Archive for Blog
How would you like to generate income for your business with little or no effort involved? Does this sound too good to be true? Of course it does but, actually, it’s not. For many websites and blogsites, the creation of passive revenue streams is a great way to pay for the services required to maintain them, making their maintenance a zero-sum game.
Affiliate marketing and passive revenue
For more than a decade now affiliate marketing has been the most effective means for generating passive revenue streams for bloggers and online marketers. While some affiliate programs require many hours of work to generate appreciable income, many of these programs require no work at all, or perhaps minimum maintenance to ensure the links are working properly. Some of the least labor-intensive yet rewarding are the affiliate programs offered by the purveyors of the very services you will be using to promote and maintain your online efforts.
In its most basic form, an affiliate program will pay you a fee or commission for conversions which reach them from your website or blog. Whether they wish to merely generate traffic or actual sales, the standard for conversions is determined by them and they will track them for you and pay you automatically. It is a very cost-effective form of advertising for the vendor and requires almost no effort on your part. Simply place their ad on your site and get paid for every conversion.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best types of affiliate programs:
- Products or services that you use on-site – such as web hosting services, email marketing services, shopping cart services, etc.
- Products or services you might review and recommend – such as the computer and other hardware you use, your favorite operating system, word processing and spreadsheet software, new products and services, etc.
- Products or services you might use in your personal life – such as a cleaning service, a child care facility, a realtor’s service, etc.
With just a little research you can find all sorts of affiliate marketing programs online; programs which require very little thought and effort on your part but which, by generating traffic to your own site, can lead to a passive revenue stream that just might pay for all the work you’ve done to create an interesting online presence, and may lead to much more than that.
If you would like some help creating your own affiliate marketing program, or in joining a few, get in touch with VBSOnDemand today for a free consultation.
VBSOnDemand is an All Star – Woo Hoo!
What a pleasant surprise it was yesterday when I went to my email inbox and discovered that Constant Contact, my very favorite Email Marketing Service Provider, had named me and VBSOnDemand one of their Constant Contact All Stars for 2102. Wow, I’ve never been an All Star before – except in my own mind, of course.
So, you may be curious, what does it mean to a Constant Contact All Star?
First, it means that I have helped my clients – that would be YOU – by keeping in touch with them regularly, offering valuable information, and letting you know what I can do to help you improve your own business. I have also managed to stay in touch with you through the social network, with regular posts to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and you have responded by following the links I have offered and by clicking-trough to the information sites I have provided.
I’ve been a Big Fan of Constant Contact for quite some time now, I’ve been an affiliate for 4 years in fact, and believe strongly in their Email Marketing Program; for myself and for you.
Not only is the system extremely user-friendly, the tracking and reports are super helpful, their list-building is unequaled, and the reliability of their delivery system can’t be beat. With their beautiful Newsletter Templates and Easy Editing features, publishing a regular newsletter is just about as easy as it can be, and their Email Autoresponder works flawlessly at helping you to build your list.
So, now that a company like Constant Contact agrees with me that I really am an All Star, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with me today for a free consultation on how I can help you become an All Star in your own marketing niche.
Serena Carcasole, All Star VA and Online Marketing Consultant
Many website owners fear the idea of keyword research, either the because of the expected expense or because they simply do not understand its value. Since w e tend to fear what we do not understand, or at least to avoid it, it’s prudent for anyone with an online presence to understand the basics of keyword research and it inherent value.
Keywords are the map the search engines use to find you
Quality keyword research and analysis will also provide you with the same map the search engines use. This way, you can direct them more effectively to your site. You will know which phrases actually receive a good number of daily searches, as well as the level of competition for each phrase. You may even discover exactly which site you will be forced to compete with, helping you to understand which phrases are worth some effort, and which are not.
First, it’s important to remember who the search engines’ clients are. No, sorry, it’s not you and your lovely, expensive, state-of-the-art website. In fact, their client is the same as yours – the searcher; or the potential customer. Once you understand this, it becomes clear that keywords are not some mysterious combination of words and phrases that magically bring visitors to your site; they are simply the search terms that have been used to find you; which makes them the phrases you will target for increased traffic. Easy peazy, right?
Second, targeted keywords are the phrases you believe will bring you increased traffic. Discovering these phrases is the goal of any quality keyword research project, which is where the analysis comes in. Simply knowing whether a particular phrase receives a good number of searches is not enough. You must also know the amount of competition on the web for these particular targeted phrases.
Third, a quality keyword research and analysis project will tell you who your competition is, the phrases that are being used to find your site, and how difficult it will be to make a move into the top ten Google search results for your targeted phrase. You really don’t want to go up against the McDonald’s or Coca Cola of your niche do you? You should choose phrases which will result in movement up the search results page, and you can only do this by knowing which of your targeted phrases will be effective in helping you do so.
