows businesses to create Fan Pages and use banners to set up advertisements in order to market their businesses and interact with consumers.

Facebook Trends and Statistics

The Following statistics (by Vabsite) show the numbers behind the success of Facebook in the Social media world:

* Facebook has over 800 million active profiles with 25% of these joining in a single year (2011)

* 50% of all Facebook users log into their accounts every day

* An average user has about 130 friends

* Facebook users spend 700+ billion minutes on this site every month

* Facebook has 900+ billion pieces of content that its users interact with; this includes “groups,” “events and community,” and Fan Pages

* An average Facebook user “likes” about 80 pages

* An average Facebook user will create about 90 content pieces in a month

* Ever since the launch of plugins, approximately 10,000 new sites integrate with Facebook on a daily basis

* Facebook has more than 70 translations

Facebook Mobile Usage Statistics

* There are more than 25% Facebook users who access the platform using mobile phones

* Facebook mobile users are two times more active as compared to non-mobile phone users

* More than 200 mobile phone service providers in 60 different countries are working towards promoting Facebook mobile products

Statistics Showing Why Facebook is Here to Stay

* With over 800 million active users, 1 out of every ten people on earth is using Facebook

* Statistics based on “users” and “page views” puts Facebook in the number 2 spot – second to Google, yet ahead of Yahoo and YouTube

* For every one minute on Facebook, users will share 50,000 links, tag 65,000 photos, post 80,000 wall posts, update 95,000 statuses, and post 500,000
comments to either affirm or disparage them

* American Facebook users make up to ¼ of the total users in the world

Business Marketing through Facebook

Looking at the statistics above, you can see why both large and small businesses are turning to Facebook as an effective and affordable advertising method. Facebook users have started using this network to check out local businesses and what they have to offer. A user will browse through local restaurants, salons, flower shop, fashion shop, etc. and you want to be among the results they find.

Most of the people who use Facebook are quite active offline. This means that they are potential customers who will buy anything they think is cool once they see it on Facebook – especially from a “local” business. Therefore, if you run a local business, it is important for you to be active on Facebook now that you know the numbers involved.

Fan pages are easy to create and will not cost you a dime if you do it yourself. However, to really get the best Fan page that will fully engage your audience, it may be best to hire a professional who has extensive knowledge about Facebook marketing.  While creating a Fan page is the first step, the hard part is connecting with customers. You will need consistency and the ability to dedicate some time to build a loyal following of fans. You will need to communicate often in order to keep their attention and increase your sales.

Once you create a Facebook Fan page, you will need to let people know that you have it. One easy and quick way to do it is to put a Facebook icon on your website that is linked to your Fan Page. Another way is to include a Facebook logo in your print advertisements and any other marketing methods you use.

There are very successful companies using Facebook to increase sales and build a following. While your business will not be an instant hit with millions of fans overnight, you can eventually build a strong foundation and Facebook presence that will pay off.  If you really want to build a relationship with your customers through interaction and communication, Facebook is the way to go.  Start by creating a Fan page and load it up with valuable, relevant information that your target audience will enjoy.

Next up: Google Plus

Google Plus is the latest social networking website to hit the internet. The fact that it is from Google should have been enough evidence to prove that it would be a big thing; just like other products from Google. hough the site is still young, all Gmail users have instant access to Google Plus, which is partly responsible for the rapid rise in users. Some experts have said that Google Plus is more engaging and compelling than Facebook due to its easy sharing and connection features.

Google Plus, most of the time abbreviated as G+ or Google+, is a new social networking and identity services site run by Google. Originally, the site was opened in June, 2011 but was soon closed due to overwhelming numbers demanding for new accounts. Google Plus was later opened in September to people of age 18 years and above without the need for invitations.

Google Plus is the integration of a number of existing services such as Google Buzz and Google Profiles, with an introduction of new services such as Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, among many others. On a wide scope, Google Plus is viewed as Google’s idea to compete with Facebook; a rival social media network with more than 800 million users. In fact, Google Plus is Google’s fourth attempt to dominate the social media world.

But they may have cracked the code this time. There are very interesting features offered by Google Plus, which is the reason why it is causing so much buzz online. Before you start wondering why you need Google Plus in your business, we should look at some statistics showing its progress and where numbers stand now.

The Explosive Growth of Google Plus:

* By mid-July 2011, Google Plus had grown to 10 million users, which happened over a period of two weeks of launching. After four weeks, they had reached 25 million users.

* Google Plus had reached 40 million users by October 2011 and the year ended with 90 million users (Larry Page)

* Approximately 60% of all the Google Plus users log into their accounts on a daily basis

* Approximately 80% of Google Plus users log into their accounts once a week

* Google Plus has a little over 1 million business pages

* Google Plus popularity has been on an upward trend with a quarter of its users joining in December 2011 alone (

* An analysis from ComScore, shows that the US is the biggest market for Google Plus; closely followed by India

* In just less than a day, the Google Plus iPhone application made it to the most popular application offered by the Apple app store free of cost

* The age bracket for most Google Plus users is 25 to 34 years

With these statistics, you better believe that Google Plus is so far, the fastest growing social network site today. Let’s take a look at a few of the other popular Social media sites:

* Facebook has 800+ million users

* Twitter boasts of well over 100 million users

* LinkedIn has 100+ million users

As you can see, Google Plus is right behind them with 90+ million users even though it is still in its infancy. Don’t be surprised if you find it in the second place by the end of 2012. According to Google officials and independent statistics, Google Plus has been deemed the fourth largest social media network in the world.

