Free Ways to Get Website Traffic in 2014Ã, 

Getting traffic to your website is something that takes dedication and time. The things that worked in 2013 will still work in 2014, but you’re going to have to do more of it. There is more competition than ever before, and with the improvement of search engine algorithms you’ll need to provide more value than ever before to your audience.

Publish More Relevant Content

Content has always been king, and nothing has changed. You need to blog daily, if possible, and work on providing content in other ways, too – such as relevant article directories, guest blog posts, eBooks, and more. The more relevant and unique content you can dish up to your audience, the better. Studies show over a 90 percent increase in traffic for websites that have blogs with new content at least 20 days out of the month. Another hint – when it comes to content, focus on long-tail keywords. You can use a tool like HitTail.com to help you.

Participate More on Social Media

Your audience has caught on to automation and they don’t like it. It’s important that you participate in social media by engaging your audience more. Speak directly to them via social media networks, and leave the sales pitch for your sales pages on your website. If you’ve noticed the “likes” going down, and the engagement going down on your social media networks, it’s your fault. Get involved and you’ll see it improve.

Join More Groups and Forums

Ok, don’t just join. Get involved. Your intelligent comments on groups, forums (and even blog post discussions) will get you more traffic. Don’t just say “good post” or something like that; say something that is relevant to what the discussion was about. Put your expert hat on and truly participate in groups and forums to the best of your ability.

Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There are a lot of aspects of SEO that most websites don’t have. If you improve your SEO using Google Webmaster Tools and Guidelines, you’ll drastically improve the traffic to your website. Google tells you exactly what to do and if you do it (at least 80 percent of it), you’ll get more traffic than the others who aren’t doing even 30 percent of what they should. It might seem shocking, but many websites are built without any thought to SEO at all.

Become an Expert in Your Niche

You already want to do this, no doubt. But today there are many ways you can become an expert. You can get published – either via Kindle, or on one of the expert tutorial sites like eHow.com, or Geekpedia.com. You can create a course on one of the course websites like Udemy.com. You can post your presentations for free viewing on YouTube or Slideshare.net. The more places you put your content in a professional way, the more you’ll be viewed as an expert and the more traffic you’ll bring to your website.

A combination of these activities will get you more traffic in 2014. Don’t just stop at one of these ideas. Incorporating as many of them as possible will blow your current traffic out of the water.

Free versus Premium Responsive Design Themes

You’ve started a blog or a website and you’re excited to use WordPress because, after all, it’s free. There are many wonderful free themes that you can use to build your website or blog. There are even free responsive design themes from which to choose to build your online empire. But, like most things that are free, you get what you pay for.

Free Themes Aren’t Kept Current

Most theme designers put out a free theme in the hopes that you’ll upgrade to their premium version. Therefore they don’t typically update their older free themes, which can make you vulnerable to security issues. Not only that – you may not be able to use the newest and best plug-ins to increase the functionality of your site.

Free Themes Often Have Poor Code

In addition to the other problems with free themes, the code isn’t usually as clean as with premium themes. There will likely be bugs and structure issues that need to be fixed, but that you cannot fix without upgrading to the premium version. Also, most don’t have the awesome SEO features that premium themes come with out of the box.

Free Themes Don’t Offer As Many Features

In order to be competitive, creators of premium themes often put many features into their themes that the free themes don’t offer. The premium themes often offer community support, FAQs and even one-on-one support that you won’t find with free themes. Premium themes simply work better than free ones. Developers are going to spend more time making the premium theme better to compete in the premium theme marketplace.

Free Themes Have Included Encrypted Links

Many free themes have encrypted links to ads in the footers. Some even have links to gambling and pornographic materials that you might not notice until the ads start popping up when someone is looking at your site. It’s important that you are careful where you get your free themes. Read all the fine print too because you may not have permission to change some aspects of your free theme like you can with a premium theme.

Free Themes May Actually Cost More

When you get something free, often times you will need to spend more time trying to get it to work the way you want it to. When WordPress make updates, and they will, your theme might stop working, and you’re going to have to them go on a search for a better, newer theme which may end up costing you a lot more time than you have.