Not all keywords are valuable
When beginning a website, especially on a tight budget, many site owners will try to pick a logical group of phrases to use as keywords. On its face, this makes perfect sense – you guess. But, what if those who are searching for what you have to offer do not think the same way you do? What of their search terms do not coincide with your chosen keywords? Or, what if someone else has been using that phrase for years, and they have been at #1 on Google for years? What are your chances of removing them?
Below is an example of just such a list of phrases from a client who guessed at the keywords for her site. As you can see, most of the phrase had no searches, while the rest had too much competition for such a young site. In other words, all of her efforts at optimizing her site for this list of keywords had been wasted. Just money – and effort – down the drain. (Dashes (-) are equal to zero traffic for that phrase.)
|Seed Keyword List (Original KW List)||SEO Traffic (Broad match)||SEO Traffic (Phrase match)||SEO Competition from websites|
|7 steps to practice success & profitability||-||-||1|
|comprehensive dental consulting||-||-||7|
|comprehensive management consultant||-||-||4|
|dental practice advisor||1||0||3150|
|dental practice analysis and assessment||-||-||0|
|dental practice management||250||75||329,000|
|dental practice marketing||33||12||92,100|
|dental practice monitoring||-||-||5|
|dental practice solution(s)||-||-||261|
To avoid wasting your time and money on useless keywords, you should invest in quality keyword research and analysis. Whether you take the time to learn to do it yourself or pay to have it done for you, keyword research is critical to your online success. You can’t afford not to do it.
If you are looking for help with keyword research and analysis for your website view our Keyword Research Services.
As if the recent changes to Google are not enough to make us sweat our SEO strategy, the way we are allowed to use keywords is changing too. In the second decade of the 21st Century, the rules of SEO are going through a major transformation as Google, Bing, and the other search engines work hard to improve the search experience for everyone.
Does this mean that SEO is dead? Not by a long shot, but SEO is changing, for sure.
Beyond the major changes Google has made to their search techniques, through the implementation of their Panda and Penguin updates, the search giant has also developed an increasingly narrow focus on the way keywords are used. The other search engines have followed Google’s lead. Doing this makes a great deal of sense since, whenever the search engines implement a new strategy for improving the search experience, unprincipled, self-styled “SEO experts” immediately begin to develop work-arounds which will allow them to game the system. As the two forces battle for effective search results, the rest of us are caught in the middle, trying to figure out how to respond to rules which keep changing.
Using targeted keyword phrases in your content is still critical to SEO success, you just need to modify the ways you use them, for example…
- The definition of “keyword stuffing” has changed – dramatically in the past year or so. Whether you think this is fair or not is immaterial. Google makes the rules for search results and we must follow them or be left out in the cold – and off the search results page.
- 3 has replaced 3% – for keyword density. For years Google has claimed that they had no magic number for keyword density and now, finally, this is true. In spite of Google’s claim to the contrary, SEO experts have for years taught us to use a keyword density of about 3%. Today, this density may actually get you a penalty from Google. Instead, use your targeted keyword 3 times in your text, at the beginning, the middle, and the end – and stop there.
- Multiple keywords have replaced density – for effective usage of targeted phrases. Using 2-3 targeted keyword phrases sparingly has replaced using one phrase frequently as the best practice standard. To avoid being labeled a “stuffer,” use 2-3 phrases 2-3 times each and avoid overusing one phrase frequently.
- Don’t stuff your image “alt tag” – if you want to avoid a Google penalty. Rather than placing your targeted keyword behind an image in the “alt tag” area, choose another phrase that is close, but not the same. Using the same phrase in the image HTML can get you labeled as a “stuffer,” so take care with the phrase you use here too.
- Meta descriptions matter – again. Do not ignore the value of the Meta description you use for your posts and pages. These should be crafted just as carefully as your content. Structuring your description carefully, and professionally, increases your appeal to the search engines as much as it does to the reader.
- Do not highlight your keywords – anymore. Apparently, Google no longer needs help figuring out which keywords are important in the content you create and, as a result, highlighting phrases with bold, underline, and italics has become a black-hat tactic – or at least a gray-hat tactic.
- Headers have become dangerous – as a place for targeted keywords. Do not use your chosen targeted phrases within your paragraph headers, but rather, make them descriptive of the text you are providing your reader. Headers have become something of a trap for the search engines and they have realized this. If you must use a keyword here, use one that is not contained within your copy.
As you can see, the acceptable use of targeted keywords in your content has changed dramatically. While they remain the most effective tool in your SEO toolbox, the best way to help the search engines find you, care must be taken in their use.
If you’re looking for help to improve your ranking in the search results, or with accepted SEO techniques and strategies, get in touch with us today and ask about our SEO Services.