Google Plus Features

The different features available on Google Plus are extremely efficient and engaging. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features that Google Plus has to offer:

* Circles: this is a feature that allows users to share information through organizing contact groups. The sharing can be done across the many Google services. The circles include family, acquaintances, friends, and following, which is a good way to follow celebrities or public figures.

* Hangouts: this feature enables users to chat with each other (up to 10 users at a time) using video chat applications.

* Sparks: this is a feature that allows users to identify topics they might be interested in and then share them with other users. It allows users to remain updated on topics they are interested in.

These are just a few of the many features that are offered by Google Plus. You will have to become a member of this amazing social media network to learn how the other applications work and how you can take advantage of this site to improve your business.

Relevance to Small Businesses

It is not a question of whether or not you want to join Google Plus as a business owner. The most important thing in your business is marketing and knowing where your customers are. In this internet-controlled world, you should use any means necessary to reach your customers online.

To be successful in marketing your local business, you have to move with technology and even if you only attract 10 new customers via Google Plus, the account is worth it. In efforts to maintain a customer base and attract new prospects you should be in constant communication with them. Google Plus gives your business an opportunity to take your marketing messages where your target audience is spending their time.

Google Plus is as effective as any of the three major social networks and can assist your small business a great deal. If you are looking to boost your business, you should conduct research to see how many potential customers you can reach through the use of Google Plus. This could be the next big thing in Internet marketing, so don’t get left behind.

Next up: LinkedIn

When most people talk about “Social Media,” they only concentrate on Facebook and Twitter. While these are the biggest social media sites, they are certainly not the only ones doing well. LinkedIn has managed to gather approximately 100 million users and is now one of the most influential social media networks on the internet.

You have probably received an invitation to LinkedIn from a friend or peer over the past few years. Did you accept? Do you even have a LinkedIn account? If not, you are missing out on a huge networking opportunity. Many local businesses ignore this platform simply because they don’t understand how powerful it can be for exposing and growing their businesses.

LinkedIn is the most popular social networking sites when it comes to online “business networking”. It is a platform that allows business people and professionals all over the world, regardless of their industry, to connect with other professionals.

It is a great environment where individuals connect with multiple like-minded individuals who share interests in the business and professional world.  LinkedIn users can even display updates on recent projects and give other users an opportunity to see what they are working on.  The aim of the connection is to share information, market products and services, find jobs, form business-to-business relationships, and much more. LinkedIn is basically free to use, but has premium paid packages that contain more functionality.

LinkedIn works similar to other social networks. You join by simply signing up and then creating a profile which should include any information about yourself that you want to share; such as, employment history, education, achievements, and more. You can then easily link your account to other social network sites, websites and blogs to increase exposure to your profile.

LinkedIn Statistics

Statistics aggregated by Amodiovalerio verde show the following numbers:

* LinkedIn has approximately 147 million members.

* The standard Linked in member is aged 25 to 54 years old.

* 66% of LinkedIn members are located in Europe and N. America.

* LinkedIn’s members have grown by 45% worldwide compared to January 2011.

* Over 40% of members of LinkedIn are employees in companies that employ 10,000+ employees.

Quantcast has the following statistics:

* LinkedIn has more than doubled their monthly visits to 94.3 million in Sept 2011 from 45.8 million in 2010.

* Quantcast breaks down LinkedIn visitors to addicts, regulars and passersby. Addicts account for 1% of members and will use LinkedIn on a daily basis for interaction. Regulars account for 33% of the users and will use the site for interaction more than once but less than 30 times in a period of one month. Passersby accounts for the other 66% and they will visit the site or interact with media only once in a period of one month.

* Approximately 26% of LinkedIn members are between the ages of 18 and 34, while members between the ages of 35 and 50 account for 70% of total members.

* Approximately 75% of members are college graduates and roughly 39% of LinkedIn members earn more than $100,000 every year.

What this Means for Your Business

From these numbers, you can draw a simple conclusion; LinkedIn is an important part of social media that can boost your business if approached properly. LinkedIn is here to stay so you can confidently direct your efforts to improving your business through this powerful social media tool. Imagine being able to keep track of industry developments and related news just by logging into your LinkedIn account. Connecting with other businesses in your industry can prove to be a very profitable thing.  It provides great opportunities in terms of business ventures that would have been missed without it.

For instance, if you run a Fashion Design business, you can connect with groups in this line of business. Doing so will allow you to gain access to a wealth of information as well as connect with other related businesses in that field, such as marketers and distributors who can help expand your company even further.