Finally, with a premium WordPress theme you’ll be able to find more designs that are responsive, work faster, have more navigation choices and more. Due to how fast WordPress evolves, having a premium theme can help you avoid issues with WordPress upgrades. The developer will also be aware of the upgrades and make updates to his or her theme as required to ensure the satisfaction of all who have purchased.

Five Tips for Creating a Positive First Impression

Whether you work from home or work in an office, sometimes you have to conquer the dreaded business meeting. The best way to do well at any business meeting or event is to focus on creating a positive first impression.

1. Research the Audience

Every meeting usually has a specific audience that will go to that meeting. If it’s a more universal type meeting, research the people that you want to connect with. Know some facts about them and how they got their start. They’ll be impressed that you took the time to get to know them before meeting them.

2. Dress Appropriately

Find out what type of clothing people will be wearing to the meeting or event. The more you can fit in due to your mode of dress, the more people will remember you in a positive way. Dress for the position you want is a good refrain, but be careful about the “power” suit or appearing too high above your audience because you want them to remember you, not fear you.

3. Be First

When it comes time to introduce yourself, the person who puts their hand out first and states their name and gives their 30-second introduction is the person who holds the power in the meeting. You should also be first to introduce the person you just met to others as they approach. This makes you seem very important and people will remember you more due to your kindness.

4. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Most people are a little nervous at events or meetings but if you ask each person you meet open-ended questions about themselves and their business, they will be put at ease. And oddly, the more people get to talk about themselves, the more they will remember you. An open-ended question is one that must be answered with a sentence instead of a yes or no answer.

5. Listen Actively

As you meet people and ask those questions, truly listen for their answers. Repeat back to them their name and the things they say in your own words, then ask them good follow-up questions. This will make you seem like the most interesting person at the meeting or event because you are actually listening. And as you repeat things back to the person you’re conversing with, it will also help you remember more about each person that you connect with.

One final way to create a positive first impression is by what happens after the meeting. Always follow up with those whom you met. Use the information on the business cards you collected, or find them online, and connect with them in a new way. Send them a thank you card, or cut out an article and send it to them, or find a creative way to connect with them outside of the meeting. This will make you a truly memorable connection for them.

Five Reasons to Hold an Online Seminar

Online seminars, also called webinars, are very popular for all kinds of businesses today. Online seminars are convenient, inexpensive, and most importantly they are effective. They are a great way to teach others something of value, in person, without having to travel or make room in your calendar. You can host a seminar in your spare time, and your attendees can also attend without worrying too much about the cost or missing work.

1) Build Business Awareness

An online seminar is a great way to get the word out about your business. It’s a great way to build brand awareness. You can host a seminar alone, or with others. You can do them almost impromptu, from any location in the world with an internet connection. With some software, you can even phone in to host the seminar.

2) Grow Your Business

Each person likes to learn in a different way. Some of your audience members probably love reading your blog posts, or downloading your information products. But some people will learn better by attending a live event hosted by you. They like the interaction that is possible with a live event and are more likely to trust you once you hold a live event, thus increasing your sales and growing your business.

3) Expand Your Email List

If you collect email addresses of those who are attending your event, you’ll grow your email list by each attendee who was not on your list previously. If you host a low-cost or free event you’ll get even more attendees and newsletter sign-ups. People are more likely to trust their information with those that they get to interact with on a live basis. Even though your seminar is online, it’s still live and that elicits more trust in you – that you are who you say you are.

4) Establish Your Expertise

Most people are afraid of public speaking. When you embark on public speaking you automatically raise your profile to others because of that widespread fear of public speaking. You will be seen as even more of an expert than you were before due to your public speaking ability and willingness. This is especially true if you’ve created a killer presentation and offer a chance for the audience to ask questions which you answer on the spot.

5) Create New Products

Using a seminar to create new products is a great way to repurpose content that you already have. If you’ve written any how to blog posts or articles or created any videos you can turn these into a seminar, then you can record the seminar and turn that into one or more products to sell at a later date.