If you are searching for highly qualified employees, then LinkedIn is one way to find them. LinkedIn is a platform that has a large number of freelancers and job-seekers who possess skills that can take your business to new horizons. The success of LinkedIn is fueled by the profile you create and how much you reach out to other people.

In other words, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are more geared towards “social networking,” while LinkedIn is more geared towards “business connections.”  With multiple opportunities in hand, small business owners have the power to better their businesses using LinkedIn. It is a great marketing tool that is worth learning if you are serious about growing your business.

With so many different social networks on the internet, it may be hard for you to decide which ones you should use. While LinkedIn may not seem important, it could be the missing link you need to take your business to the next level.

Setting up your LinkedIn profile correctly can be somewhat time-consuming and confusing if you’re not familiar with the platform. Not only that, but once it is setup, you have to use it the right way in order to build relationships, which also takes time.

Next up: Twitter

If you read newspapers, listen to radio stations, or watch TV, at some point you must come across the term “Follow me on Twitter”. Although these words are widely used, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand Twitter. It is not that they are not technically savvy; it is simply because they think Twitter is complicated, but it is not. In fact, it’s one of the easiest social media sites to use.

You can’t deny that “Twitter” is a funny name that leaves a lot of people scratching their heads. However, Twitter is the 2nd largest social media networking site online with more than 100 MILLION users. On Twitter, users can create short blog posts called “Tweets,” which allow them to tell others what they are doing.

The posts can only be up to 140 characters, which is about the same length as a text message on your mobile phone. These short posts are used to communicate, connect, and conduct conversations with your audience without saying a whole lot. To make new contacts on Twitter, you must “follow people” or “be followed.” To connect with someone, whether it is a family member, friend or celebrity, just click on the “follow” button.

Going forward, all of their messages, or “Tweets,” will appear on your list of messages from people you follow.  If a person follows you, then your Tweets will appear in their timeline. Most of the Tweets posted are not addressed to any particular individual and usually contain information that the Tweeter wants to share with all of their followers.

You are probably starting to see how Twitter gives small business an easy and fast way to advertise new products and/or services with assurance that consumers will see them; of course, the businesses will need to have followers in order to make the messages worthwhile.

Twitter Statistics

Twitter came alive in 2006 when the first Tweet was sent on March 21st. Ever since then, Twitter has been growing rapidly both in numbers and engagement. The statistics (by Twitter blog) show the extent by which this popular social network has been growing.

* It only took three years, two months and a day for Twitter to get its billionth Tweet

* Twitter users send approximately 150 million Tweets every day; and that number is steadily increasing

* Twitter has more than 100 million users with a possible significant increase in 2012

* 55% of users use their mobile phone to access the Twitter platform

An in-depth analysis by Sysomos Inc. revealed the following information:

* 65% of all Twitter users are comprised of people aged 25 years and below

* About 92.4% of users follow 100 people or less. 97.8% follow 400 people or less. 0.94% of users follow 1000+ people.

* 93.6% users have 100 followers and below. 98% have 400 followers and below while 1.35% have more than 500 users with 0.68% having 1000+ followers

* Twitter users tend to Tweet more with the increase of followers. A Twitter user with 1000 followers will Tweet an average of 6 times while one with 1,750+ followers will Tweet an average of 10 times

* US is the most active country when it comes to Twitter activities

Tweet Your Way to Success

As mentioned earlier, Twitter is similar to text messaging, but the difference of course being that you can reach a much wider audience using Twitter. Social networks are in the frontline of transforming businesses by giving them a way to connect with potential customers. A large number of your customers probably use Twitter; so this is a great way to keep in touch with them.

After creating a Twitter account for your local business, you will have made the first and most important step in social media marketing. The next step will be to gather followers. While this will not be a cup of tea for everyone, the efforts you put into the campaign will pay off at the end of the day. Large corporations can get a couple of millions followers in a day, but smaller businesses can get any number between 10 and 100 in a day, which is still a great achievement.

You also need to integrate Twitter in all your advertising strategies including print advertising and internet marketing. If you have a business website, include a “Follow Me on Twitter” image link on it so that anyone who visits your website can click on it and become a “follower.” Since Twitter is meant to allow people say what they are doing, you can easily Tweet a message about the latest developments in your business with a few short words. If more information is needed, include a link to your website or blog where they can learn more.

You can even Tweet special offers from time to time to generate sales from your Twitter following.  Your main task will be to create awareness and to let people know that you have a Twitter account.  Now, your customers, prospects, and peers can follow you for fresh updates regarding your business industry.

With a growing numbers of followers, your business will start enjoying a wide audience and consequently cheap advertising. There is no better way to market your business than a method that gives you a chance to interact with your customers and potential customers directly. Not only that, but you will also be able to get feedback on your products from your customers as well as suggestions on how to make your products or services even better.

Twitter is an important piece of the social marketing world and it can be a powerful tool for your business as well.  Many of your customers probably access the Twitter platform every day, so it is definitely worth your while to implement into your marketing strategy. Create your account, build a list of followers, and turn them into loyal customers.  Even though Twitter usage goes beyond business usage, it is definitely an avenue that should not be ignored.