Hosting an online seminar can take your business to the next level, giving you social clout, and the expert credentials that you always wanted. You can be giving your first seminar in just six weeks if you start planning for it today.

Five Important Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014

All online marketers need to pay attention to trends in order to keep ahead of the marketing game. As technology advances, marketing tactics will naturally have to evolve. In fact, things change so fast that if you’re still doing the same thing you were just two years ago to market your business online, you’re not paying attention and you could be missing out on some great marketing opportunities.

1. Expect More Change in Search Engine Algorithms

Google is still the number one search engine with over 66 percent market share. Therefore, it’s imperative to pay attention to the changes that Google implements in terms of their search engine algorithms and what they deem important. They want to return relevant searches to their users, while also creating opportunities for paid advertising. Read all updates on Google Webmaster Tools to stay informed, and act accordingly. Don’t be afraid of change.

2. Online Marketing Becomes Even More Visual

Due to the advent of curation sites like Pinterest, and image focused sites like Instagram, visual marketing is more important than ever. Mixing written content with visual representations of your message is an important marketing tool today. It’s easier to share visual depictions of your product or service on social media than text. It also makes blog posts look more interesting and breaks up the text, making your words more interesting.

3. Responsive Design Will Be More Important Than Ever

Mobile technology is more important than ever since mobiles are outselling personal computers by leaps and bounds. It’s estimated that the majority of people will access the internet via mobile technology by 2015 – this is not that far off into the future. It’s important to start now creating responsive online real estate so that the browser or device your customer is using doesn’t matter.

4. More Local Businesses Will Use Online Marketing

According to Google, more businesses are claiming their business listings, which means that more local businesses are starting to see the importance of online marketing. This gives marketers a huge opportunity in terms of bringing local clients on board, but it also poses challenges for online marketers who aren’t necessarily location based. Due to personalized search results, that fact needs to be considered.

5. Flash Is Even More Out-the-Door Ushering in HTML5

The only reason Flash is still being used is because most people did not own HTML5 compatible equipment. However, now that more people have HTML5 technology over Flash technology, the time is coming when Flash will be gone forever. HTML5 is better than Flash because it does all the same things as Flash but works on mobile technology and on different browsers.

Paying attention to these trends in 2014 will help you take your online marketing to the next level. It will keep you from being left behind in the dark ages. The best way to keep in tune with the trends is to read industry news, pay attention to new technology, and follow blogs of leaders within your niche.

Five Conversion Killers

Does your website or sales page turn off potential buyers? If you’re practicing any of these five conversion killers then you need to fix them pronto so that you can see the sales numbers you want to see. Not much is more important than your sales page copy when it comes to converting sales.

Some might even argue that the product almost doesn’t matter. You can convert sales if you can get the sales page right, no matter what the product is. Now of course, you also have a great product, so don’t miss out on sales due to these five conversion killers.

1. Clunky Sentences

Don’t try to be clever in your word usage. Form sentences correctly in the language of your customer and you’ll see a higher conversion rate. Learning to write succinctly takes practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll become. If you aren’t good at it, consider hiring a copywriter to help.

Example: “Learning to write concisely and succinctly takes some practice.”
This sentence can say the same thing more clearly by simply taking out the redundant words. Since “concisely” and “succinctly” mean the same thing, remove one to make the sentence less clunky. The word “some” is also not needed here; it is an unnecessarily qualifier.

2. Features over Benefits

Many would-be successful entrepreneurs get caught in this trap. They love all the features of their product and can’t help but talk about them. They forget that the audience doesn’t care about the features; they care about the benefits. The audience cares about what exactly the product does for them. Describe exactly what problems your products solves and you’ll automatically convert more sales than you would if you focus on features.

3. Unanswered Questions

As you create your sales page, have a list of questions that your audience might ask and try to weave the answers into your product descriptions. Remember that your audience wants to know what’s in it for them. They want to know how your product solves their problems. You need to anticipate your audience’s objections with answers overcoming those objections throughout the sales page copy.

4. Disconnected Images

Most people are very influenced by the images that you choose to put on your sales pages and website. If you choose the wrong images, you could kill their desire to buy. Picking the right images requires you to take the time to ensure that the image accurately represents the product and the written words about the product. In addition, the colors you choose really do matter.

5. Weak CTA (Call to Action)

One of the biggest killers of conversions is the weak CTA. Your call to action is a very important component of every sales page you create – without it, there will be no sales. Your CTA should be direct, different and demanding to be effective. Finally, it should be simple to understand so that they know what to do next. Your CTA should make your audience curious enough to keep moving forward in the process, and it should be a clean and easy process to complete the transaction.

Take the time to go over your sales copy to ensure that you aren’t practicing any of these conversion killers. It only takes minor tweaks to improve conversions and it’s in your power to make these changes today.

Finding and Creating Collaborative Learning Opportunities

Continual learning experiences are important to any business owner. It doesn’t matter whether you have an online business or an offline business – learning is something that you’ll need to do for the rest of your life if you want to become and stay successful. Thankfully, continuing your business education can be a fun social experience if you involve yourself in collaborative learning opportunities.

Finding Learning Communities

* Social media – Use social media to access local groups online. Start with looking at what groups the people you know on Facebook are taking part in. Once you join a few groups on FB, you’ll be exposed to other opportunities to join more communities. LinkedIn also has many groups and opportunities to learn with others. Participating in discussions online this way and in forums is a great way to participate in collaborative learning.

* Local groups Â? There are many different types of groups to become active in locally. Your local chamber of commerce, the women’s business center, your local chapter of SCORE, or the Small Business Majority, are all ways that you can find collaborative learning opportunities that will help you learn more in your business.

Links:
SCORE – http://www.score.org/
Small Business Majority – http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/

* Industry events Â? If you read industry publications, you’ll be notified of industry events and opportunity for collaborative learning events. Sometimes these are weekend retreats, other times you can take part in members’ only online forums that help you learn from your peers and competition.

* Mastermind groups Â? These are usually very small groups that you have to be invited to from someone who is already on the inside. You will likely discover these types of groups from your participation in the above. If you get a chance to take part in a mastermind group, choose one that represents more than just your own niche so that your learning will be broader.

Creating Learning Communities

* Inner circles Â? Do you have a strong following among your audience? If so, create an inner circle. This can be a new income stream, too. All you need is a discussion forum to get started. There is software that can help you such as SocialGO or aMember with a bulletin board system of some sort.

Links:
SocialGO – http://www.socialgo.com/
aMember – http://www.amember.com/

* Social media groups – It’s easy today to start your own social media group with Facebook or LinkedIn. If you have a following at all, invite a few core people to join the initial group. Choose broadly from various niches so that you can learn from each other. Then ask questions of the group and encourage others to as well.

* Local Meetup events Â? Via Meetup.com you can organize and plan your own collaborative learning communities around any topic that you want to. You don’t even have to be the leader, just the organizer. Many people who like to share, network, and learn will sign up for your small Meetup event.

* Teach a course Â? It might sound counterproductive to teach a course to learn collaboratively. But, it is amazing what you can learn from those whom you plan to teach. Plan a course around something you are an expert in, and then always give time for your students to speak up and talk about what they know. You can teach courses and classes by renting a location to do it or check with your local community college or university to see if they let the public teach lifelong learning courses.

Collaborative learning opportunities abound both online and offline. If you keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground, you’ll find out about more opportunities to learn with others such as small events online and offline, inner circles, group coaching and more. When you put together several people from various industries and with different specialties, you’ll be amazed at what the group can accomplish and learn together.

Finding a Professional Voice for Your Content Marketing

Content marketing consists of creating a lot of different types of content, then promoting it on all your online real estate via many means such as social sharing, pay-per-click marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and more. Content marketing is a really great way to get the word out about your products and services in a natural, organic way. But, it’s important to figure out what your point of view is so that you can create a coherent and professional voice for your content marketing.

Figure Out Your Core Values

What is it that you want to say to the world? What is it that you feel is important? Do you want your business to be a beacon of light to your audience, shining down on them, creating joy and happiness? Do you want your business to be a wake-up call and teach lessons for your audience? What do you want your audience to think about when they think of your brand?

Get to Know Your Audience

Marketing is all about what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for you. If you can remember that, for every piece of content you create, you’ll be half way there. Every story you tell – be it through an article you write, a video, or a press release Â? should all be focused with the audience in mind. The best way to do that is truly understand who your audience is by studying them and immersing yourself in everything there is to know about them. How you speak to your audience will be directly related to how well you know them.

Identify the Value You Offer Your Audience

Depending on your products or service, there is some type of value that you are offering such as more time, less worry, or another intrinsic value. Your value might be tangible as well, but usually your value lies in how you solve your audience’s problems and issues. For instance, a breath mint company isn’t selling candy; they are selling fresh breath.

Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

How are you going to stand out from the crowd? One of the ways to do that is to decide how you’ll express your values to your audience. How will you deliver the goods and/or services that you’ve promised? How will you provide more time, more health, more of whatever value your company offers while also sticking to and expressing your core values?

Decide If Your Voice Is Casual or Formal

Once you combine all of the above, you will need to decide if your audience will respond better to a casual or formal voice (or someplace in between). How you speak to your audience is a very important factor in determining if they will understand your message.

Determine Acceptable Lingo and Terms

Once you’ve decided whether your voice is casual or formal or someplace in the middle, you can come up with the type of terms and lingo you’ll use throughout your content marketing, regardless of format. For example: Formal – “I would like to inform you about a sale we are having during Memorial Weekend.” Casual Â? “Hey y’all! Check out my Memorial Weekend price cuts!”

Create Documentation as a Guide

Whether you’ll be creating all the content yourself, or getting help, creating documentation to guide you through the process will help. Be specific about which font to use. Write down the type of words you want to use, too. The terminology, lingo and jargon is important because it will mean something to your audience and help you get your message across in a way it will produce the results you desire.

Don’t Try to Be Someone You’re Not

The worst thing you can do as you’re creating and developing your voice is to try to be someone you’re not. If you are not generally formal, don’t even try to be formal. If you’d feel fake being casual, don’t do it. Be yourself. If you’ve chosen your audience well, it will be easy for you to be who you are and market to them in a successful way using content.

Content marketing is the most effective form of marketing today, bar none. Finding your voice will help make everything easier. You’ll be able to not only create content easier, you’ll also have a guide to help keep it consistent across all marketing channels.

Finding your professional voice for your content marketing doesn’t require that you become someone you’re not. It requires that you learn more about who you are, what your business stands for, and who your audience is. That can only make everything more effective.

Filling the Void Â? How to Decide What Products to Create

As a business owner, one of the first things you have to do is start creating products to sell so that you can make money. The type of products you sell have everything to do with who your audience is, how they shop, how much money they have to spend, and how they prefer delivery to be handled. That’s right; it’s all about your customer, not you. You choose the audience and your niche after much research, then the audience and your niche chooses everything else.

No matter what your business model is, it’s great to have products that you can sell to your audience that are essentially made once, and sold many times. As you know, giving your customers personalized service can take a lot of time, and while you want them to feel as if you are giving them personal care, that personal care could in all reality be very expensive. That’s where products come in.

1. Know Your Audience

All product creation starts with researching the audience. You want to be able to know your audience inside and out. You need to know their hopes, dreams, fears and their joys. What makes your audience tick? If you don’t know, you can’t create products that they want to buy.

2. Define Their Pain Points

As you research your audience, you should be able to identify at least three to four pain points or problems that need to be solved that fit in with your expertise. Once you identify them, you can start creating products to fill those needs.

3. Seek High Demand Low Supply Products

As you research your niche you’ll discover holes in what’s available to help your audience. Ideally, you want to create a product that fills that hole that is in high demand but has a low supply.

4. Understand the Price Points Your Audience Can Afford

Part of understanding who your audience is, is to also know what your audience can afford to pay for various products that you create. Knowing a price point can help you determine what kind of form the product will take, and how much you’ll invest in creating it.

5. Create a Product Funnel

Start with a free or low priced product and move up to a high priced product. An example for a life coach might be a free checklist for signing up to a newsletter, a low cost eReport, a higher cost longer eBook, a higher cost eCourse, a higher cost membership site, and finally the most expensive could be the one-on-one coaching.

6. Limit the Number of Products

Don’t confuse your audience with too many products. Each product should build off the other and answer those pain points you discovered. If your product solves problems for your audience, then the product will be a winner.

If you want to get paid today for work you did six months ago, start creating products exclusively for your audience that match your niche. You will be glad that you did. There will be no void once you start creating products. It doesn’t matter if you’re a service provider, a life coach, or something else entirely – you can find a way to create products that your audience will buy if you go through the steps.

Twelve Types of Facebook Posts That Are Guaranteed to Engage People

Facebook is a social media giant. Without a doubt it’s the most popular social networking site in the world, and in the past ten years it’s managed to get billions of people hooked on the platform. There are many different kinds of Facebook posts but here we’re going to look at Facebook posts that will engage people.

Social networking is all about interacting and if you can’t get people to interact with your posts, you’re probably not doing it right. Let’s take a look at twelve types of Facebook posts that are guaranteed to get people involved.

1. Like or Comment

Facebook is a very visual social network and one way to get people to engage is to post a picture. The next step would be to put two pictures together either side by side or one on top of the other and ask people to “like” if they prefer the option in one picture or “comment” if they prefer the other option.

2. Name Your Favorite

Open-ended questions are one of the easiest ways to drive engagement on Facebook. Asking people what their favorite movie, band or website is could generate a lot of engagement depending on how many people are willing to answer.

3. Caption Contest

Finding a picture that looks like it’s trying to say something funny is always a great time to hold a caption contest. Simply post the picture, ask people to add a caption in the comments and if the picture is good enough you should be getting massive amounts of comments in no time.

4. Looking for Advice

Reaching out for help is a great way to get people to engage with your Facebook page. Asking people what the best way to complete a task such as cooking a food item, building something, training a pet or any other situation that would require input from other people is a great way to drive traffic.

5. Like If You Do This

This post is almost too easy. Facebook users love pictures, so posting a picture of an activity or something people commonly enjoy and asking them to “like” the post if they enjoy it as well will certainly help you. A great example is posting a picture of ice cream and asking people to “like” the picture if they enjoy ice cream too. Honestly, though, who doesn’t love ice cream?

6. Nostalgia Posts

Every generation is different and making people feel nostalgic is a great way to engage users. Questions such as “remember when you had to rewind a video tape to watch a movie?” could be a big hit with the right crowd.

7. What Would You Do?

We as people like to think about what we would do in different situations. Asking people what they would do in certain situations is a great way to get some answers. Questions such as, “What would you do if you had 40 million dollars?” could end up getting you a lot of answers.

8. Fill in the Blank

Fill in the blank posts are also a pretty easy way to get people engaged. Asking someone to fill in the blank in sentences such as “my favorite food is (blank)” is another great way to get people to interact.

9. Post a Picture

It can’t be emphasized enough that Facebook users love photos. A great way to get people involved is to have them post a photo of their own. Post a status asking people to post a picture of their favorite vacation spot in the comments and watch how many responses you get.

10. Recommendations

Need a new website to visit? How about a new book to read or movie to watch? A great way to get people involved is to ask for recommendations and you might actually end up finding something you like.

11. Name Something without the Letter (Blank) in It

Surely you’ve seen these types of posts before. Someone posts a status or picture asking you to name a fruit or vegetable without the letter “a” in its name. This is a fun way to keep people involved and almost always gets the type of reaction you’re looking for.

12. Yes or No?

It might seem simple but yes or no questions are an easy way to get people talking. Even the simplest question such as asking people if they like pizza and telling them to respond with yes or no could work like a charm.

As you can see by the examples above, Facebook is a highly interactive website. You need to constantly engage people to keep them interested in your page and if you use some of the examples above you should get plenty of people talking. What are you waiting for? Go give a few of these a try.

Newbie Internet Marketing Without Getting The Online Bends!!